6 Tips for a Successful eCommerce Implementation Plan
We have created this comprehensive guide to equip you to succeed at the different stages of eCommerce implementation.
The number of digital buyers worldwide is increasing every year, reaching over 2.14 billion global digital buyers in 2021. By 2025, it is anticipated that internet sales will account for 24.5% of retail sales worldwide. To get a piece of that cake, it is important for your business to implement an eCommerce user experience that reflects the needs of your buyers. So let’s discuss what you’ll need to know about eCommerce platform implementation.
We have created this guide to equip you to succeed at the different stages of eCommerce implementation.
What is eCommerce implementation?
eCommerce implementation consists of all the steps related to the launch, update, and maintenance of an online store. eCommerce allows businesses to sell products from anywhere at any time, and it connects businesses to new customers who were previously unreachable due to distance and hours of operation. Furthermore, implementing eCommerce solutions enables the collection of better customer data and demographic information that can be used to increase the conversions of marketing and sales leads.
The rapid, global rise in eCommerce has led nearly every industry to implement it in some form in order to provide more modern, efficient customer experiences.
Objectives of Your eCommerce Implementation
Most often, the objectives of an eCommerce implementation is to meet the modern needs of your customers, share your products in meaningful ways, integrate smoothly with your existing systems, effectively and efficiently manage company resources, facilitate a strong return on investment (ROI), support future business growth, and implement an organizational change management process.
6 Steps in eCommerce Implementation
As previously mentioned, eCommerce implementation activities can include building new eCommerce sites, or upgrading and maintaining existing online stores. If you are refreshing your existing online commerce site, begin by evaluating your current sites and goals, and then proceed with the actionable steps to accomplish your objectives. If you are starting from scratch, it can be helpful to follow the complete set of steps detailed below.
Understanding your customers’ needs
The first and most important step of your eCommerce implementation is understanding your customers. The whole goal of your eCommerce strategy should be to make their lives easier. If the new, online processes are more frustrating than they are intuitive, then the entire strategy can backfire - both internally and externally. Ask yourself important questions like:
- What info is required to make an informed purchase?
- What type of shopping/checkout experience is best suited for your product? A standard shopping cart experience? Ordering portal? Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ)? Custom process?
- What do customers need in their login/self-service portal?
- How can we make everything easier and more intuitive for the customer than it is “the old way”?
Strategic Pre-Implementation Planning
The second step in eCommerce implementation is to create a clear roadmap with specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely objectives. This is the stage in which resources and constraints must be defined. Getting buy-in on the vision from all stakeholders is critical in this stage, and the mission and goals of the company will shape the proceeding actions.
The third step is to choose your actual eCommerce solution. The platform should be compatible with your existing systems, customizable to your current and future needs, scalable, and must create experiences appropriate for your business. Various technologies may offer different functionalities, like B2B vs. B2C, and it is important that the capabilities complement your industry, target audience, and business model.
The fourth step is to determine how you’ll make your eCommerce presence known. Are your core pages optimized for online SEO? What are the best keywords to include on your product pages? How can you entice existing customers to start purchasing online? Are there other online marketplaces your products should be on? What promotional strategies can you run to make noise about the new site?
Digital marketing is an important part of eCommerce implementation. There are many tools for reaching new and existing customers and drawing them to your site. Multi-channel approaches include search engine optimization, paid advertisements, social media marketing, email campaigns, referral programs, retargeting campaigns, and display advertisements.
Retention and loyalty building
The fifth step is customer retention. This is an important extension of the fourth step, where you’ll now be turning new and existing customers into fans.
Consider implementing loyalty programs like redeemable points, volume discounts, customer tiers, or free shipping incentives. You can also personalize customer experiences based on purchase history or website behavior, and enable automated cross-selling with features like related products. And don’t forget, the number one tool cited by marketers for customer retention remains email marketing - a critical component of the eCommerce experience. Build automated, personalized email campaigns based on customer behaviors to stay relevant, top-of-mind, and to continue offering additional value to your customers through tailored promotions.
