In today’s digital marketing age, more and more retail stores are building ecommerce websites. An ecommerce site enables any size retailer in any place of the world to have a global market reach. When promoted effectively, an ecommerce site can also offer immense cost-efficiency for customer acquisition and product sales.
Parallel to the enormous growth in ecommerce, most industries and product sectors are being dominated by a few major ecommerce giants. These powerful players often have a prominent brand image accompanied by targeted search engine ads and wealthy online marketing budgets. This has made competing against such ecommerce sites a difficult endeavor, especially for small e-retailers with limit ad spend.
In sectors where it might seem impossible to steal market share from ecommerce goliaths, there is usually always a way to capture a good chunk of customers. The trick is to get the creative juices flowing and find out which channels are the most relevant, least competitive, and cost-efficient. Below we highlight three tips that can help small business ecommerce sites compete with big budget brands.
Carve a Fine Niche
One of the most important approaches to building a successful ecommerce store is to establish a very specific market niche. This is particularly significant for boutiques and small business retailers with a very distinguished inventory. Unlike some large ecommerce stores that offer a broad range of goods, determining a very focal niche will help to establish a retailer as a specialty provider for a certain category of products. This can help to promote greater trust and credibility in potential customers.
Well-established ecommerce sites typically sell all sorts of products within a certain category, such as ‘motorcycle clothing.’ Take the time to do some research on the inventory that your ecommerce competitors offer with respect to your own product lines. Your objective is to pinpoint the areas that could be the most profitable for your ecommerce efforts. This may involve narrowing your focus to very select product categories as the overall theme for your online store, such as ‘leather motorcycle jackets.’
Starting off slow in a niche that you’re confident will drive sales is an excellent tactic for small business ecommerce. As you begin to dominate one product category, you can start exploring new categories to expand your sales potential.
Mix Up Your Marketing Efforts
Marketing your ecommerce site can seem like a daunting task. However there are a few primary channels that are paramount for ecommerce. These include Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, organic search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. In a nutshell, ecommerce marketing hinges on being found in the search engine results as well as being recognized on social media platforms. But before picking which channels are defined, think of approaching a marketing plan with a more holistic approach.
Between SEO, PPC, and social media, none are more powerful than the other. Although each channel is very different, that all share the same degree of potential in attracting more customers. More times often than not, including a blend of search engine marketing tactics that use both SEO and PPC is the best approach. Because SEO is a long-term effort, using PPC to test which keywords are most profitable is one of the best strategies. This can save a lot of work down the road by optimizing for keywords that only provide sufficient profit margins.
Social media platforms, like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, help to build more recognition in your brand. These platforms can help sustain loyalty as well as funnel traffic to your website. Social media offers a great way to share content, generate interest, and build a following. This can help sustain ecommerce success by promoting repeat purchases and the viral sharing of great content that’s connected to your brand.
Promote with Richness
Online shoppers in particular feed off insightful information that’s presented in a rich media format. The use of images, audio, and video can be momentous for ecommerce marketing. The ways in which you can use such media offer endless ideas.
Reviews are big deal in the ecommerce arena. Customers see a lot of value in quality reviews that accurately describe the features, benefits, and pitfalls of certain products. For this reason, recording your own reviews or product highlights in the form of a video can be an ecommerce game changer, especially if those videos are optimized and found in the search engine results.
Visual stimulation is huge on the Internet. In addition to videos, including a wealth of images on your product pages can significantly help sales. In fact, product page mini-galleries are becoming popular for many ecommerce stores, so adopting this strategy is becoming essential. The use of more informative images, or infographics, is also a creative way to attract customers. Social media can be used to share this content, which can help lead to more exposure and the potential to go viral.
Successful ecommerce is rooted to empathy. That is, how well you as the marketer can put yourself in the perspective of your target audience. Understanding how to present your brand, as well as your communications is key. Good ecommerce marketers have a sharp sense of awareness. They know what it is their target customers are looking for, and how to best enlighten them on how their ecommerce store can meet their needs.