4 Steps to Creating a Digital Strategy that Empowers your E-Commerce

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Data is the heart of a digital marketing campaign and content is the soul of a brand

With billions of dollars worth of revenue generated by brands and organizations across industries and countries from e-commerce sales, its high time businesses took a closer look at what’s really important in making the sale happen online.
Customers and prospects are no longer buying from the first site they see online. They have options and site aggregators that enable them to compare pricing, deals, offers, etc across sites and purchase from e-commerce sites that suit their requirements the most.

What are the factors buyers prioritize?

So would you say pricing is the first and foremost factor that majority of the buyers give top priority to? Strangely enough, that is not true.
When it comes to e-commerce purchases, the following four factors play equally crucial role in deciding the point of sale:

  • Trust: Users need to be able to trust your brand. User reviews, ratings, authenticated “SELLING / SELLERS Badges” that assure guarantee of quality.
  • Pricing and deals: You don’t always need to be the cheapest. Rather focus on creating a USP that is really distinct and prospects browsing those options are able to immediately differentiate the aspect of “pricing and value” that your product will offer in terms of real and or long term value or after sales support etc.
  • Easy to purchase: Make the process to buy easy for consumers. Try tying it up with loyalty points or a Gamification process if possible that encourages users to make repeat purchases. For example, one of the best and most popular aspects or services offered today from Amazon is Amazon Prime which makes the repeat purchase so easy and attractive.
  • Logistics: Deliver on-time every time. There are no two ways about it.

So while running a successful e-commerce website, how do you ensure future growth and expansion? Here are 4 aspects that can empower you to not only make that e-commerce sale but also ensure repeat purchases, customer loyalty, and a power brand.
Develop a clear Digital Marketing Plan for your e-commerce Businesses. I know, it’s easier said than done. So here are few things you can focus on to empower the four factors mentioned above in deciding the point of sale:

How can I analyse my data ?

To start with, Measure your analytics across:

  • Top searched items on your website: This will tell you what your customers are really looking for.
  • Top searched items or keywords across a specific location or competitor sites: You could even use sites like Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends to understand this much better.
  • Top selling items on your website: What’s already popular, need to be on the storefront on your site’s homepage too.
  • Most profitable industry vertical for your business: You as a business could have different industry verticals for eg. Individual sales, bulk sales, corporate sales, etc. Focus on what’s working best at the moment and leverage that to ensure expansion and business growth in terms of real revenue.
  • Products that never or rarely sell: Least searched products need to be pushed back on your site in a manner that they do not crop up in suggestions or on core “Call to Action” pages or buttons on your website.
  • Products that are TREND based: Watch online trends carefully. During Super Bowl Sunday you know there are certain products that are going to be selling at a blinding pace. Focus on trends and leverage if your online store sells any of those items.
  • Demographics of users : Which age group, gender, location etc makes the most purchases: Understanding this insight will be truly priceless. As it will help you customize your messages and ads across channels to appeal to the right audiences. Let me give you an example: There are brands that create bulk custom messages simply based on few demographics like age group and location.

So, let’s say they are selling Buffet lunches or Holiday packages on their website. Now instead of running a campaign across a demographic based on an assumption that should generally fall into a category of users who are married with kids because of the age group and then creating a campaign that says, “For your anniversary, For your special moment with someone, Enjoy your time with your kids etc”, this could very well backfire, especially with users who are single, or do not have kids at the moment.
These might seem like trivial issues or even aspects which are going to be difficult to track. But if you share a wrong message (bulk marketing) to the wrong customer, at the wrong time, you might forever lose that customer and ensure that your brand has created a negative association in their minds.
Rather, get into the real insights like online buying behaviors, browsing patterns, affinity categories, income and household demographics etc to the extent that is available publicly and use it for the right reasons. For customizing product offers and messages the right unoffensive way.

Could Pay Per Click (PPC) be a great investment ?

Investing in pay per click campaigns with the right set of analytics measured can boost your sales to a great extent.
Features like Re-marketing from Google Adwords, online buying behavior metrics, affinity category, likes, etc from Facebook insights for Facebook Ads, email list building with focused campaigns across existing customers for referrals, upgrades, repeat purchases etc will go a long way.
While working on PPC campaigns, ensure you measure, track and understand metrics like:

  • Conversion rates
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Customer retention rates
  • Total Gross Revenue in comparison to cost incurred on advertising online: To help you budget your future campaigns
  • Profit and revenue generation across industry verticals : This will tell you which product and or service works best for your e-commerce business sales

Based on the above aspects of Analytics, PPC etc create specific and realistic goals : For eg. Instead of saying “I want increase in sales,” let your ROI goal state, “20% Increase in sales for XYZ vertical in the next quarter through digital marketing and email marketing with a minimum margin of 40%.” Specific goals that are realistic will enable you to sincerely plan strategies for the same too.

How can I personalize my content for digital strategy ?

Content today is not just about being impressive with rich media, visuals and interactivity. Rather, it’s about who is browsing your site in terms of personalization.
For eg. If your e-commerce checkout areas shows lots of options prior to checking out, like recommendations to an individual who does not like to waste time and rather simply make the purchase and leave, will most probably drop out of the site out of sheer frustration for this simple reason.
Remember, behind every click, there is a consumer goal. On similar lines there might be users who like to read multiple recommendations, reviews, etc before making their final purchases. So your content display on your e-commerce site today is not just about being online.
Rather, if product display can be customized based on searching and or browsing patterns etc, this could be a massive boost in helping you understand your end users personality to help them make the sale in a way which appeals to their buying behavior.
Also, the consumers of today are not only smart, efficient but also extremely resourceful in learning about you. Customers today know more about the brand than the brand themselves. So have a content plan that extends beyond your website.
May be invest in a Knowledge Resource Center (KRC) which acts as a teaching ground, a source of information, provides reviews and acts as a guiding ground for consumers researching about brands or products or services online. Here SEO would play a crucial role.
Be accessible on social networking platforms like twitter, facebook, youtube and on blogs, forums, etc. At the same time ensure that your backend is in sync with your social media team for giving the right feedback at the right time for prospects and customers.
Understand your online brand ambassadors, empower them, give some sort of instant gratification to help them realize that you value their brand opinion etc and through them gain access to user generated content (UGC). The best content for any brand is a positive brand user generated content.

Which digital strategy should I apply ?

Once you have the above aspects in place, your marketing strategy online gets very clear. Always ensure that your strategy allows for changes, is flexible based on the metrics, analytics, PPC campaign results, etc
Based on the above, your e-commerce digital marketing strategy can be divided into the following categories:

  • Have clear specific realistic goals with a timeline
  • Understand your audience
  • Know which platforms will work the best
  • Design your content marketing plan
  • Measure, track and monitor
  • Take feedback
  • Implement what’s working and boost your sales further e-commerce today is more about personalized user experiences, more than anything else.

The moment you have a clear understanding about your end user, your sales and revenue growth is guaranteed! Having a clear digital strategy that speaks to that customer is the best way to transform your users into customers.