Ecommerce is not something new to people, especially today. Back in 1994, when the first purchase was made online by Phil Brandenberger, nobody had thought it was going to be revolutionary in the coming years. Fast forward to today, many people prefer online shopping over traditional means of shopping.
Statistically speaking, 27.2 percentage of the world’s population love to buy online. So it is not false to say that e-commerce has become an essential part of everybody’s life.
From buying gadgets online to groceries, everybody is now dependent on eCommerce sites. This is the reason why people are shifting their brick-and-mortar stores and starting their own eCommerce stores instead. Business owners and brands know the power of scrolling and tapping, that’s the reason why they are doing everything possible to stand out in the market.
As there are 12 – 20 million online stores available, eCommerce store owners are required to do something out of the box to grab users attention and not to forget, Google’s frequently dropping new algorithm updates now and then, is making life even harder for stores that rely on blogs for traffic. Hence it has become harder today to rely on old marketing techniques.
To survive in this cutthroat competition, you need to have a top-notch eCommerce marketing strategy. So without any further ado, let’s answer the question of the hour, which is what is eCommerce marketing and how to do it in the right way with working examples.
What is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the use of strategies and techniques to convert visitors into customers. In simple words, it’s a strategy/funnel to convert traffic into sales. The ultimate goal of having an online store is to make more sales. The more you sell, the more revenue it will generate. I know everybody wants their eCommerce stores to be successful.
Thus we can’t expect to sit around and wait for customers to land on our shop like a sleazeball. Also if we considered marketing decades ago, businesses used to advertise via a newspaper to draw foot traffic to their stores and arrange various discounts to convert visitors into customers.
Today, the online or digital world is no different, the only advantage you have as a seller is that you can leverage a plethora of options to enhance your sales. There are various eCommerce marketing strategies that you can adopt to boost your store revenue.
You can even combine paid and non-paid marketing techniques to see which combination attracts the most people. However, there is no such thing as a static marketing plan. In a desire to afford the maximum return on investment, your approach must be to develop marketing techniques that should have proven to work well. So below, I have listed down the eCommerce marketing strategies that you can give a try.
13 eCommerce Marketing Strategies
The sky’s the limit when it comes to employing eCommerce marketing strategies. I mean, if you have the budget and creative brain going behind your campaign, then there are ‘n’ number of techniques that you can adopt.
Instead of implementing every other tactic that you see, I would prefer to try an approach that is well tested and has worked well for multi-million dollar brands. So to help you out, I have jotted down the tested and tried eCommerce marketing strategies implemented by these successful brands.
1) Educating people about the product
Nothing allures customers more than transparency and honesty when brands try to be clear about their products. You might have heard about Allbirds, one of the rising sneaker brands. With so many fierce competitors like Nike, Puma, and Adidas, this brand has successfully set an impression on thousands of buyer’s minds.
The company is worth over a billion dollars, and if you’re thinking, what makes it unique? How did they able to build such a brand? Then it is all rational because they employed techniques that can stand them out from their competitors.
Allbirds is a brand from the very beginning that was focused on providing the best comfy sneakers at the lowest environmental cost. Their premiere shoes are made up of merino wool, and people were made aware of their production impact on the ecosystem.
If you look at their website, an entire page is dedicated to ‘Sustainable-practices‘.
The brand has been educating people about carbon footprints through various channels, not only that they have been very transparent with their operations and use of materials. To let people know that Allbirds is leaving a lesser carbon footprint on the planet.
In today’s clutter and nuisance where buyers are conscious about everything, customer education is a placard that draws the user’s attention. By educating your customer about your products and brand, you are building trust. Consumers trust brands that take the opportunity to improve their understanding of the items nature.
Studies have found that consumers of today gravitate more towards eco-friendly brands than non-eco-friendly brands/products. Thus, people prefer to contribute towards such brands, which is the reason why Allbirds has been selling sneakers successfully.
Furthermore, customers like it when brands are transparent about anything. It’s not like you have to go above and beyond to educate your customers. You can actually create and distribute simple information where customers can easily find it online, such as on company websites, by email, or on social networks, just like Allbirds.
Educating consumers and bringing awareness about your product can prove to be a potential eCommerce campaign for brands.
2) Creating an unique customer experience — before and after buying the product
Customers are everything to eCommerce store owners, and honestly, business owners try every possible thing to bring out a unique customer experience to their visitors. From customizing websites using landing page builders like ClickFunnels and SamCart to providing top-notch customer support, eCommerce store owners do everything.
