More people are shopping online in 2021 than ever before. This trend predates the global pandemic and has been growing steadily for years, and eCommerce’s growth shows no sign of slowing once the new normal takes hold. But as customers flock to the internet and retailers rush to meet them, eCommerce marketing is becoming an increasingly complex discipline. There’s no time to waste in the race to grab consumers’ attention.
Our team at Allinclusive. Marketing is familiar with the challenges of building a successful marketing strategy in an overcrowded marketplace. We partner with eCommerce brands to create detailed plans that lead to real results. Want to know more? Get in touch!
Ready to learn how to make eCommerce marketing work for you? Let’s get started!
What Is eCommerce Marketing Strategy?
It’s expected that 2.14 billion people around the world will shop online this year, accounting for 18 percent of the global retail market. In 2021, global eCommerce sales are expected to reach almost $4.9 trillion. That’s a steady increase from last year’s nearly $4.3 billion in global eCommerce sales and well on the way to projections of $5.4 trillion in 2022.
At its core, eCommerce marketing describes the strategies that online retailers use to attract, sell to, and retain customers from that growing global pool. Because it covers so much of the customer lifecycle, eCommerce marketing takes broad strokes. The tactics involved can trace a typical customer’s journey from their very first introduction to a brand’s online store through to their long-term loyalty if all goes according to plan.
What Does eCommerce Marketing Look Like in 2021?
ECommerce marketers need to spread their focus across many touchpoints along the customer journey. While you’re working on attracting customers to your online store, you’ll also be attempting to turn those site visits into purchases and preparing to keep those new customers loyal and engaged for the long haul, all while adapting to changes in the marketing and retail landscapes. Here are some ways eCommerce marketers can better connect with audiences in 2021:
Make your site mobile-friendly. This consideration is non-negotiable for eCommerce marketers in 2021. The prevalence of customers shopping online doesn’t mean they’re shopping on their desktops or even their laptops; these days, most of our digital activity happens on our phones. Make sure you’re ready for the next frontier of mobile commerce by creating phone-friendly experiences that let customers complete a purchase in just a few taps.
Don’t treat cart abandonment as an afterthought. An abandoned cart doesn’t mean you should abandon that customer. Once someone leaves behind a full cart, turn your attention to customized retargeting. There are plenty of retargeting strategies that work — social media outreach, dynamic creative, discounts, and promotions, etc. — so you’ll want to tap into your shopper’s mindset to determine the right one for the job.
Include a clear call to action. Calls to action aren’t just sales hooks; they actually help guide customers along their purchase journeys. Clear and concise calls to action lead to seamless, intuitive experiences for those shoppers who are ready to buy. And for customers still in browsing mode, a well-placed button with clear instructions might even persuade them to take the plunge into whatever action you’re suggesting.
Keep email in your toolbelt. While you get up to speed on the latest greatest social media platform or dive headfirst into your influencer strategy, don’t neglect email marketing. Most people check their email every day, and many actually prefer that brands keep in touch with them through email. Email gives consumers more control over their interactions, which helps you build more accurate targeting.
Question what you think you know. It feels great to develop a marketing strategy that delivers results. But just because you’ve done something that worked in the past doesn’t mean it’ll be a good marketing plan in the long run. Consumer habits, retail trends, and marketing best practices are constantly changing; don’t let your experience hold you back. Instead, channel your expertise into an adaptable, future-focused approach.
How Can eCommerce Marketing Increase Traffic?
Driving traffic to your website is a pillar of eCommerce marketing since more site visits mean more opportunities for sales. There are many ways to drive customers to your online store, but we’ll focus on using your company blog to increase traffic in this guide.
Blogs are a powerful tool eCommerce marketers can use to spread the word about their business, inspire customer loyalty and engagement, and increase visibility through organic search. Here are some ideas for how to create an eCommerce blog that drives traffic to your store:
Tell Your Brand’s Story
Sure, you can use your blog to promote newsworthy items like product launches and company announcements. But how about going one step further? Generate hype even without breaking news by focusing on stirring excitement about the future, showing appreciation for your staff, and talking about what matters most to your business. You’ll give both new and returning customers a more intimate sense of who you are and what you stand for between purchases.
