How to Do E-Commerce Audits and Custom Development for Publicly Traded Companies
For the past ten years, Optimum7 has consulted with many companies like Intel, Dr. Pepper, and Dior Latin America. For publicly traded companies, their e-commerce operations are not their primary concern. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are looking into building their operation to allow for digital sales, such as using Amazon as a platform. These are corporation-sized consumer brands, some of which are electronic, and want to go beyond established retailers.
They want to build their own experiences with their own customers because they’re brands. Before the Internet, they used a series of retailers and partners to be able to distribute the products. This is changing pretty quickly now, based on the requests that Optimum7 has received.
eCommerce Solutions For Publicly Traded Companies and Going 100% Digital
When it comes to doing an audit for an e-commerce site, what are some of the challenges that you see when we work with these types of clients?
There are three top issues when dealing with these enterprise-level publicly traded companies. One, the decision and approval process is extremely slow. Many decision-makers need to agree before the company implements a change. Consider how managers answer to CEOs, CEOs to a board of directors, and the board to investors. Optimum7 needs to convince everyone on these tiers.
Two, these brands focus on their persona and branding. Excess branding guidelines limit marketing firms from implementing conversion optimization and elements that are going to increase revenue.
Number three is cannibalized sales. You have additional revenue streams with other retailers but could earn a higher margin if you focused on your brand and on your e-commerce store.
Brands partner with different retailers, like Best Buy and Amazon and Walmart. On their website product pages, they’re sending traffic away to these retailers, and then they ask, “Why do we have such low conversions?” The answer doesn’t always seem obvious.
How To Conduct An eCommerce Website Audit
When Optimum 7 conducts an audit or custom development for a publicly traded or an enterprise e-commerce business, we look at these things. We look at conversions, average order volume, lifetime value, and nurture. We also look at the relationships and value you provide.
Consider Amazon and Amazon Prime. They have an overabundance of value. Starting with free shipping for products, Amazon Prime now offers digital content in exchange for a subscription, original media, and services for creators. They make themselves irreplaceable for ebooks, music and digital downloads.
What is that relationship that you are building with your own audience as an enterprise e-commerce company that might be earning several billions dollars in revenue? How are you establishing that relationship through the value proposition that you’re offering? Why should somebody buy it from your brand website rather than go to Amazon or Walmart? You need to answer those questions.
We also look at the technical details and conversion. There has to be a balance between looking at the conversion rates and design. Firms want eCommerce stores that earn revenue and match their guidelines at the same time.
Another challenge is convincing a big company’s decision makers to go with your strategy. They are cost-efficient and don’t want to spend money unless you can show them an ROI.
How do we address that challenge?
When presenting to a C-level executive, show them a strategy that is backed by data. Assemble a forecast of ROI from any changes that you’re going to be implementing with relevant dates. Project what they can expect moving forward from any type of proposed optimizations.
Let’s say the Optimum marketers conduct an audit on an enterprise e-commerce site. They propose waived implements, “Add To Cart, and an Advanced Search and Filter with Algolia, limited links to retailers, and nurture in the backend via email and SMS.” When making their case, they have to define primary and secondary conversions. The backend nurture needs to earn more reorders and revenue from sting customers. You can implement these priorities on ninety-five percent of the enterprise e-commerce sites out there.
If the marketers determine proposed elements, build a strategy around this along with UI/UX elements for me to improve conversions for a specific site, and provide the cost, they can present an expected conversion increase within a designated time period.
Consider this scenario. If you are earning a hundred million dollars and a team can push your conversions by five percent, you’re making 105 million dollars over a 12-month period and 210 million over a 24 month period.
If our marketers can show C-level executives a specific certainty, they will go for the proposal. Usually, they are not speaking to the CEO or the CFO or the VP of Sales. Instead, they meet with directors and managers in those companies. The managers need to go and ask for that budget.
Using Platforms To Improve The User Experience
Talk to us about platforms.
Most of these companies use enterprise platforms or licensed platforms. Some of these are Episerver, a Hybris SAP. You might be looking at Magento Enterprise or Sitecore.
What is the challenge with enterprise solutions?
Clunkiness sabotages their performance. Companies have been on these platforms for a very long time. Adding functionalities slows down their site and clutters the backend. With too many people messing with it, the developers can’t clear up the details. The code is also not always in a centralized location that’s easily accessible. Unless you’re the original developer, it’s very difficult for another one to review the code and understand the intentions.
When an executive buys an enterprise solution, they believe one platform has the magic game-changer. In e-commerce, however, there is no such thing as the best platform. The right choice depends on your requirements. If you need ample customization and product pages that are custom, use an enterprise solution.
What if you don’t have customized products?
Explore a few options like Shopify Plus or BigCommerce Enterprise. We actually recommend exploring either because these platforms are more robust. They can move a lot faster, and respond faster to your requirements and your needs. It won’t be a licensed platform that is just waiting to be upgraded for a hundred thousand dollars.
The winning strategy for enterprise e-commerce systems and publicly traded companies should always return on the investment and show certainty. Big brands don’t want to share their online revenue with Amazon, Walmart, and their retailers anymore. They need to build that relationship with your customers during the ordering or checkout process. You have built it from a product standpoint.
Nike is one great example about creating brand loyalty. They combine hiring celebrities in different sports and stylized shoes to appeal to many demographics; sneakerheads are the most profitable because they seek out different Nike models regardless of price. Some even jokingly mention their only regular expenses are mortgages and Nike sneakers.
Apple is another example. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built loyalty around their products, including the Mac and the iPhone. Then their successors enhanced the retail and the digital experience. Go to apple.com and you will never buy their products from another website. They reward your loyalty with a good digital experience.
Any closing thoughts?
If you’re a publicly traded e-commerce company, you most likely have not even reviewed your eCommerce funnel, checkout funnel, or conversion optimization rates in years. Since everything is going digital, requesting an audit right now is the best thing to do. Find out where you can improve and provide an optimal, user-friendly experience.
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