By now we all know that ecommerce is an important sales channel for distributors, or any business for that matter. But knowing this is not enough. In order to deploy this channel successfully an ecommerce strategy is critical. This planning helps you to determine what your goals are, where you currently are with your ecommerce capabilities, and where you want to go.
Keep in mind that there is more to an ecommerce strategy than a good shopping cart on a website. It must be approached from a larger perspective than that. There are three key components that make up a comprehensive ecommerce strategy. They are marketing, technology, and operations. Break your strategy into these three sections then consider each one separately and together as a whole.
Include Marketing in Ecommerce
Marketing is all about how your customers and prospects view you as a firm and how you manage their interest in your products and services. In short, it is about enhancing the customer experience so that they buy from you and become repeat customers. How will your ecommerce strategy help you do that? This is the question you need to ask yourself when putting together your plan.
This will include a good website design that can be found by your customers. Manage or create a search engine optimization (SEO) plan of action and consider how you will use social media to create visibility. And make sure you make ecommerce a part of your overall marketing strategy.
For example, if you use email campaigns, include a link to a landing page on your website with a call to action.
Technology That Supports Ecommerce
Technology is the backbone of every business initiative and it can make your life easy or create a nightmare. If you don’t have systems that support your ecommerce strategy all your efforts will be wasted.
If a customer cannot easily and quickly find and order products and services from your website or they cannot easily check the status of their orders and account they will not become repeat customers. In addition, if you cannot efficiently process orders and manage customer and marketing information then your internal system will become the bottleneck of your business.
You don’t need expensive and complex internal systems to accomplish your ecommerce goals. There are many software and technology providers that offer outsourced functionality that you can use. For example, NetSuite provides an integrated ERP, CRM, and ecommerce system that supports your whole business. Determine what you can do internally and what needs to be outsourced when making your plan.
Efficient Ecommerce Operations
Not everything can be automated. You will still need to manage the process of taking orders, updating your product and service information, keeping your website current and functioning, and dealing with customers in a timely and inviting manner.
This takes operational processes and procedures that support the ecommerce channel. When putting together your ecommerce strategy, identify the key operational processes that positively and negatively impact this channel.
Once these are identified, review them to determine which ones need to be changed, which can be eliminated, and what needs to be added. As you consider your technology changes that support your ecommerce goals you will find that your operations will need to be changed as well.
A comprehensive ecommerce strategy is a must have if you want to be successful with your ecommerce channel. It is no longer good enough to put up a website with a shopping cart and consider yourself done. If you want to maximize your sales and improve your customer’s experience you need to plan your marketing, your operations, and the technology needed to support these.
Looking for more information about improving your ecommerce strategy? Contact Business Solution Partners to speak to an expert today!