Rick Watson is the VP Operations for Merchantry, an Amazon Webstore Solution Provider. Merchantry provides a cloud-based marketplace platform that empowers retailers to launch and expand their own online marketplaces.
As an eCommerce retailer, you juggle all sorts of challenges each day:
- Complaining customers (where’s my stuff?)
- Escalating competition (where did they come from?)
- Lack of website activity (not enough traffic!)
- Performance challenges (too much traffic!)
Retailing has never been an easy business. Couple that with the pace of technology change and it has never been harder to be a top-tier eCommerce retailer.
But when you entered the business, it all seemed so easy; set up a store, load your products and start shipping. What happened?
Here are three reasons your current retail strategy might be stuck in neutral:
1. Your competition manages technology better than you.
That new social sharing widget on your site is not likely to be the one thing that makes or break your business, so while it’s a good thing to implement, keep looking at how to constantly improve your online offering. The battle is won over the long term and whoever can roll out the most interesting and useful enhancements (those that customers actually value) can keep them returning. This requires the integration of technology into your long-term strategic plan.
2. You’ve lost sight of your goals.
Lost in the shuffle of running your business is your raison d’être: why are you here? What are your business goals? Have you strayed from your mission?
Try this simple test: Look at the things you have personally done in the last two weeks, and all of the enhancements you have made to your business in the last six months. Do these directly support your business goals or not?
If they don’t, this could be a clue as to why you are moving sideways—customers may not perceive you are true to your own mission.
3. You need more expertise in key positions.
Sometimes the problem is not technology or processes, it’s people—a topic not often addressed when talking with eCommerce retailers about their key impediments. While smart but inexperienced people are energetic, they often don’t know what’s possible and can spin their wheels in the wrong direction.
A single experienced eCommerce hire can change the entire complexion of your business and make all your investments more efficient.
Ultimately, getting your eCommerce business back in gear can require taking a step back and looking at the larger questions—including the role of technology in your company, your long-term business goals, and the people that are entrusted with the company’s direction. By pulling yourself out of the day-to-day mechanics of your business, however briefly, you can tackle the larger challenges and set your business up for long-term success.