What is Ecommerce

It’s time to wake up and leave our dated way of thinking behind us. E-commerce is the way of the future and the signals are strong.

This article will go over key indicators and draw back the curtains into the rising power of e-commerce.
  • We will begin by revising the data available on the industry; including sales projections, the key players in the industry and the proportion of total sales attributed to e-commerce.
  • The process of scaling your business with justifications on why so many businesses are integrating E-commerce into their business models.
  • Identify clear factors for success and demonstrate why e-commerce is the most effective tool for growth.

The internet for the unaffiliated is just a source of information, new products and entertainment. Only industry insiders understand that these ultra popular social media platforms serve as marketing tools for new products and personal branding.

The core concept behind e-commerce is the monetization of the massive user traffic on the internet and the improvement of the overall shopping experience with quick and easy delivery. What isn’t commonly mentioned about the industry is the scale of investment made into technological advancement and logistical infrastructure. The labor required and the time needed to build the many cogs in the industry can be a shock to hear. These advancements are all about general accessibility and competitive advancement, with new disruptions arising on a daily basis. 

The internet has had an immense value from the very beginning, and it seems like there is immutable value in e-commerce. As the internet grows more influential over our lives, and e-commerce is creating new opportunities, we are beginning to see businesses shift their practices to incorporate the web. As the industry becomes more accessible, it’s also becoming a place for expression and creativity, a place for innovation and ideas.

How do we best reach our customer base?

Any new venture has its fair share of hurdles and implementing a winning formula has a lot to do with objectivity. The role of a manager is to actively develop value and improve on a working model, making incremental changes to advance a business's prospects. They make these adaptations to eventually deliver a complete product or service, and then replicate that working system once you have a proven concept. The reach and accessibility of the internet has made it possible to bring any idea to market and to scale unlike ever before. The premier launching pad for any business nowadays, in any respect, either physical or content based is the internet. Through digital marketing you are able to probe any business idea and bring it to market easily. 

Visualizing the Customer Journey

Digital marketing is taking on a new level of renown and it is no secret why. The real mystery is what utility traditional marketing campaigns have in the modern age! As digital marketing shapes itself into the principal tool for growth, our expertise and focus shift alongside it. Nowadays the overly confident digital marketer will tell you that they can market any business, and this is in part true, but that’s never the whole story. There is a working system but it is underpinned by expertise. Accumulating and maintaining marketing share is the most reliable objective you can set. This would allow you to win the customer over and to keep them loyal. We all know that demand is not infinite and the pie has already been divided.

To understand best practices, we need to visualize the business environment of any ordinary city or town, and taking careful note of the merits of the many businesses that divide the market into shares. We should pay close attention to the common problem that the average business faces and actively monitor the core characteristics of the market leader.

Characteristics of the Market Leader

We know that every business experience some sort of capital restriction, which makes growth slow and incremental. If we draw a baseline by creating equitable terms, we can observe how many comparatively similar businesses occupy a segment with each having a relatively equal share of the market. Assuming that these business are very similar, the products that they sell are virtually indifferentiable from each other and the customers receive no added benefit for changing from one company to another.

As an example, if we injected capital into one of these companies and they began to develop their product systematically it would result in a qualitative shift. The market leader is characterized by having the most advancements in these dimensions.

There are several dimensions by which we can develop our business:
1. The Product Quality
2. The Environment
3. The Service 
4. The Branding and Marketing
5. And Tech Spending
6. Delivery Services

There is an ordered process to the development of a product which if not taken in the correct order may result in a negative reaction by the consumer base. If we heavily market a poor quality product, then we will see strong rejection. For the same reason if our environment is lackluster, then the brands expectations will be negative. And if we provide poor services then the businesses substitutability will increase.

We can agree that regardless of which stage your business is in there is a required digital presence. The need for some sort of search and find function is a basic requirement. At all stages of the product development process there is a marketing need and even at the most basic level some sort of digital presence is necessary.

Digital Marketing as an Inherent Requirement

Digital marketing is the primary differentiating factor for any modern business in a competitive segment. Of those businesses that possess hybrid business models, roughly 30% of their sales are generated through e-commerce. This figure continues to grow due to their scalability. STEM fields are generally considered to the some of the most profitable industries merely because of their scalability.

To pose our example in context we need to imagine how websites or apps serve as an extension of a business in a domestic market. Example Uber Eats

Businesses which actively work on their internet presence are far more accessible, easily recognizable and are more engaging to use. Anyone can see this difference plainly through there operability. The most elementary example of delivery service started as phone-in orders, even these primitive services were thought to be highly impactful on a business’s market performance. In a city or town with several businesses dividing a limited market share, and constantly competing for a single customer, we see a greater importance on a tech and digital presence. 

