Updated: Jul 22
When it comes to selling your products in the hyper-competitive online space, you must get creative and find ways to be different; be better; be smarter. The question is - how?
You’re not just competing with other stores in your neighborhood; you’re competing with 12-24 million other eCommerce sellers around the world, according to a recent study by 99Firms.
In many ways, selling your products online is the same as selling your products in person:
you need a way to get customers into the store;
you need as much traffic as possible;
you need the traffic to stay as long as possible;
you need to communicate information to your customers while they are in your store;
you need to communicate with customers while they are away from your store to drive them to visit again,
and you need to command your brand identity.
Frankly, every sales channel you have deserves its own strategy. If you do not have a strategy, then you’ll need to develop one before you waste your time and money, or consider hiring an eCommerce Consulting firm, like FOMO agency, to help.
eCommerce is unique, in that, prospective shoppers are not physically driving or walking past your store, popping in to see what you have to offer; they are online and taking action in very intentional ways. It’s possible for people to stumble across your website, sure, but in order for that to happen, you, as an online retailer, now have to find ways to connect with the BILLIONS of people who are shopping online.
Getting customers to your store
To get customers to your eCommerce site, you have to learn to meet them where they will be interacting with you in the first place - online. This means leveraging social media marketing, targeted online advertising, blogs, videos, and other ways to get on their mobile device. At the end of the day, you want raving fans of your brand.
Getting as much traffic as possible.
It’s no secret that the more foot (or site) traffic you get, the better your odds are you will make a sale. While this point relates directly to getting customers to your store, it’s worth driving home the notion that you will need to grab this traffic from the places online that relate most to them.
Getting traffic to stay as long as possible.
Once you find a way to get potential customers to your site you need to keep them there. There are many techniques to do this, and you should deploy multiple.
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) pop ups - “So and so in X place just bought Y.” You know - those pop-ups that attempt to help you keep up with the Jones’?
Efficient copy - you cannot be long winded on your website. Keep it snappy and bold.
A/B testing - the beauty of doing business online is that you can A/B test in real-time, modify your outreach, and get results faster.
Frictionless browsing experience - when selling anything, you need to make sure to reduce the number of hurdles a customer must go through to complete a purchase.
Stop directing your potential customers away from your site – a few examples: order tracking information hosted by the carrier, or hosting your blog on a separate website – don't do it! Always look for options to consolidate and host as much as possible within your shopping cart, without jeopardizing the quality of your site, of course.
Communicate with your customers while they are on your site
You have minimal time to get a message across on your website. According to a Times blog post, the average reader spends about 15 seconds on a given page. It’s probably safe to say you have less than a minute to keep them on your site, so, how are you keeping them engaged?
Get out of your mind when writing copy and start wearing the shoes of your prospective shoppers! Become a student of your target persona and learn to communicate with them in all the mediums they are most reactive to (blogs, vlogs, Instagram, etc.).
Communicating with customers while they are away from your site
While it is critical that you learn how to communicate with your one-day raving fans while they are ON your site, it’s also paramount that you learn to communicate with them OFF your home turf. The complicated part is standing out over the rest of your competition – you're all competing for the same space outside your company-specific locations (online, in-store, etc.).
Find a way to stand out; do the things others are afraid to do; become the ambassador for your persona’s needs. Your goal is to get customers to return to your site as frequently as possible; evoke curiosity, be exciting, be engaging.
Getting lost customers to return
This point may sound obvious, but you need to capitalize on the opportunity you have to reengage shoppers that did not complete a purchase with you. This is called “retargeting” and there are a few ways you can do this. Here are 3 Examples of Retargeting Strategies that Actually Work.
Command your brand identity
Right in-line with the concept of creating raving fans, you need to identify yourself as a brand that resonates with your one-day die-hards. It’s easy to find or come up with a cool product, list it, and hope for the best. The true magic happens when you put the brand in front of the customer, and give your shoppers something to believe in.
There are many ways you can differentiate your brand online or in-store. Nothing about what we have covered today should be considered exhaustive. If you take the time to research how to get small wins along the way, you will not regret it.
Odds are, the time you spend researching will result in some confusion, frustration, and even more questions than you had before. I recommend working with a consultant who can help pair you with the right people and services to get the job done. It’s one thing if you’re bootstrapping your way in the door with no money – I've been there, but if you have the ability to invest in a few of these areas, the ROI should prove more than valuable.
Happy selling, my friends 👊🏻
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About the Author:
Dustin D. Thede has spent over a decade in retail with a foundation on the front lines as a sales leader and has been helping retail businesses adopt new software and pursue custom development projects since 2016.
Today, Dustin focuses his efforts on helping small to medium businesses (SMB’s) make more informed business decisions in the age of Digital Transformation.
“There is a lot of opportunity online and in stores for retailers. The ability to develop creative, data-driven strategies is key to success in an ever-evolving retail world. A plan today is a vision for tomorrow.”
Dustin D. Thede
President | FOMO agency™