Ecommerce Strategy

Banks, restaurants, and retailers of all kinds plan to sell you everything from your next meal to your next mortgage, all from the comfort of your cell phone now. The future of eCommerce is heading in the direction of mobile commerce. Ebay did $25M in mCommerce in 2008 and the volume increased to $3B in 2011. While consumers took 10 years to get comfortable putting a credit card on the computer to make purchases, the transformation to mCommerce is almost instantaneous.

A good eCommerce strategy includes understanding the market trends and basing plans for future technological shifts. There is going to be an increasing blurring of the lines that separate physical retail, eCommerce and mCommerce. And, consumers will prefer to deal with those who are accessible via any medium. B2B eCommerce has to take into consideration these factors and blend online access to products, ease of placing orders, access to customer support, and transparency of pricing.

An example of the commitment some companies are making to their eCommerce strategy is demonstrated below. This is a real example of a large shoe manufacturer that sold $50M in 2010 online. They put a leadership team in place to define and outline the strategic direction of the company’s eCommerce activities and although their brands had made advances with increased awareness, their online sales growth had not been commensurate with their brand and advertising and marketing expenses. So they believed there was considerable untapped potential for them using the internet channel of distribution.

After spending a lot of time and effort on the strategic plan, they decided to grow their online business 10X (yes 10 times) in 5 years. Here are the highlights of their strategic priorities:

  • Establish eCommerce as the third sales pillar (after retail and wholesale)
  • Balance Wholesale and eCommerce activities by implementing a new distribution policy
  • Create one consumer destination by integrating brand, shop and customization sites
  • Build a best-in-class technology platform
  • Drive attraction, conversion and retention by building enhanced eMarketing capabilities
  • Optimize the visibility of the site and how it ranks on search engines
  • Simplify and improve functionality of the eCommerce platform to create best-in-class shopping experience for users
  • And, finally, to retain consumers strive to create targeted communications as a deeper knowledge is gained through improved CRM systems

It is apparent that with such initiatives, a goal of increasing sales by a multiple of 10 in 5 years can be achieved. Plans for growth-rates of 1000% within 5 years were not possible for any company until this new digital age of eCommerce, but with the right eCommerce strategy, it is certainly possible.