THE DIGITAL ADVANTAGE: HOW TO SELL YOUR PRODUCT ONLINE
As 2016 comes to a close, we’re looking back at what a disruptive year it’s been. From automated cars and artificial intelligence to cell printing and augmented reality, our world is starting to resemble a science-fiction flick more than real life. This transformation has us contemplating one of the most groundbreaking innovations of our lifetime… the internet. As we reflect, we sift through distant memories of a time before digital when we had to go outside, knock on people’s doors and (gasp!) have genuine conversations. My, how times have changed… it’s hard to believe that future generations will never experience the world as we once knew it. The internet was a game changer and its impact on how we do business is indisputable.
In our hyperconnected world, brands reach audiences faster and more efficiently than ever. Purchases can be made with the click of a mouse, spawning enhanced competition and high consumer expectations. While some businesses embrace innovation, others are struggling to keep up. They face going extinct in the dawn of digital darwinism.
ONLY 45.5 % OF CANADIAN BUSINESSES ONLINE (2014)
It’s shocking really, that more than half of Canadian companies still aren’t reaching online audiences, increasing their credibility, engaging with followers, and maximizing their revenue through digital distribution.
YET, 81% OF CUSTOMERS RESEARCH ONLINE BEFORE MAKING A PURCHASE (2014)
Not to mention $136 billion in goods and services sold through e-commerce (2013). If your business isn’t digital in 2017, make it your new year’s resolution to get in the game! Need help? We’ve created this roadmap to guide your transition into the beautiful and bountiful world of e-commerce. We know that change is scary, but we promise that a strong digital presence will give you a competitive edge and improve the health and wealth of your business.
Ramp’s rules of e-commerce:
1. KEEP IT REAL
When moving from brick-and-mortar to a digital, remember that customers can’t interact with your products online the same way they would in a store. They can’t touch a cashmere sweater to test its softness, feel a peach to see if it’s bruised, or immerse themselves in the floral scent of a perfume. Instead, they rely on visual cues through photos and product descriptions before making a purchase. To get repeat business and increase revenue, be authentic and make sure your products are accurately depicted.
2. WORD OF MOUTH
Use e-commerce to get customer feedback and find out what’s working or what isn’t, then adjust accordingly. Features such as live chat, product reviews, and a toll-free customer support hotline can enhance the shopping experience and give brands a leg up on the competition.
DID YOU KNOW THAT 90% OF CONSUMERS ARE INFLUENCED BY ONLINE REVIEWS?
Reviews enable word of mouth and allow customers to compare products before making a purchase. Ensure that their online experience is positive and consistent with other channels to get people talking and sharing! This is the best way to get new and repeat business so be sure to add value to your brand online.
Online shopping is a lifestyle enhancement – it brings the world to your doorstep and the power of retail therapy to your fingertips. Customers can order virtually anything they want, from groceries, to appliances to clothing. They can browse and shop 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the comfort of their own homes (why put on pants when you can order pizza from your bed in the pyjamas that showed up on your doorstep yesterday?) Products are delivered almost anywhere: from hard to reach rural areas to big cities. Consider product availability, shipping options, and packaging when designing an e-commerce platform for your business. According to digital media expert Gary Vaynerchuk, it’s crucial to choose the right infrastructure to create a seamless level of service that is safe and secure online.
It’s easy to integrate promotions onto your digital platform. Adding a promo code area at the point of purchase makes creating special offers a breeze! A loyalty system (like Starbucks RewardsTM) is a worthwhile consideration that makes users feel important and connected to your brand. Some brands (like Amazon) also use an ‘affinity analysis’ algorithm to upsell other products with a “customers also bought” tag. Providing online deals to boost business, using loyalty programs and upselling can generate more profit on your e-commerce platform. These enhancements make your online store more robust which helps you stand out from the competition.
One major benefit of a digital marketplace is the ability to learn more about your customers. You can collect their name, address, email, what products they’ve purchased and when their birthday is. Use this information to plan your marketing and build stronger relationships through targeted advertising, outreach campaigns or a special birthday offer to encourage loyalty. Collect data in your physical store as well to contact customers and transition them online. Use content marketing on social media and blogs to drive traffic. You will need to enhance your customer relationship management (CRM), but don’t worry, there are tons of software platforms available (Hubspot and Salesforce are popular) that make CRM a breeze. As your business grows, hire a sales team to follow-up on leads and watch the results roll in.
We hope these tips have made you excited about the wonderful world of e-commerce! Our best advice? Be patient. Innovation isn’t always easy but moving your business online is a necessary building block for success and prosperity. Have questions? Contact us and we’ll be glad to help you transition your business online.