When it comes to running a successful online store, you need to ensure that you are using unique eCommerce marketing strategies. Retail eCommerce revenue is expected to reach $5M USD by 2024. This not only means saturation but also that you will have to work smarter than your competitors.
And if you do it the right way, you can boost your ROI, get more views on your brand, and generate higher revenue.
We’ll look at why eCommerce marketing is essential, and the most effective techniques you can use right now.
What is eCommerce marketing?
eCommerce marketing uses promotional techniques to drive traffic, convert the traffic into customers, and retain them. The combination of on-page and off-page techniques focuses on brand awareness and increasing sales.
Unlike eCommerce advertising, where the main goal is to promote your product solely for sales, eCommerce marketing focuses more on the long-term picture, i.e., building a brand that sells by itself.
Why is it important to use a creative eCommerce marketing strategy?
Yes, you can definitely use a couple of paid ads and succeed in generating sales. If you want to create a sustainable business model that drives passive income, you need to use creative eCommerce marketing strategies that connect with your audience.
The real reason why innovative entrepreneurs focus on building a brand is that it holds water when others don’t. If you build a strong community of customers, they’re more likely to buy from you than new customers.
Some quick things eCommerce marketing strategies help you with are:
- Connecting with your audience
- Building a brand
- Boosting overall revenue
- Retaining more customers
- Improving trustworthiness
1. Create a visually appealing brand aesthetic
The first step to creating a brand using eCommerce marketing strategies is designing your site for brand aesthetics. Many beginner stores overlook it, jumping into paid advertising without creating a proper conversion funnel.
Visual, toner, and behavioural brand components are used to create UX as a brand differentiator. By that, I mean brand elements and usability can affect the way users feel about your brand.
To start, create a logo optimized for colour psychology. You can use a tool like Wix to design a logo that offers a pre-built color palette and aligns your logo with your brand, or hire a freelance designer.
Next, you need to ensure that visual elements are related to the central design theme.
Working on things such as aligning photographs, colors, typography, gradients, and more will help convey your brand story to the audience.
Once you upload your products, tailor your landing page and other store elements to go along with your niche. You don’t have to be a web design specialist; just try to align the colors of the products with the site colors and brand.
Due to using the same brand aesthetics, a site selling art markers can keep the design minimalistic and use whitespace to focus on its colorful products. All these elements are part of retail merchandising, a way of displaying merchandise that promotes more sales.
2. Personalize marketing with customer service
Fully engaged customers spend more and stay around longer than those with no store interaction. To help you better understand the importance of customer service, here are some quick snapshots:
- 95% of customers say that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand.
- More than 66% of marketers say their companies compete mostly based on customer service.
- 54% of customers say companies need to transform how they engage with them.
- 40% of people won’t do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred customer service channels.
Most customers expect a fast response rate (almost instant), at least for online chats and chatbots. But the problem is that small business owners with limited teams cannot offer multiple support teams for chat response, email queries, support tickets, and phone help. Leaving them with no alternative but a message - Thanks for getting in touch, we will get back to you shortly - leaving customers waiting for hours.
And by the time the support team gets back to the customer, they have already lost the sale to a more trustworthy competitor.
This is why more experienced stores use a customer support system that is not only designed specifically for their eCommerce platform but also offers an everything-in-one-place interface.
Gorgias is one of the platforms you can use for this purpose. They've designed their integrations to equip you with sophisticated tools to handle customer service. You can answer all queries, including help desk, chat, and more from a single dashboard page.
3. Leverage social proof and social currency
Social proof is a way to boost the brand’s authoritativeness by using recommendations from friends, family, or industry experts. It can be divided into four categories. Let's look at an example of each.
3.1 Expert recommendations or user testimonials
As the name suggests, this is a recommendation for a product or service coming from an expert in your industry.
One great example of this is Amazon’s automated recommendations based on ratings and feedback. Alternatively, user testimonials help boost sales and trustworthiness. And if you have enough data, you can also create a user-based case study on a success story.
3.2 Celebrity endorsement
More prominent brands with higher marketing budgets often use celebrity endorsements. If you have deep pockets, it can be worth it. You will not only get sales from the celebrity’s following but also spread brand awareness.
3.3 Wisdom of crowd or friends’ recommendation
When a large group of people endorses a particular brand, it helps develop trust among new visitors–for example, a massive following on social media. A friend’s or family’s recommendation has almost the same effect on visitors. The quickest way to understand this is when targeted customers notice their friends following that brand.
3.4 Using community social proof for acquisition
Sephora is an online store selling beauty products. They created a queries-based community for visitors to connect and use as social proof for acquiring new customers.
4. Retaining customers with loyalty marketing
Loyalty marketing campaigns are the simplest way to thank your customers for choosing your brand over your competitor’s. One of the best eCommerce marketing strategies to thank your customers is in the form of gifts, coupons, points, cash, and other rewards.
