In 2015, we saw many changes in e-commerce from “mobilegeddon”, to the explosion of online content factories, to the rise of Instagram as a marketing tool. The bottom line is today’s online shoppers have a plethora of opportunities to interact with your brand. Despite the changes (most of them positive) many e-commerce store owners are slowly watching their once strong traffic and revenue numbers decrease. Don’t fear! 2016 is a new year and a perfect time for new growth strategies. If you can stick with these 5 e-commerce resolutions longer than most remain faithful to their own personal pledges, 2016 could be your best year yet!
Spend More to Make More
It’s becoming well understood that in e-commerce, you have to spend money to make money. With the increase in popularity of build your own “pop-up” websites, the market is crowded with people selling their wares online. How do you stand out from the crowd? Outspend them. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, standard businesses with revenue less than $5 million a year typically spend between 10 and 12 percent on marketing and advertising. If in a competitive industry, some recommend up to 20%. Most e-commerce store owners spend significantly less than that figure, especially if they don’t have a companion brick and mortar storefront. Unfortunately, those businesses are missing out on revenue return. Our PPC specialists are realizing a remarkable return on our clients’ PPC and paid search budgets, sometimes as much as 10X. The right strategies executed by the right team will produce results well worth the extra cash.
Get a New Calendar
We can all agree that you must have traffic to create revenue, right? So, how do you make that conversion? Create engaging content. Without it, consumers are likely to pass over your site. However, creating content on the fly typically goes the way of new year’s detox diets. It may work for a while but eventually you get pooped out (gross pun, sorry). Take the pressure off by creating a content calendar for the year with pre-arranged subjects and a basic outline of the points to cover in each post. Remember to think ahead to e-commerce highlight days such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc… and build up to those days in your plan. Stick with the schedule as best as you can but remember to be flexible to trends and current events.
Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
Surprisingly, many e-commerce website owners have never created a marketing plan. However, a well thought out digital marketing plan serves as a easy to follow blueprint for all future campaigns and projects. In addition to analyzing your place among the competition, it also provides clear goals on budget, return on investment, and campaign performance. A marketing plan can be strategic to a singular focus such as PPC or paid search, or more comprehensive to include all marketing and advertising initiatives. If you don’t know where to start, we have people that can help develop a custom plan that is both attainable and well suited for your particular e-business.
Show Them What You’ve Got
Imagery is a powerful tool. Many consumers prefer to watch a video or scroll through a product image gallery rather than read description text. Create quick 1-2 minutes “highlight reels” for your products or ramp up the quality and quantity of your product images to give your shoppers the confidence to follow-through with their purchase. Also, include people (internal team or external hires) in your imagery as much as possible to provide more of a personal connection with your brand. When you create new videos, add them to a branded YouTube or Vimeo channel. Utilize the strategic promotion tools available through those channels to get your content in front of the masses and increase engagement.
For a truly enlightening experience, have your team switch spots with your online consumer and shop on your site regularly. Better yet, give your friends or family some gift cards and ask them to make purchases while you “look over their shoulder”. We know when online consumers run into broken links, confusing carts, or jumbled navigation while browsing, they are highly unlikely to let you know and will simply leave. When you discover obstacles (and you will) don’t just fix them; improve them. Always find ways to make it easier for consumers to buy from your site. There are quite literally thousands of applications, plug-ins, and widgets available to help streamline the online buying experience.