E-commerce is one of the greatest things that happened to the business. It has provided many people with endless opportunities to start their own business and reach their financial and life goals. It has also revolutionized the way people shop and consume products and services.
Despite affordability, convenience, and popularity, e-commerce does not always business owners guarantee success. Eighty percent of businesses fail. Many things can kill an e-commerce business before it succeeds, but the most notorious culprits are a poor website, the inability to contend with competitors, and ineffective marketing.
It may not be easy to run a successful e-commerce website, but it’s possible if you overcome the top business killers. To help with that, here are 10 the best tips to engage your customers, boost business sales, and step up your e-commerce game.
Get Into Content Marketing
Content marketing was voted as “the most effective digital marketing technique” last 2018 for good reasons. One, compared to traditional marketing, content marketing is cheaper by 62 percent and generates thrice as many leads.
Publishing content creates valuable opportunities to connect with customers, establish your reputation, and raise or maintain your site’s ranking on Google. That said, remember that content goes beyond blog articles. Videos, photos, infographics, and podcasts are also considered content, and some of them, particularly videos and pictures, work even better than blog articles do.
If you already regularly produce relevant content, take it to the next step by actively promoting your materials on social media and other platforms. Also, try guest blogging, creating video tutorials on YouTube, recording Q & A podcast interviews with industry experts, and publishing long-form content.
Consider Customized Packaging
What’s the first thing the customer sees when they receive a product?
Packaging matters more than most people think it does, for two reasons: protection and presentation. At some point, protection was the only reason companies used packaging on their products. Now, however, they have realized how valuable packaging is as a tool for marketing and increasing sales.
In a 2013 study published in Psychology & Marketing, researchers used fMRI scanning to determine how the participants reacted to looking at different types of packaging. The study found that looking at attractive packages “activated regions associated with reward, whereas unattractive packages activated regions associated with negative emotions.”
Looks do matter.
In the e-commerce world, packaging also plays a significant role in cutting down costs, getting a product safely to the customer, and creating an unforgettable unboxing experience. In that case, start thinking about your packaging. Better yet, invest in fulfillment-friendly and well-designed custom boxes that will make your products stand out from the rest.
Reduce Abandoned Carts
When customers put an item on their carts and leave without purchasing them, it’s called cart abandonment. About 69.23 percent of shopping carts are abandoned for different reasons, says research by Baymard Institute.
There are several factors that lead customers to abandon their carts, most of which can be resolved by fixing the checkout process and making it more efficient and transparent. It’s essential to know why customers abandon their carts to craft solutions that target the real problems.
In the meantime, you can try some proven methods to reduce cart abandonment:
- Building a user-friendly interface and a more straightforward checkout process
- Displaying online safety and security certifications
- Using more payment methods
- Allowing nonmember checkout
If you’re using an e-commerce platform, you can resolve some issues related to your website immediately by contacting your provider.
Another thing you can do to decrease the frequency of abandoned carts is to follow up on customers via email. Convince customers to return to their cart with a compelling email, telling them about the best features of the product and what they can get when buying it.
Have a Robust Email Campaign
Double down on your email marketing campaign. Email marketing is one of the best and most affordable tools for harvesting leads and converting them into sales. If you want repeat customers, you can also use email marketing to convince them to return.
Encourage customers to sign up for an account and opt into your email newsletter. Incentivize customers to subscribe and follow your site via email: give exclusive promo codes, discounts, gifts, and notifications about deals and sales.
Engage customers by continually creating relevant content that includes helpful information about your field and your products. Build a more robust email campaign by actively communicating with your customers.
Ask for their feedback on the products they’ve tried and on their shopping experience. Send personalized thank-you emails to your most valuable customers. Let them know that you care about what they have to say and that you appreciate their trust and support.
Email marketing provides many opportunities to maintain a relationship with customers, which, in turn, creates more chances for you to convince them to continue supporting your business.
Create User-Generated Content
The lack of personal presence is one of the pitfalls of e-commerce. Customers can’t see, feel, or test any of your products, and this may discourage them from buying, especially if the item is expensive or delicate. There are several ways to go around this issue, but one of the best solutions is utilizing user-generated content (UGC).
UGC includes text, photos, videos, and audios created by consumers and published on online platforms, including blogs, social media, and websites. Product reviews are also a kind of UGC.
