Marketing an e-commerce website

Way back when outbound marketing prevailed, companies used to have a website designed as an online company brochure and didn’t do anything to change the site for many years after.

How things have changed! The website now plays a pivotal role in reaching and converting new customers and a whole industry of UX (User Experience) and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) techniques and strategies has evolved.

For many smaller businesses, the investment in an e-commerce website is a significant chunk of their marketing spend. And by having a nice looking website that’s easy to navigate means that your users are going to buy. If only it was that easy!

CRO is no longer optional, it’s a must. An e-commerce business needs to continually refine their website, understanding how your users engage with your site and introducing tactics to improve conversions.

So, as a small business with an e-commerce website what can you do to 1. get people to find you and 2. convert them to paying customers? In this article we’ll outline some simple ways that you can market your e-commerce site and increase conversions.

Getting potential customers to your e-commerce website

In addition to Google Ads (PPC) which any e-commerce small business should be utilising, the power of social media is undeniable and it simply cannot be ignored as a major channel for driving ecommerce business. Your customers are using social media, and so should you. But it’s not just about being on social media, it’s about using it strategically to engage and attract customers. Take a look at our previous post where we discussed how to develop a social media strategy for more on this.

Social media tactics to increase sales

Social media ads

Facebook is the daddy when it comes to generating online sales. 85% of all orders from social media belong to Facebook. The ad targeting options are very sophisticated enabling you to create audiences based not only on location, gender, marital status etc but also on wall post content and using your customers email addresses to identify people like your customers.

Integrate Instagram

Instagram is proven to generate the highest average order value from any social channel and a recent study has found that Instagram gives brands 25% more engagement than any other social media platform.

If you use the right hashtags, appropriate filters, and post at the right times, then you’re well on your way to building a big following on Instagram. The key to mastering Instagram marketing is engagement with your users.

User generated content is huge and Instagram and Pinterest are where it’s at. Pictures of customers using your products are an excellent way to influence someone to purchase. Try running competitions using branded hashtags to encourage people to share their photos.

The campaign is a good example. Customers who take out insurance or a credit card through can choose between one of the three collectable toys: BRIAN, Miss Herbert and Stunt Herbert. I recently received the Stunt Herbert (for my son!) and it was accompanied with a postcard encouraging me to share the news of the arrival on social media. I didn’t, but guess what? Search for ‘Stunt Herbert’ on any social channel and you’ll see hundreds of the little fellas.

Converting more web visitors to purchase
1. Up-sell

Just a small increase on each customers purchase value, really adds up. According to E-consultancy, up-selling is 20 times more effective than cross-selling online. Sometimes your customers don’t know that a better product is available and it’s down to you to make them aware of it. Be sure to explain the difference (improvement) and be sensitive to the price point your customer was happy with – keep close to it and there’s a good chance your customer will upgrade.

How do you do it? This is a job for your web developer. Most ecommerce systems can be adapted to include an up-selling plug-in. If you don’t have web development in-house, talk to us and about doing this for you.

2. Capture More Email Subscribers

Email marketing is proven to be the most effective digital marketing tool for new customer acquisition. It drives traffic to your store, supplements content marketing, and is excellent for building relationships and engaging with customers. It’s not enough to capture a bunch of email addresses. You actually have to send them regular emails. For example, send out a welcome email as soon as a customer signs up. These have among the highest open rates of any marketing emails. Send an email to let your customers know when their orders are dispatched and on their way and follow with an email requesting they rate your products and services. Just look to Amazon to see how it’s done!

3. Reduce Abandoned Carts

Online shoppers abandon carts. Fact. If you have a high abandonment rate, it doesn’t neccessarily mean to say you’re doing anything wrong, it’s just a reflection of the way we shop online. We try and squeeze in buying dad something for his birthday, or sending some flowers to a friend, while we’re in a queue or even on the loo and then realise we don’t have enough time.

According to the Baymard Institute, 67.45% of shopping carts are abandoned before they’re completed. For your business, this means that your sales are one-third of what they may potentially be!

People may just need a little more convincing that your product meets their needs. Perhaps they can be persuaded with a discount, or the offer of free shipping. One simple and effective way to reduce the incidence of abandoned carts on your ecommerce site is to use an abandoned cart email campaign. Many of our ecommerce website clients use Shopify which enables them to write and send the email directly in the Shopify admin. There are also many excellent email software systems available, such as Mailchimp, MyEmma, Constant Contact and Fresh mail to name just a few that can automate these emails. Talk to us about how they can be integrated with your site.

4. Add a Wishlist

Have you got a wishlist facility on your ecommerce website? If no, add one (we can do it for you). Don’t forget that people love to browse and shop around before a purchase. Make it really easy for them to return to your shop and purchase by allowing them to save items to a wish list. Then, put in place a wishlist reminder email to get their desired products straight into their inbox.

For more website conversion tips, take a look at our article, 5 sure-fire tactics to improve your website conversions.