This does two things. First, it helps them connect better with your brand, and second, it motivates them to make new purchases. However, it is vital to personalize your loyalty marketing. This is because a person is 8x more likely to spend if they feel personally connected with your loyalty program.
Many sites used loyalty programs with birthday discounts to make it more personalized. One great example of this is Nicce Clothing.
Nicce Clothing offers 5 N coins for every £1 spent. Once you collect 500 N coins, you can avail yourself of a 10% discount. Plus, they offer 500 N coins for a referral, 300 N coins for birthdays, 75 N coins for Facebook/Instagram engagement, and 95 N coins for subscribing to its email list.
Similarly, Pulse Boutique uses surprise birthday gifts and birthday bonuses to promote new sales.
There are many great loyalty programs that you can use to motivate customers to make new purchases and retain them for an extended period.
5. Provide value with custom emails
Whether you are sending out cart abandonments, product recommendations, or just cold emails, you need to optimize the receiver’s experience. This is important because it is one of the most effective marketing channels with a huge potential to boost your ROI.
That said, it is also one of the most saturated channels for marketing your brand, so you must add a personalized touch. You can use an email marketing tool like Omnisend for creating behavioral-based customer profiles. You can also increase the campaign engagement rate by segmenting emails based on demographics, geographic location, purchase behavior, and more.
Plus, these tools provide personalized recommendation blocks, allowing you to use automated workflows to send category-specific product recommendations to your customers.
Instead of sending everyone the same email, you can create custom emails based on your ultimate goal. In addition to using the receiver’s name and a greeting, you can drop case studies for how a product helped customers improve their lifestyle.
If you have a small audience base or prefer manual email outsends, you can even build personalized, custom templates and couple them with custom variables for faster email campaigns. You can then insert the templates into your Gmail or Yahoo account via simple shortcuts.
6. Diversify your product catalog
To scale your brand and improve average order value, you must keep adding new, relevant products to your store and improve your product catalog.
Most growing brands invest heavily on inventory rather than spending on testing products. This is why most entrepreneurs go towards a branded dropshipping or print-on-demand model that lets you create high-quality, privately labeled products.
However, if you are dropshipping non-custom products, you should use custom visuals to stand out over other online retailers selling similar products. Using product photography will not only showcase different angles of products (that supplier images may have missed) but also help you redefine the product in a better way.
7. Use customer lifetime value for profitability
Many brand markets are based on the customer lifetime value (CLV). CLV is the net profit contributed by the customer throughout his/her store journey. CLV is an important factor in creating a successful customer lifecycle marketing strategy.
The best way to calculate CLV is -
Lifetime Value = Average value of sales x number of transactions x retention time period x profit margin.
For example, if an average sale value is $100 and one customer buys twice during the one year retention time, and the profit margin per product is 30%, then Lifetime Value will be -
$100 x 2 x 1 x %30 = $60
This means an average customer will spend $60. This number helps companies to determine the profitability factor and make informed assumptions. Customer lifetime will help you know how much you can earn from a single customer throughout the business relationship.
You can use LTV to create targeted campaigns and leverage customer engagement rates.
8. Leverage AOV using Bundle marketing
Nearly all eCommerce stores use up-selling and cross-selling to boost cart value, but it is important to do it the right way. Instead of making automated recommendations, you can offer bundle discounts.
You can bundle your products to create a discounted pack and boost average order value. You can either offer a BOGO discount (buy one get one) or provide custom bundles based on product categories (for instance, 20% off on t-shirt + jeans).
Bundling is a great way to put lower-selling products together with the best sellers and improve your sales. eCommerce giants like Amazon use product bundling.
9. Provide a post-purchase experience
Post-purchase marketing is all about creating valuable interactions with customers after they make their purchases. Surprisingly, only 16% of brands focus on retaining customers even though it's 5x more expensive to acquire a customer than retain an existing one.
The first step to retain an existing customer starts right after the first purchase. This means you need to connect with your customer and provide a post-purchase experience to create brand trustworthiness. Ecommerce email marketing automation can help you scale this effort more quickly.
In addition to automated order confirmation and delivery updates, you can set up a branded tracking page. If you use Shopify, you can use free apps like Track Order to create a custom tracking page and send delivery alerts.
The best part about using this order tracking app is that you can also use it to collect customer reviews and get a net promoter score with the built-in system to determine how satisfied a customer is with your brand.
Again, you need to couple it with good customer support with a fast response rate to keep your customers informed about your products and services. The best way to do it is by setting up a multi-channel help desk solution so that you can respond to all your order queries from your admin interface.
Here are some more common eCommerce tactics that you can use as well:
- Referral/affiliate marketing - Provide a referral discount or fee to customers for referring your brand.
- Use content marketing - Publish long-form helpful guides around your niche to spread brand awareness.
- Paid ads - Optimize your ad copy by using copywriting and eye-catching imagery.
- Social media - Use your social media to market your eCommerce store.
Now that you know how you can connect better with your customers using smart, personalized marketing techniques, it's time to learn about the best ways to respond to your customers.