Running a successful ecommerce business means facing ongoing challenges. Even after getting the business risks and back-end logistics for the best store in the world figured out, you will not make any sales unless you align your efforts with proper research and promotion.
You need to be an expert on your product and the niche you are targeting. You also need to understand the capabilities of operating a storefront online. And of course, there is the marketing element.
More often than not, we tend to overlook one important component of the success equation: online consumer behavior. This component encompasses all actions and habits performed by customers which then influence their purchasing decisions. If you are also considering opening a store online, it is critical to at least learn about the biggest consumer behavior shifts and how they will affect your business.
1. CONSUMERS DON’T LIVE SOLELY WITHIN SOCIAL CHANNELS, AND NEITHER SHOULD YOU.
The web never sleeps, and the amount of content in it continues to grow exponentially. At any given point, it is likely that your potential customers are caught up in it. Besides scrolling through newsfeeds, can you think of all the different things your customers may be doing online? Maybe they are checking emails, reading news articles, watching epic-fail videos, or perhaps something you have yet to even discover.
The real question is, are you there where your consumers are? Or, are you confining your marketing to only one channel of engagement, such as social media? This could be a huge pitfall as globally, social networking accounts for only 28% time spent online. Where else could your potential customers be?
A big channel to consider is email. Email has consistently ranked as a top daily activity for online users, with retail e-commerce messages getting high open rates on mobile. Email marketing has been a leading tactic that ecommerce marketers continue to rely on, especially for the busy holiday season.
But that does not mean you have to do the same thing all the time. Consider creative alternatives like Gmail ad campaigns that utilize carefully crafted content and attractive deal features in an email format while offering a responsive pay-per-click function.
2. SHOPPERS PREFER TO RESEARCH DEALS – OFFER ONE THEY CAN’T REFUSE.
Today’s hyper-informed shoppers do not simply make spur-of-the-moment purchases. More likely, they will follow your call-to-actions to browse the landing page, potentially to only leave the site after a few minutes. This is absolutely normal! In fact, an average 96% of visitors will leave a site without purchasing, and up to 70% will abandon the shopping cart halfway.
Online shoppers are better equipped than ever with search engines and various comparison sites. Regardless of whether or not they are drawn to your offering, they are still compelled to "shop around" to look for better deals, better designs, better return policies, etc. In the US, 30% of shoppers do extensive research before making a clothing purchase (Consumer Barometer ‘15, US).
As a marketer, you certainly do not want to see your time and effort driving traffic to your store go to waste. So here are our suggestions:
Boost shopper confidence in making an immediate purchase by including “Limited Edition” or “Unique Design” in the description when applicable. Also, highlight discounts or opportunities for bundle discounts that buyers will find hard to resist.
Invest in Remarketing to engage shoppers who entered your site through paid media (display ads, sponsored posts, etc.) but leave your site without buying. We will cover more about all the exciting things you can and should do with Remarketing in a later post, so stay tuned!
Invest in Search-based advertising and cover search keywords related to your design to engage undecided shoppers who are still in the "browsing and comparing" phase. Keep an eye out for more on this soon!
3. DON’T JUST WATCH VIDEO ADVERTISING EXPLODE, BE A PART OF IT.
Think video advertising is a big-budget investment that only big brands can pull of? This is not true. Online video advertising is significant for conversion-minded marketers now that platforms like YouTube are readily accessible to drive purchases on your site.
Here is why using videos to promote your campaign works:
People love videos. They spend a lot of time searching, watching, and engaging with video content, be it ads or not. In 2015, 64% of shoppers said that YouTube influences their purchase decisions, a platform that reaches more 18-34 year-olds than any TV cable network in the US.
Advanced video targeting allows you to own your presence through content and channels that complement your brand and products. Even better, you can set targeting to be as broad or as niche as you would like. At the same time, innovative pricing such as Cost-per-View (CPV) on YouTube makes video advertising particularly attractive since you only pay for an engaged customer versus anyone just scrolling through.
With more affordable and capable devices today, anyone can be a professional video editor. If you're looking for that creative muse, check out this fun YouTube shopping channel for clothing, where businesses of all sizes flaunt their creativity in promoting products using visuals and interactive videos.
Knowing and understanding online behaviors is not enough. You also need to evaluate your existing marketing efforts and plans to incorporate a variety of tactics. You may not have time to implement all of them at once, so consider prioritizing what makes the most sense for your business. Is there a specific age group you target? Or is it a special interest you sell? Think about the strategy that best suits your customers.