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ARE YOU MAKING ANY THESE SEVEN MISTAKES SELLING ONLINE?

Ecommerce continues to boom. Last year there were 1.66 billion people buying online. This is anticipated to rise to 2.14 billion by 2021. It makes sense that you want to fully capture and exploit this market as a cycle and cycle accessory retailer. This is also largely unchartered territory. There is no defined rulebook and the goalposts of e-commerce can feel like they are ever changing. However, when we take a closer look at other cycle and cycle accessory retailers and the mistakes they are making, there are usually some common sticking points. Are you making these 7 mistakes in ecommerce? And if so, what can you do to change?

      #1 – Not using social media to monitor competitors

Your competition, when selling online, is astronomical. You’re not simply competing with the other stores within a few miles, but with every store, potentially globally, that sells the cycles and accessories that you do.

That means you’re competing against others, not just in terms of specific products, but also ones which might meet a need more appropriately, or come as part of an enticing package. You’re competing in price against competitors who perhaps don’t have such large overheads, especially if you have a physical cycle store as well as online presence. You’re competing against competitors who have different supplier relationships, a different USP, or perhaps exceptional customer service.

The reality is though, you don’t know what you’re competing against unless you go and really do some homework. The simplest and easiest way to do this is by harnessing the power of social media. Monitoring competitors on social media will not only give you an insight in to pricing and promotions, but essentially, it will give you insight in to their customer base. In addition, it will give you powerful insight in to what they do well, and how they do it. Go take a look and see for yourself.

      #2 – Not price monitoring competitors

When it comes to ecommerce, you need to be the ultimate price spy. Your pricing strategies are the big difference between success and failure as an ecommerce store. Yes you can dress up the store how you like aimed towards your customer base, you can aim for outstanding customer service and seamless deliveries – both will help – but the single biggest defining factor causing a customer to choose you over a competitor is price, and then later, loyalty.

Unlike offline retail, in ecommerce cycle and cycle accessory stores, price is easily comparable and becomes the most prominent distinguisher between retailers. The customer isn’t experiencing your wonderful customer service until they’re already far down the process of deciding to purchase from you. What gets them to you is simple: price. Competitive pricing is absolutely paramount. The way to do this is through price monitoring your competitors.

You could use price comparison websites, or a basic price tracker. However, these don’t generally give you the drilled down insight that you need to ensure your pricing strategies truly work. Instead, you need a tool which uses wiser monitoring to be a price compare tool that really helps. Competitor Monitor does just that.  You get the valuable information on competitor pricing of key cycling retail competitors on key cycling products.

      #3 – Not promotions monitoring competitors

Whilst we’re on the subject of price monitoring, using a price tracker itself is missing one enormous trick: promotions monitoring. The ecommerce customer has the world of your product at their fingertips. In a few clicks they can find the same product, in the same delivery time, on sale.

Therefore, you’re quickly behind the game. Your promotions need to set the trend, as well as being reactive. This way you can always harness the power over your competitors. The only way to do this is with a price spy tool which actively identifies the important promotions from the key competitors and reports on how these will affect you. There are several such price monitoring tools available in the market.

#4 – Not retargeting website visitors

Remember, your customer isn’t required to make multiple walks up and down a high street, or visits to another retail park, to do their price comparisons. They have the tool in the palm of their hand to click back and forth between different cycle retailers before making their ultimate decision.

This means that you need to take retargeting seriously. Retargeting is how you gradually lure the customer back in and towards making the purchase from you, not your competitor. It’s the pop-up which makes them think twice before closing the tab with your store on it, it’s the offer that lands in their inbox at just the right moment, or the banner ad on Facebook – all due to some handy cookies which follow where your customer heads to and what they are planning on doing.

#5 – Not monitoring competitor stock and inventory

The average price tracker may well flag up a great price on a competitor’s website leading you to believe you reactively need to lower your price to match. Conversely, it may be high making you believe you can push your price up. However, look more closely. It’s easy to play games with prices when the product isn’t in stock. You need to utilise price comparison tools which actually undertake competitor analysis, such as whether a product is in stock.

