eCommerce is going to grow from $2.3 trillion in 2017 to $4.88 trillion by 2021, and although most of that is going to come from popular marketplaces, there is no lack of potential for your own owned online store.
At the very least, having your own website diversifies your online presence and protects your brand from being at the mercy of any single marketplace, and their changing rules. At best, a website is an owned channel that allows eCommerce sellers to increase profit margins and conversions.
Your store can earn trust on large marketplaces with huge customer bases, but once you’ve grown to a certain stage, it’s time to create your own website.
In order to back my point, I will be providing a few reasons as to why sellers should have their own eCommerce website & why everyone is starting their own eCommerce mobile app or website:
- Owning your brand means owning the customer
Moving away from selling as a third-party seller on Amazon or eBay means taking more control of your brand as you spread to new and your ‘own’ platform. When you solidify that brand on your own website, you’re telling customers that they’re buying from you, not an eCommerce platform. This gives you more opportunities to drive brand loyalty because you own the sale, and therefore the customer.
When you make a sale through your website, the customer is buying directly from you and they know your website. However, when they purchase from your store on Amazon or eBay or Walmart, you can also brand your products, drive customers to your original website, and stay in control as the brand behind the sale. But there will always be a concern for genuineness lingering in your customer’s mind as long as they are buying from a third-party app.
- Brand your products and boxes wherever it doesn’t conflict with Terms of Service to drive customers to your website.
- Add your website URL to your pages and logo wherever possible when it doesn’t conflict with platform ToS.
- Connect with customers as your brand rather than as an individual.
Branding your store allows you to build a customer base of people who know and trust you, who expect certain levels of service or quality from you, and who will tell their friends and family about you. Having your own website makes branding easier and more reliable because you have a concrete, well-defined, and focused online presence to direct customers to.
- Encourage loyalty and brand recognition
Repeat sales are one of the primary factors behind eCommerce growth, simply because selling to an existing customer is easier and approximately 20% more cost-efficient than going after new business. Selling from your own website gives you more opportunities to create new customer touchpoints and repeat business because you can establish your own eCommerce store as the source of the customer’s satisfaction and value.
A web store allows you to:
- Sign customers up via email so that you can contact them again.
- Drive customers to social media pages to continue engagement.
- Connect and offer value through content like video and blogs surrounding your products.
- Market a branded line of products which will hopefully drive the same consumer trust as your original product to encourage repeat sale.
- Use package inserts and coupons to drive return business or ordering accessories/refills
Each of these tactics can greatly increase your ability to drive sales because studies indicate that about 65% of all brand sales come from repeat customers. However, customer contact often isn’t allowed on a platform like Amazon, where you’re not actually allowed to use branded package inserts or to send emails beyond what is necessary to offer a quality customer experience.
- Increased marketing opportunities
Cross-promotional marketing, powered by your own website can boost revenue.
For example, if you sell mattresses, you could work with a brand selling beds to give their customers a 25% off discount on their first purchase of a mattress. This would drive value for both your brand, your partners, as well as your customers.
This type of promotional marketing opportunity won’t work if you’re only on a platform like Amazon, because you have to rely on the platform’s capabilities, their policies, and the customer’s willingness to purchase through that platform again.
- Reduce cost per sale with your own store
Any marketplace you sell on will charge a percentage for the use of their platform. While building and managing your own online store is expensive, you may quickly find that it reduces costs or pays for itself once you drive a higher volume of sales through it.
If you can reach a customer directly through your own website, you’ll save on seller marketplace fees, and be able to reduce your average cost per sale across all channels.
- Improved search marketing
Owning a website allows you to use a range of marketing that you can’t do through a platform.
For example, SEO and SEM can both drive traffic and customers to your store. On your own website, you can optimize for search in a search engine, versus having to optimize for search within a marketplace. Optimizing marketplace listings for search will only go so far on a website that hosts millions of other listings.
Launching your own eCommerce store also allows you to utilize blogs and video to drive traffic and create leads and build relationships with existing customers. These activities all have the potential to drive massive revenue over time.
- Start private labelling
Private labelling is on the rise for eCommerce sellers, and if you own your own brand and channels, you can sell what you want. Even if you branch into generic products, branding them and selling them across your platform and your sales channels will give you more opportunities to build trust and recurring business.
