The sonic growth of e-commerce had to slow eventually, and it seems that eventually is just about here. Now that online shopping has become mainstream, merchants are less likely to see the triple-digit year-over-year Web growth rates they enjoyed earlier in the dot-com revolution.
But you need to take care that slow growth doesn’t turn into no growth. Lauren Freedman, president of Chicago-based consultancy the E-tailing Group, advises merchants not to continue to improve the customer experience based on analytics. Her checklist for attaining “measured growth”:
1) Differentiate yourself by coordinating and consistently delivering your brand strategy across channels.
2) Continually evaluate the performance of merchandising tactics and deploy the most appropriate merchandising features and functionality to drive conversion.
3) Make the product page the number-one priority, from intuitive navigation to complete product information/tools to suggestive-selling tactics.
4) Optimize the entire shopping process with emphasis on keeping it simple and minimizing shopping-cart abandonment.
5) Refine the placement and relevance of cross-sells while simultaneously evaluating upsell execution.
6) Focus on retaining current customers through segmentation and personalization.
7) Integrate across channels for customer convenience and operational efficiency (such as in-store pickup/returns).
8) Analyze the frequency of page/feature changes to keep your site fresh without overextending resources.
9) Monitor and improve your use of e-mail by consistently tweaking content, creative, targeting, and frequency of distribution.
10) Apply testing and analytics to assess all aspects of your site and e-mails.
For more of Freedman’s take on e-commerce trends, see ”Conversion, Carts, and Coupons.”