With tough competition in the form of Amazon and bigger retailers getting smarter and smarter with their digital marketing it can be hard to continue the growth trajectory that many eCommerce stores have achieved over the past few years.
However with the right growth ideas and a relentless focus on testing these ideas at speed and scaling the successful ones you can still outpace any growth your competition achieves.
To help you grow your eCommerce business this year I joined forces with the team at Omniconvert and 18 eCommerce experts to provide our very best growth ideas that you can take and apply to your business.
My 3 top growth ideas are below and you can click here to download the full eBook with 49 ideas.
Growth Idea #1: Automate Your Email Newsletters To Scale Your ROI
If you’re a savvy eCommerce marketer you have likely already set up automated cart-recovery, browse abandonment, re-purchase and feedback request emails, but you’re probably still scrambling at the last minute to put together email newsletters sending out specials and offers to your database – sometimes for minimal results.
To grow this year it’s time to make as many of these email newsletters automated and triggered, saving you hours that can be spent in other areas and to ensure your email marketing ROI scales over time.
How should you do that? You need to brainstorm and create at least one years worth of evergreen emails that you can set up to automatically to send to people based on when they entered your database. The one necessity is that the emails need to be as good as the one-off emails you were sending, which can be hard to do.
Here are some ideas of emails you could build into your sequence:
- Category focused emails – showcasing each of your product categories with general images so it won’t matter what is in stock in each category when the email is sent. These emails can look exactly like the current sales focused emails most brands are currently sending – the only difference is, they’re automated. ie. “The key to a healthy future… Anti-ageing vitamins”
- Product featured emails – highlighting individual products which you are confident you’ll always have in stock. Leave the price off if there is a chance it will change in the future.
- Evergreen sales/offers – if you’re always going to offer free shipping for orders $150 and above – create an evergreen email for it and add it to the sequence. If there is a sale which you’re happy to offer all of the time such as a coupon for $20 off – this should be added to your sequence.
- Content focused emails – if you’ve got evergreen articles on your blog that can be sent out at any time and which has up-sells for your products, you should incorporate these into your sequence to break up the product/sales focused emails and give your subscribers some value.
- Brand/welcome style emails – if you haven’t already got an automated welcome series you can create evergreen emails that introduces your brand, what you stand for and your USPs to new subscribers.
- Dynamic content emails – If you have the ability to import dynamic content into your email newsletters this will open up even more evergreen/automated possibilities you can build into your sequences, for example an email showcasing the top 10 products that have been purchased in the last month, or a sales email showcasing all products that are on sale.
These automated emails won’t replace every time-based email you send out but it will ensure that you’ve got thousands of emails being sent out regularly whether you’ve got time to put them together or not. In 10 or 11 months time when you’ve got subscribers nearing the end of the sequence make sure to extend it out again by a year – then you’ll know that for every subscriber you get you’ll have years worth of emails ready to go without any extra effort.
Growth Idea #2: Improve Your Site Search
There is no excuse for your eCommerce website having search functionality with a poor quality user experience anymore. Most default eCommerce systems have builtin search, but the layout of the results pages and the actual products shown can be improved significantly which will enhance your user experience and conversion rate.
The more products you have in your eCommerce store the harder it is for people to find what they’re looking for quickly and thus the higher improving search should be on your priority list.
An auto-complete option that shows products as you type has been shown to perform better, and if you can build machine learning or artificial intelligence into your search algorithm (ie. if someone searched for X then purchased Y – product Y should be prioritised the next time that X is searched for) then over time your conversion rate and results should continue to grow.
If you don’t have developers and/or time, you don’t need to build your own search solution as there are plenty of third party options that can plug in to most eCommerce systems, such as:
- SLI Systems – SLI provides search specifically for eCommerce companies. In contrast to the other search providers, they provide an all round solution that also powers recommendations and site navigation. Pricing is on a case-by-case basis so you’ll need to contact them for details.
- Algolia Search – While it requires a developer to implement, Algolia search is a cheaper option than SLI with a free plan available to get you started. Search results are incredibly quick to appear, which is essential for your visitors.
- Swiftype – Another provider of incredibly fast customised search, Swiftype begins at around $249/month. If you have a Shopify site, you can get up and running instantly and they have a free trial so you can ensure it actually improves your conversion rate before committing.
- YITH WooCommerce Ajax Search – If you use Woocommerce then YITH is a freemium plugin to take your search to the next level and is worth testing out.
Be sure to enable site search tracking in Analytics so you can drill down on how well your search is working and to help find opportunities in the searches that people are making (ie. if a lot of people are searching for a brand you don’t stock yet).
Growth Idea #3: Diversify Your Marketing Channels
I’m surprised time and time again when an eCommerce company comes onboard for marketing services at my agency Web Profits, who only have one channel that is driving the majority of their revenue. This is a recipe for disaster, especially if it is a channel you don’t control (such as SEO) – with one change your once flourishing business could be wiped out so that you need to start again from scratch. This year, even if you’re getting success from just a few core marketing channels it is time to diversify and look for new profitable channels that you can test and scale or simply have as a backup plan should your current channels run into issues.
Here’s are a channels you could test this year:
- Amazon Marketplace – this channel has just launched in Australia and is one i’m very excited about. With the right strategy (see here for 7 key tactics you should use) you can rank your products in search results and categories (a bit like SEO) and generate a lot of free traffic and sales.
- eBay Stores – listing all of your products on eBay is a no-brainer – they may not be the flavour of the month at the moment but they still have vast quantities of traffic that you should be appearing for.
- Comparison Shopping Networks – if you have a product feed set up for Google Shopping then you should sign up for all of the comparison shopping networks (such as Shopping.com). They’re fast to setup using the same feed, need little optimisation and may bring a trickle of sales.
- Bing Shopping – with lower cost per clicks than Google Shopping, and a very quick setup process if you have a product feed then getting your products onto Bing Shopping should be pretty high on your priority list. The volume of sales will be low but your cost per sale and return should be much higher than Google.
Ensure you track every channel separately, measure your ROMI and then scale the most successful channels and keep working on and testing the rest until they’re profitable. Over time you’ll be able to grow your sales, find new channels with better returns than your current core channels and you’ll wake up without worrying about the next big Google update or change to Facebook’s news feed algorithm.
To download the full eBook with 49 growth ideas from 19 eCommerce experts, click here.