Use these 3 strategies for ad teams charged with e-commerce

By Mark Challinor


London, United Kingdom


In my recent newsletter (sign up here if you are not getting it), I explore the pros for putting your advertising sales team in charge of e-commerce. 

To continue that conversation, I offer this advice on moving forward:

1. Pilot it first

Maybe think about a pilot project in your company. Pick a trusted advertiser to trial it? If it works, extend it to others and then utilise knowledge and learnings to feed back to your perhaps already existing, B2C e-commerce teams. 

This could be new vertical to grow your revenue, starting with current clients with whom you have a relationship with. Tell them (both your advertisers and your sales teams) that it’s a trial. See where it leads? There is then no risk of diverting a salesperson away from existing accounts.

2. Create a checklist for resource exploitation 

Look for ways to exploit the sales team’s knowledge of what makes a good deal/user experience when negotiating. This may include:

  • What information should be within the product copy/offer? Sales tricks they have learned that could be applied?
  • How can online orders generate useful data on interests, behaviour, etc., to feed into your data platform/warehouse?
  • How best monitor e-commerce sales for pivoting to different or higher-margin (other) products, for cross-selling or upselling opportunities?
  • How is the customer service element set up requiring minimal or no resource for the salesperson (instead via the originator of the service)?
  • Is the sales teams well trained on e-commerce tools to make it  easy to implement and report on? Eg, having immediate access to things like stock checking, order information, etc.

Create a list of ways to use the sales team’s knowledge of what makes a good user experience when negotiating.
Create a list of ways to use the sales team’s knowledge of what makes a good user experience when negotiating.

Finally, a question to think about: If your media brand name is attached to all this, should any e-commerce offerings reflect your media companies’ethics, culture, and beliefs? Does it complement what you stand for in the communities in which you serve? 

Looking ahead, you can be sure that the concept of driving our readers to commerce platforms and services was heading that way prior to the pandemic; the virus has only accelerated the trend as many people now shop from home and don’t need to visit an actual physical store. 

Is this an area we just can’t miss out on as part of our future revenue? 

It’s all about selling “stuff” in new ways. Traditionally, we have sold items from calendars to books to holidays “off the page.” The ability to now sell these and a whole lot more online adds extra power to our offerings, even using attractive, e-commerce packages as part of our subscription deals or membership bundles.

3. Lay out your commerce objectives

Just be clear on your objectives for commerce offerings: 

  • Do you have any necessary technology needs to action it all (whether your own proprietary tech or that of your third-party partner(s))? Tech that can make the user experience easy and frictionless? Will it link purchase and behaviour to your data sets and personas on your buyers?
  • Have monetary budgets/targets set from day one.
  • Have KPIs to measure performance of your commerce activities and be prepared to adapt them as you go, on the fly.
  • Make sure your media brand is seen as offering a relevant, good value, desired product suite that must seek to enhance your brand and your relationships with your readers … as well as make money.

If you’d like to subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter, INMA members can do so here.

About Mark Challinor

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