Ecommerce marketing is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay on top of what’s working in 2023.
What marketing tactics are working with things like ChatGPT, Facebook Ad Changes & Google Updates?
Here’s a list of the 17 most important ecommerce marketing strategies to scale your store in 2023 and beyond.
Think of this list as a guidebook to ecommerce growth.
Let’s dive in.
What is an Ecommerce Marketing Strategy?
An Ecommerce Marketing strategy is the process of getting people interested in your brand and the products you sell.
To keep it simple, let’s break it down into 3 parts:
- Using tactics to drive traffic to your online store
- Converting that traffic into customers
- Retaining those customers for the long term
And here are the strategies you’ll learn about in this post.
- Make Time for Goal Setting
- Prepare an Ecommerce Marketing Plan
- Optimize for Customer Experience (CX)
- Boost Sales with Ecommerce SEO
- Run a Successful Paid Search (PPC) Campaign
- Scale Your Content Marketing
- Automate User Generated Content (UGC)
- Leverage Organic Social Media Marketing
- Grow an Email List for Ecommerce
- Automate Email Marketing Flows
- Build your Local Marketing
- Invest in Influencer Marketing
- Develop Strategic Partnerships
- Implement Effective Remarketing
- Reduce Abandoned Shopping Carts
- Increase AOV with Up-selling & Cross-selling
- Track Performance with KPIs
1. Set Your Growth Goals
You want to grow your ecommerce business, right?
Setting goals helps you determine what marketing strategies are right for you.
For example, you might use different strategies depending on your niche or if you run a DTC vs B2B ecommerce brand.
How can you set the right goals?
Start by writing down what you want to achieve.
Or do you want to improve conversion rates, lift AOV’s and get more repeat purchases? Focusing on customer experience (CX) and conversion rate optimization should be part of your plan in that case.
The options to design specific goals can get complex. Keep it simple and don’t over-complicate your goal-setting process. Start with setting goals you have a good chance of achieving first so you don’t get overwhelmed and discouraged.
Setting SMART Goals
One way to start is to use the SMART goal guide: identify goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
Remember, the ultimate goal for any marketing strategy and plan is to increase sales, but we need smaller, more achievable baby steps to get there.
Here’s an example to clarify:
Goal: Increase website traffic conversion rates by 30% in 3 months.
- Specific: increase the number of customers that make a purchase from our site
- Measurable: increase our monthly number of buyers from 200 to 260
- Achievable: improved check-out customer experience by shortening process and incorporating automated email marketing to trigger conversions.
- Relevant: Increase in buyers will in turn support our revenue stream
- Time-bound: Goal to be achieved within the next 3 months
2. Create an Ecommerce Marketing Plan
What is an Ecommerce Marketing plan?
An ecommerce marketing plan helps you stay on track to meet your marketing goals. A good plan should identify and define your revenue, budget, brand, target market, competition, channels, strategies & tactics, and performance metrics.
Why It Matters
A detailed plan to scale your ecommerce business will not only help you keep your focus on the goals that matter, but also help you prepare timely for your next move, to counter a set-back and to celebrate each successful outcome measured by a set of well-defined metrics.
How to create an Ecommerce Marketing Plan?
Having a sure-fire marketing plan is crucial for an ecommerce business and should ideally contain these elements:
- Know what e-commerce metrics you should track to measure success
- Create a Brand persona
- Situational analysis
- Comprehensive competitor analysis
- What marketing channels will you focus on?
- Target audience identification
- Controls & Monitoring methods
- Profit on investment (ROI) tools
Even though this is a great way to start, it is not set in stone, so feel free to experiment around with your plan to make it more comprehensible to you.
3. Optimize for Customer Experience (CX)
What is Customer Experience (CX)?
Think of customer experience, as the holistic perception of all customer interactions at the ecommerce related touchpoints your business has to offer. The objective of enhancing customer experience should be to keep visitors engaged enough to drive sales not once, but on repeat and from multiple customers.
Customer satisfaction and happiness are priceless assets to any ecommerce business, and outclass user experience can be the key to achieving them. A happy customer can also mean a repeating customer, and can reduce your customer acquisition costs.
How can you optimise for customer experience (CX)?
CX is part of the whole customer journey, from pre-purchase to post-purchase, and the best way to account for customers is to build a website that is optimised for the digital customer experience and search engines both.
Given the right effort, your ecommerce website can be a dedicated digital marketplace for your brand, with a customer base you can identify, track, convert, and hold for the long run.
