Guest post: Digital Marketing and Ecommerce for 2015 – Part 1

james bradburyIn part 1 of a 3 part series, James Bradbury of DSN Marketing explores the importance of keeping your accounts in good health. how you can improve your logistics as well as considering the virtues of Amazon Sponsored Products.

Check yourself before you wreck yourself – Account Maintenance
First things first, it’s time to get your house in order. It’s the way of the world that more sales equal more customer service. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though – use customer service as a chance to engage with your customers; turn bad experiences into good ones and always try to work with a policy of ‘brand advocacy’ in mind – you want to turn a disgruntled customer into someone who not only supports your brand, but advertises it and defends it for you.

There’s no magic trick to this, really it’s about listening to the customer, being really friendly and courteous, and then going out of your way to deliver a solution to them that is above and beyond their expectations. You might have to be slightly more generous with your returns policy than you’d ordinarily like to though!

It’s also a really good time of year to dive into your account metrics – how did your accounts stand up to the battering they can take over Christmas? How is your defect rate looking on eBay? What’s your perfect order score on Amazon? Delve into this data and see what improvements you can make from that. Keeping an eye on these metrics, making improvements from them and keeping your accounts in good order will have a positive effect on your search results and will ultimately lead to more sales.

The line between disorder and order lies in logistics – Fulfilment and Logistics
The New Year is a great time to re-evaluate your logistical set up as you plan for another year of trading! As a retailer, the quality of your logistics – everything from transportation and warehousing to delivery and installation – plays a vital role in the success of your company. A smooth-running logistics operation leads to better customer satisfaction, lower costs, and overall higher profitability – among other benefits. Because it’s such a vital part of your business, it’s sometimes hard to consider outsourcing as an option.

Yet, for many retailers, outsourcing provides crucial benefits that allow them to focus their efforts on selling and merchandising, while leaving the logistics in the hands of a company that is dedicated only to this function. The benefits gained by companies that outsource enable them to move ahead of their competitors with lower cost structures, greater flexibility, and stronger customer satisfaction.

When you outsource, your retail logistics can become more efficient because you’re able to leverage the proven processes and expertise of a company whose sole focus is on logistics. Plus, your logistics partner can respond quickly to daily, weekly, and monthly volume demands. With outsourcing you can hold your logistics provider completely accountable for handling your transportation, deliveries, warehousing, installations, and aftermarket support to the standards you set (after all, it’s much easier to replace an outsourced vendor who isn’t performing well than it is to get rid of an entire internal department!).

Sponsor this roundabout – Amazon Sponsored Products (not to be confused with Amazon Product Ads!)
2014 was the year when Amazon took a big Google-esque step into the world of pay-per-click advertising. If you haven’t already, you definitely want to be including Sponsored Ads as part of your plan for selling on Amazon in 2015.

So far, these have proved a great way of increasing page ranking and conversion rates for your Amazon listings. There are still a lot of people not looking at Sponsored Ads (therefore less competition) so for now, prices are good and ROI is even better.

Like all PPC, Sponsored Ads takes a bit of know-how, a bit of practice, and a lot of monitoring. You’ll want to ensure you’re using the right keywords to make sure you get the right traffic to your listings – there’s no point getting someone to your listing who doesn’t want to buy it; it will just end up costing you money! You’ll also need to ensure you get your bidding right; not too much and not too little, with an eye always on conversion rates and costs per conversion.