marketing-storefront-credit-card-illustration

The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Marketing [2022]

Here's everything you need to know about eCommerce Marketing including Email Marketing, Influencers, UGC, Chatbots, SMS, PR, Affiliates, Online Marketplaces.

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Global sales of eCommerce products went through the roof over the last 2 years. Sales are projected to double from pre-pandemic levels, hitting $7 billion globally by 2025.

Everyone wants to capitalize on the momentum and grow their eCommerce business. The challenge is that there is so much information out there that it’s easy to get lost in all the fluff.

Brands are having a harder time with:

  • competing on catching the attention of potential customers in their customer journey
  • focusing their marketing efforts on the right target customer
  • delighting them in the post-purchase portion of the buyer experience

That’s why we wrote this guide.

If your eCommerce brand is struggling with optimizing your digital marketing, bringing sales, and improving your customer retention then this guide is for you. This is our most comprehensive guide on everything that has to do with eCommerce marketing strategy.

We cover specific eCommerce marketing tactics, the right channels, marketing tips, and tools to help you crush your ROI goals.

In this guide you will learn:

  1. How to create a flawless eCommerce marketing plan
  2. The top eCommerce marketing channels that brands use
  3. Which channels to pick for your business

Let’s dive in.

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What is eCommerce marketing?

eCommerce is a general term describing the action of buying and selling products or services over the internet. Ecommerce marketing is the practice of using promotional tactics to drive traffic to your online store, converting them into paying customers and retaining those relationships post-purchase.

A holistic eCommerce marketing plan is made up of marketing tactics both on and off your website.

You should start by identifying your eCommerce business model. This has further implications on marketing channels, audience personas, value propositions, and other areas of the digital marketing mix.

Source: Shopify Plus

The eCommerce marketing funnel

Most marketing funnels follow the same stages to get prospects from “strangers” to “happy customers”. The transition from one stage of the flow to the next is facilitated by the e-commerce marketing channel mix.

Here they are:

Awareness stage

Buyers are interacting with your website and at this point, visitors are interested in what you have to offer but aren’t familiar with your brand. Your task is to educate them start building trust (hopefully also getting them into your email lists to further contact them). This is a great time to offer a free guide or lead magnet.

Interest stage

These are people that are shopping. They have recognized your solution to their needs, and your task is to keep them engaged by offering them to join your newsletter list, download a helpful freebie, and/or join your following. They are ripe to continue to the next part of the funnel.

Purchase stage

Buyers who are ready to complete a purchase. At this point, they are aware of you and how you solve their problem or answer their needs, and now need that nudge to go through the checkout.

Your task is to make this transition easy with minimal friction points for your buyer to back down (easy and secure payment for instance). You can seal the deal with extra complimentary offers or first-time purchase discounts etc.

Repeat stage

Buyers who have completed a purchase are a great resource to nurture towards repeat purchasing (especially if they are pleased with you).

Your task is to keep them happy and offer them additional purchases and incentives to become your brand’s advocates, further feeding potential new buyers into the top of your eCommerce marketing acquisition funnel.

reasons-for-cart-abandonment-during-checkout
Source: Baymard Institute, 2019

Types of eCommerce Marketing Channels

Choosing the right inbound marketing channels is one of the most important components of eCommerce marketing. You might have a lot of ideas about which channels you want to invest your energy and budget in, but again, this should be based on your competitor research and uniquely customized to your target audience.

Ecommerce Chatbots

Chatbots have become one of the most powerful ways to engage with potential customers and delight returning customers. Customers prefer them because they provide such a quicker way of getting the information they need, whether that's help selecting a product or checking if the order was shipped.

Chatbots help eCommerce businesses save on customer service costs, improve conversion rates and increase retention.

There are two types of chatbots you should use. You can display a chatbot on your site using a live chat widget or you can use a chatbot on social media platforms like Facebook or Whatsapp. They work great on both desktop and mobile devices.

Speaking of mobile devices, here are two great strategies to engage with your mobile users better - push notifications and text messages.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are those messages you get on your mobile device or browser. The click-through rates on these are 12% on average but could get as high as 30% with a highly-targeted campaign. Use push notifications to send out promotions, transactional information, and content updates to your current customers.

Text Message (SMS) Marketing

Text messaging is another great way to engage with your customer base. Studies show that this is one of the most engaging of all marketing channels. In fact, 58.7% of text messages get answered within 5 minutes and 50% get answered within the first three.

And according to EZTexting, 100% of people achieve inbox zero with their text messages.

So it's a very powerful channel for any eCommerce brand.

Here are some of the top SMS strategies you should use to increase customer engagement and bring in more sales:

  • Send shipping and delivery notifications via text message. Automate all of your transactional notifications to be sent that way.
  • Send referral and loyalty program rewards to get more referrals and return customers to your online store.
  • Send promotions and shopping cart messages with a discount code.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become synonymous with eCommerce. It is the engine that drives so many other online marketing channels - like paid advertising, conversion optimization, and building an engaged community on social media.

Studies show that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from their friends and family more than advertising. Shoppers also regularly consume influencer content to get ideas for what to buy next and the data shows this.

49% of consumers say they use influencer recommendations to make a purchase decision.

"Influencer marketing is like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids"

Business owners should use influencers to create images and videos that they can then display on their website, product pages, use in brand awareness campaigns, retargeting sequences, landing pages, and on their marketplace product listings.

The way to best use influencers is to search for those whose audience matches the various target audiences that you are trying to reach.

To learn about how to set up an influencer campaign, how to find the right influencers, and how to best retarget your visitors and current customers to increase your eCommerce sales.

These are people that have built engaged audiences and can promote your brand to them. You can find the right people to work with by searching through your own followers, doing a hashtag search, or using a tool like Heepsy.

ecommerce-and-influencer-marketing

One of the most powerful influencer tactics is launching a giveaway campaign. You can do it with an influencer or another brand that's related to your niche.

Here's an example of a Tory Burch giveaway that got over 4k likes.

ecommerce-giveaway-example-instagram

Here's another one from Milk Makeup:

makeup-giveaway-on-instgram

User-generated content

What’s a great way to promote these giveaways? By offering prizes and extra entries for users that post images or videos of your product.

This is called user-generated content (UGC) and it's a super powerful way to make your campaign go viral. Ask your current customers to share images and videos of using your products, share success stories, and post all of this content on your product and category pages.

Frank Body, an Australian beauty company used UGC and influencer marketing to make $20M in sales in their second year. They did all this through really creative content and running giveaways around the hashtag #letsbefrank.

frank-body-content-marketing-UGC-wall

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (or CRO) is a must for every business and it's especially powerful in the world of eCommerce marketing. Every brand should be constantly optimizing its site to improve the user experience, improve conversions, and increase the bottom line.

Here are a few high-level eCommerce marketing strategies that brands can use to improve their conversion rate.

Decrease cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem for online stores. The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69% and it's even higher for mobile users, at 85%. Launch popups, run retargeting campaigns, and do thorough usability testing to optimize sections on your site that aren't getting enough engagement.

Improve the checkout process

The checkout process is one of the most crucial sections on any eCommerce site. Make sure that yours is simple to follow. Take out any unnecessary fields and make sure you include the guest checkout options and any relevant 3-rd party payment options.

Display customer reviews and UGC

A great way to improve your eCommerce conversion rate is to display social proof in the form of online reviews and user-generated content. UGC heavily impacts consumer purchase decisions, increasing conversions by 29%.

You can use a marketing tool like Loox or Pixlee to automatically display customer product images and videos on your product and category pages.

Continuously run A/B tests

Every successful eCommerce company is built on data and utilizes heat maps and/or surveys to collect data on what works and what doesn't.

You can also get live recordings of participants going through your site and trying to check out, and then optimize or test things according to what they said was most problematic or unclear.

Evaluate whether it's easy for a user to complete your order, to add something to their cart, to even find the item that they are looking for.

What are some of the most important things to test?

Here are a few.

  • Browsing your website should be intuitive, make sure your top menu & site structure is clear
  • Optimize your site speed and compress all of your images
  • Have eye-catching high-quality images for all of your products
  • Make sure your calls to action (CTAs) are clear
  • Optimize your checkout process
  • Use Google Analytics to get data on your bounce rate and visit duration
  • Optimize for mobile traffic
  • Install a live chat widget to capture more online sales and respond to customer concerns in real-time

CRO is one of the top tactics that Amazon used to grow to be the largest eCommerce platform in the world. They have perfected the buying process to such a degree that they’ve turned online shopping into a seamless experience.

For more eCommerce conversion rate optimization tips, read our full guide on CRO.

Online Marketplaces

Ecommerce platforms are not the only places where brands can store and sell their products. Online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, have been gaining popularity over the last decade and have become some of the biggest players in the eCommerce space.

