Setting Goals for Success: Defining Your Objectives as an eCommerce Manager in a New Role
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The first few weeks of taking on your new role as an eCommerce manager will be instrumental. This period will ultimately determine how you perform going forward and the kind of outcomes that your daily duties will produce.
While the desire to jump straight into work might be strong, spending this time wisely to set priorities is essential for success.
This is the time to understand the company’s culture, goals, and objectives. Therefore, your priorities will guide you towards achieving these objectives and contribute effectively to the company’s long-term vision-precisely why they hired you.
Without clearly defined priorities, you’ll soon be overwhelmed with the tasks. This can lead to confusion and a lack of direction, negatively impacting your ability to deliver.
This 10-step guide shows you how to define concrete objectives and set yourself up for resounding success.
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Step 1: Establish a Baseline
Establishing a baseline is an essential step for any eCommerce manager, as it can provide a point of comparison for any changes that are made throughout the course of the project. By examining the current performance levels, eCommerce managers can identify potential areas for improvement and develop a plan to drive more traffic, leads, and conversions. Having a baseline in place not only allows eCommerce managers to measure their progress but also helps to ensure they are making the right decisions to drive better performance and reach their goals.
Here are some reasons why it’s critical to establish a baseline:
Data-driven decision-making is vital in eCommerce, and establishing a baseline provides the necessary data to make informed decisions. With a baseline, you can identify trends, patterns, and anomalies, which you can leverage to optimize performance.
Setting the Right Tone
As you collect information to establish the current state of affairs, you will interact with different individuals and teams both within and outside the organization, specifically from the eCommerce angle.
For every interaction you have, you are setting the right tone that will go a long way to define how you work with others. This fosters teamwork and a shared sense of purpose, all essential ingredients you need to excel.
Predict Future Outcomes
The baseline provides historical data that you can use to predict future outcomes and align objectives accordingly.
By tracking trends, patterns, and anomalies over time, you can identify areas of potential growth or challenges that may arise. With this information, you can proactively adjust your strategies and allocate resources to the right places.
For instance, if you notice a consistent increase in website traffic over the past few months, you can predict an upward trend in the coming months.
Based on this prediction, you can set higher conversion goals, plan for more customer service resources, and allocate more budget for digital marketing campaigns to capitalize on the anticipated growth.
On the other hand, if you notice a consistent decrease in customer satisfaction scores, you can predict a negative impact on eCommerce revenue in the coming months.
Based on this, you can focus on improving the customer experience, invest in training for the customer service team, and adjust marketing messaging to address any pain points highlighted by customer feedback.
Understand Your Competitive Edge
The competitive landscape is one of the key pointers from the baseline tour. How, for example, does the current eCommerce operation compare to industry benchmarks and competitors, including the large companies in your space?
For instance, if you notice that your website conversion rates are lower than your competitors, you can analyze their website design, user experience, and marketing strategies to identify areas where you can improve.
Use these steps to establish a crystal clear baseline:
- Conduct an audit of current eCommerce processes to identify areas that need improvement. The audit may cover website design, marketing strategies, customer service, inventory management, and order fulfillment. The goal is to identify areas not meeting expectations and determine how to improve them.
- Meet with team members and stakeholders to better understand their roles and responsibilities. Each team member is supposed to have precise functions that contribute to the success of the eCommerce operation. However, in your audit, it’s possible to find that some roles are unclear and some might overlap. This kind of scenario is a breeding ground for inefficiency; you’ll need to correct it. Too often, resources are wasted on roles that are not clear. It’s also possible that some parts are overwhelming while others are underutilized.
- Analyze past performance metrics and identify trends to inform future strategies. Where metrics show poor performance, dig deeper to find out the root causes. Where the metrics show excellent performance, dig deeper to discover the key drivers and find lessons you can apply in the areas that are not performing well.
Step 2: Define Objectives
Start with short-term goals for the eCommerce team, i.e., those that can be achieved within a relatively short period, typically within three to six months. Short-term goals are important because they provide a quick win while boosting morale and confidence within the team.
Short-term goals can establish momentum and build towards achieving longer-term objectives. They can also help identify and address any obstacles hindering progress toward achieving the larger goals.
Examples of short-term goals for an eCommerce team include increasing website traffic by a certain percentage within the next month, reducing shopping cart abandonment rates by a certain percentage within the next quarter, or improving product descriptions on the website within the next two weeks.
