Following our blog on how to set up an online shop, you should now be in a good position to start capitalising on your latest digital endeavour. With business forecasts indicating that e-commerce firms are exploding with popularity and success, it's more important than ever to focus on nurturing your new e-business so it doesn’t get left behind on the world wide web. But never fear! As we have some tips to help you grow your online e-commerce business.

Build brand awareness with online word of mouth (eWOM)

Social media and online social engagement with consumers has become one of the most important promotional activities for a growing online business. Do you want to promote your online fashion company directly to your target market?  Or run a promotional summer sale for your trampoline company? Hop on social media and spread the word! It builds up brand awareness and online presence, drives traffic to your site, and allows consumers to engage with you and each other about your products and services.

Rather than spreading your message by word of mouth offline, it creates “eWOM” on the web that works in the same way - only faster! This is important to build a credible reputation for your new e-commerce venture. So spend some time setting up relevant social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for your new business. Make sure to add social sharing buttons to the important pages of your site, and encourage visitors to interact and share. In turn, you should begin to see improvements to your conversion rates and sales.

Keep up-to-date with quality content

Give your customers what they want: relevant, engaging, and interesting content. Make sure it reflects not only the brand image and style, but offers more than simple descriptions and call to actions (CTAs) to ‘buy now’. Update your content accordingly, and with current information. Your landing page is promoting a blog post from 2016? Your customers won’t be too impressed and may click away. Inform and educate your online visitors, offer some industry education, and encourage user interaction to make them want to return and buy more.

Use the innovative technology available to go above and beyond, and personalise your customer’s user experience by using personal preferences to suggestion products and services. This way, they get directed to content that has value to them. It's a win-win!

Invest in SEO and PPC

SEO (or search engine optimisation) is an important tool that essentially aims to get your website to the top of a search engine results page (or SERP). This is an important consideration for any e-commerce site as your customers will go onto their prefered search engine (generally Google) and type in what they are looking for, and then Google will bring up results most relevant to what their intent is.

For example, if you are in the online trampoline business, you want users to be able to find your site if they type in “best trampoline in the UK” or “kids trampoline”, rather than users that are looking for something else, such as a “trampoline fail videos”. This is where SEO comes in, and brings you more, and more relevant traffic.

PPC (or Pay Per Click) is another popular technique used by online sites to increase traffic, by using targeted ads on social media platforms and search engines to bring incur immediate results. The two tools used the most are Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, and they provide a lot of help for beginners to make them as user-friendly as possible.

The combined use of SEO and PPC activities are a cost-effective way to drive targeted traffic to your site, gain a better understanding of what users are looking for, and allow you to be more creative with your online promotion strategy.

Make Shipping as Seamless and Stress-free as possible

At this point, you should already have a courier that meets your shipping needs, as well as used our box calculator to find the right fit for your products. While you’ve probably already established the foundation of your shipping methods and costs, it's important to work towards having the most streamlined process as possible, to make life easier for you and your customers.

This includes having pre-set shipping rates, have measured and continuously update in a designated system the weight of each product you sell ahead of time, and of course, establish achievable delivery times. For example, don’t advertise next day delivery if you are not at capacity to fulfil that request around the clock, 365 days a year. You’re not ASOS (probably). By planning ahead of time, the process will be more fluid and works to eliminate a margin of error.  

Expand with caution

Last but not least, grow your online business with caution. Figure out exactly what and how you need to expand, whether it be an additional product line or more delivery method. At the same time, make sure that there is enough demand for what you are trying to supply, (aka economics 101). Expanding for the sake of trying to get more revenue may just lead to augmented inefficiencies that hurt your business. Remember to take into consideration economies of scale, and that you may need to hire additional staff/ invest in new equipment to make it work.

At the end of the day, your online business will only grow if you nurture it. Make sure you keep up-to-date on online e-commerce trends and industry news to better position yourself, and keep your customers happy and coming back for more.