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Tips & Guides — 28 Mar 2023
Top 10 Ecommerce Growth Strategies
Growth. It’s something every online store wants. And with the global ecommerce pie continuing to grow, everyone wants their own slice. When you look at estimated revenues for 2022 – $875 billion in the US alone, you can understand why.
Of course, everyone and their dog wants to be part of that e-commerce market. There are up to 24 million ecommerce sites globally, though many of them are small businesses. Even small businesses contribute to an extremely competitive market which means you need to get things right.
Whether you’re an established retailer or just starting out on your ecommerce journey, you’ll want to grow that business. What growth strategies can you employ? We look at a few growth hacking tips that can help you take your ecommerce business to the next level.
There’s more to growth in the ecommerce sector than simply size and revenue. You could compare ecommerce growth to chess; you should always be looking more than one move ahead to see how an individual tactic will affect different areas.
Growing your business is about long-term vision and results. That means not only looking at basic metrics such as your conversion rate, but also the bigger picture of customer acquisition, retention, and long-term loyalty. Customer satisfaction is also the foundation of both success and future growth.
If you focus on ensuring that your customers are happy with your products, your brand, and the service you provide, then other factors should fall into place.
You’ll already be using data to drive decisions, many of them geared towards growing your business. The more advanced your ability to analyze that data, the better the decisions you make. Advanced analytics help you better understand both customer behavior and the customer journey.
Operating on a platform that offers advanced analytics and business intelligence (BI) means that you can identify the channels your customers love and that are driving the best ecommerce sales figures for your business. This can be especially useful when you’re working in performance marketing and need to know where to focus.
Good data analytics can help when you don’t have precise buyer personas. For example, if your products appeal to a wide range of demographics then segmentation of your customer base can be difficult. If you have other identifying data, such as analyzing your web traffic to see where people come from and what devices they use, then you can adjust other tactics accordingly.
Additional factors, such as how often customers visit your site and what their average session time is mean that you can add to the user experience through strategies such as personalization and targeted popups. Advanced analytics gives you a better understanding of what people want from their customer experience.
Good analytics can be the lynchpin of other strategic decisions. For startups or relatively new businesses, budget may be limited so knowing the areas where you can spend that budget most wisely can give you a major advantage. Advanced analytics enables you to make evidence-based decisions.
In October 2021, 4.88 billion people (62% of the world’s population) were using the internet, with an estimated annual growth rate of 4.8%. With so many people online, there’s never been a better time to harness the power of social media and social influence.
Do reviews matter? The answer to that would be an unequivocal “yes”. In fact, almost 90% of customers will make an effort to find and read reviews before making a decision to buy. Reviews don’t only focus on how good a product is, they’re also a major factor in establishing a trust-based relationship between retailer and consumer.
Don’t be afraid to ask for reviews from your customers. You can do this at the point of sale or in any follow-up emails. Avoid censoring negative reviews; these can actually (through your response) show how you deal with criticism and address issues.
Collecting all your testimonials in one place is not the best idea. Scattering them across your site, and in relevant locations, means that those customers will see the reviews that are most relevant when choosing a product or service. Testimonial types include:
c. Focus on best sellers
It doesn’t matter how big your business is, you want to focus most of your efforts on best-selling products. Ecommerce stores usually have more capacity to stock long tail products (the 80% of your product range that doesn’t sell that well).
That’s not to say you should never promote those longtail items, but when you are looking to boost growth, you should focus on products that sell well and give a better ROI. Again, it’s about what your customer base wants and it is them who have made those products best sellers so you want to keep them happy as well as recognize that new customers will most probably like them too.
In these days of webinars, podcasts, ebooks, and other ways of communicating with existing and potential customers, email may seem old-fashioned but it remains one of the most effective marketing strategies. Particularly for small businesses, email marketing offers a budget-friendly approach with good ROI, and this is the main reason some 64% of small businesses utilize it.
You may know these under other names, specifically “transactional” or “behavioral emails”. Whatever you call them, the main feature of this type of email is that they are sent to an individual rather than a group and, as the main name suggests, they’re sent when a customer performs a “trigger”; a specific action on your site that you have predefined.
