Ecommerce continues to be a fast-growing sales channel, especially within the retail industry. It is a popular choice for the younger generation with the rapid growth in networking and computer technology.
Marketing strategies are different depending on the underlying goal. How is your online store planning to meet goals and grow in the market? Is your plan to reach a larger audience? Or is it to increase web traffic?
This article covers five ways you can use ecommerce strategies to strengthen your sales and increase the size of your audience.
#1: Enhance Your Website
Online stores have two types of visitors, those that visit and know what they are buying and those that visit and plan to browse. Make your website user-friendly and versatile. Don’t restrict access to it from a computer web browser. It needs to be accessible from any device (mobile, tablet, or computer).
Optimize the website experience for your customer. Do you currently track usage? If not, it’s time to do so. Using analytics tools provides you with insight to improve the experience. Without the tools, how do you know what to enhance?
Analytics tools collect data helping you to understand how long a customer spends on your website and identify what pages they visit the most. Below are ways you can enhance your website.
Amplify Search Usability
For users that know what they want and are ready to buy, a high-performing search experience is a must. You want the customer to locate the item easily you offer, not make the purchase from a competitor.
What is search usability? Search usability is defined as all search behaviors performed by a customer or potential customer on a website. There are many behaviors, but to name a few, this includes querying, browsing or surfing, foraging, scanning, and reading.
If you plan to use a search box on your webpage, consider the design and placement. Make sure the box is noticeable to the customer. If they already know what they are looking for, the search field is their first go-to.
How the search field is designed is important. Take into consideration the following:
- Include a sample search query within the search box, suggesting what the customer is able to search for.
- Build-in an auto-suggestion mechanism. This is a powerful tool that reduces data input by the customer. Design it to recognize root words and predictive text.
The results page follows the search and is equally important. The layout of the data depends on the type of product or service you offer. Two basic types are list view and grid view.
List views share the details. Grid views show pictures. The results page should display the number of matching results, a progress indicator if the results do not show immediately after querying, filtering, and sorting options, and a no results response that includes starting points the customer can use to begin a new query. For example, offer alternative options to the customer if the exact product is unavailable.
SEO (search engine optimization) goes hand in hand with search usability. It makes your website search engine friendly. How? It focuses on querying, refining, and expanding behaviors. Today, most users use a search field or search engine as their main discovery strategy.
Most of the time, SEO and usability support each other. SEO attracts customers to your website. It ensures that your webpage appears when a customer performs a query in a search engine—usability steps in once the customer clicks on the link and arrives at your webpage.
Optimize On-Page Visuals
How appealing is your site to customers? Can information be found on your website easily? How many steps does it take to search for it? Is the data consistent? These are all great questions to ask when designing a site.
Add visuals to your pages to draw attention and encourage leads. One option is infographics. Infographics show pictures, text, and data in one central place. They are an exceptional choice when sharing a lot of information in a small space. Another option is data visualization. It gives the customer insight into the why and the big picture through data and numbers.
You can use many additional visual options on your website, including video, gifs, memes, etc. Determine which is best for your business.
Personalize the Home Page
Allow your customers to feel special through a personalized shopping experience. Show them products they recently searched for or recently purchased. Include products or services that are relevant to those items; that they may want or need in the future.
#2: Keep an Eye on User Experience
When customers visit a web page, they expect the experience to be smooth and without error. Monitor your site for technical issues and listen to customer feedback.
As a quick guide, here are a few things you can keep your eye on with your ecommerce site:
- Broken links
- Web response and loading speed
- Display across platforms
- Resolution and responsiveness
- Erroneous code
Most technical errors are a quick fix, but you need to be aware of them first.
#3: Consider New Marketplaces
Are you ready to expand? If so, are you familiar with online marketplaces? An online marketplace allows you to work with third parties. This translates to new types of audiences and new sales. For example, companies such as Amazon and eBay are online marketplaces. They connect sellers with prospective buyers of products and services.
#4: Incorporate Marketing Automation
Introducing marketing automation platforms to your company ultimately increases your bottom line.
There are repetitive marketing-related tasks that can be automated thanks to computer software and technology. Repetitive tasks are boring and mundane to humans, but the software remains enthusiastic. Plus, it doesn’t require a paycheck.
One of the most popular marketing automation techniques is email marketing. Additional types of automation software include automated workflows, customer analytics, and landing page designers.
Email Marketing: What Is It?
Why email marketing, and what are the benefits for your business? Great question.
Automated email is broken down into four categories:
- Cross-sell and up-sell
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Customer loyalty
Let’s look at each of the categories individually.
