Everybody talks about how to improve their email marketing strategy, and to be honest, many have focused on this for some time.

Even for the most senior digital marketers out there working in ecommerce, you’ve probably read dozens of articles about email marketing–so, why read another one?

The scene of email marketing is constantly changing.

This shouldn’t surprise digital marketers, but instead, always make you hungry to learn more. Consumers are so used to email marketing strategies that they ignore branded emails in their inbox much more quickly.

In fact, Mail Chimp found the average email open rate for ecommerce businesses in March 2018 averaged around 15.66% in the U.S. Further, all industries owned a collective 20.81% open rate.

email open rates graph

But Epsilon data found the total industry average to be much higher just a few years ago in Q3 2016 with a 34.1% open rate.

What was once marketing channel powerhouse is now something many businesses struggle with in 2019.

Still, some brands are absolutely killing it with email marketing.

And to that point, we know email marketing still works. However, you have to put in the effort to stand out from your competition, which is why we’re here to help.

Here’s eight tips for ecommerce brands to improve their email marketing strategy in 2019:

1. Use Dynamic Content to Personalize Emails

In years past, personalizing an email with someone’s name was a big deal. Now, that’s the very least you could do with personalization marketing efforts.

Today, each of your emails should include personalization in more than one of the following places:

  • Subject line
  • Email copy
  • Images
  • Product offerings

Take Campaign Monitor as an example. In one of their promotional emails, they decided to test whether changing the images in their email to match the location of the recipient would make a difference. They created images for recipients in the U.S., U.K. and Australia and then tested these emails against a location-agnostic visual

campaign monitor location email example

As a result, their click-through rate increased by 29% with that simple of a personalization fix. You can also use dynamic content to personalize emails based on customer behavior and interests.

For example, a clothing brand could tailor their emails to the gender of the recipient or their past browsing history. If a subscriber browses your site for women’s clothing, don’t send them promotional emails highlighting men’s shoes.

This kind of dynamic personalization levels up your email marketing strategy and captures the attention of your audience.

2. Get Email Addresses Before the Checkout

In the past, the main place to get new subscriber email addresses was after a purchase.

Numerous ecommerce stores have opt-in email features right at checkout to get you add your email to their newsletter or promotional lists.

While this is still a viable email marketing strategy, what if you could get a potential customer’s email before the checkout process This would allow you to capture even more leads and to increase your potential for sales through email marketing. Here’s a few tips to try:

  • Offer Content: Provide content that’s relevant to your audience to easily collect email addresses for future promotions. For example, a company selling kayaks could offer a free guide to the best places to kayak. Your customers give up the email for the guide and you can now send promotional content.
  • Offer Discounts: Everybody loves a discount and many will give up their email to save. You’ve seen this strategy before in the sometimes comical: No, I don’t want to save money on my next order, pop up. This tactic has become very popular for ecommerce brands by offering a quick 20% off just for signing up through an email–mostly because it works.h&m email sign up
  • Interactive Pop Ups: Another way to offer incentives and spark engagement is through interactive sign ups. This pop up allows you to win over new customers (and get their email address) with the chance to spin the wheel and win some discounts.

interactive modal for a discount example

  • Product Availability Notifications: Get shoppers’ emails by allowing them to submit it when a product is out of stock or even running low on availability and want to be notified. This helps get more emails before checkout so potential shoppers turned away from unavailable items still can be involved.

casual product availability email

3. Use Transactional Emails to Win More Conversions

We all know that transactional emails (order confirmation, shipping confirmation, etc.) get opened more than your average marketing email.

Are you using these transactional emails to the full? Check out what Nordstrom does at the bottom of their order confirmation emails:

nordstrom be the first to know email

This upsell attempt is based on products that the user looked at but didn’t buy, and is a fantastic example of how to get more out of your transactional emails.

How can you do the same?

First, include more than just the transactional information in your email. Add some personality, and give the customer a chance to see your brand’s fun side.

Next, go for the upsell. Use dynamic content as discussed above to personalize recommendations for this particular customer. You know what they bought already, so you have a good head start in knowing what they might like to buy in the future.

Lastly, you could try for a referral. Skillshare does this with their transactional emails.

skillshare referral email example

By including some of these elements, you can win more conversions from your transactional emails.

4. Segment by Interests & Buyer Type

Segmenting by interests is a must nowadays. Almost every other ecommerce brand already does this, so you need to be on board.

But, what about segmenting by buyer type? Each customer is unique in the way they make purchase decisions. Here are some ideas of how to segment by type of shopper:

  • High Average Order Value: Do you have some customers whose average order value tends to be higher than others? Tempt them with product bundles and packaged discounts.
  • Discount Shopper: Some shoppers go weak in the knees for a good discount. If you see a pattern with some shoppers who only make purchases when your products are on sale, make sure you send them special offers or clearance sale updates.
  • Exclusivity: A sense of exclusivity is a powerful purchase motivator. If you have a limited-time product or a special V.I.P. offer, make sure you let these customers know first. Get them to sign up for a special mailing list that sends them exclusive offers before anyone else.

ann taylor exclusive email offer

5. Create Triggered Email Campaigns

Triggered emails win at the end of the day. In fact, a WebFX infographic stated they get 70% higher open rates than normal email marketing efforts.

webfx email infogaphic example

Here are two types of triggered emails that you can add to your email marketing strategy:

  • Loyalty Emails: Your customers love to be appreciated. So, why not remind them of a special milestone, such as the anniversary of their first purchase from you? Celebrate brand milestones with your customers like the sock brand Bombas.

bombas email offer

  • Promotions for Returning Shoppers: Imagine that a customer who made a purchase a while back has come back to browse on your site, but doesn’t buy anything. That could be an excellent trigger to send an email their way. You can remind them of the great products you’re offering, update them on new or featured products or give them a special discount.

6. Improve Your Abandoned Cart Emails With Visuals

Abandoned cart emails have been around since the beginning of time, which means it’s high time to spice yours up! One of the best ways to make your abandoned cart emails stand out is by including visuals.

After all, a customer may not remember exactly which product they had in their cart or why they wanted it in the first place. Tailor your abandoned cart email with pictures of the product they were planning to buy.

Fab abandoned cart email

Homeware brand Fab does this with their abandoned cart emails to get you interested again with a simple, but fun message.

Of course, the visuals in your abandoned cart emails can also be a way to show off your brand personality. For example, Black Milk Clothing does a fantastic job at sending abandoned emails to its customers to tug on their heart strings.

black milk email example

Where can you go wrong with cute puppies to win back customers?

7. Introduce Replenishment Emails

For some ecommerce brands, you know exactly when your customers are going to run out of the products they’ve purchased. This is the perfect time to send them an email to remind them it’s time to fill up on whatever they’re about to run out of.

For example, see how dog food brand Just Right by Purina created the perfect replenishment email:

email replenish example from purina

Besides being extremely precise as to how long you have left to replenish, this email is also personalized by using the name of the dog (because, let’s face it, they’re more important). Even the CTA button is personalized!

Creating replenishment emails is a great way to win back previous purchasers with your email marketing strategy.

8. Use Emails to Get Reviews & User-Generated Content

Another essential part of your email marketing strategy should include review collection. Using the right methods, these kinds of emails can get excellent results.

To add a little incentive, you could even offer a discount on their next purchase. Look at the way Tower Housewares does this with their review collection emails.

Tower Email Example

Another way to use post-purchase emails is by getting customers to post user-generated content on their social channels. This is exactly what cosmetics brand Lush did with their post-purchase emails.

lush email ugc

Again, adding a little incentive also helps motivate users to post those pictures for a chance to win.

At PowerReviews, we believe in making it as simple as possible for brands and retailers to collect as many reviews through a straightforward and easy post-purchase email. Our review collection abilities help businesses increase more authentic and valuable content by making processes short and sweet.

Ulta Post Purchase Email

Want to see how PowerReviews can help your business collect more reviews and help you with your email marketing strategy? Talk to our awesome team today!

Take Your Email Marketing Strategy to the Next Level This Year

It’s true, email marketing isn’t something new for ecommerce brands. However, times are changing. If you want to keep engaging your customers and winning their hearts with your emails, you’ll need to keep up with current trends.

Using these innovative email marketing strategies, you’ll stand out from the competition and earn the kind of ROI your brand deserves.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Effective product page designs are essential to the success of your ecommerce business.

Here’s a fun fact: Statista data predicts by 2020, over 2 billion people worldwide will be purchasing goods and services online.

The numbers are increasing exponentially, up from just 1.5 billion digital shoppers in 2016.

digital buyers in billions graphicAt the same time, this rise in demand has caused an increase in competition, and a decrease in conversion.

In fact, research from Invespcro shows that the average website conversion rate has decreased from 3.4% in 2014 to 2.8% in 2018.

The same study found that product pages have an average effectiveness of 10.4%. In other words, 1 out of every 10 people that visit a product page will add the product to their cart.

Add to Cart Rates in U.S. and U.K. graph

How does your ecommerce website stand up to these online shopping statistics?

If you feel that your product page designs aren’t living up to their potential, you’ve come to the right place.

Ultimately, your product page designs will have a huge impact on your conversion rates. So, let’s make them as effective as possible.

8 Elements Your Product Page Designs Must Have (Including Examples)

There are certain elements that your product page designs must have.

A picture, a description, and product prices are all examples of necessary items your product pages already have.

But you need to go above and beyond if you want to stand out as different.

We’re going to discuss some obvious and some not-so-obvious design elements, and how you can use each of these to make your product pages live up to their potential. Let’s get started!

PowerReviews Demo Banner

1. Pictures & Videos That Sell the Story

People love shopping online.

In one study, it was found that the main reason why people shop online is for the convenience of shopping whenever they feel like it.

However, the same study found that more than half of people who prefer to shop in-store do so because they want to see, touch or try on the product before purchasing.

reasons shoppers shop in stores graphic

Since people can’t be in physical contact with your products before purchasing, your product page needs to get them as close as possible.

That’s why you need to include clear, up close visuals for your products.

On average, people want to see between 5 to 8 pictures per product. This allows you to give different views of the product and show off important features.

Check out how bag and clothing brand Kaft does this with the images for one of their messenger bags ideal for daily use.

kaft bag visual example

The fact that the bag is water resistant is a very important feature. This picture highlights that feature, and also allows zoom so that users can get a full view.

Another way to make people feel like they’re getting a complete view of your product is by including a video.

Check out how Glossier does this with the video that appears on their Lash Stick page.

By showing real people using their product, Glossier lets users feel like they’ve been able to try the product themselves. This is critical for a driving a moving and authentic feel to the product page design.

2. A True Size & Fit

Especially for apparel brands, it’s important that people feel secure in their purchase. They need to know whether or not this product is going to fit them, without being able to try it on.

To improve conversions on your product page–and significantly limit product returns of wrong size orders–it’s important to include product page designs that clearly show the true fit of your products.

Let’s see three ways that The North Face does this with their product pages.

First, they include the measurements of the model in the pictures and give the size jacket that she’s wearing. It might not seem like much, but it gives the extra details needed when making a purchasing decision.

the northface true fit product page

Next, they include a helpful pop up that allows users to find their perfect size for this particular type of product. This chart allows shoppers to pin point exactly the size and fit to nail down the right jacket.

northface sizing graphic

Lastly, as part of their review section, they include other customers’ ratings on the fit and the sleeve length of the jacket. Everyone knows brands all have various sizes and fits, and in apparel, you have to be exact for your online shoppers.

The Review Snapshot from PowerReviews gives customers more confidence in their buying decisions and helps limit the dreaded, costly returns.

review snapshot of the northface

By including detailed pictures with the model’s measurements, an accurate sizing chart, and a rating system for fit and feel, you can give your customers the confidence to purchase your products knowing that they’ll fit right the first time.

3. Questions & Answers to Remove Doubts

No matter how good your product descriptions are, people will probably have some questions.

If you find that people are frequently asking the same or similar questions, why not include a Q&A section for your product page designs?

This will help remove any doubts that people have before they purchase. It also makes it easier for people to get answers, since they won’t even have to leave your product page to do so.

leesa FAQs example

The mattress brand Leesa does this with the FAQ on their product page. Everyone has questions, so why not use your community of shoppers and your own customer service team to provide the answers to purchase-blocking questions?

