Ecommerce is massively competitive, and only getting more so. There are so many different marketing tactics out there nowadays – it’s a confusing landscape.
It’s hard to know what’s right – and what’s a waste of your time and money.
These are the three stand-out tactics for ecommerce for 2019 to keep your business ahead and your customers coming back for more.
- Focus on delivery
- Invest in AI
- Work on product display
Offer more delivery options
Today’s omni-channel consumer wants speed, flexibility and plenty of choice. Consumers expect to buy now, receive tomorrow. Or buy now, collect from store tomorrow. Or buy now and collect at 4am when they finish the nightshift.
- 50% of online shoppers have used ship-to-store
- 41% have ordered a product for same-day delivery
- 23% of all online orders have two-day shipping
- 66% are interested in shipping to alternative locations with extended hours for reduced fees
If you don’t offer fast, flexible delivery your customers might go elsewhere.
- 45% of consumers say the ability to pick-up your product somewhere convenient is important when choosing between products
- 63% say delivery speed is important when choosing between products
Consumers today have more choice than ever – and if your shipping isn’t up to scratch, they’ll take their business elsewhere. Fast, flexible, convenient delivery is an absolute must-have to compete.
You might not have the resources of Amazon Prime, but the halo effect means consumers expect Prime-like service everywhere.
And the bar is getting higher every day as the likes of Amazon and UPS test drones for faster, cheaper delivery. Almost inconceivably faster – Amazon Prime Air would be able to deliver 90% of its products in 30-minutes or less.
You might not compete on those terms, but every ecommerce business can improve, augment and streamline the shipping process.
- Real-time shipping cost calculator
- Variable costs based on location, size and weight
- Multiple speed and price options
- Multiple courier options
- Shipping to multiple addresses in one order
- Shipping to alternative locations with extended hours
- Gift order options like hiding revealing info and gift notes
- Ship-to-store and local pick-up options
You don’t have to be Amazon to make shipping seamless and painless for your customers. And they won’t settle for anything less.
2. Embed artificial intelligence
If you’ve been sitting on the fence, waiting to see how the AI trend played out, now is the time to step off. Artificial intelligence is touching almost every aspect of e-retail, and completely changing how ecommerce businesses serve consumers.
- Global retail technology spending will grow 3.6% to reach over USD 200bn in 2019
- At least 5% of digital commerce orders will be predicted and initiated by AI by 2022
In 2019, that will make itself especially felt in conversational commerce. Customers increasingly expect to navigate the buying journey through dialogue – using voice and text conversation to discover and buy products.
It’s a fast, convenient and intuitive way to shop online, in real-time. Ecommerce business owners must invest into chatbots this year or risk losing customers.
AI-powered product recommendation is also somewhere to look at this year. Amazon are rumoured to have increased their sales by 29% when they introduced product recommendations, so you’ll be in good company. Investing here is win/win, because you improve the customer experience and drive cross- and up-sales.
Embed AI into your back-end processes to better understand your customers so you can make better decisions about how to serve them. For example, AI can help:
- Better segment and profile customers
- Serve personalised (and so more effective) content
- Detect and prevent fraud
- Automatically optimise prices against key competitors
- Track and predict customer behaviour so you can act accordingly
- Improve search functionality for customers
- Identify new markets and channels to target
Investment into AI, and the tools and technologies AI powers, means you can give your customers what they want. So they’re more likely to buy from you, keep buying from you, and tell all their friends to buy from you as well.
And although AI is maturing quickly, it’s still an area of differentiation for SME ecommerce businesses. As long as you move fast. Right now, leveraging AI is an opportunity – but it won’t be long until not leveraging AI means you’re dead in the water.
3. Bring your products to life
The best online product experience mimics the offline experience. It allows consumers to experience your product how they would in a physical store, so they have more confidence in your product.
It’s about trust. If you instil a greater trust in your products than your competitor does, consumers will buy from you.
To drive sales in 2019, re-assess how you display products. As a minimum:
- How good is your product copy? Does the description tell the consumer everything they need to know? Does it help the consumer desire the product?
- Do you include photos from every angle? Are they good quality? Can the consumer make out all important info? Is there a scale for context? Can users zoom-in?
- Could you include video that shows your product in use? Can you create a story around your product that consumers can see themselves fitting into?
A more advanced way to bring products to life is interactive product visualisation, IPV. IPV creates a 3D experience of your products that customers can interact with and customise.
It’s the next-level of ecommerce product display, offering customers a rich, personal experience that’s deeply engaging.
All with the same goal. Standing out from competitors – even if your product offering is similar – to offer a better experience for consumers. So they become, and stay, customers.
In the fast-paced, hyper-competitive world of ecommerce, it’s a battle to stay ahead. But these marketing tactics will help you spend less time looking over your shoulder and more time looking at your customers. Because the most successful e-retailers in 2019 will be those who prioritise the customer experience above all.
Mike Cook, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, CREATIVE ZONE
Mike oversees the strategic market planning and penetration at CREATIVE ZONE. Responsible for the development and implementation of our marketing programmes, he brings to the role over 20 years of experience working and living in the Middle East. Having previously worked for several Fortune 500 companies, Mike is driven by challenge and has seen success delivering unique marketing projects and driving growth in every role he has held. Mike graduated with a BSc degree in Product Design and Marketing from the University of Sunderland in 2000 and has attended several Strategic Leadership programmes, more recently at Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts.