Do great eCommerce companies spontaneously form out of thin air?
Iconic names like Amazon and eBay make it look easy. In reality, it takes strategic eCommerce business planning to make it big.
Every journey starts with a goal, whether you’re opening an online store or running a marathon.
What are your goals for eCommerce? Do you want to launch a small boutique with a few items? Are you dreaming of a massive wholesale business?
Successful planning starts with asking the right questions. Answers lead to the right tools, budget, and business model.
Start planning your eCommerce dream with this helpful guide!
Clarify Your Vision
What did you notice when you were asking yourself questions? Did the exercise make you think deeper about your company’s purpose?
Successful eCommerce businesses have a vision. It’s not just about the product. It’s about how that product impacts consumers’ lives.
What’s the origin behind your business? Which idea or experience sparked the dream? Every vision needs a mission.
Here’s an example:
Suppose you’re launching a nut-free spread company. You came up with this idea after a harrowing experience with nut allergies. This story is the cornerstone of your mission.
Flesh out your mission statement with the following:
- Stellar customer service
- Made with love
- High-quality ingredients
- Eco-friendly packaging
- Treats customers like family
These elements give stakeholders a clearer picture of your vision. The clearer your vision, the more investors can connect with your company.
Weave these elements into a story that inspires connection. Customers prefer storytelling in marketing, another vital piece of your eCommerce vision.
Think About the User Experience
Let’s go back to your company’s mission. What’s the best way to communicate this vision to buyers and investors?
Since you’re an eCommerce company, you’ll need a high-quality website. However, you must optimize your site to create an exceptional visitor experience.
Add these points to your website checklist:
- Superfast website speed
- Easy and intuitive navigation
- Mobile responsiveness
- Hassle-free shopping cart experience
- Transparent refund policy
- Multiple payment options
- Free delivery (or discounted delivery)
- Informative product pages
Don’t forget to include any awards, safety certifications, and other achievements critical for industry credibility.
These elements are part of the user experience or UX for short. UX is similar to the product experience. Your site, like your products, should feel intuitive, reliable, and high quality.
By definition, marketing is the process of promoting and selling something, whether it’s a social cause or an online boutique. Without UX, potential customers won’t even click your store’s URL.
Even your search engine results matter. Would an internet user click on a link with no title or a description that doesn’t make sense? Think about the quality you expect from Google results.
Tell Your Story
Your website is almost there. You still need to communicate your vision. Remember, you only have a few seconds to impress before users click away!
First, optimize your homepage with compelling media of your business in action.
Let’s go back to the nut-free spread example:
Use images to showcase your spread on fresh bread, vegetables, and fruit. Go the extra mile and hire a food photographer to capture your product in the best light.
Videos are great for providing an inside look into your manufacturing process. Highlight the family-oriented vibe of your local company. Show your team giving back to the community.
Tell your story across multiple marketing channels. Social media is designed for storytelling marketing because it’s all about connection. Learn from viral video campaigns and create your own!
For example, you could highlight the joy of customers who struggle with nut allergies. These videos have a human interest element, which performs well on social media.
Uh-oh, you’ve run into a problem. Which are the best social media platforms to tell your story?
This problem is easily solved with market research. All eCommerce marketing campaigns should start with goals and market research.
Market research clarifies your target audience. This audience is more likely to buy your product. However, they need to connect with your company first.
Go back to the example. Which social media platforms would make sense for your target audience?
Market research revealed that your audience’s preferred platform for food discovery is Instagram. This revelation is an excellent starting point for your social media campaign.
Data-driven marketing campaigns have a higher likelihood of success. Instead of blasting your message to everyone, you can conserve your budget and target quality leads.
Metrics Matter to eCommerce Business Planning
Market research is only one piece of a data-driven eCommerce plan. Data analytics is also critical.
There are so many variables to consider, from customer retention to cart abandonment rates. You can’t possibly monitor all these metrics at once.
Luckily, automation is on your side. You can buy eCommerce software that tracks, visualizes, and interprets your KPIs in real-time. There’s also data-driven software for optimizing SEO and social media campaigns.
This point is crucial if you’re hiring an eCommerce marketing agency. Data analytics is a must. However, agencies should communicate results with clients.
Look for agencies that use dashboards to communicate KPI progress. Ask for any reports or visualizations that prove past success.
You can learn eCommerce analytics on your own. Content management systems show real-time analytics, like traffic, unique visitors, and clicks. You can also use SEO analytics to find content gaps and opportunities.
Automation also ensures your web store is fully stocked with items. You don’t have to worry about a visitor ordering an item when it’s out of stock, either.
You don’t need any programming knowledge to get an automated eCommerce site. Start with a fully automated eCommerce website from WordPress. You can also optimize your site with plugins to improve UX.
Discover the Secret to eCommerce Success
Success starts with learning. It’s time to get your hands dirty and jump right in! Use this guide to inform your eCommerce business planning.
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