E-commerce is one of the fastest growing consumer trends, customer expectations are continuously rising and keeping up with technology and techniques can seem like an endless task.
This short guide is an up to date resource to help you understand and improve your e-commerce site strategy.
There are various ways to promote and market an e-commerce website, depending on the product you offer some methods will work better than others, the good thing is, it's much easier to check how well each method is working using tools like Google Analytics. E-marketing is the term used to describe marketing using electronic media and what we are discussing is the first stage in what is known as the conversion funnel, see diagram below.
E-commerce gives businesses great, intelligent data about customers; you can see which promotions are most popular and how your marketing strategies are working, much more detailed and clear than in-store surveys. With e-commerce customers have more choice and influence than ever before, they can do unlimited research and directly compare you to your competition. It is therefore your job to tailor their purchasing experience, personalised web experience has been proven to drive customer engagement. Use techniques such as predictive personalisation, which is currently used to deliver ads to the right person at the right time. It works using data management platforms (DMPs) which collect consumer information including digital footprints and behaviours.
Getting the right traffic
One of the most important parts of marketing your e-commerce site is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), a technique that allows potential customers to find your site using search engines such as Google. Lots of businesses will focus solely on SEO and either forget or ignore the other channels they could be taking advantage of. A channel is a source of traffic to a site so looking at all the options and picking several is going to be beneficial. Different channels include Direct Traffic, Paid Search Advertising, Comparison Shopping Engines, Marketplaces, Social and Mobile.
E-mail marketing is an example of a Direct Traffic channel that allows businesses to contact their customers and drive them back to the website. E-mail marketing newsletters (e-shots) are a low cost option used to raise brand and product awareness. E-shots are easily monitored by looking at 'clicks' to check how effective they are. Using methods like this allows you to revise and improve your approach and encourages sales and customer retention as they act as prompts or reminders about products and brands therefore driving customers to the site. Another method that has a similar effect is push notification technology. Push notifications are also called server push notifications as the notification originates from a server then is pushed to the user without any request from them. Push notifications are quite an invasive form of marketing so users are given the option to opt in or out of receiving them. Push notifications are often delivered using apps, this is one reason a business might decide to have an app version of an e-commerce site.
Paid Search advertising is an option that is especially effective for new businesses looking to make their mark online. As long as your site's conversion rates are high enough, pay per click advertising will enhance sales from the business. This can be rolled out via search engines eg. Google Adwords or over social media including Facebook and Twitter ads.
Using Social channels to drive traffic can be an extremely effective form of promotion. Social networking sites are a platform with big audiences; businesses using them have access to these audiences. Along with being on social networking sites, it is also important to have a blog on your own site to boost SEO and engage your customers with a 'story' of your business. Blogging has been seen to generally increase the number of visitors to a site by 50%.
Marketing in a mobile-first world
E-commerce on mobile devices is growing, the volume of traffic being driven from mobile devices to ecommerce sites has risen 120% over the last year. The great extent of mobile's influence on ecommerce has resulted in the new term m-commerce. As this trend continues to grow businesses are encouraged to invest in m-commerce, making the user experience as smooth as possible and marketing device-friendly.
Content is King
Building up an online presence is a priority when it comes to website promotion, whether it is done by writing blog posts and articles or by allowing customers to review products, the richer the site is with relevant content, the more reputable it is. The internet can be a tough place when it comes to building a reputation, reviews can be posted by anyone now and unhappy customers are much more active online than happy ones. If the majority of a business's reviews are negative, then that is something that needs addressing however if you have a mix it can be seen as a positive. Businesses should interact with customers and any negative reviews should be responded to and rectified rather than ignored. Negative reviews help make positive reviews look better in contrast, and they also prove the business is being transparent and authentic allowing them to be shown. The more transparent and honest a business can be the easier it will be to build customer trust and therefore sales.
We're always here to help
So that's how to get customers to your e-commerce website, once they're there you need to perfect the user flow to guide them to the products then through to the checkout. We can give you advice on streamlining your site and improving the user experience. All our sites are built with the latest technology so they are fast loading and meet your target market's needs. For information about E-commerce solutions we offer including site development, security, promotion and marketing please get in touch.