When a company exists online, it relies completely on Internet-based marketing. This opens a world of possibilities, yet it also exposes a company to an ever-expanding competition of businesses from around the world. Due to this, the company needs to have a spot-on marketing strategy. Should this strategy fail the entire business will suffer. That is why it's so important to do whatever possible to prevent a marketing strategy from failing. Here are seven reasons why a company's current e-commerce marketing strategy might struggle.
1. No Shopper Personalization
Personalization has become a crucial staple in online marketing. Customers want to see what’s important to them and they don’t want to spend the time sifting through unnecessary material to do so. Failure to implement shopper personalization within a website is one of the reasons why a company's e-commerce marketing strategy may leave much to be desired.
The practice of personalization has existed for a while now. According to Social Media Today (2016), Amazon started collecting customer information through cookies it would upload to the computers of visitors and track through IP addresses well over a decade ago. Amazon would then take this information to provide more accurate product results while greeting customers with previous searches directly on the front page. Personalization has also helped streaming services like Netflix offer more specific recommendations for subscribers based on previous content viewed.
According to Neil Patel Digital (2017), personalizing content for visitors is crucial in improving sales numbers. In fact, 78 percent of consumers are more likely to return to the store and make repeat purchases if the website offers targeted, personalized offers based on what the customer purchased previously. Websites that do take advantage of the personalization features typically see an increase in sales by 19 percent, and there is a total return on investment by up to 20 percent, all thanks to using shopper personalization.
2. Charging for Shipping
It costs money to send out physical items to someone making a purchase. Despite this, many customers are turned away by a shipping charge. They see it as a hidden, added expense. Additionally, shipping rarely is consistent. What one online entity charges for shipping may vary drastically from that of another online business. If online companies were required to charge the exact same amount for shipping this issue likely wouldn’t prove as troubling to consumers, but the fact of the matter is, as a customer doesn’t know what they will pay for shipping until checking out, directly comparing the prices of one business with that of another becomes nearly impossible. Therefore, offering free shipping helps increase sales and boost a company’s marketing strategy.
According to a survey conducted by Shopify.com, customers were asked what service would encourage the customer to make a purchase online. 93 percent of those surveyed said free shipping would increase their likelihood of making a purchase with the company. The next most favorable sales feature was free returns at 67 percent. Nothing else came within 30 percentage points of free shipping.
Some businesses may indicate that free shipping might take away too much of their profit margin. While it might take away a portion of initial revenue, it does prompt an increase in sales, which in turn makes up for this initial loss. According to Site Point (2012, updated in 2017), companies that dropped shipping costs saw a website conversion increase by 50 percent overnight. The increase in sales more than made up for the cost of shipping.
3. Not Fixing Shopping Cart Abandonment
Shopping cart abandonment is a major problem for all online retailers. There is no true way to prevent 100 percent of all shopping cart abandonment. Some customers may simply change their mind or decide they will just wait. For those customers there really isn’t much to be done. However, there are other customers who back out of making a purchase for very fixable reasons. An online company that does not fix their shopping cart abandonment issues will continue to struggle making sales while losing out to competitors.
According to OmniStar, over 67 percent of shopping carts go abandoned online. This equals an average order of $116.58. In fact, the average online conversion rate for customers arriving on a website and making an eventual purchase sits at just over two percent. What are the leading causes of these abandoned shopping carts? 46 percent of customers say they back out of a purchase because of a high shipping charge. As customers are not generally informed of shipping charges until the final stages of purchasing a product, this is a major red flag for the customers and they will back out until shopping around with other product providers. Another 21 percent of customers said potential security concerns are a major issue, 22 percent said they couldn't find customer support in the event of an issue with their product, and 24 percent said they abandoned their shopping cart because the website did not accept their desired form of payment.
Each of these four issues is easily corrected. As previously mentioned, providing free shipping will help increase sales and boost conversion rates by 50 percent overnight. By providing free shipping, the shopping cart abandonment because of high shipping charges reason completely goes away.
In terms of security concerns, e-commerce sites must take security seriously. It needs to highlight security measures utilized and, when necessary, invest in heightened security features.
Customer support is another easy to solve the issue. By providing contact numbers in the footer of every page on a website, customers can easily locate this information. Offering the number again on checkout pages helps with this issue as well.
The last major problem of customers not being able to find the desired payment option is something many small businesses run into. Most online retailers accept payment services through credit or debit cards, yet not all credit cards are always accepted. Retailers may not opt to accept certain credit cards that charge higher processing rates (such as American Express) but missing out on a single sale due to not accepting a preferred payment option simply because of a few percentage points is far costlier.
Correcting each of these issues will not completely stop shopping cart abandonment numbers, but it will help drastically reduce these numbers.
