The online retail marketplace is increasingly getting crowded. With new businesses popping up every day, and a few mega-corporations enjoying a dominant market position, it is important for e-commerce entrepreneurs to have an effective digital marketing strategy in place. Here are some strategies that, if effectively implemented, should see your online business succeed in an increasingly competitive market.
Have an easy to use layout and design
The design choices that you make for your e-commerce website will determine the first impressions that potential clients have of your brand. Your goal should be making the purchasing process as hassle-free as possible for your clients. Ensure that your products are well-positioned and their important details (size, price, colours etc) are prominently placed.
Other important sections of your website such as customer support and promotions should also be well-positioned and easily visible. Particular emphasis has to be placed on the checkout and payment process. This should be a stress-free and straightforward process.
Take advantage of referrals
Word of mouth is one of the best converting marketing strategies. People are more likely to act on recommendations made by their friends, family members or people they hold in high regard. When you have a referral marketing scheme, your clients and partners get rewards for promoting your brand and products.
Use attractive rewards such as discounts on future purchases, store credit and even cash rewards. Identify individuals held in high regard by your target market to partner with for best results.
Have a mobile-friendly online store
Living in the digital world, it is safe to assume that all your clients have smart mobile devices. It has been estimated that mobile traffic accounts for almost half of all the web traffic, as of 2019. No e-commerce business can succeed without proactively reaching out to mobile users.
While larger e-commerce platforms can afford to develop apps, this is not necessary. Ensure that your site is optimized for mobile users. This includes having a more minimalist design for your mobile site for easier visibility, navigation and to improve loading time.
Incorporate Images and Videos
One of the biggest challenge’s consumers have when visiting online stores is their inability to inspect the products before purchase. As an e-commerce entrepreneur, this uncertainty is not good for business. Having high-quality visuals of your products helps the clients to be in a better position to determine how suitable the product would be for them.
Ensure that you use high-quality images, which the client can zoom in to closer inspect a product. There is a reason that Amazon, the most successful e-commerce platform, places so much emphasis on high-quality visuals. Ensure that you capture the products from multiple angles and with good lighting. Having a video further helps the consumer to be more confident about their purchase.
Provide multiple delivery options
One of the biggest headaches for e-commerce businesses is finding the best delivery option. There will always be a trade-off between cost and speed, with faster delivery options costing more. It is impossible to find a cost-speed balance that suits everyone.
This is why having multiple (at least two) delivery options is important Up to 45% of online order cancellations occur at the delivery stage. Give your clients an option regarding the delivery options that suit them best.
Social Media Marketing
It is virtually impossible to find someone that is not active on one of the ‘big three’ social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There are three levels of social media marketing that can benefit e-commerce businesses. You can purchase ads that will be targeted to social media users that fit your target market. Selling children’s clothes? Your ads can be made visible to parents.
Also, you can utilize social media ‘influencers’ who share your brand values and are held in high regard by the communities you are targeting with your product(s). Even large corporations like Apple use influencers during product launches. Apart from ads and influencer marketing, as a business, you should have your own social media accounts. These will allow you to reach directly to your consumers with announcements and promotions while enabling them to give feedback.
Utilize Google Shopping
This is a must-have service for any e-commerce business. Google is, by far, the most visited website on the planet with billions of hits on a daily basis. Advertising on Google shopping allows your products to be visible to people who make relevant Google searches. If you sell hair care products, your shampoo will be shown to Google users searching for shampoos.
This allows your product to be visible to potential clients that are not familiar with your brand. You can complement this strategy with buying ads on the Google home page that will be visible with relevant search terms.
Become a trusted online brand
At the end of the day, all marketing efforts –regardless of how well implemented they are- will be wasted if your store is not a trusted brand. In the online retail space, your reputation is your biggest asset or liability. You have to ensure that you only get positive reviews.
Don’t make promises that you are unable to fulfil for your clients. Be truthful regarding how you present and describe the products you have on sale. Ensure that you consistently meet promised delivery times. Being an honest online retailer will help build public trust around your brand, which should see you gain a loyal following.
While each of these digital marketing strategies should have a positive impact on the success of your e-commerce store, best results are achieved by combining them. A truly effective digital marketing strategy uses multiple solutions.
About the Author
Conor O’Flynn, Commercial Director of O’Flynn Medical who are Ireland’s biggest healthcare providers. They utilised e-commerce to increase sales of breast pumps to Ireland’s private healthcare market.