Talk About Current Events and Trends
Once you’ve started the conversation about your company, expand your viewfinder to the world. That may mean focusing on current events, like what’s happening in your local community, state, or country. Or it might make more sense for you to focus on what’s happening in your industry, weighing in on overarching trends that your consumers will want to keep in mind as they peruse your site and make purchases.
Put Keyword Research to Use
You can apply the same SEO strategies you already use on your eCommerce website to your blog. Keyword research will help you step into your customers’ shoes, so you can think how they think and shop how they shop. Not only will keyword research help you write more helpful posts, but it’ll also spark new ideas so you can create the content consumers are looking for.
Get Your Community Involved
If you’re doing your job well, your eCommerce marketing efforts will get your audience talking about your brand. Draw your customers further into the conversation by continuing the conversations they’re already having; respond to questions from your community, highlight customer reviews, or honor important members of your community with interviews.
Curate Taste-Making Collections
Who doesn’t love a good roundup? Collections help spotlight your products in a new way, whether that means styling them for a special event or using them to solve unique problems. The sky’s the limit when it comes to collections because you can choose virtually any theme to curate interesting and unexpected groups of products that open customers’ eyes.
How Does eCommerce Marketing Convert Customers?
Of course, once a potential customer arrives at your website, there’s no guarantee that they’ll make a purchase. That’s why it’s crucial for eCommerce marketers to craft plans that can convert traffic into sales. Even if your site gets incredible traffic, it’s actual purchases — not eyeballs — that drive revenue.
Your eCommerce website may already have a stellar conversion rate. If so, go forth and convert! But even if optimization is not your challenge, small changes to your marketing plan can pave the way for massive growth. Here are the most important things to keep in mind for an eCommerce marketing plan that converts:
Identify Your Value Proposition
Separating yourself from the crowd is a delicate art. No amount of catchy advertising taglines or beautiful creative can replace the heavy lift of a well-expressed unique value proposition. Your value prop should communicate to customers not only what you do but why you do it. And the value prop’s final piece: make clear to customers what you do better than your competitors.
Invest in Your Brand’s Digital Experience
Think of it this way: how easy, enjoyable, or even memorable can you make your customers’ shopping experience? Beautiful and seamless digital experiences are a must-have for eCommerce marketers today. Whether you develop a perfectly mobile-friendly site or go all-in with a mobile app, it’s important to offer consumers an experience that makes their lives better.
Know Your SEO
If someone’s searching the internet for the product you sell or the problem you solve, but they don’t end up on your website, take that as a sign that your SEO strategy is lacking. Today’s SEO strategies have to be robust to be effective; spruce up your keyword research, meta descriptions, content marketing, and user reviews to make sure you’re covering all the bases.
How Does eCommerce Marketing Boost Sales?
So you’ve attracted your audience to your online shop, where you make it supremely easy for them both to get to know your brand and to buy whatever you’re selling. Then what? The last pillar of eCommerce marketing we’ll look at in this guide is about increasing sales and retaining customers long after they make their first purchase. Here are the key points you need to know to boost sales with your eCommerce marketing strategy:
Optimize for Mobile
We already talked about how important it is to optimize for mobile in today’s phone-focused world. Seventy-nine percent of the 230 million smartphone owners in the United States have made at least one purchase using a mobile device. Keep these foundational practices in mind when you set out to optimize your eCommerce site for mobile:
Make ad and email copy short and sweet.
Get creative with photo, GIF, and video posts.
Highlight special promotions and discounts.
Study your SEO so customers can find you.
Reduce friction at checkout.
Combine Paid & Organic Strategies
Finding the balance between paid and organic marketing strategies is a little like looking for an industry holy grail. The best approach is to attempt to set up your separate paid and organic strategies to work collaboratively toward the same overarching goal. They may follow very different avenues, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work in tandem.
