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11 Top Tips from an Expert eCommerce Consultant

Looking for an awesome eCommerce strategy to boost your online sales?

Get the low down on eCommerce marketing from our eCommerce Consultant, Alasdair. We reveal our top tips to in this short video to skyrocket your eCommerce business.

Alasdair, our MD and eCommerce Consultant,  is serious about all things marketing.

He reveals his Top eCommerce Strategy Tips, in this 15 minute roundup!

Alasdair, was invited to give his thoughts on eCommerce strategy, for this Grant Thornton video “eCommerce on a shoestring budget.”

Watch and see what you can do to improve your eCommerce strategy. 

What would an eCommerce consultant say about your website?

Launching an online store these days is easy.

There are countless store builders, plugins and themes that could have you up and running in less than an afternoon! It really is becoming easier than ever to start trading online.

However, turning an online store into a lucrative business is no easy task.

You must have a solid eCommerce strategy.

Competition is fierce. With major online retailers spending big bucks on their marketing, staying ahead of trends is tough.

So, how can you keep up?

Here’s 11 of the most creative and effective ways to boost your eCommerce strategy.

eCommerce consultant - Tips

1. Use Facebook Advertising to get new Customers:

A lot of eCommerce websites use Facebook to advertise their products.

You will have seen adverts appearing as sponsored posts in your Facebook newsfeed.

What makes Facebook so powerful, when it comes to your eCommerce strategy?

The secret sauce is the ability to target specific groups of people.

You can target customers by their ZIP Code, age, household income and their interests. You can even target customers by whether they are parents and the age of their children.

You could target people with Facebook ads who are local to you and invite them to an event.

If you sell high-end shoes you can target the fashionista crowd by selecting customers who follow other shoe brands.

You can target yoga mums, car crazy dads – you get the idea.

And because Facebook owns Instagram, as an additional extra you can use Facebook’s advertising platform to show your ads on Instagram.

A small Facebook agency I know has some great case studies using Facebook adverts. They’ve run adverts for footwear, natural cosmetics and high-end jeans, amongst others.

Having a strategy that you can test is really important.

Using Facebook adverts to drive traffic to your physical store and your eCommerce shop will really help your business grow consistently.

eCommerce consultant - facebook

2. You Should have an Influencer Campaign:

You should have an influencer campaign in your eCommerce strategy.

And I don’t mean paying Kim Kardashian millions of dollars to Tweet your product.

I don’t even mean finding a YouTube star who will charge thousands of dollars to promote your product.

Your customers are turning to influences for information, recommendations and inspiration.

This includes bloggers, YouTubers, and Facebook and Instagram influencers.

The great news is that there are now lots of smaller influencers, with followings on Facebook of 50,000 likes, or 30,000 Instagram followers, or bloggers with an email list of 5000 people and they would just love to know about your product.

There’s been an explosion of software to help you try and find influencers.

It’s not just their following that’s important. Look each time they post, see how much engagement they get.

Their followers do care what they have to say!

eCommerce consultant - shopping

To help you find influencers as part of your eCommerce strategy, search on Google for the best influencer outreach software.

It is a good idea to shortlist 25 influencers who’d definitely be interested in what they sell.

Make sure that they have loyal followings of people.

They then contact them to feature your products on their social media.

For instance, if you have a shop selling childrenswear, try and find an influential mummy blogger.

If it works well, get her to come to your store and share pictures.

One other option is to shortlist influencers and send them free samples for their review.

I’ve seen this work incredibly well with a supplement company I worked with.

If you’re a larger business, obviously you can use an agency to do this for you.

Any marketing or social media person that you have working with you should be involved in sending out free samples to influencers.

Over time you build relationships with influencers who will promote your products over and over again, and now you have your own brand ambassadors at a reasonable cost. And of course when you are launching a new product or store they can promote it for you.

3. Video Video Video:

eCommerce consultant - video
There is one simple thing you can do to turn web visitors into customers on your product pages.

Estimates vary, but around 50% of people who land on an eCommerce product page will watch a video about the product.

One of the things that your website needs to do is give people an online shopping experience that has as many elements of the store experience as possible.

You can make short promo videos of people wearing or using your product. These videos don’t have to be at Hollywood production levels. The video presenter could be the business owner, a team member, or even one of your influencers!

The way you present your product videos becomes part of your branding.

By having these videos as part of your eCommerce strategy, people will have more of an emotional connection with your brand.

4. An easy way to get People who buy In-Store, to try Buying Online:

eCommerce consultant - online payments

An effective way to encourage existing store customers to buy online is to offer them an online only discount. Particularly if you are a smaller retailer, when someone buys a product in your store, give them a postcard with a special offer for 15% off their first online purchase.

It’s worth testing this to encourage people to buy more online. It’s very easy to see in a month how many people have used your code.

Obviously, the customer might tell you that they have already bought online, in which case I wouldn’t necessarily give them another offer.

5. Have Free Shipping and make Buying Online easy:

When it comes to shipping, there are two really important things to know.

Your shipping options must be very clear and the best option you can give is free shipping.

All the evidence shows that people will buy more from you if you offer free shipping. It’s worth taking a moment to pretend you’re a customer, or get some friends to pretend they’re customers on your eCommerce store. Ask them to give you feedback about how easy it was to buy from your website.

Never ask first time customers to register for an account, instead always allow people to check out as a guest. You will lose customers by forcing people to create an account.

