Ecommerce isn't just about selling stuff online. It's about how you run your business and the solutions you provide to customers.
At the heart of a good shopping experience online is customer delight - happy customers who are well served by you. That means you need to leverage marketing automation and you need to leverage eCommerce tools that allow you to run your business efficiently and effectively (ideally, from anywhere in the world).
I would tell aspiring business leaders to think about is that all of the "game changes" that have happened in business in the last 25 years have happened in eCommerce. That's a pretty amazing fact. Amazon, AirBnB, Lyft, Uber, etc., all are eCommerce sites that disrupted entire industries. So eCommerce isn't just about "selling stuff" online - it's about potentially doing business in a smarter, better, and more valuable way than competitors.
I talk to entrepreneurs who start online stores around their passions, but often end up failing. Almost always it's because their value proposition is too weak or the market demand isn’t there to support the business. My philosophy is to go after an in-demand niche where you can add value that will give you the best chance of success. So in my view, eCommerce is really about knowing your customer, having exceptionally well defined positioning (branding), and developing the tools necessary to reach that customer at the lowest possible cost.
Most agencies talk about eCommerce in terms of the technology. That's fine, the technology is complicated and a bit difficult to deploy. But the reality is that having a killer back end eCommerce site isn't the battle. The battle is having a product or service that people are seeking online and fulfilling that demand through your eCommerce experience.
Thanks to the accessibility digital brings, consumers have access to more buying opportunities than ever before. Our phones give us immediate access to more retailers than we can count. If you’re a big company, you may be scared because niche boutiques are well-positioned to gain market share. If you’re a small company, you may be excited about the lower barriers to market entry and growth.
A visually alluring website and an interesting array of products are not just enough to stand out among the crowd in your consumers’ memory. You require an armory of compelling content, which is presented in unique ways that not only manages to grab the customer’s attention, but that also helps in engaging them and forges an emotional connection with the brand. Hence, my philosophy (which I say over and over on this website): "Get Known... Sell Stuff."
So for me - eCommerce strategy is really about three things: one, really understanding customers (which social media and big data can help answer); two, really building tremendous value pre-sale to bond them to you (getting known); three, having effective and optimized sales channels in your eCommerce funnels to close the sale (eCommerce execution).