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Tips to Manage Your Business Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Tips to Manage Your Business Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

By | Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Entrepreneurship, The IU Way | No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in our healthcare systems, with governments around the world grappling with it to contain its spread. It has likewise shown how most businesses have poor emergency response measures while others innovate rapidly to keep up with new developments. Having said that, there is no need to panic. Black swan events like the COVID pandemic have the potential to bring a new wave of innovation, and your business can ride the same bandwagon to attain sustainable growth.

We’ve collated tips on how to manage and lead your business successfully through this crisis based on expert advice and what has worked in economies further along in the containment trajectory. Read on to find out more.

Adopt Flexible Remote Work Models

Keeping your employees safe and containing the spread of the virus through social distancing is paramount. To ensure business continuity, allow all your employees who can work remotely to do so and complete their daily tasks as usual. Train your managers so they conform to normal working hours and do not expect their workers to be available 24/7. This will considerably reduce the friction of the switch to remote work.

In case of employees who must work on-site, introduce shifts and reduce workdays in order to do your part in flattening the curve. This will ensure that work does not halt completely and exposure risk is reduced as much as possible.

If your operations have not closed down since you are in an area that is not severely impacted or you provide essential services, take all appropriate measures to ensure the health and safety of your workers. Provide sanitizers, paid compulsory leaves for those exhibiting symptoms, face masks, first aid, and anything else that may be needed. Get frequently touched surfaces regularly disinfected. Supor, China’s largest kitchenware manufacturer, initiated health checks, procured preventative equipment, created guidelines for limiting exposure, and developed an emergency response plan. They were able to reopen some production lines by the second week of February as a result of taking these preventative measures.

In the long run, supplanting local employees with remote workers scattered all over the globe will reduce your risk exposure. A local crisis will then affect only a certain portion of your workforce and not bring everything to a grinding halt. A hybrid model has served many businesses—including IdeasUnlimited—well during this pandemic.

Adapt Employee Roles Instead of Laying Them Off

Think about switching the roles of employees instead of laying them off due to lower staff needs. Engineering supply firms have switched to helping the government acquire the machinery it needs to combat the virus and keep the hospitals from crumbling under the immense pressure of a large volume of patients. Carmakers Ford and General Motors, as well as home appliance manufacturer Dyson, have drawn the focus of their engineering teams to designing and manufacturing cost-effective ventilators for use by coronavirus patients. Their research and production are funded by their respective governments; and their engineering and production teams are working through the pandemic.

Assign those who have demonstrated strategic planning capabilities to response planning. Loan them to other businesses that are continuing operations in your locality. Restaurants in China lent their staff to O2O companies like Ele, Meituan, and 7Fresh as well as online businesses that witnessed a surge in online purchases. Online stores like Amazon, remote communication companies like Slack, grocery chains like Kroger, and delivery companies like UPS have seen such big surges in demand that they are hiring a large number of workers. By lending your staff in this manner, they will have paying jobs and you will be earning revenue as well.

In case your revenues and cashflow do not allow you to keep on all workers, consider reducing hours across the board rather than letting workers go. Focus on reducing the impact on workers with greater financial responsibilities. Your employees will understand that you are trying to support them in a bad situation.

Hire Overseas-Based Remote Workers

In the worst-case scenario, if you have to lay off most of your workforce since the payroll costs are bankrupting your business, hire remote workers based overseas. You will easily find cost-effective resources with the experience your business needs. Best of all, they are already acquainted with remote work collaboration methods and ways to ensure productivity. This will ensure your business survives these tough times instead of going under. Not only would you be able to hire workers at a fraction of the basic pay which you’d have to pay in your home country, you would also have to pay less in taxes for hiring them.

IdeasUnlimited's Tips to Manage Your Business Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

Utilize Better Collaboration Tools

The COVID-19 crisis has illustrated without a shadow of doubt the need to employ better digital collaboration resources. Not only do you need a robust and secure internal communication tool like Slack or Microsoft Teams, but your business needs to use a platform for tracking productivity as well. Depending on your business model, you can use a CRM like Salesforce, a project management tool like Trello, or a productivity tracking platform like TimeDoctor. Zoom Meetings can replace in-person meetings. Huazhu, a large hotel chain in China, successfully leveraged its internal communication app Huatong to ensure that timely information updates were cascaded to all employees and franchises.

