ChannelEngine, a powerful e-commerce solution for brands to deliver a seamless digital experience, is our guest blog contributor. In this article, they raise the vital question for all brands, what does your e-commerce success strategy look like? By following some simple guidelines, you can optimize and maximize e-commerce sales.
Table of Content
- Making the transition to online and omnichannel sales – the four stages of development:
- How to optimize
- The Value of Customer Feedback
- Further optimization – focus on the metrics
- Return Rates
- Conversion Rates
- Customer Feedback
- Automating your insights and metrics
- Targeted investment has a significant impact
Making the transition to online and omnichannel sales – the four stages of development
Making a move to selling online is a big change for any business. By following some simple guidelines, you can optimize your e-commerce and omnichannel success.
To get the best results, you need to start right by getting the operation up and running as efficiently as possible, followed by rapid expansion (in the right platforms for your business). A regular review process uses data to optimize sales further.
Your e-commerce success strategy consists of four main stages:
How to optimize e-commerce sales
What is optimization? This covers all aspects of your service and product offering to see how it might be improved to obtain a higher conversion rate, a better price, total sell-through, a lower returns rate, and – most importantly – better customer satisfaction.
The customer will not be satisfied if the basics are not covered, so this is the focus of your attention in the initial phase. Make sure you examine and address the following:
The value of customer feedback to help optimize and maximize e-commerce sales
Customer feedback is one of the most important aspects of online shopping because it reassures (or warns) other customers about a seller. It can help sellers improve by identifying their strengths and things that are not up to standard.
It is possible to check feedback and feel for how you are doing manually at the initial phase. After expanding, it is much more efficient and insightful to use a technological solution that gives you a summary of qualitative feedback from customer reviews.
Expansion to help optimize and maximize e-commerce sales
Your initial phase of online selling is not likely to be very profitable – this only happens when you scale up your sales and expand across multiple platforms to reach every customer possible. When you do this, your consolidated inventory and dispatch overheads are much smaller in proportion to total sales.
Your human costs are the highest avoidable cost, so you need to reduce the amount of time spent managing product content (like images and descriptions) and connections or integrations with multiple platforms.
This is best achieved using a powerful integration tool like ChannelEngine, which can integrate practically every marketplace, platform, and channel using your existing system. With a tool like ChannelEngine, you ensure that your entire inventory is always perfectly in-synch, that content is optimized for each channel, and that every order is handled through a single process.
With everything running this smoothly, you can now scale up your sales most efficiently and easily.
Further optimization – focus on the metrics
Once your products are selling across every possible channel, you will need to keep this running as efficiently as possible to maintain profit margins. Optimization means that your listings are constantly updated with accurate descriptions, images, and other content. Marketplaces frequently change their requirements for these, so optimization needs to be a part of your regular maintenance work.
Online retailers use three primary metrics to get a general picture of performance; return rates, conversion rates, and customer feedback. Beyond these, you may need to look further to see if your pricing or promotions strategy is working. Still, these three key metrics will give you a ‘temperature reading’ on general performance and indicate if you need to look deeper into the causes of problems.
This can vary across different product categories and marketplaces, so make sure you benchmark your rate against the ‘norm.’ If customers are returning items more often, you need to examine why – are the images incorrect? Does the description not give enough detail? Is there a problem with the specific product?
The conversion rate gives a picture of how many potential customers end up completing a sale. This can be measured by sessions (viewers of a product page), or sometimes this is based on cart/abandonment. This indicates that customers have gotten cold feet – maybe they got a better price from a competitor or wanted additional guarantees or service options.
Customer reviews are not only informative to your retail operation, but it also reassures other customers that you are a good company to deal with, or it can warn customers to stay away if something keeps going wrong.
By focusing on your strengths, you can make sure you delight every customer – this goes a long way to earning trust and positive feedback in the future.
Automating your insights and metrics for e-commerce and omnichannel success
While Conversion and Returns metrics are easy to obtain and interpret, Customer Feedback is much more nuanced. Many qualitative aspects are hard to turn into a simple graph or percentage.
Until recently, gauging customer feedback has been a laborious and time-consuming process. However, there is the possibility of using a smart VoC (Voice of the Customer) solution like Wonderflow, which reads the feedback for you and converts it into insightful reports.
This technology uses advanced linguistic algorithms to analyze qualitative feedback, identify the essential parts, and convert this into a comprehensive overview of your customer’s ‘collective voice’.
Insights like these are like gold dust – they can be hard to get, but they have the greatest insight into the actual customer experience.
Targeted investment has a significant impact on e-commerce and omnichannel success
There is a natural tendency to focus on cost-cutting (especially in the high-volume sales of e-commerce where the margins can be wafer-thin, but using the right tools makes optimization and expansion much easier and more efficient.
For this reason, targeted investment in smart technologies that have value in optimizing and streamlining processes should be a crucial part of your online sales strategy.
Software solutions can dramatically cut the cost of expansion and improve margins for the long-term by cutting out wasteful manual processes, automating tasks, simplifying inventory and order management, and enhancing the visibility of the actual customer experience.