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While it’s relatively easy to set up an eCommerce store, growing your sales can be another story. No matter how long you’ve been selling, there’s always ways to improve your online business through the use of new digital tools, updating your brand, or finding new customers.
Here are our top 8 tips for growing your online brand.
For most brands, social media is an important touchpoint to create a dialogue with your customers, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. However, social media is more than just a marketing tool. These platforms are now sales channels. Your posts are buying opportunities for your followers. Buy buttons and product tagging make it simple and convenient for customers to make purchases on the products shown without even leaving the social platform itself.
2. Sell Wholesale Products
Expanding your product line can be a great way to sell more to loyal customers or market to new customers. An easy way to expand your product list to find and sell wholesale products.
Wholesale is the selling of goods in large quantities to be retailed by others. As the merchant, you can purchase the products from a wholesaler in bulk at a discount. When you sell to your customers, you can mark up the retail price. Buying wholesales allows you to receive a better per unit price for the items.
There are wholesalers for all types of products like apparel, beauty, home goods, electronics, and more. You can find wholesalers at:
- Directories like Worldwide Brands, Wholesale Central, and Doba
- Going direct to manufacturers
Just be aware of other retailers posing as wholesalers to take advantage of merchants. Instead of discounted wholesale prices, they will offer you the full retail price. Tell-tale signs of a fake wholesaler are charging membership fees (just to do business with them) and offering the same prices to ALL their customers online.
Most wholesalers will require you to apply for a wholesale account and prove you’re a legal business before placing any orders.
3. Use FinTech to Finance Your Growth
Many eCommerce businesses are held back by their finances, especially cash flow. At any time, sellers need capital to invest in all different business aspects like marketing campaigns, new employees, or bulk inventory.
Financial technology (also known as FinTech) is creating new solutions for merchants to transact and manage money. You can leverage FinTech like online banking to save money and maximize ROIs. Check out this go-to guide for FinTech solutions to learn more about the different opportunities for eCommerce sellers.
4. Try Text Messaging Marketing
While email marketing is still an effective strategy, there are new ways to get in front of customers. Enter SMS, or text messaging marketing.
As Omnisend points out, 95% of text messages are read within 5 minutes of being received. It can help turn casual browsers on your site into repeat customers.
Your shoppers can opt in to receive texts from you to receive promotions and order information. It can be a great way to complement your email marketing efforts. If you want to learn more, check out Omnisend’s SMS Marketing Automation.
5. Run a Flash Sale
Merchants often turn to flash sales to generate revenue, even outside of the holiday season. Flash sales create a sense of urgency for new and existing customers to buy, as the sale usually runs for a limited amount of time or offers discounts on products that usually don’t go on sale. Look no further than Amazon Prime Day as a great example of the power of a flash sale.
If you run a flash sale, make sure you consider how you’ll handle the surge in site traffic and order processing. Site crashes, lost orders, or shipping issues can quickly leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth. You can turn to this flash sale guide to avoid common mistakes.
6. Automate Your Shipping Processes
Amazon has conditioned online shoppers to always expect fast, accurate, and free shipping. In fact, 83.5% of consumers say that they won’t return to a brand after just one poor delivery experience.
This is a tough challenge for online sellers. It’s inherently easy for the fulfillment process to go wrong as it can take multiple hands and software systems to ship an order. If you’re not a logistics expert, how do you improve?
1. Invest in an Order Management System (OMS) or ERP – These types of software systems help you manage inventory and fulfill items from a single system.
2. Use shipping software – Shipping software can help you print shipping labels, compare shipping rates, and track your packages. Popular options are ShipStation, Shipmonk, and ShipWorks.
3. Partner with a 3PL – A third-party logistics company (3PL) can take care of warehouse management, transportation of goods, reporting, and forecasting for you. 3PLs can leverage their relationships and volume discounts for affordable, fast shipping for your customers.
4. Integrate Your eCommerce Systems – Connect your eCommerce system with your backend systems like OMS/ERP/3PL/shipping software to automate your shipping processes.
Automating your fulfillment workflow accelerates your order processing and avoids costly mistakes like shipping to the wrong address. The goal is to streamline the process and reduce the number of steps it takes to deliver that order to your customers.
7. Create a Referral Marketing Program
Referral marketing is a proven strategy to acquire new customers and boost your sales. Through the years, most consumers still trust a product recommendation from friends or family over an advertisement. To capitalize on that, you can encourage customers to refer their friends to your brand.
Referrals are usually done by word of mouth, text, or email. To incentivize the referral, merchants can offer discounts codes, free gifts, experiences, or other rewards. Take a look at how different brands are using referral marketing.
8. Expand to International Markets
Selling internationally can work well for aspirational, luxury, or lifestyle brands that offer unique items. If your target customer can’t find similar items in-store, they’re probably willing to search for it internationally. Successful international brands can be found in verticals like consumer goods, beauty, fashion, athletic, leisurewear, baby, personal goods, and home goods.
If selling internationally, you’ll want to consider how your brand markets to each region. A tailored website should accommodate for local languages, currencies, marketing campaigns, and product lists.
Another area to consider is shipping prices. While consumers are willing to pay more for shipping, you should be transparent about customs fees and when they’re paid. You can turn to platforms like Flavor Cloud to help you manage carriers and shipping costs.
There you have it! What tip do you want to try out first? What’s been the best way to grow your online brand? Let us know in the comments below!
nChannel empowers retailers, wholesalers, and technologists with integration tools to sync data and automate processes between their eCommerce, ERP, POS, and 3PL systems from inventory synchronization and order fulfillment to supply chain management.
About the Author:
Jillian Hufford joined nChannel as their Marketing Strategist. Using her writing and analytic skills, she assists the Marketing and Sales teams by performing competitor market research, providing analysis of key sales metrics, and writing informative posts on multichannel commerce trends.
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This article originally appeared in the Omnisend blog and has been published here with permission.