An entrepreneur has launched an online store. Offering high-quality products or services, he or she doesn’t doubt in the success. But month after month, the number of visitors stays small, the conversion rate doesn’t grow either, and the revenue remains precarious. The problem is that an important part of ecommerce development is missed out. We mean here ecommerce marketing.
Overlooking this component of business management, one risks ending with all the quality goods gathering dust on virtual shelves. Ecommerce marketing is responsible for raising awareness about an online store and product offerings, driving website traffic, optimizing the user experience for conversion, developing customer loyalty and, as a result, boosting sales.
Marketing an online business can be challenging given how many competing ecommerce websites are fighting for customers’ attention. Proficiency in ecommerce marketing fundamentals plus creative thinking is a success formula. But with the abundance of techniques, reaching the best combination for your store doesn’t always go on the first try. In this article, we will share our best practices in ecommerce marketing and examples of their implementation in a Magento online store.
Ecommerce marketing strategies in the customer lifecycle
Although marketing strategies for brick-and-mortar and online stores differ, a customer lifecycle in ecommerce is similar to that in brick-and-mortar retail. Marketing analysts Jim Sterne and Matt Cutler identify 5 steps in the customer lifecycle: reach, acquisition, conversion, retention and loyalty. Now, we will start from the best ecommerce marketing strategies for each step and then will move from theory to practice to see successful marketing campaigns in effect.
Reach and acquisition
Reaching and acquiring visitors is a starting point for every online business. There are productive and cost-effective techniques to increase the visibility of an ecommerce website and draw visitors.
SEO marketing is the most effective online marketing strategy at this first stage of the customer lifecycle. It makes search engines better see the relevance of your content to search requests of your potential customers. As a result, your online store ranks high in Google and more people find it in Google search.
SEO techniques include creating unique content and graphics, building links, adding targeted keywords and descriptive URLs, making the website mobile-friendly, improving website architecture.
By default, Magento is an SEO-friendly ecommerce platform. You can further enhance the efficiency with off-the-shelf extensions. For example, Magento 2 SEO Extension supports on-page technical and on-page content optimization and integrates external factors including social integration and Google services support.
Even if you make the primary focus on increasing organic traffic, take a look at other efficient web marketing strategies in ecommerce aimed at attracting visitors.
- Social media marketing. Don’t miss a chance to reach potential customers through social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Having huge audiences, they can serve as free advertising platforms.
- Forum marketing. Find the best topic to promote your products, enter the conversation and sound helpful. Think of creative ways to advertise your products.
- Influencer marketing. At the age when blogging is a job, you can promote your products by sending free samples to influencers with a large audience. Their review based on the personal experience will have weight.
You can evaluate the success of your customer acquisition campaign by the following KPIs: site traffic, revenue by traffic source, social shares, bounce rates.
So, you have visitors coming to your online store. Now, your aim is to help them find what they are looking for and beat your competitors with a better offer. Here are ecommerce marketing tips to encourage visitors for the first purchase.
- Engage online merchandising. While a merchandiser in a brick-and-mortar store uses shelves for a product layout, an online merchandiser works with precious online space. Attract customers with personal suggestions and best offers placed at the top positions.
- Make special offers for new customers. Place a banner with coupons and discounts for the first-time buyers on the home page.
- Launch email campaigns for subscribers. If a visitor has subscribed but didn’t make a purchase, return him or her by sending the announcement of new offers, seasonal sales or special discounts for new customers. You can track unopened emails and launch a repeat mailing with a new email subject in a while. This time, target only those who haven’t opened the initial email, thus increasing the number of opens while avoiding spamming with the same email.
- Make your online store interactive. Add live chats and contact forms to ensure a quick response to a visitor’s request.
Magento offers some features to increase the conversion rate. For example, the Abandoned Cart Recovery option allows you to address potential customers who provided their contact information but didn't complete the order. At the same time, Magento 2 boasts the cutting-edge elasticsearch technology that improves search functionality and enhances customer experience. The PayPal in-context checkout and saved credit cards feature offers customers to use PayPal without leaving the online store and shortens the check-out time.
Use the following KPIs at this stage of the customer life cycle: conversion rate, shopping cart abandon rate, page views per visit, newsletter subscribers, chat sessions initiated.
It’s safe to say that getting new customers is more complicated than retaining old ones. Choosing among multiple solutions, pay attention to ecommerce email marketing as a powerful tool to make customers keep up with your offers.
Your email marketing campaign can include:
- Regular new product offerings.
- Exclusive coupons for repeat customers.
- Early access to new offerings.
- Dedicated refer-a-friend prompts.
- Time-sensitive coupons.
- Win-back reminder emails.
- Holiday and seasonal sales.
It is important to understand that people are bombarded with communication every day. Stand out and make each email worth taking your customers’ time and inbox space with a personalized message, eye-catching graphics and straightforward call-to-action. The integration of Magento and MailChimp allows identifying key customer segments and launching a targeted email marketing campaign.
