October 28, 2020
To make a successful eCommerce business, you have to market it properly. For that, you need well-planned eCommerce marketing strategies.
If it’s done right, eCommerce marketing will make it easier to engage potential customers, increase website visitors, and foster a brand’s reputation.
We will uncover 27 best eCommerce marketing strategies for optimal conversions and sales.
The Purpose of eCommerce Marketing
Marketers use eCommerce marketing promotional strategies to drive traffic to an online store. The ultimate goal of eCommerce marketing is to convert site visitors into repeating customers to get more sales.
There are two main types of eCommerce marketing activities — direct and indirect.
Direct marketing includes promotional activities that encourage customers to buy products, whereas indirect marketing activities aim for intangible benefits like brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Creating a successful eCommerce marketing plan requires both types of activities to be implemented properly.
Developing a Solid eCommerce Marketing Plan
Developing an eCommerce marketing plan involves establishing measurable goals and taking actionable steps to achieve it in a set period of time.
Whether it’s driving traffic or increasing sales, make sure your goals are achievable. Consider using the SMART goal framework to establish a well-defined endpoint.
Once you identify the business goals, come up with tangible marketing tactics for each of them. For example, you may want to start building authority in your niche to attract potential customers and increase sales.
Be sure to have a clear marketing timeline to map out your business’ growth and each campaign’s success.
Know Your Target Audience: Why It’s Important and How to Do It
To launch an effective eCommerce marketing campaign, you need to know your target market.
You can do so by gathering key information about your target audience:
- Demographics. This information includes the age range, gender breakdown, salary, and location of your target audience.
- Psychographics. Psychological attributes consist of interests, lifestyle choices, and opinions.
Said information will help you create a buyer persona — a fictional representation of your target consumer. You can browse through product forums and customer reviews to gather more insight into your ideal buyers.
Having up to five buyer personas will ease the brainstorming process, allowing you to come up with effective strategies and tactics for optimal conversions.
The next step is to brainstorm eCommerce marketing tactics that best appeal to said personas.
For instance, a healthy, low-calorie juice bar has two buyer personas. Customer A (Tim) is 16 years old and loves skateboarding, and Customer B (Tina) is 23 years old and just started their first job out of university.
A great marketing tactic to attract Tim would be to create fun and energetic challenge content on Instagram or TikTok. In contrast, Tina would be more likely to buy your drink if you highlight its health benefits.
After planning possible marketing tactics to target each persona, you need to test them out with a real audience. Take a look at social analytics, conduct customer surveys and focus groups, or perform the classic trial and error to analyze the outcome.
Top 27 eCommerce Marketing Strategies
Take a look at the following eCommerce marketing strategies you can use to achieve your conversion and sales goals.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a popular eCommerce marketing tactic that focuses on improving a website’s visibility on search engines.
With so many websites circulating the web, it takes great effort to rank in search engine results pages. SEO helps to make that happen, thus driving organic traffic to your online store and increasing sales and conversions.
The following are some factors that search engines’ algorithm consider when compiling search results:
- User experience. Since search engines generally don’t recommend slow and unsafe websites to their users, optimize your website for speed, and implement an SSL security in it.
- Relevance. This factor relates to how your website content aligns with the search query. Implement relevant keywords throughout your online store and produce high-quality content to improve its searchability.
- Authority. Search engines will only recommend credible websites. You can collaborate with other websites in your industry and build backlinks to build credibility.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is centered around creating valuable and consistent content relevant to a specific target market. Some of the activities include creating blog posts and social media content as well as conducting email marketing.
Content marketing is highly effective in building trust and establishing your brand as an industry leader as it creates direct communication with consumers. The more valuable your content is, the more likely it is to nurture a solid customer base.
While content marketing can be done with minimum budget, this eCommerce marketing tactic requires consistency, dedication, and creativity. That said, the results may not be as instantaneous as other marketing efforts in this list.
3. Paid Advertising
Paid advertising is a practice of buying ad space online or offline to attract internet traffic.
There are different types of paid online advertising — display ads, Facebook and Instagram ads, Adwords, and retargeting, to name a few.
Offline advertising examples include buying ad space on a billboard, holding a pop-up shop, or sponsoring an event to get the word out about your eCommerce store.
As paid advertising allows your brand to get in front of potential customers, it produces immediate benefits such as increased brand awareness and web traffic volume to your product pages or the site.
Make sure to consider your target market and business’ nature when choosing a platform to launch your digital marketing campaign.
4. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is all about educating an audience about a brand and its products. It involves leveraging social media by creating high-quality content, engaging your followers, running ads, and analyzing insights.
