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How to grow your e-commerce business in 2020: Which strategies actually work?

Author's avatar By Lilach Bullock 23 Jan, 2020
Essential Essential topic

In order to grow your e-commerce sales, you need a strategy in place to help promote an increase in conversions

E-commerce will continue to grow in 2020.

In fact, Statista has predicted that retail e-commerce sales will hit $4.2 trillion in 2020, up from $3.5 trillion in 2019. If you're serious about your e-commerce business, then you're probably already plotting how to get your maximum share of that pie.

But growing sales actually goes beyond wishing. You need a sound strategy you can implement to produce results.

Which marketing strategies will put you ahead of the competition this year? In this blog post, we'll be discussing six effective strategies to help you grow your e-commerce business in 2020.

1. Instagram shoppable posts

Over the years, Instagram has grown sporadically in the social media space. Businesses already use Instagram for marketing purposes to reach new customers.

But with Instagram shoppable posts, prospects can now buy your products directly on Instagram. This reduces friction that occurs when users have to leave the Instagram app for your website.

To utilize this feature, you have to set up your products catalogue on Facebook and connect to your Instagram business account. After this, you can tag any product in your posts that followers can buy.

Away Instagram post

Another way e-commerce stores can exploit this feature is to combine it with influencer marketing. Here's an example where Herschel Supply adds a shoppable tag to a piece of luggage promoted by fashion model, Michelle Dee.

herschelsupply Instagram post

Once your followers click on any of these products, they can fill in their payment details to buy the product. Also, they can get their shipping status information on Instagram.

Social media shopping

When you create more than 9 Instagram shoppable posts, you'll have a "Shop" tab on your Instagram profile. Here, followers can shop for your products and make purchases.

Nordstrom social media posts

Instagram shoppable posts provide a platform to market your products where it's easy for your prospects to buy.

2. Content personalization

With big players like Amazon and Netflix leading the way, content personalization is a trend every e-commerce store has to adopt. Consider it, potential buyers are likely to buy from your store when you display products relevant to them.

Then, it's no surprise that according to research by Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from businesses that offer personalized experiences.

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For effective content personalization, you need to consider the following criteria:

  • Previous interactions of the visitor on your website.
  • Demographic data such as location, gender, language, etc.
  • Time of visit such as time of day, month, or year.
  • Visitor's declared interests.

Through content personalization, each visitor sees a page tailored to them with products they want to buy. Consider these two pages from FashionWatch. Here's the page for a visitor:

Content personalization example 1

And here's the page for another visitor:

Content personalization example 2

It's evident that both pages have been personalized to the visitor. Thus, each visitor is more likely to make a purchase.

Amazon is a popular example of content personalization. From product recommendations to shipping information based on your location, each Amazon user sees an e-commerce store with their favourite products.

Amazon personalization example

3. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)

With augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), buyers get a better view of what they're buying before they complete their purchase.

AR allows potential buyers to add a product to their environment before they buy. This displays how a product can fit into an environment.

An example is IKEA's augmented reality app. This app was downloaded 8.5 million times and it helps buyers see how a piece of furniture will fit into their apartment.

Ikea's augmented realty app

Over the years, AR has been growing popular and that trend will continue this year. For instance, eMarketer predicts that 77.7 million Americans will use AR every month in 2020.

US VR and AR users 2017 to 2021

VR goes farther than AR and creates a virtual environment for your product. This is usually applicable to big products.

An example of VR in application was Volvo using Google Cardboard to market its new Volvo SC 90 luxury SUV. Google Cardboard took people through a mountain drive to experience this vehicle.

Even though VR has lower numbers than AR, 51.8 million is still a huge number of people. Obviously, there's a potential for e-commerce stores.

Applying this technology to your e-commerce store will give people a better view of your products before they make a purchase.

4. Google Ads smart bidding

If you run shopping campaigns and other advertising campaigns on Google Ads, then smart bidding is a strategy you should pay attention to. Google uses advanced machine learning to help optimize your bids for better results.

The machine learning system uses signals such as time of day, location, device, language, operating system, remarketing lists and other information to set the right bids.

You can use smart bidding based on the following targets:

  • Maximize conversions
  • Maximize conversion value
  • Target CPA
  • Target ROAS

Smart bidding options

Since smart bidding is far from being a perfect technology, you have to monitor your bids and ad performance and compare them to your manual bids. Regardless, an advantage you get with smart bidding is that it helps to save time that you can invest in other campaign activities.

5. Omnichannel marketing

Imagine this situation: your customer has started the purchase process for a product on their smartphone and for some reason has to continue on desktop. Do they have to start over on desktop or continue where they stopped on their smartphone?

Apart from using different devices, another reality of marketing today is that prospects might have to use channels such as social media, email, phone, and others during interactions with your business.

With omnichannel marketing, you can integrate all these interactions together so that you can deliver your brand messages to prospects. Furthermore, it helps you to reduce friction during the buying process and increase conversions.

According to Invesp, companies with omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers while companies without omnichannel customer engagement strategies only retain 33%.

Omnichannel customer engagement strategy statistics

A great example of omnichannel marketing is the UK retailer, Argos. The company put a system in place to integrate its online and in-store experience.

For example, the click-and-collect feature allows shoppers to purchase a product online and pick up at a store. Argos also shows if the product is available at the nearest store. The retailer has increased its revenues as customers who use these features spend twice as much as regular shoppers.

Local shopping

Similarly, through the use of omnichannel marketing, Net-a-Porter increased its revenue by 16.9% to over $3 billion in 2017.

6. User-generated content (UGC)

To make their purchase decisions, buyers usually look at other people. That's why user-generated content has an impact on the buying decisions of 84% of millennials and 70% of boomers, according to Bazaarvoice.

What do current customers think about your product? How are they using it? What benefits have they derived?

User-generated content answers these questions and convinces prospects to buy. It becomes easy for customers to send UGC when you specify a hashtag on social media.

Then, you can repost on your business profile. Here’s an example from BMW reposting a customer's picture of X5.

BMW Instagram post

If you're looking for a great case study of UGC, look no further then Busabout. The tour operator offers hop-on-hop-off tours to 47 destinations across Europe. Amazingly, it features 110,000 traveler images of these locations.

Busabout

As a result, Busabout achieved a 72% increase in hop-on hop-off page views and a 33% increase in web bookings in the UK.

Conclusion

Implementing a strategy just because it's popular might lead to poor results for your e-commerce store. To avoid this, ensure that you use strategies effective with your audience.

Implement these 6 proven strategies for your e-commerce store and you'll grow your customers and revenues in 2020.

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By Lilach Bullock

Lilach Bullock is highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. Listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient of a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business. Check out her site Lilach Bullock or connect with her on LinkedIn

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