This ecommerce strategy article is an excerpt from our new book, The Ultimate Ecommerce Email & SMS Playbook. We’re diving into our ecommerce strategy chapter focused on the 7 Reasons Why Ecommerce Customers Leave Your Brand.
The Litmus Test
To truly measure the results of a great marketing strategy, let’s go high level to start and then bring it down to eye level to implement. You could go super-granular and talk about the clicks, opens, likes, shares, tweets, comments, conversions, sessions, and on and on. But we’re not there yet.
Let’s think big picture to start and drill down from there. Some of the big performance indicators should be as follows:
- The strategy must help you level the playing field. Any strategy you roll out should help you get to a place where you can, at the very least, compete. Namely, do we have the right technologies, staff, mindset, and website to compete from here on? If your brand mindset can simply level the playing field with Amazon’s mindset or the D2C mindset, that’s already a big win. If you can become more customer-centric instead of product-centric like the top brands, that’s another step towards leveling the playing field. Overall, if the strategy you roll out helps level the playing field, you’ll be in a better spot than 90% of e-commerce brands.
- The strategy must help you maintain ownership of data and destiny. Relying on apps or technology to fill in your gaps is essential to e-commerce. But if you’re relying too heavily on a certain technology, you’ve sacrificed ownership of your destiny. As I said before, incorporating ShopRunner or DoorDash is good; relying on them to fuel your business is terrifying. Any strategy you roll out must focus on primarily owning your data and owning your future at all costs.
- The strategy must result in customer loyalty to your brand. There are a lot of apps, methods, and tactics for increasing customer loyalty. A quick Google search will yield hundreds of loyalty apps to use. The smartest way, though, will be the method that allows you to direct the loyalty to you as a business, not just to your technology or medium. Any strategy you roll out must connect customers to your brand and create true loyalty.
- The strategy must invest your dollars smarter. Trying to brute-force your way into relevance with a blitz of cash and tons of ad spend is nearly impossible. Budgets are tight, margins are tight, and return on ad spend could be slim; spending copious amounts of cash has a lot of challenges. Consistency plays a role as well; certain months, you can swing the cash investment, other months, you can’t, and the inconsistency is a killer. The right strategy means your limited dollars will work smarter for you and won’t equate to outspending your competition (because you never will be able to!)
- The strategy must generate profits, not just revenue. You’re in business to make a profit. It’s not enough to roll out a strategy that drives unprofitable revenue or simply breaks even on your investment. You have to make a profit, take money home, feed your family, pay your bills, staff up and invest in the future. Bringing in $1.50 for $1 spent may not cut it. On top of that, you need to generate revenue that’s profitable, predictable, and sustainable so you can pay salaries, rents, and IT costs as well as your own take-home pay! The strategy must generate profits, not just revenue.
If you can find that one consistent strategy that will check off all these boxes, you will truly be competing to win. Missing one single KPI on this litmus test may be ok in the short term but won’t be survivable in the long term.
For example, you may level the playing field, but if it’s at the expense of spending billions in cash, you’re literally banking everything and not saving for a rainy day (like a pandemic!)
Another example: if you solve keeping customers loyal, but you make no profits, you don’t have a really great future and zero runway for other business investments.
Hitting some of these KPIs is great. Hitting all of them should be the ultimate goal. Now, let’s dive into the four most popular strategies that brands implement to try and win customer loyalty.
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