We live in the electronic age, advances in technology do not stop growing and are influencing practically all sectors of society’s activity. Amount of jobs are being automated and people are changing their daily habits. Therefore, companies have to adapt to the new business environment and be present wherever their customers are.
Today, consumers, given the rise of the internet and the importance of smartphones, buy more and more frequently online. They do not have to move from home and can access much information with very little effort. What makes it an absolute priority for any company to be in this channel.
To sell online , the so-called e-commerce companies must have a marked entry strategy into the world of Internet. For this we have tried to summarize in 10 steps the most important decisions to be taken when any company selling goods or services decides to enter the complicated online world.
Choose which platform we will use
One of the most important decisions when entering e-commerce is to choose the platform that your company will use for the sale of its goods and services. We can differentiate between two types of input platforms:
In the case of deciding to carry out your action through the use of your own platform, that is, to create your own website, you will have the advantage of having absolute control over the activity but you will need a greater investment.
Creating your own page requires a lot of work since you will have to position it and advertise it to start entering traffic.
But it will also allow you to give a more personalized treatment to your customers, the opportunity to retain them and the creation of your brand. The benefits are usually more satisfactory in the long term since at first it requires a greater investment and effort.
Marketplace are intermediary platforms that put customers and sellers in contact. They serve as a “showcase” for companies to display their products and usually take care of many secondary aspects such as payment, support …
The main advantage is that they require a much smaller investment and you will benefit from the traffic that this page has, however, you will not have all the control of your activity since you will have a dependence on the marketplace, to which you will have to pay a commission that sometimes It can be unprofitable.
It can also be interesting to create synergies with products from other companies (if you sell flip flops it can be interesting to be where bikinis and beachwear are sold).
Another peculiarity of the marketplace is that companies are face to face with their competition and that they are not allowed to display the products as they wish.
The choice of the form of entry into the online world is one of the first that should be taken when deciding to start selling online. Many experts recommend creating your own website in places where the company is able to run the business on its own and sell through marketplace in countries where logistics is more difficult to enter alone, such as Asia.
Anyway, there are companies such as COVAP, which sell their premium products through their website to offer more personalized attention, and then through Amazon they sell other products. This means that both options are perfectly compatible with each other.
Usability of the website, which is navigable
In the case of creating your own web page, you will have to take into account that it must be easy to use and comfortable for the user . The user wants quick information, if your page takes a long time to load or the information is not presented clearly, they will most likely leave your page creating a high bounce rate.
To control this aspect, you have tools such as Google Analytics among others, which can help you find the possible improvements and adaptations that you can apply to your page to optimize it to the maximum and expose the products as clearly as possible.
In which social networks is there a presence
Being present in social networks is another priority of companies. But do not go crazy and make a company profile in all the social networks you know, the important thing is quality rather than quantity.
The key is to find where your target audience really is and be present in that network providing quality information and being recurring in the activity.
For example, if your company is B2B, that is, if your company is dedicated to selling to other companies, it will be very important to find you on networks such as LinkedIn, since that is where your potential customers will be. On the other hand, other networks such as Instagram or Facebook are more focused for companies that sell to the final consumer.
Also keep in mind that depending on the country in the world where you want to sell some networks will be more important than others. In Asia, for example, they use their own social networks that are not frequent in Europe or South America. We must value these details to always be present where our potential customers interact.
In this image we can see the most used social networks in every place in the world:
Apply the Lean Startup method
Whenever a company is undertaking an activity, it must take into account the application of the Lean Startup method .
For those who do not know it, this method consists in constantly researching and learning about the strengths and weaknesses of the activity and being able to adapt the necessary changes on the fly.
There is no perfect recipe to succeed in the online business, so we must perceive and assimilate the signals that the market and our customers send us.
You have to be prepared to change prices, business models and marketing mix strategies. The key is to observe the client, know him and discover what he likes and what he doesn’t.
Set a goal and choose a suitable investment to it
It is important to mark some lines of action. With this we talk about setting a final goal. The objective must be real and attainable.
In addition, an adequate investment budget must also be established to achieve the proposed objective. These two principles will serve as a basis to guide our activity.
The sales costs can be divided in order of proximity to the final purchase (also in ascending cost order) as follows:
CPM (cost per thousand impressions) It is the first step, it is important to be seen on the Internet.
CPC (cost per click) It would be the second step, to see you click on your website and enter.
CPI (cost per installation) CPL (cost per lead) The third step, depends on the purpose, in some cases it will be the installation of an app for example (CPI), in others it will be the realization of an information form or register. It is the moment in which the potential client gives us a little more information.
CPA (cost per acquisition) The last step will be the acquisition cost, which entails the completion of the sale. This cost will be higher if we want to build customer loyalty.
The minimum budget must be the CPA for the number of target orders.
Establish metrics to evaluate the company (KPI’s)
Although the ultimate goal is to increase sales, it is important to know what the specific objectives are to reach it.
Among them we can find metrics; for example, they can be number of visits, time on the web, channels of origin of customers, countries of origin … These data are what will give us signs of how the company is working.
These metrics must be evaluated to evaluate the strategy we are carrying and perceive the improvement needs to be able to react on time.
Importance of the human team
For every strategy to work, you always have to have a good team behind.
To do this you will have to identify your key activities and recruit trained and capable personnel to carry them out.
Having a good plan for initial staff training in the values and principles of the company will always help strengthen its unity and representativeness.
Offer a contact
Another of the key aspects to differentiate your company from the competition and loyalty to customers and users of your website, is to offer an appropriate service.
In the case of ecommerce, where everything is already computerized, customers appreciate finding a contact number to call if they have any doubt.
For this, it is a good idea both at the cost and flexibility level to have a virtual contact number . You can offer a fixed company number and receive calls on your cell phone directly.
Or even, if you want to receive in more than one destination simultaneously, with a telephone switch you will offer your clients a professional service that they can call and be served as they deserve and in addition your company will not lose any possible client since all are registered the interactions that are made with the number in a statistics panel.
Outsource when we need it
There will be some activities that we may not be prepared to do, in this case, we do not have to be afraid to outsource this service to another company.
We can search and examine several companies that are dedicated to offer what we need and from there, look for the one that best suits our company.
Have a good marketing plan
Every company, regardless of its size, must have a marketing plan
in which all the decisions to be taken and the strategy to follow to achieve the proposed objectives will be specified.
All the points that we have named in this article must be included in a marketing plan to have the action guide of our company.
This plan will help you to present the situation of the company and its environment, optimize the administration of the necessary resources, know the situation of its competence, propose possible future scenarios, evaluate the correct performance of the tasks and of course verify the results obtained.
These are just some of the steps you will have to take into account when entering online commerce. It is not an easy task, but with a good organization and dedicating the necessary time and resources, the results will come.
Is there any other step that you think is essential to undertake online? Tell us in the comments!