Five years ago, UK shoppers only spent 1 out of every 10 pounds shopping online. Now, the number stands at 1 out of every 5 pounds. One thing is evident here. According to the recent 99Firm’s report, the online retail market is booming; the worldwide eCommerce revenue will reach $4.88 trillion by 2021.
In 2017, the revenue was around $2.3 trillion, meaning it will double as the economy takes the road to recovery from a grueling 2020.
For those looking to launch a website and start their eCommerce business, gaining the edge over competitors is one of the most important things they can do.
What Is an eCommerce Strategy?
An eCommerce strategy describes the actions and intentions you channel into making your eCommerce venture successful. Strategy can encompass many of the things you need to do to make it in the eCommerce world.
Such actions may include:
- Building a functional website;
- Designing a user-friendly experience;
- Building marketing campaigns;
- Setting clear goals;
- Measuring your progress using the available tools.
All of these actions form a strategy that ensures your eCommerce venture takes off. The eCommerce marketing strategy combines the roadmap, the goals, the team, and a plan to accomplish each of the set goals.
The Foundation of Your eCommerce Strategy
An eCommerce marketing strategy will guide your hand as you pick the best platforms, the best tools, and implement practices that take your eCommerce to a good level. Let’s examine some of the foundations that will form the basis of your business.
1. Are you selling the same products?
Many people who start eCommerce ventures tend to look at what others are doing and try to replicate what they think is a success. However, it won’t always have the best outcome. You need to carefully select your products and services and choose the one that will benefit and please you.
The first thing to do is not to replicate success by copying business models but by identifying gaps in the market that your venture can slip into.
2. Do you have a physical location?
Even when doing business online, location matters. The physical works impact what you do in terms of local brands you have to compete with, weather, mobility, etc.
Understanding your market in their physical location helps you know the income levels, build an eCommerce marketing strategy, set up omnichannel bridges, and employ geolocation tools to encourage location-awareness in sharing and networking with your customers.
3. Are you selling internationally?
If you are planning to sell internationally, there are factors to look at that would not be present when setting up at the national level.
4. Are you selling B2C or B2B?
B2B, as an eCommerce marketing strategy, involves business to business operations, while B2C consists of a business to customer relationship, which is emotion-driven, in terms of purchasing decisions. Sometimes there is an overlap, but most of the time, these strategies follow different methodologies.
5. Do you have relationships with other wholesale retailers?
Wholesalers can be your suppliers or customers, depending on what you want to do. You can even collaborate with them to make logistics easier. Creating these relationships takes time and effort. Find out who you can work with and how the relationship can boost your business.
6. Where is your product being manufactured?
Transportation costs, supply chain management, and a general understanding of expectations to meet them are just some of the things to consider when thinking about your product. You want an entirely made product, at an affordable cost, with prompt delivery times.
How Will You Measure Progress?
There are some critical steps you need to take when following the measurement of progress. You’re online, you’re doing something but are you right doing it? Metrics are everything. By metrics, you have to look at every KPI (key performance indicator.)
Not only will the information help to optimize your business, but it will allow you to solve problems efficiently. Keep four things in mind:
- Identify your issues by looking at your marketing goals and how well they’ve been met;
- Understand your customers;
- Measure the things that matter, including conversion rate, average order value, bounce rate, and other metrics;
- Come up with an action plan.
Always keep the end in mind, so you know how to get there.
Choosing Your KPIs
Ensuring that you pick the right metrics will allow you to look at the most important things and avoid dealing with unnecessary mountains of data. Choosing KPIs means:
- Stating your business goals;
- Making them measurable;
- Using ratios and ranges;
- Avoiding vanity metrics;
- Not measuring everything that can be measured;
- Using quantitative and qualitative KPIs;
- Using lagging and leading indicators
When you choose your KPIs carefully, they can serve as a telescope that allows you to see deep into the business and know what to change so that your goals are streamlined to make your venture the most efficient it can be.
Creating a Business Plan
In the beginning, you will need a business plan. It is more so necessary in eCommerce because there are so many considerations to make. You will begin with the idea, the product, and the willpower it takes to launch your business.
Merchants may fail at the stage of the business plan creation. You will need to make sure that you have the roadmap a business plan provides to adjust yourself as you progress.
Your plan needs to have details like ownership, products, operations, market analysis, marketing strategy, financial plans, milestones, and any other pertinent information and considerations key to your business success.
Can Your Product Make Money?
Consider who you are selling to and what kind of pitch you are making. Do the people you are targeting in need of your product? If so, how do you plan to advertise it? What do you think will make them buy?
The whole idea of determining if your product will make money starts with solving a significant problem by identifying a market that needs something or could be into buying whatever you are selling. Find the gap, look at trends, know the margins, examine recurring sales, and understand your interests.
Your marketing goals should include the answer to this question.
Build a Site
First off, niche-based sites are easy to promote because they have to contend with less competition than the generalized counterparts. If you have a unique product, you enjoy more visibility because few or no one else is doing what you are doing.
