If you were wondering as to how to benchmark an eCommerce store, you’d have to get to the Question: Why Benchmark an eCommerce store first?
The premise is that if you don’t set some sort of goals based on benchmarking, you’ll essentially go nowhere or go all over the place.
By benchmarking your eCommerce store,
- You’ll set yourself goals that you’d need to achieve (better than aimless wandering in the wild)
- Allow you to build systems and internal processes that’ll allow you to grow your eCommerce business efficiently
- Establish certain metrics, processes, and defined attributes for your entire team to work towards, accomplish goals, and mark gains when it comes to marketing strategy
- Find opportunities to improve, identify lapses in strategic execution, and help fine-tune your strategy.
- Finally, to help beat the competition and to do better in the industry you operate in.
To benchmark your eCommerce store and to establish your eCommerce business on sound strategy, these are the steps that’ll help you get there:
Get data. Swear by the data. Repeat
The first step to competitive intelligence is data. It’s what you know about your own business and that of your competition that helps you stay one step ahead.
Data isn’t just a fancy word; it’s a mandate for success.
Getting the right information and data, thankfully, isn’t as hard as it used to be. The days of deploying human armies of people with surveys, market research, and even mystery shopping are all but gone.
Today, there are several sources of data that you can take advantage of to keep your eCommerce business in the right stead.
As far as marketing strategy is concerned (with various tangents and parallels within the marketing discipline), here are some sources of data you’d do well with:
Shopify & BigCommerce both publish several insights and reports on the eCommerce business itself -- including new trends in eCommerce, shipping, marketing strategies, eCommerce business models, and more.
SEMRush and Ahref publish all sorts of varied reports and insights on everything to do with content marketing, blogging, content creation strategy, Search engine optimization, Search engine marketing, and keyword research.
Litmus regularly publishes industry reports, findings, insights, and tips on email marketing design, email marketing accessibility, email user behavior reports, and more.
HootSuite and Buffer dwell on everything to do with social media -- insights, tips, research, and social media statistics.
Unbounce publishes the Unbounce Conversion Benchmark report regularly to give you loads of insights on landing page conversions (across industries), landing page conversion data, and more.
If you look hard enough, there’s no dearth of data around you.
Get data. Swear by it. Analyze. Repeat.
Take stock of your performance benchmarks, metrics, and KPI
Good marketing execution isn’t just about fancy marketing strategies; it’s also about a robust foundational setup for analytics and tracking. You can stick to the basics such as the right implementation of Google Analytics (On top of the resident analytics features the eCommerce platform provides such as Shopify Analytics or BigCommerce analytics).
Then, there’s tracking. By using simple UTM builders and using links with the right parameters attributed to your organic links, paid ad links, and even social media links, you can ensure that the data you get pertains to your campaigns.
Finally, there are the metrics and KPIs you focus on. Instead of focusing on vanity metrics (like everyone does), keep a hawk’s eye on metrics that matter which include: leads generated, revenue, sales, and profits.
Pull in data you need across marketing campaigns (landing page conversions, including email marketing conversions attributed to sales, Lifetime Value of customers, revenue generated, and so on).
Spy on your Competition, All the time
The word “spy” does have a negative connotation to it; but all is fair in love, war, and marketing. Knowing what your competition is doing, the type of marketing campaigns they run, the design changes they make to their campaigns, and even going down to the detail of the ad copy, blog post content, or landing pages will help you stay on top of your competition.
Use tools like Panaromata for monitoring competitor email campaigns; SEMrush, Ahrefs, or SimilarWeb to watch how your competitors are executing their ongoing content marketing and/or SEO campaigns; or use SEO Mongools to see how your competitors are ranking for keywords that matter to your business.
Gathering all of this data, staying on top of your competition, and ensuring that the marketing campaigns you run for your eCommerce store are at least on par (and hopefully better) than that of your competitors should be the foundation of your marketing strategy.
Collect data. Know everything that’s happening around you.
Do better than the best -- that’s the primary emphasis of why and how to benchmark your eCommerce business.