In the previous article we talked about too short of a horizon and restrained customer acquisition. What other traps are waiting for you in e-commerce?

Lack of a comprehensive strategy for creating customer value

Not every consumer interested in a product wants to buy it. Many of them are just exploring their options or looking for advice. Placing too much emphasis on the sale of goods will only scare potential customers away.

I recommend that all strategic thinkers familiarize themselves with the YOUtility concept and the POEM Model. The former is based on the development of tools useful to customers –  e.g. for an online store it may be an expert guide, a blog or a mobile application. This way, the brand becomes a friend of its customers – and creates real value. Then a sale can take place.


REI – an outdoor brand that creates video guides useful to consumers. Video guides on

The POEM Model stands for Paid Owned Earned Media Model. According to this model, we assume attracting consumers through paid media and then drawing their attention towards owned media – as they are viral and helpful in getting recommendations and, as a result, acquiring new consumers. This model is well-used by the Red Bull brand that independently creates high-quality (owned) media.

Paid Earned Owned

POEM Model,

Finding someone to do the hardest job

Faced with the problems mentioned above, store owners – especially of medium and small stores – begin to look for “the best possible, one and only agency”. This mythical agency, based on the success-fee model, is supposed to generate sales and allow both parties to earn decent money.  Unfortunately, our experience shows that most of these models work only if the store owner has already made strategic investments or is open to making them.

For the success-fee model (sharing the revenue or profit) to be profitable for the party that provides consumers, it must be based on the competitive advantage of the online store.

During our projects, the profitability of the success-fee model was negatively affected by:

  • Lack of brand
  • Lack of control over distribution channels
  • Conflicts between sales channels
  • Lack of USP / distinguishing feature
  • No warehouse
  • Lack of a dedicated person or team responsible for the product portfolio
  • No description of products
  • No customer advice

When 2 or 3 of these issues are present, you will not be able to find anyone who would provide traffic / consumers in the success fee model. Of course, somebody desperate enough will make a few attempts, only to assess their losses and stop the cooperation after a few months.

Product selling entities based on commission models have a very strong position and seek partnership with other, equally strong partners.

Focusing on conversion rate as the main indicator of success

Conversion rate is obviously very important. I have published case-studies on this rate many times. In the longer term, however, the customer life cycle, order value and customer loyalty are just as important. Focusing on “hard sell“ scares off the clients who are just getting to know the product offer. The easiest way to take care of these customers is to offer them a newsletter subscription via social media or other contact database. studies have shown that as many as 70% of users leaving a given website will never return to it again.

Meanwhile, during our six-week cooperation with the Willsoor brand we have created a 34% growth in the email database – which led to a 14% revenue rise from the online welcome message in comparison to the whole store. The size of the shopping cart in comparison to the average in the online store is in this case 17,51% bigger.

According to Custora, customer acquisition through email marketing has quadrupled in the last four years. Additionally, the Average customer lifetime value (CLV) indicator is higher for email marketing than for social media, and the email marketing ROI (return on investment) is on average 4300% (source: Direct Marketing Association).

What can go wrong in E-commerce? Part 1.