[@VICTOR BORDERA/Stocksy United]

The number of unique online visitors (shoppers visiting a commerce site for the very first time) grew by an incredible 43% across the globe in 2020. But even with such explosive numbers, small-sized (but high-growth) online businesses still face an age-old challenge: how to build a successful small business ecommerce strategy with limited time, budget, and resources.

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Know how your channels currently perform

Your small business plan might evolve over time, but one thing that shouldn’t change are the metrics used to measure your ecommerce success. You need to:

  • Understand the traffic you’re driving to your website or channel
  • Know your conversion rate: How many visitors place an order?
  • Know the average number of units or items in an order
  • Look at the total number of successful orders placed on a website or channel (not counting post-sale adjustments such as returns)

When you understand the performance of your business, it’s easier to find areas for improvement and strengths, and to allocate the right budget to contribute to your success.

Get more people to your channels

As more people buy from brands big and small online, how do you get them to your site? The first thing to consider is how search trends, keywords, and search intent work to determine the most relevant content to attract customers to your website and drive conversion. If you have a limited budget, consider open-source tools such as Google Trends and AnswerThePublic that can help you understand emerging keywords and how to incorporate them successfully into your content. Don’t forget to regularly review the results and make updates to improve performance.

In addition to driving customers to your website and digital content, you should also pursue social commerce opportunities on Instagram or Facebook, such as selling through or creating live virtual events with shopping opportunities. Learn which platforms are most popular with your customers and how you can engage with them, and use them to drive traffic to your channels.

For example, the Body Shop in Brazil built a Live Shopping app, launching a Cyber Monday live shopping event with product demonstrations, skincare routines, and tips reaching a large digital audience. According to the brand, this event helped The Body Shop exceed its expected conversion rate by 100% and provided a unique and innovative experience to their customers.

Get people through checkout

For high-growth businesses of any size, every customer and every sale counts. You don’t want to put effort and resources into site traffic and not get shoppers to convert. Reduce unnecessary steps in your customer journey to help ensure a smooth shopping experience and drive high conversion and revenue. Metrics will help you understand what needs to be improved for conversion.

Create guided selling techniques like assessments or quizzes to encourage product discovery and help customers find what they’re looking for. Engaging and creative content will help your customers better visualize your products and spend more time on your site. Celebrate customers by featuring user-generated content from social media on your commerce site.

Optimize your cart by updating items as they’re added, allowing customers to create a wish list. Include an easy-to-see “remove” button – which usually has some of the highest interaction rates on the cart page. Enable artificial intelligence (AI) to suggest related products. Customers overwhelmingly appreciate it: 60% are open to the use of AI in customer engagement, including 66% of Millennials.

Don’t forget to offer a variety of payment methods to contribute to a better customer experience. Enable all major global digital payment methods, including credit cards, mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, and PayPal, onto a trusted ecommerce platform.

Traditional delivery channels are currently strained due to huge demand, so consider the best method for getting your products to your customer. A connected in-store and digital inventory order management system can help you to offer buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup at your local shop to provide more options for your customers.

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