Breakout from Lockdown - Part 4 of 4

Breakout from lockdown
Mark Ballett is an ecommerce expert with more than 25 years’ experience helping retailers to grow and evolve. He was Supply Director of Cable & Wireless, and CEO of several telecoms companies at the beginning of the internet era, played a leading role in an £80M broadband start up, as well as leading Norweb Telecom's growth from £10M to £100m turnover.

Ecommerce has just become a war zone and only the fittest will survive.
 
The last of a four-part series of articles on how to rebuild your online sales after Lockdown.
 
Part 4: Is Your Online Store Still Good Enough?
 
In my last article, I encouraged you to pay more attention to what makes you different, because that is what drives sales. I also said that this is always a mix of things: rarely is there a standout USP that swings the deal. Of course, other aspects of your marketing mix, like pricing, need to be competitive too. This is especially true for your store's look and performance.

When potential customers arrive at your store they need to think four things:

1. Yes, this is what I was expecting from the promotion that got me here. Or, what I have experienced last time I came.
2. These guys know what they are doing. They are a credible supplier for this product or service.
3. There is interesting stuff here, so I'll take a look around.
4. The site is fast and super easy to use.

We call this Engagement. It is the second element of our Blueprint for Ecommerce that we apply to all our work.

To consistently get that response you need to do the following:
  • Consistency: Make sure you have your Market Position pinned down, so that all your customer communications say the same thing. Don't say something different on Adwords to what they find on your site. You might be surprised how many do.
  • Benchmark: Benchmark your site against the very best, both in your market and elsewhere, and make sure you match their site innovations. Copy them. They'll be copying you.
  • Credibility: Use blogs/articles, and testimonials, to evidence your credibility. Make it obvious you are experts. Provide your own reviews if you like.
  • Information: Provide lots of product information, so that the customer knows exactly what they are buying. This alone has allowed some to compete head-to-head with Amazon with similar products.
  • Ease of Use: Be super critical about your sales completion process. There are still lots of sites that make it hard, or confusing, to buy. Where is the Basket? You need to make it VERY easy to push the BUY button.
  • Invest in Hosting: Do not skimp on hosting. Not all hosting is the same, so don't get too hung up on cost alone.
  • Remove Barriers: Reduce the physical and emotional barriers to a sale. Make it easy and offer guarantees. For instance, we offer 100%, no quibble, money-back guarantees if you don't think we've delivered what we promised. 
Post Lockdown, you need to make sure that getting all this right gets more attention. The best stores are being changed all the time. Small incremental changes that add up to a big difference. Yes, at times, you'll need to move to a new platform, or a complete redesign too. Look at it as an investment, not a cost. Is your online store still good enough? If not, you need to act, now.

We hope you have found the Breakout From Lockdown series of some help. We'll be continuing with weekly articles on topics we think will be of interest, as the battle for market share begins in earnest, over the next twelve months.