Inspired by a comment at a recent workshop, I thought I might apply my 5E’s of marketing into an eCommerce framework. eCommerce is a difficult business. The dirty little secret is that most eCommerce sites are not profitable, especially if one were to apply all the true (and hidden) costs. Beyond having a great product to sell, in my opinion, there are three keys to creating a sustainably profitable eCommerce site for a brand:
- Niche positioning and/or perceptible added value
- Optimized operations
- Critical mass
5E’s applied to eCommerce
Once the above have been achieved or identified, one can layer in the 5E’s to make a great 5eCommerce site:
- engagement. Find ways to engage your customer base. This can take the form of a personalized email. Otherwise, does the site provide solid education around the product or service? Is there evidence of employee commitment?
- exchange. Create a seamless and painless way to interact with customer service. Can customers converse with the brand and/or each other? A strict minimum is to provide opportunities for the customer to provide feedback. Is social media embedded throughout the site?
- emotion. Does your eCommerce site create a good feeling? Does it have positive surprises? Does it invite exploration? If appropriate, is humor or entertainment provided?
- experience. If eCommerce is designed for transactions, the experience at the checkout must be flawless, simple and transparent. Meanwhile, are there other areas of the site that provided an authentic branded experience? Does the site take advantage of the virtual tools to create a unique experience for customers that have opted in?
- essence. The last and probably the most challenging: to the extent the brand stands for something, how does your brand message resonate throughout the site? Does the eCommerce site go beyond the transactional nature, to satisfy a higher cause? Is real estate allocated on the site for more meaningful discussion or sharing of values?
What do you think of the 5eCommerce concept as a way to gauge an eCommerce site?