To explore website optimization options, consider the elements of website design including but not limited to:
- Easing navigation around the website
- Improving content quality & readability
- Enhancing category pages, product pages and your check-out
- Optimising your ecommerce website conversions
For post-purchase customer experience, developing membership clubs, customer feedback options and occasional promotional offers can ensure high rates of repeat customers and even referrals for your business.
4. Boost Sales with Ecommerce SEO
What is Ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about optimizing your Ecommerce website to display at the top of Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) like Google.
An Ecommerce SEO Strategy identifies your current status of search engine visibility, steps you will take to optimize your website for increased visibility and organic traffic, and the outcomes you expect after implementing SEO.
With Ecommerce SEO, your end goal should be to rank above your competitors and for your target keywords across search engines which will drive more traffic (and customers) to your site.
As per a survey, 49% of marketers believe organic search has the best ROI compared to any other digital marketing channel because it is essentially a free tool to get the most engaged website traffic.
How to build your Ecommerce SEO Strategy?
To win with SEO, extensive keyword research, creating original and engaging content, optimizing site structure, and understanding backlinks are just a few of the components to consider. Start working on your strategy by keeping in mind these basic steps:
- Setting SEO Goals
- Choosing the Right Keywords
- Building an SEO Content Strategy
- Working on Link Building
- Tracking Outcomes
SEO is a vast world with much more detail to it and if you’re really serious about amplifying your SEO game, you can take a look at Engine Scout’s step-by-step guide to SEO.
5. Run a Successful Paid Search (PPC) Campaign
What is Paid Search (PPC)?
Paid Search or Pay-Per-Click Advertising is another cost-effective digital marketing strategy to improve your ecommerce site’s visibility toward a relevant target audience and as the name suggests, you pay a monetary price for every click.
PPC can be a critical tool for enhancing your ecommerce marketing, especially in tandem with SEO. Used correctly, PPC ads can shield you from competitors, while directing instant web traffic to your website.
How to run a paid search (PPC) campaign?
So, what is the best way to run a PPC ad campaign?
- Start by knowing your ad options and choosing the right fit for your business. When it comes to Search Engine advertising for ecommerce stores, Google is the largest platform for PPC ads so using Google Ads is usually a no brainer in any situation, but make sure to pick a careful mix of social ad platforms relevant to your target customers e.g. Facebook Ads and Youtube Ads.
- Formulate a bidding strategy (manual vs. automatic) and set a budget
- Create an Ad that engages the viewers and drives conversions
- Choose the right keywords. Just like SEO, you need to pick the relevant keywords for the ad platform to know when to show your ads.
- Measure ad performance and keep an eye out for ad fatigue.
6. Scale Your Content Marketing
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is the use of various content formats (blogs, images, videos, infographics, case studies, tutorials etc.) to drive potential buyers toward your ecommerce website and generate sales leads.
Content creation is a big-ticket item when it comes to building winning ecommerce marketing strategies but there is much emphasis on high-quality, authentic and relevant content.
Strategically creating shareable content can benefit your business with brand awareness, search engine visibility, meaningful customer relationships, and sustainable customer loyalty.
How can you scale your content marketing?
An ideal way to start is to keep in mind SEO and use your content to rank higher on search engines. Once that is clear, you can refer to the key steps in creating a content plan below:
- Decide which type of content is right for your site
- Conduct a content audit and identify gaps
- Draft content that stays relevant and current
- Carry out Keyword Research
- Understand Content Backlinking
- Create a Content Calendar
- Hire a content marketing agency that specialises in ecommerce
Perhaps the best way to scale up and become a trusted ecommerce business is by aiming to create a Content Hub for your industry and product.
This means becoming a centralised collection of content on diverse but relevant topics.
When customers are redirected to your site for their many information needs, you can start finding yourself rising above your competitors in no time!
7. Automate User Generated Content (UGC)
What is User Generated Content?
User Generated Content (UGC) is online content about your brand which is ‘crowd-sourced’ from potential customers and consumers that do not have any official stake in the business itself.
This can be as small as a tweet, to something as large as a video review on YouTube.
UGC is all the buzz in newer generations, and you will see many of the younger population finding their way to both producing and referring to UGC for their purchase journey.
In fact, as per Gartner, 84% of Millennials admitted to UGC having an impact on their buying behaviour.
Positive UGC can add an element of credibility and trust to your brand, help you receive authentic feedback, increase brand engagement and visibility, and even offer you some undiscovered insights that no one seems to talk about out loud.
How to automate user generated content (UGC)?
