Selling Through E-commerce and Social Commerce

e-commerce concept design with computers and hands completing a transaction

Maybe you’re new to e-commerce and selling online, and that’s probably because the coronavirus pandemic has forced you to move your business online. Or perhaps you’ve had an online store but need to freshen up your strategy. Either way, we’re glad you’re here and pat yourself on the back because you are making an effort to improve your business. That’s big!

There have been many changes in the world of e-commerce recently, and you probably think sh*t I need to get it together. We hope these pointers and tips will help you.

So, how do we resonate with our customers while things are changing?

✅ Use messaging that is appropriate for the moment. Avoid fear-mongering/scare-tactics.

Lululemon had a campaign where they changed their messaging. They chose to market towards men who are active, on-the-go, and who are traveling. When COVID­19 hit and quarantine started going into place, they had to change their messaging. One of the ways that they did that is they started changing that message and shifting it from being on the go to staying at home. It was a really simple change that they made, but if you scroll through their Instagram page, you can definitely notice a difference with the content they post.

Lululemon instagram screenshot of at-home workouts with dad and son

Photo via Lululemon Instagram

Build on existing relationships with customers and suppliers. Find ways to provide more value to the customers you’re already serving rather than spending on acquiring new customers. Send an email to your current contact list to check-in and let them know of any new changes.

Pivoting service areas. (delivery, value-added services, offer hard to scale services). Let them know you are selling online if you are a brick and mortar store; through email, text, social media, website.

Lead with empathy. Understand your customers’ struggles. How can your offerings help? Do you understand what they’re going through? Maybe not but letting them know you’re there goes a long way to helping people. I think the important thing is to lead with empathy where possible, where it makes sense, and just be authentic because humans are coming to our website. We’re talking to people, and so it is always about communicating with humans. Be aware that many people are struggling and trying to figure out what to do day-to-­day, trying to live a different lifestyle with their kids at home, with their spouses at home, so there are a lot of things that have changed for a lot of people. Make sure that your message recognizes and respects that.

Reconsider who your customers are. Is it better to go directly to the consumer if you’re a wholesaler? This is an excellent time to check your data (ex: Google Analytics, Facebook or Instagram Business Analytics)

Monitoring your marketing channels. Where are you acquiring customers? Focus more on that marketing channel.

Communicate distribution/fulfillment issues due to COVID-19. Be transparent. Let your customers know their order might be late BEFORE they ask.

How Retailers are responding to COVID-19 and the new normal

✅ Shifting marketing channels

Some brands are moving to other marketing channels like TikTok and even SMS marketing. See what is right for you and find where your customers are. Personally, I have been receiving a couple of texts from businesses I shop at. They let me know of the current deals or of any coupons, and I actually don’t mind them texting me.

✅ Emphasizing retention of customers over the acquisition of new customers

We talked about this in the previous section: build on existing relationships with customers and suppliers. Try not to spend your time and money on reaching out to new customers if you already have the right ones.

✅ Increased spending on paid media

We did some research about what keywords are being searched and the industries that are increasing their spending on paid media. This is what we found.

“According to SEMrush data, the ‘buy online’ keyword skyrocketed in March globally for up to 27K+ searches per month.
Two industries that continued and even increased their ad spend are Beauty and Fitness
Beauty & Skincare, Jewelry, and Home & Garden industries, as people’s demand for these items is growing.”

Read more about this here

✅ Investing in online infrastructure and capabilities

What many restaurants have done is they have taken to-go/takeout orders and deliveries, some of them have worked with GrubHub, DoorDash, and UberEats to facilitate these deliveries.

✅ Review marketing messaging

We mentioned this above. A lot of businesses are reviewing and changing their messaging because it might just not be appropriate or relevant to themselves or their customers anymore. Is your messaging appropriate for yourself and your customers? Also, is your overall messaging accurately portraying your brand?

Finding opportunity during COVID-19

Find out where your competition is not. Are they selling on Amazon? Are they running ads? Bid on competitive keywords or brand keywords.

Market to your customers’ circumstances without being pushy. Be understanding, we’re all human. Send emails, but don’t be demanding. How many times do you want to be reminded of an offer? Put yourselves in your customers’ shoes to help you make decisions.

✅ Consider BOGO offers, Upsells, and Cross-sells with different products.
So are there ways that we can offer to sell companion products and services to what we do, again to drive value. And you can do that on an… With the aim of acquiring new customers or keeping the ones that you already have,
So with your e-commerce shop, however, it is that you’re selling, there are definitely ways that you can offer companion cross-sells or things like that.

✅ Work on dormant marketing channels.
If you do find that you have more time, then you have the ability to revisit marketing channels that you haven’t tried before or have left dormant just to focus on other things and see if there’s no way to improve what you’re already doing. If you’re not as busy as you’ve traditionally been, then evaluate the channels you’ve been using. Or are there any marketing channels that you’ve abandoned? Are there any technological features that you’ve been looking to add to your site? Are you considering doing online courses? Are you considering creating that ebook? If you’re not as busy as you have been, are there ways to make more of the time you do have? Which is not to insinuate that people have more time. There’s a lot going on here. But as business owners, one of the things that we’re able to do is we’re able to shift and pivot and do whatever we need to do to “make it happen”.

✅ Get creative with your marketing offers.
Maybe you can give a free mask with your order or maybe now is your time to donate to a charity or organization that you’ve always wanted to donate to. Let your customers know that a percentage of your sales goes to that charity or organization or about any offers.

Explore new marketing channels. Try marketing on platforms you haven’t before. You can use the same content you have been using on other platforms, so don’t make that inhibit you from trying something new.

I know this might seem overwhelming. I encourage you to write a list of what you would want to change in your business, prioritize it, and give yourself an estimated deadline. The hardest part is starting!

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