Being a highly dynamic and fast-paced industry, ecommerce is subject to several changes. In fact, the changes in ecommerce are much more complex and quicker than in many other industries.
Change presents a challenging environment for startups, especially in terms of stability. And ecommerce startups operate at a bleeding edge of innovation, making it more challenging for them to accommodate change.
So, regardless of how prepared an ecommerce founder is, change will happen and uncertainty will show up. Hence, it’s critical to understand how to go about change management.
What Is Change Management?
Change management is a structured process of ensuring that uncertainty, shifts or change are dealt with smoothly and thoroughly, thereby leveraging it to achieve long-term benefits.
In ecommerce, it could be a consumer demand change that involves a shift in your audience’s behavior and needs. It could also be a marketplace impact, such as changes in seller performance standards or pricing requirements.
Not being prepared for such changes mean low rankings or listing suppression. Further, it could also result in inefficiencies and loss of reputation and business.
As an ecommerce business owner, here’s how you can go about change management to safeguard your venture and steer it on the right path to success.
Communicate Your Vision
Change happens with a purpose. It could be a merger with a bigger brand, meeting a specific audience need, or staying on top of an industry trend. Regardless of the nature of the change, your employees deserve to know why it is happening and how managing it will take the team closer to the business goals.
Make sure you share with them why things are changing and the expected end results. Sharing the bigger picture will help your team to easily grasp the need for the change, encouraging them to work towards embracing it.
Further, involve those team members who will be the most impacted by the change. They are aware of the processes and can help you identify the roadblocks and find solutions to issues they anticipate.
Ideally, you should include people representing the customer to help test initiatives before going live with the change.
Count on a Central Operating System
Managing change in ecommerce operations means juggling multiple sales channels, apps and fulfillment centers. This may not be an easy undertaking for ecommerce startups.
Instead of logging into different seller accounts, it’s wise to find an operating system that brings all these processes together. A few ecommerce platforms like BigCommerce and Shopify offer several integrations.
Automate Repetitive Tasks
In ecommerce, most error-prone tasks are repetitive. For instance, new product listings change and tasks like entering item details, creating catchy names, and finding a suitable product category are time-consuming and often involve errors.
Automated solutions can help you overcome such issues and simplify tasks like listing, inventory management, and more.
Such solutions can eliminate redundant work, thereby allowing you to manage these error-prone tasks with ease.
Assess Your Current Workflow
Take time out to evaluate your existing workflows. Assess everything, from how you manage your listings to the process of preparing items for delivery.
Note the inefficiencies in the system and work on improving your productivity.
For instance, most businesses assign a brand manager per sales channel. They expect that the manager will become a channel expert and manage it well. However, the danger with this approach is that it causes the manager to work in silos, causing varying promotion schedules and inconsistent listings.
Similarly, you may find that the communication channels with your third-party logistics partners or tech partners are weak. Make sure your team maintains regular communication with them to get notified early about a change.
Invest in a Change Management Tool
Change management solutions are getting increasingly critical in this era of digital transformation as they help firms to thrive and transition smoothly through a change. These tools can be deployed to reduce confusion and uncertainty and support open communication about the impact of change through the organization.
Count on them to plan, map, manage, track and report organizational changes that result from change management initiatives, projects, customer dynamics, or personnel changes. They guide and foster goal completion using customized desktop notifications and interactive walk-throughs that increase visibility and insight into behavior.
Remember not to get too comfortable with or confident about any one channel. Constantly aim at diversifying your assets and understanding the nuances of the marketplaces. A/B test all your strategies for increasing conversions, maximizing margins and growing your average order value.
Ask questions like,
- Did your firm achieve the results first anticipated?
- Are your customers happy with the change?
- Has your firm’s efficiency improved or worsened?
The answers to such questions will help you measure the impact of change.
Change management isn’t easy for the ecommerce industry because change is quite frequent and disruptive. However, preparing yourself and your team for the changes using suitable tools and the tips shared above will help you mitigate its negative effects. Building an effective change management strategy for your ecommerce startup will set your business up for success.
Tim Ferguson is a writer and editor of Marketing Digest