With the increase in volumes of UGC, it may become physically impossible to rummage through online sources to find relevant content to your brand and ensure content moderation, which is also where UGC management tools come in handy.
Using tools that automatically crawl and systematically manage content online can reduce inefficiencies and allow you to expand your business even further.
If you think your ecommerce business needs properly managed UGC to give it the attention it needs, start improving your ‘brand talkability’ and then come right back here to see how you can further source, manage and publish user generated content using these UGC management platforms.
8. Leverage Organic Social Media Marketing
What is Organic Social Media Marketing?
Organic Social Media Marketing is the use of social media platforms to build a community of engagement around your brand without the use of paid promotions.
The key to organic social media reach is to understand that even social media platforms have an SEO like algorithm in place, through which your posts are visible to a limited following until the initial audience finds them engaging enough to interact with.
How to use organic social media marketing to your advantage?
Ready to use organic social media to one-up your business? Try sticking to the following advice:
- Target Precisely: Platforms like Facebook, and even Twitter have a targeting profile and hashtags to maximise organic reach toward the right demographic.
- Tell, Don’t Sell: Be great at storytelling and building narratives people want to follow. After all, what you need is some captivating content with the potential to go viral!
- Interact Frequently: Engage the audience with polls, contests and suggestions – perhaps occasionally incentivized – to gather critical insights and also keep your audience on their toes.
- Build a Community: Gather a niche devoted following which you can eventually scale: a moderated forum to support audience queries can be a great way to maintain a connection with customers and gain their trust.
There are more tactics you can consider to leverage organic social media, but don’t forget, your ecommerce website is the final stop, and using this strategy to engage with audiences is to ultimately drive traffic to the website and improve your conversion rates.
9. Grow an Email List for Ecommerce
What is an Email List for Ecommerce?
For an ecommerce business, an email list is simply a collection of email addresses you can use to reach out to consenting customers in a timely and personalised manner with updates, offers, and events.
Email is an evergreen and dominating digital marketing channel, which means it should definitely be part of your strategy.
In fact, you have a 6x higher chance to get a click-through with email marketing than you have with Twitter.
The end goal?
Generate emails that customers do not unsubscribe to, and recurrently arrive on your ecommerce website’s landing page.
How can you grow your email list?
The ways to build your email list are plenty and you may even come across them when browsing through your favorite websites. Check out some of the options below.
- Pop-up Form on your homepage with discount offers
- Registration for Newsletters & Recommendations
- Contests & Giveaways (requiring emails to participate)
- Sign Up after Check-Out (for order tracking convenience)
10. Automate Email marketing Flows
What are Email Marketing Flows?
Automated email marketing flows can be described as a set of automated emails triggered along the customer buying journey that include a personalised response to customers.
As your ecommerce business grows, individually sending emails to various customers at different points in time may not be practical, and that’s when you need to consider automated email flows that can do the job for you.
How can you automate your email marketing flows?
Your best bet at email automation for a growing ecommerce company is to look at the many email flow softwares available. Keep in mind the needs of your business based on size and budget, as well as the kind of email flows you require when onboarding the perfect email marketing platform.
You can also start with the core email flows every ecommerce company should have:
- Welcome Email: Greet your new customers and create a lasting first impression. Add ways to make the best use out of their sign-up or perhaps even add a sign-up bonus offer.
- Order Confirmation Email: Don’t leave your customers hanging! Placing an order without receiving a confirmation can be anxiety-inducing and risks an unsatisfied customer. Make sure the confirmation includes order, shipping and billing details.
- Product Recommendation Email: If you find a customer browsing a certain type of product, reminding them of similar items can return them to your website and speed up the buying process.
- Time-triggered Email: Haven’t seen a customer around for a while? Time to send them a reminder to visit your online store and shop.
- Abandoned Shopping Cart Email: So close! Maybe you can give them the extra push over the check-out button? Send an email reminding them of their unfinished shopping cart. A discount voucher or waived delivery fee may work wonders here too.
Pro-Tip: Remember that all your email campaigns need to be built with a call-to-action button, and steer your customers back to the website where they can turn into leads. For example, take a look at these email marketing flows shared by Klaviyo.
11. Build your Local Marketing
What is local marketing?
Local or Local Search marketing is targeting your business to local or regional audiences. This is especially useful for small and medium-sized businesses which have a physical location and depend on local customers.
Potential customers within a certain radius of a business are often overlooked when preparing an ecommerce marketing strategy to generate sales.
The customer that looks up your business from a close by location is usually one looking for instant purchases from the nearest option available, which can be a source of quick revenue for your business.
