Tips & Guides — 19 Apr 2022
eCommerce Customer Acquisition Process
Customers are the lifeblood of your business, so it’s important to make acquiring new customers a primary goal in your ecommerce marketing strategies. However, it can be challenging to develop methods to engage with and convert customers.
In this guide, we’ll go through what customer acquisition is and the ecommerce acquisition funnel. We’ll also look at the strategies and techniques you can use to attract new customers to your business.
Customer acquisition is the process of getting new customers for your business. It involves any activity that aims to attract new buyers, such as email marketing, redesigning website landing pages, or posting ads on social media.
Acquiring new customers is essential for a business to grow, build customer bases and improve conversion rates.
The ecommerce acquisition funnel is the path that takes a person from a stranger to a loyal customer. It encompasses every stage, from the initial awareness through to purchase – and beyond.
There are seven key stages:
In this stage, customers find out about your brand. While you can highlight some particular products, it’s as important to ensure they’re familiar with your overall business and what you do. This could be through content marketing, social media, or influencers.
Knowing your target audience is critical at this stage. For example, if you’re selling online games, you should be looking at streamers with a strong presence on Twitch or Youtube, who play games similar to those you make. Whereas, if you’re a makeup brand, you might want to focus on Instagram and beauty bloggers.
One way to build these valuable partner relationships is through partnership marketing platforms. Solutions like Affise Reach reliably source influencers and businesses to drive website traffic. With it, you can increase brand awareness, generate leads, and promote your products to new target audiences.
Once customers are aware of you, you need to turn that awareness into interest. It’s time to grab their attention, engage them, and get them to consider making a purchase.
There are many ways to do this, and you can make use of user-generated content for much of it – for example, you could create a social media hashtag and ask existing customers to share it with pictures of your products.
Consider running competitions, holding live stream events, and creating more focused content. While awareness should be about your brand, in this stage, you can start to really highlight your best products.
At this stage, customers haven’t purchased any products. But, they may have signed up for an email marketing list and are considering becoming paying customers.
Consider how you can drive more customers from the interest to the consideration stage. They’ll be looking for an appealing reason to move forward with their purchase and deciding if your brand is right for them. Sending them personalized discounts, offers, or touting your USP (that’s your unique selling point) might make buying from you more attractive.
Partnering with agencies and influencers can help here too, as consumers are likely to be persuaded by people they already respect and follow on social media.
Often merged with ‘consideration’ and ‘evaluation’, this stage should be treated as distinct: your potential customers are taking steps towards buying your product. They may have added products to their wishlist or their cart, and are looking to evaluate their choices.
Your potential customers are almost there! At this point, they’re checking that they’re getting a good deal. Prospective customers look at the price, features, and delivery options and compare them to similar products or sites.
It’s at this stage they’re likely to consult with chatbots or look for online reviews to help them take the final step.
After evaluating products, the prospective buyer has taken the crucial step to become a customer. However, there’s still a few potential obstacles in the way. It’s vital that their journey is easy – no long forms to fill in, or timing out baskets.
The final step in the ecommerce funnel is customer retention. Finding ways to nurture and build long-lasting relationships is vital to grow your business and achieve success. Some tactics include loyalty or referral programs, discounts, and freebies.
We’ve mentioned a few techniques already, but let’s take an in-depth look at some strategies to improve customer acquisition.
Cluttered product pages with missing images, unclear layouts, or outdated information will affect customer experiences, driving away potential business.
The solution? Revamp your product pages.
Live chat tools allow customers to easily interact with you. Additionally, it lets you proactively approach customers while they browse.
For example, a live chat tool can track a customer navigating your ecommerce website. If they’ve spent a few minutes on one page, a live chat notification can automatically ask them if they need help, and notify you if they do.
Additionally, video chats or co-browsing technology allows support agents to see the issues customers are having quicker, either with physical products or on-screen. By responding quickly, with helpful options, support teams and live chats can increase the likelihood of converting someone from a prospect to a customer.
Customer interaction is crucial to promoting products and improving the customer experiences. Go beyond simply replying to queries by creating quizzes, holding product live streams, and using chatbots.
