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Events — 16 Aug 2022

Online Customer Acquisition Tactics for Ecommerce

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Online Customer Acquisition Tactics for Ecommerce

It’s news to nobody that a commercial organization needs new customers in order to survive. Whether your business is a startup or is as established as commerce itself, you need to think about getting more paying customers. This means, in short, lead generation.

Sure, customer loyalty is a welcome feature, but there’s simply no denying that an element of churn has to be built into your business model. This way, not only do you have growth, but you’re protected from customer base shrinkage when individuals move on, for whatever reason. 

One of the most important ways to go about customer acquisition is the marketing partnership approach. There are numerous case studies that show how effective this can be. For example, online gaming developers Wargaming saw an increase in revenue of 250% by using the services of affise.com

However, there’s a heap of customer acquisition tactics you can use in the modern marketplace, including email marketing, SEO factors, etc which an ecommerce body can use its marketing spend on, which we shall go through. Before we do this, though, let’s look at one of the main factors for a marketing team to consider in all this, which is customer acquisition cost.

What do we mean by customer acquisition cost?

It’s a commonly known statistic that it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. You might be surprised to learn how much more. Anywhere between 5 and 25 times more is the current reckoning. However, you can’t avoid the need to get yourself new customers. It’s simply not sustainable. 

So, you have to think carefully about how much it sets your company back to acquire a customer. In other words, you need to consider the customer acquisition cost (CAC).

A CAC figure is reached by adding together all the outlay in terms of advertising expenditure, content marketing, marketing campaigns, inventory maintenance, and marketing budgets then dividing that total by the total number of new customers that this advertising effort has brought in. 

This figure will vary, a lot, depending on the nature of the industry, in much the same manner as other metrics show variance such as conversion rate by industry.

customer acquisition cost
Source (demandjump.com)

As you can see, at the more expensive end of the spectrum is software. Why is this? Buying SaaS products should not be impulse purchases. There are a whole host of decisions to make, and there are a lot of other options available. For this reason, the sales company has to put in the extra effort to woo potential customers.

If your online store business is finding CACs too high and is looking for ways to get a better return on investment from its online marketing budget, there’s help available. But now let’s turn our attention to the different tactics you can employ to secure customer acquisition. 

Attracting interest for your ecommerce business

Before the customer sets eyes on your products, you need to stand out from the crowd and encourage traffic. A tried and tested method is to get your SEO up to scratch.

If you want to think seriously about ecommerce customer acquisition, you need to think about search engine optimization (SEO). Why is this? The main reason is visibility. The higher your ecommerce store is in the list of results, the more easily you will be for customers to spot. Not just this though – the higher up the list you are, the more customers that will trust you. 

So, how do you get yourself up the SERP (search engine results page), thereby benefitting the customer acquisition process? There are good sources out there that can help with getting your SEO strategy off the ground, so we won’t go into those details here. Start by coming up with a keyword niche for your business, then work on fine-tuning until you’re getting the results you want. 

Email marketing

This is a marketing option that is fairly long in the tooth compared to some of the other channels. However, email marketing has survived as a popular customer acquisition tool simply because it is effective, with a relatively low CAC. 

customer engagement
Source (superoffice.com)

An extremely effective method is known as drip email marketing. This involves an automated sequence of emails being sent to the potential customer depending on their activity on your site. Examples include when a customer visits your site and signs up for further info and a welcome email is sent. Should a customer start to fill their trolley only to leave before checkout, an “abandoned cart” email can be sent. 

The advantages of this and other kinds of email marketing campaigns are:

Economy

The process features high levels of automation so the marketing costs in terms of labor are minimal. 

Timing

The email is triggered by the customer action, so stands a good chance of catching them in a receptive state.

Information

Emails can contain a valuable amount of information without becoming unwieldy. They’re not as dependent upon brevity as social media, for instance.

One thing that’s important to all customer acquisition strategies (but especially so to email due to the vast amounts of data involved in this mass activity) is to have a sound way of dealing with data transfer. Tools such as CPAPI can help here. 

Content marketing

By content marketing, we mean informative articles, videos, blog posts, and podcasts. Basically, anything that stands by itself as an interesting or entertaining piece, that has the happy effect of attracting interest in a product, especially in your target audience falls under the content marketing umbrella. 

