Since Bing Digital started back in 1999 we have been working with brands to improve their marketing presence online Throughout the years, the web has evolved, and advances in technology have continued to change, but the key advice remains the same. The following top-level tips should be adapted and developed to suite your needs.
1. Why Do People Pay £150 For a Tee Shirt?
The fact that you pick and choose products for your e-commerce site makes you an editor, just as a magazine editor picks and chooses which articles are published in a magazine. As an editor, you ideally build trust with your shoppers, and act as arbiter of how to position your products. Position them as a commodity and you will sell them at commodity prices. Hype them up as the coolest, hottest or most valuable thing and you too can sell a £30 tee shirt for £150.
People are likely to be looking at your products because they’ve heard about you, been recommended by a friend, or have seen you featured in a publication. The list is endless, but it’s important to ensure they feel comfortable handing over their hard earned cash for your product or service Reviews and social network triggers build a key factor into this process, so, if you can display a review or the number of likes the product has received via Facebook, they can only strengthen the chance of conversion
2. Offer Optimization
Believe it or not, time-honoured retail wisdom states that people respond better to a discount marked in currency rather than a percentage. The reason is that people can easily deduct (£x) from the price as opposed to calculating complicated percentages. This applies even if the percentage would yield bigger savings. From our experience when reviewing data from various sites supports this premise.
Beyond discounts in pounds and percentages, you can test many other types of offer. Your creativity is the only limit. I have discovered, through consultations with various brands that the offer of free shipping does not perform well for trendy, big-spending customers, even though main competitors offer that perk. Some customers prefer something “exclusive” (more upscale) such as a VIP discount. It’s also interesting to note that many high-performing offers are of equal or lesser value than a complimentary shipping offer.
That said, Free Shipping offered above a pre-determined value builds a nice target basket price for your customers to aim for. This promotional tactic shouldn’t be disregarded as it depends on the profile of your customer. Do your homework.
3. Identify the Opinion Leaders In Your Blogosphere
Find out which influential bloggers appeal to your customers and treat those bloggers like gold. Find their contact information on their sites, contact them and romance them with exclusive information, offers, or even freebies. If your company appears on their radar, chances are they will eventually think about you and feature one of your products, or even interview you. This publicity drives traffic to your site, creates more links and reinforces the trust and opinions existing or new shoppers may have about you. I can’t emphasise how important this can be when building your brand.
4. Meet or Beat Your Numbers ASAP
If you have bottom-line or partial responsibility for sales, what you need to do first is meet or beat your numbers. Once you fall behind, it is difficult to catch up, much like credit card debt So, the trick is to know if you are falling behind within hours, or within a 24 hour period, and if so, to do something about it immediately. Too many online retailers or marketers wait for weekly performance analytics to see how things are going. In the real world of retail, numbers are available all day to the merchants, and their primary task is to watch their key performance indicators, whether the KPI is sales, average order value, sell through percentage or whatever is deemed most important. If you do not have real-world retailing experience, this may not be something you are used to, but it will make your job much easier.
You will also have regular opportunities to be the “hero” and make an immediate impact on the business, thanks to any solutions you might offer, such as repositioning merchandise, targeting special customers, offering deals, and so on. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on. If you need to mark merchandise down or offer an outrageous bargain to clear it, get to it right away. A molehill quickly turns into a mountain.
5. Don’t Be All Things To All People
This could be considered a broad statement, but in my experience, there are two types of shoppers in this world: those who look for the deal, and those who are more than willing to pay full price. The customer who is willing to pay full price does so for one or many reasons, such as quality, exclusivity, ease of site use, and convenience. When you identify the customer you are marketing to, your marketing budget will be more focused and as a result, more effective.
When you dilute your mix, and are satisfied with whoever you reach no matter what they spend, you also cannot pinpoint the type of marketing campaigns that appeal to the right customer. Full-price customers will not respond to intense promotional efforts and “deal finder” customers will not purchase at full price. If you target your budget wisely to the right customer, you will likely find that your click through and conversion rates increase.
If your customer base responds poorly to new range releases but are eager for sales and clearance items, you can identify the type of customer it is that follows the brand and how to negate the long wait for end of season sales to acquire turn over
If your customer base responses poorly to knew range releases but knock the door down for sales and clearance items, you can easily tell which type of customer it is that follows the brand how to negate the long wait of end of season sales to get your turn over.
