Tips and Advice for Business Leaders - How To Set Up, Develop and Maintain an Ecommerce Website

Q&A with Hans Ziebeck – Founder of

We recently spent some time with Hans Ziebeck, the founder of

We have worked with a number of consumer products businesses, who despite dealing with some of the leading UK retailers, were interested in setting up their own B2C transactional websites or customer web portals, as well as social media and PPC campaigns, to further promote their products and ensure a faster turn of stock.

Hans Ziebeck has 20 years commercial experience in category management and buying, working for some of the leading UK retailers, before setting up, a gifting e-commerce website in 2015.

Having launched in July 2015, we were keen for Hans to share some of his insights and to give advice and recommendations on how FMCG Director’s and leaders can develop an e-commerce and digital marketing plan from scratch.

Chris: You have decided to go ahead with a website, what advice do you have when choosing a digital agency?

Hans: Firstly, have a look at some of the other sites they have built. Do you like the look and the feel of these sites? You also need to ensure that as well as building your site they also have expertise in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This will enable you to build and improve your organic Google ranking through developing relevant content and links to your website, without having to pay for them.

Secondly, you need to consider the cost of any ongoing support and maintenance costs may be as well as what the cost would be to make any future changes. These all need to be considered when budgeting for your new site.

If you do not have the budget to extend to a design agency, there are many off the shelf solutions in today’s market that also provide a very professional end solution for your customers.

Chris: What advice would you have when designing your website and building content?

Hans: You need to consider the customer journey through the site and how easy it is to navigate and click through. Start off with the basics. Look to build a clear and conscious homepage backed up by landing pages, category pages, products pages, and a clear checkout page.

Also, one of the most important aspects is customer care on the site. How visible are shipping costs, terms and conditions and returns policies to find. This will ensure stronger consumer confidence when buying from your site.

Finally, establish a tone of voice and the persona you wish to create for your website. This persona needs to be consistent across all messaging, social media and the imagery on your site.

Chris: Google pay per click and keyword searching can be somewhat of a mind field, along with potentially being an easy way of spending your budget quickly. What advice would you have?

Hans: Unless you are John Lewis or Argos, you are going to find it very difficult to drive traffic to your site. SEO won’t kick in for the first 6 months, so PPC will be your main driver for traffic. Do your research. Look at what your competitors are using as PPC keyword search terms, but the biggest factor is to find low competition search terms that are relevant to your products.

You are likely to be approached by a Google agent about PPC. Ultimately, they will not know your industry. It is therefore best to manage in house to begin with. Start off small, by focusing on one category, before expanding further.

Chris: What other ways could you advertise your new site?

Hans: PPC will be the easiest way to start to drive traffic to your site. I would, however recommend targeted social media advertising, especially if you are targeting a local geographical region and you have a local presence already.

Buying email lists is another option. However, you need to consider that you will only get a 2 to 3% click through and then if you are lucky, 2.5% actually purchasing some of your products.

Chris: Social media is a necessity if you are looking to build a brand online. What advice do you have for developing a strong and consistent message?

Hans: Social media is essential to any business now, allowing you to spread your content through numerous interlinked digital channels. Understand your demographics as demographics vary from each social media platform.

Hootsuite is a great tool to use for managing your social media content. This allows you to schedule your weekly social media messaging in advance and also allows you to manage all your different social media platforms in one place. It is also free to use for up to 3 different platforms. A lot of social media interaction is done in the evenings, so make sure you have plenty of content scheduled for key times. Also, think about your potential International audience and what time they will be active on social media.

Chris: In summary, what are the key things to remember and advice you should follow?

Hans: It is important to scope all your requirements out and have a clear vision. Most importantly stick to it. Ensure you plan and timeline your launch, consider all the add-on costs and various providers and plan for the unknown! Finally, there is a vast amount of free resource out there. Use it!

Over the years Collingwood has assisted a number of FMCG and retail businesses to headhunt the best Senior eCommerce talent to assist them with the development of their eCommerce offering.

Collingwood recently partnered a home décor business to headhunt a Head of Ecommerce with the brief of developing and executing a new eCommerce plan from scratch.

For more information call us on +441829 732374.

 Hans Ziebeck Hans Ziebeck, FOUNDER OF BLUBALOU.COM