With ecommerce, the single most important factor that defines whether you succeed or fail will be whether you get visitors to your site. This post provides a summary of what you need to consider, why ecommerce marketing is different to other types of marketing and what type of skills will be required by those doing the work.All too often, the new ecommerce business owner starts out by putting all the resource and effort into creating a perfect website with lots of whistles and bells. Unfortunately, a common mistake is that the marketing isn’t given sufficient focus or resources. The result is that there might be a lovely website but without customers there is nobody there to buy the products and the business fails. This article will provide a few basic pointers to help ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.Any good marketing strategy will involve a mix of different approaches that combine to maximise profits and reduce the strain on cashflow. Key to choosing the right mix is to understanding where your business sits on the spectrum between brand and channel (ref).
Every ecommerce business has two sides to its marketing. The first is brand marketing, the second is product (ecommerce/channel) marketing. The strategies, required skills and implementations for brand marketing and for ecommerce marketing are completely different.With brand marketing, what you are selling is your brand. A successful result will show up as an increase in the number of searches made involving your business name. The number of brand searches is called the search volume and this can be measured using tools such as Google Trends. Successful implementation will show in your own website analytics as an increase in the number of visitors that include your brand name in the searches used to find you. Brand marketing companies usually combine PR and news communications (both online and offline) with the full spectrum of social media, blogging and video. Because you probably know more about your company and what it does, it often makes sense to direct this work from within your own business using your own staff to generate the content. For articles and extended news stories you may get better results using a professional copywriter that’s likely to understand the traditional media and how best to get placement of that content. DIY approaches are possible using tools such as PRweb that help syndicate your content and to do so in ways that assist with SEO.Ecommerce (product) marketing is a completely different activity and involves specialist tools, techniques, measures and approaches. The topic is highly technical and is invariably automated. Although there are likely to be sub goals to ecommerce marketing, ultimately, the main measure of ecommerce marketing success is sales. The most important Key Performance Indicator is profit. Ecommerce marketing is heavily tied into the website itself along with the accounts and warehouse/stock management. The most advanced forms of ecommerce marketing are now making extensive use of smart systems, cloud data and AI to maximise profit. Ensuring that every possible place where customers might be (Tmall, Amazon.de, eBay.fr, Google Shopping (in each country) ….) shows your products in the right language with easy fulfilment and at a great local price. There are hundreds of these channels. Each and every one needs to be optimised, automated, monitored and kept up to date. On each channel you need to ensure that the marketing is inventory-led and that the inventory is correct for each territory. With every channel you need to maximise your margins in the right currency with all taxes and duties applied and, wherever possible, delivery included. It’s possible to dynamically monitor the prices used by your competitors and to set up business rules that dynamically adjust the prices you sell at so as to maximise your profit. If you use multiple couriers you need to know the full matrix of costs and, where necessary, provide different options for different prices and delivery times. As well as ensuring that your products are effectively marked on every possible channel where customers might be, you also need to do all you can to harvest opt-in customers who you can then segment them into different customer groups. For each market segment you should send out regular emails offering great products at great prices that customers who are statistically likely to be interested in buying. Getting all of this marketing joined-up and running smoothly is usually best done using a specialist ecommerce company. Even for companies with strong technical capabilities, this type of marketing is often best outsourced to a specialist that will have the experience and the necessary systems and tools in place.If you manage to get all of the above working smoothly then, wherever your customers are, they will be able to easily find your products and know how much they will cost and when they will get it delivered. Do they want to know anything else? - probably not.