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How to keep your online business relevant

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Staying afloat in the stormy seas of eCommerce

These are fast times - ‘keeping up with the Jones’’ drives the consumer population and eCommerce business is booming. Kickstarters and Crowdfunded companies are quickly filling gaps in the market. Constantly advancing and changing technologies make it difficult to remain visible and connected with consumers. Even well established online businesses can find they’re falling behind the flock. Fortunately there are methods that will allow you to stay relevant in the eCommerce world, and stay noticed among the competition.

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Be prepared for change:

Some companies remain the same from the moment they’re conceived, and whilst they may garner attention and enduring profitability, the eCommerce landscape is in constant flux. A lack of innovation and reluctance to develop can quickly ensure that your company becomes stale and that customers lose interest. Re-evaluating ideas, missions and campaigns can help you understand what needs to change to keep up with the current climate. Ongoing consideration can allow you to alter and keep your eCommerce business relevant and up to date. This may mean large changes such as moving your fulfilment from in-house to outsourcing to a third party logistics company. This would help you keep up with orders, improve relations with customers and ensure growth. Other changes could include altering your target audience or promoting new products, making the jump to mobile devices or drawing up a new five year plan.

Keeping an eye out for trends and innovations in the market can help you formulate new strategies and prepare for further changes to your business. Gathering data and analytics can allow you to forecast for days, weeks, months, even years ahead. This will also allow you to apply your strategy and keep your online business not only relevant but innovative and pioneering.

Master social media:

Social media maybe this generation’s method of communication, but for your eCommerce business, it’s an advertising goldmine. 2.34 billion people use social media and Facebook’s daily log in rate alone is 1.23 billion. By ensuring that your online business has a presence on various social media platforms, you will retain a certain amount of relevance. Your visibility will increase and it’ll give you the means of directly communicating with your customers and the consumer base as a whole. Through your social media accounts you can share information, offer deals, promote competitions and campaigns, host surveys and reach a far wider audience than you would have previously. Building a network of followers can take time, but with a dedicated social media strategy, it can transform your business and help you stay relevant in a rapidly advancing and changing landscape.

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Another way you can utilise social media is by enlisting the aid of ‘influencers’: popular faces on social media and bloggers. With loyal fanbases ranging from thousands to millions, reaching out to these internet darlings can let you communicate with and promote to their followers. By sending influencers products, exclusive discount codes or having them front promotions they will share it all with their followers, who will quickly react and attach themselves to said products and your business. With 30% of UK citizens admitting to buying endorsed goods, influencers help you gain exposure and give a ‘celebrity’ appeal to your product. This can keep you in the public eye, grant you a new audience and help keep you relevant, especially among the younger generations.

Technology is your friend:

What your customers want from your website

It’s no secret that in order to maintain a strong, relevant online business, it’s vital to keep up to date with the associated technologies. Your website is an excellent starting point to consider developing. The perfect customer journey is clear, simple and with as few stalling points between selection to sale. Streamlining your site will allow for your personality as a business to shine through and charm your customers far better than endless clicking and backtracking will. 95.5% of consumers expect all prices and important information to be clearly displayed, and by having a site that is both visually appealing and easy to navigate, you will not only please your customers, but provide them with a positive experience.

The content of your website is the gateway for your chosen market. If you target your content specifically for a specific audience it can ensure a loyal customer base, but also has the potential to turn away new prospects. Finding a balance is vital to remaining relevant and with 33.9% of sales from returning customers, it’s clear that both sides of the coin have equal value.

Alternating content can help keep your website fresh and energetic. Vibrant high quality images are an expectation, but can also keep customer interest. Videos count for 69% of all internet traffic, pandering to that and catering to the media obsession can be an excellent way to hold and generate interest.

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Multi-platforming and apps

If it’s not mobile, it’s not relevant. The average user spends up to 5 hours a day checking their phones and browsing apps. In the UK alone, the average amount of time spent on a smartphone is 66 hours per month (as opposed to 29 hours on a desktop computer). Over 90% of UK citizens are multi platformers and with the digital age firmly upon us, it’s critical to optimise your website for mobile phones and other handheld devices. 40% of eCommerce transactions are made on mobile devices. It would be a missed opportunity to not consider adjusting your website for mobile conversion, and may render your business irrelevant.

The popularity of apps is another avenue to explore - they’re no longer just for playing games or counting your steps. People do their banking through them, book their holidays, buy their clothes, order their food and much more. The average user spends 90% of their time on a mobile device using apps, rather than browsing the web. Apps themselves are a relatively cheap, easy to access method of staying relevant and close to your customers. With nearly 500 million downloads per day, it’s a bandwagon worth hopping on and investing in.

Engage with the market:

No matter how strong a market is, niche or mainstream, it’s a fickle environment, and brands constantly have to reinvent themselves to remain relevant and popular with consumers. Whilst it’s not always necessary to completely renovate your company, it’s important to change as the market does.

Paying attention to your competitors and watching to see how they develop and alter their strategies, missions and products will help you determine just what you need to do to excel. By implementing an up to date, rolling strategy through your marketing, you give yourself the freedom to learn new techniques, whilst studying opposing campaigns to capture the best elements and using them to bolster your own online business.

Some closing thoughts:

Overall the most important element of remaining relevant is change. By allowing your eCommerce business to be open to the prospect of developing and evolving with the trends and times, you give your company the opportunity to stay afloat and stay relevant. By updating and investing in outsourcing your operations and fulfilment, social media and new software and technology, your online business will maintain an excellent relationship with your customers and continue to succeed.

If you’d like to find out how outsourcing your fulfilment will help keep your eCommerce business relevant, why not contact us and find out what we can do to help?

May 8th, 2017 by Hannah Newman

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