10 Essential Digital Marketing Tips for Your E-Commerce Store

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.

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DTC vs. Retail: How Brands Win with a Blended Approach

In a world of customized placement, your DTC brand needs to be omni-channel, which is why a proper DTC marketing plan is so critical.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are riding a sustained growth wave. It’s estimated there are more than 400 significant brands now in this category, while DTC web traffic is growing 100%  year over year. This growth is being supported by performance-based DTC marketing plans.

Don’t think top retailers haven’t noticed. Nordstrom, Sephora, and other industry heavyweights are working overtime to entice emerging DTC brands into the retail space by offering a range of incentives.

One example: Bloomingdale’s Carousel concept, which allows DTC sellers to set up rotating pop-up shops within the storied retailer’s brick and mortar environs.

Yet, as DTC brands would be the first to tell you, this kind of relationship doesn’t come without substantial tradeoffs.

Winning with a blended approach

Wholesale retailers, always eager for trendy, differentiated offerings, have been busy integrating DTC brands at a rapid clip. There’s no question that such relationships offer very real benefits for these brands. A DTC marketing plan that provides proper placement in Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s can expose DTC products to much wider audiences.

Partnering with an esteemed wholesale retailer also gives newer DTC brands instant cachet and credibility. For a largely unknown brand, an association with a retail heavyweight can be extraordinarily valuable.

Yet these benefits are also somewhat mitigated by the demands DTC brands are facing. Given their reach and capacity, it’s not surprising that large retailers want to get DTC brands in front of a sizable number of their customers. Yet these brands are often ill-prepared to scale up to accommodate placement at 50 stores.

Large retailers also exert a very high degree of control over product strategy and operations. DTC brands that are accustomed to exerting full control over how their products and services are presented and marketed may balk at relinquishing that control. Much of the storytelling, creative messaging or flair associated with DTC brands may be suppressed when these products are presented and marketed by a larger retailer with different sensibilities and prerogatives.

So how do DTC brands thread the needle?

Many of today’s most successful DTC brands have been squaring this circle by pursuing a blended approach. They make wholesale retailers a part of their omni-channel strategy, but only on their terms.

If retailers push DTC brands to scale too early, they resist. If DTC brands believe their messaging is being polluted by clumsy or irrelevant retail marketing, they speak up.

Most importantly, these DTC brands don’t cede control over their narrative. They may be hitching a ride on a larger, faster and more visible ship, but they remain the undisputed captain of their fate.

Looking for a DTC marketing boost?

Attractive and eye-catching product and packaging design is a virtual pre-requisite for successful DTC brands. Luckily for you we’re experts in this field. Whether you need assistance with product design, performance-based advertising and marketing strategies or branding services, we have the necessary expertise to deliver the goods.

Contact Bigeye today for more information about how we can help take your DTC marketing plan to the next level. 

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How to Find Success on Shopify

Shopify, one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce platforms, is growing at such a rapid rate that it’s projected to overtake eBay as the second-largest e-commerce platform in 2020, according to CNBC.

While that kind of growth offers massive opportunity for Shopify retailers, it’s also quickly becoming a much more competitive space. Shopify now has more than 1 million merchants active on its platform, all of whom are working to differentiate themselves and outsell the competition.

So what’s the secret to gaining more traction with your Shopify store? Let’s take a closer look at seven key tips for better Shopify store development.

1. Prioritize customer service — and outsource if necessary

E-commerce doesn’t have to mean minimal customer service. In fact, it was Jeff Bezos’ famous “customer obsession” that helped Amazon become a global heavyweight. Yet for most people operating Shopify businesses, dealing with customers is an enormous time suck. While keeping your clients happy is critical, most people simply lack the bandwidth for the task.

Instead, it makes sense to outsource customer service functions. The international call center business is booming, and you can find qualified customer service freelancers on just about any major Gig Economy marketplace. It’s important to ensure that the workers you contract with have first-class fluency in English. Adding live chat is another element that can really improve the customer experience.

2. Focus on the right design

Great design is crucial to the success of any Shopify site. This begins with choosing an appropriate theme. Find one that fits the look and feel of your brand or signature products. The right theme can have a dramatic impact on the visual atmosphere and overall user experience of your site.

