Steffen Schebesta, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Toronto, is the CEO and VP of Corporate Development at Sendinblue, an intuitive, all-in-one marketing solution for small businesses. We asked Steffen how small businesses can benefit from e-commerce marketing. Here's what he shared:
Driving sales can be challenging for small businesses. E-commerce marketing can reduce these frustrations by improving customer retention through consistent communication and automating processes. E-commerce sales increased a whopping 27.6 percent in 2020, which means competition in the online space is growing. So how can your small business be successful and strategic in using e-commerce?
First, let's start with the basics: What exactly is e-commerce marketing?
Different from a more generalized digital marketing strategy, e-commerce marketing involves the act of driving customers to your online store and encouraging them to make a purchase on your website. E-commerce marketing can be implemented in a number of ways to drive both sales and customer loyalty.
Here are five tips to help small businesses use e-commerce marketing to increase sales, improve brand awareness, and stand out among competitors.
Leverage Email Marketing To Increase Sales
Email marketing can generate up to 30 times its initial investment, making it a cost-effective marketing strategy. Small business owners can use email marketing to drive growth for their e-commerce businesses. For example, a business can segment its contact list based on attributes such as location or last opened email and use these attributes to personalize content for the recipients to encourage interaction.
Creating personalized experiences for each subscriber will increase your chances of converting leads, especially when concurrent with reinforced messaging, branding and a clear consistent call-to-action.
Create Content That Builds Customer Loyalty
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing, defined as "a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience -- and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action." Content marketing is important for e-commerce marketing to be successful in capturing audiences' attention and encouraging purchases. By providing customers with relevant and consistent content, you build trust and loyalty. Success often stems from brainstorming ideas, creating media publications, and garnering feedback from your audience.
Creating more content will ultimately increase communication with your customers and establish long-term relationships with them. Look at past campaign performance to determine what content resonated and what didn't, then adjust your strategy accordingly.
Nearly all of us are guilty of confining ourselves to the first page of search results. Amplifying your content marketing will increase your SEO and ranking. Ranking on the top page is very important for getting in front of new and existing customers.
Use Marketing Automation To Reduce Abandoned Shopping Carts
Did you know that approximately 75 percent of customers leave shopping carts without completing a purchase?
People may abandon their carts because they weren't ready to buy the product or got distracted. To remind customers about items left in their cart, small businesses can send triggered emails using marketing automation. Timely emails encourage customers to return to your site and complete their purchase.
For e-commerce businesses on Shopify, a push notification solution such as PushOwl or OneSignal is an excellent addition, as it enables you to run simple reminders with just a few clicks. Such reminders will ultimately help you maintain engagement with customers and increase sales volumes.
Upsell Your Products
Businesses can look at a customer's existing purchases and send an email offering products they "might be interested in" based on their shopping habits. Amazon does this well by having two upselling sections when a website visitor clicks on a product, including a "Frequently bought together" list, which highlights that product alongside others, and a "You might also like" section showing other similar products.
Small businesses can benefit from this method by directing customers to their other offerings. Try presenting fewer options to prevent overwhelming the customer and include seasonal items or items with limited availability to increase sales and create a sense of exclusivity.
Use Live Chat For Direct, Personalized Communications
Compared with larger businesses, small businesses offer personal and more intimate customer experiences. To maintain authenticity and friendly interactions, small businesses can integrate one-on-one messaging applications, such as Chatra and Intercom.
A "live chat" feature empowers small businesses to answer customers' questions more quickly and directly. Nearly 80 percent of consumers prefer live chat because their questions can be answered in a direct fashion and at a faster pace.
E-commerce marketing doesn't have to be complicated but is essential for your business to scale. Strategies related to email marketing, content creation, marketing automation, upselling, and live chats are excellent ways to drive community engagement and solidify your presence in the online marketplace.