E-commerce – How to start an online business? Part II

4 Minutes Read

After we cover the core concepts of e-Commerce, we will address other relevant issues in this second part of the article.

“Good content is the best sales tool in the world.” – Marcus Sheridan.

As previously stated, online businesses have increased exponentially in recent years, with great concern by brands to achieve a remarkable online presence.

Table of contents

  1. Types of products that e-commerce sells
  2. In e-commerce, should I opt for multi-channel communication?
  3. Does Voice Search work in e-commerce?
  4. Social shopping: the power of shops on social networks.
  5. What can we expect from e-commerce in 2022?

1. Types of products that e-commerce sells

With the emergence of e-commerce, the first online shops appeared based on the simple concept of “selling products online in a simple and convenient manner”. Nevertheless, the first e-commerce shops were businesses supported by physical shops, interpreting e-commerce as a supplementary communication and sale method, like clothing and shoe shops, technology shops, and hypermarkets, among others…

With the development of this topic, e-commerce was considered a model for potential innovation and new products and service launches, in which many can only be traded in an e-Commerce format. In Portugal, brands such as Prozis and Wook were pioneers of this innovation, expanding new business formats to our market. This way, e-Commerce shops manage to boost the brand, the business and the reach for new projects and ideas.

With the rise of virtual shops, businesses no longer need to own physical space, starting to buy online. Consequently, ideas such as:

  • Info-products;
  • Workshops and online consultancy;
  • E-books;
  • Online video consumption;
  • Rental services;
  • Online courses;
  • Personalisation of products;
  • A personalised follow-up to client research;
  • Among others…

Dropshipping is a recent concept that has become linked to e-Commerce. That is a business concept in which the retailer becomes a mere intermediary between the provider and the final consumer. In other words, the end customer places an order in the retailer’s shop, and the product is sent automatically from the third-party supplier, who ships the order directly to the customer on behalf of the retailer.


2. In e-commerce, should I opt for multi-channel communication?

A multichannel strategy is always beneficial in reaching, retaining and building loyalty among digital consumers who are already multichannel in their own right. More important than the reach provided by each channel is the consumer’s experience. So, efficient content management and brand consistency are fundamental to guaranteeing a unique and memorable experience. f you cannot afford a high upfront investment, it is essential to understand where your target persona/customer is present and select which channels to invest in, always prioritising the customer experience.


3. Does Voice Search work in e-commerce?

Voice artificial intelligence is increasingly considered one of the most revolutionary trends of e-commerce. Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Bixby or Cortana are some of the most developed voice search assistants that, when integrated with e-commerce platforms, can satisfy the most eccentric and original requests. They also allow the reinvention of the whole shopping experience in a more accessible way, making people’s lives easier through a union between technology and humanisation.

That leads to an essential question: “Does Voice Search work in e-commerce?

Firstly, we must understand the customer to find out how, when and where they use this technology and in what natural circumstances we can organically respond to their needs.

Five tips that can help:

  1. How is the brand positioned relative to the competition?
    The brand must be in a position to provide a unique and differentiated voice assistance service. To do that, the best way is to know how to take advantage of this technology.
  2. Is the website optimised for SEO?
    We have to provide answers to the questions asked by users, so it is essential to have optimised content to directly answer the extended and more specific questions they ask. Therefore, it is vital to have a good SEO strategy to be faster than the competition, working not only the long tail keywords but also using interrogative phrases, starting this process with the FAQ page
  3. Is the site optimised for Voice Search?
    The basic rule of SEO is valid for Voice Search, i.e. page loading speed is a determining fact for better voice search ranking.
  4. Is the site responsive?
    Due to the weight this technology has acquired, we should no longer delay restructuring the site’s navigation on mobile.
  5. Does the company already have a page on Google My Business?
    There is a gradual growth in searches for local products and services, so having this page with updated information and images is a simple and affordable step for the brand to be found by voice.

This innovative technology, Voice Search, has entirely changed search behaviour. That said, whatever stage the e-commerce business is at, it is crucial to channel all energy into optimising the site for voice search.


4. Social shopping: the power of shops on social networks.

Due to the continuous growth of social networks and the increased time users spend on them, brands want to be there. So the world’s biggest platforms continue to develop new ways for brands to reach potential consumers.

During 2020 there is an explosive increase in e-commerce, reinforcing the importance of brands investing in more social shopping experiences. Thus it is predicted that social shopping will continue to grow in 2021 and is one of the areas where brands with e-commerce should take a chance.

Social shopping in marketing consists in setting up shops within the platforms and where products are sold directly on the social networks, finalizing the sale on the platform itself. However, to succeed in social shopping, brands need to set a clear and defined strategy, using the correct channels to engage with their target audience.

Facebook and Instagram are good locations to start this development of social shopping strategies since they have been creating the right conditions for testing and learning with their online shops and chatbots.

Especially on Instagram, the development of an online shop will be an excellent bet, as it is one of the fastest-growing social networks, and even according to Instagram data, 60% of people discover new products on this platform. Therefore brands that already have shops on Facebook should consider Instagram Shopping.

These channels are symbolic of enormous business opportunities, as 72% of Instagram users say they have bought a product they saw on the social network itself. f sales are the purpose, brands should take advantage of this opportunity. Therefore, those who have e-commerce and have not yet created or optimized an online shop on social networks are losing money!


5. What can we expect from e-commerce in 2022?

It is worth noting that the boost that has recently been seen in the digital ecosystem is a trend that will grow in the coming years as a way of responding to the demands of new consumer habits, especially in the context of the global pandemic. The growth potential depends on the ability to invest in website optimisation, simplicity of use and a good shopping experience in a country that’s still highly marked by high digital illiteracy.

E-commerce platform example

The main challenge of this market for brands is to meet the consumer’s shopping needs and overcome some security fears by developing a specific, clear and intuitive offer for online shopping.

E-commerce is here to stay and is worth the investment. There are great opportunities for Portuguese companies to develop and grow online.

Link37 has a group of experts willing to help you implement the best strategies to increase your online presence. Schedule a meeting with us and find out how we can leverage your business.


Pedro Duarte Almeida