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Top tips for expanding your ecommerce business

business-articlesTop tips for expanding your ecommerce business
In the days where brick and mortar outlets dominated, businesses used to proclaim ‘build it and they will come’.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t really translate into the digital age and many firms now experience considerable growing pains when looking to expand their ecommerce business.
But there are steps you can take to ease the process, so we’ve put together our top tips to help you on your way.

Spend time on your marketing strategy

If you’re just getting started in ecommerce, your marketing strategy is the very first thing you should consider. After all, sales aren’t likely to grow if customers don’t know you exist!
Marketing can be a tricky business however, what works for one business may not necessary work for another so you’ll need to look into all the available options (and their costs), research what your competitors are up to and brainstorm a few different strategies you could employ.
If you’re unsure of how to go about this it may be best to work with an online marketing agency who can help you plan a strategy as well as potentially put you into contact with possible affiliates.
Affiliate marketing is a brilliant strategy for smaller ecommerce businesses as it keeps costs down by working through a commission based system.

Build a social following

While traditional marketing strategies are all well and good, in the age of social media you’ll be missing a golden opportunity to expand your business if you eschew the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
These can be invaluable tools not only for advertising your business but also for finding out more about the demographics of your customers and identifying potential opportunities for expansion.
Social media also offers a great way to engage with consumers, allowing you to get immediate feedback as well as providing a large platform to promote your business. 

Diversify your catalogue

The most obvious way in which to expand your ecommerce business is to attract new customers by offering a more diverse range of products and services.
This approach does need serious consideration however, as breaking into a new market can be a gruelling task, especially if there are already well-established competitors.
But the potential benefits can far outweigh the drawbacks.
Just look at how the ecommerce behemoth Amazon started life as an online book store before slowly diversifying its offerings to sell just about everything under the sun, becoming one of the leading global market places in the process.
While your expectations are likely to be a little more modest, branching out to offer a more diverse range of products is a great way to increase your market presence and expand your business.

Offer complementary products and services

If you’ve found success offering a certain item or service, there is potential for expansion through offering consumers complementary products.
You will no doubt have noticed that many ecommerce sites will include a ‘frequently purchased with’ box below a product to help entice shoppers to spend more.
This process of upselling can provide a vital source of revenue for your business, while also offering a greater selection of products to consumers.
For instance, if you’re selling computers then you should also look at stocking a range of the main software packages users will need, such as anti-virus software, or consider offering insurance options in order to maximise your potential earnings from each customer.
Customers who can find everything they need in one location are also less likely shop around, helping you ensure repeat patronage for your business.

Look for overseas opportunities

When starting out most ecommerce businesses will generally only operate domestically, both for logistical purposes and in order to avoid the high costs and complicated taxes that are often associated with operating overseas.
However recent leaps in technology have seen these barriers to entry broken down, with services such as Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) making the whole process completely hassle free.
This allows you to tap into international markets with relative ease and can greatly increase the potential for your business to expand.
However, before attempting to take your business global it’s imperative to research the markets you’re going to try to enter. By understanding differences in consumer buying habits, expectations, and cultural background you can limit the amount of teething problems you experience.
If you’re planning to tap into overseas markets to expand your business you’ll also need to consider how you’ll repatriate your earnings or pay international suppliers. By using a leading international payments provider you can streamline the process, achieve more competitive exchange rates and enjoy greater control of your cash flow.
Expanding your ecommerce business can reap significant rewards, but taking the time to do extensive research, create a detailed plan of action and produce a set budget to work with is crucial. Just remember the 6 Ps – Proper Planning and Practice Prevents Poor Performance! 
Philip McHugh

Philip McHugh

Joining the corporate trading desk in 2007, Phil now over sees all of Currencies Direct’s corporate dealing activity. Having gained experience working with hundreds of businesses to optimise international payments processes and execute comprehensive risk management strategies, Phil currently works with a portfolio of corporate clients whilst managing Currencies Direct’s overall market exposure

Phil has FCA approval and has completed the Certificate in International Treasury Management (CertiTM)

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