eCommerce strategy tips for success
Okay then: you’ve used
our guide to make some initial eCommerce plans, and you’ve implemented our wisdom on how to produce good quality content. Now it’s time to keep pushing the envelope!
In the first article, we likened running an eCommerce
website to working on your personal fitness. That meant three stages:
- Set up for success – lay the
foundations of a successful website and plan for social media backup
- Build basic strength – optimise
your eCommerce pages for search engines and user experience
- Maintain your routine for results –
continue to flex those marketing muscles to keep the sales coming
By now, you should have the first two stages covered
off. If not, pay attention! You need to go back and get the basics right. But if
everything is in place already, then we’re ready to look into what you can do to take
your efforts to the next level...
Analyse your sales and visits
Firstly, you should make sure that your site is set up
with Google Analytics. It’s a popular free tool that you can use to track where visitors
arrive and how they got there. You can even set special eCommerce tracking to see how
your customer journey is working.
So, it’s particularly useful way to see how your wonderful new site
and its content are performing. You should keep an eye out for several key factors
connected to your site visitors, including:
- Most popular search keywords
- Most popular landing pages
- Percentage of mobile users
- Shopping cart behaviour (advanced knowledge required
The ultimate goal is to produce regular reports -
whether you prefer weekly, monthly or quarterly - that can track buying trends and
hopefully help you to anticipate customer behaviour over time. Not only will a report
help you identify your successes, it should also give you an insight into what could be
Keep up the house cleaning
It’s fairly essential to do a little tidying in a real
shop every now and then, and a virtual shop is no different. Where a badly maintained
brick-and-mortar shop can lead to a bad reputation and lost customers, so can a
neglected eCommerce site.
Cleanliness, godliness, etc.
(Stat: Kissmetrics / Image from FreeImages.com: Roma Flowers)
Make sure to use
Search Console to check on the status of your pages. Close in on any Crawl Errors
and determine whether they are a temporary oversight or an ongoing issue. If you have
discontinued a product and deleted its page, you should investigate using 301 redirects
to make customers arrive on one of your functional pages.
Otherwise, there’s a risk of your site looking poorly
organised to Googlebot and human visitors alike. And that’s bad for both SEO and user
experience, which can potentially translate to “not being found” or “not being liked by
Check your directory submissions
One of the big bad truths of online marketing recently
was found in a recent
online article about the death of SEO. If you
have neither the time nor the energy to read it, we’ll summarise it for you: SEO still
actually exists, but it needs to focus on optimising for all search engines, not just
That means optimising your online presence for websites
with search facilities, including Yell.com, Google+, or Facebook. For you, this means
making sure that your website URL is listed in relevant directories, whether that be for
eCommerce businesses, wholesale businesses, or whatever else applies to your enterprise.
Don’t be anti-social (...media)
Social networks are a great place to meet customers on
their own territory. If you run an eCommerce business, then you should maximise your
social efforts to ensure that their products arrive under your client’s noses. This is
especially true if you don’t have a physical shopfront - you need to make the most of
So, as we suggested in
the first eCommerce blog of this series, you should already be thinking about where your customers are hanging
out. Make sure to diversify your platforms as much as possible without biting off more
than you can chew. Platforms you should consider are:
- Facebook - for almost any eCommerce shop
- Twitter - see “Facebook”
- Instagram - any eCommerce site that uses imagery
(i.e., any site)
- Pinterest - see “Instagram”
- LinkedIn - B2B sales, IT equipment, stationery,
- Google+ - see “Facebook”
Now, that may seem like a lot of work developing, but
you shouldn’t shy away from this responsibility for several reasons:
- It’s free advertising on the doorstep of all your
- You can automate and schedule posts across most of
- You can also replicate your image posts across
- It gives you direct access to customer feedback on
your products and services
That’s right, social media is a great place to test the
waters with a fledgling ad campaign. If the products or their images don’t get a lot of
attention, it may be worth focusing your efforts on other items.
Just make sure to put forward your friendliest face
(literally, if you have anyone in the business who doesn’t have a “face for radio”),
whether it’s responding to customer queries or updating your followers on the latest
news around the business. People like to buy from businesses they can trust, so give
them a good reason to splash the cash.
Reward loyalty with love
They’re nothing new, and they have worked for decades
already: a good loyalty programme can encourage repeat custom and make your buyers feel
rewarded as well. Whether you want to use third-party software, commission your own app,
or send out an email the (increasingly) “old-fashioned” way; you can win vital bonus
points in the eyes of your customers.
It may seem like a big business tactic, but
advertising and marketing research by experts Manta and
BIA/Kelsey found that 64% of USA small businesses found customer loyalty schemes had
been “effective”. In plain English, this means they made more money than they spent on
spend more (67%) than
and are more motivated to spread the word about a repeat
business. A loyalty programme can help a small business compete not only against local
rivals, but also against nationwide or global competitors who offer schemes but can’t
provide that personal touch as easily.
Chase those reviews
People can’t get enough of stars, whether it’s for local
search results, product reviews, or poorly considered tattoos (yes, we went there).
Social proof can be an incredibly powerful weapon in your armoury. If your eCommerce
site has a Product Review facility, then make sure to follow up a sale with an email
asking for a review a little while later.
It works for Amazon, so there’s no reason it shouldn’t
work for you.
If you don’t have that facility, you can still chase up
some positive feedback. Ask your customer to post a review on Google+, Yell.com or a
similar business aggregating platform. Failing that, you can put any written feedback as
a testimonial for the product or your business: just make sure to ask permission to use
the customer’s words online first.
For our final tip, never underestimate the power of
a good freebie. If you can donate one of your products as a free gift in exchange for a
review - either online or print - then you’ll be encouraging publicity at the expense of
just one sale.
So, you're all set to start selling. To summarise, the major takeaways from this final
- Track and report on your traffic and sales.
- Remove dead links and old URLs regularly.
- Find and submit your website URL to high quality
- Use social media to test product popularity and
- Make a loyalty programme to encourage repeat
- Actively pursue good reviews to encourage new
That’s all from our three-part guide to getting the best
out of your eCommerce website. For more tips on marketing, SEO, and running a small
business; bookmark our
blog page, and check
in on our social media posts regularly.
Now, go get those sales!
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