Organization is a key component of any business. When it comes to an ecommerce website, the need for outstanding structure is paramount both operationally and visually throughout your online store.
Ecommerce often moves at an extraordinary rate. This means as a business owner, it can become difficult to stay on top of the essentials. Here are some tips to help you achieve maximum productivity, so you can focus on customer satisfaction and your wider business strategy.
1. Analyze your biggest time sinks
Do you find yourself wasting time on tasks that don't drive your business forward? Creating a visual aid can help you better manage your schedule.
A table like this one can help split out your tasks:
There’s room for improvement in this example, but you can decide what activities are sapping your precious time and choose to outsource or ditch them altogether.
Need a helping hand?
This interactive timesaving calculator from Answer-4u displays the results of extensive research into lost business time and money. If you aren’t sure where all your time is going, this will certainly give you a few hints!
Estimate your own time management costs in USD or GBP here!
2. Streamline your order fulfillment
Optimized logistics are fundamental to customer satisfaction in any ecommerce store. Without happy customers your business won't prosper; you'll receive one-time buys at most, not the essential repeat customers required for growth.
Identify flaws in your processes and decide what eats the most time. Is it the packaging process, or does shipping scheduling and tracking wear you out?
It’s not just your customers who suffer: if your packing and shipping process is convoluted, the strain will be very noticeable on your end as well.
For smaller businesses, there are some great packaging suppliers out there to keep costs at a minimum. If you run a larger operation, take the stress out of shipping by forging relationships with key fulfillment providers.
3. Use CRM software to manage and reward your customers
To become customer-centric you must ensure you look after your repeat buyers by using CRM (customer relationship management) software.
This allows you to classify your customers, segmenting them by characteristics such as how many orders they have placed, the nature of their orders and whether they have subscribed to your email newsletter or ever called you.
The sheer power of CRM rings true when you're able to send dedicated emails to 1,000 customers, each with unique content and products that relate to their buying habits and history with the company. Clever, huh?
There are many CRM providers for smaller businesses including Zoho (free), Insightly and Salesforce. Some are more costly than others, so be sure to conduct some research before selecting one for your particular requirements.
4. Hire a company to take your incoming phone calls
Sales calls, customer enquiries, recruitment agencies…these are all costly time sinks.
You might be shocked if you were to dissect the amount of time you and your staff spend on the phone each working day. When weighing the costs of either hiring permanent staff or depending on a reputable telephone answering service, it becomes clear that outsourcing may be the way to go for many businesses.
Consider this example:
5x staff members taking 45 calls each per day
Avg. salary = $26,000
Estimated annual cost = $130,000
Outsourcing to a call center (same rate of calls)
Estimated annual cost = $18,200
Comparing the two total figures provides a solid case for hiring an external company to take your calls.
5. Outsource your online marketing
Sometimes it’s better to leave things to the experts. This definitely applies to digital marketing.
Your products won’t sell themselves. If you want your ecommerce website to be seen by as many people as possible, digital marketing is crucial. With good digital marketing, you'll also see yourself ranking higher on Google's search results pages.
Although there are some fantastic websites to help you stay on top of all things digital, there are simply too many facets to attempt to master solo. A much safer bet is to explore digital agencies who have published great, helpful content for themselves and their clientele, before comparing and contrasting. Volusion actually has its own digital marketing program for clients. Check it out!
Sam is Head of Search at Midas Media. Aside from Digital Marketing, he loves a good late-night horror movie. Catch him on Twitter @Sam_Hurley.