eCommerce is the ability to conduct business electronically. Due to the popularity of the internet and the use of laptops and smartphones, many businesses have embraced the concept of eCommerce. The first thing that comes to mind when you think of an eCommerce strategy is a well-designed website.
However, it’s more than web design and involves optimizing your site, Google AdWords campaigns, and affiliate marketing, just to mention a few. The best eCommerce strategy should be based on specific productive steps. Here’s a look at the main stages involved in creating an eCommerce strategy.
Compose An Executive Summary
The first crucial step in creating an eCommerce strategy is to have an executive summary. The summary is an overview of all the sections in your strategy. It gives you, your employees, your advisors, and your investors a blueprint of your strategy.
Define Your Goals And Objectives
This is where you clearly state your marketing activities for the upcoming year. Goals might include creating a market, expanding your product distribution, or launching a new product. When defining your objectives, use real numbers to show how you intend to achieve the goal.
For example, if you intend to grow your revenue by 25% each quarter, your objective might be to gain at least 300 new customers per month. Make sure your goals and objectives are realistic.
Create A Mission Statement And Value Proposition
The mission statement and value proposition should include your vision, history, resources and competencies. In the vision section, talk about why you’re in business and your general philosophy. In the history section, talk about when, where, and why you came into the business.
Finally, in the resources and competencies section, discuss your proficiencies and why you’re better than others in the same field.
Target The Right Customers And Markets
Here’s where you talk about your target customers and customer groups. Be specific about your customers. For example, include customer demographics like age, gender, income, family status, and so on. The target customer section should also have psychographic profile information like hobbies, lifestyle, movies, and books.
In the target market section, try to determine what problem your product solves, how the product is used, and why and who should use your products. Also, talk about the purchasing process. Here, you should include details about what influences the purchase, the sources of information sought by customers before they purchase, and the timeline for their purchase.
Finally, discuss market size estimates. Determine the largest possible market that could be achieved if everyone bought. Talk about your past sales and how much growth you think you can achieve in the next quarter, year, or five years.
Conduct A Situational Analysis
This part of the strategy helps you get an overview of the current circumstances in the market when your plan is presented. It looks at different levels of your business, your current market, where you stand, and your competitors’ performance. This analysis helps you determine what’s working and what’s not.
If you’re a newbie, this enables you to understand the market you’re getting into. You should analyze things like products, distributor networks, competition analysis, and current financial conditions. You should also consider external forces such as economic, political, legal, technological, and demographic factors.
Develop A Pricing And Positioning Strategy
In this part of the marketing strategy, you should cover the positioning you desire within your industry. You should also detail how pricing will support it. You should use information gathered in your situational analysis to adjust pricing by distribution channel, geographic region, competitor positioning, and other relevant variables.
Another important consideration in your marketing strategy is PCI compliance. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard or PCI DSS. This standard was established to promote the improvement of controls and processes that protect cardholder data. Any business that processes, stores, and transmits data on a credit or debit card should comply with PCI DSS.
eCommerce sites that accept credit cards on their sites should assess their compliance on an annual basis. However, the level of assessment will vary based on the volume of your transactions. Businesses with lower transactions can assess their compliance internally.
To demonstrate compliance, big enterprises are required to perform an on-site audit by an internal security assessor or a qualified security assessor. After excelling in the audit, the assessor will file a Report on Compliance with your bank.
If you’re a mid-sized or small enterprise, you may be able to avoid the audit and complete a self-assessment questionnaire, also known as an SAQ. You should then file an Attestation of Compliance or AOC.
PCI compliance is a continuous process. Therefore, you need to stay updated with changes and adjust your security policy and controls according to the latest amendments.
While this isn’t a conclusive list of what should be in your eCommerce strategy, these are some of the basic points you should never leave out. A rule of thumb is to identify your vision and determine ways to make it successful.
Your marketing strategy should factor in the current market trends, your audience, and what your competition is doing. For your online business to thrive, you should have a well-thought-out eCommerce strategy.
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