Stocking the storeroom or storefront? Where CMOs should focus for e-commerce success

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February 16, 2021

Open the digital front door and focus on both to optimize revenues online

The focus on e-commerce is here to stay and organizations are trying to understand the best path forward for building their e-commerce strategy. To say that the pandemic accelerated the need to optimize digital commerce is an understatement. 

According to the recent The Future of ECommerce report by ShopifyPlus, 2020 retail e-commerce sales growth increased by 15.5% in Asia Pacific and as high as 21.5% in Central Europe. In one year! Needless to say, organizations that weren’t already selling online are working hard to build their e-commerce program today to meet customer needs. 

Where to start is a common question. 

Selling online is no longer just post it and they will come. It’s much more complicated than that. If 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine and 78% don’t contain a brand name, how do buyers find what they need? And, what do CMOs need to do to ensure they do engage that active buyer? Open the digital front door.

Digital front door

Storefronts and storerooms: 

When building a brick and mortar store, you focus on the storefront to entice buyers into the store and stock the storeroom with merchandise to meet buyer needs. Merchandising plays a key role in getting shoppers into the store, it’s the first part of the buying journey. A great window display drives customers into the store and then the shopping begins, easily fulfilled by storeroom stock. But what happens in e-commerce? How do you engage buyers and then ensure that your digital shelf is always stocked and optimized for revenue? 

Chief executives around the globe say digital is here to stay, the shift to ecommerce is structural, and behavioral changes are permanent.

Future of Ecommerce Report, ShopifyPlus

CMOs need to ensure they are focused on the storefront and the storeroom equally when building an e-commerce program. The reality is that both the storeroom and the storefront are needed to drive commerce today. Think about your e-commerce program the same as you would a physical store. What do you need to do to get customers in the door, the digital front door? 

Product information:

Product information has quickly become one of the most critical assets in e-commerce. Everything from product images, videos, reviews, measurements, and even the country of origin of materials is important in purchase decisions these days. Engaging and relevant product information is what brings products to life online. 

The biggest challenge is ensuring that product information is accurate and consistent. Updating product information manually for thousands of SKUs, across marketplaces, and data pools does not scale. Add in the complexity of different languages and localization requirements make maintaining quality information nearly impossible. 

SEO:

Everything must be discoverable. Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a critical role in digital commerce, driving buyers to your products and leading them down the path to purchase. If products cannot be found on the first page of Google or don’t rank highly in other search engines, you are at a major disadvantage. The competition is only a click away. Being found is essential for e-commerce to drive revenue. 

Availability:

Ensure product availability is reflected in real-time to ensure a positive customer experience. Don’t miss a sale because of stock outs, or other supply chain issues. If something isn’t available, offer a next-best solution or alternative that is in stock. 

Technologies: 

Digital commerce today is often built on a complex infrastructure and different business applications. They include foundational technologies like (PIM), digital shelf analytics (DSA), CRM, and others. These technologies enable scalability and limitless possibilities as the business grows. Building the infrastructure correctly (choosing the right technologies) is imperative to minimize disruptions in revenue generation and to deliver a seamless customer experience. 

Closing the loop: 

Just as a PIM solution helps provide product information at scale, digital shelf analytics ensure that each and every product is optimized for maximum conversion. This includes comparing product performance against competitors and providing the real-time insights needed to make changes quickly. 

Without the product insights that DSA solutions offer, e-commerce teams don’t have the Engagement Intelligence needed to determine how to optimize products online. The most successful CMOs leverage the right technologies to streamline processes, speed time to market, scale to new marketplaces, and identify opportunities to improve conversions. Even the smallest conversion rate increase can mean millions of dollars in revenue. 

How to sell online today? CMOs need to open the digital front door to drive buyer engagement and make sure to build the storefront and storeroom with equal focus. Ensure foundational technologies work together to deliver actionable insights to feed the optimization process. This feedback loop enables CMOs to strategically focus on driving revenue, not deciphering data to understand product performance. 

To learn more about how to meet the needs of buyers in the digital world, listen to the podcast with Amazon expert, Jonas Hessler.

Author:

Steve Baumgartner

Vice President of Global Sales

Steve Baumgartner is the Vice President of Global Sales and responsible for Sales Development, Sales Operations, Sales Engineering, and Account Management across EMEA and North America.

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