These days, e-commerce businesses have more marketing options at their fingertips than ever before. And as marketing tips, tricks, and hacks continue to exponentially increase, it can be easy for an online retailer to get swept up in crazes without carefully examining how well-suited they are to the business and the kind of value they can deliver.
However, there are three marketing trends that are truly not worth missing out on for just about any e-commerce business. Ignoring artificial intelligence (AI)-led marketing, neglecting an original social media content strategy, and overlooking the link between marketing and increased chargebacks, many e-commerce companies are losing out on some seriously lucrative revenue streams.
Mistake 1: Not Leveraging AI-Driven Marketing
AI seems to be everywhere these days, and for good reason. Leveraging AI in your marketing efforts can propel a targeted digital strategy to new heights. By using AI to analyze social media and online behavior data in real-time, companies can gain detailed insights into their customer base and use segmentation to deliver hyper-relevant messages that resonate with customers.
However, many e-commerce brands still see AI as an expense affordable only by large enterprises. But that isn't the case. There are ways for smaller brands to leverage its power through third-party providers.
For example, one consumer insights company gives its customers access to an AI-driven platform that analyzes companies' customer base based on psychographic and demographic data; this kind of in-depth consumer analysis also allows for highly personalized product
recommendations. Using the platform, you can ensure you're sending the right messages to the right people.
It's not uncommon for e-commerce companies to have a very loose grasp on whom they should be targeting, which can often result in wasted marketing strategies that fall on deaf ears. Using AI to power your targeted efforts with detailed consumer insights is a surefire way to maximize your marketing results.
Mistake 2: Neglecting an Original Social Media Content Strategy
A well-thought-out, original, and innovative social media content strategy can be the difference between an influx of customers from external channels,and a virtual tumbleweed blowing over your product homepage.
Social media marketing is nothing new, but to leverage it to its maximum capabilities and reach as many potential customers as possible, you need to use it to develop a brand narrative and build customer relationships.
Standing out from the crowd on social media means delivering content in a way that connects and surprises its users. And since delivering quality content is a vital tool for e-commerce businesses—e-commerce content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing yet generates three times the amount of leads—it's a strategy that deserves serious attention.
If you're just starting out, you can build up from sharing valuable blog content on a channel like Facebook, to eventually making maximal use of interactive tools of various platforms, such as Stories on Instagram. And as long as your message and branding are seamless across different platforms, there's no reason to stick to just one or two platforms.
Video content is exploding in popularity. Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram are currently the primary video-hosting platforms, so e-commerce businesses should be homing in on them to discover the kind of video that will resonate well with their customers on each site.
All three platforms also offer a live video function, which can act as an excellent engagement tool for target audiences. Users watch live videos on Facebook three times longer than standard, pre-recorded videos, and livestreamed videos bring in ten times more engagement in the comments section.
Live videos hold a lot of potential for e-commerce companies. For example, fashion brands could unveil and style new items, cosmetics companies could do a live "GRWM" (get ready with me) with new make-up products, or a sports brand could livestream a game showing players using the company's gear.
In addition to producing engaging content, e-commerce businesses can use social media as a selling platform. Social media giants like Facebook and Instagram act as a gateway to millions of consumers, who use those social site much more than any other online platform (an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes per day!). And now, with functionalities that allow you to sell your product without requiring the buyer to leave the platform, there's no reason for e-commerce brands not to make the most of this wide market access.
Mistake 3: Allowing for Preventable Chargebacks
Many e-commerce brands see chargebacks as an inevitability that they can do little to avoid. Chargebacks occur when users dispute charges on their accounts and demand to be reimbursed for purchases. Yet, contrary to popular belief, the shocking amount that businesses lose over chargebacks per year—$31 billion in 2017 alone—can be mitigated with some innovative marketing.
Chargebacks occur in part because customer expectations aren't met when they receive their order. Either the product isn't how it was presented or described, or there were issues with the delivery process. E-commerce businesses can avoid unhappy customers by providing detail and accuracy in product images and descriptions; listing specs such as size, weight, materials, power usage, color options; and using high-resolution photos taken from various angles.
But if you want to take it to the next level, you could integrate augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) to your product pages. For example, virtual mirrors give the customers a much better idea as to how a product might look in real life, and they have been known to demonstrably increase conversions.
Google offers a great example of this rising trend; it recently added 3D AR models to its search results, and it has already started working with New Balance, Target, and Samsung. Home store Ikea has also incorporated VR into its app to allow shoppers to visualize what different pieces of furniture might look like in their homes
All of this means more accuracy and understanding for the shopper as to what they're purchasing, and fewer surprises when the product arrives—thus fewer chargebacks.
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Though integrating AI and AR/VR into a marketing strategy might seem like a distant possibility for many smaller e-commerce brands, there are ways to leverage these technologies economically. By turning to cost-effective third-party providers, online retail businesses can ensure positive ROI and stay ahead of the e-commerce marketing curve.
And when those efforts are coupled with quality social media content, e-commerce brands should make the most of the access to an endless pool of consumers.
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