4. Keyword-Optimized Text

Including keywords in your product page helps users find what they’re looking for quickly, and also helps your product pages rank on search engines. Following the best practices with SEO for ecommerce is essential to get pages to appear in the rankings.

Ideally, you’ll want to aim for long-tail keyword phrases that include various words. For example, instead of Men’s Sneaker, aim for a more specific keyword like Men’s Trail Running Sneaker.

Once you’ve chosen the right keywords, here’s three places you should put them:

  • URL: The product page URL should have just your main keyword.
  • Title (H1): The name of your product should be optimized to your keywords and your H1 should include it.
  • Description: Within your product description, include your main keyword and even try to add related keywords for context.

All this being said, remember not to stuff your product page with keywords. Never add them where they don’t sound right, since this could lead to problems for your website down the road.

product details broken down

See how shoe brand Manitobah Mukluks uses keywords skillfully through their product description? This helps their brand rank organically and also uses unique content that the search engines look for when ranking products.

5. Navigation Tabs to Keep Your Pages Clean

While it’s important to have the right amount of information on your product pages, it’s just as important that your product page designs remain clean and visually appealing.

In other words, don’t clutter your page with text and buttons.

A great way to remove clutter from your product pages is by using navigation tabs. That way, people can click to open a tab and read more, but the page still stays clean.

knix product navigation tabs

The women’s underwear brand Knix does this with their product pages really well. There’s not a ton of text at arrival that makes it overbearing to read and buy. However, their navigation tabs allow those who want more product information to easily click and find it.

Some of the most important information to include here is the fit, care instructions and even product quality so shoppers know your materials. The best part is the clutter is removed by clean navigation tabs at the bottom right.

6. Clear & Trustworthy Ratings & Reviews

Another essential element of your product page design are authentic ratings and reviews.

These customer reviews need to be displayed prominently in the product page. One retailer doing this well is Zappos, which showcases the reviews clearly at the top.

zappos clear ratings and reviews example

Next, you’ll need to display real reviews that specify what your users are looking for in the product. For example, Zappos takes their reviews and displays the most helpful positive review alongside the most helpful negative review.

We already know that 85% of shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews and even typically don’t trust companies with only 5-star rated products. Here we can see Zappos use their reviews to include separate star ratings for comfort and style.

zappos customer reviews overview

Since shoppers specifically seek out negative reviews, take a lesson from Zappos and display both sides. This actually helps build buyer confidence in your reviews and avoids the “too perfect” product review, which always comes off inauthentic.

Another way to take your reviews one step further is to organize them by topic, like Leesa does in their reviews. This helps people find exactly what they need and right away.

leesa reviews by type

7. User-Generated Visuals for Ultimate Social Proof

While displaying reviews is a great way to build trust in your products (and improve your product page conversion rate), including pictures and videos from real users has an even bigger impact.

In fact, 88% of online shoppers specifically look for visuals submitted by fellow users. The result? After finding user-submitted photos and videos, 65% of shoppers will be more likely to trust in the product.

Check out how furniture brand Wayfair does this by featuring reviews that include real-life user-generated content to drive trust and authenticity in their product page designs.

wayfair product page user-generated content

Need help collecting more visuals for your reviews? PowerReviews’ Visual and Social Suite allows you to add a content gallery of real-life visuals posted by your users either on your website or on social media.

This collection ability could collected by encouraging a branded hashtag to use for your products on social or even by running a product sampling campaign. Whatever your needs, PowerReviews can help–big or small.

Get in touch with our team today to learn about the power of user-generated content on your product pages!

8. Product Suggestions

So, why are product suggestions considered an essential product page design element?

It’s not just because everyone else is doing it.

Product suggestions help you increase the total amount spent per purchase by giving people great ideas for what to buy. But they also help move shoppers along with the product they’re already looking at to encourage the buy.

fitbit product page example

Fitbit skillfully includes suggestions in the product page design and is a great example of how to get buyers to add more to the cart. When looking at the product page for the Fitbit Versa, you’ll find suggestions for accessories towards the end of the page.

This is useful to the customer, since not everyone likes the band that the Fitbit comes with and will be eager to spice things up with a new band.

Then, below the recommended accessories, there is a “You might also like:” section, which includes products that can be used in conjunction with the original product.

You can do the same by pairing products that work well together, or by including items that are frequently purchased together on the same product page.

May the Best Product Page Designs Win

Ecommerce is a growing world, and you’re a part of it. If you ace the design on your product pages, constantly adapt to new customer needs and put value on authenticity, you’ll be able to take an even bigger piece of the pie home.

While people love the convenience of shopping online, they also see the disadvantages. That’s why you need to make your online shopping experience just as good (if not better) than shopping in store.

To that end, apply to above tips to create truly fantastic product page designs that capture people’s attention, give them the information they need without overwhelming them and help them put real trust in your products.

Then, your product page design will live up to its full potential.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Identifying and meeting customer needs is the best way your brand boosts its game.

You know how it feels when you have a great idea for a product. Maybe you’ve spent some time developing the idea, refining it and you’re really sure it’s going to work.

After all, you would buy it, so why wouldn’t your customers?

But as you know, some of the best ideas end up being the biggest flops.

We all know the big brands that worked on a major product launch strategy, but never seemed to hold the attention of their audience. This tends to happen when the company isn’t focused on customer needs.

Just think of the Ford Edsel: at a time when Americans were looking to buy smaller, more efficient cars, Ford released a gas guzzler that lost them $350 million in the three years it was being produced.

ford edsel vintage ad

Hopefully, you’ll never have such a costly flop. But what can you do to make sure your products are meeting the needs of your customers?

First, you need to be aware of the most common customer needs. Then, you’ll need to figure out how to identify which particular needs your customers have right now.

Are you ready to match your brand to the needs of your customers?

8 Common Customer Needs You Should Always Know

While not a complete list, these eight points are some of the most common needs. As we discuss them, we’ll see how different brands have risen to the challenge of meeting their customers’ needs.

1. Price

Customers are more concerned than ever about price. Are they getting the best deal? Is this comparable to a competitor? Are you paying for convenience or are you getting the highest product quality available?

In fact, 60% of customers consider price before anything else, and 81% say that it’s essential to compare prices between different sellers.

prisync consumer pricing graphic

Especially if you’re competing against companies with similar products, price could be a big factor in a customer’s purchase decision.

Does this mean you must immediately slash your prices? Not necessarily.

However, offering the right kind of discount to customers who are cost-conscious could help you win more business. Think about where you offer price advantages for customers. For example, you could offer a discount on a product bundle or for orders over a certain amount of money.

Check out how Beardbrand does this with their beard product kits:

beardbrand growing kits example

Ultimately, buying the whole kit means the customer is saving money since buying the products individually would cost them more. However, the total cart value ends up being more, which means better revenue for the company.

2. Reliability & Sustainability

People need to trust that the product they’re getting will last. They need to rely on its ability to function properly for a reasonable amount of time.

Another aspect that is essential for many customers nowadays is sustainability. Big companies are rolling out new products that promise a much smaller impact on the environment, nailing the needs of their customers (and the planet).

Check out how Hyundai does this with the brand new (and beautiful) Ioniq:

hyundai Ioniq customer needs example

This completely electric car is one of the best of its kind and it comes from a car company focused on its customer needs with an ability to adapt.

3. Risk Reduction

Even if your products are super reliable, people still want to know they’re not at risk of losing their money or time.

That’s why your product return policy and guarantees are so important. This is an essential factor that you’ll need to cover if you want to meet your customers’ needs.

To calm the fears of your customers and show them that they’re not at risk, try doing what sunglass company Sunski did with their guarantee page:

https://vimeo.com/273985860

4. Usability & Convenience

For your products to meet people’s needs, they must be useful and convenient.

It’s up to you to find out exactly what your customers use your products for and why they like them (we’ll talk more about how to do that below). Once you understand the different uses that customers have for your products, you’ll need to adapt to better fit their needs.

This is what Microsoft has done with the recently released Microsoft 365 Freelance Toolkit.

While the 365 package has been used by remote workers for years, this toolkit is especially made for large companies that have a mostly freelance workforce. By producing this toolkit alongside freelance marketplace Upwork, Microsoft adapted to the needs of their users.

5. Transparency

People need to know exactly what they’re paying up front and without hidden fees. That’s why companies need to be transparent about what customers are actually going to pay at the checkout.

Transparency can also apply to the ingredients in foods, the supply chain of a retailer or the true size and fit of a product. If you feel like you need to hide information from your customers, this is a big red flag.

Business secrets are hard to keep: sooner or later, they’ll come back to bite you. And in an industry known for its hidden fees and exorbitant costs, Southwest took a stand for transparency in their #Transfarency campaign.

This campaign focused on eliminating fees for checked luggage and changes, which are typically charges that other airlines like to hide until the last second.

This kind of transparency started a trend that continues to generate conversation online and create more brand loyal customers.

Another brands and retailers promote transparency is through the voice of the customer. By enabling customer feedback through ratings and reviews, question and answers and visual content, businesses leave less room for consumers to second guess buying decisions.

mac ratings and reviews pros and cons

This is why some of the largest brands and retailers trust PowerReviews to not only unify customer feedback, but also connect shoppers to one another to tell better and more authentic stories. Having more product details shows true transparency into your catalog and helps push the needle on acquisition.

Want to see how PowerReviews could help you collect and display more authentic content? Request a demo with our helpful team today!

6. Control

Another common customer need is having some control over the product.

This could mean a number of different things. For example, subscription-based brands can offer control over the terms or the length of the subscription. Ecommerce brands can offer different options for shipping, especially during busy holiday seasons.

Also, control could mean customization of the product itself. Check out how bag brand Timbuk2 does this with their fully customizable bags.

timbuk2 customization example

Letting the customer take the wheel on creation is just another way you could meet their needs.

7. Empathy & Friendliness

When it comes to customer service, people need to feel that a brand understands and cares about them. In fact, 51% of people who are faced with a bad customer service experience say they’ll never do business with that company again.

On the other hand, customers in the U.S. are willing to pay 17% more for a company that offers excellent customer service.

The takeaway? You need fantastic customer service if you want to meet your customer’s needs.

Starbucks is a brand that’s known for its great customer service on social channels. They reply to hundreds (if not thousands) of Tweets per day, giving customers the help they need (or just celebrating their love of coffee).

8. Information

Another important customer need has to do with information. Whether you sell physical products like clothes, food and makeup, or if you sell digital products like books or software, people may be unsure of what suits their particular needs.

In this case, they need guidance. They need the right information to make an informed purchase and end up happy.

How can you provide this information?

First, make sure you’re available to answer people’s questions. This connects nicely with our last point, and involves running a smooth and friendly customer service operation. You could also include a live chat on your website to answer people’s questions as they shop.

Next, produce informational content. Try to include knowledge bases for software, instructional blog content or video content. Check out how Wayfair does this with their extremely useful buying guides.

wayfair buyer guides

Wayfair understands the struggles of picking out the best product. And while their catalog can seem endless, the retailer does an amazing job of giving customers detailed options and scenarios where they might need help making a decision.

Additionally, Wayfair has great video content to help the do-it-yourself designers, who might need a little help knowing how to pick out the best rug for their room. Their YouTube channel frequently posts helpful video content about how to select the right furniture for your home or how to pick specific items in every room.

wayfair youtube diy channel

Furnishing a house isn’t always easy, but these guides help shoppers to make informed choices that will meet their needs. You can do the same by producing informative content for your customers.

Now that we’ve talked about some common customer needs, let’s discuss how you identify what your customers want:

How to Identify Customer Needs

Getting information from your customers shouldn’t be daunting or a troublesome task. In fact, there’s generally two ways to learn about what your customers need:

Method 1: Create a Survey

Surveys help you find out more about your customer base and your target audience. They allow you to get into people’s minds and discover the reasons why they buy from you.

If you’re looking to see how your products can meet people’s needs, you get set up something like what Birchbox has done with their Beauty Profile quiz.

birchbox signup example

When you sign up for their service, you go through this quiz so that Birchbox can send you the products that best suit your needs.

