eCommerce is about making money
Part 1 eCommerce is about making money
Written by Curtis Johnson, Managing Director Salmon Asia Pacific
eCommerce (or Online Retail) is all about ‘making money’, first and foremost. If you do not want to do this, then do not invest in these strategies. If you do want to, then keep reading.
When we talk about making money online, we are not talking about getting a return on initial investment, or doing ‘OK’, or making the
average expected revenue based on pre-eCommerce site visits. We are talking about having your online retail presence out perform your bricks and mortal stores year in / year out, if you don’t have stores, then your competitors’ stores. There should be no reason why it shouldn’t, you just need to fulfil the basic requirements and stick to it.
A lot of Australian retailers still see online as a marketing initiative to push people to their stores, or give users information about the company and products, this is a good start, however it has no revenue generating capabilities – unless you are selling advertising space. The next step always seems the hardest for retailers, especially ones who lived through the last eCommerce boom, which didn’t go too well, a lot of investment was lost, with a lot of unhappy investors.
Things have come a long way since then, you only need to look at the
Today we have the experience of not only what is going right for companies around the world but what went wrong last time. We can now say with confidence what works and what doesn’t and where the focus should be. To begin to share this information, we need to be aware of three guiding environment factors with online retail. These factors are: External, Internet, Site (what I refer to as the EIS Factor). Concentrate on fulfilling these and you will make more money than your stores, consistently. You will be surprised, there’s nothing new, just realised for online retail.
EIS is about concentrating on getting awareness about your online retail site to as many people as possible, getting them to go to your online retail site, keeping them there, keeping them buying, keeping them returning & referring. To fulfil only one or two of these factors will not see the full potential of online retailing.
Look at your External marketing channels, these are offline channels which will get you the most attention to your site in the early days – especially if you do not actively market to these channels currently. Push out a marketing campaign specific to your online initiative within a couple of months of the site going live, then keep active – the more people you get here the more successful the site will be, as it is external marketing which is still the biggest impact. Go for all media channels (TV, Radio, Print, Post, ‘your’ Store/s, and Email) even if you do not keep all of these going, making your brand known is the most important factor and go national (if not international), target your market and others i.e. if you are a gaming company, not only should you target your 12-25 year olds customers, also target their parents, do not stay traditional for online. Anyone will buy online, anywhere they are, do not only advertise around your stores.
Secondly, think about the Internet and where your customers are going to be coming from. This is where Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) starts, with partnering with like sites, releasing news or articles to online media sites (such as this one), always use your company name and drop in your website address where ever possible and keep people interested in what is coming, update regularly, and use all social sites, again even if you do not continue with all of them, the more you reach the more you will get. These campaigns should be started a couple or months prior to your new online retail site becoming operational, it will spark anticipation for something new. Then keep it up.
Finally the Site, the first two factors are all about getting people to your site, the third is about keeping them there. If you cannot be flexible with your site, customers won’t come back, if the site doesn’t ‘seem’ to change and be new each time a customer comes they won’t come back regularly or refer to friends, relatives or colleagues, regardless of how much effort you have put in to the first two factors.
There are a lot of agencies out there which claim to be eCommerce enabled, develop a fancy webpage, put an image of a product on it and add a ‘cart’ capability and you are on your way, this is the wrong way to think (even if you are a smaller company), to have the ability to sell, doesn’t mean you will and even if you do the management and scalability of these ‘cart’ solutions are limited. This is what was happening before we had the eCommerce capability we have today.
Why are we talking solutions? Because it is imperative for the site to invest in the capabilities which will give you the flexibility to change as your customer changes, give your customer what they want, allow your customer to interact with your company and be viewed as modern, fresh and new with every visit without having to have technology agencies constantly updating ‘pages’ for you, let the business operate the business – you wouldn’t outsource to have your shop front fitted every time a mannequin needed moving, the shop assistant does it, so to with online retailing, they are just different skills using the capabilities at hand.
Get to it, what are the prime essential components of a site solution which will assist you to keep a customer on you site longer, returning more regularly and most importantly buying more a.k.a. making you money…?
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Curtis Johnson is the Managing Director of Salmon Asia Pacific, where he was responsible for opening the Sydney based office for its parent Salmon Ltd located in the UK, which specialise in eCommerce Strategies and Implementation, integrating to specialist partners for end to end value added service – with other offices in China and USA. Curtis has been working within the IT community for 15 years, where he has specialised in Online technologies for the most of this time. His previous titles before becoming MD of Salmon AP include, Enterprise Architect, Solutions Architect and Project Manager, for the Retail, Financial Retail and Supply Chain. Over the past 10 years, he has contributed to many Online Retail inititives, with his first eCommerce implementation being in 2000. Curtis is active in the Online Retail community and continues to consult to Retailers the benefits of Online Retail and spans into the world of Multi Channel as a natural progression for Retailers to follow. Salmon guarantee their services by providing fixed time and cost for all projects, their customers are their friends, where they obtain trust and relationship for the longterm, this is what Curtis believes and works by, he can be contacted on [email protected]