Your A-Z Guide on E-Commerce Marketing [Strategies+Case Studies]
Marketing is an important aspect for any business looking to achieve consistent and continuing success. Keeping up with all these new strategies, like e-commerce marketing, can be daunting sometimes.
E-commerce marketing is a strategy that has recently become all the rage with the onset of social media advertising. Not sure about what it is or how it could benefit your brand’s marketing strategies?
Fret not! We’ve got your back. E-commerce marketing is a tactic that is easier than it sounds. Chances are, you’ve probably already implemented a few aspects of it into your marketing plans.
Looking to touch upon the e-commerce marketing basics or to boost your current marketing strategies? You’re in the right place! Read on to find out how you can enhance your e-commerce marketing plan.
The definition of “e-commerce” is - Any commercial transaction(s) performed online, on the internet. E-commerce transactions encapsulate numerous types such as:
- Business to Business (B2B).
- Business to Consumer (B2C)
- Consumer to Consumer (C2C)
- Consumer to Business (C2B)
The most common forms that we encounter are B2B and B2C.
What is e-commerce marketing though? And how can I implement the best e-commerce marketing strategy? We know that’s what you’re thinking. And we’ve got the answers below!
What Is E-commerce Marketing?
E-commerce marketing is when businesses spread awareness about their products. The intent of that is to establish their brand and sell their products. It guides potential consumers through the conversion funnel. This means e-commerce marketing enables them to become a customer from a mere visitor/lead.
There are different types of e-commerce marketing. A few notable examples are :
- Influencer Marketing - This is when businesses reach out to influencers to promote or advertise their product.
- Email marketing - When a brand shares various newsletters, coupons/discounts, and other promotional material to its customers via email addresses. Learn more about email marketing through our blog here.
- Local Marketing - When a brand implements marketing tactics centered on where their prospects are located geographically.
- Affiliate Marketing - When a brand collaborates with an existing business to promote their products for a commission. Learn more about affiliate marketing through our blogs here, and here.
In this digital era, e-commerce marketing is becoming essential for businesses to implement. And e-commerce advertising is the core of e-commerce marketing.
E-commerce Advertising - The Basics
As we stated above, e-commerce marketing is about driving awareness towards a business’s product or service.
Meanwhile, e-commerce advertising is about the methods through which they promote their products. These methods may include various forms of display ads - search ads, banner/pop-up ads as well as rich media ads that we come across online.
E-commerce advertising has become an integral part of running a business. That is why brands are coming up with innovative ways to stay ahead of their competition.
In this blog, we are going to take you through all aspects of a successful e-commerce marketing plan. Keep reading to learn more about how you can enhance your e-commerce digital marketing strategies. You'll also learn how to boost conversions through the roof!
And always remember -
“Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise”
- Tod Turner, CEO, LINQware Inc.
Firstly, let’s have a look at the steps you need when creating an e-commerce marketing plan for your brand.
E-commerce Marketing Plan
To set the path for your e-commerce marketing plan, just remember the 4 “D”s -
Step 1: Develop Unique Business Goals
This is the first step to ensure your business has a smooth start. Research extensively in the industry you think your business fits in best. Doing this can help you to clearly understand how your brand can stand out. Conducting this research can also help you understand the current e-commerce marketing trends in that industry.
You should also ensure your business goals are specific and quantifiable. To do so, give yourself a set time period to develop and work on your goals. Following a set schedule will mean you would be more likely to achieve them.
A few prominent examples of unique business goals that helped companies establish themselves-
- Amazon - Initially started as a bookstore. Read more about Amazon’s road to success on our blog here.
- Ebay - Started as a place to auction items.
- Etsy - Started as a solely handmade products shop
Once you determine your companies’ unique factors and the general trends of the industry, adjust your goals accordingly. The higher the benchmarks, the higher your goals should be.
Step 2: Determine Target Audience
Your brand has its own unique business ideas and realistic goals, now, that's awesome! But, they would not be sufficient if you don't know the type of customer who would be interested in your products. Determining your target audience can also help you understand where you can easily target them with your marketing strategies.
At this step, you would need to keep in mind your audience’s purchasing power, their demographic, geographic, and psychographic characteristics. All of this put together is referred to as a “buyer persona”.
Pro Tip 2: Check out this buyer’s persona tool to generate a customizable buyer’s persona for your brand.
Understanding your buyer persona will determine the success of your marketing and retargeting strategies.
