Whether you run an exclusively online business or have a retail shop you want to expand into the online sphere, eCommerce strategy is crucial. Without understanding how to optimize your site for eCommerce success or market effectively to online customers, your digital business efforts will flounder and potentially fail.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can practice a good eCommerce strategy, plus specific techniques you can use to see almost instantaneous improvements. If you don’t know where to start, read on – we’ll break down what an eCommerce strategy is, why you need it, and how to practice a good strategy effectively.
What Is eCommerce Strategy?
In a nutshell, an eCommerce strategy is either:
- A marketing strategy to be used for acquiring or retaining customers through online marketing methods
- A sales strategy designed to help you maximize your profits through a website
Both strategies are important, especially if your business is mostly or exclusively online. For example, if you have an online shop, you need to know how to attract customers online and convince them to purchase at your store.
In a broader sense, an eCommerce strategy is important so that you can target the right customers, maximize your profits, and make the most of your business resources.
These benefits can’t and should not be ignored – the right eCommerce strategy can help your company succeed where it otherwise might struggle.
How Do You Develop An eCommerce Strategy?
Fortunately, you can follow a few key steps to develop an effective eCommerce strategy regardless of your industry or niche.
Outline Your Goals
Firstly, you need to outline all of your eCommerce goals. These can include:
- Budgetary limitations
- Your profit margins (i.e., how much revenue you need to make a profit)
- How many customers to acquire in your first month, quarter, and year
By outlining the right eCommerce strategy goals, you’ll be able to focus your efforts. For example, if you have started a new business, you need to build a customer base before worrying about profits.
That means your eCommerce strategy will necessarily focus on acquiring customers and marketing rather than customer retention or product iteration. Your eCommerce strategy will evolve with your business.
What Actions Can You Take To Meet Those Goals?
Once you have your goals outlined, you need to start considering specific actions to meet your goals. Let’s follow the above example of a new small business focusing on marketing.
If your overall goal is to get 100 customers or clients for your business by the end of the quarter, you can take specific actions like:
- Coming up with great PPC or pay per click ads on Google
- Revamping your website for better search engine optimization or SEO
- Improving your landing page for faster load speed
- Creating a social media profile so you can start social media marketing
In this way, you can see that having a successful eCommerce strategy means first coming up with a goal and then with specific actions to achieve that goal.
Ensure Your Goal Drives Your Success
The goals you choose should be related to your enterprise’s success. For example, the above goal of increasing marketing and getting customers drives your success since those customers will (theoretically) eventually pay your business money.
How Will Your Success Be Measured?
As you develop your goals and specific tasks to achieve them, you should look into KPIs or key performance indicators. These are great for measuring your current success and for developing your strategy as it goes on.
Some important KPIs to measure and keep in mind as you build your business include:
- Customer acquisition cost or CAC. This is how much money it costs in marketing to get a new customer
- Churn rate, or how quickly customers stop spending money at your business
- Conversion rate, which measures how many eCommerce website visitors convert into paying customers
- Net profit margin, which is self-explanatory
- Operational cash flow, which tells you how much money you actually have to work with for expansion or new marketing after paying for maintenance or other ongoing costs
- Number of customers retained. This important KPI tells you how often you keep customers you sign on, and thus how loyal people are to your brand
- Monthly website traffic, which tells you how many people visit your website each month. Note that this is not the same thing as conversion rate (because a visitor first has to convert into a paying customer)
Craft a Timeline
Once you’ve come up with a goal, come up with a plan, and identified KPIs to measure, you should then craft a timeline for your eCommerce strategy. This further solidifies your goal and will help you stay focused as you build your eCommerce business from the ground up.
What Elements Should I Include?
Regardless of your exact goal, your eCommerce strategy should include a few key elements.
Naturally, your existing customers are very important – especially since it costs more to sign on a new customer than to keep an existing customer. Your existing customers will form the backbone of current marketing campaigns and future customer retention strategies.
Customer On-Site Experience
The on-site experience or UX of your customers is also critical. If your customers don’t appreciate or enjoy being on your site, the odds are low that they will make a purchase or stick around for the long term.
