It doesn’t take a digital marketing expert to know that e-commerce is a huge powerhouse of an industry with the potential to transform retail as we know it. The number of people buying online globally increases year after year, as humanity becomes ever more reliant on smart devices, connectivity, and immediate gratification. Just this year, more than 1.92 billion people, approx. 25 percent of the world’s population, will buy something online, and this number is set to increase to 2.14 billion by 2021. That’s an extremely large market size with endless potential and opportunity, for both merchants and buyers.
Compared to Baby Boomers and Seniors, Millennials and Gen Xers find it much more preferable to spend their hard-earned money online than visit physical stores. This fact alone means that the retail landscape will change beyond recognition in years to come. In order to serve an entirely new generation of shoppers, e-commerce businesses need to step up and work smarter to meet new demands, by implementing diverse scaling strategies. However, this can be an overwhelming task, requiring thorough business analysis and in-depth research into the tools and strategies available.
In this article, we’ve done the hard work for you. First, we’ll dive into some of the most basic strategies that should be leveraged to the max. Then, we’ll talk about the best apps and tools for optimizing your store so that it is ready to scale to the next level.
While there are a plethora of e-commerce strategies to choose from, it’s important to check that you’ve got the basics covered before you optimize with tools. The following 7 strategies cover branding, automation, customer relationships, and website optimization, to ensure your business has the right foundations prior to building and scaling.
Strategy 1: Be present in relevant places
Around 85 percent of consumers conduct online research before making a purchase and use a variety of means to do so; search engines, 3rd-party platforms like Amazon, forums and social media. If your brand is present on only one or two of these search methods, it’s safe to say that your marketing strategy needs to be optimized for further reach and recognition.
While the spectrum of marketing is vast, it’s worth ensuring the first steps are fully covered and that your brand has a presence in all relevant online mediums. Of course, you don’t have to be on absolutely everything, just pick the places where your target consumers are likely to visit. From there, you can expand your marketing strategy to engage with your audience using content tailored to their interests, and later on, expand to include special incentives and other conversion methods.
Strategy 2: Automate as much as possible
If you aren’t leveraging automation software, now is the time to start! If you find yourself drowning in endless, repetitive tasks, then you aren’t using your time wisely. Cutting down hours spent doing operational jobs will help to free up time to focus on scaling, and other important nuances of your business. Aside from accelerating logistics, automation will help you maintain a consistent, professional approach from the outset.
Further, along with this article, we’ll list some of the best automation tools available to optimize your day-to-day processes, e.g., automated AI repricing software, push notifications, chatbots, email marketing and analytics, and more.
Related reading: What is AI Repricing on Amazon?
Strategy 3: Maintain close consumer relationships
One thing you may not want to fully automate is your customer relationship system. One of the most common complaints of stores that completely rely on automation is that customer service can often feel robotic. Without a way for buyers to air concerns that may not happen frequently. Using a combined approach of automated and personal communication is the best way to optimize while maintaining a human touch.
Strategy 4: Optimize your website
First impressions are everything. There’s nothing more off-putting than a website, or platform storefront full of grammatical errors, bad photos or user experience. As the first point of contact for many consumers, a website must always look its best and constantly maintained for accuracy.
With attention spans not lasting more than a few seconds, your website must impress on the first view, otherwise, you’ll be doomed to endless bounces.
Related reading: Longer mobile page load times drastically increase bounces.
Strategy 5: Have an omnichannel presence
Having only one online shopfront isn’t going to be enough if you want to scale your e-commerce business. Today, most stores are present on multiple channels and platforms, e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Etsy, Amazon, and more. Being omnichannel means you are opening more points of sale, however, this needn’t be overwhelming. The key to successfully operating across multiple channels is to integrate technologies that organize and automate.
Strategy 7: Use prices effectively
Unexpected extra cost is the number one reason shoppers abandon carts, so you’ll want to ensure that all charges are available to your customers upfront. If your store is on a marketplace platform, such as Amazon, you’ll constantly need to review your pricing to stay competitive. This can be very time-consuming as many factors come into play when selecting optimal prices. Outsourcing this task to a repricing solution like Seller Snap’s AI Repricer will ensure your prices automatically adjust according to sales data and competitor analysis, again freeing you to concentrate on business growth.
