Enjoy the replay from our Daily Deal Builder training webinar where we discuss a recap of 2013 for the daily deal, coupon, and Ecommerce industries.
I believe one of the greatest ways we can advance our businesses is by learning from past successes and failures, both internally and externally…
Internally (within your company), what actions were exectured this year that brought you the most revenue? Most interaction, shares, and social media influence? What actions did your company take that caused you the most headaches and wasted the most amount of time / resources?
What about externally? Have you closely followed your competitors to see what they were up to?
It’s important each year to create a SWOT analysis for your company that looks back on your actions of the past year, as well as one that looks forward to the upcoming year. Making a SWOT is one of those things I did while attending college, but never fully understood the value until I created one for my company.
What internal strengths and weaknesses do you, your employees, and your organization as a whole have?
What are the external opportunities and threats that exist within your industry?
Being aware of weaknesses and threats will help you formulate a solution to overcome them.
Let’s take a peek at some of things that happened with eCommerce, daily deals, and the coupon industries over 2013.
There were winners, losers, movers, and shakers; and common ingredients exists with each of them.
Some of the common traits of the winners…
Deal, coupon, and e-commerce sites that saw continued growth in 2013 implemented value added services to their services and offerings. To keep growth and engagement, you must offer more than a daily deal to both your subscribers and merchants.
Offering your subscribers advice, recipes, local event information, community events, etc. within email bodies can keep folks excited to open up your emails.
Likewise, the merchants you work with are unique, and custom value added services are a surefire way to give them a better, customized service. An added benefit is that these value-adds can also increase your revenue and value proposition.
Not every business you work with may benefit from running a daily deal with your company, however, they may see benefits by running a free coupon promotion. They might need to update their corporate website, or create mobile apps, photography and video services, SEO help, social media help, etc.
Most of our Daily Deal Builder clients are smaller, more geographically specific and can rely on their deepened connection with the local community to differentiate from Groupon, Living Social, Amazon, and the other Ecommerce giants.
Who doesn’t appreciate buying local, supporting local, and saving local?
Mobility & Innovation
Winners in 2013 capitalized on the increase in smartphone and tablet internet users. People use, browse, and shop on their smartphones and tablets more than ever and 2013 showed us that those who put a major emphasis into building out and investing in their mobile applications, html5 apps, or native apps yielded better responses from their subscribers.
I highly encourage you to build a mobile app for your site. It’s about to be 2014 for goodness sake. Let us help or at least hire your own team to do so. An HTML5 app will cost you about $3,000 and native apps would cost you about $5,000 each. 2014 is only going to see an increased need for you to go mobile.
Keeping Costs Low
E-commerce changes every day. New technologies have helped level the playing field with traditional retailers. Improvements to shopping cart software have created a quicker, and more customer-friendly shopping experience. Expenses and costs are one of the primary reasons why a business will not succeed. No matter how much funding you have backing up your company, if you do not carefully watch your expenses and focus on cutting costs, you may be in for some trouble.
Live chat and social media has enhanced e-commerce customer service, and when done properly can help customer support costs lower. Using existing data and analytics could be an opportunity for e-commerce companies to better understand customer preferences without spending an arm and a leg gathering their own data. Social media sites offer free or low-cost promotions and getting in front of your target audience has never been easier.
Ecommerce vendors benefit from a structural advantage; we have lower operational costs than a brick and mortar store. The winners of 2013 invested heavily into new technologies and mobility, while maintaining very low costs.
Ease of Use
The easier it is for your customers to buy from you, the more buyers you should have. I believe ease of use is one of the biggest reasons why Amazon has continued to dominate. 1-click purchases and recommended products make the site an absolute pleasure to shop at.
User Generated Recommendations
For years, I have preached that user generated recommendations are the most powerful form of advertising that any company can use. This was a big one for most of the winners of 2013. They made it as easy as humanly possible to share their website and deals with friends and colleagues. Those who ran contests and actually incentivized users to share yielded even better results.
Some of the common traits of the losers…
Customer Support Failures
In this day and age where a customer can simply visit a Facebook page and immediately give instant feedback, staying on top of customer support is a must. I’ve watched multiple companies go through extensive customer support and social media PR nightmares. When one of your customers gets upset and has trouble with your support department, they most likely will not be a customer anymore. In fact, there is a rather good chance they will work against your business and tell others to NOT do business with you. User generated defamation can shut a business down or stain a reputation.
Just as mobility and innovation was one of the reasons why the winners of 2013 kept growing, it is one of the reasons why many businesses stopped growing or declined. As more and more people search and shop from their smart phones and tablets, the need for you to “go mobile” continues to increase.
Security and Fraud
Some people are still reluctant to use their credit cards online. Maintaining the highest level of security and keeping your websites live online is super important. In November, Living Social’s website went down for 2 days and loss of revenue happened as a result.
Low barriers to Entry
Low barriers to entry are a constant threat in the daily deal, coupon, and e-commerce spaces. It’s easy to set up an e-commerce business, even in a garage. People can sell items via Facebook or eBay without setting up their own websites. Low barriers to entry are a vital reason why staying innovative is important.
Many major moves happened in 2013 and I’m predicting 2014 to follow a similar path…
Make moves today,
Marc D. Horne
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