In this post COVID-19 world, just about every store should be an online store to safely attract as many shoppers as possible.
This summer, we surveyed more than 550 U.S. consumers to gain insight into how COVID-19 has affected their priorities and preferences (click here for our methodology) and found that 60% of consumers have been shopping online more since COVID-19, and among those online shoppers, 73% plan to continue to shop online at that increased frequency even after the pandemic has passed.
How can you capitalize on these trends? Business owners like you need a digital marketing plan that allows customers to find your eCommerce store quickly and easily. We're here to help by breaking down six eCommerce marketing strategies that can boost sales.
What we’ll cover:
Connect with potential buyers on social media
Recover lost sales through email marketing
Create a community of loyal customers through email newsletters
Incorporate live chat to turn browsers into buyers
Use content marketing to pique customers’ interest
Use loyalty programs to keep customers coming back
You can’t market online without marketing on social media. After all, more than 70% of the public uses social media as of 2019, so the question isn’t whether you should use social media marketing, but how you should use social media marketing.
The keys to social media marketing are engagement and consistency, and software can help on both fronts.
Social media marketing software, which is included in many eCommerce marketing suites, typically includes the following features:
Analytics: Allows users to monitor the performance (views, reactions, shares, etc.) of social media posts to see what’s working and what should be tweaked.
Content library: A repository of regularly used photos, graphics, hashtags, and videos to be quickly retrieved and shared over social media.
Scheduling: Allows social media managers to schedule out multiple posts weeks and months in advance, and automate publishing to multiple channels (like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
There are many ways to market on social media, and your eCommerce marketing strategy will depend on your budget and available resources. Here are a few options:
Register a Facebook profile for your business and post information about sales and specials on a regular basis to build interest in your eCommerce brand and attract repeat customers.
Host a virtual event or partner with an influencer to generate brand awareness.
For more on this topic, read our guide on the five biggest benefits of social media marketing.
How many times have you been shopping online only to get distracted by one of your 50 other tabs before completing a purchase?
If you’ve done this, you’re not alone.
According to Moosend, 69% of online carts are abandoned before a purchase is completed. But the news gets better.
When stores send a follow-up email reminding shoppers of their abandoned cart, 45% of those emails are opened, and 21% are clicked on. Of those clickers, 50% go on to follow through with the purchase.
Setting up an automated email for customers who abandon their cart is a great way to use targeted eCommerce marketing and increase your sales, and it can be done fairly easily with eCommerce marketing software.
Moosend found that shipping issues top the list of reasons that customers abandon their carts, so your follow-up email should include offers for free/reduced shipping and personalized assistance to help if they’re having technical issues.
eCommerce expert Neil Patel suggests the following steps for well-rounded abandoned cart emails:
Customer segmentation: Not all abandoned carts are the same, and you should have different messages for different situations.
Unique subject lines: Emails with generic subject lines get deleted. Emails with short, catchy, emotional subject lines get opened.
Mobile responsive emails: If a potential buyer opens your email on their phone but can’t read it, did they really open it?
Multiple emails: Sending one follow-up email after an hour, another after a day, and a third and final email after a week is much more effective than one and done approach.
If you have a database of customer emails in your CRM, you already have a mailing list for your newsletter. If not, that’s OK: you can start building one through online receipts and by including a sign-up form on your website and social media profiles. Just be sure to include an easy opt-out option so you don’t annoy your customers.
This newsletter can be a highly effective eCommerce marketing strategy for building strong customer relationships and cultivating repeat sales. In fact, according to a recent Content Marketing Institute survey, 31% of B2B marketers say email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads.
Your newsletter should include things like discounts, new products, and user tips, but also industry news that might not have anything to do with making a sale.
If your newsletter only includes sales pitches, you’ll likely get a high unsubscribe rate.
But if you mix offers in with genuinely interesting news with a human voice, you can keep your customers engaged and build a community around your brand while also increasing sales opportunities.
For more on this topic, check out our infographic on the anatomy of the perfect email newsletter.
In a perfect world, you could welcome every shopper to your eCommerce site and help walk them through any issues they run into, just like you would try to do in a physical store. But unless you’re only getting a few visitors per day, this isn’t possible.
Employing a chatbot to add a human(ish) voice to your online store is the next best thing.
A chatbot can welcome visitors to your eCommerce store, answer common questions, and escalate certain issues to a live representative when necessary.
The good news is that most eCommerce platforms make it easy to integrate a live chat feature. For example, here are 11 different live chat apps that integrate with Squarespace.
Hundreds of books have been written about how effective content marketing can be when done right. And doing content marketing right essentially comes down to creating interesting content that will draw customers back to your eCommerce business where they may (or may not) make a purchase. The most important factor is to create content worth viewing. If your content is just marketing copy, very few people will bother to click on it.
For example, if you run an online shoe store, you could write an article on the best trail running shoes for this fall using your industry expertise, then (if you produce a good article) attract some of the thousands of internet users who search for “best trail shoes” each month.
If you can write one of the best articles online about the product you sell on your store, you can just imagine how effective content marketing can be.
For more on how software can make this process easier, check out our content marketing software buyers guide.
As a retailer (physical, online, or both), treating your customers well is just the right thing to do. But it can also be key to your eCommerce marketing strategy.
The 21st century approach to treating your best customers well is through online customer loyalty programs.
According to The Loyalty Report 2019 from Bond, 79% of consumers are more likely to continue buying from businesses with loyalty programs, and 73% are more likely to recommend businesses with good loyalty programs.
That means that a good customer loyalty program can not only help retain current customers, but also turn those customers into brand advocates that will help attract other customers.
So what should you offer customers in your loyalty program?
A Gartner Consumer Privacy Survey from 2019 reveals that consumers are most willing to share their personal information in exchange for cash rewards, free products or services, discounts or coupons, and loyalty points which can be exchanged for something else (full content available to clients).
For more details on launching your customer loyalty program, check out this guide from HubSpot.
Employing the strategies that we discussed in this article is a great way to boost your eCommerce marketing efforts. But unless you can afford to pay a dedicated team to manage your eCommerce marketing, this is not a “set it and forget it” situation. You’ll need to stay on top of your eCommerce marketing efforts to see significant results.
Luckily, eCommerce software can take on a lot of this load for you with integrated marketing tools. You can search through hundreds of options in our eCommerce software directory, while filtering for features like these, depending on your specific needs:
The GetApp COVID-19 Consumer & Employee Impact Survey was conducted in June 2020 to understand how the priorities and preferences of people—as consumers, employees, and patients—have shifted due to COVID-19. We surveyed 564 consumers making up a representative sample (by age and gender) of the U.S. population.
We worded the questions to ensure that each respondent fully understood the meaning and the topic at hand.