Reading Time: 16 minutes
The Convertize eCommerce Marketing Guide 2019
4.3 (86.67%) 6 votes

ecommerce marketing mix

eCommerce Marketing 2019

eCommerce marketing is highly competitive. The cost of digital advertising is rising faster than inflation across all major platforms. Google Ads account for 97% of Google’s annual revenue, total digital ad spending for 2019 is expected to reach over $320 Billion, and content marketing will generate over $280 Billion a year by the end of 2019.

As it becomes increasingly difficult to make yourself visible online, eCommerce and digital marketing experts have to find new ways to communicate. Understanding cognitive biases, neuromarketing tactics, and the psychology of persuasion will allow you to enhance your content and optimize your communications.

The Convertize eCommerce Marketing Guide analyses the major themes in digital marketing and combines these with expert neuromarketing insights. 

Like traditional marketing, eCommerce marketing uses the internet to provide something of value to consumers. 

The world of Web Marketing and E-commerce is full of technical terms and industry conventions. The following guide will provide an introduction to some of the main concepts. It will also show you how to use cognitive biases and consumer psychology to communicate effectively and persuasively. 

The past year has seen a number of important changes in the world of eCommerce marketing.

Here is a roundup of the 2018 eCommerce headlines:

So what does this mean for eCommerce marketers?

One major take-away message is that the era of Google-only advertising may be coming to a close. Whilst the search engine giant continues to account for the vast majority of web traffic, websites such as Amazon and social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are now major advertisers. Competitor search engines such as Bing have also shown remarkable growth in reach and engagement.

The importance of mobile browsing and video content has also been re-affirmed. Effective eCommerce Marketing is now a multi-media and multi-platform exercise.

These are some of the latest themes and trending-terms in eCommerce marketing. 

Chatbots

80% of international companies intend to implement the use of chatbots by 2020

What are Chatbots? A Chatbot is an automated programme that provides responses to customers. They are usually delivered through pop-up boxes on an eCommerce website.

How do Chatbots work? Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technology allows automated programmes to imitate human interactions and deliver appropriate responses to information requests. However, almost all research demonstrates that customer quickly realise that they are talking to a robot rather than a human. It is best to combine any chatbot system with genuine customer support.

Content Marketing

91% of B2B marketers say they will use Content Marketing strategy in 2019

What is Content Marketing? – Content marketing is a technique in which valuable and relevant material is provided to a target audience in the hope of driving engagement. It can take the form of blogging, podcasting, creating videos or producing visual content.

How does Content Marketing work? – Producing content that your audience will love is a sure-fire way to build a relationship. There are other benefits, too: Content marketing can be used as part of a broader SEO strategy, it generates brand authority and trust, it can even generate leads.

CRM

59% of customers cite tailored offers as a significant factor in making purchases

What is CRM? CRM, or “Customer Relationship Management,” is the process of engaging with customers throughout their engagement with your company. With the cost of customer acquisition rising (due, in part, to advertising costs) businesses are focusing on customer retention. CLV (customer lifetime value) has become an important part of most business’s marketing strategies. 

How does Customer Relationship Management work? CRM software maintains the contact information for a company’s previous customers. Communications can be automated and delivered instantly, whilst customers can contact a company through their CRM system. The advantages of CRM software are considerable: it allows businesses to map the customer journey more effectively, prevents communications from breaking down, provides an alternative marketing and recruitment channel, increases customer satisfaction and can even be used to make better sales forecasts.

Influencer Marketing

Less than 20% of companies using Influencer Marketing in 2019 say they have a method for calculating ROI

What is Influencer Marketing? Influencer marketing delivers a message to potential customers through highly networked social-media or content sharing accounts. Influencers are people whose accounts attract a large number of follower and views, and who correspond to the desired audience. 

How does Influencer Marketing work? Unlike traditional marketing or digital marketing methods, Influencer Marketing is complicated by the need to engage a third party (the ‘Influencer’) without compromising their value as a communicator. The first step is to research your audience and identify any key Influencers. Then, you can contact the person and invite them to review or refer your product. It is important to ensure that any material that your Influencer produces complies with the policy and terms of the platform they use.

Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation

97% of people base purchasing decisions on customer reviews

What is Intrinsic Motivation? Intrinsic Motivation is an incentive that arises from internal desires and satisfactions. It might be social, psychological or practical. 

What is Extrinsic Motivation? The desire to avoid punishment or receive a reward constitutes an Extrinsic Motivation. 

How does Motivation Work? Depending on the circumstances, Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivations will be more or less persuasive. With short-term tasks, Extrinsic factors (discount offers, for example) are most effective. For larger decisions with longer-term effects, Intrinsic factors (which can be influenced through persuasive copy or branding) play a larger role. 

Outbound Marketing

The average consumer deletes half of their emails daily without reading them.

What is Outbound Marketing? – Outbound marketing is any form of promotional activity that delivers content to its audience without them initiating the conversation. Advertising is the most obvious example of an outbound technique. Outbound marketing typically offers a lower ROI than inbound techniques, but has more potential for brand-building and market positioning.

How does Outbound Marketing work? – A marketer will decide on their target audience and create an outbound strategy. This could involve: Sending cold emails, social media advertising (Facebook or Instagram), Google Ads, Amazon advertising or native advertising. 

Pain of Paying 

In a controlled experiment, behavioural economist Daniel Mochon found that removing “Single-option Aversion’ increased sales by over 300%

What is Pain of Paying? When someone makes a financial payment they experience psychological effects similar to those caused by physical pain. This makes consumers resist the transaction until the desire to make a purchase becomes significant enough to overcome the pain of paying.

How do marketers respond to the pain of paying? The payment process itself should be as quick and simple as possible. Pricing structures should be clear and any uncertainty should be addressed. 

Re-marketing/Re-targeting 

On average, only 4% of eCommerce customers make a purchase on first viewing an offer

What is Re-marketing? Re-marketing targets an eCommerce website’s past visitors, whether or not they made a purchase during their previous visit. The practice is based on the principle that past visitors are likely to be more relevant acquisition targets than any other audience.

How does Re-marketing work? When someone visits your website, re-marketing software installs a cookie on their browser. The cookie ID is then added to your re-marketing list, and adverts will be displayed to the visitor during a subsequent browsing session. To enhance to process, re-marketing cookies can be restricted to a specific section of your website’s visitors (for example, those that viewed a product but did not make a purchase). 

SEO 

57% of B2B marketers report that SEO has the highest ROI of any marketing activity

What is SEO? SEO, or “Search Engine Optimization,” includes any technique that makes online content more visible to search engines and web users. 

How does SEO work? It is typically divided into “on-page” and “off-page” techniques. On-page techniques include keyword optimization, editing tags and attributes, and re-structuring copy. Off-page techniques include link-building and content promotion. SEO strategies are discussed below.

Voice Search

Nearly 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020

What is Voice Search? Voice search replaces traditional keyword searches with spoken search terms. 

How does Voice Search work? Voice recognition technology is used to run a conventional web search, without the user having to type search terms manually. Whilst this means most SEO considerations are still applicable, it will almost certainly change the way browsers express their search interests.

It is believed that voice and visual search will continue to play a larger part in consumer browsing, so eCommerce marketing strategies that optimise for these forms of search will gain a significant head-start. Video marketing is expected to continue to grow in popularity and significance

The quickest way to start selling products online is to set up a store using an eCommerce Platform. Most of these platforms charge a monthly fee that varies with the features they provide. Even free platforms usually charge for processing card payments. Shopify, for example, charges between £23 and £299 to host a store as well as 2.2% + 20p for each transaction. WooCommerce, the plug-in extension for WordPress sites, comes with a hosting charge of between £3.15 and £5000 and numerous additional costs. 

A number of eCommerce platforms provide app extensions that enable you to customise the experience you offer to customers. Shopify’s app store contains over 2000 extensions and plug-ins to improve your store’s performance. These include Social Proof Marketing features, Exit Pop-ups and added security and Trust Features.

