In the modern world, business rules are changing at a high speed. In order for the business to remain afloat, managers are forced, almost every day, to find new ways of development and advancement.
The sentence “if your business is not on the Internet, then you do not have a business” has long become a catchphrase. All successful managers understand the importance of online product promotion and the company as a whole. However, methods of promotion are constantly changing, and digital marketing is going in more and more new directions. In this article, we will examine the latest trends in e-commerce marketing and consider effective marketing strategies.
What is Ecommerce Marketing
Before you get into the specific e-commerce marketing strategy, you need to understand what is e-commerce marketing. Ecommerce marketing is the promotion and sale of a product (product or service) online. The simplest example of e-commerce marketing is an online store. This may be one specific marketplace, but the manager may also use social networks, blogs, and other additional methods of online promotion, for example, e-commerce marketing methods, which we will examine later.
People who encounter this sphere for the first time, or simply do not yet have enough experience, may wonder: e-commerce vs digital marketing – what’s the difference? There is a difference, although these areas cover almost the same thing. In short, digital marketing is the promotion of a product or brand through digital means. Most often this is an online promotion, but it can also be advertising on TV. Ecommerce marketing, or promotion, is conducted on the Internet, and it is for commercial purposes.
For example, the marketing department of a company may begin to actively publish news on the company’s charity activities on the website, duplicating them on social networks. This is one example of digital marketing since such publications have a positive effect on the company’s image, but there will be no e-commerce marketing since there is no direct product promotion.
You can use e-commerce marketing automation, digital marketing for e-commerce, and e-commerce marketing as one of the main areas of digital marketing. However, digital marketing is a wider area than e-commerce marketing.
The concept of e-commerce marketing is clear, so let’s examine some of the e-commerce marketing tools and strategies.
Whatever the marketing tools are, they are always aimed at the end-user. And consumers are not just “traffic”, but people with their own feelings and emotions. Any advertising is somehow configured to evoke emotions, which, in turn, will cause a desire to buy a promoted product.
However, modern customer needs a special approach. Advertising, which acts “in the forehead,” no longer works. It is not enough to say that “our donuts are the most delicious” for customers to line up to buy them. Especially, if there are five other bakeries on the same street, in which delicious donuts can also be found.
To enhance the effect, you can refer to the facts. Specify in the menu that donuts are baked from high-grade flour, low in gluten, which reduces the likelihood of allergies by 50%. You can specify that only natural berries, caramel, and chocolate are used for the filling. Here are just a few examples of detailed specifications, but few people want to read all of these details in the menu. Because the facts, though accurate, are boring.
But you can approach marketing in a much different way. You can tell people the story that the owners of the bakery, Hank and Mary, personally engaged in baking and have been managing the business for almost 20 years. You can also talk about the fact that they dreamed of opening their own bakery, from the time they attended college and were not married yet. Highlighting the fact that every morning they wake up a few hours before their neighbors so that by the time people go to work, they can cook the most delicious donuts they’ve ever had in their lives.
This is storytelling. We’ve been interested in stories since childhood when we did not even know how to read and write, and could only grab bits of information from adult stories. Stories activate our imagination and evoke emotions. The facts activate only two parts of our brain – Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. Stories activate multiple feelings in the brain; motor, auditory, olfactory, somatosensory, and visual.
When a consumer hears a good story, his brain takes the initiative from the marketer and continues to do the work for him. The consumer has a constant interest in the product, and he is waiting for new stories about it.
Long-term play is one of the main trends in e-commerce marketing in 2019. To sell a product to a customer once is not enough – you need to understand why he wants to buy and make him your client forever. Discounts, promotions, and other “tricks” will not help here, but the stories will.
User-Generated Content to Promote the Brand and as a Part of Storytelling
So, we no longer doubt the effectiveness of storytelling. However, this is not the limit. Product stories can get people interested and show on an emotional level its various qualities. However, more can be done – to convince the consumer that this wonderful product is right for him.
There is user-generated content for this purpose. These may be the same stories, but not about the company itself, but about customers, people who use the product. As e-commerce marketing tools can be consumer reviews (preferably with their real photos), posts on social networks, and video reviews. This can be any live and positive information that binds the product being promoted and the people who use it.