To figure out your target audience, look at your current customer base. Then, find similarities in characteristics or interests. In addition to that, keep in mind if your target audience can afford your services and if your product fulfills their needs and necessities.
The best way to do so would be to send out surveys and polls to your audience and provide them with incentives upon filling your forms.
Step 3: Decide Your E-commerce Marketing Channel
Deciding on how to implement the two core e-commerce marketing channels to your e-commerce marketing plan is the next step. The most common e-commerce marketing channel examples include –
- Outbound Marketing Channels
- Inbound Marketing Channels
Both of these channels are crucial for developing a successful e-commerce marketing strategy. So, let’s understand them in detail.
1. Outbound e-commerce marketing channel
Outbound e-commerce marketing is when companies send out adverts and other promotional material to potential and existing customers. In this channel, the companies take the initiative to spread the word about their products.
Examples of outbound e-commerce marketing channels include TV commercials, email marketing campaigns, PR, cold calling, using flyers/brochures, and radio ads. Although these are considered older methods of marketing, they are still useful in establishing your brand’s existence.
Though email marketing might be an old outbound marketing tactic, you can give your emails a modern and engaging twist through interactive emails. Interactive content in your email newsletters can make them more enticing for your customers. Moreover, they help in increasing click-through and conversion rates for your brand.
Pro Tip 4: Learn more about interactive email newsletters here.
We can take Bose’s email newsletter as an example of an interactive email. Bose provided their users with a simple scratch card in their email newsletter.
This scratch card helped generate curiosity about the Black Friday sale in an engaging way. Sharing interactive email newsletters motivates readers to actively engage with your content. Hence, it can help increase click-to-open rates.
2. Inbound e-commerce marketing channel
Inbound e-commerce marketing is when a brand uses the data they’ve collected about their customers’ preferences. Then, the company targets them in an organic manner. In this case, a brand would utilize modern tactics such as content marketing, SEO, or social media marketing. These methods help promote their products as solutions for the customer’s concerns to drive purchases.
Examples of inbound e-commerce marketing include blogs, podcasts, and e-books. All of these are perfect for any brand, big or small. However, if your brand is just starting out, this channel can be a cost-effective way to promote your company.
Your inbound e-commerce marketing channel can gain traction if you keep in mind different metrics such as - your customer’s demographics or preferences while creating content.
Step 4: Deepen Bonds With Customers
Developing a sense of trust with customers is another vital aspect of e-commerce marketing. Gaining insight into your buyer persona is great. But, you should also know which method would work best to deepen your bonds with existing customers as well as new ones. You could choose from -
- Coupons - These work excellently in two ways - for advertising your brand and incentivizing potential customers to engage with your products. Coupons may also help potential customers learn more about what you have to offer. Along with that, they can motivate existing customers to stick with your brand. Thus they help in deepening your bond and facilitating your customer retention strategies.
- Polls and Surveys - Polls and surveys are an excellent way to deepen bonds with your customers. You can use them to gain suggestions from existing customers about how your products and services can be improved. Doing so also helps your customers feel heard and appreciated.
Pro Tip 5: Learn more about building your own poll or survey and how it can help deepen bonds with your customers here!
Let’s dive deeper into an example of a poll done successfully by Outgrow.
This is a Customer Satisfaction Survey built using Outgrow’s builder. It provides users with an engaging chatbot-like interface. This allows a brand to build a point of contact with its customers in an interactive way. It also allows customers to send any feedback in a quick and hassle-free manner.
Moreover, providing surveys of this sort allows brands to build their customer’s trust and increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
- Free Trials - If you can provide potential customers with free trials for your products, absolutely do so! Free trials are an excellent way for potential customers to get a taste of what you can offer. Plus, they show exactly how your products stand out from the crowd. Undoubtedly then, this is one of the most effective ways of gaining new leads.
But we won’t stop here. We have promised you an ultimate guide that covers all the aspects of e-commerce marketing. Next up, here are some e-commerce marketing tips you can incorporate to make sure your business soars higher.
E-commerce Marketing Tips
Want to know about how the best e-commerce marketing campaigns became the best? They combined the steps mentioned above with the tips mentioned below. 😀
I - Personalization Goes Pretty Far
This is perhaps one of the most important e-commerce marketing strategies. Personalizing your e-commerce advertising content such as email newsletters and coupons can influence your audience positively. Personalization ensures your customers feel heard and appreciated.
