To many, starting and growing your ecommerce journey may seem like an overwhelming endeavour, but the wins come from small steps integrated at the right time to ensure maximum growth for your business.

Figuring out where to start may seem like the hard part, but considering real statistics and buyer behaviour, we’ve pulled out a few key areas to consider.

Are you functioning well on mobile?

Mobile growth may show a lower conversion rate than desktop in your site Analytics, however, while mobile shoppers make up only 17% of all consumers, they account for 21% of all ecommerce sales.

Having a website is all well and good, but is it fit for purpose? Sure it may look great on your high spec office desktop, but remember your customers may be having a browse on the commute home from work, so ensuring the customer experience is consistent across all channels is key.

As mobile shopping conversions increase annually, a mobile site that is not fully optimised and easy for your customer to buy from could mean a serious cash hit for your business.

If you’re running a £2m turnover business with a £50 average basket value and your share of mobile traffic grows from 60% to 70%, the dilution of your conversion rate could mean a £110k hit to your sales.

With seven in ten commuters using their smartphone on their commute, and 27% of 18-34s engaging in at least five online activities while commuting, this is prime time to get in front of a customer who has time to kill.

The last 12 months have seen a conscious shift from customers browsing on their desktops to their mobiles, with over 65% of traffic to UK retailers coming from mobile devices. This focus on mobile shopping is forecast to continue to grow towards 75% in the next three years, so having a mobile optimised website is vital to your business growth online.

If we consider that customers now pay bills, manage their finances, order take-out and groceries, and even keep an eye on their home security systems from their mobile phones, then we have to make use of this additional time customers are now spending on their devices. Mobile commerce offers a way for us to make life easy for customers to purchase when in browsing mode while catching up on Netflix, customers enjoy multi-tasking, and easy ordering on the go; why do you think Amazon is so popular?

Not only does having a mobile optimised website make way for those customers that like to browse and shop on their phones, using mobile to research products is also now influencing purchase in brick and mortar stores in a big way. Data shows that one -third of our decision to purchase is influenced by researching a product on a mobile device before purchase, so if your customer does not have access to research on the go, then we’re afraid you’re out of the game.

How do you know if your mobile experience is good or bad for customers? Ask some friends or family members to make a test purchase on your mobile site, try it yourself as if you were a consumer visiting. Try running some A/B testing to see how people are behaving on your mobile site, or consider trying HotJar to find out how customers are really navigating through your site.

You may find that there are some obvious show stoppers on your mobile site that are forcing customers to abandon their purchase and shop with your competitors that really you could fix in a matter of hours to save those sales. Think about the speed of your site and your conversion rate, how are these performing and what is the trend?

What’s going on with the competition?

We’re not saying you should always be comparing yourself to others, because there’s a lot to be said about focusing on your own thing and setting your own mini goals to achieve, but, it does pay to check in on the competition once in a while. Keeping an eye on what’s going on in the market you’re in allows you to see what kind of things your customers are expecting from you. Also, it’s good to get an idea of any trends within the current marketplace so you’re not missing out on getting involved with new products.

A common issue for online businesses is that the competition is playing the price game, driving sales with rock-bottom prices; you can’t afford such a low margin, how can you compete?

Easy; not every customer is price driven, so consider taking a different standpoint by offering a higher standard of product and service instead.

For example, some customers want to shop simplicity and for one of our clients we offered their customers just that; By simply increasing one item from £19.99 to £20.00 including free delivery on Amazon, our client’s sales grew by 25%.

Think about this; ASOS is not the cheapest market option, and rarely take part in the most common online sales, and yet they remain one of the most popular options for the fashion-conscious online shopper. Why? Because of their additional customer care options – next day delivery, pay £9.95 and get free delivery for one year, easy returns, buy now pay later with Klarna, and more.

Ramp up your email marketing focus

If you’re just dipping in and out of email marketing for your business, then you’re doing it wrong. You need a clear idea of who you’re going to target, where, and when.

Email marketing is one of the easiest and cheapest ways of communicating with an audience already engaged with your business; having a newsletter sign up feature on your site means that you have direct access to people who have actively signed up to find out more, and your customer list gives you access to people who have previously purchased from your brand. Both have an organic interest in finding out about what you’ve got to offer so why not give them what they’re looking for.

Launching an email marketing campaign is cheap and easy and can be built up over time; set realistic goals and adapt them as you learn and grow.

Ensure you have a solid place on social media

We discussed this in part earlier, but ensuring you have a place on social media is essential if relevant to your brand. 66% of users between 18-24 are more loyal to the brands they follow on social media, and it’s a similar story for the older generations as well, so it makes sense for social media to be a focal part of your online strategy to ensure success.

A good tactic is to consider where your audience is, there’s not much point in spending time promoting posts on LinkedIn if your audience is consumer based and spends their free time on Facebook and Instagram, is there?

Have a think about where your audience hangs out, what do they do there? When is the best time to post? Are they an evening shopper or B2B shopping during the day while at work? Start with a small budget and get promoting, this way you have a small cash risk and you can see what works and what doesn’t work for you.

Sound doable but don’t know where to start?

At Venture Forge we define, challenge and iterate strategies, helping you to come up with the right tactics to take small steps to accelerate growth in your online business.

We can offer insight into your market, help you determine how you should be marketing and when, or we can take your online marketing efforts and work with you through an agile working process to deliver results continuously. Sounds good? Drop us a line.