Starting an ecommerce business is tough, but running a successful, long-lasting one is even tougher. The marketplace is flooded, both with small competitors and also the big dogs (Amazon, Ali Baba, Ebay, etc) who have the resources and money to spend on marketing, customer acquisition and website testing on a daily basis.
This can make it feel impossible for a small business to compete. In this short article I will talk about what separates the winners from the “less successful” online businesses and what you should do to in order to be on the winning side.
Some small businesses are more successful than others. How do they do it?
There are a lot of important components to running a small ecommerce business, but the ultimate key to success is knowing where to focus most of your efforts for the best returns. First off, you have to have good product(s), a high level of customer service and an easy-to-use ecommerce website. While all this puts you in the game, it still doesn’t put you ahead of the other small businesses. If you have the ability to spend some money on advertising, banners, social media and newsletters, that’s great! But other small businesses are already doing these things, too. And the bigger the business, the easier it can be to devote resources into these channels.
Every business that wants to succeed looks to Amazon or eBay. They’ve invested billions on technology to make the shopping experience so great, but they are also extremely forward-thinking in the field of data-driven marketing and automation. Fortunately, this technology is available to small businesses. Plenty of new and innovative companies, allow small businesses to use smart tools and data-driven marketing services that offer automation. The unfortunate part, though, is that the majority are not aware they have these tools available at their fingertips. Businesses using these services are the most successful in the competitive ecommerce environment.
These third party systems are the keys to success with both customer acquisition and customer retention. The objective of these systems is to support the activities in your organization. They can also relieve you or your management of many tedious day-to-day activities like sending coupons, offering deals or handling customer service inquiries. These systems also allow you to manage your customer base, spot customer-specific trends, and accordingly adjust your plans to customizable ones which make both your customer’s happy, and your business flourish. With a positive customer shopping experience from start to finish, these tools allow each customer to possess a greater lifetime value within your company, and hopefully remain shopping with you for a long time.
So what are these smart tools, and what do they provide?
- Email Marketing Automation
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Community Support
Email Marketing Automation:
As a small business, you have the ability to be creative in your marketing and branding strategy. But how can you think creatively when you’re trying to track customer behavior, send out coupons or segment different shoppers? This is where a tool like Remarkety shines.
Remarkety automates this time-consuming process while still keeping every email completely personalized and relevant. Remarkety analyzes your store data and shopper purchase history to suggest email campaigns that can target your shoppers who have abandoned their cart, shoppers that need a coupon for that extra push to buy, shoppers that should be included in loyalty programs and inactive shoppers, for example.
You can install this tool in just two minutes on eCommerce platforms like Magento, Shopify, WooCommerce, PrestaShop andVirtueMart. After the quick install (which requires no technical knowledge), the remarketing engine goes to work. Automated email campaigns are recommended to fit your needs along with high-performing subject lines and best time to contact your shoppers. This kind of state-of-the-art email automation can really set you apart from other eCommerce sites, and also free up your brain for more creative thinking!
Also consider, ConstantContact.
A successful small business starts out with a foundation of great customer relationships. As a store, you want to connect with people who need your product and then keep that relationship living as long as possible. An effective CRM tool allows businesses to manage these relationships and track data around those conversations. It essentially shows an entire individualized history between you and every shopper, when you’ve communicated with them or when they purchased. You can then use this knowledge to build customer profiles which can be used to gather new leads.
Companies like Groove HQ which is more help desk than CRM makes managing customers super simple. Groove’s ticketing system makes it easy to provide support and their ‘trouble ticket system’ looks and feels exactly like an email so they’ll never know you’re using a help desk!
Groove allows you to turn your email software directly into an undetected help desk. Customers feel like their getting one-on-one service via email each time they have an issue. You can also merge duplicate tickets to avoid managing multiple threads on the same issue, and log customer service calls with detailed notes of those phone conversations for easy reference and follow-up.
Their platform also allows you to know exactly what’s going on in your business by the minute, giving you the most up-to-date metrics about your customers, their purchase history and your interactions with them as they happen. This gives you a better glimpse into how your customers feel about your product and the support they get from your team members with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly breakdowns of satisfaction ratings. Without a harmonized method to manage customer support, your business would not be able to even get off the ground. Happy customers and amazing customer service acts are the backbone for a successful business.
Also consider, ZenDesk.
Running a small business may seem like an uphill battle. The good thing about this battle is that everyone is fighting it, and you’re not alone in the process. It’s integral as a business to be connected, to join forces to fight this thing together, and to have a place to do openly communicate about it all.
American Express Open is a great place where you have the opportunity to get connected. You can discover insights, make connections with other businesses and get exposure to help you grow your own business. You have the opportunity to tap into the overall ingenuity of other business owners as they share their own best practices and strategies that worked for them and those that didn’t.
Articles, tips and videos are posted daily from business owners about leadership, marketing, venture funding, website design, HR, financials, and even customer service to other business owners in hopes that giving this advice may lead to others’ success. It’s a great, informative place to visit if you have a question, want to seek advice, or just get a feel for what’s going on in various marketplaces. It makes the battle of owning a business seem a little less ominous.
Also consider, LinkedIn.
Above all, it is apparent that these types of technology and automation are three parts of the puzzle that have the ability to boost a small business to a new level of success. These three tools are some of the most effective because if used correctly, they undoubtedly allow you to set your business apart from the pack.
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