The Customer Journey

Business development is a lot about understanding the customer and tailoring your services to their needs. Simplicity is a great way of thinking conceptualizing their needs.

Once we have concrete reason to believe that the customer has a truly redeeming buying experience, then and only then is our job as a manager complete. We need to make the purchasing process as simple and comparatively advantageous as possible. Delivering the nearest thing to simplicity is intertwined with perfection. 

The story starts with your first sale. If you can sell one unit then the idea has merit. Repetition is the essence of any business. Therefore we need to “unify” collective consumer expectations about our business, by delivering an interactive experience that is highly engaging. It is only possible to unify expectations through quality.

This is in part why every individual is important. Customers are inherently similar to one another and failing any “one” customer is reflective of systemic failure. Following this rational is a means of meditating risk and identifying weaknesses in the model.

Growth is equivalent to multiple unique and isolated purchasing decisions. In each comparison between two competitors, there is an individual considering their options carefully and making a measured decision. 

Having an e-commerce function is the leading means of simultaneously increasing brand exposure and beginning the scaling process.

If two business are similar in price and quality, then elements like the speed of delivery and functionality of tech become deeply influential. Vice versa, when conducting market research, the degree of investment in a business’s web presence can be a clue in their market prominence. 

Imagine if only one restaurant had an app that processed quick checkout and the rest of the market had a complicated and poorly built website. The latter’s website would be rendered obsolete when your dinner order could be processed and dispatched in a matter of seconds. 

The moment a customer finds the overall purchasing process easy or redeemable, they begin to form habits. It is then that your consumer base begins to scale through retention and you begin to increase market share.

I am sure you will find that retention of a customer is the only fundamental way to increase market share, and failing to accumulate customers is the only reliable truth. We are dealing with a finite demand.

If your web presence is under represented, a few issues are expected:
The first is an over-dependence on your physical presence, its limited reach and capacity. 
The portion of the market that deals with only deliveries for convenience are outright lost.
Your expansion is slowed and your margins are negatively impacted.
Your reputation begins to deteriorate, potentially forcing consolidation.

The unfortunate reality is that delivery and ease of use are the new battlegrounds for successful businesses. It is highly unlikely that with a poor web presence that any serious growth is possible. This is notable in how deeply integrated the internet is in most societies. I often say that there is no prejudice in business, which means that a strong proposition is rooted in its merits.

Intermediary Digital Marketing

The digital marketing element which comes as a mandatory requirement for e-commerce, is the most effective method to directly market your product. There are entire careers built upon digital marketing. The consequences of neglecting your digital presence in e-commerce means utter obscurity. Digital marketing is all about communicating your business values and product.

Digital Marketing is only as good as the channel you employ and though there are numerous channels available, the foundation is inevitably Social Media and Google. These platforms have the largest concentration of users and create a perfect avenue for business profiles.

Most social media platforms are inexpensive as starting point and serve interchangeably as business fronts. They have a paid advertisement function which begins to get more technical, but ultimately these platforms are a form of quasi-permanent assets which create value for your business.

In the digital marketing industry, your internet presence is considered an asset and its value grows over time. Your investment is in connections and visibility. Even in the early stages of your marketing campaign, minor gorilla marketing efforts may result in your most loyal customer. 

Social media platforms are centered around people and ultimately followership is like a direct communication channel that scales with your business. These people can either be incentivized or can be generated organically, but are considered to be cumulative.

Multi-channel marketing is very powerful because you can generate unique visitors to your business with a multiplier effect. This is a very common strategy that professionals employ, and it works because each platform operates independently. Each independent platform generates unique visitors which act in combination towards your total traffic numbers. 

Quality over Quantity

At all points of consideration quality outperforms quantity. Not only is there a fundamental issue with how customers perceive our brand but we also see a technical failure. Building a reliable brand is founded upon impressions and communication. The first impression is generally encountered through the internet, which is the case for many businesses that rely on their digital presence. We are typically highly reliant on public opinion and the customer experience is based on how you represent your business. How your site functions is in part of the dimension of quality. 

Loyalty

Loyalty and quality are deeply symbiotic. Brand loyalty is and should be an ultimate goal for any market leader. Subscribers and followers are all assets because they give you the ability to actively communicate with your direct demo. If your branding strategy is successfully implemented, loyalty can dull the negative effects of price changes and create resistance to substitution. This can effectively reduce your volatility and serve as a source of assurance. Loyalty is a result-based approach to customer retention that can secure the distribution of the market.