In fact, as per a consumer insight by Google, 76% of the people conducting local search using their phones end up at the business within 24 hours!
How can you build your local marketing?
Take a look at our suggested ways to best apply local marketing to your business:
- Use Google & Facebook Ads with a set and specific radius to target customers within the locality
- Ensure a Mobile-Friendly Website to reach instant customers that are likely to search up nearby options using their phone.
- Build up Local SEO by making sure to optimise your site with locally searched keywords, and make full use of Google My Business (inclusion in local map packs with correct business name, address and contact details).
- Leverage Positive Customer Reviews to make yourself stand out with high ratings that show up on your Google Search and use the opportunity of remarketing to customers through review responses.
Are you treading new waters with local search marketing? Read through this Local Search Marketing Guide for Beginners to feel more confident.
12. Invest in Influencer Marketing
What is Influencer marketing?
Think of an influencer as someone who has crowd-imposed power to make or break your business. Influencer marketing comes in when brands collaborate with these influencers through product endorsements, reviews and demos shared publicly on social media.
An influencer no longer needs to be a celebrity to be considered for this type of marketing. In fact, anyone with a dedicated following that fully trusts the influencer’s suggestions and advice can and will make the cut.
With time, more people refer to reviews and recommendations from these influencers before making a buying decision. This ‘social proof’, is what your ecommerce business needs to leverage to build trust and lasting buying relationships with customers.
How can you invest in influencer marketing?
To make the best use of influencers to promote your business, start with identifying your needs and expected outcomes of engaging a social media influencer..
Once you’re done, take to the web and find the influencers that best fit your brand persona, and reach your preferred audiences.
Don’t always aim for mega-influencers, as more often than not, your best bet for success can be found in the up and coming nano and micro-influencers that can be easy on the pocket and also have a desirable reach.
If you’ve shortlisted your influencers, the hard part is over.
At the end, it’s all about the right content passed through the right influencer which can slowly, but surely, help you gain traction.
As with all marketing strategies, don’t forget to measure the success of your campaign and tweak the strategy accordingly.
13. Develop Strategic Partnerships
What are strategic partnerships?
Strategic partnerships in Ecommerce can be an agreement formed between parties across various spectrums such as with other larger or smaller ecommerce platforms, with supply-chain focused businesses, or with an influencer even.
As a growing ecommerce business, you need to keep an eye out for partnering opportunities to scale up your operations since your resources and capabilities may not be sufficient on your own. This can be especially useful in leveraging the combined reach of you and your partner for increased web traffic and conversion rates, among other benefits.
How can you develop strategic partnerships for your business?
It may seem tricky but don’t fret. Stick to the following steps to develop the right strategic partnerships:
- Create a dream list of stores you would like to partner with – but not your competitors!
- Pen down ways you want to partner with them – perhaps with some social media/email cross promotion, or teaming up for a giveaway.
- Reach out to the owner with a well-drafted proposal and an enticing offer
- As a best practice, make sure there is a formal agreement set in place – something to always go back to in times of conflict and confusion
- Implement the partnership and relevant tactics on both ends in sync – you and your partner should appear as fully involved in the deal with equal stake in it for it to be a success.
- Track, control and report! After investing all this effort in implementing the partnership strategy, don’t forget to gauge results and outcomes. Is it something you need to take up again? Or are there some elements that need to be reconsidered?
14. Implement Effective Remarketing
What is remarketing?
Remarketing, is an umbrella term referring to campaigns that seek to retain existing customers, or to bring back lost customers. It is often clubbed together with retargeting; the digital strategy of placing ads on external websites to drive conversion rates from almost-customers after a potential buyer has left your website without making a purchase.
To differentiate, remarketing is sometimes limited to retaining existing customers and marketing to them using email campaigns, while retargeting is mostly used for lost customers.
Both these marketing strategies are important for ecommerce retailers, especially in driving conversion rates and maintaining customer relationships.
How can you remarket customers?
Think of Alex, who goes to your website to buy a pair of sunglasses. After scrolling through product options, he decides to leave the purchase to another day.
But wait, while he is viewing the daily headline on a news site, what does he see but an ad for sunglasses tactfully placed by you?
The ad makes Alex rethink his decision, and he ends up buying after all.
This is a classic use of Google Ads to retarget customers, and is the most widely used retargeting strategy. Cookies – pieces of data stored by websites you visit – are an important aid here, especially for pixel-based targeting.
When it comes to remarketing existing customers, email campaigns are the ideal choice for re-engagement.
Remarketing tactics can be used to bring back email subscribers, and even those that are ‘sale-only’ customers.
