You might recall the poignant 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, with actor Kevin Costner and the phrase, “If you build it, he will come.”
He played the character, Ray Kinsella, who lives with his family on an Iowa corn farm. Ray was troubled by his relationship with his late father, who had been a devout baseball fan.
One night while Ray was walking in his cornfield a voice whispered, “If you build it, he will come.” He envisions a baseball field on his property and the great baseball player, Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was prominent in the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
Ray built the field and players came to play.
With the fabulous growth of ecommerce and product sales on the Internet – analogous to the movie – many entrepreneurs have mistakenly thought all they had to do is build a web site.
The challenge is seemingly countless web sites are developed every hour of the day. That, of course, means heavy competition for an ecommerce site.
Ecommerce success requires a ton of knowledge, planning and perseverance.
If you’re looking for ecommerce success, here are strategies to consider:
1. Shameless promotion is best
You don’t need to rely on mega ecommerce platforms, such eBay, Etsy or Amazon. They won’t help you build a brand, you’ll have to compete on their sites with the lowest-possible price, and the platforms get a portion of your profits.
It’s best to build your own strong platform and keep 100 percent of the money. It’s especially true in view of the controversies involving Amazon.
CEO Jeff Bezos has has been criticized for alleged mistreatment of employees who would fulfill your sales, a PR nightmare following an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, and he is facing heat from Congress over business practices.
Amazon is accused of using sellers’ proprietary data to develop competing products.
Seven members of Congress demanded Mr. Bezos appear before the House Judiciary Committee in a letter:
“If true, these allegations contradict previous testimony and written responses that Amazon submitted to the [House Judiciary] Committee,” reads a letter to Bezos signed by seven members of Congress that was released Friday. “[…] If the reporting in the Wall Street Journal article is accurate, then statements Amazon made to the Committee about the company’s business practices appear to be misleading, and possibly criminally false or perjurious.”
Despite the company’s denial, more than 20 former Amazon employees accused the company of the practice.
Lawmakers also cited the company’s ignoring of other Congressional requests in an antitrust investigation:
“Last September we requested documents and communications related to Amazon’s relationship with sellers, including Amazon’s use of third-party sellers’ data,” the letter reads. “Amazon has not made an adequate production in response to this request, and — seven months after the original request — significant gaps remain.”
So, avoid all of this.
2. Branding with differentiation is paramount
This means showing prospective customers that your product is best for them.
So, put on your most-creative hat to show why your product is unique, and target your ideal customers.
In your copy, use WIIFM statements, as people will subconsciously ask themselves, “What’s in it for me?”
3. Test, test, test
A key component of marketing and sales is to test ideas. So do your research and experiment.
Once you now where your target customers are, develop the best ideas and provide differentiation in your messages.
4. Cut through the clutter
It might surprise you to learn that most sites are caught without success in a maze trying to navigate through their competition.
It’s futile to try to budget your advertising dollars to beat the big brands. But you can win with the right keywords, along with unique value propositions and images.
Keep learning about your customers – their online habits and what interests them –and continue to think outside the box with creative thinking.
5. Research the right supply chain
You need to develop a great relationship with suppliers and shippers. It starts by asking the right questions about their capabilities, quality controls and guidelines.
Make sure they’re competent in meeting deadlines, the ability implement a plan B in the event of unforeseen challenges, and they’re good in communication.
6. Plan for scalability
Anticipate the future in every facet of your business – from hiring decisions and supply chains to your web-site platform capabilities to handle a big increase in business.
If you plan to grow globally, you might need to plan to accept a myriad of currencies and be aware of any possible changes in worldwide regulations and tax laws.
7. Use the right kind of packaging and service of customers
You can enhance the loyalty of your customers from the moment your package arrives. With dependable service and the best-possible packages, customers will be impressed.
Don’t just throw your product into a box. That means making sure the packaging fits the total image you want to convey for a happy buying experience.
8. Never quit innovating
This is likely your most-challenging adventure. So, keep on trying whenever you fail.
If sales stall, read and study to stay current with your marketplace. Keep striving for success. Prepare to change products or your even your business model.
The bottom-line formula for success: Establish the right web platform, create the best-possible message, work with great suppliers, and create lasting favorable impressions for your customers.
From the Coach’s Corner, related tips:
KPIs in Managing Your Inventory for Ecommerce Profit – Management of inventory is crucial in ecommerce, if your business is to be profitable, sustainable and able to grow. At the minimum, you should leverage three key performance indicators.
Vital Steps to Stay Ahead of Competitors in B2B Distribution – As a broker in the middle of the digital landscape, you know how easy it is to be replaced. Of course, staying relevant in the minds of prospects and customers is the key. Here’s how.
To Grow Your Ecommerce, Select the Right Software – If you want to save time and make more profit on top of your revenue, consider fine-tuning your approach to shipping – from carrier discounts to shipping labels. That means analyzing and choosing the best software for your situation – now and down the road.
Get Year-Round Retail Customers from Your Holiday Sales – Once you attract new holiday shoppers and make them happy, it’s more advantageous to convert them to loyal customers throughout the year. It’s also easier to entice them to refer their family and friends to you. Here’s how.
“Here’s my whole marketing idea: treat people the way you want to be treated.”