Related reading: How to choose a repricing solution
Now that we’ve covered strategy basics, let’s look into the tools that’ll help you execute your e-commerce business growth in marketing, analytics, customer service, product management and more.
Canva – Canva is an awesome tool to use if you have little to no experience with Photoshop. Canva creates compelling images and graphics with easy-to-layer blocks, which you can later distribute among your social media channels to drive engagement.
Hootsuite – Schedules your store’s brand content across social media and allows interaction with existing and prospective customers. It also includes comprehensive analytics to help you gain insight and tweak your efforts for more ROI.
Syte – Enables customers to interact with inventory by making it searchable through a photo, for e.g. by an influencer showing direct usage of your product. Customers are able to click directly on your inventory to purchase or view information.
Shakr – Allows you to create high-quality video ads with over 2000 templates and a stock image gallery through their drag and drop builder.
MailChimp – Create email campaigns and newsletters to send regular updates to your subscribers and customers. Very user-friendly and well trusted.
Seller Snap – A comprehensive service for Amazon sellers, offering premium, automated solutions for repricing, using business intelligence and Live Analytics.
Customer.io – Automates email interactions based on customer behavior. You can trigger campaigns using analytics and segmentation to send relevant information to targeted customer profiles. It also integrates with different services through an API.
AdEspresso – Creates simple A/B tests to work out which of your ads are performing better, with suggestions on how to optimize campaigns for improvement.
Kissmetrics – A data-rich tool that leverages information on where your best customers come from, who they are, and how to convert them into loyal buyers, while also allowing you to view revenue metrics broken down by traffic source.
Related reading: 5 Steps to Declutter Data in Your Amazon Store
Zendesk Chat – Allows you to chat with your website visitors in real-time, with a customized chat button you can add to your website. Automated responses are also available for FAQs.
ReferralCandy – As the name suggests, ReferralCandy is a tool that you can use to create an ambassador/referral program for your customers, through which they can share personalized links with friends to take advantage of discounts and deals.
AuthentiPix – Formerly known as Integration, AuthentiPix integrates Instagram into your store to allow customers to show off products they have bought from you. Implementing a social proof strategy will help drive more sales and enable free advertising for your store.
Yotpo – A review tool that you can integrate into your store to publicly display customer reviews. Customer reviews are a great way to show off happy customers and display awesome customer service for not-so-happy customers. On-site widgets are customizable.
Related reading: Buy Box and positive feedback…how important is it really?
Kin – Manages all HR needs on a cloud-based system. It manages employee data and files, onboarding processes, vacation/time off and performance reviews.
Zirtual – A tool that connects you with your own personal assistant, to help you with anything from back-office tasks to booking flights, scheduling meetings and inbox gatekeeping.
ShipStation – ShipStation is a tool that imports, manages, and ships product orders to streamline, automate and scale fulfillment and shipping. Integrates with a vast number of e-commerce apps.
Signifyd – A fraud management system that helps to mitigate fraud and unwarranted chargebacks. You can manage the tool on your own, or outsource the task to Signifyd to operate on your behalf.
Zapier – A powerful tool that allows you to connect many different apps together, helping you automate and streamline your e-commerce processes easily.
Aimtell – Fully integrate with WordPress and Shopify, Aimtell re-engages website visitors with targeted mobile and desktop web push notifications, even if their browsers aren’t open.
BloomReach – BloomReach helps your business offer a personalized customer experience using a suite of tools to present products based on your visitor’s interests, improve SEO and better search functionality.
Ready to go
If you’ve just launched your business, or have been busy spinning plates to keep it running, then we hope this article has been of value. Investing your resources into automation tools is the first step to optimizing and scaling your business to e-commerce success.
While we have only touched upon a few, there are thousands of tools out there that can help you evaluate and grow your e-commerce store — are you ready to go?