Whether you’ve just launched an ecommerce channel or have operated your web store for some time, discovering ways to increase web traffic can be a continual challenge.
As retailers, you need to be thinking about how your product images are going to draw shoppers in, what articles you need to have published on your website for increasing traffic, and how best you can harness the power of your social media channels. And it doesn’t end there!
It can often feel like an endless chore thinking of fresh strategies to bring in new business and keep your existing customers coming back for more. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and let us advise you about the tactics and strategies you can use today, to attract more shoppers to your online store.
In this guide:
From analyzing your website’s activity to reviewing abandoned shopping carts and leveraging the power of paid advertising, you need to constantly be on the prowl for more website visitors to help increase your sales and revenue.
This guide will teach you about:
- How to use data and analysis to better understand your business’ online activity
- How to analyze whether your social media marketing strategy is really working
- How to expand your sales reach to online marketplaces while preserving your web store’s strength
- The importance of fine-tuning your product listings
- How to create captivating product photos to capture shoppers’ interest
- Why abandoned shopping carts offer new re-marketing opportunities
- How to leverage the power of paid advertising and social media ads
- Why you should consider influencer marketing to increase awareness of your brand
- How to use content marketing to your competitive advantage
- Why SEO should be your new best friend
1. Use data to fine-tune your webstore strategy
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of either developing or seeking out new products, keeping track of customer orders and deliveries, and the overall operations of your business. The knowing of why certain products are doing well while others are not, geographic sales strengths and weaknesses, along with year-over-year statistics play an important role in keeping your business running smoothly and successfully.
In addition to the variety of reports generated within your retail platform, from sales and inventory, to accounting and CRM, external data services like Terapeak can provide you with market intelligence to stay on top of trends and discover new opportunities. Used by millions of online merchants, they analyze billions of transactions per year, aggregating ecommerce data for eBay, Amazon and Magento.
But data analysis doesn’t end there. When it comes to discovering additional opportunities for attracting more online shoppers, Google Analytics can play a large part in the process. Tracking traffic patterns, sources of website visits (social media, email campaigns, online advertising, referral or partner websites), devices (web, smartphone, tablet) and engagement levels of landing pages will enable you to gauge what’s working well and what areas need improvement.
2. Ask yourself how successful your social media strategy really is
There are a number of reporting and management tools available to track the effectiveness of your social campaigns and understand which tactics are bringing shoppers to your web stores.
Facebook & Twitter
Built into the native application, Facebook offers Insights for tracking post metrics, likes, reach and engagement. Equally, Twitter’s Analytics enable users to view impressions, engagement rates and link clicks.
Pinterest & Instagram
Although Pinterest is a relatively new addition to many social media strategies, it can be a great source of website traffic as ‘pins’ link directly to your website, product pages or blog articles. If using the business version, the analytics available to you include impressions, views and engagements. And Instagram (for business) have also launched a range of reports you can use to view impressions, your highest performing posts, profile views and reach.
Third-party Social Management Software
These include ideal times to post your content; be it blog posts to engage and educate your audience, an event, a video, a promotion for a new product or service; along with enabling you to understand your audience demographics (geo, gender, language). You can also use their various tools to manage conversations, lists and those you follow.
Equipped with this analysis and reporting to show you whether your social media strategy is working or not will enable you to continually keep your content fresh and consistently drive traffic to your online store.
3. Extend your sales reach beyond your webstore
If there’s one rule to abide by in retail sales: go to where the shoppers are browsing and buying. Extending the sales of your products on eBay and Amazon is a smart move, but you need to have a sales strategy in place before you jump in with both feet.
Products sold on these sites, how they’re priced and listed should complement your overall sales numbers; not conflict, confuse, or compete with your own brand or ecommerce store. For example, you may be enjoying growing sales in the United States but do not have a presence in the United Kingdom.
Setting up a store on Amazon U.K. enables you access to U.K.-based buyers, which can lead to expanded brand and product recognition, with potential repeat business from your own website. Or you add an additional channel for moving out seasonal inventory by listing them on eBay, along with running sales and promotions from your own website.
Always keep in mind the pricing and description of each item on each channel. If a customer finds they could have bought your product on eBay cheaper than on your own website, you could lose trust and alienate repeat business. The easiest way to keep track of and unify your listings, products and prices is to manage them from within a retail management system, like Brightpearl.
Finally, always remember to include links back to your website when possible. Providing a seamless way for shoppers to connect the dots between your eBay or Amazon web stores and your company’s branded web presence will enable them to browse and buy how and where they choose. Either way, you win.
