bright colors from opening laptop

 

I’ve gained indispensable insights through multiple ecommerce implementations across several industries. Here are vital methods, tactics, and actions for building or advancing a profit-bearing platform.

#1 The Numbers

Quantifiable OKRs (objectives and key results)

Set clearly formulated and specific Business Goals for each of these measurable performance metrics:

  • Conversion
  • Engagement
  • Optimization
  • Monetization

Commit to an Actionable and Achievable Timeline

Too often, the budget, timeline, and resources are not fully defined at the start.  There may be general numbers put on paper, however a successful ecommerce initiative requires forecasting and accounting for each of the following:

  • Ecommerce Software
  • Set up, Servers, Database, Environments
  • 3rd Party Integrations & APIs (Tax, Shipping, Payment Gateway, Technologies, Customer Service, Live Chat, etc.)
  • Technology & Marketing Stack
  • Back-End Integrations (CMS or DXP, CRM, PIM, Database etc.)
  • Mobile Responsive
  • Add Ons, Extensions, Mobile App
  • Project Management
  • Web Development
  • UI / UX, Design, Multimedia
  • Content and SEO
  • Site Performance and Testing
  • Domain, Hosting, SSL
  • Training and Documentation
  • Maintenance, Upgrades, Scaling
  • Launch PR – Internal and External Communications

A more detailed list is available here: https://artofdigitalcommerce.com/ecommerce-archetype/

#2 The Brand

Collaborate and establish the following before your project starts:

  1. Brand Values and Vision
  2. Unique Selling Proposition
  3. Competitive Advantage
  4. Your Brand’s “Wow” Factor
  5. Markets, Competitor Landscape, and Industry Positioning

Be innovative, forward-thinking, and fully customer-centric in this process.

Continue reading “Mastery of Ecommerce – 8 Pillars of the Pursuit”

SEO with cogs

An estimated 97% of mobile searches are done on Google, making it smart to base your strategies on Google’s algorithm, signals, ranking system, and indexing priorities.

With each query, Google looks for the following:

  • How a web page relates to certain concepts
  • The context of the keywords being used
  • Relevancy of the page to the query itself

Additionally, it factors in site speed, mobile responsiveness, and the performance of core web vitals.

Speech tagging and answering questions are among the natural language processes being used by search engines.  Further, the domain rating (DR) will influence your backlink profile, while domain authority (DA) will impact your search engine positioning.

Other ranking factors include:

  • Industry authority
  • User interface framework
  • Crawlability / indexability
  • Quality of content
  • Backlinks
  • Page rendering
  • Mobile experience
  • Site architecture
  • Content clustering and semantic relationships

Your keyword approach must be designed to achieve the right reach, frequency, channels, and marketing mix.

Continue reading “SEO – An Easy Guide to Impact Performance”

Interface technology, the future of user experience.

 

B2C, B2B, D2C, Omnichannel, Social Commerce, Marketplaces – each has distinctive selling strategies and opportunities.  Consider which one (or few) aligns with your business model and objectives.

 

B2C

Often, this is a business with several brands or categories with broad demographics for its prospective customers, aiming for sales volume even if profit margins are tight.

Ecommerce Strategy: A heavy emphasis on promotions, incentive selling, and strong market positioning. Creative campaigns that are compelling and impactful are essential to establish a unique selling proposition and a competitive advantage. The drive is to influence motivation and trigger actions. Discounts, on-site sale events, clearance, exclusive coupons, and flash price drops are used to impel transactions. Generating leads is orchestrated with contextual insight, optimized messaging, personalized experiences, and a cadence of interactions that acquire, enable, and engage.

 

B2B

A business selling products and/or services to other commercial businesses – either in a single sector or several different verticals.

