Curious about what it takes to start an ecommerce business? Longing to know the best ecommerce marketing strategies that will elevate your online store to the next level? Wondering what in the heck ecommerce even is?
If your head is sputtering and bubbling with an overabundance of ecommerce questions, we have great news: You’ve come to the right place. In this blog we’ll go over what it takes to start and grow an online store and we’ll even share our best insider ecommerce business tips, tricks, and successful strategies to increase your sales and revenue.
Starting an Ecommerce Store
What is ecommerce, anyways?
Whether you’ve seen it spelled “e-commerce” or “ecommerce” (or any variation in-between), each word leads to the same overall definition: commercial transactions conducted electronically over the internet.
Simply put, ecommerce comes down to the buying or selling of anything online. From physical goods such as hats, pins, and shoes, to digital goods like ebooks and software, to services such as online courses, consulting, and freelance services, ecommerce is happening when anything is purchased online.
That’s a very boiled down ecommerce compote, so to speak. If you’re itching to start an online store, you also have to take into consideration all of the moving parts that make any ecommerce venture a successful one. Ya know, things like product inventory, marketing, sales funnels, shipping, and more.
The Basics to Starting an Ecommerce Company
Setting up and running an online store definitely requires some careful planning. Here are a few areas you’ll need to think about to get you moving in the right direction:
Decide on the goods. What are you looking to sell? Physical goods like hats, pins, buttons, or scarves? Digital goods like handy ebooks or cutting-edge software? Services such as online consulting, online courses, or freelance services?
Choosing what you want to sell can be the biggest first hurdle to clear, but as long as your store is selling something you genuinely enjoy selling, you’ll be happy.
Decide on your audience. Who will be your target audience? Who are you looking to sell to? Who are your competitors? How will you set yourself apart from those competitors? Thinking about your audience now informs your selling and marketing strategies later.
You can also get audience inspiration by looking at who your competitors are targeting. Then, once you’ve identified potential customers, you can choose to market your product to an audience of similar people, or you can identify an audience that’s been overlooked and deserves some attention.
Set up a website. Once you’ve got your business basics down (what to sell and who to sell it to), the next step is to set up shop online. Setting up an easy-to-use and people-friendly storefront is key to showcasing every product and creating a successful store. If your website is cluttered, crowded, and hard-to-use, that’ll cost you more than one grumpy customer.
Choose a shopping cart platform. A popular shopping cart platform like Shopify lets you sell from anywhere, desktop to mobile, and it also lets you build and customize your ecommerce business through easy-peasy interfaces and templates. When it’s easy for people to see each product, it’s easy to make sales.
Get your website into the world. Once your online business is up-to-speed and ready to go, it’s time to unleash the beast into the world. And just how do you go about getting your website out into the world and making a statement?
Enter: Drip ecommerce CRM.
What Is Drip? (And What Does It Have to Do with Starting a Store?)
Drip is an ecommerce customer relationship manager, or ECRM, designed specifically for—you guessed it—ecommerce. Think of it as a sales and marketing automation platform that lets an online business get up close and personal with its customers—no matter the audience, no matter the person.
Designed to hold millions of records, Drip lets an ecommerce business see exactly what its customers are up to on a 24/7 basis. From what products they’re interested in purchasing to what emails they’re opening, Drip is like a big ol’ Mississippi river bridge that connects massive amounts of data to intelligent automations across all your marketing channels.
It then lets you seamlessly integrate and use all that data in efficient and effective multi-channel marketing strategies, from inbox to social media and beyond. This results in online businesses talking to customers on a more personal level no matter where they meet.
Growing an Ecommerce Business with Drip
Ready to get your online store off the ground and making sales? Let’s go over some parts you shouldn’t look over as you get started.
To start, choose a platform to help you collect, organize, and use customer data. Obviously we recommend Drip, but if you aren’t ready to take advantage of big-time automations and features, go with a platform that feels right for you at the time. But, for right now, we’re going to think about how Drip helps online shops get started on the right foot.
With a firm focus on sales and marketing, Drip utilizes B2B levels of automation and insight and puts everything right smack dab into the hands of B2C businesses looking to expand and generate more revenue. The platform comes fully loaded with all of the tools necessary to help an ecommerce business bloom, thrive, and get its name out into the world.
Start Smart Advertising: Social Media Platforms
Drip’s Facebook Custom Audiences integration lets your Facebook ads be smart, personal, and relevant. With the power to start, stop, or change the ads your customers see based on the actions they take, you’ll automatically deliver a consistent marketing message that saves time and money while driving more sales.
Facebook Lead Ads is all about generating more leads and lets you collect information from people who show interest in becoming your customers. While they might look like typical Facebook ads, when clicked these Lead Ads send a potential customer to a simple form where name, phone number, and email is collected. Once the information is gathered, it gets funneled right into your Drip account for further personalization and segmentation capabilities.
The truth is, social media is a must-have if you’re trying to reach your potential customers. It’s where the eyeballs are (and where your brand needs to be). With Drip, you can build automations that will effortlessly show a Facebook or Instagram ad for a hat to someone who just bought some mittens from your store.
This not only places your brand in a relevant position at the right time, it also saves you from manually having to set this up for every customer. Plus, if you’re always looking for things your customers will like, then relaying that attention to detail through social media, your brand will become synonymous with customer loyalty.
