They Have the Right Tools to Help You Scale Faster
An e-commerce expert is an individual or entity with expertise in using the tools that make the online world work for businesses. Ecommerce technology is as diverse as the online world, with an array of services and software that help a business penetrate the online market coherently, with a targeted approach designed to maximize market share and profit, with a minimum of wasted resources.
That all translates into understanding the online marketplace and what makes it tick, the use of apps and other online ecosystems, and also knowing how to avoid common pitfalls that can drain not only profits but resources as well. Many of those lessons are learned at the level of large or even enterprise companies. But that doesn’t mean you can’t tap into those experiences to your benefit.
Ecommerce expertise requires deep networking to understand all the aspects of ecommerce technology. And that usually means having specific knowledge and working experience with different software applications that touch on marketing, advertising, growth, customer management, and retention. But it also requires having the ability to assess and improve the non-technology aspect of the business (think pricing, promotions, and other traditional retail platform metrics).
Specific Tools of the E-commerce Expert
The complete sphere of an ecommerce specialist’s responsibility and expertise include all the software touchpoints that are the tools of ecommerce technology. While that can mean almost any software used internally to bolster your business’s ecommerce efforts, here are some specific examples:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software
- Velocity tracking
- Inventory syncing and management
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) software
- Customer Service Operations (CSO)
- Customer Value Optimization (CVO)
- Dynamic audiences and segmenting grouping
- Digital fingerprinting
- B2B brands and development
- Social media marketing
- Social media management
- Networking with industry experts and ecommerce influencers
Apps and More Tools
The explosion of ‘app-based’ platforms for interacting with businesses online has also created another niche or subgroup in the world of ecommerce. While app ecosystems may be considered a subcategory of ecommerce technology, most of these systems need to also work seamlessly with and alongside the suite of software systems that are part of any online business.
Any lack of integration can become a significant issue, as a lack of synchronization can lead to missed opportunities, fewer conversions, wasted resources, and less profit. However, when these systems function well together, they can become the backbone of a sustainable ecommerce business. When they are fine-tuned with thorough analysis by an e-commerce expert, the potential growth can be unprecedented.
For example, a small florist in a suburban setting might have a very successful brick-and-mortar operation. But, their market share is limited to people who see their advertising or live nearby. They can see tremendous growth by successfully utilizing their online presence first to attract customers and then retain them.
Creating a Complete Ecosystem
Ecommerce has grown in complexity as all of these various software systems, marketing tools, and apps have been proven effective. Those who have taken advantage of this information have seen their businesses boom. Whether you’re a new business owner or running an established business, knowing how to integrate these channels and take full advantage of the information they provide is where an ecommerce expert can prove their value and help your business take advantage – and that means gaining a bigger slice of the growing pie.
But that’s not as easy as it sounds. If you’re running a business and working knee-deep in its day-to-day operations, your availability is limited. You don’t have time to monitor marketplace swings, competing websites and ecommerce platforms, online marketing reports from your software tools, your internet and offline payment gateways, CRM, inventory and logistics management systems, and the ongoing editorial design of your content marketing.
When you fold all that work into the day-to-day work of running a business, it becomes overwhelming and a near impossibility. So, to tap into the unprecedented growth in the market, an ecommerce specialist will help manage the workload by offering marketing and customer retention strategies integrated with your business and its back office. That can not only accelerate growth but maintain it and also expand on your success without creating undue burdens.
Real-World Examples and Ideas
To return to our example of the florist, imagine the possibilities of a truly cohesive ecosystem. Sure, a business with an online footprint can attract out-of-town customers. But imagine using your CRM to send an email one week before the anniversary of a customer’s previous order: ‘Dear customer, last year you ordered a bouquet for Valentine’s Day. Take advantage of our special coupon to send an even prettier one this year!’
That’s an elementary example, but utilizing informed and effective strategies can turn a struggling business into one that thrives in the modern marketplace. It’s about attention to detail and using technology that can help that detail make a difference in a customer’s life. That same CRM software could also automatically ask customers how satisfied they were with their purchase, create a calendar for upcoming purchases, and help prepare your inventory to meet demand. When it’s integrated with other software and a robust and targeted digital marketing and social media presence, a relatively small business can streamline inventory and purchasing, manage its shipping logistics and timeframes, and take advantage of marketing strategies that can lead to explosive growth. Sometimes, that might even mean pivoting from something that hasn’t worked to a new campaign.
And the best part is that it often takes very little time or human involvement at the analysis end. That’s because the software does the work. You’ll have to monitor industry trends, make tweaks to increase your conversion rate, and maintain a current and sales-oriented presence on social media, but all the work will pay off when you see increased traffic and product sales. It will still be up to you to set the overall vision as the leader of your business, but you’ll be equipped to do so. Overlaying a simple app that is easily accessible and familiar for your customers can be a catalyst that accelerates growth even more. A savvy business owner with an expert ecommerce consultant or advisor can also integrate all of these online systems with their existing back office for a truly seamless flow.
