2 Major Keys to Growing an Ecommerce Business

We won’t bore you with the typical stats that everyone throws out about online shopping growth; it's a given that ecommerce is continuing to evolve and growth is inevitable. However, mastering an online business and taking advantage of this exploding segment of retail can be difficult. After all, it seems like everyone and their mom has an online business these days. How do you break through the noise and become successful?

Over the last three years, SmartShyp has worked directly with thousands of sellers on Jane, a women’s boutique marketplace. Over that time period, two key elements have emerged as common factors among the fastest growing ecommerce businesses. Whether you're just starting your online business or are already crushing it, focusing on these two elements will bring immediate results.

Photography First

Photography is the key to capturing your customers. You have mere seconds to draw in an online consumer. You could have the best product, but if the pictures don’t reflect that, your sales will struggle. If there's one thing we recommend people invest in when starting an online business, photography is it.

Although photography seems easy—and iPhones make us all feel like professionals—a good photographer is worth their weight in gold. Capturing the right visual presentation of your products is key to increasing conversions.

Here are some quick tips that should help you down the right path:

  • Quality: Using a quality picture is how you convey a quality product. Don't settle for posting a picture that's just “okay.”
  • Context: Show how the product is used. Use lifestyle shots that answer the who, what, and where of the product to help tell a full story.
  • Relatable: Too often, we assume that the consumer is going to understand the product the way we do. Make sure you visually show the product against something the consumer understands. For example, if you're selling vitamins, show the size of the pill compared to a dime, another pill, etc.

Shipping Matters

When competing against larger companies like Walmart and Amazon, it's essential to create a perfect customer experience from start to finish.

Whether you want to or not, your ecommerce business is directly competing with Amazon. Amazon Prime has over 100 million users in the USA. Customers have all become “Amazon Spoiled,” expecting two-day delivery for free.

When refining your own shipping experience, make sure you're comparing it to the Amazon experience. You can’t always afford to beat Amazon on delivery times, but you can create a smooth and pleasant shipping experience. Start by giving estimated delivery times and choosing the best carrier for the best customer experience.

For most businesses, we recommend USPS as the go-to carrier. While there are other carriers out there, many of them ultimately still rely on USPS to deliver the package for the final mile of the delivery. Plus, USPS promises a 1-3 day delivery on both First Class Mail and Priority Mail, which isn’t that far off the Amazon experience.

Along with shipping your products through the right carrier, make sure you haven’t overlooked opportunities to “surprise and delight” by sending a handwritten note or including a random free product sample. Customers pay attention to those little details. All it takes is a few customers to share those on social media for those small investments to pay off in a big way.

All of these post-purchase practices are part of a positive shipping experience. Other post-purchase practices we recommend:

  • Defining your return policy
  • Sending a callback or email with a discount for return shoppers
  • Call-to-Action for shoppers to post about their purchase or follow you on social media  

Using a shipping platform like SmartShyp allows you to determine the best method of shipping without compromising your customer experience. You can easily create and set automation rules around the best shipping method for each product. This level of detail will let you create labels more quickly, as it removes the guesswork from the shipping process. That means you can spend more time finding ways to surprise and delight your customers. Using SmartShyp will power a consistent experience with your customers and ultimately optimize your shipping spend.  

Stick to these two basics, and you'll see steady growth in your business. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in one day! Your ecommerce empire will take time to build as well.