Before we welcome the year 2019 with a bang, let’s spend a few minutes talking about the trends that emerged last year in ecommerce. After all, you can’t progress forward in your business if you haven’t learned from past experiences, right?
Now, which one would you want to hear first: the good news or the not-so-good news?
Good news: Because of the convenient nature of ecommerce businesses, starting your own company is easier and within the reach of your fingertips. You can even get started with your ecommerce brand at the comforts of your home.
Not-so-good news: Since most entrepreneurs are leaning towards the ecommerce industry because it’s easier to start, competition is at an all-time high in any product category, consumer geography and target market.
Good news: The existence of Facebook and Google made it simpler for you to promote your products and services to your target customer profile online.
Not-so-good news: Cost of acquisition via paid ads continue to rise. In Facebook alone, the average price per ad increased 17% in Q2 2018. It’s more expensive to acquire customers via Facebook ads and Google ads.
Good news: Ecommerce-specific ad engagement increased from 1% to 3%. This means Facebook users interested in purchasing a product or getting a service are clicking on paid ads more and more.
Not-so-good news: Speaking of paids ads in Facebook, the social networking giant has been involved in several security breaches which affected several users: 50 million users here and 87 million users here, among others.
The truth that these trends in 2018 exposed is this — if you’re operating your business based on metrics that you can’t directly influence and you’re running your company on platforms that you can’t control (Facebook, Google, YouTube, “Influencer” marketing, etc), you’re going to have a difficult time.
When the competition is at an all-time high…
When the cost of paids ads become more expensive…
When attacks on data privacy have happened more than once…
And when there’s so much fakeness around the way that many “influencers” report their marketing metrics such as audience size and engagement…
Since we don’t know how to differentiate between what’s fake and inaccurate from what’s authentic and accurate, the shift is to start owning something than to rely on these other platforms.
Finally, here’s the super amazing good news:
In 2017, retail e-commerce sales worldwide reached 2.3 trillion USD. Last 2018, it reached 2.8 trillion USD in sales and is projected to grow to 4.88 trillion USD in 2021! This means that the trend for ecommerce sales continues to move upward – more and more sales will come.
But here’s the super not-so-good news that you need to consider as well:
Consumers are overwhelmed. They receive emails, social media notifications, app notifications regularly — so many messages from so many companies that all aim to catch and hold their attention.
Yes, online sales are still increasing.
But how sure are you that your company’s going to be a part of it?
With all the seemingly endless options around the world, how and why are they picking you?
To protect yourself and your business against these things, focus on doing things that you can control and do these on platforms that you can directly influence.
Build a profitable brand that you, and most importantly, your customers, absolutely love and are proud of.
In today’s world where there’s so much noise, the idea is to stop screaming at everyone. It’s to have significant and mutually beneficial conversations with people that your company truly cares about.
The future of 2019 is having meaningful engagement with your customers and building authentic relationships rooted in honesty, trust, kindness and mutual benefit. Put your customer front and center of everything you do, say and publish.
Your customers should be the very fabric that keeps everything about your brand together. After all, without them, you wouldn’t even have a successful and sustainable brand in the first place.
Focusing on your customers isn’t just some feel-good tactic that you need to employ. Financially speaking, increasing your Customer Lifetime Value in relation to your Customer Acquisition Cost is important as well. Here’s a valuable Twitter thread from Wilson Hung that discusses the significant role that CLV:CAC ratio plays when it comes to building your business.
Last year, we at Conversio built the Brand Trust Platform™ to help you with this. The Brand Trust Platform was launched to help entrepreneurs like you build a sustainable and successful business by building meaningful, trustworthy and mutually beneficial relationships with your customers.
As Kevin Kelly has popularized, you need to start with finding your first 1,000 true fans so your business can successfully survive for the long run. Depending on your ambition and scalability, you can target 1,000 true fans, 100,000 true fans or even 1,000,000!
Whatever number you want to hit, the principle remains the same: fans are true fans when they truly love your business, they purchase the products you sell and they tell their friends all about your brand.
And you can achieve this level of success when you find a way to build an inclusive, engaging and loyal community of customers where your brand essentially gives them the chance to do your marketing for you – no need to depend on other expensive platforms that you don’t even own with “half-truth” metrics that you can’t even accurately monitor.
Now that it’s 2019, I’d love to know your thoughts. Where do you think ecommerce is heading this year? Also, what are you doing this year to help you build a brand that your customers will love? Let me know in the comments below!