How Can an Ecommerce Business Increase Its Sales?
Just because you’re tired and ready to crawl under the covers for some well-deserved shut-eye doesn’t mean your online business has to call it a day, too. Drip is filled to the brim with smart automation capabilities that keep your business firing 24/7 so that you can keep racking up sales both day and night.
Rules can be set up to automatically react when a customer does something. For example, if a new customer purchases a scarf from your store, you can make a rule to automatically send that customer a welcome email.
Campaigns are email series that automatically send sequences of emails at times you determine. A campaign can be created to deliver coupons, warm welcomes, course materials, or anything else to encourage a customer to buy from you.
Drip’s workflows are automated paths that guide customers down unique journeys based on what they do or don’t do. For example, a workflow can detect when someone abandons a cart, tag them, and resend engagement emails that nudge them back toward the checkout.
Successful Ecommerce Business Strategies
Let’s face it: There are a zillion ecommerce options in the world today, and the competition is only getting more ferocious. With so many online stores, shoppers have a lot of options. So how exactly do you set your ecommerce business apart from others? And what business strategies can help increase your ecommerce business’s online sales? The answer to both of these questions is simple: personalization.
The days when ecommerce businesses relied on low prices to win over customers have come to an end, and customers now crave a more personalized shopping experience. According to global professional services company Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. At the end of the day, people are more likely to buy from a store that gives them the best, most personalized experience.
People want to feel valued. People want to feel supported. People want to feel like more than buck. If you can make them feel like a human (and not just a transaction), you’re gonna win.
At Drip, our overarching goal is to help ecommerce businesses—like yours—understand their customers and build better relationships. Because personalization is at the very heart of our company, our ECRM is designed to focus on the human side of ecommerce.
You know how we’re always saying, “See your customers in full color?” Well, we sure do mean it. Below are a few Drip personalization features that help to add color to your customers:
Visual customer timelines let you see exactly what each and every one of your customers has been up to. These timelines give you the inside scoop into how people are interacting with your business so that you can adjust your strategies accordingly.
Lead scoring keeps track of customers by assigning points (or deducting points) based on the different actions those customers take. For instance, a customer will earn points when they purchase an item, but will have points taken away if they cancel an order. Lead scoring is a great way to help your business send more targeted messages to those people who you want to win back or those who are fiercely loyal.
Tag- and event-based segmentation lets you see what your customers are up to and how many times they’ve done something. Tags add visual identifiers to your subscribers so that you can better understand their engagement levels and behaviors while events record and describe the ways subscribers interact with your marketing content. With the power to utilize both tags and events, your business is able to reach customers in the most relevant ways possible.
Ecommerce Marketing Tips and Tricks
Now that you’re well on your way to getting your ecommerce business off the ground, here are a few extra tricks and tips to keep you moving onward and upward.
Utilize abandoned cart emails. Get this: Approximately 70% of visitors who stuff items into their online shopping cart don’t actually follow through with a purchase. Instead of relying on customers to “remember what they forgot to remember,” take the initiative to jog their memory by utilizing Drip’s Cart Abandonment Guided Workflow for Shopify users.
If you’re new to the world of workflows and automation, these guided workflows are your answer. They were engineered to help online shops get a full-functioning, money-making workflow running in just a couple minutes.
Pro Drip Tip: Three is the magic number when it comes to sending out abandoned cart emails. If your online business is currently only sending one email reminder about a forgotten shopping cart item, your business can more than double its recovery sales by sending out two more emails.
Segment for better personalization. Drip’s people-focused segmentation capabilities let you fully capture the essence of your customers. Create meaningful groups of customers based on what they’re up to, like buying a product or opening an email. Segments can be as niche or broad as you want, and they’ll update automatically as people on your list meet or don’t meet the segment criteria.
Pro Drip Tip: Remember, the more detailed you get in your segmentation, the more personalized and relevant your marketing messages can be.
Embrace workflows. Workflows in Drip are automated paths that people are guided down depending on what they do. They help to automate your most essential email marketing tasks and also record your most valuable milestones. Workflows can be triggered by actions across any of your integrated marketing tools like Facebook, Shopify, and beyond.
Pro Drip Tip: Check out Drip’s pre-made shareable workflows. From Cart Abandonment workflows to At-Risk Customer Win-Back workflows, these high-converting ecommerce marketing workflows are sure to put more time back into your day.
Track progress with analytics dashboards. Keep tabs on how your ecommerce business is performing through Drip’s revenue dashboards. Our four latest boards—Account Dashboard, Campaign Dashboard, Workflow Dashboard, and Broadcast Dashboard—provide you with all of the data you need to gauge the overall performance and progress of your business.
View revenue from your latest campaigns within the last seven (or 28) days, check out the average time it took for subscribers to make a purchase, and see the analytics on open, click, and unsubscribe rates.
Pro Drip Tip: Use the analytics from all four dashboards as benchmarks to see if your business is meeting its goals or hitting milestones as you keep up your work with Drip.
Combine the Right Ingredients to Satisfy Your Customers
At the end of the day, running a successful ecommerce business is like pulling together a four-course meal: It requires one part creativity, one part patience, one part perseverance, and one (big) part personalization. Your customers are hungry for a more personalized shopping experience—satisfy their cravings with Drip.