4. Harness the power of optimized product listings
Let’s say you’ve just launched a new range of men and women’s fashion labels. The competition is tough, but you know the market and you’re armed with enough information to get a decent slice of the cake. What’s the best way to attract more online shoppers?
Your product listings need to contain all of the necessary information to answer your consumer’s initial questions (such as size, color, material etc). Once you have the basics in place, you need to ensure your product listings match across all of your sales channels, for product consistency; and that they are optimized for SEO so that your webstore can appear high in search results.
Whilst you’re optimizing your product listings, don’t forget to take this opportunity to improve up-sell and cross-sell activity, keeping the user within your product set. Consider a retailer selling necklaces in a range of styles. Might the consumer also appreciate the earrings to match the style they’ve chosen? Taking the opportunity to display your other products that can enhance or complement a customer’s purchase is a great way of offering more value to your client base, whilst increasing your sales and revenue.
5. Create eye-catching product and branding photos
One of the best and proven ways to turn browsers into buyers is with clear and appealing product photos. Consider this quick checklist for creating those eye-catching product photos:
- Use a photo of just the item with no background (white or black only, whichever suits the item best) and have it fill the frame
- Do not use the flash but rather, use diffused light to prevent shadows and reflections
- To avoid blurred or out of focus pictures, use a tripod when necessary
- Take several pictures of the item, including close ups and from different angles
- Capture photos in high resolution, so when browsers zoom in, the photo will retain its quality and crispness
Next step: showing your products in action. This lets browsers envision themselves using and enjoying a new pair of sunglasses as they walk the city, jogging through the park in their specially designed running shoes, or having their puppy play with a new doggie toy. You may need to hire a professional photographer to take on this project, but it’s an investment in your marketing and branding that can pay great dividends.
Remember to repurpose these image investments, using the photos not only on your own webstore and ecommerce channels; but also in any online and social media advertising campaigns, branding within your physical shop, email campaigns, and other marketing efforts.
6. Bring abandoned shoppers back to your online store
Did you know the average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 69%?
With almost 2/3 of shoppers bailing before buying, how do you get them back to complete their purchases? The best weapon in your arsenal are shopping cart tracking and conversion tools. One great example of this working in practise is with Cloud IQ offering you the ability to automatically and immediately retarget customers that drop out during the checkout process. Sending a series of ‘Can I help you?’ remarketing emails, from within an hour to weeks later, can make all the difference in a sale conversion.
Many times online shoppers hesitate to buy because they have questions about the product, pricing, delivery time or delivery options. You should consider having an FAQ page on your website that is easy to navigate to so that you can provide some high level and common answers to questions your buyer might have.
But if your shoppers still have questions, then a carefully crafted email providing them with the answers they need, offers an instant level of excellent customer service and might be all you need to win a sale. By answering any pending questions with a link back to their abandoned cart, offers them a quick and easy way to buy from you. It can also establish a good rapport for turning a one-time buyer into a repeat customer.
The key components of a good shopping cart abandonment email are:
- Personal Sender
- Catchy Subject line
- Visual reminders of the product(s)
- Consistent Branding
- Clear call-to-action button
The other key advantages of prioritizing shopping cart abandonment is to see and learn why shoppers leave in the first place. You may need to revise your shipping and delivery costs, return policy, or revise and enhance your product listings and FAQ pages.
7. Leverage the power of advertising
To help spread the word about your brand and ecommerce store, it can really pay to get to grips with how paid advertising works and how to leverage its power to your advantage. With a variety of advertising available to suit both your target audience and budget, you’re sure to find something that works for you.
Let’s start by introducing you to some of the more common methods of paid advertising and the pros and cons of each:
One of the most heavily used forms of paid advertising. You can choose whether to use display or text only ads with highly targeted keywords to maximize your efforts.
Adwords claim that 80% of internet users can be reached through advertising on Google, which could result in big business for your business. As this is a pay-per-click (PPC) form of advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This makes it quite a good form of advertising if you need to control your budget. Adwords can be published on the web in as little as 15 minutes, resulting in a potentially quick source of income on your webstore, and with the ad reaching consumers at the point of them looking for an answer to their question; they’re likely to be in a good place to make a purchase.
On the other hand, you need to bear in mind that every click to your website is at a cost (even if the consumer doesn’t make a purchase). If you don’t keep up your payments, Adwords reserve the right to immediately remove your presence from Google – this is one giant you don’t want to mess with. You are limited in how much you can write about your brand, product or offer with copy space for Adwords at only 70 characters or less. And finally, remember that the competition on Google is fierce so you’ll need to really up your game to get noticed!
