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How can I grow my ecommerce business by 10x?
To achieve 10x eCommerce growth, combine your efforts in 5 areas of the organization: site/app eCommerce product, Sales Team, organic traffic, after sales service, sourcing/listing team and digital marketing & public relations. I will break down activities to be performed by these 5 groups into 5Ps, product, place, price, promotion and people.
- Increase Selection: Increase number of vendors, sellers and products (# of skus) (Catalog and Purchase teams). Sustain the activity with monthly targets. Keep doubling the #Skus every 6 months.
- Increase ease of assembly, if your product needs assembly before making it a ready to use finished product. Create clear instruction videos on assembly. Post it on your youtube channel and link the videos to your website product description pages and make the videos seo friendly. SEO activity with your videos will allow you to increase your geographic reach.
- Stick to the USP (unique selling proposition) of your organization: In our organization it is international quality at unbeatable prices. Compare with competition and price the products competitively in every price range. Make sure you are #1 compared to competition in quality and price in dominating categories (owner: Purchasing team with help from technology team. Tech team has to scrape prices from competition sites periodically.)
- Create engaging video content and images for every product in your catalog. Request video product content from vendors. (owner: Creative Team)
- List new products before they arrive in your warehouse by asking vendors to provide quality images and videos ahead of time. This will allow you to start selling as soon as inventory is available for sale. (Purchasing and Listing teams).
- Create and increase the number of house brands not just your organisation brand.
- Use A/B testing and multivariate testing to continue building the best eCommerce site/app in the industry with the best in industry conversion%.
- Post high definition images and videos of products to mimic the touch and feel of a store visit on the site/app, without degrading site performance because of image size. Use webp image format for improved load times of the site.
- Use data science and ai to understand and predict customer preferences and showcase customised list of products for individual customers on homepage and category pages. You can also use platforms such as moengage for predicting customer preferences.
Geographical Reach (Place)
- Increase the number of cities and zip codes you serve to every city. SEO and content creation activity has to be performed for all cities. Cost effectively promote your brand at all places you serve.
- Constantly reduce fulfilment (delivery + assembly) turn around times (TAT) across all geographies. Surprise the customer by fulfilling before promise. This will increase your Net Promoter Score (NPS) and your repeat purchases. Follow 6 sigma for process improvements in fulfilment. (Logistics)
- Create a network of 3PL logistics partners for fulfilment. (Logistics).
- Be consistent across all geographies you serve in marketing and coupon promotions. (leadership decision)
- Increase price competitiveness in every price range in your dominating categories across competition. (marketing team, leadership decision)
- Increase the lowest price items across all categories E.g., sell 1$ clocks, add foam mattresses in the mattress section or whatever it is you sell, you can add lowest price items to that category.
- Make the price range broader than competition and institute $999 pricing. Do not round your price to $100 or $1000.
- Free Activities (well almost, you still have to pay salaries/fees):
- Perform Public Relations (PR) activities to boost brand. Put yourself infront of conferences or present your organisation’s expertise. There are some good PR agencies who can help.
- Multiply seo activity. For all the search keywords where your brand is appearing in the second/third page, bring the site to the first page in search results. Work on high, medium and long tail keywords with a plan.
- Create pillar pages for each of your categories. To solve for both visitors and seo, create targeted clusters of relevant, in-depth content. These targeted clusters should connect to a centralized hub, known as a pillar page.
- Multiply off page activity such as blogs and content in other sites with high domain authority linking them to your website.
- Create engaging high definition customer video testimonials, frequently, in natural customer settings. Make the creative team responsible and monitor.
- Engage customers across their entire lifecycle: Help more customers discover the quality and value of your products, faster. Engage customers while onboarding, retaining and growing revenue through email, Whatsapp, sms and intelligent campaigns on the site. Use tools such as moengage.com or gamooga.com. Engage customers on your app/site based on user behaviour, such as throwing a coupon, when someone is exiting the app after coming to payment gateway page etc.
- Influencer marketing: Arrange engaging video and blog content by highly popular vloggers/bloggers and influencers.
- Create and increase live commerce through social media video streaming. Promote the live-stream event ahead of time.
- Increase % of orders from repeat purchases by focusing on after-sales service and increasing Net Promoter Score (NPS). Constantly measure NPS.
- Paid Marketing
- Use google, criteo or other tools to retargeting customers who visited the site.
- Optimize ad spend for search keywords with an eye on long tail keywords, misspelled keywords and the like.
- Optimize smart shopping campaigns.
- Initiate and optimize campaigns in pinterest, instagram and Facebook.
- Focus on pay per transaction (affiliate marketing) for acquisitions. If your products are top notch, customers will come directly to your app for repeat purchases.
- Create a marketing event calendar to bring in sales discounts during limited windows to create buzz and boost sales.
- Work with banks, debit, credit card companies to create special discounts to partner’s credit card holders.
- Aggressively create and promote referral and new registration rewards programs.
- Reduce paid traffic to less than 10% of your ovall traffic, before increasing your paid marketing budgets. Constantly monitor and tune percentage of paid traffic to overall traffic.
- Identify your target customer segment and target all your strategies focused on that segment.
- Quality of eCommerce engineering, Ux and product manager teams are measured by one metric: improvement in conversion%. Continuously improve conversion% and productivity (agile sprint velocity) of product teams. Product teams must continuously improve conversion% of leads and conversion% of transactions. Institute A/B testing. Measure individual contribution based on their contributions to improvements in conversion% over sufficiently long periods.
- Quality of people (personnel) at every customer/prospect touch point has to be best in your eCommerce industry. Incentives of employees in sales and after-sales activities has to be perfectly aligned with goals of the organization. Measure conversion % and revenue contribution by each individual for the sales team. If your goal is to increase overall revenue, don’t make the incentives aligned only to eCommerce revenue. Reward individual contribution, not just group goals and replace laggards.
- For service teams measure % of orders fulfilled before TAT and reward contribution. Improve the NPS and increase % of repeat purchases.
- Because it costs to generate leads, leaving leads unattended is a crime. Increase or decrease sales people based on this fact alone. Every lead has to be attended to. In some industries, sales people are not required but for products such as furniture which needs high tough, sales people are essential for growth.
- Continuously increase productivity of sales team with technology (crm, live video calls with customers ..)
- Use internal and external teams for seo activities.
Now you have the plan. Modify this plan to suit your industry and size of your organization. Break your plans for 10x eCommerce growth into 5Ps (People, Place, Price, Promotion and People). Get to action. Execution of the plan is more important than the plan, you put together. Let me know, how it went.
Ramu Kallepalli is CTO of ROYALOAK, India’s largest home goods omni-channel retailer. He grew eCommerce revenue by 4x year over year. He was co-founder and CEO of travel eCommerce company TRAVELSPICE.com. You can find more about him at ramukallepalli.com.