How To Create a Successful Ecommerce Strategy For 2017
JAN 27, 2017 15:04 PM
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How To Create a Successful Ecommerce Strategy For 2017

By Elle Martin

As the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back at 2016 and, more importantly, look to the year ahead.

Like many of you, I like to set out a list of goals, targets and ambitions for the coming year. And 2017 is no different! Getting a clear strategy down in advance is the best way to kickstart the year.

More than ever, people are looking to start their own ecommerce empire. Whether it’s a side-hustle or full-time dream, building an online store is a fantastic way to start a business online.

But, with so much competition out there, how can you gain the edge? These eight simple tricks will help you make a success of your ecommerce enterprise in 2017. Let’s dive right in!

1. Power Up Your Web Host

Step one is making sure your web host is fit for the job. If you’re expecting lots of traffic and a big turnover, you need a solid foundation.

It all starts with a reliable, fast and secure web host. It’s the engine of your site, so don’t simply choose the cheapest option. If you’re running your ecommerce empire on WordPress, consider a managed WordPress host. This will keep your website secure and up-to-date.

A good web host keeps ticking over in the background, letting you focus on the core part of the business. Selling products!

2. Understand Mobile Shopping

It’s no secret that mobile devices dominate online traffic now. And this is likely to increase and expand through 2017. With that in mind, a functional, responsive mobile site is essential.

BUT, while (more than) half of all web traffic takes place on a mobile, this isn’t true for shopping conversions. Indeed, mobile browsers make up just 33% of US sales online.

Although this figure is predicted to grow, there’s still a disconnect between mobile usage and purchasing. Customers prefer to buy on a desktop. Try adopting mobile payment methods (like PayPal Mobile Wallets, Android and Apple) to encourage mobile conversions. Or, simply nudge people to check out on their desktop later.

3. Social Selling

In 2017, social selling will become one of the defining ecommerce trends. We’ve already seen some of the major ecommerce companies embracing Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, but it’s about to go one step further.

By using ‘direct response’ technology, you can now place a ‘buy’ button and ‘shoppable tags’ next to an Instagram post. Twitter also has a ‘buy now’ button, while Facebook has a series of direct response carousels for shoppers.

These social platforms will slowly become more engrained in the shopping process. Embrace them!

4. The Need for Speed

Speed matters on the internet. Most web users expect a website to load in less than two seconds, and 40% will disappear entirely if it takes longer than three.

That can mean a HUGE loss in revenue and repeat custom. We subconsciously associate speed with professionalism and trust. So, is your website fast enough?

Try testing your web hosting speed at Bitcatcha, and see how quickly (or slowly) your web server responds compared to thousands of other websites.

5. Try A Subscription Model

More and more ecommerce companies are embracing a subscription model to sell their products. For example, ‘Socks In A Box’ sends a pair of socks to subscribers once a month.

This guarantees a repeat order, and it’s a novel idea. Other sellers include jams, books and other clothes.

6. Expect Faster Shipping Times

In 2017, customers are likely to expect a speedy delivery. With the likes of Amazon already trialling same-day delivery, customers won’t wait around for a two-week package.

Most customers are willing to wait two days if you offer free shipping, but younger shoppers are generally more impatient!

Not only that, but 68% of shoppers will only complete a sale if free returns are offered. Wherever possible, add a free returns option to help boost the sale rate.

7. Go Global with Drop Shipping

One way to ensure a speedy delivery is to use drop-shipping. This will also open your store up to customers around the world.

The process behind drop-shipping is fairly straightforward. The customers buys from your website. You place the order with a drop-shipper close to the customer, and they fulfil the order.

It’s a smooth process for the customer, and you needn’t worry about the delivery logistics.

8. Dig Deep Into Your Metrics, Analytics And Data

If there is one defining trend rippling through all online business, it’s big data. Never before have we been able to comb through so many metrics and analytics. It gives us a crucial insight into who our customers are and - most importantly - how they behave.

Whether you’re using Shopify, WooCommerce or another platform, you can save customer data and monitor purchasing decisions. You can then use this information to target recommendations and reward their loyalty.

It’s always easier (and cheaper) to market to existing customers than chase new customers! So dive deep into your analytics, and use it to improve the experience for your customers.

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Start planning your ecommerce strategy now, and you’ll jump out of the gates when 2017 finally arrives. How do you plan to take your online store to the next level in the coming year? Feel free to leave comments and questions below!

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