The online retail market is expanding exponentially, expected to be worth $472.9 Billion by 2016. That's a large pie for your eCommerce business to get a piece of.
In this article we'll cover what we see as the top five ways to market your online retail business and increase your product sales. These five tips cover the promotion of your store all the way to increasing transaction value.
Online Retail Marketing Tip #1: Social Media
Social is becoming ever more effective for online retail businesses, and with the arrival of networks such as Pinterest and Instagram it's truly becoming a platform that favours visual content.
This is extremely beneficial for online retail businesses, as people are actually subscribing to feeds that will keep them in the loop with new products that they find of interest. Take Pinterest for example – customers can actually follow the 'boards' created and run by their favourite brands, allowing them to keep on top of new products that are released as well as other interesting things that particular brand may have to share.
Facebook is also becoming very important in the visual content space, which is becoming ever more apparent with the new look and feel that is due to launch later this year. People are going to be more compelled to share things they like and feel that their friends and followers will find of interest, too.
Our advice? If you haven't done so already; start building a presence on these social platforms, specifically Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Start posting pictures of your products – both stock images and them being used by customers. Social proof in this manner can go a long way.
Don't just promote your own products though; share content that your customers and followers will actually find valuable. This could come in the form of blog posts (which can be linked from the descriptions of your images), infographics or even videos. As long as you link back to your website with real value, it's more than possible to drive a large amount of traffic to your store with social media.
Online Retail Marketing Tip #2: Email Marketing
So you've got your prospect to sign up for a free piece of content, or you've gained a new customer who has just ordered a product from your store. Now what? It's time to deliver more relevant content via email.
Email marketing is still hot and still works like a charm – if it's done correctly. First, it needs to be permission based. Don't spam your customers or prospects if they've specifically asked not to be bothered. This is always Rule No. 1 when it comes to email marketing.
Secondly, in our New Economy, all messages sent directly to your customers need to be contextual. Send content that is relevant to the 'thing' this person purchased or the piece of content the subscriber was originally interested in. If they ordered some childrenswear from your clothing store and you start bombarding them with the latest men's suits, for example, then that email will likely end up straight in the trash.
Segment your list accordingly by using intelligent email marketing software. If you can be hyper-contextual and personalise your email messages to the person receiving it then you’ll have much more success in this realm.
Online Retail Marketing Tip #3: Split Testing
We love split testing here at Mediahawk. It's a great way of giving yourself an increase in conversions just by trying something new. We talk a lot about A/B testing here on the blog, but how can this practice be applied to your online retail business?
The most obvious one is to split test your ads. With PPC services such as Google AdWords this is incredibly easy – just create a new variation and split how often each one gets shown on the SERPs by 50%. If you're using print advertising, you can ask the publication your ad appears in to print half with one variation and the other with a new one you've made.
The most effective use of split testing however comes from your website. Try creating a new variation of your home page, or new versions of your highest performing product pages to see what will make people press that 'Add To Cart' button more than before.
Two other key things you need to keep in mind when split testing; firstly, always change one element of your advert or web page at a time. If you want to see whether or not a different coloured button will make people more likely to click it, great – just make sure the only thing you change on that page is the button in question. Same goes for headlines, product descriptions, images and calls-to-action.
Secondly, always find an effective way to track what's working and what isn't. If you're relying heavily on the phone for a response then make sure you have a call tracking solution similar to Mediahawk's in place, or use Google Analytics Experiments to accurately discover which variation is bringing in more leads, sales and overall conversions.
Online Retail Marketing Tip #4: Product Feeds
Your customers are readily looking for your products, but sometimes they might be looking for them somewhere else instead of your web store. The solution here? Make your products available in those places.
There are services out there that will ensure your products get on some key product feeds – the two most prominent being Google Shopping and Amazon. It's reasonably easy to set up an Amazon Marketplace store, and by following Amazon's instructions you should be able to get your products up on the site in no time.
One key benefit for getting your products in Google's Shopping feed is to help with your SEO efforts. Google will see that your product is relevant to certain keyword terms and should reward you accordingly. Not to mention that, if someone is searching for a particular product, it may appear right at the top of Page 1 under the shopping results.
Online Retail Marketing Tip #5: Cross Promotion
Have you ever shopped on Amazon and seen a section under a particular product pages that says "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought"? This shows a list of other products relevant to the one they're browsing right at that moment.
And it's not only done on the product pages either – it follows the customer through once it's been added to the cart and also reminds them through the checkout process itself.
This little tactic can be a great way to increase the average value of each transaction if the suggested products are aligned with what the customer is currently shopping for. If you're using a good back-end system to run your eCommerce store then this should be very easy to set up.
Like these tips and want to see more? Let us know in the comments below, along with any burning questions you may have that we can help you with.
Image credit: Robert Couse-Baker