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There are numerous ways you can employ to increase generate sales for your eCommerce business. But which method is the most effective? You found yourself in a position where a basic strategy has been put together, but why is it still challenging to increase your return on investment (ROI)?
We have put together an overview of various eCommerce marketing strategies you can use, starting with the straightforward sales acquisition to generating repeat purchases from your customer base.
In general, there are 7 broad categories:
- Google Shopping Listings
- Search Engine Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Online Marketplaces
- Influencer Marketing
Google Shopping Ads allows you to promote your products directly on Google with eye-catching visuals. Compared to the results on Google Search, which are solely text-based, Google Shopping listings allow you to better capture your customers’ attention.
For example, when you search for a product such as a yoga mat, you may come across these Google Search ads:
Google Shopping Ads listing example:
Shopping ads, however, are slightly different and more eye-catching!
By scrolling right, Google will continuously pull up more products in the same category, providing a nearly endless catalog of related products.
Google Shopping listings can appear in the following areas:
- Google Search, alongside search results
- Google Search’s Shopping tab (selected countries)
- Google Search Partner websites
- Google Display Network (E.g. Youtube, Gmail & Google Discover)
It’s great to have a presence on Google Search. However, to better aid customers who are making a purchase decision, consider showcasing your products on Google Shopping as well.
Here are some components to consider when setting up your Google Shopping Ad:
- Product Images
- Product headline
- Product description
The diverse array of information from Shopping Listings allows customers to get a better idea of what they are purchasing, for instance, product images, product reviews, brand, pricing and more.
This better captures their attention and gives your eCommerce business better awareness over competitors with zero presence on Google Shopping.
We can expect to see better performance with Google Shopping Listings as well. Why?
Instead of relying on their imagination based on the product description alone, customers can now get a better idea of your products before clicking into your website.
This increases relevancy, click-through rate (CTR), as well as conversion rate. This is because customers that came in via your shopping listing already have an idea of what your product is like.
Surfaces across Google
Surfaces across Google is the organic version of Google Shopping Ads. While Google Shopping Ads is a paid advertising platform, Surfaces across Google comes at no cost. Yes, it’s free!
Where can I showcase my products with surfaces across Google?
Your products can be showcased on various Google surfaces including:
- The Google Shopping tab
- Google Images
- Google Lens
- Google Search
How can I showcase my products on surfaces across Google?
There are 2 ways:
- Using structured data markup on your website
- Submitting a feed through the Google Merchant Center
However, you have to adhere to both Google’s policies and policies for Googe Shopping Ads.
While qualifying for these policies is easy, note that you’ll have to provide Google with high-quality information to ensure better visibility.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
As much as Google Shopping is great for eCommerce sites, SEM is another great platform that you can use to market your eCommerce business.
Examples of SEM platforms that you can leverage on:
- Google Ads
- Bing Ads
- Yahoo Ads
Here is a scenario that is pretty common. Customers might use keywords such as ‘buy’ or ‘best’ followed by the product name during their search
Therefore, what you’ll be able to serve ads for the queries with the following combination: buy + your product keyword.
Taking our yoga mat example, you can bid for keywords such as “Buy Yoga Mat Online” or “Buy Yoga Mat Singapore” which will trigger these your ads.
This allows you to serve ads to interested customers who are your ‘low hanging fruits’. A great way to market your product! However, if not done properly, SEM can get pretty expensive and become a burden to your overall marketing campaign.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the process of ranking your website on search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. With SEM, each click can cost under a dollar to over 10 dollars! This is why it is important to optimize your SEM campaigns.
On the other hand, SEO does not cost a single cent for each click you get. The downside? Improving your website rank is a tedious process that takes time, effort and skill.
Is SEO cost-effective for eCommerce?
This depends on your industry and target keywords. Targeting keywords with a low search volume is suicide for any business. This is because you’ll be in too many resources for keywords that might not even generate one click a month.
How do you ensure effective SEO to market your eCommerce business?
A good way to start off would be to first collect data on the keywords that your customers search for. This can be done via keyword research using the Google keyword planner. You can base the keyword data on your target location and even identify different keyword variations that you never knew.
Check out our keyword planner guide here!
Facebook an important social media platform for marketing your eCommerce store/ business. With Facebook, you are able to engage customers online and run ads to extend your reach to a larger pool of potential customers to visit or purchase at your store.
Facebook Ads allows eCommerce businesses to:
- Build and engage customers online
- Tag your products on posts
- Reach mass audiences with Facebook Live
- List your products on Facebook Marketplace
- Run ads
Facebook Ads for your eCommerce marketing
Facebook Ad formats for eCommerce campaigns
- Product Catalog ads
To run ads on Facebook, we advise implementing the Facebook pixel on your website. The Facebook Pixel is a free tracking tool by Facebook that allows us to track data to monitor your website activity and improve your ad results.
