Ecommerce is the future of retail. Here, Jonathan Birch, Creative Director at Glass Digital shares his tips for creating a digital marketing strategy that encourages growth.
While online shopping was already popular pre-pandemic, there’s no denying that recent events have facilitated the growth of e-commerce at an incredible rate. In fact, in 2020, global e-retail sales grew 27.6% compared to the year before (Statista), and over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online in 2021 (Statista).
By 2040, it’s estimated that 95% of all purchases will be online (Nasdaq). So, the question is, how do you create a digital marketing strategy that can handle the ecommerce boom?
By following my five tips below, you can prepare your marketing strategy for scalability, making the most of your online channels and growing your business.
Update your website
Your website is one of the most important parts of your digital marketing strategy, but it’s also one of the areas that can let many businesses down. You don’t want to fall at the first hurdle, so make sure your website is flawless if you’re thinking of scaling up.
In the first quarter of 2021, over half (54.8%) of global web traffic came from mobile devices (Statista). This means is more important than ever for businesses to prioritise the mobile version of their site. In fact, it’s so vital that, as of July 2019, Google switched to mobile-first indexing, which means the search engine will predominantly use the mobile version of a new site to determine rankings.
When you’re making your site the best it can be, consider the user experience (UX). Remember that customers may shop elsewhere if they’re having trouble with your site, so have a look around and see if there’s any room for improvement. Clear navigation, the option to zoom into images, and fast and reliable checkout times are all vital for great UX.
At this point, it’s important to consider what kind of experience your customer wants. A website with all the bells and whistles might look great, but you could end up with a lot of redundant features that only overwhelm the customer. So, consider exactly what your target audience wants from you. The easiest way to do this is by checking in with your competitors and seeing what works for them.
Streamline your online channels
While some of your web traffic will potentially come straight from Google searches, the majority will be coming from elsewhere, whether that’s email, social media, or referrals from your brick-and-mortar store. And, while you’ll want to expand into new territories and extend your reach to more customers, it’s important to focus your efforts on the areas that matter.
Think quality rather than quantity when it comes to marketing. You don’t want to spread yourself too thinly, but rather focus on the channels that will be the most useful. For example, visual-based products lend themselves nicely to social media marketing. If you offer a service, videos and podcasts might be a great way to demonstrate your expertise.
Anticipate your customers’ pain points
One of the downsides of the ecommerce boom is that the world of online shopping is heavily saturated. So, it can take a little bit of extra effort to make yourself stand out from the crowd — but it’s not impossible.
These days, customers are more conscious about the products they’re buying and the brands they’re engaging with. People want to know that their purchase is going to be worthwhile, whether that’s by helping them financially, improving their productivity, or just offering an easier way to do something. So, if you’re not already, start angling your service as a solution to a problem, rather than just another product.
This doesn’t have to be anything complicated. Showing instructional videos on your website and social media or writing content marketing guides can help frame your product as an answer to real-world problems your customers are facing.
These solutions don’t have to be directly linked to your products either. Identifying pain points in the buying journey can help ensure customers come to you rather than your competitors. For example, if people are often left frustrated with customer service and communication, then ensure you always have someone on hand to answer their questions using integrated live chat software.
Focus on the values that matter the most
Customers are more likely to shop with you if your values align with their own, so try to work out what matters most to your audience and cater your services to them. For example, in the past year, 30% of consumers say they’ve chosen brands that have adopted environmentally friendly practices or values, while 28% have stopped shopping with certain brands due to ethical and sustainability concerns (Deloitte). As a result, it’s more important than ever to address your customers’ needs, whether that’s by switching to sustainable packaging or offering environmentally friendly shipping options.
Don’t forget to communicate all the steps you’re taking on your website, emails, and social media too.
Track your conversion metrics
Scaling your ecommerce isn’t going to happen overnight, and it’s likely that you’ll make adjustments along the way as you figure out what’s working and what isn’t. You don’t want to be sacrificing your customers or revenue making the wrong changes, so it’s important that you make as few mistakes as possible. By tracking your conversion metrics, you can find out where you need to focus your efforts to get the best results.
There are multiple pieces of software that will help you track your conversion rates, and they can usually offer a very detailed view of your customers’ journey. This can help you work out where the majority of customers are coming from, and any areas of the sales funnel that might be holding you back. Once you have this information, you know exactly which parts you need to tweak or focus on to future-proof your site.
In the digital age, a good ecommerce marketing strategy that supports scalability is vital. By following my five tips above, you can prepare your brand for online growth.