E-commerce grew 20% for Costco in fiscal 2015—20 times faster than store sales.
Measuring and presenting data can open the wallets of executives.
E-commerce marketers need strong, data-backed cases to convince senior executives to invest in their projects and campaigns, says Daryl Logullo, e-commerce manager at Hale Groves/Southern Fulfillment Services. He outlined his plan for convincing a retailer's wallet-holder to invest in e-commerce in a session at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 taking place this week in Chicago.
The first step is examining available data, he says, and realizing its value.“There is a big disconnect between being data-informed and data-driven in your organization,” he says. Simply collecting data and looking at it doesn't serve a retailer; instead he says being driven by data enables an employee to check if an e-commerce strategy is sound, focus on what has already been built and eliminate potential barriers.
Those actions are core to figuring out spending allocations, Logullo says. The problem is finding time to do it. By a show of hands in the packed room, most session attendees said they had less than 100 e-commerce employees; a substantial portion said the number was less than five.
To make the most of data, “I want you to stop looking at your profitability from a perspective of ad spend and revenue and start looking at it from lifetime value,” Logullo says. Lifetime value reflects not only purchases today but in the future—web sales will always be greater after the initial one, he says, and retailers need to capitalize on that. Such an outlook will help retailers identify their campaign priorities for maximizing future sales by focusing on goals like suggesting new products or customer acquisition, as well as showing in which areas spending can be trimmed, he says.
“Customer acquisition is extremely important, one of the key metrics,” he continued, “So add a new metric: profit per new customer. Are you looking at this from a profit per customer view, or just return on asset?” For example, he asked how his CEO will respond if he says every new customer gives $50 profit: “He's going to say, ‘Here's the checkbook.’”
Once you know which data are vital, to secure what you need to get it and use it requires the three C's: clear, collaborate and communicate, he says. Clear refers to figuring out all the details and factoring in internal hurdles like needing 90 days to submit a request in writing, for example. Then collaborate with the right people, possibly the finance department or information technology to get it done. Finally communicate that idea to the right people. “Who are your internal allies?” Logullo asks.
The last step in getting a desired marketing budget is showcasing the results, Logullo says—no matter how prepared an employee is, finding out what holds up decision making, be it language, sentiment or lack of consensus, can be the deal breaker. He suggests having prepared action points, knowing the executive's personality, emphasizing gradual improvements and being expert on the relevant marketing metrics. “You can't go in and ask for spend in certain areas if you can't go in and back up what areas are showing it,” he says. “It's kind of like taking people down a path and closing a gate behind them.”