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E-commerce has changed the business sector completely in recent years. Brick and mortar institutions used to rule the roost with consumers, but that simply isn’t the case anymore. Today, there are an estimated 12-24 million e-commerce sites on the web, and it’s estimated that by 2021, over 230 million people from the U.S. will be frequent online shoppers.
With so much competition out there, e-commerce businesses need to know the most important factors to boost their business and stand out to consumers. Customers are looking for everything from clear information about delivery and shipping to a variety of payment options.
But, what should your e-commerce business be focused on if you want to see success and continue to grow?
Your brand is your purpose. It is who you are and what you represent, as a company. Think about some of the biggest brands in the world, like Amazon, McDonald’s, or Google. Undoubtedly, something immediately comes into your mind whenever you picture those businesses. Maybe it’s the signature Amazon logo or the McDonald’s golden arches.
Whatever the case, the point is that once you have a visual for those brands, you also start to develop opinions. Amazon works very hard to be a brand that delivers packages quickly, for example. When you order something from their site, you can expect to get it in a day or two because that is the type of service their brand has created.
For your own ecommerce business, your brand refers to what consumers should expect of you. That starts with their first impression.
That is why it’s so important for your brand to be consistent across:
- Your website
- All forms of social media
- Print/digital advertisements
- The language you use
- Your products/services
Your brand will dictate what others think of your business, and most consumers don’t have a problem sharing their opinions. If you see any kind of success, people will post reviews about you online. Consider that a good thing! About 31% of people are likely to spend more on products and services when the business has good reviews.
So, consider who you are, what makes you different, and what your business represents. Build your brand off of those principles, and it will be easier to create a consistent marketing strategy.
Because there are so many e-commerce businesses online, standing out is important. You want to rank high on Google, of course, but your goal should also be to turn those who click onto your site into customers, and those customers into loyal buyers. You can do this by focusing on SEO to move consumers further down your sales funnel. Some of the best SEO techniques you should be putting into practice include:
- Optimizing your site with keywords, product descriptions, and meta descriptions.
- Optimizing your website navigation for a positive user experience.
- Optimizing your sales funnel.
One of the best ways to optimize your funnel is to learn more about your customer. If you have a marketing background, you likely already know about target audiences, but what is your business doing to appeal to your target market?
People want to feel like businesses are marketing to them, personally. The best way to do that is to segment your target audience, so you can tailor your campaigns to those segments and make your customers feel as though you’re talking directly to them. You can use any data you’ve already collected to create multiple customer groups. You can break down those groups based on:
- Buying behaviors
You can use segmented marketing in a variety of ways, but one of the best ways to directly connect with your audience is through email campaigns. Sending specific emails to different audiences will make your marketing efforts more personal, appealing to your segments in just the right way.
Once you learn more about your customers and you segment your target audience, you can take a more laser-focused approach to SEO. You will learn more about who your consumers are and what they’re looking for, and adjust your SEO tactics based on those needs and wants.
E-commerce is so much more than what you put on your website. To grow the success of your business, it’s essential to use other platforms, especially when it comes to communication efforts. Again, you’ll be “talking” to people from different backgrounds, in different locations, and different stages of life. Learning how to improve your communication so you can connect with everyone will make your business and your brand more trustworthy.
Now, more than ever, consumers value relationships with the businesses they frequent. Because most people are inundated with thousands of advertisements each day, your business will break through the noise by showcasing humanistic qualities and engaging conversation. That’s easy to do through social media.
Utilizing social media platforms will encourage conversations and get people talking about your brand. Your goal should be to create shareable content, so focus on things like:
- Topics that are trending
- Using attention-grabbing headlines
- Creating diversified posts
- Making the share button easily visible
Your social media campaigns can give your business a voice. People want to see things like videos, photos, and they want you to communicate like a storyteller. Social media is personal. It will highlight your brand’s values and give people a reason to trust you. Answer questions, start conversations that people will be engaged with, and don’t be afraid to let your audience see who you really are with live stream videos, behind-the-scenes glimpses into your office, or any other efforts you’re making to go beyond basic advertising.
At this point, the name of the game in e-commerce is to find a way to stand out. If you can build a brand that is focused on segmenting your audience, communicating with them in a natural, conversational way, and developing trust with your customers, you will naturally be able to outlast your competition both in search engines and with the number of loyal customers who return to your site.