If you have a product or service that you think will break the online market, you’re in luck. The digital marketplace is bigger than ever. Beyond websites, e-commerce expanded to social media and selling platforms like Lazada.
Business owner Isaac Saliendra of Peculiar and Odd Eyewear, for example, shares how he started from being a one-man online team, to a business with 50 employees. He recalls how he started worrying about dilemmas such as running a business from a small, 10-square meter room in San Mateo, Rizal 5 years ago.
“Then I got the idea of joining platforms, like Lazada. Because in Lazada, we don’t think of overcharges or any cost in maintaining the store. The only focus that I need to have is my inventory and my packing operations,” he shared.
Isaac’s story shows how you can keep your brand visible online despite strong competition. Remember that everyone wants to get a piece of buyers’ attention. Starting a small business online is more than just having something to sell and a platform to showcase them.
To become a successful online entrepreneur, you have to keep important points in mind:
You also have to stay up-to-date with the latest marketing and tech trends to keep your audience hooked.
Here’s a four-step guide to help you mentally pack for your journey towards online business success:
Ask business experts what advice they would give to new entrepreneurs, and one of the most common thing you’ll hear them say is this: satisfy a need. Creating a financially sustainable business is making sure there’s demand for it. And the first step to discovering in-demand products and services is market study.
Set your goals, find out who your target audience is, and get to know your market well. You can learn more about these here.
After pinpointing these, you can now gather actual data. Market research professionals can help you. You can also conduct your own focus group discussions or surveys (whether online or on-ground). Give participants free samples of your product or service to get them to join. This way, everyone gets something in return.
As Isaac mentioned, “As an owner, I believe that you need to focus on the customer first, second is your employees, and last is your shareholders or the owner of the company.” Prioritize your market’s needs and you’ll know how to go about product development, services, and even company changes.
Branding helps you make a great first impression. While branding is a broad concept, new online MSMEs can focus on business’ aesthetics and how your message is communicated through it. Some guidelines to remember when you come up with these are:
Planning how to package your brand and interact with customers to create memorable impressions. It will not only establish you as a reputable online seller, but also as a go-to place to shop. It’s about finding what appeals to your market so that you’ll stand out in the online selling crowd.
Remember that you don’t need a big budget for this. A compelling and authentic social media presence is a good start that’s free. Be consistent across all your platforms, including the ones you’re building (ex. website, online shop, customer service hub). This will allow you to communicate your products and services more clearly.
Isaac further advised, “The most important aspect of selling online is your photo. Because in reality, we are not selling a product in Lazada. We are just selling a photo with a nice description.” He said to keep reality vs. expectation in mind. In packaging your products online, photos and descriptions have to be as close to the actual item as possible. Be descriptive as well.
Every time you interact with your customers, it’s a chance to capture their hearts and earn their loyalty. To grab that opportunity, give a great customer experience.
Make sure every step of the shopping process is easy and convenient.
From your target customers visiting your store, making a purchase, to receiving their orders, it’s your responsibility to deliver the best experience. Here are a few tips on how you can do just that in the digital marketplace:
Keeping your buyers hooked also goes with good customer experience. This way, you attract them to learn more about your business and return for more purchases.
When it comes to discounts and price points to hook your customers, Isaac shared how he finds the balance between profit and a good deal. “Some items you will have good margin, some none, some even negative. Or we call it ‘pamigay nalang natin yan.’ But the greater idea is the whole picture. Some items you can have good margins so, you get your loss from that ‘pamigay item’ to your high-margin products,” he said, and added “Always see data, margin, and two perspectives. First is macro and second is micro. Both are meaningful towards your understanding of online sale.”
He also added, “Lazada always provides us tools to increase our sales, like seller picks, free shipping, collaborative ads, and vouchers. As a Lazada trainer, I always mention to my trainees the importance of these tools to have great sales during mega promotions. The biggest comparison was an increase of 750% [in sales when using the tools]. It always excites me when mega campaigns are near [like 12.12]. Planning is the key to have successful promotions.”
Studies show that people who’ve had a great experience shopping in a certain online store are bound to buy again. The chances improve dramatically when the store stays in contact with the customer, especially when it has special offers.
Staying in touch with your customers helps your business run through its own customer base.“Customer feedback is the best way to know if your product will be successful. If they have an issue about your product, we ask them what is the main issue. Then we try to solve it. Our main objective is to provide good products to all our customers, because customer satisfaction is our primary goal,” Isaac added.
Here are a few final reminders on how you can stay connected:
Starting a business online is a great way to kick off your entrepreneurial journey. With these online business tips, you’ll be more than ready to take on business challenges. You’ll experience the success that you’re always meant to achieve!
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