The pandemic pushed many aspects of our day-to-day lives to virtual platforms. While online shopping has been available for several decades, the fact that millions of people turned to eCommerce sites for everyday regular goods, such as groceries and toiletries made virtual shopping experiences mainstream. Between 2020 and 2022, the global eCommerce market grew by more than 20 percent.
If you’re thinking about entering the eCommerce market, you’d be in good company. There are 24 million eCommerce companies, and the numbers are growing. Don’t let that scare you. The market is expected to reach more than $5.5 trillion this year. There is more than enough to go around.
Advantages of an eCommerce Business
There are several advantages to starting an eCommerce business. Startup costs are very low. Most people can start a webshop for less than $10,000. If you’re selling from existing marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, your startup costs may be even lower. eCommerce also allows business owners to tap into regional, national, and international markets. This can translate into more sales without much more investment.
While there are many advantages to starting an eCommerce business, this type of business model comes with its own challenges. If you want to succeed in this space, you will have to offer the following benefits to your customers.
Safe Payment Solutions
Distrust is one of the leading reasons customers abandon their online purchases. If your webshop doesn’t offer a payment system with basic security features like 3D Secure authentication or SSL protocol protection, customers will think twice before entering their card information.
If you’re selling items from your own webshop, you can integrate a secure, state-of-the-art payment process for a monthly fee. You can also choose to market your products as a third-party seller on an established platform like Amazon. Keep in mind that while you do not pay upfront for this service, the platform will take a percentage of each sale. Run the numbers and see which solution makes the most sense for your business.
Although the eCommerce space is far from saturated, new businesses will face steep competition in trying to capture consumer’s attention. A strong and unique branding identity will help your business standout from the crowd. Highlight any feature that makes your products special. Do you want to tie your brand to a certain type of lifestyle or aesthetic? Or would you rather focus on the manufacturing and procuring process? People tend to buy from companies that reflect their values.
So as you develop your branding, consider which message would best align with your target market. Once you have your branding story, logo, and visual identity, you can start to develop a content marketing plan. Advertise your shop through social media posts, blogs, and other content-rich marketing campaigns to attract your ideal customers.
Your branding should also inform how you will present your eCommerce company across all mediums. Customers will expect the same experience from your Facebook page as they do your website and emails. Working with a content or social media strategist can make sure your customers have the same positive interaction with your brand no matter what communication channel they choose.
Smooth Delivery Experience
If you’re shipping your locally made product overseas, be aware of how your logistics choices impact your customer’s experience. Many countries impose duties and customs fees on their residents who order items from abroad. If you don’t notify your customers of these potential fees at the point of check out, the shock of additional payments can sour them from ordering from you again.
You can also prevent these issues by opting for a delivered duty paid (DDP) agreement on all your products. Under a DDP agreement, you are responsible for paying all the fees associated with the shipping process, including duties and taxes. While this option costs a bit more upfront, you can recoup a portion by charging processing fees to the customer. However, DDP also greatly reduces the chance that customers will refuse the product, and make them more likely to make a repeat order. Companies like Zee shipping can handle much of the DDP process for your business.
Customer returns are an inevitable part of the eCommerce business. However, by making the return and refund process as seamless as possible, you will greatly increase your chances of retaining a customer, even if they weren’t satisfied with their product.
You can ease the return process by posting your terms and conditions in clear, accessible language on your website. Look for ways to reduce red tape for your customer. For example, include a return label with the product. If your sales volume is high enough to validate doing so, consider working with a third-party reverse logistics firm to handle your returns.