Top 20 E-Commerce Business Ideas

5 min read

One idea can have big impact or even totally change a business. It could boost revenue, lower expenses, or attract new customers. In this article, the leading industry experts are sharing solid, innovative E-commerce ideas to help your business. If you want to find out more about the best eCommerce software systems, read this post about E-commerce Software Development companies.

1. Go Mobile Now

More consumers are shopping on their mobile devices. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to invest in a mobile-optimized website. Make sure your entire website is optimized, not just your home page, and consider a responsive CSS design, not a separate stand-alone mobile website.

– Steve Bulger, eFulfillment Service

2. Never Let your E-Commerce Site Look Old

Review the look-and-feel of your website against your competitors. Make sure that they’ve not leaped ahead and built sites that look better. What passed as attractive and professional a few years ago may now look outdated and cheap.

– Richard Stubbings, E-Commerce Merchant, KultureShock.co.uk

3. Create a simple Shopping Experience

Smaller E-Commerce businesses sometimes make their sites too complex, with much product hierarchy, which makes it difficult for shoppers to find the exact products that they are looking for. Remember how your shoppers think of your products, such as by type (shirts vs. pants), features (red vs. blue), or by product variations (long sleeve vs. short). Then create a simple shopping experience to help them easily find what they need.

– Jerry Jao, Retention Science.

4. Show your products

You need to show how your products work, and look ( including different angles) to potential customers. Consider creating 3d models or animations.

– Jason Lawrence, Jason Lawrence, Arqspin

5. High-quality images matter

The picture sells it for you. It may not be cheap to hire a professional photographer to catalog your entire product line, but it’ll definitely pay off in the short term. In addition, markets such as eBay and Amazon and other powerful trading platforms put severe demands on the quality of the images, so your investment can help increase sales through repeated use in multiple sales channels.

– Steve Bulger, eFulfillment Service

6. Ask More of Manufacturers

Too often businesses invest unnecessary resources and time creating product photos and videos when manufacturers would gladly provide them for free, if only the businesses would ask. Talk to the manufacturer, write him, visit his promotional website before you grab your Nikon.

– Jason Lawrence, Arqspin

7. Review Site-search Data for ‘No Results’

Be sure that you’re capturing searches on your site that return no results.This can be through Google Analytics (recording a Google Analytics event, updating a custom variable, or using the “Category” value within the Site Search configuration) or through your site-search engine’s native reporting. For the most common search terms that return no results, consider adding content to your site to suggest products that might be a good alternative.

– Tim Wilson, Web Analytics Demystified

8. Encourage Customer Contact

Reward your shoppers every time they they interact with your business. If they fill out the “contact us” form, make sure your response addresses whatever question they had, but also include a discount or other special offer. Consider giving shoppers something — a discount, free shipping certificate, a free item, or similar — each time they proactively contact your store.

– Roggio Armando, E-Commerce Consultant, Author, Developer

9. Use customer feedback for marketing purposes

Send feedback surveys within two weeks of shipping customer orders. This is
your best opportunity to gather their opinions when the experience is still fresh in their minds.

Try to group your products into five categories, and get customers to select the product they bought in one category as one of your first questions. This exposes them to your other products. Also, if you sell anything that can be marketed as gifts, ask them when they would give these items as gifts. You may discover, for example, they would give Category A for Christmas gifts, Category B for baby gifts and Mother’s Day gifts, and Category C for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and wedding gifts. You may find that people view your products as potential gifts for occasions you may not have considered and see niche opportunities via age,
gender, location, and spending patterns.

– Elizabeth Ball, E-Commerce Merchant, ItsInTheStarsOnline.com

10. Avoid Additional Offers During the Checkout Process — Gagan Mehra, Ecommerce Data-management Consultant

Keep a laser focus on your customers’ buying the products they have added to the cart, versus showing more cross-sells, up-sells, or other promotions as part of the checkout process. Only after the purchase is complete should your site show the customer any offers or recommendations. This ensures the customer has no other option but to complete the purchase during the checkout flow.

– Gagan Mehra, E-Commerce Data-management Consultant

11. Send Thank You Cards to New, Loyal Shoppers — Armando Roggio, Ecommerce Consultant, Author, and Developer

Consider sending new customers, or customers who have placed multiple orders, a thank you card, hand signed. The card should tell the shopper that you appreciate the business and that you’re available to help. Be sure to include your direct phone number and email address.

