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How to improve your online presence: Case study

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TAL Products is an ethical supplier of products and supplies to the food, health and food service industries. They have been selling to both local suppliers and national businesses for over 45 years.

But by 2013, TAL Products’ offline success hadn’t translated into online popularity. Their six–year-old website had less than 1,000 visits for the entire year—with only nominal web orders.

This is a challenge that many entrepreneurs can relate to as they look to grow and scale their digital presence, including their retail commerce website. Perhaps this is something that your business currently struggles with too?

TAL Products decided to take action and eventually committed to a growth journey that helped them transform their online presence.

Assess your digital assets

TAL Products had recently finished implementing an ERP system to increase their pick-pack-ship workflow efficiency and improve their inventory management processes. After completing this project, their focus turned to exploring new channels for growth while continuing to use technology to digitally transform their business.

That’s when they first engaged BDC to do a diagnostic of their overall digital presence. I did a complete scan of their digital assets including their website, and Facebook and Twitter profile; as well as their use of analytics.

Determine your business requirements

With the results of the diagnostic in hand, TAL Products eventually went back to the drawing board and decided to build a new e-commerce website that could work with their ERP system to serve new and existing customers.

The first step in this growth journey was to determine the business requirements of their new website; taking current systems and processes as well as integration needs into consideration. This included the creation of an integrated online-offline customer experience journey to determine how their digital infrastructure—including a new e-commerce platform—would support both existing and new customers.

Select a vendor

Once the web strategy was solidified and reviewed, a formal request for proposal (RFP) was initiated, resulting in the submission of three estimates on the total costs for the project—including integration with their new ERP system.

TAL Products used a BDC-created decision tool to navigate through the various proposals. This tool highlighted key evaluation criteria and helped them coordinate vendor interviews. I was also involved to facilitate contract review. In this way, they were able to ensure that the product delivered by the vendor would reflect the strategy established at the start of the project.

The website development process can be fraught with technological risks and time constraints. I helped TAL Products oversee the vendor’s development work and I also assisted in establishing routine quality assurance checkpoints.

Build an integrated marketing roadmap

In phase two of their growth journey, TAL Products developed their integrated marketing strategy and roadmap. This came after the creation of their new website to account for new analytics and search data.

This process started with a complete audit of their digital and offline marketing assets. It also included an audit of their key competitors’ digital assets to benchmark against their performance. The result of this work was used to establish TAL Products’ integrated marketing priorities for the following 12 months.

The marketing roadmap focused on email marketing and automation to acquire new customers, content marketing and social amplification, search engine optimization (SEO), and paid media tactics via Facebook and Google AdWords. The plan was put in place with an agreed-to budget.

Online tactics were accompanied by offline efforts to redesign the catalogue as well as onsite safety assessment workshops called TAL’s Safety Analysis Plan.

The results

By following this process, TAL Products was able to greatly improve its traffic and perform a true digital transformation of its business.

Notably, they were able to secure several high profile clients who would otherwise not have done business with them.

Just how successful was their transformation? Their website and campaign data their website shows the following benefits.

Increased traffic

  • Website visits now average over 1,000 per month—of which 80% are new visitors.
  • Visitor numbers have gone up by over 60% year over year.

More sales

  • Sales revenue increased by over 450% year over year.
  • E-commerce conversion has increased by over 55%, average order value by over 120% and the number of transactions by 150%.

New ways of reaching customers

  • New email marketing channel yielded 11.5% conversion with the first campaign launched.
  • The first AdWords campaign to target cash and carry customers yielded the highest conversion to date, at 9.68%, with people registering for catalogues and calling the front office directly.

Before

Before online presence

After

After online presence

Optimize the growth journey

TAL Products is thrilled with the results of the project. But their journey is only beginning. In fact, as soon as this process began, it quickly set in that this work was never done.

I coached their internal webmaster so he can take on the role of marketing coordinator. This training addressed key areas such as email marketing and automation, content marketing and social amplification, SEO and paid media tactics via Facebook and Google AdWords. We are still in regular contact to see how they can continue their growth journey.

“My experience with BDC has been outstanding,” says Barbara Freeman, President, TAL Products. “The people I have worked with have been extremely professional, unbelievably patient and helpful in every way.”

Like TAL Products, many Canadian companies could also benefit from addressing their digital presence.

How about your business? Have you taken any steps to improve your online presence and get started on your digital growth journey?

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