Ecommerce is more than a convenience; it is a part of our daily lives. Electricity and indoor plumbing were considered mere conveniences, too, just over a century ago. Now, however, you will be hard-pressed to find a household that hasn't at least explored making an online purchase.
If you require proof, take a look at these stunning numbers from Internet Retailer:
- Ecommerce in the United States grew 13% in 2013.
- Online 2013 estimated sales in the U.S. alone total $262 billion dollars.
Mashable has also reported that ecommerce sales in 2012 worldwide topped $1 trillion!
Obviously, then, it is critical for digital marketers to develop an effective strategy for their ecommerce site, one which keeps in step with the growth in the industry. To accomplish this, businesses need to address these critical steps:
1. Employ sales & marketing analytics.
The best way to keep your plan fresh is to gather analytical data on your online sales and marketing. You must treat the data like a GPS that is there to prevent you from straying off the path to success. Begin your day with a look at how your online business is performing, and why. No detail is too trivial when it comes to making your business a success. Get all the data you can about your customers and their buying habits. Study the traffic flow numbers from last week, last month, and last year. More importantly, gather information on visits, click-through rate, and conversions to sales. Then, take that information and act on it.
2. Become mobile friendly.
Responsive web design is vital to ecommerce sites because a rapidly growing portion of the marketplace is making its purchases on mobile devices, including tablets. Without it, your customers will simply go elsewhere.
3. Generate compelling, relevant content.
Yes, you need to blog, but that is not enough. Effective content marketing needs to push revenue through traffic referral and increased sharing. In essence, make sure your content not only brings visitors to your site, but makes them want to return. Providing links to other material in your content will ensure better organic searches, and gives your visitors confidence in your authority in the marketplace.
4. Have reliable CRM software.
Customer Relationship Management software will catalog, arrange, and streamline the multiple elements of business to customer relations. Finding a way to combine sales, service, technical support, and marketing in one technology will reduce headaches and put your time to better use. Take the time to research which CRM will work best for your business now, and in the future. Ask others in your business community what they use, and give it time to work.
In order for your business to succeed you need to embrace technological advances and changes in purchasing preferences. Those who take any other approach might as well be selling outhouses.
Are you working in ecommerce? What is essential to your online success? We'd like to hear what works for you, or what frustrations you've encountered. Please share your thoughts.
Gary Locke is a semi-professional hyphenate and the Content Editor for CommonPlaces. He has enjoyed a long career in theater and multimedia.