However, a more detailed survey will also be necessary to really dive into all the needs of your customers, including needs related to customer service and information.

So, don’t shy away from setting up a customer analysis survey. This can easily be done using survey tools such as SurveyMonkey. Ask questions that help you see the attitude people have toward different aspects of your brand, such as:

  • Individual products
  • Customer service experiences
  • Purchase or shipping
  • Information
  • Guarantees

For example, set a list of positive and negative adjectives and ask customers to select all that they feel apply to either your individual products or your customer service. You could also include statements about your brand and ask people whether or not they agree.

survey report example

Include questions that compare your products or services to that of a competitor, and try to understand why your customers have chosen you over other similar products offered by other brands. Use surveys to understand the usage trends of customers.

For example, is there a time of the year when customers purchase a certain product more? Are customers using your products in the way you were expecting or are they using some products to accomplish other goals?

These surveys will allow you to get into the minds of your customers and see exactly what their needs are.

Method 2: Use Social Media & Review Data to Discover Sentiment

Customers and potential buyers know the power of social media and will not hesitate to use these networks to talk about your brand or retailer. That’s why it’s smart to use a social listening tool, such as Hootsuite, in order to monitor conversations and see what people really think of you.

hootsuite team assignment product

Social listening allows you to monitor online conversations about your products or brand by following certain hashtags or even searching posts by keywords. That way, even when people don’t tag you in their comments, you still see what they’re saying about you.

Collect the data. See what adjectives people use to describe your brand, and the ratio of positive to negative comments. This will help you see where your brand is doing well, but also where you need to put in some extra effort.

Additionally, analyzing your reviews is another way to gain insights into people’s attitude toward your brand. That’s why PowerReviews offers product insights through review analysis.

Image describing the rating sentiment of Blackberry Syrup

Our powerful Intelligence Engine breaks down sentiment by individual products, not your entire catalog, so you get actionable insights right away. This takes all the reviews a product has and analyzes the adjectives used to describe certain parts of the product.

You make more informed decisions based on what your customers are telling you through review content. This helps you address your customer needs more effectively and accurately.

Develop a Customer-First Culture

We’ve discussed eight common customer needs, as well as two different methods to identify them. However, your work doesn’t stop here.

Once you learn how to identify your customer needs, you need to apply those insights to your business. Your brand can only grow if you meet your customer’s needs in all areas, from the design and functionality of your products to the way you handle complaints to your guarantees and more!

When you’ve analyzed the survey results, the social chatter and review content, it’s time to put those ideas into action. It’s your job to develop a culture that is based on pleasing customers.

After all, happy customers are the key to brand success.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

At the heart of every search, there’s an intent to learn.

For those in ecommerce, search is one of the most critical stages to attract and persuade shoppers. People do research to understand a product or its value, which is why so many marketers focus on improving SEO for ecommerce.

Did you know that 35% of consumers begin their purchasing journey on a search engine?

PowerReviews Customer Journey Graphic

The biggest problem is when consumers search online, they get a wide variety of results. And if your products aren’t showing in search, you lose out on discovery and site traffic.

If you want to rank your product pages online, there are specific ecommerce SEO tactics to learn. While the world of SEO can seem intimidating, don’t panic: we’re going to take you through some of the basics of how to get product pages into search engine results.

Here are the four main areas of focus we’ll cover in this guide:

  1. Content and Keywords
  2. Technical SEO Strategies
  3. How to Get Backlinks
  4. SEO Analytics Tools to Use

Click the jump links to move ahead to each area of focus.

We’ll divide our top nine tips to improve SEO for ecommerce within each section. By the end of this guide, you’ll know the steps to drive serious traffic to your product pages.

Let’s get started:

Optimize Your Product Pages & Content Marketing

Search engines care a lot about content. From the words you use in your product descriptions to the articles you post on your blog, content is one of the most important factors in SEO for ecommerce.

Here are three ways to optimize your content for success:

1. Do Your Keyword Research Right

Each and every page on your website must be optimized with appropriate keywords and phrases.

These keywords are words most associated with your content. Again, think of a search as an inquiry to do research. What do you provide them with your content in their research efforts?

Keywords also help the actual search engines understand your page and direct the traffic to appropriate users to find it. No matter how many pages you have on your website, each one needs to be optimized.

If this seems like a daunting task, prioritize your most important pages by traffic, new users or purchases. You’ll be surprised to find a lot of your best performing organic pages are likely already ranking for some keywords.

google search console example

This makes it even easier to open Google Search Console (which is an absolute must to connect to your ecommerce site), open performance and search your queries for the keywords most associated with your landing pages by clicks and impressions. You can filter pages to break down each page.

Get Help With the Right Tools

Another way to research keywords correctly is through a great and low-cost tool like KWFinder by Mangools. This tool gives you a list of similar keywords, showing you how difficult it is to rank for each one and how many searches this keyword gets per month.

keywordfinder SEO tool example

You’ll also see a list of the pages currently ranking on search engines with this keyword and how difficult it is to beat them. A good keyword for a product page should have:

  • Low difficulty rating
  • Consistent search trends
  • A few hundred searches per month (not too much to avoid getting lost in the noise)
  • Match your product’s intent and be relevant to your shoppers

To go further on the idea of your searchers’ intent, you need to think about exactly what shoppers are trying to learn with that keyword. Are they looking for articles and informational pages? Or are they looking for products to buy? Does it make sense for you to appear in the search engine results page (SERP)?

social media challenges search example

Say your potential readers search the common pain points of social media marketing, the keyword social media challenges doesn’t fit your audience’s intent. Do some research on the keywords you like before you target them and make sure you’re talking to the right audience.

2. Include Long-Tail Keywords Wherever Possible

Long-tail keywords are phrases with four or five words. These keywords are more specific and narrow searchers down to a very specific intent or inquiry. For ecommerce brands, this is critical toward your products.

Again, moving away for a simple–yet competitive keyword such as cat toys to the long-tail keyword remote control cat toys increases the specificity. This helps your shoppers find your products in the weeds of all the results pages.

remote control cat toys google search

Remember: each product page should target its own unique keyword for optimization. It’s important your keywords are as specific as possible to each individual product or have the appropriate canonical set up  to tell search engines what the original product should appear.

This is necessary ecommerce SEO tactics for brands who might sell very similar products, but need product pages for each variant.

Where to Insert Keywords on Product Pages

Now that you have your keyword, where should you put it? Start with your page title and headers where it makes sense.

This is where your keyword needs to stand out. However, don’t add too many of the same keyword in all your H1, H2 and H3 as it might appear as keyword stuffing.

Next, make sure to include the keyword in these key places:

  • The page’s URL: Does the exact keyword appear as close to the domain or subfolder as possible?
  • Image alt text: Image alt text is typically used for readers with visual impairments, but keywords here still help SEO.
  • Product description text: This should be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many leave out the keyword in product descriptions.
  • Metadata: Your meta title and meta description should both contain the keyword.

Remember: don’t stuff keywords where they don’t belong. Check out how Knix does this with their short but snappy product page copy.

knix product page example

All of the copy reads naturally and also tells a great story. This product page is written for buyers, not for search engine bots. And while you want to rank and use prevalent keywords, there’s a natural order toward using them.

knix product description text example

Make sure your product pages read the same.

3. Create a Fantastic Blog

Now more than ever, creating a blog full of interesting content is essential to get seen in search engines.

In fact, HubSpot has notoriously examined the data and found B2C companies posting blog articles more than 11 times per month get more than four times as many leads than companies posting four or less. Additionally, those who post more frequently were found to have almost triple the web traffic.

monthly blog traffic graphic

So, it’s time to create a blog for your ecommerce website. Write about issues that affect your customers, how to use your products or feature happy customers. Use some of these posts to link back to your product pages to drive more traffic.

Vinebox is a company that offers subscriptions for wine-lovers to taste new wines. Their blog is perfectly crafted to appeal to their audience and draw in new traffic.

vinebox blog outline example

Take Care of the Technical Side

Technical SEO may not be the fun part of SEO for ecommerce. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely necessary. Here are two things you need to be doing in order to ensure your ecommerce website is healthy and operational:

4. If You Haven’t Switched to HTTPs, Do It Right Now

Site security is extremely important and this especially true for ecommerce websites. In order for people to trust you (and for search engines to trust you), you need to be using an SSL certificate on your website.

That means in the URL, you’ll see https://yourwebsite.com, instead of http://yourwebsite.com. An SSL certificate makes your website more secure, which is important since people will be entering payment information.

You can normally get an SSL certificate through your hosting provider, or through another certificate authority such as Let’s Encrypt.

5. Add Structured Data Markup to Your Product Pages

Structured data is the information you add to your website in a way that allows search engines to understand what your pages are all about. Essentially, your structured data works as a walkthrough for search engines to know what you’re doing.

And in turn, adding this code helps your products rank better since search engines know much more about your content. The problem is it will involve coding, so make sure you befriend your front-end developers.

This kind of structured data allows your product pages to show ratings, pricing and whether or not the product is in stock, all from the SERPs:

smartykat google search metadata

To take it even further, by partnering with a ratings and reviews provider like PowerReviews, we work specifically with Google to enter your product data appropriately to help appear in search. We understand how reviews and SEO work together by pulling more content from brands and retailers selling your products online.

visual and social suite SEO graphicBy using PowerReviews’ software, you limit the amount of Javascript with smarter script loads. This means you only use the code you need (or features you’re using), which reduces the risk of affecting your page load speeds with excess code.

Whether you’re working with PPC or search, your reviews content gets seen in search before shoppers even make it your product page.

Want more information on SEO for ecommerce benefits with a ratings and reviews provider? Contact our team today to schedule a demo!

Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your pages. These are super important to search engines.

Not only are the essential to ecommerce pages, but they have a huge effect on whether or not your pages will be ranked. But how can you get backlinks to a product page? Here are two of the best ways:

6. Work With Influencers

By working with micro-influencers or everyday influencers, you create content. And when you start building all of this user-generated content, you also get the valuable backlinks from their blogs when they mention your brand.

While some influencers work solely on social media, many have thriving and authority-packed websites that can be goldmines for backlinks.

influencer and blogger instagram example

So, while working with influencers and doing product sampling, ask them to write a blog post about your product with a link back to your page. With a few of these valuable backlinks to your main products, you’ll have a good start toward healthy SEO for your ecommerce website.

7. Get Your Products on Resource Pages

People love to read listicles that cite the best products in a certain topic. How many articles do we see every day about the best acoustic guitars, the best waterproof smartphones or the best travel backpacks?

nomatic travel bookbag description

Another great way to build backlinks is to try and get your products on those kinds of resource pages.

First, find the right pages. By searching Best + [your product], you’ll find plenty of list articles to contact for a product feature. To make sure their backlinks will be valuable, run the site through an authority checker, like SiteProfiler.

site profiler search example

Metrics like Domain Authority and Trust Flow help you see if the website has enough SEO power to help you. Remember, getting links from lower domain authority ranking sites is good. However, getting links from pages that have higher domains than you is best.

Once you find the right pages, it’s time to contact the site owners.

This will take time and patience, and a lot of email power. Using a tool like Mailchimp, you can send out multiple emails faster, but remember to personalize each message.

It should look something like this:

product backlink draft

Obviously, not everyone will respond. But, if you send out enough of these emails, you’ll get some great new backlinks for your product pages and likely a lot more sales.

Use the Right Tools to Monitor Your Progress

If you really want to succeed at SEO, you’ll need to use the right tools to monitor your website’s situation. Here are two things you’ll need to be keeping track of:

8. Track Your Rank With an SEO Tool

There are plenty of SEO tools that give you information about SEO health, page rankings and much more.

If you’re looking for just the basics, though, try a tool like SERPWatcher.

serpwatcher SEO tool overview

This rank tracking tool has a lower price, and allows you to keep track of how your pages are ranking for different keywords without all the added frills. You’ll also be alerted to any important changes.

For a more complete SEO tool, try Ahrefs or SEMRush. These tools gives you a more detailed view of what’s going on with your website and they both allows you to track your competition.

