How to Rock Your E-commerce Store

Studies show that global online sales generated over $6 trillion in 2023. The e-commerce market is growing, with more and more consumers opting to order online, as you can see in the graphic below. The growth in popularity of shopping on websites and through apps accelerated during the pandemic but continues to grow at a rapid pace, although slower than when social distancing made online shopping an imperative. This growth offers incredible opportunities for forward-thinking brands and entrepreneurs. If you run an e-commerce store or you’re considering opening one, this guide is packed with tips to help you rock your e-commerce store.

rock your e-commerce store
Image courtesy of eMarketer

How to rock your e-commerce store

Getting found online

If you’re serious about wanting to rock your e-commerce store, getting found online is imperative. With nearly 4.5 billion web pages users can access and an estimated 26.5 million e-commerce stores (a number that doesn’t include the thousands of independent stores operated on Amazon or retailers who engage in social selling on platforms like Facebook), you face serious competition even getting found online. And the amount of competition grows every single day. NO ONE is going to simply stumble upon your website when searching for the XYZ product you sell. That’s where SEO (search engine optimization) comes in.

SEO involves a series of actions designed to improve your rank on search engines. Hence, when a user searches for a product or solution to a problem, the search engine (primarily still Google) delivers links as a series of ranked choices. Because users commonly choose from those links at the top of the results page (see graphic below), gaining that coveted spot should be your goal. Sure, advertising and other online marketing efforts bring some traffic to your website. Still, organic traffic (the term given to reflect traffic coming from search engines) represents more than half of all the traffic visiting your website. Plus, the traffic sent by search engines generates a higher conversion rate than traffic from other sources. These factors highlight the importance of SEO.

organic traffic
Image courtesy of Backlinko

So, how do you optimize your e-commerce store for organic traffic?

First and foremost, it takes a sustained commitment to generating valuable content for your website on a consistent basis (at least once a week). This content drives metrics that impact your rank, such as time on site, backlinks, social media engagement, and repeat visits, and it helps convert visitors once they come to your site. Here are some other factors influential in determining the rank of your content (note: the Google ranking algorithm contains nearly 200 factors that change nearly constantly and each factor is weighted, which also changes constantly so this is a moving target):

  • website security as reflected by HTTPS protocol
  • page load speed
  • mobile-friendliness
  • domain age
  • a good user experience
  • technical SEO

Prioritize targeted, effective marketing

Marketing helps rock your e-commerce store, but it only works if campaigns are well-planned, coordinated, and implemented properly. Spending money on marketing doesn’t always translate to high-quality leads or an influx of orders. If you don’t have an in-house marketing team, it’s worth exploring options such as working with freelancers or outsourcing. Teaming up with an expert Shopify SEO agency can help you reach more customers, enhance the quality of leads, and supercharge sales.

Targeting. Designing a marketing message that resonates with your target market is the first step in promotion to rock your e-commerce store. That means knowing your customers, what he/she wants, how they frame the problem they face and the solutions, who can influence their purchase decisions, and where you can reach them. Building a persona like the ones below for each group within your target market gives you a sound basis for building effective messaging.

 

segmentation and targeting
Image courtesy of Boag World

Once you’ve identified your personas, you can also use that information to direct your marketing activities. For instance, use them to help determine which social media platforms offer the best opportunities for your marketing efforts. Next, use personas to inform your content creation efforts on social media and your website to provide value to those personas. Finally, use personas for targeted advertising on social media and search, making them much more effective.

Create landing pages. Personas also guide the development of landing pages. Be sure to create specific landing pages for each product, although you may also make a landing page for each product type that allows users to filter your offerings so they can find the exact product to solve their problem. Consider offering unique landing pages designed to meet the needs of visitors representing different personas to help them meet the unique aspects of that market segment. For instance, a landing page for an Apple laptop designed to appeal to Gen Z students heading to college might contain images of people in that age group engaged in activities common among those consumers and highlighting attributes of your product that appeal to them, like fitting in with the crowd. Meanwhile, a landing page designed for their parents might focus on the computer’s reliability and sturdiness as well as compatibility with commonly used software.

