How to roll out an effective e-commerce strategy
Whether you are a CEO or have another important position within your company, it is likely that you are tasked with coming up with ways to make the business grow.
Some managers feel that the best chances for growth come from hiring the best employees. Others see it as providing unmatched customer service. Still others turn to online initiatives that include a strong marketing/advertising push and social media.
Yes, all those mentioned growth vehicles are important, but where does e-commerce fit into your company’s plans?
While many management teams are onto the benefits of e-commerce, still others are in the learning stages or are not even up to speed on how it can help their business. For the latter, time to take major interest in the growth of e-commerce and how it can help their companies.
Why e-commerce can work for your company
Simply put, putting the right e-commerce plan into place allows your company to grow not only in terms of more consumers browsing and shopping on your site, but also bringing in what can be significant revenue when done right.
With that said, the task at hand becomes deciding whether your e-commerce efforts will be done via a host or in-house.
E-commerce Partners and other providers can put you on the road to online success, but keep in mind that such achievements do not come overnight. The bottom line is it is more than just building a website, it is building a business.
In order for your company to successfully navigate the e-commerce waters, make sure you focus in on these items:
- Have a plan: Before you do anything else, make sure you have a plan. Unfortunately, some managers get all too excited about e-commerce, but go into it blindly, ultimately losing time and money when all is said and done. In order to avoid that miscue, sit down with your team and decide what you want to accomplish from e-commerce, how you will go about marketing it to current and potential customers, and what kind of budget you have at hand for this venture;
- Market your site: Once you’ve begun an e-commerce campaign, don’t expect consumers to just come crawling to you for your business. You need to deploy a strong marketing campaign (not just for a few weeks or months, but continually). That campaign involves quality content, press releases, social media promotions (see more below), cross marketing and more. Make sure you have creative promotions and rewards programs (especially for repeat customers) to help entice them in doing continual business with your company;
- Be more social: Many “experts” will argue that there is no true return on investment (ROI) as it relates to social media. Don’t turn your back on SM when starting and continuing your e-commerce efforts. Sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ etc. can be well worth your while, especially if you are newer to e-commerce. The key here is to make sure you are a regular social promoter and not just an occasional one. Whether you do it in-house or hire someone (including an e-commerce provider) to do your social responsibilities, this important facet can’t be overlooked no matter what some may say. Don’t promote just your own content and brand, but share links to other sites (except direct competitors) so visitors to your social sites get a nice mix of content, studies, analysis and just general e-commerce chit-chat between folks.
- Analyze the results: By using Google Analytics for starters, you can analyze several important facets about your online buying traffic. Factors such as who is shopping with you, when they visit you, what they buy, what they do and don’t like etc. are all important. You can and should also analyze the keywords you are using to attract traffic to your site. Obviously some work better than others, so always be willing to change things up and review your analytic reports regularly;
Let it be said that there are many more facets of designing and implementing the right e-commerce plan for your company.
Don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning; find the right e-commerce provider and let their experience help guide you.
When you find and work with the right one, you will very likely see your e-commerce efforts take off and ultimately lead to an uptick in your company’s revenue, something no business head would argue with.
Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as marketing and running a business.