Instead of giving a good customer experience to visitors, brands have also focused on providing a better customer experience even after selling the products. You might have heard about the razor brand called ‘Dollar Shave Club(DSC)‘. They work on a subscription business where they sell razor blades and other men’s grooming products every month.
Despite having giants like Gillette and Schicks in the market, the company was successful in becoming a billion-dollar brand. The thing which helps the DSC the most is their unique customer experience model, they have actually taken time to create the model which helps them build a community.
When you land at their store, visitors have a section that explains and simplifies everything for their potential consumers to understand how the subscription model works and how one can go about it.
Not only that, to make visitors engage even more on their website, there is an entire page dedicated to a quiz where consumers can answer random questions, which helps DSC to come up with a customized subscription package for each individual.
If you’re using platforms like Shopify (or) ClickFunnels to create landing pages for your store, you could actually build such customized quizzes within minutes by using their amazing features.
Anyways this tells you that DSC has invested a good amount of time and effort into providing a good customer experience before taking an order. But what about when someone becomes their monthly subscriber? Do they provide an exact/good customer experience even to their existing customers?
The answer is ‘yes’. Once you become their paying subscriber, there is a welcome email that confirms you have joined their club, and each month, along with your monthly blades, DSC does provide customized grooming suggestions according to your purchases.
Now and then, they keep their existing customers engaged by offering a DSC gift card worth X dollars for each referral and purchase. Thus through email marketing and regular order customizations, DSC had been able to provide a soothing customer experience even after buying from them.
Here the point to take is to make your customer experience a property for both potential buyers and existing buyers. Creating a community through such actions can make your store make money per one customer.
3) Doing crazy offline events
If you’re wondering how offline events can impact your online sales and also if you think how come organizing offline events is a good eCommerce marketing strategy, then read along.
There is no denying that social media has completely taken over the marketing world, and every marketing expert circles back to online social media campaigns when it comes to boosting sales.
But is that the only approach left? If you think so, then you need to learn a lot from Sweetgreen marketing. The company is rising in the US, and it is one of the first salad chains that has earned billion dollars in revenue.
But how they were successful in grabbing people’s attention is a question. The answer is their marketing tactics.
You see, running an online store doesn’t imply that you can’t connect with your customers offline. After all, customers also want to know the company better, and they would love to be a part of it if they feel more involved and belonged. The thing which helped Sweetgreen a lot was their offline event named ‘Sweet Life Music Festival’.
This offline event was planned to get exposure, and they succeeded in that. Each time when an event was hosted by Sweetgreen, professional singers like Kendrick Lamar and Weekend showed up, and it made hundreds of youngsters come to these events and get indulged in the music around them.
As you can expect, the events got viral among people, and people started showing up even more. Within the events, Sweetgreen was handing out its merchandise and was widely promoting itself. Soon with more and more events, Sweetgreen became a famous/familiar name.
If you’re wondering, hosting such an event will cost you thousands, and also, it’s lots of work to be done. Then you should know that it was not always like that for Sweetgreen in terms of hosting huge events. Initially, Sweetgreen had to host music events in their parking lots, which derived a lot of foot traffic, and eventually, it helped them boost their salad sales.
Thus as an ordinary eCom store owner, you might not need to do something extraordinary. Instead, you could host/organize small events within your neighborhood and try to make your brand name familiar to people in the community.
4) Running industry-wide collaborations
Collaborations in this age of influencers have become a common marketing strategy for many brands, but despite saying that, I think few brands have felt this way back and took collaborations/influencing to the next level.
Here I want to talk about GymShark, the billion-dollar sportswear brand that built a cult-like following using this very particular strategy. In 2012, when GymShark was found, most of its business was based upon drop shipping, and unlike most dropshipping stores, GymShark didn’t intend to invest heavily into paid advertising.
Instead, they focused on targeting niche influencers who would be a perfect fit to promote their products. For them, the elite athletes were the right kind of brand ambassadors who could promote their brand. In 2010, GymShark joined hands with two popular fitness YouTubers, Lex Griffin and Chris Lavado, who were gaining hundreds of thousands of followers every day.
Remember back then, influencer marketing wasn’t even a term. GymShark started distributing free samples to these influencers to give themselves a chance of exposure and soon expanded this strategy to other platforms. To date, such influencer marketing and collaborations have become the crucial aspect of GymShark’s success.