Through personalization, your existing marketing strategies can be catered to your customer’s unique queries. Doing so will certainly push potential customers through the buyer’s journey much faster. This is because you would be addressing their individual concerns. And that is why they would be encouraged to purchase from you and share your services further.
Embedding a personalized quiz like a WFH equipment recommender into your content can help promote your brand as well as make sure your customers feel heard.
Build your first personalized quiz and experience the benefits of personalization for your brand with Outgrow for free!
II - Implement Loyalty Programs
Another crucial e-commerce marketing tip is loyalty programs. These serve as clever tactics to nurture your existing customers and provide incentives to new ones. There is no fixed way to build a loyalty program, and yours can be a combination of various aspects.
Generally, you can encourage your customers to promote your brand by mentioning your products on their social media profiles. This might help you broaden your audience and thus gain more followers.
Or, you could also offer your customers the option to join a loyalty program after repeat purchases. After your customers have showcased their loyalty to your brand, it’s time to share those rewards! The rewards can be equally unique, from exclusive perks to discount codes.
III - Wow Your Customers Through Your Website
Your website is undoubtedly the most frequent, and thus the most important way your customers will engage with your brand. Thus, it is absolutely crucial that your website is easy to navigate. Your brand’s website should be optimized for different devices. Also, ensure your website is easily readable. So, try to split big sections of content into smaller subsections.
Another way to develop a user-friendly website is to embed a chatbot. These chatbots will help guide your users to the relevant webpage within your website. And they can also enable users to have a more interactive experience. Moreover, these conversational chatbots are adept at providing immediate and personalized solutions.
Pro Tip 6: Not sure where to build a chatbot? Try Outgrow!
Let’s take a quick look at an e-commerce chatbot.
This e-commerce chatbot allows users to find quick solutions to their shopping queries and concerns. A chatbot embedded on your website will also allow you to build your email list. This will give you a list of potential leads as well as existing customers ready for your retargeting campaigns.
Implementing these strategies can definitely transform your e-commerce marketing goals. They can also boost your online sales immensely. That is factually true! Read on to find out what the statistics say about e-commerce marketing.
E-commerce Marketing Statistics
These post-COVID statistics are proof of what your brand can achieve by implementing the e-commerce marketing strategies mentioned above.
- In the United States, 62% of buyers agree they shop online more in the post-COVID era.
- Online e-commerce marketing tactics such as email marketing (66%) and social media marketing (52%) are more popular during the pandemic.
- There has also been a 63% in cross border e-commerce sales during the pandemic.
- Retailers in the U.K. saw a 23% increase in their online store sales during the pandemic.
E-commerce marketing would definitely not seem as daunting by now. But if you’re still worried about how to put these tips into practice, fret not. We’ve got some real-life case studies that can help you understand how e-commerce marketing has worked for other brands.
E-commerce Marketing - Case Studies
1. Golf Avenue
Golf Avenue is an e-commerce company that sells golf equipment to its customers around the world. They decided to implement the “Personalization” strategy to enhance their marketing metrics. To do so, they shared an interactive quiz titled “Guess Your Handicap” with their customer base.
Results - Golf Avenue was able to gain 248,000 visits, approximately 82,000 leads, and increase their conversion rates by 33% after sharing this quiz.
Leads.ph is a digital marketing agency based in the Philippines. One of their clients, SingleMalt.ph, was looking to gain new leads through e-commerce marketing. This is where personalization and interactive content came in handy. Singlemalt shared an interactive quiz titled “What kind of Whiskey Drinker Are You?”
Results - Singlemalt Philippines was able to gather 156,000 visits, 53,000 leads as well as increase their conversion rate by 34%. Apart from incorporating personalized content, they also embedded a CTA button on the quiz to encourage purchases. Those two strategies combined enabled them to fulfill their lead generation goals.
These statistics, strategies, and case studies will take your brand pretty far. However, in your e-commerce marketing journey, you may come across some words or phrases you haven’t heard before.
Here are some important keywords you might encounter, and what they mean to your e-commerce marketing strategies.
E-commerce Marketing - Important Keywords
Implementing the aforementioned ideas and examples can be extremely beneficial to enhance your e-commerce marketing strategies. However, there are also some important keywords you should keep in mind.
1. Return on Investment (ROI)
Return on Investment is when brands measure the success and efficiency of an investment they made. ROI can help you to narrow down and identify which marketing strategies may or may not be working for your brand.
