Are you planning to start an ecommerce business and need professional advice from an experienced ecommerce consultant? Today, ecommerce is booming and transforming business and daily life all over the world. 51% of Americans make purchases online. Statistics show that global ecommerce has been expanding at an average rate of 20% a year over the past decade and analysts predict that ecommerce will continue to take market shares from brick-and-mortar stores. Here are 5 key reasons why ecommerce is growing at a rapid pace and why you should be considering it for your business.
- Mobile traffic. About 50% of web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Due to the development of mobile responsive websites, today’s consumers have a pleasant purchasing experience via mobile devices and that drives sales up.
- The increase of omni-channel capabilities. It’s a fully-integrated approach that gives shoppers a unified experience across offline and online channels. When making purchases, consumers can choose from a variety of options, for example, they can buy online and pick up in store or purchase in store and return online.
- On-demand economy. This term refers to the trend of businesses using new technologies to fulfill consumer demand through the immediate delivery of goods and services. In our on-demand society, customers need instant gratification and ecommerce shoppers want their products and services delivered in a convenient, timely manner.
- Comparison shopping. Today’s consumers are constantly searching for the best deals offline and online. Shoppers prefer to compare prices on ecommerce platforms which leads to the industry growth.
- Need for highly specialized and niche products. It is hard to find such products locally, but you can easily buy them at niche ecommerce sites and they are driving a significant chunk of online sales.
As you see, it’s a great time to be selling online. But building a successful ecommerce business is a hard work and you’ll need to make a lot of important decisions at the right time. To help you get started, we’ll give you some advice on how to approach certain tasks that you will face when starting an ecommerce business and describe 4 popular ecommerce platforms. You will also find some useful tips on how to choose good ecommerce consulting services and learn how you can benefit from ecommerce consulting.
Do You Need an Ecommerce Consultant to Start a Business?
So what does it take to start an ecommerce business? You should follow these steps to build a profitable online store.
1. Choose the product portfolio to sell online.
There are different ways to find profitable in-demand products, e.g. find product opportunities in keywords, use your personal experience, follow your own passion, solve a customer pain point, check the products popular on other marketplaces etc. Then you should decide how you are going to acquire your products: make, manufacture, dropship or wholesale.
2. Research and plan
You need to do a competitive analysis to determine strengths and weaknesses of marketing approaches of your competitors. It will help you get a better idea of how you can differentiate your business. Then, you have to craft your business model and marketing strategy to determine how you will reach your customers.
3. Name your ecommerce business
You need to select a memorable brand name and register an appropriate domain name. After that, you have to create a simple logo for your future business.
4. Build your online store
Learning basic SEO can help you properly structure web pages on your site for Google and other search engines. Then you have to build your store. You need to create high converting product pages, write catchy product descriptions, and make beautiful photos of your products. After that, your task is to choose sales channels where you can reach your potential customers.
5. Prepare to launch
Think about order fulfillment and shipping strategies. Check your payment gateway. Define your key performance indicators and install an analytics tool. Install essential apps for marketing automation.
6. After launch
Start marketing your products and drive targeted traffic to your ecommerce website. You can use a variety of tactics, e.g. drive traffic from social media, use email marketing, optimize your ecommerce website for higher conversions, etc.
Building an ecommerce business is a challenging and rewarding experience. And an ecommerce consultant can guide you through all these steps and help you avoid the majority of mistakes.
Ecommerce Business Consultant’s Role
Ecommerce business consultant will help you set up your business for growth. To ensure the success of your online store, you need to do the proper planning, determine goals and objectives, and set reasonable KPIs to measure the success of your ecommerce business. You also need to make adjustments if you don’t reach your objectives. An experienced consultant will guide you through the process and help you select the relevant KPIs that you need to make informed decisions as well as effective methods of tracking them.
Besides, your ecommerce consultant will help you in selecting the right ecommerce platform for your specific business needs. There are different platforms and your task is to choose the one that will meet your feature requirements as well as your individual business model. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Now let’s review 4 popular ecommerce platforms.
3dcart is hosted shopping-cart software that is easy to use, scalable, and comes with lots of useful features such as multichannel selling, email marketing, inventory management, inventory management, built-in SEO tools, bulk import/export, built-in blog etc. There are 4 pricing plans and all of them offer unlimited products, unlimited bandwidth, 24/7 customer support, no transaction fees, product reviews, a Facebook store, point-of-sale support, API access, and more. You can choose from 50 free mobile-ready themes and 100+ supported payments. You can also connect your 3dcart store to eBay, Amazon, and Shopzilla. There is an App Store with add-ons.
