As my own online business approaches its 20-year anniversary, I’m often asked, “how did you do it?” BeckerTime.com has become one of the world’s largest online retailers of preowned Rolex watches.
We’ve amassed tens of thousands of positive reviews, stellar BBB ratings, and reached multi-million dollar annual revenues. However, it has not been without challenge or hard work. After nearly 20 years in the ecommerce business, here are the top things you must do to be a successful online retailer.
- Have passion.
If you’re just looking at the bottom line, it’s going to be a long, uphill battle. But if you are genuinely passionate about the product you’re selling and you have a genuine desire to help people, you can succeed.
- Work hard.
In the ecommerce industry, we’re asking people we don’t know to send us money in exchange for a product they hope will be the real deal. You have to build trust and that does not happen overnight. You have to consistently earn trust, through every phone call, email, online exchange and transaction, every day of every month of every year. Once you build trust and
offer a great experience, customers will come back.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket and sell on one site. Consider a multimarketplace where both your brand and your products can get exposure to consumers wherever they’re shopping online.
- Don’t quit.
There will be times when it will be so hard you will want to quit right in that moment. There will be unhappy customers; no matter how hard you try, you cannot please absolutely everyone. There will be shipping delays. There will be product issues. There will be accounting issues. In my case, I lost my partner and best friend, my father, just a few short years into the business. That was one of the most difficult moments of my life. But I forged ahead, even more driven to honor his name and legacy. You simply cannot quit.
There will be ups and downs in the market. Change your pricing structure, reconsider your loyalty program, find new ways to sell or even new products to sell. Adapt to ever-changing
market conditions and you will thrive.
Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky few and the business will grow right from the start. Even then, keep working to improve. The competition will eventually catch up. Keep reinvesting, in public relations and marketing, in SEO, in advertising, in your own team, in your programs and offerings, in your infrastructure, in your tools, in your business. Keep improving and keep reinvesting.
- Focus on each customer.
Gone are the days of a good old-fashioned handshake. We’re moving a million miles an hour, going from one transaction to the next. Stop. Realize that each and every transaction is a person, someone who wants and deserves an exceptional experience. It’s not just about the authenticity and quality of what they’re buying; they want to feel good and be treated well. Don’t be afraid to ask what would make a customer happy, then try to deliver it. Will I say ‘yes’ to everything? No, that’s not reality. But if I can’t do something, I will take the time to tell the customer why and come up with a different solution. Care enough about your customers and their experience to know they have choices when it comes to buying online. To stand out, you have to be focused on their experience every step of the way.
- Be creative.
Develop programs that incentivize, excite and reward customers. From loyalty programs to special promotions, offer customers a reason to keep visiting your ecommerce
store. At BeckerTime, we developed a Lifetime TradeUp Guarantee as a value-added benefit for our customers. This program allows our customers to trade in a qualifying BeckerTime
preowned Rolex watch at any time and use the money paid for the original watch towards the purchase of a new, preowned BeckerTime luxury timepiece.
Though decades in the making, ecommerce is still fairly new, when compared to many other multibillion dollar industries. We’ve seen a lot of change over the past 20 years at BeckerTime; buying online has become safer and there are more protections for both buyers and sellers. There’s also more transparency, thanks to review sites, the BBB, Yelp and more. I’m excited for what the next 20 years will bring. While change is inevitable, these tips to become successful are ever-lasting. Follow these and you will succeed.
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