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Did you know – ecommerce sales in 2016 came within touching distance of $2 trillion, that’s almost 9% higher than the figures for 2016!

A quick look through the most successful ecommerce ventures will showcase how customer engagement is now a top priority and a driver of sales for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

Additionally, ecommerce tools and technologies are becoming increasingly mature, sophisticated, and easy to use, handing over significant control to marketers and businessmen, and enabling them to engage, prompt, and retain customers like never before.

Yet, as an ecommerce business setup, you also need to consider that your business runs the risk of falling behind if competitors from your marketplace leverage the latest ecommerce tools and tactics.

As we step deeper into 2017, it’s time to understand how you can enhance your ecommerce sales this year; we’ve got the best tactics right here.

Post-Purchase Follow Up and Email Marketing to Enhance Customer Engagement

We are moving towards real meaningful customer relationships rather than mere transaction management. As soon as a customer makes a buy on your website, it’s your turn to make an impact, and that’s done via meaningful, value adding, and managed follow up emails.

From order summary to sharing product tracking details, from sending product insights to suggesting complimentary and supplementary purchases, from inviting the customer to talk to a real person to know the product better to inviting the customer to review his purchase and answer questions from other interested shoppers – there’s so much you can do to enhance your customer engagement quotient.

This customer focused post-purchase follow up helps transform your customer into a brand evangelist, which pushes repeat purchases and brand referrals up. Ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, WordPress, and Prestashop offer follow up email plugins. You can also check out specialized email marketing tools such as GetResponse and MialChimp to implement your follow-up email marketing strategy.

Apart from order follow up and update emails, here are other equally important email marketing series you can design for your ecommerce portal’s interactions with customers.

  • Welcome emails: Sharing first purchase promotion coupons, graphically explaining the purchase process, etc.
  • Abandoned Cart emails: Using remarketing to motivate customers to complete abandoned sales, offering add-ons to promote immediate purchase.
  • We Miss You emails: Firstly, a re-engagement email. If that’s opened, a second email with a promotional coupon can be sent.

Unique Value Proposition - Instead of Unique Selling Proposition

It sounds counter intuitive, but to be able to sell more, ecommerce portals need to elevate their focus from 'selling' to 'value'. It's common for businesses to forget that at the customer is ultimately looking for a solution to his problems or a fulfillment for his need, and doesn't have a special reason for buying a product from you. Given the fact, it's remarkable how ecommerce retail giants have been able to achieve their mammoth status, despite not having any product differentiation. It all connects to the ideal of aligning all your marketing and sales activities with the unique value proposition concept. Whereas USP is all about product differentiation, UVP (unique value proposition) is all about maximizing the value for consumer. Here are 3 components of UVP-

  • Quantifiable value: the product quality, features, accompaniments, after sale service, etc.
  • Relevance: How does your product or service solve a customer problem?
  • Differentiation: How do you make your consumer experience better than that of competitors?

Anything you do, right from product selection to landing page design, from marketing collateral to sales promotions, from email copywriting to sales pitches, has to be aligned to the greater aim of achieving and delivering unique value proposition to the customer. This is how you can create a system where your customers buy repeatedly from you, become brand advocates, and ultimately bring more referral customers.

Leverage The Voice of Customer to Amplify Conversions

If your ecommerce website's product lines are limited, and your target audience is not much scattered, there are significant benefits to be had out of leveraging the voice of the customer to design your marketing communications. 2016 saw several B2B e-commerce setups use the voice of the customer to fine tune their marketing campaigns, with good success. With the availability of quicker, more convenient, and more affordable tools (Google Moderator, Feedbackify, Kampyle, and UsabilityTools, for instance) that help you manage campaigns to identify the voice of the customer, 2017 is the year when B2C e-commerce portals can beat their competitors leveraging this technique.

Voice of customers is about identifying the language that resonates with customers, end users of the product, supply chain mangers, and purchase decision makers. By using this language, that's inherently closer to the consumer in terms of capturing his pain points, product expectations, and service parameters, e-commerce websites can massively improve conversion rates associated with landing pages, promotional emails, and website copy in general.

FreshBooks, an accounting services firm, conducted due diligence in understanding voice of the customer and adopted verbiage, phrases, and keywords that their prospects and existing customers used, and revamped their website content accordingly.

Get Onboard Mobile Commerce Before It Runs You Over

Mobile e-commerce has grown significantly in the past five years, to the extent that the world's most successful e-commerce portals now get most of their traffic from mobile devices. These e-retailers have got their native mobile apps right, delivering crisp user experiences, to the extent that consumers are willing to complete their end to end product research, comparisons, and purchase right on mobile, with no overlaps with desktop websites.

However, mid level e-commerce businesses still have a long way to go to transform their 'works on mobile too' website to 'works wonderfully on mobiles' website. This automatically implies that pioneering mid level e-retailers can capture strong market shares by investing in mobile apps. Instant access to product pages, notifications, integrated communications - the benefit of a sophisticated mobile commerce portal are numerous, and guaranteed to give a significant push to your sales. Leverage your ecommerce platform's native mobile app creation service, or get some mobile e-commerce app developers on board, now is the time.

Use Premium Business Growth Tools

Facebook is the market leader in social media. Gmail is the market leader in email service. Both platforms are innovating continuously to build scalable mini platforms that support digital marketing. We'll take two examples:

Facebook Lookalike Audience

This Facebook tool allows you to upload your existing customer information, and uses that to create a database of prospects that are alike to your existing consumer base in terms of demographics, buying behaviors, geographic locations, web browsing preferences, and several other factors that you can specify. This paid service helps you create a highly targeted and focused list of prospects, using which you can drive sales up.

Gmail Ads

Finally, Gmail Ads is live. Before your competitors come onboard, leverage this fantastic option to push highly targeted advertisements right into the inboxes of prospects. By using target keywords such as your competitor brand names, you can reach the mind-space of shoppers who buy from your competitors, and can get a shot at getting them to switch to your ecommerce website.

2017 comes with mammoth sales potential for e-commerce websites, as Internet proliferates deeper into people's lives. Align your strategies and tactics to these suggestions, and you're all set to see a surge in sales for 2017.

Lesley Haught is a professional writer, web developer and CEO of WebBuildersGuide. His background includes years of experience in web interface development and website development. Also, he's fond of photography and marketing and of course, writing articles. His works were published in different popular online magazines. You can follow Lesley on Google+.

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