For success in ecommerce, the basic formula does not change much. You need to have a range of attractive products that are easily accessible by customers who visit your site. The good thing about putting such an infrastructure in place is that it is an operation which can be scaled in accordance with the success of your business. When you have less things to sell and a smaller customer base, for example, then you don’t need to stock such a large inventory or fulfill many orders.
The Growth Question
However, one of the things which causes new ecommerce businesses to fail is a confused attitude towards growth. As you become more successful, things need to change in regard to inventory stocking, order fulfillment, and cash flow. However, the most common problem with smaller ecommerce businesses is that they tend to put the cart before the horse. You need to work when the time is right for growth and then put the infrastructure in place to handle it – not the other way around.
FastFACTR, a company specializing in invoice factoring, note that their services are most commonly used by businesses in this position of being on the cusp of growth but waiting until the time is right to expand operations. The risk is committing too many funds to increasing infrastructure but not having the customer base to then see a return on these investments. This can be tricky as many businesses see investment as a necessary first step to seeing any growth at all.
But can you grow your customer base without prematurely committing large amounts of funds to growth? As it happens, you definitely can – and ecommerce personalization is one of the ways to do that.
What is Ecommerce Personalization?
Most essentially, ecommerce personalization works with customers that you already have, and it is a way of strengthening your bond with them. When a new customer comes to an ecommerce business that obviously has an established and loyal customer base, they are far more likely to add to that customer base themselves. Ecommerce personalization is how you make your correspondence with each customer somehow unique, giving the impression that you are serving their individual needs.
A customer treated in such a way is sure to come back, and this solidifies your customer base. And, to take the metaphor, a solid foundation is the best one to build on. And the best thing about personalization is that it is not expensive. It is more a matter of behavior towards each customer (which is free) and a few website features that make the experience more personal to them.
Tips for Ecommerce Personalization
Here follows some examples of personalization in action:
First Name Terms
From marketing emails to order summaries and delivery updates, it helps a great deal if you are on first name terms with your customers. When your business is small, it is also wise to actually communicate with them personally.
If a customer buys one product, you could arrange the site to offer them a discount on repeat orders or related products in bundles that cost less than the sum. This is something customers are sure to appreciate.
Or, in other words, comments. If you create a customer community on your very site, with customers discussing your products and making recommendations to like minded visitors, then you are well on your way to having a properly loyal customer base.
So, if you are fretting about expanding and are unsure whether the time is right, try improving your customer personalization first. After that, you are sure to be in a much more secure position.