Encourage customers to leave reviews

More than 90% of consumers look at reviews before purchasing products and services. As a store owner, it’s crucial to understand the impact of positive and negative feedback. Glowing reviews will help you gain a competitive advantage and attract more customers. Bad reviews may push prospective customers away. They could also plant a seed of doubt in the minds of existing customers, causing them to explore other buying options.

Don’t attempt to bury or delete negative feedback. It always turns up somewhere and your efforts make you look like you have something to hide. Instead, use feedback to identify problems and improve the service you provide. Be open and transparent about the problem and how you addressed the problem. Apologize to the consumers who felt your product didn’t meet their standards and offer to fix the issue to make them whole again.

Listen to your customers and consider their ideas. Your next great product may come from an exchange of ideas or even criticism from a customer or prospect. Encourage shoppers to leave reviews and share feedback with others via social media and review sites. Word of mouth can be mighty.

Shout about value

Some shoppers will automatically buy from the store with the lowest prices, but many search for the best value for money. If you run a business, try to maximize value to customers as a means to rock your e-commerce store. Don’t hide your accomplishments under a rock, either. Shout about the brilliant offers you have available, highlight positive press and reviews, and share about the achievements of your team in acting in a socially responsible way, such as working a beach cleanup. Use marketing campaigns to highlight your USP (unique selling proposition) to persuade customers that your store is the best place to buy.

As a means to bump up your value, consider adding a few extras. For instance, perhaps you include free delivery as standard, or you offer buyers the option to add personalization. Maybe you can speed things up as a means to compete with physical stores by delivering items on the next working day, or you can offer a discount for making additional purchases as a means to increase the average order value, for example.

Add a personal touch

Everyone likes to feel like they’re special and that companies recognize their individuality. Thus, personalization can increase lead conversion rates. Research shows that adding a personal touch attracts customers and improves your chances of making sales. One study found that 80% of regular shoppers will only choose brands that offer personalized experiences.

There are multiple ways to personalize your store and the shopping experience, including offering tailored recommendations, using personalized emails, and providing access to offers based on previous purchases and consumer preferences. We call this deep personalization as it uses actual prior actions to streamline the buyer’s journey. Not only does this type of personalization make the visitor feel special, it also reduces the cognitive effort and search time needed to find appropriate solutions.

Monitor, analyze, and respond

The only way to rock your e-commerce store is to understand how your market responds to your marketing efforts, your products, your website, and your policies. That means you must dedicate time, energy, and skill to collecting and analyzing key metrics (called KPIs or key performance indicators) on a routine basis. I recommend collecting these metrics into a dashboard you access daily to determine which efforts are on track and which are falling short. An interactive dashboard allows you to not only collect critical metrics but also adjust your view of them, such as by breaking down numbers by region, product line, or even customer type.

Some metrics only gain meaning when analyzed. For instance, website visitor demographics only gain value when conversion rates from each demographic group are considered or compared to some other key metric. While analytical tools like Google Analytics provide access to dashboards related to your website’s performance, analysis requires skill beyond reading a graph.

Next, you must use the insights provided by your analysis. For instance, if you find a large percentage of visits come from Gen Z but the conversion rate for Gen X is higher, you might want to adjust your marketing messaging, channels used to transmit those messages, or some other factor to either attract more Gen X or help Gen Z convert at a higher rate. Similarly, evaluate your content performance to make better decisions when creating content to improve performance.

Build a learning organization

optimize business performance
Image courtesy of Learnupon

In order to respond to external changes, a firm must become a learning organization that constantly seeks information related to its market, such as competition, technological changes, the economic outlook, legal and regulatory changes, and changes in consumer culture. Only by keeping a close eye on your market through ongoing market research can an organization take proactive steps that allow it to adapt to changes before being overwhelmed by them.

Conclusion

Competition among brands looking to attract online shoppers is fierce. To capitalize on the growing popularity of buying online, you have to make sure that your shop stands out. Prioritize targeted marketing, consider outsourcing and encourage customers to share reviews. Optimize value for money, shout about your USP, entice sales and promotions, and add a personal touch.

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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.