What’s excellent about user-generated content is that it allows customers to see a product in action and actual people using these items. In a way, UGC gives products a physical presence because it turns them into tangible objects that people use.
UGC also works because it puts the focus on the customer and brings people together. Moreover, it’s authentic, involving real people in real situations, unlike the overly rehearsed and filtered content published by marketers.
Try these methods to create user-generated content:
- Start a customer poll or survey.
- Use hashtags for your products.
- Organize social media contests.
- Delve into customer stories.
- Interview experts in your field.
- Ask influencers to try your products.
When it comes to convincing people to buy your products, the best people for the job are not marketers, but other people. About 92 percent of consumers will trust a recommendation from other people, even strangers, over a piece of content created by a marketer. Many people don’t trust marketers, but they trust fellow consumers.
If you don’t have your own personalization strategy yet, you better start now. A large number of customers get annoyed or frustrated by irrelevant product recommendations. Many customers are even willing to disclose personal data to get more useful suggestions.
According to a survey of 7,000 consumers by Salesforce Research, more than half of the respondents are receptive to sharing their personal data with retailers in exchange for certain benefits:
- Personalized offers and discounts (57 percent)
- Product recommendations that are relevant to the customer’s needs (52 percent)
- Personalized shopping experience (53 percent)
Personalization technologies gather data from customers, like age, location, and preference, to serve them with the kind of shopping experience they want and need.
Be warned, though. There’s a massive difference between using customer data to provide a personalized shopping experience and breaching customer privacy (e.g., selling or giving away their information to third parties).
Optimize Your Website for Mobile
Approximately 44.7 percent of the retail e-commerce sales this year came from mobile commerce. By 2021, the number will have risen to 53.9 percent, which means more than half of the e-commerce sales in the United States will be made through smartphones.
Not optimizing your website for mobile users means losing a considerable number of customers, about 61 percent. These consumers say that they will move on to another site quickly if they don’t find what they’re looking for in a mobile website immediately, according to a Google survey.
Lack of mobile optimization can have far-reaching consequences for your e-commerce business. One of the most alarming findings of the survey points out that over half of the respondents agree that a bad experience with a website reduces their good opinion of a brand.
The same survey also finds that 67 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase an item if the website is mobile-friendly. By optimizing your site for mobile phones, you’re convincing mobile customers to browse your products and purchase from your shop, reducing the risk of incurring a poor brand reputation.
Add a Live-Chat Feature on Your Site
A live-chat feature on your website elevates customers’ shopping experience by providing quick solutions to their questions and concerns. Many consumers don’t like to wait for customer service. In fact, they expect to get their answers from customer service within 10 minutes or less, says Hubspot.
Live-chat software eliminates the lengthy process of sending emails or calling customer service and waiting for a reply or until there’s an available representative who can talk to you. It’s quick, easy, and convenient.
It’s also more cost-effective for your business since reps can handle several cases at once, eliminating the need for hiring more people to meet customer demand. You can also use chatbots for the most basic inquiries and issues.
One of the greatest things about e-commerce is its worldwide reach, but sometimes, you don’t need to go far to find people who are interested in buying your products. In other words, you can tap your local community to find your market.
Local can be where you’re currently based in or where most of your customers are. You need to gather data to find where “local” is for you.
Going local creates many prospects to establish a solid market for your business and builds your presence in a community. Try a local approach by organizing community events and local promotions, including free shipping for customers in your vicinity and special discounts during local holidays.
Set Up a Loyalty Program
According to BIAKelsey, 61 percent of small- and midsize businesses get over half of their sales revenue from repeat customers. However, many e-commerce retailers are focusing too much on bringing in new customers to the detriment of their existing ones.
Don’t make the mistake of neglecting your loyal customers. Not only do they bring more revenue to your business, but these repeat customers can also reel in new buyers.
A study by Bain and Company also finds that increasing your customer retention by 5 percent can raise your business’s profitability by 75 percent. So what can you do to retain your current customers? Email marketing is one effective way, as mentioned before. Another is rewarding your loyal customers by setting up a loyalty program.
Sixty percent of consumers agree that “the most important way a brand can interact with is by surprising them with offers or gifts for being customers,” says Merkel HelloWorld.
E-commerce is a cutthroat industry. It has made it incredibly easy and affordable to start a business, which means that there are dozens of competitors in a niche or industry. That’s why it’s vital to step up your game and create an advantage for your business by applying the tips and strategies mentioned above.