Where are you in your E-Commerce journey? You might have just set up shop online. Or you might be busy building a loyal customer base. Or at the drawing board evaluating an idea. No matter where you are, E-Commerce marketing is a check-point you’ll eventually arrive at. Right from segmenting your users to the right tools to use for ECommerce marketing campaigns, we’ve put together 7 pieces of advice from industry experts and influencers to prepare you for the E-Commerce adventure.
1. Reach the right user with the right message at the right time and on the right channel
Image courtesy: marketoonist.com
Earlier this year, Practical commerce shared 4 reasons why an ecommerce marketing campaign fails. One of the main reasons was being unable to reach the right prospect. If you shout out in an empty room, you may create an echo, but you are not communicating. Sometimes, E-Commerce marketing campaigns are not effective because they fail to reach the right folks. Here are 3 reasons why this could happen.
- Advertising on the wrong channels
- Wrong keywords and optimizations
- Did not give sufficient time to the campaign
But we’d like to spin this around a little. There are a couple of other factors that are critical in deciding the fate of marketing campaigns for ECommerce.
- Getting the audience segment right
- Failing to build meaningful conversations i.e. resorting to blanket messages instead of personalized recommendations/offers.
Right from segmentation, to messaging, creatives and the channels that you choose everything must be perfect for every single user. Marketing platforms today are powered to get this combination right at a user level and at scale.
2. Mobile a significant part of your ECommerce Marketing plan
An eMarketer article predicts M-Commerce retail sales in the United States to touch $123 billion by the end of 2016. This is a 39% increase over M-Commerce sales in 2015 and almost 2X of the total retails sales in 2015. As mobile gets bigger each year, brands must evaluate their mobile readiness and take necessary action.
Image courtesy: eMarketer.com
Mobile users can be extremely demanding and so setting up the right mobile experience is critical if a brand must retain mobile users. This begins with your mobile website and app and goes on to your marketing communication. “Don’t Silo Mobile Marketing” says Amobee’s Strecker and adds “Mobile needs to be a meaningful part of a brand’s marketing strategy, not just a series of campaigns.” We couldn’t agree more. Mobile gives E-Commerce brands the opportunity to consume and understand user behavior like never before and then utilize this to create engagements that are relevant for that user. A purchase decision may emerge at any point in the user’s journey and mobile give you that window to influence these decisions.
3. New user engagement? Try emails
Search engine optimization, paid search advertising, and digital banner advertising are among the most popular forms of marketing to drive new users to your website. By year’s end, ECommerce retailers would have spent about $15.9 billion on pay-per-click ads, banner advertising, and other digital promotions, according to eMarketer.
Image courtesy: eMarketer.com
But for E-Commerce, the story continues beyond driving that first visit. 98% of E-Commerce website visitors drop off without making a purchase. E-Commerce Brands must make immediate connect with any new user to influence his purchase decisions and emails works best here. It’s true that open rates for emails have been deteriorating but as Armando Roggio says in his article, emails can be extremely potent if done right since they are both personal and relational at the same time.
A lot of attention must go into personalising the email (and I mean beyond “Hi Kate”). If you are sending an email to a cart drop-off, the email must tell her what she’s left behind. For example, if Kate has been looking at watches and has one in her cart you remind her about the watch with a quick email. But for George, who’s just looked at a few shirts, the most frequently bought shirts would be interesting. These 13 Amazing Abandoned Cart Emails by Shopify are really helpful to understand what elements in an email need to be customized and how.
4. Repeat customers are much more valuable than new ones
Image courtesy: eMarketer.com
Existing customers are almost always more profitable than new customers.In an often-cited paper from August 2012, Adobe reported that a shopper returning to make a second purchase from an online store will typically spend three times as much as a new customer. And when a consumer returns three or more times to buy from an online shop, that repeat customer will typically spend five times as much as a new customer on each purchase.
