Despite selling hundreds of products on Amazon or any other e-commerce platform, I still have a new question during every transaction. One can never have it all figured out.
There is endless competition, a variety of customers with high expectations and multiple procedures to follow. With infinite factors dictating a listing, how can we come up with a unique e-commerce niche, deliver products on time and generate profit? Here are 8 strategies that have personally helped my e-commerce business grow.
1.Identify the need for an e-commerce business
There are thousands of customers buying goods on Amazon, regardless of any pushy marketing techniques. It’s only for the reason they have a desire or a need to own products. Your job is to identify that desire and give them what they prefer. So how will you find out?
Treat your mind as a blank slate. Be observant of what’s trending within your friend circle, family or whoever. If “Frozen” is the latest hit movie and people are getting attracted to all the products that have Frozen characters on them, be with the flow.
Try not to impose your personal preferences on your e-commerce niche. During shopping, ask the sales assistants about their latest best sellers. It is simple to get a food for thought by just walking into the mall and being alert during casual conversations. In addition, kKeeping up with the seasonal trends and cross checking the same with google trends always helps.
2. Smart Sourcing
Once you shortlist some of the products that have the potential of selling and are in demand, work on finding out the best supplier for the specific niche. Don’t blindly trust the suppliers that show up in the search engine. Just for the reason that their tagline says they are the cheapest and the best, they are not the best.
Furthermore, work on your due diligence analysis and try to shortlist multiple suppliers that are reliable and affordable enough for your e-commerce business. I use websites such as alibaba.com and taobao.com for quotes from suppliers with high ratings and reviews.
It is helpful to set up a Skype interview with the suppliers and ask them to mail the samples just to test their responsiveness and standards. I normally try to find a local supplier as a backup for timely delivery. It’s important to have multiple backup suppliers, to avoid having all the eggs in one basket.
After exploring different niches and finalizing a product line for an e-commerce business, cover multiple products in that niche. If your business already has reliable suppliers and high demand for a craft product, include a variety of products in that category. You can’t just rely on one product if it sells quickly and gives profit during your first few transactions.
Buying patterns are random and we never know when the sales may decline. The customer’s expectations and preferences change every day. Thus, It’s beneficial to diversify not only for the reason that a business can’t rely on a single product, but also your customers to add additional items to the order. Add on items like mouse and keyboard may definitely generate some extra revenue with a laptop.
4.Recording Ideas for the e-commerce niche
In order to remain on the top we need to know what’s going on in the market, what are people looking for. It is helpful to start recording every detail that may hint towards a potential best seller, and immediately work on researching the right suppliers. There are more chances of discovering a profitable niche rather than blindly following what’s already selling in the market by the top players.
In a simple language, record all the ideas that you brainstorm in your notes, even if they may seem silly. It is evident multiple ideas may connect to form a totally unique concept.
5.Under Promising, Over Delivering.
This is one of the silliest mistakes that I had made when I added my first listing on Amazon. I was selling a rice cooker in a top condition for a fairly economical price. Due to lack of due diligence, I listed my item considering the shipping cost suggested by Amazon Seller Tool. Amazon’s suggestions were far from the reality, which I realized while shipping the order. I took a loss for the transaction and it could also have potentially affected my reviews negatively if I had canceled my order.
Thus, It’s mandatory to calculate shipping, lead time, packaging, labeling and profit margin before putting out the offer.
Costs to calculate before listing an e-Commerce product:
1. Supply procurement and shipping fees from the supplier
2. Packaging costs
3. Shipping ( to the end user or the Amazon warehouse)
4. Monthly seller account fees for selling as a business and not an individual
6. Evaluating 3pl Service Providers
Third Party Logistics refers to the shipping Depending on the dimensions and weight of your product, logistics providers like UPS, FedEx and USPS have a free tool on their websites. It is advisable to calculate the shipping costs by entering the dimensions in the free tools and also cross checking the facts with the store representatives.
Furthermore, all the logistics providers have their own criteria and protection plans. Shortlisting their services based on the type of your products and your priorities would only optimize your e-Commerce business processes.
7. Personalized Customer Service
The customers already know what they desire and there are thousands of sellers selling the same products. Position your values and make them feel important so that they prefer your business. Your personalized touch and responsiveness will only differentiate you from your competitors.
The customers tend to be more loyal and build a relationship with the seller who caters to their needs, gives them realistic information, and comforts them about their requirements. To be specific, Include your email signature along with the shipping information. Responding immediately to customer queries leads repeat order. any of the doubts that they may have regarding the product features or tracking information.
Remember, profit is not the only factor responsible for a successful business. During my career in sales, I have personally won customers by not charging any profit margin, just to build that initial trust. It’s important to be on the top of your reviews and provide with whatever it takes to rebuild the trust of customers with negative reviews.
Even If your business discovers a profitable product niche with a reliable sourcing cycle, there is no limit to continuous learning. Research has been a never ending process. It is important to always look around for the latest trends within and outside your niche. It is fine to not have all the knowledge regarding the products in the initial phase. There are plenty of opportunities to learn afterward, and knowledge only adds to the business model. It’s also important not to sell a particular product just for the reason that your knowledge advances in that genre.
Remember, providing the customers with what they need or desire to own is advisable. Just like the trends are ever changing for products, levels of customer service also constantly need an upgrade. Some of the open source tools like Google Keyword Planner, Google Trends, can be helpful for your research. I personally love the Amazon Seller App. It is easier when I can just scan the barcode of a potential niche at a retail store and check its sales rank in the app immediately.
To summarize, a business can only excel in the e-commerce business with experience and mistakes. Staying on the top of trends, giving an outstanding service, and implementing the best tools for monitoring your business can only mitigate the multiple risks associated with an e-commerce business.