“E-commerce” is a term that has become familiar to us all since online shopping became a custom. From its success, big brands, from luxury to low-end, have also started to sell online and focus their marketing on digital strategies, and small businesses are launched online straightaway without opening physical stores.
According to research, online retail sales may exceed $4.058 trillion this year. The trend isn’t slowing down, so if you’ve been planning to start your own e-commerce business, no other time is better than now. But because of the stiff competition, achieving success can be a bit tricky.
That said, let’s learn more about thestory of e-commerceand its secrets to prosperity.
A Brief History
The first major e-commerce company was founded in 1969, called CompuServe, but it was not until the mid-1990s that they dominated the e-commerce landscape. However, CompuServe wasn’t a retail company, but rather an IT company that introduced some of the earliest forms of email and internet connectivity. It was Michael Aldrich, an English inventor, who first introduced electronic shopping in 1979, through the use of a modified TV connected to the transaction-processing computer via a telephone line.
The world’s first e-commerce platform was launched in 1982, called Boston Computer Exchange, whose primary function is to allow people to sell their used computers online. Thirteen years later, Amazon and eBay were founded, then in 1998, Paypal launched as an e-commerce payment system, and on the following year, Alibaba was introduced.
In 2000, Google Adwords was introduced and so was PPC (pay-per-click) ads. Five years later, Etsy was launched, and then fast forward to 2011, Facebook started to open advertising opportunities for Business Page owners. Going further to 2017, shoppable Instagram was started, and e-commerce has become what we know it to be.
A Recipe for Success
Because of e-commerce’s massive growth, retailers in department stores faced a decrease in sales, compelling them to start tapping the online market, too. For smaller businesses, e-commerce made a positive impact, because it allowed them to sell directly to their customers and diversify their offerings.
If you’re also launching your own e-commerce brand, take note of these secrets to success:
- Treat your small e-commerce business as an established offline business
If your online business is more of a hobby than a serious venture, you need to stop seeing it that way, or else your chances of growth will be small. To make your brand successful, you need to envision it now as an established, offline brand. Doesn’t matter how small it is; it’s a business all the same, and hence deserves the same regard as any industry leader.
Make your website and social media pages highly professional-looking. If you sell jewelry, for instance, hire high-quality jewelry photo editing services to make your product photos at par with your big-time competitors’ and to boost your brand’s legitimacy as well.
2. Find the right software
Thankfully, plenty of user-friendly e-commerce platforms are now available and widely-used, but still, before selecting one, study what your market uses the most first. If it’s social media, then focus on selling there.
3. Foster user-generated content
Your claims about your brand will be more convincing when your customers confirm them. Show their reviews on your website or e-commerce platform, and encourage them to post their experience with your products on their own social media pages, too. That way, they become your most credible brand ambassadors.
4. Make transactions easy
User-friendliness is a huge factor in determining your sales. Your checkout page has to be simple, with customers being allowed to order without signing up. The default shipping method has to be the cheapest, several payment options should be available, and the forms to fill should be kept to a minimum.
Achieving success in the e-commerce industry won’t happen overnight, so be patient and keep researching to find out what marketing strategy works best for your business. Love your products, too, because your passion is what will motivate you the most to aim high.