Four building blocks to enhance your e-commerce website

by | Jan 30, 2013

Doing business online has now become similar to doing business offline, except of course that businesses’ marketing processes, such as promotion and advertisement campaigns, remain virtual for your online business operations. There are however substantial advantages when promoting your e-commerce business online.

When using the Internet as a medium, it can be easy to streamline many of your business functions, including marketing, brand building, operations, financial functions and much more. Therefore, many individuals assume that marketing should be easy and quite straightforward. However, the challenge with online marketing is that it requires continuous effort in order to make it work effectively. Here are a few tips on how you can leverage content marketing for your e-commerce business:

Design an optimal website

Website development options exist for businesses of all sizes – from cash-strapped small business, all the way up to enterprise level establishments. Your business website decisions will depend primarily on what type of company you are running. If your company does not need much customization, and can get away with using simple solutions and tools, there are countless applications that you can choose from, such as Shopfiy.com’s solutions.

However, if your business requires customization and hands-on support, you would be better off with a storefront design built from the ground up, specifically for your company’s e-commerce initiative. In order to implement such a solution, you’ll need to spend some time and resources to make important decisions in regards to vendor choice, man-hours needed, conceptualization, systems, processes and more.

Create a multi-pronged online marketing strategy

Marketing isn’t a one-way street; it isn’t even a four-way highway. It’s as twisted and multi-channeled as it could possibly get. Keeping traditional marketing channels aside, online marketing itself has multiple channels that you can tap into. In today’s world and competitive market, it’s mandatory to try to tap into as many of these channels as you can.

Some of the various ways to market your business include, but are not limited to, content marketing (guest posting, reports and whitepapers, corporate blogging, page content, email distribution, paid content distribution, etc.), SEO, PPC, banner advertising, affiliate marketing, social media marketing and additional content distribution through participation in forums and Q&A websites. We could dedicate an entire series of posts just on developing and using practical online marketing strategies, but we’ll stick to an overall picture for now.

Utilize your database

It’s a pity that numerous businesses have managed to build extensive databases filled with information on thousands of customers, but never bother to use this information and engage with these contacts. While best practices suggest segregating your customer database into customer types (based on demographics, lifetime value of customers, etc.), most businesses never even get to that point; customer databases are usually taken for granted. Customers have choices and your lack of engagement with them is reason enough for people to turn to a different company that can provide them the same, or similar, products or services. There is a reason why direct mail was an exciting marketing strategy for many companies in the past; it gave them a way to nurture their database and re-engage with customers. It also gave them multiple sales opportunities, such as targeted cross-selling, upselling or just general brand building.

Of course, your options for marketing to your database have improved today. Using a full-fledged CRM system, such as SugarCRM, can help you reach out to all the contacts in your database, with ease. You no longer have to spend time on a costly, and time-consuming direct mail strategy. You can easily increase your marketing efforts just by investing in a CRM system and integrating the system with your business processes.

Be sure to keep records of all your contacts, segregate your customers according to numerous criteria, send behaviorally targeted emails, and keep record of all conversations between your company and every single customer. With all this information within your CRM system, you can easily pull up transaction details and plenty of other customer details in little to no time.

CRM systems open a vast sea of opportunities for businesses. You might consider taking advantage such a system’s capabilities to see how it can benefit your company.

Leverage Customer Support

If you use customer support for questions, concerns and problem solving, you are doing what is necessary for, and expected of, any business. What you might be overlooking, however, is the chance to create opportunities through every problem solved by your customer support system.

When you realize that every customer support event is a masked opportunity, your business will never be the same. This will open a whole new set of potential profits for your company. Yet again, you need tools to track and maintain these new incoming opportunities. With the right CRM solution in place, along with any necessary applications and tools, you can easily establish and manage opportunities.

In a nutshell, your eCommerce business needs a firm foundation in design and usability, a multi-pronged approach to marketing that covers all your bases, an efficient use of your customer database (both present and future customers) and a way to leverage your customer support to create new opportunities in addition to problem solving.

If you’d like more information on CRM systems and how they can streamline these processes, Sererra can help. Sererra is a leading Green IT technology and management consulting firm focusing on delivering turnkey business solutions for midmarket firms worldwide. Sererra’s core areas of expertise emphasize business process engineering, systems implementation, integration and custom software development including cloud-based business processes for a wide range of industries.

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Sara Duane

Content Marketing Manager at SPS Commerce
Sara Duane is a content expert for the SPS Commerce marketing team. She provides valuable articles and important information about e-commerce, merchandising strategies, order fulfillment and other topics related to retail supply chain optimization.
Sara Duane

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