Ecommerce marketing presents a unique set of challenges in comparison to brick and mortar stores. Even though consumers are doing more and more shopping online, there are still cases where we would prefer to walk into a store and actually see the item in person. This is a major hurdle for ecommerce marketers to jump; they must create a welcoming, personal experience that will trump any desire to make a purchase decision in a retail store.
With society’s reliance on technology comes high expectations that every whim will be catered to, so the pressure is on to educate, entertain, and encourage a purchase all in one shot. There are a seemingly unlimited number of options out there for consumers to choose from, so when you get someone’s attention, you have to make the most of that first impression. If you don’t, they’ll easily find an alternative vendor.
Ecommerce is an evolving industry, and there are still a lot of misconceptions out there about what marketing in the industry entails. Let’s look at five very common myths of ecommerce marketing:
Myth: If You Have Great Products, People Will Buy from You
Reality: Great products are essential to any business’ success; however, that isn’t the whole story. Having products that evoke quality and prestige are important, but if you can’t effectively create relationships with your prospective customers and build trust, there’s no guarantee that they will still want to buy from you. There are a lot of companies out there that do what you do, so how are you going to set yourself apart?
An area of ecommerce that consumers tend to say is lacking is a personalized experience, one that makes them feel like they’re in a retail space but they can still shop in their sweatpants. Take the time to really understand your target market and the type of shopping experience they’re looking for. Do they want to be able to chat online with a personal stylist? Do they want coupons or discounts?
Knowing what your consumers want and when they want it is by no means an easy task, but if you do your research and listen to your customers’ feedback, you should be on the right track to differentiating yourself from a cluttered marketplace.
Myth: Revenue Is the Most Important Metric to Measure
Reality: You need revenue to stay afloat, pay your employees, buy merchandise, and afford your expenses. But at the same time, you don’t want to focus too much on your bottom line and overlook some critical KPIs.
There are several web metrics that can paint a better picture of where your company stands financially and in the minds of consumers. Paying attention to your search engine clickthroughs, conversion rate, and bounce rate are just a few statistics that will give you a more realistic picture. By not looking at these metrics, you could be missing warning signs that your website is poorly designed or you aren’t creating captivating content that engages prospective customers; or maybe your landing pages are lacking and not encouraging people to fill out a form or download a special offer.
These are all things you won’t know if you are strictly focused on your revenue. If you widen the net a bit and look at the bigger picture, you can make the necessary changes to make your customers happy and bring in even more revenue!
Myth: Once Your Website Is Set up, the Traffic Will Come
Reality: There’s a common belief that if you have an awesomely designed website and great products, people will come in the masses to your site. If only it was that simple! People aren’t going to magically find your website without a little legwork on your part, and SEO is a huge part of the puzzle. Focus on developing a list of keywords that best represent what your business is all about, and create a website that effectively uses and embodies these terms. Create thought-provoking content that will educate consumers, and between these elements, you should find yourself ranking well in search results.
The good thing about SEO is that people can’t buy their way to the top of the results. No one can pay off Google to be at the top, and companies can’t stuff their website with keywords to improve placement. It comes down to a quality website with engaging content that is useful to consumers. Check out our guide to effective ecommerce SEO here. Other ways to help increase web traffic are through social media, pay-per-click ads, and email marketing. Get the word out about your new site in as many ways as you can, and then you can expect to see some traffic.
Myth: Pricing Is the Number One Factor Considered When Making an Online Purchase Decision
Reality: It’s true that we live in a money-conscious society, but we can’t necessarily say that pricing is the ultimate determinant of a purchase decision. There’s rarely one factor that trumps all others in the decision-making process. Think about all of the elements that go into any major purchase; you want to know that the brand is credible, trustworthy, available for support, provides an easy shopping experience, has an attractive website, features reviews, the list goes on and on.
While it’s tempting to try and take the price leader approach, try to focus on simply being price competitive. By falling more in the middle of the pack amongst your competitors, you can use your other differentiating factors to stand out and not have to worry about making up for financial losses. If you offer more personalized service, hassle-free returns, or have rave reviews from customers, show that off! Don’t be afraid to let your strengths shine because you’re solely focused on providing the cheapest products.
Myth: All Ecommerce Platforms Are Created Equal
Reality: This could not be farther from the truth! There are two types of platforms, hosted and self-hosted, and while you might prefer to completely manage your website yourself, there’s something to be said about leaving it to the professionals. Hosted ecommerce platforms provide access to a support team and the majority of site management is off of your plate, so you can focus on other aspects of your business. Of course, this comes at a higher cost versus self-hosted software.
On the other hand, self-hosted platforms give you the freedom to design and manage the site all on your own or work with a hosting company if you could use some extra guidance. Some of the top hosted ecommerce platforms are Shopify and BigCommerce, and the top self-hosted platforms are Magento and WooCommerce.
It’s important that you don’t make a rash decision to select a self-hosted platform or the cheapest hosted platform just to save a few dollars. Even if you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t make it all about money. If you do prefer the self-hosted platforms, it’s generally recommended that you work with a reliable hosting company to oversee development and management to prevent site crashes or malfunctioning shopping carts. Like your customers would do before purchasing from you, do the same with these platforms. Look at company reviews, customer support availability, ease of use, customization capabilities, and price.
There is a lot to balance as an ecommerce business owner, and it’s important that you don’t fall for common misconceptions or assumptions about managing your online presence. The most important thing to remember is that online shopping is an experience; it’s not always intended to be some quick purchase with little thought put into it. People do go online to thoroughly research products, alternatives, and reviews, especially for bigger ticket items.
Developing a web presence that’s welcoming, informative, and personal is essential to succeeding in the market. Build your site around strong content that invites and excites, and take your time in selecting platform software that best fits your business model. Looking at the bigger picture is likely to make you more credible and trustworthy, which will ultimately aid in financial success.