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Top #5 resolution tips for e-commerce start-ups

ALESIMO MWANGA | JANUARY 9, 2019

If you own an online retail platform in today’s world, it is a brilliant opportunity to take advantage of the new technology trends and boost your weekly or monthly income. Thanks to emerging technology, innovation and data analytics, the ecommerce industry is building a strong base for a more comfortable customer experience. The size of the e-commerce market is estimated to be $23 trillion which amounts to around 32% of the global GDP. This is according to the Unctad – Rising Product Digitalisation and Losing Trade Competitiveness 2017 Report. One other interesting fact is the estimation of the Digital Economy, which is said to be around $16.2 trillion, that’s 22% of the global GDP.

The growth of the digital economy in Africa has created new opportunities for all entrepreneurs and businesses, one they leverage on to expand their market access, benefit from economies of scale and access to various opportunities within the value chain production.

PHOTO: Unctad: Africa E-Commerce Week

2 000 people from 60 countries recently took part in the UNCTAD’s Africa E-commerce week, which was co-organized with the African Union and the European Union. It was an event that had over 60 sessions convened to examine the different ways to help enhance the readiness of African countries to trade online and to also totally digitize their economy.

Throughout the week business representatives, founders & industry experts highlighted key areas of focus such as – trade logistics, legal & regulatory frameworks, skills development & payment solutions.  If you are considering what plans to focus on for your ecommerce business in 2019, here are five tips that could get you started!

#1   Consumer Trust

Let’s say you are walking down the street on a beautiful day, approaching you is a man who starts a simple conversation with you. He then asks if you will be interested in buying a highly discounted Zara clothing item. Hey! Whether it’s Versace, Gucci or Zara. We all want one, right? The question is, would you consider purchasing this item sold by someone random on the streets?

Customer trust is affected by most aspects of ecommerce. The E-commerce Foundation’s annual report on ecommerce around the world (which last year included African research for the first time), shows that consumers are concerned about: online payments, delivery, hidden costs, taxes on cross-border purchases, how the seller protects their personal data, and their right to return goods which do not come up to their expectations. The order in which these concerns fall depends on the country, but these six issues are always in the top eight worries.

So, how can you improve consumer trust to help enhance your revenue? Well:

  • Improve your security: Once a potential customer visits an ecommerce site and notices that there is no SSL certificate, they probably won’t (or shouldn’t) use that platform to transact.
  • Another solution – “Trustmark” supported by a dispute resolution and guarantee that the seller applies relevant national consumer protection regulations or an industry self-regulatory code of best practice.  “Trustmarks” started in Europe and the USA. The Safe.Shop trustmark was launched to provide for cross-border ecommerce within Europe.  “Safe.Shop” has also been adopted in a number of non-European countries, including Brazil, Hong Kong, South Africa and Kenya.
  • Learn to under – promise and over – deliver: One thing you always want to avoid is your customer feeling cheated by you, this has an impact on your credibility. News about bad customer service often travels faster than good service.
  • Be all about customer service: Make it 100% about them.
  • You’ve got to be socially active. Building visibility shows you have nothing to hide.

#2   Mobile Technology

Once upon a time, sites could only be viewed by people with desktops. But those numbers are declining now. One major technological advancement responsible for that is the mobile technology. If it is online, then it has to be responsive, smartphones are now an integral part of human life.

Sub – Saharan Africa has over 420 million mobile subscribers with a 43% penetration rate. Wait! That’s not all; by 2020 this is expected to hit over half a billion. This makes Africa the fastest growing market. Tell me why you wouldn’t want to take advantage of this? These stats were published as part of the Global 2017 Mobile Economy Report by the GSM Association (GSMA) trade organization.

#3   New Customers

Personalization and customer experience will be the holy grail for e-commerce businesses in 2019. In fact, early on in 2017, 33% of retailers said that personalization was a priority for them. If you are able to deliver a positive customer experience, this will indirectly attract new customers to your brand.  Shopify recently published an article which talked about providing an exceptional e-commerce customer experience by creating an important and memorable event for clients which in turn translates to an increase in brand favourability and loyalty.

#4   Digital PR

We all know that marketing can be very expensive, and doesn’t always achieve its aims, which is why Digital PR has become a popular marketing strategy. It is used by marketers to increase their online visibility. If what you’ve been using is not working. It’s time to do a recheck and think again. If your site is not getting the position you want it to get, your golden ticket can be by using an experienced Digital PR & Marketing Consultant.  If you have a very limited budget hire an intern or a recent graduate. To succeed you will need high-quality pictures & personalized experiences.  This can be done with a modest budget and innovative thinking.

#5: Data Ownership

There are different ways to go about enhancing your ecommerce platform when it comes to data ownership. I’m talking about owning your own data management platforms. For example, Netflix is able to take charge and control their user data today because they own it.

One might also look at customer data. Using your clients’ data to enhance your customer satisfaction is key to success, and a great way to increase the conversion rate for your online shop.

  • Take note of why you have an increase in visitors on your site but not an increase in the conversion rate.
  • Analyzing your traffic sources.
  • And lastly, find out why potential customers abandon their shopping cart.

You need data for all of this. Take note of the data you collect and own it. But be aware of the regulations that govern the collection of personal data – particularly if you are selling cross-border.

Conclusion

80% of pledges for personal improvement are largely ditched by February. In business though, it’s essential to have goals, and the New Year brings the perfect opportunity to reflect and assess what these should be. Given the opportunities and increasing the market size of the E-commerce industry. Having these resolutions will not only increase your revenue, but it will also improve on a global scale your brand loyalty and bring in new customers which we all need in the coming year.

 

Alesimo Mwanga

 

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