While Shopify offers some free design templates, you can also choose to pay for some of the premium designs the company offers. Unsurprisingly, the premium templates tend to be more eye-catching, which can help your site stand out with a fresh look. In addition to the look and feel of your site, you’ll also need to consider how design impacts functionality. Do you want larger images? A wider Instagram feed? These small decisions can have a significant impact on how your products are browsed and purchased, so weigh these decisions carefully.

Generally speaking, it’s also a smart idea to design with certain principles in mind. Your site should feel clean and uncluttered. An overabundance of design elements or products can confuse or irritate visitors and encourage them to depart without buying.

3. Incorporate and optimize elements stressing your originality

Templatized websites run the risk of appearing a bit cookie-cutter, but there are a few steps you can take to make your site appear fresh and original. First, commission striking, original photography and avoid over-reliance on stock imagery. This can go a long way toward giving your site some visual panache that makes it stand out from other e-commerce offerings.

Second, create copy that is truly creative and that engages the reader. Too often Shopify copy is bland and boilerplate. By coming up with lively product descriptions and other copy, you can help convert buyers and differentiate your approach. You’ll also want to choose headlines that stand out from the crowd and that are calibrated to resonate with your target demographics. Figure out why people would be interested in your products and use that as a guide for creating catchy headlines. Humor — in the appropriate contexts — is also a big plus.

4. Check out the competition and test your approach

Auditing other e-commerce sites is a smart way to evaluate your own approach. You can take what they are doing well and adapt it for your own purposes, while also identifying any deficiencies in their approach and capitalizing on them.

Incorporating some simple A/B testing into your site can also help you learn what people are really responding to. These tests allow you to take two versions of a screen, headline or some other element and evaluate how visitors interact with each version. This can be an invaluable tool for learning what converts and what causes people to disengage.

5. Build your social proof

There’s no debating it: Reviews are the lifeblood of any e-commerce store. This means it is critical to monitor your reviews and respond in a timely fashion. If there was a legitimate issue, be transparent and forthcoming rather than defensive, and offer to make it right. This will often disarm even the most dissatisfied customers and help turn negative interactions into positive ones.

Encourage your customers to leave photo reviews whenever possible. Visitors enjoy these and they often seem more credible than text reviews. The more smiling and happy customers you can showcase on Shopify the stronger your business will be.

6. Tread carefully with shipping costs

Excessive shipping costs are one of the most common reasons why customers do not follow through with e-commerce orders. For online retailers, nothing is more frustrating than getting a customer all the way to the checkout page…only to have the product deleted from the cart because of elevated shipping charges.

E-commerce consumers have been conditioned to expect low or no-cost shipping by Amazon Prime, so it’s a wise idea to either build the cost of shipping into your products or figure out an alternative method for defraying costs.

7. Use a well-designed SEO and programmatic ad strategy

An up to date Search optimization strategy plays an essential role in helping people locate you. Most site owners aren’t experts at search, so it often makes sense to bring a marketing agency or SEO expert into the mix. The rules governing SEO are always evolving, so working with an expert can save you the hassle of trying to master search and remain perennially current on the latest changes to Google’s ranking algorithm. It also makes sense to work with a Shopify agency that specializes in this kind of overall site development.

Pay-per-click ad strategies are easier to learn, as you can get a lot of traction by researching keywords and slowly refining your approach over time. Taken together, both strategies can go a long way toward jumpstarting your Shopify revenue.

The takeaway

Shopify is second only to Amazon in terms of the opportunity it offers e-commerce retailers. By following these seven tips and practicing smart Shopify development, you can get faster traction, differentiate your site and generate more revenue.

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Starter Children, Fur Babies, and a DTC Success Story

If your fur baby could help lead you to a $250 million DTC subscription service, wouldn’t you want to be set for success?

Millennials are delaying child-rearing. Millennials love dogs. Millennials are receptive to DTC subscription services and advertising.

What do these three things have in common?

They’re a recipe for a $250 million business.

Barking up the money tree

It’s hardly surprising that younger people are delaying home-purchasing, parenting and other traditional milestones. Student loan debt is at historic levels and wage growth has been flat.