If you’re after a little less competition in your ads (maybe as a starting point to do some testing), then search engines like Bing and Yahoo! also offer paid advertising options. Although not capable of bringing in quite as much traffic as Google, you may find that the costs and less competition are best for your business.
Social Media Ads
Advertising across social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have grown in popularity over the years. With the ability to combine text and display elements in your ad, it’s now very common for a business to use this advertising space.
As social media platforms garner a lot of information about a user, you can use this to your advantage in ensuring that your ads are heavily targeted based on demographics, location and even individual user preferences. With this form of advertising being relatively cost effective and your ability to set a strict budget per campaign, this is also great if you can’t have too much of a marketing spend. Providing you’ve done your research on exactly who your target audience is and what they’re most interested in, you can be sure that your campaign should be effective too – social media users are (more often than not) receptive to ads as long as they provide value, are visually appealing and shareable.
A potential downside to social media ads is how quickly content flows through it. On one hand, this can be great if you manage to crack out a viral ad and generate great business from it; but does mean that you also need to regularly rotate and update your ads and content. In some ways, this is a bit of a time sink and you will need to seriously consider investing a large proportion of someone’s time on updating social ads, but with potentially big benefits at play here; the ROI on this advertising method can be substantial.
If your site has an average of over 5000 visitors per month, then retargeting could be a good method to add to your existing marketing strategies. Simply put, retargeting (also known as remarketing) is controlled by some code on your site to ‘follow’ visitors on their journey through the web. They will never know it’s there and you can use systems to show ads at the right time to those who have already visited your site; knowing they are much more likely to be interested in your offering than someone who has not yet heard of you.
This method of advertising can be linked to reporting such as Google Analytics so that you can easily track how successful your offers and ads are in bringing visitors back to your site. As you have a ton of information about the visitor’s web activities, then you can also use this to your advantage regarding content to make it appropriate to their individual situation. Factual information, clear call-to-actions or humor can be great content pieces to share with these consumers, and as you can analyze how well everything is working, you can get involved with thorough A/B testing to produce what works best for your brand.
However, if your ads are popping up across their web activity too often, then they may start mistrusting your brand due to the feeling of being ‘followed’. You may also end up showing an ad for a product the visitor has actually already bought from you or elsewhere, making that particular ad irrelevant. One good way to work around these two points is to ensure your ads are updated regularly to show new content and new products available to buy. This does mean that you would need to consider more investment in resource and labor to make this an achievable task.
These are just some of the ways in which you can use advertising to your benefit, but as always, you will need to regularly report on and analyze how well your ads are working to ensure the ROI is worth it for your business. If something’s not working as well as you want, change it and change it again until you get a happy medium and an increase in web traffic.
8. Get involved with influencer marketing
This is a relatively new form of marketing, which aims to both increase the awareness about your brand and help attract more shoppers to your ecommerce website. With lots of influencers actively engaged throughout most (if not all) industries and with the costs involved potentially being less than you think, this is one marketing strategy you really do need to get involved with.
In the past, influencer marketing was heavily attributed to celebrity endorsements. Remember David Beckham in the H&M adverts? Or Britney Spears raving about Pepsi? For big brands, celebrity endorsements are common and work well. But for independent retailers, sometimes you need to think a little outside the box about how you’re going to get your brand name out there. This is where we say “Goodbye” to celebrity endorsements and say “Hello” to other influencer marketing activities.
For this to work, you’ll need to focus on influencers that have a large and loyal following across social media channels, lots of readers and listeners of their own content (such as on a blog or Youtube channel) and a trusting following to boot. If you get on the right side of this kind of influencer, then they will help spread the word about your brand, product and/or business very quickly.
Here are just a few of the ways in which you can add this concept to your own marketing strategies:
- Social Media Endorsements – Ask your influencer to post about your brand, business and/or product across their social channels. For Instagram, think bright, visually appealing photos of them holding or using your product with your own Instagram page tagged in the photo and comments. For Facebook, consider asking them to write a few words about why they love your product and brand so much, accompanied by a fabulous image and a link for where to buy.
- Original Content – If your influencer is able to, ask them to write or vlog about your product and brand on their own blog or Youtube channel. Again, why do they love it so much? Where can their loyal and engaged followers buy it?