Along the way, they were able to land collaboration deals with Whitney Simmons and Nikki Blackketter, which was instrumental in riding towards billion-dollar status. It was not just influencers promoting GymShark. Soon GymShark launched collections like Gymshark X Whitney Simmons to offer more exclusivity towards influencers and their target customers.
5) Don’t miss out on abandoned shopping carts
The very last thing you would want as an eCommerce store owner is the abandoned shopping carts experience in your store. Every store owner wants to reduce abandoned cart rates and there can be many reasons for cart abandonment, like customers getting distracted, prices are too high, and all.
But when it comes to dealing with abandoned carts, often store owners think they can’t do anything about it. However that is not true, and you could actually make the most out of the abandoned shopping carts. The first thing you need to do is pay attention to why the customers are leaving the process in between.
Is it because of long checkout details or payment concerns or something else?
Accordingly, you need to rectify it. If your stores don’t offer seamless checkout due to limited payment options, then assure customers about payment safety by attaching a small message conveying about your secure platform.
Also, lengthy checkout processes are a bummer for everyone, and by displaying/analyzing where consumers are in the purchase process, you may alleviate any concerns when purchasing goods from you will take longer than the consumer is ready to commit.
Not to forget the first-time buyers are always hard to get. They need a little more convincing when shopping from unfamiliar stores. So you can try sending out abandoned cart emails. It is the best approach to build a customer base and reduce abandoned shopping cart rates.
And if you are still second-guessing the opportunity behind abandoned carts, then you need to learn from Levi’s abandoned cart emails. The company is nailing in abandoned cart emails by offering discounts for a limited duration to its customers. In a blink of an eye, they are changing customer minds.
Honestly, by far, the best-abandoned cart emails are from Whisklylook.com. I mean, if you look at their email, it clearly jots down:-
- List of reasons why you should go through with the purchase. Also they come with relevant points to prove why someone should go with the purchase. To make it even easier, the email clearly describes what you would get once you complete the order.
- Including FAQ’s which lets readers know answers for any of their common queries
- Having a clean and straightforward email design which is easy to read and skim
After reading this email, the buyer who wasn’t sure whether or not to buy the product could jump on the checkout page to avail of the discount. Isn’t it a worth-a-try technique? I know, right!
Note: If you’re a Shopify user, you can easily create such abandoned cart emails within their dashboard using their pre-existing templates, you can also tweak those templates and design emails accordingly.
6) Experimenting with humour and storytelling
Adding humor to your brand and its promotion could be a little tricky and, at the same, could also prove to be successful. Usually, people connect to humor, and pulling off both humor and branding is not an easy task, though.
But one brand, especially Micheal Dubin, the CEO of Dollar Shave Company, surely knows how to connect humor and storytelling. If you are an early customer of DSC, you would have watched their video ‘Our Blades Are F***ing Great‘ with over 27 million views.
This video was the first significant break for DSC. As a razor brand, it was able to gain that exposure to tackle other branded companies, and hence people eventually loved the video. As the video was targetted rightly to men who were sick of buying razor blades, every month-after-month found their solution with DSC.
In the video, Dubin stares at the camera the whole time and points out the pain points of buying a new razor each month, and brings out the right kind of puns to keep the video well-entertained and well-informed. Thus in this digital age, I think adding the right kind of humor to your branding and storytelling will keep people hooked to your ads and promotions.
7) Creating scarcity for your products
The best marketing strategy is one where you let your customer know that the product you are selling is in demand. Nothing works better than fear of missing out. That’s why brands show the number of products left during a checkout experience.
That is product scarcity and Instead of creating products in bulk, brands can create in limited amounts so that users will feel lucky when they get one.
Supreme has been using scarcity as their selling tactic for over decades. Whenever Supreme launches a new merch, all the hype is created, and people go crazy enough to stand in long queues with their hands on their new launches.
To use scarcity to such extend, you need to have a product that can build itself steller demand, and there should be a limited quantity of stock to keep it in the craze.
If you’re running an online store and wanna take a more digital approach in building up any hype for your product. You need to look at Mariee Revere, Founder, and CEO of MoonXCosmetics, who made $1 million in just 8 minutes using scarcity.
Mariee’s scarcity was unintended but what we can focus on here is how the scarcity got created. The three primary reasons were:-
- Creating a product that works and is irreplaceable for your customers
- Building a community around your brand through social media
- Doing exclusive launches and sales for limited products to raise the demand
8) Leveraging user generated content (UGC) on Instagram
User-generated content (UGC), as the name suggests, is the content generated from your consumers/users. You would have mostly seen brands on Instagram posting their customer reviews, results, and any sort of customer content acquired from their branded hashtags.
