Strikepoint Media’s Guide to eCommerce Marketing
September 8, 202210 minute read
Did you know that eCommerce sales in 2021 grew to an estimated 4.9 Trillion US dollars? Trillion! And- it’s expected to grow by 50% in the next three years, and we can see exactly why. Especially during the pandemic, people’s dependence on buying online dramatically increased. It’s extremely easy and convenient to choose products online and have them delivered to you, sometimes the very next day (looking at you, Amazon). From the POV of entrepreneurs, launching an eCommerce site doesn’t seem as intimidating as having a brick-and-mortar store which also needs significantly more financial backing.
Now, we’re not saying it’s easy. eCommerce has its fair share of challenges. But that’s business for you! Nothing worthwhile comes easy. Whether you’re looking for extra income on the side or want to establish a business to become your main source of income, eCommerce is a great place to start. However, while eCommerce has massive potential, there are also an estimated 24 million online businesses worldwide. That means you have to compete with these businesses to become successful.
Here are 8 eCommerce guidelines to keep in mind to help boost your eCommerce website visibility, sales, and overall profit margin.
Increase Website Traffic
Now this one’s easy, but you need to drive tons of traffic to your site. Your customers buy through your website, but how do they get there? Here are several strategies you can do to increase the total number of website visitors you receive:
Make social media content.
Take advantage of people being active on social media. You can advertise on these platforms, but you can also make your own content. A social media presence will help people recognize your brand and in turn, be more likely to buy your products. Social media can also be a great way to create hype around your products, provide valuable information on their benefits, and even generate feedback from your customers. You can also host a blog dedicated to your products and other related content. It might initially be more difficult to build a loyal blog audience, but having successful social media accounts linked to your blog can be very helpful.
In recent years, TikTok has exploded into one of the most powerful social media platform and has even become a highly used search engine. It’s a very entertaining app, and other platforms have been scrambling to get on that train. Instagram has reels, and Youtube has shorts. All these forms of bitesize content are great ways to produce user-generated content (UGC) that would provide more authentic endorsements of your brand. While it can be generated through paying an influencer to promote your products, there are also organic UGCs voluntarily done by content creators. Unboxing and try-on videos are some of the most common UGCs on these platforms. We’ve published a guide on how to use TikTok and IG reels for your business.
Build an email list or retarget your existing list
If you want to drive more traffic to your website, you should check your email list. While email marketing might seem traditional, data says email marketing is still king. It remains one of the most powerful tools you need to have in your arsenal to communicate with potential and existing customers. You should be compiling an email list based off of your past customers, future website visitors, social media following, etc… You can retarget your current emails by sending them regular newsletters or giving them a special promo or discount code. If you don’t have one yet, start building one now! Hubspot provided 39 ways to grow your email list.
Know what CTAs work for you and your audience
You might be tired of us touting the benefits of CTAs, but it is extremely important! It increases conversion rates and tells your audience what to do next. You don’t want your customers to land on your page and not know what to do. You want to reduce friction and ease them down the sales funnel. Many resources list a considerable number of CTAs, but it all boils down to what works for your specific business and audience. One way to identify which works is to conduct A/B testing.
Loyalty and referral programs
There’s nothing like gifts to encourage loyalty. While this may seem devious, it is true in the business world, and really, a win-win situation for both parties. Your customers want to make sure they get more bang for their buck, and who would blame them? Setting up a loyalty and referrals program would not only help you increase sales, but it can also be beneficial for your customers. Website referral programs are the new age word-of-mouth marketing strategy. It doesn’t have to be intricate! Something like a certain percentage discount for every 2-3 referrals is a good start. Loyalty programs like a rewards system can also be very valuable. Your customers can get certain points when they buy from you. From the point of view of your loyal customers, they are buying what they already want or need in the first place, but, in addition, also gaining something. If you find setting up a loyalty program too complex, you can use platforms that would handle the loyalty program for you.
Visually appealing website.
When your customers first land on your page, you only have milliseconds to capture their attention. This is where a visually appealing page comes in clutch. If your UX or UI is visually appealing with intuitive navigation, you have a higher chance of customers actively engaging with your page. Whereas, if your website is difficult to navigate and doesn’t provide a seamless viewing experience, your prospect will likely bounce off the page.