By keeping track of your rank, you’ll understand why your pages are ranking for certain keywords and where you can make improvements. This is important for tracking changes you make, for better or for worse.

9. Monitor Website Traffic With Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics on your website is also a must if you want to understand your audience and customers. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are probably a SEO’s two best friends, so make sure you fully implement both if you haven’t already.

As for Google Analytics, view under the Acquisition tab to see an overview of your website traffic and how people are arriving to your website.

Google Analytics Acquisition Overview Example

This gives you a great idea of how many people are coming in from organic search. Use this section to watch how many conversions come from those who found you in the search engine results page versus social or paid traffic results.

Using Analytics, you’ll see whether or not your SEO efforts are working and find the areas where you need to improve.

Get a Handle on SEO for Ecommerce & Boost Your Product Page Traffic

If you want to get more traffic to your product pages, you need to pay attention to SEO. Once you get the technical things out of the way, you’ll need to create attractive content and develop solid backlinks. And of course, always keep an eye on how your changes affect the SEO of your website by using the right tools.

These SEO tips are the groundwork for healthy product pages. The rest is up to you: put these methods into practice and you’ll see just how valuable SEO can be for your business.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Consumers want products faster, cheaper and without the fluff. So what are brands doing?

An increasing amount are cutting the middle man (sorry retailers) and relying on their own brand manufacturing to sell directly to consumers. Even though the current ecommerce market is incredibly competitive, we’ve seen more brands take advantage of direct to consumer marketing and succeed.

A recent eMarketer report found almost half of internet users expect 40-100% of their purchases to be from direct to consumer brands over the next five years.

emarketer direct to consumer graphic

Connecting directly with your customers gives brands the upper hand to to be the one-stop shop for their target demographic. More importantly, it prevents customers from in-store shopping or even ordering certain products on online retailers.

That means there’s a lot less comparison shopping–especially when consumers get their everyday products cheaper, faster and often through a monthly subscription.

While that might sound like a win-win strategy for direct to consumer brands, hold that thought for a second.

Whether you create an amazing product launch strategy or increase social media ad spend, there’s still no easy and sure-fire way to get your direct-to-consumer brand to immediately sell. One of the biggest challenges for direct to consumer marketing is getting off the ground in the first place.

That’s because you rely less on foot traffic and more on marketing strategies to target small audiences who might be interested. Consumers already have their typical path to purchase–go online to shop major retailers or buy your everyday products in store.

Disrupting this path definitely worked for some brands, but certainly not everyone. That’s why we’re providing 10 ways to scale your direct to consumer marketing and win in the ultra-competitive ecommerce landscape.

1. Give Your Customers a Personalized Web Experience

Consumers crave an emotional connection. People want to be treated like people, not just numbers.

That’s why successful direct to consumer marketing strategies typically have something in common–personalization marketing. By creating customer experiences based off purchasing behaviors and what consumers truly want, direct to consumer brands build easy and effective buyer journeys.

In fact, a study by Salesforce found 84% of consumers said personalization is a very important aspect for businesses to win them over.

salesforce graphic on customer treatment

The same study also found 67% of customers will pay more for a great experience with a brand. This is why direct to consumer marketing works so well. Brands create better experiences when they personalize and act as the one-stop shop for their needs.

Trunk Club does this perfectly. The direct to consumer clothing company gets their shoppers to work directly with a stylist to help personalize the type of clothing that gets shipped.

While other direct to consumer brands offer a similar product, Trunk Club takes it a step further to provide more personalization. The company succeeds because customers know they’ll love what comes in their wardrobe box.

More Than Just Meeting the Needs of Consumers

Personalization is more than just meeting customer expectations–it’s all about exceeding them. Another Salesforce report on customer experience discovered 72% of consumers expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations.

The majority of respondents also added that this affects their brand loyalty. Research showed that consumers were twice as likely to pay attention to personalized offers as compared to general offers.

While retailers have the ability to promote and highlight its brands, direct to consumer marketing goes beyond by giving consumers exactly what they need.

Casper could’ve stopped at mattresses and bedding, but the brand understands there’s more to a good night sleep. They’re constantly working to provide more products to go above and beyond customer expectations.

2. Drive More Connection & Engagement Through Content

Much like personalization, great direct to consumer brands also connect and engage their audiences really well. These brands make better connections with their core customers through effective content strategies.

Brands need to bring a level of personality that allows shoppers to see them as personal and real. For example, Dollar Shave Club knows shopping for razors is not only expensive, but annoying.

The content pushed on social media and through various ad campaigns all try to build a better connection with the men who buy razors. In the example above, Dollar Shave Club connects with its consumer base by talking about one of the biggest questions people have about carry-on items–can you bring a razor?

The best way to build a relationship with a person is to talk with them and provide them information that actually helps. If it’s not product information, another way to connect through content is by being transparent.

Everlane is known as a fully-transparent clothing brand. And to ensure its customers know where their products come from and how they effect the environment, Everlane uses social media to speak out on issues.

Get Your Shoppers Involved

Again, content is a great way to connect to your customers and one way direct to consumer marketing works well is with user-generated content. Data from CrazyEgg shows that user-generated content gets viewed and watched 10 times more than brand content.

With so much trust in other shoppers’ opinions, why wouldn’t you create an easier path to showcase their content about you? Once again, transparency is key. However, showcasing your products through the eyes of your customers removes doubt in the purchasing decision.

Everlane does a great job of this as well by reposting images of real people using their products on social media. The point is to show your products working for everyday people.

With the help of PowerReviews’ Visual and Social Suite, direct to consumer brands can easily collect, authenticate and display user-generated content to their website or product pages.

Visual & Social Display Snippet

This gives shoppers the confidence to know your direct to consumer marketing is trustworthy and effective.

3. Make the Online Shopping Experience Better Than In Store

Innovation is key to building good customer relationships. It’s your job as the brand to discover ways to make the customer experience even better and drive loyalty to get shoppers to come back.

But for direct to consumer marketing, it’s about creating better online experiences than in store. The direct to consumer industry relies heavily on returning customers and continued subscriptions.

The challenge is winning over shoppers to return.

Data from a Temkin Group infographic found 87% of loyal customers will purchase again. Additionally, 79% will recommend your brand to friends or family.

tempkin group 2018 infographic on customer experience

Direct to consumer marketing allows you to build straightforward relationships, which leads to more loyalty. A good brands in the direct to consumer world not only keeps their shoppers loyal, they prevent them from needing an in-store experience.

One of the most popular avenues to win over customers and prevent the in store buy is through free shipping. But you could take it a step further, like Warby Parker, an reinvent the way you shop for a product.

The online eyewear brand solved a huge customer issue–people don’t like to buy glasses without seeing how they look on their face. Instead, they offer to send five pairs of glasses to your home to try on and send back for free.

But Warby Parker took it even further by providing a virtual try-on tool to sample all frames in the convenience of your home. So even if buyers want to try on more than five frames, they can and at home.

Now the brand has even developed an app that will check your eye prescription right from you mobile phone. This is the pinnacle of being the one-stop shop to a consumer need.

warby parker testing app

4. Develop More Influencer Relationships

Influencer marketing gets you directly in touch with real customers. This is why so many brands work with influencers to promote products to new customers through authentic recommendations.

By working with micro-influencers, direct to consumer brands have a great way to scale this marketing efforts with the voice of everyday people. These influencers have a more tightly-focused audience, and cost much less than bigger influencers and celebrities.

Best of all, they bring big results.

A study from Tomoson found that brands make an average of $6.50 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing. Plus, these efforts result in higher quality customers.

influencer and sampling suite graphic

By starting a product sampling campaign, direct to consumer brands get the word out of their products much faster and more effectively. Consider running free 1-month or 3-month trials for subscriptions and product sampling strategies for non-subscription items.

This will drive more user-generated content to collect and display on your pages. And more than likely, the process will be much more affordable than any major influencer campaign.

5. Generate Better Review Content

Another way successful direct to consumer brands step up their game is through ratings and reviews content. This content is what helps you show your potential customers you’re a trustworthy and beneficial brand to choose.

The Growing Power of Reviews report found nearly 63% of online shoppers between 18 and 29 years old search for websites that have reviews before buying. That means the content you generate in your reviews is what potential customers want to see in search.

powerreviews percentage of shoppers looking for reviews graphic

With PowerReviews’ industry-leading ratings and reviews collection tools, you build up your review content across the web to provide your shoppers with more content. And for direct to consumer brands, it’s not easy collecting reviews for multiple products at once.

That’s why we offer the Review Your Purchases feature, which allows your brand to collect multiple product reviews in one window. We make it easier on your customers to leave helpful reviews and collect more content for your brand.

review your purchases example on powerreviews

At the same time, this doesn’t mean you should only work toward collecting positive reviews. Having a balance of positive and negative reviews actually does your brand more good.

In fact, the same PowerReviews report found 86% of shoppers under the age of 45 specifically look for negative reviews. Even when you’re launching new products, reviews are essential.

6. Listen to Consumer Feedback

Your customers are talking to you: are you listening?

Whether on social media or in their review comments, your customers are giving you valuable insights into their needs (and whether or not your products are fulfilling those needs).

For example, check out these reviews on one makeup brand’s website:

beauty product reviews example

These reviews are from happy and loyal customers, but include valuable tidbits and ideas that the brand can use to improve their products. Make sure to use a good review analytics tool in order to listen effectively to your customers.

Picking out key adjectives, product flaws and things that customers love could give you great insights into your next product development campaign.

7. Create Email Marketing Campaigns to Build Loyalty

Direct to consumer marketing is all about building customer loyalty to your brand. You want customers to buy your product and avoid the in-store experience.

So, your messaging has to be spectacular in every area of your marketing campaign. If you’ve built up an email list, you’ve got to provide that audience with content that will connect and keep interested shoppers’ attention.

By building loyalty means you have to reward your customers who truly connect to your brand. For example, Birchbox sends great email marketing content to their customer base to offer rewards when you get friends and family to join.

Birchbox email example

Another way to build loyalty in email marketing is by showing customers you understand their life and their needs. Direct to consumer marketing is all about addressing a problem with an item most people buy and making it easier.

Your content has to make this clear.

Hello Fresh makes its benefits easy to understand–no more boring meals. Additionally, they provide a ton of recipes to help its current and potential customers find meals they’ll actually look forward to.

hellofresh email campaign

Target your customers with hyper-relevant offers that show you understand their needs. And try to offer your shoppers exclusive discounts that show how much you appreciate them.

8. Retarget Customers & Web Visitors via Social Media Ads

Retargeted ads are nothing new for direct to consumer marketing. This means taking behavioral information from a customer’s web experience and showing the person targeted ads on social media and other places.

However, you need to make sure your retargeted ads are hyper-relevant to the individual user. Imperfect Produce will regularly run Instagram ads, like this organic post below, to showcase mission to reduce food waste and provide customers with an awesome solution.

By focusing on your true core product benefit, you cut out the unnecessary fluff of your product or service.

9. Capture the Emotion of the Purchase

People purchase for many different reasons. What are the emotions that play into the purchase for your customers?

For some, it may be the thought that they are purchasing products that are good for the environment. Some shoppers like to know part of the proceeds go toward a specific charity.

And for other shoppers out there, the simple excitement of a spontaneous purchase or package coming in the mail makes all the difference. Direct to consumer marketing is about capturing the joy of the product purchased and received.

There’s even a hashtag used on Instagram to collect user-generated content called #barkboxday. The branded hashtag works to simply highlight customers’ pets enjoying their new treats and toys.

By playing on the excitement of pet owners when unboxing their product, they’ve grown their direct to consumer brand to more than 600,000 monthly subscribers.

barkbox user-generated content example

Just look at how happy these cute pups are!

10. Track & Optimize the Right Direct to Consumer KPIs

In order to make a success of your direct to consumer marketing, you’ll need to stay up to date on important metrics for your brand.

For example, track metrics that help you see the entire customer journey. Where do your website visitors come from? How many people are clicking on your social media ads?

Then, find the KPIs that tell you the valuable of your customer base. Track repeat purchases, average order values, subscription counts and lifetime order value to see if you’re successfully building loyalty in your customers.

