Setting up Your Business For E-Commerce

The move from brick & mortar to e-commerce is and always has been inevitable. In fact, almost 80% of people shop online, a 5x boost from the beginning of the 2000s. If your store isn’t online, you are losing customers on a daily basis. Then came COVID-19. This global pandemic has only accelerated the popularity of online shopping amongst consumers.

Retail VS. E-Commerce

The move from brick & mortar to e-commerce is and always has been inevitable. In fact, almost 80% of people shop online, a 5x boost from the beginning of the 2000s. If your store isn’t online, you are losing customers on a daily basis.

Then came COVID-19. This global pandemic has only accelerated the popularity of online shopping amongst consumers. In Canada alone, from February to May 2020, total retail sales fell 17.9%. However, retail e-commerce sales nearly doubled (+99.3%), with some retailers relying more on this method of sale than ever before.

As a business owner, you seriously need to consider developing an e-commerce website for your business. But don’t worry! It’s not as complicated nor as expensive as you might think. What’s important to consider here is that building your website is only the start. In order to be successful at e-commerce you need to attract, nurture, and convert new customers via various digital marketing tactics.

Building Your E-Commerce Site

Building your e-commerce website is now easier than ever. Most website builder platforms offer e-commerce features and some platforms even specialize in providing e-commerce solutions to businesses. Doing your research to find the platform that suits best your needs is crucial. When choosing a platform, consider looking at payment methods accepted, available integrations (accounting, email marketing, subscriptions, etc.), security, inventory management, shipping options, and the scaleability of the platform.

For beginners, we usually recommend Shopify. Their websites are super easy to set up, the platform offers tons of plugins and integration, and they have the absolute best customer service.

More on building a Shopify website here: https://www.shopify.ca/blog/start-online-store

Elements You’ll Need to Consider

In order to maximize your sales, there are a few essential elements you’ll absolutely need:

  • User-friendly design & mobile compatibility
  • Simple shopping cart and checkout process experience
  • Calls to actions that guides your customer throughout the buying process.
  • High-quality images and copy. (Your high-quality content reflects the quality of your offer and the credibility of your business.)
  • Easy access to customer support (live chat, FAQs, email support, and phone numbers.)
  • SSL certificate that allows for a safe shopping experience.

Getting traffic to your site

Now that your website is built, you can’t just sit there and hope that people will come. There are many digital marketing tactics you can use to start building traffic on your website. The first thing you need to do is understand how your potential customers shop.

Understanding the buying process (Funnel Marketing)

A customer journey map is a visual representation of the process a customer or prospect goes through to achieve a goal with your company. With the help of a customer journey map, you can get a sense of your customers' motivations — their needs and pain points.

By definition, a marketing funnel is a way of breaking down the customer journey all the way from the “awareness” stage (when they first learn about your business) to the “purchase” stage (when they’re ready to buy your product or service). Often funnels can also include post-purchase follow-ups which increase retention as well as cross- and up-sells.

Awareness Stage

The "awareness" stage, is when people are looking for answers, resources, education, research data, opinions, and insight.

Goals:

  • Attract the biggest numbers of leads to your website, without deliberately filtering or discouraging conversions.
  • Your goal with “awareness” content should be to educate your audience on a specific question, need or pain point that they're looking to address, but without a sales tie-in.

Type of content/tactics

  • Blog posts, videos, podcasts, SM post, etc.
  • Digital ads on Social Media & Google

Interest & Decision Stage

Once your leads reach the middle of the funnel, they know they have a problem, and it’s one that’s clearly defined.

Goals:

  • Leads at this stage in the sales funnel aren’t quite ready to evaluate vendors, but they are focused on researching all the ways they can solve their problem.
  • You’re still working on building trust with these leads, so again, don’t go in for the sale or come on too strongly. Continue to nurture them until they’re ready to move to the next stage.

Type of content/tactics

  • E-books and white papers, guides, comparison guides (solution not vendor), webinars.
  • Retargeting ads
  • Promotions

Action Stage

The action stage is the closing stage, this is where you go for the sale!

Goals:

  • At this stage, your content can help your potential customers feel confident in their decision to purchase your good/service.
  • Once the customer has made a purchase, you should keep them close to you by communicating with them through email and social media. This will allow you generate more revenues with existing customers.

Type of content/tactics

  • Testimonials
  • Free trials
  • Promotions
  • One-on-one contact