Sometimes remarks made in jest turn actually turn into the best ideas.
A few weeks ago, Ross and I were chatting about his upcoming Shopify workshop in Boston. During the conversation, he referred me to a blog post he’d written about a “framework” that his company Growth Spark has developed to guide the process of kicking off a new ecommerce client project. After having read it, I jokingly said that it would make a great podcast series. Little did I know we'd be producing it a few weeks later.
Earlier this month, Ross, myself and our respective Blue Yetis sat down and recorded episode one of a four (maybe five – we’ll get to that) part series called “The Ecommerce Customer Lifecycle: Acquisition” which you can listen to below.
Here is a bit more background from Ross:
When beginning a new project for a client, we start our focus on their overall ecommerce strategy before really getting into the design/development of the website itself. To do this, we've developed a framework called the E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle that helps us frame the discussion. The ECL Framework is meant to serve as a tool to help us better define our client's ecommerce strategy.
The best way to look at it is as a series of questions to prime some deeper thinking and research. These questions explore five key areas:
- Acquisition: How do you get people to your website?
- Conversion: How do you get them buy once they're there?
- Fulfillment: How do you get them the product?
- Retention: How do you get them to come back and buy again?
- Analytics: How do you measure all of that activity to make sure it's profitable?
As mentioned, we focus our attention in the first podcast on the 'acquisition' phase of the ECL framework. During Acquisition, our goal is to understand how our clients plan to get people to their websites, aka 'marketing'. We all know there are hundreds of ways you can drive traffic to your site, but we like to think of the overall process in terms of channels, which often include:
- Social Media
- Paid Advertising
- Influencer Marketing
- SEO / On-Site Content
- PR / Off-Site Content
- Event Marketing
- Traditional Media
During our exploration session with our client, we look at each of these channels and ask the following questions:
- Platform: What tools do you use to manage this channel?
- People: What people are responsible for managing these channels?
- Performance: What metrics define success for these channels?
Going through this process allows us to extract interesting insights on the business that will later inform our design and marketing strategies. Some take-aways we might have from our exploration could include adding the following needs to a project:
- A dynamic landing page to tie into a paid advertising campaign with the goal of increasing conversion
- An integrated social media feed to highlight an Instagram campaign of user-submitted photos
- An interactive event calendar to showcase offline marketing events
We hope you enjoy this first episode. Feel free to leave a comment below or connect directly with Ross or myself. Thanks for listening, and we hope you find it useful.
To hear more
- In Part I of “The Ecommerce Customer Lifecycle,” Ross and I focused our attention on the “acquisition” phase and asked the question: “How can we get potential customers to visit our sites?” Tactics discussed included social media, paid advertising, influencer marketing, among others.
- In Part II, we moved on to discuss “conversion” which focuses on getting the visitors of your website to actually purchase products. This step is where user experience, design, branding, content and your on-site strategy are crucial.
- In Part III, we turned our attention to the often overlooked topic of fulfillment. Whilst on first glance you might think that it's a simple case of putting a product in a box and adding a postage label, there are plenty of other factors to consider — many of which will help your clients showcase themselves and their brand values.
- In Part IV, we focused on retention. This includes ways to get customers to keep coming back and purchasing products. Having long-term relationships with customers who have already purchased from you can be highly profitable as your "cost per acquisition" reduces.
- In Part V, we discussed all things measurement and asked how to use analytics and data to ensure that all ecommerce customer lifecycle activities are profitable.
About the Coauthor
Since 2008, Ross has run Growth Spark, an agency that helps ecommerce companies design interfaces that convert visitors into customers, implement technology to streamline operations, and use analytics to guide marketing decisions.