With Amazon controlling 44% of all online sales in the U.S. this year, the ecommerce market certainly has a clear front-runner that’s showing no signs of slowing down. Still, with the ecommerce sector jumping 15.8% in 2017 overall, there’s still plenty of room for small-to-mid-sized businesses to make an impact… if they do it the right way. Here’s How:
STEP 1: INVEST IN A TECHNICALLY SOUND SITE
Who: Front-End Developers, Back-End Developers, SEO Team, Legal Team
What: ERP implementation, payment integrations, SSL certificate, shipping integrations
Where: The back end of your website
How: Hire a focus group of your demographic and gauge their feedback on your site functions and layout. Your developers need to make sure all functionality of the site works on both desktop AND mobile, which, for some reason, is still often overlooked. Integrations all need to work properly so there’s no hiccup between shipping costs, order fulfillment, or product inventory. The SEO team needs to make sure site speed & structure is a priority, and analytics tracking must be installed and set up before launch to track user behavior. All ecommerce sites need an SSL certificate to make sure customer information is secure as well.
Why: It sort of goes without saying, but if your site is broken, you’re essentially building a house on toothpick support beams. That, and 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if it takes too long to load.
STEP 2: INVEST IN THE CUSTOMER JOURNEY
Who: Graphic Designer, Videographer/Video Editor, Social Media Manager, Community Manager, Content Writer/Editor
What: Site Design, Blog, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube content production
When: Before site construction is finished. It’s never too early to build up hype for your brand.
Where: On-site, social media, hangouts in your niche, forums, discussion boards, online communities
How: Create a centralized design, message, and tone. Begin to engage followers on other channels to build your brand and develop your own community of followers and advocates. Send free promo products to influencers in your niche and ask them for a review.
Walk your potential customers through the process of buying products you offer from beginning to end. That way, when it’s time to make a purchase, you’ll already be a trusted source.
Why: 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. This is Content Marketing 101: Show you’re listening to your customers, give them something of value for free, engage them, and then reap the benefits.
STEP 3: INVEST IN SEO/PPC
Who: SEO Team, SEM Team, Marketing Team, Data Analysts
What: SEO, Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising, Instagram Advertising
When: Upon site launch
Where: The first page of Google search results, social media feeds
How: Tie in SEO with your content production. Focus on your most profitable targets & look at search volume/searcher intent. Obtain high-quality backlinks from high Domain Authority sources. Install a heatmap and analyze site visitor behavior to increase conversion rates. Upload your product feed to Google and Facebook to run Google Shopping and Facebook Sponsored Product ads. Create highly-detailed Search Ads with review, price, and testimonial ad extensions.
Why: 43% of ecommerce traffic comes from Google search (organic) and 26% comes from Google AdWords – that’s roughly 70% of all ecommerce traffic. Our ecommerce customers see an ROI of 8x ad spend for PPC alone.
STEP 4: INVEST IN REMARKETING & EMAIL
Who: Content Strategists, Email Marketing Specialists, SEM Team, Marketing Team
What: Welcome emails, recommended products, cart abandonment, reengagement, cross-device retargeted display ads
When: After visitors have landed on your site and taken some sort of action
Where: Visitor inboxes, social media sites, display ads on other websites
How: Implement email sign up opt-ins during checkout & on pop-up forms offering a % off a customer’s first purchase. Segment your email list based on user interest and set up email drip campaign workflows to keep your customers coming back for more. Set up cookies for retargeting to follow visitors who abandoned their carts before making a purchase. Encourage positive customer reviews on Google to help boost search ranking.
Approximately 53% (or 1 billion people) made an online purchase in 2016. That number is only going to continue to increase in 2018 and beyond.
When it comes to ecommerce, it’s true that the best time to act was years ago – but the next best time to act is now.