The UK has the third largest ecommerce market in the world. With a value of over 500 billion, accounting for around 20% of total business turnover in the UK, and the highest online shopping penetration in Europe, the industry is alive and kicking. It's also highly competitive with just a few sites out of every hundred making their mark effectively.
As a business owner, you might think that the most important thing about your online presence is your product. Guess again. It's less about what you're selling and more about how you're selling it - and how often. The numbers are frightening. It takes less than 7 seconds to make a first impression and it takes more than 7 impressions to become recognisable. The trick is to get your brand out there with a bang.
Many companies make the mistake of thinking that once they have a website, the business will come to them. As of January 2019, there were over 1.94 billion websites on the Internet. I wouldn't hazard at a guess at how many of those get no traffic at all and how many have high traffic and no sales. Getting your brand out is more than a website. It's a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
A website that is eye-catching, intuitive and offers a superior user experience (UX) is an essential but setting up the pathways for users to find it is equally important. A digital marketing strategy for an ecommerce venture needs to be approached systematically, beginning with a full evaluation of the brand values, brand offering and brand identity.
A solid understanding of the brand that is shared by the company and the web services provider is the bedrock on which the entire process and strategy is built. Through a shared understanding, online and offline marketing channels can be synergised to create a consistent message and brand experience across online and offline platforms, boosting brand impact and brand awareness.
A few essential questions the company needs to answer before approaching the development of a website and online marketing strategy include:
- What is my business?
- What are the key features of my brand?
- Who, exactly, is my target market?
- What makes my business different?
- What can I offer my customers that other businesses are not offering?
- How do I want to present my business to the world?
Unless you have a clearly defined brand, including its offering, audience, image and objective, your online marketing strategy is likely to be inconsistent at best and chaotic at worst. On the other hand, having a clear understanding of your brand, its offering, image, objective and audience can facilitate a far more cost-effective, efficient and impactful web design and digital marketing experience.
It is also critical to understand that your ecommerce website cannot be separated from the overall digital marketing strategy and every online marketing activity. Like most things, consistency is key. If it takes 7 impressions to make an impact, you certainly need those 7 impressions to give a consistent message, remembering they will most likely be delivered across multiple platforms and media forms.
Starting out with a clear vision, mission and identity will go a long way towards improving your chances of success in a highly competitive industry. Turning an idea into a lucrative undertaking needs to be approached with forethought and planning, and this has never been truer than for ecommerce entrepreneurs.
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