eCommerce is booming during these COVID times and with over 4 trillion US dollars in online sales in 2020 it represents 15% of total retail worldwide. (global retail estimated at $26.460 trillion in 2020). Here we will quickly outline what you need to be doing in your eCommerce marketing to aid your brand and guide your online strategy.
Multichannel is about choice, making it easy for a consumer to buy in whatever way is most appropriate to them. For example selling from your retail storefront, via mail-order catalogue or through distributors. Multi channel also includes selling on-line from your website, selling on-line via 3rd party marketplace ‘s like amazon or ebay, or having a facebook shop. In short multichannel allows the merchant to reach its prospective or current customer in a channel of his/ her liking.
This works great but each channel operates independently from all the other channels and each will have its own goals and strategies within those channel environment. So the in-store offer is not automatically available online, the 20% coupon on facebook is not available on your ebay store and so on.
Omnichannel is also about choice but with complete integration of your multiple channels with the same strategies, storylines, and experience across all your channels..
For omnichannel to exist, it needs multichannel in place and its bring’s together the different multichannels under a unified storyline, goal, and strategy to provide to the customer a unique streamlined, seamless, and connected experience both digitally and physically.
4 omnichannel best practices
- The customer always comes first. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer when developing your strategy and continually reach out to customers for feedback.
- Being local. If you have an e-commerce site that ships internationally adapt content to each unique audience around the world. For example encourage language-specific reviews, local preferred payment options, country-specific pages with with local influencers.
- Mobile-First Experience. The majority of the omnichannel experience is driven by mobile devices. Optimize desktop and mobile sites for super fast page speed loading times to ensure seamless and connected experiences across channels and devices.
- Create stories that live across channels and devices, for example: A customer visiting your physical store receives an SMS with a promotion; Customers receiving a cart-abandonment message via SMS or Facebook Messenger; Social media integration of product on Instagram with a click-through link to your website; products on social media sites (social selling) such as Instagram Product Posts, Facebook Marketplace, Instagram Shop, or Pinterest Shopping
Search engine marketing
‘Search Engine Marketing’ or (SEM), includes both Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and paid advertising (also known as Search Engine Advertising (SEA)). SEO helps the ranking of your site in Google searches, SEA involves elements such as a pay-per-click campaign (PPC), product-search ad campaigns that may show up in Google Shopping. We cover all aspects of SEO in these other articles
Email marketing is regarded as one of the top methods of communication amongst consumers, contributing to a median ROI of 122%. Some ways use email marketing along the customer journey are:
- Post-Purchase Emails, post-purchase follow-up shows your customers that you as a brand care beyond their purchase, and are interested in the impact and significance of your product in their lives, such as inviting them for feedback towards their overall experience.
- Follow-up on abandoned shopping carts, customers abandon their shopping carts for numerous reasons (approx. 60 – 80% of online shopping carts are abandoned). Whether its poor loading speeds, site performance, poor UX/UI design or simply that your customer has gotten lost in the purchasing journey – a simple way to redirect your customers back to their purchasing journey is to simply email them back.
Everything you put on your site is ‘content’, eCommerce content marketing consists of blogs, product guides, ‘how-to’s’, reviews , videos, images – anything that attracts your customers, and drives sales. For eCommerce stores, the average conversion rate of those with some sort of content marketing is nearly 6 times (2.9%) more than sites without any content marketing (0.5%).
For example, if your eCommerce store is selling a line of wetsuits, look into writing about the different features and highlights of modern wetsuits and how the different types of wetsuits rather than the wetsuit itself. Hand-in-hand with Google searches, individuals are more likely to search for a type of wetsuit that could be related to a certain activity. For example, searching ‘What kind of wetsuit are the best for scuba diving?’ or ‘What kind of wetsuit are the best for triathlon?’ – allows you to promote the features and benefits of your product through storytelling.
Affiliate marketing is the process by which an affiliate earns commission for marketing another person’s or company’s products. The affiliate promotes that product and earns a piece of the profit from each sale they make. The sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.
The merchant can leverage affiliate’s customer base or followers and the affiliate has a quick and inexpensive method of making money without the hassle of actually selling a product, The consumer doesn’t always need to buy the product, affiliate’s can get paid in the following ways:
- Pay per sale; merchant pays the affiliate a percentage of the sale price of the product after the consumer purchases the product and the sale is completed.
- Pay per lead; merchant compensates the affiliate based on the conversion of leads. This could include filling out a contact form, signing up for a trial, subscribing to a newsletter, or downloading software or virtual products
- Pay per click; merchant pays for clicks the affiliate send’s from their site to the merchant’s site. The affiliate is paid based on directed web traffic.
Common Types of Affiliate Marketing Channels
- Influencers; individual’s who direct consumers to the merchants products through social media posts, blogs, and other interactions with their followers. Influencers then receive a share of the profits they helped to create.
- Bloggers; the blogger samples the product or service and then writes a comprehensive review that promotes the brand in a compelling way, driving traffic back to the seller’s site.
- Paid search focused microsites; advertisements within a site or on the sponsored listings of a search engine, microsites lead to increased conversions due to their simple and straightforward call to action.
- Email lists; the affiliate use’s their email lists to promote another the seller’s products for example sending newsletters that include links to products
Influencer marketing is a branch of affiliate marketing as discussed above but also influencers are key to building audience communities that like, trust, and know them. Influencer’s can become brand ambassadors and extend your brand through recommendations or ‘sponsored posts’ through social media.