Those actions can vary according to what you want to achieve. They can include shopping cart abandonment, order confirmation, or even when a customer leaves a product page after significant browsing time. The customer receives the email almost instantly, meaning you can recapture their attention while the desired onsite action is still in their mind.
Email marketing offers a fantastic ROI, as high as $45 for every $1 spent within the ecommerce sector. More than 300 billion emails are sent every single day so the volume is there, but how effective is your email strategy? Email marketing has evolved over time and what you may have found successful a few years ago may not work as well today.
Emails are also a great way to let current customers know when you launch a new product. Consider updating your strategy with the following features:
SEO (search engine optimization) and content are two of the mainstays of finding or engaging with potential and existing customers. SEO is the way most people initially find you; good SEO ensures a high SERP (search engine page) ranking. Your content, from basic product descriptions to long-form blogs and articles, is what actually engages with people.
Your landing pages will already be optimized for particular SEO keywords so people looking for a specific product will find them. But you want to draw in more potential customers who may use more ambiguous search terms. This is where your blogs can produce great results. Well-written and informative blogs can provide more detailed answers on your products or services, or on your sector as a whole.
For example, if you’re selling SaaS products; you‘ve looked at optimization for each landing page for specific searches but you add blogs that discuss developments in the industry as a whole and how SaaS products offer benefits. You can then include links to particular product pages that expand your reach.
If you haven’t used a quiz as a content marketing tactic, it may sound a bit strange. But these are very effective and are nothing like the banal “which dictator would you be?” quizzes you see on social media. Used properly, quizzes are a great way of discovering things about your customers and also educating them about your products and your brand.
They can also help you to personalize content and solutions to individual customers and can drive them to subscribe to an email list or complete a lead form. A good quiz can help you make better product recommendations according to the needs and tastes of each customer. They can also be fun to do which is why so many people participate in them.
Partner marketing is a fantastic strategy for growing your business and expanding your reach without stretching your budget. As this strategy is performance-based, you usually do not pay any partners unless they deliver results in the form of online sales. Probably the best examples of partner marketing are Shopify or Amazon which act as middlemen between brands and marketing partners.
Commission rates and remuneration can vary greatly within partner marketing. Some brands will pay a flat rate per sale, while other sectors, such as SaaS, will pay a recurring commission if the customer renews their subscription. It’s worth noting that partner marketing usually utilizes one of the following reward schemes:
Choosing the right digital marketing platform can be a major decision. Affise not only offers a simple and painless migration process but has proven results in improving a brand’s performance. It’s also simple to access in-depth analytics so that you can easily monitor and track how different partners perform.
You can also integrate influencers into your overall strategy. Depending on the products you offer, influencers can greatly expand your reach if they have a high number of followers. How influencers will want to be rewarded usually falls into one of two categories: either commission rates similar to other partner marketing or a flat fee for promoting your brand.
Using influencers may take a little more thought than other types of partner marketing. You need to consider their total reach, what channels they operate on, and also their reputation.
Social media marketing is now a huge area for businesses. In fact, social media ad spend in 2020 was around USD 132 billion and that is expected to pass the 200 billion mark by the end of 2024. What that means for ecommerce businesses is that this is an area they cannot afford to neglect in any way.
Of course, if you’re going to spend money on social media ads, you want to be sure that they’re reaching your target demographics. A major consideration for many ecommerce retailers will be customer age but there will also be other factors that help decide which platform(s) to focus your efforts on.
A good example of targeting a niche platform would be LinkedIn. While it may not be a platform for fashion or consumer goods, it is a platform where you’ll be most likely to find C-suite executives which makes it ideal for marketing high-end business and tech products.
If you have a wide-ranging demographic base, then platforms such as YouTube and Facebook ads may prove ideal, while if you are primarily marketing at the under-30s, then platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat will likely be better choices.
Deciding on the type of ad to use will be very much related to both your target audience and to the platforms on which you want to advertise. Of course, some platforms you choose will dictate the type of ad (for example, YouTube and TikTok will both be video-based) while with others, you will make decisions based on the audience you’re trying to reach as well as your budget.
Some of the most common ad types include:
At the end of the day, the bottom line is you will have to spend to grow. It’s a question of making wise decisions as to where you should allocate any of that spending.
