The advent of Facebook Marketplace probably didn’t have too many business owners sweating. The social media integrated eBay-like offering was only launched in October last year and acts more like a place to sell your used toaster, rather than a fully fledged e-commerce marketplace.
But some entrepreneurs are warning all retailers to make sure they’re ahead of the curve, claiming the personal aspect of Marketplace could kickstart its popularity.
Writing for Entrepreneur, Brent Freeman, founder of venture capital firm Stealth Venture Labs shares his tips for how startups and e-commerce entrepreneurs can stay ahead of the curve when it comes to larger competitors like Facebook Marketplace.
While Freeman thinks it’s unlikely Marketplace will spell the end for other e-commerce platforms, he says there are some key things SMEs can do to stay competitive.
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1. Mix up your marketing strategy
Freeman believes an “omnichannel” approach for e-commerce marketing is essential. He claims customer engagement on multiple channels can increase a brand’s revenue by 9.5%.
“Dominating one channel is all well and good but leaves gaps in your marketing efforts and opens your business to risk. When you take an omnichannel approach, you can navigate those peaks and valleys and reallocate funds to the areas most in need,” he says.
2. Strengthen your fulfilment efforts
Shipping is the name of the game when it comes to e-commerce, with Freeman arguing that customers will feel underwhelmed if shipping “costs a dime and takes more than two days to arrive”.
He recommends incorporating shipping costs into the price of items, or just changing what you charge for shipping altogether.
“Twenty-eight percent of consumers abandon their shopping carts when charged an unexpected shipping rate,” he says.
3. Look into third-party logistics
In the same vein as the second tip, Freeman recommends e-commerce businesses consider third-party solutions to help with difficult tasks such as shipping.
“Look at using a fulfilment company to handle shipping. You’ll likely save money, reduce liability and free up time to focus on growing your business,” he says.
4. Let go
Finally, Freeman believes small business owners and entrepreneurs shouldn’t try to do everything in their business, saying “no one can do it all”.
“Let go of certain aspects of your business, such as accounting, customer services, graphic design or shipping and logistics,” he says.
The solution? Freeman recommends getting some contractors on board to help out, as their expertise will make it easier for you to focus on growing and improving your business.