Back Office Integration
To truly hack into the unprecedented growth potential of the ecommerce world, an e-commerce expert can provide a comprehensive strategy that does a lot more than just enhance the looks of your retail platform or send you automated emails about industry trends. Instead, consider that a comprehensive strategy driven by expert advice can fundamentally transform your business. General SEO strategies and even targeted digital marketing are almost useless without corresponding savvy in the supporting systems that help you run your business.
Accounting, human resources, bookkeeping, logistics, and even some aspects of client retention are part of the back office of any successful business. They can’t sit idle when the front office swings into high gear. Instead, their support functions are essential as part of a practical ecommerce solution. Increasingly, companies with expertise in ecommerce accounting are using their skills to find solutions for businesses and seeing tremendous growth as the value of their financial tools becomes more evident.
That means that they’re overlaid and consistent with the framework laid out for your business. Consider that without that sort of integration, scaling up to meet the needs of your business becomes impossible.
Back-Office to Reality
Let’s consider our florist again. They’re successfully embracing their digital marketing campaign, and they’ve pivoted away from Facebook marketing. They’ve stepped up their email marketing skills and responded to customer experiences to deliver what their customers need. All that work has translated to a substantial increase in their conversion rate.
If their back-office can’t meet the needs of the growing business or they become mired in complicated bookkeeping or tax documents, all that work is for naught. Even the most loyal customer won’t come back if there isn’t a prompt response to their order, their package is delayed without notice, and their inquiries to customer service aren’t answered.
They Know How to Get More Traffic
A skilled e-commerce expert has the tools of the trade at their fingertips. That means they’re aware of how to run a targeted SEO campaign with specific content strategies such as using keyword clustering. They also understand how to integrate email marketing and social media ad campaigns with web design, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising, and the various types of Google ad campaigns currently on offer.
As you might imagine, maintaining that level of integration between different marketing efforts requires careful management and oversight. Without intelligent coordination, even a healthy business with a massive advertising budget could miss out on changing trends and spend their dollars wastefully.
Expert insights into customer behavior mean awareness, interest, evaluation, and understanding how users interact with all your content. That means knowing which tweets were retweeted, which posts got the most likes, and how many visitors read to the end of a blog post.
Specific Tools to Get More Traffic
While different campaigns require a bit of focused expertise, any e-commerce expert should have a diverse understanding of how everything fits together. While there is considerable crossover in the various aspects of SEO, understanding the nuances of particular systems might require more than one strategy. So, it’s essential that a business retains awareness and maintains the flexibility to adapt to what works and shed what doesn’t.
That might mean realizing that their Facebook ad campaign has only gotten a few repeat customers for our florist. In contrast, their PPC campaign on Google has brought in dozens of new customers and expanded market penetration. That might see them revise their strategy, pivoting away from Facebook advertising, refocusing on PPC ads, and expanding their CRM efforts to retain new clients.
An ecommerce specialist guides an ecommerce strategy through a keen awareness of digital trends, ecommerce influence, and how your unique business interacts with and appears on each popular search engine results page. It also requires them to have chops in social media management (including Facebook marketing), utilizing digital marketing services, recognizing and optimizing email marketing funnels, as well as customer service operations and customer value optimization (CVO). A failure to do so won’t just limit their career growth. It will potentially be disastrous for your business and their ecommerce career.
They Are Able to Convert Visitors Into Buyers
Getting a unique visitor to land on your page is just the beginning of a battle. Even with the splashiest design and the best range of products, visitors might click away and end up doing business with direct competitors. That’s because internet shoppers and online consumers are becoming ever savvier.
Any digital marketing consultant worth their invoice will also understand that failure isn’t an option. With complex marketing challenges and finite ecommerce resources, your ecommerce strategy has to overcome hurdles and remain flexible. That’s the path to conversion optimization. Having an expert and micro-focused understanding of user experiences can help you realize what actually leads to a successful conversion (a sale), and that’s where an e-commerce expert’s eye for details comes in.
At a deeper and more granular level, that means identifying, studying, and understanding customer behaviors. By studying and analyzing their interaction with each search engine relative to your business, their flow through your page, the funnels you’ve created, and all the various analytics at your disposal, you can see increased follow through to filling a cart or completing an order. Performing this analysis of important ecommerce metrics allows you, as a business owner and leader, to boost your existing traffic generation efforts, increase Return On Advertising Spend (ROAS), and create lasting leverage with massive potential for improving the profitability of direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels.
