Our shopping habits have changed dramatically in recent years. Rather than getting in our cars and driving to the shops, we’ve got used to shopping whenever and wherever we like.
In just a few clicks or taps on a screen, we can order practically anything and have it delivered within days. Unsurprisingly, some companies have massively benefited from the rise in e-commerce while others have struggled to adapt.
As Amazon has gone from strength to strength – making $283,000 (£220,000) a minute, according to some sources – retailers, such as Blockbusters to Woolworths, simply disappeared from our high streets overnight.
Lockdown accelerates e-commerce growth
In April 2019, online retail sales overtook physical sales for the first time. However, the impact of Covid-19 and lockdown has massively accelerated this trend.
Unsurprisingly, printers that had already embraced e-commerce, through web-to-print software, have fared significantly better during lockdown, than those that haven’t. So if you are looking to future proof your print business with e-commerce, what exactly do you need to consider?
Pick the right products
It may sound obvious but selecting the right product is integral to successful e-commerce. Fortunately, one of the biggest growing sectors is a prime match for web-to-print.
According to Google Trends data, searches for “personalised gifts” have steadily increased over the last 15 years and show no signs of slowing. This is backed up by market research from data provider Technavio, which forecasts that the personalised gift sector is set to grow by $15.92 billion (£12.51 billion) between 2019-2023.
With the right partners and integrations, you could soon be selling everything from personalised clothing, to mugs and homeware, to personalised stationery through e-commerce storefronts.
Know your customer and competition
Not fully understanding their customer is where a lot of e-commerce businesses fail. The more you know about your customer, the better you will be able to tailor the look and feel of your storefront and marketing activities.
It’s also important to have a firm understanding of your competition, to see what you can do better. A simple way of doing this is to search for the product you intend to sell, taking a look at the websites of the top search results, perhaps even ordering an item. Was it a simple transaction or were there cumbersome parts of the process that could make you reconsider the purchase or a return visit? For example, having to rekey shipping information is known to affect sales.
This will help you create the optimum shopping experience for your customers when you plan and build your storefront.
Select the right web-to-print vendor
You will now have a firm idea of what functionality, compatibility and storefront layout will give your customer a fantastic user experience. So, you need to ensure that whichever web-to-print provider you select, is able to offer this.
Ultimately, you want a system that can provide flexible designs (and isn’t restricted to a few templates) and can easily scale and integrate with both yours and partners systems.
Although setting up your first store can be daunting, your provider should offer full support and training to get your business up and running (and when things go wrong). If a provider isn’t able to tick these boxes, then step away.
Raise your profile with digital marketing
The rise in social media and other forms of digital marketing has gone hand in hand with the growth of e-commerce. It’s never been easier to reach and interact with your customers and producing blog, social media and email content is essential.
Knowing your customers’ interests will help you create content that they’ll want to read, comment on and share. This will help drive more traffic to your site and make you more visible in Google searches.
Analyse, learn, refine
The final piece in the e-commerce puzzle is adapting based on your performance analysis. By measuring everything, from social media engagement to sales, you’ll be able to constantly improve all aspects of your e-commerce business.
A web-to-print platform offers you the flexibility needed to start small and scale in line with demand.
Find out more
There can be endless different factors and areas to keep in mind when producing a successful e-commerce strategy, from knowing how to effectively research your audience, to understanding which social media platforms to build on.
In our latest e-guide, Future proof your printing business with web-to-print e-commerce, we help guide you through the entire process, without getting overly technical. Download it now and see how you can generate new revenue streams, which won’t be impacted by potential lockdowns in the future.