There’s no denying it, the landscape of ecommerce has already changed dramatically and it will continue to change as giants like Amazon pursue more creative ways to reach consumers and smooth out the buying process. So, how can an up-and-coming ecommerce business like yourself even dream of competing? From our experience, it will take some creativity, elbow-grease, a fervent obsession with customer service, and a solid understanding of your business analytics. Check out our top 7 to-do’s to keep your ecommerce company on point.
“You have your expertise in your product’s space, social media accounts, and likely a decent phone camera. These things can take you a lot of places.”
As a new company, you obviously don’t have a huge marketing budget, but you do have a compelling story. You also have your expertise in your product’s space, social media accounts, and likely a decent phone camera. These things can take you a lot of places—all of these tools help you connect to customers. Now, we know that this can sound cliche because it literally gets said everywhere. But, it’s said everywhere because very few companies are doing it right! Here’s the recipe for telling your story in a compelling way:
Doing these four things will get your story told and showcase your commitment to your customers. However, to keep your digital marketing up to snuff, you’re going to need to constantly be looking for the latest trends and avenues. With the advent of IGTV last week, it’s even more important to start making videos. So take your smartphone and get filming!
Finally, make sure that you are tracking everything when it comes to your digital channels on a marketing dashboard. This will help you make quick pivots and stop putting effort into areas that aren’t returning a large enough dividend. Remember: shares and likes aren’t money back into your business.
Grow Digital Marketing Dashboard
“Every second that a customer spends between those two buttons is an extra second for them to re-think their purchase.”
Where Amazon, Target, and other large retailers have rolled out fingerprint check-out, you can’t waste another minute with clunky checkout pages. You must create the smoothest possible transition between the add to cart and purchase buttons. Every second that a customer spends between those two buttons is an extra second for them to re-think their purchase.
Whenever you work on optimizing your checkout pages, it’s important to make one change at a time, so you can actually see what changes make a difference and what don’t. Because ecommerce moves quickly, you can have “tests” run for as short as 1-2 weeks and then make another change. You can easily track every change, and see it’s effect, using a custom checkout page dashboard in Grow. Here’s an example of tracking your orders by product within Grow:
Grow Sales Tracking Dashboard
“The online shopping experience lacks one very important feature: being able to touch and feel a product in real-life.”
To be completely honest, everyone loves online shopping for two reasons: pajamas and beds. You don’t have to worry about looking decent, a sales clerk trying to sweet-talk you into the product, or anything else. You are totally in control, all while wearing comfy socks and eating your favorite ice cream.
But the online shopping experience lacks one very important feature: being able to touch and feel a product in real-life. That is why imagery on ecommerce sites is so important. You absolutely need clear, well-lit images from various angles. Think about all the things that a savvy shopper would want to look at—close-ups, various angles, size comparisons, interiors…the list goes on. The more distinct and impactful images you’re able to provide to your customers, the more your site can simulate a real-life experience.
Product images that are bright, plain, and clear typically are the gold standard. Where you can, utilize multiple angles of the product as in this Nike image. The angle allows you to see the bottom and the side, highlighting the “Nike” detail across the side of the sole.
Close ups are key! This allows customers to see things like the knit of the fabric, detailed etching in the tag, and highlights more effectively the pop of the white against the red.
Scale is important. It’s hard to picture how large an item is, so having a size reference is helpful for many consumers—like in this image, the hand gives you a reference to how large the travel cup actually is.
Lifestyle imagery can be a powerful tool. This image provides size reference and simultaneously works on your imagination by helping you picture what it would be like using this backpack on a hike.
“Everybody reads, and they will definitely read when they have to shell out some money.”
Before rushing out to go get some better pictures of your product, don’t make the mistake of thinking that no one reads your product descriptions. In an age where written words are a primary means of communication, everybody reads, and they will definitely read when they have to shell out some money. Shopify, a leader in taking ecommerce stores to the next level, gives these useful tips when creating compelling product descriptions:
Using web analytics you can test your bounce and add to cart rates after adding new copy to determine which approaches are enticing your customers the most
Operative word: test.
Did you know that 7 out of 10 shopping carts are abandoned? People end up not being ready to buy for a variety of reasons ranging from added costs like shipping to something as simple as not having multiple payment options. However, this presents an amazing opportunity for you. If you are able to collect your customer’s information early, you can then send a series of abandoned cart emails. The best abandoned cart emails are simple, to the point, and have clear visuals—and, if you have space, are a little clever. So, start testing various versions of emails until you are able to fine-tune an email series that will get more consumers returning to their carts.
“When they are finally ready to make a purchase, you will likely be who they think of first.”
Perhaps they signed up for your newsletter during checkout or handed over their email address for a discount code they never used—whatever the case, don’t forget that some customers just need to know that you care about more than taking their money. So nurture that relationship! If you can utilize some type of CRM software like Base or Hubspot, you can send personalized content that will keep them interested and engaged, while keeping your company top-of-mind. This means that, when they are finally ready to make a purchase, you will likely be who they think of first.
Some ecommerce businesses think the buying experience ends after the customer leaves the site. But boy, they couldn’t be more wrong! Think about how exciting it is to get something in the mail—even if you know what it is, there’s just something about opening up that box that reminds you of Christmas morning. So make that box an experience. This can include anything from fun, funky designs on the outside, clever notes on the inside, or even a little gift for your customer.
“Chip and Joanna have essentially mastered shipping not only what the customer ordered, but also a little piece of their in-store experience.”
One of the most creative shipping experiences we’ve seen comes from the masters of physical experience themselves: Chip and Joanna Gaines’ online Magnolia store. When you receive a package from Magnolia, you are getting a personal message right from the get-go with “Happy Mail Day Stamps” and “Bless Your Home” tape. Right from the beginning, customers have a personal connection to their package.
Then, when they open it, not only do they receive their product, but a little goodie bag complete with a magnolia leaf or in-season flower, a thank-you card from Chip and Joanna, and a Magnolia branded pencil
When a customer receives something from Magnolia, they’re getting more than what they paid for. Chip and Joanna have essentially mastered shipping not only what the customer ordered, but also a little piece of their in-store experience—effectively connecting the two dots of online and in-person.
There are two words to remember throughout your use of this list: experiment and connect.
Experiment with new product copy, new images, new layouts, and use data analytics to measure the impacts so that you can fine-tune your online experience.
But whatever you do, don’t forget about the connection. The emotional connection and reaction you can draw out of customers is what will keep them coming back and shopping with you, rather than opening their Amazon app.
Because one day, you could be the next big hit.