Audience target with Facebook Ads
The other convenient thing about Facebook pixel is that you will be able to set up custom audiences. Custom audiences allow you to:
- Promote products to existing customers
- Retarget customers who have dropped out of your shopping cart
- Reach your Facebook page followers
- Set up your targeting for lookalike audiences
A diverse range of targeting allows you to tailor your messages and promotions to different audiences. It also allows you to better optimize your campaign to reach a higher return on investment (ROI).
Lookalike audiences exhibit similar behaviour to your customers. For instance, setting up a lookalike audience based on your existing customers (aka website purchases) allows you to target people who are likely interested in your brand and products.
We recommend setting up a Facebook Business Manager account, a free platform that allows you to:
- Manage your assets ( for e.g. Facebook Page, Facebook Ad Account)
- Add & manage marketing agencies or partners to help manage your business
- Keep your personal and work life separate
Instagram is a great way to market your eCommerce business. You can do it via organic posts or paid advertising. Instagram allows us to utilize various channels such as IGTV, your Instagram feed and Instagram stories. With Instagram, you can leverage the following:
- Instagram shopping
- Product tagging on posts and stories
- Running ads to promote your products
- View Instagram insights
Posting organically on Instagram allows you to engage audiences online, as well as build brand awareness and credibility. A great way to build your brand and promote your products for free!
When promoting your product, selling to your base of social media followers can be cheaper as compared to acquiring new customers. This is provided that your followers are genuine and are not based on fake accounts bought online! To view Instagram insights, you’ll need to set up an Instagram business account.
Some Instagram post ideas to market your eCommerce business:
- Re-posting aka posting user-generated content
- Leveraging on posts with a link in your Instagram bio
- Product teasers
- Running flash sales using stories
Instagram ads have proven to be effective not only for engaging audiences but for generating online sales as well. Its cost per conversion is generally more effective versus other platforms such as Google Ads.
Another great social media platform would be Pinterest. Like Instagram, Pinterest is a visual platform, the perfect place for eCommerce businesses! Like all social media platforms, organic posts are free. Pinterest comes with its own paid ads as well.
Pinterest is a great platform to market your e-commerce business where 77% of its users reported having found a new brand or product online.
With Pinterest, the shopping experience is simplified. The process is simple, a potential customer first searches on Pinterest.
Thereafter they’ll scroll through the results till they find the product they are interested in where they can visit your website directly.
Customers can ‘pin’ or save your posts on their Pinterest board as well.
Pinterest ads can be pretty effective depending on location and product. With a minimum bid of 10 cents per click, users can generate traffic for a low budget as well as an effective cost per conversion. Generally, costs can vary from $0.10 to $1.50 per click.
You can start running ads once you’ve set up a Pinterest business profile. As with every digital marketing campaign, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got the right setup and campaign structure to collect data needed for optimal results.
TikTok is an up and coming social media platform that has gain popularity fairly quickly over the last few years.
Amongst TikTok users, 52% can be categorized as ‘status seekers’.
Status seekers agree with the following statements:
- They strive to achieve more in life
- They have a tendency to buy premium versions of products
- They are brand-conscious
In addition, 61% of TikTok users say that they tend to buy brands they see advertised.
Although its user base is young, 41% aged between 16 and 24, Tiktok is a great way to build brand awareness and grow your brand followers. Brands with strong mindshare are often thought of when customers are making a purchase decision, leading to higher chances of a sale.
Remarketing (or Retargeting for Facebook and Instagram) allows you to display your ads to people who have visited your store but did not purchase or submit an inquiry form.
How can eCommerce websites leverage on remarketing?
There are several methods to boost eCommerce sales via remarketing, for instance:
- Reaching out to abandoned cart users
- Targeting users dropped out of a purchase transaction
- Serving promotional ads to existing customers
- Reaching out to people who landed on specific website pages
In order to run remarketing ads on Google, you will first need to install a ‘Remarketing tag’ on your website. Facebook, on the other hand, requires the Facebook Pixel before retargeting can be run.
Bear in mind that you can’t run a remarketing campaign right away on certain platforms. Website based remarketing requires collecting site cookies before you can start to run them.
If you are new to remarketing, it would be a good starting point to remarket to people based on the web pages they have visited. It is important to note that your event tracking goals setup should be clear before running a remarketing campaign.
Since most people will not convert on their first website visit, remarketing is a great tool to increase your overall sales.
Email marketing works effectively if you:
- Do not spam
- Have a large enough email list
- Optimize accurately
Who eCommerce businesses target with email marketing?
- Anyone who has submitted their emails on your website:
- Existing customers
- Customers who reached the checkout stage
- Newsletter subscribers
- Emails acquired externally (not from website)
- Email lists bought externally
- Email lists acquired via other platforms (e.g. Social media)
Abandoned cart emails
Utilizing email marketing allows us to reach customers who have abandoned their cart while they were shopping. Abandoned cart emails can increase overall revenue since it reminds consumers of their purchase. Used effectively, you can recover up to 50% in lost revenue due to cart abandonment.
