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2020 Resolution: Five Tips to Building a Successful Online Business

Updated: Jan 18

(Photo by HutchRock)


The rapid growth of internet business and mobile shopping has proved to be a lucrative and viable business option for many entrepreneurs. If 2020 is the year where you plan to ditch your 9 to 5 job and embark on a new adventure as an online business entrepreneur, here are some statistics to help you reaffirm your decision. 


According to investmentsnetwork.sg, 7% of Singapore’s population takes part in entrepreneurial activity, making it amongst the top countries in the world in terms of investing in businesses. In addition, a study by payments technology company WorldPay indicated that the e-commerce market in Singapore is set to expand by 48% to $9.98b by 2022. Exciting times ahead for e-commerce entrepreneurs indeed!


If you are among those who will be embarking on your new online business next year, here are some tips to help make your online business stand out.


Tip #1 Develop an impressive and eye-catching website

Think of your website as the digital storefront and showroom. Make it well-organised, easy to navigate, and motivates your customers to stay. Display all your items neatly and ensure to include an easy purchase element either through credit card, PayPal or other forms of e-payments options. 

Many good e-commerce websites also display product proof by indicating the number of items sold, the number of website visitors and even the most popular item purchased. One other important aspect to remember is, with the current trend of customers accessing websites through their mobile devices, ensure that your site is built for optimal mobile viewing.

An aesthetically-designed e-commerce website gets your customers attention immediately. (Source: floristique.sg website)


Tip #2. Entice your customers at the front door and own them

Your customers’ database is your biggest asset. Engage and own your customers the moment they step into your e-store or website. Encourage them to provide their contact details through a ‘subscribe’ or ‘join as member’ options. You can even consider offering freebies or a discount coupon as baits to make your offer irresistible. Over time, your database will grow and thus, be sure to store this ‘sacred’ list in a good system and secured database.


Engage and build relationships with your customers and members. Some tactics include following up with a thank you note, customer service form or email, asking for suggestions and/or gather feedback on their shopping experience. In fact, the feedback can also act as a potential source of ‘customer intelligence’ as you understand why certain product items are more popular compared to others.

Entice your customers to join a mailing list with a one-time discount offer is an effective draw. (Source: fashionvalet.com)


Tip #3. Choose your multi-marketing channels

Adopting a multi-marketing strategy and using various channels allow you to reach and impress a larger group of target audience. Unless you try this, you will not know which platform brings in the most number of customers and revenue. Depending on your customers, you may target your marketing on traditional media or social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or even through email. Multichannel marketing allows you to understand and evaluate the impact of your various campaigns. Make use of media coverage summary reports, and analytics from your website, blogs and social media platforms to help you focus your energy on the more effective channels.

Choose your most effective multi-channel platforms to promote your product. (Source: Khadijah)

Tip #4. Think local, go global

While you can be a local brand, the next frontier of opportunity for your B2B and B2C businesses is to go global. Exploring a customer base beyond your home ground is an effective way to expand your business, extend your offering to a new target audience and increase revenues from these multiple markets. Entering a new market will probably need some research and market intelligence before you can tailor your products and services to meet the needs of this geographical market. Study the demographics and observe the buying patterns through reliable resources or rely on a local partner in the geographic market to help you. While you can be a local company, think big and grab the chance to showcase your brand to a global audience.

Zalora was set up in Singapore in 2012 and offers a wide variety of international and local brands and designer labels. (Source: zalora.sg)


Tip #5. Stop aiming for perfection and recover ‘quickly’

We all know that not all business ventures will be successful in the first try. We may face a situation where there will be a lukewarm response or worse, experience ‘cricket silence’. Be resilient and give your online business and brand some time to be recognised and trusted by your customers. While we can be optimistic, stop aiming for perfection at your first attempt. If your first business idea crashed and burned, take time to evaluate the learning lessons and recover quickly. With new insights, knowledge and ‘ammunition’, embark on your next grand idea or pivot the previous plan to something more profitable. My mentor failed 13 times in his business ventures before he made it big in the business world. The idea is to fail quickly but, most importantly, recover even more quickly.

Let failures be the fuel to your future successes.


(This article was first published in Marketing in Asia on 5th December 2019)

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