The ecommerce industry is evolving at a much faster rate than ever before, driven by a combination of pressure from forward-thinking organisations, new and innovative technologies and unprecedented levels of customer demand and expectation. With more organisations offering seamless services across a seemingly ever-growing array of channels, customers now expect this level of experience as the norm, and this is only set to increase as more Gen Z shoppers enter the marketplace.
While there may be challenges for smaller organisations to keep on top of the forever-changing ecommerce and customer experience trends, these are also times of great opportunity. Businesses can bring ideas and products to the market incredibly quickly and effortlessly, disrupting more traditional business models.
Whether you are a start-up or an experienced SME looking to operate online, or improve your online offering, a well-thought-out and executed ecommerce strategy can help expand your customer base, as well as increase profit and brand recognition. But there are five key mistakes that organisations, especially SMEs, make when approaching ecommerce.
It’s common for organisations to regard ecommerce as just a technological consideration. Viewing ecommerce as just a tick-box exercise, with no wider consideration of the logistics and how any platform will integrate into other business operations, is a short-sighted approach. Instead, look to develop an ecommerce strategy that combines digital marketing, operations, fulfilment and delivery.
It is equally as important to retain your current customers as well as putting in the effort to acquire new ones. All too often businesses focus on the end-goal and forget that the upkeep is just as vital. Not only is it stopping them from building important communities of loyal brand advocates, it is reducing revenue.
Instead, organisations should identify how to improve their existing customers’ experiences as well as thinking of new ideas to attract new customers, especially in terms of developing targeted and engaging content.
Addiction to one channel or tactic is another common mistake, especially when it comes to search and pay-per-click (PPC). Though important, just because one element, for instance PPC, may be doing well, it does not mean you should ignore other routes. Be sure to focus on all aspects of digital marketing and don’t be afraid to explore other options!
A surge of data can be overwhelming, though also hugely important. Not only does it offer exceptional insight into customer behaviour, it can also shed light on different elements of an ecommerce strategy that may or may not be working. SMEs must take advantage of the data opportunities presented to try and stay ahead of agile competitors.
To establish business growth, understanding your benchmark performance against well-thought-out goals and objectives is fundamental. This is especially key with smaller businesses, so they can then see how their performance is comparing to their competitors. By setting up reasonable, yet ambitious, targets, business owners will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses, as well as where to invest to optimise further.
By recognising the common pitfalls before embarking on a new approach to ecommerce, SMEs can ensure they save themselves time, money and resources. Not only this, in a hugely competitive marketplace, they can help ensure that any ecommerce strategy they develop will add value quickly.
When harnessed correctly, ecommerce has the ability to transform small businesses, helping them keep up and even surpass the so-called market disruptors.