30 key success factors for ecommerce retail

If you want to do e-commerce, my first piece of advice is to NOT do it, unless you have resolved a clear, unique value proposition. Just like in the ‘real’ world, a retail business stands and falls by its ‘proposition’. The worst possible reason to take on this channel is because everyone else is doing it.

But if you are going to do it, address this list of key success factors:

A: Be findable

1.       SEO & Search

2.       Build an database

3.       PPC optimization

4.       Remarketing

5.       Social Media

B : Be shoppable

6.       Accessibility

7.       Check-out process

8.       Design

9.       Good Images

10.   M-Commerce

11.   Navigation

12.   Page load time

13.   Payment options

14.   Option to save product for later

15.   Stocks availability

16.   Unique detailed descriptions

17.   User Experience (UX)

18.   Security

19.   Shipping

C: Be relatable

20.   Customer service

21.   Reviews

22.   Online Chat

23.   Personalization

24.   Quality Content

25.   Regular Updates

D: Be knowledgeable

26.   Analytics

27.   Pricing

28.   Personalization

That is only 28 tips, but the opening paragraph counts double. It is the most important piece of advice I can possibly give you. Adding a new channel is not the same as opening another store. Different business, different customer behaviours, different marketing different pricing and a different supply chain – in short: different in almost every way. The twenty eight Key Success Factors listed above is meant to convey the list of activities that will be required to successfully operate an online store. To get an idea of how different online shopping from a desktop is to online shopping on a mobile phone, read this article from McKinsey.

Should you do it? Of course!

The essence of retail is about selling what people want to buy, when and where they want to buy. And if online is where customer are, then you should be there to. (The reverse applies too as can be seen from online-only start-ups entering the bricks and mortar channel.) But customers flow seamlessly between different channels and one of the toughest challenges to address is integrating the experience seamlessly – not the least of which is the challenge of price harmonisation across channels.

In the final analysis, the observant reader will note that the essence of successful retail is still the same, no matter which channel applies: develop a compelling, different proposition and then be findable, shoppable, relatable and knowledgeable. It is just that the execution is radically different and should not be underestimated.


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