Paid advertising, for example, including paid social, has become a keystone for eCommerce marketers. It’s an easy way to justify spend and track ROI results immediately, pivoting as necessary. But if paid ads are the bricks, organic efforts work as the mortar of a solid eCommerce marketing strategy. Brands that master their organic posting on social media platforms see increased engagement, stronger customer loyalty, and higher sales over time.
Personalize Your Approach
Taking a blanket approach to any kind of marketing just doesn’t fly anymore. Consumers expect to receive personalized messaging that’s relevant not just to who they are, but to where they are in their lives at any given moment. Here are a few ways you can get started with personalized eCommerce marketing:
Recommend specific products
Send relevant email reminders
Celebrate customers’ big days
Create retargeting campaigns
Give Customers a Voice
Consumers don’t want to feel like a cog in the machine; they want to feel like an integral part of your brand. Taking the time to celebrate their unique contributions and acknowledge their participation in your community helps build trust. Encourage customers to voice their opinions — through user reviews or customer surveys or by sharing user-generated content — and you’ll foster meaningful relationships that lead to increased sales.
Types of Ecommerce Marketing
To give you a sense of what an ecommerce marketing strategy looks like, here are some common marketing channels and how you'd use them to build an online store.
- Meanwhile, ecommerce advertising includes the methods through which you actually promote your product.
- In similar fashion to the way advertising falls beneath the umbrella of marketing, ecommerce advertising falls beneath ecommerce marketing — and when used in tandem, you have the ability to more effectively reach your audience members to boost conversions and improve brand awareness.
Social Media Marketing
Brands, publishers, contractors, and growing businesses all launch pages on today's most popular social networks to connect with their audience and post content that the audience is interested in.
As an ecommerce marketer, you can do the same thing, but the campaigns you run might look a bit different, and not every social network is a good fit for your needs.
Ecommerce websites are highly visual — you have to show off the product, after all — so your success on social media depends on your use of imagery to drive attention and traffic to your product pages.
Instagram is an appropriate platform for ecommerce businesses because it enables you to post sharp product photography and expand your product's reach beyond its purchase page.
You can take your social media posts a step further by creating shoppable content, which is content that enables visitors to buy right away. That can include anything from strategically placed display ads within a social feed to additional tags that take users directly to a shopping cart. These methods help you eliminate friction from the buying process.
An ecommerce business is no stranger to product reviews, either. Using a Facebook Business Page to share product praise is a perfect fit for businesses that already solicit customer reviews across their online store. We’ll dive deeper into product reviews below.
When you hear "content marketing" you might think of blogging and video marketing — content that is meant to improve your website's ranking in search engines and answer questions related to your industry. But if you're selling a product online, do you really need articles and videos to generate transactions? You sure do.
Here are some ways to use content to market your ecommerce store.
Optimize your product page copy.
Optimize your product pages for short, product-driven keywords that include the name of the product. If you sell wedding dresses, for example, a Google search for "brown bridesmaid dress" is more likely to produce product pages like yours if you’ve included that term on the page.
Also, make sure that your page titles, headers, and image alt text focus on the right keywords so search engines know to return your ecommerce store for the right query.
Write relevant blog posts.
If you manage an online wedding dress store, writing blog posts about "how to plan a wedding" can attract everyone involved in wedding preparations no matter where they are in the planning process.
As visitors become more engaged, you can create posts that will move them into consideration, like “how to select the right wedding dress", and turn them into leads, like a downloadable “wedding planning checklist”.
Create guest posts for external websites.
Guest posts can get you and your products in front of relevant audiences (oftentimes for free). Submitting guests posts will also help you get more domain authority for your ecommerce site, thereby telling search engines that you have a reliable site.
You’ll need to search for sites that rank for keywords related to your product. Sometimes you won’t even need to create an entire post. If a site already has a relatable post, offer to expand on it by providing additional context, like a video or infographic with a link to your site.
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Ecommerce marketing agency NYC
At Allinclusive., we take a full-funnel approach to optimize marketing budgets with precision. Using in-house machine learning, real-time data visualization, next-level A/B testing, and expert ad creative, we combine brand-customized paid and organic strategies to deliver powerful eCommerce marketing results. Ready to get started? Get in touch!