10 Tips to Build a Winning Ecommerce Strategy for Your Online Business

In the competitive world of eCommerce, having great products is not enough. It’s about mastering the art of marketing, prioritizing customer engagement, and adding innovative strategies to stay ahead of your competitors.

All in all it's about learning how to build an eCommerce strategy.

While SEO, email marketing, and a great eCommerce website are commonly recommended to be a part of eCommerce strategy, there are still several underrated tips that you can use to boost your eCommerce success.

In this article, we’ll take a look at these expert tips on eCommerce business strategy and see how they can make a difference in your business.

Why A Great eCommerce Strategy is Important

A great eCommerce strategy is crucial for the growth and success of your eCommerce business. No matter how great your product is, if you don’t know how to market it, it’s useless.

By having a strategy, you can increase awareness and credibility with your customers, and eventually drive more sales. 

Your eCommerce strategy can also help in building your brand. There are millions of businesses competing in the eCommerce sphere. Having a solid strategy can help set you apart from your competitors and stay ahead of the curve. 

When you have a great eCommerce strategy, you can complete all the steps of your eCommerce sales funnel as well.

This is an illustrating of Ecommerce Sales Funnel

A clear strategy can also give you direction for your business.

Are you aiming to get new customers? Retain your existing ones? How about rebranding? Or are you a new business that’s aiming to make a mark?

Depending on your business objectives, you’ll have different strategies that can be used to achieve those. 

10 Tips to Build an eCommerce Strategy

There is tons of advice on the internet on how to build an eCommerce strategy. You might have even already tried some of them.

But if you’re looking for some new or underrated strategies to try, here are some that you might want to consider: 

  1. Show Real-Time Reports and Activity
  2. Leverage Product Scarcity
  3. Have a Solid Branding
  4. Great Packaging Matters
  5. Have an Intuitive Website UX
  6. Offer Free Shipping
  7. Utilize Time-sensitive Promos and Discounts
  8. Upsell and Cross-sell
  9. Provide Excellent Customer Service
  10. Maximize your Social Media Presence

Lets see the details-

1. Show Real-Time Reports and Activity

Nothing encourages people to buy faster than the thought of someone getting the product away from them. 

You can induce this by installing FOMO plug-ins on your eCommerce site. This includes showing the number of active visitors on site, page activity (ex. “Someone is viewing”, “X is also looking at this), purchase notifications (ex. “100 people have also added this to cart”, “5 people bought this, “John has recently brought X product) and other FOMO triggers.

This is a screenshot of Real-Time Reports and Activity of Agoda

A great example of this is Agoda. The travel app shows real-time activity such as how many people have booked a particular room or when the latest booking was.

This creates a sense of demand and urgency – the property is so great that if you don’t hurry it won’t be available anymore. 

2. Leverage Product Scarcity

Another way to get people moving is to highlight product scarcity. 

Showing that a product only has a few items left or has limited availability can encourage people to buy one before they miss it. 

This is a screenshot of showing limited product stock in online store

Here’s also a secret – did you know that some items still have stock? Some stores just say they have a few items only to induce more customer urgency.

Alternatively, you can also display the products that just ran out. This can also induce FOMO when they see what they want but can’t have it anymore.

3. Have a Solid Branding

Branding is not just for household name brands like Nike, Apple, or Netflix. Even small businesses or eCommerce stores can benefit from having a strong branding as well.

Let’s first define what exactly branding is. Branding is the identity or persona of a company that their customers will associate with them. Branding can be conveyed in multiple ways – their visual look, how they write their marketing messages, how they present themselves on social media, and what their products are.

This is why people instantly associate joy and fun with Coca-Cola, athletic passion with Nike, or high-end luxury with Gucci. This is also why a particular shade of blue is associated with Tiffany, and why the cursive font of the Disney logo is so recognizable. All of it is because of their strong branding.

How can you emulate those in your eCommerce business? First, decide on your brand identity. Do you want to be seen as cute and charming? Sustainable and eco-friendly? Professional and no-nonsense? And so on. 

This is an illustration of business branding ideas

From there, you can convey your identity through your visuals. Invest in a suitable yet unique logo design.

Come up with a color scheme and typography that will match your identity. Do the same for your marketing materials – from your product photos, packaging, business cards, websites, etc.

Next is matching your written content’s tone, style, and language with your identity. Consider your brand identity when writing your website content, product descriptions, blog posts, or social media captions. 

All of these can help in building a strong branding for your eCommerce store. Strong branding leads to higher brand recall, which eventually leads to increased sales.

4. Great Packaging Matters

In a competitive eCommerce market, having outstanding packaging can help set you apart and give your customers a memorable experience.

Beautiful packaging also makes your customers feel more special and important, as well as gives more importance to the unboxing part of the product. Who doesn’t love the feeling of opening gifts? You can emulate that same excitement with your packaging.

One example is the brand Happy Socks. Their packaging reflects the same pattern or design of whichever sock was brought.

Aside from helping customers know which sock they have, the box can also be repurposed to be used as a sock container or organizer. 

This is a screenshot of Great Packaging by Happy Socks

Another is Tiffany and Co. They embody the luxurious feeling by providing high-quality boxes decked with their trademark blue and wrapped with a beautiful silk bow. 

5. Have an Intuitive Website UX

An intuitive website means that the website feels “natural” to your customer. It’s easy to understand and navigate, and your customers can easily find what they are looking for in a matter of seconds.

There are many ways to have a great website UX. One is to keep your site simple. Use straightforward labels and universally recognizable icons, and have a consistent layout across your pages. Simple also applies to your design.

