Imagine that you have been hired as an eCommerce Manager for a Retailer and everyone is hanging from you to turn the digital landscape of the company. Where do you start from? What are the challenges that you are about to face and how do you tackle them?
Here is a list you can go through
Knowing your competition and where do you stand in the market is very important. Knowing and responding though is even better. You can make your goods, services, and marketing stand out by being aware of who your rivals are and what they have to offer.
There are multiple ways that you can find out where do you stand against competition.
a. Knowing your market share is the first step:
It is a simple percentage, but it says a lot. Do you have the 20% of the whole Retail pie, you ran a campaign and now you have 21%? Bingo! Or are you losing ground, and you need to find ways to recover? No matter the situation you need to know the big picture. What if you could see the % of orders vs competition, or your buy rate. Even better imagine this broken down to category, product, and SKU level, so you can have the big picture and the detailed one. Try to back up your decisions with data, analyze trends and apply that information to the eshop’s overall strategy to drive more sales.
b. Pricing is a very important factor.
Search engine optimization (SEO) and comparison engines can be influenced by an effective e-commerce pricing plan, which can also draw customers to your website. You want to see how other retailers are pricing the same product? What kind of pricing strategy are you using and what is competition? Cost-based, Market pricing, Dynamic pricing, Bundle pricing? Having the right tools to monitor pricing of competition is crucial. Scraping sites is one-time consuming solution, but getting this automatically, in just one snapshot, would allow a faster decision making. You need to know for key competitors what is their regular pricing, what are the discounts they are offering and what is their price ranges, at any time.
c. Knowing the marketing impact of your campaigns and those of the competition is the holy grail.
The success of a company’s online presence, whether it be through organic search traffic or sponsored ad campaigns, is the responsibility of ecommerce managers. Most businesses want to raise brand recognition and online sales at the same time. Ecommerce managers should be able to conduct tests, evaluate consumer behavior, and decide what would increase sales for their business the most, by always taking into consideration what competition does. Reporting also on specific indicators can have an impact on their online presence. Monitoring your sales before, during and after a campaign is one simple example of tracking if your goals were achieved. Also measuring the share of voice of different channels such as Newsletters, Homepage/Category Banners, Facebook, Instagram, Sponsored Posts, Contests, Blogs, and knowing the impact per brand and category is another way of shedding light to the different activations implemented. Choose the tools that will enable you to attain your objectives and gather data about consumers, rivals, and markets, to make decisions that will improve the company’s performance. Being able to see all your digital marketing assets in one dashboard for a quick view in a daily basis has real value and can be the first step of a successful eCommerce Strategy
2. Customer Experience
The eCommerce customer experience (ECX) is made up of everything that takes place from the minute a person first learns about your eshop to the moment they consciously decide to become a paying customer and the post purchase journey. A report by Dimension Data found that 84% of companies who focus on ECX saw an uplift in their revenue numbers and 79% improved cost savings.
User Experience (UX) is a part of the eCommerce Customer Experience, referring to the functional structures and elements inside this entire experience, whereas ecommerce customer experience refers to everything that happens between the customer and your business. Finding the exact product consumers want relatively easily, taking in branded material and executing transactions to make purchases are the fundamentals that are a part of the whole ECX. Customers anticipate a comparable, if not identical, shopping experience to that which they would have at a physical store.
The website’s navigation, segmentation, and retail customization of products are crucial elements for a unique ECX. Understand how shoppers navigate your website, find out what they are searching and if they are searching directly or are they using your menu to arrive at the page or product they desire. Knowing the keywords that Customers are searching is gold. Retailers can rank products according to shoppers’ preferences, place the right keywords for the right products, drive more website visits and convert them into sales.
3. Customer Loyalty
The following two facts demonstrate the significance of client loyalty: A new client’s acquisition can be up to five times more expensive than keeping an existing one, while selling to an existing customer has a success rate of 60–70% compared to only 2–20% for new customers. The success of an online store over time is strongly influenced by the number of repeat consumers. As a result, the e-commerce manager must understand how to attract customers and keep them.
