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E-commerce marketing: Guide to mastering it in 2022

Every single e-commerce store wants to increase traffic, convert customers, and be profitable. But, one thing is what you want to achieve, and another one is being successful at it. Putting together a strategy and deciding on basic tactics for your e-commerce marketing can be quite the challenge. And it is proving to be a challenge to many companies right now when we are entering a recession. So how do you master e-commerce marketing in 2022? It starts with data, but instead of talking forever about it, let us just dive into it.

E-commerce marketing 101

E-commerce marketing is the actions you take to drive traffic to your website, convert your potential customers, and retain your customers after purchase. It can be a variety of tactics that you can use to obtain your goals. What we consider a holistic approach to e-commerce marketing is doing these things both off and on your website.

A great e-commerce marketing strategy will help you build brand awareness, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately increase your sales. But how do you create such a strategy? Let’s have a look at it together.

The six pillars of e-commerce marketing

Consumers are going through much more complex buying journeys than they did just a few years ago. With the emergence of e-commerce, and what McKinsey calls “the quickening“, the customers are now setting higher expectations for online stores than ever before. And it makes sense. During the global pandemic, most offline stores were closed, and people turned to online shopping.

With the massive influx of new customers, revenue, and growth, the opportunities and choices have never been bigger. Today, online consumers can get every product they want with just a few clicks. So in order to stand out, drive loyalty and retain your customers, you need to give them something extra. You need to give them the best experience possible when they are interacting with your website.

To build a successful digital strategy, you need to consider a holistic approach to your e-commerce marketing. And that starts with data. Being able to connect the dots from your customers’ journeys across all your touchpoints with them will prove key to building a personalized experience for each customer, at scale.
The biggest e-commerce stores are investing millions and millions into data warehouses and CDPs to do exactly that because that is how they deem you achieve the best chances of delivering the experiences your customers expect and deserve.

Today, any good e-commerce marketing strategy revolves around 6 pillars.

  1. Personalization
  2. Lifetime value (LTV) optimization
  3. Customer retention strategies
  4. Cross-channel integrations
  5. Data collection and management
  6. Lifecycle marketing strategy.

Let us have a look at each of these Pillars to understand how you can tie them together and beat your competitors to master e-commerce marketing anno 2022.

Personalization

E-commerce personalization is no longer what it used to be. Just a few years ago, personalization would be considered product recommendations and that is it.
Today, the reality is very much different. It is no longer about just one single experience by itself. The product recommendation alone does not matter. It needs to fit in the full, holistic experience a customer has together with you.

It basically means you need to be able to promote the right product, at the right time, with the right offer, on the right channel, with the right message. And you need to nail it every single time to truly build a personalized experience and built that trust and loyalty with your customers.

To do that effectively, you need a data infrastructure to connect all your customer data across all your touchpoints. That is how you connect with your customers. And the easiest and most effective way of doing it is working with an e-commerce customer data platform. This is what the biggest customers are investing all those resources into achieving. Because that is what personalization looks like today.

Lifetime value optimization

Most e-commerce stores typically focus on KPIs such as sales and revenue. This means that your focus will often be on very short-term metrics when it comes to campaign and content performance. But it will not paint a picture what the future of your business looks like. Looking at just your sales numbers will mean you are only looking at a fraction of what your business’ true financial situation actually looks like.

Instead, you should focus on your customer lifetime value (CLV). It is one of the most important metrics for understanding your business’ present and future success. It is a metric, that sadly is often overlooked. Customer Lifetime Value is a brilliant indicator of how much a customer really is worth for your business.

If you combine your customer’s lifetime value with an understanding of how profitable they are, you are able to determine how much this customer is truly bringing in value to your webshop. Pro tip: Use it to understand how much you can afford to pay to acquire customers look like this one and still stay profitable.

By using personalization and a Customer Data Platform for e-commerce to increase your customer lifetime value, you are able to not only increase profits. But you can also use it to find the best customers for your business and stay profitable in times when the market is down.

Customer retention strategies

Customer retention is the ability of a company to retain its customers over a specified period. If a company has high customer retention, that means its customers continue buying from that company. Customer retention is absolute for two reasons:

  • First, even if you are adding new business, you can’t grow your company if you are simultaneously losing business.
  • The second reason is incredibly black and white: It’s always more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep your current customers and sell more to them.

In order to retain your customers, you need to bring them value. The idea is; if you are able to bring value to your customers, they will keep coming back to buy from you. To do that, you can use personalization. It also ties into increasing your customer lifetime value. All something that will increase profits for your business.

Strategies to keep your customers happy

Delighting your customers through a better, personalized customer experience leads to higher user engagement and overall higher customer satisfaction and retention.

Another strategy is focusing on customer service, excellent customer service at that

Excellent customer service at every communication point will help increase customer loyalty. One single bad customer service experience can sour even a long-term customer relationship and make them discard all previous great experiences. Remember, trust is hard to gain but easy to lose, especially when shoppers have many retail options online. 
So make sure to keep your interactions personalized and top level all the time. If you are able to segment and understand which customers are most valuable for your business, it is a given to provide extra good service to keep those customers with your business.

Other ideas to look into are customer retention programs, such as rewards programs or points systems. This is especially effective for B2C e-commerce stores. Reward your customers for repeat purchases and you are already far in establishing a great relationship with them.
Also, consider shipment tracking. In fact, the average customer checks their shipment tracking 4.6 per purchase. Use that to provide them with more opportunities to buy more or provide value in other ways.

