The struggle is real in eCommerce. When there are online businesses popping up left and right, how do you break through the noise? How do you turn your customers into loyal followers, despite what the competition might bring?

There’s a lot to think about and strategize. But here at Big Leap, we say: Bring it. Bounce back in full force with these eCommerce marketing tips and strategies built to conquer your pain points. 

Preparing for the eCommerce Wave: What to Keep in Mind

eCommerce has been growing rapidly over the last two decades. 2020 saw worldwide revenue coming in at over $4.28 trillion. And by 2040, some predict that 95% of purchases will be facilitated by eCommerce. 

With those kinds of numbers, in order to be successful, your business needs to be ready for the eCommerce wave. Whether you’re just getting into eCommerce or you’re a seasoned veteran who has a strong foothold in the online space, there are three key considerations to keep in mind as the industry evolves. 

1. Decide Where Your Business Fits

Selling online isn’t one size fits all, and eCommerce can take several forms. Your first step is determining where your business fits. Do you want to build an entire eCommerce store or simply complement in-store sales with eCommerce?

Here are common directions you can take:

  • eTailer – A retailer who has an eCommerce presence.
  • eCommerce Company – A business that sells through the internet. Pure play eCommerce companies only sell online—not in-store.
  • Marketplace Seller – A company that sells on marketplaces like Amazon or eBay.
  • A Limited Seller – A business or individual that uses a shopping cart for limited products/services but doesn’t qualify to be an eCommerce company. For example, a public speaker may sell their eBook on their website, but that doesn’t make them an eCommerce company.

2. Consider Marketplaces

If you don’t want to worry about taking credit card payments or managing your own store, consider selling products on a marketplace like Amazon or eBay. Many businesses sell on both their own site and third-party marketplaces to reach more customers.

3. Market Your Store

Just because you are selling online doesn’t mean customers will find you. Being discovered by the right audience requires leveraging online marketing strategies. That’s why successful eCommerce businesses invest heavily in marketing services. 

Creating an eCommerce marketing strategy can often feel overwhelming. Not to worry, though. We will flesh out the top eCommerce marketing strategies you should consider to elevate your business’ potential further. 

Top 5 eCommerce Marketing Strategies

Bolstering your online efforts requires tapping into a holistic set of marketing strategies. Here are five that can inject your business goals with the fuel they need. 

1. Improve Your Visibility with SEO

There are more than 20 million eCommerce sites in the world, and more are being created every day. This means you need to continuously work on your SEO to stay visible to your target audience.

Here are a few eCommerce SEO tips you should focus on.

Keyword Research

This might sound like old news, but the fact is, the key terms, phrases, and topics your audience search for are always changing. Especially as more businesses take shelter online and the competition grows even more fierce, consumer expectations will shift and keywords will be harder to rank for.

So keep your ear to the ground by: 

  • Understanding and capitalizing on the buyer’s journey. The average B2B researcher performs 12 searches before they engage with a brand’s site. With so many searches for one purchase, it’s important to understand the consumer’s decision-making process so that you can employ the right keywords during each buying stage. This will help your brand show up at the right place, at the right time.

Let’s say you’re an online business that sells running shoes. A potential buyer’s intent during the early stages of the buying journey will likely be less defined. So they’ll use search phrases that are pretty broad or query-based (e.g. “women’s running shoes”).

As the searcher gets more and more confident as to what specific product they want, their keyword searches are going to get more specific. In the SEO world, we call these keywords long-tail keywords.

What does a long-tail keyword look like? Take a look below at how searcher intent and keywords progress as they move further down the funnel, closer to a purchase. Use this to help you incorporate the right keywords into relevant site pages. 

“Womens running shoes”
↓
“Womens minimalist running shoes”
↓
“Womens nike minimalist running shoes”
↓
“Womens black nike minimalist running shoes”
↓
“Womens black and white nike free runs size 9” 

  • Using eCommerce keyword research tools like SpyFu, Semrush, and Ahrefs to update key phrases on your product pages. These tools can offer keyword ideas, insight into how competitive a keyword is, and information on their ranking potential. 

Voice Search

Siri and Alexa have been changing the online search and shopping experience. In a survey of U.S. consumers, 50% of respondents said they made a purchase using their voice assistant and an additional 25% would consider doing so in the future.

What does this mean? You need to update your keyword strategy by:

  • Targeting “who,” “what,” “where,” and “why” queries. Tools like Answer the Public are helpful for this.
  • Incorporating natural language to align with the way people speak.

If you succeed, you might be lucky enough to earn the coveted featured snippet spot on Google.

