Paving Your Digital Strategy for 2018: Omnichannel Ecommerce Experiences
As 2018 begins to pick up the pace, it’s about time you had your marketing strategy squared away. After all, your online business can only succeed if people know it exists, so it is important to reach as many people as possible within your target demographic.
Of course, there’s more to ecommerce marketing than simply spreading the word, although that’s certainly a good start. However, the real trick is to ensure that not only do the right people hear about your business, but that they do so at the best possible time, and in a manner that most appeals to them. Yet the chances are that your audience is diverse, changeable, and often on the move, so this is where omnichannel marketing comes in.
By targeting users across multiple channels with a unified message, you can greatly increase the likelihood of engagement, securing you more conversions, more sales, and greater potential for growth. If all that sounds like something your business could do with, then read on for some tips on implementing an omnichannel experience, and what that means for your business.
Finding Your Voice
Let’s be clear here: it doesn’t matter whether you’re an Amazon-level monster, one of the 33% of drop shipping businesses that make up ecommerce, or a doing this in your spare time on Etsy: great ecommerce marketing is all about voice.
You have a niche for your business, and a firm idea of what your brand stands for, and where it’s going. All of this should then contribute to an overarching brand “personality” which represents the manner in which your brand interacts with its customers.
Part of this is the development of your brand’s voice. Think about the sort of audience you hope to attract, and choose a voice that is likely to be most appealing to them. This should then become the voice for all of your branded content, as it needs to be consistent throughout everything your business does.
This leads us to the creation of your business’ message. What do you want your audience to take away from their encounter with your brand? Furthermore, what do you want your customers to do once they have engaged with your brand? Your brand message needs to be in line with your brand’s personality and to include a firm CTA so followers know exactly what to expect.
A great CTA is not only convincing but also gives customers a little insight into what it is your ecommerce site has to offer. Being able to discern the purpose of a website at a glance is extremely important in a world where many give up within a matter of seconds if a page is clunky.
Once you know who your audience is, you can figure out when they are online, what they are doing, and what sort of device they are using. All of these insights will then help you to target that audience with the correct type of content at a time when they are most likely and willing to see it.
For example, if the bulk of your audience tends to browse video content via a tablet in the evenings, this is a great time to schedule some video marketing aimed at that particular group. If you know that they read long-form content on their desktop in the afternoons, then this becomes the best time to reach out to them with some freshly-written content or a link to some features on your blog.
Even if not every attempt is successful, your audience will quickly begin to recognize and become familiar with your brand, just through noticing it regularly. As your timing improves, this should also translate to a higher conversion rate, as you will be able to provide users with the sort of content they want, at a time when they are most likely to act upon it.
Make It Mobile
Throughout the US and UK, internet users spend more time on average browsing via mobile devices than from a desktop. The key takeaway here is that your ecommerce website needs to be optimized for mobile. It’s no good securing a promising lead, only to lose them because your site loaded slowly, or was not adequately formatted for smaller screens.
Mobile responsiveness is not difficult to implement, especially if you make it part of your design strategy from day one. Remember to check how your website appears on a range of different browsers, and test loading speeds to ensure that nothing is slowing down your page. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test is a good place to start and offers some handy tips on improving your site for mobile.
You might also consider developing a business app. This is a fantastic way to engage more directly with customers, as you are able to deliver push notifications directly to their devices. Not only does this mean that you’re connected more or less around the clock, but also has the added benefit that push notifications are far more likely to be read and acted upon than communications such as emails or text messages.
The Omnichannel Experience
So you’ve found your voice, identified your audience, and figured out how and when to reach them. You’ve even taken the time to polish your ecommerce site, and ensure that it loads quickly and cleanly on all types of devices and browsers.
The thing is, many of your potential customers will not only encounter your brand on one platform. In fact, they may browse your store on their mobile, for example, then move to their desktop to make a purchase. This is one final hurdle that you need to overcome, if switching between devices causes the experience to become disjointed or cumbersome, you could lose your customer at the last moment. As such, it is vital to integrate your approach across all channels. This means consistent aesthetics, navigation, features, and accessibility. Not only does this make it easier for customers to recognize your brand and know where to find things on your website, but it also adds an air of professionalism and reliability, which will help to build trust in your brand.
Always remember that your digital strategy does not stop with the visibility of your brand. It encompasses every stage of the customer journey, up to the point of sale, and beyond. This means that it needs to speak to your audience in the right way, delivering a consistent message that is in line with your brand’s aspirations and the needs of your audience.
Thereafter, it is important that the entire user experience is as streamlined and consistent as possible. Listen to feedback, and continuously test every aspect of your campaign to ensure that you keep on top of the changing interests of your community.
This might all sound daunting, but once you have your strategy in place, all you need to do is maintain it. The initial investment of time and resources will be more than worthwhile, as they will form the foundation of your business’ future, and give you a strong basis from which to grow as your brand gains traction.
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on all things ecommerce. She is passionate about using her experience to help fellow entrepreneurs and new ecommerce businesses succeed.