There’s no doubt that 2020 was one of the most critical years the ecommerce world has ever experienced, primarily due to the massive explosion of online sales during the pandemic. Now, ecommerce brands have more customers than ever, more digital tools at their disposal, and the most comprehensive array of marketing channels and opportunities to reach customers that’s ever existed. With sales growing by some 44% over the previous year, it’s no wonder so many D2C sellers are on the hunt for new ecommerce strategies that will help them continue to capitalize on the boom.
There’s never a wrong time to reassess your ecommerce strategy for new opportunities. Let’s review a few marketing tactics that can help you reach more customers this year.
Customers Want Immersive Brand Experiences
As the ecommerce world gets bigger, so do customers’ expectations. It’s no longer enough to create a few search campaigns, send weekly emails, and occasionally post on social media; today’s brands need to find innovative ways of showing customers that they’re contemporary and understand the needs of their consumers.
That’s why so many brands are integrating more immersive or interactive elements into their ecommerce strategies. Some have turned to augmented reality or virtual reality, creating experiences that allow customers to explore the brand from a first-person perspective. That could mean developing a VR store where customers can look through products or implementing an augmented reality game that introduces virtual elements to the real world through customers’ smartphones. These tools can also allow customers to virtually try on products before they buy, which can help increase consumer confidence in a brand.
For more on AR and VR experiences in marketing:
Expand Your Data Capabilities for Better Personalization
Another way customer expectations have evolved is that personalization, already among the most impactful ways of reaching shoppers, is now considered essential for effective ecommerce marketing. Of course, personalization requires information and data gathered from as many sources as possible. Though the phasing out of the third-party cookie has hampered some tracking efforts, it’s still possible to leverage first-party data and new analytical tools to create campaigns that meet customers exactly where they are.
The most effective way for brands to make the most of their customer data may be to find new, faster ways of analyzing it. Marketing automation has grown more common over the last couple of years simply because the quantity of data available to marketers has grown exponentially, and human beings simply can’t manage that much information and act upon it efficiently. Automation can help you pull relevant trends from your customer data and create campaigns that can target customers at the exact moment when they’re likely to be ready to purchase. For example, AdRoll’s AI-powered automation uses an artificial intelligence algorithm developed over years of data collection to send emails, present ads, and issue other marketing communications without the marketer needing to step in to make changes at the campaign level.
With trillions of data points available, having an ecommerce strategy that includes artificial intelligence could make all the difference for brands seeking new and expanded audiences.
For more on artificial intelligence in marketing:
Level Up Your Content Marketing Game
Content marketing has become an integral part of most ecommerce strategies because it has the dual effect of attracting customers to a brand’s properties through search while also providing informative, authoritative information relevant to the customer’s interests. It used to be the case that a brand’s blog was more or less its only content marketing channel. While brands can and should continue blogging, cross-linking, inviting guest authors, and offering helpful resources for consumers, it’s also essential for marketers to extend their content beyond text.
For most, that means getting serious about producing quality video content. Research indicates that video has incredible value for ecommerce brands. Consider these stats:
- Using video on your website can improve conversions by 85%
- 40% of online shoppers are more likely to purchase their mobile device if a video is available
- 87% of marketers said video drives more traffic to their websites
These days, brands should be considering devoting a significant portion of their content budgets to video. Whether it’s on social media, a brand YouTube channel, or individual product pages, video content is proven to help reach new customers and improve the results of your ecommerce strategy.
For more on how to build brand trust with video marketing:
Refocus on the Omnichannel Experience
The customer experience should always be at the front and center of your mind when developing an ecommerce strategy. As customer expectations rise, it’s essential to deliver an experience that enables them to find what they need when they need it. It’s also equally crucial to provide a range of options for exploring a brand, choosing products, and making a purchase. Here are a couple of ways you can make your shopping experience more thoughtful and intuitive for customers.
- Expand your social media storefronts: Social selling is here to stay, and platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok have made it easier than ever for brands to sell products directly through their social media accounts. With entire marketplaces devoted to ecommerce brands, social media is now one of the go-to ways for consumers to buy products, especially younger shoppers who are well-versed in navigating social media. Plus, it’s an easy way to let customers make purchases without needing to explore your website — let your social media voice do the talking.
- In-client email shopping: Some brands invest in email plugins that allow customers to complete a purchase within the email itself rather than linking to a product page. Cutting out the extra steps saves customers time and energy, a very appealing combination for today’s ecommerce shoppers.
- Video shopping: Videos on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube can now be populated with responsive links that appear when a particular product shows up on the screen. It’s another way to enable impulse shopping and quick decision-making among customers, using exciting content to showcase products and the brand’s values simultaneously.
Get Creative Now, Reap the Rewards Later
Growing your ecommerce business requires constant vigilance for new trends and opportunities to connect with customers. This year, focus your ecommerce strategy on cutting-edge tools like enhanced data with AI analytics, social selling, immersive experiences, and omnichannel buying options, and you’ll be poised to take advantage of the fast-changing ecommerce world.
Wilson is the Sr. SEO Marketing Manager at AdRoll.