Knowing your Customer

It’s difficult to plainly set a perfect objective, but even moonshots have an order set of goals. Having a clear idea of your customers’ needs is a good starting point for a successful strategy. As we identify our target customers preferences and pain points our approach subsequently evolves. Focusing on the customer’s needs is a great way to deliver the highest level of perceived quality and trust. Trust is integral to success and is an ideal “state” of communication.

Using the Marketing Funnel to Set Managerial Goals

The marketing funnel is diagram that is typically used to conceptualize the customer journey, which follows them from initial encounter to eventual brand loyalty. It’s important to have some sort of segmentation for planning purposes, which helps us set targeted objectives for each stage of the funnel. If exercised correctly we will see an increase in customer service, communicative clarity, sales performance and after purchase satisfaction. 

We know that at each stage, we have ordered set objectives that are intended to deliver optimized marketing results. Actively targeting each position in the marketing funnel is the only way to assure an effective strategy. 

There are three main stages in the marketing funnel. Generating Leads, Converting Leads and Retaining Leads. By approaching the process categorically, we help our business provide a well-rounded experience.

1.     Generating Leads: The most common and methods used to optimize lead generation. 
     a. Search Engine Optimization
     b. Paid Advertisement
     c. Affiliate Marketing
    d. Influencer Marketing
    e. Content Blogging
    f. Partnership Referrals
2.     Lead Conversion: These are the most influential factors in the customers purchase decision.
     a. Improving your Site Structure, Features and Design 
     b. Building Trust with Reviews, Social Media and Partnerships
     c. Optimizing Speed and Usability of your Site
     d. Branding and Clarity of Information
     e. Copy and Visualization of Merchandise
     f. Rewards and Incentive for Interaction
3.     Retaining Leads: How to derive the maximum benefit from a customer.     
     a. Building a Customer Database with Contact Details
     b. Email, SMS, Push Notifications
     c. Loyalty Rewards, Re-Engagement Campaigns and Sales Promotions
     d. Delivery Speeds
     e. Return Policies
     f. Packaging and Product Quality
     g. Customer Service and Relationship Building

Cost-Saving E-Commerce Platforms

What was previously impossible for many SMB’s has completed shifted the digital environment. The emergence of automated e-commerce platforms marked the beginning of a more accessible internet for smaller businesses. A merchant would previously be billed $30,000 for a web project. A figure that is both absurd and deeply unnecessary in the modern world.

As an alternative to bespoke websites are website builders and e-commerce platforms that automate the whole process. These websites are significantly quicker to set up and more versatile. They are full of features and resolve major issues for managers without the customary hassle.

In general, they are a great way to set up your piece of real estate on the internet and build a fully brand destination for interested parties.

Google as a Foundation

Google is very important in digital marketing. Search Engine Optimization can be an entire career. You may be well aware of this fact, but 4.3 billion people use Google, which is more than 92% of the entire internet user base. 

Each Google search can prompt thousands if not millions of pages. Remember that each search result bears a ranking and each page by default has 10 results. This means that if your webpage or blog post ranks as the 101st item, then you would feature on the 11th page. Ask yourself how often you spend on the 11th page of Google search results. Figures suggest that about 50% of all traffic that is generated by a website is through organic search results. 

Google has established guidelines on practices that are promoted by their ranking algorithms. One of Google’s major factors is Authority which represents market prominence and is the most time consuming to build. Great ways to improve your authority are demonstrating expertise on a subject, build connections and improving your web presence. 

Top ranking websites generally take time to build but keeping active with blog posts is a great way to drive traffic and build trust. Consider also the need for specialization as a means of refining your content. It is perfectly appropriate to focus your content on your target subject which can improve the quality of leads that you generate. Specialization is an indication of expertise and helps support the argument for authority. 

Auditing your Site

Auditing your site is a key competitive advantage. It’s important to objectively evaluate your website and make periodic improvements.

For this, it is highly recommended to conduct a side-by-side comparison between similar sites and understand their differences. Take extra time to evaluate the market leader, as well to see what sort of progression you should plan. Develop an eye for the technical and make careful observations of defining characteristics of any website you visit. Doing this while help you understand how features impact the decision-making of your customer base.

You don’t require any programming knowledge to make these observations. Simply observe the site structure, design, layout, pages, images and wording. This will give you enough to make comparative observations and identify critical factors. 

Ecommerce is a powerful industry and its like that for a reason. Keeping following our Blog and will dwell even further into what ecommerce is and how to take full advantage.