Social media helps foster a direct relationship with customers, making it easier to build loyalty and trust. Similar to content marketing, this marketing plan is also cost-effective.
Here are four ways to excel in social networking marketing:
- Focus on the right social networking platform. For instance, Instagram is great for targeting younger demographics, while Facebook is the better choice for catering to an age group that’s over 30 years old.
- Utilize the business version. Facebook and Instagram business versions provide tools that make it easier for businesses to engage with customers. Some of their notable features include call-to-action buttons and story links.
- Remember the 80/20 principle. While it’s essential to promote your eCommerce store, social media marketing should also focus on inspiring, educating, and entertaining your followers.
- Engage your audience. Reply to customers’ comments, host giveaways, encourage user-generated content, and, most importantly, listen to their feedback.
5. Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing is an approach that ensures a consistent and smooth customer experience between online and offline channels.
Thus, customers can convert easily on any channel used — be it through the eCommerce website, social networking channels, or at a physical store.
This approach highly improves customer satisfaction and yields higher sales conversions.
Start by mapping out the customer journey. The goal is to make it easier for customers to buy your products.
Successful omnichannel campaigns often use technology to give optimal buying experience, like a live chat tool, QR codes, and content management system.
6. Sell Directly on Social Media
The average American spends approximately two hours and six minutes per day on social media. Thus, it’d be ideal to meet your customers where they’re at and take advantage of Facebook and Instagram’s ability to sell directly to consumers.
On Instagram, you can create a shoppable post by tagging your product. When a follower clicks on the shopping bag icon, it will take them directly to the relevant product pages on your site.
It works similarly on Facebook. Since the platform is mostly web-based, it looks akin to the usual eCommerce product catalog format.
Selling directly to customers improves your overall omnichannel strategy and makes the conversion process faster and easier. Being in front of customers without an intermediary gives more insight into their favorite products and what type of post generates the most sales.
To start selling on social platforms, set your profile to a commerce account. Some eCommerce platforms let you export products to online marketplaces automatically, so make sure to check your preferred platform’s supported integration.
Once you set up an account, inform your followers on social media that they can buy directly from Instagram and Facebook. It’s a good idea to create a promotion or special hashtag on the launch day.
7. Retargeting and Remarketing
Retargeting and remarketing are similar in theory but different in practice.
The main purpose of retargeting is to drive Click-Through Rates (CTR) and increase website traffic.
In contrast, remarketing revolves around re-engaging past website visitors or previous customers, typically through email and pixel tags.
This eCommerce marketing strategy aims to influence customers who are already thinking of purchasing your products, to finally make the conversion.
8. Referral Marketing
Referral marketing uses the word of mouth marketing to spread brand awareness. By turning current buyers into brand ambassadors, you can accelerate growth and increase sales five times.
Uber became an overnight success due in part to referral marketing. The rideshare pioneer gave existing passengers credit for every friend they referred to and gave new signups a free ride up to $20. This resulted in their rapid growth and made Uber a household name.
Referral marketing is effective because it lets current customers advocate for a brand, which gives a company immediate access to a broader market. Since referrals typically come from trustworthy people, it plays a role in increasing conversions as well.
The main benefit of referral marketing is that it lowers the cost of customer acquisition. As with Uber, instead of paying $20 on marketing, the company spends it on a surefire customer.
To implement a similar strategy, begin by calculating your company’s customer acquisition cost, and then see if you can offer customers something worth less than that for free. Provide valuable rewards for your existing users and new referrals to encourage participation.
9. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is similar to celebrity endorsements, in that you collaborate with influencers to promote your products and brand in exchange for gifts or monetary funds.
TikTok star, Hyram, had such a pull with his audience that he made the budget skincare line, CeraVe, sell-out despite circulating the market for over 15 years.
The main benefit of influencer marketing is that, if done right, it gives your brand direct access to an influencer’s already engaged viewers, thus streamlining the audience building process.
To implement influencers in your eCommerce marketing, start by researching influencers that cater to your target market and engagement rate.
After finding prospective influencers, reach out to them for a collaboration. You may secure the deal by sending a product to them in exchange for a post or mention in social media, or you work with them on a product launch — the opportunities are endless.
10. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing works by paying a commission to an affiliate each time they sell a product from a brand through an affiliate link.
It’s a low-risk and cost-effective way to scale your business. It’s also a great way to boost organic web traffic and SEO as each click will take visitors straight to your product pages.
To start with affiliate marketing, add an affiliate marketing page on your eCommerce website and invite creators to apply as an affiliate. We recommend working with trusted affiliate networks to manage all the affiliate links and get you in front of more affiliates.
