E-commerce marketing defined (with 11 implementation tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 9 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing for e-commerce involves the use of online tools and platforms to increase traffic and sales for a shopping site. This also benefits from many traditional marketing strategies, which marketers can adapt for e-commerce. If you're a marketer or work in e-commerce, understanding what this kind of marketing involves can help you increase traffic to a site. In this article, we explain what e-commerce marketing is and list 11 tips to consider.

What is e-commerce marketing?

E-commerce marketing is the practice of using tools and tactics to increase traffic to a business' online shop or marketplace. Its goals are to increase the number of new visitors to the site, re-attract previous customers and persuade visitors to make a purchase. This kind of marketing employs a mixture of traditional and digital marketing tools and practices, such as social media and product reviews. Like almost any business activity, the budget is one of its major constraints. Greater success can convince decision-makers to maintain or even expand this budget, making its effectiveness crucial.

It's also useful to know whom to target. Different demographics can be more receptive to online marketing strategies, and certain strategies or platforms can be more effective than others with particular groups. Understanding your target consumers is therefore an essential part of making the most of marketing for e-commerce.

Related: Understanding the types of digital marketing collateral

11 e-commerce marketing tips

Here's a list of 11 marketing tips which you can use to promote an e-commerce site and generate traffic:

1. Search engine optimisation

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the effective use of relevant keywords for a website. This can be quite simple, as there are only two elements to this. The first is identifying the keywords that potential customers are using, which are the words that they type into a search engine when looking for a product.

The second element is integrating these keywords into your website and its pages. Good SEO can help to ensure that a potential customer sees a result from one of your pages in search engine results, thereby making it much more likely for them to visit that page and make a purchase. A key aspect of SEO is to avoid overusing the keyword, as this can actually reduce the likelihood of more traffic to the site.

Related: What is an SEO specialist? Definition and responsibilities

2. Social media

Many social media platforms are very popular and their users might even begin their shopping journey there. For instance, platforms which focus on imagery and image boards can be useful for someone who wants to research ideas for their next purchase. Business often have their own social media accounts where they can post updates, engage with users and announce new product releases. You can also use social media pages to host surveys of the page's followers, thereby getting valuable insights into their preferences.

Related: Why are social media marketing strategies important?

3. Mobile compatibility

Consumers often use their smartphones more than a computer or laptop, especially when browsing the web or social media pages. Businesses can take advantage of this by making their sites mobile-friendly, which means optimising their interface and appearance for browsing on a smartphone. This makes the browsing experience much more enjoyable for users. Another practice is to develop a mobile application for the business' website or e-commerce shop.

These applications can have user-profiles and integrated payment systems so that users can save their address and payment method. This makes the process of purchasing something and arranging delivery easier. Additionally, the presence of the application on their phone can make users more likely to reopen it, and it can also send them notifications about discounts and new products.

4. Videos

A video can be an effective visual tool which catches users' attention. You can embed these videos into the business' website or e-commerce shop and share them on social media. These videos typically follow a format similar to traditional video advertising, with some differences. A key difference to consider is that online videos are usually easy to skip or scroll past. This makes it important for the video to catch the user's attention within the first few seconds.

Additionally, a shorter video can be more effective since users are often in the middle of scrolling or browsing for something when they see it, and therefore less likely to dedicate time to watching a longer video.

Related: How to use YouTube for marketing (benefits explained)

5. Featured reviews

A potential customer may be more likely to trust another consumer, which is why reviews can be so useful. For this reason, many e-commerce sites have integrated review sections where users can leave comments about the product and quality of service. These are also useful for getting feedback, which can help with improvements. Featuring prominent positive reviews from among these alongside a product can be persuasive to a potential customer. You can also share these reviews on social media to attract attention to certain products.

6. Live chat

Including live chat functionality helps to mimic a traditional shopping experience, whereby the shopper can ask a member of staff questions about products. You can use live chat windows that pop up within the window of an e-commerce page, inviting the user to direct any questions to a salesperson. These professionals can answer questions, direct shoppers to the right product and make recommendations based on the shopper's needs.

Related: 29 website features to impress your audience

7. Abandoned shopping reduction

A user might add items to their online shopping cart but then change their mind about making the purchase. Since users often input certain information prior to this, such as when setting up a profile with the e-commerce page, there are some ways of persuading them to reevaluate their decision. If they abandon their cart, the site or application can detect this and offer a discount code to persuade them to make the purchase.

Additionally, you can send emails or other notifications to the user reminding them that they have items waiting. Alternatively, you can recommend similar or substitute items based on what they left in the cart.

8. Pop-up offers

A pop-up is a small window with appears on a webpage or within a mobile application. They typically appear suddenly and encourage the user to make an instantaneous decision. A pop-up can contain an offer, discount or product recommendation. You can use these to ask a user to join an email list, subscribe to a newsletter, create an account or view a recommended item.

Including incentives like discounts or referral codes can make these pop-ups much more appealing. For instance, you can ask users to create an account and join a mailing list, in exchange for a discount code for their next purchase.

9. Free shipping

Since e-commerce often involves delivering products to customers, you can use free shipping as an incentive. The only exception to this is if you already offer free shipping on all purchases. You can offer free shipping as an alternative incentive to discount codes, such as within pop-ups and abandoned cart incentives. You could also offer free shipping to any orders which pass a certain limit, such as free delivery for all orders over £100. This can encourage users to buy more items.

10. After sales support

In addition to live chat services, you can also offer customer support to individuals who've already bought something. You can ask customers to leave an email address or phone number for this purpose. After they receive their delivery, a customer support professional can contact the customer to ask them if they're happy with their purchase or if they have any questions. Alternatively, these agents can help customers set up, use or assemble certain products.

Related: What is after sales service and why is it important?

11. Out of stock offers

Occasionally, a customer might visit an e-commerce site to purchase a product but discover that it's sold out. Without any further prompting, this potential customer might decide to look elsewhere. A good way of addressing this is to include a stock alert button for items which are sold out. This prompts the consumer to sign up for a stock alert with their email address or phone number, whereby they receive a notification when the item is back in stock. Additionally, you can use this opportunity to recommend similar or substitute items for those which are not in stock.

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