Track Relevant KPIs
How do you know if you’re reaching your goals? To improve your business’s long-term health and success, it’s important to go beyond sales or profit. Tracking key performance indicators is necessary to ensure you know how your website performs, what works, and what needs some fine-tuning. KPIs can look different from one business to another. If you’re planning to launch an eCommerce business, the first thing you need to do is define your goals. Defining KPIs then comes after you know your goals. The KPIs you choose to track need to be aligned with what you want your business to achieve. Here are some KPIs we at Strikepoint Media pay special attention to:
Clickthrough rate (CTR)
Your clickthrough rate is the ratio between your clicks and impressions. It gives you an idea of how your ads and listings are performing.
Average order value (AOV)
The average order value is the total revenue over total orders. It tells you the average amount your customers spend per order.
Lifetime value (LTV)
Customer lifetime value refers to the amount an average customer will spend on your business throughout their interaction with your business. Simply put, it’s how much a customer is worth on average.
Customer acquisition cost
Cost per acquisition refers to how much it takes to acquire a new customer. For example, if you spent $1000 on an ad campaign that acquired 100 new customers, your CAC will come down to $10.
While lifetime value and customer acquisition cost are two different KPIs, we suggest you compare the two. Knowing your LTV and CAC ratio will help you gauge whether you’re making value. This ratio is not always indicative of whether you’re performing well due to other factors, but it’s essential you know.
Customer retention rate
This number will tell you how many customers, on average, stay with your business over some time. If the number is low, you might want to consider launching loyalty programs or analyze why the customers are not returning.
Conversion rate (CVR)
The conversion rate tells you how many people take action. While traffic volume tells you how many people visit your website, it does not necessarily translate to a sale. Purchase conversion is significant, but you might also want to track conversions for subscriptions or email sign-ups.
Return on ad spend (ROAS)
ROAS or return on ad spend. It measures how effective your advertising campaigns are. It helps you decide whether to increase or cut back on a specific campaign.
Cart abandonment rate
CAR lets you know the average number of customers who have items in their cart but haven’t made a purchase. When tracking your CAR, you might come up with a high number, which is not uncommon. A research conducted between 2006-2018 showed the rate never went below 60%. However, if your KPI increases unusually, you need to take action.
If you want to know more, Outvio identified 36 important KPIs for eCommerce.
Optimize User Experience
As mentioned in the first tip, your website’s appearance is extremely important. However, the visual appeal must be paired with a very good user experience. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and evaluate whether your website is accessible, clear, and intuitive. The labels of your website need to be very clear, ensuring there aren’t too many buttons. You can organize your menu or navigation tools in a way that’s clear for the user. Include your main pages and any subpages you want your user to navigate to easily, and clearly state what they are.
An intuitive website means your customers can navigate your website naturally and effortlessly. Being aesthetically pleasing does not necessarily equate to usability, although many websites tend to make that mistake. One way to get your customers’ input without resorting to surveys (which are likely to be ignored or have other issues) is using heat maps. At Strikepoint Media, we use Hotjar, which helps us see how our users interact with our website. We can then make informed decisions based on this data and improve user experience. There are also other user testing methods like remote user testing and others. Google also provides a Page Experience Report, which summarizes your customers’ experience on your website.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO or search engine optimization is also very familiar to all digital marketers. Most people have heard of it, but no one tip can optimize your website in one go. This is due to the many complex elements that work together to make your website more visible. You can optimize your SEO in different ways. Keywords are a great way to optimize your website. However, competition is tough, so you need to research which keywords are relevant.
Creating social media content, which we’ve mentioned above, also helps SEO. A two-for-one! For example, you’re selling clothes. You might want to post an article on how to style newly-launched items. You provide information through tips or fashion hacks, then link them to your products! Providing content also helps you use keywords naturally on different pages of your website.
If you want to learn more about SEO, here’s Neil Patel’s Step-by-step guide on SEO.
