By Jase Clamp, Head of Product
Glamourous. A word that initially comes to mind when the topic of eCommerce crops up in conversation. However, after a decade of being in the business - first through an agency I set up in the United States, then as Temando’s Head of Product, I know it takes more than product curation and digital marketing wizardry to succeed in eCommerce. Here are my top tips to achieving mind-blowing eCommerce success:
1. Champion your product: Not many things can sell themselves, so ensuring you do everything to help shoppers make an informed decision is crucial, especially so in eCommerce as there’s no ‘touch and feel’ element to the experience. An old client from my digital agency days, Crutchfield, an electronics online store founded in Virginia did this really well. When a new product arrived, customer champions would test drive it, and their personalised, user-centric text and video reviews were shown in place of an OEM description. As a result, Crutchfield achieved 230% profit over competition in research activities. You’ll also want to complete championing your product by making it easy for shoppers to find it, so invest time in fast filtering and on-site search such as SLI. Think of the onsite navigation from the customer’s perspective to identify what facets should be loaded into search filters, and continue to refine your approach with data over time.
2. Stay on top of stock: My peers know that I’m a total eCommerce nerd. Nothing excites me more than seeing great companies like IKEA showcase their stock levels down to the digit - including the warehouse bin and location. It’s ground-breaking to be so transparent about stock: for IKEA, this exposure is not viewed as a vulnerability, but a rather sensible approach to self-servicing which streamlines operations, resulting in lowered costs while giving customers control over their shopping experience. The ability to confidently manage inventory and put customers in the driver’s seat is something we’re also passionate about here at Temando. Our system is designed to provide complete stock visibility, which serves to benefit both merchants and consumers. Additionally, our platform’s robust APIs makes it easy to integrate with your POS or ERP, so the entire fulfilment process is in sync. Laying down the groundwork for optimised fulfilment at the start of your journey, with an emphasis on enabling customer self-service wherever possible, is a great way to supercharge your eCommerce business.
3. Sort your shipping out: I’m genuinely surprised at how often shipping is an afterthought for many eCommerce merchants. A typical conversation would go like this - Me: “So what are you going to charge for shipping?” Merchant: “Oh, I don’t know… a flat rate, I guess?” Further along the conversation, I would always uncover the reason for this slack attitude comes down to a lack of time and understanding of how shipping can serve as a tactic to reduce shopping cart abandonment. My mantra when designing Temando’s platform is FAO: ‘Fulfilment Automation Out-of-the-box’, and that means saying no to table rates, and a solid yes to smart fulfilment. This means that merchants can choose to save by going with the cheapest rate from selected carriers with our multi carrier quoting feature, while providing an enhanced shipping experience to customers by editing the order time, destination, products, and more as and when it’s required.
4. Keep the customer experience going: Being in the eCommerce space for so long, I get online retailers, and know that we’re constantly learning and discovering new trends on how to elevate customer experiences. However, there is one sentiment that is constant – retailers want to focus on building their brand, and selling their products to their customers. Most would say to me, “Get the ‘how-to’ out of the way, just give me the tools to do what I want to do.”
This statement struck a chord in me, and is one of the reasons I love working at Temando. Our customisable tracking and returns portals are great solutions for retailers who want to provide their customers with an immersive brand experience that works - minus the commitment traditionally required to manage these services in-house.
With the four tips I’ve highlighted above: championing your product, staying on top of stock, sorting your shipping out, and keeping the customer experience going, I’m confident that it’ll give you a great head start with your eCommerce business. But there is one last thing I’d like to leave you with, and that is: maintenance. Imagine your eCommerce store as a bricks and mortar shop that needs to be updated and refreshed regularly: while the right foundations will help with initial foot traffic, you’ll need to show up each day to revise and refresh your store from the front to back end to remain competitive, so hook up all your analytics, create engaging campaigns, keep testing changes, and stay abreast of innovation across the breadth of retail and technology to build a momentum for success.
Are there other tips you think our eCommerce community would benefit from? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you.