E-commerce is a growth machine for many manufacturers. It’s considered organic growth and many worry it’s ultimately undermining the traditional channels of distribution.
But for now, it is opportunity that you need to leverage.
Is E-commerce your fastest growing channel?
There are basic three ways that you can use to grow your ecommerce business. Granted, this is an oversimplification, but it will help you focus your efforts and drive your tactics for sales growth.
- Add more online customers
- Add more products to the customers you already have
- Promote your online listings
Adding more online retailers really means building a Direct to Consumer business model
Once you develop the capacity to handle online sales the process is fairly easy to expand. The exception is if you have a warehouse program (with Amazon.com, for example) and you are shifting gears over to a Direct to Consumer shipping model.
D2C is the foundation that most etailers are looking for. It shifts the cost structure to you (your team warehousing and shipping) but it makes doing business with those etailers as simple as establishing your skus on their website.
More products will help build sales but not overnight
It makes sense that as you add more products you will increase your sales with an online retailer. The problem is that those sales take time to build into any real volume.
There are so many products for sale online now that it’s hard to get new products noticed. And the websites they are on are looking for consumer views, sales and recommendations before they are going to get much visibility.
Getting attention online means spending money to make money
How do you gain visibility in an online marketplace? Really the answer is site dependent but the ideas are the same for almost any site.
- Use key search terms
- Make it visual
- Pay attention to reviews
Avoid “salesy” marketing copy and use everyday search terms that will drive viewers to your listings. Consumers are rarely search for your brand names. Your familiarity with your products is likely clouding your judgment about how consumers will search for your product category.
Many sites allow for extensive use of rich marketing content like photography, 360 degree views, video, instructions sheets, FAQ’s, and the like. Consumers look at the pictures first to narrow down what they are looking for – they are not reading your features and benefits so make those picture count.
Success is also dependent on the reviews your product has. You may think you are in great shape – 5 stars all the way – but if you have only a few reviews, consumers will be suspicious and the site algorithms won’t push your product to the top of the search results. On the other hand, a composite four-star rating or better with 75 or so reviews will help you gain critical placement in site searches, allowing you to gain more sales with less traffic. Had a negative review come through? Respond to it online in a positive manner to show you are engaged with the customer.
Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.