It is a fact that eCommerce is growing, whether it is B2B or B2C. It doesn't stop there, eCommerce is booming both domestically and internationally. If you are an agency with Growth in mind, you can’t ignore the following eCommerce statistics.
In 2019, B2C eCommerce (retail eCommerce) has a market value of $3.53 trillion globally. It is expected to grow to $6.54 trillion by 2022, which is almost twice the current market value! In US, the 2018 retail eCommerce was worth $501 billion. This is expected to grow to a whopping $740 Billion. (Source Statista)
In B2B eCommerce, the numbers are even bigger! According to Digital Commerce 360, B2B Sales in the US is worth $14.96 Trillion. The interesting fact is that, out of this, $7.3 trillion is still conducting through Phone, Fax, and face to face. Out of the $7.6 trillion which is conducting business on one of the digital channels (EDI, eProcurement, and eCommerce), EDI seems to be winding down whereas e-procurement and eCommerce are on the rise. (Source)
Two independent studies, by DigitalCommerce360 and BigCommerce. The studies point out that more than 75% of the B2B businesses are thinking about either strengthening their eCommerce presence or launching eCommerce site in less than 24 months.
The key takeaway for digital marketing agencies here is that there is tremendous growth potential in eCommerce. This goes for both B2B and B2C, and you can not ignore it if you are looking to grow.
More factors that play into the need for eCommerce services is the push towards Digital Transformation into B2B organizations and DTC (Direct To Consumer) Brands. eCommerce, as a platform, has become the de facto technology to enable digital transformation.
Step By Step Guide To a Well-Planned eCommerce Project
Well-Planned eCommerce projects go through the following phases:
In this phase, the client and Agency work together to understand the current constraints, growth plans, and other factors. The output of this phase is a RoadMap for the client’s business.
In this phase, the Agency defines the eCommerce platform in detail. The deliverable for this phase is functional requirement documents.
3, Platform Selection:
One of the main reasons for the high failure rates of the eCommerce project is the selection of the wrong platform. Beyond the feature-requirement fit, there are about 17 variables that can be considered to help you pick the right platform. Some of them are Scalability, Flexibility, Security, Ease of Administration, platform maturity, business maturity, etc.
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In this phase, the Agency may create wireframes or define UX/UI through creative designs. Complex projects will also include architectural and integration decisions. Typical deliverables are as follows – Wireframes, UI/UX Designs, Branding definition, architectural definitions, and integration endpoints identification with workflow designs. Please note that not all the deliverables may not be present in every project.
This phase involves the actual development of the project. Depending on the complexity and scope of the project, the Agency & client may decide to split the project into many phases.
6, Technical Support:
Often, agencies need to provide ongoing support for eCommerce platforms. The need for help after a production launch tends to be low in SaaS (Software As A Service ) based eCommerce platforms in comparison to self-hosted platforms.
7, Growth with emphasis on CRO:
This phase involves various digital marketing activities and conversion rate optimization (CRO) activities.
Out of this, the Growth phase is the phase that is the holy grail that marketing companies want to reach. This is what most agencies are good at and where their revenue comes from. Additionally, most agencies are good at creative design as well.
But, as you can see, to get to the Growth (eCommerce Digital Marketing) phase, they have to walk the client through the first 4 phases.
11 Pain Points Faced By Digital Marketing Agencies & Their Solutions
Here are the challenges many agencies in phases other than
the creative design or marketing
1. eCommerce Phobia:
eCommerce strategy, especially the development phase, is becoming complex in B2B or B2C with any significant revenue. Many digital marketing agencies are wary of getting into developing eCommerce sites for the “revenue fear factor.” Since eCommerce is closely tied to the revenue, the risks associated with developing and upkeeping is high. Most of the time, agencies want to avoid this risk.
Solution: Our sole focus is strategy and development of eCommerce sites - complex and not so complicated for SMBs with revenue up to $50 million. We have learned our lessons through failures and successes of serving eCommerce clients by working on 730+ eCommerce clients since Mid 2016. Thus we have acquired the experience and capability to assume this risk.
2. Limited eCommerce Experience:
Agencies may be good at different aspects of eCommerce digital marketing, branding, and even UX designs. But most of them have limited experience in eCommerce strategy and development. This limited experience does not help them to compete and win eCommerce projects.
Solution: eCommerce is what Viritina live and breath. Our agency clients build their eCommerce client portfolio using our expertise. We let our agency clients focuses on strengthening and delivering what they do best. And then use our experience and expertise in eCommerce development to win their client’s trust.
3. Limited Platform Knowledge:
One of the causes of eCommerce project failure is being on a sub-optimal platform. Most agencies tend to bias their solutions towards the platforms they are familiar with. Even though this is natural, this practice is not optimal for clients’ businesses. To build an optimal solution, agencies must adopt a true consultant/advisory role. To do this, find the right platform based on client’s business characteristics.
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The right approach to take is a “business needs first, platform second.” Agencies stick to the platforms they are most comfortable with and changing the business processes to fit the platform. The agencies must choose a platform that addresses most of the past constraints in the way of business growth and also the future growth needs. Not having or limited knowledge of platforms affect the’ agencies’ ability to pick the right platform for the customer.