Bolster your existing communication and information technology infrastructure to withstand the stress of remote work. Remote work, and in turn business continuity, is only possible if your employees have all the tools they need. Allow your senior employees to take their computer systems home and give the responsibility of remotely managing the network server to a manager in your IT department.

Create an internal communication channel in which all lower tiers of management get important updates right away. Allow them to then adapt new policies to their own localities in terms of local government laws and their nature of operations. Top management policies may not be granular enough to apply to each local scenario, so this step is crucial.

Maintain Transparency with Customers

Your customers need to see your business doing its part to keep its employees and customers safe since your COVID-19 response can make or break your brand image. A vast majority of customers are understanding of shipment delays and stores closing down to contain the epidemic. However, you have a role to play as well. If production or delivery is delayed, tell customers as soon as possible and give them an estimated timeline. Feel free to qualify the timeline with a disclaimer that this can change if the situation worsens.

Reassure your customers and keep them close. In this economic climate when income is so uncertain for most households, retaining current customers is key. Gaining new ones is an uphill battle unless your business provides one of the necessities required to combat this pandemic. Your loyal customers—if kept regularly apprised of new developments—will stick with you and pull your business through these challenging times.

Focus on Retaining Great Community Relations

This will indicate to your stakeholders your business’ knowledge and acceptance of the climate in which everyone is living. Your business must illustrate to all its stakeholders—particularly the local communities in which you operate—that you are doing responsible thing. Luxury product sellers cannot blithely continue selling to the wealthy. Instead, creating and maintaining goodwill is paramount. Luxury goods manufacturer LVMH used the perfume production lines for Givenchy, Dior, and Guerlain to manufacture and donate hand sanitizer to hospitals in France.

If you continue with business as normal, you may be irreversibly harming your company’s goodwill. On the other hand, doing your part in mitigating the social impact of the crisis is not only the ethical thing to do but has lasting positive reputational impacts as well. Show responsible leadership by informing your stakeholders about what you have done.

Microsoft has offered its Healthcare Bot service to organizations on the frontline of the COVID-19 response to help screen patients. This has greatly decreased the strain on our healthcare system so only those requiring immediate medical attention get treated by healthcare professionals.

Charity is an important response. The Alibaba Group established a $144 million medical supply fund for hospitals in Hubei Province. Yelp announced a $25 million relief fund that is focused on supporting independent local restaurants and nightlife businesses.

Do your part in helping non-profit organizations and community outreach programs in whatever capacity possible. It does not have to be a large donation. You can even create corporate volunteer programs for your employees to encourage them to assist as well.

Adjust Your Product and Service Portfolio

Try to add needs products to a wants portfolio or supplement your needs portfolio with other necessities. In China, gas stations started selling groceries. They introduced a no-contact system wherein you ordered the groceries ahead of time, parked near a gas meter, and an attendant filled up the gas and loaded up the groceries. Pakistan’s clothing stores have started creating and distributing cloth masks. In France, luxury manufacturers such as Dior etc. have created and distributed millions of free masks. IKEA is helping to kit-out hospitals in affected areas.

Think about the raw materials you have, the infrastructure in place, and the workforce you have at your disposal and strategize about using them in different ways not only to keep your business going but also assist the community at large.

Adapt Operations to the Changing Times

Your business can contribute to the local community while staying open if you adapt your operations according to the needs of the hour. In a time when stores have switched over from in-store purchases to drive-thru pickups, courier services have introduced curbside delivery, Yelp is teaming with GoFundMe to allow people to support local businesses they love, you cannot stick to your old business model and expect to come through this pandemic unscathed.

Can your app or website be modified to allow customers to purchase goods and pick them up from the store later? Do you need to invest in better online store management so your website can withstand the heavier traffic? Can you switch in-store employees to call handling so they can take orders online or provide the services virtually? How about offering an online-only discount to encourage customers to order online instead of visiting the store? That will reduce the exposure of your employees and keep them safe. A few of the leading businesses who have successfully done so are mentioned below:

The Leon fast food chain changed its restaurants to mini supermarkets and allows its customers to book delivery slots. This way they are ensuring business continuity and also doing their part in supporting their local communities.