A full-fledged e-commerce marketing campaign can be built on user-generated content. Any competent and active user can become a content generator. For relatively small bonuses, a company can get a huge amount of information and make e-commerce marketing tools out of it. The result is a continuous cycle: users consume the product, use the Internet to share their impressions with other users who consume the product, etc. All that remains for the company is to make users happy with the product and that their content is positive.
Dealing with user-generated content, we touched on such an important factor as personalization. Ecommerce personalization can be an effective tool not only as part of storytelling. Marketing is based on sending certain signals to the right person at the right time. Personalization helps to find this particular person and correctly target the message. On the other hand, with the help of personalization, you can present a universal product as something appropriate for a particular person who received the message.
There are several personalization methods on which you can build an effective e-commerce marketing strategy:
- Set up messages for the client. A simple example is targeting ads on Google, Facebook, and others. Knowing your customer, you can send a message to those users who are most likely to make a purchase.
- Customize the presentation page. Today it’s not enough to have one online store or website for everyone. For each category of customers, there should be a separate page that offers to solve their specific problem (to satisfy their specific interest). If a client comes to an online store from a group on Facebook for fitness, it is logical to immediately offer him sportswear and accessories, and not just display these items on the main page.
- Synchronization of customer database on the site. If the user has already made a purchase, the correct use of this information will help not only not to offer him the same product again, but to offer something similar or suitable in the complex.
Content Marketing on Top of the Funnel – Sale Lifestyle
Content marketing for e-commerce – this is the creation and distribution of useful and interesting information to draw people’s attention to the product. Storytelling is one of the techniques of content marketing, but not the only one. There is a misconception that the basis of content marketing strategies for e-commerce should be copywriting, that is, writing texts. In fact, it can be videos, pictures, infographics – information can deliver in any form, as long as it attracts the user’s attention and evokes the right emotions.
The main thing in content marketing is information. Sometimes marketers are so worried about how to increase online sales that they forget that we do not sell in content marketing, but simply create information that will be of interest to consumers. The user must accept this information openly, and if he realizes that they are selling something right away, he will immediately close the site and lose interest. At the same time, the company loses a potential client. If the user reads an article or watches a video to the end, it will at least generate interest in the product.
In addition to usual articles, videos, and other similar information that is published as part of e-commerce social media marketing campaigns, there are more interesting ways to attract the attention of the client:
- Interactive content. For example, a company may offer an application in which to test their products. A client can “put on” clothes from an online store, apply makeup on his photo in a virtual salon, etc.
- Attachment to current political events. This method is not new, but effective – people are interested in what is relevant at the moment, and politics has always been and will always be one of the most popular topics. However, here we must be prepared for the fact that the reaction of users can be both positive and negative.
- Personalized storytelling is also an effective way of content marketing, and is still quite original, as a tool, to give you an edge over competitors.
The main channels of content marketing are blogs and social networks. Now the use of Instagram for e-commerce or creating a Facebook e-commerce store has become a prerequisite for any business. Social networks not only provide access to millions of potential customers but also allow you to select the group that is closest to the target.
Somewhat apart from other types of content marketing is e-commerce email marketing. Getting the client’s email address can be the first result of effective content marketing. The client leaves his email before making the purchase and makes it easy – because he still does not need to pay. The data obtained allows you to build an email marketing strategy for e-commerce. This strategy will be based on the principles described earlier, such as target audience search and personalization, which will provide good e-commerce funnel numbers.
AR for User Experience
Augmented reality and e-commerce – this is not science fiction. Augmented reality was used in business as early as 2014 when IKEA was one of the first to realize the ability to virtually view their products using a bar code. The user just has to point the smartphone at the barcode of the object to see how this or that piece of furniture will look in the interior of his house. Another example is the Tesco store in South Korea which installed interactive terminals at Seoul metro stations. Residents of the city could see goods on their smartphones and put them in their “basket” by pointing the smartphone at a bar code on the terminal.
