“Millennials are at the start of their careers and are just starting to form their households. On the other hand, oldest members of Generation Z are now graduating college and entering the workforce,” said Patrick Dodd, president of Nielsen's Global Retailer Vertical. These two generations are starting to shape the economy worldwide and will continue to do so for decades to come.
While brick-and-mortar still dominates the grocery shopping experience, e-commerce is better equipped to answer their needs since it allows businesses to offer a wider range of products and better fulfill their unique needs. Therefore, e-commerce businesses have to understand these new tech-savvy customers and place digital touch points across their whole path to purchase.
Still, succeeding in e-commerce is all but easy and the approach that worked yesterday doesn't always work today. So, how can e-commerce businesses capitalize this opportunity and stay one step ahead their competition?
Here are 10 questions that any e-commerce business owner should ask themselves in order to keep their health in top condition:
1. What does your business actually sell?
While this can seem as a weird or unnecessary question, it isn't. The thing is that most businesses evolve and change over time and what you sell doesn't have to be in sync with your marketing efforts. Focusing on the things your customers want will help you align your marketing efforts on your top selling products and not on those that aren't making a difference.
2. What is your business' USP?
Similar as above, as your products change, so does your USP. E-commerce can be tough, especially with competitors emerging behind every corner, and your customers' interests changing almost daily. Therefore it's important to reexamine your market position and change your USP accordingly.
3. Are you using the right platform?
Around 50% of all e-commerce traffic comes from mobile phones and tablets, according to Shopify. It's a naked truth, mobile is not going anywhere and e-commerce businesses without mobile-friendly websites must do something fast in order to grab this opportunity. What's more, mobile allows you to attract people from more channels, such as Instagram and Facebook.
4. How are people finding you?
Knowing how your potential customers are finding your business should be your top priority. Observing where your traffic is coming from will give you a valuable insight where you should focus your marketing efforts. Additionally, it will help you identify what you are doing wrong and where.
5. Are they converting to customers?
Yes, people are finding your website, but the even more important questions to ask yourself is are they converting to customers? You can calculate the percentage of visitors that convert and use that figure to get an insight into the overall success of your online store. Even more important, it can help you identify where and why are you loosing them.
6. Who are your customers?
Of course you know who your customers are but how well do you really know them? Same as brands, customers change. This is why customer research should be done frequently to ensure that your marketing efforts are not pursuing old ideas instead of new.
7. Do you know what your customers want?
Marshall Field became famous for running his store with the motto "The customer is always right." While it can seem obvious, many businesses go around without even knowing their customers' biggest needs. According to Jaynie L. Smith, co-author of Relevant Selling and CEO of Smart Advantage, more than 90 percent of companies don't know what their customers actually want.
8. What about your current customers?
In one of our previous posts, we identified 4 reasons why e-commerce businesses can fall below market expectations. One of those reasons was that most e-commerce businesses are focused on acquiring new customers and completely neglect their “old” ones. Of course, acquisition will always remain important but focusing on retention and having a big pool of existing customers can do wonders for your profits.
9. Are your customers happy?
Your happy customers will return to your business again and again. What's more, they can even refer your company to their family members and friends. But how do you even know whether your customers are happy or not with your products or services?
The easiest way to find out is to simply ask them. While brick-and-mortar stores can ask their customers face to face or hire mystery shoppers to evaluate their customer service, e-commerce businesses can use surveys. Context-driven and clearly focused surveys are one of the easiest ways of measuring the customers' happiness level for e-commerce businesses. They also increase loyalty by showing your customers that their opinion really matters.
10. Where to next?
Knowing where you are going and where you want to go are two completely different things. Asking the above questions will give e-commerce owners a precise answer whether their business is healthy and ready for growth, as well as identify any problematic areas and obstacles that can stand on their way to that growth. And, of course, every chance to ask your customers for their feedback is also an opportunity to win new business, increase your customer satisfaction and loyalty.