There’s never been a more exciting time to be an online retailer.
Research shows the e-commerce market will continue to grow through 2021 – with US consumers expected to spend $933.30 billion online in 2021, up 17.9% YoY, and equaling 15.3% of total retail sales.
And just in case you’re thinking this surge is all down to the impact of the pandemic, and will inevitably wear off – you’re wrong.
Ecommerce sales are predicted to continue to grow at an impressive rate, reaching 23.6% of total retail sales by 2025.
The rise and rise of e-commerce means merchants have an exciting opportunity to grow and thrive.
However, a growing market doesn’t automatically spell success.
The e-commerce world is busier and more crowded than ever and merchants must make careful decisions to turn demand into sales – and to scale successfully.
For lots of online retailers, this is easier said than done. However, there are some key steps merchants can take to maximize to best position their businesses and seize the current opportunities.
Here are four to get you started…
#1: Use reviews to your advantage
Reviews – both the ones left for you and the ones left for your competitors – are a window into the mindset of your target customers, so use them to your advantage.
Read them carefully and notice any trends. Is there one thing customers keep getting disappointed by? What pain points crop up time and time again? Are customers explicitly asking for more or less of something?
Your customers want to feel like their voice is heard and important – and it is. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback – and then listen to what they have to say. If they suggest obvious areas for improvement, take action to make the required changes.
It’s true what they say – the customer is king, and doing everything in your power to deliver exceptional experiences is essential for growth.
#2: Choose the right e-commerce platform
Lots of e-commerce merchants make the mistake of opting for a budget retail platform when they start out.
To begin with, it makes sense – it’s cheap and therefore less risky. But it doesn’t make sense if scaling is a priority as it will only be a matter of time until you reach the ceiling of what your budget platform can offer (and then you have the hassle of switching to contend with).
It’s far better to choose the right e-commerce platform ahead of kick-starting your growth. From Shopify and Shopify Plus to BigCommerce, there are a range of trusted, scalable e-commerce platforms to choose from.
#3: Invest in the right tech
Technology is at the heart of every ecommerce business – which is why investing in the right tech for growth is so essential.
Of course, your e-commerce platform is important (see #2 above) but there’s more to the tech required for success in the current market.
You need a centralized retail operations system to streamline and automate your workflows (Hello Brightpearl!). You need to be able to seamlessly connect with your fulfilment partners, especially the ones that provide shipping. You need to have retail-tailored accounting and slick CRM. And you need accurate demand forecasting and next-level business intelligence to help you spot opportunities and eliminate mistakes. Ideally, you need all of the above in one central hub.
That’s without talking about ensuring you’re offering the very latest ways to pay – and not just Apple Pay and Google Pay, but shopping via social media, livestream and voice assistants.
#4: Ditch manual processes and embrace automation
It’s simply impossible for modern e-commerce retailers to scale effectively if they’re spending half their time bogged down by manual processes, such as data entry, inventory allocation and order processing.
That means it’s absolutely essential to embrace automation.
The right retail operating system, such as Brightpearl, will be able to help you set up rule-based automated workflows that save you hundreds of hours. And with the time saved, you can focus on delighting your customers and spotting the next opportunity to grow.
Want to discover more about how Brightpearl can help your business Grow Fearlessly? Book a live demo today.