Cross-Sell and Up-Sell Emails
Cross-selling emails promote a product or service to a customer in addition to what they may already be purchasing. For example, you are purchasing clothing from an online retailer. At check-out, a prompt appears asking you if you have interest in an accessory to complement the clothing.
Up-selling emails encourage the customer to upgrade their purchase. For example, you are in the market for a new phone. At check-out, the sales agent shows you another model that has a more powerful camera. Although it’s at a higher cost, you decide to take the upgrade.
How are these techniques used through email marketing? Simple - automation. The software tracks when a customer places an item in their cart. An upsell email is sent to persuade the customer to replace the item in their cart with an upgrade. Or a cross-sell email is sent to offer additional items the customer may be interested in purchasing.
Abandoned Cart Recovery Emails
An abandoned cart is not uncommon in the ecommerce universe. Actually, about 3 out of 4 people who add products or services to their cart never make the final sale. Fortunately, you can use abandoned cart recovery emails to influence the customer, to remind them.
Abandoned cart emails are automatically sent out to customers who add items to their cart and begin the check-out process but do not complete it.
How can you design an automated email that is enticing to customers? Here are a few examples of what you can include:
- A well thought out subject line - make it eye-catching
- A well-defined call to action (CTA)
- A visual of the product, or products, left behind
- A sense of urgency to finalize the sale
- Offer a coupon or a percentage off
- Offer alternatives
On average, abandoned cart recovery emails recover approximately 10% of revenue.
Customer Loyalty Emails
Retain the customer base you have today through customer loyalty emails. New customers are great, but they come at a cost.
Customer loyalty emails show the customer that you care. How can they be used? Here are some examples:
- Personalized messages for special occasions such as holidays, birthdays, or an anniversary.
- A group message. For example, if you group members as VIP, elite members, etc., you can segment emails and speak to these groups specifically when running special events.
- To offer incentives based on a customer’s purchasing behavior. If they purchase from you frequently, offer bonus points, a percentage off their next purchase, or reward dollars as a thank you.
Customers love to receive a good deal. So what better way to deliver promotions than through their email inbox. Promotional emails are what they sound like; an announcement of a promotion or offer that your business is running.
Examples of promotional emails include:
- Limited time offers
- Exclusive deals
- Seasonal or holiday offers
- New product launches and arrivals
- New customer offers
- Contests or giveaways
- Promotional codes
When you begin your search for email marketing providers, remember there are many to choose from. Before you engage in a provider, identify what you want the email marketing to look like for your company.
There is a range of tools and services available. Incorporate the best one for your ecommerce site.
Advantages of Marketing Automation Software
Marketing automation comes with many advantages. It is quick and allows you to focus on other areas of the business. Save time and effort by taking the manual data out of the equation and allowing the software to perform analysis for you. Only then will you notice an improvement in your return on investment (ROI).
Let’s admit it; humans make mistakes. With email marketing automation, those errors are greatly reduced. The software uses an algorithm to complete tasks and doesn’t get bored in the process. Therefore, the system gathers email addresses, keeps the database up-to-date, and completes the repetitive process efficiently.
Have you thought about your average order value (AOV)? This is a revenue driver that is overlooked. Marketing automation platforms work to identify popular products, separate your customer base, and perform analytics that leads to price changes.
Don’t forget about the customer. Marketing automation collects data every time someone signs
up for a newsletter, purchases the product, signs up to join the website, etc. What type of data?
This includes name, address, date of birth, product preferences, etc.
It also includes data such as the bounce rate, time of day the webpage was accessed the most, or how many unique visits were made to the webpage. What can you use this data for? To gain customer insight and to learn about the behavior of the customer to create successful marketing campaigns.
#5: Increase the Rate of Referrals
Bring more people to your ecommerce site through referral marketing. Referral marketing is extremely successful. It is a type of marketing that encourages customers to talk about your products or services with others.
What is your current rate of referrals? Look at what is working and what is not first. Are customers providing feedback to you? If so, consider it. Your customers are the voice of your business and are performing a lot of the work. The type of incentives or rewards you offer is key.
The Bottom Line
People today have options when it comes to purchasing products or services. They can use a computer, mobile device, or tablet anywhere. Make sure that your ecommerce store is up-to-date with technology and trends.
Monitor customer behavior and enhance your site as needed. Take the manual work out of the equation and let computer software technology automate processes, reaching customers more efficiently and faster.
Visit QuaGrowth to learn more about ecommerce marketing and how it applies to email marketing?