Targeting An Audience
Any good eCommerce marketing is contingent on knowing who to market to. There are simply too many people to try to market to on the Internet, so you should narrow your search to your “target audience.”
Your target audience is essentially the demographic most likely to purchase from your site. For example, if you sell bespoke apparel, your target demographic is likely women aged between 20 and 40 from the US or EU.
You can identify your target audience by performing market research using tools like Google Analytics. Over time, and as more people visit your eCommerce site, you’ll gain more data and be able to narrow your target audience further.
Once you have this information, you can then tailor your ads or other marketing materials to those people. This will, in turn, make your marketing much more compelling and persuasive.
Of course, you can’t let product quality decrease. Keep the quality of your products or services in the back of your mind as you develop an eCommerce strategy. You can consider the quality of your products when building your eCommerce strategy by:
- Highlighting improvements or fixes to previous customer pain points
- Showcasing the things that your products do that your competitors do not
- Doubling down on a guarantee for product quality, such as by offering a lifetime warranty or no questions asked return policy
Social media marketing isn’t optional these days – it’s a necessity. You should come up with profiles from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, then market regularly on all three.
These platforms not only allow you to post ads directly. Facebook ads, for example, can be great for getting new online shoppers and advertising to folks who mostly use mobile devices.
They also give you an unprecedented opportunity to communicate with your target audience to answer questions, bring them to your site, and announce special deals or offers. It’s not quite live chat, but it’s still a valuable means to draw clicks and people to your eCommerce website.
For example, you can make an Instagram Reel post about a new product you’ve just created. As you build up audiences on these social media platforms, they’ll be more likely to create lasting relationships with your brand and stay customers for years to come.
What Trends Should I Pay Attention To?
These broad tips are helpful, but knowing what specific eCommerce strategies you should implement can be tough. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Additional Payment Methods and Options
One easy way to bolster your eCommerce business is to accept new payment methods and options from your customers, such as cryptocurrencies. Generally, the more ways you give your customers to pay you, the more money you’ll make.
As a bonus, accepting cryptocurrencies allows you to accept business from international customers. Just make sure you have a crypto payment processor to help you with this, like CoinPayments.
You can tailor your marketing or product creation efforts toward more sustainable practices. Lots of research shows that customers think more highly of businesses that reduce energy consumption or practice green manufacturing strategies.
For example, you can highlight that your company recycles or that you make your products with entirely eco-friendly ingredients or parts with your marketing. This way, you’ll draw people to your business by seeming like a more responsible and eco-friendly company than your competitors.
Incorporating AI and AR
AI or artificial intelligence and AR or augmented reality technologies are booming for a good reason. These can easily bolster your eCommerce business and give you greater operational flexibility than ever before.
For example, AI and machine learning tools can help you:
- Market more effectively to your customers
- Determine which customers are more likely to be part of your target audience
- Operate as chatbots, so you provide better customer service for your online visitors
AR is a little more specialized, and it only applies to certain businesses or industries. However, augmented reality tech can provide benefits like:
- Giving customers the chance to see your products of close before making a purchase
- Directing customers to a brick-and-mortar store if you have one
It might be wise for you to leverage AI and AR tech in your eCommerce strategies if you’re in the tech industry or your target audience is very computer literate.
Lastly, many eCommerce businesses see great success by employing subscriptions for their goods and services. When you get a customer to subscribe to your business for a recurring product or service, you’ll often benefit from increased revenue.
Why? Simply put, many customers forget to unsubscribe from companies even if they don’t use their products any longer. Plus, the act of getting a customer to subscribe means they form a more permanent and impactful relationship with your brand.
In many ways, a conversion to a subscribing customer is a bigger victory than a conversion to a single purchase customer. Not all eCommerce businesses will be able to take advantage of this. But as soon as you can, consider offering subscription packages for your customers for greater profits and better brand loyalty.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are lots of factors that go into a good eCommerce strategy. But you can start working on a top-tier, successful strategy today, starting by accepting additional payment methods through cryptocurrencies.
Want to accept Bitcoin and other crypto tokens ASAP? CoinPayments makes it easy with our dedicated merchant tools and our fast sign-up process. Contact us today for more information, or sign up to get started accepting crypto from your customers!