Growing an ecommerce brand can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding ventures in business. There will be times of struggle and frustration as sales go through plateaus and declines.
Sometimes it’s not always obvious why sales are sluggish, and equally the reason behind a sudden uplift in checkouts might not be clear. Understanding this cause and effect relationship will go a long way to helping you drive better results, and while there are many tricks and tactics that can grab an extra few sales here and there, making sure solid foundations are in place is a crucial starting point.
Here we dive into seven of the most effective practices needed to help your ecommerce business thrive in 2019 and beyond.
Know your customer
Leverage your social media and website analytics to identify who your most valuable audiences are. This data will help you paint a picture of your best customers, what they have in common, and how you can best reach them. Creating buyer personas – fictional representations of your different customer segments – will also help you understand and relate to your audience as real people with unique interests, challenges and goals, rather than simply a sales transaction.
Consider their demographic profile, such as their age, gender, location, language and income, but go further to think about the questions they might have, the devices they will use, the content formats they will prefer and their primary pain points.
Once you understand your audience you can develop marketing messages that are more likely to resonate with them, and deliver them in a way that is most likely to reach them. This process of analysing website and social behaviour, as well as wider third party research from reliable sources, will also help you understand seasonal trends in your niche. This information can be used to inform you campaign planning throughout the year.
Build brand awareness
Brand awareness builds trust, impacts repeat purchases and even contributes to SEO. The ultimate goal is to get more people thinking about, talking about, and searching for your brand, through unified, consistent marketing across all channels.
Think about all the touchpoints where your brand can meet your customers. Make sure you have a quality presence in all of these touchpoints, from search engines, social media, and online reviews, to print, TV and OOH advertising.
Drive traffic with paid media
Facebook and Google ads can be used to drive new visitors to your online store, convert interested users into paying customers, and to re-engage existing customers to buy even more. There are numerous formats to meet the needs and expectations of your customers, and they can be used for several objectives, in line with your goals.
These channels allow you to closely monitor your budget and ROAS (return on ad spend) for specific ads so that you can move your budget to the campaigns that are going to deliver the best returns. The platforms also allow you to be extremely flexible with your budgets, investing as little or as much as necessary to get the desired result.
If you have an extensive catologue of products you can also take advantage of Dynamic Facebook ads to automatically promote products to people who have expressed an interest in them on your website.
Improve conversion rates with vigorous testing
Improving conversion rates by as little as 0.5% can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line. Make a habit of regularly testing different aspects of your website that you know could be improved. Dig into yor analytics to see where users are dropping off and make an assessment of what might be the cause. A/B test different versions of the identified cause so that you can isolate the problem and establish what is affecting conversions.
At Bumbl we’re big believers in Kaizen, the Japanese concept of continuous improvement, which translates literally as “change good.” This drive for continuous improvement should never stop, as it will help you make marginal gains that compound into significant improvements over time.
Create a memorable unboxing experience
Product delivery is effectively the last point of contact that your customer will have with your brand, so it pays to make it a memorable one! Great packaging allows you to tell your brand narrative in an interesting way, and if you take the time to make it different or special, it can leave a lasting impact.
It’s those little added extras that can take the buying experience from good to great.
The science backs this up too, with one study finding that attractive packaging stimulates the reward-seeking areas of the brain, while unattractive or neautral packages failed to stir up the same response, and in some cases activated regions of the brain associated with negative emotions.
Build loyalty with email
GDPR didn’t kill email, it just improved the quality of your audience. Many businesses in Europe had huge segments of their email databases wiped out in mid-2018, but those users were never going to open their emails anyway.
Qualified email leads that are actually interested in hearing from you will open your abandoned cart emails. Not only does this recover revenue that would be lost due to a purchase not being completed, but it also enables you to take advantage of further upselling opportunities.
Building relationships with your customers by sharing your brand story and revealing what goes on behind the scenes will also pay dividends in the long term. Sending offers and flash sales directly to your customers is also a surefire way to boost short-term conversions.
There are no shortcuts to building a sustainable and successful ecommerce business, but by following the practices above you will be heading in the right direction. If you need help formulating a marketing strategy or getting more out of your campaigns, we’d love to get to know you better.