According to a recent report, a whopping 74% of U.S. consumers begin their product searches on Amazon. And 56% of consumers say that if they were able to buy all of their products from a single store it would be Amazon.

The advantages of selling your eCommerce products on online marketplaces like Amazon or Walmart marketplace are:

  • So many internet users are browsing these platforms
  • There are a lot of affiliate marketing dollars (and paid search) spent by the platform and large media organizations
  • It's easy to create display ads and use native marketplace advertising solutions (like Amazon ads)
  • It's often easier to get ranked on top of the search results of a marketplace than Google, and then drive traffic to your brand site.

In this section, we cover four of the largest eCommerce marketplaces - Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Houzz. We go through product listing strategies, advertising, best practices, and much more.

Pricing Strategies

Learn how to automate your pricing, stay competitive and dominate on every platform and marketplace.

Pricing is at the core of online sales and it becomes much more crucial if you are selling online products across a variety of social media platforms and online marketplaces. It's difficult (and near impossible) to be able to adjust pricing in real-time to stay competitive, especially on weekends and holidays.

Here are some action items for you to set up pricing automation:

1. Create a competitor pricing strategy (monitor your competitors and create automation rules for adjusting your pricing)

2. Dynamically price your products across all of your channels and marketplaces

3. Use pricing intelligence and pricing alerts to dramatically improve your ROI.

Marketing Automation

Learn how to understand customer behavior, optimize every touchpoint along the buyer's journey, and automate your marketing channels to increase your sales and conversion rates.

We've covered pricing automation, now it's time to talk about all the other types of automation you should be utilizing in your eCommerce strategy. Ecommerce sites require a lot of tedious tasks and processes to be successful, and the sooner they are automated the better.

For example, every person that visits your website and converts as a lead should be sent an email flow. Every new customer should get a welcome flow along with transactional notifications such as an order confirmation, shipping & delivery notification, and a customer survey. Omnichannel experiences along the buyer journey should be automated as well (like SMS campaigns that trigger email flows, etc.).

Email Marketing

Email is by far the most profitable marketing channel for any eCommerce brand. A lot of other channels (like search ads) often bring traffic that then converts into email leads.

And those email campaigns you send to your email list then in turn help increase the conversion rate of your other marketing channels (like Facebook ads, Google ads, and organic search traffic). The return on investment from email marketing is at around $38 in sales for every $1 spent.

And the great thing about email marketing is how flexible it is. You can personalize your emails, target the right customer segment, and send the optimal messaging to each recipient at the exact time that they are more likely to make a purchase.

With all the algorithm changes on social media platforms and search engines, the email list remains the only place where the business can store and really own their customer data.

Another advantage of email marketing is when it's used for retargeting it is able to increase the conversion rates of all the other channels. For example, by taking a lead from a Facebook ad and sending a retargeting email you are able to convert that lead, effectively improving your Facebook ad campaign.

Every brand should use an email marketing service that integrates well with their eCommerce platform and provides basic email automation to be able to target individual customer segments with personalized emails.

Here are the email campaigns that brands should send:

  • Abandoned cart emails - targeting users that have added something to their cart and then left
  • Promotional emails (holidays, sales)
  • Behavioral segmentation based on user behavior on the site
  • Product upsells and cross-sells - dynamically display the latest items that the user has looked at or added to their cart. You can also display similar or complementary products.
  • Referral marketing and customer loyalty campaigns
  • Welcome flow - sent to new subscribers or new customers welcoming them to your online community.
  • Shipping/delivery notifications - sent each time the order is shipped or delivered. This is a super important touchpoint along the customer journey that will help you build loyalty and dramatically improve the user experience.
  • Email newsletter campaigns provide a great way to keep in touch with your audience and share the latest news about products and promotions.

Some of the elements brands should test in their emails include:

  • Customer testimonials, success stories, and product reviews,
  • User-generated content (UGC)
  • Popular social media posts
  • Individual products and product categories
  • Influencer images and videos
  • PR testimonials or reviews
  • Test your subject line and preview text

Your main goal should be to personalize your emails and be able to send the right email to the right audience segment. A rigorous approach to audience segmentation and A/B testing can yield great results over time for any of your email marketing campaigns.

Pro tip: combine your email marketing campaigns with other channels - SMS marketing, chat messages, push notifications - to provide a more cohesive user experience and increase your sales.

So for example, send a push notification in the morning, a chat message blast at noon, and your email campaign in the afternoon, all with the same messaging and same promotion. This can dramatically grow your sales.

We cover all of these flows in-depth in our guide to email marketing for eCommerce.

Paid Advertising

Advertising is the number one way to get more sales to your eCommerce store, and there are many ways to advertise. Most marketers still spend a majority of their advertising budgets on Facebook because they have the best ROI. Data shows that an average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month and Facebook has by far the largest audience at 2.14 billion people.

Traditionally, many successful online shops were built through Facebook ads. That has expanded to many other types of paid advertising campaigns such as Google Shopping, Amazon search ads, targeted product ads on Instagram/TikTok/Youtube, and native advertising.

Let's explore each one of them.

Google shopping ads

Set up Google Shopping campaigns to maximize your impressions from organic search and to set up another awesome sales channel. The way it works is that Google recommends products when it sees a transactional search like "buy Nike shoes". If you get into the top listings then you get more placement on the first page of the search results.

Google Shopping works really well with Google Ads (previously called Google Adwords) and with your organic product listings.

Amazon ads

Amazon advertising is one of the most popular forms of eCommerce ppc ads.

Amazon revenue grew by 23.5% year-over-year in 2020. And it's estimated that Amazon is earning more than 10% of all US digital ad spending. The advertising platform on Amazon is one of the most developed in the world and allows for a lot of customization, keyword optimization, and A/B testing.

Social media video ad campaigns

Facebook and Instagram ads are a must for every eCommerce business. You should also test out YouTube ads and sponsor videos of YouTube influencers.

For more examples of some of the best display ads that drive sales for eCommerce brands check out our Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Advertising.

Content Marketing

Digital content is a key to any inbound marketing strategy. Content marketing is all about serving each website visitor with relevant content to entice them to convert on your site.

Content can be used for customers in the awareness stage (top of the funnel) or for potential buyers that are shopping and comparing products (middle of the funnel). It's also an effective way to engage with your current loyal customers and bring them back to your site to make another purchase.

Best forms of content to try:

  • An eCommerce gift guides
  • A long-form blog post
  • Customer testimonials / video content
  • Company news

If you focus on writing long-form guides that educate the consumer and genuinely to try to solve their problem, provide answers, and tell stories - then you can receive a lot of high-quality leads from people looking for this information on Google.

Here's an example of a super-comprehensive beard-growing guide from Beardbrand:

beardbrand-caring-for-your-beard
We put most of our emphasis on content marketing and only spend 10% of our marketing budget on ads. - Eric Bandholz, the CEO & Founder of BeardBrand.

Beardbrand receives more than 400,000 monthly visitors and 72% of that traffic comes from organic search.

BeardBrand-similar-web-traffic-stats
beardbrand-similar-web-traffic-stats2

To learn more read our Guide to eCommerce Content Marketing.

Another really huge element of eCommerce content marketing is the web content on your product and category pages. Well-known online retailers, like Casper, don't just try to describe their products really well. They use quirky humor and excellent product copy to tell a story and lead the visitor through the sales funnel.

Image Source

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an incredibly effective marketing tactic because over 40% of product searches begin on search engines.

Another study that analyzed over 18,000 eCommerce stores in the United States found that 30.5% of all traffic was coming from organic searches on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. That's almost a third!

So if you want to get that large chunk of organic traffic then you need to optimize your eCommerce SEO.

And it’s not enough to show up somewhere on Google, you have to show up on the first page. Studies show that 70%-92% of all organic traffic is captured on the first page of Google, consumers just don’t visit the second page. So it’s really important to show up at the top of the search engine results.

How do you do that?

Ecommerce SEO breaks down into two critical components.

On-page SEO

Optimize your site for Google, especially the category and product pages for search engines. That means adding your target keywords or search terms into the URL, title, headers, and meta descriptions.

Also, make sure that you have all the different aspects of your items that searchers are looking for like dimensions, weight, warranty, color, and other important attributes.

Start by focusing on long-tail keyword searches and then slowly expand to short-tail and more competitive keywords.

Off-page SEO

Acquire more backlinks from reputable sites in your industry to improve your keyword rankings. This could be partnerships with other blogs, writing blog posts that get shared and linked to from large publishers, or getting included on gift guides.

One thing to keep in mind is that a backlink from a relevant industry site is 10x stronger than a link from a blog that published content about every topic under the sun. To find out if a site is relevant to your niche look at their organic keywords and make sure that they have relevant keywords that they rank for.

