Undeniably, COVID-19 has made us highly reliant on digital products and services, revolutionising the way we study, work, shop, and connect to others. In fact, international law firm Addleshaw Goddard found that 73% of Scottish businesses have found it both necessary and profitable to adopt new technology to reach consumers during the pandemic.
And with e-commerce in particular surging in popularity, it’s safe to say that if there’s any time to enter the industry, it’s now.
One of the best places to do so is Aberdeen. Its international airport makes it one of the top British cities that attract foreign investors. Plus, it has both a highly qualified workforce and a high number of start-ups per capita.
So if you’re an entrepreneur looking to get started in e-commerce, Aberdeen is the place to be. Here are a few tips to help you jumpstart your journey.
Outline your basic information
The first thing you need to do is decide what your company will sell, and to whom. You will also need to determine who your competitors are, the market trends that may affect your entry into the industry, and your final product line-up. Will your products be handmade, manufactured, or bought wholesale from an external supplier? How much will you sell them for?
You can use these details to draft your business plan, which should also include information on the structure of your operations, the funding you require, and short-term financial projections.
Afterwards, apply for a licence or permit at the Aberdeen City Council’s local website. You may also be eligible to receive support from Business Loans Scotland under certain conditions.
Choose between solo or marketplace sites
One crucial thing you have to consider before going live is whether to host your own website or sell on online marketplaces like Etsy or Amazon. Both have significant pros and cons for you to consider.
With your own site, for example, you have full ownership and can gather better insight derived from traffic. However, it’s harder to build an audience. Websites can also be expensive to maintain.
Meanwhile, it’s easier and cheaper to set up on marketplace sites (and you can benefit from its existing following too). It’s just that your brand might get lost among the others hosted on the site. The marketplace takes part of your profit as well.
Map out the user experience
Next, ensure your website or company page facilitates a simple and convenient shopping experience, as clunky user interfaces can turn consumers away. Keep your shop’s key sections, such as product categories or ‘About Us’ pages, easily accessible at all times. Detailed product descriptions, including product photographs taken from multiple angles, can also help consumers know exactly what they’re buying.
Finally — and this is particularly crucial if you’re hosting your own website — make sure you provide secure and reliable payment channels. That way, shoppers won’t feel at risk for hacking or fraud attempts.
Establish your online presence
Once you’ve set up your business, let consumers know you’re around. Some effective strategies include but are not limited to: search engine marketing (SEM), online content creation, and automation. With SEM, for instance, you pay Google to post your ads on search engine results, driving traffic to your site.
Content creation is another tried-and-tested method. And as the social media platform with the highest average engagement rate, Instagram is the best place to start. In particular, Instagram marketing that makes use of influencers can help you reach large sections of your target audience. It removes the barriers of traditional advertising and introduces your brand to a new audience through a more trustworthy source, your influencer partner.
In fact, collaborating with local talents like lifestyle bloggers Peter and Laura are great ways to jumpstart your efforts, especially if your target demographic is young and in the Aberdeen area.
You can also personalise your online marketing strategy on a large scale using software that can tailor adverts to individual browsing preferences. As previously mentioned here in our Business News, highly relevant adverts are more likely to increase customer conversion rates.
Now, with this thorough run-down on e-Commerce’s A to Z, you’re all set to launch your own journey in Aberdeen!