Plan to measure your results
One benefit of e-commerce is the ability to measure many metrics. I find it interesting that although the option to measure many things is there, for very low cost, many people do not take the time to do this. They get focused on social media posts or websites and they lose sight of learning from the results.
When I talk to producers and processors, one challenge they have is they find it difficult to measure the impact of promotions and other sales and marketing initiatives in bricks and mortar. They ship the product to the retailer then they really do not know what generates the sales. With e-commerce you really can measure the effectiveness of your initiatives.
Just the same as selling in bricks and mortar, success is not just about making great products to sell, it is about selling the great products you make. To help you do this we have designed a new SKUFood C.A.R.T. process specifically for e-commerce. We have been learning a lot about this channel and invested the time to develop our proven process for this channel.
You can maximize the opportunity when you put the resources and effort into selling your products in a different channel. In the second segment of our C.A.R.T. process for e-commerce we ask the question ‘How will you measure your results?’
There are many things to measure, maybe too many
It is important to select a few metrics and measure them. You can always add more if you find the capacity and benefit to measuring others. If you plan to measure too many and complete very few the opportunity is lost.
Your own e-commerce
Website traffic is very important. Believe it or not, they will not all buy so you will need to see many visitors to your website. This is an easy metric to measure and really the starting point for understanding your e-commerce business.
E-commerce orders are the next important consideration. You can measure your orders or orders fulfilled by a third party. When you know the number of orders, you can divide them by your website visitors to calculate a conversion rate. Understanding your conversion rate is very important. 5% can be a good starting point. If 100 people visit your website, 5 will buy. If you forecast 500 e-commerce orders then you will need to drive 10,000 visitors to your website.
Some e-commerce platforms allow you to measure your abandoned carts. These are the visitors to click all the way through to buy but then leave the merchandise in the virtual shopping cart without paying. They invest all of the time and effort to the point of purchase but then for some reason they do not buy. Understanding why can be very helpful to your e-commerce business. Often it is shipping costs and the final price that is the deterrent.
Returns can impact the profit you generate in e-commerce. If consumers are not happy and they want to return the product you should understand how often this is happening and why.
E-commerce is not free. It can appear to be less costly than selling in the retail channel but you do need to factor in all of the costs.
Similar to your own website, you can measure traffic to your page in online marketplaces. These are the people who have followed links or found you while searching on the marketplace.
You can also measure your orders and conversion rate.
Most online marketplaces have options for you to do promotions. These can be things like coupons or temporary price reductions. When you implement these promotions you can measure the sales you generate.
You can measure the size of your online communities such as followers on Instagram or Facebook. You can also measure the size and growth of your own proprietary email list.
The size of the lists or communities are important but the interaction you generate is what will lead to building relationships and sales.
Promotions on social media can lead to sales and they are inexpensive, relative to mass media. You should measure the return on the investment you make when you do pay to promote online.
Focus on forecasting and measuring key metrics for your products
Once you consider all of the options, determine what you will measure. Set targets and compare your results to the targets you set. Constantly adapt your strategy based on the results you achieve.
If you have any questions or help figuring out how to get your product online or in the virtual shopping cart you can always call me at (902) 489-2900 or send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are adding more industry updates and interesting ideas to your SKUFood newsletter. Hopefully you have heard me say this before and that it resonated with you in your business.
“Success in this industry is not just about making a great product to sell; it is about selling the great products you make”
If you see things happening let us know so we can share them with our community. We also want to hear if you find this helpful and benefits your food and beverage business!
FCC creating peer groups for food manufacturers
It is very exciting to be working on two peer groups with FCC. All of the information about the groups is included here. If you are interested in either one of the peer groups just use the link at the bottom of the page.
Walmart implementing more technology at distribution centers
Walmart announced they will be implementing new technology in 25/42 regional distribution centers in the U.S. The technology allows them to pick orders that are assembled based on store aisles. This will be much more efficient at store level and a win with employees at stores.