These metrics will help you see if your direct to consumer marketing efforts are working, and will show you areas where you need to improve.

The Future for Successful Ecommerce Brands

Using these direct to consumer marketing tactics, customers see your brand as authentic and personable. Don’t leave any room for doubt and always make sure tor prioritize the customer’s overall experience with your service.

Even in a hyper-competitive landscape, your direct to consumer brand can still succeed by going above and beyond with your customers’ needs.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Ecommerce is quickly becoming one of the biggest markets in the world and the amount of online shopping statistics show us why. Traditional in-store shopping is still a pillar for brands like health and beauty, which rely on consumers to physically inspect and try out products before buying.

However, the overall market changes for brands selling online have morphed. Brands are more efficient at targeting core audiences and getting products in customers’ hands faster.

But how else is the marketing shifting when it comes to online shopping? What are the biggest and newest challenges for online retailers today? What opportunities are on the horizon?

To paint a better picture of the market, we’ve broken down 41 online shopping statistics for 2019 that we think you need to bookmark:

Click on the jump links to skip ahead.

The State of Ecommerce Statistics

  1. In 2018, online sales worldwide hit an estimated $2.48 trillion, making up 8.8% of total retail sales. That means online sales have almost doubled in value since 2015. (Invespcro)
  2. The average value of online shopping orders in the U.S. is $128.38 on traditional devices, such as a desktop, and $85.05 on smartphones. (Statistica)

statista graphic showing data on devices

  1. The primary reason (43%) U.S. internet shoppers make a purchase online is for convenience. The second-most popular reason was pricing (19%). (Statistica)
  2. 64% of people make impulsive purchases online at least once a month. (Finder)

The Lesson

It’s no shock that ecommerce sales are on the rise. The world of online shopping is primed to continue its growth and across all devices.

People love shopping online because it’s convenient. This is a lesson to you: if your online store is going to succeed, the shopping experience needs to be as convenient as possible for your customers. That means including perks like free shipping and easy checkouts.

Mobile Shopping Statistics

  1. 90% of shoppers use their mobile device to help make purchase decisions while in store. (The Retail Revolution Report, PowerReviews)
  2. Of all mobile shoppers, 77% say they are more likely to purchase a product if the mobile website or app has product reviews. (The Growing Power of Reviews, PowerReviews)
  3. Mobile devices are used for 24% of all online spending. (Statistica)
  4. By 2021, mobile ecommerce is projected to make up 72.9% of total ecommerce sales. (Statistica)

mobile ecommerce graphic statista

The Lesson

The point for your ecommerce business is to make sure your website is 100% prepared for mobile. With more shoppers coming in on tablets and smartphones, you’ll need to do various tests to ensure your whole website is just as responsive on a mobile device as it is on a desktop.

Create an easy path to purchase with faster mobile checkouts, easy log ins and adjustable high-quality visuals of your products.

Email, Social & Ads for Ecommerce Statistics

  1. 86% of shoppers want to get promo emails every month, while 61% want to see these emails every week. However, 15% of shoppers want promo emails every day. (Marketing Sherpa)

marketingsherpa email frequency graphic

  1. When online shoppers are retargeted with display ads, they’re 70% more likely to convert. (Spiralytics)
  2. When customers have a positive experience with a brand on social media, 70% are likely to recommend that brand to others. (Ambassador)
  3. 55% of people say they made an online purchase after discovering a product on social media. (Axios)
  4. 80% of Instagram users admit to following at least one business (or even a few). (Instagram)
  5. Approximately a third of the most popular and watched Instagram Stories come from business accounts. (Instagram)

The Lesson

Email, social and paid ads should be at the top of the list for every ecommerce marketer in 2019.

Shoppers are interested in seeing promotional emails in their inbox, so make sure the content stands out. To get the right frequency, ask consumers how often they want to receive promotional emails and segment your email list accordingly.

Social is just as important for promotion as it is for customer service. So, get active where your audience is and respond to both positive and negative feedback.

Finally, use retargeting ads to get shoppers back to your website when they’ve been browsing without purchasing, or even when they abandoned their shopping cart.

Visual and social suite banner

Influencer Marketing Statistics

  1. Sponsored posts on Instagram got a total of 1 billion likes in 2017. (Emarketer)
  2. 84% of micro-influencers charge only $250 per sponsored post. (Bloglovin)
  3. Brands make an average of $6.50 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing. (Tomoson)
  4. 51% of brands that use influencer marketing get higher quality customers as a result. (Tomoson)
  5. 54% of shoppers between ages 18-29 think photos and videos from fellow consumers are more valuable than brand or retailer visuals. That number only drops to 50% for those between ages 30-44. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)
  6. 65% of shoppers trust products more when user-generated content, like photos and videos, are in reviews. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)

PowerReviews Snapshot for Ecommerce visual content graph

The Lesson

Influencers are everywhere. And whether they have a million followers or just a thousand, they can be extremely useful to your brand.

This is a marketing opportunity you can’t pass up. And the best part is that it doesn’t have to chew up a lot of your budget. PowerReviews offers affordable product sampling campaigns you can run to promote a new product launch or get more reviews on a low-rated product.

influencer and sampling suite syndication example

Of course, the ROI speaks for itself–influencer marketing has the opportunity to get you more than 6 times your money back. These strategies are relatively simple to implement and see results.

Conversion Rate Statistics

  1. The average conversion rate of online shoppers in the U.S. during 2018 was 2.58%. (Statistica)

average conversion rate statista graphic

  1. Ecommerce stores that use video on product pages saw a 134% boost in conversion. (Crazy Egg)
  2. A delay of just 1 second in page response can result in a 7% decrease in conversion rates. (Kissmetrics)
  3. On average, apparel products sold on the PowerReviews Open Network see a 14.48% increase in conversion rate once the items start generating ratings and reviews. (Importance of Reviews for Apparel, PowerReviews)
  4. Products with reviews see a 270% increase in conversion. (From Reviews to Revenue, PowerReviews & Northwestern University)

The Lesson

Looking at the benchmark, how does your ecommerce store match up?

How your website works plays a huge part in your conversion rate. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rates, try adding video content to product pages. If it’s user-generated content, even better!

Also, make sure that your page speed and response time is optimized. This will help reduce your bounce rate and increase conversions.

Online Customer Behavior Statistics

  1. 32% of customers are more likely to buy clothing online if a website features photos of real customers wearing the item. (Olapic)
  2. Of the U.S. consumers shopping through online marketplaces, 55% say the most important checkout option is free shipping. (UPS)

UPS top reasons for purchasing from retailers graphic

  1. Just 3% of shoppers say they never rely on visuals when purchasing online. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)
  2. On the other hand, 88% of online shoppers specifically look for user-generated content, like pictures or videos, before buying. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)
  3. The ideal average star rating for purchase probability is 4.2-4.5 stars. Perfect 5-star reviews are considered too good to be true. (From Reviews to Revenue, PowerReviews & Northwestern University)
  4. 79% of shoppers say they are less likely to buy from a seller if their site is dissatisfactory or has poor performance. (Kissmetrics)

The Lesson

Basically, people want authenticity. By creating transparency into your products, whether it’s through ratings and reviews or website performance, consumers want trust before buying.

Allowing easy access to product photos and videos will build even more authenticity in your product. It’s essential to add this visual content to your product pages and allow potential customers to see how real people enjoy your products.

Ratings and Reviews Statistics

  1. 70% of consumers are interested in accessing product ratings and reviews in store. (The Retail Revolution Report, PowerReviews)
  2. 45% of consumers are more likely to come back to a brand that responds to their negative review. (ReviewTrackers)

reviewtrackers negative review data

  1. 85% of shoppers specifically look for negative reviews while researching a product. For shoppers between 18 and 29, this number jumps to 91%. (The Growing Power of Reviews, PowerReviews)
  2. 44% of centennial shoppers lose trust in a product when there are no negative reviews. (Understanding the Centennial Shopper, PowerReviews)
  3. 66% of shoppers who go to a brand website specifically look for product information to research or verify their buying decision. (Forrester)
  4. Of the shoppers saying they don’t write reviews, 55% said they need an incentive or reward to do so. (The Growing Power of Reviews, PowerReviews)

The Lesson

Again–transparency is key.

Not only do people look for positive review content, they want to see negative reviews as well. Brands need to display both sides of the story to create more transparency into your products.

Display your product reviews clearly. Make the content easy to access, whether users are on a desktop or mobile device.

Returns & Cart Abandonment Statistics

  1. 67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase, and 79% want free return shipping. (Invespcro)

invespco returns page graphic

  1. While 72% of customers will abandon their shopping cart, only 8% will come back and finish their purchase. (Wishpond)
  2. 22% of people who abandon their carts do so because of surprise costs that only showed up while they were checking out. (SmallBizTrends)
  3. 92% of online shoppers will buy something again if product returns are easy. (Invespcro)

The Lesson

Making it easy to return your products may seem counterintuitive. However, doing so has obvious benefits for your business.

Not only will people be more likely to purchase, but those who do return often purchase something else. Ecommerce returns may be for something as simple as a sizing problem or a product being damaged in transit.

Additionally, abandoned carts should avoid hidden costs until the end. Be transparent about how much a product will cost from the get-go. Try to avoid posting taxes or shipping costs at the end of the checkout experience.

Online Shopping Keeps Growing: Are You Growing With It?

As we’ve seen from the online shopping statistics for 2019, the market is growing and the demands from consumers are too. If you’re using the right tactics, your ecommerce brand will continue to be ready for the various changes in the industry.

Use the statistics above to improve your ecommerce business and share your favorite stats with us on Twitter!

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Let’s start by asking an important question–what’s one of the main reasons why shoppers willing spend more on competitors?

Product quality.

When customers believe they’re getting top-of-the-line product or an item from a trusted brand, shoppers dig deeper into their pockets. In fact, a 2018 Deloitte holiday shopping habits report found when it comes to the importance of a product, 71% of respondents said they look for high-quality items and trusted brands when buying.

deloitte holiday shopping graphic

So how would you rate your product quality? Are you confident in saying you offer the best in your industry? If you’re realistic, you know that product quality is something that requires constant testing, improvement and customer feedback to know how to make your customers happier.

No brand or retailer is perfect, but those who let product quality slide to the back burner, will more likely see problems reoccur. So what kind of problems?

Here’s four reasons your product quality can make or break your business in today’s market what you can do to fix it:

1. Your Reputation Precedes You

It’s no secret that people talk about your brand online. What they say can make you a hero or a villain. And in a super connected world, it doesn’t take long for a customer experience to trend on Twitter.

You don’t have to spend too much time to think of a brand that’s earned negative press recently. Sadly, it’s a little harder thinking of a company highlighted in a positive way for their customer experiences.

Your brand reputation means everything when it takes just a single poor experience to derail your customer satisfaction strategy. To combat this, brands are interacting more frequently to create positive experiences.

While Blue Apron regularly interacts with customers’ positive tweets, the company also addresses issues and any product flaws. By immediately answering questions or concerns, users know the team is putting in the effort to create a good experience and a better reputation.

The quality of the product or service you provide has a huge impact on what people say about you. In fact, the Sprout Social Q3 2017 Index found 37% of shoppers will share a positive social experience online with friends and family. What’s even better is 45% will share a positive brand experience on social media.

It doesn’t take long for these positive experiences to move through your customers’ feeds and in turn, define your reputation. Whether it’s good or bad, brands have to ensure reputations are in check by answering concerns on social and creating more paths for feedback.

2. Satisfied Customers Will Come Back for More

Satisfied customers are the end goal for most brands and retailers, right? It’s important to know how closely brand loyalty and product quality are tied together, especially for Gen Z shoppers.

In a Yes Marketing survey, the company saw 57% of Gen Z shoppers directly linked quality to brand loyalty. Younger generations continue to get wiser with how they spend.

This will only translate to increased revenue for brands focusing on product quality–as long as they’re good enough for people to keep coming back. Another study from BIA Advisory revealed that 61% of SMBs get more than half of their revenue from repeat customers rather than new customers.

Zenni Optical offers affordable eyewear and frequently highlights its customers who have collections and love to show off more than one pair of frames. The brand’s message is clear and they prove through a quality product, they offer affordable frames and still have style.

