Brand Execs, Don’t Get Distracted by Every Shiny New Tech Toy
Running an e-commerce business can feel like constantly having to play catchup. Every month, there seems to be a shiny new tech solution that retailers and brands absolutely have to invest in if they want to remain competitive. Whether it’s the latest logistics software or the buzziest artificial intelligence tool, for retail startups and small businesses, the risk of missing out on a hot new tech trend can feel overwhelming.
However, to best position themselves for future growth and ensure their tech investments are generating real return on investment, brand decision makers should put aside the FOMO and think like an outside consultant would. Only by looking at their business through an outsider’s lens can leaders best identify what systems are working well and what the problem areas are — and then choose the solutions that make the most sense for them. Sometimes, that might mean downtrading rather than investing in additional tech, cutting unnecessary platform features, unifying several existing solutions, or even outsourcing some tasks to reduce costs, increase efficiency and scale more quickly.
Also, although it’s tempting to be distracted by new solutions targeting each aspect of an e-commerce business, brands are better served by focusing their tech investments on the three pillars that matter both today and in the long run — fulfillment, growth marketing, and selling channels.
3 Key Areas Retail Decision Makers Should Focus On
Here’s how to address these three areas, which are key to thriving in the current e-commerce environment and increasing customer lifetime value (LTV):
1. Optimize fulfillment to build loyalty and convert one-time buyers into lifetime customers.
Consumers have become accustomed to near-instant gratification when shopping, so delivering orders on time, efficiently and reliably is nonnegotiable today. A 2022 survey by delivery platform FarEye found that 85 percent of online shoppers won’t shop with a retailer again following a poor delivery experience. That means getting the last mile right is key to LTV. But shipping and fulfillment costs can rapidly eat into profitability, not only with deliveries but also with product returns, which customers also expect to be seamless (and often free).
To make sure they’re delivering an excellent customer experience without overspending, brand leaders should think like consultants, ensure their shipping and fulfillment logistics are digitally driven, and compare shipping providers and costs of services. They should keep in mind that the optimal solution may not always be the least expensive one, or even a single solution at all. It should be the best one for each product, which may mean the brand needs to use a combination of shipping providers. In every case, the best solution will be the one that enables the company to operate efficiently at scale without sacrificing quality service for its end customers.
2. Develop a data-driven growth marketing strategy.
To get the highest ROI on their ad spend and tie promotions to inventory and fulfillment, brands have to execute a disciplined and data-driven growth marketing strategy. Growth marketing combines digital strategies such as content marketing, search engine optimization, email and video marketing, user experience (UX) analysis, and more into a single, holistic, full-funnel strategy, and creating an effective one requires data tracking and analytics. Revenue, acquisition and customer metrics including conversion, LTV, engagement, retention and churn rate can all help reveal the stumbles in a brand’s customer journey and highlight areas for improvement. For example, if site traffic is high but conversion is low, a brand’s UX likely needs more attention than its ad buys.
When launching its new product line, beauty company bareMinerals wanted to increase its presence on social media and drive e-commerce sales. The brand partnered with a growth marketing solutions specialist to build a multichannel strategy that successfully engaged consumers on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. The strategy ultimately resulted in a 17 percent increase in customer time spent on the bareMinerals website, a 25 percent increase in the brand’s share of voice, and a 25 percent decrease in its cost per click (CPC).
3. Optimize each selling channel.
While it’s tempting to invest — or invest more — in selling on Amazon.com, Walmart and other major online marketplaces, there are so many other selling channels where brands need to be present that it can be challenging to know how to invest in and manage them all. Optimizing sales, marketing, merchandising, services, logistics and more for multiple channels is complex and costly. Rather than deal with these complexities in-house and potentially leave profits on the table, brands are often better served by partnering with a technology provider that can manage all of these selling channels through one unified hub.
Adidas used this strategy to improve conversion and customer satisfaction, while optimizing its ads, CPC and ROI. By partnering with a marketing solutions provider, Adidas was able to boost its online presence and easily review the cost and revenue of every product across all selling channels to ensure its most profitable products appeared first in shopping feeds.
By looking at their e-commerce businesses just like an outside consultant would and focusing on three key areas, brands can set themselves up for success no matter what the latest retail tech fads are. Trendy solutions come and go, but creating and executing sound fulfillment, growth marketing, and channel strategies will help brands grow today and future-proof their businesses for tomorrow.
Tony Puccetti is chief delivery officer at Cart.com, the leading provider of comprehensive commerce solutions that enable merchants and enterprises to sell and fulfill everywhere.
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Tony Puccetti is chief delivery officer at Cart.com, the leading provider of comprehensive commerce solutions that enable merchants and enterprises to sell and fulfill everywhere. A 25-year ecommerce veteran, he was most recently COO of e-commerce consulting firm Blue Acorn ICI and has held various executive-level roles at both multichannel brands and e-commerce service providers.