Mobile Optimization

Your eCommerce business should look good and run well on mobile devices—no exceptions. Mobile traffic holds roughly 70% of all eCommerce site visits.

Mobile optimization is a vital part of creating a positive user experience—one of Google’s key ranking factors. To get started, use Google’s mobile testing tool to see if your site is mobile friendly and then dive into Google’s mobile-first indexing best practices, so the search engine can index and rank your site.

SEO + PPC

More than two-thirds of eCommerce traffic comes from Google—43% of it comes from Google search (organic), and 26% comes from Google CPC (cost-per-click/pay-per-click).

Supplement your eCommerce SEO with paid search strategies. Paid search is a great way to advertise your products/services, as it offers a guaranteed reach.

Methods like retargeting can remind former site visitors of your products/services. Keep in mind, while PPC strategies target the right folks, there is no guarantee that they’ll convert. To really execute a long-term conversion strategy, you need CRO.

2. Create a Seamless Onsite Experience with CRO

Having a stellar SEO strategy isn’t enough to improve your bottom line. You need conversion rate optimization (CRO) to actually convert your site visitors into leads and customers.

CRO tools like VWO’s heatmaps unveil user behavior insights. They point out what features or areas they focus on and where they get stuck or frustrated. Understanding this can help you better tailor your site to the user experience.

Here are some areas in your CRO campaign to pay close attention to.

Checkout Process

If you’re drowning in high cart abandonment rates, evaluate your checkout process. Specifically your: 

  • Forms: 28% of shoppers will abandon their carts if the checkout process requires them to create an account. Make sure you have a guest checkout option that allows visitors to expedite their shopping experience. Reducing friction is key.
  • Payment methods: Having different payment options can put your shoppers at ease and feel more comfortable moving forward with the payment process. Credit cards are used in 53% of global transactions, followed by digital payment systems (43%) and debit cards (38%). Be sure to also add security seals to increase trust.
  • Shipping offers: 93% of online shoppers purchase more items when a business offers free shipping. If you don’t offer this, consider doing so when customers reach a certain price in their cart items. This can compel customers to buy more and complete their purchases.

Navigation

High bounce rates indicate your site isn’t fulfilling customers’ expectations. Here are some site components that may need your attention: 

  • Product filtering/sorting: If you have a lot of products/services, be sure your filter and sorting options are easy to navigate. The more organized you are, the more likely your visitors will find what they’re looking for.
  • Similar-item notifications: There’s nothing more disappointing than seeing a “sold out” or “out of stock” message. Instead of leaving people empty-handed, offer friendly similar-item notifications to keep people engaged.
  • CTA buttons: Do you have CTA buttons? How effective are they? CTAs should carry actionable phrases that entice shoppers to click and take the next step. Using personalized and actionable language like, “Grab Yours” rather than “Submit” can generate a 202% higher conversion rate. Be sure you use a color that helps these buttons stand out as well.
  • Pop-ups: Be sure you’re not overdoing your pop-ups. Annoying pop-ups will only make site visitors jump ship. Make sure your pop-ups add value to their browsing experience, like offering similar product recommendations. Build exit-intent pop-ups—they can recover 53% of abandoning visitors. Also, establish a cookie to make the pop-up appear only once for each visitor.
  • Live chat: Offering live chat can give your online shoppers the benefit of getting answers quickly, making them less likely to leave the site. Customers who use chat prior to their purchase generate a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour.

For more ideas on how to convert more, check out our 16 quick CRO tips.

3. Power Your Emails with Marketing Automation

With marketing automation, you can send out unique emails to the right people at the right time. It can increase customer touchpoints with automated and personalized emails like: 

  • Welcome emails: You can send welcome and onboarding emails to those that subscribe to your newsletters or rewards program.
  • Transactional emails: Based on someone’s former search behaviors and purchases, you can send out customized product notifications/recommendations and discount offers. Transactional emails get 8x more opens and clicks and make 6x more money than any other type of email campaign.
  • Abandoned cart emails: Send out friendly reminders about the items waiting in a customer’s cart. Encouraging them to hop back on the bandwagon can bring some pretty great results—abandoned cart emails have an average open rate of 45%. And of the opened emails, half of the recipients completed their purchase. Moreover, sending three abandoned cart emails generates 69% more orders than sending one email.

These tactics help you follow up with leads faster and provide ways to engage with them more. Better yet, with automation software, you can also:

  • Include personalization tokens, like adding users’ names in the subject lines or email body.
  • Segment your contact list based on characteristics like purchasing history and stage in the buyer’s journey.
  • Establish a lead-scoring model that prioritizes your leads.

