It’s that time of year again! New Year’s resolutions and promises and working through them. In fact, it is the perfect time to wipe the slate clean and start afresh. And it applies for eCommerce store owners too. Reflect on what you did last year – the good and the bad both and then think where you can improve in 2016 and start creating a strategic plan to implement those changes.
Here is 6 resolutions that eCommerce stores should make in 2016.
1. Commit to Quality Content
When it comes to digital marketing, content is king and marketing your eCommerce store is no exception. In fact, you need to be more careful with your eCommerce store content as it not just help search engines crawlers discover and rank your website but also convince your visitors to make a purchase decision. Besides, it your content that your visitors/customers share with their social followers. You will also need content to email your prospect lists, to develop your brand identity and ultimately build your business. The relationship between an eCommerce store and content is therefore a match made in heaven.
There is real financial value in content marketing that eCommerce store owners have started leveraging since the past few years. According to a study conducted by Econsultancy and EPiServer, almost all online retailers accept that revenue is one of the commercial benefits of eCommerce content marketing. The study further indicated that 60 percent of the participating companies saw content engagement increasing while 30 percent of them plan to create more number of original and unique content to improve SEO and stay ahead of the fierce market competition.
You can take inspirations from some of the leading eCommerce brands when it comes to content marketing. Betabrand, for example, uses their content to establish a character and personality to their brand. They place themselves as “as 99% fiction, 1% fashion” and their content (especially their product descriptions) reflect it perfectly. Intelligent listing and through humorous are their secret weapon to create a likeable personality that drives conversions.
Etsy too has a killer content marketing strategy. They are the kings when it comes to communicating with their audience. Esty has a great blog that features interesting stories and interviews from top sellers and leading artisans to tell the story behind their work. This gives more character and soul to the brand.
So this year, commit to invest on quality content if you really want to improve your online marketing efforts.
2. Get Social while Leveraging Mobile
More and more consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to shop online. Just consider the following mobile eCommerce statistics before we discuss further on this topic:
- 78 percent of mobile searches result in a local purchase
- Mobile accounted for 26 percent of Thanksgiving online sales in 2015
- eMarketer predicts that around 25 percent of all U.S. retail eCommerce sales will take place via mobile devices by the end of 2016
You therefore need a proper mobile strategy for your eCommerce store. Begin with a responsive eCommerce website; make sure your website provides a seamless user experience across various devices and browsers. But that’s not enough. You need to get social as well.
You probably have some social media accounts by now; start strengthening them using the power of mobile. In short, we are asking you to combine social with mobile to engage your users. If you are wondering how to combine your social mobile offering, Foursquare is a great example. But to implement this in real life you need to first understand the three basic mindsets mobile users: They generally seek local information, they are always microtasking, and they are usually bored.
Now consider the social media integration theory by Isra Garcia.
It points out four interactions that you need to manage and each of them can be combined with mobile mindsets. For example, connecting can always be combined with researching for a product/item whereas exposure signifies viewing information within the users’ network. Likewise, sharing occurs when a user reports something great on an ad-hoc basis or in a structured manner in order to reach out to other people and feedback is all about reviews and social recommendations.
Now how to implement this to your eCommerce strategy?
The answer is a mobile app. Today people are always on the go. So what could be a better way to reach out to them and remain connected apart from having a mobile app? Don’t use your eCommerce app to just generate leads and sales’ use it in different new ways. Allow users to write, view and share reviews and rating through the app, to recommend deals and invite others in their network to get a special deal. There are countless possibilities; all you need is to get creative and provide a great user experience by combining social and mobile.
3. Invest in eCommerce SEO
SEO has always been a big thing. You want your eStore to show up in front of millions of potential customers, so you need to work for that as well. You really need to get serious about it. Don’t just stop at finding keywords for your homepage, find highly relevant keywords for your product pages as well. Consider factors like local search volume and keyword ranking difficulty. Google’s AdWords Keyword tool is a good resource for this.
Avoid keywords that are too competitive or too broad as they usually result in low conversion rate and higher bounce rate. You will also need to find the right keywords for your blog topics, especially the long-tail keywords which (although relevant) hardly find a place in your main eCommerce website.
In addition, find site errors (if any) and address them at the earliest especially if it is related to your website’s speed. Users often tend to abandon a website that take more than 2 seconds to load. Even delay by 1 second in page response can cause 7 percent reduction in conversions.
This year, focus on both on-page and off-page optimization to better rank in search engine result pages.
4. Access Better Data
To create a killer marketing strategy you need the most accurate data. Google analytics, although a reliable source, is not enough at times. It only provides data but you need actionable insights as well. Besides, you need your competitors’ data as well to gain an edge in the market. In 2016, make it a resolution to meet this need of your eCommerce store.
If you are sweating over the prospect, be assured there are several competitive analysis tools available on the market. The following are some of the tools you can use:
- Moz, the industry favourite that allows you track your competitors’ activities and how you can match them
- SEM Rush is another option that helps you track every activity of your competitors in paid search landscape as well as provide detailed and accurate insights about their organic search efforts
- Bright Edge is a comprehensive web-based tool featuring a complete enterprise SEO marketing platform
5. Get New Customers and Retain Old Ones
Of course you need new customers to sustain your business. But at the same time your existing customers can add more value to your business than you possible think of. For one thing, it is more expensive to get a new customer than keeping an existing one. Besides, if you can increase your customer retention rates by 5 percent can boost your profits by 25 to 95 percent. KISSmetrics finds that the “the average value of a lost customer is $243.”
You should therefore implement an effective customer retention program to show your appreciation for your existing buyers. Small steps can help you gain a competitive edge here. For example, adding a ‘wow factor’ to your packaging will not only surprize your buyers but also delight them and they will always come back to you for more. Similarly faster delivery options, special discounts and offers to repeat buyers etc. are some of the best ways to gain their loyalty.
The secret lies in beating your customer expectations, every time. And convert them to your ardent fans who not only come back to your eStore for more but also recommend your products to their peers. Happy customers always spread the good words and bring you direct referrals even without any monetary rewards.
6. Relax and Recharge
Last but not the least, you need to make a resolution to relax and recharge yourself this year. You need to balance your work and personal life. According to Hiscox’s DNA of an Entrepreneur study, around 20 percent of small business owners in the U.S. take zero vacation days at present. However, research shows that vacations and time off from work help in relieving stress, allowing you to work better in the long run.
In addition, you need to do things you enjoy on a regular basis apart from work on a regular basis. It can be anything, from DYI projects and gardening to cooking, starting a blog to getting fit. Even Mark Zuckerberg is taking up a running challenge this year, planning to run 365 miles in 2016 after celebrating 2015 as “A Year of Books”. So what are you waiting for?
A new year brings in endless opportunities along with it. It is therefore the perfect time to make your eCommerce marketing dreams come true. If you can take your resolutions seriously and work through them, nothing can stop you from attaining what you desire. The only thing you need to do, however, is to commit yourself to constant improvement.
Happy New Year!