Microsoft is working with Hong Kong schools to digitally deliver interactive lessons. Their #FutureReady Limitless Learning Program allows students and teachers to use Office 365 Education and Microsoft Teams on a complimentary basis. They are working with local schools to set up and use these tools.

Master Kong, an instant noodles and beverage producer in China, moved its focus away from offline to ecommerce, O2O (Online to Offline), and small stores that still stayed open during lockdowns. They also tracked reopening days for stores and adapted their supply chain accordingly. This allowed them to supply 60% of the stores that reopened a few weeks after the outbreak, so they were miles ahead of their competitors. Adapt similar approaches in your business so you are not forced into a multi-month hiatus from which recovery is not possible.

Change your sales channels. If you can no longer sell to customers directly in-store, move the same employees to provide impetus to online sales. Increase your telemarketing efforts. Encourage your employees to sell to their social networks and create new commission plans or sales rankings to motivate them. Lin Qingxuan, a cosmetics company, closed 40% of its physical stores but employed beauty advisors from those stores to engage with customers on WeChat and other online tools. Sales saw a 200% rise in the Wuhan region as a result of this new strategy.

Take some time and plan how your operations can be similarly adapted and quickly put the plan in place.

Treat This Time as a Thirty-Day Free Trial of Your Products or Service

A lot of businesses are taking the opportunity to generate goodwill and loyalty by allowing their paid services to be used for free for the next 30 days. This gesture is meant to give anxious people who are self-isolating something to calm their nerves and divert their attention. Authors Neil Gaiman and Sarah McLean, and online libraries Scribd and the New York Public Library, have allowed their books to be checked out for free for 30 days. The Berlin Philharmonic and Budapest Festival Orchestra have allowed their back catalogues of digital concerts to be available for free.

Actions like this build lasting loyalty in a customer, and a gratefulness towards a business that understands their state of mind during these times. Not to mention, allowing a 30-day free trial of services available for millions of people sitting at home, with the time available to explore these services, means that you will likely have many more paying customers once the pandemic is over. Small businesses can follow the same strategy locally; by focusing on loyalty and free trials right now, you will likely get customers who will stay loyal to you in the future.

Make Your Supply Chain More Robust

Focus on creating a more diversified and sustainable supply chain, with multiple vendors across geographic regions. This way you will not be dependent on one area alone and your production will not be impeded if that area is hit by COVID-19 and forced into a lockdown. Supply chain resilience also entails having alternate suppliers and even substitute raw materials planned out. COVID-19 has resulted in bans on freight via any means in certain areas of the world. You must prepare for delays in shipment of indeterminable duration. Your business must have enough buffer inventory of inputs and crucial parts to be able to carry out production in this case as well.

Maintain Sufficient Operational Funds

In these uncertain times, you must make sure that your business has sufficient operational funds. At least have enough cash on hand to last you up to 3 months so you can cover salary and debt payments. Furthermore, look into loan extension options today, to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

Keep yourself apprised of government-sponsored relief programs and how you may benefit. Ask your accountant how the recently announced payroll tax cut in the US will help you pay your employees’ salaries. The newly approved stimulus package will also supplant the salaries that you are able to pay out while keeping your business afloat. See which employees qualify for it and factor in the expected delays in receiving checks to calculate how much cash you must have at hand to pay your employees till then.

Most importantly, run an analysis of how your customers and major stakeholders will be impacted and, in turn, how that would impact your business. Prepare for at least 3 months into the future so you can better adjust to any new developments. Since predictions of the economic impact of COVID-19 vary greatly, prepare for the worst but don’t expect it to unfold.

Stay Informed

Keep yourself apprised of the latest updates and always keep in mind the veracity of the source of information. Update employees regularly as changes are needed instead of assuming that they have access to the same information as you do.

Create Worst-Case Contingency Plans

The COVID-19 crisis has underlined the importance of creating contingency plans and strategies for handling crisis situations. We have seen unexpected events like sudden lockdowns, unanticipated quarantines due to travel history and contact with an infected individual, and much more in these last few weeks. Your business needs continuity plans that constantly look ahead and evolve quickly in response to changing circumstances.

