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4 Solid Tips to Scale Ecommerce Using Data

By: Aaron Lee

 

Cardboard boxes with a plane. Depicts transportation, international freight, global shipping, overseas trade, regional, or local forwarding.

Scaling ecommerce is a tricky affair. It is not just about having the best product, but about knowing your market, your customers, and the logistics of ecommerce.

Whether you are selling arts and crafts or operating a commercial mobile tire service, a strong ecommerce approach requires both good data and the judgment to properly analyze said data. Here are some examples for how your business can improve with the right ecommerce data.

What is the Right Market?

Where do you intend to conduct your ecommerce business? All too often, businesses fall into either one of two scenarios. Either they try to do everything themselves, including packaging their own boxes and adding their own labels. Or they shove their wares onto Amazon and call it a day.

Keep in mind that there are 57 online marketplaces based in the US, and even more overseas. Businesses who want to sell online should check multiple marketplaces to see which can sell the most goods without taking an excessive cut. By searching similar products on places like eBay or Etsy, you can get an idea of the competition as well as the potential profit margins.

On the other end, businesses should look at using fulfillment centers instead of shipping goods themselves. Amazon fulfillment centers are the most well-known, but in fact most fulfillment centers are not ecommerce marketplaces themselves. Any business which wants to scale up their ecommerce must look at using a fulfillment center, as it will save a great deal of time and money.

Collect the Right Marketing Data

Marketing is a critical element of any ecommerce business, but one cannot market if you do not know your planned consumer base. While you may assume you know your consumer base based on your product, there are many stories of products which ends up being in used in ways quite different from what was originally intended.

There are third-party providers and marketing tools such as Google Ads which can help figure out your demographic base. But what ecommerce businesses are realizing is that a personalized approach which can understand the customer’s motivations is more important than the customer’s age or income.

The key to creating that personalized approach is with behavioral targeting, which tracks customer habits such as cart abandonment, purchase history, and which pages see the most browsing periods. Then you use that targeting approach immediately and hopefully show customer additional goods which they will be interested in. While this approach is not perfect, collecting data on customer website browsing habits is just as useful as demographic data.

Manage Reviews and Complaints

While this is certainly a part of customer service, discussing reviews and complaints is an important section in and of itself, especially if you are trying to personalize your store.

This sort of feedback is a prime opportunity to understand what your customer is genuinely thinking about, as they are unlikely to lie in a review or a complaint. Furthermore, answering a review or complaint shows that your business is responsive, and can in fact even turn a negative review into a positive gain for your business.

This means several things. First, your business should make it easier for customers to send reviews and complaints through practically any form of social media. Have social media accounts and advertise them as ways for customers to send their thoughts. Also encourage customers to send complains to an appropriate email address.

After setting up a review and complaint infrastructure, organize data so that it will be easier to see what is causing the most customer feedback. This will also make it easier to respond to complaints, which should be done within 24 to 48 hours after the complaint. This is just another example of how collecting, organizing, and analyzing data can improve your business.

Review Laws for Overseas Sales

You have managed to establish a strong consumer base and customer service policy and have expanded your ecommerce business. Now you want to take the next step and try to sell overseas. Selling overseas presents all sorts of unique challenges, but a critical yet under discussed field is handling the myriad rules and regulations which exist in other countries.

Some products such as books or clothes may not be subject to heavy regulations, but other products such as electronics and nutritional supplements will see countries take a stricter or more relaxed approach. And then there is the matter of GDPR, the European regulation which protects customer data privacy.

Before selling overseas, take time to actually do your research on the country’s rules and regulations, as well as other aspects such as pricing. None of this is going to come quickly, and there are websites which have decided that doing business on Europe and dealing with their data regulations is not worth the risk. Ultimately, this will be a judgment call for you to decide.

Published: July 29, 2020
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Aaron Lee

Aaron Lee is a serial entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Since the age of 17, he has started and sold five businesses before creating Dash Serviced Suites--Hong Kong’s fastest growing asset-light, tech-enabled, serviced apartment community operating over 100 apartments. Aaron focuses on investing in technology to build industry disrupting startups.

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