Ecommerce is an attractive proposition, and to many, the idea of automated income sounds too good to be true. With services like Shopify, it has never been easy to set up an ecommerce store, but many budding digital entrepreneurs hit a stumbling block when they come to market those ideas.
In this article, we will take a fresh look some of the more common approaches to ecommerce marketing and perhaps draw your attention to one or two ideas you may not have considered yet.
Use cognitive bias strategies
A form of cognitive bias, known as confirmation bias, affects how we search for things online — we are much more likely to search for information that confirms and strengthens our pre-existing beliefs. Therefore, harnessing your target audience’s cognitive bias is important.
To put this into practice, consider the pre-existing cognitive biases of your target audience, because deeply held beliefs, such as environmentalism of veganism, can have a profound influence on purchasing behaviour.
Consider creating content that confirms some of your buyer’s core beliefs. This could take the form of how-to guides on sustainable living or a recipe for a tasty vegan protein shake.
Keep your SEO efforts white hat
In the early days of Google, the search engine was prone to manipulation in ways that threatened to lower the overall standard of internet content. For example, it was commonplace to stuff your written content full of targeted keywords as well as spam other sites with nefarious backlinks.
Worse still, techniques such as content spinning and even straight-up plagiarism are examples of techniques now dubbed: black hat. Yes, we’ll admit the name sounds pretty cool, but get caught using these techniques and you risk being penalised or even banned from Google rankings altogether.
Instead, invest in awesome content, great technical site architecture, and trusted SEO advice from reputable consultants. Organic traffic is an important sales channel, so make sure you keeo your strategy on-point.
Invest in inbound
Whether you are a B2B or B2C brand, inbound marketing is the way to raise customer awareness levels and close sales. Focus on creating helpful and informative inbound content, and invest time and money in creating high-value pieces that will stand the test of time. Use a marketing ROI calculator to help you plan and perfect your inbound campaigns.
Focus on UX
Usually, when people think about content, the first thing that springs to mind is pictures, videos and beautifully persuasive copy. But content also refers to the layout and the experience a potential user is likely to have on your platform.
Imagine your store is a garden and Google’s crawler bots are the bees. You need to attract those bees to pollinate your awesome idea, so it can grow from a tiny seed into a flourishing rose. Google’s bees are very busy, so when they visit your site, they want it to be quick to load and easy to navigate. And you’ll be rewarded greatly if you can make their life easier.
Segment your contacts list
Placing email forms strategically throughout your site to capture customer details and build your following is useful for lead generation. But how do you develop relevant email content for each member of your contact list?
One way is by segmenting your email list. As well as the obvious demographics such as age, location and gender, try grouping users by their current phase in the buying cycle. Have they browsed once or twice in the past week? Or, are they part of the burgeoning “basket abandoned at checkout” demographic?
Separating your email lists in this way is a golden tactic for increasing your conversion rates.
Make your site accessible to all
Most of us take eye-catching images memes and bright red alert tags for granted. But, according to the World Health Organisation, 4% of the world’s population is visually impaired.
Screen readers for the visually impaired happen to work like a slow-motion Google bot, but this isn’t the only area where accessibility, SEO and marketing overlap.
Making your site more accessible for all internet users can add long-term value to your business. If you can successfully bridge a barrier to online shopping, that shopper will likely become a loyal customer, favouring your site for its convenience.
Put functionality ahead of aesthetic
There are many different options for online shoppers, just the smallest imperfection in the site’s usability can cause your customers to start comparison shopping on rival sites.
Prioritise how your site works above how your site looks. Fancy features may be required for a web development agency touting their technical expertise. But in retail, customers are likely to be distracted and even put off if such features get in the way.
Remember your site is a shop, not a brochure. When evaluating each element of your site, ask yourself, does this feature add to the bottom line?
Automate with AI
The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has existed in the realms of fiction since the days of Mary Shelly and Doctor Frankenstein. However, unlike Frankenstein’s monster, modern AI has found a purpose in the digital landscape.
Behemoths like eBay and Amazon have successfully used chatbots and AI assistants to respond to customer enquiries and generate product recommendations for years. Many AI-powered plugins are now available in Shopify’s app store, so take the time to research the market and find what works best for your business.
Upsell within your niche
Impersonal upselling can often seem pointless and annoying in the context of fast food or car insurance. But many people researching a product may not be aware of the different variations and features available.
You can help customers understand their options better while simultaneously maximising your profits by upselling certain products or packages.
Offer the customer the change to upgrade their purchase to a similar item but with a higher value. Just be careful the price of the upgrade is not twice as much as the original product, as this is likely to put your customer off. They want a good deal, not a scam.
Automate promotion with affiliates
Affiliate marketing is very simple. Independent marketers, mainly bloggers are provided with a unique URL which links to your store. The affiliates then create their own original content which includes their own unique URL.
Finding affiliates who are creating content in your niche can be quite time-consuming, so for a fee, you may want to consider joining an affiliate network. However, if you happen to have more time than cash, a DIY affiliate marketing approach might be more effective. Bear in mind that you will need to invest in your own affiliate tracking software for this though.
Invest in digital PR
A good press release telling a good story, sent to the right magazine, newspaper or blog will give your business credibility and inspire trust.
To get the ball rolling, make a shortlist of publications your target audience might want to read. Research each publication on that list, become familiar with what sort of stories they publish and tailor your press-release accordingly.
Better still, where possible, consider giving your product away to the journalist or blogger you are pitching to. They will likely look upon your product favourably playing closer attention to its physical, tactile features.
Extend your sales page onto Instagram.
If you have managed to get your Shopify store Facebook-approved, you can integrate your store with your Instagram feed. This means you can tag your products in your posts so users already exploring that content can discover your product and buy from your store in a few simple clicks.
Even if you can’t get your store merged with your Instagram account yet, Instagram is a great platform for connecting with buyers in your niche by putting your content in front of them.
The importance of online reviews
In the age of online reviews, everything industry must adapt to the changing marketing strategy of customer feedback, peer-to-peer insights, and brand transparency. From Yelp and Google Reviews, to niche-vertical industry review sites, those researching your company will find reviews of your company.
The review revolution is here and the online review statistics behind it are impressive. Nearly 95% of shoppers read online reviews before making a purchase and displaying reviews can increase conversion by 270%. Whether you are an early or late adopter, believer or non believer, online reviews are a major driver of new customers and selling more.
Reviews can be a nightmare if not handled properly. The flip side to that is the exact opposite. eCommerce stores should have an online reputation management plan to monitor, manage, encourage and respond to online reviews. Tell all your customers, not just the best brand advocates, to review your company, promote your online reviews in across marketing channels, and embrace the customer review economy (or get left in the dust.)
This is just a taster of some marketing avenues out there for your online store. Ecommerce is a multi-faceted industry and there are plenty of ways to market your store and its products. It’s just a case of finding the strategies that work for you.