People nowadays don’t just use desktop computers to view websites (As illustrated by cross-device tracking in GA4). Imagine searching for something on your mobile device and clicking on a promising website, only to find out that it’s hard to read and hard to navigate. In short, not optimized for mobile. The number of mobile users surpasses those with laptops and desktops, mainly because mobile phones are more accessible, affordable, and portable. This means that if you don’t optimize for mobile, you’re losing the chance to reach a significant number of potential customers. To optimize your website for mobile, these are things you need to keep in mind:
- Choosing the right web host (Shopify’s a good one!)
- Using size percentages for layout elements to enable adjustments to different screen sizes
- Taking away clutter to help the website load as fast as possible
- Using responsive themes and plugins
If you’re unsure whether your website is mobile-friendly or not, Google has a free mobile-friendly test you can use. You can also figure out how your current visitors interact with the website. For more information, you can check out Search Engine Journal’s Mobile Optimization Practices.
Streamline your checkout process
As previously mentioned, your cart abandonment rate can be quite high. While many other factors can affect that KPI, you can alleviate that problem by streamlining your checkout process. Even if a customer has added something to their cart and finally decided on purchasing the item, they’re more likely to abandon it if they get confused during checkout or are not satisfied with the process. You must ensure the process is as hassle-free and quick as possible. You have to avoid your customers getting frustrated and leaving. This can mean presenting all the information about shipping and delivery upfront, accepting all reasonable payment methods, or providing a single-page checkout. You can also provide an option for guest purchases. Some people might not want to have to make an account on your website and would rather not purchase the item.
Use Social Proof
Did you know 70% of shoppers will trust a recommendation of a certain product from someone they don’t know at all? This number increases to 82% if the recommendation is from a family member or a friend. The Theory of Social Proof by psychologist Robert Cialdini provides the principle that when we, as human beings, are uncertain about something, we tend to imitate or look to others for guidance. This explains why we are more likely to buy the product when we hear a friend praising a product or when we see TikTok reels doing the same. Another example is when we read reviews about a product we’re interested in buying. If the other consumers say it’s worth it, we proceed to checkout. We need to use this psychological principle to our advantage.
Including a section on your website to display testimonials from your past or current customers will do wonders if you’re selling a service. If you’re selling tangible products, you also want to include reviews under each product, which means you need to build your product pages to allow for easy input of reviews.
As you probably know, Strikepoint Media specializes in lead generation, funnel building and optimization, and media buying for the financial industry. To help potential clients in making the right decision (a.k.a. buying our service), we have a section dedicated to testimonials from satisfied clients.
Add relevant sections
Aside from the obvious sections of your website such as product pages, reviews, and others, you also need to add sections that could help nudge your customers along the sales funnel.
Wishlists and favorites will help your customers curate products they might want to buy later. If you have this data, you can send them “personalized” emails if and when these products go on sale or are on the brink of selling out. Because these features are only available to customers with accounts on your website, it also gives you the additional benefit of gathering their data. Many eCommerce platforms have extensions for Wishlist and Favorites features.
Other sections you can add are sticky bars or banner ads on your pages. You can put discount deals or relevant announcements on the sticky bars and related products on the banner ads. Be careful not to make it too cluttered though! (Remember, it needs to be mobile-friendly!) Exit popups are also very good tools to make a last-ditch effort to stop your customers from exiting. The most common exit popups involve asking the customer to sign-up for an email list. You can even offer a 15% or 25% off coupon in exchange for their email address, a tactic we typically see work well.
Or, you can offer a free resource on their way out. Which, again, involves using their emails.
Try witty or funny headers on your popups so you have a better chance of capturing your users’ attention. Something like Altamont’s “Join our Family of Weirdos” or Duke Cannon’s “We Hate Spam too.” You can also try different versions of exit popups and see which performs better.
eCommerce as an industry is projected to be worth 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025. While this is good news, it also means that starting one now comes with a lot of competition. And we mean A LOT, millions of them. You need to stand out! It’s a lot of work. Your website needs to be optimized, your branding needs to be on point, and you need to keep your fingers on the pulse. We want to make it easier for you. Keep everything above in mind, and you’re off to a great start!
Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Connect with us for a free strategy session to scale your business.