4 Things That Make eCommerce Better than Traditional Retail

March 16, 2020

This comparison is not a sales pitch for you to enter the world of eCommerce, but a showcase of where to focus your attention to get the best results. 

If an eCommerce site is not behaving just like a good salesperson would, then it is not going to sell products.

When a customer enters a classical retail store, what does a good salesperson do?

  1. They qualify the customer by asking some questions on the products they like, and yes, they can see you in person, which can provide them with some additional information. 
  2. They will propose a range of products to see which direction you are going. 
  3. They will try and push you towards a product with a higher margin, if possible. 
  4. And they will try and upsell you something that goes along with what you are about to buy.

Online this process looks a little different. While you don't have facetime with every customer that visits your eCommerce site, you can still perform the above steps, with even more accuracy.


Online you can qualify your visitor based on their behavior:

  • Which products did they look at? 
  • What products did they search for in the past? 
  • Which ads did they come from? 
  • What did they buy recently on your site? 

All this information can be used to create customer profiles and provide your visitors with the right information and products they enjoy. 

The advantage here is that even your best salesperson will not be able to remember the buying behavior of thousands of customers.

By analyzing the visitors that come to your store, you can see which parts of your experience, from advertisements to product placement and to the purchase itself, work and what doesn't.


Online, you can recommend products based on this same information you collected from the user; this provides you with the ability to push the right products to the right customers in an automated manner.

However, the most significant advantage here is that online, you can extend the shopping journey way beyond a store visit. By using remarketing technology, you can recommend additional products or drive purchases to users that have visited your site in the past. Something that is not easily done in an offline environment.

Increase the Margin

What's the perfect product that the user would want to buy and also has the highest profit margin for your business? Your salesperson will remember the top profitable products; your eCommerce store will remember all of them, sorted by preference, and ready to be presented in milliseconds.

Up & Cross-Selling

Upselling products online takes a similar approach as in a real store. While visitors are browsing or checking out products or viewing follow up emails, you can push additional products to their screen.

The most powerful difference here is the ability for the eCommerce website to remember what you bought last year for Christmas and make a recommendation for you one year later based on this information. 

Again, much harder to realize consistently in the real world.

The online shopping process appears rather simple; we drive traffic to our store, present customers with the products they are looking for, enabling them to purchase them comfortably and deliver them as fast as possible to their doorstep.

But each stage requires a little magic, from optimizing your advertising campaigns to improving your conversion rates, the fulfillment of orders, handling any returns and logistical challenges, and of course, having customers come back for more. 

The main advantage of eCommerce is its data and measurement capabilities.

To solve the complexity of measuring your eCommerce store, you will want to create a robust measurement plan to ensure you can capture all performance aspects easily.

A measurement plan defines your targets, KPIs, how you are going to measure, and, most importantly, how you are going to adjust your findings.

Top factors you can use to measure eCommerce success:

  1. Do you have the right traffic on your site?
  2. What are the conversion rates by: channel, targeting, messaging, product, experience?
  3. Can people find what they are searching for?
  4. Are your prices competitive?
  5. How easy is it to make a purchase?

To learn more about how to set up a proper eCommerce strategy from the beginning, get in touch with us, or sign up for one of our self-guided training programs.

Read the rest of the articles from this eCommerce Business Setup Series:

4 Approaches to Choosing the Right Technology for Your eCommerce

Keys to an Organized eCommerce Product Architecture and Inventory System  

Crafting a Smooth Operational Plan for Your eCommerce Store

How to Maximize the Potential of eCommerce Analytics & Tracking

How to Align Touch points to Maximize Conversion of Your eCommerce Site

3 Proven Techniques to Increase eCommerce Conversion Using Psychology

Top Merchandising Strategies of the Biggest eCommerce Sites

Leveraging Retargeting & Automation to Increase eCommerce Conversions

Written by
Alexander Rauser
Alexander Rauser


Alexander Rauser is the author of Boardroom Guide to Digital Accountability and Digital Strategy: A Guide to Digital Business Transformation, and creator of the DSX Program, a digital strategy and transformation program for Enterprises.

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