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When most people think of e-commerce, they imagine selling a physical product through an online platform. While many aspiring entrepreneurs find success doing just that, a growing number of companies are using e-commerce to deliver services that support their customer’s digital needs, from improved cybersecurity to chatbot services and ad management support.
For entrepreneurs who can identify gaps in the digital market and have the vision to fill them with unique services, there are many opportunities to carve their own niche.
Cybersecurity and AI
In an attempt to improve the effectiveness of cybersecurity programs, some aspiring entrepreneurs and young businesses have turned to artificial intelligence (AI). These startups are drawing a lot of attention (and investor money) as they race to find the right solutions for various applications.
MixMode, Logrhythm and Anomali are just a few young companies that merge cybersecurity and AI, building strong e-commerce businesses in the process. This is a new and growing field with vast financial potential still in its infancy. With the right product and technological skills, entrepreneurs can go from follower to leader in this market.
Chatbots are another artificial intelligence application with explosive potential. These programs are designed to simulate a conversation with a customer to save busy entrepreneurs time and money while improving customer support. The ability to deliver 24/7 customer service is one of the biggest reasons companies use chatbots, given that potential purchasers are now making buying decisions at times that are most convenient to them, rather than adhering to traditional business hours.
As chatbot applications shift into more technical areas, there is a demand for experts who can develop the technology itself to respond to more nuanced questions and issues. Companies can thus focus on delivering chatbots that effectively address niche questions on social media sites, paving the way for entrepreneurs who want to expand into simliar areas.
Paid online advertising is a necessary expense for e-commerce businesses that want to optimize conversions.
A report by eMarketer states that digital spending is expected to experience double-digit growth each year, reaching $129.23 billion in 2021.
While many business utilize paid online ads across various social media platforms, some still struggle with how to do so in order to get the best value for the dollars spent. To quote John Wanamaker, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”
This gap between demand and expertise creates opportunities for aspiring business owners who understand how to best use paid advertising across the most appropriate platforms for a given product or service. While there is competition to deliver this service, new business opportunities abound in this field to those willing to learn the intricacies of each platform’s paid ad processes.
While paid ads have exploded as a way to increase sales, the ability to appear organically and relevantly on search engine results pages is becoming more competitive. Jockeying for the top spots on SERPs results in lucrative opportunities for new businesses to help companies improve their SEO.
The reason it’s often so difficult to achieve organic SEO success is because Google owns 75 percent of the overall search market and has a 90 percent share of searches on mobile devices. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through. While you won’t be the only SEO specialist on the market, there are opportunities for entrepreneurs who take a fresh approach to the process, especially those targeting the mobile device search systems.
Thinking outside of the digital box
For entrepreneurs interested in e-commerce opportunities that are off the beaten path, consider applying a digital process to a typically non-digital one. Couponbuffer is a great example of a company that has done just that. It identifies and organizes coupons for digital products and services the same way that RetailMeNot curates coupons for stores and restaurants. Couponbuffer has essentially taken an established service and applied it to a digital marketplace with great results. Blurring the business lines between digital and non-digital products and services can result in exciting new opportunities.
The bottom line
Digital e-commerce products and services are growth industries that provide a multitude of business opportunities. Why not take a leap of faith when it comes to your e-commerce business idea and see where it takes you?