For those hungry to get their ecommerce startups off the ground, there’s arguably no better time than now.
Between the popularity of dropshipping and the fact that setting up a storefront is easier than ever, savvy entrepreneurs have seemingly endless tools at their disposal to get started.
But as ecommerce sales look to reach $4.5 billion by 2021, what should current and prospective merchants start doing sooner rather than later? If you want to seriously scale your ecommerce startup in 2018 and beyond, there are three essential investments you should consider for your business based on industry trends.
And while you may not be able to implement them all at once, look at the following as long-term goals for your ecommerce empire over time.
Mobile Stores and Native Apps
It’s no surprise that people today are always on their phones; however, the extent to which shoppers are embracing the modern mobile marketplace is staggering.
Conventional wisdom still tells us that bigger-ticket purchases typically take place via desktop. Still, having a storefront that’s mobile-friendly is an absolute must. Investments such as responsive design and UX testing to optimize your shops are worthwhile. It helps ensure that you miss no visitors.
Furthermore, many ecommerce brands are experimenting and succeeding with native apps that put themselves in the pockets of their customers. Such apps can be incredibly powerful tools for encouraging repeat customers and represent a big-picture goal of most storefronts. Take the time to understand the typical timeline of app development to familiarize yourself with what it takes to create something to meet your business’ needs via mobile.
Social Shopping Integrations
Speaking of shoppers on-the-go, don’t neglect the power of social media when it comes to your ecommerce sales. Resources such as shoppable Instagram pages and Facebook ads have become the bread and butter of online retailers starting from scratch.
Think about it. Even a brand new storefront has the ability to drive traffic to their product pages thanks to social shopping. If you have an audience via social, chances are you have qualified shoppers. With Facebook in particular, you have the power to define that audience as specifically as you need to.
Considering how much time any given person spends on social media, anything you can do to bring your shops closer to those social pages is a major plus.
User Generated Content
On a similar note, how you market your business via social is crucial to scoring those social sales. Do everything in your power to root your marketing campaigns in user-submitted content. These can be customer photos, testimonials and other social proof to help you build up your brand.
Through hashtag campaigns and freebies (think: submit-a-photo contests), you can encourage this sort of content ASAP. Considering how much millennials trust user-generated content, marketing campaigns that center around your customers are an instant way to seal the deal with buyers and stand out from your competition.
For those eager to take their ecommerce startups to the next level, these three investments are solid starting points. By keeping up with these trends, you poise your storefront for more shoppers and repeat customers.