In an era where the economy is completely global and terms like “local economy” are being redefined, progressing technology has made it possible for all businesses to utilize the growing industry of logistics and distribution. While the bigger players are utilizing these resources to the best of their abilities, the smaller players are forced to see their local business from a global context.
Though size of business can be considered as a disadvantage to the SME Sector, especially when competing on a global platform, it is first to be remembered that businesses are built on the factor of thinking big. eCommerce can clear up many barriers for them, including creating value-added new services, more compatible business models and scalability options.
Here, we list some of the positives of eCommerce and the trends in 2016, which provide value addition to the businesses and over a due course of time might act as inhibitors for business growth if not implemented.
1. High Powered Search
The present day eCommerce websites do not inculcate just a term-by-term based search algorithm in its midst but rather one which can understand and adapt to the user queries. Say for example, you search for “Canon Portrait Photo Lens” and the results show you “Canon EF50mm F/1.8 STM Lens” – that’s how effective and high powered search works now.
The same feature is made adaptive when a user puts in a new query and the algorithm eventually understands what the person was shopping for, after analyzing his shopping history and search pattern.
2. Flash Sales
Amazon brought in its famous “Lightening Deals” and the world followed. Almost every eCommerce site has now been utilizing the “Flash Sale” pattern to increase its user base and provide the customers an opportunity to view and review its complete list of products. SME’s can utilize the opportunity for the same.
And while some may say the Flash Sales might incur losses, the customers acquired in the process make up for the loss in due course. Secondly, the volume of products sold also helps in most cases.
3. Loyalty Program
Loyalty Programs have always been about adding value to the recurring customer. It has been used widely in the real-world commerce as it has been in eCommerce. Loyalty Programs add special value to SMEs since the consumer base in numbers is low and repeated purchases make all the difference between profit and loss, since they do not enjoy huge volumes as the biggies do. Also to remember, not only do Loyalty Programs reward the customers for brand loyalty but also provide the company with a lot of customer information, including their shopping pattern and spending capacity.
4. Public Relations
What acts better than your website for your brand building? And when you have your complete product lineage listed on it, all the better! Ecommerce websites act as one of the epitomes of Public Relations for businesses. It lets your customers interact with you, for their needs, without you having to sound all sales-y. And as the sales grow bigger, your products tend to advertise for themselves.
5. Real Time Analysis
Big Data has been making all the heads turn for all the right reasons. With eCommerce, it just grows up in prominence. Real time data analysis helps you evaluate the sources of your traffic, the regions from where you’re
getting maximum responses and in turn may help you change your Social Media Marketing Strategy in real-time. If, say, users are coming into your website ad moving away on the page where prices are mentioned, might mean the interest exists but the price is what’s putting them off. In such scenarios, monitoring real-time would help you analyze if a change in price helps you win over more sales.
The positives of real-time data analysis are many. One just needs to know the whats to be done and the whens.
6. Payment Solutions
With multiple payment solutions available, from credit cards to debit cards to Paypal, the flexibility with payments is one of the biggest pros of setting up an eCommerce business. And with Payment Gateways looking at increased partnerships, the options for customers, increase.
7. Direct Chat Module
In the process of making a purchase, the customer might reach a bump which might need just a nudge to take him to the other side. But if that nudge isn’t there, one might lose out on a customer altogether. Direct Chat Modules increase in significance to cater to real-time issues faced by the customer. Resolving the issues faced at the exact moment increases the chances for the customer to complete an order. Secondly, it also helps the customer interact with you on a personal front.
8. Automated Marketing
Automated Marketing can be used for a plethora of reasons – for optimizing conversion rates to reminding your customer about a new offer as he is about to buy a product to predict customer behavior.
It proves to be helpful in various scenarios like –
● Cart Abandonment – to reach out to a customer with a new offer or reminder when they have left a sale midway.
● Action based on Analytics – you can automate actions based on certain analytics for e.g. Change the template of the page if the first design isn’t helping land as many conversions as planned. Or consolidate the checkout process if Cart Abandonment rates are high etc.
● E-Mail Marketing – Used for everything and anything nowadays, eMail Marketing is found abundantly useful -be ot for post-transaction mails, updates about delivery, season offers, Loyalty Program Rewards etc.