Without a doubt, 2020 saw a huge increase in demand for online retail. E-commerce sites dominated web searches and brands saw their market share increase massively.
The long term impact of the pandemic on shopping habits is yet to be fully understood. However, it is clear that the public are becoming increasingly comfortable shopping for everything from everyday items to big one-off purchases online.
For brands looking to make the most of this boom, it is important that you are willing to invest in the resources that will help you grow. Scaling your business can seem daunting at first but with the right tools and resources, it can be a relatively seamless process.
So where to start? From email marketing automation tools, to advertising and upselling; the options can seem overwhelming.
Here at I-COM, we like to do the hard work so you don’t have to worry about it. We’ve spoken to brands and included some of our own recommendations for the tools that can help take your business to the next level:
Building brand recognition and reaching the right people
Creating a single cohesive brand is important to ensure brand recognition for any business. Without a physical flagship and customer-facing staff, it is vital for e-commerce businesses to be able to clearly communicate their brand identity.
Filled with ready-made designs that can be adapted for each individual business, the graphic design tool is perfect for creating social media posts, logos and marketing newsletters.
The site has a really strong range of free designs, fonts and stock imagery that can make it easy to ensure there is consistency across all business platforms. For a more bespoke service, you can upgrade to the premium version for a monthly subscription fee.
For businesses looking to grow their organic reach, Response Source is an invaluable tool. Putting a business in direct contact with journalists, it is an easy way to ensure your products are getting noticed by the right people.
The service is used by all the top tier media in the UK and can help get your product featured in the publications that matter to your audience.
While organic traffic is brilliant, Google Ads remains one of the best ways to promote an e-commerce site online.
The online advertising platform allows you to target a specific audience, using keywords that relate to your offering and is one of the quickest and cost effective ways to drive traffic back to your website.
Tracking the user journey
Being able to understand how a user is engaging with an online store is vital for every e-commerce site. If a site is difficult to navigate, potential customers are instantly going to be turned-off and might look elsewhere. This is why it is incredibly important that you invest in software that enables you to track your potential customers and their activity.
The free analytics tool is essential to help understand how users are interacting with a site. It can help track how visitors find your site and how they move through your online store.
When used correctly, it can help you better understand your audience and any trends and external factors that might affect your sales, for example an upcoming holiday as well as highlight areas for improvement. You can also easily set up specific conversion-based goals that you can then track and work to improve.
For any e-commerce business that receives a high volume of calls from potential customers, ResponseTap is a must.
The call tracker allows you to understand the campaigns, channels and keywords that make your customer pick up the phone and engage. This is inevitable when looking to ensure that your site has the right ‘calls to action’ in the right places.
Personalisation and upselling
Personalisation is an area that is becoming increasingly important for brands to engage directly with their customers.
True personalisation is much more than just including a person's name to emails, but ensuring their entire shopping experience is tailored to their needs. The below products enable online businesses to improve their personalisation offerings.
This abandoned basket solution helps e-commerce businesses recover deserted orders and sends an email reminder to encourage customers to complete their shopping. Integratable with any website, it is a great external solution.
While standalone software can work well, we would always advise going with an email provider that would allow you to build this in as part of a customised service, Bronto, Dotmailier and Mailchimp all do this really well.
Ensuring that stock is displayed in the best order possible is key to ensuring that shoppers remain engaged. Hawksearch is a powerful merchandising tool that helps you create the best shopping experience possible.
It allows you to add additional elements of personalisation, to highlight specific products that might be of interest. Using machine learning, the software can identify the best ways to upsell and cross-sell based on customer behaviour.
A relatively new tool, Klarna allows shoppers to pay for their purchase at a later date encouraging customers to increase the value of their order.
The out-of-the-box service is fully integrated into all leading e-commerce platforms and has been credited with radically changing the way consumers shop.
One of the most difficult areas for SME e-commerce businesses to navigate is the shipping out of products once a sale has been made.
Unlike others in the market, World Option’s market-leading integration software doesn’t require users to leave platforms, such as Shopify - resulting in a seamless shopping experience start to finish.
Want to speak to the team about your e-commerce business?
If you have a question or just want to learn more, check out our e-commerce marketing essentials guide or get in touch with the team.
Call us on 0161 402 3170 or fill in our handy contact form, for a free no-obligation chat.