Ecommerce Strategic Planning for SMBs: Insights from The Hope Factory and Deakin University's Business Workshop

Ecommerce Strategic Planning for SMBs: Insights from The Hope Factory and Deakin University's Business Workshop

by Victoria Garcia

We recently partnered with Deakin University to co-host a business workshop focused on ecommerce strategy. It was led by Pete Williams, author of "Cadence: A Tale of Fast Business Growth" and Professor-of-Practice at Deakin Business School, along with Andrew Cox, Founder of The Hope Factory. Our goal was to equip aspiring entrepreneurs and Shopify merchants with practical strategies for boosting ecommerce growth.

The Power of Good Strategy

Feeling overwhelmed by the day-to-day demands of running your small business? You're not alone. Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) find themselves bogged down in the nitty-gritty tasks of managing finances, fulfilling orders, and keeping operations afloat. But here's the kicker: most of us lack a clear roadmap for growing ecommerce profits. We're so busy putting out fires that strategic thinking often takes a back seat.

During the workshop, we delved into Richard Rumelt's 'Good Strategy / Bad Strategy' - a good way to think about Strategic Planning for SMEs and it pairs so well with the 7 Levers Framework.

For those unfamiliar with Rumelt's work, he argues that good strategy involves:

  • Identifying critical challenges and opportunities.
  • Developing a coherent plan of action
  • Aligning resources and efforts to achieve desired outcomes.

In contrast, bad strategy lacks clarity and specificity, relying on vague goals and wishful thinking.

The Framework to Measure and Optimise

The 7 Levers Framework serves as an effective business health check, uncovering areas of strength and weakness. It breaks down the overwhelming task of 'strategy' into manageable 10% Win actions, focusing on seven key areas that drive profits. It’s about doing it consistently, measuring progress, and adjusting as you go. Each lever provides a specific area to focus on for improvement, ensuring that every effort is aligned and contributes to the overarching 10% Win action plan.

Here's a breakdown of the 7 levers and actionable ecommerce strategies:

1.Suspects: Visitors to your store from Google, social media, and other sources. 
10% Wins: Implement targeted marketing strategies to drive quality traffic to your specific product/landing pages, such as optimising SEO, running targeted ads, and collaborating with influencers in your niche.
2.Prospects: People who show intent to buy, such as adding a product to their cart.
10% Wins: Enhance engagement on your Shopify Store by implementing interactive features, personalised product recommendations, and user-generated content to drive sales.
3.Conversions: Visitors who complete a purchase and become customers.
10% Wins: Optimise your checkout process by reducing steps, offering multiple payment and shipping options, and increasing trust elements such as payment icons, trust badges and testimonials.
4.Average Item Price: The average price your products or services are sold for.
10% Wins: Strategically promote and highlight higher-value items on your Shopify Store through upselling techniques, custom filters, bundling offers, and exclusive discounts to maximise sales revenue.
5.Average Items per Sale: The average number of products purchased in each transaction.
10% Wins: Encourage customers to purchase multiple products per transaction by offering volume discounts, cross-selling complementary items, and showcasing product bundles to increase the average number of items per sale.
6.Transactions per Customer: How often customers make repeat purchases.
10% Wins: Foster customer loyalty and repeat purchases by implementing a loyalty program, sending personalised follow-up emails, considering subscriptions, and providing exceptional customer service to increase the frequency of customer transactions.
7.Margins: Your overall profit margin of all sales as a percentage.
10% Wins: Evaluate your current tech stack and identify opportunities to consolidate tools and platforms to optimise spending and improve efficiency. Consider renegotiating contracts, eliminating redundant tools, and leveraging cost-effective alternatives to reduce unnecessary expenses.

If you're planning to launch a new online store, it's best to embed best practice features for all 7 levers from the start. If you already have a Shopify store running, the next step is to analyse each lever to get a baseline of where you stand today.


Need help with your Shopify ecommerce strategy? Let's talk.

Ps:Future events are being planned, so keep an eye out on our socials.
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