You should also ensure that your checkout process and your shipping costs are really simple and clear.

One of the things that people do is add products to their shopping cart and put in their ZIP Code to see what the shipping costs are.

One thing you must do for anyone leaves your site with items in their shopping cart, is to follow them up with a couple of emails along the lines of:

“Hey, did you forget to make a purchase, here is what is in your cart.”

6. Get People’s Email Addresses

eCommerce consultant - email

Having your customers email address is incredibly valuable and should be a part of your eCommerce strategy.

You can email customers information about in-store events, new product launches, sales and plenty more.

Although having followers on social media is valuable, having an email address is really important as someone needs to decide whether to read it, delete it or unsubscribe. It does get their attention.

You should be doing everything you can to encourage customers to give you their email address in store, whether that’s asking for people’s business cards for a monthly prize draw, or asking for an email address to give people a discount.

And remember, that all customers are not equal. If you can group your customer’s emails into regular customers who spend consistently, and then customers who buy only occasionally, you can send different emails to those two different groups.

So, for instance, for customers who buy only occasionally, you could try email offers to encourage them to buy more regularly from you.

7. When first-time visitors leave your website, give them an offer they can’t refuse:

eCommerce consultant - sales

It’s likely that you’ve spent time, money and had some headaches developing your website. Maybe you’ve invested in blogging, or paying Google for advertising.

You must pay attention to first-time visitors when thinking about your eCommerce strategy. How many of them buy from you on their first visit and how many people leave your site never to return?

One tried and trusted way of converting first time visitors in to buyers is with popups. We’ve tested this with our clients and it’s worked really well. If a first time visitor (not a returning customer) leaves your website, a little pop-up box appears and says:

“Hey, give me your email address and I’ll give you a $15 gift voucher towards your first purchase. A $15 gift voucher as opposed to 15% off tends to work better and is best to limit it to use within seven days.”

This means, that you now have a potential customer’s email address. You can set up a couple of automated emails that follow up the potential new customer to encourage them to buy from you and take advantage of the offer within the time period.

8. Invest in great product photos

eCommerce consultant - photos

If you look at the largest retail sites you will see that they have multiple shots of all their products and the quality of the photography is always good.

It’s really important to have great photography for all of your products, featuring multiple angles to showcase your product in the best way possible.

For an eCommerce business, investing in quality photography is a necessary part of your marketing budget.

9. Blog regularly and it will pay dividends

Research shows that blogging regularly really helps your business increase sales. As a rule of thumb, if you blog 3-4 times a week you’re almost guaranteed to double or triple your web traffic and double your online sales.

I recommend that you find your own writers and build up a long-term relationship with them so that they really understand your brand and your products. I prefer to hire native speakers.

There are lots of writers who work from home part time, who are looking for regular work and for very reasonable rates that can write great content for you.

And remember, that all of your blogs should be shared across all of your social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

10. Run 4 sales campaigns a year:

At the beginning of each year, you should be sitting down with your team to plan least three or four promotional campaigns that you will run.

There are obvious campaigns such as January Sales, Black Friday Sales, new product promotions and plenty more. And of course, as a physical store you have a great advantage over businesses that only sell online. You can invite your loyal and passionate customers to your store and give them a great experience.

Another type of campaign that you can run is to re-engage lapsed customers. I did this with an eCommerce company recently and we sent 3 emails over the course of two weeks with a 25% off voucher for customers who hadn’t bought anything in six months. We brought back over 100 lapsed customers, who we hope become regular buyers again.

Customers also love competitions, and it’s worth creating competitions across social media such as Facebook a couple of times a year.

Customers like to be asked their opinion, and you could ask for product ideas and responses to a few different designs of products that you are bringing out.

You could offer a gift that money can’t buy such as an after hours shopping experience with the owner of the business followed by a meal.

11. Find the right eCommerce Consultant to help you with your Strategy

eCommerce consultant - specialist

As you’re listening to this video, one of the things you may be thinking is that, “I run my shop, and I can’t possibly do all of these things myself because I don’t have the time, and I don’t have the skills or knowledge.”

This makes perfect sense and the good news is that new tech platforms mean you can find all kinds of eCommerce consultants and specialists online.

One really important thing to remember is that eCommerce marketing is a speciality and I would only hire people with experience in eCommerce to help you.

I’ve heard of web designers with no experience in eCommerce attempting to build eCommerce websites – it didn’t end well.

There are lots of sites out there to help you find the specialist eCommerce freelancers:

Freeeup.com

Heycarson.com

Storetasker.com

Or if you are looking for specialist freelancers in other areas, try these:

PeoplePerHour.com

Upwork.com

You can find web designers, social media experts and plenty more to build up your remote freelance team.

When I consult with business owners I tend to advise on strategy and then support the business owner to find the right people to implement everything.

When you’re looking for freelancers online, be sure to read all the reviews about them by other people who have hired them to make sure that they have completed plenty of jobs for others successfully.

You will have to kiss a few frogs to build up your team, but the advantage of having remote freelancers with different skill sets who can use as you require is very valuable.

Summing up:

We’ve covered a bunch of different eCommerce strategy ideas here. I would suggest that you pick your favourite three and then start on one.

Building a successful brand where you have a store and a website, takes time.

Following these eCommerce strategy tips will give you an edge over the competition.

Want to find out more about growing your eCommerce business? Book a 30 minute call with Alasdair today. 

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