There are also a lot of free SEO software & tools that can help you optimize both the on-page and off-page elements of your SEO campaign. You can use Ahref's free plan to manage your backlink campaigns.

how-to-optimize-your-ecommerce-product-page-seo-optimization-on-page

Pro tip: launching on Google Shopping can give you more search visibility and a boost in organic traffic. So make sure to explore that channel.

Social media marketing

Organic social media is a super-powerful channel for any eCommerce brand. It allows you to connect with audiences for free and bring more clicks and sales to your site.

Ecommerce sites are highly visual and need to pick the best platforms that help show off their goods in the best possible way. It's best to post on Instagram and Pinterest to target those audiences with the highest purchase intent.

shoppable-instagram-ecommerce-lululemon

A really good eCommerce plan doesn't just throw designs that look nice together. It gathers data about its audience and then uses that to create social media content. And that's what helps them optimize, increase engagement, and get better at telling their story.

“The foundation of your marketing efforts is to understand who your target audience is and why they use social media. To do so, we need to utilize demographics and psychographics” - Neil Patel

Here are some of the best eCommerce marketing tips for growing your social media pages and building an engaged audience online.

  1. Re-purpose your blog content to generate more leads and traffic to your blog.
  2. Share posts about the latest market trends and how your business is staying at the cutting edge.
  3. Share product recommendations and expert advice on how to use the product
  4. Highlight products based in the US and any local marketing initiatives you might

Public Relations (PR)

Public relations is another form of content marketing it's just published on large publisher sites. This is a great way to gain exposure to an already engaged audience. There is a lot of software & tools for finding the right journalists to reach out to such as PressHunt where you can access over 750k journalists, reporters, and podcasters.

A lot of publishers have stores where they can create a page for you and promote your brand. They can also advertise your goods in their newsletters and send out custom promotions to their audiences. PR can be expensive but if you do it right it could help you vastly increase your customer base and create massive growth.

Here's an example of the online store at Entrepreneur Mag. It features gadgets, subscriptions, and goods from a variety of categories.

entrepreneur-magazine-store-online

Affiliate marketing

How do these online publishers make money you ask?

Through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize relationships and partnerships with blogs and publishers.

You can set up an affiliate program very easily either by setting up your own using a tool like Referral Candy or joining one of the large affiliate networks such as PepperJam, Share-a-sale, Rakuten, or Refersion.

The advantage of joining a large affiliate network is that you can get access to thousands of publishers, blogs, and coupon sites on these platforms. And a lot of external relationships you build with publications are then managed through one of these large affiliate platforms.

Pro tip: you can use the same affiliate tools and Shopify apps to manage your loyalty program for loyal customers or referral program for influencers.

Tips on finding the perfect eCommerce channel

With so many marketing channels out there, how do you choose the best one for your business?

Here are some tips that can help you find the perfect channel to expand to:

Find out where similar products are sold

Look at other products in your niche and find out where they are sold. Look at different eCommerce marketplaces, social media platforms, and do some online searches.

Research other brands and businesses in your niche

Take the top 10-15 brands in your niche and conduct full research of all the various marketing and sales channels they have. Sign up as a lead on their site and see if you could get retarget

Find where your target audience hangs out

Another great way to find the best marketing channel for your brand is to look at where your target audience shops. Look at influencers, particularly video influencers, whose audience matches yours and see the type of channels they promote.

Recap

There are endless opportunities to grow your eCommerce brand.

If you want to succeed you have to pay careful attention to user experience, publish valuable and relevant content, continuously optimize your website, launch paid media campaigns, and of course, create unique messaging.

Now, remember, don't launch too many eCommerce marketing campaigns at once. Start with the most important ones - post on social media platforms, use pay-per-click advertising (PPC), Facebook and Google ads, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing.

Then as you win on those, strategically choose your influencers, run UGC campaigns, gather more social proof, and you're off to the races.

One really important aspect of any successful marketing campaign is the focus on data and a company culture that's conducive to testing ideas and optimization. That means, surround yourself with people that aren't afraid to A/B test every marketing change and optimize the site and marketing campaigns based on that data (and not on based on their opinions).

A successful eCommerce marketing plan is one that builds trust, loyalty, and creates ‘word-of-mouth’. If you don't have the resources on the team to manage these marketing channels properly you can always either outsource your eCommerce marketing plan or find a top-notch marketer through Mayple 😉.

Want to work with a top-notch marketing manager or an expert eCommerce marketing agency in your niche? Meet the perfect marketer today.

Q&A

What are the main types of eCommerce marketing?

There are several types of marketing for eCommerce that online brands use to drive sales.

Paid advertising

Paid advertising usually refers to pay-per-click advertising (PPC) but it can include Google ads, Facebook ads, or Amazon ads, and SEO brings in the organic traffic from users searching for products on Google.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Studies show that 35% of all product searches start on Google, so that becomes a huge source of traffic for brands that know how to optimize their pages.

Social media marketing

Social media is another great channel for eCommerce businesses. At small businesses, the business owner themselves manage their various social media channels. Established brands usually hire marketing specialists to manage one or multiple channels.

Organic social media can positively impact your social advertising campaigns and help you lower your ad spend.

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective eCommerce marketing channels to help boost your sales and increase your customer loyalty. It’s also great for building brand awareness. Use marketing automation to set up your abandoned cart emails, shipping notifications, and welcome flows.

What is the difference between digital marketing and eCommerce?

Digital marketing refers to marketing any product or service, through any marketing channel. Ecommerce marketing only deals with promoting eCommerce websites. Both have the goal of increased sales and lead generation, and both can use the same marketing channels to reach that goal.

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The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Marketing [2022]

Here's everything you need to know about eCommerce Marketing including Email Marketing, Influencers, UGC, Chatbots, SMS, PR, Affiliates, Online Marketplaces.

No items found.

Global sales of eCommerce products went through the roof over the last 2 years. Sales are projected to double from pre-pandemic levels, hitting $7 billion globally by 2025.

Everyone wants to capitalize on the momentum and grow their eCommerce business. The challenge is that there is so much information out there that it’s easy to get lost in all the fluff.

Brands are having a harder time with:

  • competing on catching the attention of potential customers in their customer journey
  • focusing their marketing efforts on the right target customer
  • delighting them in the post-purchase portion of the buyer experience

That’s why we wrote this guide.

If your eCommerce brand is struggling with optimizing your digital marketing, bringing sales, and improving your customer retention then this guide is for you. This is our most comprehensive guide on everything that has to do with eCommerce marketing strategy.

We cover specific eCommerce marketing tactics, the right channels, marketing tips, and tools to help you crush your ROI goals.

In this guide you will learn:

  1. How to create a flawless eCommerce marketing plan
  2. The top eCommerce marketing channels that brands use
  3. Which channels to pick for your business

Let’s dive in.

[Add Banner Here]

What is eCommerce marketing?

eCommerce is a general term describing the action of buying and selling products or services over the internet. Ecommerce marketing is the practice of using promotional tactics to drive traffic to your online store, converting them into paying customers and retaining those relationships post-purchase.

A holistic eCommerce marketing plan is made up of marketing tactics both on and off your website.

You should start by identifying your eCommerce business model. This has further implications on marketing channels, audience personas, value propositions, and other areas of the digital marketing mix.

Source: Shopify Plus

The eCommerce marketing funnel

Most marketing funnels follow the same stages to get prospects from “strangers” to “happy customers”. The transition from one stage of the flow to the next is facilitated by the e-commerce marketing channel mix.

Here they are:

Awareness stage

Buyers are interacting with your website and at this point, visitors are interested in what you have to offer but aren’t familiar with your brand. Your task is to educate them start building trust (hopefully also getting them into your email lists to further contact them). This is a great time to offer a free guide or lead magnet.

Interest stage

These are people that are shopping. They have recognized your solution to their needs, and your task is to keep them engaged by offering them to join your newsletter list, download a helpful freebie, and/or join your following. They are ripe to continue to the next part of the funnel.

Purchase stage

Buyers who are ready to complete a purchase. At this point, they are aware of you and how you solve their problem or answer their needs, and now need that nudge to go through the checkout.

Your task is to make this transition easy with minimal friction points for your buyer to back down (easy and secure payment for instance). You can seal the deal with extra complimentary offers or first-time purchase discounts etc.

Repeat stage

Buyers who have completed a purchase are a great resource to nurture towards repeat purchasing (especially if they are pleased with you).

