We all know that eCommerce is competitive. Non-stop digital developments and forever-growing customer expectations can make this a daunting industry. Where do you even begin?
At Pinpoint, we love a plan. An eCommerce roadmap is one way to help you create a path that gets you where you want to be. This roadmap is a practical tool with real actions that guide you to reaching your objectives.
A well-thought-out roadmap can help you not just keep up with but overtake the competition as well as:
- Better understand your market
- Find out what you should be doing
- Give you the confidence to ask for that buy-in
- Create and maintain a competitive advantage
- Drive innovation and business value
But how do you create one? That’s what you really need to know. We sat down with Dan Conboy – Director of eCommerce Strategy – who knows a thing or two about building a successful roadmap. Find out the five steps he takes to create an eCommerce roadmap that produces results.
1) Know what good looks like
It feels like every day there’s a new and exciting feature you could add to your site. With AI on the rise, chatbots smarter than ever and interactive quizzes gaining in popularity, how do you know what will benefit your brand?
Knowing what your audience wants is the best place to start. Just because a new and exciting feature has been released, doesn’t mean it’s right for your users. We’ve all been on pages that are overloaded with pop-ups, interactive details and too many options that cause us to abandon our visit.
It’s time to sift through the never-ending barrage of the latest trends and technology to find your winning formula:
- Focus on industry best practice features such as checkout optimisation, product discovery and intuitive navigation. This is a good starting point to improve your customer journey in a relevant way.
- Research what features align with your sector. Beauty brands might offer shade finders allowing users to source that perfect match from the comfort of their own homes. Homeware brands may leverage solutions to showcase user-generated content (UGC). Take note of what features and functions are commonplace in your industry and what you think adds to, or detracts from, the experience.
- Take guidance from industry experts and others in your field. Sources such as the Google Retail Playbook and eConsultancy offer trustworthy and authoritative opinions that you can use to support your decisions.
- Explore other brands’ customer journeys to gain inspiration and direct insight into what features your competitors are using.
2) Audit and benchmark your competition
If you don’t know what your competition is doing, how can you ever really compete with them?
First on the agenda is identifying who your top competitors are or which sites you take the most inspiration from. Selecting too many brands can overwhelm this process, so aim for just a few standout options.
Now comes the fun. Meticulously shop both your site and your selected brands, offering a comparative picture of what you do versus what they do. At Pinpoint, in our audit work, we assess over 200 data points across sites to provide a bank of comparison points for you to work from.
When you’ve collected all your data points, it’s time to rank. Take each area and assign a score to your website alongside the competition. You’ll soon have an extensive list that identifies which parts of your site are performing ahead of the curve and which areas are falling behind. While some areas may have a way to go, performing this exercise is critical to close the gap between your brand and its biggest competitors.
Once you’ve collated your scores, the work can begin. Go through your comparison points, focusing on areas with low scores. Next, define which of these areas are most relevant to be improved to support your business’ success.
Pull together the information on a spreadsheet or tool such as Miro to create a list of actions. Your list may be short and easy to work through or it could have numerous actions. You may be eager to fix everything at once, but this isn’t feasible and leads to more problems down the line. This is why it’s vital to prioritise. It’s not feasible to fix everything in one go and leads to more problems down the line. Revisit your initial objectives and work out which actions best align with these.
Your research is done, data collected, and a priority list has been created. It’s time to implement these findings and map out a project plan. You need to consider things like:
- Timeframes for scope and delivery
- Which team members have a role to play
- How to measure success and what KPIs to use
- Which internal and external stakeholders to involve
It’s important your team is on the same page with the project, so creating a shared document or using a shared tool to manage the work is worthwhile. Whether you stick to good old-fashioned Excel or work with a project management tool like Jira or Miro, find a process that works for your team and stick to it.
This document or tool will become your project plan. Use it to create a well-thought-out, actionable work plan for the entire team to use. It’s also your reference point to keep the project on track and to review regularly in meetings such as for updating senior team members.
Your roadmap is ready and raring to go but the work never stops. To get the most from your roadmap, you need to regularly check in on progress and adapt to changes. As you begin to action things, make sure that you’re clear on your KPIs and your review cycles; what are you measuring and when will you assess progress?
Set up regular meetings with key members of the team and stick to them. While other projects may crop up, honouring this dedicated check-in time will ensure the roadmap you created comes to fruition.
Finally, recognise everything is fluid. Ideas and concepts change and adapt, and you need to adopt this mindset with your project. Identify areas that simply aren’t working or are causing more problems than they are worth and don’t be afraid to ditch them. In the ever-evolving landscape that is eCommerce, you need to be prepared to roll with the tide and update your roadmap accordingly.
We can help
We understand that you’re busy and creating an effective roadmap is no mean feat. If you don’t have the time, resource, or know-how to audit your competition, we can help.
Having developed an eCommerce scorecard and system with over 200 data points, we can assess where you sit in your sector and how competitive your site is against key brands in your industry. Highlighting areas you may be lacking in, or areas you excel in, we can create a tailor-made roadmap that supports your wider business goals and show you how to implement it.
With a wealth of experience in the eCommerce sector, our team of experts are on hand to help your business succeed. Get in touch with us to see how.