Shopify is a SaaS (software as a service) so businesses don’t have to worry about maintenance and hosting and just have to pay a monthly fee to use it. It makes a good choice for beginner level ecommerce entrepreneurs because it is easy to use and you can launch your online store quickly. You can choose from 100 beautiful templates and make your ecommerce store look great. There is a big App Store with 1,400 free and paid apps that you can use to extend functionality. There are tools that can help you automate marketing, inventory management, fulfillment, shipping, accounting, reporting, and customer service. Shopify has a built-in payment system and you can also use third-party payment gateways (more than 100). And you can enjoy 24/7 customer support.
BigCommerce is a SaaS aimed at fast-growing brands. It provides everything you may need to create, manage and grow your ecommerce store. The platform is easy to use and comes with a range of beautiful customizable templates. A built-in CMS makes it possible to build, categorize, and manage even the most complex product catalogs. All pricing plans support unlimited products and staff accounts. More than 40 payment gateways are available and there are no transaction fees. There is a large App Store with hundreds of apps and extensions. You can sell your products using multiple sales channels, including Facebook, Amazon, Pinterest, and eBay.
Magento is the most popular open source ecommerce platform that is used by more than 250,000 ecommerce business owners worldwide. You can download the Magento Open Source for free and develop your own add-ons to improve its functionality or buy extensions or plugins created by the community on the Magento marketplace. Magento Commerce is a paid tier for enterprise-level users. The platform is scalable and flexible. It supports multiple languages and you can run multiple stores and use different payment systems.
The platform has an impressive feature set and is completely customizable. It works best for mid-sized and large businesses because it is optimized to work with thousands of products, high traffic, and a large number of sales. Magento has built-in SEO tools and report features as well as Google Analytics integration.
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Why You May Need an Ecommerce Marketing Consultant
Growing business is not easy. You need the right strategies and tools to market your business and fuel your growth. Ecommerce business requires full-fledged online marketing support to drive traffic to your online store and convert that traffic to sales. Wondering what it means? There are plenty of things you should consider.
- First of all, you have to develop an overall marketing strategy to determine what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts and how you plan to reach your target audience and turn people into your customers. The purpose of your marketing strategy is to communicate the value and the benefits of your business offering to your potential customers.
- You have to think about effective customer acquisition and retention strategies to improve customer experience, win new customers, and keep them loyal to your brand. In this way, you can boost your revenue.
- You need to conduct audience research to gather information about specific audience segments. You should use different methods to learn about their preferences, knowledge, interests, attitudes, behaviors and use this information to attract and retain the right audiences.
- Your business needs SEO to improve your website’s overall searchability and visibility and bring you more qualified leads and customers. Solid SEO strategy is critical to the success of your ecommerce website and it includes keyword research, on-page SEO and technical SEO, link building, content marketing etc.
- SMM tactics can help you improve brand awareness, connect with your customers and prospects, increase customer engagement and loyalty, drive more traffic, and boost sales. Most consumers turn to social media to help them make buying decisions so if you want to stay competitive, you should integrate social media into your marketing mix.
- If you are just starting your ecommerce store, paid ads are one of the best options to make progress faster and get a lot of traffic to your website. The key to success is to figure out where your customers spend their time online and what channels you should use to target them with your message.
- Typically, only about 2% of web traffic converts on the first visit. Your paid advertising strategy should include It is an approach of targeting your ads at the visitors that left your website without taking necessary actions. They will see these ads while visiting other websites.
- You should use marketing automation software to automate the repetitive tasks of sending marketing messages across multiple channels such as email, social media, websites, and sales messages to generate sales leads.
If you think that all this is too complicated for you, it is a great idea to hire an experienced ecommerce marketing consultant that will help you choose top performing marketing tactics and develop a successful marketing strategy.
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On the Lookout for the Best Ecommerce Consulting Services
As you see, selecting the right ecommerce consultant is a very important step because they can bring insights and expertise that a small or mid-sized ecommerce business doesn’t have and help you improve sales and efficiency. That’s why you should consider a lot of aspects when making a decision to hire someone such as business acumen – digging into the business problem instead of jumping to solutions, technical expertise in all aspects of ecommerce, knowledge of modern marketing tools, flexibility in platform selection, relevant experience for your type of business, ongoing support.
If you want to achieve success, you should hire ecommerce consulting services company that knows how to drive results. And there is no need to look further. Quandary will help you develop your custom-built online presence ensuring maximum efficiency. Our team of experienced business consultants, software engineers, and marketers will be happy to help you with all aspects of your ecommerce business and will gladly share their years of expertise. We will guide you through the complex world of digital commerce. Request your free consultation now to learn how we can help you achieve your business goals and grow a successful online business.