Based on popular demand from our ecommerce webinar yesterday, take a look at the following answers to questions we didn’t have time to address. Topics include: finding time for content marketing, the fear of an ecommerce sales tax and how to approach ecommerce globalization.
Yesterday we held our first webinar of the new year by reviewing the state of ecommerce in 2011. On top of industry predictions, we covered strategies that will enhance your online business for the rest of the year. In case you missed the event, you can check out the recording here.
Highlights from the presentation included a focus on objectively analyzing your ecommerce site, including your design, usability and SEO. We also touched on customer service and content marketing, in addition to a discussion on a potential internet sales tax.
Because of our packed agenda, we didn’t have time to address all the questions received during the Q&A session. I picked out a few of my favorites and have addressed them here.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to join us for this event! Be sure to catch our February webinar, where we’ll discuss the exciting emergence of social commerce.
-Matt Winn, Online Communications Specialist, Volusion
1. As an online business owner, how worried should I be about a potential internet sales tax?
It really depends on how you define “worried.” If you’re afraid that an internet sales tax is going to end ecommerce as we know it, don’t be – shoppers will continue to purchase online. But if you’re anxious that it will impact your business operations, you have a valid concern.
At this point, I’d say that you should be on guard instead of worried. With the amount of legislation that Congress has on its plate this year, it’s unlikely that this bill will hit the floor anytime soon. And even if it does receive passage, states will need years to streamline their tax codes for a consistent system.
For now, I recommend paying attention to developments regarding an internet sales tax, particularly in your individual state. We’re starting to see specific states take matters into their own hands, which is where the real change will take place.
2. I understand that importance of content marketing but don’t have the time. What can I do?
You mean to tell me that between your full-time job and two kids that you don’t have time to write articles and create videos? You’re not alone. While creating unique content is an important marketing strategy for your online business, it involves a big time investment. Thus, if you’re strapped for time, I recommend starting small and with a plan.
First, begin with a blog. Content from your blog posts are ripe with information that you can share on your website and social channels. You can also turn a series of blog posts into a white paper or video blog. In other words, your blog will serve as the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. Don’t fall into the same trap I did early on – you don’t have to make a unique piece of content for everything. You can easily take existing content and reinvent it for a new purpose.
And if you just don’t have the time for any of it, you can always outsource your content creation to a third-party. If you’re on a limited budget, try looking for college students with strong writing skills.
3. You said that ecommerce will turn towards developing countries in 2011. What can I do about this with a small budget and only being able to speak English?
While it’s true that bigger ecommerce players will turn to developing countries, particularly those with growing internet populations, it doesn’t mean that you need to build a new site in Mandarin. Instead, use the early part of 2011 to consider the possibility an international strategy. Is it even feasible for you to sell overseas? What about selling to other English-speaking countries like Canada or Australia?
If you decide that you’d like to expand your online business abroad, don’t be afraid to start small. In fact, Forrester research tells us that 73% of international ecommerce sites only service their customers via a standard mail carrier. The same survey says that 53% of respondents only sell in English-language markets with English-only websites – 21% have English-only websites in non-English markets.
In other words, it’s time for you to start thinking on a larger scale and begin creating a plan, if it’s appropriate for your business. There are a variety of options available, so perform due diligence before taking the plunge.