Don’t use too many colors, font styles, or multiple images on one page. Remember, too much clutter can easily overwhelm your customers!  

Add filters to your products as well. Add options to sort by color, style, material, price, or product type. Make sure your search feature gives accurate results as well.

The easier it is for your customers to find what they are looking for, the better. 

6. Offer Free Shipping

Want to increase your eCommerce sales? The secret lies in offering free shipping.

According to studies, free shipping has led to a whopping 90% increase in eCommerce orders. It was also found that 53% of people have made a purchase due to the free shipping promo, and 58% have added items just to meet the free shipping threshold.

Meanwhile, 88% of people value free shipping over fast delivery. 46% of people don’t mind choosing a longer shipping option if it means the shipping cost is lower.

This is an illustration to benefits of free shipping

The numbers don’t lie. Free shipping is highly valued by customers. Incorporating that in your eCommerce store can greatly help in boosting your orders.

To make free shipping financially viable for your business, make sure to set some rules for it. For example, offering it for first-time buyers only, offering it for people in specific locations, having a set spending threshold, or having it for a limited time only. 

7. Utilize Time-sensitive Promos and Discounts

Nothing works better in nudging customers to make a purchase than FOMO. Having promos and discounts for a limited time only helps add that sense of urgency and encourages customers to buy now before they miss out on a sale. 

This is a screenshot of the time sensitive offer by Zalora

Hesitant customers are also more likely to push through a purchase if they see that they have a deal that they can take advantage of.

Shoppers who are already in a buying mood will feel even more compelled to add more items to their cart so that they can have even more discounts. 

8. Upsell and Cross-sell

Another tip to add to your eCommerce strategy is to utilize upsell and cross-sell promos. 

Upsell is when you encourage customers to buy an upgraded or more premium version of the product they are thinking of purchasing. Cross-selling is when you offer complementary products that can go along with their purchase.

Let’s say you are selling a phone. Upsell is when you offer the latest version of the phone your customer is eyeing, one that comes with bigger storage or better graphics.

Cross-selling is when you offer additional products like wireless earphones or phone cases to go along with their purchase.

The easiest way to add this to your eCommerce strategy is to incorporate the upsell and cross-sell in your website.

For upsell, you can subtly incorporate this by showing a more expensive product as a “Recommended” or “Most Popular” item to convince your customer. Or show them a side by side comparison of the item they are looking at versus an upgraded version of it. 

This is a screenshot of Upsell by GoDaddy

For cross-sell, you can do this by incorporating the words “Complete the Look”, “Buy It With”, “Best Paired With”, “Customers also buy…”, or other similar terms. 

This is a screenshot of Cross-Sell Complete the Look technique

You can add them on the product view, while customers are still contemplating their purchase and you can still influence their decisions.

Or you can do it on checkout when customers are already in a shopping mood and are likely to be willing to add more to their cart. 

9. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Excellent customer service is what will turn one-time shoppers into loyal buyers.

From answering their inquiries while they shop to post-purchase follow-ups, and of course, dealing with any issues or concerns that they have once they get their purchase – great customer service is the key to having happy customers. 

This is a screenshot of the customer service of gymshark

Need to improve customer service? Consider the following:

  • Add a live chat widget or a chatbot to quickly answer your customer’s concerns
  • Have a FAQ page on your website and social media channels to answer basic questions
  • Send surveys to gather feedback
  • Provide regular updates during the shipping process
  • Use data and insights to provide a more personalized shopping experience

10. Maximize your Social Media Presence

Lastly, never underestimate the power of social media. Aside from promoting your eCommerce business, it’s also a way to engage your customers, build your branding, or build credibility and trust with your customers.

Your social media strategy and eCommerce strategy should be working hand in hand. If you have a sale or a new product drop, you should be promoting it on your social media.

Try to create more compelling content as well instead of just doing promotional ads, such as a relatable TikTok video, an aesthetic product shot on Instagram, or a tutorial video on how to use your product on Facebook.

All of these can drive more interest in your products and eventually, drive sales. 

This is an illustration of social media growth hacks to build an eCommerce strategy

Venturing out of the usual social media apps can be a great strategy as well. One example is Reddit. Reddit users are typically not on TikTok or Instagram, so you can tap into new and undiscovered audiences in this app. 

You can create a subreddit for your brand where you can promote your product, interact with your customers, or gather feedback and requests.

Another is by hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) where you can engage your community and discuss trending topics, or host giveaways to generate buzz around your products. 

This is a screenshot of Dunns giveaway- an example to build an eCommerce strategy

Alternatively, you can go into subreddits that are related to your brand (for example, going to r/makeup or r/beauty if you have a cosmetics brand), to get the pulse of what your target audience likes and dislikes, and tailor your strategies accordingly. 

Pinterest is another underrated social media site. If your business is related to food and beverage, fashion, cosmetics, or home decoration, you may find Pinterest to be a more useful platform for you as those are the top topics in Pinterest.

You can create image or video Pins for your content, or create Product Pins that are directly linked to your eCommerce site. 

Pinterest users spend 2x more compared to other social media sites. Their US audience base also has an income of over $100k. If you’re looking to boost your sales, this site might be perfect for you. 

Last Words

There’s no real formula for an eCommerce strategy that guarantees success. Your strategy will depend on your products, industry, target audience, and other factors such as budget and resources.

However, incorporating some often overlooked strategies might just be the little kick that you need to set yourself apart and position yourself for long-term growth. 

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