In 2014, Marketo cited a Bain & Company study, which found that repeat customers tend to spend 67 percent more than new ones. What’s more? “It costs between six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain ones you’ve already got” the report said. In an age when users are spoilt for choice and have access to so many different brands and shopping options at their fingertips how can E-Commerce brands grow and retain loyal shoppers?
- Loyalty programs can be a big booster in convincing your first-time buyer to come back for a purchase. In fact, a study by Social Annex indicates that 87% shoppers are willing to try loyalty programs. Use browsing behavior and past purchase data to build buyer personas and carefully tailor loyalty programs that incentivise repeat purchases.
- Purchase decisions are driven by positive and personalized experiences in addition to compelling price points. E-Commerce marketers must invest enough time and money in creating personalized brand experience that is consistent across different channels.
Customer loyalty cannot be restricted to a campaign or a loyalty program, it’s a journey and you can get closer to your customers one step at a time.
5. Push Notifications for website and apps – a cool new approach to E-Commerce Marketing
Push Notifications are probably the next best thing that’s happened to Digital Marketing after emails. Sent from both apps and websites, these notifications land directly at the user’s device/browser. Push messages can be triggered by an event (such as cart drop-off, price drop) or can be time-based. You can be sure that these messages are delivered to the right user. Also, you are not left waiting for the user to open his emails, visit a third party website/app to start an engagement. And the best part is that these notifications do not have ad spends attached to them. But this is purely a subscription-based engagement channel and requires users to opt-in to your push notifications and then stay subscribed. According to Andrew Chen that’s precisely where E-Commerce marketers are going wrong. He says “people have an intuitive bias about push. They only want to receive push notifications that are relevant, time-sensitive, and valuable.”
And so when users are bombarded with blanket messages and that too frequently, they resort to the opt-out button. This is what happened when a brand was not able to strike a chord with it’s audience.
Tackling opt outs:
How do you fight opt outs and deliver Push messages that users would love to receive?
- The first obvious thing to do is to send notifications that are relevant to the user. Hyper-personalization is the soul of a successful push notification campaign.
- E-Commerce marketers must also remember to use this channel sparingly. Send a notification only if you have something really important to say to a user. Even then, look at past data to determine the time-of-day when the user is most responsive.
- And if a user has been ignoring your notifications, you are better off spacing them apart.
Linzi Breckenridge, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Vertical Response, a Deluxe brand believes that every marketer must ask himself these 7 questions before sending out Push Notifications.
Image courtesy: verticalresponse.com
6. Web Push retargeting – bring back drop-offs
Display retargeting has proven to be the greatest ROI contributor and when it’s done right can deliver up to 2X better conversions. But now there’s something better. Something that combines the reach of emails, with the performance of retargeting and the experience of mobile – Web Push Notifications or Browser Push Notifications.
Sam Mallikarjun who heads Ecommerce business at Hubspot goes on to say that if marketers can make the experience personalized, timely and relevant for the customer push notifications sent from a website can be very useful to bring people who are in the research and awareness phases of the buying cycle back into the process. “I’m actually a fan of these” he also added.
We agree. Every user that lands on your website is a potential customer and Browser Push gives you the power to build 1:1 contextual engagements with these users. And when used for specific retargeting use cases like cart drop-offs, price drop alerts, inactive user engagement these notifications are very a very effective channel.
Download this eBook that provides Browser Push implementation tips, retargeting use cases and best practice advice for E-Commerce.
7. Tracking the right metrics
The digital eco-system supplies a host of vanity metrics that mean nothing to an E-Commerce business. What’s important is to track and measure metrics that matter. Shopify gives 32 Key Performance Indicators to track for an E-Commerce business.
Here are 11 must-have metrics on your marketing dashboard and the recommended tracking frequency:
Once you start measuring your performance, you will be able to make data-driven business decisions and strategies. This helps you spend your time and marketing dollars better and make marketing more effective for your brand.
There are a number of tools that can help grow your E-Commerce business. Invest in technology that helps you tap into customer behavior and use that data to build a great brand.