Worst Practices: Great Examples of Bad Examples (on Launching an Online Solution)
We have noticed, everyone and their proverbial brother is tossing out examples of greatness these days. Let’s call them best practices; many people are turned off by the whole best practice thing. Lots of times these are simplified to the point of providing little, if any, value. Other times, the best practices aren’t right for your organization; for instance, one best practice calls for a team of six people to manage all the aspects of the distributor’s online solution. For the small and mid-sized distributor this makes about as much sense as the legendary football bat.
Over the course of this newsletter, we have tried to provide suggestions which speak to how your organization can accelerate its success. Indeed, looking back, we might have even used the term “best practice” in our communications, if so, forgive us. The road to a successful ecommerce launch is fraught with potholes, washouts, and other obstructions; and we want to help.
Borrowing from the old hit movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, we thought it might be nice to provide a collection of “Worst Practices” to help you avoid driving the “Family Truckster” off the cliff in your journey to online success.
Worst Practices: The best bad examples to avoid in building your online platform.
A build it and they will come mentality. Over 150 years ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson made the statement, “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” It should be noted, Ralph was one of the smartest men on the planet, but not necessarily an astute businessman. Putting up a webstore, or anything else, on the internet then hoping, praying, or expecting it will be discovered has proven to be a universal problem. The new motto should be this – build a better mousetrap, advertise it, market it, talk about it on social media, and continually blast the message to the world; then the path starts to form.
Don’t allow the sales team to learn or participate in the launch. Some folks have gone out of the way to keep their sales teams (and customer service) away from digital initiatives. Reasoning, the digital progress will take care of itself. A few misguided managers have publicly stated there would be no commission paid on orders placed online regardless of the customer. Want your sales team to sabotage your efforts? Follow this rule.
Separate online customers from “real” customers. Here’s a newsflash: your “real” customers want the convenience of using a digital platform, too. An online system allows customers to choose their favorite or most convenient method of buying. Email, phone, fax, webstore, or carrier pigeon does it really matter?
Leave the launch entirely to your IT department. There is a fair chance your IT group contains some of the best and brightest people on the planet. However, there is a powerfully greater chance they have never sold anything in their lives. True, your ecommerce platform is computerized and digital, but so is the phone system. Would you ask your IT group to teach you how to answer the phone? Probably not. The phone and now the ecommerce system are sales tools. Put a person with sales background in charge of your efforts.
Only put a few of your products onto your site. Twenty percent of our products represent over 80 percent of our business. Why confuse customers with massive selections when they only need a handful of our offering? Customers buying oddball stuff are kind of a pain anyway. Well until you consider the value of picking up a new customer who cannot find what they need at the competitor.
Leave it and forget it - Monitor the system as little as possible. The reasoning goes… We are putting up a top-notch system, we will launch it and then come back sometime later – much later. In the meantime, new products have been rolled out. Some of these folks never check their emails, either. It does not take massive time to keep your system sparkling and vibrant, but hey we are short on time.
Ignore the data generated by the system. Everyone keeps saying they are getting extra leads, a better understanding of their customers, and lots of other good things based on the search results and buying habits of customers. After giving the information a quick once over a week or so after going live, some decide it is just not worth the effort. One might imagine how many valuable new customer prospects found their way to the competition.
Worst practices or a lesson in negativity?
Those of us at KYKLO hope you aren’t shaking your head and wondering if we got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. The truth is we just wanted to have a little fun and shed some light on the things we recommend you not to do.
We have a million ideas to help you put your online business in high gear. Give us a call, we promise we won’t talk about Chevy Chase movies – unless you ask us to.