If you want to throw your budget away quickly, then the best tactic is to target every single keyword associated with your business. Of course, this is not a wise decision as you’ll have little or zero budget left for other ecommerce marketing campaigns. Drilling deep down into various keywords can identify those least likely to be used by other organizations but that can help identify you.
For example, let’s say your business is selling sports shoes. That is too generic a keyword and would not be very useful. However, if you sell specific brands or types of sports footwear, you can use them to establish a niche that drives traffic to your site. This could be something like climbing shoes which people may search for more closely.
Google shopping ads can be a great choice for shining a spotlight on online retailers and gaining new customers. They’re not only accessible via Google but also via other channels such as YouTube and Gmail. Shopping ads can be an efficient way to spend your budget as they specifically target customers who may be interested in your products.
Shopping ads can contain detailed product info including images, pricing, and, of course, the name of the vendor (you). For example, rims for trucks should have specific information such as the brand name, diameter, size, style, material, color, and bolt pattern in the description along with clear visuals.
You already know how important good content is, and that holds true when applied to your product pages. Finding the right formula that works for each page is an essential part of driving increased conversions and seeing your business grow. A/B testing will not give you instantaneous results but it wil ultimatelyl lead you to that winning formula.
You’ll have a desired result for each landing page. That will usually be a sale/conversion but can also include leads, singups, and subscriptions. By testing the different elements of each page; images, text, colors, and placement of CTAs, you can find what combination provides the optimum results. Even the smallest change can lead to significant improvements in functionalities and perception.
If you currently give up on visitors who take no actions, then you’re missing out on an area that can provide potential growth. There can be multiple reasons why someone takes no action, including lack of time, confusion about pricing or shipping costs, or a simple lack of interest in a particular product. Retargeting gives you a second chance to convert a customer.
Retargeting ads are very common, though many people can find them irritating. That aside, they do work. If someone visits a site and looks at a product then leaves without converting, there’s a high chance they’ll see ads for that product (or a closely linked one) in the coming days. This type of retargeting recognizes that browsers are not always buyers and may make a later decision to buy.
Different sources give different figures as to cart abandonment rates but it would be safe to say that the average is just under 70%. The reasons for abandonment can vary greatly and can include:
Usually, you‘ll already have collected the person’s email at the start of the checkout process. That makes them good targets for retargeting and some 64% of retargeting emails after an abandoned cart leads to a conversion. Identifying and solving any issues people have had means you can convert them through retargeting.
There’s good reason that chatbots are one of the top tech solutions being used by ecommerce companies. They can help guide a customer through your ecommerce website and to the products they’re looking for through suggestions and recommendations. Think of a chatbot as the helpful shop assistant in a physical store who will show customers where a product or service is located.
One huge advantage with chatbots is that they’re a low-cost option that can give a massive ROI. Not only can they recommend products, but they can also assist customers with order placement, payment processing, and shipping advice. From a vendor’s perspective, they’e extremely useful at collecting data and helping you to acquire new customers.
If you want your business to grow, then you’ll probably have to include several factors in any ecommerce strategy. One major factor is looking to partner with established and proven ecommerce platforms such as Affise who have the experience and expertise to help you grow successfully.
There are various factors that mean Affise is an ideal choice as part of any business growth strategy. One of the major advantages is the partnerships they can create between brands and agencies. Affise reach helps ecommerce brands find their ideal partners; something that helps both parties but which can also lead to significant growth of your brand.
Affise helps you identify the most suitable partners to extend your reach and to build a successful network of influencers, agencies, and potential performance marketing partners. This network, and the partnerships you can form, can be a major stepping stone to ecommerce growth.
Selecting the right growth strategies can be a difficult but important decision. However, you should always focus on what makes your customers happy – in the now – and what will make them happy in the future. Knowing your customer base, and their wants and needs, will always be a strong foundation for growing your ecommerce business.
Other important factors include the platforms and channels you use and the data that helps drive any business decisions. When it comes to data, you also need the ability to collect and transfer data from all the touchpoints your business utilizes. By approaching growth strategies cautiously but confidently, watching your business grow can become reality.
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