These 3 e-commerce priorities are the base of a successful programme

By Mark Challinor

INMA

London, United Kingdom

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Many smaller advertisers are troubled by the thought of e-commerce, and they are not necessarily digitally savvy. They, along with the mainly younger agency media buyers, are looking for guidance as to how to take the first steps and to understand how it works in this space. 

Thus, if we can show we understand it, they will trust us, seek advice, and, ultimately, invest in digital advertising spend when the time comes.

I believe that successful e-commerce is all about three specific areas: 

  1. Using the right technology.
  2. Ensuring a smooth, frictionless user journey.
  3. Listening to your customers’ feedback.   

1. Technology

Having the right technology in place is the first step for any publisher launching a new e-commerce venture. It can really change what the ROI is.

Small news publishers who can't build their own e-commerce infrastructure should focus on getting "on-page optimisation" correct.
Small news publishers who can't build their own e-commerce infrastructure should focus on getting "on-page optimisation" correct.

For smaller publishers without the ability to build their own e-commerce infrastructure, there’s the option to work with third parties. I believe the best place to begin is getting the “on-page optimisation” correct. Having a “test and learn” mentality is key, and a flexible approach to developing different revenue streams is also crucial.

The big failures in this space come when large amounts of money get channeled into something that hasn’t really been proven yet.

2. User journey

Successful e-commerce companies seek to promise an “immersive shopping experience” for customers who want the ability to shop at a range of different stores, all in one place, whilst considering all the customer touch points along the way. 

But whether an e-commerce site is for one advertiser or many, the questions to ask are: “Is the Web page appealing to the reader and engaging for what the customer is looking for? Can they easily understand how to navigate the sections and see how to look at things that matter to them, e.g. how to search? There are lots of different things we need to be conscious of.

Then beyond the shopping experience itself, capturing data to analyse the user engagement is important. SEO is crucial.

3. Feedback

Customer feedback is another area we should monitor closely. Then we can understand everything about the advertiser in terms of user perceptions, issues, and comments that could possibly be optimised.

It’s always vital to get customer feedback and show you are acting upon it.

One trend has emerged that is disrupting online shopping. And we need to embrace. Like it or not, social commerce looks set to make a huge impact on e-commerce sales.

Social e-commerce is a trend media companies can't ignore.
Social e-commerce is a trend media companies can't ignore.

Social commerce, simply, is the coming together of e-commerce and social media. Advertisers engaging in social commerce use social platforms as vehicles to sell their products/services. If a business relies on e-commerce sales, it’s likely to be already involved in social commerce. However, as it grows and includes smaller advertisers too — whether you’re in the space or not — the question is: Are you maximising the potential of this latest trend for your organisation? 

Advice for e-commerce curious

For agencies/advertisers making their first stab into the world of e-commerce, my advice is not to rush it all. Start small, start slowly, start building up relationships, start adding Web links to your site, and start easy-to-understand buying guides. 

All that creates the foundation. 

Keep a focus on honing your advertisers’ customer journey and ensure they follow a path to purchase that is as smooth and frictionless as possible. 

Remember, it’s ultimately all about that user journey. How easy is it for a customer’s journey to purchase and how do we facilitate that in the optimal way? 

Showing our advertisers and agencies we “get” this is half the battle to securing budgets. Perhaps instead, look at how your media PLUS social commerce can together give a more synergistic result than if they did just social? You might be surprised as to the differences in audiences, in reach, and in likely impact. 

E-commerce is permanently evolving. While online shopping statistics have grown across the board, partially accelerated by the pandemic, it seems investing in e-commerce activity allows your advertisers to increase sales and connect directly to customers.

It is an excellent way to boost revenue and build long-term relationships all along the chain — from media to advertisers/agency to customers. Everyone wins when done properly. And to do it properly, we need to understand the key facts and “directions of travel” trends.

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About Mark Challinor

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