For example, many running shoe sites offer tools to guide beginner runners in making purchases. It narrows hundreds of shoe choices down to a few fitting their running style, surface, and budget. By doing this, customers feel confident they’ve been directed to the right product, driving them to make a purchase.
It’s not only beneficial for them, however. These quizzes can also tell you what budget your customers have, and what they’re most interested in. This is valuable data for future digital marketing strategies.
Slow-loading sites frustrate people navigating your ecommerce store. Search engines also use webpage loading times to decide on search results rankings, and low search results rankings affect your online visibility, impacting customer acquisition.
One easy way to improve your site speed is by compressing product images. Additionally, consider your website tech stack. Insufficient server bandwidth and resources can cause websites to lag. Upgrading your server technologies or choosing premium hosting plans can provide faster speeds. If you need to change platforms to optimize your processes consider tools, like Affise migration to move your partnership program.
Regularly check your site speed to ensure that you can handle the demand from your online shoppers as your customer base grows.
Over 10% of all retail commerce is set to happen via mobile devices by 2025, so it’s increasingly important to optimize accordingly.
Develop and test your site on different devices. Ensure your images, text, and theme are responsive. Use simple layouts that are easy to navigate and adapt to different screen sizes and devices.
While purchases are key to gaining customers, they’re not the only thing to focus on. Encourage prospective customers to sign up to newsletters, or create an account on your website.
One way to drive signups is to reduce input fields on forms to the bare essentials. Using incentives like time-limited discounts can also help. For example, customers receive 10% off their first order if they sign up for your newsletter with their name and email address.
One of the benefits of ecommerce partnerships is the ability to use influencers or other brands to push sign ups for you. That way, consumers who might never have interacted with your website may still end up receiving your marketing.
Every country is different, whether it’s culture, currency, or buying habits. While your online shop is global, tailoring your approach for local sales is vital for brand awareness in new countries.
There are several strategies to achieve this:
For example, if you want to acquire new customers from France, set up local phone numbers and display prices in Euros. Additionally, use partnership marketing by targeting French influencers and businesses.
You can use tools, like CPAPI, to boost your partnership marketing opportunities. It lets you work with thousands of advertisers and offers in your selected location, improving acquisition channels and brand awareness.
Think local and global by considering what type of experience customers in each country want.
Over 80% of website visitors abandon their purchases. It’s due to several reasons, such as high shipping costs, slow delivery options, or complicated checkout processes.
Addressing these complaints is key to success. Forcing new customers to make an account or surprising them with expensive shipping will deter them. Instead, provide guest checkouts, display shipping options on the product page.
Additionally, let shoppers save their carts and send them reminders about unfinished purchases. It’s another way to encourage them to become paying customers.
Imagine a customer is browsing your site, searching for flip-flops. You know from their location, they’re experiencing a heatwave. In order to tempt them further, you can send relevant marketing emails to promote clothing and other products for warm weather.
Segmenting your email campaigns is a great way to boost personalization by tailoring offers to specific audiences. Using the personal browsing history or wishlists of your customers can further help in providing relevant and valuable recommendations or offers for your customers.
You can personalize their web experience too. Amazon’s ‘frequently bought together’ is a great example of this, and a fantastic way to increase average order value.
Measuring a customer acquisition strategy ensures it’s working and improves your processes. Start by considering the metrics in each stage of the ecommerce acquisition funnel, such as:
By knowing where you are, you can set goals of where you want to be – and track if your changes are working.
Consider using tools, like Affise BI, to help you. They store unstructured data from various marketing channels on one dashboard. It gives your team easy access to data, allowing them to gather valuable insights from key metrics, giving you a competitive edge in acquiring customers.
Making changes and seeing how it affects your business will assist you in finding the right strategy to acquire customers. For example, you might test two landing pages to see which one leads to more signups.
This testing method is called A/B testing, and it’s effective in understanding how best to interact with your customers. It involves making incremental changes to your website design and marketing techniques. The goal is to improve customer engagement and acquisition.
Reassess your workflow (workflow definition: a sequence of processes that work goes through) to include A/B testing as a core aspect. It might take a little longer, but it’ll help you be that bit more effective.
Techniques in Ecommerce Acquisition
Now we’ve considered some general strategies, let’s look at some specific techniques.
