Recently, Sergei V. Ostapenko wrote “Ecommerce 101: What you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask” on his LinkedIn blog. It isn’t a big article, but it is a helpful look at some of the stuff that can be helpful to a business trying to figure out selling online. I think the more you read different expert opinions on things, the bigger your perspective is on approaching solutions for your own application. There’s always something new to learn, and that sure holds true with marketing and technology.
Here’s where Mr. Ostapenko starts: an imagined scenario of a business owner who has tried to do some online selling and is more than a little frustrated with how things are going. He then goes into a quick look at what your online sales volume is composed of (traffic, conversion rate, and average order) with a simple explanation of each component. Over time, looking at these components gives you an idea of what is going on.
I love what he says next: “you can’t manage things that you don’t measure”. I want a t-shirt that says that.
So what are we measuring and examining?
- Use a tool like Google Analytics to see who’s coming to your site, where they come from (referrals, search, social media, ads, direct), what they do, what they use to navigate your site, etc. Basically, collect all the numbers and use technology to help you figure out different ways to crunch those numbers.
- Invest in a good SEO and usability audit to get an expert opinion on things you may miss.
- Technology is a tool, not a goal. Make sure your technology is doing what you need it to do.
- Is your site responsive to mobile devices? This might be why a conversion number is low.
- Omnichannel isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a description of how your customer experiences your business. Are all those ways connected to each other or is your site a separate entity?
- International sales might mean you need to rethink your strategy because language, currency, etc. change things. If there’s even a remote possibility you’ll go global (of course there is!) plan how that will happen.
There really isn’t a way to separate marketing and technology, is there? I like the way this basic look at Ecommerce ends: “Ultimately, you’re selling not just products or services, so it’s essential that your online store is built in a way that helps to sell an experience, a meaning, an association, and, in some cases, a lifestyle.”