More importantly, as a private-label, you’ll have more opportunities to collect customer data, which will give you the ability to develop better products over time and ample opportunities to customize the services/products for your customers
- Gain the freedom to sell where the customers are
Any eCommerce platform will have limitations, restrictions, and often tough requirements that take time and money to meet. Your own store gives you more tools to sell how and what you want.
A website also enables you to sell wherever you want. You can drive sales with popup stores or brick and mortar stores like Chumbak and Sales India. You can offer customers a store pick-up option, and you can actively get involved with customers in ways that eCommerce platforms would never allow or support.
Owning your store allows you to explore independent logistics options and maintain consistency in shipping wherever you want to. In the competitive market, shipping quality and coverage play a significant part in deciding the success of any eCommerce seller.
Every eCommerce seller should have their own website, even if they’re just resellers. With the right strategy in place and potential for private label products in the future, you’ll be able to drive additional sales, improve branding, and lower cost per sale.
Most importantly, profit from your website won’t just be realized in sales. Your website will drive trust and consumer awareness, encourage loyalty and retention, help buyers make better decisions and will work to push sales across all your existing platforms.
Some Essential Things Your eCommerce Website Should Have
Running an eCommerce website is not always an easy task. There are sales to make, order to fill and payments to receive. This is why it is necessary to make sure you have your bases covered when it comes to running a good eCommerce website.
Here are some essential things for your eCommerce site should minimum to have:
- Good Experience for Mobile Shoppers
In today’s world 75% of people purchase from mobile devices rather than personal computers and laptops, so the main motive to your eCommerce websites is to be mobile-friendly and that is a must. Your website should ensure checkout cart functions easily on mobile, keep your mobile version simple with clear links.
- Easy Checkout Process
The checkout process is a striking balance between good functionality, usability and trust-building key that offers a good checkout experience. If the checkout is poorly designed you could easily lose up to 67% of customers. To make checkout more attractive you have to display security logos, show shipping clearly, ensure it is fast particularly on mobile and show images of the products in the carts.
- Good Quality Product Pictures
Product pictures could be the most important thing on your eCommerce website. It gives the user the first experience of your product. So your pictures should be of high quality with good lighting. Include a gallery of pictures to show all features of the product. Let customers see a larger version of the photography via zoom function.
- Have a Clear Returns Policy
People return products when they’re disappointed or the product is not up to the mark. So the first part of an eCommerce website has a good return policy. This Policy can actually help your customer to make the decision to purchase. Make your policy easy to find and write it in easy language, no legal or internal policy jargon. Don’t include hidden return costs, be explicit and clear about costs. You have to be clear about whether the returns are for cash, exchange or credit.
- Detailed Product Descriptions
Give clear and accurate descriptions of your products. This helps buyers to make the decision to purchase easily. Descriptions are like your store’s sales staff so it needs to be more informative. Give FAQ section too, to help people who have any issue with your products.
- Low cost or Free Shipping Charges
Low cost or free shipping is the number one method for making a purchasing decision on a website. This is the main information. The ability to get products delivered within a particular time frame, and for a cost that the customer considers reasonable is a huge part of a shopper’s purchase decision.
If your business model does not allow you to make the shipping cost completely free, the least you can do is reduce costs to a minimum, or offer free delivery once a customer orders over a certain amount.
- Define your Unique Selling Points (USPs)
If you are making an eCommerce website you need to define USPs. To make a difference from your competitors, and it helps to attract buyers. If you want to know what’s your USPs are, firstly ask yourself what makes you different from your competitors? And why will customers buy from you and not from your competitors?
If you have the answers to these questions then you know your Unique Selling Points (USPs).
- Latest news and most popular products
When there are new items, news, or sales that the buyers should know about the product, the home page is the best way to house them. Make a simple way for buyers to find new deals and hot prices. Customers will more likely look through new items on sale rather than spending half an hour searching through the full list for something new and trendy.
- Shopping Cart, Login Box and Search Box
The search box, login box and shopping cart are normally located next to one another at every eCommerce website. It’s almost unreasonable to imagine a store without a shopping-cart function included. The shopping cart icon is clear and simple so it makes sense to buy or choose something similar for your site. Various stores also give their customers private accounts where it is possible to review all their previous and current orders.
Every customer who signs up in their account can choose a personal login and password for further access. Besides, owners of such accounts can receive notification of special discount offers from the store owners and participate in various promotions or sales.
