What Exactly Does It Take to Run a Modern Ecommerce Store?

If you believe that the "Build it and they will come" dictum applies to ecommerce, you're sadly mistaken. Here's how to market your storefront to keep attracting shoppers.

BY: TRACY VIDES ON THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 2014
What Exactly Does It Take to Run a Modern Ecommerce Store?

Ecommerce is a huge business today and it’s not hard to see why: the fact that it’s all digital, and that it’s now moving to mobile are great reasons to be in business today. Consumers get convenience and the power of buying backed by informed decisions while businesses achieve ease of operations, scale, and operational efficiency.

It’s hard to believe that ecommerce is already growing old. There’s no denying that it’s getting competitive, settling down into regularity, and is now mainstream. But how are we coping with this? Are ecommerce stores just a matter of slapping storefronts together and waiting for customers to start clicking away?

Sadly, that’s not the case. You just aren’t tapping into the benefits of digital marketing or ecommerce itself if you just had to sit and wait, anyway. Further, retail businesses can benefit from the power of inbound marketing, avoid obvious channels of doing business, and operating with more efficiency and lowered costs.

So what does it take to run a modern ecommerce store?

Create a Resilient, Holistic Strategy

Ecommerce certainly means opportunity for various small businesses. But it won’t mean a thing without a strong strategy in place. You first have to know what you want to achieve out of your ecommerce site and then work backwards to create a user-oriented experience, price products appropriately, and design the business in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do without it if it didn’t exist, as Stephanie Walden writes on Mashable.com.

Every aspect of running your business – from technology core selection to product display; from marketing to customer support – has to fit snugly into your business strategy.

It’s either this, or nothing at all.

Have a Stronghold on Digital Marketing

After a run of Google’s updates and numerous changes in the digital marketing scene, only one thing stands out as certain: there are no favorites when it comes to marketing channels. There are just choices. Choose to do PPC or don’t. Choose to take the paid route to advertisements or work from the trenches of inbound marketing’s potential by using blogs and social media.

The only thing you can’t do is to beat your chest that this or that is the only way to go. Everything is changing quickly and most of your time, effort, and resources will go towards just keeping up with these changes. Pick up the marketing channels or methods that work best for your business. Blogs, email marketing, and content marketing are mandatory. Display ads, banners, sponsored updates, media buying, and all others are optional. Choose carefully and keep at it.

Stay Lean, Mean, and Smart

Spending thousands of dollars on creating an ecommerce store is so very 90s. You don’t do that anymore. You allow those dollars to flow into your marketing budget but can start with next to nothing, thanks to incredibly powerful, efficient, and capable ecommerce store solutions.

Talking about the presence of solutions, virtually every aspect of your ecommerce business can find a home in the cloud and a solution that makes your business leaner, meaner, and smarter. You can even bridge the offline-online check-out divide by using point of sale software on a device or platform of your choice. You can instantly accept, make, and manage payments with unified APIs as well as run automated marketing campaigns.

It’s all about cutting out resistance. Weeding out friction points is a strategic decision.

Be Socially Inclined

If you create products or deliver services, you could be in business. But that was once upon a time. Today, you are expected to create great products and deliver services, and that’s taken for granted. What can set you apart is called the “one mile intent” – your willingness to take those extra few steps to connect with your customers.

The most efficient way to do that is to take to social media. By connecting with your customers, opening up gates of communication, and by engaging with them on a real time basis, you are already on the path to doing business the smart way.

Adapt, Adjust, and Present

Karsten Strauss writes on Forbes.com that ecommerce stores are now exploding in number but getting people to buy is getting harder than ever. Karsten suggests flexible pricing strategies and making sure to present the currency that’s most relevant to the customer.

He further recommends presenting your price the right way by showing prices in clean round numbers. If you target local customers, ensure that you show locally prevalent methods of payment and make it easy for these local customers to pay.

Go Global

If it makes strategic sense, go global. With ecommerce, it’s not as expensive as pushing a traditional business beyond borders. You already have plenty of information available to brief you on what it takes to go global from sites such as Doing Business and Going Global.

To start with, choose your markets carefully. Tap into your resources, hire consulting firms, conduct preliminary research, and take a rain check before going full-steam ahead as Anne Field detailed on Business Insider.

Find a solid team to support you in another country. Meet them in person. Plan ahead and roll out your expansion plans across borders.

Apart from the business fundamentals, you’ll need a proactive approach to your customers. It’s those little things that’ll make all the difference. Going out of your way to serve him or her, doing all you can to keep in touch with your customers, and making sure that they leave every transaction or communication with a feeling of satisfaction or even delight is what matters today.

How do you run your online business? What do you do with your ecommerce strategy that gives you a competitive edge? How do you make it happen? Share your entrepreneurial journey with us!

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Tracy Vides Tracy Vides is a content marketer who started off doing a little social media and community management at The Hartford Business Insurance to increase their online visibility. Although new to the digital marketing scene and working in a saturated niche, Tracy capitalized on her writing acumen and is now a "serial blogger" with posts featured on Business 2 Community, Sprout Content, Steamfeed, and elsewhere.
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