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What Does “Back to School” Have in Common with Ecommerce?


By: Catherine Perry

Well, it’s that time of year again…time to get the children ready to go back to school. Why does the summer always fly by?! Even if your children are grown and you have long ago gotten them out of school, this time of the year will always be “back to school” time in our minds. The dog days of summer set in and the days begin to get noticeably shorter and we begin to think about cooler mornings, getting back into a routine, and football!
So, we started thinking about how being an ecommerce owner is relevant to going back to school and immediately we saw common elements! Some of the characteristics that are integral to being an engaged, successful on-line business owner are like going back to school. Here are four examples:
  • Being a life-long learner
  • Being adaptable
  • Measuring your business
  • Continuing to grow
Let’s look at each one of these four characteristics.

Being a Life-Long Learner

Just as “back to school” means getting ready to begin a routine of learning and education, being an ecommerce owner also requires a routine of learning and education. Operating an ecommerce business is a learning experience—not only in the beginning stages but for as long as you run the business. As an on-line business owner, you are constantly learning new things because the ecommerce world is constantly changing. The methods of marketing that worked several years ago may not be effective today. The inventory you carry may change due to trends in your industry sector. The search engines change their requirements for ranking constantly.
These are just a few of the subjects that you are learning all the time as an ecommerce business owner:
  • Marketing your business
  • Advertising
  • Analyzing Key Performance Indicators
  • Optimizing your site for the search engines
  • Staying abreast of latest trends in ecommerce
By being abreast of these aspects of ecommerce you’re ensuring that your business is in a position to compete!


Being Adaptable

Just as going back to school brings changes in daily routine and activities for which you have to be adaptable and flexible, so does running an ecommerce business. As an online business owner, you are constantly in a state of change that requires you to adapt.
One example of something that changes is meeting the needs of your customers. Your customers’ needs are in perpetual state of movement, so you must adapt and change with them.
Another example of where you must be adaptable is in meeting the requirements of the search engines. Search engines are constantly changing their requirements for ranking and you must adapt to those for your website to be found.
And yet another example is changing inventory to change with trends. Many ecommerce industry sectors are susceptible to trends and you must be adaptable with them.
These are just a few examples, but the point is that being in ecommerce requires you to adapt to constant change and to be flexible in addressing those changes.


Measuring Your Business
Just as students are evaluated and measured to see their knowledge level, an ecommerce business owner measures his/her business to see how it is doing. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are measurable values that demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. Companies use KPIs to evaluate their success at reaching targets.
Monitoring KPIs help ecommerce entrepreneurs identify progress toward sales, marketing, and customer service goals.  As an online business owner you want to measure indicators to see what part of your business is working and what part may not be working. As an example, it may be a goal for you to increase site traffic 50% in the next year. Relative to this goal, a performance indicator might be the number of unique visitors the site receives daily or which traffic sources send visitors (pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, brand or display advertising, or a YouTube video). Here’s a couple of additional articles we found that might help you on this subject:


Continuing to Grow

Just as students need to continually grow in their knowledge and performance, as an online business entrepreneur you and your business also need to grow so that your business grows. You should always be striving to increase traffic and sales, improve processes, increase customer satisfaction, and provide better service. You should always be creating new and fresh marketing campaigns to brand and bring new visitors to your site. These goals enable your business to grow and not stagnate. An ecommerce owner can’t rest on laurels. Once you do that, your business will stagnate.
We have just scratched the surface of comparing “back to school” and being an ecommerce owner. Come up with your own comparisons. Our four—being a lifelong learner, being adaptable, measuring your business, continuing to grow—are at the core of ecommerce. If you have these, you can be a successful ecommerce entrepreneur.
Just like you’re a kid going back to school, get prepared to have a successful year! Be energized! Get excited! But, do the work!

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