Companies used to require a lot of funding, but the technology era has changed all of that. With free social media platforms, low-cost websites and DIY shopping software tools, an e-commerce business can blossom over a weekend. An e-commerce business’s main challenge isn’t getting started — it’s figuring out how to thrive in a saturated marketplace. 

So, how can you stand out from the competition and outperform your rivals? How do you compete with the more prominent e-commerce giants such as Amazon? Here are some strategies to help guide your e-commerce marketing plan.

Understand Your Customers

It’s crucial to establish a connection with your audience. You need to know who you’re creating products or services for. Talk to your audience at every stage of the sales funnel while you’re guiding them toward purchase. Strategize each step of the customer journey and focus your message on their needs and interests to avoid wasting money on generic campaigns. The better you know your audience, the easier it’ll be to concentrate efforts on the right ads, channels, and offerings to encourage the most conversions. 

Personalize the Customer Experience

Small businesses have an advantage over bigger companies when it comes to developing relationships to win brand loyalty. When you establish an in-depth connection with your audience and know what they want, it’ll be much easier to position and sell your products. The key is to think deeply about what your ideal shopper’s experience should be — before, during, and after purchase. 

Connect with your customers in the following ways:

  • Put a real face on your brand — for example, you can cast a spotlight on your team members on your website. 
  • Respond to customer comments and reviews. Note that it’s especially important to acknowledge negative customer reviews so that you can address their pain points.
  • Single customers out on special days. People feel valued when companies send emails or messages on special occasions, such as birthdays. This is an opportunity to enhance customer relationships and strengthen bonding. 
  • Send out surveys intermittently to gauge how your customers are feeling. 
  • Create an omnichannel approach for your audience throughout all your channels for a more seamless experience. 

Take Advantage of Social Media

An excellent way to compete with e-commerce giants such as Amazon is to leverage your social media. Here are some ways to optimize your social media campaigns: 

Tailor your content to the platform. For a successful social media strategy, it’s important to continually re-evaluate your plan and stay up-to-date on the latest features. Since every social media platform is different, you need to create the right content for each platform — it’s bad practice to duplicate content across channels. 

Leverage user-generated content (UGC). It can be time-consuming to create unique content for each social media site. This is where user-generated content (UGC) can help — it’s low-cost and provides the social proof that customers look to before making a purchase.  

For example, you can create a custom hashtag that your followers can use to share their favorite products or services. Encourage your fans to share their pictures and videos through interactions such as email or social media.

Embrace Video. Most online shoppers (a whopping 90%!) say that product videos help them make purchasing decisions. Provide the type of content that your audience craves —  use video on channels such as Instagram and Facebook to boost your engagement rates.

Create partnerships with influencers. By 2020, influencer marketing is estimated to hit $10 billion. For D2C brands, consider partnering with influencers with a smaller fan base to create conversions and drive sales.

AI for the Win 

With the influx of marketing channels, devices, and personalized content, comes a massive demand for time, money, and resources from brands. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help lessen the strain on marketing teams by gathering, tracking, and cost-effectively analyzing cross-channel advertising campaigns.

When you incorporate AI into your marketing strategies, the benefits are massive:

  • Search engines are more accurate. By combining AI with Natural Language Processing, brands can help shoppers find exactly what they’re searching for. This technology can use text, voice, and image searching to provide recommendations based on users’ online behavior. 
  • It’s easier to up-sell and cross-sell. With AI, you can more accurately analyze customer behaviors and anticipate their needs. This paves way for greater success when up-selling and cross-selling.
  • You can streamline logistics. AI can look into purchasing patterns and consumer demand to anticipate supply requirements and help companies manage logistics more cost-effectively.

A Promising Year Ahead

Focus on customer-centric strategies and invest in key technologies for quality insights. When you incorporate these strategies into your e-commerce marketing plan, you’re one step closer to enhancing the consumer experience and thriving in a saturated marketplace. 

Now that you’re caught up with e-commerce marketing best practices, check out the four digital marketing trends that’ll rock the marketing industry next year.