There are some interesting statistics on content marketing. Here’s one: 70% of people would rather learn about a product from an article than from a TV ad. It’s thought to be the case that people, increasingly, are finding advertising to be a little too intrusive. 

When you’re continuously bombarded with TV ads, Google ads, Facebook ads, and other forms of digital marketing, you tend to switch off or deploy a degree of cynicism. When you’re presented with something of interest in its own right, you can be a little more positive about where the content is leading you. 

This is why so many marketing operations use content marketing, as this graph demonstrates:

b2b marketers
Source (smartinsights.com)

As far as CAC is concerned, content marketing is fairly competitive among marketing channels. The chances are, you’re going to have to pay somebody else to come up with the content, but you’ll then get plenty of mileage out of that piece. Even better if you’re a bit of a content wizard too. It’s then a matter of how you stage the content. You can put it out there via social media but most of it will end up on your website, which leads us to our next point. 

Window dressing

Just as a physical shop has to get its window display looking sharp, you need to think about how your landing pages and product pages look to the ecommerce customer. Clarity and information are what’s needed, as well as visual appeal. In a world of competing imagery and voices straining for commercial attention, you won’t get anywhere by being understated.

Here’s an example of a product page that gives you all you need to know:

window dressing
Source (tangleteezer.com)

A high-impact, clean image is given, together with all the information you’re likely to need, as well as a YouTube video showing how to use it. And it looks great, which always helps. The product’s ideal customers are well catered for here. 

The next image shows how you can be more minimalist when the product is already well-known. Such is the brand awareness that the customer will not need exposition about provenance or promises of lifelong service. Just a picture, sizing, color information, and a payment scheme. That’s all you need.

The image is made prominent, which emphasizes its desirability. Just as images are the lifeblood of social media, they also drive successful web pages.

birkenstock webpage
Source (convertcart.com)

It takes, reportedly, 0.05 seconds for a viewer to decide if they want to stay on a site they’ve just landed on. So, you need to make sure that your site looks as enticing as possible, by balancing a strong image with clear information. 

Ensure that once your customer has decided to purchase, the sales funnel concludes profitably, in terms of the customer experience being straightforward and bug-free. So, always test. A/B testing tools, also known as split testing, is an established and useful testing tool.

Finally, when it comes to product page design, don’t overlook the personal touch. Personalizing websites is a growth area and can acquire huge dividends when done well. 

Speed Counts

People are impatient. Especially so on the internet. One in four website visitors say they’ll leave a site that takes more than four seconds to load. So, you need to make sure that your site performs, and performs fast. 

Speed’s not just important when it comes to assuaging the wrath of picky visitors. It’s also instrumental in determining Google search ranking.  

You can help with this effort by always compressing images. Always make them the same size. And always use JPEGs rather than PNGs as they’re better quality when reduced to small dimensions.

You can check on your page speed with tools such as Page Speed Insights.

Think Mobile

There’s no getting away from it. The internet is getting more mobile every day so you need to optimize your site accordingly. Customer expectation is such that they’ll be disappointed and downright frustrated if the site they’re visiting on their phone is not designed with a small screen in mind. Having to scroll around to find what they’re looking for is a big turn-off for customers, so think above the fold. 

Mobile sites rank higher on Google searches, so this is another great reason to bear mobiles in mind. 

So everyone from Amazon downwards is thinking about mobiles. What’s involved? Want an example of good website design for mobiles? See Etsy:

etsy webpage
Source (blog.hubspot.com)

Clear, uncluttered, attractive. The essence of compact design. 

What’s great about it is, whether it is being viewed by new or existing customers, the design is such that it’s easy to see what’s on offer. This will help the average order value to skyrocket. 

Local effect

You may be thinking globally, and this is great. But whatever you do, don’t forget how local factors affect different areas around the globe. Cultural differences can affect what is likely to attract new customers. While there will always be some people in Svalbard who might want a surfboard, it’s not likely to be an ecommerce big hitter up there.

Keep local payment methods in mind. Just as not everybody feels entirely at home working with dollars, some countries show a marked preference for PayPal or bank transfers. And within each country, you may have to consider demographic subsections. You don’t want to lose what could be your best customer by being inflexible. 

