Launching an online shop? Here’s some advice from OneDayOnly

Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen ecommerce grow from strength to strength, especially locally.

While the online shopping habits of South Africans vary greatly depending on what they’re shopping for, the power of ecommerce cannot be ignored.

While it might seem like it’s too late to join the ecommerce gold rush, it isn’t and there is gold in them there hills if you have the right strategy and approach. Thankfully, there is a long list of ecommerce ventures and one can look to those success and failures for guidance.

To that end, digital and performance marketing manager at OneDayOnly, Jessica van der Westhuyzen has shared some advice for business owners looking to launch or expand their online presence.

While a lot of the advice below is great for newcomers, if you’ve reached something of a plateau in your online store, this advice may help you identify areas that require attention.

Asking the right questions

Before you start considering your online store’s design and flow, there are important questions that need to be asked.

These include:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are you offering that audience?
  • Where are you going to connect with your audience?
  • When are you going to connect with them?
  • How are you going to connect with them?

Asking these questions is important as they will help you form the foundation of your digital strategy. These questions can also help to sure up your objectives and what your businesses unique selling points are.

Mobile, mobile, mobile

It goes without saying that adopting a mobile-first approach to developing your ecommerce solution is a priority.

According to data from Statista, mobile devices accounted for 54.4 percent of global website traffic.

“The term mobile-friendly implies that your desktop-optimized site works on mobile – don’t fall into that trap! Even if your website works on mobile exclusively, you’re catering over 50 percent of potential traffic, so focus your attention there,” says van der Westhuyzen.

We don’t fully agree with this sentiment. Yes, mobile represents a large portion of traffic but ignoring the remaining 45.6 percent of devices which include desktops, notebooks and tablets, is plainly silly.

Of course, this depends on where your audience is but we recommend account for both mobile and desktop. You want your audience and customers to have a great experience whether they use a smartphone or a notebook.

Content strategy is optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is incredibly important and while we’d recommend that an expert should be consulted in that regard.

However, when you’re just starting out, the idea of hiring an SEO expert shouldn’t be taken lightly. In fact, as van der Westhuyzen points out, SEO should form part of your content marketing strategy.

By focusing on this strategy, aspects such as SEO tend to start falling into place, making it easier, and less of an experiment when you start implementing them.

Where does one start? According van der Westhuyzen, business owners should focus on three aspects of the strategy namely Value, Relevancy and Consistency.

As regards value, content shouldn’t only focus on the product.

“Your content marketing strategy should identify content that your audience will use – not just read. If your brand sells running shoes, don’t just release content about your shoes: include posts about how to prep for marathons, do warm-up/ warm-down stretches, and so on. By doing this, you offer your customers value beyond your product offering,” says the digital and performance marketing manager.

This should be approached with caution however as it can be easy to get sidetracked. This is where relevancy should be considered and followed. If you’re a baker for example, don’t create content around running unless that happens to be your unique selling point of course.

Consistency is likely going to be toughest of these to get right. To be clear, frequency and consistency shouldn’t be confused. Your brand may not see as much engagement as others and posting every hour could drive customers away rather than attracting them. Similarly, if you start posting everyday and then content tapers off, that could spell trouble.

In this regard, analytics are hugely important as they can help you determine when your posts are most likely to be engaged with, when they will be seen and how well posts of certain types perform.

This is, as van der Westhuyzen points out, a journey. Don’t expect results overnight and be opening to honing or changing your approach if it isn’t working.

“I think that the most important thing you can do, once you’ve done all the leg work, is to trust in your hard work. Don’t try to change your strategy prematurely. Use your analytics, but don’t think that success will come overnight. It takes time – you have to remain consistent and build strong relationships. Once the dam breaks, you’ll reap the seeds you’ve sown through your hard work, adds van der Westhuyzen.

Finally, we highly recommend joining the Insaka Ecommerce Community – South Africa over on Facebook. This community is filled with local small business owners and has proved to be a valuable resource for those looking for advice or guidance.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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