Finding information about your target customers is crucial for effective campaigns. Using the Facebook Audience Insights Tools, you can select your audience and analyze them. You can identify their lifestyles, likes, and dislikes, allowing you to plan better campaigns.
For example, imagine you sold water bottles. Your insights might show your audience is mostly male between 35-44 years of age, and their page likes are fitness-related. Instead of targeting everyone, you can focus your campaign on this demographic, making better use of your budget.
Partnering with online influencers assists you in reaching out to your target audience. This increases customer acquisition and improves your branding. Look for influencers relevant to your product niche for this to be effective. For example, if you’re selling makeup, don’t choose an influencer who makes videos on software regression test methods!
Tools, like those from Affise, can be invaluable to find and manage partnership marketing opportunities.
Using automated email marketing campaigns keeps customers on track. With them, you can encourage new customers to complete their purchasing journey. For example, welcome emails when a customer signs up or reminders to complete orders.
Engaging customers is vital to move them through the acquisition funnel. Use content marketing to engage customers and keep them interested, such as:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your website to boost organic traffic and rank higher in search results. Using techniques like keyword targeting and link building to create readable, relevant, valuable, and quality content makes it easier for new customers to find your brand.
While investing in SEO is important, the results can take time to work. But, it will increase potential customers at each stage in the ecommerce acquisition funnel over time.
Affiliate marketing lets businesses partner with other companies or affiliates to sell products. It’s a cost-effective selling technique as (often) partners only earn a commission when a specific action happens. For example, an affiliate gets commissions for referrals that lead to sales.
You can use partnership marketing platforms like Affise Reach to reach new audiences. It provides a place where brands can scale up their partner relationships to increase brand awareness, customer acquisition channels, and boost lead generation.
One thing to consider when applying these techniques is customer acquisition cost (CAC). CAC is the amount of money needed for a business to acquire one customer. It’s calculated using the formula given below for a specific period, like a marketing campaign or year.
Understanding your CAC will show you where you can reduce acquisition costs. But, CAC differs across industries. For example, clothing CAC is less than the CAC in the electronics industry. Make sure you only compare to relevant competition, rather than across all industries.
To calculate your CAC, consider costs in the key areas below used to acquire customers. Go through them with a fine-tooth comb and account for every penny.
Consider your sales, marketing, customer support, and IT teams. While some of these departments might not directly speak to customers, they are all involved in the process. One way to reduce your CAC is to use technology in combination with your teams, giving them the ability to focus on complex tasks, and reducing unnecessary human touchpoints.
Your website uses multiple technologies to run. It includes servers, ecommerce platforms, mobile apps, and tools like CRM platforms. These all contribute to CAC. Finding ways to decrease spending in these areas is essential to simplify your acquisition costs.
Digital marketing, like Facebook ads or Google ads, is vital for campaigns to improve brand awareness. They’re used to drive website visitors, promote sales or increase signups.
Using data about where your customers spend their time will assist you in targeting them better, reducing your overall CAC while increasing customer acquisition.
Whether you’re making an infographic or filming a video of your products, you’ll have content production costs. You can reduce your spending by hiring expensive equipment rather than buying it and looking to freelancers for your content creation needs. It can be cheaper to hire freelancers for specific projects, like filming products, instead of investing in permanent teams.
Physical products need to be stored in warehouses, which can have considerable maintenance costs, especially if you need specific storage conditions, for example, refrigeration for food and drink.
These costs include electricity usage, special storage equipment, and any inventory or warehouse staff.
Customer acquisition is the lifeblood of your ecommerce business. Looking for ways to improve is essential to grow your company and increase your return on investment (ROI). Partnership marketing platforms, like Affise, are one way to improve brand awareness and increase customer acquisition.
While awareness is the first step in the ecommerce acquisition funnel, customer retention is also important. Acquiring loyal customers is a vital strategy to reduce churn rate and improve the customer lifetime value (LTV) of your business.
Use the strategies listed here to start enhancing your ecommerce acquisition campaigns. But, don’t leave it at that. As the best management books will tell you, success depends on continually evaluating your performance. Similarly, measure and evaluate your acquisition strategies regularly. Look for new ways to improve your processes, increase sales, and acquire new customers.
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