4. Promote Strategically with Social Media Marketing

It isn’t just about posting fun messages on your social channels. It’s about leveraging the right social media tools to gain a bigger reach.

This involves:

  • Turning engagement into sales. When online users spend about three hours on social media each day, why not leverage this time to make your platform shoppable? Tools like Shops on Instagram and Facebook for Business allow you to post your product catalog and tag products on your organic feed. They simplify the sales process—customers don’t have to leave the app (another extra step) to make their purchase.
  • Experimenting with different ad formats. You have about three seconds to capture someone’s attention as they’re scrolling through their feed and stories. Testing out different ad formats is crucial in finding one that makes an impact. For instance, you can try out a testimonial-style ad, a split-screen ad, or a native ad (using features like gifs, polls, etc. that are native to the social platform) to see what sticks. Don’t forget to add captions to your video ads—people usually have their sound off on their devices.

5. Encourage & Promote More Online Reviews

Eighty-four percent of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends. As an online business, it’s crucial to establish and maintain a process that encourages your customers to leave reviews. You can use some of the strategies we discussed above to bolster your review efforts.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Use your email marketing automation platform to follow up with recent customers. Encourage them to leave a review. When a product starts to generate reviews, its conversion rate improves by 65%.
  • Publish some of your top reviews on your website (this is another key CRO technique). Consider adding them “above-the-fold” on your key landing pages, so your visitors see them sooner rather than later. Include them on your product pages as well. Fifty-six percent of shoppers seek out sites with reviews.

Parting Tips from eCommerce Marketers

We understand building an eCommerce marketing plan from the ground up is easier said than done. The reality is, getting sales from your site can get harder each day as large entities like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay continue to blaze through the online landscape. So how do you keep your audience engaged on your site?  

We thought we’d shut up for a moment and shine a light on some insightful parting words from 11 eCommerce marketers themselves. 

Performance

  1. One site, one vision – Two websites will have a similarly self-defeating effect. It’s a simple concept: If you compete against your own online presence, you won’t be able to beat (or compete) your single website competitors. – Michael (sell.lovingly.com)
  2. SEO-friendly platform – Do your research and ensure that whichever platform you choose is optimizable for your SEO strategy and seamlessly lets you create new pages for keywords you’re focusing on. – Ally (www.woofsigns.com)
  3. Clear website structure – Including useful and optimized internal links are imperative for search engines to understand your website better (therefore ranking you better), and for users to be able to navigate your categories and products easily. – Cecilia (passion.digital)
  4. Optimize your images – It probably goes without saying that high-quality images of your product are crucial to the customer experience on your website, but it also can play a significant role in search engine performance and visibility. – Greg (www.theraspecs.com)

Content

  1. Use long-tail keywords – Long-tail keywords are easier to rank than general keywords, and they give you the opportunity to rank for lots of shorter keywords too at the same time. – Gregory (www.yourparkingspace.co.uk)
  2. Write for the consumer. Keyword-heavy meta titles and descriptions don’t work if they aren’t legible. People want to click on a search result that intrigues them, not an unreadable keyword mess. – Andrew (sellerschoice.agency)
  3. Preventing content duplication – Canonical tags will allow different URLs for the same product to not compete with one another. You need to tell the search engine which version of the product page you want to show. – Brittany (chhlin.com)
  4. Create a buyer’s guide – Create a guide that helps customers choose the best product for their specific needs. We create a series of questions as headings within the buyer’s guide(s) and answers to those questions. – Dave (StoreCoach.com)

Trust

  1. Trust badges – There are some good case studies on trust badges that show their ability to increase trust, sales, and conversions. If you are not testing them, you are losing out. – Ramon (www.nationalairwarehouse.com)
  2. Incorporate Reviews on Product Pages – Customer reviews will naturally use many of your target keywords for specific products, so include those reviews directly on product or category pages to optimize for those terms. – Stuart (www.vitamedica.com)
  3. Supporting documents & expert advice – This one is missed by a good majority of websites. A marketer can create “expert advice” pages that the product page links to. Each one of these advice pages should then link back to the product page within the content. This creates mini-silos of inner-site authority. Be sure to avoid keyword cannibalization and duplicate content. – Matthew (www.matthewpost.com)

Work with Us to Grow Your Business

Digital marketing is constantly changing, which means you need to have a trusted team of online experts who’ll make sure you’re on track. As a marketing agency that has served over 500 businesses like yours, Big Leap can be that team.

If you’d like a sounding board for your pain points and ideas, reach out to us. Be sure to also check out our eCommerce case study for ideas on the best eCommerce marketing strategies we achieve for you this year.

Janet Lee