eCommerce Marketing Solutions: Seven Tactics (and Tools) to Have in Your Back Pocket
by Ron Dod
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Given how powerful a robust online presence has proven to be for everyone from startups to enterprise businesses,eCommerce marketing tools have become an integral part of growing an online retail store.
“Consumers spent $601.75 billion online with U.S. merchants in 2019, up 14.9 percent from $523.64 billion the prior year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce quarterly eCommerce figures. That was a higher growth rate than 2018, when online sales reported by the Commerce Department rose 13.6 percent year over year…. eCommerce also accounted for more than half—56.9 percent—of all gains in the retail market last year. That’s the largest share of growth for online spending since 2008, when eCommerce represented 63.8 percent of all sales growth.”
While 2020 was predicted by many to see a bit less growth than the previous year, COVID-19 has changed everything. On the one hand, eCommerce sales in various categories are through the roof. On the other, many are preparing for the potential of economic hardship.
That said, it is crucial to establish which marketing strategies and tools are the most advantageous to invest in during this period.
To help retailers determine which eCommerce marketing solutions will help them weather the storm and scale their business in the process, we have assembled seven tactics and tools that retailers should place a strong emphasis on in the months that follow.
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
Tactic #1: Email Marketing
Dollar for dollar,eCommerce email marketing is one of the single most profitable marketing activities with which retailers can engage.
When looking atthe ROI of email marketing, on average, retailers tend to earn $40 for every $1 spent. That ratio completely blows things like PPC adverts and SEO (the second highest-earning strategy) out of the water.
While many tend to opt for social media marketing (which is essential) over email marketing, the very nature of social media holds retailers back a bit. The fact is that there are just too many Facebook posts and tweets to keep up with for consumers.
However, with email marketing, sellers are given a more intimate forum with shoppers. Moreover, email allows merchants to dive deeper into their messaging and offers, thereby creating a more compelling communiqué than what social media provides.
While there is a panoply of eCommerce marketing solutions for email available online,Omnisendis a standout choice for a variety of reasons.
With this powerful platform, merchants command a comprehensive set of features and tools that enable sellers to craftpersonalized campaigns through email segmentation abilities, gamification features, interactive signup forms and other compelling components. On the backend, Omnisend provides retailers with a dedicated landing page builder, automated workflows, detailed reporting features, clicks maps, analytics data and everything else required for a successful campaign.
Alternatively, other popular email marketing platforms that sellers might want to check out include:
Tactic #2: Search Engine Optimization
As the second-highest ROI-generating eCommerce marketing solution, it is only fitting that SEO is the next marketing tactic discussed.
That said, eCommerce SEO can be quite a massive undertaking when one considers all the on-site, off-site and technical optimization elements that must be implemented. This is particularly true for stores that wield a hefty product catalog.
Nonetheless, while this eCommerce marketing solution might seem formidable to some, it is one of the most foundational elements to online success as this is what provides sellers with the visibility and awareness necessary todrive quality clicks and generate sales.
Additionally, eCommerce SEO–while always essential–is rapidly becoming more important for marketers to master.
As has been revealed by a newsurvey from Conductor on the impact of COVID-19 on marketing, 63 percent of marketers say that SEO will be even more vital than usual in the weeks and months that encompass and follow the pandemic. Of those 63 percent, nearly half say that SEO will gain in importance “steeply.”
Fortunately, there are plenty of eCommerce marketing solutions available for aiding a brand’s SEO efforts.
Ahrefs is the second largest website crawler online, only topped by Google. With this SEO platform, retailers can conduct a complete website audit and establish which elements require improvement for better rankings.
Moreover, Ahrefs gives merchants the ability to audit their backlink profile, as well as the backlink profile of competing stores. Retailers can also utilize this tool to explore top-performing content within a niche, much like BuzzSumo. Additionally, through Ahrefs, marketers gain access to a keyword research tool, a rankings tracker and tons of other valuable information to help sellers climb the SERPs.
Tactic #3: Content Marketing
Going hand-in-hand with SEO efforts, content marketing is one of the most effective ways to help brands earn visibility through various search engines.
Given that retailers can directly address consumer pain points and concerns through their content offerings, blogs, videos and the like serve as powerful vehicles for earning trust from consumers and helping them to overcome their struggles. Often, this aim is achieved by introducing them to a brand’s product, therebyusing content to drive revenue.
Additionally, generating on-site blog content gives retailers the information needed to repurpose a piece into infographics, videos, checklists, presentations and other types of content that can be shared across social media to keep audiences engaged.
Fortunately, much like with SEO, there are tons of excellent eCommerce marketing solutions that can help cultivate better content.
The Tool: BuzzSumo
For those who opt not to leverage a platform like Ahrefs, utilizing BuzzSumo becomes a necessity.
Through this platform, retailers can uncover the most popular content in their niche, thereby allowing them to zero in on topics that audiences are surely interested in reading about. By establishing the top pieces for a given topic or keyword, retailers can then go about crafting better, more engaging and more comprehensive content for their own site using the skyscraper technique.
As a bonus tool, it is highly advisable that brands also employGrammarly. This game-changing tool enables retailers to improve their writing prowess, eliminate grammatical errors, access a plagiarism checker and get tons of great insights on how to make content more engaging overall.
Tactic #4: User-Generated Content
When aiming to generate sales online, social proof is a must.
User-generated content is an authentic, compelling and loyalty-building means of providing shoppers with the proof they need to purchase a product comfortably.