Step 3: Develop a Strategic Plan
A strategic plan is a document that will serve as your roadmap, providing guidance and direction for decision-making and resource allocation. A good strategic plan should be flexible and adaptable, considering changing market conditions and internal factors such as budget and personnel.
Two essential steps are involved in developing a strategic plan in the context of eCommerce: prioritizing initiatives based on impact and feasibility and identifying KPIs to measure success.
How to Prioritize Initiatives in a Strategic Plan
You want to ensure you select the most impactful and feasible initiatives to focus on first. Impact refers to the potential positive effects that an industry could have. The focus is on choosing those likely to result in the most significant benefits.
Given the available resources, time, and other constraints, feasibility is the likelihood of an initiative being implemented successfully time, and other conditions. The focus is on selecting the most realistic and achievable given the organization’s current capabilities and limitations.
Consider factors such as the expected return on investment, the effort required, and the potential risks.
For example, an initiative to increase website traffic by 50% in the next six months may be less feasible than optimizing product descriptions and images to improve conversion rates.
How to Identify the Most Pragmatic KPIs for eCommerce Success
KPIs are measurable values that allow you to track progress toward your objectives and make data-driven decisions to optimize eCommerce operations.
The KPIs you settle on should tie directly to the prioritized initiatives. For example, if the prioritized initiative is to increase sales revenue, the KPIs include total sales revenue, average order value, and conversion rate.
Similarly, if your objective is to improve customer satisfaction, you can identify KPIs such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), customer retention rate, and customer satisfaction surveys.
Try to work with only a few KPIs, as this can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Instead, narrow it down to a manageable number of KPIs that can provide actionable insights.
Here are some methods you can use to prioritize the most impactful KPIs:
Weighted Scoring Model
In this approach, each KPI is assigned a score based on its importance to the business objective, and the scores are weighted based on their relative importance. The weighted scores are then added up to determine the priority of each KPI.
A KPI Tree is a visual tool that organizes and prioritizes KPIs based on their relationship to higher-level objectives. In a KPI Tree, the top level represents the overarching business objective, and the subsequent levels break down the objective into smaller components or sub-objectives.
Each element or sub-objective has associated KPIs that measure progress toward achieving that specific component. For example, the business’s objective is to increase website traffic.
The first level of the KPI Tree is to break down this objective into components such as social media, search engine optimization, and paid advertising. The second level of the tree would break down these components into specific sub-objectives, such as increasing social media engagement or improving organic search rankings.
Finally, each sub-objective would have associated KPIs with measuring progress towards achieving that specific sub-objective. This way, it’s easy to prioritize the most impactful KPIs.
The identified KPIs are plotted on a two-dimensional graph. The x-axis represents the effort required to implement the KPI, and the y-axis represents the potential impact. KPIs that require a low effort but have a high potential impact are plotted in the upper-left quadrant of the graph and are considered high priority.
KPIs that require an increased effort but have a low potential impact are planned in the lower-right quadrant and are regarded as low priority.
The Pareto Principle states that 80% of the results come from 20% of the causes. In other words, 80% of the business impact comes from 20% of the KPIs. Using Pareto Analysis, you can identify the critical KPIs responsible for most of the business impact.
Once you have identified and prioritized your KPIs, you should set targets for each.
Step 4: Evaluate the Current eCommerce Tech Stack
In this step, you want to assess the current technology stack and identify any gaps or opportunities for improvement. Use the following processes for the practical assessment.
Evaluate Current eCommerce Technology and Tools
This evaluation should consider functionality, integration, scalability, security, user experience, cost, performance, analytics, and emerging technologies.
At this stage, your objective is to evaluate their effectiveness, identify gaps and redundancies, and ultimately make informed decisions about which tools to keep, which to replace, and which to invest in going forward.
Additionally, assess the skills and expertise of the team members responsible for maintaining and using these tools to ensure that they fully leverage the capabilities of the technology stack.
Next is to identify areas where technology can improve efficiency and productivity. This could include anything from automating manual processes to improving data analysis capabilities.
Prioritize Technology Based on Impact and Feasibility
Not all technology will be equally impactful or feasible to implement. You should prioritize technology based on the potential impact it will have on achieving the goals of the eCommerce operation and the feasibility of implementation. This prioritization should consider cost, resource availability, and compatibility with existing technology.
You can use the cost-benefit analysis approach, where you evaluate each piece of technology based on its costs and the benefits it can provide. Next, you prioritize the solutions with the highest benefit ratio to cost.
