With ecommerce sales expected to reach $279 billion in 2015, the amount of money available to ecommerce marketing teams is growing at a rate almost double that of typical B2B marketing budgets. Add that to the growing trend of IT spend moving into the marketing budget, and we can expect to see huge strides in ecommerce marketing spend that focuses on improved buyer experiences, and smart marketing objectives that give some of the power back to marketers.
Here’s a short list of some of the things your ecommerce team should be focused on in 2015 to stay ahead of the curve, and increase those online margins that always seem to be getting smaller.
Socialized Buying will increase by 93%
We have seen the rise of social discovery over the past 5 years, as consumers have turned their social media networks into product review databases where they look to make buying decisions based on peer reviews. Ecommerce sites have recognized this and made social couponing a must have feature on sites where peer recommendations can often increase revenue by 20-30% on average.
Be sure your site is incentivizing social recommendations from your best clients to drive brand recognition, referrals, and even SEO value. (Remember, social engagement has a direct effect on your SEO.)
Find clever ways to incentivize without giving away too much by turning your coupons into Free Shipping discounts instead of percentage discounts if you’re worried about margins. Increase discount incentives for social sharing during peak online hours because you know more followers will see them. (Basically set increased discount hours on your promotions. 10am-5pm and such.)
Use your social data to know how to market to specific markets, and buyer personas that show trends in buying habits or product cross-sells.
Emphasis on Checkout Efficiency and Cart Recovery
Big data is now showing the true costs of losing customers in long checkout processes and abandoned cart scenarios, and these will be big areas of improvement for companies looking to shore up lost opportunities. For ecommerce sites using marketing automation, the ability to automatically trigger abandoned cart reminders to customers who bailed on a purchase means recovering valuable revenue with little to no effort beyond setting up workflows.
Driving traffic to your ecommerce site is difficult enough, why would you not do everything you can to capitalize on the ones you’ve been able to get shopping on your site, but may have just been too distracted by playoff football games, or trapped in an infinite Facebook timeline scroll session after getting an IM during the checkout process?
Customer Segmentation will Drive Personalized Experiences
Ecommerce retailers know more about their customers than they ever have, and 2015 will be the year we see a major boom in the personalized ecommerce experience for online shopping. This goes beyond “Products You May Also Like” or “People Who Bought This Also Bought This Crap”. Those were big steps forward that Amazon and EBAY paved the road in gold with, but now online retailers are presenting dynamic content designed to personalize a shopping experience for known shoppers, and buyer personas. By using segmentation to customize the buying process, shoppers are more likely to become loyal to the brand that always seems to know what they’re looking for, and marketers can present only what buyers are interested in, avoiding that feeling of alienation.
Honest SEO Finally Wins
After several years of sweeping Google updates that essentially torpedoed those who spent heavily on shady SEO tactics that bought them premium visibility, the companies who have been investing in honest SEO through organic content creation will reap the benefits.
“In 2015, the biggest opportunities will go to those with the most SEO knowledge and creativity, not just those with the deepest pockets.” Danny Richman, Founder at Richman SEO Training – https://blog.ometria.com/ecommerce-trends-2015
That may be a self-serving response coming from an SEO company Founder, but Google’s recent updates have been a full on war against those trying to game the Google search algorithm, and those of us who have always subscribed to the idea that quality content will always be more valuable than get ranked quick shadow schemes are now being validated as millions of sites have fallen off the face of Google Search Results.
The good news is all of these changes are things are relatively affordable ways any ecommerce marketing team can improve their bottom line, and won’t require huge investments to move the needle. The key to adding some of these to your 2015 initiatives without blowing up your budget will be building a strategy that fits with your existing plans, but puts a bigger focus on continually improving your customers’ shopping experience.
Most importantly, stay away from just throwing discounts at your customers, and make them WANT to buy from you through increased brand loyalty campaigns, and showing them you know what they want. Sometimes buying from a brand you care about is just as important as getting a good deal. Let that be your message in 2015.