India’s online population is tipped to reach over 500 million people by the end of 2017, as reported by the Internet and Mobile Association of India. Retail e-commerce sales in India are expected to touch approximately $45.17 billion by 2021. This is correlated to the yearly rise in the use of the Internet on mobile devices in the country. Not to mention, demonetisation played a huge role in bringing offline buyers to online platforms. Hence, scope for growth is tremendous and now is the right time to propel your business to reach for those greater heights. A few steps listed below can give you the direction you need to grow your e-commerce business and become a frontrunner in this ever growing and competitive sector.

EVOLVE WITH TECHNOLOGY

Technology is changing by the minute. New advancements and improvements are being introduced almost in quick succession. Just look at how regularly you receive notifications to update your apps. Social media has bridged the gap between sellers and customers tremendously. Hence, it is absolutely necessary to update your e-commerce portals and make them as up-to-date as possible.


Hire the right team of developers

You can't stress enough on how important it is to invest in a team of efficient workers. Hire a team of developers who are constantly in the loop over technological advancements and trends. For e.g. programs like chat bots are cited to become a huge deal very soon. Internationally, they have already caught on. Chat bots give customers immediate answers to their queries, easing the customer service team’s burden and improving efficiency. There is always a need for new tools and platforms to bridge the gap between your site and your customers, and your developers play a key role in ensuring they implement programs that assist you in it.


Use social media to the max

According to EY, some brands have disclosed that they spend over 31 percent of their marketing budget on social media. As can be understood, not only is social media a platform that offers abundant opportunities to directly market your e-commerce brand to your target audience, but also a more intimate way to communicate with your customers, who are happy to know that you are listening and responding to their grievances.

Through social media, you are also allowing customers to become advocates of your brand and market it for you, at no extra cost! Social media influencers have a big following of their own and they can be lured with attractive offers to talk about your brand.

By increasing your follower base on social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, you are inviting more people to visit your site/app and make a purchase. Hire a social media team that can address queries and keep your followers engaged on a regular basis. Hashtags are trendy and will help you keep a track on whether people are talking about your brand or brand campaign.


Go multichannel

With mediums as diverse as the PC, laptop, tablet and mobile phone, it only makes sense for your e-commerce store to be optimised for viewing on any platform. A fixed navigation bar will make sure that vital information like the home page, shopping cart and check out link are always in sight on the page. Make sure your team of developers design the website in a way that it translates well on any electronic platform, along with a layout that makes for easy scrolling.


ENHANCE CUSTOMER INTERACTION

If your customers are happy with your service, they will keep coming back. But this is not simply restricted to delivering their order in an orderly fashion. You need to engage with them on a personal level, so they know that they can always turn to you first before even considering your competitors.


Special days and discounts

Personalised and automated messages are a delightful way of getting you in your customer’s good books and earning their loyalty. Everybody likes to feel pampered, particularly on their special days like birthday, anniversary etc. Keep a record of your customer’s special dates by getting them to fill a form on their first purchase and, using a marketing automation tool, set up sequences to send each customer a personalised message on their special dates. Make sure these messages have a personal touch and aren’t part of a bulk birthday message.

Not just that, make sure you offer incentives at regular intervals, like discounts on items you have seen them scroll past a number of times. Or a gentle reminder that you are going on sale and that they should be there before stocks run out.


Immediate grievance redressal

Your customer will not shy away from praising you if their expectations have been met. But, at the same time, they will not shy away from letting you know if they are disappointed. Here are the different ways through which your customer should be able to contact you and how you can set it right:

1. Customer service number – Initially, the only way for your customer to get their grievances redressed was by contacting the customer service team. It is still the most popular technique as customers don’t have to wait for a response and can address the matter with a one-on-one interaction with the customer service team. Hence, it is vital that your CS team is equipped and capable of smoothly helping your customer out, leaving them satisfied with the service.

2. Social media – You are beginning to notice how important a role social media plays for your brand. It is also a way for your customers to publically put forth their grievances in order to get your notice. But, this is also a dangerous space because people who follow your customers are also exposed to their complaints and can build a negative image about your brand and may never visit your site. Hence, it is crucial to train your social media managers to handle these complaints as professionally as possible, and ensure that they get them solved by communicating the same to the concerned team.

3. Reviews – Online reviews play a bigger role in shaping your products and services than the product descriptions you have put up. People prefer to read about another’s experience with your brand/product before purchasing it for themselves. Make sure you have a healthy mix of positive and negative reviews on display and address every review to show that you have read and acknowledged the same.

BE PREPARED TO SPEND


Expansion is the surest way of growth. By spreading your wings as far as you can, you are inviting a larger customer base on board and, in the process, on the road to making tremendous sales. But, with expansion come expenses. In order to run any business, it’s essential to keep aside a good chunk of money for future investments.

Hire the best of the best
Be prepared to spend a good amount of money to hire ideal candidates to run your teams. They need to be experienced in the field of e-commerce and have the skill to resolve hiccups at a moment’s notice. Don’t hesitate to spend when it comes to getting quality people on board to drive your workforce in the right direction.


Splurge on marketing your brand

In such a competitive industry, it is a task to get your brand to stand out from the rest. Make sure you stay in your customer’s radar by advertising your brand online and offline. Hire an agency that can offer you a unique proposition to take your brand ahead and make it memorable. Get your own in-house team to engage with customers regularly and give them a reason to look forward to visiting your page.


Get the right banking partner on board

The right bank will be able to offer you solutions to expand your business with lucrative plans that work in your favour and cater to your needs. Kotak Mahindra Bank can help you with its customised plans that suit entrepreneurs and offer them solutions to grow their business. 

If you liked what you read, do check out other articles in the series.

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