2. Return on Ad Spend (ROA)
Similar to ROI, Return on Ad Spend (ROA) is also a measuring tool. ROAs measure the effectiveness of your ad campaigns where there was money involved. ROAs include affiliate cost, partner cost, production costs, and listing costs. Measuring costs is important. This is because being cost-effective with your marketing strategies can help ensure long-lasting success for your company.
3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Key Performance Indicators are indicators that highlight whether a particular company has been able to achieve certain goals they had. As different companies may have different goals, KPIs vary from company to company. An example of a KPI for a company focusing on email marketing could be to increase their email click-to-open rates.
4. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion Rate Optimization refers to certain changes you might make to your website with the aim of increasing your brand’s conversion rates. To do so, you can edit and tweak your website’s layout or design elements. Try to make them more visually appealing and ease the navigation for your customers.
Traffic is a measuring metric you should keep in mind. This term refers to the number of people who have visited your website. These may be existing or potential customers. More traffic to your website indicates a higher interest in your brand’s products and services. But more importantly, it shows the e-commerce marketing strategies you implement are working!
Despite following the suggestions we’ve mentioned above, you might still be struggling to understand how to fit these strategies into your marketing funnel. Read on to learn more about what a marketing funnel is and why it is important for your company’s marketing goals.
E-commerce Strategy for All Marketing Funnel Stages
Your e-commerce marketing funnel can help you develop a successful e-commerce marketing strategy. There are various marketing funnel stages you should keep in mind. Let’s briefly discuss what each stage is. We'll also see how it can help you boost your brand’s e-commerce sales and conversion rates.
The e-commerce marketing funnel is composed of 4 stages. And just a little effort at every stage can do wonders for your brand’s marketing metrics. The four stages of the marketing funnel are:
1. The Awareness Stage –
At this stage, you would see new and prospective leads who may have decided to check out your website from an ad or social media post they saw. At this stage, you should aim to spread awareness about your brand. Here you should also show your prospective leads you can educate them about their queries.
- Action to Take - Sharing informational blog posts or YouTube videos. You can also create a fun interactive quiz on a common interest your potential customers have.
Dig deeper into the land of interactive quizzes and find one that matches your industry here.
- Importance – Doing so can help establish your brand, while also showing trust in your prospective customers. Furthermore, it will ensure your customers learn more about your brand in an interesting manner!
2. The Interest Stage –
After visiting your site, potential customers are now slowly gaining interest in what you have to provide. To show their interest, they may follow you on social media or subscribe to your newsletters.
- Action to Take - It is crucial for you to create a point of contact between you and your potential customers. Share interactive content such as a fun quiz, or interactive calculator to foster engagement and create that point of contact. Newsletters with informative tips or links to a free course as a solution for their query are also a good idea.
- Importance – Engaging with potential customers at the “Interest” stage is absolutely vital for any brand looking to gain as many customers as possible. This stage is when you can make or break the trust that is slowly building in a potential customer. So, be sure to follow the suggestions mentioned above.
Pro tip 7: Go on and build your interactive quiz or calculator here, and see your e-commerce sales slowly go through the roof!
3. The Purchase Stage –
Any potential customer or lead at this stage has narrowed down their choices. This means, your brand probably is in their top-5. What you need to do is, bump yourself up those 4 spots in their list.
- Action to Take – Show your potential customers how you are better than your competition! Do so by embedding pop-up coupons, sharing discounts, and guaranteeing better customer service.
With Outgrow, you can embed your interactive quizzes or calculators on places your customers visit more often and share CTA buttons that can redirect to your app/website! Learn more about embeds on Outgrow here.
- Importance – This stage helps develop the trust you need to finally convert your prospects. Moreover, you can also gain authentic leads by sharing interactive content in emails or newsletters at this stage.
Learn about our best e-commerce lead generation campaigns in our blog here.
4. The Repeat Stage –
At this stage, your brand has successfully sold its product or solution to your customer(s) at least once. But this is not where it ends. In fact, in this stage, it is necessary to reward your existing customers and encourage them to stick to your brand.
- Action to Take – This is where you put your knowledge about loyalty programs into practice. Three words – Reward with incentives. And these three words can make all the difference.
Sharing polls and surveys at this stage can also help you gain more in-depth suggestions from your customers. Additionally, your customers would be more likely to prefer your brand if you make them feel valued.
Pro tip 8: Don’t miss out on valuable insights from your customers; build your very own survey or poll here.
