Working Backwards: The Key to Successful Ecommerce

By on

It’s one of the truest and most relevant things Steve Jobs ever said: “you have to start with the customer experience and work backwards towards the technology”.

In terms of what exactly he meant by this, it’s basically a more intensive and comprehensive methodology of customer-focused operations. Or to put it another way, instead of attempting to come up with a product and/or service the customer will appreciate and buy, you identify the need before going anywhere near the product/service.

Working backwards provides you with the opportunity to pinpoint the features and qualities your target audience expects and demands. In the world of ecommerce, one of the biggest problems faced by businesses setting up today is dealing with such enormous competition from all corners. Regardless of what you sell them and the area in which you operate, you are guaranteed to face incredibly stiff competition from countless other businesses.

In turn, the key to success lies in differentiating yourself from the competition. Providing something that nobody else does and tapping into a need.

And when it comes to identifying that need, this is where the value of working backwards comes into the equation.

A Fresh Perspective
Far too many ecommerce businesses base their operations on their own perceived merit and value. We do this, we can offer this, we are good because of X, this is the reason why people should buy from us and so on and so forth. The problem being that in all such instances, you could be looking at the entire picture from the perspective of your business, rather than its target audience.

Working backwards means viewing everything you do from an entirely fresh perspective. Put yourself in the position of an everyday member of your chosen target audience. Consider their thought process from start to finish.

What exactly would inspire them to even think about the products you sell in the first place? If they felt compelled to buy one, what would be the reason? What would they expect and demand from the product? If they decided to go ahead and buy it, where would they begin their search? How would they find their chosen seller? What would they expect upon accessing the website? What unique attributes would make them more likely to both stick around and convert? What would it take to really ‘wow’ them with a memorable experience?

By the time you’ve answered these questions, you’ve effectively gone all the way from the initial pondering process right through to conversion. Maybe even customer loyalty. All of which provides you with a strong basis for the service and general customer experience you provide.

By combining this backwards approach with on-going analysis and optimisation, you stand every chance of boosting the traffic to your website, improving conversion rates and enhancing your performance in general. Continue to do things the opposite way around and there’s every chance your efforts will fall entirely on deaf ears.


Leave a comment