Every day, there seems to be more stories announcing that long time brick-and-mortar stores are closing some (or all) of their doors and moving online. For example, British menswear retailer TM Lewin permanently closed all their stores in 2020 and now trades exclusively online. In some cases, brands have had to shut down for good - take Toys ‘R’ Us, for instance.
That’s why it’s so important to have an online presence. Following that, here are six factors to help ensure further success in ecommerce.
1. Make sure your ecommerce solution complements your current business processes
Your choice of technology matters but what matters more is how the solution fits into your existing business processes. So, start by knowing how your business operates, your current challenges and where you aspire to be.
Ultimately, it’s not really about what technology you’ve chosen to work with. It’s how you’re best leveraging that tech to see results.
2. Everything you do should revolve around your customers
To truly achieve success in ecommerce and boost sales, you need to build your experience around your customers. What are they trying to achieve? What do they expect from you?
Some ways you can adopt a customer-centric mindset are:
- Combining your online-offline experiences
- Ensuring your brand experience is consistent across devices and channels
- Providing relevant content to your audience
- Offering individual-level personalization
The most successful businesses are those that engage with their customers in the way that those customers want.
3. Get your employees to buy into your vision, regardless of hierarchy
In most businesses, when it comes to changes like a new ecommerce strategy, it often starts with the senior stakeholders. When the message finally gets to your everyday users, it’s often diluted. Your employees may find it tricky to buy into your vision and some may not agree with it at all.
This can lead to friction, impacting the success of your ecommerce strategy.
Combat this by looping your key teams in from the start. Rather than only having your senior management in those initial meetings, invite a member from each key team as well. That way, you’re encouraging cross-team collaboration, getting insight from your everyday users (the ones who actually know what’s happening on the ‘shop floor’) and ensuring your vision is retained.
4. Ensure your teams are working together to create consistent brand messaging
It’s often challenging for businesses that sell a broad range of products, such as department stores, to ensure consistent brand messaging. Especially if some of those product ranges are conflicting or unrelated to each other.
This highlights the importance of two areas:
- Cross-team collaboration - your creative and content teams need to be working together to create consistent messaging
- Product information management - a PIM system can help your teams better manage all of your product-related content, such as descriptions, images, videos and other media
5. Analyze your customer behavior data and use that as a basis for your content strategy
Provide your customers with content that’s relevant to them and you can boost your chances of a sale. That’s why personalization is so effective. But to truly succeed in personalization, you need to know exactly what your customers want.
Here are a few key customer behavior metrics to keep an eye on:
- Dwell time
- Types of purchases
- Number of returning customers
- How your customers navigate your website
- Number of active users on your website at one time
- The pages your customers visit
- The types of content your individual customers visit
Then, use this knowledge to pad out what you already know about your customers and offer them a truly personalized experience.
6. Always give your customers the experience they’re after
Regardless of whether your customers are B2B or B2C, the way people purchase goods and services has majorly changed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. For example, more people will be buying what they need online than before.
It’s these unpredictable changes in customer expectations that make it essential for businesses to be on the ball when it comes to keeping up with the market. A solid ecommerce strategy is one way to start. Here are some areas to consider as part of that strategy:
- Offer various ways to interact with your brand so your customers can pick a channel that suits them. In addition to the traditional phone and email, have live chat, social media and chatbots to help your customers
- Ensure your website is user-friendly. That means no 404 errors and glitches, easy navigation and a quick, simple path to checkout
- Don’t forget the human element. Customers might not want to speak to an actual person anymore but they want to feel like they are. So, humanize your brand by ensuring your web content, customer service representatives and social media sound conversational, rather than like a robot
- Make your customers feel special. They don’t want to feel like one in an ocean of other customers. Personalised, exclusive content can help here
Customer centricity is vital if you want to boost satisfaction and ecommerce sales
At the end of the day, it’s about keeping your customers at the forefront of your business. Simple, we know but it’s easy to overlook!
Want to learn about these key factors in more depth? We actually talk about them with digital experience experts, Episerver. Get the industry insights from Chris Purcell, Product Strategy Manager at Episerver and James Baker, Digital Product and Customer Experience Lead at Columbus UK.
Check out the video discussion here.