Couple weeks back I had made the announcement of joining a company to re-engineer their ecommerce efforts to drive better results from web sales.
Today I finally had the chance to get an inside look at the company’s website performance.
The company is currently outsourcing internet marketing activities to a firm based overseas. At first glance, it doesn’t appear like an effective relationship. There are no key performance indicators by which we track the firm’s efforts and progress. Rest assured, I will be looking at this in more detail. I certainly hope it wasn’t a hand shake deal or one which involves some “back door kick-backs”.
The company has 7 FTE (full time employees) in the ecommerce department, including a department Director. I will definitely be looking into what each one of these individuals is doing, what their capabilities are, what we can continue to do in house and what we should be outsourcing. Basically, is there a more efficient way of utilizing our resources? Are there capabilities we can develop in house? Should we?
A basic glance at the back-end code of the website showed poor search engine optimization (SEO) which explains the sub-par organic search rankings. It does not appear that the website is as optimized as it could be. I will definitely be conducting an extensive keyword research around our niche to put together a core set of keywords to be targeted.
There are thousands of items (SKUs – Shelf Units), some we own and some that we have on drop ship arrangement (the item owner ships it to the customer directly when we make the sale). I will definitely be conducting profitability analysis to ensure we are expending resources as effectively as we can.
I don’t think anyone is evaluating this right now. Further, I suspect that our accounting systems are not tracking segmented sales as accurately and therefore we are spending a lot of time and resources on the back-end reconciling website activity. I will be looking into streamlining this operation.
• Alexa: 90,000 range
• Google Page Rank: 4 (scale of 0 to 10)
• Company Revenues: $900 Million +
• Web Sales Revenues: < $1 Million per month (.0008 of company revenues or .08%)
• Visitors: 400k per month
These players partly play in our market as well. These numbers give a very good idea of our untapped potential.
BestBuy.com – web portal does $3 billion in annual sales
CircuitCity.com – even after shutting down all its stores, the online portal still does close to $1 billion in annual sales. The portal is currently owned by Systemax.
I plan on tackling these tasks in the coming months. I will continue to post any modifications as I make them.
• Organically optimize webpages
• Strategically supplement with paid advertising (example: pay per click marketing)
• Implement conversion tracking analytics
• Implement newsletter function (implement this in stores as well as online)
• Launch company Blog (generate buzz, pull in investor liquidity, gauge market pulse, customer needs)
• Better align direct mail marketing efforts with online efforts
• Implement social networking (Facebook Fan Page, Twitter) for discounts and specials
If you are heading your company’s ecommerce efforts or simply interested in conducting retail business online, you must do the following up front:
• Take stock or inventory of “what is”. In other words, know what you have vs. what you don’t
• Identify inefficiencies and ineffectiveness immediately and stop them – Basically stop executing tasks that are leading to problems or unknowns
• Determine what your objectives are
• Determine what your budget is
• Determine how to best utilize your budget to meet objectives
Any general advice for me? What to do? What not to? Given the facts, where is this heading (or has the potential to) in your opinion?