The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Marketing in 2021
Every online store wants to increase their sales. But with so many options to choose from, sometimes it can be difficult to know which eCommerce marketing strategies and tactics to use.
In this article we provide insight into the fundamentals of good eCommerce marketing, along with some key tactics to help you maximize your sales in 2021.
What is eCommerce marketing?
eCommerce marketing is the process of driving online sales of the products you’re selling.
The term can be used to describe a huge array of activities that promote an online store. These include everything from building brand awareness and reaching new people, to retaining customers and maximizing average order value (AOV).
Top eCommerce marketing tactics
There are many different eCommerce marketing tactics that can help you at various points in your funnel. As with many areas of online retail, it’s sensible to diversify your tactics rather than relying on a single one to reach your goals
Here are some key eCommerce marketing tactics to consider:
Email marketing for eCommerce
Email marketing was one of the first forms of online marketing. Today, it’s more effective than ever because of developments in marketing automation and email personalization.
According to Mailchimp, average open rates for the eCommerce industry are 16%. That’s a great way to reach qualified prospects when you consider how cost effective email marketing is. Plus, the more you personalize your messages, the better your results will be.
Prospects can be won over with useful content, impressive reviews and generous discounts, such as a while supplies last offer. Existing customers can be targeted with sneak peaks, exclusive products, up-sells, cross-sells and loyalty programmes to increase retention and lifetime value.
Once set up, these email marketing campaigns will provide a lot of return for very little effort. Just be careful to collect personal details in a trustworthy way and make sure your emails feature valuable content.
Nobody likes spam, so adding a coupon or some genuinely interesting content is vital.
Social media marketing is at the centre of eCommerce marketing
With billions of users around the world, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok offer a great opportunity to reach your audience – particularly if you sell a visually appealing product.
eCommerce brands can use social media to increase awareness, trust and email subscribers. Many brands are even selling their products directly through social media platforms, making it easier than ever for consumers to convert. Forecasts predict that social commerce sales will increase by 34.8% this year alone.
eCommerce social media advertising can form an integral part of the modern consumer journey when executed effectively. With just one well placed ad at the right place and the right time, you can turn a relevant prospect into a customer.
Facebook Ads are particularly popular because of the platform’s advanced targeting capabilities. You can use it to push ads out on Instagram too. For organic social, brands should also share interesting posts, respond to comments and engage in conversation. This is easier when you have great content to offer.
eCommerce content marketing
Content marketing can mean so many different things. It’s the copy in your emails, the videos you share on social media and the blogs that drive organic traffic.
While every business has to create content to communicate with their customers, some types are particularly effective for eCommerce.
For brands that sell more practical or complex products, like electronics or hardware, how-to content is essential.
Through videos or blog posts, you can demonstrate the value of your products and help customers get the most out of them. Home Depot’s blog offers some great examples of this. However, the likes of food and cosmetics brands can use how-tos to effectively promote cross-selling and up-selling too.
Video is a medium that can be used in eCommerce content marketing to great effect.
Shoppable videos are ideal for almost every online retail brand, because customers can see exactly what a product looks like before buying it. They provide context and viewpoints that just can’t be captured through photographs. Then, consumers can convert by simply clicking on the item that appeals to them.
One of the most quickly emerging types of eCommerce video advertising is OTT advertising. OTT stands for Over the top, and these ads are shown when consumers are streaming shows on their connected TV, tablet, or laptop.
eCommerce affiliate marketing
Enlisting the help of affiliates is a great way to scale your eCommerce marketing campaigns.
Simply put, affiliate partners help brands sell their products – in exchange for a small commission. Sometimes these affiliates use social media to promote your products. But they are distinct from influencers, because they generally only earn money when a product is bought.
They also use other marketing tactics, like PPC advertising, blogging and email marketing to drive sales. It’s almost like supersizing your own marketing team.
One of the big benefits of affiliate marketing is that the results are quantifiable. Using unique discount codes and trackable links, you can see which affiliates are driving the most clicks and conversions to your store.
For brands that sell niche products, eCommerce affiliate marketing can be a particularly effective way to reach specific audiences.
Search engine marketing
The term search engine marketing covers both SEO and search ads. SEO requires a lot of time, while search ads require a decent budget
SEO relies on good keyword research and high quality content creation. You’ll also need to study Google’s algorithm and provide a web experience that is user friendly. If you sell your products through online marketplaces, like Amazon or eBay, you should read up on their unique in-platform search algorithms too. Check out how to rank at the top of eBay listings here.
eCommerce advertising through Google is great because you can capture prospects as they search for the products you’re selling. Paying to ensure your product listings display at the top of search results can be expensive, especially for high intent search terms, but you’ll be getting your products in front of consumers when their purchase intent is highest. Check out Google’s online training resources if you need more information.
Location based marketing
Location based marketing is often overlooked by eCommerce managers and brands. But it can really boost profits. Brands can target consumers near a brick-and-mortar store or a pop-up event to drive footfall and buy online pick up in store (BOPIS). They can even target audiences near their warehouses with free shipping offers.
Location based marketing is easy to achieve with digital advertising platforms. If you have a physical retail store, you should definitely ‘local SEO’ part of your eCommerce marketing strategy.
One of the biggest CPG trends in 2021 is the emergence of retail media as a critical advertising channel. Retail media involves advertising to prospects when they’re on a retailer or marketplace – so in the world of online retail, it’s a prime location to reach potential customers.
Essentials for your eCommerce marketing strategy
With all of the above eCommerce marketing tactics in mind, here are some tips to help you get started on the right path.
1. Set the right goals in place
The moment you start marketing your products, you need to track your eCommerce KPIs using tools like Google Analytics, Amazon Seller Central or ChannelSight. Once you start collecting data, you can set goals to improve your performance based on previous performance and industry benchmarks.
Make sure you use different targets for different areas of your conversion funnel. So if you’re focused on building brand awareness, focus on increasing traffic and social reach. Or if you’re determined to convert more sales, monitor click-throughs, product page conversion rates and shopping cart abandonment.
2. Focus on key channels and tactics
With so many different eCommerce marketing strategies out there, you can’t use them all at once.
Choose a few key tactics that will help you achieve your primary goal. Then, focus on getting them right before adding more to your strategy.
Email marketing is a good place to start because, once it’s up-and-running, it doesn’t require too much maintenance.
3. Prioritize the customer experience
As eCommerce grows ever more competitive, brands can differentiate themselves by going above and beyond and providing excellent service for their customers.
So to facilitate the customer experience by making it as easy as possible for shoppers to convert, and if they have any questions about their purchase, make sure they’re answered promptly and accurately. Accept different payment types, offer different shipping options and facilitate purchases on their favourite websites. (‘Where to Buy’ technology can support this experience.)
Perfecting your eCommerce marketing strategy is critical to your online sales. And getting your eCommerce marketing strategy right depends a lot on using the right tactics, along with an effective testing and implementation approach.