In 2019, the following methods of introducing virtual reality have become the most relevant:
- Gamification. Placing simple tasks in front of the user with the encouragement of their fulfillment may motivate him more than ordinary advertising. In addition, you can use existing applications. At the peak of the popularity of the game Pokemon Go (based on AR), many institutions published information about which Pokemon could be caught in their locales and also offered to give a smartphone for free.
- Product “in hand”. In the example mentioned earlier, IKEA offered to evaluate its products in the user’s interior. Volvo and BMW have created AR-applications in which they recreated new car models as accurately as possible. The user could rate the car inside and outside, as well as run a driving simulator.
- Storytelling virtualization. With AR, you cannot just tell or show a story, but literally, place it in the real world.
E-mail Marketing is a Core (as Part of it has Abandoned Cards Marketing)
Ecommerce performance marketing – this is not a new technique, and some managers treat it rather scornfully, not expecting great results from the “regular mailing list”. However, working with email users can bring impressive e-commerce sales funnel results.
The easiest way to work with email is to use the addresses of existing customers who have made a purchase in the store. Knowing that the client ordered earlier, you can conduct an effective e-commerce market segmentation and offer him a product from the same category. Such work with regular customers provides remarketing for e-commerce.
There are other e-commerce marketing ideas that can increase sales by working with email. Very promising, and currently undervalued, is the e-commerce cart abandonment stats strategy. In most companies, customers who have registered and collected some goods in their “basket”, but did not pay for them, are forgotten. They either have a standard newsletter with promotions and discounts, or nothing at all. The most effective course in this situation would be to periodically send out letters reminding them of a particular product that they have already put in their basket. If the user has already selected it once, it is likely that he will want to complete the transaction.
Chatbot for e-commerce is also sometimes referred to as mailing tools. However, it is a slightly different tool, although it works on the messenger base. In working with a chatbot, the initiator is the user, and the script serves as a consultant. A properly designed chatbot can not only answer questions but also entertain the user, giving him positive emotions and creating sympathy for the brand.
Main Point: All Marketing is Performance Marketing
Ecommerce performance marketing – is result-oriented marketing and an immediate increase in sales. Using web analytics for e-commerce allows you to accurately calculate the cost of each click, each link click, etc. E-commerce marketing strategies are formed by integrating all marketing tools and combining them so as to increase the efficiency of the e-commerce conversion funnel.
The implementation of performance marketing is achieved primarily through the following tools:
- Contextual (targeted advertising)
- Ecommerce web analytics
- Ecommerce remarketing
By setting up contextual advertising for a specific target audience, and then analyzing the results, the marketer can make reasonable conclusions, where it is more profitable to buy clicks, views, etc. Performance marketing makes marketing costs as transparent an investment as possible.
A manager with accuracy up to a percentage can determine how much profit a particular campaign will bring. For example, a manager knows that a $500 campaign on Google Ads, targeting an already proven group, will generate $2,000 in sales revenue. The average conversion rate of e-commerce is already known. All that remains is to properly configure the campaign and make a profit.
Statistics: Consumers are Warming Up to Purchasing Furniture Online
In conclusion, some statistics. Using the example of the furniture market, one can notice how Internet sales are increasing every year. In 2017, the proportion of furniture e-commerce accounted for 12.4% of all sales, in 2018 – 12.9%. In 2019, furniture e-commerce trends are projected to increase by another 0.5% – online sales will amount to 13.4% of total sales.
Initially, it seemed that furniture was not the most suitable product for online sales. Not everyone decides to buy furniture, without seeing it “live” and not knowing how much it will fit the interior. On the other hand, many distributors find it inconvenient to complete the delivery of bulky objects.
However, the generation of millennials positively perceived this new trend, and online sales of furniture are growing regardless of all negative factors. Now, every owner of a furniture store should think about starting an online furniture business. In addition to a simple online catalog, you must have a full-fledged store with the option to order.
In order to increase sales and improve the company’s reputation, you can offer additional services, such as fast delivery and assembly of furniture on site. This allows you to eliminate some of the customers’ fears – because they are buying goods that they have not been seen. Due to such moves, one can gain an advantage over competitors and increase sales, even against the backdrop of a growing market.