- Importance –Rewarding and making your existing customers feel heard and appreciated can help ensure those customers promote your brand and spread the word around about your offerings. And this word-of-mouth marketing can massively help you gain even more new customers and follow all the aforementioned stages on repeat! This stage is also crucial for your lead nurturing efforts.
You can read more about e-commerce lead nurturing ideas in our blog here.
Following these 4 e-commerce marketing funnel steps, along with the rest of the strategies and steps mentioned in this blog can truly skyrocket your e-commerce marketing metrics.
Despite all your knowledge about tips, funnels, and keywords, your marketing strategies might still encounter some hiccups along the way. So, here are a few common e-commerce marketing challenges to look out for and some simple ways you can avoid them.
E-commerce Marketing Challenges
1. Cart Abandonment Issues
Cart abandonment is a common concern amongst all e-commerce businesses. Static sales might leave you feeling lost or confused as to what you can do to improve your sales rates.
However, this is another e-commerce marketing challenge that can be easily dealt with. In case you are feeling slightly dejected with your sales rates, you can try and make small changes in your marketing plans that can bring about improvements in your sales also.
Furthermore, you can try and avoid cart abandonment issues by A/B testing your proposed updates and edits to ensure the purchasing process is enticing and easy for your customers to follow.
For example, Asos sent their customers a short and direct cart abandonment email to remind them to complete their purchase. They also added a CTA button at the end to allow customers to complete the purchase straight from the email! This will serve as an entertaining and engaging reminder about their incomplete purchase while also reducing cart abandonment for your brand.
2. Return/Refund Efficiency Issues
As a business, you should make sure your customers do not face any issues when trying to determine whether a particular product would be the right choice or fit for them.
If you run a clothing brand, for example, you can prevent returns altogether by providing a handy size chart with conversions for EU/UK and US sizes to ensure your customers pick the size that would fit them best. Moreover, having reviews or testimonials for your products can help reduce the chances of returns altogether.
In any case, implementing a smooth and easy return/refund policy is crucial. The return/refund process should be as quick and easy as possible to avoid any hassles or headaches for your customers. You can also encourage your customers to fill in a quick form or survey for feedback on how you can improve their experience and provide better-suited products in the future.
Pro Tip: Build your own customer feedback form or survey to decrease your return efficiency issues with Outgrow here!
3. Device Compatibility Issues
Device compatibility refers to the optimization of the website for the general devices that your prospective and existing customers would be accessing it on. This is another issue that e-commerce companies tend to overlook often.
However, this issue can be solved easily by making your site or app both desktop and mobile-friendly. Likewise, you should also ensure that the checkout step for your products is optimized for all devices. You can do so by conducting A/B tests to find any issues or glitches before releasing any new updates or features to your websites or apps.
You can streamline your A/B testing process by using interactive content to collect the responses. Here is an example of a Split A/B Test Quiz built with Outgrow.
Incorporating an interactive quiz like the one above will allow you to collect and store all your results and analysis in one place. Meanwhile, you can focus on implementing the suggestions you’ve received and ensuring you provide the most delightful experience to your customers.
E-commerce Marketing FAQs
1.What is the difference between e-commerce marketing and e-commerce advertising?
Essentially, e-commerce marketing is the process of spreading awareness about your products with the intent of selling. On the other hand, e-commerce advertising includes the methods to achieve that process through display ads, search ads, banner/pop-up ads, etc.
2. How do I market my e-commerce business/store?
You can market your e-commerce business or store in various ways. You can choose to market your brand through social media marketing, affiliate marketing, or influencer marketing also. These methods can help promote and establish your brand within the relevant industry, thus helping you gain new leads.
3. What is online marketing in e-commerce?
Online marketing refers to companies utilizing online channels to promote and increase awareness about their brand, products, and solutions to potential as well as existing customers. Online marketing takes various forms such as email marketing, search engine optimization, display advertising, etc.
You made it to the end! After implementing the plan and the strategies we’ve mentioned here, you’ll be an e-commerce marketing whiz in no time. Whether you are looking to implement an e-commerce marketing strategy, or improve upon existing tactics, we hope this blog has helped you learn more about how to maximize your company’s growth.
So, what are you waiting for! Sign up for FREE with Outgrow now, and make the most of the e-commerce tips mentioned above by creating and sharing your very own interactive quiz or poll!
Ruchira Asiwal is a Marketing Strategist at Outgrow. On her days off you can find her seeking some general knowledge about everything that catches her eye or reading fascinating books that blow her mind.