Going Local, Mobile & Social - A Comprehensive e-com Guide
Going Local with E-Commerce
Ecommerce has turned global with some of the largest companies opening up their operations in several countries. Physical boundaries have been long broken and the time has come when the bigger players have even broken whatever little cultural boundaries that existed. Consumers simply love the experience of shopping at any time and from the comforts of the couch.
Now, even the local retailers are using e-commerce platforms for creating their brands and reaching out to customers. Even if the customers buy from the local stores, they do so after searching for a particular product on Google, Yelp, and Facebook. They’re even using the store locators on the websites of various brands. Consumers have the habit of searching on various directories as they are using social media platforms and online forums to discuss and get information on brands across the world.
Brands need to understand one thing: it’s not about them; it’s about the locals. This is the only mantra to follow when brands wish to expand their business to the smaller nook and crannies around the world. Brands have to understand the elements that influence customer behavior and how customers want to interact with their preferred brands. Companies need to have a local presence, even if they are popular around the world.
The multinational brands that want to expand into new locations or countries at low-risk and low-cost look forward to the e-commerce marketplaces. Businesses are opening virtual stores to get easy access to the millions of customers in a new country without having any physical presence. Opening brick-and-mortar stores entail huge costs and high risks. The e-commerce platforms are providing the brands an easy way to manage their virtual stores by offering localized services like e-payment.
Crucial local search information to retailers’ success
Local retailers need to understand one thing; customers are spending a lot of time on the internet and they search for even the smallest items online. People love to consult their peers, friends, colleagues, and family members online before they make major purchases. Thus, retailers or local brands have to become visible to their customers. This is often ignored businesses frame their marketing plans; you must have a local online presence. Here are some important tips to ensure a retailer’s success by creating crucial local search information:
Provide accurate and complete information – The path from search to store is quite complicated and every brand or business needs to identify the points from where customers are getting information about local businesses and then build a strategy around it. Retailers have to accurately provide complete information like name, store address, business phone numbers, business hours, facilities, etc. Every attribute that you offer at each of your store locations needs to be accurate and complete.
Ensure that your business shows up on Google – The market is flooded with a variety of mobile devices and as a retailer, you will have to ensure that you show up on every channel. You will have to create landing pages for every device and ensure that your information is put up on every digital channel. You can even use ads driven by geopositioning so that your target customers get the offers promptly on their mobile devices.
IP Geolocation to Improve eCommerce Conversion
Going local with e-commerce will become an easier task when you can deliver a customized shopping experience based on the geographical location of customers. This will inevitably help in optimizing customer engagement and enhancing the conversion rate. Your customers will have a happy shopping experience and will return for more. Using the all-important parameter like geographic location facilitates the delivery of the appropriate message as well as content to the right people at the right time during their process of decision making.
There are a variety of ways to use IP (Internet Protocol) Intelligence to glean information based on the customer’s IP address. This can be used by e-commerce companies to enhance how they connect to their customers. Several strategies need to be implemented to reduce cart abandonment and the average time spent on the landing pages. Retailers can also implement technologies with robust geolocation features to understand what customers need and accordingly stock the virtual shelves with products and services. They will also be able to interact with their customers locally.
You must provide your customers with relevant information and merchandise based on their geographic location. Even multinational companies or retailers can show the world that the site has been optimized keeping in mind the needs of local customers by redirecting them to country-specific landing pages or providing them the option of paying with native currency. Offline sales can also be driven by the merchants by offering coupons for use by shoppers of a geographic location or informing them about the retail locations near their locality. IP geolocation can improve the way brands grow long-term relationships with their customers.
Local virtual stores to expand business opportunities
Many brands are trying to expand business opportunities by building local virtual stores and this is impacting the way businesses are being conducted. Virtual stores are a new way for companies to offer amazing shopping experiences to customers without even getting out of their couch. Online retailers can save on warehouses, lighting, delivery, transport, etc. by facilitating a complete shopping experience to their customers from the comforts of their homes.
Local virtual stores are attracting more and more people towards online shopping and are helping brands offer the local shopping experience without investing a fortune. These stores are stocked with all the merchandise and products but in their virtual avatars. Customers will be able to buy these and even check the quality, manufacturing date, etc. from anywhere and at any point in time.