Also, bear in mind local issues such as holidays, events, and carnivals. The more you can tie into what makes an area feel special about itself, the more you’ll shine. That glow will help you with customer acquisition. And holidays are when people tend to spend more, so, get out your calendar. 

Support act

Ecommerce customers expect effective support that’s easy to find. For this very reason, it makes a great deal of sense to supply assistance to your customers through a communication platform. Live chat is popular and gaining momentum among customers. In fact, by 2024, it’s predicted that worldwide retail spending via chatbot will reach $142 billion. In 2019 it was just $2.8 billion. 

Live chat is a basic requirement these days. 89% of customers expect there to be a self-service support function on websites. Bad customer service puts customers off, and you then lose that customer lifetime value.

customer view
Source (superoffice.com)

Consequently, you need to be sure that your chat support is up to task. Test it for yourself. But don’t stop there. Also, check your telephone support. From the quality of your agents to your call management software, your business will suffer if there are deficiencies anywhere in this most crucial of environments.

Online reviews (influencer and other)

Never underestimate the importance of online reviews. Whether they come from influencers or from regular customers, they always feature prominently in the most significant factors affecting purchase choices.

In fact, nearly 90% of consumers read a review before making a purchase. That’s a statistic that refers to reviews across the board, and online reviews are no exception. It’s reported that 79% of customers will treat online reviews with the same trust that they treat personal recommendations. 

Influencers are gaining in popularity compared to other acquisition channels. In a similar manner to the way in which content marketing works – the product not necessarily be the driving factor that attracts the consumer – influencer marketing works by attracting the consumer to something they already like. The influencer, by including the product into their personal brand, adds value to the product. 

Another quality an influencer lends is visibility. Without seeing somebody they’re following wearing those earrings, a customer may never have known about them.

If the influencer works in marketing partnerships with you for a while and demonstrates a range of products, you can bet that customer retention will benefit.

All of this adds up to a big boost in influencer marketing.

influencer marketing
Source (influencermarketinghub.com)

Other forms of partner marketing

So, we’ve covered influencers. These are by no means the only partner marketing efforts you can try. Some center on existing customers, such as using referral programs. Most are based on company-to-company collaborations. If this is an area you’d like to explore, it’s worth considering platform migration to Affise Reach:

affise reach
Source (affise.com)

The name of the game is to link up with another company in order to access a new target audience. You get to utilize your partner’s customer base. They benefit from your amazing products. 

There are a number of different partner remuneration models, depending on the kind of partnership you enter into. One case study (Globale Media) involved a pay-per-conversion model. Incidentally, this particular relationship resulted in a 200% profit increase.

Regardless of the payment model, these kinds of marketing partnerships are well worth investigating for their effect on increasing brand awareness and boosting sales. 

Some other forms of partner marketing are distribution, joint products, licensing, giveaways, proposal management software, and product placement, but what they all have in common is two (or more) parties enjoying the benefit of an association with each other, for growth or retargeting purposes. 

For this to work, there has to be a certain overlap in appeal and a certain synergy of output. But the target audience shouldn’t be identical or there will be little growth potential. Lookalike audiences are what’s needed. 

Finally, never link with a direct competitor. It’s too confusing for the consumer and loyal customers can be put off. 

Conclusion

So, you know what you’ve got to do, right? 

If you’re still a little uncertain, the good news is that you can easily take on these improvements by the simple step of opting for platform migration with affise.com.

A successful customer acquisition strategy will be based not solely on one approach but on a range of marketing strategies. You’ll need to be able to deal with data from all these approaches, so consider using assistive software like Affise Bi

An online business has to appeal in a number of different ways to a number of different areas in order to give itself the best chance of not just attracting customers but also securing an impressive conversion rate.

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Richard Conn - Senior Director, Demand Generation, 8x8

Written by

Richard Conn is the Senior Director for Demand Generation at 8x8, a leading communication platform with interactive voice response system, video, and chat functionality. Richard is an analytical & results-driven digital marketing leader with a track record of achieving major ROI improvements in fast-paced, competitive B2B environments. Check out his LinkedIn.