Ecommerce Strategy: There is an emphasis on industry authority, building relationships, and tactical selling based on price points, bulk purchases, recurring orders, or a contractual buying schedule. Content marketing and a highly effective communication style are key to B2B digital sales because it’s here where information is king. The business is a partner to the customer with solution-based services and an optimal product mix.  The company must be prominent in its online placement, reviews, directories, and citations. And build an empire of insights, because the customer is continually seeking knowledge and ideas to strengthen their operation and performance.

 

D2C

Businesses that are innovative, expedient, and principled in their selling of one or multiple product lines where need, interest, and enthusiasm are high motivators for an audience that has been segmented into specific buyer personas.

Ecommerce Strategy: Maintain a focus on agility, iterative experiments, and optimal user experiences throughout the buying journey. Whether solving a problem or sparking an interest, use of rich media and social channels are critical to achieving order placement, repeat business, loyalty, and development of ambassadors. As a business designs its strategy, the pillars must start with mobile and site performance – both of these tower above other reigning factors.

 

Continue reading “Strategy Insights for 7 Digital Business Models”

Digital Engagement Strategy

 

In 2020, small and medium size businesses (SMBs) experienced the fastest growth of online sales in the last five years.  The motivation to purchase online continues to rapidly rise. Is your business positioned to take advantage of digital commerce? 

Here are some questions to weigh:

  • Are the value and distinct benefits of your products or services expressed clearly and concisely?
  • Are you effectively customizing campaigns to tap the unique buying intent of each customer segment?
  • Is the brand messaging being consistently shaped to inspire, inform, and persuade the audience?
  • How creative, impactful, and informative is the visual experience of your brand?
  • Do you tell an authentic and compelling story which your audience can relate to?
  • Do the website’s interface and user experience drive conversions – how well have you tested the content, graphics, elements, functions, navigation, information architecture, performance, and mobile design?
  • Can a visitor seamlessly and intuitively search for products or information on your website?
  • Is your monetization strategy being executed across channels with the right cadence to influence action?

While seemingly simple, there is a complex formula to digital commerce, which is an art (creativity, content, and innovation) and a science (automation, testing, and technology). Being strategic, agile, and tenacious in both interface and infrastructure are essential to building online sales. 

Continue reading “SMBs – Digital Growth and Monetization”

drop-of-water-ripple

In the digital commerce space, impact is critical and relentlessly pursued. Attracting your target audience and converting visitors to consumers require far more than a hook and a pitch.

Impact is achieved through exceptional efforts that blend strategy, creativity, agility, and innovation. Whether problem-based, exploration-based, need-based, or interest-based, capturing ‘intent’ and motivating people are forms of marketing dexterity – weaving touch points and experiences that trigger actions and engagement.

Impact comes from tapping emotional, mental, spiritual, intellectual, societal, physical, and environmental factors.

Always start with specific objectives and a well-defined project plan.  Any endeavor worth doing begins with concept, scope, definitions, timelines, tasks, and measurable goals.

Leverage your organization’s expertise and acumen. Intellect drives trust and confidence, and should serve as the foundation of impact.

Share a wide spectrum of content, and assess where it most resonates with your audience.  Be mindful of the tone, voice, and style – each of these should have unique brand characteristics and a consistency across platforms.

Tell stories. Not about the brand, nor your products and services. Instead, create organic media about people – their journey, experiences, challenges, passion, pursuits, and insights.  Be purposeful in demonstrating a correlation between the story and the brand.

Tailor campaigns to narrowed segments of your customer-base to ensure the experiences offer value and provide benefit beyond a purchase.  When you penetrate the mind and motivators, impact is lingering… and lasting.

Continually fine-tune your approach until impact is evident. This will build your competitive edge.

Establish a pipeline of progress, continually fostering new ideas, driving the quality and ‘wow’ factor, and digging for hidden opportunities.

Be open and receptive to instances of  poor performance. Embrace when outcomes do not align with objectives- these are essential moments to learn and improve. Test, iterate, and be excited when incremental advancements are realized!

