It would be too easy to start this blog post with phrases like “cost of living crisis”, “industrial action”, and “supply chain crisis”, but here at Frooition, we are great believers in a little bit of optimism going a long way. This is especially true if that optimism is backed-up with a bit of extra focus and a lot of hard work.
While many eCommerce businesses are facing challenges in the current economy, now is not the time to sit on your hands and let circumstances weigh you down.
Our motto in 2023 is definitely going to be “optimise everything”, – so let’s bring it on.
Optimising everything starts with a good list. Every eCommerce business owner I know has a “to-do” list of things they know they should implement but never get around to ticking off. That list typically includes items like:
- Optimise Your Marketplace Sales: Building consumer trust is essential when money is tight. However, on highly competitive online marketplaces like eBay, that level of trust is hard-won in an environment retailers have very little control. Branding is one area Frooition can help retailers really stand out from the competition. But we also have the tools available to help optimise every other aspect of your eBay listings to help them stand out in a crowded market. Your eBay listing optimisation journey starts with a free automated report highlighting the areas that require immediate attention. Then, when your marketplace listings are optimised and working harder for you, it’s time to start looking towards your own eCommerce channels.
- Build a Better eCommerce Site: Retailers understand that they will never be in complete control of their businesses if they are 100% reliant on online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon for their income. However, despite online marketplace sales squeezing margins, when they generate so many orders, it’s difficult to focus on alternative channels. The problem with not ticking an eCommerce site off your list is that so many other items rely on a good online store to implement. As a preferred BigCommerce design partner, Frooition will not only help you build a bespoke, robust and scalable store. Our in-house team of BigCommerce designers and developers can offer you expert advice and introduce you to our network of approved technology partners. This network of eCommerce professionals will help you optimise your business further, helping your eCommerce site work smarter and harder for you. When you build a solid foundation with your eCommerce site, it becomes so much easier to start ticking those extra items off your “to-do” list. This includes those items you might have placed on the back burner for several years.
- Invest in email marketing: Email marketing might be “old school”, but it still really works. With virtually no upfront costs, your initial investment in email marketing will be made more in time and effort rather than cash. eCommerce businesses that don’t invest in email marketing risk paying over the top to acquire new business via paid search and not win more affordable repeat business. For retailers still exclusively selling on eBay, there are still opportunities to engage with email. For example, eBay Buyer Groups enable sellers to target existing buyers and followers with email campaigns and coupons (although they will still pay the same high acquisition rates with every sale).
- Start blogging: Blogging is an essential SEO strategy and can help position retailers as expert sellers or thought leaders in their particular niche. Despite this, very few retailers are any good at it. Instead, many will throw their money at “black box” SEO strategies supplied by agencies that will never reveal their secrets. Hint: If an SEO agency approaches you and doesn’t discuss creating new content – walk away. Unlike paid search campaigns which stop the moment the money dries up, a good blog post will continue to work for you for weeks, months, and potentially years to come. Therefore, if you can write a good blog post for the cost of a handful of clicks on a paid search campaign, that investment will be returned for the lifetime that the blog post remains useful and engaging. Good blog posts are also essential elements of any social media campaigns you might be running.
- “Get” social media: Social media isn’t some new, newfangled technology. Facebook, for example, has been around for about 18 years. Even TikTok, approaching its seventh birthday, can hardly be described as the latest thing. If you’ve not taken the time to “get” social media – this is a choice you have made, and it’s not doing your business any good. Social media has the ability to build a community around your brand like no other technology. While some businesses will benefit more than others from investing in social media, there’s not a business out there that doesn’t have an audience on social media. I advise you “get” social media now before your more engaged competitors “get” you.
- Outsource inefficient logistic practices: Your warehouse operation is probably the most inefficient aspect of your business. Depending on the time of year, it will either be too big or too small, and then there’s the problem of staffing it. Then there’s the challenge of finding the right logistics partners. If you’ve been stung by poor service or industrial action over the festive period, you’ll understand two things. 1. You don’t make money stuffing envelopes. 2. A bad customer experience will quickly destroy any profit and goodwill you have in a sale. With this in mind, it might be time to test third-party logistic services from the likes of Fulfilment by Amazon, Orange Connex and Huboo. Don’t think of outsourcing your logistics as losing control. Instead, think of it as an opportunity to focus on what you are good at (buying and selling products) while a logistics expert handles everything else.
- Create more opportunities to buy: This isn’t just about positioning your products on as many marketplaces, social networks, and other eCommerce venues as possible (although that will help). It’s about improving the customer experience by providing multiple ways to pay and offering flexible shipping options. Services like Klarna and PayPal offer options for consumers to spread the cost of their purchases over three payments which is incredibly useful for those large ticket purchases. Many retailers are also looking at subscription models to build customer lifetime value. While subscription services have been popular in many different verticals (books, music, magazines, wine, etc.) for many years, the market has seen many more niche operators entering the field in recent years (pasta, pet food, and even toilet rolls).
Make your “to-do” list work for you
A list can be a pretty intimidating thing, particularly when it just gets longer and longer. To make your “to-do” list work for you, you need to find the time to start working through things, so prioritise actions based on your immediate objectives.
As a self-confessed procrastinator, I can tell you that worrying about doing things always takes longer than actually doing them. So pick up your list and start ticking things off.
Some items will never be make it off your list. This is particularly true when new items take precedence over exisiting items. Be bold and remove items from your list that you know will never be completed. They’ll just add to your stress levels.
If you struggle to prioritise items on your “to-do” list, it may be worth speaking to someone who can offer an outside perspective.
The eCommerce experts at Frooition have more than 16 years of experience helping online retailers work through their “to-do” lists and optimise their eCommerce businesses. So why not book a free 15-minute discovery call and learn how we can help you start ticking more items off in 2023?