However, the myriad of strategies available under the eCommerce digital marketing umbrella means that sellers have countless avenues available for reaching consumers and converting them into customers.
Narrowing the focus down from countless to 15, here are some of the top eCommerce digital marketing strategies retailers can utilize to reach relevant audiences and boost sales.
But first, let’s lay the groundwork so as to provide a comprehensive understanding of the topic.
What Is eCommerce Digital Marketing?
eCommerce digital marketing is the practice of driving awareness and facilitating purchases for a business that sells products or services online.
Online retail marketers tend to utilize a variety of tactics and portals to reach consumers and convince them to convert, including:
The fact is that eCommerce digital marketing is a small subset of the broader ecosystem of online marketers and advertisers who employ inbound and outbound marketing strategies to get visitors to complete a purchase.
eCommerce and Digital Marketing: What’s the Difference?
Digital marketing and eCommerce are not intrinsically linked as one is merely the vehicle for the other.
Digital marketing is how merchants get the word out about their brand and promote their products to interested audiences. For instance, if retailers sell popular electronic devices and accessories, they would likely create Google Shopping campaigns to reach relevant buyers through the SERPs, post product pictures on Facebook and Instagram and create content that points to the item and its usefulness. This is, in a nutshell, an example of how digital marketing works.
On the other hand, eCommerce is merely the practice of selling products or services online. For instance, if a consumer purchases one of the aforementioned electronic products or accessories on a seller’s website, pays with their debit or credit card and has it delivered to their home, office or other address, this is an example of eCommerce at work.
Again, eCommerce digital marketing is the combination of these two things–marketing products or services to a targeted online audience in an effort to get them to complete a purchase through the retailer’s site.
With this delineation made clear, let’s dive into the eCommerce digital marketing strategies that sellers can employ to boost their bottom line.
Reach the Right Consumers with Google Shopping Ads
Through Google Shopping campaigns, retailers can prominently display products through the Google SERPs, thereby reaching consumers who are looking for that item at that moment.
Through optimizing the product feed used by the ads (by including relevant keywords, high-quality images, competitive pricing, etc.), merchants can generate highly relevant and alluring ads that cultivate clicks and conversions.
Additionally, retailers can also skip much of the legwork associated with running these adverts by opting to run a Smart Shopping campaign in which Google automates and optimizes large portions of the process for sellers.
Both of these ad types have shown time and again to be incredibly profitable for eCommerce retailers.
Generate Sales with Instagram
Much like its parent site Facebook, Instagram has become a sales powerhouse for scores of online sellers.
Instagram now offers retailers a variety of options for promoting their products through the platform, including Instagram Shoppable posts, various ad formats, Shoppable Story Stickers and other fantastic features.
Moreover, these features are incredibly useful, given that Instagram has become a major hub for product discovery and research. As the company notes about selling products on Instagram:
“In a survey commissioned by Facebook, Inc., 81 percent of respondents said Instagram helps them research products and services… 83 percent of respondents surveyed said Instagram, a visual-first platform, helps them discover new products and services… 80 percent of respondents surveyed said they use Instagram to decide whether or not to make a purchase.”
Clearly, Instagram has evolved into a powerful sales platform for retailers.
To get started selling on Instagram, establish a business profile and upload the brand’s product catalog to Facebook. From here, sellers can begin leveraging the many sale-oriented features provided by the network.
Target Lookalike Audiences via Facebook
While utilizing Facebook’s Custom Audiences is excellent for conducting retargeting and reengagement campaigns, the size of the customer base is limited to those who have engaged with a brand in some way in the past.
Through Lookalike Audiences, Facebook examines the demographics and characteristics of a company’s Custom Audience and utilizes that as a template to locate others who share similar traits and behavioral patterns. Given how closely the Lookalike Audience resembles those who have already interacted with the business, these folks are prime targets for earning new sales.
This is an excellent strategy for putting existing data to work in a new way, thereby enhancing a company’s awareness, reach and customer base.
Encourage User-Generated Content
Social proof is a necessity in today’s world. Consumers want assurance that their purchase will be worth their while, and nothing is better at cultivating this credence than user-generated content.
By encouraging past customers to create user-generated content (through contests, posts that highlight customer images and similar strategies), retailers can showcase to their social audiences just how much people love and appreciate what the business sells.
However, user-generated content should not be relegated to merely social media profiles, which leads us to our next point.
Integrate User-Generated Content on Product Pages
When it comes to leveraging user-generated content on eCommerce sites, product pages are an ideal location. While many businesses often create dedicated landing pages for such images, employing these pictures on product pages shows consumers how much others love the product at the moment they are considering buying that exact item.
However, user-generated content need not only be images. In fact, reviews and answers to common questions (like on Amazon product listings) are one of the most common forms of user-generated content.
As Yotpo’s Director of Marketing, UK, Talia Shani explains:
“One of the main barriers for people purchasing online is that they have questions that are not answered by the content on your product page. If you let people ask questions on your product page, you can then send automated emails to the last five people who bought that product to enlist them for help. Making this simple change on your product page has all of these super cool implications.”
Using this strategy will not only help to instill more confidence in consumers, but it will also potentially increase a company’s SEO performance as UGC and SEO are closely linked, providing pages with fresh content.
Additionally, retailers can leverage the question and answer section on their product pages to create better item descriptions that directly address more customer concerns.
Include Product Videos
Video has become a critical component of product pages. Video is the most in-demand form of content there is, and it helps to increase eCommerce conversions.
89 percent of video marketers report a positive ROI
87 percent of video marketers state video boosted site traffic
80 percent of video marketers claim video directly increased sales
Consumers want product videos.
