Why eCommerce Website Managers Need to Be Marketers First and Foremost

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Posted by Alexandra

To some of you I may be stating the obvious, but to others I may sound like a heretic. The role of a website manager is undoubtedly a multi-faceted one, however I am here to convince you that the most important skills a website manager should have are marketing skills.

1. You Don’t Employ a Builder to Run Your High Street Store

Your Store

Any Store Manager needs to have an understanding of the store they are running. They need to appreciate the risks of a break-in or flooding in the stock room and the consequences of those risks. They need to know which contractors to use to mitigate against those risks. They do not need to be re-plastering walls, installing security systems and changing locks. It is exactly the same with your web store.

You will most definitely, 100%, need a Web Developer who is ready and able to carry out all of the essential maintenance on your website. However, they should not be making all of the decisions on the running of your online store. Otherwise you will end up with near permanent “scaffolding around your store” as they are committed to making the store the best that it can be in the future, at the expense of the present.

2. They Need to Understand Your Customers

Whether your web development is managed in-house or by an external agency there needs to be one Marketing person who can make decisions and prioritise workload based on what is best for your customer. As with any store there will always be things that can be improved on an eCommerce website. A Website Manager needs to prioritise what will have the biggest impact on your bottom line, which is by really knowing what your customers want and will respond to best.

3. They Need to Think Outside Your Domain

Driving traffic to a web store requires a combination of in-bound and out-bound digital marketing. Unlike high-street stores, the likelihood of passer-by traffic is low so the person running your eCommerce website needs to appreciate the most effective ways of driving people to first visit and second buy from your website. In an ultra-competitive market place such as the world of eCommerce this is not an easy task.

4. There Are 36.52 Million Online Users In The UK

millions of users

The Global Web Index 2014 Q1 UK Market Report estimates the UK online population of 16–64 year olds to be 36.52 million. Of those 76% make purchases online. That is a rather big potential audience. Whatever your product there is a massive opportunity to reach and convert your target customers online. Who are you going to trust to help you reach them, the builder or the marketing expert?

o2 Example

This blog post was actually inspired by my experience of buying a new mobile phone a couple of weeks ago. Now, this is not an uncommon activity in the UK with 3.5 million people aged 16-64 having bought a mobile phone online in Q3&4 of 2013 and a further 5.6 million people having researched a mobile phone purchase online before transacting offline.

I was searching at around 11pm on a weekday evening for the exact phone I wanted, something like, “sim free lg g2”. I looked through the organic search results but they were basically all pushing phones on a contract, not sim free, which begs the question that Joe recently asked “how relevant is Google?” but that is another matter. So I turned to the paid search results. In the top 3 ads was the o2 website, so through I clicked. Only to be presented with a “Sorry our site is down for maintenance” message. Three big problems here that a marketing focused Website Manager would hopefully have covered:

  1. PPC is running whilst the website is down for maintenance which means wasted media spend, bad user experience and potentially damage to the AdWords account quality score
  2. There was no incentive to return to the site later. In a World of online shopping, I want it now and there are plenty of other places I can find it now. I won’t come back if you don’t give me a reason to wait
  3. There was absolutely no attempt to convert me in another way. No Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter to find out when we are back up and running

So, have I convinced you? Marketing know-how should be the top priority. I hope so, for the sake of all those online consumers desperate to find and buy your awesome products.

At ThoughtShift we practice what we preach. You can see the results we have achieved for a range of eCommerce clients by adopting a marketing led approach to SEO, PPC and Social Media on our digital marketing case studies page. It is digital marketing after all.

Follow my contributions to the blog to find out more about retail and eCommerce digital marketing, or sign up to the ThoughtShift Guest List, our monthly email, to keep up-to-date on all our blogposts, guides and events.

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