You are just starting out as an eCommerce manager or, perhaps, you are already an experienced one.
In either case, you are well aware that along the road, there will always be mistakes you need to avoid. Although no strategy is perfect, you must constantly strive to improve and step up your game by being information driven, and always be willing to learn.
As an eCommerce Manager, you are most likely developing and carrying out strategic digital marketing plans for companies and organizations that run at least part of their business online. You collaborate with content developers and clients, and report to upper management. You want to generate sales via online channels. Buying, trading and selling products and services either to consumers or for business purposes should be second nature to you by now.
It seems simple, but it can easily go wrong. How does this happen, and how can you avoid it?
Having a spending manager instead of a marketing manager
Even though the goal of an eCommerce manager is clearly to generate sales, he cannot do so all alone. Most of the time, however, there is a tendency to listen to a spending manager, who acts only as the budget tracker, rather than a marketing manager. Nowadays, budget tracking can be done by a simple app, whereas enlisting a real (human) marketing manager clearly offers many advantages.
Marketing managers are there to generate an in-depth industry analysis of the demand for a given product or service. They then create or help create a solid strategy for properly marketing that product or service. They collaborate with sales engineers and financial staff, of course, but they have a wider understanding of advertising overall, which can lead to effective strategies with low-cost implementations. Marketing managers are responsible for their employer’s brand, which ranges from video advertisements and public-speaking engagements to endorsements and printed literature.
Not bothering to monitor what happens after the order is placed
You may risk the cascade failure of your business before you know it, if your only concern is getting the product out there. Whatever you are selling online, you must ensure – even if you use only the most basic form of customer feedback – that your product has satisfied that customer. You already know that happy customers are the actual key component of every successful business, no matter how highly trained your staff are, or how prestigious your brand is. It all comes back to customers.
You have to constantly track a number of factors, such as delivery time for your products, the ease of transaction, customer feedback on-sale, and customer satisfaction post-sale. This is the only way you’ll know for sure how to consistently address your customers’ demands.
Betting on price as the only point of difference
Having said the above, some eCommerce managers think that what makes people happiest is the low price of a product. While it certainly affects the buying decision, cost should not be the primary concern. Customers will generally pay a little extra in order to ensure they have access to a certified quality product, rather than go cheap and suffer long-term problems.
People will not buy your product or service just because you happen to have some room for maneuver between the production cost and the retail price, and you decide to sell it for a lower price so as to undermine the competition.
Trust in your products and services must be built over time. Feel free to think in numbers, but don’t forget to also count your customers.
Forgetting to train and treat your employees well while hoping those same employees will treat your customers well
People are the driving engine of every single business on the planet. Through our products, we all strive to better ourselves and those around us. For this reason, employees should be properly trained at all times, so that they can become the best version of themselves when it comes to customer relations. This is a crucial point.
If your employees are undertrained or badly treated, you will most likely face dissatisfaction both from them AND from your intended customers. Human resources are not to be trifled with, and you can generate or lose revenue purely depending on the level of your team’s morale.
Never forget that before being managers or customers, we are human beings.
Ignoring the fact that people buy stories and emotions, as opposed to not having a voice and simply moving boxes
In order to communicate and persuade ourselves, we generally use our voices.
Much like a person, a business needs a voice, except a business usually needs a different one for every product. Voices tell stories, and stories win people’s minds. Beyond the demand itself, which translates into the external need to buy the product in question, customers are also interested in how that product reaches them.
You should also be interested in this, because if a story is good, it tends to be passed on from customer to customer. If you don’t pay attention to the reactions of those to whom you wish to sell, you risk ending up looking like a sterile warehouse. This is a major mistake, and it can make the difference between success and failure.
Wrongly thinking that tracking vanity metrics such as revenue or EBITDA means having a growth strategy
The first thing an eCommerce manager should bear in mind about vanity metrics is that unlike actionable metrics, these can be manipulated. They do not necessarily correlate to what matters: the number of active users, the level of engagement, the cost of getting new customers, and how all of these translate into profit. EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) is a measure of a company’s operating performance.
