Ecommerce is one of the most exciting businesses to have emerged from the internet. Companies like Amazon, and Shopify have made fortunes off of ecommerce. In the decades since ecommerce first became commercially viable, the growth prospects of the industry have only grown. The lockdown era forced a sudden shift to digital in many aspects of human life, including shopping. The period saw ecommerce become 20% of retail sales in the United States, and 40% of retail sales in the United Kingdom. Ecommerce has undoubtedly surged during the global pandemic. The question for you is, “How do you optimize your eCommerce marketing strategy?”
Ecommerce has not yet displaced traditional retail sales, but the data tells us two things: (1) ecommerce has a massive runway of growth ahead; and (2) ecommerce is already eating away at the market share of traditional retail sales. The future is digital, it’s online and it’s in ecommerce. In 2020, consumers spent $861.12 billions online, a rise of more than 44% from what it spent in 2019. It was the industry’s best ever year.
Your task as a business is to do the following.
- Adopt Social Commerce
Social media is one of the most important communication tools in the world today. It is, I believe, perhaps the single most important thing that you can use. For millennials and Gen-Zers, social media is often their first port of call. In 2020, people spent an average of 1,300 hours on social media. For your business, social media represents a massive opportunity to build deep and rich relationships with your customers. The thing to remember is that people have become so desensitized to advertizing that they often do not see it. Social media allows businesses to meet customers on their own terms, in a way which feels seamless and natural and not off-putting, as traditional advertising can seem. Social media even allows you to sell within a platform, further enhancing the naturalness of the exchange.
Businesses benefit in two ways. Firstly, engagement is higher because ads are less obtrusive and more naturally presented. Consequently, people are more likely to want to know more about a product, which makes it more likely to make a sale. Secondly, engagements made in tangible ways with likes, retweets and other tools, acts as a form of social proof which draws in other customers. A virtuous cycle is created driving more sales and deeper engagement.
- Work with User-Generated Content
We spoke about social proof earlier. Well, customers are more likely to engage with products that have some form of social proof behind them. Social proof tells customers that the product works to a good standard and it also fuels a desire to be part of a community. So, you should rely less on brand-produced content and more on user-generated content. Say, for instance, that you run a tattoo shop. You are more likely to get new customers if you use content endorsing your services by other customers. This is more meaningful for customers than any content that you can produce. Salesforce estimates that 54% of consumers rely on online recommendations and reviews for their purchasing decisions.
A famous example of using user-generated content is Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign. The campaign resulted in Coca-Cola using millions of photos of its consumers drinking Coca-Cola from bottles with their names. Your customers are your best advertisers.