While you can’t eliminate the paternal/maternal impulse, you can reroute it. Priced out of parenthood, millennials are turning their thwarted parental impulses toward pets. 

Call them starter children, fur babies, or absurdly over-indulged animals, the numbers don’t lie: 44% of millennials see their pets as proxy children.

Brands in the flourishing pet care space have been quick to capitalize on this sentiment. Yet none are quite so well-positioned as DTC brands, who are firmly in the millennial sweet spot. They offer boutique, cleverly marketed products to a narrow yet hardcore audience; they deliver to your door and they are price competitive.

That’s more or less the millennial trifecta, and one of the brands that have been most successful at deploying this strategy is BarkBox. 

BarkBox is a DTC subscription service that delivers a box of dog treats to your door. Not revolutionary, sure. Yet the idea plays beautifully on several consumer preferences.

  • You don’t have to leave the house and visit a pet store full of poorly-differentiated toys and treats
  • You don’t have to spend time choosing what to buy
  • Your dog treats arrive in a box, curated for your pet’s enjoyment
  • The contents of each box are a mystery, making the process a bit like opening a gift
  • BarkBoxes are sold direct-to-consumer, with the parent company (Bark) largely relying on Facebook for marketing during its early growth phase

That’s a winning formula, and not just for pets. Another popular DTC subscription service, Universal Yums, curates boxes of candy and snacks from across the globe and sends a new box from a different country to subscribers each month. 

BarkBox, which handles its creative in-house, recently tested its first direct response TV ad, then measured the number of new subscriptions gained in the immediate wake of the ad. It’s a strategy that many DTC businesses are following, as they try to do more with less outside the confines of the traditional large agency model.

Direct to consumer marketing strategies have a variety of powerful benefits for brands such as Bark: They allow more control over brand messaging, they reduce costs, and they enhance flexibility.

Partnering with the right DTC marketing agency can help small businesses unlock these benefits and drive real, tangible results.

The takeaway

Small DTC businesses often lack the resources to partner with the largest agencies – yet that doesn’t mean they can’t have access to world-class campaigns. At Bigeye, we understand the DTC subscription service and advertising market on a deep level, and we’re nimble enough to help you create compelling direct to consumer marketing campaigns on demand. 

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Direct to Consumer Marketing: Ignore it at Your Peril

Don’t let your business hit rock bottom before considering a DTC marketing agency who can help you achieve your marketing and advertising goals.

Direct to consumer advertising and marketing is drawing a wealth of buzz — and for good reason. The DTC model is now a priority for enterprises across the spectrum. And a DTC marketing agency is more of a need. 

Legacy retailers are selling and marketing directly to consumers to reduce their footprints and expand their digital strategies. Digitally native brands (Warby Parker, Harry’s, etc.) used the DTC model to disrupt the prevailing retail paradigm and ramp up their businesses with impressive speed.

All of this maneuvering, of course, is supported by DTC-specific advertising and marketing. Some DTC brands handle it internally; others partner with legacy agencies or more specialized boutique firms. Still more employ a combination of these approaches. 

One thing, however, remains constant: Brands that get DTC marketing right – regardless of whom they partner with – are in the strongest possible competitive position.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some smart digital strategies that brands can implement with minimal difficulty.

Offering personalized content

One of the most attractive aspects of DTC is the removal of middlemen. Brands can connect directly with their buyers, with no third party to mediate or filter the experience.

DTC brands can use this proximity to gather valuable first-party data that offers thorough, actionable insights into consumer preferences. Brands can use this data to create personalized content presented in the consumer’s preferred medium.

When it comes to leveraging data and designing content strategies, smaller DTC brands often need assistance – and the easiest way to get help is by partnering with a nimble DTC marketing agency with a full suite of digital offerings.

Developing a mobile app

Speaking of DTC marketing agencies with digital expertise, such agencies are the perfect partner for mobile app development. Small to mid-sized brands may believe that a mobile app is solely the province of big players. While that may have been true years ago, that’s not the case today.

Mobile apps give brands a direct channel to consumers.  They also provide an excellent opportunity to deepen engagement and stay fresh in the minds of consumers.  And while mobile apps are being adopted by smaller brands, they are still uncommon enough to serve as a competitive differentiator.