You can remarket to customers by using email marketing flows to move stock (with clearance and last chance sales), to re-emphasize best selling items and to ultimately create a lasting brand.
Now take a look at the next strategy and see if you can find a link between the two.
15. Reduce Abandoned Shopping Carts
What is an abandoned shopping cart?
Abandoned shopping carts are what haunt you with the ghosts of customers that-could-be.
The checkout process (a final leg to a purchase) is often the risky part of a customer journey, and you should have a strategy in place to discourage shopping cart abandonment at this stage and to redeem customers after abandonment.
Preventing abandonment at the final stage can especially help to preserve your ROI. After applying all ecommerce strategies like an expert, you wouldn’t want them to go to waste because the customer decided not to check out, now would you?
How can you reduce abandoned shopping carts?
The key to reducing abandoned carts is in understanding why it happens in the first place. Perhaps the long checkout process, the high or unexpected delivery charges, or even a pop-up registration request before buying may be the final straw in an unsuccessful sale.
Once you know the potential reasons of abandonment, consider the following Engine Scout approved preventive actions:
- Utilise trust signals – put your customer at ease with detailed FAQs and information on shipping, returns and exchange policies.
- Display Customer ratings and reviews – as we already discussed, customers need social proof before making a purchase and feedback from previous buyers can be the best on-site proof they need.
- Ensure high quality ecommerce merchandising – this includes multiple and high quality images for each product, as well as detailed filter options and product recommendations.
- Give the best customer service: reducing customer response times, offering free shipping, and providing multiple payment options can surely be a game-changer for your lost shopping carts.
16. Increase AOV with Up-selling & Cross-selling
What is Up-Sell and Cross-Sell?
Upselling is the tactic of selling a comparatively expensive and premium product to a customer looking to buy in a specific category.
Cross-selling however, is to sell a complementary product adjacent to the product in consideration, as a packaged deal perhaps.
Both these strategies have the same ultimate end goal: increase average order value (AOV)
Think of it this way:
Up-sell: a model upgrade to a laptop purchase can increase AOV for the business
Cross-sell: offering to sell warranty, software security, and a wireless mouse on top of the laptop focuses both on sales value but also sales volume to increase AOV.
How can you increase AOV with Up-Selling & Cross-Selling?
Amazon is a guru when it comes to using up-selling and cross selling tactics. In fact, it revealed once that as much as 35% of its revenue was from cross-selling.
So how does Amazon do it?
For starters, Amazon knows how to target each customer with a relevant suggestion and a product most closely related. It also seizes opportunity to present bundled products as an increased value for money strategy which supports its conversion rates.
Not only this, but using product descriptions to create a sense of urgency and advantage is also its prime tactic.
In fact, if you go through it’s website, you’ll see some product details highlighting quantity left, days left to avail deal, and even percentage savings to boost conversion rates and increase AOVs.
Take a look at these strategies to further upsell and cross-sell like Amazon.
17. Track Performance with KPIs
What are KPIs?
Key performance indicators are metrics that are important and valuable for a business. They beckon performance of the business as per set goals which is crucial if you want to scale your ecommerce business.
Analysing ecommerce KPIs and metrics can help you stay right on track while fixing any issues that arise to stay competitive.
But before you do, you should take time to identify KPIs that are relevant to your business, and avoid vanity metrics of any sort to detract you from real performance.
How can you track your performance?
You can consider a variety of ecommerce metrics, but at the end, you know your business better, and depending on the needs of your business’ life cycle, you get to decide your final KPIs which have a lasting and consistent impact on your goals.
To help you along, here’s some key metrics you can consider for your ecommerce business:
- Gross Profit – as is key to any business, this is the value left after deducting the cost of goods sold from sales revenue.
- Conversion rates – the rate at which traffic to your website is converted into buyers
- Average Order Values – the average purchase value per customer that spends on your website.
- Shopping cart abandonment rates – the percentage of potential customers that drop out at the check-out process
- New customers vs Returning Customers – the comparison between new and repeat customers to gauge customer acquisition as well as retention
- Customer Acquisition Cost – the cost of gaining a new customer
Congratulations. You’ve now come across the other end of this article as somewhat of an ecommerce super-strategist and can put these tactics to the test in 2023.
Come what may, ecommerce is here for good and we’re hoping so are you.
Which means it is perfectly fine to pause and ask yourself,
“Do I need more help?”
If you find yourself saying yes, hop on over to all you need to know about hiring an ecommerce agency and let us lead the way to your success.