6 Fresh E-Commerce Marketing Tactics to Try in 2021


Today’s savvy e-commerce companies are putting their Q3 and Q4 marketing and inventory management strategies into place right now. With the disruptions 2020 saw, it’s never too early to start planning for the latter part of the year, the e-commerce marketing that drives it and the order fulfillment that keeps people coming back.

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We’ve put together a list of six e-commerce marketing tactics to implement during the rest of 2021 that will set your business up for success:

Drop pop-ups that cover your webpages

Pop-ups annoy almost everyone — so how could they be anything but problematic in 2021?

Pop-ups are often used to promote a sale or blast a user with a particular message as their mouse tries to navigate away to a new tab or close out of the browser. Unfortunately, these options don’t always get customer intent right. Often, pop-ups obscure information your customer wants and can even redirect them somewhere else, especially on mobile devices.

Imagine if you were trying to click a product category at the top of a page, saw a huge pop-up and a wrong click near its “X” sent you to an irrelevant sales page. Would you try again or just close the tab?

Instead, use that top real estate more effectively with banners that convey this information with clean imagery or even video. Also, consider incorporating customer testimonials into these banners, as testimonials on sales pages are known to boost conversions by 34%.

Related: The Basics of Creating a Useful Return Policy for E-Commerce Growth

Get honest about negative reviews

Hiding negative reviews is a tricky proposition. It’s tempting when recreating product pages or revamping review systems. While you can easily delete negative reviews or flood your site with fake reviews to hide the bad ones, doing so is not a good idea.

Your audience is wise to tactics like this, and more than half of potential buyers won’t make a purchase if they think reviews are faked or if the way you showcase reviews seems disingenuous.

While you never want to see someone denigrate your hard work or leave a long, rambling complaint, you can use these reviews to your advantage. Instead of hiding negative reviews, highlight them. Use these reviews to create specific messaging around any changes or promises you make in your operations. Critically, a three- or four-star review can also offer invaluable feedback on how to improve your product. Leverage the lessons available.

Someone complained about a size? Remind them of your exchange policy, and share the link. People say they want a product offered in a different color? Turn this into a “you asked; we delivered” campaign for your fall lineup that includes your product available in more colors.

Take complaints about shipping costs or policies and use them to guide how you might offer free shipping and highlight that you’ve simplified returns and exchanges.

You can’t make every review five stars. You can, however, make your response to valid criticism worthy of future five-star reviews. And if you’ve messed up, admitting it is another way to impress new shoppers and earn their trust.

Improve review capabilities on product pages

Generally speaking, consumers love to know what others think about products before making a decision. They take reviews so seriously, in fact, that almost 90% of consumers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. This follows the rules of transparency and good user experience.

Adding customer reviews to specific product pages is an amazing e-commerce marketing tactic because you’re showing someone the most relevant information available from customers about that product.

You’ll want to make sure the reviews are recent, too, as a reported 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month. An added boost: allowing customers to post their own photos of the product you sold them gives reviews even more authenticity.

If you already provide the option to leave reviews on each of your product pages, now is the time to expand your current capabilities. Allow customers to add photos and video to their reviews. Enable sorting and search tools so visitors can find something related to their needs, or sort reviews by date. Give customers options to also rate based on common queries, such as noting if a shirt size fit as expected or was ill fitting. Provide a line for them to list their favorite thing about the purchase, giving customers a way to glance at reviews and get a realistic feel for your products quickly.

The better you do at showcasing honest customer reviews on product pages, the better you’ll be able to build trust with potential buyers.

Improve your offers

While it may be tempting to create an app, it might be smarter to reinvest that spend into improving the existing offers and services that landed you loyal customers in the first place.

Two great options to start with are boosting your rewards programs and strengthening your email marketing game. Automation and AI tools are making it easier than ever to optimize and tailor messages or rewards to individual customers.

Automate message delivery that includes coupons and personalized product recommendations based on past purchases. Let your customer relationship management and rewards tools power the data for your future sales. You might consider segmenting users based on what they buy, when they buy or where they ship their items.

For example, a customer who purchases your products and ships to multiple addresses or ZIP codes may be purchasing your products and sending them directly to a recipient as a gift. Consider sending those customers a coupon with gift-centric messaging or delivering an email campaign that shows the best products for various people in their lives (i.e., gifts for moms, gifts for grads, etc.)

The more relevant you make your messaging as a response to consumer behaviors, the more likely you are to find yourself with return customers.

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Try content marketing with guest contributors

This tactic makes everyone happy: you get content, you make networking connections, you share audiences and your readers get to hear from a new perspective. It also helps with SEO and keeps your blog fresh and interesting. Everyone wins!

Content marketing with guest contributors is designed to attract potential customers. Much of it plays a role in inbound marketing, where you have people come to your site looking for answers or goodies. These are hot leads who are ready to learn more and buy, and content that answers questions or gets them excited helps propel them to the shopping cart.

Prioritize local SEO

There are plenty of great local SEO opportunities if you know where to start.

For example, let’s say you have an online store that sells sunglasses. Using SEO best practices, targeting the keywords for “cool sunglasses in Knoxville” also means you’re working on the “cool sunglasses” keyword more broadly. However, you do have the option of adding additional cities to your target, even if they aren’t local.

This can draw in people searching for products online after trying them on in store, something roughly half of U.S. smartphone users do. It gives some of your pages a local SEO push, and you can tap into a direct market and address both general and specific e-commerce audiences.

If you go that route, focus on large markets you can reach quickly. Even if you’re not in Chicago, it might be worth targeting Chicago and nearby cities, like Aurora, in your SEO if you can deliver to customers in these areas within one to two days. The benefit of e-commerce is your “local area” is anywhere you or your fulfillment partners can reach quickly.

Start this process by reviewing your existing orders. Find the markets with the most recurring purchases and those with the most lucrative purchases. These are the best places to start A/B testing with keywords.

Key takeaway: It’s time to align your marketing strategy

Now, you have the perfect set of tactics to start implementing that will give your e-commerce efforts a boost throughout the remainder of the year. Ultimately, to build trust with your customers — and ultimately boost sales — you must prioritize their experience, focusing your e-commerce marketing tactics on making it easier for them to get what they want. You can’t go wrong with that strategy.

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