Using SMART Objectives To Achieve Your Ecommerce Business Goals

Setting goals for your ecommerce business is really important but they must be achievable if you want to ensure that your business grows successfully. Setting goals provides something to work towards, helps you to prioritise what you should be doing and improves your business.
Using SMART Objectives To Achieve Your Ecommerce Business Goals

Implementing a structured plan enables you to create realistic and achievable goals. A popular method for such a plan is to use the SMART objectives which is very much applicable to ecommerce businesses.

SMART is an acronym for:

  • SPECIFIC – being specific with your goal can help you to monitor your progress.  You may want to increase your revenue, which isn’t very specific.  Adding a value to your objective, such as increasing revenue by 10%, is the most effective technique to get a clear picture of where you want to go.  It will also help you to assess whether you’re on the right track.
  • MEASURABLE – the goals you set should be measurable.  This is so you can track progress.  If you are hitting targets then that’s great, but if you aren’t then you will be able to determine anything that needs to be changed with these checks.
  • ACHIEVABLE – All goals can be achievable if you plan them well.  Set goals that are realistic but challenging – encouraging you to do better. 
  • RELEVANT – your goals must be relevant to your business and stay in line with your overall business objectives. 
  • TIMEBOUND – you must have a timeframe in which to achieve your goals.  If you don’t have a target date then there is no pressure or significance to achieve your goals.  A timeframe also enables you to track your progress efficiently.

If you are now wondering what goals you should be looking to achieve, it’s worth noting that every business is different and at a different stage in their journey. In order to set your goals you will need to assess your current position and map out where you’d like to be for example; in a year’s time. Here are 4 potential, achievable goals that you can easily adapt to your business:

Increase Revenue 

The global pandemic has brought uncertain times and had a detrimental impact on multiple businesses.  Many would consider simply maintaining their revenue to be a success. However, it would be fantastic if you could outperform last year’s earnings and turn a profit.  There are several ways that will help you to increase your revenue and seizing new opportunities is a great solution to achieving this goal.   Here are some of the things Vertical Plus does to increase the revenue of our clients:

  • Offer good inventory – this includes having a good supply chain (so good quality products from suppliers that can offer you a good margin at the point of sale) and having a wide ranging set of products to sell over several sought after categories.
  • Be aggressive on price – margins will be low in a competitive online environment so making sure your pricing is not too low or too high is important.  Your best practice here is to offer your pricing somewhere in the middle.  If you are not the cheapest you will need to work harder on demonstrating your value as a company or find some other way to sell the product e.g. by including it in a bundle or selling it as an add on. 
  • Optimise and reflect upon your key marketing channels – look carefully at the success of organic, direct, paid and social campaigns.  By success we mean not only volume of sales but also conversion rates and visitor numbers.  
  • Conduct competitive analysis – identify opportunities from competitors or online research so you can expand your market and offer new products or services.  

Including a revenue building, SMART objective is something that is important to your growth. Having a specific target that is measurable (say 30% YoY growth or £1000 extra sales a month in three months) focuses the mind and keeps you actively moving towards achieving that goal. Psychological experiments have shown that people who are more focused on their big goals – especially those who have written them – are more likely to achieve them than those who are unfocused. So start by writing down your business revenue objective.

Improve Your Brand

Some people think that branding is just a logo or the name of your company, but branding is actually more about what people think about your company, what impression they get from it on their customer journey and then also how a company stands out when compared to everybody else. Vertical Plus has an orange V+ logo but it stands out from everybody else because it has a unique, all inclusive performance based approach to ecommerce which appeals to high growth business entrepreneurs.

Improving your brand should be a high priority as it identifies your business, what you do or sell and how you connect with your market audience.

Your brand is an experience and informs your customers what to expect from you. It also identifies your company through its presence in search engine results. Your brand is also integrated into your product descriptions and information, marketing emails and the checkout page of your website. Working on your brand is a measurable step toward greater recognition and growth.

You can build your brand by generating a good history of customer reviews, by showing examples of great customer engagement on social media channels and also by making sure you tell customers everywhere about the great things you are doing and the great response you are getting from everybody.

There are opportunities to measure the number and quality of reviews on your website or on independent services such as Trustpilot or Google reviews. A good, SMART objective here would be to generate no fewer than 1000 reviews in your next year of trading and to ensure 95% of them are good reviews and that any bad reviews are responded to.

Create A Great Customer Experience

In order to acquire and retain customers, it is critical to provide a great customer experience. It is just as important for your service to be as excellent as your products prior to, during and after the sales process. It’s no coincidence that as an online business becomes more established, more customers tell more great things about the brand.

Service should be consistent across all channels from the written content on your website to the people on the end of the phone answering queries. Providing customer guides and help pages so that visitors can find answers to any queries they may have, helps to save their time and improve their experience. You can also request customers to feedback on their overall experience. This information is another important step and helps you to identify anything that may need improving.

You can use SMART objectives to identify customer service as a key objective and you can measure your brand and customer service improvements in a variety of ways. You can, for example, set a SMART objective of responding to all customer enquiries within 24 hours and having a customer feedback system which ensures all customer queries and complaints are dealt with quickly and politely. You can also measure and track this by using software.

Cross Sell

Cross selling is a popular business goal that is really easy to execute. It involves offering an additional product or service to a customer already making a purchase in order to increase the value of the sale. An example of this would be; your customer is purchasing a mobile phone from you and you cross sell them an insurance package and/or a case for the mobile phone at the same time. Customers often find things managed under one source easier and more reliable.

Loyalty schemes and subscription schemes are two good examples of how existing customers can be encouraged to shop with you again. Offering discounts off of future purchases is a really successful way to cross sell. Presenting repeat customers with such perks enables them to feel valued and will encourage them to shop with you again. Promotional bundles are another excellent way to cross sell. Not only does it reduce decision making time for the customer but it makes it easier for them to buy the right products to suit their needs.

Many businesses focus on cross selling as a business goal because when carried out correctly it adds value to both the business and the customer. You can measure cross selling by setting a Smart objective to focus on the average cart value of each completed order and also the number and value of orders taken by your customers. At Vertical Plus, we profile retail customers by the amount of orders they have made so that we can clearly see if they are a new customer, a repeat buyer or a multiple repeat buyer.

SMART Objectives & Realistic Targets 

We hope that you find these ecommerce business goals achievable and that they have given you something to think about when taking your business to the next level. Ecommerce is generally an objective measurable operation and there are many data points you can use to set targets and success criteria, these include:

Conversion rate:  the number of customers needed to visit a product page in order to create a transaction.  The activity here revolves around getting the right kind of visitor and once there, your content says the right things to them in order for them to complete a purchase. 

Organic visitor numbers:  The number of customers coming to the website through content driven strategies.  The activity here is to increase the amount of relevant content on the website so that it naturally attracts more visitors.

Direct visitor numbers:  The number of customers visiting a website through bookmarks or typing in the website address.  The activity here is to increase offline advertising or more direct marketing techniques – such as leaflets, email newsletters or could involve just improving your email signature. 

Mobile visitor numbers:  The number of customers accessing the website through a mobile platform. The target here is to focus on how the mobile interface works and then use it as a way of enticing more sales from users who are more likely to be casually browsing the web.  One click ordering, for example, is a key way to attract more mobile visitors.  This creates more engagement and then improved search rankings. 

If you are looking for some professional support in order to grow your ecommerce business, our Vertical Plus team can help simply contact us here. Our team of ecommerce experts are specialists when it comes to building and growing online businesses using our bespoke, all inclusive ecommerce platform.