Businesses on ground zero of the pandemic and those in the worst-affected countries have witnessed the merits of a cross-functional team managing scenario and contingency planning. Remove the bureaucratic hurdles and create a small trusted team of top management officials to quickly formulate and implement tactical decisions. This will circumvent all delays caused by internal coordination. Such a team must consider the pandemic’s impact on employees, manage finances, the supply chain, and marketing. Not only do you need this team to plan out your business’ response for the next few weeks but you also need this team to create scenarios for different trigger events in order to be better prepared for the future.

Most importantly, don’t be resistant to changing plans rapidly. During pandemics, changing plans do not indicate indecisiveness but rather a fast response to new developments. Time-stamped live documents are the best way to go. Don’t delay your business’ response so much that the underlying information becomes outdated.

Document any key learning points and scenario responses to ensure that the company is prepared for the future. This way you will not have to start from scratch if you ever face a similar situation in the future.

Conclusion

There is good news on the horizon. If people and goods have started moving again in China 6 weeks after the initial outbreak, we can expect improvement in other regions of the world as well. However, it is absolutely crucial to learn from the companies who have successfully weathered the storm and not make the same mistakes as others did before us.

Feel free to suggest any other tips that may help businesses cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in the comments down below. Stay safe!

Losing sales because of your website

Your Website Is the Reason Why You’re Losing Sales

By | Administrative Support, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Entrepreneurship, Freelancing, Marketing Virtual Assistant, Social Media, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant, Virtual Assistant Support | One Comment

7 stages of the purchase process where you’re driving customers away

These days, if you don’t have a website for your business, product, or service, you are losing out on 81% of your potential customer base; who research their purchase online before buying it. Having a website, however, can prove to be a double-edged sword if you are unfamiliar with website development. A business unconversant in the common assumptions customers derive from website design may inadvertently cause itself to look untrustworthy or obsolete.

There are a host of reasons why investing in ecommerce website development is a good idea for every business. The development, design and code of your website affects every stage of the customer purchase process.

1. The numbers make sense

A quick Google search will lead you to thousands of ecommerce website development agencies; large and small. There will always be someone willing to work within your budget, who can make the website according to your business’ needs. One thing is certain; professional website development always provides return on investment far beyond what you expect. An attractive website lands more leads onto your website, introduces them to your products or services, and converts them into customers.

Trying to set up your own website is like stabbing in the dark for most businesses (unless you’re a web developer yourself). You’re bound to make mistakes, redo things, or give up on having what you think will work best for your business. Hiring a web developer within your budget from the beginning will avoid potentially expensive mistakes and re-dos later.

2. You don’t stand out if you use a template

While there are tons of website templates available on the internet, using one without making any changes to it is not a good idea. Your website needs to mesh seamlessly into your business identity, and a developer will help you make the changes necessary to optimize the website for your business.

Using a template as-is also makes your website incredibly forgettable. Each template you see on the internet (especially one which seems attractive) has been used by hundreds, if not thousands of other businesses. Making your website seem exactly like theirs does not help you stand out in the customer’s mind. Using industry-specific templates compounds this problem by making you forgettable within your niche. Therefore, creating a website that makes your business stand out due to its design will require investment in ecommerce website development.

3. Visitors don’t make it to your website

You’d have heard the buzzword “search engine optimization” everywhere these days. People think it means utilizing keywords and paying for advertisements, but rarely realize that your website visibility on major search engines is inextricably linked with the design you choose for it. Clunky and obsolete design and coding pushes your website lower on the search rankings.

Google, for example, assesses the quality of your landing pages when determining your website’s search engine ranking. It is important to partner with an ecommerce website development agency familiar with search engine optimization; or potential customers will not be able to find your website through search engines.

Why is ecommerce website development necessary?

4. Your website’s first impression may be unappealing

When 66% of all potential customers prefer a beautiful design over a plain one, it is worth looking at making your website appear modern and appealing. Your website is often the first impression potential customers, who have myriad distractions online, receive about your business.

