An online business can be an amazing venture to get into, especially as an entrepreneur who is looking to become successful while working from anywhere in the world without depending on a physical building.
Every business owner makes mistakes. Even the likes of Warren Buffett, Richard Marx, and Elon Musk have made mistakes in their businesses. The quintessential need is not perfect and averting every mistake but to avoid those ones that will cost your business dearly. Here are the top five mistakes online business owners make.
1. Cheap Infrastructure
A business must always remain sustainable and for that, it is necessary to remain reasonable with all expenses or recurring financial liabilities. However, affordability should not compel a business owner to make decisions that will not augur well for the enterprise. For instance, opting for cheap hosting plans will save you money but the real cost has to be assessed. Hosting plans that cost very little every month will have severely capped bandwidth, there will be hardly any worthwhile security for the website, the online presence will be compromised as the uptime will not be a hundred percent or even close and any kind of scaling will be dealt with very slowly. Infrastructure is the backbone of any industry or business. Online business owners often opt for cheap infrastructure.
2. Outsourcing Everything
Globalization has ushered in an era when you can find people to do everything at a fraction of a cost than what you would have paid in the pre-globalization days. It is not fair to state that the quality of professionals or their skills has waned but it is true that outsourcing has its pitfalls. You can and should outsource anything that you are not very good at. From website designing to accounting, you can and must hire experts. Also, note that outsourcing is not necessarily off-shoring. You can hire contractors or companies based in your city, state or country. The trouble lies in outsourcing everything. When online business owners don’t have complete control over any of the assets of the company or the day-to-day affairs affecting one or all existential aspects of the enterprise, then the business is bound to suffer sooner or later.
3. Lack of Diversification
Many business owners are content with their zeroed in focus on one or a few niches. It is perfectly acceptable to focus on one or a few niches but you need to diversify to sustain your overall empire through the years. Every niche goes through upswings and downswings. You can always enjoy the upswings but you need to plan for the downswings.
4. Cease in Upgrading
Many online business owners launch their enterprises with state of the art propositions and then stop upgrading. It is not just the technological infrastructure that needs to be upgraded but also the quality of products and services, the manner in which the business is managed and how the clients are dealt with.
5. Ignoring Competition
Digital enterprises can spring up in no time and usurp the market share of a major brand in a brisk few weeks. Ignoring competition is a surefire way to ring the death knell for the business.
What to sell online? That’s one of the biggest questions you’ll be asking yourself when building an online store. How do some stores end up making 6 and 7 figures while others are making a big, fat zero? It all comes to having winning products. Doing Product research will help you be able to find those winning products.
In this article, I’m going to reveal my winning product criteria. It’s the 9 things your product needs to be a winner. Your product doesn’t need all 9 things for it to be a hit but you’re going to need at least 3
When doing Product Research and looking for a winner, always go for something that can hit 3-5 of the 9 points I’m going to cover below.
Now let me get straight to my 9 steps “Winning Product Criteria”
#1 The Product Improves Confidence
This is a huge benefit. We always want a product that improves a customer’s confidence and self-esteem – because doing so is invaluable. This is why people are willing to spend a lot of money on it.
Teeth whitening is a great example. Having really white teeth increases a person’s confidence – so they will pay a lot for it. That’s why this product was so hot and made millions for the people who capitalized on the TREND.
#2 The Product Improves Convenience
If you can make life easier for someone, they will go out of their way to give you money. Products that improve convenience are always big money makers
#3 Product Solves a Problem
This is a big one. people are motivated to move away from pain. Products that help solve a problem- like hair loss, for example, are always hot. If you can find a product that does this, you will get money from people.
#4 Save Someone Money
If your product helps someone save money – people will buy it.
#5 Save Someone Time
This goes hand in hand with #4 – as the saying goes, time is money. So if you can do this, you are doubling down #4.
#6 The Product is Extremely Unique
Now, pay attention here, because this one can be a double edge sword. If you have a product the market has never seen before – it can sell really well.
On the other hand, if the market has never seen it before for a reason – it may tank. So make sure it’s unique, people really want it. Do this and you can make it rain.
#7 The Product Improves Quality of Life
This goes without saying. However, it’s slightly less important simply because it’s more intangible and harder to measure. But if you have a product that really improves the quality of life – its almost guaranteed to make you a lot of money.
