Ecommerce numbers got you down?

Your fantasy of becoming the next Jeff Bezos is not working out. But you may be more successful than you've given yourself credit for when it comes to digital.

Your fantasy of becoming the next Jeff Bezos is not working out. But you may be more successful than you've given yourself credit for when it comes to digital.

Don't get me wrong; your customers may find your digital offering terrible.  But you have to start somewhere; just grow your ability to implement digital strategies over time.

I've noticed tactical leaders with solid operational expertise do well in the B2B space.  After all, boiling down complex problems into manageable chunks with clear solutions is an art form in its own right.  But there is a drawback to reducing the "clutter" of digital reporting to the sales column.

Abandoning e-commerce and firing the poor souls you straddled with your digital projects because you can't see the bigger picture is dumb.

You didn't get to where you are by being a dummy, so you might want to focus some of that brainpower on understanding how digital impacts your business. Adding smart, experienced e-commerce people to your team helps too.

In the old days, you'd print a catalog.  Hell, maybe you still do. Then you'd send out that catalog to your salespeople, customers and anyone who'd take it.  

You didn't wake up every day and check your "catalog" sales.  Unless you are a student of John Caples and his timeless book Tested Advertising Methods.  In which case, kudos.

You looked at your daily sales across your company—inside sales, branches, outside account managers, and so on.  You made decisions about your business based on overall sales and demand projections.  

You instinctively knew your catalog and printed materials were a part of the customer journey.  But you don't see digital in the same light.  You boil all e-commerce success down to what passes through your shopping cart. That's a rookie mistake.

The million dollar print button

I worked with a distributor where e-commerce sales were low, especially for a company their size.  The leadership team was only looking at what went through the shopping cart.

I can't blame them though, the conversion rate was depressing. Very, very painful. Especially for the rotating group of leaders whose stays at said distributor were cut short due to e-commerce performance.  

We heard a rumor customers were adding items to their cart, printing the list, and working directly with the sales team or bringing the printout into the warehouse/branch.  

By adding a snippet of code to the print button using Google Analytics, the team gained visibility into how customers interacted with the page.  When a customer pushed the print button, we collected everything in their cart.

The first month, well over a million dollars in sales was attributed to the digital channel.  Even though the customer didn't complete their purchase online, they used the Web as a catalog.  It was an important step in their purchasing journey.

Look beyond the cart

Your team is already collecting the correct data, but you're probably missing opportunities because you don't put enough weight on customer engagement.  

Most CRM's and marketing automation tools can measure customer engagement.  With a bit of creativity, you can even leverage Google Analytics to see how individual customers interact with your digital channels.  

In our brave new world, measuring online interactions is more effortless than ever before.  But the complexity of turning digital data into actionable intel can still leave smart people scratching their heads.  

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Learn the language of digital. Follow your customers' lead as they interact with your business—leverage digital to peer into their buying journey.

Then give digital the proper credit or lack thereof.

Sign up below for notifications on my upcoming series on how B2B suppliers can use customer engagement data to grow their business.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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