4. Not Evolving Email Marketing
Email marketing remains a favorable advertising tool for companies around the world. It’s an effective method for connecting with customers and for keeping potential customers up to date. However, many companies do not utilize email marketing to the fullest potential.
According to Enterprise Monkey and published by Cheatography (2016), there are some very specific do's and don'ts of email marketing that will directly affect how customers not only view the sent message but interact and respond to the message. Failure to take advantage of these tips often result in less than desirable email marketing results. For starters, all email marketing messages need to contain the brand voice. Brand voice should be universal across all forms of marketing, ranging from television commercials to social media posts and even email content. Beyond this, the email campaign needs to be segmented, so only those customers who may be interested in a product or service will receive the message. Otherwise, the material comes across as spam. The messages need to be personalized to the customer and the content needs to come with an attractive e-mail subject.
On the other side, email marketing should not spam. Sending too much undesirable content will result in a recipient either sending messages to spam or unsubscribe. The emails should not be overly heavy on graphics as this slows down display time and the emails should not include lengthy forms.
5. Not Using Live Chat Features
As mentioned in the abandoned shopping cart portion, over 20 percent of customers end up abandoning their shopping carts because there is no direct line of support. When a customer needs an answer, they don't want to wait around for a reply email, which may or may not come shortly. If a customer must wait for an answer, they are more likely to back out and look for service from a different service provider. This is where the live chat feature comes in.
According to Business 2 Community (2017), investing in a live chat will improve conversion rates while demonstrating a heightened return on investment. When a website takes advantage of live chat, it sees a 20 percent conversion rate increase (much of which directly helps prevent shopping cart abandonment), with customers three times as likely to buy a product or service after interacting with the live chat feature. Additionally, a website that uses a live chat feature sees a 305 percent return on investment rate. So, for small companies that believe live chat to be a frivolous expenditure that will not pay off, these numbers directly suggest otherwise.
6. Not Using Product Reviews
Many of the top retail outlets provide product reviews directly on the site. Websites like Amazon, Best Buy, and others all allow potential customers to read what previous customers have said about a product. The fear many smaller businesses have about posting product reviews is what happens if a customer leaves a negative review? If companies provide quality products and services, this shouldn't be much of an issue. Plus, providing product reviews will help improve any company's online marketing strategy while increasing conversion rates.
According to DNM News (2017), including product reviews help drastically improve conversion rates. For products that at considered to be "low priced," conversion rates increase by nearly 200 percent when including product reviews. High-priced products end up seeing a conversion increase by nearly 400 percent when the website includes product reviews. When more money is at stake, potential customers want to know they are investing their money into a quality product and not spending it on something that will not deliver what they are looking for.
In the same DNM News article, studies indicate the inclusion of bad reviews may not affect a customer either. When products have a 4.7 out of 5 (or higher) score, some customers begin to assume the ratings are fake or falsified in some form. By including all reviews, in addition to customers offering reasons behind their review, it gives potential shoppers the ability to read up on what previous buyers liked and didn’t like.
7. Not Using Website Pop-Ups
At one point in time, website pop-ups proved all the rage. However, websites misused pop-ups and consumers quickly started to avoid website with heavy pop-ups. Web browsers would come with tools designed specifically to block pop-ups. These secondary browser windows were specifically designed to increase add revenue for the website. Thanks to overuse, this tactic started to fall out of usage. However, there are times where a website pop-up from the website itself can prove beneficial.
Bombarding a customer with pop-ups as soon as they arrive on a site is not a favorable tactic, but offering a pop-up prior to leaving a website instead helps bring the potential customer back into the fold. If they are already leaving, it doesn't hurt to provide one last ditch effort to entice them into a sale. When a customer sees a potential way to save money on a product they are already considering, it may end up bringing them back to the site.
According to Gill Andrews (2017), the average pop-up conversion rate is 2.9 percent. Initially, this doesn’t sound like much. It converts nearly three percent of all customers who were going to back out of the website into sales. As indicated in the shopping cart abandonment portion, the average abandoned shopping cart is just over $118. This means the pop-up brings in three additional sales at an average of $118 each. The 2.9 percent conversion rate doesn’t sound like much up front, until digging deeper into the numbers. If these initial purchases turn into repeat customers, it just increases the profitability of using pop-ups on a website.
For an e-commerce business to grow, it needs to have a well-oiled marketing strategy. Failure to execute here will result in a failure to make sales and grow. By avoiding these seven marketing blunders, a business will increase its potential to succeed while avoiding the pitfalls other businesses make. It all begins by avoiding these seven common culprits to an e-commerce marketing strategy that sucks.
Tell Us –
Which factor(s) above do you think effects e-commerce marketing the most?