Your task is to keep them happy and offer them additional purchases and incentives to become your brand’s advocates, further feeding potential new buyers into the top of your eCommerce marketing acquisition funnel.

reasons-for-cart-abandonment-during-checkout
Source: Baymard Institute, 2019

Types of eCommerce Marketing Channels

Choosing the right inbound marketing channels is one of the most important components of eCommerce marketing. You might have a lot of ideas about which channels you want to invest your energy and budget in, but again, this should be based on your competitor research and uniquely customized to your target audience.

Ecommerce Chatbots

Chatbots have become one of the most powerful ways to engage with potential customers and delight returning customers. Customers prefer them because they provide such a quicker way of getting the information they need, whether that's help selecting a product or checking if the order was shipped.

Chatbots help eCommerce businesses save on customer service costs, improve conversion rates and increase retention.

There are two types of chatbots you should use. You can display a chatbot on your site using a live chat widget or you can use a chatbot on social media platforms like Facebook or Whatsapp. They work great on both desktop and mobile devices.

Speaking of mobile devices, here are two great strategies to engage with your mobile users better - push notifications and text messages.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are those messages you get on your mobile device or browser. The click-through rates on these are 12% on average but could get as high as 30% with a highly-targeted campaign. Use push notifications to send out promotions, transactional information, and content updates to your current customers.

Text Message (SMS) Marketing

Text messaging is another great way to engage with your customer base. Studies show that this is one of the most engaging of all marketing channels. In fact, 58.7% of text messages get answered within 5 minutes and 50% get answered within the first three.

And according to EZTexting, 100% of people achieve inbox zero with their text messages.

So it's a very powerful channel for any eCommerce brand.

Here are some of the top SMS strategies you should use to increase customer engagement and bring in more sales:

  • Send shipping and delivery notifications via text message. Automate all of your transactional notifications to be sent that way.
  • Send referral and loyalty program rewards to get more referrals and return customers to your online store.
  • Send promotions and shopping cart messages with a discount code.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become synonymous with eCommerce. It is the engine that drives so many other online marketing channels - like paid advertising, conversion optimization, and building an engaged community on social media.

Studies show that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from their friends and family more than advertising. Shoppers also regularly consume influencer content to get ideas for what to buy next and the data shows this.

49% of consumers say they use influencer recommendations to make a purchase decision.

"Influencer marketing is like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids"

Business owners should use influencers to create images and videos that they can then display on their website, product pages, use in brand awareness campaigns, retargeting sequences, landing pages, and on their marketplace product listings.

The way to best use influencers is to search for those whose audience matches the various target audiences that you are trying to reach.

To learn about how to set up an influencer campaign, how to find the right influencers, and how to best retarget your visitors and current customers to increase your eCommerce sales.

These are people that have built engaged audiences and can promote your brand to them. You can find the right people to work with by searching through your own followers, doing a hashtag search, or using a tool like Heepsy.

ecommerce-and-influencer-marketing

One of the most powerful influencer tactics is launching a giveaway campaign. You can do it with an influencer or another brand that's related to your niche.

Here's an example of a Tory Burch giveaway that got over 4k likes.

ecommerce-giveaway-example-instagram

Here's another one from Milk Makeup:

makeup-giveaway-on-instgram

User-generated content

What’s a great way to promote these giveaways? By offering prizes and extra entries for users that post images or videos of your product.

This is called user-generated content (UGC) and it's a super powerful way to make your campaign go viral. Ask your current customers to share images and videos of using your products, share success stories, and post all of this content on your product and category pages.

Frank Body, an Australian beauty company used UGC and influencer marketing to make $20M in sales in their second year. They did all this through really creative content and running giveaways around the hashtag #letsbefrank.

frank-body-content-marketing-UGC-wall

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (or CRO) is a must for every business and it's especially powerful in the world of eCommerce marketing. Every brand should be constantly optimizing its site to improve the user experience, improve conversions, and increase the bottom line.

Here are a few high-level eCommerce marketing strategies that brands can use to improve their conversion rate.

Decrease cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem for online stores. The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69% and it's even higher for mobile users, at 85%. Launch popups, run retargeting campaigns, and do thorough usability testing to optimize sections on your site that aren't getting enough engagement.

Improve the checkout process

The checkout process is one of the most crucial sections on any eCommerce site. Make sure that yours is simple to follow. Take out any unnecessary fields and make sure you include the guest checkout options and any relevant 3-rd party payment options.

Display customer reviews and UGC

A great way to improve your eCommerce conversion rate is to display social proof in the form of online reviews and user-generated content. UGC heavily impacts consumer purchase decisions, increasing conversions by 29%.

You can use a marketing tool like Loox or Pixlee to automatically display customer product images and videos on your product and category pages.

Continuously run A/B tests

Every successful eCommerce company is built on data and utilizes heat maps and/or surveys to collect data on what works and what doesn't.

You can also get live recordings of participants going through your site and trying to check out, and then optimize or test things according to what they said was most problematic or unclear.

Evaluate whether it's easy for a user to complete your order, to add something to their cart, to even find the item that they are looking for.

What are some of the most important things to test?

Here are a few.

  • Browsing your website should be intuitive, make sure your top menu & site structure is clear
  • Optimize your site speed and compress all of your images
  • Have eye-catching high-quality images for all of your products
  • Make sure your calls to action (CTAs) are clear
  • Optimize your checkout process
  • Use Google Analytics to get data on your bounce rate and visit duration
  • Optimize for mobile traffic
  • Install a live chat widget to capture more online sales and respond to customer concerns in real-time

CRO is one of the top tactics that Amazon used to grow to be the largest eCommerce platform in the world. They have perfected the buying process to such a degree that they’ve turned online shopping into a seamless experience.

For more eCommerce conversion rate optimization tips, read our full guide on CRO.

Online Marketplaces

Ecommerce platforms are not the only places where brands can store and sell their products. Online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, have been gaining popularity over the last decade and have become some of the biggest players in the eCommerce space.

According to a recent report, a whopping 74% of U.S. consumers begin their product searches on Amazon. And 56% of consumers say that if they were able to buy all of their products from a single store it would be Amazon.

The advantages of selling your eCommerce products on online marketplaces like Amazon or Walmart marketplace are:

  • So many internet users are browsing these platforms
  • There are a lot of affiliate marketing dollars (and paid search) spent by the platform and large media organizations
  • It's easy to create display ads and use native marketplace advertising solutions (like Amazon ads)
  • It's often easier to get ranked on top of the search results of a marketplace than Google, and then drive traffic to your brand site.

In this section, we cover four of the largest eCommerce marketplaces - Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Houzz. We go through product listing strategies, advertising, best practices, and much more.

Pricing Strategies

Learn how to automate your pricing, stay competitive and dominate on every platform and marketplace.

Pricing is at the core of online sales and it becomes much more crucial if you are selling online products across a variety of social media platforms and online marketplaces. It's difficult (and near impossible) to be able to adjust pricing in real-time to stay competitive, especially on weekends and holidays.

Here are some action items for you to set up pricing automation:

1. Create a competitor pricing strategy (monitor your competitors and create automation rules for adjusting your pricing)

2. Dynamically price your products across all of your channels and marketplaces

3. Use pricing intelligence and pricing alerts to dramatically improve your ROI.

Marketing Automation

Learn how to understand customer behavior, optimize every touchpoint along the buyer's journey, and automate your marketing channels to increase your sales and conversion rates.

We've covered pricing automation, now it's time to talk about all the other types of automation you should be utilizing in your eCommerce strategy. Ecommerce sites require a lot of tedious tasks and processes to be successful, and the sooner they are automated the better.

For example, every person that visits your website and converts as a lead should be sent an email flow. Every new customer should get a welcome flow along with transactional notifications such as an order confirmation, shipping & delivery notification, and a customer survey. Omnichannel experiences along the buyer journey should be automated as well (like SMS campaigns that trigger email flows, etc.).

Email Marketing

Email is by far the most profitable marketing channel for any eCommerce brand. A lot of other channels (like search ads) often bring traffic that then converts into email leads.

And those email campaigns you send to your email list then in turn help increase the conversion rate of your other marketing channels (like Facebook ads, Google ads, and organic search traffic). The return on investment from email marketing is at around $38 in sales for every $1 spent.

And the great thing about email marketing is how flexible it is. You can personalize your emails, target the right customer segment, and send the optimal messaging to each recipient at the exact time that they are more likely to make a purchase.

With all the algorithm changes on social media platforms and search engines, the email list remains the only place where the business can store and really own their customer data.

Another advantage of email marketing is when it's used for retargeting it is able to increase the conversion rates of all the other channels. For example, by taking a lead from a Facebook ad and sending a retargeting email you are able to convert that lead, effectively improving your Facebook ad campaign.

Every brand should use an email marketing service that integrates well with their eCommerce platform and provides basic email automation to be able to target individual customer segments with personalized emails.

