There are three general ways to grow revenue in any ecommerce business:
- Increase the total number of customers.
- Increase the average number of times each customer buys from you.
- Increase the average order value (AOV) from each customer.
As ecommerce marketers, knowing what to prioritize can be the difference between a standard year of growth and a phenomenal one. So, what should be your next move?
Take another look above at the overall ways to grow revenue and you may notice each has a common thread: the customer. It can be a game-changer if you start with what your buyers want (and perhaps more importantly don’t want) and let them be your guiding light for everything you do in your marketing.
In 2011, Jeff Bezos said, “If you’re truly obsessed about your customers, it will cover a lot of your other mistakes.”
Learn 11 specific ways to implement more customer-centric marketing that can lead to more revenue for your store. These are categorized in ways to grow:
1. Product Feeds
Selling on Google Shopping is a great way to market your products in a customer-centric way. Product images, pricing, reviews and brand name are all displayed in Google so that shoppers no longer need to click through to see all of that critical information.
It works a lot like traditional Google pay-per-click campaigns. It’s set up by connecting your store’s product feed to Google Merchant Center, which then feeds into your AdWords account. Once you successfully start displaying Product Listing Ads, it is easy to begin grouping your store’s products into ad groups in AdWords.
Note: Typically once you have 150 or more store reviews within the last 12 months, review star ratings will display in Google Shopping.
Saving your customers time is unlikely to go out of style any time soon. Nobody ever said, “I want a great deal, but I’d first like to blindly visit 10 different stores.” By marketing on Google Shopping, you provide your future customers with a better experience.
Additionally, it is easy to connect your store’s product catalog to Facebook’s Business Manager. Uploading your product feed to advertise in a customer-centric way on Facebook (displaying product images, descriptions, price and other information) works especially well for the next section.
2. Dynamic Retargeting on Facebook
Research from 2017 shows the global conversion rate from a visitor, to add to cart is just under 3%.
Not everyone who adds products to their cart will complete the purchase. So for the more than 97% of people who didn’t purchase, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to return and buy.
Dynamic retargeting with Facebook works well for this because it combines an image of the exact product your visitor added to cart/viewed, with info-like descriptions, pricing of that particular product and the custom copy you add. Beautiful! Your shopper only sees exactly what they were interested in plus any sort of offer text.
Setup for Facebook dynamic retargeting is pretty easy. First, create a product catalog in FB by hooking up your product feed. Next you’ll need to add a few events found in the Ads Manager for your store to successfully pass the product information to Facebook that corresponds with each user, which may require some dev work depending on how savvy you are with your code. Once you’ve got the events firing properly, the last step is to set up your first dynamic retargeting campaign and ad. In no time, you’ll be remarketing in a customer-centric way to your visitors who have yet to convert.
3. Content Marketing
Now that we’ve covered a couple of buyer-focused ways to advertise, it is important to note the vast majority of shoppers looking for products on Google and other search engines will bypass paid listings altogether. According to the Similar Web Search Report, it’s not even close when you examine paid vs. organic (on desktop only). The non-paid search results get 18 times more traffic.
People trust Google and other search engines to rank the best natural results, so give search engines reasons why you deserve to outrank your competition. Several factors go into SEO for ecommerce, but content marketing is arguably the most customer-centric way to improve search engine rankings.
Helping the customer is the name of the game with content. All things being equal, whoever helps users in the most valuable way, ranks the highest.
For example, campers search the phrase “how to build a campfire,” or something similar, every month. A big reason why REI ranks #1 in Google for the term is because they answered the question in the most helpful and thorough way.
This well-written article dominates the competition. It has over a thousand words describing every step of the campfire building process. It’s also supported by several great images and a video. REI has created an entire ‘Expert Advice’ section of the site dedicated to answering questions and solving problems pertaining to anything they sell.
Are there common problems and questions your potential buyers have? Listen to what your customer base says and use AnswerThePublic.com to find out other ideas to help. Search Google to find out what questions pertaining to your industry could be answered in a much better way than they currently are. To give your store a good shot at outranking the “partial helpers,” you want your content to be 10 or more times better than the best results for the topic.
4. Psychographic Segmentation
Demographic information of your buyers, like age or gender, can be useful in many cases. Knowing where they live and tracking their behavior is important as well. But these will only tell you part of what you need to know. Psychographics, however, include the goals, emotions, values, hobbies and habits that help drive purchase decisions, which helps us understand our customer’s why.
Psychographic segmentation is crucial for marketing in a customer-centric way. If we better understand the “why” of a particular buyer segment, the likelihood of positively influencing a group’s reason to buy goes way up! Learn as much as you can in order to deliver more details and serve customers even better.