- Social Media Links
Social media sites give almost 20% of online purchases after accomplishing surfing. People are interested in public opinion to buy anything online. Social media websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are the best, it is the fastest source to get the information you need on everything.
Moreover, social media accounts bring excellent opportunities for self-promotion and online communities can help to identify the most active and experienced customers or find new ones who are not aware of the web store yet. For online shops, it’s a good way to keep customers up to date with the latest news, or special deals which lead towards Facebook or Twitter followers only.
SO NOW, moving on to the most confusing question;
Website vs Mobile app: which platform should you go for your eCommerce business?
Don’t get confused. These two have a lot of differences. But they’re quite simple to understand.
websites are browser-based, which means you can access them through the internet without installing an application. However, some websites automatically adjust to different devices with additional features specially designed for mobile solutions.
Mobile applications, on the other hand, are apps that can be downloaded or installed in your phone or tablets usually through Google Play or Apple Store. They can also be accessed through the internet and download information, which are stored in the phone memory. Many mobile apps don’t require an internet connection to function because the data and information have already been downloaded inside the app.
- Faster than Mobile Websites
Have you ever run out of patience because your browser took too much time to load a page? Having such a slow internet connection is frustrating. But don’t judge too quickly. Maybe the culprit is the mobile website itself. People prefer to use mobile applications because they are faster and more efficient. They are specially designed to perform specific tasks, unlike mobile websites that can function as a browser to access different internet sites.
- Provides Better User Experience
Mobile apps have higher functionality and user-friendly features as compared to mobile websites. App developers are continually working to improve their app solutions, which is why mobile applications are becoming more intuitive and advanced.
The primary goal of mobile app development is not just to create apps that can function properly. Successful mobile apps are made with an excellent user interface.
- Specialized Features for Devices
More and more apps are being integrated with high-tech devices. The internet of things, for example, connect smart devices to streamline complicated tasks.
Tech-compnies are working with app developers to maximize the capabilities of their devices and increase their sales. Point of sale systems, trackers, camera devices, and radiofrequency identifications are used to help the eCommerce business flourish.
- More Time Spent in Mobile Apps
Mobile apps are taking over the world. Users are spending more hours on mobile apps rather than browsing the internet through mobile websites. This is a good indicator that creating a mobile app is the best option when creating an eCommerce website.
A report from reputable sources shows that the number of people using mobile applications has been exponentially increasing by 6% every year, especially in fields of business such as e-commerce and retail.
- Offers Accessibility Without Internet
The internet will not always be there to help you. But your mobile app will. Most mobile apps can still be operated without an internet connection because they are installed in your devices. This feature allows you to continue working and accomplish minor tasks until the internet comes back.
- Accessible to All Devices
websites accessed through any systems or device as long as there is an internet browser. The compatibility will not be a problem, giving your business a broader grasp among your customers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Windows, MAC, Android or Apple. They don’t even need to download anything, just a good Wi-Fi connection, and they’re good to go.
- Search Engine Optimization
If you want to boost your business significantly, Google ranking is your best bet. Creating a website platform for your eCommerce business will allow you to formulate SEO strategies that can increase your traffic significantly, which is currently considered as the best way to promote a brand.
Unlike app development, it’s relatively easier and faster to create websites. It requires less work and complicated technical stuff. In short, web development requires fewer expenses and less effort, giving you more time to focus on other important matters in your e-commerce business.
However, the right choice depends on your business objectives. If your goal is to offer website-friendly content to a wide range of people, then a website is probably the way to go. However, if you want to engage better, interact with, and communicate with your customers to drive customer loyalty, a mobile app presents itself as a better option.
In many cases, you may decide you need both a website and a mobile app. If done correctly, both can be a strategic and valuable choice. So when it comes to your brand’s
strategy, it’s not a question of a website or an app, but perhaps a two-pronged approach.
In general, today’s businesses must always strive to create the next best thing that consumers will want because consumers continue to desire their products, services etc. to continuously be better, faster, and cheaper. In this world of new technology, businesses need to accommodate to the new types of consumer needs and trends because it will prove to be vital to their business’ success and survival.
eCommerce is continuously progressing and is becoming more and more important to businesses as technology continues to advance and is something that should be taken advantage of and implemented. Archisys provides all types of services in eCommerce website & mobile apps development. If you want to grow with your business then connect us on [email protected].