I Set Up My Commerce Platform – Now What?
Five steps to develop an effective e-commerce strategy
We have many clients who set up their commerce platforms but then get stuck in a cycle of questioning “what’s next?”, falter, and end up in a rut. Once you set up your commerce platform, it’s critical to continuously keep up with evolving business needs and feature enhancements to ensure your platform stays relevant and competitive to deliver exceptional value to your customers. By staying informed on industry trends, monitoring metrics, continuously improving processes, and adapting to change through prioritizing feature and platform enhancements, you can stay ahead of the curve and position your business for long term success by proactively implementing the following key steps to ensure you’re executing against a defined e-commerce strategy.
Leveraging Analytics and Data
I preach to my clients to always make data-driven decisions. By utilizing analytic tools to gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior and preferences on the platform, you can make informed decisions on evaluating new opportunities, assess the impact of changes, or identify areas for improvement. Using data to then understand your value stream provides valuable insights into the potential consequences and tradeoffs involved in making those data-driven decisions.
Key performance indicators within the value stream include:
- user interactions
- purchasing patterns
- browsing behavior
These data points help to identify opportunities for optimization and personalization. They will also highlight friction points that need to be addressed. The data-driven approach helps leaders make quicker, informed decisions about enhancement priorities to better meet the needs of your target customers.
Keep Informed of Market Trends
The latest trends and innovations in your industry and the broader e-commerce landscape impact your business daily. Customers are seeing B2C features start crossing over into the B2B space, creating a higher bar for companies to clear. Thus, staying informed of trends such as monitoring evolving customer expectations, emerging technologies, and customer behavior should be an integral part of your e-commerce strategy and can help proactively adapt your platform to meet changing market demands and outpace the competition.
Gathering Customer Feedback
Understanding your customers’ pain points, preferences, and suggestions helps you identify areas where you can enhance the user experience and meet evolving market needs.
Your customers are the lifeblood of your business and their needs should always be at the forefront of your decision making. Actively ask for feedback from your end user about the experience on their platform. Accomplish this through customer surveys or reviews. Dive into your customer success programs and find what topics or issues come up most. Then, use that feedback to make improvements to your products, services, and processes.
Invest in Technology
Look for opportunities to invest in technology solutions that can help you manage your inventory, process orders, and track your customer interactions. Look for technology stacks that can help you automate and streamline many of your business processes, freeing up resources and effort for other enhancing initiatives. Be thoughtful – picking up every new solution on the market can create an unwieldy tech stack and lead to integration problems.
Drive Continuous Improvement
Foster a culture of continuous improvement within your organization. Defer to your knowledge workers for ideas and insights for enhancing your platform. Conduct usability testing, implement A/B testing to help identify improvements. Iterate on your platform based on real-time data and customer feedback and ensure it lines up with the business needs. The value stream mapping process that you used to set up your commerce platform is an exceptional tool for identifying areas of opportunity. Use it regularly to improve your business processes, identify inefficiencies and improvements, and make changes that streamline your operations.
Keeping up with your business needs requires ongoing inspection and adaptation. By leveraging analytics, data, market trends, staying customer centric, and investing technology you can create and prioritize a feature pipeline to keep your platform ahead and keep your business positioned for long term success.