There is no doubt that e-commerce is a rapidly evolving industry. While this keeps things interesting for entrepreneurs, it also requires consistent improvements and constant innovation to ensure success. E-commerce business owners have to adapt their business strategy regularly to keep up with such a dynamic industry.
As the e-commerce industry grows, so does a wealth of opportunity for revolutionizing your marketing, operations and productivity.
Here are three ways to step up your e-commerce game, no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey.
A/B testing is the key to staying on top of new trends and constantly refining your business strategy. A/B testing, in which you maintain a control (A) and change a variable (B) to see which combination achieves the best outcome, can be applied to your marketing strategy, ordering and distributing policies, customer service methods, and almost any other element of your business.
Here’s a simple example of A/B testing for your company’s email marketing initiative: Take an email with the same content and change the subject line. See which email has a better open rate.
Voila! You’ve found a better strategy or at least learned that your current one works as effectively as possible.
Ordering and distribution improvements
Time spent on improving your ordering and distribution methods is never wasted. These components are hugely important for a successful e-commerce business, in part because they are the most complicated and least desirable elements for customers.
The process of making an order online and receiving the product must be so simple and affordable for the customer that it’s far easier than driving to the store for that item.
When you start your business, you certainly won’t have the perfect ordering and distribution strategy. That’s why it’s so important to explore new methods and technology in this sphere. This means everything—from the color of the purchase button to the layout of the shopping cart to back-end function.
Your system for handling returns, refund requests, store credit and replacement items will also need to be consistently re-evaluated and improved. Do you have a clear process for when a customer receives a defective item, or a supplier fails to ship an item on time?
While you consider these features of your business, look for ways to streamline your processes. Maybe you’re using multiple suppliers when a single one would be more efficient. Or maybe you’re keeping inventory in your basement when dropshipping would be more lucrative for your business model. While assessing your current operations, always brainstorm improvements.
Consider outsourcing graphic design
Just because you have a mind for business doesn’t mean you have an eye for graphic design. Great graphic design is a major feature of any successful e-commerce business, as your website is essentially your storefront.
In the same way you would set up window displays and beautiful signage for a brick-and-mortar store, you need to create a visually appealing website for your e-commerce store.
This is another arena in which A/B testing can offer some insight, but it’s also an opportunity to consider outsourcing a task. There are plenty of graphic designers on the freelance marketplace, and a professional designer can quickly improve website features that would take you weeks to fix.
Outsourcing can be meaningful within several areas of your business, especially graphic design. Start by developing a job description outlining goals for your website and begin browsing potential candidates on Upwork or Fiverr.
Keep constant improvements top of mind
At every stage of your startup’s growth, look for new strategies to implement. Analyze your web traffic and collect data on your customer base to inform these decisions. When you know what your customers want, what they love about your store and what they don’t, you can make more effective business decisions about your e-commerce strategy.