Social media is one of the most powerful tools for growing your ecommerce business. But it's not enough to just have an updated Facebook or Instagram page for your site. To be truly effective, your ecommerce site and your social media presence need to work together. By integrating social media features on your ecommerce site, and ecommerce features on your social media pages, you'll be able to grow the audiences faster than you would by treating them as separate. In this post, we'll look at some social media and ecommerce integration points and how they can enhance each other.
Social Sharing Plugins
This is a standard tactic you are likely already using, but it's a great example of social media/ecommerce integration. If you don't have them already, add social sharing buttons (like the ones at the top of this blog post) to your product pages and content such as newsletter articles, marketing emails, blog posts, etc.
Allowing users to log in to their ecommerce account using their social media credentials makes the registration and checkout process much easier. Social login also allows you to capture data about your website subscribers that you can use to customize your product recommendations and marketing emails to your customers’ interests and preferences.
Many social media sites have ways to funnel users directly to your ecommerce, like Facebook's "Shop Now" buttons and Pinterest's "Buyable Pins." If you use these features, don't forget to track their performance in addition to your other sales statistics.
Because it provides a convenience to most consumers, offering customer support through social media is a great competitive differentiator. It's also an excellent opportunity to engage with customers - even the ones who don't need support. By promptly responding to customer issues on social media, you're demonstrating your commitment to customer service to all your followers (not just the ones who need assistance).
A recent consumer insights report from Hitwise found that visits to subscription box-based ecommerce sites have increased by about 3,000% in the U.S. over the past three years. With the success that start-ups in this industry - such as Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, and Loot Crate - have enjoyed, it’s worthwhile to consider if a subscription model would be a viable extension of your ecommerce site.
Subscription-based services generally fall into two categories. Discovery-based subscriptions provide customers with new products in each delivery. As customers receive packages with some products they like, they return to the company to purchase more of the items. Discovery-based subscriptions can be a great way to market certain areas of your product catalog and generate buzz about the products that come in each delivery. Convenience-based subscriptions deliver customer-specified products on a schedule at a discounted rate, which makes this model great for customer retention.
When deciding whether a subscription model is a good fit for your ecommerce business, there are two main factors to consider: the types of products you sell, and whether you have the bandwidth to monitor customer behavior and preferences to keep the subscription service interesting. A wide variety of products in the low-to-medium price range are well-suited for discovery-based subscription program, while a convenience-based subscription program would require a product catalog mostly comprised of essential consumables.
As for your customers, you need to make sure that your subscription service consistently makes the customer feel special through product variety/novelty (discovery-based) and delivers value (both discovery-based and convenience-based). If you can nail that down, you can make subscriptions a successful dimension of your ecommerce business.
Every order placed on an ecommerce site generates expenses for order processing, packaging, and shipping. But when an order consists of multiple units, those expenses make less of an impact on the seller because the added price margin of those additional units increases overall profit. Use these ideas to entice sellers into buying additional units – allowing you to offset shipping and fulfillment expenses and maintain competitive pricing.
Minimum Order Discounts
You can use other coupons or discounts in place of free shipping, but according to a survey from UPSPulse of the Online Shopper, 93% of online shoppers are willing to take action in order to qualify for free shipping – so it’s perhaps the most effective incentive (it’s also more directly related to the costs you’re trying to offset). Amazon.com’s famously successful “free shipping on orders more than $35” is a great example. If your ecommerce site sells lots of low-margin items, this type of strategy may work especially well because customers will have an easier time adding units without overshooting the minimum order requirement too much.
Add-ons & Upsells
Use personalization algorithms to offer additional units based on items that customers have just purchased, or purchased over time. If customer data is unavailable, the next best thing is to offer upsells based on seasonality, since seasonal items are more likely to have universal appeal. This strategy also works very well with minimum orders – adding a “suggested items” section to your shopping cart page can help customers find products they can add to reach the minimum order size.
Instead of asking your customers to add extra items to their carts, do it for them by bundling units together. Your ability to assemble product kits that appeal to customers will depend on the products you have to work with, but this is a common strategy for boosting multi-unit sales of nutritional supplements or other consumable type products.
Your most frequent outgoing emails are probably order confirmations. Because they give customers an acknowledgement of an order, these emails are as vital to ecommerce as the paper receipt is for brick-and-mortar stores. But even more than that, confirmation emails can be used to build up customer trust and even increase repeat orders. More...
As an ecommerce business, your website serves as a primary resource for users to learn about you and your products. Your branding represents the way you communicate this information, distinguish yourself from other businesses, and make an impression on your audience. Consistency is key for effective branding, but at some point, you may need to rethink your brand identity to better connect with your audience. If you’re considering rebranding your business, keep these principles in mind.
Analysis: Before rebranding, a thorough analysis of your customers and marketplace is necessary. Evaluate industry trends, competitors, and audience demographics and think about how your current branding fits that picture. This will give you an idea of how much your brand needs to be altered and in which direction. This type of analysis can be extremely complex, so an outside consultant may be necessary. More...