We all want our businesses to grow, but pouring money into marketing outlets can be stressful and risky. There’s always a degree of uncertainty as to whether or not you’ll make a strong return on investment. The good thing about e-commerce is that digital business allows you to collect data and better strategize marketing pushes.
U.S. e-commerce sales have grown by around 15% in each of the previous 3 years. In 2016 e-commerce generated approximately $400 billion in sales. So as a business owner, how do you get a bigger piece of the pie? We’ve assembled 10 marketing based strategies that are proven to expand your business.
Mobile Is King.
Most people spend more time with their smartphones than their actual computers, in fact mobile commerce is rising over 130% each year. Optimize your e-commerce business for mobile usage now! It’s not enough to just have a website that works on smartphones. It has to be nearly as easy and intuitive to use as a desktop computer. Product information and media should be easily viewable. Even something as simple as not being able to conveniently zoom in on a product may cause a consumer to leave your site.
Invest In Painless Logistics.
Depending on the volume of your business it may be in your best interest to seek out a third-party logistics provider. They can help you manage high volume orders and provide other services such as same-day delivery and low shipping costs. If you’ve ever used Amazon, you’ve probably noticed how easy they make it to file a return or exchange. If you want to stay competitive in 2017, that type of customer service is quickly becoming the standard, and most consumers won’t settle for much less.
Provide A Uniform Customer Experience Across Channels.
There’s nothing worse for a consumer than clicking an attractive advertisement and then landing on a confusing page that looks nothing like the original ad. Consumers that click on advertisements are motivated to buy, but when the purchasing experience isn’t convenient or on-brand it’s an instant buzz kill. Promotional strategies, product availability and brand presentation should feel the same across all channels (i.e., mobile store, online, social media). Brand structure and consistency builds trust with customers.
Consider Live Chat.
Studies show that websites that offer live chat are very favored by consumers. It’s a quick way to not only provide customers with peace of mind, but to also facilitate a purchase. The number one reason consumers prefer chat is because it answers questions fast. Quick answers means a higher motivation to buy. Another benefit of live chat is that you can stockpile the conversations and determine where customers are running into the most trouble on your website. This allows you to make adjustments directly based on customer needs.
Explore Free Shipping.
Another place area where Amazon sets the benchmark is with free shipping to its members. The fact is, no one like to pay for shipping. Several case studies have shown how quickly free shipping can increase e-commerce revenue. Online shoppers are up to 5 times more likely to make a purchase if there is a free shipping option available. If your business is small, and cannot afford to offer free shipping out right, consider offering free shipping for people who sign up for a membership. That way at the very least, you collect their information for future targeting.
It’s All About Customer Reviews.
Have we mentioned Amazon enough yet? A reason big e-commerce companies do so well is that they show-off their reviews. Nowadays consumers don’t have to trust what a company says about how great its products are, instead they just look up what other consumers are saying. If a business has excellent reviews, customers are likely to spend 31% more. Make sure to position your reviews clearly and prominently on your website. Negative reviews also help you make adjustments to products and services. This shows your customers that their voice matters.
Specialized Email Campaigns.
Most industry professionals will agree that the number one channel for generating leads is automated email campaigns. Using a third party email service can help you target customers for different reasons and at specific times. Common triggers for automated emails include reminding shoppers who’ve abandoned their cart, welcoming new subscribers, gathering feedback after a purchase, upcoming account expirations, birthday messages, and order updates.
Personalize The Shopping Experience.
Imagine you were in a shopping mall that was made just for you. instead of having to walk from one side of the mall to the other just to visit your favorite stores, they were all right next to each other. This is the type of environment you want to create in your e-commerce store. The majority of consumers become frustrated when website content is irrelevant to their needs. The key to circumventing this is by setting up your e-commerce store to personalize itself in real-time.
A good example of this is when you’re perusing an online store and you see suggestions for other similar products (i.e. a section labelled ‘Customers who bought this also bought..’). Also, don’t be afraid to use customer information to send personalized emails with product recommendations. Know when to draw the line though, privacy is a huge part of customer trust.
Keep It Simple And Clear.
There’s a lot of big companies in the e-commerce pool, and the most successful companies all have one thing in common: Shopping is easy. By making your website simple and easy to navigate it prevents users from getting frustrated during the customer journey. Logical headings, helpful search filters and intuitive overall structure are all factors that motivate people to buy. Analyzing your Exit Rate data can tell you which page users are leaving your website on. This information will help you determine what section of the customer journey needs adjusting.
Ramp Up The SEO And Content.
If you want to grow your organic traffic, the best way to do that is by ranking higher in Google searches. High rankings are established through frequent content creation (stagnant e-commerce sites will usually fall behind). Blogging allows you to establish backlinks and make connections with other websites in your industry. It also allows you to position yourself as an expert in your field. Your customers will see that you’re not just about profits, you actually care about your respective industry and are willing to offer further insight.
For instance, a cookware company is much more likely to establish customer loyalty if they frequently blog about recipes and helpful kitchen tips. Other forms of content such as video also helps your rank higher in search engines, especially if the content is quality, and highly viewed.
There are many approaches to drive the growth of your e-commerce store, but the best advice we can give is to analyze the data, establish what your specific customers need, and apply some of the strategies we mention above.