11. Email Marketing
Email marketing uses email to communicate with an audience. It’s one of the most beneficial marketing strategies with high conversion rates — 59% of consumers say that marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
Marketing emails don’t have to be sales-related. You may send out monthly newsletters and hold exclusive competitions and sales open for users who give away their email address.
To build an email list, set up a subscription form on your eCommerce site, and offer rewards for users who sign up. You can then use the data compiled to send your audience updates about new sales, product pages, and the latest trends.
12. Simplify eCommerce Checkout Process
With 38% of people leaving a website if it has bad web design, having an excellent user experience (UX) design is vital for an eCommerce store.
That said, be sure to create an eCommerce store with a clear customer journey. Integrate social logins with Facebook and Google for a more straightforward signup process, and place call-to-action buttons in strategic locations throughout the website.
Additionally, make it easy for users to switch between the shopping cart and website. You may also personalize the experience with “recommended for you” items.
13. Upsell and Cross-Sell
The average order value (AOV) is the average amount spent per order. Increasing it will result in an improved Return on Investment (ROI) on customer acquisition costs and the bottom line.
By anticipating the customer’s needs, you’re giving a better customer experience.
You can increase your AOV using upselling and cross-selling techniques. Upselling is recommending higher-value items to your customers at checkout, while cross-selling is recommending complementary products to your customer’s shopping cart.
Most modern eCommerce sites have an automated and personalized recommended items list at checkout.
Another way you can make this happen is by bundling your best-selling items or complementary items together. Customers can then purchase them as a package.
14. Optimize the Mobile Buying Experience
eMarketers predict that mobile commerce will drive up to 50% of all eCommerce sales by 2022. Thus, it’s paramount to have a mobile strategy at the earliest opportunity.
Apart from higher sales conversions, mobile optimization will also improve SEO and customer experience — further supporting your omnichannel strategy.
One of the ways to optimize your mobile site includes personalizing it to a user’s location. You can do this by asking permission to use their mobile location, giving the website more specific location-based information.
Mobile responsiveness, speed, and overall web design also play a vital part in mobile optimization. Lastly, make sure your mobile payments are seamless and secure.
15. Flash Sales
A flash sale is a discount or promotion offered for a short period. Typically, stores would sell their products at 50-70% off the retail price for a weekend or even a few hours.
This marketing strategy is excellent for clearing out eCommerce stock fast and making room for new products. If you have poor-selling items, flash sales provide a perfect opportunity to break-even on those products. But overall, flash sales are a great tactic to boost sales and increase brand awareness.
When organizing a flash sale, it would be better to observe market trends to time it perfectly.
Large-scale businesses may have a look at their sales data and set a time best suited to their buyers’ behaviors. For companies that are just starting, the right time to have a flash sale is before or after the holidays, or every few months.
There is likely to be a lot of traffic coming through your website. Thus, ensure your logistics plan is capable of supporting the high sales volumes.
To further boost sales and customer engagement, have a strategic social media and email marketing plan ready to build hype for the event.
16. Enable a Live Chat Help Feature
Live chat is an automated feature on a website that connects a customer service agent or a chatbot to help with customer queries.
Chatbots provide quick answers to common questions to help solve visitor problems faster, making for better customer experience if you don’t have enough staff to answer
Customer support helps build trust and credibility.
Most eCommerce platforms offer a live chat feature built-in, so check with yours first. If it doesn’t offer live chat capabilities, you can use a third-party software solution like Zendesk.
17. Develop a Conversion Rate Optimization Strategy
Conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who complete a certain desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter or completing a purchase.
You can calculate the rate by dividing the number of conversions by site visitors and multiplying by 100. A higher conversion rate means that your website is effective in funneling visitors into paying customers.
Aside from the obvious benefits of higher sales, a high conversion rate makes it easier for the rest of your marketing strategy. It also lowers customer acquisition costs and gives you insight into the tactics that work best with your customers.
Emphasize call-to-action buttons on the homepage and throughout blog posts to optimize conversions. Alternatively, use different media types like video and imagery to create promotional materials that will attract visitors’ attention.
18. Offer Coupons and Discounts
94% of shoppers look for a deal or a promotion when they do physical or online shopping. For this reason, implementing coupons and discounts as part of your marketing plan offers great potential for more conversions and higher traffic volume.
Coupons are shareable codes that specific users can use, while discounts are promotional sales that offer less than retail value for a certain period.
Visitors can apply coupon codes at checkout to receive a special deal with their purchase, such as a percentage discount or a free item. Discounted items are usually displayed on the Sale page of an eCommerce site.