Step 5: Build a High-Performing eCommerce Team
Start by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the current eCommerce team. You can carry out this assessment through interviews, surveys, or performance reviews. Look for skills gaps, communication breakdowns, or inefficient processes.
Based on the assessment, identify specific areas for improvement. This could involve investing in training and development for the team, improving communication and collaboration, or restructuring roles.
If there are skills gaps or other areas where the current team could be improved, consider hiring new team members to fill those gaps.
The most important part of building a high-performing eCommerce team is filling any skills gaps. Hiring the right people with the right expertise can help a team become more efficient and productive. When considering potential candidates for these positions, be sure to look for individuals with experience in SEO, as this will give them the necessary skills to optimize the eCommerce store and maximize its potential success. Additionally, look for individuals who have strong communication and collaboration skills, as these are essential to ensure a productive and successful team.
Ultimately, the right combination of people can make all the difference in building a high-performing eCommerce team.
Step 6: Streamline eCommerce Processes
When we talk about eCommerce processes, we refer to the various tasks and procedures involved in running the eCommerce function. These can include product management, inventory control, order processing, shipping and fulfillment, and customer service.
Streamlining these processes means optimizing them to reduce costs, improve speed and accuracy, and enhance the overall customer experience.
This might involve implementing new technologies, such as automation tools or artificial intelligence, redesigning existing workflows, or retraining staff.
The most critical task in this step is to identify inefficiencies, develop strategies to improve those inefficiencies and implement process improvements to reduce costs and improve customer satisfaction.
Start by conducting a comprehensive review of the end-to-end eCommerce process. This could involve mapping out the entire process and identifying areas where delays, errors, or other issues occur. Alternatively, you could also conduct surveys with customers to determine pain points.
Brainstorm and evaluate potential solutions based on feasibility, impact, and cost-effectiveness. For example, you may identify that the current order fulfillment process needs to be shorter and brainstorm solutions such as implementing a new warehouse management system, hiring more staff, or outsourcing to a third-party logistics provider.
Implement Process Improvements to Reduce Costs and Improve Customer Satisfaction
This may involve implementing new software or tools based on the findings above, hiring additional staff, reorganizing workflows, or outsourcing specific processes. The key is carefully planning the implementation process and ensuring all stakeholders are on board with the changes.
For example, let’s say you have just taken up the role of eCommerce manager at a pet food company. After mapping out the current order fulfillment process, you identify bottlenecks in the packaging and shipping stages, causing delays and resulting in unhappy customers.
You develop strategies such as implementing an automated packaging system and outsourcing shipping to a third-party logistics provider. You then work with the relevant teams to implement these changes then monitor the results.
Step 7: Evaluate How Product Information is Managed
How is the company’s product information being managed, what tools are being used, and what gaps exist? These are the items you will seek to establish in this step.
Specifically, you should evaluate the following:
- Accuracy: Is product information accurate and up-to-date across all sales channels? Are there discrepancies that need to be addressed?
- Consistency: Is product data consistent across all channels? Are different product descriptions or images used for the same product on other channels?
- Efficiency: How efficient is the current process of managing product information? Are there any bottlenecks that can be addressed?
- Scalability: Is the current process scalable as the business grows? Will it handle a larger volume of products and sales channels?
- Integration: How well does the current process integrate with other systems being used by the eCommerce team?
- Distribution: How is the information distributed to various sales channels such as the company website, marketplace platforms, and physical stores, if any?
Equally evaluate how product information is collected from suppliers, how it is entered into the system, and how it is maintained. Also, look at how product data is enriched with additional attributes.
At the end of this exercise, some gaps need urgent attention. For example, you may discover that product data is being managed in different systems, leading to inconsistencies. You may also find that there are quality issues, such as missing or incorrect product information.
If the company is currently not using a PIM platform, you may need to convince them to implement one, such as Catsy PIM, to centralize product information.
Here is a glance at Catsy PIM:
- Centralized library: Stores all product information in one location, simplifying management and updates.
- Data governance: Guarantees that product data is reliable, uniform, and current across all channels.
- Workflow management: Allows for collaborative product information management, making it easier to control the process.
- Channel management: Provides a single view of product data across all channels, allowing for seamless omnichannel experiences.
- Automation: Easily automate routine tasks such as updating and publishing.
- Chanel expansion: Easily add new channels, enter new markets quickly, and reuse content across different channels and markets.
- Integration capabilities: Enables integration with other systems, such as ERPs and CRMs, resulting in streamlined business operations.
