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For an article I'm working on, what are your tips for jumpstarting growth for an ecommerce store?

What tips or tactics would you try right off the bat to grow sales, traffic, email subscribers, etc?

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    about 5 years ago #

    FWIW,

    Here's what I'm thinking so far:

    - email collectors
    - cart abandonment optimization and on-site cart abandonment management
    - past purchasers reactivation
    - dormant email list reactivation and retargeting
    - page schema optimization
    - site search
    - social sharing optimization (pinterest pins/etc.)
    - insider club creation

    • JS

      Jordan Skole

      about 5 years ago #

      Came here to say email collectors and cart abandonment optimization (specifically abandoned cart emails).

      Here are some others:

      - Add analytics to site search. Bring the most searched for items to the homepage.
      - Find your top product landing pages (using GA, WMT). Bring those items to the front page.
      - Referral program. Time this well, right after purchase. This could co-align with insider club creation.

    • LM

      Ladan Mahini

      about 5 years ago #

      First time poster, long time lurker :) Created an account just so I could respond to this. I can't stress how important site search is for an ecommerce company.

      Full disclosure: I work at Swiftype and we're a site search company.

      The kinds of data you could gather about top search queries that return no results, the most common queries, what pages people search from the most, which autocomplete searches convert the best, etc...there's a goldmine of data you could get just by having good site search on your site.

      Not trying to make this into a sales-pitch, but I'll drop this link to our blog post about site search analytics here: http://go.swiftype.com/site-search-data-a-goldmine-of-analytics

    • IK

      Ivan Kreimer

      about 5 years ago #

      I was just developing content ideas for our ecommerce blog (https://receiptful.com/blog), and I find this. It's a gold mine! Thanks a lot Morgan

  • PW

    Paul Warren

    about 5 years ago #

    I have 17 years+ of ecommerce experience, in both running a very successful Australian ecommerce store (that I sold) & now as marketing manager for many Australian ecommerce stores.

    Some tips:

    0. Be the authority in your industry.
    1. Send out an 'at-cost' / 'to-good-to-refuse' product offers to existing clients that are sitting in your list.
    2. Post this same offer to sites such as ozbargain, or the thousands of other 'coupon / deal' based sites out there globally.
    3. Implement a sound Adwords strategy. Find keywords that at least generate you at least 'at-cost sales', and once you get those customers buying 2, 3, 4 times, this will obviously generate a positive return. It's not hard to do Adwords profitably.
    4. Run Google Shopping Ads.
    5. Run a gamification contest. Get customers to refer their friends to your contest, which gives them more points, etc. This is great list building tool.
    6. Get the owner of the store to become an authority in their industry. They need to be seen as the expert and the 'go to' destination in what they do.
    7. Create an eco-system around the business. This could be a forum, a Facebook group, an offline group. Charge people to be in your offline group - it will add revenue to the business.
    8. Make sure your technical architecture is up to scratch. ie:
    9. Make sure the site is properly SEO optimized (I find very few people, even so called 'experts' who know how to do this).
    10. Setup an eBay store. If you are using something like Magento, use m2epro to power your store. If your margins are not 'thick' enough to run an eBay store. Up your eBay prices and use it as a traffic generating source.
    11. Engage Facebook groups and once you have established trust, do a JV with the admins so you can offer members deals.
    12. Don't use a crap eCommerce platform. Pro tip: Most are crap.
    13. Write quality articles, every single day. By quality I mean 1000+ words, including lists, images, stuff that is going to get shared.
    14. Release Press Releases on new & exciting products you store is about to launch.
    15. Facebook: Hold events, run look alike audiences. Don't waste your time with "likes"
    16. Make sure your site is safe, secure, uses HTTPS, etc.
    17. Run the best SITE SEARCH you can afford. They range from free to $millions. Use the best.
    18. Setup a YouTube channel and post videos showing products, or explaining services as often as you can.
    19. Implement a review system to collect reviews from every customer that does a transaction with you.
    20. Survey old customers, and ask what you are doing wrong. Fix those issues.

    ............ That's enough to burn your brain. Hit me up on linkedin if you want ecommerce coaching.

    • MB

      Morgan Brown

      about 5 years ago #

      Wow @insiteful amazing list. Thanks for sharing!

    • BO

      Ben Owens

      about 5 years ago #

      I'm curious as to your measure of quality as 1000+ words. the rest of the advice seems well founded, while I would counter that a properly edited, concise, easy-to-digest article on your site should be 400-600 words, as the average site attention span will bounce if it appears text-heavy.

      Do you find this to be true? Or is that bump in bounce worth the filtering out of your most serious readers?

      • PW

        Paul Warren

        about 5 years ago #

        Hi Ben,

        Longer content typically gets more shares, more exposure & builds your authority - which is what you want.

        I've studied thousands of blogs over the last few years (& articles) and longer articles always get shared more. Not only shared more, but shared with better types of people.

        There are typically four different personality types of people when it comes to reading content.

