Sales data is clear: The holiday shopping season is gradually being taken over by online shoppers.
And when you go inside those numbers, more and more of those Internet buyers are going mobile.
So how do entrepreneurs, those wanting to grow their business and those already making big plays really cash in?
WTW Insiders get advice from a successful ecommerce pioneer – Scot Wingo of ChannelAdvisor. He co-founded the company, took it public (NYSE: ECOM), and now serves as executive chairman..
But first, here is part of an Associated Press story from last week that verifies the online shopping trend. It’s not just hype.
“Online sales growth so far this holiday season is surpassing growth in sales at physical stores, according to First Data, which analyzed online and in-store payments from Oct. 31 through Monday.
“Sales growth for stores is up 2 percent, while online sales rose 4.6 percent, according to First Data, which declined to give dollar figures, citing proprietary reasons.
“Total spending, including sales in both physical stores and online, climbed 2.4 percent, stronger than the 1.8 percent growth during the same period last year.”
And before we get to Wingo’s advice, data compiled by ChannelAdvisor, which provides a growing variety of ecommerce services to retailers worldwide,and others showed that during the Black Friday weekend that more buyers than ever were either searching for or buying from mobile devices.
So here’s Wingo’s advice – for startups, emerging players and the “ninjas” who are looking to improve their games:
- Here’s Wingo’s advice to entrepreneurs who are just getting started:
Find a defensible niche and grow it.
Amazon is a ~$100B behemoth in the industry, and you also have players like Target and Walmart to contend with. If you are just starting out, the chances of success taking these guys head-on is slim to none.
That being said, only (less than) 10 percent of retail sales are online so there are plenty of categories, products and ideas left.
Zappos started with the idea of having the best shoe experience. Dollar shave club had the idea of subscription razors.
What’s your idea and how is it unique/different?
- Here’s Wingo’s advice to those who are looking to grow:
Focus on the customer experience (CX).
We see a lot of mid-size retailers putting the proverbial cart before the horse. They are ready to spend big on different customer acquisition avenues (Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook), but their CX needs improvement.
It’s better to focus on an awesome CX first and then do the marketing.
Your website should be streamlined and easy to use, your packaging should be awesome, your customer service and returns processes should be super smooth, etc.
- And if you are an ecommerce ninja, Scot says embrace mobile:
Mobile mobile mobile!
We’ve been talking about mobile in e-commerce forever, and I think many larger retailers feel as if their strategy is solid there.
Data indicates that Amazon and eBay are dominating on mobile because they have such powerful apps.
Retailers need to invest substantially more here to stay in the game.
Consumers download 100+ apps, but actively use 10-15.
If you are not in that ‘active set,’ what can you do to change that?