E-commerce was already going strong pre-pandemic, and quarantine has only supercharged online shopping. Some small business owners feel unable to compete with the big boys, but there’s no reason to miss out on the electronic spending boon. E-tail is all about finding your niche and staking your territory. So if you’re a boss lady (or boss man) of a more modest enterprise, read on to learn five great strategies for small businesses.
One of the best things about running a small business is that you don’t have to please everyone. You only have to appeal to the right customers. Microtargeting is a strategy that helps you locate like-minded people and groups so you don’t waste time and money on those who aren’t a fit for your product or service. Let’s use the example of a pearl vendor. Pearl is the June birthstone and you’re running a promotion. One of the groups you want to target are people born in June. How do you find out people’s birthdays? Through data collection services. Facebook for Business has an astonishing amount of data and offers one of the best ways to microtarget. If your business is a brick-and-mortar shop, you can also try Google AdWords to target by region, and not lose ad dollars on people clicking who are outside your designated marketing area (DMA). Geo-fencing is another programmable feature you can use to build a virtual boundary around a geographic location.
These days, online customers expect to be provided with an out-of-the-ordinary shopping experience. Consumers are demanding the same level of personal attention online as they receive live, and businesses that don’t deliver will lose out. Shoppers expect e-tailers to know when they last shopped, what their previous purchases were, and even other websites they have visited. Custom packaging or mix-and-match assortments are some personalisation options. Loyalty programs are another way to customise your offerings and your marketing. Engaging on social media is one of the best ways to interact one-on-one with customers, particularly Millennials. Avail yourself of data collection services like Facebook for Business and Google AdWords to tailor your selections to individual preferences.
For maximum conversion rates, you must make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy from you. This means offering your product across multiple platforms. Small businesses need to take advantage of every potential sales channel by having a social media presence, a well-designed website, and, if applicable, an appealing and easy-to-use app. The caveat here is that the shopping experience must be as easy on the tiny screen of a mobile phone as it is on a computer or any other device. To improve the mobile experience, look into a progressive web app (PWA) that is designed to load instantly regardless of whether or not the user has an internet connection. Seamless integration and a trustworthy experience are what customers want. Also keep in mind that when you sell across different platforms, the products themselves must be sufficiently differentiated to justify any price differences.
Cut Out the Middleman
The evolution of digital technology has created a revolution in the world of retail. Manufacturers are becoming increasingly willing to deal directly with small businesses. One reason for this change is that small businesses are more willing to try a new commodity. Small businesses also have more flexibility with their stock and usually have less complicated supply chains. Dealing directly with producers often opens up the possibility of private labelling. If you can score an exclusivity deal with a manufacturer, all the better.
Offer Subscription Services
From video games to vitamins, e-commerce subscription have grown exponentially over the past few years. Subscriptions are available in many forms. The three broad types are access, replenishment and curation. Access (such as to media) and replenishment (like for health and beauty products) offer solid income. But curation is the most popular by far and suggests that what consumers want is to be charmed with new products. By curating unique, exclusive commodities that you send regularly to your customer’s doorstep, you are even more likely to see a bump up in orders. On the other hand, consumers are quick to cancel services that don’t meet their expectations. Once again, understanding what will thrill your clientele is essential, and the way to do that is through data collection.