This type of email enables us to target both existing customers and customers who have not yet completed their first purchase. Shouting out a promo can influence price-sensitive customers to make purchase decisions.
You can tie your promotion with holidays and festivities, for example, Christmas or your customer’s birthday! Surely customers will appreciate the personal touch.
We can tactically combine promotional emails with ads for greater reach and ROI. For example, we can target potential customers by birthday month on social media while leveraging on birthday discount emails to existing customers.
You can reach out to customers who have not been to your store for some time with win-back emails. Examples of win-back email titles include:
- We missed you
- Let’s stay in touch
- Hello? Anyone home?
- Is this goodbye?
- Achievement unlocked – The wrinkle in time badge
- Hello, friend! It’s been a while!
Sending a follow-up email after a customer completes a purchase transaction allows us to promote different products. This allows us to increase our overall sales without spending a single cent. Upsell and cross-sell emails can be based on the following:
Product follow-up emails can help to market similar or complementary products. For instance, shoes and shoe polish. These emails are effective as there is a higher likelihood of customers needing complementary products.
These emails promote items in similar categories. For example, promoting different dress designs after a customer has bought one.
Receipt follow-up emails have an opening rate of 70% to 90% depending on your industry. This is one of the highest opening rates on the web, hence, a perfect opportunity to up-sell as well!
You can list your products on online marketplaces such as Amazon, Lazada or Shopee. One consideration would be the geographical reach of each marketplace. This decision will be influenced by your target audience and whether you are willing to handle international shipping.
Here are some popular online marketplaces in Singapore:
Advantages of selling your products via online marketplaces
The good news for new eCommerce businesses I that most online marketplaces do not require an upfront fee.
Disadvantages of selling your products via online marketplaces
However, you will not be able to build awareness for your brand by selling through an online marketplace. This is because seller brand visibility is low on these platforms. Unless potential customers click into your profile, they will not be able to see your business’ logo. Based on our experience, branding is an extremely important factor in increasing the ROI of your eCommerce business!
You’ll also be competing with hundreds of other businesses, offering the same or similar products and competitive rates.
Influencer marketing is a great way to build trust among consumers, especially if your brand is new. As influencers are expensive to engage, you’ll have to choose wisely!
The first step is to identify the key influencers that your target audience resonates with.
Are you selling sports products? Engage influencers in the fitness and health niche.
Selling baby products? Link up with influencers with parents as their audience!
You get the drift!
An ideal influencer fits your brand’s style, image and tone, allowing your brand to connect with potential clients. Depending on your budget, a popular influencer can cost thousands for a single post.
While influencers are a great way to build brand awareness, usually a positive ROI would not be expected with influencer marketing. But that’s ok, because building your brand naturally results in a higher return on investment.
We have explored various methods you can use market your eCommerce business. As with every digital marketing campaign, ensure that you have the right optimization and set up. This will ensure that your campaigns are cost-effective.
Building your brand is important as well in eCommerce marketing. A good brand image combined with effective digital marketing is a sure-fire way to successfully market your eCommerce business.
Test and optimize multiple marketing channels to see which one brings you the greatest ROI.
Ready to take your eCommerce marketing to the next level?
Let our digital strategists take a look! Contact us today!
January 1, 2021, 3:20 am
This article is absolutely priceless. Thanks for sharing!
January 16, 2021, 3:28 pm
We’re glad you enjoyed our content Kira! 🙂
February 16, 2021, 6:41 am
Amazing! I simply love this detailed article on e-commerce marketing.
July 25, 2021, 2:59 pm
Hey Lynda, we’re glad you loved our article! 🙂
October 23, 2021, 5:26 pm
Thanks! Very nice blog I must say!
November 5, 2021, 3:25 pm
Hi Jean, we’re glad you liked our content! 🙂
November 5, 2021, 4:49 am
Extremely helpful information!
In short, excellent post. Love the tips on e-commerce!
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November 5, 2021, 3:23 pm
We’re glad you found our content helpful! 🙂
January 15, 2022, 9:49 pm
Agreed! Facebook Ads is unarguably indispensable when it comes to e-commerce marketing. We’ve seen a ROAS of 5 to 6 times from our FB Ads which is pretty amazing!
January 22, 2022, 12:23 pm
Facebook Ads can certainly help with scaling an eCommerce business. We’ve seen some of our clients generate over a ROAS of over 10x, and in certain cases, a ROAS of over 30x during sales periods like 11.11 and 12.12. Ultimately it all depends on factors such as the product, competition, brand and other factors!
September 18, 2022, 4:00 am
Thanks for the amazing article. Your blog is really my go-to source for detailed insights into eCommerce marketing. Keep it up team!
September 19, 2022, 6:57 pm
Thank you! 🙂