If your website is all about making money for your business, mostly through the transaction of goods and services, then by definition it is an eCommerce site. As with any business, making money requires investment, and running a lucrative eCommerce site is no exception. By investing and integrating these five money-making traits into your site, your business will be bound to bring in even more money in 2013: mobile, social, personal, customizable, and easily profitable.
Mainstream technology and culture are increasingly driving consumers to be more mobile. In 2012, there were a reported six billion mobile subscribers worldwide; and by 2015 mobile spending is projected to reach $20.6 billion, according to Digital Buzz. That’s a huge market opportunity that small businesses with an online Web presence simply can’t ignore. By enabling your eCommerce site to be accessible by and to handle commerce via mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, you’ll be in a great position to reap your share of the mobile spending pie. This is what the industry refers to as mobilization, mobile optimization and mCommerce.
There’s no denying the impact of social media. The art of getting consumers to socially interact and engage with one’s brand can generate exponential market buzz, which can lead to site traffic, clicks, and yes even conversions or online payments. Not convinced? Well, check out these 20 Stats on How Social Media Influences Purchasing Decisions. For those still cringing at the thought of managing a Facebook or Twitter page in addition to their site, don’t worry. There are alternate ways to make your site social. Consider incorporating customer product/service ratings, reviews, or recommendations. These options are also social in nature, and research shows consumers are 85 percent more likely to purchase products and services when they see online recommendations. (Fortune; Marketing Charts.)
I like to think of personalization as all of the “little touches” you might receive when walking into their favorite neighborhood store: the owner remembers you; greets you by name; shows you some hot new product that “just came in” and has not yet been put on display for the general public; maybe he even knocks off a couple of bucks from your bill. With service like that chances are you’ll patronize that store again. Well, the same holds true for website personalization. Through the use of Web technology, your site can deliver a personalized shopping experience that will keep each and every visitor coming back for more. Cha-ching!
Closely related to personalization is another money-making, must-have site trait called, customization. While both traits are aimed at enhancing the consumer’s online experience, personalization is “portal-controlled,” meaning the portal (or store owner) does something to personalize or enhance the consumer’s experience. Customization, on the other hand, is “user-controlled,” meaning the user (or consumer) does something to customize or enhance their own experience. Real-life examples of customization include having the ability to view more or less products on a webpage; filtering products by color, type, or manufacturer; and rotating products to view them at different angles. A customizable site empowers consumers to quickly and easily get the products and services they want in the manner that makes the most sense to them. “The well-satisfied customer will bring the repeat sale that counts.” – James Cash Penney
5. Easily Profitable
Because an eCommerce site must have a means of obtaining online payments, it is profitable by design. So then the question becomes, how can you make what is already profitable more “easily profitable?” The answer: by harnessing web-enabled technologies, apps, and software like PayPal and Google Wallet. These trends in online payment make it easier than ever for small businesses to obtain payments and for your consumers to make online.
I’ll be the first to say there is no one-size-fits-all-approach to building and maintaining a successful eCommerce site. However, if your eCommerce site is not bringing in the dollars you projected or hoped for, then it may be time to invest in new digital strategies and technologies to help your business reap increased profitability.