4 Sensible Risks To Take With Your Ecommerce Store In 2021

Posted by RodneyLaws on December 10, 2020

Calculated risk lies at the heart of business growth. If you play things too safe, you'll never reap any significant rewards — just watch as more adventurous rivals accelerate past you. And if you get too cavalier with your strategy, you'll end up tipping your entire business into failure. To do well on a consistent basis, you must find the middle ground between these extremes.

In this post, we're going to look at four sensible risks you can take with your ecommerce store in 2021. Each will be challenging in some way, and have the potential to make things worse if it goes horribly wrong, but success will enrich your overall strategy in some notable ways.

Migrate to an open-source platform

If you happened upon this post because you use OpenCart, then you can disregard this point and move on to the next — but there's an excellent chance that you were just looking for some ecommerce tips. If that's the case, then you might use something else for your store, and the balance of probability suggests that you rely on a hosted solution like Shopify, a system that has become so popular that it's viewed as an industry default.

Now, every decent Shopify review will talk about Shopify's out-of-the-box strength for good reason: it truly is a great option for online sellers who don't want to put time into customising their stores. But is ease of access sufficient justification for relying entirely on hosting and system settings that you can never truly control? For some sellers, yes — but not all. If you're ambitious about seeing where you can take your store, it might be time for a change.

Migrating an ecommerce store isn't easy or convenient, hence the risk, but think about the control you could reclaim. OpenCart is free, flexible, and supported by a massive community. Leaning on that capability will save you money relative to a cloud service and allow you to stand out from a field of highly-similar store designs.

Experiment with your product descriptions

What's the purpose of a product description? Would you say it's to accurately detail a product so prospective customers can get the information they need? If so, you're wrong. The purpose of a product description is to increase conversions. Note that the objection that an inaccurate product description will lead to returns and customer defections stems from a misunderstanding of this framing. The goal is to boost conversions overall, factoring in satisfaction and retention.

The reason you should experiment with your product descriptions is that you could plausibly make them significantly more compelling through some injection of personality. Can you make them funny? Abstract? Grandiose? What do you think your prospective customers might appreciate the most? If you miss the mark with your creative descriptions, you'll push people away: that's the risk. But if you nail them, you'll earn a consequence-free uptick in interest. ReferralCandy has some useful tips for how to do this.

Run some social media UGC campaigns

Social media can be a terrifying place for retailers, all because of the fickle nature of social sentiment. One minute you're getting widely praised and recommended, and the next minute people are trying to have your entire business canceled because of some perceived slight. Due to this, it can be highly tempting to simply ignore it for the most part, only stepping in to correct the record when someone stands something blatantly untrue about your company.

Instead of ignoring it, though, you should use it. More specifically, you should run some UGC campaigns via social media, encouraging people to produce content somehow relevant to your store. The risk? Quite obvious: in addition to inviting criticism by running the campaign, you'll contend with the possibility of people submitting useless or even offensive content.

If things go in that direction, you'll need to be extremely quick in addressing the criticism and/or removing the problematic content. If you proceed carefully, though, with a good hook and a reasonable reputation to begin with, you should be able to get some decent results in the form of social publicity that you can also repurpose for your website for some valuable social proof.

Intensify your focus on a niche

In times of crisis, it's tempting for store owners to expand their inventories, particularly now that dropshipping has become so popular. You can browse marketplace products and add them to your store in seconds — don't you want to have an expansive range to cater to all tastes? The more things you sell, the more people you'll be able to reach (at least, that's the thought).

In reality, though, that scattergun approach doesn't often pay dividends. So what about going in the other direction? Reducing your inventory instead of growing it? You can choose a specific area to focus on and redesign your store — and your branding — to advance your business as offering expertise in that area. Again, it's a risk, because you can remove products that would have caught on — but it's more likely to pay off since concentrating on a specific store niche is very effective at winning loyal customers.

There are much bigger risks you can take to build your store in the next year, but the smarter option is to take some sensible risks like these. Figure out if they suit your store, come up with some specific tactics, and see how you fare.

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