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William Harrington

E-commerce is up due to COVID-19, and it doesn’t look like it’s going back down any time soon. Online shopping has been growing for a while but it’s taken a big leap forward this year because of the pandemic. In May 2020, 52 percent of American adults said they shopped more online this year than last year. We’re seeing a real-time shift in consumer attitudes and spending.

That means it’s more important than ever to get your e-commerce growth strategy right. You need to ride this tide while you can. And we have the strategies to help.

1) Use Facebook to Test Your Emails

Email is still a significant e-commerce channel, and one of the most powerful in the right hands. But if you really want to use it effectively you need to know what to say.

Facebook’s granular approach to advertising campaigns can be a boon when you’re putting together a new email. Simply create a few different campaigns and A/B test against each other, then choose the headline, body copy and image that wins.

You’ll have a fully functioning Facebook campaign that you already know works, and you can use the copy, headline and image to build an email and landing page that makes sense for that campaign.

And the best part is you already know that people are interested. Now you’re not wasting that valuable slice of attention you get through the email channel. Reverse-engineering your funnel through Facebook is a great way to preview your campaigns and test them out first. Use it.

2) Capitalize On Social Proof

Though the evidence is slightly different when you break it down by demographic, online reviews have a powerful impact on purchasing decisions. A single negative review can be enough to turn some of your older buyers off entirely. Younger buyers lean more on the number of positive reviews.

We are social creatures. We like to do things that are approved by other people. That’s why social proof is such a powerful tool in the e-commerce marketer’s toolkit.

Use review tools to port reviews from places like the manufacturer’s website to your own. (Make sure you ask them first). And it might be stating the obvious, but if you haven’t been asking customers to leave a review for your product or service, that’s a key way to use the power of social proof.

You can even think outside the box and show products customers have just bought, or indicate what products are currently getting the most attention. And if you haven’t built a best sellers page yet, it’s one of the best ways to drive buying.

People want to do what other people do. Point them in the right direction.

3) Tier Your Subscriptions

Many Patreon users do a great job of tailoring their offering to customers by offering tiered subscription plans with multiple layers of benefits, going up in quality and choice as people are willing to pay more money.

Why wouldn’t you do the same with your subscriptions?

Subscription services are an important part of the e-commerce market, and as of 2018 they had grown 100 percent year over year for five years running. There have since been a few high-profile failures and issues with overcrowding, but it’s clear subscriptions are part of a healthy overall mix.

Customers are looking for choice, and tiered subscriptions with more custom options allow for that. And if you increase the price range of product offerings you charge for you may find there’s more money there than you thought.

4) Talk With Your Customers (Even When You Aren’t There)

Chatbots are getting more and more sophisticated, and if you don’t have 24/7 staff to answer questions they can often take care of some of the easiest tasks that people use live chat for.

But if you really capitalize on your chatbot, you can use it as a capture, engagement and even sales tool. Companies like LEGO and HelloFresh are using chatbots to actively engage customers and allow them to perform simple tasks.

It makes sense. With the proliferation of mobile e-commerce, people are getting used to speaking or typing natural language queries into their phones for simple tasks. It’s a much more intuitive system than the old “voicemail maze” automation systems that worked entirely through audio because you can see it on the screen.

Automated messages provide some functionality too. When you get an inquiry after hours, have an automated message in the chatbot that will ask for a method to get in touch with them. Depending on your particular business that usually would be an email, though it might be a phone number for some.

Use the power of chatbots and automated messages.

5) Create Urgency

This isn’t a new technique — in fact, it’s one of the oldest. But it works.

Nintendo has capitalized on this admirably with just about every launch. Though they say shortages are not intentional, you can’t deny the impact of headlines that say something like “Nintendo’s latest console sells out—again”. Or the urgency someone has putting in their order on a Switch realizing they have to act now or wait till the factory catches up.

Use limited time or inventory language and callouts on products that you want to move.

E-commerce is in the catbird seat right now, and it’s time to jump on or get left behind. These tactics will help you supercharge your growth and reach the next level. Make sure you’re implementing them in your day-to-day strategy.

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