When the year is about to end, savvy entrepreneurs reflect on their business performance and plan for the upcoming year accordingly. A little introspection is in order to reveal what you did right and what needs improvement. This will help you consolidate and augment your eCommerce strategy. Implement year-end planning tips for eCommerce businesses today to reach new heights.
Even if your performance was good, there is no room for complacency. eCommerce is evolving rapidly and only the most innovative businesses can survive and thrive. Continuous improvement can help you remain one step ahead of your competitors. If you do not implement change then sooner rather than later, your competitors may catch up with you and leave you behind. Contact our eCommerce business advisors today or schedule a 30-minute strategy call!
Customers are more demanding than ever and expect businesses that they frequent to improve consistently and delight them with new and improved service offerings.
If you don’t have a team of eCommerce financial back office pros, then here are some key year-end planning tips for eCommerce businesses that you can make use of to get ahead now.
Personalization is the name of the game. There may have been a time a long ago when a one-size-fits-all may have worked, but in today’s highly competitive milieu it is a recipe for disaster and lost earnings.
Changing eCommerce stores is now as simple as a few mouse clicks. Thus, you have to be very scrupulous about providing the ultimate eCommerce experience to retain your customers. Strong personalization is your key to successfully orchestrating a memorable experience for your customers.
A bespoke experience will make a much better impression in the minds of your customers. For instance, depending on the categories that they like to purchase from, you can suggest recommendations for the finest new products in that genre.
The beauty of this method is that you get to sell subtly and the customer will actually be pleased with exciting new products that interest them.
Getting personal can help. Yes, you can actually do that in a positive way through friendly customer support. Whenever a customer logs in and starts shopping around, a customer support professional can send a simple message on live chat. For example “glad to see you back, how may I help you?”. Personal attention like this will please customers and help you build a solid rapport with them. Consequently, they will be more likely to shop from you well into the future.
Smart email tactics will continue to be of great help to eCommerce businesses of all kinds.
You can target interested persons via your email campaign. Thus, your existing customers will be your top priority. You can send out emails that inform existing customers about promotions, deals and new products. Once again, emails should be personalized according to the wants and preferences of your existing customers.
Encouraging your existing customers to sign up for your newsletters is a great way of nurturing a profitable relationship with them and boosting sales.
Images and Video Content
You can add significant value to the shopping experience of your customers by making promotional videos and putting lots of images on your eCommerce website.
Video content will be of immense help to customers as it will empower them to make an informed decision. You can demonstrate via videos how a particular product works and what satisfied customers have to say about it. Thus, videos are a vivid description of product quality and performance. Uncertain customers will have much greater confidence in your products if you can show demonstration videos of how well they work. Testimonials by satisfied customers can also help to build greater trust and confidence.
Images are more than just eye candy. They are an integral part of product descriptions and can greatly embellish your content. Your product descriptions and blogs will come to life with high-resolution images. People are more willing to read content that has plenty of imagery and video content to bolster it.
Of course, blogs and webpages are also going to be very important. In fact, such content is necessary to provide a robust foundation for your images and videos. User-generated content such as product reviews and customer feedback have superlative value since customers inherently have a high interest in independent opinion.
Outsource Your Digital Campaign
Whether it is videos, images or written content, it requires plenty of time, money and effort to create. You can save all of these precious resources and gain plenty of benefits by collaborating with a reputable content creation agency.
SEO and content will help to improve your rankings and help you to climb up search engine pages. Increased sales from higher traffic will soon break even with your investment and provide rich dividends in the long term.
Not only can a good content agency save you plenty of time, effort and money, they can also leverage their creative expertise for your benefit – expertise that has been gained through years of hard work as digital marketing professionals.
Social Media Channels
Social media channels are going to be a key dimension of your digital marketing campaign. While Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn have always been important, Instagram and Snapchat have also risen to prominence. To get the most out of your digital marketing endeavors, you will have to address all of these frontiers of online marketing and develop a unique customized content strategy for each in view of customer demographics.
You should even pay serious attention to Tik Tok. This platform is now a runaway success with teens and young adults. Tik Tok is on a steep upward trajectory and you cannot afford to miss out on this opportunity for digital marketing.
More CRO Tests
To drive more sales to your eCommerce platform, you will have to do greater testing to ascertain the efficacy of your branding, website design, use experience and marketing strategy. Regular testing will help you to perform better on all of these fronts by showing you opportunities, insights and room for improvement.
Conversion rate optimization tests are of prime importance. CRO is an art that can help you to convert more prospects and visitors into loyal customers. Increasing web traffic is of little use unless it can be converted into well-paying customers.
