There is a lot more to running a successful, modern E-commerce business than just having a website where you sell stuff.
The following is a quick overview of what needs to be addressed in order to become a truly successful e-commerce operation.
Strategy: Where are you going? Why? And how will you get there? Without clearly knowing where you are going, it will be difficult to control success. The right strategy should cover off on the following key elements:
Strategy can further be expanded, as required, to include separate strategies such as:
Operations: Effectively managing the back of house is paramount for anyone wishing to improve their profitability. Operational management includes having the following in place:
Savvy e-commerce operators know that the way they manage their business directly impacts on their profitability. Rather than always focusing on the ‘chase’ (that is, the constant focus on sales and marketing activities), they invest time, energy and money in ensuring their operations are as effective as they possibly could be. Embrace this in your business and you can almost guarantee that improvements will be seen.
People: Your staff can make or break your business. For this reason, it is important that the people working for you are the best suited people for the role they need to fill and are also at the same time the best suited people for your organisation. Your people not only affect the experience you will have within your own business but will also directly affect the experience your customers have with you. In an e-commerce business it is important that you ensure you have people in place with adequate skills and knowledge to be able to handle, with confidence and speed, any customer questions or problems that may arise. Furthermore, with online reputation playing a critical role in the market perceptions about your business, your people need to be customer and detail focused, helping ensure problems are solved, questions answered, orders correctly sent, and customers kept happy at all times.
Customer: Without customers, you have no business. For this reason, looking after your customer should become an almost obsessive attribute of your e-commerce business. How you do this is by developing and implement a customer experience strategy which leverages technology to help your organisation achieve the smoothest customer journey flow possible.
Technology: Using the right tools – be they hardware or software – helps ensure your business is operating effectively. An E-commerce business relies heavily on technology, and it is because of this that you should NOT try cutting corners or doing it on the cheap when it comes to the critical technology your business relies on (such as websites, enabling software, fast computers etc.).
Sales and Marketing: It is so easy to waste money and time on futile, pointless sales and marketing exercises. Using a strategy to develop a well-planned tactical plan which uses data to make decisions is the real key to making wise sales and marketing investments.
Data: Leveraging data is how you become better and better and better at what you do. Data comes in all forms – understanding what to collect, how to collect, how to measure and then knowing how to apply the secrets of this data is what all successful e-commerce businesses have accomplished as part of their journey to success.
The above covers off on the key topical areas I strongly urge every e-commerce business owner and their management team addresses, in order to remain viable, profitable and successful.
Do you have any questions or comments? Please share them, and don’t hesitate to contact me directly to discuss any of your specific business needs.
Written by Peter Spinda
Peter is the owner of Malekso – a specialist E-Commerce Management Consulting and Training business.