        1.) Those that 'micro-consume' information. (The type of person who sits refreshing their Facebook feed all day, so they don't miss anything). Shiny object people.
        2.) Those that will read a 500-600 word article, and not do anything about it or take much of it in.
        3.) Those will read 1000+ word articles and probably act on parts of it.
        4.) Those who will read a 3000+ word article, consume it all, and probably act on it all too. Then they'll influence other people to read it too.

        You don't need me to tell you which type of person you want reading your articles.

        ... Always write for 'influencing consumers'.

        ps; People who slot in #4, always spend more money.

    • MA

      Moulay AbdelJalal

      over 4 years ago #

      This list is going directly to my wall ! ( Physical wall not the other walls ) Thank you Paul !

  • LT

    Luke Thomas

    about 5 years ago #

    It all depends on how on the ball this e-commerce store is :)

    I've found that increasing the average size of an order is a good place to start. Typically bundling complementary products is an easy/quick win.

    Also, if product-based retargeting isn't setup, do that so then people are seeing SKU-based advertisements, especially if it takes more than 1 visit to make a purchase (typically for larger $ amounts).

    There's plenty of other opportunities, but I've found many e-commerce stores have extremely profitable email lists, but do very little to segment based on purchase behavior. Run some SQL queries and match customers with purchase frequency. Super easy win.

    Lastly, I'd make sure whatever major value proposition is being highlighted (i.e. - a product made in the USA, or handcrafted). I've seen many store owners assume that website visitors know this.

    E-commerce has certain advantages over SaaS - the frequency of conversions being the biggest difference. The downside is that you constantly have to drum up business, compared to the subscription model.

    • MB

      Morgan Brown

      about 5 years ago #

      Thanks @lukethomas -- awesome suggestions!

    • TK

      Tal Keinan

      about 5 years ago #

      I commented to another suggestion that retargeting doesn't do that much for sites with little traffic. Think of it as an optimization channel. Early on it helps more to focus on good traffic acquisition sources rather than improving conversions.

      Anyway, my suggestions which is based on analyzing MANY ecommerce retargeting campaigns is that you need to have few thousands uniques. If you do, and you'd like to do personalized product retargeting my company provide such solution on a CPC basis and doesn't have the high minimums and complicated integration to get it started.

      Also, I suggest that you will sign up to our liftquest blog which contains a lot of article about ecommerce marketing and conversion optimization. (liftquest.adextent.com).

  • SB

    Sam Barnes

    about 5 years ago #

    To me there's one huge thing you can do ... content!

    Create something amazing.

    Make sure it's thoroughly researched, look at all your competitiors - what kind of content are they producing? Who is linking to and socially sharing that content?

    Create a list of people you'd like to reach with this content and reach out to them with some ideas, work out what is going to work best.

    Merge the best bits of all the competitors content, add your own expertise, then create something amazing.

    If it's awesome enough, the people you've reached out to will help you promote it and you'll start gaining links naturally. Plus you'll get the added bonus of brand exposure.

    Think about investing some budget into paid social promotion too, just to draw even more attention to the piece.

    If it's good enough - you'll see dramatic benefits for a new site.

  • CV

    Charles Valentine

    about 5 years ago #

    Product recommendations definitely adds greatly to conversion, but I'd echo the comments about better customer segmenting and targeted messaging to reactivate past buyers and get more out of more recent ones. Most smaller Ecommerce stores we see have repeat purchase rates way below larger stores because they send the same marketing messages to everyone.

  • VV

    Visakan Veerasamy

    about 5 years ago #

    I actually run an ecommerce store entirely for fun, and I have done lots of little occasional experiments for fun, too. The most growth we've gotten has been from-

    - getting featured by a popular regional buy-and-sell marketplace app
    - partnerships with resellers that we trust to take care of our brand
    - getting local media attention (my brand is very localized- swap for 'niche' if you're in a niche)
    - getting our t-shirts won by minor celebrities and influencers (we didn't actually have to do anything for this, but whenever it happens we benefit tremendously, so if I wanted to grow further I would deliberately focus on this).

    For email subscribers, I would do content marketing– in my case it would be on-brand to do a quirky, clever email with smart information about local news, art, design, etc. If it were a more high-fashion type brand, it might be a lookbook. You have to figure out what problem your brand is solving, and how to further contribute to that solution.

    The first thing is really to do an overall audit of all the touchpoints of the store- is anything broken or missing? First fix all of that, then get a clear sense of who/where your customers are, what they want... etc etc

    • MB

      Morgan Brown

      about 5 years ago #

      Thanks @visakanv - I think the idea of "making sure nothing is broken" is a step too many people take for granted and skip over. We've seen that a lot in e-commerce settings.

      "Oh, you're conversion rate is non-existent in Firefox? Why? Your buttons don't work there!"

  • JM

    Jevin Maltais

    about 5 years ago #

    I know some people who started ecommerce stores and using instagram has been huge for them. I saw this posted on Reddit a few months ago. I dug it up for you. I hope it helps: http://austenallred.com/user-acquisition/book/chapter/instagram/

  • AM

    Antony McGregor Dey

    about 5 years ago #

    Rule #1 - If you can't measure it, you can't grow it.
    Measure everything!
    - Identify where you highest revenue customers are coming from and focus all your efforts on those channels.
    - Re-targeting is critical. Re-targeting on Facebook, Adwords and Adroll has consistently bought in the highest volume of sales for me at the cheapest price time and time again.
    - Referrer coupon codes are an excellent tool to drive repeat business. Give existing customers discounts on future purchases if they invite friends.
    - Upload the email address's of your existing customers into Facebook and use the audience profile tools to analyze and find matching audiences for ad targeting.

