You Versus the Giants
Having an eCommerce business can be a daunting task, especially when factoring in some of the biggest online retailers such as Walmart and Amazon. Their mere presence and brand awareness have created a tough market for small eCommerce businesses to grow. With online sales continually on the rise, we have a couple of tricks up our sleeves that you can take advantage of and help grow your eCommerce business indefinitely!
Offer a Sneak Peek
Announcing a flash sale is easy, but creating buzz and building suspense helps in making your sale an outsized success. A marketing idea that is easy to implement is to create a video or gif of products coming up for sale and mention their promotion. This helps in building anticipation, getting people excited.
Use your social media channels to promote the pre-season sneak peek, engaging people before the actual day and you are likely to have them ‘lining up’ on the big day ready to make purchases.
Price Match the Giants
Besides comfort, perhaps the biggest benefit associated with shopping from home is price matching. Amazon and Walmart have perfected the art of price matching. While your smaller store may not have to drop prices to the rock-bottom levels offered by Amazon, be prepared to beat or match them to stay competitive. Although Walmart and Amazon hold the lion’s share in terms of online sales, there is no reason your business cannot match them or even beat them.
However, retailers need to carefully assess what they can charge if they are to woo customers from these big players and still make some profit. Savvy online retailers should focus on delivering exceptional user experiences in ways that Walmart or Amazon cannot and not trying to beat these giants on their own turf.
Test your Tech
It’s not a secret that compared to other online retailers, Amazon is miles ahead in terms of speed and convenience. Big Commerce tends to do excellently with a 99.99% uptime. Sometimes, having too many requests happening simultaneously to your site can really bog it down and even potentially trigger a crash. Although this kind of downtime will usually be the result of an enormous surge in traffic, it’s still wise to ensure your website host is capable of handling a traffic spike.
Use tools like Blitz.io or LoadImpact.com to test your store’s server load capacity. There are also lots of ways of getting someone to go through the entire store buying process and give you feedback. An excellent option is to use tools like User Testing that help you to capture the critical insights needed to deliver what your customers expect and want.
Optimize Landing Pages
One report indicates that 61% of shoppers begin their online searches for their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving weekend. This is why you should use your landing page to narrow down the focus to a few select products. Don’t spread yourself too thin, instead focus on the most popular items you have to offer. Consider using a counter or a banner to make it very explicit that your inventory is dropping and to secure the deal, they need to buy now.
Your landing page must always contain evergreen content so that online users can continuously find it to be relevant irrespective of the time of year. Remember, lack of speed is likely to kill your chances of making a sale as 46% of shoppers indicate that they are less likely to return if your page is loading slow!
Optimize for Partnership/3rd-Party Sellers
Optimization for eCommerce is not just limited to retailers and brands who have their own websites. Brands selling via partnerships or 3rd parties can learn much about optimization from the e-commerce giants too. Big eCommerce sites like Amazon display 3rd party links on their own websites. This includes having ‘Buy Now’ buttons that clearly make it immediately obvious which retailers are selling your products.
Similar to when you are using your own site to sell, you want the kind of information about your products appearing on 3rd party sites to be interesting and engaging – selling is the end goal, so let it count. Whether it’s on your own site or your 3rd party sellers, providing a targeted, small set of options helps in limiting the amount of work a user has to put in as they browse and compare available options.
Use Strategic Email Marketing Campaigns
Today, one of the most effective tools when it comes to marketing is email campaigns. Besides announcing your upcoming promotions, this communication method nourishes your relationship with shoppers and encourages them to purchase.
Welcome your customers, send friendly reminders to abandoned carts, and personalize your recommendations. Sending personalized email marketing messages at the right time to the right people will boost your chances of conversions.
Have Retargeting Strategies in Place
It has been shown by data that abandonment rates can go way beyond the 80% mark by the time visitors reach the cart page. There is also a big percentage of visitors, some suggest over 70%, who simply came to peruse through your site with no intention of coming back. Such people are probably looking for a special offer, so why not consider remarketing to them? Have in place some retargeting strategies to assist you in following up those who did not check out online. This is because not everyone who checks in is actually going to buy that very day.
Optimize for Mobile
Mobile shopping is the new way of online shopping. You simply cannot afford to ignore the fact that over 95% of people in the US now own some kind of cellphone. This means ensuring that your store is smartphone compatible. For example, in 2017, mobile purchases in Shopify overtook desktop purchases, increasing by 12% during Cyber Monday and Black Friday.
Take the time and walk through the entire process of purchasing, from product browsing to the checkout. Are there too many fields to fill? If they are too many, customers may bounce.
Create Contingency Plans
What plans or backups do you have in the event of something going awry? For example, what would happen in case the shipping company failed to deliver on time due to a heavy workload day? How quickly would you be able to restock inventory if you sold out earlier than you had anticipated?
This is not about stoking unfounded fears, but it's imperative that you prepare for such tough situations. Conceptualize in your mind the worst case scenarios that your business can face and create a contingency plan for each scenario wherever possible. It’s certainly much easier to deal with planning for such now than having to troubleshoot when the biggest sales period of the year is on.
In recent years, Amazon has managed to disrupt the traditional e-commerce landscape as we have known it. The sheer size and the scope of Amazon are probably among its greatest strengths. Paradoxically, these are also the source of the many weaknesses that these giant and other mega online stores are grappling with. No doubt, your e-commerce site will be smaller than Amazon or even Walmart, but you can turn their weaknesses into your strengths, through the above marketing ideas and tactics.