Cross-channel integration

Cross-channel integration in e-commerce is the process of connecting different systems, channels, or platforms in your e-commerce strategy with one another. The goal is to streamline the flow of data coming in and out of these systems and to provide a coherent and consistent shopping experience for customers. Basically, you need to connect your data across all your channels and integrations, so you can connect with your customers. This is the recipe for personalized experiences today, and it starts with integrating your channels with each other.

Cross-channel integration brings together both your internal systems and customer-facing platforms. This means if you do it right, it benefits your company both internally and externally.

Internal benefits:

Streamlined processes – With a central integration platform in your e-commerce customer data platform, your data flows in a much more streamlined manner than when all your systems operate separately.

Easier management – Since every system only needs one connection to a central hub, it’s less complicated to establish a consistent approach for every integration, regardless of how each system is built differently.

Scalable and allows for growth – As your e-commerce business grows, you may have to adapt more systems that will need to be integrated into your existing infrastructure. A CDP can solve that for you, so you can have seamless API integrations.

Better customer experiences

In itself, an optimized internal workflow already translates to a smoother sales process, and therefore, a better customer experience. In addition to this, here are a few other things that cross-channel integration helps with:

Better insights into your customers’ shopping behavior – Since every channel is interconnected along with your internal systems, you get more accurate and contextualized insights about how your customers shop your products and engage with your brand.

These insights are a powerful starting point for you to further refine your customer experience. You can use these insights to activate your data and create even better experiences such as targeting customers with a high propensity to buy, meaning your message will be seen as very relevant to them.

Strengthened brand identity – You might view your physical store, online shop, and other e-commerce platforms as distinct channels, but to your customers, all these are just one brand.

Side tracking

Data collection and management

Today’s e-commerce stores are required to provide their customers with top-quality experiences across all channels. And as I mentioned earlier, the best e-commerce stores are pouring millions and millions into exactly this aspect of the business. They want to build a data infrastructure that allows them to have a full overview of their business and customers across all touchpoints. To do that, they build data warehouses and customer data platforms.

The data that a CDP can collect, consolidate, and analyze makes it so much easier to activate and create better, personalized experiences for your customers. And it is absolutely key for these businesses. It is the very backbone of their business insights and decisions. And it does make sense when you think about it.

Think of how many channels a modern e-commerce store actually has. Now imagine all of these being connected with a CDP. We are talking: 

  • Tracking of website
  • Social media
  • Customer service platform
  • Google Ads
  • Email system
  • Point of sales 
  • And many many more

In order to collect all those data and create an all-around personalized experience for each customer, it requires that those systems are not stuck in silos. If they are, it basically means the systems aren’t working together. And you will never gain a full overview of what is actually going on in the business.

Managing your customer data

A CDP can connect all those systems, so you don’t have to keep track of data in 30+ systems and spend hours upon hours analyzing data. Oftentimes, you probably even forget why you are doing it. Because, what is the end goal? How do you use that data for anything impactful? 

The CDP allows you to work with your data strategically. It can give you that all-deciding overview of the full business, and a direction for your data usage. 

Collecting data with a strategic goal in mind allows you to work and activate your data insights to create personalized experiences for your customers. Something they demand from you today. They can have everything with just a few clicks. So if you can deliver experiences that fit what they want, you are far ahead of your competition. And that’s before we even dive into the price, shipping, service, and all the other deciders in e-commerce. 

The CDP is in many ways the key to working data-driven in e-commerce. It can be the difference between making sure the company rows in the same direction. If you don’t have one, you might just continue running in circles without the full data insights needed in the market today. 

Lifecycle marketing strategies

Your customers have different needs, assumptions, and questions depending on how familiar they are with your brand. As an example, someone who visits your webshop for the first time might have a vague idea of what you sell, while someone who buys from you every month knows exactly what they want.

Customer lifecycle marketing is about meeting people where they are instead of telling them where they should be with regard to their behavior. This is especially important in e-commerce, where infinite options are converging with consumers’ rising expectations for personalized shopping experiences.

Most customers go through 5 stages in their relationship with a brand:

  • Awareness
  • Acquisition
  • Engagement
  • Conversion
  • Retention

If you are able to meet your customer with the right messaging at each stage of their journey. You are much more likely to reach stages 4 and 5, in which the real value of a customer comes to its full potential. Customer retention is very much key if you want to run a profitable e-commerce business today.

Mastering all six pillars is key in today’s omnichannel e-commerce marketing world

If you are able to master all six pillars above and connect them to each other you will be far ahead of your competitors.

The easiest way to go about it is working with your customer, product, and marketing data. Especially if you have access to a customer data platform.

The CDP customer data platform gives you the foundation to ensure that your customer data analysis and insights are consistent across all your tools, platforms, or channels. 

It is possible to do this as a CDP can track identifiers from your different channels and unify them in the CDP. The platform also identifies and automatically removes duplicates, so you have a clear overview of your customers. 

In just a single day your customers might interact with your business through advertisement on Instagram, they might download your app, or maybe even receive an email from you, all on their phones. And then later that same evening they decide to purchase a product on their laptop.

Under normal circumstances, all this information is split into different tools, that do not work together. This means it becomes incredibly difficult to identify who your customers are, what motivates their behavior, and what drives them to become customers in the first place. This is where CDP marketing comes into play.

These insights are key to have if you want to master the six pillars of e-commerce and marketing today.

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