The global pandemic has shut down businesses, caused companies to lay off workers and keep people off the streets and quarantined at home. This is the reality, but amidst the negatives, there are some things that have to be thankful for – and that is the pandemic has brought about the Filipino spirit, the resilient spirit that we are known for, back to the forefront. Our propensity to share knowledge, to adapt different best practices and to continuously evolve amidst the problems that we face helps us to weather the storm.
Ryan Tan, President of NAVCO, a successful e-commerce company, made mention that among the things that prospered during these trying times are the businesses with e-commerce platforms. Businesses that sell items and services online have seen a tremendous boost in engagement because of the quarantine protocols that the government has enforced. With more and more people relying on online sellers to provide necessities and luxuries, he underscored that while we are weathering the same storm, we are not all in the same boat.
We have to face the fact that we now live in a VUCA world, where everything is volatile – there’s a lot of uncertainty, we face complex situations and at times, it can be ambiguous. As business owners, we have to be able to adapt and adjust to what situation we’re facing. Whereas others may see this situation as a downside, we have to be open to the fact, that this is an opportunity to scale our businesses into the e-commerce platform. As we have said, we have to be able to adapt to weather this storm.
Tan outlined the three main elements that would help to have a successful platform-based e-commerce business.
Business owners must realize that they have to have great products to sell. One can establish his own brand and make it a household name in a much easier manner because of the proliferation of various social media sites. People seek products that have been socially validated – peer-reviewed and vetted as having almost the same or superior in class to the ones they’re accustomed to.
That is why, according to Tan, positive reviews are important! People who have yet to experience your product, once they see that people are raving about it, would gravitate towards your brand. It is then up to the owner to cultivate brand loyalty with various strategies to keep buyers interested and invested.
- Insider Tip #1. Whenever your product receives negative feedback, don’t treat it as criticism – treat it as an opportunity to improve. You can contact the person who gave you negative feedback and smooth things out. Each negative feedback that is highlighted on your profile, could result in 10 lost sales. In the online world, just like in the real, physical word, image and placement is everything.
Excellent commercial management.
Among the things that Tan underscored is the importance of realizing your projected gross merchandise value, or in layman’s terms, your profit. As we all know, the e-commerce industry is a competitive platform and all companies are engaged in a virtual war as they seek to attract the attention of customers, 24/7. It is a never-ending cycle and a business owner must be up to the task in facing this challenge of converting page views into actual spending customers.
- Insider Tip #2. Among the things that you as a business must be savvy with is turning page views into spending customers. And how would you be able to do it? Simple enough -make your brand, make your store be highly visible! Use search engine optimization (SEO) words, inter-link product pages, use push marketing and social advertisements to optimize search marketing, participate in platform mega-offers and engage your customers through livecommerce – or live selling sessions. Using these strategies will not only strengthen your visibility, but would also build brand loyalty – an evolving ecosystem that would help your bottom line.
- Insider Tip #3. Be content-driven. Remember the adage, CONTENT IS KING. Give your customers everything that they want to see, read and hear. Your task is to provide a convincing copy that would do the selling for you. Give them facts, useful information, engaging visuals – that they could use to decide on why your product is superior to the competitor and sweeten the pot by using bundle deals – offer free shipping options or vouchers. Make people believe that they’re getting a great deal!
- Insider Tip #4. Engage your customers. As previously mentioned, we are to be content-driven. However, it would be an integral part of your operation to have someone on standby ready to answer customer questions immediately. Research states that having a positive interaction with a customer in the online platform increases his chances of buying your product by at least 30% – a number that greatly swings things in your favor. It would also reflect on your image, and as we have been emphasizing, image, just like content, is everything.
- Insider Tip #5. Saturate the field. As you make your brand visible, make sure that your website is enticing enough. We have mentioned previously that content is king, but we have to be able to attract people to visit our pages first. Make the landing page as exciting as possible – use the right graphics and color schemes to influence your customers. You can highlight the positive reviews and offer great deals – remember, people are looking for value, so convince people with strategic price points that make them feel good and want to buy your product, AT ONCE!
Efficient, on-time fulfillment.
Among the things that a business owner must be on top of, is the logistics side of things. As a country that hasn’t fully embraced the use of credit and debit cards and electronic payment systems yet, we’re a Cash On Delivery (COD) driven culture. We have to be able to provide timely shipping for all products – which is why it is also important to update each client with the whereabouts of their package, at all times. We have succeeded in turning their interest into a purchase, now we have to cement the relationship by coming through with the timely delivery of their items.
- Insider Tip #6. Use a courier that you can trust to fulfill your orders quickly. The faster and more efficient that they can deliver, the better the chance that you’ll get a five-star review.
- Insider Tip #7. Check your inventory. Nothing disappoints a customer more than not getting the right item or not getting the item at all. Remember that they’re invested in your product and have taken the time to make sure they acquire it. It is your task to make sure that they receive what they want. Also, you wouldn’t want to reimburse them again and again, right? It’s just not good for business. Remember, great feedback would help you much.
Remember, if you’re looking to make your mark in the e-commerce business, you have to be able to be consistent all throughout. You must seek perfection in every step – never compromise or even think of compromising what works – seek to improve on what you have but never even think of regressing. Build your identity – build your brand – build trust and when the time comes, expand your operations, and build your e-commerce empire.
It wouldn’t be an easy road, as the competition is always going to be fierce and you have to be able to be one step ahead of your competition. But as we have always said, success in the e-commerce industry doesn’t come easy as, if it were, everyone would be doing it.
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