Going Mobile with E-Commerce
E-Commerce is growing at an unprecedented rate and mobile devices are working as the catalyst in this growth. Even the smallest of retailers and businesses are moving to mobile commerce as the number of tablet and smartphone users around the world is increasing at an exponential rate. However, it’s also a fact that several retailers and businesses have been left untouched by the mobile commerce revolution. They still haven’t optimized their online stores and are still offering the old unresponsive online stores to mobile users.
If you fail to offer a mobile-friendly shopping experience to your customers then you’re pushing your business off the cliff. You’ll never be able to beat your competitors who are offering a seamless shopping experience to mobile internet users. However, if you’re not yet convinced about the need or importance of mobile optimization then here is a list of some of the compelling reasons:
Your online exposure gets rendered properly on various mobile devices: The primary aim of m-commerce is to facilitate a seamless shopping experience on a variety of mobile devices with different screen sizes. Thus, a lot of emphases is put on concepts like mobile-friendly user experience and responsive design. When your online store gets rendered properly on different mobile devices, mobile users will be able to enjoy a better shopping experience. All of this will eventually lead to higher and improved sales figures.
The number of mobile and smartphone internet users has increased: You should really prepare your online store for e-commerce because for one simple reason – more and more people are using the internet on their smartphones and mobile devices.
Growth in mobile commerce sales: Recently big as well as small retailers have experienced higher sales from their customers using mobile devices. There has been a huge increase because the majority of the people used mobile and that too with an internet connection. Thus, this customer base is extremely important when you wish to grow your business and tap on a large number of mobile-friendly customers.
If you wish to go mobile with your e-commerce venture then you must take care of the following things:
Incentives for Mobile Purchase
Apps of popular e-commerce websites around the world like e-bay, Amazon, Alibaba, etc. are extremely popular among the crowd. However, if you’re moving on to mobile commerce, you will have to offer incentives to your customers for mobile purchases. We all are aware of one thing – customers need some incentives to try out new things. So when you are trying to move your e-commerce business to mobile devices, it’s even more important that you offer incentives like discounts or loyalty points that can be collected and redeemed when customers visit your store or do repeat purchases through the mobile application.
Success in mobile commerce is possible only when you create a highly scalable infrastructure. Most of the companies tend to choose cloud computing to support their e-commerce stores as critical resources like server storage, RAM usage, server downtime, etc. can be scaled up and down as and when required. Similarly, you will also have to consider the other resources like warehouses, transport, delivery, etc. to match growing demands for your products. Thus, you will have to be ready with all the resources to handle a higher number of transactions without any hiccups.
Pay special attention to user experience as that will finally determine whether a sale gets completed or not. If you are offering a decent shopping experience to mobile users then they are going to easily book products on your store or else the drop rates will keep increasing. We’ll love to carry out mobile purchases by using the easiest app available in the market. Just have a look at the Amazon or eBay app and you will understand the quality of user experience you need to offer to your customers.
Optimization for Repeat Purchases
Even if your online store fetches you a good number of customers, you will need to keep optimizing your site so that they offer the best shopping experience for your customers. To get this spot on, you will have to conduct a regular survey among your customers to learn about their experience of purchasing from the mobile store. Now, following the feedback, you should keep optimizing your site so that customers keep returning for more purchases.
Mobile App Analytics
These are essential tools to get insights into customer behavior and buying patterns. Using mobile app analytics, you will be able to learn the average time that customers spend on each page, customer’s age, location, and even purchase patterns. Choose the mobile app analytics that you are comfortable working with and the one that caters to your needs.
Gathering data for future use
There are various avenues like feedbacks on online forums, social media platforms, and others from where you can gather data about your customers. Now, this data can be analyzed and studied to understand the needs and preferences of your customers. Thus, you can put this data to great use in the future to market your products effectively.
Lesser work enhances the adoption rate
If you optimize your online mobile store in a manner that customers don’t have to provide too much information manually then the adoption rates will certainly be higher.
Mobile commerce is the future and if you wish to be in the race for a longer period of time then we must make your online store mobile-friendly and responsive.
Going Social with E-Commerce
New entrants to the e-commerce market face huge competition from the bigger fishes in the market who are using everything from drones to same-day delivery to entice customers. However, technological innovation in the field of social media has managed to create a level playing ground for new companies. Several new e-commerce sites have succeeded despite stiff competition from bigger rivals like eBay and Amazon.
