The Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the global economy. And even the most optimistic scenarios aren’t looking great.
However, while many industries have suffered great losses during the global pandemic, others have actually been able to flourish under the unique circumstances that the situation has created.
Because of self-isolation, people have been buying online more than ever before, and many don’t plan on going back to shopping in person as much as they did.
That means that even though the global economy might be stagnating, eCommerce companies are ideally situated to grow their customer lists and enjoy record revenue and profit.
But in order to take advantage of the current situation, eCommerce stores must be creative in promoting their brand and products because competition across all sectors is more fierce than before.
To help ensure that you stay ahead of the curve, let’s go over some of the most important tricks and strategies that you can use to set your eCommerce brand apart in 2020 and beyond.
Learn More About Your Audience
When trying to increase your brand’s presence in the marketplace, every little edge you can get is crucial. And when trying to make better decisions that can have a positive impact on your business, knowing what your audience prefers is usually at the very core of making that happen.
Because of that, you should take a proactive approach to figure out what your audience likes and how you can better cater to their needs.
Unless you’re an international brand with a global audience, having a very focused and specific brand presence is at the very core of your success, so you should figure out exactly who you want to cater to and start projecting an image that they are likely to respond to.
The good news is that today, collecting and analyzing data about your ideal customers is easier than ever before. You can not only rely on sales numbers or direct feedback from customers but can use advanced analytics that will provide you with many insights about what your audience likes and how it interacts with your brand.
If you could identify the most effective marketing approaches, product positioning angles, or even something as specific as the pricing points, you might be able to achieve much better results with the marketing strategies that you are currently using.
And if you can align your brand with the values and expectations of your target audience, you can even charge a premium for your product selection, as the people that you are trying to attract will be much more inclined to associate with your brands than the competitors.
In these uncertain times, you need to become a brand that is trustworthy and sensitive to the challenges that your customers are facing, and you might find yourself with a loyal following that will stay with you for many years to come.
While many companies spend thousands or even millions trying to refine their brand, a solid understanding of your audience will ensure that you don’t need to spend thousands on a premium name for your store, and can buy a cheap domain name that will be just as effective in forming a strong bond with your target audience.
Focus on Your Brand’s Story
As a smaller business, you are facing a big task trying to compete with eCommerce giants like Amazon that have unlimited budgets, impossible-to-beat prices, and excellent customer care.
Most small eCommerce stores simply don’t have the resources to put up a fight, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways that they can succeed. In fact, many smaller eCommerce stores are absolutely booming and are successfully luring customers away from Amazon.
How do they do that?
Well, it all starts with understanding their audiences and providing a unique experience that Amazon or Walmart simply can’t match. Because of that, these eCommerce stores can charge a premium for their product and still have customers lining up to place their orders.
One of the simplest ways you can leverage the fact that you are a smaller company is to become very focused in terms of the brand image that you project.
Every part of your brand should become highly targeted and structured, to the point that you would only be trying to attract a defined group of people and no one else.
By forming strong associations around what your brand is about, emphasizing the core values that you share with your audience, and creating content that is relevant and engaging to the narrow group that you’re catering to, you will be able to separate yourself from the crowd and create powerful marketing messages that will break through the clutter, even in the most competitive marketplaces.
A great way to put your brand’s story forward is to partner up with key influencers in your marketplace, which could help get your company in front of audiences that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
This way, instead of being limited to the traditional marketing approaches like SEO and paid ads, you could continually expand your reach and create a steady influx of new leads that are primed to be interested in what you have to offer.
Just as with paid ads, influencer marketing has been forever changed because of the coronavirus, with companies slashing their marketing budgets and being much more cautious about who they partner up with.
That means that influencers that might not have been approachable for you last year would now be much more willing to grant access to their audience if you came to them with the right offer.
Start by identifying influencers in your niche that you feel might have an audience that would respond to your brand. Don’t be afraid to seek out smaller influencers, as their followers might be much more engaged, even if they are fewer in numbers compared to some of the A-list social media figures.
When refining your campaigns, make sure that you collaborate with the influencer so that both their authentic voice and your brand image mesh together in the message. Be careful how you word it, making sure it’s something your target audience understands. Using tools that check grammar is a given, as you don’t want to put people off with style or grammar mistakes that make your message seem unprofessional.
Personalize the Customer Experience
The benefits of personalization in eCommerce are hard to ignore. Although some cite privacy concerns, the fact remains that when ethically executed, personalization can be an incredibly powerful tool for providing a better experience for your audience and increasing sales.
No matter how well you execute your marketing campaigns, there’s a limit to how much you can grow if you aren’t able to get the most out of the current customer pool that you have already attracted to visit your site.
These are the people that have raised their hand and showed interest in what you have to offer, so it’s your obligation to make their experience as simple and as convenient as possible because no amount of new leads will ever replace the loyal customers that you can fall back on month after month.
But how can you offer better personalization for your site’s visitors? Well, the good news is that technology is making that process a lot easier.
Using various tracking tools, you can start predicting what your visitors are likely to be interested in and offer them timely and relevant offers or suggestions as they are browsing.
You can even set up entire email newsletters to send out personalized content that has been arranged according to past purchases or even page visits, dramatically increasing your open rate, click-through rate, as well as revenue.
Whenever a person visits your page, you can gain more insights about what they like and what they dislike. With a little bit of preparation, you can even create a system where a visitor sees a home page uniquely catered to their browsing and purchasing habits, which provides them with a better experience and maximizes the chances of them buying.
Today, it’s no longer acceptable to treat every customer like they are the same. Even within your audience, there are many pockets of people with very different interests, and only those eCommerce stores that acknowledge and adjust accordingly will be able to keep their customers happy in the long term.
Keep an Eye Out for New Opportunities
As mentioned before, Covid-19 has devastated the global economy. But at the same time, there are opportunities that you could take advantage of if you would be willing to change up your current marketing approach.
For instance, the vast majority of brands were rapidly cutting their ad spend budgets in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in a significant drop in the CPC price on Google and Facebook.
Savvy marketers have been quick to jump on the opportunity, taking advantage of the cheaper leads and raking in huge profits while everyone else was taking losses.
And while Facebook is now reporting signs of stability in ad spend, that doesn’t mean that everything’s back to normal either.
For an eCommerce store that’s trying to raise brand awareness and attract more customers, now is the perfect time to launch new campaigns, explore new opportunities for promoting your brand online, and reevaluate what you are currently doing.
Consumer buying habits are changing, and audiences that might have been less willing to shop online have now adapted and are much more likely to respond to the right messaging. So, even if a campaign was a failure a couple of years ago, it might be worth reexamining it again and seeing if there’s potential for better outcomes this year.
The bottom line is, this year can completely reshape your marketing strategy for the better if you take the time to reevaluate the options that are out there and make a commitment to be daring in trying different options.
Previously the co-founder of influencer marketing software NinjaOutreach. Together with Mark Samms, he bootstrapped the company to 20 people and over 500 customers. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me,