– Armando Roggio, E-Commerce Consultant, Author, Developer

12. Focus on Retaining Existing Customers

What proportion of your business comes from existing customers versus new ones? Compare this to your sales and marketing spend. How much is spent on existing customers versus new? Consider making customer retention your new acquisition strategy. Focus sales and marketing expenditures on delivering remarkable experiences worth recommending. That is the secret to sustainable growth.

– Paul Chaney, Chaney Marketing Group

13. Audit your E-Commerce Business

Conduct an audit of your ecommerce site at least every week. Purchase a product via a complete checkout. Visit a wide variety of pages. Double check the recent promotions to ensure stale links and landing pages are removed. Make sure seasonal items are still appropriate. Do your own quality check to ensure your customer experience is the way you planned.

– Dale Traxler, E-Commerce Consultant, Author

14. Experiment

Try new things regularly. Use A/B testing to identify optimal content, designs, and landing pages. Raise or lower prices on selected items. Try unusual products. Create a new offer for free shipping. Offer a “Finally It’s Friday” sale once a quarter. In other words, don’t let your online store become stagnant. Don’t want to change everything all at once? Keep it discreet and simple so no one can track the impact.

– Dale Traxler, E-Commerce Consultant, Author

15. Use Social Sharing

Include social sharing on all product-detail pages to easily enable shoppers to share via social channels. This will give shoppers an easy way to share their favorite products with their friends on Facebook and Twitter or pin a product to Pinterest. By including social sharing, you not only provide value to the shopper, you also put your products in the social feeds of those shoppers’ friends.

– Tina Kelly, Digital Marketing Consultant

16. Use Incentivized Time Constraints

An incentivized time constraint is when you make an offer that has a time limit on it. There are tools that make this easy, like Time2Buy. It allows you to pop-up an offer based on an action set. So if your user visits three pages or has been on your site for 90 seconds (or whatever criteria you want) you can pop-up a window with a relevant offer that says something like, “Check out within the next 5 minutes and get 10% off.” The window will have a countdown timer. It encourages shoppers to make quick decisions.

– Ezra Firestone, SmartMarketer.com

17. For Affiliate Marketing, Get Creative

Affiliate marketing is no longer restricted to just ad banners appearing in sidebars. Provide your affiliates with creative and informative copy and you’ll stand a good chance of capturing central real estate on their sites as affiliates incorporate your copy in their content.

– Carolyn Kmet, All Inclusive Marketing

18. Shopping Cart Recovery Emails Generate High ROI

oughly 70 percent of consumers that place items in an online shopping cart
will abandon it and not purchase. Sending triggered recovery emails is remarkably effective, and should recover between 10 and 30 percent of abandoners, which translates into one of the highest investment returns in ecommerce. Send a sequence of emails, typically three, starting with the first in real time. It’s a simple concept: trigger an email when someone abandons the shopping cart, but avoid two major pitfalls. First, ensure that your campaign is always in step with customers. This means tracking visitors on the site in real time to ensure that you do not send emails to customers that have already purchased. Second, take great pains with promotions to ensure that you don’t train customers to abandon more to receive a promotional offer.

– Charles Nicholls, SeeWhy

19. Be Transparent with Shipping Costs

Surprises can lead to shopping cart abandonment. Try to be transparent as possible with your shipping policy. If you have free or flat-rate shipping, make sure people know it. Plaster it on the top of your home page and throughout your website: “Everyday free shipping on orders over $50!”

– Steve Bulger, eFulfillment Service

20. Match Each of your Products to Keywords

Matching each of your products to keywords will get you very cheap clicks on paid, comparison-shopping engines like Google Shopping and PriceGrabber. Most retailers use the standard product names given to them by their suppliers. If you’re selling a gift basket that has smoked salmon in it, for example, call it a “smoked salmon gift basket.” This way you have keyword-relevant products. When someone types in that query to a shopping engine, you could be the only one with a relevant product and therefore get cheaper clicks than everyone else.Most retailers don’t take the time to match their products to keywords.

– Ezra Firestone, SmartMarketer.com

Which one of these E-Commerce ideas resonated with you the most? Did you agree with all of them? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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