Your website needs to appear attractive on all devices. 88% of customers in an Adobe poll said they used multiple screens to access websites. A further 73% of people require the content to display well on whichever device they are using to visit websites. Professional ecommerce website development will ensure that your content is optimized for display on all devices; so that customers do not turn to your competitor’s websites instead.

5. Customers don’t engage with an unprofessional website

If your content is unattractive or your website is difficult to navigate, 38% of people will stop engaging, and 35% will click off, according to the same Adobe State of Content Report. However, if you think you can make content attractive by merely utilizing videos or inserting high-quality graphics, you would be cannibalizing your website’s position on search engine rankings. Website design needs to straddle the fine line of attractiveness and ease of loading– if your website is bogged down by content, it will load slowly, and Google will kick it right off the front page of search results. Partnering with an ecommerce website development agency that is right for your business will help you avoid these pitfalls.

6. It hurts your brand image

As customers keep navigating your website and use it to consider products or make purchases, they form an opinion of your business, your customer service, your trustworthiness, and whether or not they want a long-term relationship with your company– all without meeting any person representing your company.

Brand Message

Your website is the best way of reaching out to all your current and potential customers with an organized brand message, especially new offers and products. A website can be designed in such a way as to not only sell the product or services but also to receive feedback about its utility. This would make your website and business appear cohesive and reliable.

Trustworthiness

Small mistakes like using a simple template, or forgetting to put a “Contact Us” section in places a customer would expect it, can make your website look unplanned and untrustworthy without you realizing it. An ecommerce website development agency will help you with its wealth of experience in this regard.

Customer Service

Your website also signals how you will treat your customers. Leads who have come across your page might leave it and go to a competitor instead if you haven’t communicated purchase and return policies clearly, for example. If you pride yourself on your customer service but have not managed to portray that on your website, you may be losing out on a lot of potential customers.

Niche Branding

A good ecommerce website makes clear from the homepage whether the customer will find what they are looking for. This helps you avoid unwanted traffic, so that your traffic-to-conversion rate is higher. Niche design for your industry is possible only through investing in ecommerce website development.

7. Visitors don’t convert into sales

All the considerations mentioned earlier combine to create a website experience that will either convert leads into customers, or drive them away to your competitors. When it comes to ecommerce website development, search engine optimization, and conversions, nothing beats experience. A good ecommerce website lands on the front page for search results, draws the customers onto the homepage, directs them easily and quickly to what they want, keeps them there through attractive design, allows them to get help whenever they need it, and familiarizes them with brand enough so that whenever they are ready to purchase, they choose that website. You have to bear all this in mind when creating an effective website for your company.

A buyer-oriented website is also instrumental in retaining customers. Every ecommerce business knows that retaining customers so that they make multiple purchases is much less costly than creating new buyers from scratch each time. A good website will do all the work of retaining customers for you.

That’s why you need to choose the right partner when creating your website. IdeasUnlimited provides unparalleled ecommerce website development services, with customized packages for your business; depending on the services you need. Our multilingual team can create your website in any major language and industry, no matter how small or large your business is. If, after creating your website, you need a team to manage ecommerce support or ecommerce customer support, our experienced global team can take care of all of your support needs.

5 Must-Have Tools to Globalize Your Business in 2020

By | Administrative Support, Business Improvement, Business Sustainability, Call Center for Small Business, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Globalization, Technical Support, The IU Way, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

What is the tool most commonly used in today’s world by individuals and commercial organizations? Very simple, the Internet!

The Internet has made so many tasks convenient and so many processes irrelevant in the business world. Ecommerce support is only one click away—be it multilingual support for your stakeholders or technical support for your customer care center. If you have high-speed internet connectivity and a functional operative system, 80% of your business is already global. Therefore, it is important to investigate a futuristic version of your business considering the global context and available digital tools in order to truly globalize your business.

Globalization 2.0 brings the world to your doorstep and the Internet brings a huge potential market to your work desk. It is now easier than ever to create and promote an international brand image. There are many innovations in the tech world to help digital businesses grow. Here are 5 main tools that will be help you globalize your business:

  1. Research Tools

Research, Research, Research, ACTION! Make this your business mantra and make Google your best friend.

