The Covid-19 pandemic created a boom in e-commerce worldwide. That surge is continuing into 2021, even after the rollout of vaccines. Experts state that the online shopping habit of consumers is going to stay even after the pandemic is over.
The Adobe Digital Economy Index forecasts $4.2 trillion in global e-commerce sales this year, with almost a fourth coming from the U.S. This is in line with eMarketer’s prediction of $933.3 billion in U.S. e-commerce retail sales in 2021. Would-be entrepreneurs planning to start a business this year can share a slice of this huge pie if they go into e-commerce. There is enough room for many businesses.
Build the Perfect Website
The website is the e-commerce business’s flagship store. It must be optimized for all digital devices, especially for mobile phones. According to Statista, in the first quarter of 2021, almost half of the online traffic in the U.S. was from mobile devices. An e-commerce business that is not accessible on mobile will lose a lot of potential sales.
To rank high in Google search as of May 2021, the website must have good Core Web Vitals. This covers the speed of page loading and interactivity and page stability. Google also considers the website’s mobile friendliness, safe browsing with HTTPS security, and intrusive pop-up ads. Adhering to Google’s guidelines essentially improves the website’s visitor experience.
A great website is intuitive and easy to navigate. Interactivity is crucial for today’s online consumers. Their queries must be instantly addressed. Using artificial intelligence (AI) on the website makes this possible. AI can also customize every user’s experience on every visit to the website. By learning the user’s previous online behavior, it can display products or services based on the user’s known preferences.
Business owners must not scrimp on the website and hire the best professional website developers they can afford. This is not a one-time expense because the website needs constant monitoring and maintenance to avoid or minimize downtime.
The website development and maintenance service must also provide continuous cybersecurity. Furthermore, it must adhere to basic online privacy guidelines when collecting personal data from consumers.
Expand Payment Options
The website must offer as many payment options as possible to accommodate more consumers. According to the Global Payments Report of FIS, the most used payment methods for e-commerce in the U.S. in 2020 were credit cards, digital or mobile wallets, and debit cards. A few people used charge and deferred debit cards, bank transfers, buy now pay later, postpay, direct debit, prepaid cards, and cash on delivery.
An example of a digital wallet is PayPal, while an example of a mobile wallet is ApplePay. While a digital wallet can be used almost everywhere, a mobile wallet is restricted to a specific mobile operating system (OS).
Business owners must not neglect the buy now pay later method. Both FIS and eMarketer predict that a growing number of consumers will be using this service, especially millennials and Gen Z.
Maximize Digital Marketing
Once the fully functional website is up, digital marketing must drive high traffic to it. Even as the website is being developed, the business owner must hire a professional SEO service provider to ensure that it is optimized for search. Today, this must include optimizing the business for visual search. According to research, most millennials prefer to use visual search over other search methods. The service must also ensure that the website is on Google My Business and Google Maps. SEO must be a continuing effort and can combine with pay-per-click campaigns to further drive traffic.
Professional digital marketing is crucial to an e-commerce business. Digital marketing these days does not merely consist of having accounts on all social media platforms. Digital marketing means messaging across these platforms must be under a unified campaign and yet tailored to the nuances of each platform and its audience. For instance, the newest social media star these days is Tik Tok, and it has its own style of video posts.
Omnichannel digital marketing takes this even further by using AI to customize the messaging across platforms for every user. For instance, offers can be tailored to a user’s previous purchase behavior and can follow the user from personalized email messaging to ads across various social media.
Interactivity on social media drives consumer engagement and increases brand presence. Popular interactive content includes contests, polls, and quizzes. These can collect consumer preferences, as well, to further enrich customization.
Start a Profitable E-Commerce Business Now
The business environment is right to start an e-commerce company now. With almost half of the U.S. population fully vaccinated, engines of the economy are starting up again and ready to go up to speed. It is a good time to ride on this economic momentum, especially knowing that even as brick-and-mortar stores start to reopen, e-commerce will also continue to flourish.