Saturday, May 28, 2011

Common eCommerce questions I've been asked

The other day I quickly posted that I was mentioned as one of seven UK eCommerce consultants to know in the UK by directorsof.com .... So I took time out this evening to consider what it actually means to be an eCommerce consultant and I’ve put together a few questions and answers based on things I’ve been asked in the past:

1. It’s all about technology isn’t it?
No. Sure without the technology you wouldn’t have the platform to transact online (e.g. the web), but don’t be fooled into thinking that the IT part of it is the most critical part.

2. So what is about then?
It is all about selling to the customer and making money. The 4 P’s of retail still apply when selling online: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion…

3. Why are some retailers in the same market so good at it compared to others?
This is a more tricky one to explain, but simply put… they have the right support (management) & culture (drive, learning, etc.), plus have made some great choices in hiring the right staff and picked the best tools & techniques to use along the way.

4. What’s the biggest mistake online retailers make?
I was recently at a presentation by Paul Coby, the CIO of John Lewis. His quote of “if you outsource your brain, you outsource your wallet” really struck a chord with me. It reminded me of the times when I’ve seen clients depend too much on the advice of external consultants or agencies and not have even a decent understanding of what they are buying and implementing. This is so very relevant in the fast-changing world of eCommerce, where its incredibly easy to buy the latest and greatest in the race to stay ahead of the competition.
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