They Understand What Works Best for Each Individual Business
An ecommerce specialist understands that a cookie-cutter approach to content marketing is a recipe for failure. An effective ecommerce strategy has to be built on an honest assessment of the maturity of your business’s functions. It should highlight specific and tiered steps to grow your ecommerce performance to the next level. Their advice should offer a customized plan and a comprehensive design from scratch following your company’s unique profile.
But an e-commerce expert needs to be informed by a wide range of industry experience serving various clients. Taking some ecommerce courses and the ability to create an effective e-commerce job post does not an e-commerce expert make. It’s too difficult to spot the best trends, such as the potential usage of social commerce, when you aren’t working with multiple businesses. Even the best theoretical education can’t deliver the real-world and practical solutions needed to make sure that your business can quickly adapt as needed to meet changing demands in the hyper-competitive world of ecommerce.
Your business needs a plan of action specific to your particular competitive context, not a boilerplate approach. Social media marketing, networking with ecommerce influencers, the use of effective digital marketing services and a deep understanding of consumer brands through market research and analysis are required for an ecommerce expert. A successful ecommerce career can start with an education, but career growth requires a track record of results.
They Will be Honest With You About Their Results
An ecommerce specialist’s job requires them to set big targets. But they have to be realistic and upfront about the course they’re charting as your ecommerce strategy. The devil is in the details when it comes to time, money spent, increased opportunities, and goals along the way to building an impressive company.
To accomplish the significant gains you desire, an ecommerce specialist’s first job is to help you realize that you’re not making a one-time investment for a quick return. Instead, you’re developing a comprehensive and adaptive ecommerce strategy that encompasses all the aspects of your business. Sometimes, that strategy may be headwinds that force you to confront the realities of your team’s execution.
So, true ecommerce professionals aren’t offering a simple upgrade to your product sales page or a new editorial design for your blog posts. Their job goes much deeper and demands that they interpret performance to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your ecommerce capability. Without this level of attention to detail, clients can’t trust their DTC efforts. Your ecommerce specialist must offer a design from scratch following your values and with your specific goals in mind. But they also need to follow through by routinely evaluating and adjusting your ecommerce strategy to adapt to reality.
You Might Need More Money Than You Thought to Grow Your Online Store
It’s a fact that the ecommerce industry is highly competitive. It’s also true that the cost of learning lessons and catching up to the competition can be high. So, it is also pretty likely that building an impressive company may require losing money on DTC initially to maximize profits through product sales. For brands just starting out, that’s especially true. Consider that it’s not unheard of for Amazon, a goliath in the ecommerce world, to lose $2 billion in a single fiscal quarter, and that’s with their advantages in advanced digital marketing strategy and a leading position in the ecommerce industry.
The speed of turning that return on investment curve to the profitable side of the ledger will depend on getting solid business advice from an ecommerce expert. Their ecommerce advice can guide the strategic decisions and performance of your team. For instance, perhaps the answer for profitability is to divest from expensive real estate and focus on more content marketing, influencer marketing, and expanding your customer service operations through a BPO firm specializing in call center operations. The sometimes-scary reality is that it’s unlikely a fledgling business will have as much capital as they need to develop their in-house capability to its full potential. That’s why it’s imperative that instead of acting impulsively, your business leadership is informed by an ecommerce expert. They will often be the best tool in your toolbelt to figure out a workable strategy to achieve profitability.
The sequencing of spending has to come not only at the right time but in the right amounts and in the correct order to build your ecommerce platform’s performance into a model with the potential for sustainable success. Don’t put your head in the sand and miss opportunities. The most famous example of failure to adapt to the world of ecommerce is Blockbuster Video. Their failure to transition to a digital model largely led to their Bankruptcy in 2010, as their entire market share was supplanted by Netflix. Failory found that “E-commerce business has a failure rate of about 80% failure rate.” The status quo for ecommerce businesses is sadly marked by failed launches, retreats into old business models, and failure to heed the advice of an ecommerce specialist. Effectively utilizing an ecommerce expert can help you take the initiative and take your direct to consumers strategies to the next level.
The Most Important Thing is That They Care About Helping Other Businesses Succeed!
An ecommerce expert’s motivation has to be in line with making your business succeed. It’s not adequate for someone to offer advice about improving product descriptions on your website and then disappearing when the traffic doesn’t increase. So, just like with any business venture, make sure that you’re doing your research into the person as much as the product they sell.
A successful ecommerce expert is a jack of many trades, and that saves you from having to become a master of any of them! So look for an ecommerce specialist who is an expert in marketing. They also need to understand, be able to explain, and design a program that is comprehensive and cohesive, including:
- Influencer marketing
- Content marketing
- Social media management
- Search ads
- Online business strategy
- Ecommerce influencers
- Social media marketing
- Digital marketing strategy
- Customer value optimization
- How to create an effective e-commerce job post
- Digital trends