Analysis and Optimization
The sixth step in eCommerce implementation is analysis and optimization, and this one is ongoing. The actions involved in optimizing your online store include analyzing key metrics that measure the cost of customer acquisition, % of customers converted, % of customers entering the site through different channels, % of revenue contributed by each profitable customer, the gross revenue generated, and more.
You’ll also want to collect and analyze all customer feedback, both quantifiable and anecdotal.
In this final step, it is important to return to your list of objectives as pertinent metrics may vary depending on your business goals. As needed, actions can be taken to refine and enhance your eCommerce solutions to better attain your defined goals.
Tips for Successful eCommerce Implementation
Choose a Strong eCommerce Partner
The right digital commerce provider can support your business in attaining all of your implementation goals. Make sure the platform you choose is capable of integrating processes between your website and your ERP, as automation and efficiency is a critical component to your overall ROI and internal adoption of your eCommerce strategy. The partner’s platform should be easy to manage, deliver robust capacity and capabilities, be compatible with your existing ERP, be complementary to your industry, come with reliable and long-term customer support, and more.
Attend to Product Content
When product content includes detailed descriptions and specifications, compelling images and videos, and pertinent supporting documents, it is more searchable and useful for online buyers. Using a PIM system to orchestrate your product data and content across all your selling channels enables you to ensure that your audience finds the accurate product or content they are searching for. In short, optimized content is attractive to both consumers and search engines.
The structure of the site is also important, and a well-designed site must be filled with quality products and enriched content to generate sales. According to a survey conducted among SEO professionals across the globe in 2021, on-page elements like meta titles and descriptions are most important, followed closely by deep and accurate content.
Take Action to Enhance Your Performance Metrics
Your online revenue is directly impacted by the number of sessions, conversion rate, and average order value (AOV). Increasing just one of these variables can lead to higher revenue, so it is important to make these performance metrics a priority for your business.
To drive increases in the number of interactions your customers have with your site, you need to develop a strong, organic SEO strategy. Your site needs to be optimized for mobile use, and your digital marketing campaigns should be powerful.
To increase the percentage of visits that end with an online purchase, you can leverage analytics tools to pinpoint where customers are dropping off the conversion funnel. Refining your website design, enhancing the content, and eliminating broken links can improve conversion rates.
To increase AOV, tactics such as up-sell and cross-sell strategies, promotional offers, and customer personalizations can be useful.
Avoid Common Mistakes
It is important to avoid the common mistakes that can lead some eCommerce implementations to fall short of their goals. Implementing an eCommerce website is a journey, not a one-time event. Jumping ahead in the process can lead to errors. Websites evolve and it is important to thoughtfully attend to each stage in the process. Communication gaps can hinder progress. It’s critical that your entire team understands your site so that it drives the business impact you desire. You must spend time to onboard staff and acquaint customers with any newly implemented or enhanced eCommerce solutions.
An Excellent Tool for Fast, Efficient eCommerce Implementation
Sometimes you just want to have a webstore that looks good and performs well. An excellent tool for fast, efficient eCommerce implementation is DynamicWeb Swift. DynamicWeb Swift delivers a ready-to-launch storefront with standard modern design templates that build on eCommerce best practices. The no/low code approach makes it possible to configure your storefront and reduce risk and development time. The user-friendly interface comes with compelling design templates that are easy to configure and fully customizable with complete access to code for developers.
More than 4,000 brands worldwide trust DynamicWeb with digital solutions. Our customers include leading brands like Lego Wear, Vredestein, Unilever, Winnebago, L’Oréal, Flying Tiger, Toyota, Europcar, and Skanska. Built on DynamicWeb, these customers are empowered to gain lifelong customer relations, increase revenue and grow their brands.
To see what successful eCommerce implementation can do for your business, contact DynamicWeb today!