How To Grow Your E-commerce Business and Brand in 2023
While e-commerce has been thriving for many years, the pandemic put it on a rocket, with global e-commerce sales growing significantly. As a result, the share of e-commerce as part of total retail jumped from 13.8% in 2019 to 19.8% in 2021. This share is expected to reach 24.5% by 2025. WOW!
Having observed how trends have continuously changed in the past several years, it's clear the only way to keep growing your e-commerce business is through evolution. With 2023 heralding new technology and customer behavior trends, you need to adapt to evolve from fighting price wars to building your brand.
(1) Brand Your Personal Name
One of the biggest mistakes people make early in their careers is not growing their own personal brand — their name. Your name is always going to follow you — unless you have a change of heart. But in all seriousness, it's extremely important to growing your brand and business, especially for those of you reading this that are just now getting started in e-commerce.
One mistake many entrepreneurs make is, instead of using their names, they use names theirs is related to. If your attention is focused on the brand name and not your personal name, often, nobody ends up knowing your name — at least, not at the level it should be.
Many e-commerce brands get their start thanks to a personality behind the brand. For example: every well-known YouTuber has a merch store.
(2) Leverage Social Proof
One of the most powerful forces behind brand-building is social proof, which refers to positive recommendations from clients and customers. Here's a stat to remember: studies show that 93% of people trust friends and family more than ads, influencers, or celebrities. Social proof is powerful!
Word-of-mouth is still king when it comes to making purchasing decisions. A 2020 survey showed that 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
When potential customers can trust reviews and save hours of research deciding which brand to trust with their money, their experience benefits as a result. Hence, incentivizing your existing customers to share their experiences online goes a long way in building your brand image.
User-generated content (UGC) is another powerful way to harness your brand community to your advantage. Encourage your customers to post about their experiences with your brand on social media, your product pages, and even your website.
(3) Build and Implement SEO
Sixty-eight percent of online users begin their online experience with a search engine — nearly seven out of 10 users. Due to this, you want to make sure your business is showing in search engines, especially Google.
Google is believed to control 90 percent of the search engine market, so if you're going to focus on an SEO strategy, you want to make sure you play by Google's rules.
SEO is still one of the most effective ways to grow a business or brand in 2023 and beyond. With the addition of visual search, SEO is going to remain relative for many years to come.
(4) Great Customer Service
The service recovery paradox shows that stopping a customer from jumping ship by solving a problem they faced will increase chances of retention much more than retaining one who never faced a problem at all.
Hence, investing in customer service can prove to be one of the greatest investments for your brand. The human element in an otherwise automated experience can work wonders by creating positive associations in the minds of your customers.
Your customer support personnel can work as your brand evangelists, working in synergy to provide the best shopping experience, both pre- and post-purchase.
The way your brand handles returns and replacements will define brand perception for your customers and will have multiple benefits for your business.
(5) Social Media Marketing
Social media is still one of the best marketing strategies for growing your ecommerce business. There's a number of different social platforms you can be using;
The key initially is to find (1) social media platform that works for your ecommerce brand. Audiences on social media platforms differ, this is why one platform may work and another may not. As you begin to try and find the right social media platform, it makes sense to try multiple platforms at once. See what those results are, this can help you learn which social media sites are best for your specific type of product.
Another way you can use social media is by placing social media buttons on your product pages. A great example of this in action is the company Mahr, they sell polymer gear metering pumps. While they described their MarEx Inline Transfer and Booster gear pumps, they give users an opportunity to share on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
It doesn't matter if you're selling gear pumps, flashlights, or vehicles, give users the opportunity to share your products via social media.
(6) Omnichannel Marketing
It’s a folly to try to maximize your sales by limiting yourself to a single marketplace or just your website. Ensure you’re selling on all the platforms your potential customers are spending time on, be it Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, or Walmart Marketplace.
If you’re already selling on Amazon and Walmart Marketplace, there are still a lot of areas in which you can improve.
With the Brand Registry Program, you can optimize your product pages with increased customization, while also protecting brand assets against infringement by other sellers.
Amazon Stores lets you design store pages for your brand. Having a customized brand page builds brand authority and helps you connect with customers on a deeper emotional level.
Lastly, Amazon Advertising and the Amazon Influencer Program can massively increase awareness and engagement for your products, both on and off the platform.
Sellers using Walmart Fulfillment Services and sporting the Pro Seller badge are automatically part of the most elite sellers on the platform.
Walmart Advertising is a highly effective tool to drive customers to your products and highlight deals and specials you might be running.
Using Walmart’s new Flash Picks program, you can take advantage of Walmart’s marketing campaigns and deliver a top-notch and consistent site experience to your buyers.
(7) Product Images and Videos
Since you're selling products, you want to make sure you give your potential customers every opportunity to view your product and see it in action.
Let's start with videos as they're one of the most powerful and engaging content types you can have. You can publish videos about your ecommerce products, these could be;
Product review videos
Product unboxing videos
Product advertisement videos
Product marketing videos
Product explainer videos
When consumers are watching videos, they feel like they're a part of that conversation. It's a powerful influencer, video content can make your ecommerce brand rememberable.
Product images play a big role also - product images are the vessel that allows potential customers to view a product before they buy. Knowing this, making sure your images are clear and pixel perfect is very important. You should always consider having multiple images for each ecommerce product you have.
For the best possible results, make sure you're using both video and images. If your products don't have images and videos right now, get them added - it will make a difference.
You want to give your customers every opportunity possible to engage with your products. If you want to take it to another level, try a 360 video. There's a lot of different ways to help your audience connect and engage with your ecommerce products - images and video are among the best.
(8) Products Proudly Made In (Country)
While we can't speak for every country, here in the United States of America, many customers only buy products that are sold in the U.S.A.
Take Diversified Specialties for example, a U.S. based company that builds stainless steel sprockets. If you visit their landing page on sprockets, you'll find "100% Made In The USA" front and center in the header of their webpage. Sure, they talk about their stainless steel sprockets, hitting on the quality, strength, efficiency, and affordable price of their sprockets. Still, they know a product manufactured in the U.S. is important to their audience, this is where a few words can count for a lot.
There's a lot of consumers in the U.S. that are very patriotic and only buy from companies that make their products in the United States.
The (6) pillars we've discussed today - they move the needle. If you can focus in those areas, you're going to see better results.
Don't forget, one of the best ways to take your business to the next level is by surrounding yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs. You can do just that by joining PDMI - check out our membership here.