Here are the email campaigns that brands should send:

  • Abandoned cart emails - targeting users that have added something to their cart and then left
  • Promotional emails (holidays, sales)
  • Behavioral segmentation based on user behavior on the site
  • Product upsells and cross-sells - dynamically display the latest items that the user has looked at or added to their cart. You can also display similar or complementary products.
  • Referral marketing and customer loyalty campaigns
  • Welcome flow - sent to new subscribers or new customers welcoming them to your online community.
  • Shipping/delivery notifications - sent each time the order is shipped or delivered. This is a super important touchpoint along the customer journey that will help you build loyalty and dramatically improve the user experience.
  • Email newsletter campaigns provide a great way to keep in touch with your audience and share the latest news about products and promotions.

Some of the elements brands should test in their emails include:

  • Customer testimonials, success stories, and product reviews,
  • User-generated content (UGC)
  • Popular social media posts
  • Individual products and product categories
  • Influencer images and videos
  • PR testimonials or reviews
  • Test your subject line and preview text

Your main goal should be to personalize your emails and be able to send the right email to the right audience segment. A rigorous approach to audience segmentation and A/B testing can yield great results over time for any of your email marketing campaigns.

Pro tip: combine your email marketing campaigns with other channels - SMS marketing, chat messages, push notifications - to provide a more cohesive user experience and increase your sales.

So for example, send a push notification in the morning, a chat message blast at noon, and your email campaign in the afternoon, all with the same messaging and same promotion. This can dramatically grow your sales.

We cover all of these flows in-depth in our guide to email marketing for eCommerce.

Paid Advertising

Advertising is the number one way to get more sales to your eCommerce store, and there are many ways to advertise. Most marketers still spend a majority of their advertising budgets on Facebook because they have the best ROI. Data shows that an average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month and Facebook has by far the largest audience at 2.14 billion people.

Traditionally, many successful online shops were built through Facebook ads. That has expanded to many other types of paid advertising campaigns such as Google Shopping, Amazon search ads, targeted product ads on Instagram/TikTok/Youtube, and native advertising.

Let's explore each one of them.

Google shopping ads

Set up Google Shopping campaigns to maximize your impressions from organic search and to set up another awesome sales channel. The way it works is that Google recommends products when it sees a transactional search like "buy Nike shoes". If you get into the top listings then you get more placement on the first page of the search results.

Google Shopping works really well with Google Ads (previously called Google Adwords) and with your organic product listings.

Amazon ads

Amazon advertising is one of the most popular forms of eCommerce ppc ads.

Amazon revenue grew by 23.5% year-over-year in 2020. And it's estimated that Amazon is earning more than 10% of all US digital ad spending. The advertising platform on Amazon is one of the most developed in the world and allows for a lot of customization, keyword optimization, and A/B testing.

Social media video ad campaigns

Facebook and Instagram ads are a must for every eCommerce business. You should also test out YouTube ads and sponsor videos of YouTube influencers.

For more examples of some of the best display ads that drive sales for eCommerce brands check out our Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Advertising.

Content Marketing

Digital content is a key to any inbound marketing strategy. Content marketing is all about serving each website visitor with relevant content to entice them to convert on your site.

Content can be used for customers in the awareness stage (top of the funnel) or for potential buyers that are shopping and comparing products (middle of the funnel). It's also an effective way to engage with your current loyal customers and bring them back to your site to make another purchase.

Best forms of content to try:

  • An eCommerce gift guides
  • A long-form blog post
  • Customer testimonials / video content
  • Company news

If you focus on writing long-form guides that educate the consumer and genuinely to try to solve their problem, provide answers, and tell stories - then you can receive a lot of high-quality leads from people looking for this information on Google.

Here's an example of a super-comprehensive beard-growing guide from Beardbrand:

beardbrand-caring-for-your-beard
We put most of our emphasis on content marketing and only spend 10% of our marketing budget on ads. - Eric Bandholz, the CEO & Founder of BeardBrand.

Beardbrand receives more than 400,000 monthly visitors and 72% of that traffic comes from organic search.

BeardBrand-similar-web-traffic-stats
beardbrand-similar-web-traffic-stats2

To learn more read our Guide to eCommerce Content Marketing.

Another really huge element of eCommerce content marketing is the web content on your product and category pages. Well-known online retailers, like Casper, don't just try to describe their products really well. They use quirky humor and excellent product copy to tell a story and lead the visitor through the sales funnel.

Image Source

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an incredibly effective marketing tactic because over 40% of product searches begin on search engines.

Another study that analyzed over 18,000 eCommerce stores in the United States found that 30.5% of all traffic was coming from organic searches on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. That's almost a third!

So if you want to get that large chunk of organic traffic then you need to optimize your eCommerce SEO.

And it’s not enough to show up somewhere on Google, you have to show up on the first page. Studies show that 70%-92% of all organic traffic is captured on the first page of Google, consumers just don’t visit the second page. So it’s really important to show up at the top of the search engine results.

How do you do that?

Ecommerce SEO breaks down into two critical components.

On-page SEO

Optimize your site for Google, especially the category and product pages for search engines. That means adding your target keywords or search terms into the URL, title, headers, and meta descriptions.

Also, make sure that you have all the different aspects of your items that searchers are looking for like dimensions, weight, warranty, color, and other important attributes.

Start by focusing on long-tail keyword searches and then slowly expand to short-tail and more competitive keywords.

Off-page SEO

Acquire more backlinks from reputable sites in your industry to improve your keyword rankings. This could be partnerships with other blogs, writing blog posts that get shared and linked to from large publishers, or getting included on gift guides.

One thing to keep in mind is that a backlink from a relevant industry site is 10x stronger than a link from a blog that published content about every topic under the sun. To find out if a site is relevant to your niche look at their organic keywords and make sure that they have relevant keywords that they rank for.

There are also a lot of free SEO software & tools that can help you optimize both the on-page and off-page elements of your SEO campaign. You can use Ahref's free plan to manage your backlink campaigns.

how-to-optimize-your-ecommerce-product-page-seo-optimization-on-page

Pro tip: launching on Google Shopping can give you more search visibility and a boost in organic traffic. So make sure to explore that channel.

Social media marketing

Organic social media is a super-powerful channel for any eCommerce brand. It allows you to connect with audiences for free and bring more clicks and sales to your site.

Ecommerce sites are highly visual and need to pick the best platforms that help show off their goods in the best possible way. It's best to post on Instagram and Pinterest to target those audiences with the highest purchase intent.

shoppable-instagram-ecommerce-lululemon

A really good eCommerce plan doesn't just throw designs that look nice together. It gathers data about its audience and then uses that to create social media content. And that's what helps them optimize, increase engagement, and get better at telling their story.

“The foundation of your marketing efforts is to understand who your target audience is and why they use social media. To do so, we need to utilize demographics and psychographics” - Neil Patel

Here are some of the best eCommerce marketing tips for growing your social media pages and building an engaged audience online.

  1. Re-purpose your blog content to generate more leads and traffic to your blog.
  2. Share posts about the latest market trends and how your business is staying at the cutting edge.
  3. Share product recommendations and expert advice on how to use the product
  4. Highlight products based in the US and any local marketing initiatives you might

Public Relations (PR)

Public relations is another form of content marketing it's just published on large publisher sites. This is a great way to gain exposure to an already engaged audience. There is a lot of software & tools for finding the right journalists to reach out to such as PressHunt where you can access over 750k journalists, reporters, and podcasters.

A lot of publishers have stores where they can create a page for you and promote your brand. They can also advertise your goods in their newsletters and send out custom promotions to their audiences. PR can be expensive but if you do it right it could help you vastly increase your customer base and create massive growth.

Here's an example of the online store at Entrepreneur Mag. It features gadgets, subscriptions, and goods from a variety of categories.

entrepreneur-magazine-store-online

Affiliate marketing

How do these online publishers make money you ask?

Through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize relationships and partnerships with blogs and publishers.

You can set up an affiliate program very easily either by setting up your own using a tool like Referral Candy or joining one of the large affiliate networks such as PepperJam, Share-a-sale, Rakuten, or Refersion.

The advantage of joining a large affiliate network is that you can get access to thousands of publishers, blogs, and coupon sites on these platforms. And a lot of external relationships you build with publications are then managed through one of these large affiliate platforms.

Pro tip: you can use the same affiliate tools and Shopify apps to manage your loyalty program for loyal customers or referral program for influencers.

Tips on finding the perfect eCommerce channel

With so many marketing channels out there, how do you choose the best one for your business?

Here are some tips that can help you find the perfect channel to expand to:

Find out where similar products are sold

Look at other products in your niche and find out where they are sold. Look at different eCommerce marketplaces, social media platforms, and do some online searches.

