Are you planning to set up an online store and wondering where to start? How to arrange and prioritize such a vast amount of activities into a sound master plan? Fear no more! These days to the rescue comes e-commerce strategy! Today, we’ll provide you with its know-how on its preparation and we’ll lay out its key elements, all that to help your business set off smoothly and succeed in today’s competitive e-commerce market. Without further ado, let’s begin!
What is an e-commerce strategy? – table of contents:
- What is an e-commerce strategy?
- How to create an e-commerce strategy?
- E-commerce strategy – key elements
- Internet marketing as the key to e-commerce
- Effects of implementing an effective e-commerce strategy
What is an e-commerce strategy?
Companies that focus mainly on selling their products or services online have to take great care when designing e-commerce strategy. In a nutshell, the tactic comprises of a set of actions, such as image treatments, which aim at increasing brand recognition, and in consequence, translate directly into sales.
The term is broad and includes activities aimed at promoting a brand online as well as acquiring new customers. The business strategy requires constant adaptation to the dynamics of ever-changing rules governing the e-commerce industry. You need to constantly review it and make appropriate changes. It is essential to run a successful online store.
In summary, what is an e-commerce strategy? It is a business-developed mindset and operational processes that aim at raising brand recognition as well as increasing sales generated through an online store.
How to create an e-commerce strategy?
When creating any e-commerce strategy, a comprehensive approach works best. First, you need to conduct a thorough analysis – of the current situation of the company, the market, as well as the competition. It is worth looking at what values the company wants to present. What strengths to emphasize? Which weaknesses to eliminate or leave for later to tackle?
You need to look at your competitors – what products and prices they offer, as well as investigate in detail their marketing efforts and tactics. This knowledge will help you come up with ways to stand out from the crowd of other companies offering similar goods.
It is necessary to determine who the target customers are. What are their preferences, needs, and requirements? What are his/her interests and wallet size? Knowledge of such a profile will greatly facilitate the preparation of business objectives. These, in turn, must take into account the technological capabilities of the company, as well as the budget that can be allocated for their implementation.
Once you know how your competitors and potential e-consumers behave, you need to choose the most suitable online store assortment. The assortment has to be best suited to the target group. Then you should continuously test its attractiveness to offer products that have the best chance of attracting buyers.
E-commerce strategy – key elements
It requires a holistic approach that takes into account the multidimensional changes an organization has to undergo. You’ll have to break down the entire process into steps to ensure that you’ll include and develop all key elements. Here are the most important ones:
- Market analysis
- Professional team
- Sales targets and results
- Selection of a technology partner
The first step is to define your target audience. The major demographic parameters to take into account are gender, age, education, place of residence, interests or material status. The more knowledge you gather on your target consumer habits, the better. (Why do they buy online? What features should a sales platform have?) If you are just setting up a website, you can commission such market research to a professional agency. On the other hand, if you already have an online store, your existing consumer base becomes a source of data to conduct solid market analysis. What’s more, to enhance that process many enterprises take on board specialized tools, such as Google Analytics.
It is equally important to keep an eye on your competitors – both the market leaders and your direct rivals. This will help you identify their position and understand how they operate. You can then observe their best practices and try to translate them into your offer. Moreover, by closely investigating rival website designs as well as their marketing activities you can figure out what you can do to gain a competitive edge.
The next step is to analyze the internal capabilities of the company. Identify thoroughly the qualifications, skills and knowledge of your employees to make the most of their potential. In case of staff shortages, it is worth investing in hiring new specialists. Assign precisely the scope of responsibilities for each member by putting down a detailed list that’s clear, coherent and familiarized. During the implementation of the plan, it is worthwhile to regularly monitor progress and collect feedback from employees.
Call on each team to meet clear strategic business goals to measure progress and improve. Also, by devising a sound financial forecast you’ll assess the viability of the online sales project. Remember to factor in all costs: website setup, operation, marketing as well as logistic. You can prepare an optimistic and a pessimistic sales scenario and also determine the break-even point.
Also, consider implementing sales tools that increase cart value, reduce abandoned carts, increase the regularity of purchases, and improve conversion rates.
Establishing cooperation with IT suppliers is a must-have. Their tasks will include the launching of the e-commerce platform itself, the design of the website by UX standards, implementation of product information management systems (PIM), content management systems (CMS), as well as the continuous amending of this system to match the changing needs and expectations of consumers.
Internet marketing as the key to e-commerce
Online marketing is a very effective way to achieve the major goals of any e-commerce strategy. At its core is proper brand communication. It consists of letting the largest possible number of people know about your company. For this purpose, choose social media advertising – viral videos may do, i.e. videos that people themselves will want to share. With a flair for creating them, you may succeed, though it’s a lottery and you can never take it for granted.
Communication with the customer is another decisive factor. Therefore, the website should include a contact form, as well as an e-mail address and telephone number where a buyer can contact the company. The website itself becomes a source of valuable content. It is worth having a blog connected to the online store, where advice articles or product reviews will appear.
SEO, or positioning, is a must these days. Where your store appears in Google searches will determine whether a customer visits your site or goes to the competition who ranks higher. The basic action in this area is a skillful selection of key phrases at the very beginning of the Internet business.
Effects of implementing an effective e-commerce strategy
A well-thought-out e-commerce strategy will help you create an online business with a solid foundation that will be highly profitable. The development and implementation of this strategy will help you gain a competitive advantage, build a positive corporate image, attract new customers and retain regulars, and even improve processes within the company.
A well-prepared strategy will enable you to monitor the effects of your strategy so you’ll swiftly spot and correct mistakes that come in the way. Finally, familiarize all your employees with its assumptions to take collective action in one direction.