In the second part of this BusinessMinded article, Markus R Sæther from ecommerce experts VikingWeb discusses the importance of integrating back-office systems, Google, continuously measuring and improving your webshop, and applying general sales principles to optimize your webshop to sell more.
Automate what can be automated
One advantage of webshops is that they are always open for business, no matter where in the world your potential customers are. The downside of this is that it can create an enormous workload, with many manual back-office processes you probably had not even thought about before you started selling online.
Additionally, to ensure you have full control over customers, stock and billing, you will probably need to regularly review data from several different business applications. This includes your CRM, email marketing, inventory, accounting or ERP system, and cross checking the records in these apps against sales records from your webshop.
Because you are the most valuable asset in your business, you need to be careful about prioritizing your time, staying focused on value creation and doing what you are best at, not time-consuming paperwork and administration.
The good news is that today, integration between your business critical software is much easier and more affordable with application integration platforms. These let you and your team to save days each month otherwise wasted on data entry and cross-checking records between your systems.
Measure, evaluate and adjust – continuously
If 1000 customers suddenly appeared at your checkout to buy your products, would you wonder why?
Successful ecommerce is largely about analysis. Here are a few tips that will help you optimize your webshop to sell more and increase revenue:
- Be detail oriented – little details can make a big difference on a webshop
- Focus on minimizing the cost of sale instead of just using up a set marketing budget regardless of the results
- Make use of the fantastic (free!) tools available for customer insights
- Base decisions on data rather than hunch and guesswork
There should be a law against starting a webshop without using Google Analytics!
Selling is selling
Use the lessons learned and success criteria from traditional sales channels to increase customer service and sales in your online store. Strive to make all your customers shopping experience satisfying, regardless of the channel.
Give your customers the information they need in terms of good content and good advice, focus on cross-selling and up-selling, maintaining dialogue across social media and follow up your customers after their purchase is completed.
There is a lot you can do to reinforce the customer’s perception that there are people working for your online store. There’s also many excellent software tools that can help you, here are a few I recommend:
Learn to love Google
Many of you will be familiar with the four P’s of basic marketing theory (Product, Price, Promotion & Place). Let’s focus briefly on one of these – Place.
As a webshop, your ‘Place’ is the Internet. And you’re in good company, sharing it with 985,776,400 other sites. So how will your customers find their way to your specific webshop? Using Norway as an example, Google generates almost 50% of all traffic to online stores, and it is probably higher in many countries. Clearly, putting a bit of time into understanding Google and search engine marketing makes sense, as the visibility and searchability of your online store will have a major impact on your sales.
If you choose to use an SEO or online marketing agency, bear in mind that this is an industry where the ROI they deliver is tied to their knowledge of your specific business and that the suppliers in this industry differ significantly in quality. Make sure you check references of potential suppliers and get a detailed description of the work they will perform before you enter into an agreement.
The need for speed
Based on experience, I have found that small businesses don’t think investing in server capacity is particularly sexy, and therefore it is often ignored. Yet a number of surveys show that the speed of an online store is directly related to its conversion rate and the overall customer experience, which suddenly sounds much sexier and worth investing in! So, if you want to optimize your webshop to sell more, ensure it has a powerful engine.
Remember, like many things in life, doing ecommerce well requires hard work and commitment, but the rewards can be huge.
Markus R Sæther is the Sales & Marketing Manager of VikingWeb, an Oslo based IT company with a total of 28 highly dedicated employees specializing in ecommerce solutions. VikingWeb AS was founded in 2011 and is today one of the leading suppliers of Magento solutions in Norway. Read more on their website or follow them on Facebook.