Let’s face the fact. Today, starting a business is easier than answering ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years?’ in a job interview. For those of you who draw inspiration from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates of the world, this article will serve as a handy pocket-guide to venture out into the world of e-commerce and Dropshipping.
If you are familiar with the concept of Dropshipping, you must be aware that you don’t really need a team to kickstart the business. But as a budding entrepreneur, you need to first identify and then build a close working relationship with your manufacturers, wholesalers, suppliers, third-party logistics vendors, and other business partners who play important roles in your operations.
But first and foremost, you need to ensure that you are able to attract, converse, convert, and delight your customers consistently in order to achieve your target revenue numbers.
If you are just getting started or looking for an inspiration to start-off your e-commerce venture from scratch, you may want to read 'How to start a profitable online store from scratch' before moving to the next segment.
Problems and Opportunities of E-commerce Industry
As a business owner you would have your own set of challenges throughout your growth journey, but we will discuss that on a more suitable occasion. It is more important for us to focus on the common problem areas that are plaguing the online shoppers vis-à-vis your potential customers, because therein lies your opportunity to make a difference and thrive.
Slow and Outdated Customer Care Process
Your customers will pull an abracadabra vanishing act on your business if the customers support team ends up taking too long to address their enquiries and requests. Did you know that 61% customers are likely to stop shopping with your business with just one bad experience.
Inefficient and sluggish customer support process only adds to your customers’ frustration. In order to manage customer enquiries and complaints in the most efficient way, you need to have a holistic view of the entire customer journey in order to identify and address the area of friction quickly.
Lack of Real-time Assistance
Instant gratification is the word of the decade. Customers have too many options to pick from to wait for your customer support personnel to be online to address their enquiries. Anything less than immediate resolution only adds fuel to the fire and stokes the flames of frustration higher and higher.
Laborious Exchange and Return Process
Most businesses make the mistake of not paying attention to their return and exchange policy. If your customers have to get in touch with your customer support team multiple times before they can return or exchange the product, then you can forget seeing them on your website again. Your job is not over when the customers have made their purchase. If and when your customers decide to exchange the product, you are not only losing money, but also a customer. But instead of looking at it as a loss, entrepreneurs need to start looking at it as an opportunity. Did you know that 90% customers are more likely to shop with you again if they have had a positive return experience.
Inconsistency Between Multiple Channels
It’s good to adapt an omnichannel strategy for your e-commerce business in order to expand your sales avenues, but if you are not providing support for your customers on those channels, your brand runs the risk of coming across as unreliable. In order to truly adopt an omnichannel e-commerce strategy, you must first unify all communication channels on a single platform to be able to create a consistently delightful engagement experience for your customers.
Poor After Sales Experience
If your customers do not receive timely updates of their order confirmation and shipment delivery status, they are most likely to not return to purchase from your website. Sending after-sales updates and information on the preferred mode of communication is the norm and should be followed diligently in order to establish trust and retain customers.
Some customers may wish to change the delivery address after placing the orders due to some unforeseen reasons, while others may wish to remove or add some items from the order. If your customer support team does not aid your customers with the same fervour and urgency as they did before the orders were placed, it will likely result in loss of any future business from those customers.
E-commerce Journey for Customer Retention
Let’s take look at the typical e-commerce journey with focus on customer retention, and opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling.
Customers need to be made aware of your brand’s existence for them to be able to weigh their options and consider purchasing from your website.
Social media plays an active part in getting your brand in front of the potential customers. You could spend thousands of dollars in advertisements in getting your customers to your website, but if they are unable to find your business page or interact with your brand on the social platforms that they are active on, it is a red flag. You need to be actively present on all social media channels to be able to support and guide your customers through the discovery process.
Let’s look at Tony’s journey, for example.
Tony clicks on a beard trimmer Ad on his Facebook feed and is redirected to your website. He sees that the trimmer has all the features he is looking for, but he wishes to know if the trimmer is cordless or with cord.
While Tony is reading the product description, a pre-configured greeting pops-up from the chat widget, encouraging Tony to reach out to the live support personnel for purchase assistance.
At this time, when Tony decides to initiate interaction with your business, the customer support personnel should have complete visibility of Tony’s journey through your website in order to assist him efficiently. By interacting with your customer support personnel, Tony learns that the trimmer not only comes with a cordless facility, but he can also get a free beard bib apron along with free shipping if he places the order within the next 10 minutes.
As a budding entrepreneur, you should not wait for the customers to initiate conversation once they are on your website. CINNOX widget’s Smart Greeting capability enables you to greet and guide your customers to complete the purchase, while enhancing their conversational shopping experience.
Do you know if your customers wish to checkout as guests or have their profile created on your website? Do you have visibility on which product is registering more interest from your website visitors?
Ensuring your customers have a smooth and delightful experience on your website goes beyond addressing their transactional needs. In order to impress your customers and ensure that they keep coming back to your online store, you need to have a finger on their pulse to understand their preferences and expectations.
Every data point can be leveraged to create bespoke experiences throughout their shopping journey, right from the device they are using to shop on your website, to the channels they prefer to connect with your support team on, and the way they navigate through your website in search of what they are looking for.
Converting visitors into customers is not rocket science, but there is science to it. Simple measures like tagging your interactions with relevant labels, integrating your CRM data to work in tandem with your CX platform, and having a holistic picture of your customers’ browsing journey through your website can go a long way in boosting your conversion rate.
The e-commerce battlefield is not for the faint-hearted. If you aim to build a profitable venture, you must make every effort to empower your customer facing team with the right knowledge and tool to delivery excellent customer service. With the right tool and strategy in place, your team would be able to resolve customers’ enquiries within the first interaction. By acting in real-time, they would even be able to nudge hesitant visitors to complete a purchase by offering a generous discount coupon.
It is important to plan a retention strategy to convert the first-time customers into brand loyalists. While there are multiple ways to go about this, one particular business model that has managed to soar above the rest over the past few years is subscription commerce.
A subscription model offers an affordable way for your customers to buy what they need regularly. But the benefits are not just reserved for your customers. A subscription model also brings with it several benefits for your e-commerce store.
It not only lowers your customer acquisition costs, but also ensures easy inventory management, and helps you in establishing a loyal customer base with more opportunities to build relationships and increase revenue.
As you can tell, the entire concept of subscription model relies on how well you can leverage the data from CRM to bolster your sales and marketing initiatives. For a subscription model to work, you would need a solution that syncs your front-end data with CRM to allow the data to flow seamlessly between your systems and teams.
For the concept of scheduled purchasing to work, you need to master your communication game by sending out timely reminders, share product updates, and entice customers with special offers so that they do not miss out on renewing their subscriptions.
For your e-commerce store to thrive it is very important to think long term and create a thriving relationship between your customer facing team and customers. You can create this sense of familiarity with CINNOX’s smart routing capability, which allows you to pair returning visitors or existing customers with the same agents they had interacted with earlier.
While customers may prefer to shop online, they do miss the personal touch of shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. As an e-commerce entrepreneur, it this this gap that you must try to fill by creating hyper-personalised experiences for your customers and stand out from your competition.
Build a Lucrative E-commerce Business with CINNOX