Using UGC to grow is a well-used eCommerce marketing strategy, research has shown that consumers today are 70% more likely to consider purchasing after seeing a photo of the product shared by happy customers. This strategy works almost on all social media platforms.
If you’re searching for one eCommerce brand which does this particularly well, then you can look at Glossier. The brand majorly focuses on women’s beauty product line, and it has been said that over 90% of their income is generated through their Instagram handle.
The primary reason for their organic Instagram growth is due to the UGC posts where happy customers tag the brand with their hashtags and share their results. If you look at Glossier’s Instagram feed, you will notice that they frequently had leveraged UGC to boost their word-of-mouth marketing, and till now, this strategy had proven to work well for the brand.
Similar to eCommerce brands, there are multiple global brands that leverage UGC.
You might have to see #redcupcontest launched by Starbucks. The contest is only for the holiday season and to promote their holiday beverages. The hashtag invites coffee lovers to upload photographs of their drinks in exchange for an opportunity to win a valuable Starbucks gift card. To do that, users have to upload a shot on their social media handles tagging Starbuck using the hashtags.
The campaign was a huge hit. There were more than 35k posts on Instagram. Not just this, the most popular streaming service Netflix also uses the UGC to market their new shows.
Leveraging UGC can be a groundbreaking strategy for your brand. It not only develops trust among customers but also boosts sales. Apart from just direct revenue and sales, if a brand can get insights from their customer through posts, it’s an excellent opportunity to use data provided by their real consumers to improve their marketing strategies.
9) Acing your Facebook ad copies with reviews
Facebook is one of the powerful social media platforms for individual sellers and business owners. I think a decade ago, nobody would have thought that the platform, which is known to connect people all across the globe with featuring like chatting and all, can seriously help small business owners out there.
However, Facebook has been able to establish itself as one of the most effective advertising channels for both B2C and B2B brands. But if you think just thinking to run a random ad and expect it to do wonders for you. Then you have to tighten up your grip on Facebook ads.
There are ‘n’ number of ads and ‘n’ kinds of advertisements that can perform well on Facebook. But it largely depends upon what you’re selling and who are watching it. Hence for usual eCommerce stores who sell products to their consumer, I think the one kind of ad which can work would be ‘review type ads‘ (or) ads where real consumers share their real experience.
Now for this ad, the content used could be considered as user-generated content (UGC). But since we are incorporating real user’s content within ads, the ad copies will stand out.
This ad works better usually when there is a video of your customer sharing his/her views, purchase story, and results with the products. For inspiration, you can look up-to-the Facebook ads for Care/of, a health supplement brand using similar kinds of advertisements on Facebook.
You can see that the ad above is a straightforward clip and probably was shot from a phone by their actual consumer. Such a type of review ad reflects authenticity, and also studies have proven that 76% of people are more likely to trust user-generated content than traditional advertising.
Hence running such ‘review type’ ads (or) user-generated ads could benefit your eCommerce store.
10) Leveraging cause-marketing for your brand
Cause marketing is literally everywhere, but most eCommerce brands have not adopted this marketing strategy to gain exposure. For those who don’t know, cause marketing is collaborative marketing efforts between a non-profit and profit-making brand to raise money for charity (or) any cause.
If you look around, you will notice big brands have been using cause marketing more often. Like on World AIDS day, Starbucks donates 5 cents for every beverage purchased, here the money is made for a cause. Most of the time, brands indulge themselves for a reason till they reach a target (or) they constantly do it but randomly.
There was one eCommerce brand whose whole business was surrounded by a cause, and that was Bombas. Bombas is a shock manufacturing and selling company. Randy Goldberg and David Heath started this brand when they got to know that shocks were the most requested item in a homeless shelter.
In the beginning, they planned to donate 1 million shocks to homeless people, and they started a campaign where they were donating a pair of each shock as it got sold. To date, Bombas has contributed around 50 million shocks to various homeless communities across the country.
Hence I think Bombas’s journey of selling millions of socks and donating millions should make you realize that cause-marketing is a powerful marketing strategy. It is said that 71% of consumers like to associate themselves with a cause when they make a purchase, and that’s one of the reasons why people bought shocks from Bombas in the first place.
