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3 Key Things Small Business Owners Should Learn from eCommerce Entrepreneurs

3 Key Things Small Business Owners Should Learn from eCommerce Entrepreneurs

There is always so much to learn in life, and that includes the business world. Whether you’re a seasoned founder or manager of ventures or new to being self-employed, it’s crucial to continually look for ways to grow as a leader, boost your knowledge, and hone your experience.

One way small business owners can improve their skills and market understanding is by looking to those who have already achieved success. With the phenomenal growth so many online organizations have had, it pays to look to eCommerce entrepreneurs, in particular, for guidance.

Make Data Your Friend

Online store operators do something very well that other business owners have been slower to take up: tracking, managing, and analyzing data. The information available to us these days is vast and can help in multiple areas. You can be like eCommerce owners and utilize data to develop new product or service ideas and understand your customer database.

Learn how people act when they visit your website. Install a web analytics tool that allows you to see which pages people visit on your site and the order in which they move from page to page. These tools can also indicate how long browsers spend on each area, if they put things in their cart, and where they might click away out of frustration or uncertainty.

Tracked information can help you find and attract more customers, increase conversion rates, and improve the number of people who buy from you more than once. Also, use it to keep an eye on your average sales figures, the average order value per sale, and the average number of visits or interactions required before people purchase.

Through data, you can learn the lifetime value of customers so you have a better idea of how much money to invest in customer acquisition. Using all the metrics you measure, you can work to better your business, and you should see improved sales and profits in turn. Plus, data will help you make quicker, smarter decisions, spot opportunities, and notice problems and address them before they become untenable issues.

Listen to and Seek Feedback

If you read about many online venture owners, you’ll hear how much they focus on getting feedback from their customers and making changes based on what they hear. If you want your business to have the greatest chance of success, listen to and seek out feedback from shoppers so you can learn what you’re doing right and where you can do better.

Make it easy for people to provide feedback through surveys or responses to emails that ask them how their purchase went. Invite consumers to tell you what they like best about your business and where you fall short through testimonials and reviews. You might use text message marketing to ask for feedback or run a competition where people get an entry to win something if they fill out a form about their interactions with your organization.

There are no hard and fast rules about how to go about soliciting input from people, but make sure you pay attention to what they tell you. Many consumers feel more invested in a business when they’re asked for their opinions and particularly become loyal when they see you addressed their feedback.

Ask people questions such as whether they’d recommend your brand to their family members and why or why not, and if there were any particular positive or negative aspects of their transaction that stood out. Ask for specific areas where you could do better and the helpful factors you should never stop. If multiple shoppers say the same types of things, this indicates you need to make changes. Test and measure, and keep soliciting comments until you’ve made solid improvements.

Use Constraints as Motivators

Another common comment from successful eCommerce entrepreneurs is that they and their teams found ways to turn challenges into benefits. In your business, see how you might take constraints that seem to be holding you back and turn them into motivators for innovation and new ideas and opportunities to explore. Getting creative will help you stand out from your competition, and you might even change the market completely through your inventiveness.

Thinking differently can open up brand new markets, help you save significant money, or act as its own marketing tool. Next time you’re faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, try to look at the issue in a new light to see if you can use the constraint as a way forward.

Looking to online store operators should help inspire you and give you ideas for how to continually improve your venture’s operations. It doesn’t matter what you sell or the industry you operate in, there’s insight there for the taking.


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by Harvey Carr // Harvey Carr is a contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.