How to start your E-Commerce Business in COVID-19 Period
The COVID-19 pandemic is messing the world, but we believe it is a good time to invest your time to your e-commerce business.
International and e-commerce business is everywhere, especial in Western countries. Based on the well-developed e-commerce system, more and more consumer are open to buy from a international business.
Why should I start my e-commerce business during COVID-19 ?
Due to the pandemic, a lot of online marketers stop their paid advertising campaign, which means the CPC cost will be lower than it used to. At the same time, a lot of consumers are looking for online shop to buy their products, instead of going to shopping mall.
However, western customers are finding it difficult to buy products from the US market, due to heavy import taxes coupled with reluctance from US manufacturers to sell directly to them.
To deal with these issues, there is a need to bring up a international e-commerce business.
However, before bringing up the website, there are certain factors you need to take into consideration.
The Startup Phrase
I would say this is a planning & building stage, it is the foundation of your business that you should not be neglected.
At this point, you will have to evaluate your internal strengths and weaknesses, at the same time looking for your competitors. This approach is a very basic marketing analysis tool – SWOT Analysis :
You will eventual understand your positions in your current market.
Let me give you some important factors that you should be aware.
Delivery Time & Cost for E-commerce business
Statistics show that Canadians are more likely to purchase products online from a website that offers free, fast and reliable shipping and delivery services as compared to that which does not.
We all know how “Free Shipping” and “+2.99 shipping” looks like.
Bear in mind ! When you are doing online business, you should think about logistics costs.
According to the Digital Marketing Guru – Neil Patel, 28% of cart abandonment is related to Unexpected shipping cost.
Make sure your shipping policy is Clean and Clear, mentioning all the details to your customers, for example : if there is any “door to door” fee, or import tax related issues.
Setting the shipping policy right is a great basis for grounding a drop shipping website.
Negotiate with your supplier
Before settling on the product(s) to trade, you need to consider certain factors.
Majority of the manufacturers are unwilling to sell to merchants below the normal retail prices.
However, their operation volumes as well as how you position yourself to them greatly influences their final decision.
First, the ability and willingness of the manufacturers to deal with e-commerce business.
Well… I can tell you this is hard, Super Chain as a Dropshipping marketplace, we talked with different suppliers and invite them to onboard to our marketplace.
The first thing that they concern is the sales volume, are you having enough sales data to convince the suppliers to give you a wholesale price, without limiting you by the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity).
I highly suggest you should at least build your shop front and buy a domain (not using myshopify.com), before approach to the suppliers. At least, let them know you are already investing to the business, but not just talking.
Second is costs involved, that is whether the prices offered by the manufacturer will allow decent profits while at the same time taking into consideration the attractiveness of the prices to the customers.
Finally, consider the popularity of the product to the market.
Pick your Market
After that, consider the popularity of the product to the market, most of the dropshipper put this step in the first priority. If you have a strong bargaining power, then yes. As you will not get rejected by your supplier. But if you are new to e-commerce business, I suggest you to pick a few niche before dedicate your time to negotiate with the suppliers.
Basically General store means you can sell everything, across different categories, but consider your target audience at this point. You can sell whatever that group of audience need.
For example housewife as your target group, you can sell kitchenware, knitting machine, baby items , kid’s product. Whatever, housewife will buy.
For Niche store, you are selling one niche with the related items, for example a phone store, you will sell phone and phone accessories as well.
So the General marketing and Niche marketing technique, will help you to boost and segment your target group.
The Growth Phrase
Driving your sales will take time, but once you are able to reach your break even, then you are very close to the Growth Phrase.
What exactly you should do in the growth phrase ? Grab Market share !
The startup phrase is your investing period, you might put a lot of marketing, but now in growth phrase you will at least have some organic growth and buyers.
At this point, you are able to Scale your business and aim to get economy of scale
As indicated, consumer tend to buy from websites that offer free delivery. Therefore, come up with a Unique Selling Proposition that includes this, for instance “FREE DELIVERY ”.
Promotion is a great tool to grab your audiences’ attention, as they might be price-sensitive and their purchase intention need to be triggered.
To deal with this, the Ads need to be specific and relevant as possible so as to attract traffic from the right people.
Most of the online shops get their traffic from Ad campaign, but in long-run, SEO will help you to get tons of free organic traffic.
So, we should plan for both route (Organic & Paid Ad), to achieve our goal on traffic.
Provide Pre-Sales and After-Sales serivce
Additionally, you will need someone to handle customer services.
Finding these services cheaply and locally can be challenging. We would recommend to use Facebook Chatbot (Manychat) to be your online agent, to answer simple and routine questions. For example : How long will my order arrive ? What is the shipping cost…
However, with complicated questions, especially aftersales, we will suggest you to look for Virtual Assistant proper screening and a little bit of luck, you might find foreigners qualified enough to do these.
We want your customer to be a repeat purchaser, instead of a single time buyer. We invest a lot to get ONE customer, do not let them leave.
The mature phrase wants to re-engage with your customers and let them be your Brand Ambassador, offer them a good after sales service by giving them tutorial on “How-to” use your product.
Earning a point and get some rewards ! I have to say I get trapped by the loyalty program !
Consumer tends to earn & save from every purchase, not exactly in the monetary term, but also in virtual rewards.
Loyalty program will recapture your previous customer and let them join the program and Earn from each transaction.
Eventually, you can add an affiliate program for your loyal customer and get their friend in love with your brand too !
The pandemic time is a great time for you to plan and build for your online shop.
Especially, when we are all stuck at home or work from home, you will have some free time to invest on your future business.
Make sure you grab the right timing during the COVID-19 period.
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