Six Steps to e-Commerce Channel Readiness for Brands Part 2: Search, Ratings & Reviews, and iMedia
February 20, 2020
Creating an effective e-Commerce strategy is the first step on the road to success in the channel. This blog is part 2 of a 2-part series that explains the six key factors which should be part of your online channel strategy.
In last week’s blog, we introduced the e-Commerce Perfect Store Framework for brands and discussed the first three factors involved in creating your e-commerce channel strategy. Today I want to finish this 2-part blog by discussing the final three parameters: Search, Ratings & Reviews and iMedia.
All six parameters can fit within eStoreMedia’s e-Commerce Perfect Store Framework, which provides product manufacturers with a methodology for success in the fast-growing online channel. The goal of the Framework is to help trusted brands expand their global e-commerce opportunity. It outlines a process, along with associated parameters and metrics to help product manufacturers reduce complexity, identify gaps, prioritize actions, and execute in the online channel.
As online platforms become the retailers of choice, product manufacturers recognize Search as a key performance driver
In the traditional retail world, where bricks and mortar ruled the roost, search results were not on the agenda for key account, brand, or product managers. Distribution and shelf position were considered more important for sales success. Today, as online platforms become the retailers of choice for consumers, product manufacturers recognize Search as one of the key performance drivers in the present retail environment.
When developing an e-commerce strategy, brands now need to include goals, such as ‘number of page one search results’ for key search terms. Search targets need to be ambitious, as according to a 2018 study from CPC Strategy (now Tinuiti) 70 percent of shoppers don’t go beyond the first page of search results to choose the product they buy on Amazon. In fact, according to the survey the vast majority of clicks– up to 64 percent – and therefore sales, are concentrated in the top three Search results. Patterns are similar in many other online retailers.
The simple truth is that to maximize sales in any online retailer, you need your products to appear as close to the top of the search results page as possible, for specific keywords related to your product and category. Maximizing search results is a combination of art and science, but it starts with understanding how the platform’s search engine works and identifying the key search terms shoppers use to find yours and competitive products.
Ratings & Reviews
Consumers have come to rely on Reviews to help narrow the vast choice available on e-commerce sites
Just like Search, Ratings & Reviews, or user-generated content, is another important harbinger of success in the e-commerce world. Consumers have come to rely on Reviews to help narrow the vast choice available online. According to Search Engine Watch 92% of consumers trust peer recommendations.
You might think there is little you can do about Ratings & Reviews other than delivering great products and providing great service. But achieving a star rating that outshines competitors doesn’t happen by chance, it requires significant effort and planning. Some aspects to consider when planning your e-Commerce Strategy include:
- Focus on Ratings & Reviews goals at a product level.
Ratings & Reviews in online stores are about driving product sales, rather than simply acting as an indicator of brand strength; as such, each product needs to perform in its own right.
- Set targets for the number of reviews based on category norms
Categories are not all created equal when it comes to consumer engagement, so set realistic goals based on what makes sense for your target category.
- Understand the star rating results of key competitors and set targets to beat them.
Review-rating scores are about helping consumers choose between like-for-like competitive products, make sure your review score targets provide shoppers with a reason to opt for your products first.
The last of the six key parameters to consider in your e-commerce strategy is advertising. In parallel with transforming retail, e-commerce sites such as Amazon, are also fundamentally changing the advertising world. In recent years, the line between point of sale trade marketing and digital brand building has blurred. In the US Amazon is now the third-largest online advertising platform, after Google and Facebook, and other online retailers are following its example.
The e-commerce channel offers a powerful platform to deliver trade marketing, and build product and brand awareness in parallel, and doing it right is all about having a data-driven strategy to guide the way.
Plan for e-Commerce Growth
e-Commerce is no longer a side-bet for product manufacturers and brands, so it’s time to take online channel readiness seriously, by developing an effective e-commerce strategy. The planning considerations above, and in part 1 of this series, are a starting point for setting goals and targets, which combined with the eCommerce Perfect Store Framework provide the foundation for ongoing online channel sales growth.
The Framework is designed to support brands at different levels of e-commerce maturity and readiness, and it is outlined in depth in two ebooks – The e-Commerce Perfect Store Framework for brands, describes how to design your e-commerce strategy, and the Perfect Store execution playbook How to Succeed in the e-Commerce Channel.