Ecommerce isn’t easy. In fact, according to countless resources, around 90% of ecommerce businesses will fail within just 4 months of launch. Everything from high levels of competition to problems with marketing can leave you struggling to survive in the online world.Now more than ever, ecommerce companies are under significant strain. In a post-pandemic environment, more customers are shopping online, but they also have endless potential stores to choose from. Add in the challenges of struggling supply chains and logistics issues, and it’s easy to see how businesses can falter.Fortunately, a bad patch in your sales strategy doesn’t have to equal complete business failure. In fact, it could be the first step in developing a more robust strategy for success. There are ways to bounce back from ecommerce failure, upgrade your website, and boost your revenue, before the issues become too catastrophic. Here’s what you need to know to get back on track.
Business Failure Isn’t Always Permanent
The first step in surviving a difficult time in ecommerce is understanding failure doesn’t have to be permanent. So even if your ecommerce website hasn’t been making money for a while, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to shut down your shop. Sometimes, initial issues simply mean you need to innovate and evolve. Updating your return policy, taking steps to reduce cart abandonment, and adjusting your approach to online retail can get you back on the right path, no matter how bad things seem. As Winston Churchill once said, if you’re going through hell, keep going. Working through a perceived failure and learning from the experience can actually make your ecommerce business much stronger in the long term. It’s a chance to pinpoint roadblocks for your company and make the changes necessary to transform your online store. Assess your current situation and ask yourself if there’s still hope to save your business. For example, can you double down on customer service, or adjust your budget with a focus on customer loyalty to improve outcomes?If you think there’s still an opportunity to thrive, you can start making meaningful changes with some of the following steps.
Step 1: Assess and Learn from the Risks You’ve Taken
Playing it safe is rarely the best move in ecommerce. Research shows making big, bold moves in your business is often the only way to cultivate significant improvements in business performance. In a world where ecommerce customer preferences are constantly changing and evolving, you need to be willing to take calculated risks to generate results. However, you must also accept that not every risk will pay off. The key to success is strategically taking risks. Set up tools like Google Analytics, heat mapping software, and acquisition tracking to keep a close eye on the outcomes of every risk you take. This way, when you do implement bold new strategies, like introducing new product bundles, or updating your marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to learn from the results. You may discover your small business benefits more from social media marketing than email marketing, or that you can capture more potential customers by offering free shipping. The more data you capture, the more you can make educated decisions in the future.
Step 2: Double Down on the Right Metrics
As mentioned above, the key to success when recovering from ecommerce business failure is data. You need to learn from every mistake, as well as each success. For example, if you’re experiencing a massive drop in sales after introducing a new social media campaign, you need to understand exactly why this is. The only way to do this is to dive into your metrics. In general, the information you collect for your ecommerce store should focus on:
- Logistics: Reverse logistics tracking, and supply chain insights are crucial in the ecommerce business world. To give your customers a great online experience, you must deliver what they purchase as quickly and conveniently as possible. If your supply chain is struggling, it may be time to look for new suppliers.
- Customer insights: Analytical information about your target audience provides insights into 2your customer personas, their needs, pain points, and preferences. You’ll need to collect as much information as possible about the kind of customers you’re attracting, where they come from, and how they act on your website.
- Marketing results: Any ecommerce business knows thriving in the digital world means investing in the right promotional strategies. Whether using social media, email marketing, or content marketing, you need to track how customers respond to your efforts. Keep a close eye on which acquisition strategies work and boost conversions the most for your company.
Tracking data consistently will show you when your numbers are starting to dip, and where potential failures stem from.
Step 3: Prioritize Customer Experience
One of the most common factors behind ecommerce business failure is a poor customer experience. 78% of customers give up on transactions completely because the experience isn’t what they’re looking for. However, you can improve your ecommerce results simply by upgrading your focus on CX. Around 70% of unhappy customers are willing to shop with a business again in the future if their issues are resolved. The question is, where do you start boosting customer experience? Some starting points include:
- The buying journey: How easily can customers move through your website, find what they need, and check out? Is your website designed with a focus on good user experience and navigation? Your website should be as easy to explore as a physical store.
- The checkout: Do you offer free shipping progress bars, or guest checkout so customers don’t have to waste time making an account? The easier it is to complete a transaction, the more likely you will get conversions.
- Customer retention: How do you attract repeat customers to your store? Do you offer loyalty discounts and rewards to your most valuable customers? Have you considered using a referral program to turn customers into brand advocates?
Talk to your customers if you’re unsure exactly where you can improve your CX. Implement a customer review system into your store to encourage feedback and reward clients with discounts when they share their thoughts. You can also use social media listening tools to get an insight into what customers say about your website elsewhere online.
Step 4: Upgrade Your Marketing Strategy
Another common reason for ecommerce business failure, is a poor marketing strategy. If you’re not promoting your website and products effectively, you will not get the sales you need. Lack of visibility in today’s competitive ecommerce business world can quickly destroy your site. Think about how you attract customers today. Are you using the right social media channels to connect with your audience where they spend the most time online? Could you embrace marketing automation tools and email marketing to keep your business top-of-mind with clients? How much time do you dedicate to content marketing and generating thought leadership?Now could be the perfect time to start investing in new marketing strategies to strengthen your business presence. For instance, influencer marketing is often an excellent way to boost your company’s credibility, and it can be a lot more affordable than you’d think. Sending free products to micro-influencers and asking them to review them could be all it takes to boost your visibility.
Step 5: Conduct a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis is a critical tool for any ecommerce business. It’s a chance to look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and generate a new business plan based on what you learn. The most important thing to start with is your strengths, and your “Unique Value Proposition.” In other words, what’s going to convince your customers to work with you over the competition? How do you differentiate yourself in the ecommerce marketplace, and which pain points can you address? For instance, do you offer free return shipping for customers willing to buy your products? Are you committed to excellent customer service, or using high-quality materials in all your products?Next, look at your weaknesses. Where do you struggle to keep up with the competition, and what opportunities do you have to improve? If you’re struggling to deliver rapid delivery times like Amazon, can you switch to a different supplier or logistics strategy? Finally, think about the threats you’re facing both now, and in the future. If you know you’re going to have a hard time competing with up-and-coming brands, can you expand your product portfolio or offer something new to stand out from the crowd?
Step 6: Start Experimenting
Finally, start making changes based on what you know about your business failures, and your opportunities. Get rid of the underperforming products and services which aren’t driving the right revenue for your ecommerce business, and replace them with something more appealing to your target audience. Don’t make the mistake of simply waiting for sales to pick up. When it comes to boosting customer experience, seek out the right tools and assistance. For instance, solutions like Ampry allow you to create personalized on-site experiences to convert more of your visitors into converting customers. Implementing tools like this to reduce cart abandonment, boost email subscriptions and increase sales should enhance your business in the long term.As always, ensure you’re keeping a close eye on your ecommerce results and customer loyalty as you implement your new strategies. The information you gather from your analytical tools will help you to determine which strategies you should continue with, and which you should avoid. An agile approach to rapid experimentation and discovery will help you facilitate faster growth and eliminate anything that could be holding you back.
Ecommerce Business Failure Isn’t the End
Ecommerce is a challenging landscape full of potential pitfalls for business leaders. You will likely experience times in your roadmap when your ecommerce strategy just isn’t paying dividends. This doesn’t mean you should give up. It just means you need to try something new.Use the steps above to respond to your failures as productively as possible, and discover new long-term growth strategies. Failure doesn’t have to end your business. It can be the beginning of a much more successful store. Reach out to Ampry to schedule your strategy call today and discover how we can help with reach, conversions, and more.