If you are planning on launching a business venture in 2017, you are almost certain to emphasise e-commerce and online sales. Make no mistake; almost every conceivable metric points to growth of e-commerce in the modern age, while the fact that 71% of consumers now feel as though they get a better deal online means that virtual shopping will eventually come to dominate the retail market.
For those who are keen on launching a brand, new online venture, however, we should sound a note of caution. After all, the emergence of e-commerce has created an exceptionally competitive marketplace, which means that newly formed businesses can find it difficult to achieve a viable market share. The level of competition varies depending on the precise market that you operate in, of course, but online ventures cannot afford to stand still in the digital age.
With this in mind, we will use this article to discuss the techniques and tactics that can make your online venture a success. These include: –
Establish a Clear Purpose and Niche for Your Business
This is perhaps the most important consideration in a competitive marketplace, as it is ultimately the proposition that you offer to customers that will help you stand out from more established rivals. Without a clear defined purpose (which usually offers a solution to an existing consumer problem) or an appropriate target market, it is almost impossible to achieve even fleeting success online.
Even if you have an innovative business concept that benefits from a natural audience, however, you still need to ensure that you are able to convert customers using an easy to understand value proposition. This serves as a hook that engages potential consumers and earns their business, whether it is a creative promotional offer or the use of informative and insightful content that offers tangible value. The online gaming market delivers viable examples of both techniques, with sites such as Onlineroulette.org.uk combining generous sign-up bonuses with in-depth, strategic insight.
Once you have determined the purpose, market and proposition for your online business, you can establish a solid foundation that can be built upon in the future.
Develop a Viable Business Model
One of the reasons that e-commerce has thrived is its relatively low start-up costs, which negate many of the traditional barriers to entry when launching a new business. On the flip-side, however, you will also need to develop a viable business model that capitalises on this competitive advantage and optimises your potential profitability.
There are also a huge amount of potential business models available, so choosing the right one is crucial to achieving long-term growth.
Ultimately, the model that you choose must be suited to the product or service that you aim to deliver, while minimising delivery costs. If you are selling a service, for example, you may want to adopt a subscription-based model that boosts cash-flow and your level of working capital. In contrast, product-orientated ventures can leverage a more traditional retail model, while diversifying their potential revenue streams by invest in product pre-sales and shifting stock through large-scale affiliates such as Amazon (in exchange for a fixed commission fee).
So long as you research the market and select a business model that suits your unique proposition, you can drive growth and quickly scale your venture successfully.
Market Your Product Using Integrated Campaigns
With a defined product or service and a supportive business model, the next step is to market your proposition and optimise revenues. While we have already touched on the importance of targeting specific consumers and audiences when selling your assets, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to effective and profitable marketing techniques.
In fact, we have seen incredible levels of evolution in the field of marketing over the course of the last decade, particularly in terms of how brands should target customers. While businesses have historically segmented demographics by generic factors such as age, gender and income levels, these metrics have become increasingly moribund over time. Not only are people living longer and retaining a more youthful outlook into their later years, for example, but gender stereotypes and the boundaries between men and women have blurred considerably in the modern age.
We also live in an age of big data, which allows brands to capture, collate and analyse huge swathes of information about their customers. This includes real-time data too, creating an opportunity for marketers to hone in consumer behaviour and utilise this to direct their campaigns. So rather than creating messaging and materials that are aimed to a specific age group or gender, the current generation of successful online businesses are beginning to use actionable consumer data to inform their overall strategy and execution.
You can leverage data and principles such as analytical CRM alongside tools like Google Analytics, which offer you an insight into how customers behave online and when visiting your website. This can help you to make subtle changes to your digital marketing efforts and online proposition, each of which can go some way towards improve your overall ROI.