All companies want to grow their business, win more customers, sell more products and earn more money. Easy to say but hard to deliver on. For an ecommerce manager this involves many activities to grow traffic, improve retention and ensure conversion to just mention a few.
In this race for more business it is easy to just try to do everything at once, taking shortcuts like dumping prices and having your nose too much into the KPI’s feeling stressed. To run an online store it is a lot about monitoring your data and turning the right knobs. But many times it is tempting to expand your traffic with increased spend and your conversion with lower prices.
What you need is a structured approach to drive growth in a controlled way - without giving your money away. A good way to achieve this structure is to define your activities and actions as campaigns - an organized course of action to achieve a goal.
Organize your activities in a campaign plan
In your campaign plan you need to organize your activities and define the following criterias:
- Why - what is the target? What is the reason for this activity?
- Who - who is the target audience or customer type?
- When - start- and end date, time of day, duration
- ...products to include and why?
- ...discount to apply? (if any)
- ...criteria to meet to get the discount?
Most importantly - setting up a campaign is not about defining a random percentage discount to a bunch of products no customer wants to buy. It needs to be deliberate, strategic and provide a salesdrive to your store that generates more sales and preferably a better margin mix than you would have made without the campaign.
- Be careful to add campaigns without conditions - do not just hand out discounts for free! Ask something of your customer first to give them the discount.
- Don’t hand out discounts for all. Know your customers and target them with relevant campaigns.
Here are some examples of campaign types that you might use:
- Strategic campaign – target is to increase average order value and retention. Cross-sales and condition based discounts, generally not bound by time.
- Sales/activation campaign - target is to activate customers with engaging discounts on for instance hero products.
- Clearance campaign – target to drastically reduce stock on slow moving products, overstocked items or products that will not be replenished.
- Product launch – target is to orchestrate a coordinated launch of products and content or to merchandize/highlight specific products without price reduction.
Managing the phases of a campaign
When all strategies are in place and you need to go to work, managing all the phases of a campaign might be challenging.
Plan > Coordinate > Execute > Follow up
Planning and coordination goes hand in hand. The first steps of planning; deciding what campaigns to run and why are already covered, so let's focus on the coordination.
To launch a campaign you need to prepare a lot of things:
- Marketing material, graphics etc.
- Define what products should be part of the campaign
- New price lists for the campaign items or configuration rules your ecommerce discount setup
- If the products are new make sure that product content is done
- Configure campaign settings and rules in your ecommerce platform
- If your team is large this could mean that multiple people or departments need to collaborate or if it is you as a one person team you still need to make sure that all content is in place.
- Test and verify that you have the right content and that all discounts are correctly set up
The execution or launch of the campaign might be fairly simple or very complex if you need to orchestrate multiple markets, time zones, channels and touchpoints. Either you might want everything to start at the same time in all channels and markets? Or would you like the campaign to be exclusive for certain channels or markets? Or perhaps coordinate to specific time zones or release the campaign with different discounts or content step-wise?
When the campaign is launched it is time to just sit back and relax. NO! ;-) This is when you would start tracking the transactions generated, do you meet the target set? Depending on what type of campaign you have decided to launch you might need to turn the knobs a bit to optimize. Example on Sell-through: If the target is to clear your stock for a certain SKU, make sure sales do not go to slow (lower prices or improve merchandizing), to fast (increase prices). The idea is to reach your target with the best possible margin.
When the campaign is done and ended you and the stakeholders around you are eager to see what the campaign rendered. Have you been active in tracking the progress during the execution of your campaign, the result should not come as a surprise. However to compile all the relevant data from the campaign execution may require some work; clicks, views, number of sold items, number of orders, total sales, average order value, total margin and average order margin. All that you can learn from your just executed campaign are vital knowledge as input to improve your next.