Impact isn’t always obvious, nor readily validated.  And yet, it is incredibly powerful. When achieved, compelling brand experiences are highly persuasive and will help you dominate in brand positioning and profitability.

Christmas balls and shells on sand with summer sea background

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success”  – Alexander Graham Bell

For many retailers, the holiday season dominates their sales generation. And as all commerce indicators have shown, online buying will continue to soar – most especially through mobile devices.

To effectively capture new and returning visitors, and expand your market reach, strategic planning and execution must start now.

From organic ranking for unique search terms to multi-channel buying journeys and social story telling, there is a long Santa list of tactical efforts to be ready for 4Q. Here are a few considerations to get your team on the Online Sales Sleigh!

(1) Set your seasonal budget and tactical plan to increase ad spend, promoting the brand’s value and quality, both of which people pay attention to when buying gifts.

(2) Perform comprehensive technology and interface diagnostics of your ecommerce platform and mobile app – identify any weaknesses with core web vitals, site performance, usability, and visual experience.

(3) Further optimize web pages with critical technical SEO – schema markup, unique titles, meta data, tags, core metrics, use of interstitials, crawl errors, internal and external links, etc.

(4) Consider distinctive packaging with a holiday-themed message card inside every shipment.

Continue reading “For Ecommerce, Turkey & Tinsel Start in August”

digital marketing strategies

 

OKR. Objectives and Key Results must be a marketers ‘North Star’ at every stage, including research & planning, production, measuring and testing, and iterative experiments.

Have clearly defined targets (audience segments, metrics, messaging, experiences) and a singular focus (specific offer, incentive, product line promotion, etc.)

Create well-defined projects and apply agile methodology and fluid execution practices.

Relevancy and Value. Without it, you’re just noise.

There is a psychology to marketing. Pay attention to intent, context, triggers, and intrinsic motivation – from your audience, untapped markets, stakeholders, team members, executive leaders… even your competitors.

Continue reading “Today’s Digital Marketing – Pointers and Priorities”

performance-metrics-data

 

Often the data points capturing the most attention are sales, margins, opportunity win ratio, and inventory.

A deeper dive into a few other digital stats will help a business in its online position and performance.

CAC vs. CLV

Customer Acquisition Cost is a must, especially in comparison to the Customer Lifetime Value. Set those side by side on your reporting dashboard to closely monitor your investment in obtaining a new customer along with the long-term ROI. 

Visits and CR

Website traffic is appealing, yet only meaningful if you experience a steady rise in the Conversion Rate. The effectiveness of your brand’s online experience is reflected in conversions, which is directly impacted by messaging, usability, visual appeal, and triggers, all which must be compelling and actionable.

Continue reading “Performance Metrics in Digital Terms”

forward-digital-design

 

A well-architected, high functioning application framework is the foundation for an effective website. Once the right platform is in place, set your design strategy based on the business objectives (i.e., revenue, net profits, market penetration, new opportunities, incremental sales etc.) and digital objectives (i.e., ecommerce, subscribers, macro and micro conversions, traffic, referrals, brand engagement etc.)

There are several design options, most especially for mobile, including adaptive, responsive, fluid, parallax, dynamic and more.

Site designers must be tactical in the following:

  • How scripts will run
  • Optimizing & minimizing images
  • SEO, meta, and schema
  • Caching
  • Proper CSS and code configuration
  • Crawlability and indexability

Continue reading “Digital In”Sites” for Design”

marketing-digital-projects

 

As with most aspects of business operations, marketing is evolving to align with shifting customer interests. New methods are becoming today’s best practice. Novel and disruptive ideas are resulting in innovative campaign concepts.

Following conventional paths will no longer yield the expected ROI nor build brand equity with the target audience. The adoption of digital tools and technologies is key to the advancement of performance. 

Here are critical steps to help you and your team perform projects that will have impact with customers and the bottom line.

Continue reading “Marketing Projects – Achieve Execution Excellence in 10 Steps”