According to e-commerce statistics, e-commerce sales have risen year after year, over the past decade, with e-commerce sales reaching over $111.5 billion in Q2 of 2017. Mobile shopping is having an impact on these numbers and by 2021, it’s predicted that nearly 54% of retail e-commerce will be generated by mobile devices.
What does this mean for e-commerce businesses?
Businesses and brands must meet consumers where they’re most likely to “hang out,” which in this case, is on their mobile devices.
It’s important to unify your e-commerce site efforts with online, promotional efforts that will entice consumers to “buy now” or instill brand loyalty to shop again in the future. This can be achieved through cross-channel marketing strategies and e-commerce best practices, including but not limited to, content marketing, email marketing, and social ads.
Step #1: Start a Blog
When someone sees your business ad, they may have never heard of your brand beforehand or they have no familiarity with your products or buying process. In short, they may not be ready to buy just yet. But the good news is you’ve created an alluring enough ad for them to be interested in learning more.
Possible buyers may click to your site out of curiosity but once there, what kind of information are you giving them? Are you showing how your product can be used? Are you highlighting the value/ease of use/convenience? Or is your e-commerce site only full of product descriptions and an “Add to Cart” call-to-action?
Remember, not everyone that comes to your site is immediately ready to buy. They may be looking for more information about your products. One of the easiest ways to share this with them is through content marketing. To start: if you don’t have a blog, create one. If you do have a blog, make sure your posts are consistent and contain good content.
That’s not simply consistent content or only good content. But both – consistently good.
Think about how consumers use your products. For example, if you sell clothing, create how-to posts describing how to style different pieces. If you’re a hotel, write posts that highlight your amenities and focus on your city. Travelers a.k.a. hotel consumers are already seeking this type of information.
By providing answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, the search engines will love you, and more importantly, you’ll be serving value to your audience.
Step #2: Create an Email Marketing Strategy
An email strategy is important when it comes to e-commerce best practices, because it encourages shoppers to stay engaged with new content, provide sales announcements, and deliver other promotional campaigns that will get them to buy. When creating an email strategy, segment your audiences so you are sending a specific message to the people that will appreciate it most and receive the most value.
75% of Gmail users access their accounts on mobile devices. (TechCrunch, 2015)
Again, go to where consumers are hanging out and make sure what you’re saying to them resonates while you’re there (in their inbox).
By aligning your email strategies with what you’re promoting through your content, you are opening another route for your shoppers to learn more about your brand, receive information about specific products, and get the first look at sales, promotions, and customer loyalty perks. This cross-channel marketing strategy all adds up to continued value for your shoppers.
Step #3: Promote with Social Ads
As most businesses and marketers know by now, the social algorithm across all channels reveals what the platform thinks you want to see the most based on your viewing/clicking behavior. That means your brand’s social ad may be caught in the shuffle of lost statuses. To prevent this, audience targeting is key.
Who is most likely to benefit from your ad? What kind of data do you have to support it? Of Americans who have a social media account, 28% would rather engage with a brand/organization on social media than visit a physical location. (source: Blue Corona) People are ready to engage, which only emphasizes the importance of unifying your e-commerce messaging as part of your cross-channel marketing.
If one of your goals for 2017 was to optimize your site, update your products’ descriptions, and refresh your images, then you’ve achieved a huge goal that will help drive traffic to your site and create a better user experience for anyone who visits your platform.
However, your work isn’t complete. Do you want a one-time sale or recurring sales? Most likely both, but of course, the latter is going to be more profitable. By instilling e-commerce best practices into your online campaigns, you create additional sales opportunities, increase brand awareness, and more consumer loyalty.
Want to learn more about audience targeting? Check out our IMI POV: Facebook Household Targeting.