Insights

How to Ramp Up Fast and Go Digital

Fast fashion, high street clothing giant Primark recently made the news, as from March-June, their sales have plummeted from £650m per month to absolutely nothing. Due to the Coronavirus lockdown, the retailer was forced to close all 189 UK stores, and as they have no ecommerce presence, they could no longer trade. And Primark’s situation is far from unique.

Thousands of businesses all over the world have been at a standstill, as their sole method of trading is through their brick-and-mortar store. There may never have been a more compelling case for multichannel retailing.

Many businesses will now consider setting up an ecommerce store as a business-critical priority. For those businesses who want to ramp up fast and go digital, we’ve shared 6 top tips for how to hit the ground running.

1. Know your business

The first tip is to begin your journey with a thorough understanding of your business, from as broad as the long-term strategy, right down to the nitty-gritty, day-to-day processes. This may seem like an obvious necessity for implementing a digital transformation project, but many businesses fall into the trap of being underprepared, particularly if they are under time pressure.

Some key areas to flesh out are:

  • What are your overall goals and expectations for a new ecommerce store? What purpose will it serve?
  • Who are your customers and what will their expectations be?
  • How many SKUs (products) do you have?
  • What is your average order volume and how is stock managed?
  • What other systems do you use, and what are these used for?
  • What kind of online presence, or other marketing activities, do you already have in place?

2. Assemble a good team

The people involved in the build of your ecommerce store will be key to the success of the project. Ensuring that you have a dedicated project lead or ecommerce manager will mean that the process is as efficient and smooth as possible.

In terms of surrounding yourself with a good external team, we would recommend selecting a reliable ecommerce agency and that the chemistry between your teams feels right. As well as building your website, they can act as your trusted advisors throughout the process and help coordinate any other third parties involved.

We value honesty, transparency and integrity as the key at the core of our partnerships.

3. Choose the right tools

When it comes to building an online store, it goes without saying that all businesses should be opting for a purpose built ecommerce platform, as this is by far the quickest and most cost effective way to becoming fully equipped. There are a few to choose from, each with their own unique offering. Our advice would be to consider what you want out of your website in the long term and how a platform will help you achieve this.

Magento is the obvious choice for businesses of any size, as it offers a highly flexible, feature-rich and scalable solution. It’s also possible to get up and running with Magento Commerce in under a month with C3’s Quick Start package.

4. Set realistic priorities

At an early stage, it is important to identify what is a necessity and what isn’t, then prioritise accordingly. Once you have identified these areas, we recommend a phased approach for a speedy website launch:

  • Phase 1 would involve the core functionality and branding as a minimum to get the site live and operational;
  • Phase 2 builds upon the already functioning site, introducing the more complex or custom functionality as well as tracking, reporting and third party integrations;
  • Phase 3 fine tunes the design and draws upon data collected since the launch, honing the user experience. This phase will blend into the ongoing support and development of the ecommerce site.

Our key piece of advice here is to be as realistic as possible about what can be achieved in each phase. Whilst it’s possible to get online and start selling products in a matter of weeks, building a truly successful ecommerce business is a marathon, not a sprint.

5. Rally your existing client base

For those who want to launch a site which thrives from day one, involving your existing customers will be essential.

Before launch, we would recommend spreading the word amongst your client base informally to begin with, through word of mouth. It may also be appropriate to ask your most loyal customers to take part in some final testing and feedback; not only will this provide you with invaluable insight, but also encourage engagement with your new platform.

Around the launch, reach out to your customers directly to invite them to the site or communicate the new launch through existing channels. An impactful way of driving traffic and converting sales on a new site is to run a ‘welcome’ campaign, with promotional codes and exclusive offers for first time visitors.

6. Report, analyse and adapt

Perhaps the most important point on this list is to ensure that your website, which you have spent weeks building, continues to flourish. Dedication to keeping your finger on the pulse, through continuous monitoring and development, will set you apart from the competition.

Using third party services such as Google Analytics, Hotjar, VWO and Lead Forensics will allow you to analyse user behaviour on your website and adapt your site to fit the ever changing needs of your customers. Making full use of this data – aside from a dedicated team and the right platform – will have the biggest impact upon your long term success.

Get started

Whether you have plans to enter a new marketplace, or to add a new online store to your sales channels, C3 can help you achieve your goals at an accelerated pace.

C3 Quick Start, in partnership with Magento, is a fast-track ecommerce package that will get you up and running with a cutting-edge online store, complete with all the core ecommerce functionality you need to start your journey. Start quick. Start smart. Get online.

 

About the author

Eloise Webb

Eloise is a Digital Account Executive at C3. When Eloise isn't spreading positive vibes in the C3 office, she's dancing at a gig or trawling Spotify for new music.