When you look to improve the quality of the products you provide, people will constantly come back for more. Thus, you’ll have a more valuable customer base and higher revenue.

Set Yourself From the Rest

What are the standards for product quality in your industry? How can you go above and beyond them?

Taking the extra step to consistently improve shows customers you’re not only trusted, but invested in higher quality products. Consumers appreciate when brands are able to improve and make items better with quick turn arounds.

For example, you may not think that much could be done to improve a standard bicycle lock. However, Lattis created an innovative lock that goes above and beyond with GPS tracking, keyless locking and solar panels for self-charging.

lattis bike lock landing page

A Lab42 report discovered 84% of shoppers want brands to be innovative with their products. By consistently improving your product quality, you get ahead of your competition and further stand out in your industry.

3. Builds a Foundation for Word-of-Mouth Marketing

If you haven’t read our word-of-mouth marketing strategy, bookmark it now! By enabling your fans to do the heavy lifting in your marketing efforts, you draw more traffic to your products by promoting customer voices.

At the same time, you save on friends telling one another the benefits of your business. So how do you build this foundation for your customers to communicate and engage with your business?

Some of the best ways to engage your fans through word of mouth include:

  • Creating a branded hashtag: By using a social media platform that best works for your customers, you can create a hashtag that encourages your fans to share, shoutout and have a say about your product with the rest of the world. Push branded hashtags in marketing campaigns, contests and product launches.
  • Promote fan feedback: When you get fans to write review content, you’re not only promoting communication, but you also get detailed product insights at the same time. It should always be encourages to write authentic reviews, but when you work with your loyalists, you can expect more truthful content.
  • Product Sampling Campaigns: Brands continue to see success in product sampling campaigns to build communities of trusted advocates and everyday influencers to promote your brand. What better way to get your brand out there than to provide a sample with simple guidelines to write reviews, give feedback and share across social? BzzAgent does just this. See how a community of millions of shoppers can help spread the word about your newest products.

influencer and sampling suite syndication example

Trust Your Quality to Spark More Conversations

While data from an Invesp infographic shows 88% of shoppers put the most faith in word-of-mouth recommendations from people they know, what gets them to talk in the first place? One of the best ways to start a word-of-mouth marketing strategy is to put effort behind a product people know they can trust to tell all their friends and family about.

When you offer a great product, people will feel naturally motivated to refer others. This is the kind of marketing that money can’t buy: it’s truly priceless.

4. Learn from Everything You Do (Both Right & Wrong)

By learning from your customers, you’re better equipped to build a foundation of quality in all your products. Your shoppers want to know their buying decisions were right and that they can trust to come back to you in the future.

Know what worked in past campaigns and take those insights into future products. You have to start by learning who your customers are and what they want. A Salesforce report found only 37% of shoppers believe retailers understand them and their needs.

This should tell you that consumers want the personalization and experience to match what they’re already saying about you. People want authenticity and it starts with you simply listening.

Product Pulse banner

Tune In to Your Product Reviews

One of the best places to listen to your customers and understand what they’re already saying is through product reviews. This content gives you some incredible ideas to how improve your product quality and what they want from you.

If you’re getting hundreds of reviews on your products, it could take you hours to analyze and draw ideas for product improvements. This is why so many brands avoid using the manpower to dig and sift through product reviews.

To fix that issue, PowerReviews launched the review analysis tool Product Pulse to save brands time by analyzing review data per product. Collecting all of this data is as simple as gathering and collecting reviews and tracking the sentiment based around them.

Image describing the rating sentiment of Blackberry Syrup

Product Pulse lets you dig through common adjectives, link them to sentiment and discover what your customers really think of your products. This kind of data also help you find areas to improve products, so start listening now.

Make Popular Features Even Better

But if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

It’s true that if you have a feature or a product that people really love, you don’t want to tamper with it too much. However, making data-based improvements on a feature that is already popular can make the whole user experience pop.

Try to improve a feature that your customers already love by:

  • Understanding how customers use your feature or product
  • Gathering data and customer feedback where the biggest issues and success stories exist
  • Finding ways to improve the way a product does what it’s simply made for

By following a few of these tips, you deliberately improve the focused on expanding a feature than just fixing issues. Know what you do best and always look for room to grow.

Your Product Quality Matters: Can You Improve?

Product quality has a huge affect on the success of your business. Bad-quality items ruin your reputation online, whereas improving your product quality builds trust in your customers, set you apart from the competition and can even lower return rates.

Remember, improving your product quality is a constant process. You need to be aware of what people are saying about you online, whether in reviews or on social media, in order to take action and boost sales.

By following these steps, your products (and your business) will finally be able to reach and exceed their potential.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Getting customers to like you isn’t easy–we get it. But if you don’t have a clear customer engagement strategy, how do you get your shoppers’ attention or to participate with your business at all?

Some social media marketers will say the magic numbers for your engagement level is based on likes, shares and comments. But are you doing your part to create an engagement strategy that surpasses social media and covers the entire buyer journey–whether it’s in store or online?

We live in an era of relationship marketing, which means every interaction is critical to improve retention. In fact, American Express research discovered it takes just one bad experience with a brand to make a customer switch.

Now more than ever, it’s essential to create meaningful relationships, which is why we’re here to talk about the steps you have to take to build a worthwhile customer engagement strategy. In this guide, you’ll discover the basics of a setting up your strategy and 12 methods to engage your customers right now:

What is a Customer Engagement Strategy?

A customer engagement strategy is the process of influencing your current or potential shoppers to interact, share and communicate within an experience your company specifically created. However, it’s just as important to understand the purpose of this strategy as well as to execute it.

The end goal of a customer engagement strategy is to increase brand loyalty and drive more sales through positive shopper experiences. This goes beyond the average sales pitch. Instead, a good strategy involves creating content that catches customers’ attention, draws them in, adapts to their needs and ultimately gives them the best experience possible.

Your customer engagement strategy will only be successful if you pull your eyes away from the dollar signs and focus on the actual people that make up your customer base. In turn, this helps you accomplish other important brand goals, such as:

  • Increased engagement on social media channels
  • Higher brand loyalty in your current customers
  • New advocates for your brand who share their experiences online
  • Generate and spread more positive content related to your brand
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Getting more attention of new customers
  • And (of course) increased sales

While the end result does involve increased sales, your strategy will never work if you’re only focused on the monetary growth. Think of the value you can provide your customers and how their experiences impact sales.

So, what other elements should you include?

Role of visual content banner

12 Principles to Live By in Your Customer Engagement Strategy

If you want to build loyalty and boost brand awareness on and offline, follow these 12 principles for a successful customer engagement strategy:

1. Inject Every Piece of Content With Personality

There’s a reason why certain brands do well with content, while others struggle. Also, those who succeed usually have something in common–they’re authentic.

Data from Stackla showed 86% of consumers think brand authenticity is essential toward making purchasing decisions and what company to support. To make things even more difficult, consumers can tell when you’re faking it.

57-Branded-content-inauthentic

The same survey found consumers think more than 50% of content from brands could be considered unauthentic. By focusing on authentic marketing, you build trust with your content.

So how do you push more authentic content?

Get into the head of your fan base. Know your customers’ daily struggles.

Do they hate that Monday-morning feeling or are they workaholics? Are your shoppers addicted to Netflix or to the feeling of a good workout? What’s gets them out of bed in the morning?

Answer these questions to know what your customers love and they’ll appreciate you popping up in their social feeds and email inboxes. To take this one step further, inject that same level of personality into every single piece of content that users see.

Brands like BarkBox have it a bit easier when it comes to sharing fun and authentic content on social. But the communication with their loyal followers engages and sparks participation with ease.

The company doesn’t just stop on social media. Their website is filled with simple instructions that provide open and honest details of their services. The whole point is to keep this fun-loving theme across all channels so people associate these emotions with BarkBox.

barkbox website CTA example

Whether it’s the copy in your 404 error page, the brief words included in your email or the short paragraph before your latest infographic, the words must pop with the same personality you include in your most important content.

2. Use the Language of Your Audience

If you really want to get into the mind of your audience, you’ll need to understand their language as well. For local businesses, this could include finding regional phrases and wording that show your brand is in sync with its physical location.

Goose Island came to the rescue when its local team, the Chicago Bears, lost in the NFL playoffs on a missed field goal. The brewery used social to engage their fans by calling them out for complaining about the missed kick. The conversation and language used is funny and even feels like a typical sports conversation you’d hear over a beer.

To get fans involved, Goose Island held a field goal kicking contest from the same distance where the professional missed. They got a ton of media attention and people to come out in the snow to participate.

The event was a huge hit and had the entire city buzzing about the contest. And even though many fans were still upset over the loss, the connection and engagement idea matched perfectly to their target audience and their brand’s voice.

The right language will allow your brand to be viewed as a friendly personality rather than a cold, impersonal entity.

3. Give Your Brand a Human Touch

In the spirit of personalizing your brand, giving it a face is a great way to get people to engage. Think of who in your company is the most vocal advocate.

Who is really passionate about the brand and the customers? This person can become the face of your brand, speaking in video content, presenting webinars and more.

Another way to give your brand a human touch is by presenting multiple faces from your company on your website and social channels.

Warby Parker does a great job at this by using employees to model their products. Make your customers feel like your employees to get them on your side!

4. Spice Up Your Social Feed With User-Generated Content

Your customers like to read the honest opinions from each other about your products instead of content from your brand. Why do you think ratings and reviews exist in the first place?

This is why so many people trust user-generated content. Data from CrowdTap found user-generated content is 35% more memorable than your average social posts and is 50% more trusted. Additionally, user-generated content is 20% more influential on purchase decisions.

speedway motors user-generated content example

Speedway Motors uses PowerReviews’ Visual and Social Suite to collect and display user-generated content into reviews. Potential buyers can see images of the products in action from shoppers just like them.

Did you know that 88% of consumers specifically look for images and videos uploaded by other consumers before purchasing? If you want people to remember, trust and be influenced by your social feed, it’s time to incorporate user-generated content.

5. Build Relationships With Your Most-Engaged Social Fans

Customer engagement and relationship-building go hand in hand.

To start, always respond to your customers and fans on social media. Check out how Wendy’s does this with style:

When you see that a certain user always comments on or shares your posts, it may be time to take this a step further. For example, you could include this user in your influencer marketing strategy (especially if they have a decent social following).

Whether it’s asking these influencers to write a blog, do a social media takeover or provide visual content, you take away the brand and focus on creating relationships with people.

6. Give Your Most Valuable Customers VIP Status

People love to feel special. So, give them a reward for being a great customer!

Creating loyalty and rewards programs for repeat shoppers encourages brand loyalty and increases the overall customer experience.

For example, you could invite repeat shoppers to join your VIP club. Then, send them exclusive offers on products, give them early access to time-sensitive sales or let them pre-order new products ahead of the average shoppers.

PowerReviews’ Journey IQ does just that. We help customers engage with brands by becoming mystery shoppers to uncover insights into the overall shopper experience. And the best part is customers get rewarded with deals and exclusive coupons that makes shoppers feel inclusive with your brand.

These kinds of rewards will help current customers fall in love with your brand even more.

7. Publish Content With Your Current Customers in Mind

Sometimes brands focus too much on new customers than on their existing base when creating content. Stop this trend by creating content that is specific to current users of your products.

Check out how The Home Depot does this with their YouTube channel by providing tutorials to those who just made a purchase and might need a little help using a tool or completing a project:

home depot youtube channel examples

They regularly upload how-to’s and DIY guides that are super helpful to their current customer base. In turn, customers are likelier to be loyal to Home Depot since they helped them from start to finish with a project.

There’s no doubt about it–this kind of content boosts customer engagement and improves retention. In fact, 69% of online consumers agree that the quality, timing and relevance of branded content influence their view of a brand.

8. Reward New Reviewers

Want to encourage people to review your products online, but you’re having trouble generating content? One of the best ways to get more content is to incentivize the process!