Use research tools to analyze the perceptions and behaviors of your new and existing markets. You can use Google Trends to gauge the demand of your offerings in a specific location, or consumer barometer to read into consumers’ ecommerce behavior.

Another free online tool is Quartz Atlas. It provides a vast database on world demographics and helps you search for information using your relevant keywords. Moreover, the data is presented in the form of tables and charts, which you can customize using your own variables.

Other ecommerce research tools are priced but come with convenient payment plans and free trials. For instance, you can use Jungle Scout—which is most popular for product research, or SemRush—which gives you an insight about your industry’s top keywords and performance of your competitors based on their website.

Similarly, if you are interested in hiring a virtual team, research can help you harness the best of the best by guiding you where to locate your next star worker.

You can find a plethora of other software applications to help you gain more information about your competitors, your niche, your campaign, and product performance.

  1. Resource Management Tools

There are plenty of software and tools available in the market that help in organizing and monitoring resources. They prove helpful in carrying out budget controls, time management, human resource management, as well as data and document management.

Do you also need a solution for conducting audio and video meetings with your remote team members located in different time zones?

Project management software and tools are a good way of managing a remote team, tracking time, efficient communication, and resource management. Popular project management software such as Wrike, Monday.com, or Basecamp include helpful features like real-time chat and messaging, task assignment and progress tracking, document sharing and analyses. Moreover, a comprehensive set of integrations across different in-demand, cloud-based tools makes these software applications a more compelling option. Read more about the best project management tools here.

  1. Marketing Tools

Time has brought enormous innovation in marketing as well. The arrival of Big Data and interactive technology have refined the way marketing is carried out and innovation has introduced new techniques for acquiring and retaining customers.

Marketing tools can handle everything from social media automation to customer-company relationships and affiliate marketing.

In a nutshell, marketing tools for ecommerce sales should ideally relieve you from social media, content creation, SEO, and email campaigning stress. You should also be able to find and segment consumer data for better customer service and targeted marketing campaigns. Some of the most popular marketing tools today are:

  1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Tools

This set of tools are usually a composite of marketing tools, analytical tools, and research tools. They allow your business to have a systematic approach to managing all the information and interactions of your business with your customers, suppliers, and other businesses. Some examples are Intercom and Pipedrive.

Your customers are your bread and butter. For your business’ survival, it is important to reach out to your customers and meet their requirements. As a global business, you must use multiple communication channels to communicate with your customers. A customer management application (CRM) can help you aggregate all communications in one place and effectively deal with all the purchase, engagement, and feedback information. Look into a CRM before you take any other steps to globalize your business.

This allows your customer care center to prioritize and attend to customers who need immediate response. It also becomes easier to track the website traffic, consumer movement, and preferences in order to optimize their purchase experience and enhance customer loyalty.

CRM tools help the customer care center agents to:

methodically identify and work on prospective clients

build and retain loyal customers

understand customers’ requirements and their response to marketing campaigns

segment customers based on demographics and preferences and create personalized follow-ups.

  1. Coordination and Translation Tools

Important: Communication is the key!

All interaction with your customers, suppliers, and teams has to be timely, efficient, and clear. In order to globalize your business, your brand needs to possess a multilingual and multi-ethnic outlook. Your website should cater to native languages and norms of your target market. Also, your customer care center should be equipped to provide multilingual support to equally cater to all your customers across the globe.

Communication tools can help avoid unnecessary delays and misunderstandings. This results in identifying issues and resolving them in a timely fashion. Bilingual customer service or multilingual support can be invaluable too.

Other than project management and CRM tools, translation services, and coordination tools such as Calendar, Hangouts, and Skype can help your company boost its ecommerce sales.

For expanding internationally, it is important for you to distinguish between ‘time zones’ and ‘time relationship’. While everything is 5 minutes earlier in Germany, there is a more relaxed relationship with time in the global south. This is where coordination comes in. An efficient multilingual support service can easily handle both for you.

Global expansion is exciting and risky, but it is the best way to increase ecommerce sales.

Some of the abovementioned tools’ features overlap. Hence, it is important to critically analyze your business and its requirements. There are many more tools that you can use to streamline your activities and globalize your business. Choose the right tools from the start or contract a business service provider to take away these worries while you focus on your core activities and strategizing for going global.

