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How can small businesses capitalise on e-commerce?

10 Jul 2017

There’s very little doubt that e-commerce has changed the way that we do business around the world. But with such a wide range of ways to reach out to your customers, how can businesses make sure they are capitalising on every opportunity?

Customer demand has driven more flexibility in how products and services are sold, and now they expect to be able to shop from their phones, computers and even their smartwatches. SMEs need to be ready to capitalise on some of these trends and consider themselves entrepreneurial when it comes to doing business.

One of the emerging trends is in social commerce – or using social networks to directly market products and services to a willing audience. Platforms such as Facebook allow businesses to tap into a pool of data so that they can market to a specific profile, right down to gender, age and interest. The rise of social influencers has enabled individuals to cash in by advertising on their channels as well as selling their own products.

Social commerce is just one of the ways your customers expect to work with you, so you need to make sure you have joined up thinking. Buyers expect a consistent experience with your brand, no matter which shopping channel they use. Companies who focused on an omni-channel strategy were able to retain 89% of their customers, so it is an attractive prospect for businesses. What’s more, honing in on these different marketing channels opens you up to more information about your customer, where they like to shop, products they like to buy etc. This is all valuable intel for companies looking to increase sales or customer satisfaction.

Whilst you are opening up your sales channels, remember to stick to your position, understand your audience and show them why your products and services suit their needs. Having a clear message will reduce confusion amongst your customers, so just focus on having the right product in the right place at the right time.

Ensure that all data is up to date so that you can work towards any new opportunities and analyse any trend patterns as they emerge. That way you can be sure that your business is always on the pulse with your customers’ wants and needs.

Finally, data protection must be a thread running through your entire business. Data is important to gain a competitive edge, but also from a reputational point of view. Data breaches seem to be occurring more frequently, but that doesn’t mean they are any less disastrous for a business. With the EU General Data Protection Regulation coming into force in May 2018 (regardless of what happens with Brexit), businesses must act now to ensure they are compliant when the regulations come into force.

If you would like any further information, or you would like some advice in relating to setting up a business, staffing or any general legal matters, contact DMH Stallard to see how we can help.

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