If you’re an ecommerce marketer, you know growing sales to your online store is amongst your top priorities. But growing a business and engaging with new customers is always easier said than done. And sometimes, what once worked really well for your business is no longer cutting it. Don’t worry, every marketer has been there.
With how fast the landscape of ecommerce is changing, it can help to have some fresh growth strategies before you. In this article, I lay out 7 strategies that could help you revitalize your online store, engage your customers, and grow your revenue.
1. Turn first-time customers into repeat business
Getting that first sale from a customer can be painstaking. With so many online retailers and product reviews to read over, consumers are more informed than ever before. And while landing that sale for the first time is a great feeling, don’t take it for granted. Use this as an opportunity to turn that customer into a repeat buyer. One way to do this is through a post-purchase ‘Thank You’ email.
Email is an effective channel for earning repeat business. By offering a generous discount after a purchase, this entices the customer to return again to redeem their code. If the discount has an expiration date, you’ve now built urgency with the customer, but we’ll discuss the importance of that later in this article.
2. Reward customer loyalty
A customer may only return to your online store so many times before they explore other options. By rewarding their loyalty, you start to gamify the way people buy from your brand. Simply put, gamification is a strategy for making the buying experience fun and interactive for your customers.
In the image below, we see how gamification can drive people back for repeat purchases using a progress bar on reward points and a VIP tiered system (bronze, silver, and gold).
Loyalty programs have many possibilities. For example, top customers can earn VIP status and receive even more rewards, exclusive discounts, and first-access to items in your store before they go public.
3. Win back business with automated emails
Sometimes all a customer needs is a friendly nudge to come back to your online store. This can be made easy with winback marketing emails that are automated to send after a specified period of time. Brands that rely on monthly recurring purchases (pet food, shampoo, shaving kits, etc.) or provide subscription boxes can benefit greatly from winback emails.
If a customer has been dormant for a while, you can sweeten the deal by including a 15-20% discount in your winback email. This may be all they need to complete their purchase and keep your brand top of mind.
4. Build urgency on your website
No one enjoys feeling like they missed out on a great deal or sale – it’s why Black Friday & Cyber Monday are the busiest online sales days of the year. You can keep that urgency on and off your website in a few ways. First, you can run a countdown timer using a top banner or bar that displays when customers need to meet a sale deadline. This is how K&B Sport runs their seasonal sale.
It’s reported that countdown timers can increase your seasonal sales revenue by about 9%. That’s a significant bump for a simple bar at the top of your website.
When it comes to driving urgency off your website, email or SMS is your best friend. Send one-off messages to your customers notifying them a flash sale is active and will only run for a limited period of time.
5. Streamline your store design
Fast, simple, and easy to navigate. If your online store misses the mark on those three points, you’re going to need to start streamlining your store design. Even if a page takes longer than 5 seconds to load we know this impacts the likelihood of a customer converting. So, what can you do to improve your design?
- Compress images and videos so they’re not oversized. This will impact how fast your website loads.
- Use a lightweight store design. Most Shopify templates will work, but templates from app developers like PageFly can provide you more flexibility.
- Use breadcrumb navigation. It’s one of the clearest ways to show customers exactly where they are on your website.
- Utilize white space and don’t crowd areas with lots of text. This makes your store easily scannable for a customer and is aesthetically pleasing.
- Optimize your mobile view. With more than half of ecommerce sales coming from mobile devices, you can’t afford to only focus on desktop view.
6. Build around your community
Putting community at the heart of your brand is a great way to show customers that their business and their feedback matters to you. Showcasing real customer photos, videos, and feedback on your product review pages is a great start for building your community. Check out the example below of a to-go blender cup from Loox:
This collection of real reviews and feedback is called user-generated content, or UGC. With word-of-mouth marketing so prevalent today, putting UGC to the forefront of your product reviews can increase your conversion rate on pages by up to 10% and, more importantly, reinforce a customer’s confidence in their purchase.
7. Invest in customer retention
If there’s one thing to take away from this article, it’s that ecommerce marketers work damn hard at getting the attention of new customers and retaining their business. But if you’re not careful, customers may churn and leave your brand for a competitor.
While churn is natural and there’s only so much you can do to retain someone’s business, there are some ways to reduce it. Here is a small checklist you should work toward if customer retention is an issue for your brand:
- Simplify the return process. An estimated 16% of all online orders will be returned, so don’t make this process a headache for your customers. Offering a satisfaction guarantee, free shipping on returns and exchanges, and email or SMS updates on returns are ways to simplify this process. More importantly, it won’t leave a bad impression with your customers.
- Offer multi-channel support. Whether it’s social media, email, Google reviews, or Yelp, there are many ways a customer will provide feedback about one of your products. The more channels you’re able to offer timely support, the better impression it’ll leave with your customers – even if their review wasn’t optimal.
- Over-communicate in the post-purchase stage. This is one of the most important stages for an ecommerce business. After the order confirmation goes through, a customer needs to be in the loop on their purchase. Failing to provide status updates, especially if anything gets damaged or lost in transit, can permanently affect a customer’s relationship with your brand. It’s best to over-communicate at this stage.
Whichever level of ecommerce marketer you are, there should be a tip or two in here for you to bake into your strategy. Just remember: focus on retaining first-time customers and earning their repeat business. Make it easy for new customers to convert, use a mix of email, SMS, and pop ups to grow your sales and sign-ups, and reward customers for their continued business.
Devin Pickell is the Growth Marketing Manager at Privy