      #6 – Not segmenting customer profiles

Not all customers are created equally even if they are all cycling fanatics. They are individuals behind their keyboards, but generally they will fit in to a distinct profile of characteristics. By looking at characteristics such as demographics, location, and purchasing history, you can begin to target customers more successfully. Taken in partnership with competitive pricing, this can make for incredibly powerful pricing strategies.

#7 – Not streamlining the purchase funnel

The last mistake we tend to see being made is not streamlining the purchase funnel. All customers are on a journey which takes them through awareness, opinion, familiarity, consideration, preference, purchase, and ultimately, loyalty. At each step of the way you naturally lose potential sales. However, for many ecommerce businesses, you are losing more than you need to by not streamlining the purchase funnel for them.

This is where a pricing strategy and a marketing strategy need to be working hand in hand. From your PPC adverts and Facebook adverts, through to social media branding and promotions, there needs to be consistency which easily moves your customer along the funnel towards purchase.

Conclusion

Ecommerce can be an immensely profitable marketplace for cycle and cycle accessory retailers, but you need to avoid the pitfalls in order to maximise on potential customers. By avoiding the above 7 common mistakes in ecommerce you can increase your chances of success. In short:

  • Use social media to monitor competitors
  • Use smart price monitoring by Competitor Monitoring Tools
  • Ensure your price tracking includes promotions monitoring
  • Retarget all website visitors
  • Monitor competitor stock and inventory
  • Segment customers according to their profiles
  • Streamline the purchase funnel

WHAT SHOULD SELLERS LOOK FOR – REVENUES OR PROFITS?

The truth of online selling is – every seller who comes on digital media is there to make profits. After all, why else would he or she pay fees to Flipkart, Amazon and many other platforms who allow him space to showcase his products? There is no reason or rhyme in going online until a seller is clear about the kind and magnitude of profits he wishes to make. But let us tell you one cruel truth as well – sellers may not start making a profit from the word go immediately after going digital. In the initial phase, they have to stay contended with the revenue part. Let us first explain the difference between Revenue and Profits.

Well, revenues are distinct from profits and yet they are quite closely linked when it comes to selling online. Revenue is the sum of all incomes a seller brings in through his sales activities or his main line of business online. Profit, on the other hand, is the term given to the amount of money left over from that revenue after all the seller’s expenses are deducted or paid.

Small or medium-sized online sellers have been seen to value revenue a lot because it is just as crucial for their business as air or water would be for a human being. Without the inflow of enough revenue, their business cannot survive. Sales revenues accruing to them online cover a rather wide range of costs. These include costs of doing business, paying off debts and purchasing additional stocks of inventory, etc. Higher revenue over a period of time is usually indicative of a company’s growth and provides a straightforward metric which lets them compete with their competitors. For any online seller, revenue numbers are a sure shot way to impress lenders and investors and portray the business as a profit making a company.

When it comes to profit, it can be just as valuable as revenues to an online seller company. Profit margins vary a lot and usually, companies consider the owner’s compensation as an expense along with other labor costs. This, in turn, makes it possible for an online seller to survive and grow steadily, simply by breaking even every month. However, a healthy profit margin is the ultimate goal for every seller as it enables them to save or invest additional cash in case of diverse market conditions. There are periods when sellers face stiff competition from various marketplaces and other sellers that have more aggressive pricing strategies. Thus, previously saved profits let them compete with such conditions without having to lose their market share.

So to put it straight, there is no black and white here, but rather many aspects that make sellers chose one over the other when it comes to choosing between revenues and profits. However, for a traditional seller who worries more about the PROFIT thing, we present 3 tips that will help maximize profits –

  1. Do not underprice your goods. Sell good quality at a good profitable price.
  2. Do not offer any FREE Courier or services in case you plan to offer discounts. Spoiling the consumer with many offers means ruining your profitability.
  3. Be very clear in your money-receiving terms.

SECRETS OF A SUCCESSFUL ONLINE SELLER

Online selling being such a hot topic of discussion, there are no secrets left! In fact, successful are those sellers/retailer who started early and on multiple platforms. Sellers who did not stick on to just eBay or Amazon ended up making more profits than others. The reason behind this is simple. Every buyer surfs Google extensively before buying a product online. He or she would check both Amazon & Flipkart as well as a plethora of other shopping websites just to check the most competitive price and quality before taking the final decisions. So the real wisdom lies in registering yourself with the best online selling portals and one step ahead would be to have your own online store as well.

