Monday, March 11, 2013

Lesson #137: The Basic Drivers of E-commerce Growth

Posted By: George Deeb - 3/11/2013


& Comment

I put this list of core e-commerce growth drivers together for a project I am working on, and I thought it would be useful for all of you who are building e-commerce companies.  Follow this playbook in designing your e-commerce growth strategies, and stay on top of key trends over time.


·         Have a clear understanding of company’s overall growth objectives.
·         Have a clear understanding of company’s branding and marketing objectives.
·         Have a clear understanding of company’s target customers & demographics.
·         Have a clear understanding of company’s products/margins – which product sales move the bottom line needle the most.
·         Have a clear understanding of company’s financial targets (revenues, margins, ROI).


·         You are not building a website in isolation from other customer channels—break down divisional silos.
·         All decisions should be made with a customer-centric mindset.
·         Allows customers to shop where, how and when they choose, anytime & anyplace.
·         Means integrating all website, mobile, store, call center systems, etc.
·         Means tailoring offering and messaging down to the person-by-person basis.


·        Determine the proper marketing plan that works within your budgets.
·        Bias online marketing, as most trackable and one-click away from your site.
·        Constantly test and iterate all offers and creatives being used to maximize engagement.
·        Drive traffic to specific product landing pages, which should be unique and tested.
·        Have a clear understanding of the keywords that matter most for your business, and optimize your site for SEO and PPC efforts.
·        Cross promote e-commerce capabilities across all channels of your business.
·        Cross promote e-commerce links across within all other channel marketing.
·        Leverage the power of social media—maintain and promote your own profile pages on major social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), allow for social sharing from all product pages and conversational communications/viral marketing therefrom.


·        Continually optimize and fine tune the product/pricing offering to match demand.
·        Maintain consistent communications with customers, via monthly newsletters or other means.
·        Create loyalty programs that reward increased spend with increased rewards.
·        Allow customers to create wishlists that they can send to their friends and family.
·        Tailor product offers to specific customer profile data.
·        Optimize upselling and cross-selling techniques (e.g., promote related items, and “people who bought this, also bought that” functionality).
·        Use machine learning techniques to keep a “memory” of user behaviors, in session and over time, to allow for behavioral targeting.
·        Use targeted pull back ads after a user leaves the site without buying
·        Automated repurchase reminders for things that need to be replaced over time
·        Opt customers into company newsletters during time of e-commerce purchases.


·        Need a clear and simple way to navigate the site (e.g., think “one click” away).
·        Constantly test page layouts to increase user engagement, using eye pattern heat maps, user mouse tracking or otherwise.
·        Constantly test shopping cart flow to limit abandon rates.
·        Study all abandon rates to figure out why customers ended up not buying—and address such items.
·        Leverage video where you can, as much more effective than static images and text in terms of driving engagement.
·        Leverage the reviews and feedback of other customers who bought same items.


·        Offer two-way free shipping for orders over a certain size (e.g., $50)—don’t give users any reason not to buy.
·        Offer no-hassle customer satisfaction guarantees for full refund if not satisfied for any reason.
·        Provide clear communication on all shipping related issues (e.g., time to ship, expected arrival dates), with opportunities to get overnight, if needed.
·        Provide ability to check inventory online, for items available in the stores for same day pickup.
·        Simple credit card processing online, and ability to collect payment information via phone.
·        Allow returns either via mail or direct to the stores.
·        Consider kiosk or tablet-based opportunities and services within the stores.


·        Invest in customer CRMs as a central repository to track all client profile, preferences, sales and social media history behavior.
·        Invest in big data analytics technology to make sense of the fire hose of data available.
·        The future of marketing is moving towards person-by-person targeting of products, offers, messaging based on their past behaviors and profile preferences.  It is no longer mass marketing of the same messaging to all.
·        Study cross channel behaviors to learn how customers prefer to engage with the company (e.g., researched online but bought in the store, or vice versa).
·        Test, test and retest all marketing activities, looking to sharpen efforts with each iteration.


·        The PC market is actually declining while the mobile market is exploding—you need to have native mobile apps built for each major platform (e.g., Apple, Android) or a mobile friendly touch site.
·        Take advantage of mobile locations of your customers, with targeted offers and services related to their exact location (e.g., check out our new store near your location, here are local restaurant deals to go with your recent movie tickets purchase, here is our mobile mapping app to go with your new car).

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