5. Automated Email
Automation is an excellent way to keep your team or business lean, but still provide a personalized experience for your customers based on their actions.
This example from the marketing automation campaign builder inside Infusionsoft shows how an Ecommerce business can treat customers differently each time they buy from the company.
In this example, each sequence pushes the customer toward making another purchase. Inside the “new customer welcome, shipped” sequence (pictured below), a series of emails thanks the customer for “joining the family” and offers them a coupon code as gratitude:
In addition to incentivizing repeat purchases, these emails can be created in plaintext, meaning it looks to the end customer like a customer service rep sat down and wrote them a personal email. This can have a huge impact on the user experience of your site, and turn people into raving fans of your brand.
6. Targeted Promo Emails
Email is an effective (and cheap!) way to market to your existing customer base. So how do you stand out in your buyer’s inbox amidst the swarm of the rest of the world’s offers?
Focus on customer experience. A big reason why Chewy.com does well with promotional emails is because they’re laser-focused. For example, cat owners only see offers for cat products.
You won’t see any dog food offers unless you make a dog food purchase. Better yet, these cat product offers are based on prior purchase behavior. So the brands and types are all familiar.
Quickly blasting your email list with offers may generate an uptick in conversions. However, if your product set is diverse, it will likely be worthwhile to spend the extra time to deliver deals that line up with exactly what matches your customer’s interest.
7. Customized Checkout
Nobody ever said, “I just wish this checkout took a little longer.” Easy and as quick as possible, especially in the world of online shopping, will never go out of style.
Standard checkout layouts created by the top ecommerce platforms have improved over the years, but the conversion rates you can expect from them are…. well, standard. Below is an example of a default checkout page layout with BigCommerce:
Basic stuff. The good news is this page can be modified to be a lot more customer-focused with some dev work.
After studying videos of real-life customers using the default checkout, the Ecommerce Crew put together an eight-step checkout page customization checklist, which soon yielded the following customized layout:
The results were immediate. Modifying the page to make the process smoother, less time consuming and more trustworthy for users translated into a 30% lift in conversion rate.
8. Chatbot Conversion Optimization
One huge way to increase your conversion rate is to add a chat function to your store’s website. This gives users a way to interact with you and ask questions about what they need. In turn, it gives you an opportunity to drive them exactly where you want them to go.
Don’t have the time or the staff to sit around manning your website’s chat feature? Automate it with a chatbot. Here’s an example:
Based on common customer inquiries, you can build different conversation paths for people to self-select their way through. Each ends at the critical stage of collecting the lead without the use of standard forms.
This will not only dramatically increase the conversion rate of the visitors to your site, but it has the added benefit of answering frequently asked questions for your customers, meaning you can outsource at least some of your customer service, while being more helpful to visitors than your competitors who don’t have this capability.
9. Non-Boring Product Descriptions
Product copy, when done well, is proven to sell. But what if your competitors also provide users with robust product descriptions featuring a comprehensive list of features and benefits in an easy-to-read format?
So Worth Living changes the game to stand out by injecting personality into their product descriptions that they know their buyers will enjoy and appreciate:
Being helpful doesn’t mean being boring. Get to know your buyers better than your competition. Find ways to entertain them in product descriptions, while informing them about all the features and benefits.
10. Authentic Reviews
Back in the early days of Amazon, when the ecommerce mammoth was a book store only, the company’s employees were writing the majority of the reviews. Jeff Bezos had instructed his team to leave 100% genuine reviews. Naturally, their honesty translated into negative ratings on some books.
Publishers got ticked off with what Amazon was doing and one told Bezos his job was to “sell books, not trash them.” Bezos didn’t waver.
How did he know Amazon was doing the right thing? Authentic reviews can seem counter-intuitive when they are bad. But they’re truly in the best interest of the customer, and therefore the right move. Helping your visitors make the right buying decisions with reviews (good, bad and ugly) puts your customer’s interests first and foremost.
11. Amazing Customer Service
Customer service is perhaps the lowest of the low-hanging fruit. In today’s world, treating people like they’re real human beings, and showing them empathy, has the power to make you stand out from the crowd in a big way.
A strategy we use frequently is every time someone has a bad experience, we give them a $5 gift card. This does more than reduce people’s angst. It turns a negative experience into an overwhelmingly positive one. Sure, this may slightly reduce the margin you make on their next purchase. But if it brings someone back a second, third, or fourth time, it’s worth the $5 all day long. Here’s a real response from June 20th as an example:
Treat your customers well, and they will reciprocate.
Successful ecommerce marketing takes into account several factors to grow significantly. Use the customer as your north star and test, test, test to find out what works best for you.
What customer-centric ways are you using to grow your store’s revenue in 2017? Comment below and let me know.
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