How To Be E-commerce Ready in H2 2020

By Debra Mundell, Commtractor, Digital, eCommerce & Social Media Marketer. She has both brand and agency international experience, having worked in Australia, UK and Europe. Expertise in digital media marketing channels in various business sectors from Travel, Beauty, Retail, Finance, Fashion and Technology.

The year of the word ‘unprecedented’ – 2020. For so many of us, it’ll go down as being regarded as a challenging year.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. As much as being in an enforced isolation seemed like a complete nightmare – it actually gave people time to stop and think about what’s important. Human contact. Hugs. Being outside enjoying sunshine and fresh air. Exercise. Wants vs. Needs. Community.

There have been other positives such as the impact on our environment – a reduction in air pollution as a result of fewer planes in the air, little to no manufacturing, and less traffic on the roads. Fish returning to the Venice canals during the strict lockdown in Italy was a wonderful example of the pollution levels in that area dropping significantly.

Many Australian brands have shown incredible innovation to pivot their businesses providing new products and services so they could continue running and stay afloat during the catastrophic bushfires and then COVID-19.

One such example is the Sydney based Stagekings, a business who previously built stages for concerts and events. In March they were faced with the cancellation of all upcoming events, and, therefore, all of the work booked in for their staff. Quick thinking and inspiration instead led them to completely reinvent their business model, and since they’ve been producing home office furniture, with over 30 products now available to purchase through their site. Or, there’s been multiple examples of breweries and distilleries making hand sanitiser rather than beer or gin, and of course so many cafes and restaurants who quickly started offering free home delivery, new takeaway menus, pubs selling FMCG products and event companies rolling out ecommerce sites selling ready made meals delivered to your door.

For ecommerce brands the last three months have seen significant swings towards online spending by Australian consumers, and right now is the ideal time to plan how to achieve your own unprecedented success in the second half of 2020. Myer was one organisation who quickly experienced huge growth in their online sales during the COVID lockdown period, and it meant that they were able to rehire a proportion of staff they’d stood down to support online sales dispatch and delivery.

The below list includes a few recommendations for brands to consider when planning their ecommerce strategies in the next six months.

For your brand (over and above all of the below), think about this – what are the ecommerce opportunities at this very moment? How can your brand stand out from your competitors?

1) Is your website optimised? This is probably the most important thing to take an in-depth look at. Is the path to purchase for a user really easy, and quick for example. Further considerations are:

  • Do you have a long-term SEO strategy in place to consistently grow quality organic traffic to your site? If you don’t have someone in-house who has strong SEO knowledge, it could be an idea to bring in an agency or consultant who can help you plan this.
  • Is your site optimised for mobile first? This is a no-brainer.
  • Do you need to update any of your website copy to be more succinct or to better drive conversions?
  • How quickly does your site load? This is a big reason for why users bounce off sites. One idea is to check file sizes for images and videos on your site. These quite often are too big, and can slow total load time.
  • Is it easy to navigate around the site; to find products, how to log-in, important FAQs, details about current promotions, EDM subscription and first order offers, payment options available, online tools, and about your Loyalty program.
  • When it comes to product pages, have you included the most relevant information on the page, and are the most important product features and benefits at the top of the page?
  • Do the call to action buttons stand out and is the message compelling enough?
  • Do you accept all recognised payment methods including Afterpay and Paypal? If not, have a think about whether you may want to add different options to increase the opportunity to convert more often, and to increase your average basket size.
  • Consider doing some A/B testing to understand what your consumers prefer in terms of the user experience.

2) Measure your site analytics and third party data to gain a better understanding of your target customer. This data will be invaluable in so many ways, least of all to inform your upcoming marketing and ecommerce strategies.

3) If you haven’t already, finalise your H2 marketing strategy incorporating:

– Overall objectives, and goals per campaign/owned & paid channel/ecommerce

– Ecommerce trading calendar including all the promotions you’ll run each month, promo mechanisms, and supporting channels

– Budgets & revenue + profit targets

– Key messages to communicate

– Breakdown of owned vs. paid media channels and how they will each drive sales, ROI, awareness, quality traffic to site, budget breakdown, with a media plan including a calendar for when campaigns on the different channels will be going live, style of ads you’ll run on the different channels (e.g.- for example, will you use the funnel remarketing approach on Facebook and Instagram?).

– Content strategy; creative concept, pillars and messages to be communicated, formats, content per channel, who is producing the content, go live dates and which content will be amplified with paid media spend.

4) Is your Supply Chain team aware of the marketing and ecommerce targets and strategies for the next 6-12 months? Will all of your products be in stock when they need to be?

5) Similarly, is your Customer Care team also aware of their expectations to meet, do you have community management responses and crisis escalation procedures locked down and approved?

6) Has the team at your warehouse been made aware of the upcoming ecommerce promotions, and are they ready? For example, do they know about any gift with purchases, 2 for 1 offers, or 50% off sales which will drive huge daily orders that they need to prepare for delivery.

7) Does your brand have a CRM strategy incorporating EDMs to drive consistent, high quality and converting traffic to your site? This is most definitely worth launching, even if it’s in stages. These campaigns can include Welcome series EDMs for new database subscribers, abandoned cart emails, targeting database subscribers on social media, replenishment EDMs and adding elements of personalisation for your customers.

To conclude, find your ecommerce opportunity, finalise your strategies, ensure your site and internal teams are ready and start rolling everything out. Now is the time for ecommerce to shine, and to really start driving a much higher proportion of total brand sales.

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