The 3 Pillars of E-commerce Success
GUEST POST BY ROBERT RAND, CTO RAND MARKETING
In the early days of E-commerce, many merchants found that just by being among the first businesses to sell online, they could enjoy great long-term success. As the years have passed, and as the volume of digital storefronts continues to rise, it’s become increasingly important to have a well-devised plan for how your online store will succeed.
Best Practices for Building an E-commerce Site
Today’s top shopping sites are customer-centric and continue to evolve to offer user-friendly and positive experiences for shoppers. It all starts with choosing the right E-commerce platform, and the right professionals to support your needs. Whether that’s your web designers, web developers, hosting company, merchant services providers, or order management software providers, you want to surround yourself with the best possible resources that will allow you to grow and scale your business.
You may not be able to fit everything you want into your initial site launch, so it’s important to identify your short-term needs and long-term goals. This allows you to work toward a return on your investment while continuing to strive for a better user experience, ultimately resulting in a more efficient business operation.
Be sure to have an infrastructure in place to help keep your organization working efficiently and effectively. You’ll want the right software to manage inventory and order fulfillment for your E-commerce site, marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and other sales channels. Systems like SalesWarp can help you to grow and scale without getting bogged down in data entry and organizational capacity limitations.
Planning Strong Marketing Campaigns to Drive Sales
You may have the greatest products, the most impressive website in your industry, and the best prices, but if shoppers can’t find you, your business will not meet its potential. To get the word out, consider digital marketing campaigns such as:
• Pay Per Click Marketing
• Search Engine Optimization
• Social Media Marketing
• Content Marketing
• Online Video Marketing
• Affiliate Marketing
• Data Feed Marketing with Shopping Engines
It’s best to set aside an adequate budget to test various marketing campaigns and boost sales so that you can give your website a fair opportunity to perform. While you’re trying to earn first-time shoppers and build a following, consider whether offers such as ‘Free Shipping’ will help you compete and attract new customers.
Optimizing for Conversions and Long-Term Success
As you collect data on how shoppers are interacting with your website, you’ll be able to focus on Conversion Rate Optimization – increasing the number of store visitors who make purchases, as opposed to those who simply price shop and abandon carts. You may also see yourself focusing on improving your Average Order Value (AOV) through upselling and cross-selling. Finally, you may consider marketing efforts that will increase the Lifetime Value of your customers. You can do this through strategic E-mail Marketing Campaigns, Abandoned Cart Reminders, Social Media Campaigns, Reward Point / Loyalty Programs, Collecting Customer Reviews, and other efforts. These are great methods to stay in touch with customers, fans, and followers, and keep them involved with your brand – and hopefully, recommending your site to their friends.
It’s never too late to stop and re-evaluate your E-commerce success plan. Digital storefronts are data-driven entities, which exist in an evolving world of technology. It’s great to have a three-year plan but be prepared to revisit this often.