Moreover, user-generated content can take a variety of forms, including social media content, product reviews, testimonials, video content, case studies and more. Because of the many forms it takes, there are tons ofgreat ways to employ user-generated content on an eCommerce site to cultivate a more engaging experience, increase SERP visibility and generate sales.
The Tool: Yotpo
Yotpo is one of the leading eCommerce marketing solutions for harvesting user-generated content. With this awesome tool, retailers can harvest user-generated content from social media websites, earn product reviews, turn reviews into Facebook and Instagram adverts and engage in tons of other credibility-building activities.
Moreover, since Yotpo was developed explicitly as an eCommerce marketing solution, online retailers will find this tool to be incredibly valuable in helping to scale their business.
Tactic #5: Product Page Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is a critical eCommerce marketing solution for increasing online sales. Therefore, understandinghow to build better product pagesand optimize them for visibility and engagement is vital to a retailer’s financial well-being.
To effectively enhance product pages and optimize conversion rates, it is essential to determine where users are falling off and why. This is achieved through qualitative and quantitative research methods such as using heat maps, auditing on-page content and the like.
After merchants conduct the necessary research to pinpoint the specific challenges and opportunities in front of them, then they can begin formulating hypotheses and A/B testing product pages to produce better outcomes.
The Tool: Crazy Egg
While there are plenty of fantastic conversion rate optimization tools available online,Crazy Egg is one of the most prolific, and for a good reason.
With this eCommerce marketing solution, retailers are capable of recording user sessions to understand how visitors browse a site, access heat maps to show where users click on a website, view scroll maps to see how much of a page a user views before leaving, leverage A/B testing tools to maximize performance and so much more.
Tactic #6: Customer Loyalty Programs
Focusing on customer retention is one of the most cost-effective ways to scale a business. The fact is that retaining existing customers is far cheaper than earning new ones. Moreover, selling something to a current customer is much easier than convincing a prospect to convert.
Therefore, implementing a loyalty program is an incredibly wise move for merchants who are looking to retain their big spenders and VIPs. However, loyalty programs don’t just benefit merchants. They also give shoppers tons of incentives and bonuses, thereby strengthening their bond with a brand.
There are tons of different loyalty program models that merchants can utilize, such as points-based systems, tiered programs, partner programs and more. For instance, outdoor brand REI has a loyalty program in which members pay a one-time fee to join. Afterward, they receive tons of coupon codes and receive a portion of their purchases throughout the year back in store dividends.
Pretty cool stuff.
The Tool: LoyaltyLion
LoyaltyLion is an award-winning customer loyalty platform that enables merchants to implement custom programs.
Through this platform, retailers can employ points and rewards based on a variety of activities and encourage repeat purchases. Additionally, retailers can also offer shoppers rewards for writing reviews, engaging on social media, referring friends and family and tons of other actions.
As the company’s site declares, “Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.”
Tactic #7: Facebook/Instagram Advertising
Few eCommerce marketing solutions are as prolific as Facebook advertising. This is because Facebook is one of the largest websites in the world, the second-largest online advertising platform and highly effective at driving conversions.
The fact of the matter is that there is no other ad platform with the level of targeting available through Facebook. With this company, retailers can target consumers based on their age, gender, education, interests, life events, location, behaviors and so forth.
Moreover,utilizing Facebook’s Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, merchants can retarget those who have shown interest in their brand and reach new consumers who closely resemble those who have purchased in the past.
When one stops to think about it, the level of minutia available through Facebook targeting is staggering.
While there is no “best” way of running Facebook ads or even “best” ads to utilize, there is a cornucopia of options for retailers to leverage. The “bests” will be discovered through testing out different types of ads and targeting combinations to see what works best for a retailer based on their audience, industry, offer and other relevant factors.
That said, some merchants might preferutilizing Instagram Shoppable Posts as the sister platform of Facebook is perfect for eCommerce retailers, due to its exclusively visual nature.
However, no matter which of the two platforms merchants opt to utilize, the first step to a successful campaign is choosing which product to promote and identifying the ideal audience.
While that process is a whole topic unto itself, after identifying the right merchandise and the target audience, retailers need to develop a compelling advert.
This is where the tools come into play.
The Tool: Qwaya
As far as comprehensive Facebook and Instagram advertising tools are concerned, Qwaya is at the top of the heap. While it may not be the most accessible platform on the market in terms of ease-of-use, its features are certainly among the best available.
This third-party Facebook and Instagram ad manager is an ideal eCommerce marketing solution as it provides a wide array of features, including:
Ad and campaign rules management
However, two of Qwaya’s most impressive features are its A/B testing abilities and ad scheduling elements.
Qwaya allows retailers to split test every variable imaginable for Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns, thereby ensuring peak performance. From news feed placement to ad type, messaging, images and beyond, Qwaya helps marketers get the most out of their ad spend.
Additionally, Qwaya’s ad scheduling tool helps retailers to verify that their ads will run when their ROI is likely to be the highest. By scheduling campaigns to run at certain times of the day, this feature helps cultivate more profitable ad campaigns.
When it comes to eCommerce marketing solutions, there is an array of tactics and tools at retailers’ disposal. The key is identifying which will be most effective for a brand at a given time.
However, the tactics and tools listed here are those that will likely prove quite fruitful for merchants, no matter the situation. That said, engaging in all of these tactics and optimizing them to produce optimal outcomes is far easier said than done.
Our team of seasoned professionals can help your company achieve its aspirations, no matter if they are related to SEO, content marketing, social media advertising, conversion rate optimization or the like.
But don’t just take our word for it. Check outour case studies where our work speaks for itself!
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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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