Amid a global pandemic, e-commerce businesses achieved sales totals that were unthinkable even only a year ago. Young and older shoppers left brick-and-mortar stores and opted to shop from the comfort of their homes and their mobile phones.
And though the lockdowns and quarantines will end and in-person shopping will pick up, analysts expect e-commerce growth will continue into the future. Is your e-commerce store ready for growth?
To help you prepare, here are 11 growth strategies for e-сommerce success in 2021.
- 1. Optimize Your Website
- 2. Create Content… And Then Create Some More!
- 3. Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy
- 4. Filter and Update Your Email Marketing List
- 5. Offer Items You Didn’t Offer in the Past
- 6. Augmented Reality Experiences
- 7. Make Your Store Mobile Friendly
- 8. Build a Niche Brand
- 9. Enhanced Fulfillment through 3PL
- 10. Go Global
- 11. Create the Ultimate Checkout Experience
1. Optimize Your Website
For growth in 2021, let’s start with the basics. Everything else on the list is pointless if your site isn’t optimized for business. Clicks are great, but without an optimized and conversion-friendly site, no one is buying!
Start the new business year by running an evaluation and check this must-have optimization list:
- Design. Work with someone outside your company to ensure that your design is intuitive and customer friendly.
- SEO. If you don’t rank on Google, no one will find your site.
- Chatbot. Add a chatbot feature on your site to interact and generate revenue instantly with live customers.
- Appointment/Meeting Scheduling. If customers want to know more about your product, offer them a way to set an appointment with a scheduling tool like Calendly.
2. Create Content… And Then Create Some More!
It’s challenging for e-commerce companies to stand out. The world of punching out a couple of 500-word blogs every couple of days is long gone. You need a comprehensive strategy made up of videos, blogs, podcasts, and paid advertising to get interaction.
To create outstanding content, businesses must identify what exactly their customers are looking for and create content that fits into that narrative. If you don’t know what kind of content your customers want, use these three strategies to narrow down the answer:
- Survey your customer base.
If you want to know what your customers want in your content, then ask!
- Look at your competitors.
It never hurts to survey the competition. That doesn’t mean you should copy what they’re doing, but it’s a great tool to get inspiration.
- Brainstorm from your own experience.
No one knows your products better than you do. Sit down and brainstorm the things you think customers need to know about your product and create content based on those ideas.
3. Strengthen Your Social Media Strategy
Many e-commerce businesses use social media in a way that keeps potential customers at a social media channel and doesn’t drive them to the sales site, or they have no sales applications set up on the social media page.
This year, develop your strategy and use tactics like live streaming, social media chatbots, and stories to drive customers to your store. Also, leverage paid advertisements and in-app purchases to convert “ready-to-buy” customers.
4. Filter and Update Your Email Marketing List
An email is an old form of digital marketing, but it isn’t outdated!
However, e-commerce businesses should be smarter about their marketing lists. It isn’t a profitable or effective use of time to blast thousands of emails when only hundreds are useful (meaning an interested party with a current address).
To update your marketing list, send out a short new year questionnaire to your list. Ask them about products they want to see and what information they would like to receive in the coming year.
It’s a great way to see which addresses are active and dissect the data for better marketing campaigns.
5. Offer Items You Didn’t Offer in the Past
If your shop is waiting on the pandemic to pass, then you’re dead in the water. It changed the way consumers shop and created a boom for online stores. Globally, customers started buying items that they never purchased online before.
That’s great news! In 2021, take advantage of this trend by offering items you may not have sold online in the past.
Did you have a product that didn’t sell well a couple of years ago? Try it again! You may be surprised by the results now that people are leaving brick-and-mortar in droves.
6. Augmented Reality Experiences
On that note, let’s take an even larger leap into the future. One of the top trends for e-commerce in 2021 will be AR (augmented reality) shopping experiences that imitate actual life.
Don’t worry! That doesn’t mean people will need a virtual reality headset to shop in your store. It means that people should be able to see how your products will look in their home or real life.
In that respect, 3D modeling is becoming a powerful e-commerce tool.
Another trend to jump on is live-streaming shopping events that mirror what QVC does on their television channel. It’s an opportunity to take customers to your factory, connect them with experts, break down your products, and show them how to use them.
7. Make Your Store Mobile Friendly
Mobile e-commerce is growing at a rapid rate, and analysts expect the rate to increase by another 22.3 percent in 2021.
Since customers are buying more from their phones, it’s essential for e-commerce businesses to make sure their store is mobile friendly. Be sure to check your site’s mobile-friendliness with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
It’s also helpful to build a progressive web application (PWA) for your store. They load much faster than a standard website and allow customers to see what they’ve browsed offline.
Additionally, accelerated mobile pages are another option for your store to create better shopping experiences.
8. Build a Niche Brand
Brand building is one of the most important aspects of any business. But in 2021, building a brand in the e-commerce world is life or death.
The top consumer trend regarding brand niche has leaned towards social consciousness with green and local brands coming out on top. It’s great for those businesses because customers will pay more for brands they see have a vision, drive, or purpose.
UpFlip interviewed Tim & Grace Lukens of Grace Harbor Farms, who built their brand on those green and local principles. They converted their local products and customer base into e-commerce buyers by creating a niche in local grocery stores and at Whole Foods. Now they make over $120k per month in revenue.
9. Enhanced Fulfillment through 3PL
The pandemic drove people away from in-store shopping, but it didn’t negate the fact that consumers want fast, free, environmentally conscious shipping. The problem is that it isn’t always financially workable for smaller e-commerce shops.
To manage these customer expectations, it may be time for your shop to partner with a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to streamline your fulfillment process. Many of these companies are better equipped to handle your fulfillment needs with full-service end-to-end solutions.
10. Go Global
Global e-commerce sales increased because of the pandemic, so overseas customers got a taste of what smaller U.S. e-commerce shops offer. Though the trend isn’t expected to continue to grow at the same rate, the global market is open for business.
If you’re not open to the international market, it may be time to see how you can tap into other areas where you may not have sold before. Who knows? You could have many buyers in Spain or Brazil waiting to purchase your products.
11. Create the Ultimate Checkout Experience
The checkout is the most important moment of your buyer’s experience. Ultimately, you don’t want customers to think too much about their purchase, so they don’t stop themselves from buying.
For growth, make sure that your store has a fast and easy checkout experience set up. Use these principles to expedite your process:
- offer many payment methods
- set up a one-click buying system
- eliminate “add-to-cart” systems and give customers the option to directly buy from a product page
- connect your checkout system to a POS (point of sale) system.
2021 will be a successful year for e-commerce businesses prepared to navigate emerging trends and technology. Be sure to optimize your site and review your checkout experience and marketing practices. With these growth strategies, you’ll be able to handle the influx of new customers and grow your business into the next decade!