Digital reinvention has been a standout in the survival toolkit for small business owners in 2020, with approximately one quarter creating ecommerce platforms to support or adapt an existing business to the challenge of COVID.
According to American Express’ latest Small Business Recovery research, over half of consumers admit they’d be more likely to shop at small businesses during COVID if they provided an online option., and 2 in 5 would do so if the business offered virtual services.
Making the decision to adapt your business digitally may seem simple, but operating a successful ecommerce store requires your attention in several key areas.
Creating your store, defining (or redefining) your brand, designing your product and — perhaps the most important of all — offering high quality customer service, are all vital components to protect a healthy revenue stream.
Here are 5 key considerations to help get you started:
- Know your ecommerce metrics
Cashflow is everything to the success of a small business and good planning with the right customer data will ensure you stay afloat. The visibility of online data for ecommerce platforms is a real advantage for business owners looking to track performance and increase sales. Google Analytics, visitors, pages per visit, time on site and conversion rate are all important measurements. Social media also plays a role here; the average number of likes, shares, comments on your business page is the equivalent of foot traffic in a bricks and mortar store.
- Creating a strategy for online sales processes and systems
Choosing your selling platform and payment gateway are two crucial steps here, but don’t overlook the value of the relationship you’re building with your customer. Spend some time looking at ways to nurture trust. Take an objective look at your website; be clear on your value proposition (i.e. why should the customer buy from you?) and make it clear and easy for your customer to contact you during any point of the sale.
- Streamline stock management
From the consumer’s perspective, a great online store always has stock – but from a business owner’s perspective this needs to be weighed up in terms of budget! You want enough stock to keep customers happy, but not so much that you tie up your much needed cash reserves. Considerations here include defining minimal viable stock levels, prioritising products in your existing inventory and making any required seasonal adjustments.
- Develop and drive a social media marketing plan
With your ecommerce platform up and running, you need to help your customers find you! An engaging blog, or an Instagram or Facebook profile, can help to create energy around your brand by engaging your target market. This way you ensure your brand is front of mind for potential and returning customers. According to founder of business accounting service All That Counts, Lielette Calleja, marketing your ecommerce business is akin to getting foot traffic through the door. “It is so important to engage, nurture and delight customers at every touchpoint before, during and even after the sale,” she shares.
- Protect your cash flow with forecasting
A good strategic plan helps you avoid losing sales and head any future problems off at the pass. When you’re starting out with your ecommerce platform, this means identifying and setting realistic expectations. What is the average sales value for a single product? What is your average product margin? What sales growth rate do you anticipate month on month? Another lesser known way to manage your cash flow is by utilising your credit card’s payment terms to manage your outgoings. Imagine being able to pay for more than a month’s worth of marketing, freeing up funds to invest back into your business. The longer your card offers you to pay your balance down, the more you may be able to invest back into your business.
American Express Idea Exchange masterclasses are back and are all about helping your business realise its full potential and connecting you with other entrepreneurial-minded small business owners. Discover a program that will provide everything you need to KNOW about taking your business to the next level. Plus learn HOW to put what you’ve been taught into action. From this week you can tune in for free to the next exclusive Masterclass of the series and learn from expert business leaders.
Digital Dollars: an e-commerce Masterclass
Wednesday October 7, 11:30am-12.30pm
Master e-commerce, learn how to find new revenue streams and better manage your cashflow. This Masterclass is run by Mark Bouris, Executive Chairman, Yellow Brick Road and All That Counts founder Lielette Calleja. Together, they’ll share tips on how to run your business online and help it grow. Keep an eye out for more exclusive Idea Exchange Masterclass sessions this October. Register here.