However, building a site takes more than just centering everything around the product you intend to sell.
Choose a Right CMS Platform
A Content Management System allows you to optimize lead generation, promote consistency, build your brand, and create a customer experience people enjoy. When picking out a CMS, you need to focus your energies on finding the best one that works well with what you are trying to achieve.
A CMS streamlines the creation and management of websites. Most of the CMS platforms support third-party integrations to make your operations smooth.
Let’s look at some of the most widely used CMS examples.
Magento is a feature-rich platform with an ever-growing library of integrations and add-ons. It is open-source software that you should consider when starting with the hopes of expanding to include more than your initial offering. You can use Magento custom development services to shape your website to be exactly how you need it to be.
According to Kinsta, more than 60 million websites, including over 33% of the top 10 million sites, use this platform. It is one of the most popular CMS platforms in the world.
This platform stands out in eCommerce as it gives businesses the ability to scale with hundreds of features. Shopify custom themes are just one of the many options you have. It connects multiple marketplaces and social media platforms in one vast ecosystem. Shopify customizations allow you to project your style on a website.
As the platform with the most live stores in Germany, this enterprise-level platform powers some of the largest online stores in the eCommerce world. It gives unlimited flexibility with the API-first approach for the tech side and an easy-to-use admin panel.
Some of the other options to consider are BigCommerce, PrestaShop, and plugins like VirtueMart and WooCommerce.
Ensure Your Site Is Secure
Security is a priority. Any downtime means customers lost, people who may never come back because the site was down at one point, and other related issues.
If you are unsure what to do, use security services with reliable track records to prepare yourself.
- Ransomware for servers.
Secure your website by:
- Using secure passwords;
- Opening emails carefully;
- Installing updates;
- Using a safe hosting service;
- Using SSL certificates;
- Securing folder permissions;
- Running regular security checks.
There are so many ways you can stay secure, and finding out the gaps, will help you know what you can do to fill those gaps.
Create an eCommerce Marketing Strategy
The strategy is everything. Creating it will require you to do the following:
- Have an executive summary, clear goals, and logical objectives;
- Have a mission statement and value proposition;
- Target a market you understand and have analyzed;
- Develop proper pricing and positioning strategies;
- Optimize distribution and fulfillment;
- Use marketing strategies that work.
We can’t list everything you can or should do but before anything is carried out, make sure it is planned. For instance, have clear content marketing strategy goals before you launch content marketing.
4 Types of eCommerce Marketing
The four models of eCommerce will define what you do. Understand them and how applicable they are to your plans.
- B2C – Business to Consumer;
- B2B – Business to Business;
- C2B – Consumer to Business;
- C2C – Consumer to Consumer.
From their names, they are pretty self-explanatory but may overlap in some areas.
Email marketing entails sending emails to develop the best relationships with leads and customers. Currently, email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels, ranked above affiliate, SEO, and social media marketing. Set clear email marketing goals so you know what to communicate and how.
By creating content that appeals to your market base, you can reach them more easily in a way that they can relate to. Content marketing includes blogs, videos, and social media posts. A great content marketing strategy can drive a lot of traffic.
Referral marketing entails promoting services and products to new customers through referrals that can happen spontaneously, like using word-of-mouth or initiated by the business using effective strategies.
Social Media Marketing
With this strategy, you get to leverage social media accounts tailored for business. The platforms allow you to build communities, gain brand visibility, reach out to customers personally, and drive traffic to the website. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat are places where you can deploy social media marketing strategy.
Set Your Marketing Goals
Clearly defining your goals is the first step to success. Not only will plans allow you to measure progress, but they also help you know what you need to optimize to reach your goal. If you do not have a goal, your analytics mean nothing.
Taking the right metrics and understanding what you want to achieve is the best way to show you are doing well.
CLEAR, as an acronym, stands for specific things that your goals should have. Here is a brief look:
C-Collaborative. Encourage employees to work as a team, cohesively.
L-Limited. The goals should not be too broad. The scope and duration need to be well-defined).E-Emotional. Employees have to connect with the goal emotionally to tap into their energy and passion.A-Appreciable. Large goals have to be broken down into smaller ones for easy and quick accomplishment.
R-Refinable. Your goals need to have a strong objective but be flexible when something new comes up, so you can modify your goals.
Let’s look at SMART.
S-Specific. Your goals need clarity and no ambiguity.
M-Measurable. Results have to have to be measurable to track progress.
A-Attainable. The goals have to be realistic and attainable by the employees you have.
R-Relevant. Goals have to relate to your mission and vision.
T-Time-bound. Goals need to have definite starting and ending points — a fixed timeline.
The whole idea of creating your eCommerce strategy may seem hard or quite complicated. However, with structure, everything can come together neatly, more or less.
Nothing ever flows smoothly all the time. But, when you have structure and an idea on what to focus on and how to move forward. It becomes much easier to create a plan where you work your way from the smallest steps up to the end.
Hopefully, this article helps you see a way forward regarding what you need to consider when creating your eCommerce marketing strategy.