Here is our review of the best eCommerce platforms available in 2019

Shopify Shopify eCommerce platform

Est. 2006 Pricing: 29-299/m Add-ons There are additional costs for added features

This is the best-known and easiest platform to use. The range of pre-formatted store templates allows anyone to set up a store in minutes and Shopify comes with a range of built-in analytics. In addition, the platform offers a range of apps to improve conversion rates.

WooCommerce eCommerce MarketingWooCommerce

Est. 2008 Pricing: Wordpress hosting 6.95-12.95/m Add-ons: Communication, SEO, Marketing and Security add-ons cost (on average) over £150 a year.

This is the eCommerce extension for WordPress sites. Customisation, analytics and marketing are all intuitive.

Big Commercebigcommerce ecommerce platform

Est. 2009 Pricing: 29.95-249.95/m Add-ons: Built-in communications and analytics are free to use.

This is a more flexible option than Shopify or WooCommerce. It would suit eCommerce marketer who want to control and customise their store in detail. 

corecommerce ecommerce platformCoreCommerce 

Est. 2001 Pricing: 19-540/m Add-ons: No extra charges for features, which are limited by the plan you choose. However, technical support can be expensive.

This is the only platform available that focuses specifically on small and medium-sized businesses. It prides itself on its fairness and transparency.

A 2018 survey showed that 68% of people would pay more for a product if the company providing it had a good record of customer service. The same survey also illustrated a more fundamental point: customer service reviews correlate strongly with a business’s revenue. 

Increasingly, Web Marketers are embracing multi-channel customer support. This means offering a number of ways for customers to contact them. 

Live Support

  • Live chat: on-page support from experts is the preferred channel for most customers. In fact, a well-known survey by Zendesk found that live-chat support had a 92% satisfaction rating. However, the same survey found that demand for live-chat support declined noticeably before 10am and after 3pm. It is not a cost-effective solution for 24-hour customer support.

Self-Service 

  • FAQ guides: self-service guides provide some of the lowest customer satisfaction responses. However, they are a one-time expense, and provide an alternative service channel with no staffing costs. 

Automatic Support

  • Machine Learning has made it possible for businesses to offload particular tasks to dedicated programmes. However, Artificial Intelligence does not yet provide reliable answers to specific queries. The 2018 Customer Expectations Report produced by Gladly suggested that 50% of chatbot users were unhappy with their experience. 

Expectations for customer support have risen with the availability of instant messaging. Interestingly, a report from the Harvard Business Review found that customers prefer clear and direct answers from a single source to solutions from a range of sources. 

The most common, and cost-effective, approach to the demand for continuous support is an integrated multi-channel system. There are a number of further questions to think about: What kind of answers do you customers need? What kind of answers do they want? Should you prioritise customer support or User-experience? 

Search Engine Optimization offers the best ROI (Return on Investment) of any Web Marketing strategy. The principle is to make your company and products as visible as possible to the people who need them. To do this, marketers study Search Engine Ranking Factors and optimize their websites with these factors in mind. Optimization involves both on-page and off-page techniques:

On-Page: Potential customers browse internet content by entering terms into a search engine (Google retains a global market share of 74%, with its closest competitor Baidu holding 15%). These terms contain keywords that the majority of similar requests also contain. SEO marketers identify these keywords and make sure they are positioned correctly within a website. 

Other on-page ranking factors include the content of a given page, its technical attributes (tags) and its position within a website. 

Off-page: The link structure of a website and its various pages is a significant Search Engine Ranking Factor. One of the most important considerations are the links from external websites (called “backlinks”). SEO marketers promote their content in order to receive valuable backlinks from highly-regarded websites. 

Email Marketing

Email Marketing also provides a high ROI. The advantage of this approach is that content is directed to people who are likely to engage with it. However, the strategy relies on acquiring large numbers of email contacts from potential customers and maintaining a healthy database. Across all industries, the open rate for marketing emails is around 25%. However, this includes people who immediately close the message. 

One strategy for improving the performance of emails that have been opened is to A/B test them. Despite this, a 2018 report by Campaign Monitor found that 53% of marketers do not test emails before sending them

Web Advertising

Native Advertising: Some advertorial content imitates the environment in which it is displayed. For example, a large proportion of Social Media advertisements blend into a browser’s news feed. Because this material bypasses a consumer’s Ad-Recognition, it is a controversial technique. However, the strategy is legally permissible as long as specific forms of disclosure are provided.   