Which tools do you use in your business? Let us know by commenting below.

How to Grow Your Ecommerce Business

How to Grow Your Ecommerce Business

By | Administrative Support, Call Center for Small Business, Customer Service, Ecommerce Support, Ecommerce Support Services, Multilingual Support, Virtual Assistant Support | No Comments

Buying and selling online is one of the most lucrative business ideas that you could come up with today. The 21st century consumer is primed and hungry for more and more opportunities to be able to finish their shopping experience with ease from the comfort of their own home. But you have to be smart about the strategies you use to grow your ecommerce business. If you know how the consumer’s mind works, the task becomes absolutely smooth sailing.

  1. Strategically Market Your Business

Buy ad space on popular websites and search engines to market and grow your ecommerce business. Focus on video ads and only market your most popular products.

The first major decision-making junction comes at the stage of marketing. Let’s say you already have a website or an app. How are you going to let people know about it? Which products will you market? Where will you market them and how? These all might seem a bit overwhelming, but they follow each other naturally and once you get the ball rolling, it will gather momentum on its own.

The ideal solution would be to buy advertisement space on popular websites like YouTube and Facebook and search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo! etc. Your ads should preferably be in video form, since the typical consumer spends 88% excess time browsing a website with video (especially without sound). Videos create more engagement with the user and that results in positive action.

  1. Focus on Customer Retention

Retain your current customer base and offer frequent incentives to make them feel appreciated.

The importance of a loyal and regular customer base cannot be emphasized enough for you to be able to grow your ecommerce business. They are the ones who will visit your website or app again and again and buy multiple items. 65% of a company’s business comes from previous customers. Maintaining these customers with good customer service and showing them you value them beyond one-time customers creates goodwill, word of mouth marketing, and a steady increase in sales. One popular, tried and true way of doing this is by having loyalty cards. Great emphasis should be placed on customer satisfaction at every stage of interaction with your business; you should work with a call center support services provider like IdeasUnlimited that specializes in customer retention.

  1. Affiliate Marketing and Discounts

Get more customers through affiliate marketing and entice them to purchase.

Partner with another business and offer promotions and discounts specific to those customers to bring in new users. Not only will you develop a strong business partnership, these new website visitors would have a high conversion rate due to the strong referral. You get to grow your ecommerce business without directly expending any sales effort.

Flash sales are also effective ways to create urgency to boost sales and profits, because customers do not want to walk away from a good deal. Never miss out on having sales during festive occasions or celebrations and holidays. Your ecommerce business will generate the most revenue in that time.

  1. Widen Product Base

Widen your range of products to cater to a wider clientele. These can include supplementary products and services related to each other as well as completely fresh product lines.

Although most ecommerce businesses start out small, it is prudent to slowly try to attract other market segments as well. If you have a stationery business and the primary consumer is a school-going child, it is highly likely that their parent or caregiver is doing the online shopping. Think about the extra traffic and revenue you would generate and how much you can grow your ecommerce business if you increased your range of products to entice mothers with kitchen utensils or home décor, for instance.

  1. Optimize the Customer Experience

Ensure you have good customer support, a user-friendly website/app interface, and a hassle-free shopping experience.

The first-time user especially will not take long to form an opinion and turn away from the website if their initial experience was negative or anything less than ideal. You need to make certain all issues are dealt with before they even become actual problems by ensuring your ecommerce support is par excellence.

A user-friendly interface means optimizing your website for mobile devices or even creating an app for it. 79% of smartphone users have made an ecommerce transaction in the last six months, so this is just astute business sense.

Your call center support should be professional, courteous and, above all, make the customer feel heard, understood and helped. You don’t need to invest in anything in-house; simply find a reputable call center for small business like IdeasUnlimited or partner with a firm that can handle your established business.

Do you feel like your business has stagnated and is not producing the desired profits? This is the ideal time to think outside the box in order to grow your ecommerce business. Come up with creative and fun marketing techniques. Use social media and affiliate marketing to boost your audience reach. Never underestimate the importance of your happy return customer. Most importantly, find an ecommerce support services provider who is experienced in tackling all the above.