How to Roadmap Your eCommerce Business with Tech
Crafting an effective roadmap for your e-commerce seller business is a key ingredient on your journey to success. Without it, you are doing the equivalent of driving around in the middle of the night with a dead phone battery and no GPS. It’s a surefire way to get lost and take the long way around to your destination.
If you don’t know where you are going, you can’t identify the best way to get there. That makes it hard to set the clear goals and priorities that will help you develop and scale your business. Instead, you may get caught up with busywork, doing your best to get through your growing to-do list and end up working in your business instead of on it.
That’s something we want to avoid at all cost.
The right bits of tech can help you create a sustainable roadmap to success. So, instead of spending too much time on the tasks that scream the loudest, you can focus on the key areas that support your long-term vision.
Creating your e-commerce roadmap
Creating an e-commerce seller business roadmap is similar to creating a traditional roadmap but it does have a few unique twists.
Clearly define your objectives
Take the time to define your objectives and get as specific as you can. Ask yourself some key questions and record the answers!
- Do you want to sell on a single channel like Amazon and make use of the Amazon Exclusives perks?
- Do you want to sell on multiple channels?
- Do you want to build your own channel? If so, do you have a marketing plan in place?
- Do you want to eventually expand your business abroad?
- Would you like to keep your business relatively small or scale it? If you want to scale it, how large would you like to grow?
Some sellers that first start selling products through marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Jet haven’t defined their objectives or thought about expanding across multiple channels. This is a mistake. While marketplaces provide a great starting point, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in the same basket.
Accounts get suspended. Channels go down. And, eventually, you may want to compete on more than just price point and begin developing your own unique brand.
If you do want to build your own channel, it’s a good idea to craft your company mission statement early on. You can begin incorporating its principles through all your ventures and leverage it through social media. You can never start building brand awareness too early.
Assess your strengths, weaknesses and opportunities
The SWOT analysis is an integral part of business planning. You can successfully adapt key elements of it to craft your own roadmap.
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses helps you grow your e-commerce business more successfully. Identify key growth opportunities, areas where your business performs well, and where you can improve. Then, implement.
Integrating technology into your roadmap
Using tech to support your road map at various points of your seller journey is key to growing your business. While it is possible to succeed without integrating technology into your process, it’s like baking croissants without an oven. Sure, it’s possible, but why would you do it?
1. Optimizing your processes
Use tech integrations to help you optimize product listings and order fulfillments.
For people to buy your product, they need to find it. And, they need to find it before they stumble on enticing offerings from your competitors. You can help the process by optimizing your product listings. A tool like Scope can help you find the right long-tail keywords to rank for on Amazon.
Once you’ve set up a process for optimizing listings, you need a way to fulfill those orders successfully. Ideally, you can set up the various steps so they follow a series of if/then rules that keep the e-commerce machine running smoothly.
You can fulfill orders by renting your own warehouse or by partnering up with a third party. With the right tech and the right partner, you can automate your order fulfillment process from start to finish. This will improve your customer experience and save you a lot of headaches.
2. Inventory management
Effective inventory management is a crucial part of running a successful e-commerce business. Without inventory, your business can’t work. That’s what makes it a key competitive advantage.
To provide a high-quality customer experience, you need to keep the items they want in stock. But, to minimize risk and grow your business, you want to keep track of the popular items and phase out the unpopular ones.
Using a software solution like Skubana can take your inventory management to the next level. You can use our powerful analytics to keep track of which products are performing well and set up automated re-ordering when key stock drops below a certain level. And, you can also set alerts and check-ins to make sure you aren’t ordering too many of the less popular items.
This type of integration will help you maximize your inventory potential and provide a high-quality service.
3. Connecting with your customer
One of the main reasons for Amazon’s incredible success is its ability to generate repeat business. Everything on the platform is optimized for it.
Prime provides quick, convenient shipping. The free shipping option for orders over $25 offers quality service for orders of reasonable size. The customers who viewed this item also viewed and customers also shopped for sections are all engineered to make buying from Amazon more appealing.
Combine this with easy returns, an incredibly large selection of items and Amazon’s own A-Z guarantee and you’ve got a safe buying experience from anywhere with an internet connection. It’s easy to write off Amazon’s success and put it down the fact that they are Amazon.
But, it wasn’t always that way. You can pick out the elements that work and use tech to make them a part of your own roadmap.
If you build your own selling channel, you can use Facebook tracking pixels to show Facebook ads of relevant items to people who have visited your site. Or, you can use your CRM to create targeted nurturing campaigns. And, you can use a social media dashboard to engage with customers through various social media channels.
While using marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Rakuten makes it easier to get a foothold in e-commerce, building your own channel allows you to compete against the bigger players on things like customer service and user experience.
Developing your roadmap over time
You don’t have to have all the answers right now. Your business is going to grow and develop over time and it will all become clearer. The key to a successful road map isn’t complete clarity. Instead, you need to schedule a time to go over it on a semi-regular basis so that you can make sure you are still on track to achieve all your goals.
Using tech to enhance your day to day process is crucial for creating a sustainable business.
Crucial Vacuum and Skubana Founder Chad Rubin grew his e-commerce business to an 8-figure business in 7 years. He is a Top 250 Amazon Seller, and co-founded Skubana as an all-in-one ERP system and operations platform designed for high volume sellers to run and automate their business. It integrates with most e-commerce marketplaces, 3PLs, and warehouses, provides profitability and multi-channel inventory management, and compiles all of your marketplaces on a single convenient dashboard. Learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up here.
Follow Chad on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram @ecommrenegade or connect with Linkedin.com/in/ecommercerenegade.
Maria is an SEO Content Specialist at Seller Labs. Once captured by digital and content marketing in her student days, she keeps living and breathing it ever since.