Research other brands and businesses in your niche

Take the top 10-15 brands in your niche and conduct full research of all the various marketing and sales channels they have. Sign up as a lead on their site and see if you could get retarget

Find where your target audience hangs out

Another great way to find the best marketing channel for your brand is to look at where your target audience shops. Look at influencers, particularly video influencers, whose audience matches yours and see the type of channels they promote.

Recap

There are endless opportunities to grow your eCommerce brand.

If you want to succeed you have to pay careful attention to user experience, publish valuable and relevant content, continuously optimize your website, launch paid media campaigns, and of course, create unique messaging.

Now, remember, don't launch too many eCommerce marketing campaigns at once. Start with the most important ones - post on social media platforms, use pay-per-click advertising (PPC), Facebook and Google ads, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing.

Then as you win on those, strategically choose your influencers, run UGC campaigns, gather more social proof, and you're off to the races.

One really important aspect of any successful marketing campaign is the focus on data and a company culture that's conducive to testing ideas and optimization. That means, surround yourself with people that aren't afraid to A/B test every marketing change and optimize the site and marketing campaigns based on that data (and not on based on their opinions).

A successful eCommerce marketing plan is one that builds trust, loyalty, and creates ‘word-of-mouth’. If you don't have the resources on the team to manage these marketing channels properly you can always either outsource your eCommerce marketing plan or find a top-notch marketer through Mayple 😉.

Want to work with a top-notch marketing manager or an expert eCommerce marketing agency in your niche? Meet the perfect marketer today.

Q&A

What are the main types of eCommerce marketing?

There are several types of marketing for eCommerce that online brands use to drive sales.

Paid advertising

Paid advertising usually refers to pay-per-click advertising (PPC) but it can include Google ads, Facebook ads, or Amazon ads, and SEO brings in the organic traffic from users searching for products on Google.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Studies show that 35% of all product searches start on Google, so that becomes a huge source of traffic for brands that know how to optimize their pages.

Social media marketing

Social media is another great channel for eCommerce businesses. At small businesses, the business owner themselves manage their various social media channels. Established brands usually hire marketing specialists to manage one or multiple channels.

Organic social media can positively impact your social advertising campaigns and help you lower your ad spend.

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective eCommerce marketing channels to help boost your sales and increase your customer loyalty. It’s also great for building brand awareness. Use marketing automation to set up your abandoned cart emails, shipping notifications, and welcome flows.

What is the difference between digital marketing and eCommerce?

Digital marketing refers to marketing any product or service, through any marketing channel. Ecommerce marketing only deals with promoting eCommerce websites. Both have the goal of increased sales and lead generation, and both can use the same marketing channels to reach that goal.

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The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Marketing [2022]

Here's everything you need to know about eCommerce Marketing including Email Marketing, Influencers, UGC, Chatbots, SMS, PR, Affiliates, Online Marketplaces.

Global sales of eCommerce products went through the roof over the last 2 years. Sales are projected to double from pre-pandemic levels, hitting $7 billion globally by 2025.

Everyone wants to capitalize on the momentum and grow their eCommerce business. The challenge is that there is so much information out there that it’s easy to get lost in all the fluff.

Brands are having a harder time with:

  • competing on catching the attention of potential customers in their customer journey
  • focusing their marketing efforts on the right target customer
  • delighting them in the post-purchase portion of the buyer experience

That’s why we wrote this guide.

If your eCommerce brand is struggling with optimizing your digital marketing, bringing sales, and improving your customer retention then this guide is for you. This is our most comprehensive guide on everything that has to do with eCommerce marketing strategy.

We cover specific eCommerce marketing tactics, the right channels, marketing tips, and tools to help you crush your ROI goals.

In this guide you will learn:

  1. How to create a flawless eCommerce marketing plan
  2. The top eCommerce marketing channels that brands use
  3. Which channels to pick for your business

Let’s dive in.

[Add Banner Here]

What is eCommerce marketing?

eCommerce is a general term describing the action of buying and selling products or services over the internet. Ecommerce marketing is the practice of using promotional tactics to drive traffic to your online store, converting them into paying customers and retaining those relationships post-purchase.

A holistic eCommerce marketing plan is made up of marketing tactics both on and off your website.

You should start by identifying your eCommerce business model. This has further implications on marketing channels, audience personas, value propositions, and other areas of the digital marketing mix.

Source: Shopify Plus

The eCommerce marketing funnel

Most marketing funnels follow the same stages to get prospects from “strangers” to “happy customers”. The transition from one stage of the flow to the next is facilitated by the e-commerce marketing channel mix.

Here they are:

Awareness stage

Buyers are interacting with your website and at this point, visitors are interested in what you have to offer but aren’t familiar with your brand. Your task is to educate them start building trust (hopefully also getting them into your email lists to further contact them). This is a great time to offer a free guide or lead magnet.

Interest stage

These are people that are shopping. They have recognized your solution to their needs, and your task is to keep them engaged by offering them to join your newsletter list, download a helpful freebie, and/or join your following. They are ripe to continue to the next part of the funnel.

Purchase stage

Buyers who are ready to complete a purchase. At this point, they are aware of you and how you solve their problem or answer their needs, and now need that nudge to go through the checkout.

Your task is to make this transition easy with minimal friction points for your buyer to back down (easy and secure payment for instance). You can seal the deal with extra complimentary offers or first-time purchase discounts etc.

Repeat stage

Buyers who have completed a purchase are a great resource to nurture towards repeat purchasing (especially if they are pleased with you).

Your task is to keep them happy and offer them additional purchases and incentives to become your brand’s advocates, further feeding potential new buyers into the top of your eCommerce marketing acquisition funnel.

reasons-for-cart-abandonment-during-checkout
Source: Baymard Institute, 2019

Types of eCommerce Marketing Channels

Choosing the right inbound marketing channels is one of the most important components of eCommerce marketing. You might have a lot of ideas about which channels you want to invest your energy and budget in, but again, this should be based on your competitor research and uniquely customized to your target audience.

Ecommerce Chatbots

Chatbots have become one of the most powerful ways to engage with potential customers and delight returning customers. Customers prefer them because they provide such a quicker way of getting the information they need, whether that's help selecting a product or checking if the order was shipped.

Chatbots help eCommerce businesses save on customer service costs, improve conversion rates and increase retention.

There are two types of chatbots you should use. You can display a chatbot on your site using a live chat widget or you can use a chatbot on social media platforms like Facebook or Whatsapp. They work great on both desktop and mobile devices.

Speaking of mobile devices, here are two great strategies to engage with your mobile users better - push notifications and text messages.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are those messages you get on your mobile device or browser. The click-through rates on these are 12% on average but could get as high as 30% with a highly-targeted campaign. Use push notifications to send out promotions, transactional information, and content updates to your current customers.

Text Message (SMS) Marketing

Text messaging is another great way to engage with your customer base. Studies show that this is one of the most engaging of all marketing channels. In fact, 58.7% of text messages get answered within 5 minutes and 50% get answered within the first three.

And according to EZTexting, 100% of people achieve inbox zero with their text messages.

So it's a very powerful channel for any eCommerce brand.

Here are some of the top SMS strategies you should use to increase customer engagement and bring in more sales:

  • Send shipping and delivery notifications via text message. Automate all of your transactional notifications to be sent that way.
  • Send referral and loyalty program rewards to get more referrals and return customers to your online store.
  • Send promotions and shopping cart messages with a discount code.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become synonymous with eCommerce. It is the engine that drives so many other online marketing channels - like paid advertising, conversion optimization, and building an engaged community on social media.

Studies show that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from their friends and family more than advertising. Shoppers also regularly consume influencer content to get ideas for what to buy next and the data shows this.

49% of consumers say they use influencer recommendations to make a purchase decision.

"Influencer marketing is like word-of-mouth marketing on steroids"

Business owners should use influencers to create images and videos that they can then display on their website, product pages, use in brand awareness campaigns, retargeting sequences, landing pages, and on their marketplace product listings.

The way to best use influencers is to search for those whose audience matches the various target audiences that you are trying to reach.

To learn about how to set up an influencer campaign, how to find the right influencers, and how to best retarget your visitors and current customers to increase your eCommerce sales.

These are people that have built engaged audiences and can promote your brand to them. You can find the right people to work with by searching through your own followers, doing a hashtag search, or using a tool like Heepsy.

ecommerce-and-influencer-marketing

One of the most powerful influencer tactics is launching a giveaway campaign. You can do it with an influencer or another brand that's related to your niche.

Here's an example of a Tory Burch giveaway that got over 4k likes.

ecommerce-giveaway-example-instagram

Here's another one from Milk Makeup:

makeup-giveaway-on-instgram

User-generated content

What’s a great way to promote these giveaways? By offering prizes and extra entries for users that post images or videos of your product.