- Powerful search: Uses filters to simply product search and discovery.
This is just a tiny fraction of what Catsy PIM is capable of.
Step 8: Digital Asset Management Evaluation
This step is about evaluating how digital assets are managed in the eCommerce environment. You want to get a clear idea of the kind of digital assets that the business uses. How are they stored, managed, and distributed?
Are they using a DAM system? If not, then you have to consider implementing a robust Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution, for example, Catsy DAM, which boasts powerful capabilities, including:
- Single source of truth: Simplifies the classification of assets, eliminates duplicates, and controls version history.
- Digital rights management: Control access to digital assets, ensuring only authorized users can view and download them.
- Collaborative workflows: Allow multiple teams to collaborate on creating and managing digital assets, streamlining the process, and reducing errors.
- Brand management: Ensure that all digital assets are consistent with brand guidelines.
- Advanced search: Find and retrieve assets by searching with keywords, tags, and even use cases.
- Sharing and exporting: Seamlessly share assets internally and externally and export assets in URL or file format.
- PDPs: Build Product Detail Pages fast, and go live with complete accuracy
Step 9: Develop Relationships with Your Vendors
The eCommerce supply chain is as strong as the strength of the relationship with vendors, and this is the responsibility of the eCommerce manager.
Here are some ways you can build and maintain healthy relationships with your vendors:
- Communicate regularly: Keep them informed of any happenings affecting their business with the organization.
- Be transparent: Be upfront about your expectations, requirements, and limitations.
- Pay on time: Late payments can cause stress and strain the relationship, so pay your vendors on time.
- Provide feedback: If you have suggestions or concerns, constructively share them with your vendors.
- Collaborate: Work with your vendors to find new opportunities. Consider collaborating on initiatives such as promotions, marketing, or product development.
- Attend events: This provides an opportunity to network and learn more about the vendors.
Step 10: Continuously Measure Success and Adjust Strategies
Metrics like sales revenue, conversion rate, customer acquisition cost, and customer retention rate will be useful here.
Based on the insights gathered, you can then adjust some strategies. For example, you may notice that certain products have a higher conversion rate than others. In this case, consider adjusting your product offerings or promoting the poorly performing products more prominently.
A drop in website traffic or high bounce rates on certain pages may indicate issues with site usability, product descriptions, or pricing.
Popular tools for measuring eCommerce success include:
- Google Analytics: Tracks website traffic, user behavior, and conversion rates to inform decision-making.
- Hotjar: Provides heatmaps to identify areas of improvement in website design and user experience.
- SEMrush: Offers insights on competitor research, keyword analysis, and search engine optimization (SEO) to improve ranking and visibility.
- Optimizely: Offers A/B testing and experimentation to optimize website design, user experience, and conversion rates.
- Mixpanel: Tracks user behavior and engagement across different channels to inform product and marketing strategies.
- Crazy Egg: Provides heatmaps and user behavior tracking to identify areas of improvement in website design and content.
As an eCommerce manager in a new role, the expectations can be overwhelming. Everyone is probably looking at you with enthusiasm alongside high expectations. And, of course, they wish you well.
How you start will determine whether or not these expectations will be fulfilled. Are you the dream manager? That’s why these steps here will make all the difference.
Start by getting a clear picture of the entire eCommerce operation, then proceed to use this baseline to strategize your journey to success. You must prioritize all initiatives based on impact and feasibility.
Remember, PIM and DAM will be instrumental, seeing as a significant portion of eCommerce comes down to content. At Catsy, we’re more than happy to show you the way and help you start on the right note. Get a free demo. Let’s do this.
Constantly evaluate each initiative based on its potential impact on the business and its implementation feasibility. Consider factors such as resource availability, cost, and possible ROI. Prioritize the industries that are both high-impact and feasible.
Develop a training and development plan to fill knowledge gaps and promote skill growth. Use tools such as project management software to improve team collaboration and productivity.
Implement a PIM & DAM system like Catsy to centralize and streamline content management processes. Most importantly, ensure that all team members are adequately trained to use the platform.
A general recommendation is to review strategies every quarter. This allows reasonable time to gather sufficient data and make informed decisions while being agile enough to adapt to changes in the market.
Be clear and concise in your communication, and always provide data plus metrics that support your objectives. Most importantly, explain how achieving these objectives will grow the eCommerce operation. Be prepared to provide regular progress reports and adjust your plans if necessary.