Assessment / Planning
Being successful in the competitive landscape of online selling requires the targeted adoption and deployment of the available tools. This is an ongoing exercise to leverage increasingly complex software and eco systems to give your business the edge.
In considering a shopping platform the following should be assessed:
If you do not have dedicated support – what support is offered by the relevant eCommerce software company, how easy are they to get hold of, how quickly do they respond.
Shopping Websites / Market Places
Increase the visibility and reach of your products via various shopping channels.
These differ in terms of pricing structure and competition if a pay per click model is part of the offering e.g. Google Merchant Centre or Amazon.
The majority will accept an automatic feed which can come from your website feed or via a pixel placed on your website product pages.
Customer Communication and Customer Life Cycle Management • HubSpot
Having the correct communication channels in place for the benefit of your customers and that allow you to funnel through your organisation effectively.
These include live chat, contact forms, newsletter signups, basket and checkout abandonment. Using automation for routing and actioning of each request.
Newsletter Managers • HubSpot
• Campaign Monitor
These provide the ability for customers to signup to be kept informed of news, new products, offers from your business.
Getting customers is a big part of being successful; keeping them is equally important.
Send a regular weekly or monthly newsletter. This keeps you visible to your visitors / customers – who may not be in buy mode today but could be at some stage in the future.
Social Media Platforms
This space is changing all the time with the advent of new platforms. Managing and engaging with your followers is an important part of the customer service and brand experience.
Along with customer communications now hitting your business from a number of different communication methods.
Marketing / Advertising
Pay per click, content marketing, media advertising, outgoing messaging, amongst several others, are channels to market.
There are various strategies to manage these depending on the product line/s you are selling; how competitive your particular market space is as the time you have to commit to each / some of these.
Customer Reviews / Reputation Management
• Which Trusted Traders
• Social Media
There are review sites for all type of business. Managing and responding to reviews about your product reflects a lot on the values of your business.
Whilst we want to avoid negative reviews these can sometimes be a great opportunity to reflect on what has been said and allow you to reply in a way that shows that you take feedback seriously.
Additional positive aspects to receiving reviews include:
From customers about your own service or product. This maybe brutal at times but can be a great learning experience. Reviews show exactly what customers think about your products, service, staff or brand. You gain insights by reading and acting on what your clients have to say about your brand.
• Content Creation
For newsletters. social media and your website from some of your client testimonials. Along with proactively garnering feedback at each touchpoint a customer would have with your business.
• Build Credibility
.Customer reviews are very powerful and are often used by shoppers before making a buying decision. They can be as powerful and carry the same weight as referral from a friend of a potential customer. Also customers who have had a negative experience with you that you turn around – can lead to a long term relationship with that customer as you have proved your credibility to them
• Improve your Product or Brand’s Reputation
Nobody trusts someone who only has positive reviews. make sure you respond quickly and professionally to any negative reviews and give yourself the opportunity to work towards a positive outcome for both your business and the customer.
• Search Engine Optimisation
Google’s algorithm favours site with reviews and ratings so think about incorporating an ability to give a review directly on your website to customers. This also gives your site unique content even down to the product level which will only aid in terms of SEO for your website.
The priority is to respond professionally to any reviews and work towards a positive conclusion for you and your customer.
Visitor Behaviour Tracking and Analytics:
You need to understand where your customers come from, what is their behaviour and experience once on your selling platform and how to manage basket and checkout abandonment.
There is traditional analytics provided by the likes of Google and MSN. Another layer is heatmapping and recording (within confidentiality boundaries) what a customer sees as they move through your site.
These are all excellent tools although sometimes working out what the exact metrics are the most important to focus on are not always easily ascertained.
AI Artificial Intelligence
AI is transforming the world of selling online in a number of ways, through automating routine tasks, creating personalised customer experiences, managing marketing and advertising activities.
Still in its formative years the full impact and benefits of AI has yet to be realised.