This is called user-generated content (UGC) and it's a super powerful way to make your campaign go viral. Ask your current customers to share images and videos of using your products, share success stories, and post all of this content on your product and category pages.

Frank Body, an Australian beauty company used UGC and influencer marketing to make $20M in sales in their second year. They did all this through really creative content and running giveaways around the hashtag #letsbefrank.

frank-body-content-marketing-UGC-wall

Conversion Rate Optimization

Conversion rate optimization (or CRO) is a must for every business and it's especially powerful in the world of eCommerce marketing. Every brand should be constantly optimizing its site to improve the user experience, improve conversions, and increase the bottom line.

Here are a few high-level eCommerce marketing strategies that brands can use to improve their conversion rate.

Decrease cart abandonment

Shopping cart abandonment is a huge problem for online stores. The average cart abandonment rate across all industries is 69% and it's even higher for mobile users, at 85%. Launch popups, run retargeting campaigns, and do thorough usability testing to optimize sections on your site that aren't getting enough engagement.

Improve the checkout process

The checkout process is one of the most crucial sections on any eCommerce site. Make sure that yours is simple to follow. Take out any unnecessary fields and make sure you include the guest checkout options and any relevant 3-rd party payment options.

Display customer reviews and UGC

A great way to improve your eCommerce conversion rate is to display social proof in the form of online reviews and user-generated content. UGC heavily impacts consumer purchase decisions, increasing conversions by 29%.

You can use a marketing tool like Loox or Pixlee to automatically display customer product images and videos on your product and category pages.

Continuously run A/B tests

Every successful eCommerce company is built on data and utilizes heat maps and/or surveys to collect data on what works and what doesn't.

You can also get live recordings of participants going through your site and trying to check out, and then optimize or test things according to what they said was most problematic or unclear.

Evaluate whether it's easy for a user to complete your order, to add something to their cart, to even find the item that they are looking for.

What are some of the most important things to test?

Here are a few.

  • Browsing your website should be intuitive, make sure your top menu & site structure is clear
  • Optimize your site speed and compress all of your images
  • Have eye-catching high-quality images for all of your products
  • Make sure your calls to action (CTAs) are clear
  • Optimize your checkout process
  • Use Google Analytics to get data on your bounce rate and visit duration
  • Optimize for mobile traffic
  • Install a live chat widget to capture more online sales and respond to customer concerns in real-time

CRO is one of the top tactics that Amazon used to grow to be the largest eCommerce platform in the world. They have perfected the buying process to such a degree that they’ve turned online shopping into a seamless experience.

For more eCommerce conversion rate optimization tips, read our full guide on CRO.

Online Marketplaces

Ecommerce platforms are not the only places where brands can store and sell their products. Online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay, have been gaining popularity over the last decade and have become some of the biggest players in the eCommerce space.

According to a recent report, a whopping 74% of U.S. consumers begin their product searches on Amazon. And 56% of consumers say that if they were able to buy all of their products from a single store it would be Amazon.

The advantages of selling your eCommerce products on online marketplaces like Amazon or Walmart marketplace are:

  • So many internet users are browsing these platforms
  • There are a lot of affiliate marketing dollars (and paid search) spent by the platform and large media organizations
  • It's easy to create display ads and use native marketplace advertising solutions (like Amazon ads)
  • It's often easier to get ranked on top of the search results of a marketplace than Google, and then drive traffic to your brand site.

In this section, we cover four of the largest eCommerce marketplaces - Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Houzz. We go through product listing strategies, advertising, best practices, and much more.

Pricing Strategies

Learn how to automate your pricing, stay competitive and dominate on every platform and marketplace.

Pricing is at the core of online sales and it becomes much more crucial if you are selling online products across a variety of social media platforms and online marketplaces. It's difficult (and near impossible) to be able to adjust pricing in real-time to stay competitive, especially on weekends and holidays.

Here are some action items for you to set up pricing automation:

1. Create a competitor pricing strategy (monitor your competitors and create automation rules for adjusting your pricing)

2. Dynamically price your products across all of your channels and marketplaces

3. Use pricing intelligence and pricing alerts to dramatically improve your ROI.

Marketing Automation

Learn how to understand customer behavior, optimize every touchpoint along the buyer's journey, and automate your marketing channels to increase your sales and conversion rates.

We've covered pricing automation, now it's time to talk about all the other types of automation you should be utilizing in your eCommerce strategy. Ecommerce sites require a lot of tedious tasks and processes to be successful, and the sooner they are automated the better.

For example, every person that visits your website and converts as a lead should be sent an email flow. Every new customer should get a welcome flow along with transactional notifications such as an order confirmation, shipping & delivery notification, and a customer survey. Omnichannel experiences along the buyer journey should be automated as well (like SMS campaigns that trigger email flows, etc.).

Email Marketing

Email is by far the most profitable marketing channel for any eCommerce brand. A lot of other channels (like search ads) often bring traffic that then converts into email leads.

And those email campaigns you send to your email list then in turn help increase the conversion rate of your other marketing channels (like Facebook ads, Google ads, and organic search traffic). The return on investment from email marketing is at around $38 in sales for every $1 spent.

And the great thing about email marketing is how flexible it is. You can personalize your emails, target the right customer segment, and send the optimal messaging to each recipient at the exact time that they are more likely to make a purchase.

With all the algorithm changes on social media platforms and search engines, the email list remains the only place where the business can store and really own their customer data.

Another advantage of email marketing is when it's used for retargeting it is able to increase the conversion rates of all the other channels. For example, by taking a lead from a Facebook ad and sending a retargeting email you are able to convert that lead, effectively improving your Facebook ad campaign.

Every brand should use an email marketing service that integrates well with their eCommerce platform and provides basic email automation to be able to target individual customer segments with personalized emails.

Here are the email campaigns that brands should send:

  • Abandoned cart emails - targeting users that have added something to their cart and then left
  • Promotional emails (holidays, sales)
  • Behavioral segmentation based on user behavior on the site
  • Product upsells and cross-sells - dynamically display the latest items that the user has looked at or added to their cart. You can also display similar or complementary products.
  • Referral marketing and customer loyalty campaigns
  • Welcome flow - sent to new subscribers or new customers welcoming them to your online community.
  • Shipping/delivery notifications - sent each time the order is shipped or delivered. This is a super important touchpoint along the customer journey that will help you build loyalty and dramatically improve the user experience.
  • Email newsletter campaigns provide a great way to keep in touch with your audience and share the latest news about products and promotions.

Some of the elements brands should test in their emails include:

  • Customer testimonials, success stories, and product reviews,
  • User-generated content (UGC)
  • Popular social media posts
  • Individual products and product categories
  • Influencer images and videos
  • PR testimonials or reviews
  • Test your subject line and preview text

Your main goal should be to personalize your emails and be able to send the right email to the right audience segment. A rigorous approach to audience segmentation and A/B testing can yield great results over time for any of your email marketing campaigns.

Pro tip: combine your email marketing campaigns with other channels - SMS marketing, chat messages, push notifications - to provide a more cohesive user experience and increase your sales.

So for example, send a push notification in the morning, a chat message blast at noon, and your email campaign in the afternoon, all with the same messaging and same promotion. This can dramatically grow your sales.

We cover all of these flows in-depth in our guide to email marketing for eCommerce.

Paid Advertising

Advertising is the number one way to get more sales to your eCommerce store, and there are many ways to advertise. Most marketers still spend a majority of their advertising budgets on Facebook because they have the best ROI. Data shows that an average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month and Facebook has by far the largest audience at 2.14 billion people.

Traditionally, many successful online shops were built through Facebook ads. That has expanded to many other types of paid advertising campaigns such as Google Shopping, Amazon search ads, targeted product ads on Instagram/TikTok/Youtube, and native advertising.

Let's explore each one of them.

Google shopping ads

Set up Google Shopping campaigns to maximize your impressions from organic search and to set up another awesome sales channel. The way it works is that Google recommends products when it sees a transactional search like "buy Nike shoes". If you get into the top listings then you get more placement on the first page of the search results.

Google Shopping works really well with Google Ads (previously called Google Adwords) and with your organic product listings.

Amazon ads

Amazon advertising is one of the most popular forms of eCommerce ppc ads.

Amazon revenue grew by 23.5% year-over-year in 2020. And it's estimated that Amazon is earning more than 10% of all US digital ad spending. The advertising platform on Amazon is one of the most developed in the world and allows for a lot of customization, keyword optimization, and A/B testing.

Social media video ad campaigns

Facebook and Instagram ads are a must for every eCommerce business. You should also test out YouTube ads and sponsor videos of YouTube influencers.

For more examples of some of the best display ads that drive sales for eCommerce brands check out our Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Advertising.

