Understand why a post-launch strategy is critical to B2B eCommerce success
When I was in undergrad, my lacrosse team sponsored a military unit who was serving in Iraq. As part of our relationship we would send over some “luxury items” (car magazines, baby wipes, silly string, etc.) and they would send motivational letters that we would read before games. In one of the letters a Sargent stated that he was, “committed to aggressively pursuing the enemy.” I thought that was a fantastic way to tell people that he was focused on achieving a long-term goal. While your online sales are clearly not on the same level as protecting our country, the sentiment should be the same.
A lot of what I see in the B2B eCommerce space is an overall lack of motivation for achieving the end goal - if there even is an established end goal. At some point there was a development agency that sold you on adding a shopping cart to your site. Most likely you had an older site that needed updating and throughout the define process, conversations about the benefits of eCommerce came up. The development agency discussed the success of other companies in your space, described a ‘set it and forget it’ opportunity, and raved about selling online with out the overhead of a physical sales team. While these may very well be valid points, without a post-launch strategy, they are just magic beans that were planted in your business plan and will never grow. Here are a few topics to discuss internally with your teams regarding your eCommerce post-launch strategy.
Post-Launch Strategy Essentials
Do you have a post-launch strategy?
This is the first topic that needs to be discussed at your internal meetings. If you are building a new site or if you already have an existing shopping cart, there needs to be a post-launch strategy. Great bosses are the ones that put their employees in the best situation to succeed; same goes for your online store. You need to consistently update and commit to getting your shopping cart into a position to succeed.
Setting post-launch goals
Having established goals and benchmarks will allow your team to stay focused. The obvious goal for your site is to generate additional sales. There needs to be more than this. There needs to be established key performance indicators that allow you to benchmark your growth. Data is everywhere. Every decision that you make needs to be based on the data that you have. My best advice is to set goals, be willing to adjust, and track EVERYTHING!
Working with an agency vs. in-house efforts
This is a great question. Does is make sense to hire an outside agency, bring someone in-house, or distribute the responsibilities internally? It really is going to depend on your company and the resources that you have available. How is your site performing with your current agency? If you bring on an outside agency, there needs to be accountability. Goals are extremely important because they will hold your eCommerce agency accountable for measurable results. Remember that a big reason that you are paying them is for expertise in identifying opportunities. Do not allow for a simple transfer of reports with out follow up. You want your online sales to grow, it requires doing and thinking differently.
Generating new leads/qualified traffic
If you already have an eCommerce site, what is it doing for you? Are you generating new sales leads through the site? Are you producing qualified traffic on the site? How are you collecting information about qualified prospects? Your eCommerce agency should be able to answer all of these questions and more. If they do not have a definitive answer to all of these questions then it is time to start looking for a new agency.
Online conversions vs. Phone Calls
The purpose for an online shopping cart is to complete sales online. If you are spending time on the phone with customers for every sale that you are making online, then there is an issue with your eCommerce strategy. This is something that your agency should be working towards. Establishing trust is a key component to a successful eCommerce strategy, and needs to be a primary focus of your agency. Chances are you built a shopping cart to make reordering easier for existing customers. If your sales team is spending time on the phone with old customers, then they are missing out on new opportunities.
Listed above are just a few concepts to begin discussing when it comes to your shopping cart. I would encourage you to take some time to reevaluate your current eCommerce agency and ensure that they are committed to your company’s growth goals. Essentially what I am trying to communicate is that you need to be committed to aggressively pursuing your Goals.