Try offering a reward for taking the time to write a review, give feedback and post images of their content to help future shoppers. Dangling the carrot of a reward could really help produce more results.

overstock review rewards program Overstock does this with a systematic rewards system for reviewers. It’s not easy getting a bunch of reviews from shoppers all at once, but with the right tools, you can reward shoppers to fill out authentic and honest reviews for all their recent purchases.

It’s smart to drive engagement through post-purchase emails to let customers know about the potential rewards and get their customer feedback while the experience is still fresh in mind.

9. Over-Personalize Content & Offers

We all know personalization is important.

In fact, an infographic by Every Cloud Tech shows that marketers see on average a 20% increase in sales when using personalized web experiences.

every cloud tech infographic example of personalized experiences

Gather customer behavior data to understand what products they’re viewing, where they spend time on your website and if they’ve made any previous purchases. Once you have this data, you can better showcase personalized content to meet their specific needs.

Take this a step further by personalizing the offers you send to your email subscribers. For example, a fashion brand shouldn’t send offers for men’s clothing to a user who has only ever looked at or purchased women’s clothing on their website.

Dive into your customer data to learn purchasing behaviors so you can tailor emails specifically to them and the products they want.

10. Collaborate With Customers to Create & Improve Products

Another tip to follow is getting customers to engage and interact with your brand by inviting their feedback on your products.

Generating ideas from your customers about future products or improvements makes them feel like a part of the process. Also, it might give you an idea for your next big marketing campaign.

Domino’s put this into practice by allowing users to create their own pizza. The campaign was all about engagement and highlighting their customers’ ideas.

dominos pizza legends CTA example

In the end, the marketing campaign combined the idea of brand and customer collaboration with a discount. At the same time, Dominos made it easy to share the experience on social media.

11. Generate Interactive Content

Is your blog lacking strong engagement? Try boosting your engagement rate by creating content that involves your audience.

For example, use quizzes to help customers decide on the best product for them. You can also draw them in with a useful calculator that helps them solve a problem. A fantastic example of interactive content is live videos.

benefit cosmetics facebook example

Benefit Cosmetics puts live videos to good use on Facebook, showing customers how to use their products in a live demonstration. This allows people to comment as the video is rolling.

12. Deliver Fast & Positive Customer Service on Social Media

Your customers want their voices heard. In fact, Telus International found 72% of millennials are more likely to be loyal to a brand that responds to them over social media.

Additionally, 66% of millennials say that their loyalty would be affected by how fast the brand responds to their feedback on social media. Providing customer service on social isn’t new, there are ways to provide better experiences.

Some of the tactics you can use, include:

  • Support Accounts: A lot of bigger tech and software companies are relied on to be running 24/7, which is why having a direct line to the support team is essential. If you want to direct support questions away from your major accounts, create a new one only for customer questions.
  • Search for Conversations: Using social media management tools like Buffer, Hootsuite or Sprout Social allow you listen to conversations on social–even when you’re not tagged or mentioned. It’s always good to find conversations about you and providing answers some customers might have wanted to express.
  • Delegate Social Messages to the Right Team: To speed up your social media answering, make sure you’re delegating questions to the appropriate team. Even if you don’t have a large social team, you can have specific employees from marketing, sales, engineering or recruiting to provide answers to customer questions.

Build Something You’re Proud Of

Increasing brand loyalty, positive feedback and higher sales are all common goals for businesses. But to get there, you need to impress your customers and create experiences that keep them coming back.

It’s all about how you interact and engage with your customers that makes you truly unique in their eyes. Use a customer engagement strategy to build authentic relationships with your audience and prove to them you care.

If done right, you’ll quickly find your own tribe of brand advocates to recommend, share and stand up for your brand. Good luck and let us know on Twitter what you do to build better customer experiences!

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

From eye-catching advertisements to shopping cart checkouts, there’s an unending amount of areas to improve or simplify in your ecommerce experience. That’s why there are so many helpful (and sometimes unhelpful) ecommerce tools to choose.

Are you using the right ecommerce tools to reach your full selling potential? Have you done enough social media marketing to keep customers engaged? What do shoppers think of your overall customer experience?

Well, there’s a tool for that.

You might wonder why there are so many ecommerce tools, but like most things, the demand is high. In 2018 alone, ecommerce sales in the U.S. skyrocketed to over $504 billion and by 2023, that number is forecasted to hit $735 billion.

statistica ecommerce trends

If you want a piece of that pie, you need to tackle the new challenges ecommerce businesses face each day. With the right tools in place, processes are easier, take less manpower and put your company in better line for success.

But with so many tools, where should you start? That’s why we’re here to break down the 16 ecommerce tools you should know about in 2019 and how they could help your business:

Click the jump links to skip ahead

Reviews & Social Tools

1. PowerReviews

We know we’re making our own list, but we strongly believe user-generated content, like reviews and questions and answers, is essential to your ecommerce store. Review content gives shoppers confidence to make better purchasing decisions and limits the obstacles to get to check out.

In fact, our study on How to Beat Amazon found 43% of consumers get upset or irritated with poor product descriptions. The challenge is collecting, displaying and syndicating this content across your site and retailer partner sites.

product pulse report product detail example

That’s where PowerReviews helps. Our tools not only enable brands and retailers to generate, collect and display authentic ratings and reviews, but also we help businesses draw valuable insights from the content with our Intelligence Suite.

Because 88% of consumers look for user-generated images while going through product pages, we also know the power of social media and ecommerce. Our Visual and Social Suite gives companies the ability to collect, display and get user approval to showcase user-generated content on product pages.

visual and social display Room and Board example

These real-life images give consumers even more confidence to make a purchasing decision. Providing visual cues lets shoppers see products in use from people just like themselves.

Cost: For more pricing info, request a demo today to see our affordable and easy-to-implement options!

2. Buffer

Another essential part of getting the word out online is by using the social media channels that your audience is using. Whether you’re looking to improve your Instagram influencer marketing strategies or listen in on consumer conversations, you need a tool to manage social beyond publishing.

With over 800,000 businesses using Buffer, it’s one of the most trusted social media products, making it an ecommerce tool that you need in your toolbox.

buffer social media management

Buffer allows you to monitor all of your social media accounts from one place. The tool also helps you engage with commenters from one unified inbox, schedule posts in advance and follow up with performance analytics to improve.

Cost: The free version is a good starting point, but like most ecommerce tools, you’ll want to invest in the paid plans so you get features like social media analytics. The good news is the paid versions start at $15 per month.

3. Canva

While Canva isn’t just for social media, this tool is essential for making your online marketing assets pop, social media banners fit properly and ad banners look their best. Canva is an easy to use design tool that most everyone on your marketing team can work with too!canva design options

Additionally, Canva is set up with adaptable templates for email, social, website, ads and more. You can easily add fun graphics, fonts, pictures or patterns to create memorable marketing images for your products.

Cost: Canva offers a free version of their tool as well as differently priced plans depending on team size.

4. BzzAgent

To get a head start at building trust in your audience, it’s vital to get recommendations by the people they trust–each other. And what better place to drive conversation between shoppers than social media?

Enter BuzzAgent–a leading community of everyday influencers that leverage their social powers to promote brands through product sampling campaigns.

influencer and sampling suite advanced targeting example

In fact, Social Media Week stated 74% of shoppers are influenced by and look to social media when making a purchase decision. If you’re looking to generate buzz about your business online, this tool does all the heavy lifting.

First, BzzAgent works with its trusted community of brand advocates that have a reach of more than 2 million followers. Brands then send product samples to these shoppers wanting and willing to write helpful and honest feedback.

These everyday influencers share their content across their own social channels and write reviews where you need them most. It’s a win-win for those wanting to try out new products and for your team to build review content and buzz around your product campaigns.

Cost: Contact the BzzAgent team to see what product sampling campaigns are offered!

Email Marketing Tools

5. OptiMonk

Before you can start sending out emails to your target audience of potential customers, you’ll need to build an email list.

OptiMonk describes itself as a more polite way to increase revenue, by giving you a human-centric marketing tool. You’ll be able to create beautiful pop-ups that get the right message to the right people based on website behavior or even what’s in their shopping cart.

optimonk target example

It also connects with a number of other essential ecommerce tools, like BigCommerce and MailChimp.

Cost: Pricing starts at $29 per month.

6. MailChimp

Once you’ve got your list building tool set up, it’s time to send some emails. MailChimp is one of the biggest names in email marketing for a reason: it’s great!

mailchimp promo offer example

Creating new email campaigns, promo offers and beautiful landing pages is easy, even for those of us with limited design skills. You can also segment those campaigns for different users and take advantage of email automation to save time.

Plus, you’ll get all the valuable insights that their analytics provide. There’s a reason so many people trust MailChimp with automation, creation and promotion.

Cost: MailChimp is free to use when you have under 2,000 subscribers and allows users to send out 12,000 emails per month. Of course, for bigger brands, MailChimp offers plenty of pricing plans to fit your specific needs.

Ratings and reviews banner

Ecommerce Business Tools

7. Sourcify

You need to source products and materials to keep your ecommerce business running, but it’s hard to know who you can trust. If you’ve struggled with product sourcing, this ecommerce tool will help relieve that stress.

sourcify connection example

Sourcify is a sourcing management platform that simplifies your process of finding and working with manufacturers. By matching your business to the right suppliers all around the world, Sourcify helps you save on resources that take up the most time. For ecommerce brands looking to improve their supply chain, this is an all-in-one tool to help create more transparency.

Cost: Depending on product volume, Sourcify offers different pricing plans.

8. Oberlo

If you’re looking at a dropshipping style business, Oberlo is an essential tool. This platform allows you to find the perfect products to sell in your ecommerce store.

oberlo data example

With an abundant marketplace of verified suppliers, it’s very easy to select the right products for your audience, add them to your list and use analytics to back your purchasing decisions. Oberlo also helps you optimize product pages, track orders and sales and automate your pricing.

Cost: The starter plan is free, allowing you up to 50 orders per month. Paid plans start at $29.90 per month.

9. EcomDash

This multifaceted ecommerce tool gives you the ability to control your inventory and orders from one place. The goal of EcomDash is to help you run your business more efficiently.

ecomdash product example

They offer features like dropshipping automation, multi-channel fulfillment, inventory management, order management and much more. Its software helps businesses sell products more effectively and owns features specifically built for retailers looking to improve multi-channel inventory.

Cost: Pricing starts at $60 per month.

Ecommerce Website Tools

10. HotJar

Your website is everything to potential customers wanting to learn more about you. Do you know if your CTAs are in the right spot? Do shoppers stop scrolling through pages at similar spots? What links get the fewest and most clicks across your essential product pages?

 

Luckily, the heat mapping tool, HotJar, is perfect for answering these questions. HotJar allows brands and retailers to quickly and easily discover user intentions through click, scroll, move, share and download heatmaps.

hotjar example of heatmap

This is the perfect tool for those wanting to further investigate conversion funnels so it’s easy to see where site visitors lose interest. Heatmapping is a must for any brand or retailer relying on organic traffic and selling products on their site.

Cost: Basic plans to collect a max of 2,000 pageviews a day is a free option, but for business purposes, plans start at $29 a month for up to 10,000 pageviews a day.

11. BigCommerce

As the name implies, this tool is perfect for enterprise ecommerce stores or those who are looking to scale quickly. BigCommerce is perfect for those who are serious about scaling their brand with powerful ecommerce tools.

bigcommerce mobile example

Additionally, BigCommerce offers a drag-and-drop style website builder, an integrated dashboard for multiple sales channels, strong website security, multiple shipping and fulfillment options and a full suite of conversion optimization tools. The tool is also ideal for brands wanting to significantly improve their mobile usability and sales.

Cost: Pricing starts at $29.95 per month. They also offer enterprise plans for large ecommerce stores and B2B businesses.

12. Shopify

Brands and retailers wanting to sell right away need an all-in-one solution to cover the point of sale, product page creation and own the analytics to track how you’re performing. This is just a sample-size scenario for businesses who need Shopify.

This powerful ecommerce tool lets you manage everything from product insights to sales and shipping. For those who want to get serious about selling and how to improve, Shopify is a must-have tool in 2019.

shopify platform example

Shopify also lets you connect in-store and online for the perfect omnichannel marketing experience. Their plug-and-play hardware, secure payment options, multi-channel selling and inventory management set up ecommerce companies with everything needed to make, track and measure a sale.