Solution: Currently, Virtina has expertise and experience in 10 eCommerce platforms. Our development team is learning and getting experience in new platforms as well. Our platform selection process can be exhaustive using 17 different variables. Virtina’s unbiased approach to choosing the right platform helps to make sure that the client’s business runs on the best platform matching its needs.
4. Limited Development Exposure:
Let us admit it. If you remove marketing and branding from an eCommerce project, it is a software engineering task. The strategy, planning, architecting or development tasks which get executed on the initial phase of an eCommerce project. This is much closer to a good software engineering project. To define the user experience effectively, an excellent and innovative design thinking is needed. So, to execute these phases agencies needs a software engineering partner who is an expert in eCommerce and design thinking.
Solution:Virtina’s sole focus is on building a growth-focused, customer-centric eCommerce site for B2B and B2C merchants.
EnteOurs is a customer-centric engineering approach coupled with its pragmatic, adaptive and predictable delivery process. This process not only reduces the risks of time, cost, and scope but also ensures customer success for our agency clients.
5. Limited Integration Experience:
Beyond being the machines for online revenue generations of RFQs (Request for Quotes), Modern eCommerce sites are evolving into a digital transformation hub. This hub connects various processes across business functional units or external partners. The need for integration is driven by the demand for automation. Automation reduces the cost of operations, time to market, and increases efficiency. The complexity and the number of integration can often be overwhelming even to an experienced service provider. The one-click install promise from the app/plugin/extension providers barely satisfies the actual business needs. Failing to meet such requirements can increase the chances of project delays and may even lead to project failures.
Solution: Virtina has valuable experience in creating and consuming APIs. Our experience has helped us perfect automated solutions by solving complex integration challenges.
6. Limited technical expertise:
eCommerce platforms are maturing into Digital Transformation platforms. Digital Transformation is an essential target that businesses must embrace to sustain and grow. Technology is the catalyst for digital transformation. Some examples of this are Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, Augmented/Virtual/Material Reality, Mixed Clouds, Voice interfaces, etc. The challenge lies in the fact that these technologies are ever-evolving. Staying current with these technologies to solve problems can itself be a daunting task.
Solution: At its core, Virtina is a technology company. We track, research, learn, and figure out the applicability of new technologies and solutions. In doing so we can solve customers problems efficiently.
7. Scalability (Scale-Out Vs. Scale-In):
Speed matters in eCommerce. Every 1 second delay can cause 11% drop in page views & 7% dip in conversions. Read more about it here As an agency, you have to have the wherewith to scale applications beyond Conversion Rate optimization techniques. That is where the experience of Scale-Out and Scale-In become important. This is true especially in hosted platforms like WooCommerce, Magento Commerce, etc.
Solution: Virtina has experience in implementing eCommerce applications in cloud environments like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure. We also specialize in scaling them on-demand or auto-scaling them.
Agencies often use Freelancers to get the design and development done for eCommerce projects. The lack of control and often lack of transparency embedded in the freelancing model can become critical to the failure of eCommerce projects.
Solution: Work with an established partner with certified expertise on 10+ eCommerce platforms and local presence. This will give peace of mind and assurance to you and your clients as you are abreast on the progress at all times.
9. Growth focus:
eCommerce Growth is usually considered to be the responsibility of the digital marketing team. But, in eCommerce, the growth comes from two activities: Increase in the right traffic and Conversion Rate Optimization. Even though both are continuous processes, conversion rate optimization (CRO) should happen first. This is to make sure that digital marketing spend is greatest.
In our experience, most digital marketing agency’s expertise in CRO is limited to one or two of the six CRO Analysis methods. The most common being UI/UX or Heuristic Analysis with A/B Testing. Even though this is an effective CRO method, a holistic, data-driven CRO approach can bring dramatic increases in Conversion Rates. This can also increase the rate of new customer acquisition while reducing the cost of acquisition. This also increased both revenue lift and revenue shift.
Solution: Virtina specializes in data-driven, holistic CRO comprising of 6 different analysis methods.
10. Digital Transformation Trend:
Many organizations realize that to sustain and grow, they must digitally transform their organizations. They strive to achieve digital maturity. And yet industries lacks :
a) Clear definition of digital maturity and digital transformation.
b) A guideline to follow to install digital transformation.
c) A definitive platform for digital transformation.
d) Tools to measure digital maturity.
Currently, eCommerce platforms are at the forefront of becoming the digital transformation platform. The following reasons are causing this -
- It is a technology that can deliver the fastest growth.
- It can deliver the objectives of the various business stakeholders (Customers, Employees, Partners, Audience) and Investors
- It can be the glue that ties people, process, and technology if deployed properly.
Soon, Agencies will have to prove their knowledge and experience in using an eCommerce platform as the enabler of Digital Transformation.
Solution: Based on our experience of working with 730+ eCommerce companies, Virtina has developed a Digital Transformation Growth (DTG) framework. DTG is an engineered approach and smart delivery process to help both B2B and B2C companies with digital transformation.
Last but not least, many times in any technical projects, problems will arise. Digital agencies need a robust and experienced partner. A partner who has a relentless attitude towards problem-solving to help them get through these problems.
Solution: At Virtina, we have faced all sorts of problems for our clients with passion and perseverance. Years of experience and 730+ ecommerce projects have made our team both capable and resilient. Our experience taught us to tackle every possible roadblock to ensure you get the best output.
Partner with us to make your own eCommerce Success Story
Talk to Gigi, our eCommerce Architect