Starting a successful online venture comes down to the age-old practice of adhering to supply and demand. If your prospective business plan involves targetting a gap in the Australian market and successfully filling it, you’re off to a good start.
The first step to successfully selling a service through e-commerce is to identify a service that people actually need. Be sure to do extensive research into whether there is a demand for your service or whether your product is marketable. Some of the most successful service offerings work towards solving a common problem for consumers, so this is a great place to start. Know the problem, know what consumers need and then make sure you have personal experience to draw from. One of the biggest mistakes people can make is not having sales coherence – If you’re a doctor, don’t go selling plumbing or carpentry equipment. You need to tap into your own experiences and expertise. Find or design a product or service that fits you, and your customers will recognise that. Many entrepreneurs think about money or passion, but the reality is you don’t have to worry about success if you actually fix a common problem for your customers.
In our business (as in most businesses) the customer is everything. Make sure you know your customer and clearly identify who your target audience is. This is incredibly important in e-commerce as it will enable you to market directly to them. Beyond knowing what your customer needs, and understanding the market, make sure you are listening to your customers. You may have a great idea for a service and think you understand the market, but there is no replacement for fulfiling the problems consumers face.
Make sure you have excellent customer service, regardless of the fact that you’re an e-commerce business and your audience might be on the other side of the world. Make sure that the way to get help or service via email or contact is an easy and painless experience. People remember when they have good customer service (they might forgive you for a faulty product that you can replace, but not for a rude customer service agent who hasn’t been helpful). Your customers will help to build a community behind your business. Build a connection with your product/service offering and target community – if they love and trust your product, they will tell their friends and the rest of the world. This obviously helps with organic growth and creating an in-demand service.
Selling a service through e-commerce can be very different from selling a tangible product. Most physical products come with set specifications so the consumer is clear about the end result, however with a service the outcome is less tangible and consumers need a bit more education on what they’re buying. So know your customer – know their pain points, their buying habits, and know any hesitations they might have with purchasing your service. With Lysn, we identified early on that the biggest barrier we have with selling psychology services is that it can take a couple of appointments with different psychologists until they meet the right professional that best fits their needs. At Lysn, we want to ensure our customers are getting the best service possible and to ensure that customers come back after their first session. We identified this hesitation and then designed our matching consultation offering. This essentially allows our customers to connect with a psychologist before committing to full consultation with a psychologist.
Be sure to capitalise on the tools available to you. We are living during an incredible time where so much is at our fingertips. So use these tools to understand your customer, capitalise on digital marketing opportunities, to understand SEO and to promote your services via social media. A lot of these tools and resources are free – it’s just a matter of putting in the time to understand them. Understand the algorithms you rely on in e-commerce and understand your competitors marketing strategies.
Then finally, focus on speed without it being a detriment to quality. This is incredibly important in the world of e-commerce because even if you have an amazing idea, if it takes you six months to get it to market, you will likely have 20 other similar products already on the market by the time you launch. BUT if your idea is quality and you have been able to develop a service that solves a common problem, then quality will trump speed every time.
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