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E-commerce insights

What is e-commerce marketing?

With the prospect of more time being spent at home due to remote working, we’re all going to become more familiar with e-commerce and subsequently , bear witness to different kinds of e-commerce marketing. However, it’s important to understand what exactly we’re going to be faced with as we begin to spend more time online than ever before.

Firstly, what does e-commerce mean? E-commerce refers to buying/selling products or services over the internet, and is short for Electronic Commerce. E-commerce also includes monetary or data transactions that take place on the internet. Some popular examples of e-commerce that you might’ve seen include online stores, online auctions, subscription-based online stores (e.g. Netflix), digital product sales, crowdfunding platforms, online marketplaces and more!

Along with these different e-commerce options, there are specific business models that are found within the realm of e-commerce. This includes Business to Consumer (B2C), Business to Business (B2B), Consumer to Consumer (C2C),  Consumer to Business (C2B). B2C refers to an online retail model, where a business sells directly to users. B2B refers to a business that sells to other businesses, including popular Software as a service (Saas) or bulk selling. C2C would refer to transactions on a platform such as Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, where consumers are selling pre-owned goods to one another. Finally, C2B refers to a consumer adding value to a business, including freelancers and independent contractors.

Why do we need to recognize these models? It’s important to understand which kind of business you’re operating. These are all distinct business models, and as such, require a unique advertising style to capture the appropriate audience. For example, a B2C approach will not work for a B2B business, so it’s vital to understand your business model and target audience. We’re going to learn more about what e-commerce marketing really is, and you should take note of how you think different marketing strategies can work for different stages of the customer journey.

What is e-commerce marketing?

E-commerce marketing seeks to encourage revenue for your e-commerce business, by creating awareness about your store, driving in visitors and converting these visitors into buyers. The core of e-commerce marketing is about planning a successful strategy so that you can achieve your business goals, and often it’s wise to use multiple marketing channels to accomplish this.

We’ve got a simple guide to starting an e-commerce marketing plan for beginners. These steps do not include everything you need to know, but represent a quick overview of key actions you could take if you’re new to e-commerce, such as:

  1. Create clear objectives for your store: This includes goal-setting, reviewing industry benchmarks and reviewing your current performance, as well as your budget scheme. 
  2. Analyze your target market and competitors: Who are your ideal customers and what are their characteristics, demographic data and  interests? Collect as much information as possible to create a customer persona – this can help create a conversion funnel that works for you. Keep up with what your competition is doing and how their audience is responding. This could give you some new ideas.
  3. Determine the best marketing strategy: What action can you take that will help you achieve your objectives? Which marketing channels should you use and how often will you post on social media? Which stages are part of your conversion funnel?
  4. Decide on Applications/Systems for your business: Which software or website will you use to assist your marketing activities?  Will you sign up for Shopify or use ShoppingFeeder to help you reconfigure your inventory? You’ll need to decide the marketing channels you desire, as well as resources and applications that can help with automation and content management. 

The Marketing Funnel

Once you’ve gotten your basic marketing plan ready, you will need to devise a profitable marketing funnel for the traffic your store will receive, as well as any other leads from other platforms. You need a funnel because it’s unlikely that customers will purchase after just one interaction with your brand, unfortunately.  A basic funnel includes:

1.The Awareness Stage – How you’ll get your name out to your target audience.

2. The Interest Stage – Assessing and utilising customer interest in your e-commerce store.

3.The Purchase Stage – Customers are convinced to make a purchase from your store.

4.The Repeat Purchase Stage – Retaining loyal/repeat customers and offering up information to inspire repeat action.

You’ll probably use different marketing strategies for every stage of your funnel, as these represent different groups of people. Bear these stages in mind and you might be able to realize which strategy can work for each one.

Now that we’ve mentioned a few key steps in planning an e-commerce marketing plan, we’ll share some examples of what commerce marketing strategies can look like.

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) involves measures to improve your ranking on search engine results pages – think of this as getting to page 1 on Google. There are a few ways you can do this, including making changes for mobile-friendly viewing, page load time optimisation, SEO auditing, keyword research, technical SEO error fixing and setting up with Google Search Console. SEO is vital for improving traffic, as your audience will probably not have time to look through pages of search results, so you’ll want to be the first to appear for your audience.
  2. Content Marketing includes product pages, blogs and other high-quality media such as videos and podcasts that help you tell a story about your brand. Content Marketing involves copywriting as a key component to effectively drive conversions.
  3. Email Marketing is a great way to increase your conversion rates. It involves encouraging your customers to become subscribers to your website, where you can market personalised promotions and offer up updates about your e-commerce store. You can do this in a smart way by enticing sign-ups through offering downloadable content or discounts. You can also fit this into your checkout page, where your buyer will need to sign up to purchase. Some good emails to keep your customers interested include a welcome email, transactional/informational emails e.g. invoices and promotional emails to promote more sales.  You might want to use something like Mailchimp to get started.
  4. Social Media Marketing is great for e-commerce, as often, ads do not always appear intrusive, and their content can appear just like a regular users’ posts. This makes it ideal for engagement and story-telling. Furthermore, social commerce is on the rise in places such as Instagram and Facebook. This is a great space for promoting awareness for your conversion funnel.
  5. Paid Advertising involves spending money on ads, such as search ads, social media ads and native ads that target a specific stage of the customer journey/funnel. Some places to consider paying for ads include search ads and Google Shopping, lookalike audience ads and abandoned cart recovery. 
  6. Influencer Marketing is a process that often involves social media influencers to promote your product – this is successful because people trust other people who are experts in their industry. e-commerce stores are now turning to influencers to promote their product. Remember to provide the influencer with content guidelines, but allow for them to be creative and honest when talking about your products. You should set up a fair contract that lets you review content before it goes live – and the performance of their content is then monitored.
  7. Customer Service is not explicitly a form of marketing, but is nonetheless a good thing to spend more time on in order to appease unhappy customers who might be the victims of logistics or payment problems. You should be reachable by your audience on email, phone or live chat systems. Real-time support works well to calm down customers and encourage them to continue supporting your store. This is something you can also advertise to your audience if you’re looking to update them on your operations.
  8. Analytics involve tracking the performance of your e-commerce store, to evaluate the impact that various strategies have had, and highlight changes that could help your business. You should certainly have analytics tools in place to track all of your efforts, including quantitative and qualitative analytics tools.  Google Analytics is a great place to start for beginners to get right into unpacking your data.
  9. Multichannel marketing involves selling on various platforms simultaneously, and can be a great way to increase traffic to your store because you’re making yourself available at different entry points, which can attract specific customers at each channel. Multichannel marketing is great for giving customers a choice around purchasing from your store.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s clear that there is a whole world of choice when it comes to e-commerce marketing. Many of these methods may seem complex, but the good news is that it’s easy to synchronise different methods when you’re looking for a new strategy for your e-commerce store. One way you might want to simplify your process is automation from an expert in the field, or you may wish to find out through trial and error.  Regardless of the path you take, you should remember to make sure that your marketing goals are aligned with your overall sales objectives. 

ShoppingFeeder is a great resource for multichannel marketing and feed distribution, as well as hands-on management, analysis and convenience. It’s an all-in-one tool for your e-commerce business, and can help you with specific stages of your customer funnel. 

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