As you become more prominent online, you may be looking for a marketing strategy that not only brings in customers but can accommodate future growth too. In this guide, Jonathan Birch, Creative Director at Glass Digital, shares a few top marketing tips for scaling e-commerce.
By the end of this year, over 2.14 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online (Webinterpret). If that wasn’t reason enough to focus on e-commerce, up to 95% of all retail purchases are predicted to be digital by 2040. This is both good and bad news for online retailers — on one hand, you have the potential to access more customers than ever before. On the other, the market is saturated with competitors.
This is why your digital marketing strategy is now one of the most crucial aspects of your business plan, and its implementation can make or break a fledgling retail company. How do you stand out online, and more importantly, how can your marketing strategy support your venture as it grows? Below, I’ll share five marketing tips for scaling e-commerce business that can help encourage your progression.
Streamline your online channels for brand continuity
When it comes to online presence, choose quality over quantity. While having more ways for customers to access your products or services sounds ideal, these channels can impact your business instead if they are flawed or confusing. Sometimes, it’s better to be present in a few key places than to be everywhere at once, spreading yourself too thinly.
This is especially true for growing businesses who need to be careful about how they invest their resources. By focussing and streamlining your efforts, you can spend your time and money where it matters and continue to develop a strong, engaging brand.
To streamline most effectively, find out where most of your customers are coming from or which products or services they are using, and tailor your business to them. This is instead of trying to bring them over to your preferred platforms. If you’re looking to build your customer base, you can identify the right channels to focus on by comparing demographics.
While doing this, don’t neglect your website. Your website should be your flagship, offering the strongest and clearest voice and communicating your brand values the most effectively.
Provide a flawless experience
You should be aiming to provide a flawless journey for your customers across the whole of your brand. On a practical level, you need to make sure you’re doing everything you can to reduce the risk of technical issues, such as servers crashing or even cybersecurity threats, that could make potential customers turn to a competitor. On the surface, your branding needs to be appealing at every step of the journey, including through consistent content.
Don’t skimp on web design, digital marketing, social media campaigns, and SEO — particularly as your business grows. Aside from having more choice, online shoppers are more discerning and tech-savvy than ever before. With such high expectations, even small family businesses and start-ups aren’t forgiven for providing buying journeys that are hard to find, difficult to navigate, or littered with bugs.
Make the customer the focus of your transactions
Online retail is a huge industry, and the bigger it grows, the more consumers will be willing to pay. The question isn’t how to get people to spend money online anymore, but how to get them to spend it with you. You’ll appeal to customers more if you value their time and experience over taking their money, so think about ways you can scale your business in line with your customer’s ideals.
Remember that the aim of your marketing is to get customers to spend time with your brand, building their own relationship with your products and services and investing in your voice. You’re not trying to talk them into parting with their cash. So, use convenience and personalisation to show appreciation for their time, such as providing multiple payment options to giving them their choice of delivery courier.
Anticipate issues before they take place
It’s not just technical hitches that can put customers off placing an order with you. Supply issues, shipping delays, bad PR internally or from a third-party partner, and much more can cause people to lose interest in your brand. And, as your business grows, you’ll have to deal with these problems more often, and on an increasingly larger scale.
The key to protecting your business lies in anticipation. You need to get into the habit of monitoring everything, from your own stock levels to those of your suppliers, to international news, to the weather. Embrace tools and software that can help you forecast problems before they even take place, allowing you to take the necessary precautions well ahead of time. If anything does go amiss, transparency often wins over customers than the opposite.
Be prepared for change
In business, anything can happen and that’s especially true in the digital world. So, you need to get used to being adaptable and have the infrastructure and the wherewithal respond to situations promptly. Marketing strategies that have been effective in the past can suddenly stop working, and the most frustrating part is that you don’t always find out why. As customers tastes, preferences, and priorities move on, so should you.
Many businesses have been left behind as the bulk of retail transactions move online, and those that have thrived tend to be the most prepared for change. So, streamline your processes, focus on the customer, keep an eye out for potential issues, and — most importantly — be flexible.
The tips in this guide can help you figure out which areas of your marketing to focus on as you scale your online business. The challenges you face will be unpredictable, but by being smart you can easily become another internet success story.