What could online stores in Finland learn about functioning processes from ecommerce giant Zalando?
In what direction is the ecommerce industry moving towards, from a process pointof view? Mika Niemi and Ossi Jääskeläinen from Edututor share their views on the processes of online stores.
Edututor has been one of Finland's fastest growing online stores in 2015. This naturally shows that the online store in question has successfully managed to hone in on some effective processes. However, Ossi and Mika are still continuously searching for the perfect process for Edututor.
They saw on a practical level what a significant role processes have when operations are large scale - 500 000 deliveries a day
Ossi and Mika emphasize that, be it small or large, an online store must be managed just like any other company. A merchant can’t sit idly around waiting for orders from customers. Instead they have to constantly work to get customers to their store and to ship customer orders as smoothly and as quickly as possible. The online store’s processes have to constantly be and also stay in order.
The same topic was also emphasized by the ecommerce giant Zalando, when Ossi and Mika visited them in Germany. During the visit, they saw on a practical level what a significant role processes have when operations are large scale – 500 000 deliveries and 200 000 returns are dealt with daily.
Zalando also highlighted that an online store needs to have a capable platform and processes in use. According to Zalando, these are the factors that enable costeffective work and more sales than one's competitors.
Ossi and Mika share three processes in particular that every online merchant should invest in. The holy trinity is marketing, customer service and order-shipping-return process.
Here are their tips for each process:
Be systematic in different marketing actions and timing, as well as monitoring and measuring them. Be aware of what is going on in the world – for example, marketing during specific holidays can significantly affect the conversion rate of the online store.
The choice of platform also impacts marketing of the online store. Make sure that the platform enables search engine optimization of the products.
Make use of customer categorization and personalized messages – offer customers the products they are interested in.
2. CUSTOMER SERVICE
Decide how to reply to emails, before your inbox is full of customer emails. Answer emails promptly. If you reply two days after receiving a customer email, the likelihood is you’ve already lost the customer to one of your competitors.
Use customer feedback to develop your online store. Ask for feedback continuously and via different means.
Provide FAQ on your site; preferably have them available on your product pages. This will reduce the flood of email questions you receive.
Take advantage your online store’s email management tools, and use for their intended purpose – don't, for example, have customer emails crowding your personal email.
Make sure the customer receives sufficient information about their order during the whole order process. If the product will be available the following week, let the customer know preferably automatically via your own system.
Decide on a refund strategy that works and remember that refunds and complaints are an excellent marketing opportunity.