8 Ecommerce Marketing Tips to Improve Your Sales
Brick-and-mortar retail spending has been on the decline for years, and COVID-19 further eroded these in-person sales. On the other hand, online shopping has been on the rise, and U.S. consumers are expected to spend nearly $710 billion on ecommerce in 2020, an increase of 18% from the previous year!
With retailers big and small taking their business to the internet, there are bound to be winners and losers. One thing that separates the two is their ability to effectively engage consumers through ecommerce marketing.
What is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is “the act of driving awareness and action toward a business that sells its product or service electronically.” The goal is to drive traffic to the online store, convert traffic into leads, and then convert those leads into sales.
While large ecommerce businesses with deep pockets can market themselves through traditional advertising like print, television, and radio, most ecommerce businesses, especially the small and medium-sized ones, keep their marketing efforts within the digital realm.
8 Initiatives to Include in Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
1. Sharing on Social Media
This is a no-brainer! Today’s ecommerce businesses (like yours) need to be active on social media to connect with their audience. Additionally, you need to post content that your customers are interested in to drive traffic to your product pages. While campaigns will vary from brand to brand, and even from product to product, it’s still important to put yourself out there.
Of course, it’s important to understand that not every social network is a good fit for your business. For example, if you’re selling athletic gear, the job-oriented LinkedIn social media platform probably isn't the place to be; however, the photo-centric Instagram platform, which now has more than 110 million daily users, is an ideal place to highlight both your product and lifestyle imagery that complements your product (though not every post should be too self-promotional).
2. Engaging with Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective channels for making sales and generating repeat customers. According Forrester Research, about 17% of ecommerce marketing is spent on email—and it contributes to nearly 25% of revenue! The reason is simple; it’s hard to keep up with generic tweets and Facebook posts, whereas email offers a more intimate interaction (it also allows you to say more than you can or want to fit in a social media post). Of course, you also don’t want to blow up a person’s inbox either, or they may unsubscribe. So, here are some perfect occasions for sending an email:
- Sending a thank you or confirmation email as a customer makes a purchase.
- Providing occasional exclusive promo codes and free gifts.
- Sending regular (e.g., monthly or bi-weekly) newsletters to alert customer of new items and offers, along with product spotlights and tips.
- Sharing relevant content related to a customers’ purchase.
- Running a BOGO campaign for the holidays to promote self-gifting
- Thanking your highest-value customers with a personal note.
- Soliciting feedback about a purchase or their site experience.
- Extending an offer to join a loyalty program.
3. Upselling and Cross-selling
“Would you like a large for 25 cents more?” Upselling is nothing new, but many online shops fail to capitalize on the concept—and that’s a mistake. According to data from PredictiveIntent, more than 4% of customers will agree to the upsell, which can make it as lucrative as finding a new customer. All it entails is letting customers know that a more premium product is available. For example, if they were purchasing the iPhone 11, your store may notify them that an iPhone 11 Pro, with extra features, is also available for a bit more.
“Would you like fries with that?” Cross-selling is another old tactic that still works today. Using the same example, the store would notify the purchaser of the iPhone 11 that accessories (like cases and chargers) are also available for purchase (e.g.: “people who bought this also bought…”). The same PredictiveIntent study notes that 3% of customers will take a cross-sell when it appears on the checkout page.
4. Reducing Abandoned Carts
Abandon cart! It happens all the time: A customer loads up their online shopping cart, only to click away when it’s time to buy, leaving all those items unpurchased. According to the Baymard Institute, nearly 70% of shopping carts are abandoned! The three most common reasons cited for cart abandonment are:
- Additional costs too high (shipping, taxes, etc.)
- Being forced to create an account
- Complicated checkout process
As you can see, it shouldn’t take much to reduce the majority of abandoned carts. You should consider being upfront about fees so people don’t feel blindsided; provide the option to purchase without creating an account; and streamline the checkout process as much as possible. An email recovery campaign may also convince your visitors to make a return visit to complete their original purchase (more on that in a moment).
4. Using Live Chat
Sometimes, people have a quick question and they don't want to go through the hassle of dealing with a phone call (Dialing in, sifting through automated menus, getting put on hold, etc.). Forcing everyone to go through some call center to get basic questions answered may cost you customers. Instead, having a "live chat" feature on your website may be preferable as it helps reduce inconvenience and stress for your customers.
If possible, and you have enough volume to warrant it, you can have live agents waiting on standby to answer questions via chat. Otherwise, you can use chatbots—online AI programs that understand basic questions and can answer them in lieu of an actual human—to assist online shoppers.
5. Creating Inbound Content
Too much outbound marketing (social media posts, emailing, etc) can become annoying to people, and they may begin to tune you out. So, it’s important to use inbound marketing techniques as well, which involves creating content that people will actively seek out on their own. Some examples of content marketing include:
- Blogging regularly on topic related to the product you’re selling
- Starting a podcast to feature your expertise and build a following
- Guest blogging on a partner site or complementary site to build awareness
- Creating long-form content such as ebooks that help customers use your products more effectively
- Creating YouTube videos demonstrating your products
6. Embracing Personalization
Personalization is all about finding ways to cater to customers using the marketing materials that you already have, such as a customers’ previous purchases, items they showed interest in, their location, their birthday, etc. It’s an effective ecommerce marketing tactic that, according to consulting group BCG, can boost sales as much as 10%
Another way to use personalization is through customized fulfillment. Rather than shipping everything in the same brown box, you can use custom or branded boxes and include coupons, custom inserts, and filler paper. This provides a unique customer experience that will keep them coming back for more.
7. Leveraging User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to generate “social proof” – which is when prospective customers see other people using, talking about, or engaging with your products on social media. At its most basic, this could be a product review; at its most robust, a contest in which people post photos of themselves with your product (think of Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign that featured different people’s names on each bottle...everyone wanted to pose with their bottle when they got one).
Salesforce reports that nearly 55% of consumers trust information from online reviews and recommendations from their peers, compared to just 20% who trust the brand itself, so USG can be a great method of word-of-mouth advertising, too.
8. Using Responsive Design
Today, people shop from a variety of screens, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones. Among these categories, there are hundreds of different brands and sizes. This can pose problems for some websites; when elements of a page cannot fit the screen, images and words get cropped or completely disappear, creating a bad user experience that is sure to turn people off.
Responsive design gives website pages the ability to render, or display, on any device or screen, regardless of size, by automatically rearranging themselves, shrinking or expanding as necessary. Statista reports that, by 2021, more than half of all online shopping is expected to happen on mobile devices. So, responsive design will be crucial to ecommerce sales success.
Ecommerce Marketing Meets Fulfillment Marketing
Want to take your ecommerce marketing to the next level? At The Fulfillment Lab, we’re helping create and transform small and medium-sized ecommerce companies through fulfillment marketing, which combines customized packaging, expedited shipping, and complete transparency, delivering a customer experience that’s truly unique. You’ll have access to a personal portal that allows you to create custom shipping boxes, coupons, flyers, and inserts with quick turnaround time.
You can also create customer profiles, and then leverage existing data to make the packaging more personal (for example, does a customer have a birthday coming up? Include an insert wishing them happy birthday with a discount on their next purchase!).
Then, our team gets to work picking, packing, and shipping your product from one of our fulfillment centers. Have more questions about customized fulfillment? Check us out online or contact one of our experts.