- Social Media Takeovers – Ask your influencer to takeover your social media channel(s) and allow them to upload their own unique content. If you’ve done your research and know that your influencer fits with your target audience, then they will know exactly what your audience want to see. Plus, they will often boast about the takeover on their own channels to get their followers to come have a look at what they’re getting involved in. How’s that for more bang for your buck?
For slightly lesser known influencers (who still have a fairly large and engaged following), sometimes it’s enough to send them a sample of your product and talk about them on your social channels. These types of influencers are interested in raising awareness of their own brand (ie themselves) and are happy with working with new and exciting companies.
For those influencers who are higher in demand, you would need to consider a form of payment on top of the above. This can vary depending on the influencer’s own asks, but if you have an exciting brand and product to offer; then you can always negotiate with them until you’re both happy. If not, move on to the next one – there are bound to be a lot of influencers out there that you can work with.
You can often find influencers across social media (and slapped across search engines), but there are also influencer programs you can sign up to and software programs you can use (for a cost). These programs pride themselves in pairing your brand with the best influencer for your product, target audience and budget; so it can definitely be worth taking a look. Some programs you could start off with researching are Intellifluence and Traackr.
9. Create attractive and engaging content
Become known as an expert in your industry by producing regular, high value and visually appealing blog posts and videos.
This type of content is among one of the most effective ways to attract traffic to your ecommerce website as it can rank highly in search engines (if optimized correctly for SEO), and consumers will be attracted to your site to help solve their problems or answer questions they might have about a particular topic.
The blog posts you write or the videos you create should be informative and visually appealing so that consumer trust in your retail business is increased. And if consumers notice that you create this useful content on a regular basis, then they are much more likely to keep coming back for more advice, tips and tricks that you’re offering.
This in turn boosts your website traffic, consumer trust and ultimately sales; whilst continually promoting you as an expert in your industry – what’s not to love about content marketing?
10. Optimize your website for search engines
We’ve briefly mentioned SEO (search engine optimization) in this guide already, but as it’s so important for driving more traffic to your website, it deserves its own chapter.
To rank highly in search engines, you need to ensure your content, product pages and website copy are all optimized for search engines. In other words, they need to be SEO ready. There are many companies out there who specialize in helping you with SEO, but to start with, here are a few basics you need to have nailed on your webstore:
All of your content, such as blog posts and product pages should mention your keywords. These are the words you think your target audience are searching for and of course, you want to be on the first page of those search results. Your keyword needs to be mentioned where it matters the most – here are a few great places to start:
- Blog post title and content
- Product page title and description
- Page URL
- Image alt tag
When it comes to keywords, you want to be searchable but you still want to be human. Avoid ‘keyword stuffing’ as search engines won’t appreciate that (and neither will your consumers)!
Links in your content as well as other sites linking back to you is really important for SEO. If search engines can spot authority sites linking back to you, or that your website offers more value to a reader by linking out to useful content, then you are sure to rank higher. Consider devising a strategy to get you more of these types of links:
- Backlinks – go on the hunt for authority sites that can link back to your product or your about pages and your blog posts
- Outbound links – link out to valuable content that will help your reader
- Internal links – don’t forget your own pages! Link out to relevant product pages or blog posts that your reader might love to take a look at
If you have some great blog posts that you published a few years ago, consider re-purposing this content in a new post. This is not only great for SEO but also great for your new followers as they can now find this fantastic information easily. Something to mention about this though – avoid duplicate content! Don’t just copy and paste the entire page but re-work and re-write it so that it’s not exactly the same as before. Search engines don’t favor duplicate content.
Ecommerce product pages
These pages on your website are your treasure trove and should be optimized as much as you can, while still maintaining your human voice. Remember to use your keywords and where possible, consider using over 1000 words in your product descriptions. If you have similar products in different styles, avoid using the same words across your product pages – changing the style information isn’t enough for search engines not to consider this duplicate content. Think of new ways to describe your products, rather than just copying and pasting across your website.
These are just some of the tools and tricks of the trade you need for SEO to work in your favor. Do your research, consider involving an SEO expert to help you and let the shoppers come to you.
Continuously thinking of new ways to attract more shoppers to your online webstore can be a challenging mountain to climb. In the ever more competitive world of retail, you need to remain ahead of your competition and leverage every weapon in your arsenal to stay at the top of your game. But if you condense your marketing strategies down into bite-sized chunks; and tackle each with enthusiasm, knowledge and a great product behind you, then you are sure to succeed. With the help of these strategies we’ve put together, let’s look forward to your retail business growing and remaining as a top ecommerce store to buy from.