More than 58% of internet users buy something online every week and there are an estimated 24 million ecommerce websites. That’s a lot of competition to get a leg up on, so how do you manage that? There’s no single answer but often, top performers have a culture of continuous innovation - one that helps them find new ways to innovate and win against their biggest competitors.
The best way to gain a competitive advantage is by developing a solid ecommerce experience for your business. Let’s dive deeper.
What is an Ecommerce Strategy?
By definition, an ecommerce strategy is a plan of action designed to help you meet your business goals by carefully considering how your brand will sell online. Your ecommerce strategy should outline what makes your brand different and how you will set yourself apart from the competition. It should consider every aspect of your business, from how you source and sell products to how you engage with customers.
Why is an Ecommerce Strategy Important to Your Business?
Not to be confused with an ecommerce business plan (which is more focused on the nuts and bolts of your company), your ecommerce strategy is all about a big picture vision.
So why do you need one?
Having an ecommerce strategy is about understanding what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there. It is a roadmap for your business, where you outline the steps you need to take and the people that need to be involved in order to create a successful online store.
A good ecommerce strategy will help you do three things:
- Identify who your customers are
- Discover where they spend time online and the types of content they interact with
- Determine how you can use this information to drive sales
In essence, ecommerce marketing strategies are a blueprint for your business’s online presence, which provides a framework for all of your digital marketing efforts.
Factors to Consider When Developing Your Ecommerce Strategy
To ensure competitiveness in your market, every business’s strategy needs a competitive advantage. The primary key to a competitive edge is efficiently doing what other companies aren’t doing or are struggling to do. Here are a few things to consider when building your ecommerce strategy.
1. Offering Products at Lower Costs
A company gains a low-cost provider advantage when it can provide the same benefits as rivals but at a lower price. The goal is to prove that your product or service is better regardless of its lower pricing. Since customers are attracted to low prices, they may be more likely to start buying from you instead of your competitors.
2. Embracing Affordable Marketing
Whether you are a start-up or an established business, marketing on a lower budget can be just as effective as big-budget campaigns. It’s crucial to think about your goals because, without them, both your ecommerce PPC management and ecommerce SEO strategy are no different than throwing random efforts against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Ask what your target market wants to know about your business. How will they be accessing this information? Will they be visiting your website or engaging with you on social media? Once you gather these insights, you can use them to guide your PPC, SEO, and social media strategies and set goals for each to measure channel-specific success while reducing potential budget waste.
3. Overcoming Geographical Limitations
One of the biggest challenges for ecommerce businesses is abandoning traditional ways of doing business. The traditional approach has been to focus on a single market with a single product or service. This model is rapidly being replaced by models that focus on multiple markets and products or services. The reason is clear - overcoming geographical limitations leads to increased market share, decreased risk, and increased revenue.
In addition, there’s more competition in the domestic market than ever before. Fortunately, the ability to expand globally is one of the main benefits of having an ecommerce business. In fact, diversifying your business by expanding internationally can actually help you maintain a competitive edge at home, where it really counts, and it can also help establish you as a global leader.
4. Offering Quick Response to Market Demands
An effective way to retain leadership in the marketplace is by developing new products and services based on the latest research available and offering quick query resolution. Companies that are able to make these decisions and act on them in time improve their chances of staying ahead of the competition.
As a business, you should focus on creating a culture of innovation and learning. This means being agile and adapting to the changing demands of the consumers. It also means investing in digital solutions that will help you stay ahead of the curve and leveraging them to make changes based on customer feedback in the most efficient way possible.
5. Improving Your Product Offering
Expanding the range of products you offer or including additional services are additional ways to keep customers coming back to your ecommerce store. Customers love when they can buy everything under one roof and don’t have to spend time looking for a different store or website.
Another way of differentiating yourself from your competitors is by offering something that no one else does. For example, if you are selling DIY furniture online and your competitors offer easy-to-assemble kits which are more sophisticated than yours, you could focus on creating tutorial / demo content for your products or provide customers with on-demand assistance to make assembly easier for them. This will give your customers a reason to choose your business over the competition.
6. Communicating to Your Target Audience Effectively
Having quality ecommerce SEO alone is not enough for a thriving online business. You need to ensure that customers are able to relate to your brand. And that means getting in front of your target buyer and clearly communicating with them on a platform they regularly use, in a language they understand. Implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy will allow you to provide a seamless customer experience across multiple channels.
7. Staying Competitive
The most successful businesses are those that have a laser focus on their target market and the market segments that make up their customer base. They know their customers’ needs better than anyone else, constantly evaluate their growth, and quickly adapt to change instead of simply relying on ecommerce marketing services to scale their business.
How to Develop a Successful Ecommerce Strategy
1. Set Specific Goals
What are you trying to achieve with your ecommerce marketing? Be as specific as possible; define your goals in terms of revenue, conversions, and customer satisfaction.
For instance, maybe you are an ecommerce business in manufacturing and your goal is to target a 20% increase in sales by the end of the year. Such a specific goal will help you define not only the SEO for your ecommerce website but also your ecommerce content marketing strategy.
2. Develop Your Unique Value Proposition
You can use the best ecommerce marketing platform to build your business but if you don’t have something that differentiates your ecommerce experience from the competition, you won’t stand out in a crowded marketplace. Make sure that your unique value proposition is a clear message that describes why your customers should buy from you and what makes your company or product special.
3. Optimise Your Checkout Process
Shopping cart abandonment is a major issue. On average, 70% of shoppers abandon their carts before completing a purchase.
A lot of this has to do with the checkout process itself. Many ecommerce sites make the mistake of bundling their payment gateway with unneeded extra steps or interruptions, resulting in a poor customer experience that drives away otherwise happy customers.
The best way to prevent shopping cart abandonment is to provide your customers with a simple and streamlined checkout experience.
4. Build Trust
Trust and sales go hand-in-hand - this is really at the core of any brand and business. Adding social proof of any form, such as testimonials, reviews, and ratings, can help you build credibility in the market and provide reassurance for consumers that your business is a trusted option and it’s likely they’ll be satisfied with the product or service they receive.
5. Improve Internal Processes and Capabilities
The design of your ecommerce website is crucial to converting visitors into paying customers. For example, if a potential customer lands on your site and can’t find what they are looking for, they will simply leave and go somewhere else.
To avoid losing sales due to poor design, keep these top tips in mind:
- Focus on usability
- Optimise for mobile devices
- Have an intuitive checkout process
The first thing every ecommerce business needs is a successful online presence. The reason is simple: communities run businesses. For offline businesses, it is easy to build a community through face-to-face interactions. But there’s no way for online customers to interact with you or each other unless you give them a platform to do so.
Digital marketing can help you provide your customers with the opportunity to form a connection with your brand and other people like them by making you appear approachable and accessible.
You can invest in the best ecommerce SEO services but unless your internal operations are well organised, you won’t have much luck succeeding in this already crowded space. The first step to offering a better digital customer experience is to sort out your logistics and internal systems.
Liferay can help you grow revenue with a seamless B2B commerce experience regardless of which industry you are operating in.
Reach out to us to learn more, have a chat, or book a demo.