As a Retailer you should use basket analytics to boost sales by better understanding client buying habits. Data on purchase histories, data on product groups or items that are most likely to be bought together, can help eshops decide how to best position products and run promotions. Cross selling opportunities come up when having such data, enabling Retailers to combine product incentives. Also finding the right persona through basket analytics can bring knowledge to direct marketing efforts at customers who are more likely to follow the same path. Amazon let customers know that people who purchased a specific item, have also reviewed, or purchased a different list of things. Finding therefore hidden trends in your consumers’ behavior can be done in a snap with market basket analysis.
4. Fast & Fresh Content that Converts
Customers have a positive relationship with businesses that offer new, interesting content. Content increases Awareness, Conversions, Organic Traffic and builds Trust, Engagement and Understanding for your Customers. Offering comprehensive, understandable information or step-by-step instructions with pictures and videos are some examples of content a customer needs. For eCommerce businesses to survive, develop, and give their consumers the greatest user experience possible, content can be what will scale your eshop’s traffic & sales.
Retailers are in constant need of content and their Brand Partners could help them out in this challenge. Retailers & Brands should be in place to share content easily and rapidly between them. Having a Product Information Management tool can be a non brainer solution, since suppliers are able to share photos, texts, promotional material, discounts with Retailers, creating a unified collaboration space to facilitate file exchanges and advance their partnership.
Another important task for an e-Business is to build a Content Marketing Pipeline, for every buying Persona at each stage of their buying process. Dedicate sufficient resources to all three phases of the Content Pipeline: Preparation, Production, Publication and use the right SEO Keyword Research Tools. Measure leads and their consumption habits, prioritize the content most consumed, and finally integrate your content marketing with other marketing initiatives.
5. Logistics & Availability
Availability of your products is one of the most important factors in ecommerce, since you can’t sell what you don’t have in stock. Becoming more aware of your supply chain overall is critical, especially now that supply chain problems have alarmingly arisen around the world. Accurately tracking your inventory using supply chain visibility and creating a system of clear communication that can keep you informed about many aspects of the supply chain process is a must.
This is one of those eCommerce problems that takes time and effort to solve but is necessary to be tackled. Knowing what exactly is happening to every step of your supply chain can help you identify the necessary steps to grow your eCommerce faster. Ensure stock levels are above set thresholds at every location with constant data updates.
Availability is a mutual goal for retailers & brands, so be more open to work with the manufacturers.
A recent survey of CPG brands asked, what is the most important action retailers can take to increase return on investment for their suppliers. 40% responded “collaborate more openly in promotion planning”. Therefore, an agreed demand-generating campaign for a product that has been lying on the shelves for a while may be necessary, to make room for more lucrative ones. Stock levels also depend a lot on forecasting, therefore by providing historical sales information well in advance, suppliers can assist retailers with their seasonal planning. Suppliers can alert their retailers for out-of-stocks, or for increased sales data, identifying out-of-stocks earlier.
6. The Omnichannel Parameter
Online and Offline sales should not be seen as two separate entities with a silo mindset, but on the contrary, they should be working as one. Anyhow, an omnichannel retail strategy enhances the shopping experience for customers and offers more channels for online, in-store, or mobile purchases.
It has been proven that the ability to sell your goods through a variety of channels allows the growth of the Overall Revenue and Average Order Value (AOV). As a matter of fact, multiple channel shoppers are more likely to spend three times as much more than the typical one-channel customer, enhancing traffic and sales. Omnichannel clients spend between 15%- 30% more than single- or multi-channel customers. According to a survey conducted in conjunction by Google, Ipsos MediaCT, and Sterling Brands, 75% of consumers are more inclined to visit a store if they find local retail information online. In addition to raising revenue from online retail, omnichannel retail also improves revenue by driving a lot of people to physical locations.
As an eCommerce manager, include in your ecosystem multiple customer touchpoints, both online and offline, streamline operations smoothly and have equal control between different channels. An open communication with the Offline Retail Manager can be beneficial for both, sharing valuable information mutually. A complete coordination between different roles internally is necessary, to avoid lack of inventory visibility, channel conflicts and ensure data synchronization.
Inject innovation into omnichannel. Some examples by McKinsey are: Bring an in-store feel to the digital experience, Substitute in-store personalized interaction with offerings such as virtual appointments and Use livestreaming to engage with customers and increase revenue and loyalty by sharing experiential content.
But first and most importantly define a clear omni-channel strategy that will have two equally important pillars, the online and the offline.
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