Pillars work together to provide support and the success of your ecommerce depends on these three pillars:
Pillar 1 – Web Properties – Until a few years ago, a good web site alone would have done nicely to conduct an ecommerce operation, but no more. The splintering of the web means some customers may never find your site unless you maintain properties in all the places they congregate. Properties can include a Facebook page, YouTube channel, Twitter account, etc..
Depending on your markets and how you serve them, you may need to expand each property too, potentially including landing pages for your site, product- or community-specific Twitter accounts or community-focused sites.
Pillar 2 – Traffic – The coolest, most expensive web properties mean nothing to ecommerce if no one visits. Again, until a few years ago, a relatively modest investment in a proper Search Engine Marketing campaign, with SEO and PPC at its foundation, would put you ahead of your competition and into the face of your customers at the very moment they sought out a product like yours, making it easy for them to beat a path to your portal.
With many surfers now logging on and off the internet without ever leaving the confines of Facebook; with a video site being the second largest search engine and with competition in every corner, corralling your customers is a lot more demanding of your resources – and creativity. (Stay tuned to future posts as we discuss how to find and attract customers in an increasingly fractured online marketplace.)
But the greatest of these is…
Strong as can be, the first two pillars could not support your ecommerce without the third.
Yet, if the first two Pillars were weak, a well-built Pillar 3 could still help make your online business a success.
Pillar 3 – Conversion – The idea that there is a direct correlation between numbers of visitors and sales – in other words, a 10% increase in traffic will result in a 10% increase in sales – comes from brick and mortar commerce. But even there, on the street, it’s a seriously flawed concept and it’s more flawed on the web.
First, if increasing traffic was the main way to increase sales, one day you will need the entire world’s population to walk through your store or visit your site to keep increasing sales – and who knows how you’ll increase sales the day after that.
Second, a brick and mortar store holds its traffic captive, at least for a moment, and so has more opportunity to capture the sale. Your web visitor is as skittish as a squirrel and the moment they whiff the wrong scent, they’re gone, perhaps forever.
If you used any significant effort to build your web properties and attract potential customers, you owe it to yourself and your investment to make an even stronger effort to keep them there and turn them into paying customers.
Web properties and traffic are half the battle, but conversion optimization should be where you place most of your weapons.