If you’re able to integrate social strategies into your e-commerce operation then you can definitely enhance your brand notoriety, increase web traffic, and even enjoy a larger market exposure. Social media can be used to support and enhance the existing strategies and help smaller companies to beat the bigger market players.
It’s time to go viral and drive an insane amount of traffic to your online store as social networking and the use of mobile devices have created knowledgeable customers. Shoppers, equipped with the latest smartphones and tablets, have the option of quickly accessing the social networks for verification before making any purchase. A recent study revealed that around eighty percent of online shoppers rely on feedback from social media before buying a product or service. Social networks influence the performance of a brand and this influence is getting more and more prominent with every passing day. All the companies that have realized this are trying to integrate e-commerce into social media.
Several companies allow you to integrate buy now functionality within tweets. Now a brand can create a product-specific Tweet that can be used by followers to interact as well as purchase using #BuyNow hashtags. It’s clear that shoppers are immensely influenced by social media; brands should use this to their advantage and treat it as an effective medium to communicate with customers and sell products.
Social media marketing is not at all expensive and even the startups that don’t have huge cash to spend on social media to advertise and sell their products. Influencers and followers have turned into new brand ambassadors for small as well as big e-commerce businesses across the world. You too can start by identifying the influencers and then hiring them to promote your products on various social media platforms.
The new e-commerce companies can garner a lot of interest by using social media to make a product viral and create brand notoriety. Brands of all sizes can create social strategies and can use social media networks to develop their marketing strategies. Since personalization is the new mantra, social media will keep playing a crucial role in helping brands stay ahead in the race.
Now, if you want to go social with your e-commerce venture then here is a list of some of the most important things to consider:
Customer Reviews on Social Media Platforms
Customer reviews on social media platforms can spell success or failure for your business. If you can keep yourself or your brand active on social media, you will get more positive feedback from your customers. If you maintain a website for your business and also maintain an active social media profile then there is a very high chance of customers leaving feedback for you. The higher the social presence, the easier it is to get positive reviews.
Now if you’re able to maintain a fairly active Facebook and Twitter page, your brand is going to get more and more 3 star and 4-star reviews. Social media is time-consuming but the results that you get from your social media activity justify the time you spend. Social media activity leads to rapid improvement in sales figures. It’s immensely beneficial if you’re able to put your personality behind your social media channels and offer your clients a tailor-made experience that even big companies fail to do.
Timing and Frequency of Your Posts
You need to engage with your followers and fans regularly. If you prove to be authentic in front of your followers or fans and at the same time keep them engaged on a one-to-one basis then they certainly stay interested in your brand. Try to post as often as you can and with Facebook and Twitter, you can do that quite easily. Both of them allow you to post huge content and share your thoughts with your fans and followers. Your thoughts will be reflecting your brand and personality and articles that relate to your business will help you establish yourself as an authority.
You should schedule your posts so that you don’t forget to give timely updates on your brand or products. This will not only save time but also help you to cut down costs on hiring a dedicated resource to manage your social media posts. There are also many Twitter and Facebook scheduling apps that will post on your behalf. The frequency of your posts depends on the industry you belong to and the kind of social media activity it needs; this is something that you will be able to decide with time.
Memorable Buying Experience through Social Media
No other marketing activity can create a memorable experience like regular social media activity, however, don’t assume that the customers will remember you just because of one post or an email; they will remember you only if you can build your brand and at the same time offer them a great shopping experience. You will have to create strategies to offer an enjoyable experience to your customers. You’ll have to create an emotional tie with your customers by solving problems or offering them solutions regularly.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter Ad Campaign
You will need to create the appropriate content to push ahead with your ad campaign on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter. Industry-specific ads can be created and shared with your fans and followers quite easily on all these popular social media platforms. These ad campaigns are immensely effective in driving sales.
Social Media Analytics to maximize ROI
You want to measure the impact of your social media strategies as you don’t want your efforts to go to waste. Social media analytics are extremely important in determining the return on investment (ROI). ROI can be measured in several ways which include customer acquisition, clicks, lead generation, contest entries, revenue, etc. However, you will have to decide the goals first before you get down to calculating and maximizing your ROI.