There are numerous kinds of CRO tests that you can run on your eCommerce platform to improve its performance and boost sales. Here are some of the most well-known ones.
- Product page A/B test.
- Headline A/B test.
- Standard checkout vs simplified checkout test.
- Button color A/B test.
- General vs personalized homepage test.
You can learn a lot from testing. You can implement any tactic or strategy that you can think of and measure performance to gauge its performance. This can yield plenty of insights and help you to know how well your strategy is working. Once you get good results from testing for any tactic, you can make it a permanent facet of your eCommerce business.
Pay Attention to Testimonials and Reviews
Testimonials and reviews should be the foundation of your written and video content. You should encourage your customers to write as many honest reviews as they can. Both good reviews and bad reviews can be helpful.
Good reviews will obviously motivate prospects to buy highly rated products. But how will bad reviews help? Bad reviews will highlight problematic products and show issues that customers are facing with them. You can take action to stop these products from driving away customers. You can talk to your vendors to address customer complaints and you can even discontinue selling them if necessary. Your losses teach you more than your successes. Bad reviews will help you pinpoint customer pain points and empower you with insights to enhance user experience.
In order to motivate your customers to write reviews, you can make them eligible for special offers and discounts as an incentive. Of course, you should offer incentives for completely impartial reviews rather than positive reviews. Impartial reviews will enable you to learn a lot about the products that you are selling. Independent reviews are invaluable in helping you to understand product quality, performance and customer impressions.
Be sure to profusely thank your customers for their valuable feedback.
Free Product Trials
To get ahead of the competition, you can leverage the popularity of online influencers. It can take you time to build up a loyal following. In the meantime, you can collaborate with influencers so that their followers can drive traffic to your website.
You can offer a free sample of your best products for influencers to review. This marketing strategy can help you to bolster brand awareness and make your name more prominent.
As your eCommerce business grows, you can begin outsourcing work so that you can focus on core business activities and never lose sight of strategic matters.
The trouble with doing everything on your own is that you may not be able to expend the necessary time, effort and energy on your brand vision and strategic matters. Thus, there is a risk of you missing out on great opportunities and innovations that could help you to boost your market share and drive sales.
To focus on growing your business, you can think about outsourcing the following functions.
- Accounting, bookkeeping and taxation.
- Shipping and fulfillment.
- Email marketing.
- Content marketing.
- Customer support and invoicing.
- Brand design and graphic design.
The beauty of outsourcing is that it is an intrinsically flexible arrangement. How long you wish to continue with outsourcing services is up to you. If at any point you feel that you want to take over the outsourced function or hand it over to someone else, you are always free to do so. By outsourcing, you can save yourself a lot of time and energy on non-core activities that take you away from main activities. You can also avoid employer liabilities, risk of worker compensation, paying employee taxes and a whole lot of other legal headaches. Read more on why outsourcing is important.
Pay close attention to abandoned carts. You should not neglect this critical issue since there might be a problem that is keeping good prospects from completing their purchase. You can uncover this problem and remediate it immediately. Begin by sending an email politely requesting such customers to state their reasons. Provide an earnest assurance that you will heed these complaints and take action to the utmost of your abilities.
You should also introspect to figure out what could possibly be wrong. Is the checkout process too complicated? Is the delivery cost too high? Is the fulfillment time too long? Is it due to a lack of payment options? Does the abandoned product lack content, reviews and testimonials on your website? Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and empathize to find out how you can improve the customer journey.
Prospects that do not convert and customers who leave behind abandoned carts can be heartbreaking to watch. But all is not lost. There is still a lot you can do to get them back.
The most important thing pertaining to these customers is that you have a sharp idea of what they are interested in. Since they have spent time browsing on your eCommerce platform, you have valuable data at your disposal that tells you volumes about their likes and dislikes. Don’t lose sight of these valuable prospects.
Follow them around the web with retargeting ads. Using these ads keep showing related products that they will be interested in.
You can also send emails at the right frequency if you have their emails. This group should be your second priority after existing customers for your email campaign.
This group will be your prime target for online ads.
Referral and Loyalty Programs
Reward your recurring customers for their staunch support and loyalty. Pleasantly surprise them with exclusive discounts and deals on top rated products that interest them. Make them feel valued and show your high sense of esteem for their continued patronage.
To further expand your client base, you can give away lucrative discounts and freebies on referrals. With a good referral program in place, your existing customers can become your unpaid sales force and help expand your market share.
While the aforementioned year-end planning tips for eCommerce can help your business to realize its full potential and growth, having digital finance experts running your back office for you, and a Fractional CFO as an advisor is the surest way to success. Schedule a call with our experts now, or request a custom proposal online now.