7 Cost Efficient Hacks to Operate & Market an Ecommerce Operation

Ecommerce is a cut-throat game, and everyone needs a leg up, but it’s hard to achieve with only 24 hours in the day. If time is limited because you’re running a growing ecommerce business, you need to be strategic about where you invest your time.

We understand because we’ve been there too. So, here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks that don’t cost a lot and can significantly improve your chance at landing a sale or improving your customer relationships.

  • Minimize Stuff to Load Faster

Let’s start with a great two-fer. Minimize the stuff you have on every sales page so that it loads faster and so your team has less to create.

About half of your customers want your page to load in two to three seconds, and according to Hubspot, 79% of customers who aren’t happy with site speeds say they’re less likely to be a repeat buyer. Load speeds also play a role in how well you place in search results, so a great SEO page with the right keywords and intent may still languish on page 3 because it takes 12 seconds to show up.

With photo and video optimization tools, you can still have high-quality imagery for sales pages. So, you want to cut what’s unnecessary for the product itself. A huge hero image or video that plays on every page or outdated live-tweet widgets might slow down your entire site enough for a visitor to leave. Prioritize what they want to see and what helps you sell. Get rid of the rest.

  • Automate Updates and Notifications

Every customer wants to get notifications from you about their orders. This includes payment confirmation, when they’re shipping, and when they’ll arrive. Ask for a phone number to provide those order updates.

Not only is bulk SMS messaging and automated messaging cheap — plus most ecommerce platforms will support it directly or via plugins — but you can also get people to opt-in for your marketing. Studies show that text messaging is one of the most-read types of marketing and using it to create urgency can lead to upsell and cross-sell success.

  • Embrace Remote Teams

In ecommerce, you can’t do it all yourself. There are websites to update, orders to pack, customer support to deliver, inventory reorders, and even sweeping the office floor. It’s too much for any growing business.

Thankfully, ecommerce businesses live in a tech world where customers are always remote. That means your workers can be too. Look into hiring contractors and remote teams to manage distinct aspects of your operation, especially on the technical and customer service side of things. It doesn’t matter where your service team lives as long as they keep customers happy.

The most common reason companies consider remote teams is that you can get extraordinary talent without needing to buy a lot of equipment or rent office space. But, as this stat roundup notes, you not only save $11,000 on average for every employee working from home, remote workers are also 13% more productive than traditional office workers.

You have a big opportunity to get a smart, effective team and cut costs too. But when it comes to managing back-end operations, automating what you can, such as inventory management, is key as well.

  • Turn Reviews into Marketing

Lean ecommerce startups don’t have a lot of time to do any single task, so there’s a need for shortcuts and hacks that reduce work without harming quality. In marketing, that often can be tricky. One area where it isn’t, thankfully, is the product and customer reviews you get.

If your website hosts a place for people to leave a review, you can mine it for your messaging. Highlight what people love on the page or adjust messaging and products to address complaints. Sometimes the best messaging you could ever have for a page, email, or ad is simply sharing a positive review that’s on your product page.

The biggest investment here is setting aside time to continually read what customers are saying.

  • Expand Delivery Options

The rise of ecommerce came with a rise in shipping goods to people’s homes. As the industry grew, so did shipping capabilities. Now, thanks to Amazon and others, customers believe that everything sold online can get to them in two days.

Meet that demand when you can.

It’s okay if you have to charge for the shipping or bake the cost of ecommerce fulfillment into your product costs. Test what works best for your business. And while you’re testing how to pay for it, don’t forget to test what to offer.

Many customers are willing to buy a little more to get free two-day shipping or pay a little more to get it directly. Others will appreciate free options, even if they’re slower. Give people a choice, because it can make a difference in their decision to buy from you or someone else.

Ecommerce fulfillment can get tricky, especially if you have customers all over the country, so finding a partner to handle it can be a smart move. Logistics companies can do things like guarantee same-day fulfillment or reach order-accuracy rates of 99% or higher. Their data can also be used to automatically generate costs and shipping options right within your ecommerce platform.

  • Turn Top Pages into FAQs

Instead of having a top-nav page just show comparable products within a category, use the space to answer questions too. Explain the differences between the items the customer is seeing, share your size chart, and list out any pertinent information that could impact customer satisfaction.

Not everyone is going to head to your FAQ page to find out about sales tax, shipping times and costs, choices of materials or colors, or your subscription policies. Putting this information on additional pages can help ensure your shoppers are happy and limit the chance of product returns or abandoned carts by people who feel “tricked.”

  • Label Your Best Sellers

Our last suggestion is an easy one. Use your current sales data to find out the best performer in each category. Now, create a “Best Seller!” icon and stick it on that product image.

This encourages people to click and read and discover. Visitors will give that product extra value. Pairing it with reviews can help keep it as a leading option on your site too. If you offer product comparison lists at the bottom of pages, best-seller designations can also generate more clicks and (hopefully) more sales.

Offer the Information You’d Want

There’s no guarantee for what works best every time. You can’t add one line or change a single button color and then experience instant success. However, you can work with customers, earn their trust, and use what they tell you to build a better offer.

If you’re just getting started, then begin by delivering the information you want to see when you shop online. It’s a safe place to start because it likely will answer questions that customers have and help you feel comfortable with expanding your marketing and sales efforts.

FG Editorial Team
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