No matter what you sell from your e-commerce shop, you have a great opportunity to grow your business – follow these steps to gain a competitive edge.
Amazon, the world’s e-commerce leader, enjoyed over $280 billion in revenue during 2019, a 20-percent increase from the prior year. Even much smaller, independent digital shops can do very well with the right e-commerce marketing strategy. For instance, Shopify powers over half a million e-commerce stores, with over $40 billion in sales and an average yearly growth rate of 74 percent.
New or established, large or small, these e-commerce and Shopify marketing tips will help bring more customers to your virtual front door and keep making purchases once they have found you.
Ten effective e-commerce marketing strategies to grow your online business
The success of established online stores should offer you encouragement. On the other hand, you should also understand that you’re going to need to compete with other digital vendors for attention and dollars. To do that, you first need to make sure people know what you’re selling and why they should choose your e-commerce shop over another source. Some of you may also offer new or unique products, so you’ll also need to introduce an audience to the value of whatever you’re selling.
Once you’ve achieved some brand and product recognition, you will also probably have to keep testing and refining your e-commerce digital marketing to enjoy continued growth. In that way, you should view digital marketing as more of an evolving process than as something you can just set and forget. Good e-commerce marketing can take considerable effort. In the end, your effective marketing strategies will also help you enjoy the competitive edge that will help you stand out, profit, and grow.
If you’re just getting started or haven’t enjoyed the success you hoped for, consider trying these 10 e-commerce marketing strategies:
1. Create Buying Guides
These days, consumers spend time researching purchases online. You could engage online shoppers with helpful content that helps people find the perfect gift for their dad, which air fryer features are worth the money, or types of swimming suits that flatter various kinds of bodies.
Whatever you’re selling, people certainly have questions about it. Position yourself as the expert and make shoppers aware of your store by posting helpful buying guides on your social sites, website, and digital store. Besides buying guides, you might also create useful guides to using or caring for various products. For instance, you might sell heirloom seeds and could offer seasonal planting guides or even recipes. This sort of helpful content can improve your marketing and your customer service.
2. Host Giveaways, Contests, and Quizzes
You might think it’s counterintuitive to increase sales by giving things away. At the same time, giveaways give you a chance to spark interest in your brand and hopefully, get some positive feedback from lucky winners. Quizzes, giveaways, and contests can also give you a chance to build your subscription list by capturing names and email address. You can also use quizzes to gather marketing information and target your offers and communications to specific interests. Obviously, you should try to tailor any of these events to the type of audience you hope to attract as customers.
3. Offer Promos, Coupons, and Discounts
Offering limited-time promotions for some or all of your products can have a profound psychological effect on consumers, according to Psychology Today. The article mentioned that with newer and weaker brands, shorter and more urgent calls to action more effectively overcome buyer’s resistance. Stronger and more established sellers may profit more by extending their sales longer. As with other marketing, you might need to test your limited-time offers to see which promotions and durations provide you with the best results.
Also, you can use these limited-time sales as content to promote on your store, blog, and social media. Be certain to encourage your audience to share your coupons and promo codes with their own social circles. Even if one person isn’t in the market for something, they might think of a friend who is.
4. Convert First-Time Buyers into Repeat Buyers
Attracting repeat buyers can help you maximize the returns that you will enjoy from your e-commerce store marketing budget. The sooner you can convert first-time purchasers into loyal customers, the more you can profit. If you offer consumable goods, you might start off by offering a substantial discount or perk for people who take advantage of your offer to send your items by periodic subscriptions. Such consumable items as soap, razor blades, and coffee do very well with this sort of marketing plan. Make certain that you clearly demonstrate the savings that subscription purchasers will enjoy on the order page.
5. Encourage Testimonials and Reviews
Plenty of successful online stores encourage reviews and testimonials from their customers. They may even go so far as offering a gift card or special discount code in exchange for posting a review on a product or service page. It’s even more helpful if the review form encourages the reviewer to share their feedback on their own social media pages. Either way, today’s online shoppers do use reviews to help inform purchases and even a mix of great and not-so-great reviews may look more credible than a page with no reviews at all.
6. Practice Enlightened Self Interest
By associating your brand with a worthy charity you can help improve your community and your positive brand recognition. Figure out what kinds of causes your audience is likely to value and lend your support. One recent study found that Millennials, for example, are even likely to spend more on purchases when they associate the company with worthy causes that they also support.
Also, some charities will help promote their sponsors by mentioning the company on a sponsor page or in a newsletter. Your sponsorship of worthy causes also gives you more content for your social media, blogs, and email or text subscribers. That way, subscribers don’t always associate your communication with just selling.
7. Get Customers to Return to Abandoned Shopping Carts
Lots of digital marketers do everything well in order to attract customers to their e-commerce store and get them to select items to purchase. At the same time, many marketers estimate they suffer very high rates of abandoned shopping carts. In other words, the customer does everything but actually pay for their purchase.
Use built-in features to remind these customers of the deal they’re missing out on and perhaps, even send them an additional incentive in the form of a limited-time discount or free shipping offer. It’s also a good idea to send people with abandoned shopping carts the contact information for customer service, so you can see if there’s some problem that kept the shopper from buying. Perhaps the potential customer was surprised by the shipping rates or wanted another payment option, and that’s information you should learn.
8. Build Subscription Lists
Some online shops offer new subscribers a discount to encourage customers and visitors to give permission to add their email or cell phone number to an email or text subscription list. This additional discount may also entice some shoppers to take advantage of their discount by making a purchase.
Beyond just offering a financial incentive, let shop visitors know that they can also expect value out of their subscription. For instance, you might tell subscribers they will be the first to know about sales or even have the chance to get special offers. These days, lots of people get bombarded by so much digital communication that they’re wary of giving out their contact information, so you need to impress your site visitors with the value you will offer.
9. Use Subscription Lists Wisely
Again, most people get a lot of emails that they don’t read or even send directly to their SPAM folders. Believe it or not, some e-commerce stores have customers who look forward to getting their communications. You need to invest some effort to attract subscribers in the first place, so you want to make certain that you satisfy expectations by always providing value when you do send out emails or texts. As much as possible, try to personalize communication, so you have the best chance to engage your audience. Take particular care with your subject lines to let people know that you’ve written something that is worth their time to read.
10. Build Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty programs will offer your e-commerce store a variety of benefits that you can translate into profits. It’s almost always cheaper and easier to entice a satisfied customer to buy again than to attract a brand-new customer. That means that your customer service needs to be considered part of your marketing as much as any incentives you offer for repeat purchases.
Beyond just encouraging customers to return to your shop, you can also create a brand ambassador program to motivate your current customers to spread the word about your products or services. Word-of-mouth advertising by your loyal customers can provide you with the most cost-effective kind of marketing, so you should definitely consider ways to encourage it.
As an added benefit, a loyalty program can help you better track customer behavior, and you can use that information to tailor your offerings and communication.
Is that all there is to e-commerce marketing?
For e-commerce or even more specifically, Shopify marketing, you might find almost as many effective tactics as you can find online stores. For example, this article did not touch upon such offline marketing methods as signs, popup shops, and event tables. It also took for granted that you have already created a website, blog, and/or social pages. It also assumed that you had designed an easy-to-navigate, attractive shop and offered high-quality products and great customer service. The best choice of e-commerce marketing strategies may very well depend upon your intended market, budget, competition, comfort with various tactics, and what you’ve already tried.