In ecommerce many stores adopt a “traffic,” “product,” “website” (TPW) mentality when setting up their online stores. But falling into this trap can often end up hurting your business before it ever has a chance.
Instead of TPW, I propose the following general approach as a starting point to turn an ecommerce store around: “website,” “product,” “traffic” or WPT. Notice that in my approach I target traffic last.
First you have to refine the look of the website, then the presentation of the product, and then you drive the traffic.
The website is one of the main factors that will ultimately help the customer determine if they are going to buy your product or not, it’s not the product itself (this is especially true in competitive markets). Without the key elements that help the customer, it doesn’t matter what you sell, you’re going to have a hard time selling it.
After attention to the website is complete, the product focus comes next and this is because without a product you have nothing to market and no target to market to. You must understand how your customers use your product, how they interact with it, where they frequent, and what competitors also sell the same or similar product before you can accurately target them for marketing. A complete understanding of your product from all angles will help you speak to potential customers in your advertising, resulting in more qualified traffic, higher sales, and less expense.
The last focus in my approach is traffic. I never focus on traffic until all other elements are in place first—providing me the best opportunity at gaining the highest return on my advertising dollar (the investment needed to drive traffic to the site).
At this point, with all other elements present, driving traffic makes sense. With the website in “conversion ready” form, I now provide myself with the best opportunity at winning sales from my advertising efforts. Prior to this it wouldn’t have mattered if I drove “qualified” traffic to the site, the likelihood of it resulting in a sale was slim.
Yes, it takes more than just a few tweaks to really turn a business around, but starting with the right approach is often what is needed to jumpstart the process.