5 Steps to Position eCommerce for Long-term Sustainability
The pandemic shook the foundation of commerce for businesses operating solely out of physical locations. Many companies found the only way to survive was to make a rapid and dramatic shift to eCommerce to survive lockdowns and decreased or non-existent foot traffic. For many, the expedited transition toward online selling had unexpected side effects: the shift not only made survival possible but helped build sustainability for lasting growth in a newly configured and constantly shifting business landscape.
Building your eCommerce strategy
If you hastily opened eCommerce selling channels to make it through the pandemic, but have yet to commit to a robust eCommerce strategy, now is a perfect time to solidify your approach. The following steps can help you strengthen your position for long-term sustainability.
Situational analysis of your company
Before you can successfully establish your company in the eCommerce space, you need to ask the following questions:
- How are we positioning our products and/or services?
- What is our company’s current pricing model?
- What is our distribution process and which channels are we using?
- What is our company’s present financial status?
- What are our competitors doing?
- How might economic and regulatory impacts affect our industry?
Understanding your company’s current position can help you determine where eCommerce fits into your plans for the future.
Informed eCommerce platform selection
You’ll need a solid platform on which to build your eCommerce site. Your customers will expect a seamless shopping experience, including easy site navigation, a complete, searchable product catalog, and trusted, secure payment options. A platform like Magento or Shopify is specifically designed for eCommerce, and is fully customizable, allowing you to bring your brand to life online.
Promotion and conversion strategy
Decide how you’ll promote your online store. Branching into eCommerce can be facilitated by robust digital marketing support, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing (SMM) and paid ads on both search engines and social platforms. Analyzing data from your existing customer base can help you find similar audiences online and develop a targeting strategy to drive traffic to your eCommerce site. From there, you can create nurturing campaigns leveraging mobile marketing and email to improve conversion rates and increase order spend.
Shipping and fulfillment choices
If you are selling physical products, you’ll need to decide how to get them to their destination quickly and with cost efficiency. If you have multiple locations, with inventory stored on-site, you’ll need to be able to quickly locate the product and have it shipped as soon as possible, which can entail extra work and space requirements. If you have your own warehouse, you may be able to set up arrangements with a logistics company to get orders out promptly. If your expansion into the eCommerce space means increasing inventory, you may choose to work with a fulfillment center that can store, pick, and ship your goods from a centralized location.
Consolidation of data and information
Finally, you will need a way to accurately track all processes across your physical and online shops, manage inventory, track shipments, and handle customer service without delays or confusion. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can be accomplished by a software system that helps you manage and automate business processes. You can connect your ERP and your eCommerce site with a solution like Pixafy’s erpCommerce™, which seamlessly integrates front- and back-end systems across your entire company, so anyone in your organization can verify inventory or check the status of an order in real time.
Making the shift to eCommerce could be the best move you’ll ever make to ensure the long-term sustainability of your company. Contact us to learn more about Pixafy’s eCommerce solutions today.