What should I be looking for from my digital strategy in 2014?

So you’re back in the office and thoughts have turned to making your digital activity better in 2014. You might be asking yourself how did we do, what should we do next and are we working with the right people? Here's what we think you should do..

The questions you want to ask are:

“How did we compare to others in our market?”

There are a number of sources indicating that year-on-year sales increased over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period with good results on Christmas and Boxing Day as well (IBM, E-consultancy, IMRG). John Lewis’s reported online sales growth of 22.6% is very impressive and is a reflection of the investment in online platforms that the business has made in the last few years. The BRC in-conjunction with KPMG also announced that non-food online sales grew by 19.2% over the period, further indicating positive trading across the sector.  Not all online retailers however have done quite as well, with many facing issues rising from heavy discounting, poor site performance due to load speeds and an inability to respond to the changing devices of consumers.

The majority of our clients saw terrific sales increases year on year across December with 37.69% increases in sales turnover supported by a 1.33% increase in average order values. This was all achieved at a time when there is a lot of discounting, making these numbers even more difficult to achieve than normal. We use these metrics to understand how the site is performing in terms of sales and we constantly review them with our clients in order to maximise return on investment.

 “Is my agency actively helping to make my site better or are they sitting back and waiting for me to instruct them?”

If your agency isn’t proactively helping then you need to consider if they are the right partners for you? Unless you are the worlds expert in E-commerce then getting all the support you can has got to be a priority in both the short and long term. Your agency should have lots of great ideas that will help you maximise sales and engagement with your customers today, as well as providing long term strategic support. This support will help drive revenues and potentially make savings across the business. Too often have we been called into a company looking for a solution to their online sales issues after they have implemented a new technology solution. We then find that this technology doesn’t either meet the business needs or integrate with the systems that will give the real sales benefits to a company.

Another question you might be asking is:

“If I’m going to change my strategy what do I do first?”

With so many new techniques and digital tools available it can be difficult to pin down what will really make a difference to the sales of the site. We support clients by first analysing what is working in the business and looking to see if these areas are being maximised. As an example you will have undoubtedly seen an increase in traffic to your site from both mobile and tablet devices.  By benchmarking your site verses sites built in responsive design, we can forecast the growth in engagement and sales if you make the move to a new layout. Of course there are other knock on benefits including easier administration of the site which will also save time and money within the marketing department.

We will then look at where you want to get to and identify the best way to get there. For luxury businesses, customer service is paramount in not only attracting customers but also converting them into sales. Investment in personalisation and real-time response will pay dividends as customers benefit from a similar level of service online as they would receive in a flag-ship high street store.

For more price orientated retailers, the pressure is to convert customers quickly by employing re-marketing techniques and improving the user experience. This understanding will help to inform decisions on how to improve the site for greater conversions in the future.

Finally we look at how the site fits into the overall business model. Digital activity is no longer a “like to have” but a necessity for the majority of businesses and if the business is orientated around it then future growth can be better achieved. Technology can also help to integrate the whole business, delivering nimble workflows to managers even within larger businesses. The ability to see issues coming and respond to them quickly is critical to modern business success and systems such as ERP’s help to both monitor and manage the business via one easy to use interface.

Make 2014 the year of getting ahead by understanding the opportunities as well as the challenges facing your business and why not get in touch with us to discuss your future path?

About the Author

John Williams avatar

John Williams, Sales and Marketing

John was once a client who joined the Gibe team for several years to help us with sales and marketing. He left Gibe to return to the world of freelance marketing and is once again a wonderful client for Gibe.