However, for the beginners and those sellers who are really keen to leverage with online selling, here are the secrets of becoming a top online seller that will help you become a top online seller on Flipkart, Amazon, PayTM and many such leading digital selling websites –

SECRETS 1 FOR ONLINE SELLER – CHOOSE YOUR GENRE CAREFULLY

Does a seller have the choice to choose the genre of products he prefers to deal in online? Well, yes. For a mobile phone seller who has his own shop of mobile phone and accessories, it may not be very lucrative to go online offering the same things as there is huge competition and people are selling mobile phones at dirt cheap price. Moreover, the buyer also acts kind of fussy while buying mobile phones. In that case, the seller can experiment by choosing to start with accessories which sell well on all digital platforms. Again, the key here is to put up unique offerings like personalized mobile covers, good quality mobile cases, mobile covers in all latest and fashionable designs etc.

SECRETS 2 FOR ONLINE SELLER – MAKE BUYING AN EASY PROCESS FOR THE BUYER

This is what will bring you on top because buyers prefer to deal with sellers who make online shopping fun and easy for them. Give them FREE Delivery or Cash On Delivery payment option but make sure that you do not end up incurring losses while providing such offers. Other tempting things in this can be to offer SAME DAY DELIVERY in select cities. This will surely get you more customers than your competition.

SECRETS 3 FOR ONLINE SELLER – MAINTAIN GOOD COMMUNICATION

This is one secret not many online sellers would know or accept. It is important for an online seller to get good Feedback and Reviews published with its name on every digital platform. That’s how you will be able to influence more buyers! So when you have delivered a good quality product to a customer who has made the payment as well; send him a personalized email asking for feedback or to write a good review. Most of the buyers respond to direct communication and leave good words when they get good products. All these reviews would help to increase your credibility and ultimately a sale.

And one final tip – Do not forget to make your products look visually attractive with nice pictures and clear persuasive content.

ONLINE SELLING BENEFITS FOR SMALL TRADERS

Times have changed and the internet has significantly changed the way people shop and trust brands. In earlier times we had brand stores to shop with those fancy stores. There was hardly anyone crossing could resist from entering through this prevails but now the shopping is more of a digital one. With millions of options on the click of a button in comfort of your home, who wouldn’t go for online shopping?

When we talk about small trades I think they are benefitting the most out of this. They have more opportunities to be visible to global customers, 24*7 and they can save on the cost of the showrooms which they otherwise would have to invest on! And trust me it isn’t easy to match up to the location, interior and the large space these big brands spoil their customers with. This is a great opportunity for small traders to manage their business from anywhere in the world.

LET’S LOOK AT FEW OF THE MANY BENEFITS SMALL TRADERS ENJOY!

LOW COST

Online selling doesn’t require much initial cost, but yes as you start selling, there would be a certain amount that you will have to pay. Take examples like a fee for payment gateway, merchant account, fixed transactions and % transaction fee. Which is still much lower than required to open a fancy store.

EASE OF OPERATION (GEOGRAPHICAL)

Doesn’t really matter where you are selling from, as long as you are providing a quality product and making it reach on time, your buyers are ready anywhere in the world. You don’t really have to be located in Switzerland to sell the Swiss people some spices, they can access your website and you are good to go!

MAKE CHANGES IN A JIFFY!

From changing your product catalog to changing the price of the product everything can be done from the backend in no time. Which would be quite time-consuming in a physical store sometime?

CUSTOMER DATA ANALYSIS

Last but not the least, customer data can be analyzed and studies, which will give an insight into the customer’s behavior. What a particular segment of customer likes to purchase and which products are the fastest to sell out. These reports help you to keep your inventory updated and bring out some interesting offers for different segments of customers.

Lastly, how you manage your online business on the type of products or services you offer. One can use the internet to run an online shop, manage suppliers; communicate with your customers, study competitors, etc, There is no end to the world of online selling and to some this is just a beginning, a beginning that can reap great benefits to even the smallest of businesses.