Using third parties to sell and market

Amazon and other large marketplaces have spawned a massive new opportunity for direct to consumer selling and marketing. By leveraging the vast buyer networks of these third parties, brands can disintermediate retailers and still theoretically reach millions of consumers.

This doesn’t mean, of course, that brands can simply list their products and watch sales accumulate. Third party sites have their criteria for how products are marketed to visitors, and these rules govern how products are shown and to whom they are shown.

Brands can determine which strategies work best for their products by pursuing continuous testing and making occasional adjustments.

The takeaway

With our team of media & analytics experts, Bigeye has the strategic savvy and digital chops to help DTC brands achieve their advertising and marketing goals. If you’re not satisfied with the traction your current campaigns are generating, we urge you to visit our website today.

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How to Effectively Market Your Nutraceutical Product

The nutraceutical market is booming. Here’s what you need to know in order to make your product stand out in the crowd.

With the US population aging and rates of many chronic diseases continuing to soar, consumers are in need of new products that promote health and wellness. Nutraceuticals, with their emphasis on natural health benefits, are one popular option.

Nutraceuticals, which have been positioned as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical treatments of physiological problems, have seen substantial growth in recent years. The global market is worth roughly $241 billion and is projected to reach $373 billion by 2025. 

Nutraceutical marketing, however, can present something of a challenge for people without true domain expertise. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few key tips for optimizing your nutraceutical marketing.

Understanding What Motivates Buyers in the Nutraceutical Market

Nutraceutical development is often targeted at physiological conditions that have a nutritional component. Certain diseases have dietary risks that are related to disease progression; other diseases simply do not have a long list of viable medical treatments. Patients that fall within these groups, naturally, are highly motivated to seek impactful medicines or supplements.

Smart nutraceutical marketing is aware of these distinctions, and should make an effort to target and activate consumers and patients who are being poorly served by traditional healthcare approaches. Brands should also be cognizant of buyer preferences within this niche; for example, nutraceutical buyers want green and sustainable product packaging.

Finding Where Nutraceutical Prospects Live Online

Buyers of nutraceuticals blur the line between patients and conventional consumers and this is reflected in their online behavior. When developing a nutraceutical marketing strategy, brands should focus on health and wellness websites, patient support groups and any channel where large numbers of people with medical issues congregate. That said, brands should also focus their marketing efforts on the segment of the nutraceutical audience that is motivated more by wellness, fitness and preventive medicine.

Differentiate Your Offering

The nutraceutical market is highly fragmented, with a few large multinationals at the top and thousands of small players operating in the industry. In order to stand out in this landscape, companies need to differentiate.

The problem is, most companies are selling variations on the same products. This means that branding is a critically important differentiator. The brands that do the best job of developing a valuable brand and building awareness will be in the strongest competitive position.

Leverage the Latest Technological Tools

If your nutraceutical brand isn’t devoting significant resources to cutting-edge digital marketing, you’re putting your organization at a significant disadvantage. Digital outreach, whether it’s via programmatic ads or social media campaigning, is critical. Without it, you can’t properly segment and target your audience and gather important insight into the efficacy of your marketing efforts.

Savvy brands go one step beyond traditional approaches and employ more sophisticated digital tools, including geo-targeting and search-based targeting, then support these efforts with advanced analytics that offer deeper insight into campaign performance. 

Partner with a Third Party When Necessary

Let’s face it: Many nutraceutical brands don’t have the in-house expertise to develop the kind of tech-centric campaigns that move the needle. In cases such as these, it makes sense to work with an outside marketing agency.

Choosing the right agency is imperative, however, as few have true nutraceutical domain expertise. Without that key element, you simply can’t create informed and authoritative advertising and marketing content. If you choose to opt for an external agency, make sure that your partner has experience with the nutraceutical niche.

Why Bigeye is the Ideal Partner for Nutraceutical Marketing

At Bigeye, we are domain experts in the realm of nutraceutical advertising and marketing. This allows us to create campaigns that are highly targeted, strategically sound and easily scalable without breaking the bank.

Contact us today for more information about what Bigeye can do for you.

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