According to our e-commerce barometer, 27% more e-commerce websites were launched in 2017 compared to the year before. Transaction numbers increased by 39%, which equals over 60 million transactions. Those numbers indicate e-commerce in Belgium is on the rise, regardless of company size. Surfing along on the wave, Jacqmotte, a brand of Dutch coffee and tea company Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), joined the online retail market by launching their own webshop for a new freshly roasted coffee range.
In June 2018, Jacqmotte officially introduced coffee lovers to JACQ, a brand new range of premium coffee. While the concept of online coffee shopping has existed for quite a while, the new brand differentiates itself through its production process. As a unique feature, JACQ coffee is freshly roasted right after you place your order online. Due to the limited time in between production and consumption, the coffee’s taste and aroma remain preserved.
Fun fact: with the launch of JACQ, Jacqmotte returns to its roots. In the old days, suppliers delivered coffee to retailers and establishments, first by horse and carriage, later by truck. Tradition has been brought back to the forefront, although now in a modern context with innovative technology. In March 2018, we joined forces with the brand manager of Jacqmotte to prepare both soft and hard launch of the premium brand’s webshop, in June and October 2018 respectively.
Bridging the knowing-doing gap
At The House of Marketing, we are fully aware e-commerce is more complex than merely building a website. Hence, we developed a tailored approach to create value for e-commerce businesses, from strategy to implementation. We distinguish 3 phases: plan, build and run.
We joined the launch of JACQ for the build stage, so the vision and strategy, target segment and online value proposition had already been identified.
In the build phase, we took care of the following conditions:
Defining functional requirements, such as packaging, labels and printed communication.
Selecting a Payment Service Provider (PSP). Important here is to choose your PSP carefully based on your project and company needs. Think about the payment methods you want to foresee and what your financial reporting will look like.
Defining strategic and tactical partnerships. Where will the production take place? Do you need a logistics partner to deliver the parcels or will you work with a courier service? Could you partner up with other relevant online players that might serve as an extra channel to sell your product?
Setting up a detailed planning. Is this the first e-commerce project at your company? Depending on the size of the enterprise, you might need to foresee a considerable amount of time to build the necessary internal processes in collaboration with other teams like finance and supply chain. Set-up a clear planning with key milestones. A very practical tool to use for this is Trello.
Creating an e-commerce website, both front and backend, including the set-up of SEO and SEA strategies. It is crucial to work with a strong partner to build your website and to start testing right away. Based on the learnings, you could then start working on optimizing your website UX and conversion.
- Developing a marketing and communication strategy. Building traffic via traditional media like TV, radio and print might not cut it for this one. A strong media plan will undoubtedly boost awareness and there will be a positive halo effect on the overall Jacqmotte brand. However, since the main sales channel for the new online exclusive JACQ range is the e-commerce website, it is important to set-up a strong online campaign.
Jacqmotte’s new webshop initially went live in June 2018, which was the soft launch of the JACQ range. The hard launch with a large scale support plan took place in October 2018. This approach allowed us to measure and optimize during summer and build traffic towards a fully operational e-commerce platform with a strong conversion rate. The improvements that were made in between are categorized under the run stage.
Ensuring reach: during this two phased launch JDE collaborated with a strong agency for both traditional and digital media. Ensuring reach was particularly focused upon during the soft launch and the first weeks of the hard launch. Afterwards, conversion became the primary objective.
Increasing conversion: working on conversion takes time, start testing to identify which steps in the sales funnel need improving. Based on those learnings, you can then implement best practices. The check-out phase for example, needs to be simplified to a maximum. Any barrier might cause a potential customer to back out before the payment was done.
- Building traffic: once conversion is at an ideal rate, you will want to attract as much traffic as possible to your website. In this case, this was mainly done via the strong support plan that was set in place during the hard launch in October.
Lastly, remember to set clear objectives, measured through a set of KPI’s. This helps you to track performance from the beginning onwards. It’s a great idea to compare your results with industry benchmarks.
Leaving our fingerprint behind
Before landing at Jacqmotte, we worked on another e-commerce project within JDE. The learnings from this project, enabled us to apply our knowledge. In addition, we aligned on the approach with other e-commerce experts at The House of Marketing. That’s what we refer to as our so-called iceberg principle: while one THoMer works at the client, he or she is continuously supported by an entire internal network.
A critical outlook is part of our company DNA. That’s why we played the role of challenger during the entire project. We questioned every move of the process: instead of relying on gut feeling, we researched and investigated best practices to increase conversion.
Insights and learnings from the project
These are 5 lessons to keep in mind when launching your e-commerce or web shop:
- Think customer first
Place your customers at the center of everything you do. Whether you are brainstorming about packaging, building a website or preparing an email campaign: aim to meet (and ideally exceed) their expectations.
- Train your project management skills
While preparing a launch, you’re expected to deliver quickly on an operational level. Your project management skills should transcend the marketing domain: all parties should be encouraged to unite around the same cause.
- Don’t rest, but test
Once your e-commerce website has been launched, start testing. For example, test the media you use, the communication channels you opted for and the offer you promote amongst consumers.
- Prepare your media communication
Six months before the launch of your e-commerce platform, your press kit might not be top of mind – but it should. Media outlets plan their content well ahead, so make sure you provide them with the correct material in time.
- Keep an eye on the competition
Strengthen your own launch by examining your competitors and best practices within the e-commerce sector.