But how do you actually get your store up and running? What are some of the things you need to be mindful of before beginning the process? Furthermore, what should you do once your store is live?
As you might expect, the preparation stage is one of, if not the, most important steps in the eCommerce store implementation process. If you fail to adequately prepare, then you might not achieve your goals.
Here are some things you need to consider during the preparation process:
What Your Customers Want and Need
The whole point of your organization setting up eCommerce is to better serve your customers, so why would you implement an eCommerce store without consulting them first? Talk to your long-standing customers, find out what features they’d like, get an idea of how they would prefer the store to look and feel like. With that in mind, you have a great jumping off point.
Your Wants and Needs
The customer is always #1, but you also need to consider what it is your organization should be getting out of eCommerce. Come up with a list of goals you want to hit, benefits you wish to enjoy, and a target ROI. This will let you prioritize your next steps and ensure that you have the right measures in place to determine the effectiveness of your storefront.
With a deep understanding of both your customers and yourself, now it’s time to actually implement your eCommerce solution!
Pick Your eCommerce Platform
First and foremost, you need to figure out which eCommerce platform to go with. You should understand your system requirements and how the storefront will integrate with the rest of your operations (like your CRM). Every organization has limitations, so pick the solution that best addresses your requirements.
Other things to consider when picking your platform:
- Does it have a Product Information Management (PIM) module to help you organize product data on your site?
- Is it cloud-based?
- Is it an all-in-one package or a modular platform where you pay additional fees for different features?
- How many products can you sell?
- What is the timeframe for building and launching the store?
- Does the platform integrate with your back office systems, such as ERP, CRM and SCP applications?
- How popular is the platform that you have chosen? Are there partners with strong experience that can assist you in implementing your new eCommerce store?
Avoid These Mistakes
Unfortunately, some eCommerce implementations don’t end up delivering the desired benefits. In many cases, it comes down to a company making one (or more) of these implementation errors that you should try to avoid:
- Biting off more than you can chew in the beginning through things like: over-personalized landing pages, unnecessarily advanced analytics, chatbots, integration with too many online marketplaces, and more. Start small and learn as you go.
- “Keeping up with the Joneses” by implementing features a competitor has that have nothing to do with your core business. Stick to your original plan and do what you do best.
- Failing to educate both your staff and customers about the benefits of using your new online storefront.
- Not listening to feedback from your staff and customers about what is working well and what is not.
Your new online storefront is operational, now what do you do? Proper store monitoring and maintenance will require you to do the following:
Set Up Analytics
With a live storefront, it’s important that you use analytics tools to measure the success of your store. Analytics give you a wealth of knowledge about your customers—including their interests and intent—which you can leverage to improve their experience and increase your sales. Any worthwhile analytics tool will give you information like: store visitors, time on site, conversion rate, new vs. repeat buyers, and many other metrics.
Understand What Drives Sales
In order to achieve high sales, you need to know what makes it possible. Three variables in particular have a huge impact on your success online. Those are: number of user sessions, conversion rate, and average order value (AOV). The three of these variables make up what is called the optimization formula that is essential for ROI analysis:
Sessions x Conversion Rate x AOV = Revenue
Even the slightest increase in any one of those can have a big impact on your sales, so make sure to focus on them.
Always Look Forward
As news buyers come to your store and you see your revenue numbers climb, don’t think the job is over. In order to have a truly effective eCommerce storefront, you have to always look towards the future and seek out ways to improve. Don’t hesitate to make enhancements to your store by adding new features to keep bringing back customers. Consider looking to third-party marketplaces (like Google, eBay, and Amazon) to increase the reach of your products. Finally, follow some of the industry leaders to see what they’re up to and what they recommend.
With excellent preparation, implementation, and maintenance, you can be sure that your eCommerce storefront will be a smashing success!
At CTR, we can make your eCommerce dreams a reality. If you’re ready, we invite you to learn more by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org