Sellers in the field of eCommerce have a variety of ways in which they can grow their eCommerce business. The classic method is to just open more and more stores, become a multi-channel at some point in time or by expanding their business overseas.
But those are not your only options!
In fact, these methods may work very well for some sellers, but for others, there can be a very clear glass ceiling with the traditional method which prevents growth. I am writing this article for the latter, as there is an alternative method for growing your business:
Becoming an authority in your field of commerce!
But what does that mean?
It means that you take all of your accumulated knowledge and you leverage it to grow your eCommerce business in the long-term. Let’s use surfing as an example in this instance. Say you sell surfer equipment and you yourself surf and have tons of information and tips for pros and rookies alike. Consider taking a few or all of the following actions into consideration:
- Start a dedicated blog – A great example of a blog topic for this type of content platform would be ‘Awesome bucket list surfing spots to try around the world!’
- Start answering high-intention consumer questions – This could be on any forum or Q&A site like Quora, for example. If someone asks questions about how to properly take care of their board, you could help them by answering and linking to your blog. Eventually, when they see you sell on eBay, Amazon or that you have a retail section of your site, there is a good chance they will be inclined to make a purchase from you. Once you have established your authority with them and helped them on a regular basis for free, they are much more inclined to trust you as a retailer.
- Get involved with social media – You can start a surfer’s Instagram account, for example.
Let me guess.
You don’t have the perfect surfer’s body.
Don’t worry – neither do I!
Here’s an idea:
You can post pictures of other surfers and surfer-related scenarios on your account using popular hashtags: #surfer, #surftrip, #surfboards, and #surfworld. Another great idea is to create your own hashtag that your clients can use exclusively to tag your product in, such as: #SurfRetail.
Pro tip: Source free pictures from Unsplash, or even better, ask your customers and readers to post pictures of themselves with your products using your designated hashtag. Use this as a cross-marketing tactic both on social media and your e-retail channels.
- Use videos to demonstrate your involvement – You can use popular platforms like YouTube and Vimeo to disseminate your video content. Consider making tutorials for hobby newbies, such as new surfers in this example. Another idea is to take your camera wherever you travel so if you are treating yourself to an exotic surf destination, you can get it on camera and give your target audience some surf travel tips. Video content is one of the most powerful ways to connect with your audience as A) People love watching videos since they are easily digestible and require little to no effort, and B) more often than not, videos rank higher in search results, often appearing in Google ‘snippets’ at the top of Google page results.
Creating an online authority of your own
In order to get a better idea of how to practically build an online retail-blog interface, I sat down for a chat with Tal Berin, the CEO of ‘Avoori‘, a leading websites and eCommerce platform designed for digital agencies and professional marketers. Avoori is powered by WordPress and allows pretty much everyone to create a professional online presence with advanced eCommerce integrations and marketing automation tools. Below are the key takeaways from my 60 minutes with Mr. Berin, who is heavily involved in the Israeli startup scene.
10 Questions: An Interview with Avoori CEO Tal Berin
#1: What is unique in your opinion about the Israeli startup scene and why do you think Israel is such a startup hotbed?
The thing I find unique in the Israeli startup scene is the core belief that anything is possible! Israeli entrepreneurs work on the fly – they don’t appreciate structure or business plans, but rather they focus on direct solution implementation. Something we call “tahles” here in Israel, which translates as ‘to the point’.
The combination of hot weather and Israeli Chutzpah, or tenacity in English, is a big factor in Israeli aspirations to create something innovative which challenges the current status quo in any given field.
#2: What qualities define a modern entrepreneur? Which do you possess and where can you improve?
Entrepreneurs are defined through:
- Good communication
- Excellent research skills
- The ability to synthesize ideas and solutions
- Being solution-driven, yet simultaneously capable of taking responsibility for implementation
I think that learning from others is key while simultaneously mentoring them using your accumulated knowledge and achievements, which can really impact the innovation process. Keeping this in mind, I really believe in the power of friendship when combined with entrepreneurship. The power to network and bond in a real and meaningful way is an engine for growth in the modern business world. This ties in nicely with the sharing economy, which is rapidly becoming the dominant model with companies like Airbnb and Car2go making an impact on the global economy.
#3: What is the key to success in the startup industry?
Being able to take an idea and turn it into a concrete goal, plan it, process it and implement it as something which is meaningful to others. This process must be repeated for every pivot point in the entrepreneurial process. When performing additional iterations of the process, it is paramount to not take shortcuts but rather to really learn to overcome obstacles and navigate your company to the sandy white shores of a finished product.