    • TK

      Tal Keinan

      about 5 years ago #

      While I am all for retargeting, there's really no point using it unless the site has some traffic.

  • GS

    Gonzalo Sanchez Sarmiento

    about 5 years ago #

    I co-founded a fashion + eCommerce store startup in Latin America a couple years ago.

    The winning combination:

    - A simple, conversion-optimized design: we run experiments on a weekly basis.

    - Facebook Ads, specially 'Offers': when no one trusted our brand, we created a coupon that was extremely ROI positive for us (34x), and promoted it via Facebook Offers.

    • SD

      Serbanovic Damir

      about 5 years ago #

      this is a nice real life example I made last year several Fashion e shops but as a freelancer, can you tell me your growth in one year? What to estimate

  • BY

    Bryce York

    about 5 years ago #

    Disclaimer: this is self-promotion.

    I run a company that lets eCommerce stores run a one-for-one program (like Warby Parker or TOMS shoes) where they plant a tree for every product sold on their site.

    Two of our clients saw an increase of over 50% in their average $ per visitor (essentially cart size and conversion rate combined).

    It actually only costs 50c a tree, so it's quite easy to make a positive ROI. It's also a great way to differentiate yourself in a crowded market.

    Checkout SeedTheChange.org if you're curious.

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    about 5 years ago #

    I'd try an invite program where inviters and invitees are rewarded with store credit.

  • RD

    Rufus Denne

    about 5 years ago #

    Some great suggestions on here. A big +1 to increasing the average deal size (cc/ @lukethomas).

    Thinking more tactically about your social sharing bullet. Instagram is a really great platform to leverage, on that thought - this post from @austenallred comes to mind: http://austenallred.com/user-acquisition/book/chapter/instagram/

  • GM

    Giancarlo Massaro

    about 5 years ago #

    Run sweepstakes/contests for certain products that you sell, segment the email addresses based on the product/promotion people entered, email those people with marketing related to the specific product they were interested in. Take it a step further and retarget all the people from the giveaway based on which product they entered to win.

  • RP

    Raelisah Patricia

    about 5 years ago #

    Mobile marketing to share the discounts or new offers information to the customer through mobiles.
    Make use of various occasions or festivals by providing discounts on the particular occasion.
    Being true to your customers with update shoppers about the shipping cost, delivery date before checkout process, will help your customers stay with you.
    Informing about product stock-out in advance when they have it on the wish list.
    Having strong presence on the social media and sharing latest product information.

  • CV

    Charles Valentine

    about 5 years ago #

    Visakan, you make a good point about humor. We survey consumers all the time about email subject lines and content and people tell us frequently that they are much more likely to open an email if they think there might be something funny inside.

    • BY

      Bryce York

      about 5 years ago #

      I'd be very hesitant to survey people about what subject lines they like.

      Most people have no idea how they actually behave and a likely to tell you something very different from reality.

      I personally think the ONLY way to test email subjects is by actually sending emails.

  • KW

    Kevin Waugh

    about 5 years ago #

    Find products that work and building an entire niche around them (content, adjacent products, emails) find those one or tow "ivory towers" and make your site the leader in them. Also, find off the main road social sites (industry forums) and start making inroads there.

  • JM

    Julian Medina

    about 5 years ago #

    At least in Latin America a great way to grow an ecommerce store is to set good partnerships with banks and big discount cards and give special promotions to people that hold those cards. They are a great way to increase the referral traffic.

  • AB

    Alex Berg

    about 5 years ago #

    I'd look at trust drivers (in addition to customer reviews). An SSL cert for the entire site (also good for SEO) and not just the cart, third party endorsements, and press mentions. Nothing legitimizes you like an article on the New York Times or some other trust-worthy pub. Bask in someone else's halo.

  • TR

    TheNetShop Russell

    about 5 years ago #

    shopping cart optimization

  • SD

    Serbanovic Damir

    about 5 years ago #

    first of all , on tech - Shop must be fast ! I`m writing an article about that, choose your servers with care and use Prestashop what else ;)
    Check it in pingdom or GTmetrix, also the woocheck is nice

    second, optimize it, htaccess optimization, php.ini optimization
    all the SEO optimization recommended on GWT
    Important ! optimize it for mobile !

    then Marketing related, find your products placement, find your followers, find your tribe, have you read about the 10% rule? It seems like the best buyers are just 10% of your regular buyers ! Make a mailing list, surprise them on birthdays follow the Mackey66 rule ! .......... and there is much more to learn

  • BO

    Ben Owens

    about 5 years ago #

    I'm curious what respondents have to advise with ecommerce sites that sell products that are more long-term purchases (product lifespan of 5-10+ years). How to expand your acquisition of new customers as your previous customers may not need anything for years?

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