Google Ads: Most Google searches bring up paid advertisements, displayed alongside organic search results. Advertising on Google is organised on a pay-per-click basis, and prices vary according to the demand for a particular keyword. Because advertisements are filtered by search terms and cookies, the targeting of Google Ads is highly efficient. The platform accounts for over 95% of Google’s $100 billion annual advertising revenue.

It has recently been made possible to pay for Google Ads on a CPA (pay-per-conversion) basis. This provides a way of conducting risk-free eCommerce marketing.

Display Ads: Usually in the form of banners, floating adverts or pop-ups, display Ads are targeted according to the website and the visitor. Because Display Ads are usually easily ignored by consumers, they tend to be used only in high-budget saturation campaigns. 

One important return from Web Advertising is the increase in Brand Awareness and Brand Authority. A significant factor in enhancing these important metrics is the Mere Exposure Effect. Familiarity with an idea, image or name generates positive feelings towards it. However, to achieve this effect, it is essential that advertising campaigns provide consistent messaging. Landing pages are particularly important, and using Dynamic Headlines can help to maintain consistency between the advert  clicked and the content displayed.

There are now a bewildering array of tools available to eCommerce marketers. This is a selection of the best options available: 

Analytics

ecommerce marketing analytics tool Google

Google Analytics: There is no option here. If you have a website and you care about how it performs, you need to get a Google analytics account and install it on your site. Once installed, Google Analytics can track your audience, how you acquire visitors and how people behave on your site.

ecommerce marketing analytics metrilo

Metrillo: an alternative and user-friendly analytics platform. Installation is fast and simple, and the software comes with the ability to segment your customers and send targeted emails.

Optimization Tools

ecommerce marketing optimization crazy egg

CrazyEgg: A suite of website analytics tools, including mouse-tracking heat-map, recorded sessions, and CTA sweet-spot tools. CrazyEgg shows you how visitors view your site and where they click.

ecommerce marketing optimization heatmap hotjar

Hotjar: An alternative scroll map and mouse-tracking tool. It has few features than CrazyEgg and is therefore easier to use. It is well-reviewed for its screen-recording features, but its analytics are underpowered.

Social Media Tools

social media optimization tool hootsuiteHootsuite: A social media management suite, allowing you to plan and track social media content months in advance. Whilst a free plan exists, this is only appropriate for small companies. The tool does not integrate perfectly with Facebook, and forces its users to shorten links with Owly. 

social media marketing tool MentionMention: A tool that monitors mentions of your brand on social media platforms. It also allows you to reply to mentions, engage with your audience, find influencers and build reports.

Advertising Tools

ecommerce advertising tool semrushSEMRush: A combined SEO and advertising tool, with a much-vaunted competitor-analysis feature. The tool has an impressive range of features but is an expensive option for medium-sized businesses. 

wordstream advertising toolWordstream: A platform that allows you to visually track CPC and CPA campaigns. It reduces the time you spend managing online adverts and provides a way to optimise campaigns.

Re-marketing Tools

ecommerce marketing google adsGoogle Adwords Re-marketing: Adwords makes this re-marketing option available to anyone with a Premium Adwords account. You can segment previous visitors and send targeted adverts.

ecommerce marketing tool referral candyReferral Candy: A comprehensive customer-reward system allowing you to segment users and target rewards. Each customer to your site receives a tailored referral link, providing them with a reward for recommending you to a friend. 

There are four traditional approaches to pricing. 

  • The Cost-Plus Method: The Cost-plus method sets prices according to the cost of production and a fixed margin.
  • Customer Pricing: When prices are based on the amount a customer is willing to pay. 
  • Competitor Pricing: This is the practice of basing prices on those of direct competitors. Aggressive strategies aimed at gaining market penetration usually fall into this category.
  • Value Pricing: When prices are based on the perceived value of a product, from the customer’s perspective.