Get started by using Shopify’s features to build your brand and store so you can sell anywhere.

Cost: Get started with a free trial and basic Shopify plans start at $29 a month.

13. Woopra

Collecting and analyzing massive amounts of data is essential to understanding what’s going on with your ecommerce website and how you can improve it.

While there are many website analytics tools, Woopra is one of the few that is specifically designed for ecommerce websites.

They take your data across products, marketing, sales and support, and go through the hard work of analyzing that data for you. You’ll be able to quickly understand the customer journey, retention stats, cart abandonment rates and more.

woopra report example

Beyond that, Woopra takes the mask off these numbers with People Profiles, showing you who the individual users are and what they’re doing on and off your website. This tool also integrates with many other ecommerce tools and allows you to set up action triggers that automate business processes.

Cost: Most small to medium ecommerce businesses can use a free version, while pro plans start at $999 a month.

14. Unbxd

Want to make your ecommerce website really stand out while also capturing more sales? What about getting your shoppers to find products they’re actually looking for?

Unbxd is an interactive tool that helps customers discover products while on your website, thus improving UX and giving users a better way to find the products they want, especially on mobile devices.

unbxd product search example

They offer ecommerce website features such as shop search, product recommendations and personalized browsing experiences based on customer behavior.

Cost: Request a demo to get more pricing information for your specific site.

Customer Service Tools

15. GrooveHQ

Now that you’ve enchanted your target audience and built up your customer base, it’s time to keep them happy.

GrooveHQ is a useful customer support product that offers a shared inbox for your customer support team, easy knowledge base setup and reporting that gives you the skinny on your company’s interactions with customers.

groovehq product tools

This tool is ideal for brands and retailers wanting to scale customer service to provide shoppers with better experiences and easier ways to communicate with your team. As companies look to improve customer satisfaction, tools like GrooveHQ are important to consider.

Cost: Pricing starts at $12 per month.

16. LiveChat

Did you know that 44% of online shoppers feel that getting their questions answered by a live person during their purchase is one of the most important features an ecommerce website can offer?

That’s why LiveChat is on our list of essential ecommerce tools. We even use this tool on our own site to increase our demand generation efforts. LiveChat helps us answer potential customer questions on the spot and gives us another avenue to open communication with those interested in our services.

livechat example on PowerReviews

 

This easy-to-use tool allows you to run a live chat on your website with minimal coding. Thus, you can answer customer questions and offer support through the buying process whether your customers are on a desktop or a mobile device.

Cost: LiveChat is free for a 30-day log retention and plans for more users and longer data retention starts at $9.99 a month.

Which Ecommerce Tools Do You Need to Get Started?

Ecommerce is a changing world, but you’ll be prepared for whatever may come when you’re fully equipped with these ecommerce tools. When you’re looking to build trust in your audience and grow brand awareness, rely on tools that you know solve a specific need.

Develop better email marketing strategies and keep your business processes and website in order.

Have any tools you recommend? Reach out on Twitter to give us your favorite ecommerce tools you’re using in 2019!

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Are you looking to get the word out about your new products? Do you want the attention of your everyday shoppers without the huge celebrity endorsements? More likely than not, someone on your marketing team has recommended dipping into the power of micro-influencers.

We all know that Instagram influencer marketing is on an uptick. This type of strategy has been on the short list of a lot of major brands. But as we get deeper into the world of influencers, how do brands know what works best when it comes to influencers, micro-influencers and now even nano-influencers?

That’s a lot of different names for what you truly want–brand advocates.

But we’ve already seen success with using influencers to drive product awareness and increase sales. A study by Tomoson found businesses make an average of $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing and attract higher quality customers at the same time.

quality of customers graphic

The problem is most influencers–and those inspiring to be influencers–have begun to realize their own worth. And now they’re getting expensive.

So, what if your brand doesn’t want to spend major marketing budgets on influencer partnerships? It’s time to dive deeper and work with micro-influencers who simply reach their smaller inner circles of friends and family to influence purchasing decisions.

What Are Micro-Influencers?

Micro-influencers are a type of brand advocates that have much smaller followings and use word-of-mouth marketing to recommend products and services to their followers, which typically only consist of friends and family members. The goal of an everyday influencer is to be a more reliable source of truth with your product or service than the opinions of major social media influencers and celebrities.

Micro-influencers have day jobs. They don’t rely on mass amounts of free samples and paid content opportunities. Instead, these are your everyday, run-of-the-mill shoppers who actually buy from you or would be your target demographic.

Why You Should Work With Micro-Influencers

You might be thinking, if these people have smaller followings, why would you want to have them market your business? But as it turns out, micro-influencers have significant–and sometimes specific–benefits to generate buzz about your products and services.

Here’s just a few reasons why you should work with micro-influencers on your next product launch or marketing campaign:

Visual and social suite banner

Attract a Smaller, But More Targeted Audience

Oftentimes, micro-influencers are 100% targeted to a specific niche inside a general product demographic that a larger influencer might not have credibility. Think about it–could Huda Kattan, an extremely popular makeup Instagram influencer, sell fishing and tackle gear to her 33.7 million followers?

While we certain she would drive a ton of traffic to any site she mentions, a brand like Catch Co., which sells monthly fishing gear boxes, would over pay and see a huge drop in cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-acquisition (CPA), Instead of relying on mass follower counts, micro-influencers target everyday fishers who can get the word out about your products to a loyal and interested few thousand users.

As they say–fish where the fish are biting.

A more targeted audience also leads to more engagement. In fact, a study by Markerly found Instagram influencers with less than 1,000 followers received likes 8% of the time on their posts and comments at 0.5%.

markerly graphic example

In comparison, larger influencers with more than 10 million followers received only 1.6% of likes and less than 0.04% for comments. These numbers show micro-influencers have the ability to generate better engagement with their audience than mass-follower counterparts.

Higher Trust Rate in Products

Providing trust in your products is the key to obtaining new customers and limiting obstacles in the path to purchase for those considering you. Brands have to build trust by opening communication and giving customers confidence in your products.

Did you know that 4 in 10 millennials on YouTube believe their favorite influencer understands them better than their friends? That level of trust is incredible.

youtube infographic example

Stats like this should show everyone the impact of major influencer opinions and how they affect their audiences. But when it comes to micro-influencers, this idea is even more relevant.

While large influencers are extremely relatable to consumers, so are everyday influencers to their own groups. There’s plenty of research showing consumers trust each other over brand messaging–even on social media.

And for everyday influencers, their trust is present because of their friends and family. People constantly seek out recommendations from peers, which means the trust factor is much higher when it’s a friend or family member making a product recommendation.

Put Your Marketing Dollars to Work

Celebrity-level influencers are expensive. Some of the top influencers charge up to $25,000 per social media post to promote a brand or product.

These costs are typically well over brands’ marketing budgets. This has more companies turning to micro-influencers, which typically cost closer to $500 per promotion.

influencer and sampling suite advanced targeting example

However, there’s another cost-effective way to get the most out of your everyday influencers. PowerReviews Influencer and Sampling Suite provide brands with the opportunity to reach a massive community of brand advocates, micro-influencers and authentic shoppers.

influencer and sampling suite graphic

With the help the largest network of pre-qualified everyday influencers, brands increase trust and product awareness with simple product sampling solutions.

In fact, our community delivers more than an 80% delivery-rate on average, which lets brands gain authentic ratings and reviews content, product insights, visual content and valuable customer feedback.

Want to see how you could benefit from a product sampling campaign? Reach out to our team and request a demo to gain more insights!

3 Tips to Scale Your Micro-Influencer Strategy For More Wins

Now that you know a few reasons why you should work with micro-influencers, how do you go about scaling your marketing strategy and overall implementation? We’ve got you covered with three quick tips to get your campaign off on the right foot.

1. Sharpen Your Search Skills to Find Relevant Micro-Influencers

Where in the world are the best micro-influencers for your brand?

To scale your efforts and maintain your budget, you need to sharpen your search skills. Before you start, think about where your target audience lives online.

instagram hashtag search

For example, do a hashtag search for some keywords that not only fit within your niche product, but also words associated with the pain points your product or service resolves. The challenge is finding a hashtag that ins’t too large (think less than 200,000 posts) but isn’t too small where you’ll have any reach.
If you’re a local business, you can also try searching for posts in your physical location.

Another way to search for micro-influencers is by sorting through people who already follow you, use your products and mention your brand on social media. There’s a huge amount of user-generated content on social media that could help increase purchasing decisions when people see visuals of people like themselves on your product pages.

Visual & Social Management Premium Matching

That’s why our Visual and Social Suite is trusted by brands and retailers who know the value of user-generated content. Our software allows companies to easily collect, curate and get approval for user-generated content and then display it across product pages.

2. Assess Your List of Micro-Influencers

Once you start your search, it’s time to narrow down your most relevant influencers.

First, look through their content and see if it aligns with your business. See if the majority of a users’ content is related to your business or would be in the same field.

Next, set requirements that your ideal micro-influencers must have, such as a minimum or maximum amount of followers, follows a certain amount of brands or posts a specific amount of days in the week. Think about your goals and how they could relate toward your specific requirements.

View this post on Instagram

thanks for the invite @heritagebicycle ☕️

A post shared by Alfie Friday (@alfiefriday) on

For example, if your goal is to get better visual content related to your brand, make sure the influencers on your list produce above-average content. We can see the higher quality image in the example above, which is likely why Heritage was more inclined to use this influencer.

It’s also important to check for vital signs. Is the influencer actively posting as well as conversing with their audience? Are they taking their status as an influencer seriously?

Measure their engagement rates across the channels you’re promoting and make sure you’re seeing the numbers that make sense. As we said, micro-influencers normally have much better engagement than larger influencers, but this is just an average and therefore isn’t always true for specific micro-influencers.

Unfortunately, with the rise in popularity of influencers, there are plenty of people trying to game the system. Some buy social media followers in mass and expect brands won’t check to make sure their 2,000 followers are mostly real people.

You can resolve this by calculating the engagement rate of their posts. If they have 10,000 followers, but only get 20 likes and no comments on their posts, something is off.

ig audit example of lebron james

Additionally, you can use tools like IG Audit (for free) or FakeCheck.co to audit their Instagram followers so you know they have real reach.

3. Ensure Authenticity Within Posts

While the overall authenticity of your influencers is important, you’ll also want to make sure that the actual posts they create for you are authentic.

When scoping out influencers, it’s important to see what kind of comments they write for their posts. Are they just blindly promoting any brand that contacts them? Or are they providing genuine value to their audience in their recommendations?

View this post on Instagram

Should I go to college to become a photographer?” People ask me this all the time. While I can’t say for sure what the right path is for every person, I do know that you need to keep learning. One of my favorite ways to do that is with @audible_ca. I spend a lot of time walking to my studio, driving to shoots, or just exploring my neighborhood looking for things to shoot. One of my favorite ways to make the most of that time is to listen to audio books on business management and productivity. That way even if I get lost down some new alley or path, I still feel like I got something done. Learn more about getting started with Audible – your first audiobook is free. #YouGottaHearThis #Audibleanywhere #ad

A post shared by Jesse Driftwood (@jessedriftwood) on

For example, audiobook provider Audible used micro-influencer Jesse Driftwood to promote their company. The honest feedback is what helps drive trust in the first place.

This is one of the best benefits of Instagram. It’s easy to spot credible content. Always look for honesty and avoid hiding your more negative feedback.

We know the Proven Power of Reviews study says 82% of shoppers actually look for negative reviews of a product before purchasing.

It’s Time to Get Started

Targeting your core audience comes with a lot of challenges, but there are tools out there that can help you. As we’ve covered, there are several benefits your brand could see with micro-influencers promoting your products or services.

Whether it’s sharpening hashtag search skills or running engagement numbers on posts, make sure your micro-influencers align their with your brand and have the potential to increase visibility. By keeping your team organized, there’s a lot your marketing team can do on a budget.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

This site and our services use cookies and other technologies to collect and/or store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work while others improve your experience. Read our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy to learn more.