Episode 6 - The New Normal - Doing the basics really well

Ignoring the fundamentals will prevent you being the best you can be


Mark Pinkerton

8/3/20203 min read

In our recent post ‘The New Normal’, we identified six key themes for the new, emerging digital retail/ D2C world. 50-60% of retail sales will now be online as a result of Covid-19 and leaders and teams need to think and act, differently with immediate effect. In this episode, we examine the importance of “doing the basics well” - it sounds quite dull, doesn’t it?

It’s the little things we used to do but have moved on from as the pressure to accelerate commercial gains rises.

In the work that we do, we act as troubleshooters to the owners and directors of businesses to ensure everything is firing on all cylinders. As a result, we ask lots of detailed questions and that can be quite tough on the eCommerce staff we interview. The process can be quite bruising as we are trying to get to the root cause issues and challenges with the existing people, processes, and technology setup.

To ensure this works efficiently for clients we have a structured diagnostic tool that allows us to cover the holistic nature of eCommerce. By dispassionately asking questions and combining this with data plus our knowledge and practical experience we can get to the root causes of poor performance, and provide a sense of where you are on the Digital Maturity Curve

It’s about uncovering the truth, not assigning blame.

In Prospero’s view the type of basic e-Commerce activities that often need reviewing are:

  • Forward-thinking from, action-oriented meetings and discussions – where attendees have pre-read circulated materials (how often how you found yourself listening to someone reading the numbers from a page?)

  • A set of universal KPIs that map to the wider business strategy and provide clear evidence against agreed targets

  • Data-gathering, data management, and insight creation oriented around clear business goals – rather than producing reports can users self-serve easily?

  • The speed of your website pages - are you constantly monitoring and have awareness of the implications on your commercial performance? Typically, if swathes of marketing is outsourced, you may end up with a heavyweight set of tags slowing down your site

  • Lost demand – it’s vital to understand how much potential demand isn’t converting to real sales – are you tracking, miss-picks, stock-outs, and other points of ‘failure’?

  • Having a clear ‘systems architecture-on-a-page’ so all managers understand the overall shape of your systems and their connectivity

  • SEO - is your sitemap being dynamically updated? Are your creative and content teams fully conversant with your SEO techniques and process and their implications?

  • Is your chosen analytics tool correctly implemented – do you trust it? We recently found a site where GA only loaded on DOM-ready which meant all site speed readings were under-reporting sitewide.

  • Do you have a clear content strategy that covers both your long-term brand engagement and product conversion? Is the team clear about their responsibilities for content?

  • Ensuring there are no single points of failure in the product information process

  • Having a single view of truth on customers

In summary, there are usually untapped performance improvements within your existing business and often these are neglected at the expense of a new system or new outsourced partnerships that won't necessarily improve the underlying issue. Unlike many consultancies, we have the practical experience to find these nuggets for you as part of our Diagnostic process, so you can "get back to basics".

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We often forget the basics in pursuit of the latest new shiny thing