6. Customer Service Team Build Loyalty
In this age of customer-centric marketing, customer service is one of the most important aspects of retailing. But how many times have you tried to contact customer service about a purchase and received a late response if not at all, or received an impersonal response that makes you feel you are corresponding with an automated android?
The customer is king and it’s time to pride yourself on a personal service. With so much competition, this is key to stay above the rest. You need to make your brand irreplaceable, so your customer feels they would rather shop with you than with any of your competitors. The same goes for initially dissatisfied customers who you can win back through excellent customer service. Usually both groups are quick to purchase again.
All you need to do is respond quickly to emails (you don’t even need to offer customer service by phone) with a positive attitude in a conversational tone. Share your names and personal work email addresses, and address customers by their names. It’s amazing how much impact the personal touch makes
7. Target and Speak to Specific Customer Segments
One-size-fits-all marketing is a good place to start to drive sales, but once mastered, you need to get specific. Some customer segments you could to focus on are big spenders, people who have returned items, dissatisfied customers, new customers, and dormant customers. Reach out to them through email and achieve better open rates, clickthroughs, and sales with any targeted group over and above the same group email you send out every week or so. We’re no longer operating in an age where poking the customer for a sale brings in money. They need to be communicated with respect and feel valued.
8. Update, Update, Update
No matter what you are selling (or offering on a complimentary basis,), it is imperative that you update your home page on a regular basis. I can’t tell you how often I review websites we’ve covered before, only to discover the exact same page. Who would explore your site to see if you have anything new to offer? But this does not suggest you redesign your home page, or even your website. You can retain the same design, but reword, enlarge or highlight new elements,. Having worked with many fashion sites, we change key pages of our website every day. We then review the results and test new options. Every good Internet marketer should follow this practice.
9. Navigation Customization
“Taxonomy” is a classification system, ie. the categories you present on your site to aid in navigation. Many e-commerce clothing sites use the basic Tops / Bottoms / Dresses / Accessories. But unlike a real-world shop, you can organize your site in multiple ways. People shop in different ways, so you can offer different ways to navigate your site. Depending on your customer, there are intuitive alternatives you can try. For example, offer the ability to shop by “trends” such as Top 9 AW Essentials / The Little Black Dress etc. Other retailers offer the ability to shop by size or even by colour.
Even if you have a B2B site, there are additional navigational schemes you can test in addition to your current system. In addition to a “Resource” section, try offering the alternative top-level Whitepapers / Research / RSS Feeds categories, for example, as a way for those interested in those resources to get where they need to go.
10. Take Advantage of “Pause Points”
There are several points in an online purchase process where the visitor “pauses” for a moment before continuing to shop, to checkout, or to receive a confirmation of his or her purchase. While typical retail wisdom states that one should not distract the customer from the task at hand, in my experience, I have found there are many places where an offer or additional incentive to purchase performs exceptionally well.
These points include the bottom of the shopping bag page as people add items to their orders, and the confirmation page people see after they have made their purchase. You can offer low-cost items that might not be as heavily promoted throughout the site, or items where the proceeds go to a particular cause (that may be part of your marketing campaign at that time). These offers perform well; analytics reflect that.
11. Highlight Your Exclusives
This might seem like a no-brainer, but retailers and marketers are often so deep down into their business they do not realize what exclusives they have to offer. You may have an exclusive VIP club or other membership program. You may have exclusive editorial such as Top 10 lists, guest editors who provide their opinions on your products, expert shopping tips, user-generated content, and buying guides. While some of these ideas are time-intensive (such as organizing and monitoring user-generated content), creating Top 10 lists, or asking partners or brands to provide some editorial is an easy way to “beef up” your site with some useful, interesting exclusives.
12. What Is Your “USP”?
Figure out what your “USP” is, and focus your efforts on doing the very best you can in that space. “USP” means “cheapest”, “hottest”, “quickest”, “easiest” and so on — and no, “best” does not count as it is not focused in any meaningful way. The point is that you should excel at one thing over your competitors. Get your entire company on board with this concept, from buyers to top-level management and all points between. While this is not a quick fix for driving online sales, it will have a significant impact on the success of your business over the long term