In today’s digital marketing era, more and more retail stores are creating e-commerce websites. An e-commerce site allows any retailer of any size in any location in the world to have global market reach. When promoted effectively, an e-commerce site can also provide immense profitability for customer acquisition and product sales.
Along with the huge growth of e-commerce, most industries and product sectors are dominated by a few large e-commerce giants. These powerful players often have a high-profile brand image accompanied by targeted search engine ads and large online marketing budgets. This has made it difficult to compete with these e-commerce sites, especially for smaller online retailers with limited advertising spend.
In industries where it may seem impossible to steal market share from e-commerce giants, there is usually always a way to capture a good chunk of customers. The trick is to get the creative juices flowing and find out which channels are the most relevant, the least competitive, and the most profitable. Below, we highlight three tips that can help small business e-commerce sites compete with big budget brands.
Carve out a nice niche
One of the most important approaches to building a successful e-commerce store is to establish a very specific market niche. This is especially important for boutiques and small merchants with a very distinguished inventory. Unlike some large e-commerce stores that carry a wide range of products, determining a very focal niche will help establish a retailer as a specialist supplier for a certain product category. This can help promote greater trust and credibility among potential customers.
Well-established e-commerce sites usually sell all kinds of products in a certain category, such as “motorcycle clothing”. Take the time to research the inventory your e-commerce competitors offer versus your own product lines. Your goal is to identify areas that could be most profitable for your e-commerce efforts. This may involve focusing on highly selected product categories as the general theme of your online store, such as “leather motorcycle jackets”.
Starting slowly in a niche that you know will drive sales is a great tactic for small business e-commerce. When you start dominating a product category, you can start exploring new categories to expand your sales potential.
Mix up your marketing efforts
Marketing your e-commerce site can seem like a daunting task. However, there are a few main channels that are paramount to e-commerce. These include Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, organic search engine optimization (SEO), and social media marketing. In a nutshell, e-commerce marketing is all about being found in search engine results and being recognized on social media platforms. But before choosing which channels are priorities, consider approaching a marketing plan with a more holistic approach.
Between SEO, PPC and social media, none is more powerful than the other. Although each channel is very different, they all share the same degree of potential to attract more customers. More often than not, the best approach is to include a mix of search engine marketing tactics that use both SEO and PPC. Because SEO is a long-term endeavor, using PPC to test which keywords are the most profitable is one of the best strategies. It can save a lot of work by optimizing for keywords that only provide sufficient profit margins.
Social media platforms, like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, help boost your brand recognition. These platforms can help maintain loyalty and funnel traffic to your website. Social media offers a great way to share content, generate interest and build a following. This can help maintain e-commerce success by driving repeat purchases and viral sharing of quality content related to your brand.
Promote with wealth
Online shoppers, in particular, thrive on insightful information presented in a rich multimedia format. The use of images, audio, and video can be pivotal in e-commerce marketing. The ways you can use these media offer endless ideas.
Reviews are important in e-commerce. Customers see a lot of value in quality reviews that accurately describe certain product features, pros, and cons. For this reason, recording your own product reviews or highlights as a video can be a game-changer for e-commerce, especially if those videos are optimized and found in search engine results.
Visual stimulation is huge on the internet. In addition to videos, including a wealth of images on your product pages can significantly help sales. In fact, mini product page galleries are becoming popular for many e-commerce stores, so adopting this strategy becomes essential. Using more informative images, or infographics, is also a creative way to attract customers. Social media can be used to share this content, which can help increase visibility and go viral.
Successful e-commerce relies on empathy. In other words, how well can you, as a marketer, put yourself in the perspective of your target audience. Understanding how to present your brand, as well as your communications, is essential. Good e-commerce marketers have a keen sense of awareness. They know what their target customers are looking for and how best to enlighten them on how their online store can meet their needs.