In all earnestness, this way of evaluating a company’s performance – without factoring in all of the above – can lure you into a false sense of success and financial security that could cost you dearly in the long run.
Having a broken customer journey
You have a really good product and a highly trained team, but it still doesn’t quite seem to do the trick. Maybe your UI and UX are battling each other, instead of coworking towards the best possible journey for the user. If such is the case, you need to rethink your strategies.
Always try to get a grasp of the customer perspective. How do they behave when visiting your website? Can you improve on that? Can you attract them more often? The answer is yes, and yes. Creating your customer journey provides major benefits. It allows decision-makers to stay focused on customers and helps to make each step of the buying experience easier for potential leads.
Anticipating how a customer will act every step of the way is vital. Never rely on obsolete expectations.
Relying on Amazon in the long term, instead of having your own media
Resources aren’t infinite. So, you’re probably thinking: why repair something if it’s not broken? Why waste time and money to create your media if a brand that is already out there can directly do it for you, even purely by namesake?
The answer is that you will most likely get pushed to a considerable extent to “keep up” with unfavourable contractual obligations and be forced to streamline your online presence. With less breathing space, rushed decisions get made, something you always need to avoid. Creating and managing your forms of media lets you remain in control of when and how you place certain products and services on the market.
Using poor analytics implementation for making ‘data-driven’ decisions
Data-driven decisions are something that should complement an already well-crafted story and image that sells your product almost by itself. Even if you have access to the world’s greatest data, always trust your own insights.
The monitoring of web-traffic statistics and the generation of precise reports is an everyday responsibility for eCommerce managers. The performance of a website can be analyzed and evaluated using Google Analytics, Comscore, or any other solution developed for this purpose.
It helps to see how particular campaigns or site changes rate on the success scale. These analytical tools can offer information on behaviors and patterns. Bounce rates, time-on-page, and referrals all give some detailed insight and in-depth analysis, but if they are misinterpreted, it can mean ruin.
Always double-check your analytic reports. A/B Testing is another means by which to analyze and compare different online strategies. This is done by sending different versions of the website to different site visitors, which will then determine which version was the most successful.
Thinking that re-platforming will double conversion rates and sales
The main focus of an eCommerce manager is conversion, and attracting visitors by using campaigns, effective SEO, and carefully thought-out content – the means of converting visitors into leads or sales. eCommerce sales make up a sizable part of today’s market, and may even take over altogether as the preferred method of purchase in the near future.
That being said, re-platforming your services will not double your conversion rate and sales. It’s as simple as that! It may even lead to a bad period for your business, depending on the shortcomings of the platform you are transferring to. The chances of things going wrong are generally high, because there will be a considerable downtime, and this can be disastrous for any business.
Thoroughly evaluate the platforms you’re considering before switching over your infrastructure. Ensure that you test performance, speed and scalability before committing to a new platform.
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Paying millions to have on-premise platforms, instead of using great SaaS with agile and talented development teams
Paying millions for an on-premise platform may feel like it can take some pressure off, leaving you more open to other important tasks, but it also eats up those millions. Upfront! Depending on the scale of your online business and its resources, this may not be an issue, but more often than not, it will be.
The most observable difference between SaaS and on-premise platforming lies in the implementation of each. SaaS is accessed via the internet, and there is no need to have it installed and maintained through company hard-disk drives. Typically, SaaS costs less than an on-premises solution, certainly in terms of upfront costs. Using SaaS, you get billed a given amount per month.
The SaaS software model offers you a range of immediate business benefits, along with more updates than on-premises solutions. Also, you have access to shorter deployment times and independence from IT (because the hosting company is typically doing the hiring of staff). End users will also reap the advantage of mobile SaaS applications and web presence.
You were once a novice eCommerce manager? Now, you can become an experienced one.
You were already experienced? Now you’re even less likely to make mistakes and lose your hard-earned status.
Either way, you know that no strategy is perfect, and that there are ups and downs in everything. But, you’re now stepping up your game and being both more data-driven and user-focused.