An effective ecommerce marketing strategy is essential for success. With so much online competition and increasingly high customer expectations, how you market your business is crucial to its survival.
There are so many tasks to juggle in a successful ecommerce business. Managing stock, arranging product photography, dealing with shipping and returns are just a few. Developing an ecommerce marketing strategy may feel like a low priority when there are other pressing matters to attend to but obviously if your business exists online, this piece is really the fundamental building block to stay profitable.
The key to running any successful business is identifying the biggest levers. These are the activities that drive the greatest benefit for the smallest amount of work (some might say the minimum effective dose). These are the things that yield the best return on your time or financial investment. If you can nail these key levers, then you’ll gain a huge advantage over the competition. While they are stressing themselves out trying to juggle everything, you can be maniacally-focused on the things that really matter.
So how do you prioritize which activities these are? Let’s look at some ecommerce strategy examples from other successful businesses…
Ecommerce Marketing Strategy Success Factors
By looking at other successful ecommerce businesses you can identify the traits that they share. These may not be obvious at first, but once you start digging you’ll find that the same fundamentals appear consistently.
We’re not talking about surface-level tactics like growing a large Instagram following. This doesn’t necessarily translate into profitable sales or a healthy business. Instead, we’re talking about the underlying driving factors that successful businesses share. In ecommerce these are:
- Healthy margins
- Low customer acquisition cost
- High repurchase rate
- Funnel optimization
So let’s dig into each of these ecommerce marketing strategy elements in more detail…
#1 – Healthy margins
Healthy margins give your business space to breathe. It allows you to invest in marketing, procurement, and absorb the occasional stock issue. But it’s sometimes overlooked by entrepreneurs who focus on overall revenue instead.
The thing with revenue is that it just tells half the story. What’s the point in generating $10,000 in revenue, if it costs you $10,000 to achieve? By focusing on profitability instead, you’ll ensure that your business has a solid foundation from the start.
Keeping your costs low is one way to improve profitability. Minimizing overhead, getting the best shipping deals, and carefully tracking stock replenishment can all help. Finding ways to make each purchase more profitable can also lead to substantial gains. Upselling additional products or encouraging a higher overall order value will increase the profitability of each sale.
#2 – Low customer acquisition costs
It goes without saying that you’ll want the lowest possible customer acquisition cost. Whether it’s through PPC, Paid social or sponsored content (content marketing), the lower the cost the better. You need to drive awareness through your brand and this is what it all boils down to for any company online.
Effective ecommerce marketing ideas span the entire cost spectrum, from highly targeted and expensive to broad and cheap. So how do you stretch your budget as far as possible? The key is to focus on the most cost-efficient marketing channels. For ecommerce, this tends to involve email and retargeting.
Outreach is another effective ecommerce marketing strategy that requires minimal monetary investment. Make a list of influencers in your niche who might be interested in your product. Or analyze the backlinks to competitor products and identify potential influencers that way. Moz put together a handy little guide on how to do just this here.
You could take the Virgin approach and try to do things differently. As founder Richard Branson says: “sometimes you gotta zig when everyone else is zagging”. This might mean creating an outrageous product that garners huge PR (like Nordstrom’s $400+ muddy jeans) or just taking a different approach to an existing channel
#3 – High repurchase rate
A successful ecommerce marketing strategy needs to drive repeat purchases. It’s the basis on which all successful stores are built on. Repeat purchasing increases the lifetime value of a customer, which also boosts ROI on your acquisition spend. So how can you generate repeat business?
Providing an exceptional customer experience is the best way to ensure loyalty. No amount of clever marketing can make up for a poor initial impression. A satisfied customer will leave positive reviews, generate priceless word of mouth, and repurchase more often too.
But it’s about more than the customer service they receive. It relates to their entire experience, from when they first land on your site until they unwrap their delivered product. Is your catalog easily searchable? Are the photos clear? Is the checkout process simple? Details like these will all influence repurchasing.
A huge trending factor in 2018 is that more brands are adopting the subscription mentality across their inventory. This trend will definitely continue and should be looked at as the lifetime value of that client increases substantially.
“ I believe that the subscriptions segment of the eCommerce market is going to continue to grow rapidly in 2018. But beyond subscription boxes, many online retailers are finding a lot of success by adding subscription models onto their traditional eCommerce model.” — Danny Halarewich
#4 – Building the Brand
Branding can be a fluffy concept in some people’s minds. It conjures up images of mood boards and color palettes, rather than tangible marketing outputs. But it’s a crucial element of any marketing strategy for ecommerce startups as well as established companies.
Building the brand is about more than your logo and font choice. It’s an on-going process that includes content development as well as graphic design. Most ecommerce sites have little to no content on them, let alone a strategy. They consist of minimalist product descriptions and basic photos, neither of which inspire confidence in a potential customer.
However, an ecommerce store with a content strategy is a totally different experience. Lively and unique product descriptions can set your site apart from the competition. Relevant blog content will boost SEO and encourage repeat visits from previous customers. Engaging with your customers on your blog and social channels says a lot and can help you really build that first 1000 True fans that will purchase anything you ever sell.By approaching the traditional ecommerce model a little differently, you can elevate your brand above the others.
More Ecommerce Marketing Ideas
Following an ecommerce strategy template like this can save you vital time and money. By focusing on the most effective activities, you’ll operate more efficiently and generate revenue more profitably. So if you’re creating a marketing plan for an online store or ecommerce venture, then start by focusing on the biggest levers. This is the ecommerce marketing strategy that will catapult you to real success.
If you’d like more ideas or help to create an ecommerce marketing strategy, then get in touch here. Our team of experts is waiting to help…
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