The trick to getting the highest engagement is to have the right timing. But you can’t be relevant all of the time, so that is why automated email marketing campaigns do so well. The options are pretty much endless when you start to combine customer data, marketing automation and a little bit of creativity. Let's say you can launch a weather-based campaign to catch your shoppers with suncare products when the local temperature runs high.
KPIs for the customer retention stage are email-opening rate, email-clickability rate and revenue from email visits.
We have put together four efficient ecommerce marketing solutions to make customers stay with you.
- Promotional campaigns. You can encourage customers to come back to your online store by offering ongoing and time-limited discounts and informing customers about promotions by email.
- Loyalty programs. The Loyalty Program extension allows for flexible reward systems. Instead of targeting the whole customer pool, merchants can generate various promo offers for different loyalty program steps.
- Upselling. By demonstrating similar products, other versions or models on a detailed product page, you ensure that the customer leaves most satisfied with the purchase.
- Cross-selling. This marketing tactic invites customers to purchase related or complementary items with you. For example, shoe care products can be cross-sold to footwear.
You don’t need to extend the functionality of Magento to add up-sell and cross-sell products: both options go out-of-the-box.
Sales rate, number of loyalty program participants, revenue from loyalty program participants and gross margin from loyalty program participants are the KPIs to track while building customer loyalty.
Pricing as an essential part of ecommerce marketing
There are multiple approaches to price configuration. You can find the right formula of retail markup by trial and error. Or you can look through our summary of fundamental pricing principals and choose the one that suits your product offerings.
- The Cost plus pricing method implies that you add the desired margin to the first cost of the product.
- If you choose to use the competitor-based pricing method, you need to research competitors’ prices for similar products and set the price somewhere in between.
- The Value-based pricing method bases the price on product’s value, the benefits it can provide to consumers. As this approach is rather complicated, let us guide you through value-based pricing configuration step by step:
- Determine the price of next best alternative that customers can buy instead of yours.
- Determine what sets your offering apart from this alternative and estimate the worth of these differences.
- Determine what makes the competing product better than yours and estimate the worth of these differences.
- Use the following formula: Price = step 1 + step 2 - step 3.
Once you have set the prices, keep tabs on the sales volume and competitors and adjust the prices accordingly. Rejecting price flexibility, you risk losing customers or working at a loss. Here are several reasons to increase or decreases prices.
- Initially, you underpriced the products.
- Production expenses have increased.
- You want to test the market.
- Initially, you overpriced the products.
- Production expenses have decreased.
- You are launching a promotional campaign.
Data-driven ecommerce marketing
Ecommerce marketing is a process, not an event. It includes setting goals, implementing strategies and analyzing their effectiveness. That’s why, conducting a marketing campaign without analytics is like walking in the dark or fishing without bait. Yes, you can arrive at the destination or catch something in the best-case scenario, but the result will be accidental.
Let’s see how data analytics helps you better understand your business and customers.
Magento customer segmentation can become a starting point for developing a personalized approach to your customers. Segmenting them by demographic, psychographic or behavioristic factors allows you to develop targeted promotional and sales campaigns.
Product performance analysis. Supplement your Magento store with Google Analytics Enhanced Ecommerce extension for valuable insights. The functionality of the extension includes:
- Shopping behavior reporting.
- Checkout behavior reporting.
- Product performance reporting.
- Sales performance reporting.
- Order coupon reporting.
By conducting customer satisfaction analysis, you will not only get important feedback about everything from products to the buying process and support but will also win customers with the intention to meet their needs. Add product review requests and customer satisfaction surveys to see your business through the eyes of your customers.
Large online retailers running stores with 100K+ SKUs, sizeable staff and multiple suppliers can rely on business intelligence. BI consultants will get your data under professional control and provide expert insights into revenue by the customer group, coupon usage, average customer lifetime value, average spent, daily number of orders, etc.
If you still doubt about investing your time and effort in the development of marketing strategies for ecommerce websites, look at these examples of successful campaigns.
Dixons Carphone aimed to increase its Curry’s presence on the camera online marketplace. It determined target product areas, analyzed keywords to identify relevant terms with a high search volume and improved both technical and content website elements.
- Reach for Currys in the camera space more than doubled for 9 months.
- Revenue increased by 41%.
- £480 ROI for every £1 spent.
ToysRus, a children online store, offered their customers a chance to win a gift card for a product review.
Result: ToysRus got valuable feedback from customers and could optimize their product assortment.
Uber staked on word-of-mouth marketing and offered customers to recommend the service to their friends in exchange for free rides.
Result: The company spread worldwide like wildfire.
JetBlue, a popular discount airline, came up with an interesting approach to their social media campaign. The company uses Twitter not to promote its services, but to provide fast and easy customer service.
Result: The company provides customers with the information they need, thus increasing trust in their services.
Create your ecommerce marketing strategy
Keeping up with ecommerce marketing trends, attracting new customers and being on the same page with current ones is important for any online store – from a small startup to an established business. There is no perfect ecommerce marketing plan that will pay off for every business. It is an ongoing process of identifying business goals, implementing techniques and seeing their impact on business performance. Experiment with strategies, implement fresh ideas and track the results to develop rewarding marketing campaigns.