Shopping online is the new black.
that e-commerce sales totaled roughly $2.3 billion last year and is on
course to reach more than $3.5 billion in 2019, and more than $4.8 billion
E-commerce and digital marketing efforts also influence
up to 56 percent of in-store sales—and e-commerce dollars alone make up roughly 10 percent of retail sales in
the United States.
If you’re charged with boosting the brand of an online retailer—or are
launching a shop of your own—consider these ways you can better reach
consumers and boost your bottom line:
1. Make sure you have a stellar online presence.
For brand managers of all stripes—but especially for retail and e-commerce
marketers—it’s crucial to have a stellar online presence
and search engine optimization (SEO) strategy.
Even Amazon is feeling the heat
after Google recently announced on its AdWords blog
that it was introducing its Shopping Actions program, which enables
marketing partners such as Home Depot, Target and Ulta to show up in Google
Home and Mini voice search results and make it easier for consumers to shop
directly from sponsored Google search results on their browsers.
Instead of charging these retailers based on clicks through to their site
(the most common paid search fee model), Shopping Actions charges on a
cost-per-sale model, earning revenue from sales generated from these
Google insists that “No organic rankings are impacted or changed,” in
that preferential ranking would be given to these merchants ahead of
Amazon. But this is just the latest of Google’s attempts to regain ground
from Amazon in consumer product searches.
The focus on a stellar online presence and good content and SEO practices
matters whether you’re marketing for a retailer with an established site or
creating your own e-commerce site with tools such as Weebly, Squarespace or Shopify (you can even purchase established shops).
Whatever your base, make sure your products and services are easy to find
and that your website is easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile
devices. Use Google Trends
and other keyword and trend tools such as SocialMention to help you
identify keywords and key phrases
that you can then use to create content and use within your product
descriptions and throughout your website, helping you to show up higher in
2. Regularly create and distribute engaging content.
The more your content focuses on information and storytelling that is
valuable to consumers, the better. Creating and distributing infographics,
videos, how-to articles and other types of content (
even if it’s repurposing old blog posts
) can keep consumers coming back to your online profiles and website—which
means they’ll be closer to looking at your products and services.
Along with creating and distributing outstanding content—and pointing your
followers and customers to other resources—don’t forget your calls to
Ask for specific actions such as a sign up or purchase (offering a coupon
code can help) or call for consumer stories and interaction to feed your
community and future content efforts.
4. Take advantage of holidays, trends and breaking news.
Consider taking advantage of hot trends and popular topics for both media
coverage and marketing efforts. For example,
a Harry-Potter-themed yoga class
grabbed several headlines and social media buzz after it grabbed attendees’
attention and fancy with its fun take on the wizarding world and exercise.
You don’t have to lead stretches to capture engagement and sales, however.
Offer a free item with purchase or samples
for holidays and to celebrate events, or
schedule a few tweets
with clever messages or picturesque images that connect your brand and
products to the current trend. Remember to engage first and promote
second—or you might face disgruntled social media users instead of retweets
If your product or service might fit into a breaking news story or larger
trend, know who your experts are in your company and reach out immediately
to offer insights.
Prepare for holidays far before they begin, especially if your marketing and PR efforts include pitching journalists
for inclusion in holiday-themed publications and articles.
5. Hone your customer service skills.
If your marketing and customer service teams aren’t already working
together, make steps to help this happen as soon as possible.
Hubspot wrote on its blog:
The need for a symbiotic marketing and customer service relationship is
only more important now, with consumers increasingly turning to social
media as a way to communicate with businesses. In fact, social media is
preferred method of contacting a brand
— preferable to live chat, email, or the phone.
Determining clear swim lanes and designated responsible individuals so
marketers and customer support reps can use social media to achieve both of
their goals is just one of the ways marketing and customer service teams
need to collaborate.
Marketers can help support an organization’s customer service team in many
ways, such as brainstorming on content creation ideas that answers
consumers’ frequently asked questions and addresses potential concerns.
You should also ensure that online marketing campaigns are watched closely
for engagement and interaction opportunities, because customer service
opportunities online can enhance outstanding marketing content and
ultimately boost brand reputation.