Content Marketing

Digital content is a key to any inbound marketing strategy. Content marketing is all about serving each website visitor with relevant content to entice them to convert on your site.

Content can be used for customers in the awareness stage (top of the funnel) or for potential buyers that are shopping and comparing products (middle of the funnel). It's also an effective way to engage with your current loyal customers and bring them back to your site to make another purchase.

Best forms of content to try:

  • An eCommerce gift guides
  • A long-form blog post
  • Customer testimonials / video content
  • Company news

If you focus on writing long-form guides that educate the consumer and genuinely to try to solve their problem, provide answers, and tell stories - then you can receive a lot of high-quality leads from people looking for this information on Google.

Here's an example of a super-comprehensive beard-growing guide from Beardbrand:

beardbrand-caring-for-your-beard
We put most of our emphasis on content marketing and only spend 10% of our marketing budget on ads. - Eric Bandholz, the CEO & Founder of BeardBrand.

Beardbrand receives more than 400,000 monthly visitors and 72% of that traffic comes from organic search.

BeardBrand-similar-web-traffic-stats
beardbrand-similar-web-traffic-stats2

To learn more read our Guide to eCommerce Content Marketing.

Another really huge element of eCommerce content marketing is the web content on your product and category pages. Well-known online retailers, like Casper, don't just try to describe their products really well. They use quirky humor and excellent product copy to tell a story and lead the visitor through the sales funnel.

Image Source

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an incredibly effective marketing tactic because over 40% of product searches begin on search engines.

Another study that analyzed over 18,000 eCommerce stores in the United States found that 30.5% of all traffic was coming from organic searches on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. That's almost a third!

So if you want to get that large chunk of organic traffic then you need to optimize your eCommerce SEO.

And it’s not enough to show up somewhere on Google, you have to show up on the first page. Studies show that 70%-92% of all organic traffic is captured on the first page of Google, consumers just don’t visit the second page. So it’s really important to show up at the top of the search engine results.

How do you do that?

Ecommerce SEO breaks down into two critical components.

On-page SEO

Optimize your site for Google, especially the category and product pages for search engines. That means adding your target keywords or search terms into the URL, title, headers, and meta descriptions.

Also, make sure that you have all the different aspects of your items that searchers are looking for like dimensions, weight, warranty, color, and other important attributes.

Start by focusing on long-tail keyword searches and then slowly expand to short-tail and more competitive keywords.

Off-page SEO

Acquire more backlinks from reputable sites in your industry to improve your keyword rankings. This could be partnerships with other blogs, writing blog posts that get shared and linked to from large publishers, or getting included on gift guides.

One thing to keep in mind is that a backlink from a relevant industry site is 10x stronger than a link from a blog that published content about every topic under the sun. To find out if a site is relevant to your niche look at their organic keywords and make sure that they have relevant keywords that they rank for.

There are also a lot of free SEO software & tools that can help you optimize both the on-page and off-page elements of your SEO campaign. You can use Ahref's free plan to manage your backlink campaigns.

how-to-optimize-your-ecommerce-product-page-seo-optimization-on-page

Pro tip: launching on Google Shopping can give you more search visibility and a boost in organic traffic. So make sure to explore that channel.

Social media marketing

Organic social media is a super-powerful channel for any eCommerce brand. It allows you to connect with audiences for free and bring more clicks and sales to your site.

Ecommerce sites are highly visual and need to pick the best platforms that help show off their goods in the best possible way. It's best to post on Instagram and Pinterest to target those audiences with the highest purchase intent.

shoppable-instagram-ecommerce-lululemon

A really good eCommerce plan doesn't just throw designs that look nice together. It gathers data about its audience and then uses that to create social media content. And that's what helps them optimize, increase engagement, and get better at telling their story.

“The foundation of your marketing efforts is to understand who your target audience is and why they use social media. To do so, we need to utilize demographics and psychographics” - Neil Patel

Here are some of the best eCommerce marketing tips for growing your social media pages and building an engaged audience online.

  1. Re-purpose your blog content to generate more leads and traffic to your blog.
  2. Share posts about the latest market trends and how your business is staying at the cutting edge.
  3. Share product recommendations and expert advice on how to use the product
  4. Highlight products based in the US and any local marketing initiatives you might

Public Relations (PR)

Public relations is another form of content marketing it's just published on large publisher sites. This is a great way to gain exposure to an already engaged audience. There is a lot of software & tools for finding the right journalists to reach out to such as PressHunt where you can access over 750k journalists, reporters, and podcasters.

A lot of publishers have stores where they can create a page for you and promote your brand. They can also advertise your goods in their newsletters and send out custom promotions to their audiences. PR can be expensive but if you do it right it could help you vastly increase your customer base and create massive growth.

Here's an example of the online store at Entrepreneur Mag. It features gadgets, subscriptions, and goods from a variety of categories.

entrepreneur-magazine-store-online

Affiliate marketing

How do these online publishers make money you ask?

Through affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize relationships and partnerships with blogs and publishers.

You can set up an affiliate program very easily either by setting up your own using a tool like Referral Candy or joining one of the large affiliate networks such as PepperJam, Share-a-sale, Rakuten, or Refersion.

The advantage of joining a large affiliate network is that you can get access to thousands of publishers, blogs, and coupon sites on these platforms. And a lot of external relationships you build with publications are then managed through one of these large affiliate platforms.

Pro tip: you can use the same affiliate tools and Shopify apps to manage your loyalty program for loyal customers or referral program for influencers.

Tips on finding the perfect eCommerce channel

With so many marketing channels out there, how do you choose the best one for your business?

Here are some tips that can help you find the perfect channel to expand to:

Find out where similar products are sold

Look at other products in your niche and find out where they are sold. Look at different eCommerce marketplaces, social media platforms, and do some online searches.

Research other brands and businesses in your niche

Take the top 10-15 brands in your niche and conduct full research of all the various marketing and sales channels they have. Sign up as a lead on their site and see if you could get retarget

Find where your target audience hangs out

Another great way to find the best marketing channel for your brand is to look at where your target audience shops. Look at influencers, particularly video influencers, whose audience matches yours and see the type of channels they promote.

Recap

There are endless opportunities to grow your eCommerce brand.

If you want to succeed you have to pay careful attention to user experience, publish valuable and relevant content, continuously optimize your website, launch paid media campaigns, and of course, create unique messaging.

Now, remember, don't launch too many eCommerce marketing campaigns at once. Start with the most important ones - post on social media platforms, use pay-per-click advertising (PPC), Facebook and Google ads, search engine optimization (SEO), and email marketing.

Then as you win on those, strategically choose your influencers, run UGC campaigns, gather more social proof, and you're off to the races.

One really important aspect of any successful marketing campaign is the focus on data and a company culture that's conducive to testing ideas and optimization. That means, surround yourself with people that aren't afraid to A/B test every marketing change and optimize the site and marketing campaigns based on that data (and not on based on their opinions).

A successful eCommerce marketing plan is one that builds trust, loyalty, and creates ‘word-of-mouth’. If you don't have the resources on the team to manage these marketing channels properly you can always either outsource your eCommerce marketing plan or find a top-notch marketer through Mayple 😉.

Want to work with a top-notch marketing manager or an expert eCommerce marketing agency in your niche? Meet the perfect marketer today.

Q&A

What are the main types of eCommerce marketing?

There are several types of marketing for eCommerce that online brands use to drive sales.

Paid advertising

Paid advertising usually refers to pay-per-click advertising (PPC) but it can include Google ads, Facebook ads, or Amazon ads, and SEO brings in the organic traffic from users searching for products on Google.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Studies show that 35% of all product searches start on Google, so that becomes a huge source of traffic for brands that know how to optimize their pages.

Social media marketing

Social media is another great channel for eCommerce businesses. At small businesses, the business owner themselves manage their various social media channels. Established brands usually hire marketing specialists to manage one or multiple channels.

Organic social media can positively impact your social advertising campaigns and help you lower your ad spend.

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective eCommerce marketing channels to help boost your sales and increase your customer loyalty. It’s also great for building brand awareness. Use marketing automation to set up your abandoned cart emails, shipping notifications, and welcome flows.

What is the difference between digital marketing and eCommerce?

Digital marketing refers to marketing any product or service, through any marketing channel. Ecommerce marketing only deals with promoting eCommerce websites. Both have the goal of increased sales and lead generation, and both can use the same marketing channels to reach that goal.

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Kelly grew Adobe's LinkedIn community by 97% and increased monthly engagement by more than 1,000% within one year. Adobe was recognized as one of the "Best LinkedIn Company Pages" for two years in a row. Kelly also grew Adobe Creative Cloud to 1M subscribers with a comprehensive social media strategy.

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