In its earlier, primitive format, you would have had to raise a lot of capital and hire expensive designers and programmers to set up your own e-commerce store. But thankfully, this is no longer the case at all. Thanks to technological advances and the vast array of tools and ecommerce platforms on the market now, even the average Joe can set up an online business. However, if you want your store to stand out and perform well, there are four things you ought to know about making it as an ecommerce seller.
Branching Out: Let’s Get (Non)Physical
Ecommerce originally began with purely physical goods, such as CDs and DVDs, which were shipped out to customers. However, we are no longer restricted by physical products in this way and digital product sales are through the roof. It is now possible to use ecommerce platforms as a promotional or payment collection channel for services or virtual products which do not ship, but instead are used in different ways.
This new use of ecommerce has transformed the marketplace. Selling online is more about knowledge and value exchange. Traditional retail brands are now rushing to offer digital products such as gift cards to meet new market demands. This is also reflected in marketing, which has evolved to become much more about offering content to inform, entertain and persuade rather than the traditional hard-push sales tactics of yesteryear.
You Really Need to Get Social
It is a requirement of any ecommerce brand worth their salt to get to grips with running a multichannel social media marketing strategy. Slant Marketing have revealed that 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to research purchases, and 87% of Pinterest users have purchased an item because of Pinterest. Moreover, YouTube videos provide an 80% lift in consideration and 54% improvement in ad recall.
In light of these stats, it’s clear that in order to get ahead of the game in ecommerce, you need to constantly be where your customers are and utilize the appropriate social media channels to promote your online store. Here’s how:
- Research, research, research. Analyze data to find out where your target demographics spend their time on social media in order to better target your marketing efforts
- Now you know which platforms to use, launch your profiles. Make the most of your followers by following as many relevant brands and influencers as you can
- Every social platform has a unique algorithm that is constantly evolving. Learn how to make your brand visible on social media by following the advice of marketing gurus such as Neil Patel
- Tailor your tweets, statuses and posts to engage with different demographics across the varying platforms. Do the young moms of Facebook want product advice about a new type of pram on the market that you now provide? Write for them. Failing to do so will make your communications fall short and damage engagement rates
Protip: It is becoming increasingly easy to integrate your ecommerce store directly with social media and most CMSs give you the option to do so. You might even be able to skip the storefront altogether and sell directly on social!
WordPress has a lot of handy ecommerce functionalities, but Magento is also perennially popular with its SEO and social media friendly add-ons. Ecommerce
newcomer Shopify offer seamless integration with most social media profiles, with an app that enables customers to buy a product without ever leaving Facebook.
Catch Them If You Can – They’re All Going Mobile
Both social media and ecommerce platforms have evolved to cleverly tailor themselves for use on a mobile device. Customers can now purchase on the go whilst online merchants can track their sales and finances from the palm of their hand.
Here’s how you can optimize your store for mobile use:
- Use a fixed navigation bar for your store’s mobile design. This will make sure that vital information is always in view at the top of the screen and improves the customer’s experience, allowing them to access all categories no matter how far they scroll down the page
- Position your product photography front and center, or consider using a grid to keep your online store’s translation to mobile devices looking professional
- Keep text to a minimum – mobile users are far less likely to read long chunks of text. Let visual content such as product photos and videos take the limelight
- Increase your chances of making a sale with a sticky ‘add to cart’ button. This way, you will be constantly encouraging your customers to purchase your product and by making the next step obvious
Include at least three elements in your navigation bar to optimize your store for mobile devices: the home button, a checkout link and an ‘add to cart’ call-to-action.
Fly High With Affiliate Marketing
By definition, affiliate marketing is a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays commission to an external website in return for traffic or sales generated from its referrals.
If your online store needs a substantial push to increase traffic and generate extra sales, then affiliate marketing may just be the new tactic for you. Here’s why:
- Third-party reviews of your product will help to boost the amount of trust customers place in your brand. If someone else has given it a glowing review, then they will be far more likely to buy the product
- Affiliate marketing often involves outreaching to influential bloggers in a relevant industry, which can help you gain exposure to a valuable audience of readers who would be interested in your offering
- It is simple to build an effective affiliate marketing strategy as you can monitor the click-through rates and views of your site gained by an affiliate post. This kind of data will help you make important decisions like what kind of websites you will approach in future
For advice on how to manage your affiliate partners and create effective briefs for them, check out our previous article on affiliate tracking software.
Ecommerce has developed a lot over the past few years alone. It is really important to stay up to date with the recent developments in the ecommerce world in order for your brand to be a success. Here are the key points to take away from this article:
- Ecommerce is no longer limited to physical products. It is common occurrence to sell digital goods and services by using an ecommerce platform as a payment collection channel
- Social media is the key to success in ecommerce nowadays – get to grips with it or fall behind. Most other ecommerce stores are already jumping on this bandwagon to reach out to new, targeted audiences and get their products out there
- Mobile optimization is also very important to ensure that you meet the demands of an increasingly omnichannel marketplace
- Affiliate marketing is an extremely useful tool to reach out to relevant readerships and showcase your online store
What have you learnt about ecommerce from this article? Will you set up your own online store? Let us know in the comments.