By Chris Vincent, Practicology
I’ll be talking at Fashion Exposed on Saturday 16 August about how to start up and grow a successful ecommerce business.
If you have been following Exposed Online, I wrote a series of articles that provided a bit of background on the pre-work required in order to get your business online. The first installment was all about choosing the right platform partner to help your online dreams become reality. The second installment talked about some of the pitfalls of implementation. This week I am going to talk to you about what comes next after a new platform launch.
The process to bring a new channel to life and the challenges of a project can be quite tough. I’ve seen a lot of online businesses fall asleep at the wheel just when it’s most important to be wide awake and hungry for more. Once the project is complete they just sit back and wait for the sales to come in, no changes are made no improvements, nothing!
Let me ask those of you that own retail doors, after opening a new store do you walk away and expect sales to magically appear? No you do not!
A good retailer will use every device available to them (within a budget) to make the store successful, and once successful they will continue to exploit what works and also try any new tools that become available.
I have met with and been involved with many businesses that have made almost no investment and no changes (other than adding current season stock) to their channel for a substantial amount of time, sometimes years. The mentality that once you launch sales will come is flawed. Let’s take a look at a high level at some of the areas you can and should exploit.
Optimisation of your website is a key activity. Just like visual merchandising is key to a good store, tweaking and changing elements of your website to give your customers the optimal experience is vital ingredient to a successful online channel. Gone are the days where you do a major refresh every few years, you should have a constant program of works in place to improve your site. Testing and measuring performance is a key metric here and I’ll be talking about that during my speech.
Another key area to exploit is SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. This is the art of driving organic search traffic to your site & in this market (and perhaps generally) it is an overlooked art and science to successful online retailing. SEO is generally long ball oriented so it’s important to have a strategy in place here and stick with it. This should be started immediately upon launch and continued throughout the life of your site.
Hand in glove with SEO is SEM, or Search Engine Marketing, which is often called paid search. There are many different types of paid search activities that you can run. Among them, affiliates, display, retargeting & pay per click. The most common is pay per click (PPC) and the reason it goes hand in glove with SEO is that it should be the tactical arm of your strategy. You’d never use SEO to make the market aware of sale activity (unless you were on sale constantly) but you would use paid search to drive that message to market and because its instant it can be quite effective.
Lastly look at innovations in the market, I’m not talking about fashion but about ways that you customer can engage your brand with that drives a point of difference. It’s less about being at the bleeding edge but more about standing out from the crowd. How should your brand differentiate? Delivery, packaging, social media, customer service, user engagement, pop up stores, click & collect, apps etc. The point here is that the permutations are endless but the vision needs to be there to make your brand compelling…
This is my last installment in the buildup to the August presentation; at the show I will talk all about how to build on these concepts listed in this series of articles and take you through how to be successful online. I look forward to seeing you at the show!
For more information, visit fashionexposed.com/sydney