While both are great for improving conversions, keep in mind that some visitors might pose as a one-time buyer, making them not beneficial for the long-term outlook of your store. Thus, be sure to implement them on your eCommerce store strategically.
19. Focus on Reducing and Recovering Abandoned Carts
An abandoned shopping cart is when a customer has added items into their cart but does not complete the purchase.
The top reasons why it happens include issues with shipping and delivery, being forced to create an account, or the fact that customers are merely comparing prices.
To reduce cart abandonment when customers are online shopping, do not force customers to create an account. Other things you can do include giving a smooth and hassle-free shopping experience and be clear about prices and shipping.
You can take advantage of abandoned cart recovery emails provided by some eCommerce solutions to recover abandoned carts on eCommerce sites. Remarketing strategies such as personalized emails and web push notifications may also be useful to remind customers.
20. Create Educational (Video) Content on How to Use Your Products
With more people interested in video content, this is a great opportunity to boost page rankings in search, increase conversions, and improve overall engagement and trust with customers.
You can create three types of educational videos to ease online shopping: tutorials, unboxing videos, and product reviews.
The instant coffee giant, Nespresso, uses videos to teach customers how to use coffee machines and the differences between coffee machines and flavors to assist the purchase decision. Doing so boosts trust in the company and improves customer service experience.
To implement a similar strategy in your eCommerce store, decide whether you want to create your own videos or curate mixed content for your best-selling products. Alternatively, collaborate with influencers and encourage buyers to create unboxing and product review videos.
You should add videos closer to conversion pages and optimize them for mobile for better SEO and the overall viewing experience.
21. Use Analytics to Gain Insights Into Customer Behavior
This tactic involves gathering data to understand customer behavior and make better data-driven decisions to drive more sales.
Data collection starts at the discovery stage right through the customer journey’s acquisition, conversion, and retention stage. This includes reach, impressions, click-through rate, and conversions.
This data will help you understand which marketing strategies and products work best, and what customers want. The latter is particularly useful in compiling product recommendations.
22. Personalize the Shopping Experience
Boost sales by up to 10% by personalizing the shopping experience for customers.
You can use quizzes to recommend the right products for visitors and use analytics to upsell and cross-sell.
If you get personalization right, it can improve customer satisfaction and increase sales.
23. Add a Wishlist Feature to Your Online Store
This is a great way to engage customers who are in the middle of a sales funnel. That is customers who are interested in purchasing products but can’t yet commit.
Letting customers save products for later makes for more account signups, which is great for your email marketing strategy. It may also help reduce abandoned carts, allowing customers to complete the purchase once they’re ready.
Check with your eCommerce platform to see if they offer this function.
24. Offer Discounts, Gifts, and Free Shipping on Larger Sales
Offer incentives for larger orders to encourage purchase in bulk. This is an ideal strategy if you are looking to clear inventory or increase the AOV.
You might also want to offer free shipping for orders over a certain nominal price. 93% of customers are more likely to buy items when it includes free shipping.
That way, customers will likely buy more items than they need, earning you more revenue without forcing them to make purchases.
25. Leverage the Power of (Positive) User Reviews
User reviews or user-generated content is re-sharing your customers’ reviews and content to promote your brand and products. It’s a great tactic to implement as people likely trust and want to know what other customers have to say about your brand.
Re-sharing positive reviews and photos on your website or social media feed can be a powerful practice to convert customers and help them in the decision-making process.
In addition to helping you convert and add content to your eCommerce marketing, both marketing plans may increase brand awareness and build trust.
You can encourage customer participation by creating campaign hashtags and offering rewards for users who submit their stories.
26. Take Advantage of FOMO
FOMO stands for fear of missing out, which a lot of people struggle with these days. The eCommerce marketing sector often takes advantage of this emotion to increase sales.
Showing limited quantities in your product pages is a great way to evoke FOMO and encourage action, as customers are likely to be afraid of missing out on an item.
Having a time limitation on a sale or special promotion like free shipping is another effective way to evoke FOMO.
27. Play With Different Pricing Strategies
With shoppers having more purchasing power and choices than ever before, it’s clear how pricing would affect buyers’ decision-making process.
To get ahead of the competition and potentially increase conversions or web traffic, consider using psychological pricing strategies to attract attention.
For instance, it’s been found that customers see prices that end with odd numbers like $1.99 as a bargain compared to rounded even-number prices like $2.
Other pricing tactics include crossing off the full price when you’re having a sale or having items in a bundle to show buyers how much they’re saving.
There are many eCommerce marketing strategies you can implement for your online store.
The most effective strategies and tactics you use will depend on your marketing goals and target market.
We hope this article inspires your eCommerce marketing strategy.