#4: What makes your startup stand out among your competition?
We took the most-used CMS (Content Management System) in the world, WordPress, and converted it from an open-source software into a fully-featured website, eCommerce and marketing automation platform.
Similar to other online services such as Wix, SquareSpace, and Shopify, our customers receive:
- A professionally themed website
- The ability to open an eCommerce store
- An SEO promotion suite
- Newsletter and marketing automation.
The platform was designed with digital agencies in mind who are currently working with WordPress and looking to accelerate the onboarding process for their clients while avoiding maintenance and bugs typically associated with a self-hosted WordPress website.
#5: How do you plan to grow as a company? What new features/hacks/developments can you share with us?
Our main goal is to improve on the real value we provide to digital agencies and business owners, allowing them to onboard more clients while simultaneously managing a higher quantity of sites.
We are in the process of incorporating over 40 global payment gateways which will basically allow transactions to occur between people in most parts of the globe. By the end of 2019, a person will be able to create a product page in two minutes and set up a preferred payment method using all 40 payment gateways, allowing their clients to pay as they choose. This will open global markets to online retailers in an unprecedented manner. Currently, you can open an online store with six payment gateways:
It is worth mentioning that, a large audience who is showing interest in this product are people from emerging markets such as those from Africa and Asia who are looking to set up a professional WordPress-powered website that is competitive both in terms of price and initial setup.
#6: I understand that your platform allows people to open up an eCommerce store. Where did that idea come from and why did you guys decide to put eCommerce center stage in your business model?
Anyone can set up a simple general website using a host of platforms. The real challenge is creating an online retail site which is easy to set up and manage yet still provides a very positive user experience.
In a modern economy, every website should have the ability to monetize their brand vis-a-vis sales of goods or services. We understood this and made it an integral part of our product offering.
#7: How can eCommerce sellers use your platform to grow their business?
They can sell physical products, virtual products (services), downloadable products, subscriptions, paid newsletters, as well as marketing automation suites.
#8: Why does content creation in general and blogging in particular play such an integral role in one’s success in online retail?
Content creation and blogging, in particular, are really the bread and butter of any eCommerce retail company, big or small, individual or corporate. This is a main premise for our business model, and we really believe in this approach. When you provide real, actionable advice coupled with useful content for your target audience, there is no more effective way to reel them in as clients. Do keep in mind that there is a way to go between serving up quality content and making an actual sale. You are essentially building a relationship and trust with your readers – only once both are attained can you actually successfully sell anyone anything. This process requires patience and a long-term approach – conversions based on a ‘content relationship’ may take anywhere from 1 week to 3 months, depending on how far along a customer is in the conversion funnel.
#9: Give me one example of a retailer who set up shop with Avoori and is currently doing phenomenally well. What did Avoori do for them?
Thegalileeboat.com is a prime example of a business which used Avoori to set up both a blog and online retail business. They are currently doing phenomenally well. Avoori gave them the tools to take their retail dream and turn it into a reality without the need for hiring a website designer, e-retail professional, SEO expert or marketing manager to the tune of thousands of dollars. They did it all themselves and are now reaping the benefits of the seeds they sowed. Entrepreneurship is about freedom and independence, and that is what we aim to provide eCommerce sellers with – liberation from marketplaces and pricey customized retail sites.
#10: What is one feature you have planned for the future which will have a serious impact on e-retailers?
We will create a questionnaire allowing a quicker website creation process. Based on the answers to this questionnaire, the customer will receive a custom website with all the content they require which can continuously be customized. Customization allows us to cater to and solve very specific business needs and adapt our interface to very specific workflow processes.
Additionally, you will be able to list items from a huge pool of globally sold items – meaning even people who are not currently involved in retail will be able to leverage and monetize their content, services and online presence in an unprecedented manner.
Summing it up
Integrating an already existing retail business with a content outlet and vice-versa can be very daunting at first, but as I like to tell my colleagues and boss, “You will never experience any true growth inside your comfort zone”. Everything you dream of – growing your business, having your voice heard, attaining financial abundance, building new relationships, all require you to take the first step outside the Garden of Eden, so to speak. You may just discover what once seemed like a lush, abundant garden to you was really a desert oasis while your new surroundings are a real paradise. For the pessimists out there, of course, the outcome may be reversed, but if you never try, you will never know. So get out there, become an authority in your field and monetize that status with whatever retail or services best serve that audience.
And don’t forget, you read it here first, so do both your fellow readers and myself a favor and tell us about your retail/blogging experiences and how one has affected the other in your personal experience.
Thanks for reading 😉