#8 The Perceived Value is High
For example, if you are marketing a smartwatch and buying it for R200, you can probably sell it for R500 – R700 because it’s perceived to be worth a lot – electronic, tech, flashy, etc. This will drive up your profit margins and help you to make bank’
#9 Female Dominated
Now, the truth is – you can make more money with a female-dominated product. The reason is, typically speaking and in my personal experience, women shop online a lot more than men, so the cost to acquire a customer is lower. You can still make money with male products, but it’s easier in a female-dominated market.
There you have it. My 9 Step Winning Product Research Criteria also known as “The Product Index”. As said above, make sure that you hit 3 of these, but ideally, aim for 3 to 5. It’s the most guaranteed way to hit a big money winner. I really hope this helps. Once you have your winning product, you can now turn online shoppers into buyers
Working from your house has numerous advantages, but also comes with its disadvantages. Building a successful online business is a dream come true for many people around the world, though to some, it is not always fun and games. Sources have it that you can survive on online businesses and enjoy the freedom of earning real money from your passions. As earlier mentioned, running an online business is not always a walk in the park, and therefore it is wise not to underestimate the hard work that a successful online business requires.
To understand what it entails to run an online business, let us take a look at the pros and cons of running online businesses.
Pros of Running an Online Business
1) Flexible schedule and rules.
Owning an online job allows you to create your rules and be your boss. With the flexibility that comes with self-employment, one can even create time to see friends and family.
2) Low startup costs.
One key benefit of owning an online business is the low starting cost. Sources have it that you can start a website with less than $100, and as your business grows, you can invest more in it. Online business gives you the liberty of working from your house and requires no leasing costs. You do not have to worry about employee’s salary too!
3) You become the boss.
Running your own online business gives you the mandate of setting the rules and regulations. Nobody tells you what to do, and you get an opportunity of controlling your destiny. You get to make decisions about marketing, product or service development, customer service, and pretty much everything related to your business.
The Cons of Running an Online Business
1) Long working hours
For any business to succeed, it calls for hard work and long working hours. Starting an online job from scratch takes a good amount of time to be successful and in some cases, people are required to work on weekends to reach their targets.
2) Requires a lot of discipline.
With all the freedom that comes with running your own business, discipline is fundamental. Time one takes for breaks should be limited, and more focus should be made to reach the set target.
Running an online business has its pros and cons. Low startup cost, and setting your rules are some of the advantages of starting an online business. Additionally, for all the people who are not afraid of working for long hours, online business is meant for you.
Every online store’s main goal is to increase traffic and conversations. But even after you have placed together a basic marketing strategy it can be challenging to select which tactics you should try first.
This is the main reason I have put together effective tactics along with some ideas to help you implement each approach. The ideas run from straightforward acquisition to help you generate more repeat purchases from your existing customers.
Try implementing 1 or 2 ideas every day for the next few weeks. On your last day take a look at your stock and figure out which ones best worked to drive new sales.
Before we get into it, with your own understating what do you think ecommerce marketing is? Well with me, I think ecommerce marketing is using promotional tactics to drive traffic to your online store. Converting that traffic into buyers.
You can use ecommerce marketing to launch or promote your online store as a whole or to drive more sales for specific products. Below are a few practical ideas you should try.
Marketing ideas to increase online sales
1. Upsell your products
Most of us have visited Mcdonald to buy a hamburger but end up buying a burger, chips & soda and you would hear a cashier saying, would you like to upsize your order? Its an example of what upselling is. You went to buy 1 item but end up buying more.
For many businesses, upselling can be effective than looking for new customers. Sometimes your customers may not know that you have a premium product available or they need to understand how an upgrade is a better fit for their needs.
For example: Usually, when a client contacts me for logo design, I would offer business cards and letterheads, sometimes a complete brand manual. Sometimes a customer comes for a website, I would offer a website with standard SEO package.
When using Upselling to increase sales consider the following:
Be sensitive to the price range of your customers
Ensure your upsells are related to the original product.
Your product has to fit the customer’s original needs, and they may not be enthusiastic about a higher price point once they have an anchor price in mind. An anchor price is often the first number a customer sees, and it’s the number against which they compare other price points. The new product must be a discernibly better fit than the original for it to be worth the additional cost.
2. Launch a Facebook store
Although Facebook has undergone a number of changes, it remains a viable platform for social media and ecommerce marketing.
It’s fairly straightforward to start making sales through your Facebook store. Better yet, your Facebook store can integrate directly with your Shopify store so you don’t have to keep a separate inventory.
3. Capture more email subscribers
Dollar for dollar, email marketing is one of the most effective channels at your disposal for making sales and generating repeat customers. Roughly 17% of digital marketing spend happens in email, but it contributes 24% of revenue, according to a 2015 study by Forrester Research.
