A number of things have changed since the greatest dot-com bust in history, Boo.com. Slow dial up connection and lack of e-commerce understanding with consumers are no longer a concern. However, what remains unchanged is the importance of marketing in e-commerce success.
According to some reports, in the meeting between investors and the analyst team of Boo.com, the following questions were raised
- How many visitors are you aiming for?
- What kind of conversion rate are you aiming for?
- What’s your marketing expenditure and strategy?
- What’s your customer acquisition cost?
Boo.com team did not have the answer to these questions, which probably led to their failure. While this was years ago, these questions are still valid. To help retailers avoid the similar fate, we have identified the following 7 marketing mistakes that e-commerce businesses must avoid.
This is our fifth blog in the “Mistakes to Avoid” series. We encourage you to read those blogs as well. You can find the links at the end of the blog.
1) Not Investing Time to Understand Your Target Audience (think Segmentation)
This the most basic mistake that a number of businesses make. I am not saying they operate with the mindset, build the product and customers will come, but a number of businesses fail to go beyond geography, gender, and age.
This has implications at so many levels. By not understanding their customers well, businesses invest money in running marketing campaigns and promotions to consumers who will never convert. They offer products to consumers that they will never buy. Bottom line, the customer acquisition cost skyrockets. Moreover, even after spending so much money, businesses rarely know what worked. Because of which they fail to replicate this and miss a number of business opportunities.
Hence, it is important that businesses spend time to understand and segment their customers. With segments identified, businesses can run more effective targeted marketing and promotional campaigns.
Note – For effective segmentation, businesses will also need access to historical information and data from multiple disconnected systems. Consolidating information from important systems like e-commerce, ERP and CRM is critical.
2) Not Addressing Site SEO Issues Early On
Search engines (organic) are the most important source of traffic and revenue for most businesses. This is true for e-commerce as well. Consider these,
- According to a report from SimilarWeb, In Jan 2016, almost 35% of worldwide e-commerce traffic came from search engines (organic only).
- According to a Custora report, Free search results represented 23.6% of U.S. e-commerce orders in 2014.
- According to Marketing Land, 34% of people use search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to search for products (2015).
However, businesses fail to capitalize on this medium to its maximum extent. Reason being, for many long tail keywords related to products, the competition is simply too high and businesses want to rank among top 3 spots overnight.
SEO is a long term strategy and businesses have to invest time and energy smartly on a continuous basis. Identify any SEO issues with your landing pages and address them immediately.
3) Investing in Wrong Marketing Channels
Do you know how your customers find you?
Most businesses don’t and because of which they often fail to utilize their marketing budgets effectively; by investing in channels that do not add to the bottom line. This is where your understanding of your customers also play a big role.
Businesses must always begin by identifying how and where customers find them. This would help them pinpoint their sources of revenue generation. They can then invest money in running targeted marketing and promotional campaigns on those channels; trimming down on budgets spent on low performing channels.
4) Treating all Consumers as Same
In a time when personalization is scaling to new heights, treating all your consumers as same is a cardinal sin. According to Crazyegg, 74% of users feel frustrated that the content on the website does not appeal to their interest. In addition, according to an Infosys report, 86% of consumers said that personalization has some impact on their purchase decisions.
Personalizing your landing pages, product offering (cross-sell, product recommendations, etc.), marketing strategy, promotional offers, email communications, etc. goes a long way in improving conversions and driving customer loyalty. Consider these
- Leads that are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities (Demandgen).
- 84% of marketers believe that personalization positively impacts customer retention and loyalty (Forrester).
These are some of the dots that must be connected to achieve the finesse of developing a personalized e-commerce marketing strategy that drives customer satisfaction.
5) Not Having the Right Marketing and Promotions Tools in Place
An e-commerce platform might not always be enough to meet all your marketing and promotional requirements. Some businesses adopt an e-commerce platform with limited marketing functionality for budget constraints, while others have greater marketing requirements. In both cases, failing to support your e-commerce platform with the right marketing and promotion tools can be the difference between a successful and a failed business.
Marketing and promotion tools today are packed with a lot of advanced functionality that automatically identifies where a customer is in the buying journey and sends targeted messages and promotions. Tools like these can augment your e-commerce store and help you not only attract customers but also convert better.
6) Failing to Retarget Them
Consider the following stats,
- 72% of millennial shoppers are favorable to retargeting (Kissmetrics).
- Web visitors who are retargeted with display ads are more likely to convert on your website.
- Retargeting can lead to a 147% higher conversion rate over time in certain industries when used in combination with prospecting, according to CMO.
These stats clear show how retargeting, in the world of e-commerce, is one of the most powerful and effective ways to gain new customers or convert old customers again. But according to a study, 46% of online marketers believe that retargeting is grossly underused.
Not retargeting your customers, when nearly 72% of online shoppers are likely to abandon their shopping carts prior to making a purchase, is a real bad strategy. Re-engaging consumers, through emails or ads, must be an integral part of an e-commerce strategy. And if it is not part of your strategy, then it is high time you must revisit your e-commerce strategy.
Retargeting helps in converting the lost customers by tracking their behavior. The retargeting tools today are so powerful that you can retarget your customers with offers related to specific products they were looking at. In short, retargeting helps you reach the RIGHT PEOPLE at RIGHT PLACES with the RIGHT MESSAGE.
7) Failing to Revisit your Marketing Strategy
The marketing strategy cannot remain the same and must be revisited often. The trigger could be a pre-scheduled time, new insights gained or changes in the context you operate. Failing to do that, leads to failed campaigns, ineffective utilization of marketing budgets and more.
For example, pop-ups were often used by businesses as an effective strategy to attract visitors attention and drive a certain action. However, Google recently made changes to its algorithm penalizing sites for intrusive pop-ups. For businesses that do not revisit their marketing strategy, this can lead to a drop in search rankings which can further lead to a significant drop in sales.
This is our fifth article in Bad E-commerce Strategies series. We encourage you to read the other articles
- 6 Requirement Mistakes to Avoid for Successful E-commerce Adoption,
- 6 Usability Mistakes to Avoid for Successful E-commerce Adoption,
- 4 Infrastructure and Support Mistakes to Avoid for Successful E-commerce Adoption
- 6 Execution Mistakes to Avoid for Successful E-commerce Adoption
for more information.