Maximizing your Return on Investment and Expanding your Ecommerce Revenue.
SalesWarp presents some quick and inexpensive ideas on how to expand your ecommerce revenue.
In future series, we’ll examine the more expensive and time consuming, but which offer more potential return: investing in a new store serving a new market may double your business, versus the incremental bump you may receive from another idea.
While it used to be true that retaining customers was cheaper than acquiring customers, an increase in ad channels over the last few years has made the acquisition of new customers more attainable than ever before. With marketers hyper-focused on cost-efficient strategies to bolster sales, acquiring customers has become the name of the game.
Acquiring New Customers
Referral sales. Set up a referral program to leverage your existing customers. Give them an incentive to refer your to their friends through social media, email or other venues.
Increase advertising. Pay-per-click ads, remarketing ads, content ads, print ads targeting new customers, keywords, or products.
Social media buzz Run a sweepstakes or contest in Facebook to get new email subscribers, blog a lot, Tweet about your specials and new products, expand your followers and fans.
New positioning. Create a new marketing campaign with a fresh look and feel that will appeal to a different market segment, refresh your website with a more modern look, get some media exposure and create buzz about something you do differently than your competition.
Resources for Acquiring Customers
In terms of ROI, marketers tend to view banner ads (aka “display ads”) as low on the list of online marketing tactics, but as a recent study shows, their ROI may be higher than supposed.
Of those surveyed by iProspect 37% said they ignored display ads, 9% said they did not recall seeing any display ads in the last six months, and 2% said the only banner ads they saw were for the site they were already visiting. The interesting part, however, is how the remaining 52% responded to display ads they saw.
Of the 52% that responded 31% clicked on the ad, 27% went to a search engine and searched for the product or company they saw displayed, 21% typed the company’s URL into their browser, and 9% investigated the product or company through social media platforms. This shows that the effectiveness of banner ads cannot be measured merely in terms of clicks received.
When sites post your blogs you get exposure to their audiences. These are potential buyers who otherwise might never have heard of you. This can be particularly lucrative if your posts appear on established authority sites in your niche. These sites usually bring with them readers likely to be interested in your products and service
Facebook business page
Over 900 million people like and comment an average of 3.2 billion times every day. When you have a strong presence on Facebook, your business is part of these conversations and has access to the most powerful kind of word-of-mouth marketing
To get your store listed simply go to the Google Local Business Center, create an account, and add your listing. You will need to provide all relevant business information- name, address, phone number, etc. Google with then verify that your listing is legitimate by mailing a postcard to your location with a pin number that you will have to go back into your account and enter, or they will call your business and provide the pin number. Once your listing is verified it will begin appearing in Google Maps.
Mobile commerce (aka “mcommerce”) refers to consumers shopping via wireless handheld accessories such as cell phones and PDAs. An mcommerce site is a version of a company’s webpage that is designed to fit within the constraints of a cell phone or PDA. (For more information on what makes a site m-commerce friendly please see “Make Your Site iPhone Friendly.”) While some mcommerce sites are set up to drive sales, the majority of retailers utilize mcommerce primarily as an additional branding channel.
If your e-commerce business carries products that aren’t easy to find just by walking into a Wal-Mart, you’re probably a good candidate for PPC advertising. People often use search engines to find weird items that aren’t carried in many brick and mortar stores, such as unusual hobby supplies or rare records. (One weird purchase I made recently was a bunch of empty perfume sample vials.)
Keywords are what are going to drive customers to your website. You may have great products but unless you can lock into what customers are searching for, your products may never be seen. Here are some suggestions on what to consider when developing keywords.
TV and radio
Many small businesses have traditionally been scared off from TV and radio advertising due to the high costs associated with each. However, with many large businesses scaling back their marketing efforts openings have emerged in both TV and radio programs. Small businesses have been able to get in and fill these open slots for much less than the regular advertising rates. Also, in the current economy consumers are going out less frequently- meaning that there are more viewers and listeners than ever before. This combination of lower media costs and increased reach make advertising on the TV and radio a smart move in this current business climate.
Targeting New Markets
Overseas markets. Consider localizing your website for various languages and target those countries through ads, social media and other marketing efforts. In the case of English-speaking countries, it may be as simple as creating new landing pages to reassure customers that you are committed to serving their country and understand shipping, customs processes, and local habits.
Niche market. You can expand your offerings in a niche market and open a new store to just service it. We did that in my previous ecommerce business by opening a store that focused on jewelry, instead of beads and pendants.
Broader market. If you have a niche store, consider expanding your offerings to a broader market.
Wholesale or retail? There are many stores that start out either wholesale or retail and find that by simply modifying their pricing strategies they are able to serve the other market. Be clear about the differences — there are many. But it is a viable alternative for many ecommerce businesses.
Mobile. More and more people shop on their smartphones. You will lose sales if you do not serve this market.
Sell in a new channel. Expand your product offerings to marketplaces like Amazon, Buy.com, Overstock.com, Sears.com, or eBay. In many cases, these are different consumers than your existing ones. When we added an Amazon store in 2010, for example, we found a great new market for products we had previously sold mostly wholesale. It turned out to be a high-volume and high-margin marketplace for some very obscure gemstone pendants that were not selling well in our original target market.
Sell More to Existing Customers
Resources for Retaining Customers
Email marketing & Newsletters
User generated content
More remarketing. Email newsletters are a tremendous way to do remarketing. You can email promotions for abandoned shopping carts, send transactional email promotions with all orders and shipping confirmations. You can target promotions to the most likely buyers for the products you sell.
Aggressive promotions. Target your email subscribers, Facebook fans, and Twitter followers with aggressive promotions on a limited number of items. Offer them deals only on the products you know they like and try to up-sell and cross sell other products with higher margins. People like a deal. We found that customers will also spend money on other impulse buys at the same time.
Loyalty programs. Offer your most loyal customers an enticement. It can be as simple as free or same day shipping. In our case, we offered customers who spent over a certain threshold an additional annual discount. That kept them loyal to us and decreased the likelihood they would shop around for a better price.
Daily deals. Offer a daily deal to keep people looking at your store and keep your brand front and center. It will increase the likelihood of purchasing from your store, even if they don’t respond to the deal of the day