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An eCommerce strategy combines a platform for selling online with a means of customer acquisition - usually through a careful combination of sales and marketing techniques. Optimising the website to convert more visitors into sales is an essential part of a strong eCommerce strategy, and many eCommerce-based businesses support their online activity with offline marketing as well.
Why do I need an eCommerce Strategy?
We've all heard the old adage 'build it and they'll come', but unfortunately that's just not true. In order to make sales with your online store, you need a strategy to get visitors to your website. It's not enough to get any old person to visit though – you need to attract the people who are likely to buy.
There are a number of ways to achieve this. The most simple and common technique, especially for new or small stores, is to use Google Adwords to target relevant keywords – ensuring that your website will be seen by people searching for phrases that may indicate an interest in your product. It's likely that the most obvious phrases are highly competitive, which means you will need to pay a higher rate per click or per thousand impressions (the number of people who see your link). So even with a simple eCommerce strategy like this, you will need to use creativity and planning to ensure that you are receiving good value for money and a healthy click rate.
More complex strategies involve digital techniques like 'remarketing', which displays more of your ads to people who have previously visited your website, and incorporating sales techniques like upselling or coupons.
Your eCommerce strategy should also include the organisation and functions of your online store – such as how you lay out your product categories, which products are seen first, where and how you indicate pricing, the payment methods you allow and whether you collect customer contact information to reach out to them again later.
When do I need an eCommerce strategy professional?
Unless you have a background in digital marketing, it's wise to involve a professional the moment you are considering integrating selling online into your business. Your eCommerce consultant will be able to help you assess the feasibility of your online store, the best platform to use, the right keywords to target and the ongoing costs in generating traffic. Using this information, they will advise you on the best way to proceed, leading a smoother start and higher sales.
What information should I give to my eCommerce strategist?
With all forms of marketing, the more your strategist knows about your business, the better. The more realistic their picture of you and your business, the better they are placed to assist you in raising your position and growing. When it comes to eCommerce strategy specifically, there are a few things that will be essential:
There is a lot more that could prove useful to your strategist, but the above should be enough to start a valuable conversation and lead you down the path to an effective strategy.