The e-commerce industry registers an average of 23 percent growth every year and by 2021, the value of the e-commerce market will reach a staggering $4.5 billion. With more and more people shopping online, the number of companies aiming to sell on the web has kept pace, making the market more crowded than ever.
If you’re in the e-commerce business—or would like to be—and want a piece of the $4.5 billion pie, it’s important to learn how to separate e-commerce marketing myths from reality. In rapidly growing industries, people often take to writing about their marketing experiments online, only to figure out later that there’s a better way. Instead of falling for these outdated techniques and wasting your time learning what’s already been discovered, let’s do a little mythbusting.
Here are seven of the most widespread e-commerce marketing myths and why you shouldn’t fall for them.
1. My top priority should be lowering prices
Low prices can help you capture new customers’ attention, but they won’t necessarily build you a business. According to an analysis of over 800,000 transactions, price isn’t the most important factor for online buyers. The businesses customers really want to shop with are those that provide free shipping, invest in customer support, and have a good return and exchange policy.
Another important factor for many buyers is social proof. 50 percent of consumers search for online reviews before buying a product, while only 34 percent of them seek out information about prices and discounts. Now, this doesn’t mean you can keep your prices high and never run a sale, it simply means you need to offer more to your customers than just discounts.
In fact, if increasing your prices means you’ll be able to provide high-quality customer support to delight your buyers, you might want to consider doing so. Many people are willing to pay a slight premium for excellent service.
2. I don’t need a marketing strategy for my e-commerce business
Whether your e-commerce company is B2B or B2C, thoughtfully planning your marketing strategy is essential for providing better service to your clients. Maintaining a rarely-updated Facebook page and running two marketing campaigns per year—say, for Black Friday and Christmas—can only carry you so far. Without an e-commerce marketing strategy in place, you won’t be able to meet your existing customers’ expectations, let alone reach new audiences.
A documented strategy allows you to track your marketing efforts and measure results, giving you essential data about your customers’ behavior at the same time. From creating valuable content for your website visitors to consistent email marketing to keep your business top of mind, every campaign and technique you implement should have a clear goal to achieve a high ROI.
Without a plan in place, the resources you sink into purchasing marketing software and tools might be wasted. But if you take the time to set SMART goals and then invest in tools that will help you reach them, your money will be well-spent.
The good news is that if you don’t have a documented digital marketing strategy yet, you’re not alone: 49 percent of companies don’t! That means you still have time to rethink your priorities and step ahead of your competitors in a market that gets more crowded every day.
3. Publishing my website in one language is enough
In the e-commerce business, the world is your oyster. You have access to a global market and can reach more people than a brick and mortar store would see in a lifetime. But if you really want to capitalize on that global access, you should still “localize” your online store and marketing strategy by offering content in various languages and allowing shoppers to choose their local currency.
A study by Common Sense Advisory revealed that for as much as 56.2 percent of online shoppers, having information in local languages is more important than price when making a buying decision. Don’t miss out on those shoppers!
Invest in high-quality translations of your product information and web copy, offer multiple currencies and payment methods, provide free shipping, or even open a call center where operators speak multiple languages. Each of these strategies is one small way to show respect for your customers’ preferences.
4. The only metric that matters is revenue
There’s no doubt that boosting revenue is the ultimate goal for most businesses, but you need to pay attention to other metrics too (like the ones that measure how you get the money rolling in).
Part of your e-commerce marketing plan should include measuring a wide range of key performance indicators (KPIs) that tell you how your business performs. Metrics like conversion rates, bounce rates, or cost per click are the ones to watch as they can help you identify any weaknesses of your website, such as poorly optimized landing pages, irrelevant content, or ineffective CTAs.
By analyzing these metrics, you can also learn more about your target audience and identify gaps in your buyer’s journey. Better yet, based on data, you can make educated decisions and correct these errors before they have a negative impact on your revenue.
5. I don’t need to know where my leads are coming from
Lead management is crucial for your online business because it helps ensure you’re providing your contacts with the knowledge they need when they need it. If you don’t bother to track your leads and see why they’ve shared their information with you in the first place, you won’t be able to tailor your future communications to them, and in the end you’ll lose business.
The more you know about your leads, the higher your chances to make a sale. To gather information about your leads, invest in tools that track the way your contacts interact with your website and marketing materials. This data will help you segment your audience and provide personalized follow-ups, like abandoned cart emails or curated product picks. Companies that use automation for lead management can register a 10 percent increase in revenue in less than nine months.
Furthermore, when you have a clear image of which parts of your website generate leads, you’re able to accurately track ROI and identify your top-performing marketing channels. This allows you to continue to tweak and improve your strategy.
6. Driving new traffic is more important than customer experience
67 percent of consumers will leave a website due to bad user experience. A website that makes it difficult for customers to find what they’re looking for is a surefire way to lose business to your competitors.
To add to this, as much as 89 percent of shoppers have abandoned an online store due to poor customer service, making customer experience the number one key element to a successful e-commerce strategy.
Yes, driving targeted traffic to your website is crucial for growth, but providing an excellent user experience will take you even further. Try to anticipate your buyers’ needs. Provide plenty of product information—including clear pricing—to ensure your prospects feel informed before making a purchase. Publish lots of helpful information in the form of blog posts or other free content to position yourself as knowledgeable and trustworthy. Optimize your website’s layout to make things easy to find.
Building your e-commerce site with your customers in mind is a great way to build loyalty. When customers know they’ll find exactly what they’re looking for when they visit your site, they’ll be back again and again. And since returning customers spend 67 percent more than new customers, that means more revenue for you!
7. Good products sell themselves
No matter how good your product is, chances are that thousands of other online stores sell similar items for the same price, or even lower. That’s why of all the e-commerce myths we’ve talked about, this is the most dangerous: the idea that marketing isn’t necessary when you have a good product.
Don’t let your products languish in your online store with no one to see them! Bring visitors in the door with smart marketing techniques like SEO optimization, influencer marketing, social media ad campaigns, and package insert advertising.
Also, remember that marketing isn’t just about making a sale. Your marketing efforts help you build a relationship with your audience, as well. Relationship building is important because it helps you better understand your customers’ wants and needs so you can address them with future marketing campaigns and products. And when your customers feel heard, they’re more likely to buy from you again in the future—and to tell their friends about you.
Final thoughts on e-commerce marketing myths
Let go of the idea that a good product will market itself. E-commerce marketing requires a little more effort on your part! If you want to boost sales and gain loyal customers, you need to concentrate on driving targeted traffic to your website and providing an excellent buying experience for visitors who land there.
A documented marketing strategy helps you gain a better understanding of your potential customers, allowing you to create customized messaging to hook them and get them into your funnel. Keep your funnel full and watch the conversions roll in!