There are too many tweets and Facebook posts for us to keep up with, and email can offer a more intimate interaction. People are still more protective of messages sent to their personal inboxes versus their social feeds. Plus, email gives you the space to say things that can’t fit into a social media post.
4. Improve your email campaigns
It’s not enough to simply capture a bunch of email addresses. You then need to send regular, valuable emails for the channel to be an effective ecommerce marketing activity.
There are many occasions that are perfect for sending emails that your subscribers will actually appreciate:
Send regular newsletters to alert subscribers of new discount offers, product tips, and, when appropriate, company news.
Share relevant content to help customers get the most out of their recently purchased items.
Run a BOGO campaign in time for the holidays to promote self-gifting during the season, too.
Thank your highest-value customers. Send a personal note expressing your appreciation for their business.
Solicit feedback. If someone visits your site but doesn’t make a purchase, ask about their experience and how you can improve it.
5. Make it easy for your customers to get what they want
If your store is poorly designed, then you’re losing customers. But what exactly does a poorly designed store look like?
Besides appearing untrustworthy, the store could be suffering from some combination of the following: lacking a clear value proposition, hard-to-read font, or confusing navigation.
Even when you’ve improved the dimensions above, you could still be making a few design mistakes. Are you properly segmenting your products or are you putting too many products on a single page? Have you figured out the right balance between text and visuals? These are just a few of the many things that you should consider. If your theme isn’t converting well, consider some of the other great themes available on Shopify.
6. Engage online store visitors with Livechat
There are other high-impact ways to engage with site visitors and customers outside of email. For example, you could use live chat to engage with shoppers on your site.
Many live chat tools let you target browsers on certain pages, after they’ve been on your site for a certain length of time, or even after they’ve arrived on your site through an email newsletter. Live chat also enables you to have direct conversations with your customers so you can answer and address customer concerns right while they’re planning to buy.
7. Start a content marketing program
Every ecommerce store should consider blogging regularly to connect with customers and to rank better in search engines. If you’re already creating content, consider actively featuring your blog on your online store.
Don’t forget, there are more ways to take advantage of content marketing than simply blogging:
Guest post on other websites and blogs to build awareness and generate backlinks, which also help with SEO
Create long-form content and guides to help customers use your products more effectively
One unlikely brand that has used content marketing to increase online sales is River Pools and Spas. Their company blog has earned them kudos from New York Times, but they don’t just stick to blogging. In time for the 2018 summer season, they have a downloadable guide featured on their homepage to help customers buy the right fiberglass pool as well.
8. Integrate Instagram
With over 500 million daily active users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social apps around, connecting consumers, influencers, and brands.
If you take compelling photos, use hashtags strategically, and post at the right times then you’re well on your way to building a large Instagram following of people who are interested in your products. The key to mastering your organic Instagram presence is engagement with your followers.
What are some ways to engage with your audience on Instagram? You may try running contests or going behind the scenes to showcase your product development process. You can also pay to play on Instagram. For ecommerce marketing, adding products to your Instagram posts and stories gives your followers a direct path to purchase, which is key for increasing your online sales.
9. Embrace personalization
Personalization is another effective marketing tactic to drive online sales. Using behavioral data, personalized experiences are served to the visitor, according to their past actions and preferences.
According to BCG, personalization can lift sales as much as 10%, but the opportunity is greater than that. Only 15% of companies are using the technology to its fullest extent.
You can also account for location in personalization to create an experience catered to where your customers are in the world. Someone in southern California may be looking for bathing suits in October, while your Maine customers probably need coats, for example.
Alloy Apparel shows a “what’s popular” carousel of products for online shoppers, but personalizes it with trending items local to the visitor.
10. Reduce abandoned carts
Harsh truth: You’re losing money every time a visitor abandons their cart without purchasing.
This phenomenon is well-studied. Visitors add items to their carts, but abandon their carts during the checkout process. According to the Baymard Institute, 69.23% of shopping carts are abandoned.
It’s worth directly addressing as many hesitations as you can because some shoppers who abandoned their carts could have been reminded to complete their purchase. Perhaps they could have been persuaded with a discount or free shipping, for example.
One simple and effective ecommerce marketing idea to reduce the frequency of abandoned carts is an email recovery campaign, which can convince your visitors to make a return visit and complete their original purchase. Another one is to take advantage of the Facebook Pixel. Having a facebook pixel on your website will help you retarget customers who left your store before completing their purchase.
Move forward with your own online store
Now you have a sizeable list of tactics and apps to help you generate more traffic and increase online sales.