6 key questions to grow your e-commerce business


Over the coming months, we are planning to share with you a blog series on growing your e-commerce business.  This post is an introduction to a growth framework we will use throughout this series.  All the upcoming topics will fit into this framework – hopefully providing you with an arsenal of practical tips to grow your e-commerce store. Topics in this series will include: how to check that your website is ready for launch, how to set up tracking software, how to attract quality visitors, how to engage them in order to convert them, how to build long term relationships and how to grow your existing customers from there.

Our team has proven experience in helping brands to grow their e-commerce businesses through our e-commerce software. To date we’ve launched over 1 400 e-commerce stores and cumulatively processed more than R1.2 billion worth of transactions as part of our client portfolio. In this series, we will share our best tips to help you grow your e-commerce business.

E-commerce business is growing – are you?

With 52% of SA’s population actively using the Internet, the trend of online browsing and shopping is clearly on the rise. South African online spend is forecasted to grow to over R53 billion by 2018. Mobile provides an immense opportunity for online retailers, as mobile spend is projected to increase by 123% by 2018. These and other figures tell us that e-commerce in South Africa is aggressively picking up. With more customers online, brands can expect a more curious and a more demanding customer. In today’s connected world, customers want your brand’s online presence, products, services and interaction with them to be professional and efficient.

In the light of a more demanding customer rising up it may feel even more overwhelming to know that your website is one of billions of stores on the web – on an unseen digital highway, hidden away. The competition out there is massive and growing.

How do you survive? Moreover, how do you win?

A growth framework to hang your e-commerce hat on

When reading about digital strategies and tactics online, you need to keep your wits about you.  Especially if you have not received formal training on the topic.  How do you know if SEO is really needed during the design of your website or whether PPC is the right tactic for growing your business.  Is it really necessary to invest time in understanding Google Analytics immediately or can I leave it until 6 months down the line? Is blogging really important and when is ideal to start with it? What about mobile marketing or a newsletter? What is the best way to use Social Media and what about Facebook Shopping and Google Shopping?  Even if you hire a specialist digital marketing agency, you will still have to commission and manage them, thus understanding where all these issues fit into the bigger picture.

So, to try and create a structure for this chaos, we want to present a growth framework to help categorise all the strategies and tactics mentioned. Additionally, we will write blogs on each topic,  explaining the topics in very basic and clear terms.  Showing you exactly where it fits into the framework.   Hopefully this framework will help you make your e-commerce business more successful.

Below, we provide six important questions to answer as an e-commerce company, along with an infographic to use on your journey. Bookmark this post as we will refer back to these questions constantly over the next few months, across the rest of our series.

Neil Patel, an entrepreneur and online marketer writes that a conversion funnel is a continuous mission of getting, keeping and growing your ideal customer base. This is done by using technology, social media, and other available tools to meet their needs more efficiently. In essence, how do you ‘Get Customers’ and how do you then ‘Grow Customers?’

e-commerce business sales funnel
Using the models we studied and relying on Neil Patel’s model, we came up with six questions every online store must answer:

  1. How do I get more people to my website?
  2. How do I get my website’s visitors to engage with the website and with the brand?
  3. How do I get my website’s visitors to make a purchase?
  4. How do I retain my customer by building a meaningful relationship with them?
  5. How do I grow my customer to become a loyal, repeat customer?
  6. How do I measure and improve what is happening on my website and in my business?

Before we dive into attracting more people to my website,  there will be a few preparatory posts that will help you take care of elements necessary for growth, but not specifically part of the growth framework.  The first post asks an important question:

 Is my website set up for growth?

To enable you to answer this question, we provide a checklist to help you assess whether your service provider has set up your website correctly. We will also show you what steps you need to take on your website before going live. And if your website is already live, you can review its content and structure and make any necessary changes to improve the user experience.

The next preparatory post will be on choosing and setting up analytics software, like Google Analytics.

We look forward to having you join us on the journey through the next few months. In the meantime, if you have any burning questions regarding your e-commerce business, do share them with us in the comments below. We also welcome your own tried and tested tips for business growth!

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