Does anything else really need to be said?
Embrace Email Marketing
Email is one of the oldest (read: tried and true) eCommerce digital marketing methodologies around. The fact that it is still in use is a testament to email’s ability to drive conversions.
However, in the modern era, email automation has taken over, enabling merchants to establish drip campaigns, segment audiences for highly targeted messaging and leverage other powerhouse tactics for increasing sales.
Yet, even with the advantages that come with automated services, retailers must take the time to maintain their email audiences with enticing messages, signals of security, high-quality imagery and other contemporary email marketing tactics.
With that said, there are two types of emails that marketers should give considerable attention, which brings us to our next two tactics.
When a consumer purchases a product from an eCommerce retailer’s site, that merchant should send out a follow-up email after the product has been delivered. There are a few reasons for this, including:
To ensure satisfaction
To try and get the user to leave a product review
To attempt to cross or upsell the customer with related items
By sending a follow-up email, merchants position themselves to earn another sale, some user-generated content and other revenue-boosting perks.
Minimize Cart Abandonment
Cart abandonment is a massive issue in the eCommerce industry.
Fortunately, eCommerce digital marketing can help to recapture many lost purchases.
Outside of optimizing on-site elements like the site’s checkout flow, eCommerce email marketing is a powerful means of re-engaging lost shoppers.
By entering those who ditch their orders into a cart abandonment email series, merchants can reel many shoppers back in to complete their purchase with a simple reminder.
However, some folks will require a bit more persuading. For such individuals, retailers can send out an abandoned cart email with a percent or dollars off coupon, an offer of free shipping or some other perk that is likely to entice the customer into completing their purchase.
Given that email has the highest ROI of all eCommerce digital marketing tactics, abandoned cart email campaigns are a retail necessity.
Leverage Referral Marketing
When analyzing referral statistics, 82 percent of Americans ask for recommendations from friends and family members.
This means that referral marketing can be a lucrative eCommerce digital marketing strategy for retailers.
In a nutshell, referral marketing seeks to incentivize current customers to refer those in the social circles to shop with the seller. Some of the most prevalent incentives for merchants to provide include discounts, store credit and similar perks.
By integrating a referral program with email marketing efforts, retailers can reach consumers with an easily shareable message likely to pull new shoppers into the fray.
Optimize Product Pages
Product pages are possibly the most critical component of an eCommerce store. Therefore, building better product pages is a vital eCommerce digital marketing tactic for increasing sales.
To properly optimize these listings, retailers must ensure that they:
Utilize relevant keywords
Write enticing descriptions
Answer common questions
Feature stunning images and videos
Optimize technical on-page elements
Showcase customer reviews
These are just a few of the many product page optimization tactics that sellers can deploy to elevate their listings.
Feature High-Quality Images
Images are an essential part of an eCommerce store.
Merchants must invest in high-quality product photography if they want consumers to purchase their items. This rule stands no matter a retailer’s niche.
Moreover, sellers should include a wide array of images, including:
The product from different angles
Lifestyle images of the product in use
Images that highlight product features/benefits
People want to know everything they can prior to purchasing a product. Images help them meet that goal.
Craft Creative Content
Content creation is a vital part of eCommerce digital marketing for a number of different reasons.
Firstly, crafting interesting content helps a store to earn visibility in the SERPs. Secondly, it gives sellers something to share via social media, thereby generating awareness. When done right, retailers can also drive revenue using content.
Without droning on about the many benefits of content, this is the backbone of a site’s SEO strategy and powers of persuasion. Therefore, it is essential that eCommerce retailers feature an on-site blog where shoppers can gain more information about products and the wider industry as a whole, educate themselves on relevant topics and find entertaining pieces that highlight the brand’s personality.
Additionally, submitting guest blogs to industry publications can aid sellers in earning backlinks that help to increase the store’s domain authority, traffic and sales.
Guest blogging is also a great way to earn links to important on-site destinations. For instance, retailers can write a post to help optimize and rank category pages, thereby earning those vital listings more traffic and visibility in the SERPs.
Invest in Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a great eCommerce digital marketing tactic as it leverages the credence of social media stars to get the word out about a brand or product to an audience that is likely to be interested in what a merchant offers.
However, when many think of influencer marketing, they think of the megastars on Instagram, YouTube and the like.
Think of it like this: When a brand partners with a social media superstar to promote a product to hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers, only a small portion of the people will be interested in the brand as an audience that large has a plethora of interests and personality types.
Alternatively, by partnering with a handful of micro-influencers that tout more targeted and engaged audiences that more closely resemble one another, retailers are more likely to pique the interest of a more significant percentage of those audiences.
When done right, influencers can be a great addition to a brand’s eCommerce digital marketing strategy.
Repeat customers are far more profitable than bringing in new shoppers. Therefore, merchants should focus much of their efforts on cultivating customer loyalty.
However, there are a few things to consider when going down this road. Firstly, it is necessary to diversify the means with which consumers can show loyalty. This means providing perks for actions such as:
Social media mentions
Referring a friend
Moreover, sellers should think about how shoppers will be rewarded. This can be done with exclusive perks, loyalty tiers, discounts, points and a variety of other methods.
Fortunately, there is a slew of platforms available online to help merchants create a loyalty program that generates plenty of repeat purchases.
eCommerce digital marketing is the key to online success for retailers.
Thankfully, businesses have tons of tools at their disposal to aid in the process. But, make no mistake: Marketing a retail store is a considerable challenge with the amount of competition that exists today.
Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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