Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Kara Masterson, a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah.
The business world is not the same now as it was at the beginning of the century. Statistics suggest that the portion of retail sales comprised by ecommerce is growing 16 percent year over year. There will come a day when digital sales outnumber sales made in brick and mortar stores.
If you want to survive this evolving marketplace, it may be a good idea to get your start in ecommerce. While the prospect can seem daunting at first, the digital market can grant you access to thousands and even millions of customers you couldn’t reach before. Below are five tricks to breaking into the digital market.
Market to Your Brick and Mortar Customers
You don’t have to start from scratch when launching an ecommerce arm of your business. Instead, you can draw from the customers you already have. Make an attempt to inform customers inside your stores that you do sell products online. Make sure they know the URL of your website. Another strategy is to obtain their e-mail addresses so they can receive special offers and news of promotions. This strategy doesn’t have to cannibalize your brick and mortar sales either. You can use it to promote both parts of your business simultaneously.
Become an Amazon Marketplace Seller
Another good thing about ecommerce is you don’t necessarily have to build your own website to obtain access to the millions of consumers buying products online. Plenty of great websites can grant you instant access to their customers. One such website is Amazon.com. Statista reported that Amazon was visited by 183 million people in March of 2017. That is certainly more people than you could ever hope to see in a physical building. All you have to do begin selling products on Amazon is to sign up for an Amazon Marketplace seller account.
For many companies of the past, one of their biggest costs was advertising. Marketing products via television, the radio and print has always been prohibitively expensive. This gave a huge advantage to large multi-national corporations over small businesses with tiny marketing budgets. Thankfully, advertising your ecommerce business online is far more cost effective.
Often, you only have to pay when an internet user actually clicks on an ad to reach your site. You can also target the exact customers you want by placing ads on websites and videos consumed by your target demographic or by targeting users that made related searches in the past.
Implement Search Engine Optimization
The number one way people find websites is still through search engines like Google and Bing. If you fail to obtain a decent ranking in search results for these search engines, the traffic to your ecommerce website will be choked off significantly. The strategies you use to obtain good rankings are collectively known as search engine optimization or SEO for short. SEO is also not static. Google and other search engines constantly update their search algorithms to adapt to the changing market and tricks used by companies to game the system.
Develop a Mobile Strategy
Today, most people connect to the internet through their phones as opposed to PCs and laptops. You should keep this in mind as a business. Having a solid mobile strategy is extremely important for reaching consumers. Make sure all your websites are mobile friendly. Also consider developing an app that can help make shopping for your products online easier for the consumer. App based rewards programs are another great idea.
Cracking into the digital market takes a lot of strategy and hard work. However, the upside to doing so can be almost limitless. Selling your products online means being able to access millions of consumers all over the globe you would have never been able to reach with only a brick and mortar store.
Author bio: Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.