Lots of things in life are shaped by the approach you take. There are times when it can be good to just go with the flow. But there are times when having a more defined plan of action is the best way to go.
With online business, some crucial things breed success. A major one is taking a proactive rather than a reactive approach.
Being reactive means you’re constantly playing catch up. You’re looking to make up ground, or stay in the pack, rather than leading it. If you’re reactive, keeping your online customers can be a battle, as you’re living in the hope they don’t favour a rival that is better positioned to meet their needs.
This is why being proactive is so beneficial, and a big part of taking a proactive approach is identifying business goals. All successful online businesses will proactively identify their key goals at some stage. Once these goals are clearly identified, forming solid, actionable plans on how best to reach them is achievable. And one of the best ways to solidify these plans for online businesses is through an ecommerce roadmap.
Companies with strong roadmaps will stand themselves in good stead to continue to deliver the sort of offerings that people will scoop up.
If you do not have a roadmap for success yet, the good news is they are easy enough to put together and start implementing across your business.
Our latest blog will give you the lowdown on what makes for a good ecommerce roadmap. We will look at what to include, how to approach it and how to turn your vision into a reality.
Building your basis
The content of your roadmap will naturally be dependent on what stage your business is at.
If you’re at an early stage, this is going to differ from a well-established business with thousands of current customers. But the important thing is to be realistic about where you are and where you want to be.
For businesses starting their ecommerce journey, there has to be thought put into the products sold, the sector and competitive playing field in which the business operates, the wider business ambitions and the brand’s journey. These may seem to be quite fundamental elements of any business, but forming a clear and concise business identity is the best way to then start taking positive steps forward.
If you are just about to embrace the world of ecommerce, or are considering doing so, then an online store build is a very important step to take. The success of this step can set you on a strong path to continue succeeding.
Any web build is an undertaking, but by focusing on a few specific elements, you can create a great online cornerstone for your business.
- Ecommerce platform
The ecommerce platform you choose is a decision of major importance. Be sure to consider carefully how each platform will align with your business, your budget and your overall growth aims.
- Digitising your brand
Every brand needs to have a strong sense of what they are all about. This can then be conveyed to potential customers across all digital touchpoints. Elements such as your logo, USP, tone of voice, content styles and social media are key to developing a consistent brand essence.
Online stores need to adequately serve their purpose and allow shoppers to get what they need with ease. This is where the strength of your catalogue, payments and shipping all come to the fore. Tailoring your online store to deliver a seamless experience for customers is a great way to ensure they come back to you time and time again.
- Running your website
A successful website needs to be carefully looked after and maintained. It is the hub of your online activity after all, so be sure to set up defined roles that staff can adhere to and continue to boost your online presence.
- Analyse and chart online success
You are unlikely to secure ongoing success if you do not have a strong understanding of what is working and what is not. This is why analytics is so important. Charting your strengths, understanding your weakness and introducing key performance indicators are all vital if you want to stay on your desired path and progress along it.
These markers are all solid additions to the early stages of any ecommerce roadmap for a new business. They can be used to create the perfect conditions for your online business to hit the ground running.
Mapping your future success
Once you have the foundations, you can start to lay out your plan for future growth and success. A successful ecommerce roadmap should have two things at its heart - growth and optimisation.
How to bring these two things together? Let’s start with growth.
Online growth is reliant on delivering for your customers. Whether that is delivering great prices, a great experience or a combination of both, the more you can consistently deliver for customers, the more growth you can expect.
You also need to make potential customers aware of your offering. This is where a digital marketing strategy should be incorporated into your wider roadmap plan. Online growth should be fuelled by solid acquisition and engagement tactics.
How you approach this is your call, and can vary from industry to industry. We recommend including competitor analysis as part of this to gauge what others in your industry are doing. This way, you can see if there are any areas for immediate growth that can allow you to move ahead of the pack.
Optimisation is an excellent way of making the most of what you have. For example, if you have a solid growth initiative that’s bringing more and more people to your site, that’s great. But if they are visiting and not converting, then a conversion rate optimisation plan can allow you to make really positive changes. This can be added to your roadmap and if done successfully, can prove a great way to fuel growth and revenue.
The reality is that online retail is an ever-changing world. New things will come to the fore and take over from the old. New channels can offer opportunities to increase your reach, and move with your customers in a way that is familiar and easy for them.
These are the kind of steps you want to be adding to your roadmap. They can be some of the many stepping stones to allow your business to bloom and move forwards.
Start your roadmap today
They say that every journey begins with a single step. By starting to work on an ecommerce roadmap for your business, you can take that first step towards a brighter future.
Firstly, we recommend pinning down where your company is at present. New brand? Existing brand going in a new direction? Be honest and open about where you are, as this will give you the best chance of going in the direction you want.
Secondly, draw out a set of dates. This could be quarterly for example, and allows you to identify when you want to achieve a certain goal by. So an example would be by Q2 2021, you will have increased your social media following by X amount thanks to the growth tactics you are putting in place in the quarters before this.
It’s then a case of working out what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it by, and populating your roadmap accordingly.
You can separate different parts of your aims into different columns, giving you a clearer idea of your main areas of focus. This allows you to identify the things that need to be done in order for your objectives to become a reality.
Bring in a helping hand
One of the many ways we help our clients at Williams Commerce is by creating roadmaps that gives a clear direction of travel to enable ecommerce stores to reach their ambitions and beyond, optimise processes and become the companies they want to be.
We have actively created a number of strategic roadmap blueprints for our clients to follow and implement. This has provided a solid framework to enable future online success.
Williams Commerce has also helped companies with specific targets and projects within the wider context of their roadmap. Our roadmapping work in the past has encompassed everything from technical SEO work to audience analysis, user experience analysis, conversion rate optimisation, trend analysis, paid search strategy and much more. We provide an in-depth, end to end service that offers actionable insights and a phased implementation plan.
If you want the Williams Commerce team to create or guide you through making your own ecommerce roadmap, contact our team today.