I recently presented at a webinar sponsored by Yahoo! Small Business about “4 Cutting-edge Ecommerce Strategies for 2013” and I wanted to share it with my readers here. I think it is important for all small businesses interested in ecommerce to think seriously about the areas to address in the coming year. It is a good time to take stock of your current strategies and define your future course.
There are a whole array of trends and developments in ecommerce and it is possible to feel overwhelmed about where to spend your budget and energy. In the webinar, which I co-presented with Dale Traxler, we focused on current key concerns such as niche marketing, integrated marketing, multiple sales channels and the way ecommerce has to work with smartphones and tablets.
My specific focus was on niche marketing and integrated marketing. Why do I think these are important issues? I find that sometimes in searching for complex ecommerce strategies, businesses forget to explore the obvious. To have a large market and to not explore segmentation is leaving money on the table. For example, a website that offers party decorations has to consider sub-categories such as a birthday party site or an eco-friendly party decoration site. It is a great way of opening up multiple channels of reaching your customers. It is a smart business move in that you use your existing inventory and making it easily accessible to different customer bases. Niche sites work well for search engine optimization and Ad word placement as well. All this can translate to increased profits.
I feel similarly about integrated marketing as well. It seems to me that to expend a lot of unfocused marketing energy across the board is counter-intuitive when all of ecommerce is about targeted customer interaction and increased efficiency. It seems like stating the obvious, but a very high number of ecommerce enterprises still work in compartmentalized departments with little coordination between manufacturing, warehouse, sales and marketing. Additionally, if marketing is outsourced there is little correlation between print advertisement and online promotions. The end result is that the brand does not have a consistent voice or message. The business does not get the most out of its marketing efforts.
In a sense integrated marketing and niche sites are two sides of the same coin. Keep your internal channels of communication between departments open to ensure collaboration. Keep multiple external channels of communication open to make sure that you are available to all potential customers however they may seek you!
Let me also add that in setting out ecommerce strategies, it is important to define your goals. It is a good idea to plot a course and it is critical to track your performance at every stage. The famous concept of ROI – Return on Investment – is all about making sure that your strategies are worth the time, effort and money you spend. I believe that niche sites and integrated marketing are both strategies that will provide dramatic results to justify your expenses.
By: Shirley Tan