May 28, 2015

Is Your Brand Hitting the Mark?


Hostway Team

Seeing how your business compares with today's industry benchmarks is a beneficial way to gauge where your brand stands in the market.The e-commerce industry always changing. Emerging technology, shifting customer demands and habits all make it difficult for brands to keep up. So how do you ensure you're addressing current needs and maintaining a favorable position in the marketplace?

What benchmarks can you use to compare your business with today's industry leaders? Let's examine the top gauges in e-commerce and gain insights on best practices and advantageous strategies:

Are customers able to help themselves?
Is your brand targeting the right kind of consumer? While some shoppers may appreciate the ability to reach out to the brand and receive assistance every step of their journey, others might be more independent. Your brand should be sure it offers self-service for this latter type of customer.

According to 17th Annual Mystery Shopping Study from E-Tailing Group, 83 percent of today's top 100 retailers have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page on their site. In addition, 77 percent of those polled list the hours of operation for their brick-and-mortar locations. Small Business Trends contributor Rieva Lesonsky noted that this basic information should be included on every retailer's website.

Is the shopping cart easy to use?
A brand's shopping cart is heart of its e-commerce platform. Retailers should ensure that theirs allows for easy use and order editing, and that it includes all the information a customer will need before they finalize their purchase. For instance, shoppers should be able to see shipping costs, taxes and any other important details before they complete the transaction.

E-Tailing Group's study found that the vast majority of retailers — 98 percent — also enable the shopping cart to auto-populate with pertinent details from a customer's profile. Fifty percent have taken this one step further with one-click checkout, offering an even more streamlined buying experience.

It's also important to ensure that the shopping cart will perform optimally on any platform. Currently, 82 percent of top brands utilize a universal shopping cart that can be used on any device; this represents a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

Can top customers be identified?
It's also imperative that the brand be able to recognize and address the needs of its top customers. Top customers are defined by RJMetrics as meeting the following criteria:

  • They spend five times more per order: Overall, 90 percent of customers will spend $54 on each order, with the top 10 percent spending $163 per order, three times more than the average shopper.
  • They make four times more purchases: This is imperative, as 43 percent of a brand's revenue will come from repeat customers. Some companies make as much as 75 percent of their profits from loyal consumers.
  • They spend 30 times more over the course of their lifetime: Using a specific set of calculations, brands can ascertain the customer lifetime value. The top 1 percent of consumers spend 30 times more over this period than the average client.

Knowing who your top customers are can help you ensure that you're not only identifying these individuals internally, but that the brand is rewarding them for their patronage as well.

"Every month, pull a list of your top 1 percent of customers and do something special for them," suggested Janessa Lantz, Bigcommerce Blog contributor. "Write a note, send a gift, invite them to a special event. Try showing some love to your big spenders and just see what happens."

Does the brand have adequate online presence?
In addition to addressing the needs of loyal customers, your brand should also have the capacity to attract new clients. In the e-commerce industry in particular, much of these efforts will hinge upon a robust online presence that ensures your brand is where your customers are. A streamlined responsive website is imperative, as is social media interaction.

To find out more about the importance of online presence, contact the experts at Hostway today.

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