The shift to e-commerce has been a long time coming and was always going to be the future of the sector. However, the pandemic has turbocharged us into the future faster than most brands are prepared for. Many small and medium-sized brands as well as Fortune-500 companies do not have the immediate capabilities or skills to shift to the highly competitive online marketplace this quickly.
To succeed in driving traffic to a product webpage and convert online browsers into loyal buyers, businesses need to understand how the online shopper searches, compares and buys for a specific category. Traditional shopping behaviors do not universally translate to the digital marketplace. A data-driven approach can help with this problem, by using customer and marketplace insights to identify and address weaknesses and opportunities and formulate an effective e-commerce strategy.
Companies seeking e-commerce growth through a data-driven approach should start by gathering information on these core success principles:
In e-commerce, the consumer journey starts with a search for a product or service using a keyword. The majority of customers ‘spearfish’ by entering a keyword for the product they are seeking thereby specifying their interest. Understanding keyword traffic patterns in the marketplace is the starting point for a successful data-driven strategy. This approach allows businesses to discover the implicit and explicit preferences of customers and adapt to meet their demands.
Conversion follows traffic, as both are directly correlated to product visibility. By improving SEO through the right optimisation, products are more visible; hence conversion is more likely to happen. Conversion, however, is not the only characteristic of good SEO. Once a customer lands on a product page, multiple factors will impact their decision, including content, price, reviews, availability, sellers, promotions, and more. Without having visibility on conversion metrics, businesses are not able to optimise to capture sales.
Tracking internal sales numbers is good, but monitoring external sales data is better! Understanding business performance compared to competitors and the total size of the market on any given platform allows brands to see a wider picture. With this data, brands can set benchmarks and understand category trends. If businesses are not able to benchmark and analyse the market, then they will be operating in a blind.
While the formula, Traffic X Conversion = Sales, seems straightforward, the availability of data remains a black hole for many and is arduous, maybe even impossible, for a human to analyse manually. Implementing automated smart tech into a business can open access to valuable data points and quickly transform pages of insights into actionable tasks and growth strategies.
To find a quality e-commerce technology partner, businesses should look for experts that can deliver insights on ratings and reviews, content analytics, search terms, buy box tracking, inventory analytics, and price tracking, all on a user-friendly dashboard. For external data, an effective competitive intelligence tool needs to track the shopper journey from keyword to purchase, across all the products sold on a marketplace.
Having access to data is not complete without scaling a business through paid advertising. Choosing the right keywords that pierce through consumers' ocean of choices can be the most challenging aspect for brands. Not knowing what the consumer is searching for and bidding on specific keywords without knowing their value is a risky wager. A smart advertising automation tool can be used to help ensure a company’s campaigns are optimised efficiently and in real-time.
Online shopping has grown exponentially, becoming the new normal way to buy. Retailers need to embrace this shift and focus on growing their e-commerce by deploying a data-first approach and integrating smart tools into their business. Data can drive sales by improving personalisation, customer engagement, reach and conversion, all critical for success in the highly competitive online marketplace.