11) Running top-level influencer campaigns
Today internet, especially social media, is filled with influencers, be it any platform. At the same time, many brands and businesses are looking to leverage micro-influencers over big influencers. But I think there is still much potential and additional edge for brands when they land deals with top influencers in the market.
If you still think that landing extensive contracts with big influencers and celebrities can prove to be a significant loss of money. Then you should look at brands like Snow Teeth Whitening and HiSmile.
Both the mentioned brands are known to sell teeth whitening kits in the market, and over the years, they have been able to land and launch top-level influencers campaigns, which resulted in a boost in their sales and helping them cross more than $100 million in valuations.
Josh Elizetxe, the founder and CEO of Snow, was a marketing mastermind. He knew that influencer marketing was their success formula. He was ready to lose millions to prove this point. Hence his brand took that extra effort to land deals with celebrities like Kris Jenners, and Josh shared in an interview that influencers account for 2-3% of their direct revenue.
On the other end, HiSmile was no mug in terms of landing top influencers deals. Conor McGregor was one of the exclusive influencers, and Nik Mirkovic, Founder of HiSmile, said that after the Instagram promotion from McGregor, HiSmile tapped into an untapped audience who were thoroughly interested in their product.
Today HiSmile is worth more than $300 million and is one of the exclusive stores running on Shopify.
The best part about running an influencer campaign is that once you land a deal with a celebrity (or) an influencer, as a brand and get your brand to associate with these influencers. Thus you use your influencers in your marketing material like ads, emails, posts, and much more. Hence long-term influencers deals and top-level influencer campaigns can contribute towards lot more sales than you think.
12) Creating an affiliate program
I have seen eCommerce stores missing out on sales through affiliate marketing. I mean, there are brands with a good following and a good product, but they haven’t leverage affiliate marketing to improve upon their sales.
If your business is on Shopify, then it’s pretty damn easy to create an affiliate program that pays quickly and let your own users/customers sell the products for commissions. Affiliate marketing as a merchant could be tricky because you have to take in how much percentage you’re willing to give out in commissions and still be profitable.
But the best part about setting up your affiliate program/referral system is that marketers (or) your users will do all the work to bring customers to your store. Hence your marketing expense is reduced, and also, once hundreds of people join your affiliate program and start promoting your product, you are getting that free exposure anyhow.
A billion-dollar mattress brand called ‘Casper’ launched their affiliate marketing was surprised to see how their existing customers were signing up for their program and bringing in new customers at no cost. Neil Parikh, one of the founders of Casper, said clearly that their referral program increased their sales drastically.
Hence, many eCommerce stores should create their own affiliate system/referral system where they would compensate referrals for bringing in new customers.
Small eCommerce brands can connect with micro-influencers through this channel. Instead of paying them upfront for sponsored posts, brands can encourage influencers to join in their affiliate program and promote products on their account for hefty commissions.
13) Focusing on voice search exposure
Around 41% of adults use voice search each day, and there is no denying the fact that voice search is the future of eCommerce marketing, despite saying that, there are not many eCommerce stores optimized for voice search because the game is still very much unclear.
But the traffic potential traffic from voice searches is definitely noticeable, and that’s the reason why you can be a step ahead with your online store if you’re optimized for voice search.
If you’re looking for an example, then Men’s fashion brand ‘Perry Ellis’ is the one. Previously it had developed and incorporated its voice-activated personal stylist, Ask Perry Ellis, on Amazon Alexa.
This app used to bring out suggestions regarding any dressing choice to its customers, and the best part was that each suggestion was personalized and since all, it was done through simple voice search. It made life easier for people who constantly used voice searches.
Hence if you want to leverage voice search like the brand, Perry Ellis, you could invest in an app specialized for this tactic (or) you can work on:-
- Website speed and make sure it doesn’t load slower compared to the rest of your comeptitors
- Use long-tail keywords in your content to rank for voice search terms
- Also, focus more on question keywords which are most likely to be used in voice search
- Craft precise and concise product descriptions
- Use automation messaging bots for customer support which can follow voice command
There you go!
I hope that the content wasn’t filled with overwhelming data because I know one simply can’t follow all the 13 marketing strategies mentioned above. So it is suggested that you choose the strategy in which you believe the most as an eCommerce store owner, and it is expected of you to test the marketing strategies repeatedly to improve upon your store revenue.
Let us know if you have come across any fantastic eCommerce strategies, and also share if you have implemented any by yourself.