However, the web is a different environment in which to operate. Because options are more readily available online, pricing is much more about comparison. As a result, you should consider the role of cognitive biases and heuristics in assessing relative value. Price Optimization uses these neuromarketing principles to inform pricing strategy.

Position

Two effects govern the perception of information when it is presented in a series. The Centre-Stage Effect describes our tendency to gravitate towards choices that seem like a happy medium. Alongside this, the Serial Position Effect describes the way people remember information that is presented in a series. The first item is remembered due to “primacy” whilst the last is remembered due to “recency”. 

Anchoring

Anchoring is our tendency to evaluate choices by comparing them with prior information. For example, an offer is likely to appear more attractive to customers when it follows a high-cost option. Similarly, estimations of value are easily affected by (even irrelevant) priming. 

Choice:

The customer’s experience of an offer reflects the circumstances in which the offer is presented. Again, two separate effects are involved. The first, Single Option Aversion, occurs when a consumer declines a good offer due to the absence of an alternative. The other, the Paradox of Choice, occurs when a consumer is unable to commit to an option due to an excess of offers. 

Here are five key neuromarketing tips to give your eCommerce marketing strategy a boost in 2019:

  1. Release the power of Social Proof
  2. Use the Visual Depiction Effect
  3. Embrace Uncertainty

Social proof is an important part of the way groups of people interact. It also helps individuals to make decisions. The role of third-party reviews in directing consumer behaviour has led to the widespread adoption of social proof as an eCommerce marketing technique. 

The effect occurs when an individual becomes conscious of other people’s choices and behaviours. The individual will then modify themselves in order to conform. The power of Social Proof can be significantly enhanced by context.

How does it work?

Social Proof can prompt direct imitation or cause an individual to revise their behaviours and opinions. For example, an experiment conducted by Robert Cialdini illustrated that information about how other people behaved persuaded hotel guests to change the way they used towels.

Social Proof and eCommerce Marketing

eCommerce marketers can enhance their conversion rates by including review snippets on their homepages, offering a rating system for products and displaying how popular an item is with notifications. There are also a range of social proof marketing apps available.

The Visual Depiction Effect describes the way in which people are more inclined to buy a product when it is shown in a way which helps them to visualise themselves using it. It can be effective to display a product being used by someone, without its packaging, or accompanied by a utensil or tool that we might use in real life when using the product in question (such as showing a spoon with a yoghurt), etc. Advertising a product using these tactics helps to reduce the mental effort required on the part of your customer in order to connect with the product and imagine it as part of their lives.

Advertising a product using this tactic makes it easier for a customer to connect with the product and imagine it as part of their lives. It is therefore, very useful to consider when coming up with sales and marketing strategies, and is particularly vital for digital marketing, where imagery plays an essential role as customers are unable to actually see the physical product.

Examples of How To Use The Visual Depiction Effect

There are a couple of simple ways to apply this tactic and it is used to great effect by some of the biggest E-commerce brands on the planet including ASOS and Nike.

  1. Use Product Pictures With Context Show your products in the ideal situation in which they would be used. If your customer can visualise themselves using your product then they’ll feel more inclined to buy it.
  2. Include Several People Or Products In Your Images Try to include more than one individual or product in your visual marketing materials. By adding more variety you can reduce the mental effort different visitors would need to imagine themselves using your products.

Visual depictions can greatly enhance browsers ability to engage with your product, and ultimately become buyers. With a few small changes to your digital marketing, you can significantly improve the speed, value and frequency of conversions.

The Motivating Uncertainty Effect adds value to anything you offer your customers. It works by targeting the irrational nature of expectations. By offering variable rewards, rather than fixed returns, the incentives you offer a customer become far more persuasive

This is particular useful for minor exchanges, such as a survey invitation asking for a customer’s feedback in exchange for a reward. Your response rate is likely to be increased with the use of a variable reward, like a prize.

One example of how this can work is through gamification. Challenging someone to complete a task, and offering a variable reward in return, significantly increases the chance of them completing the task.

Marketing involves a lot of mistakes. At least, it does when it’s done right. Marketers often fall into the trap of reusing old strategies or not testing their ideas. We have written previously about the cognitive biases that can affect the best marketing professionals. To conclude this eCommerce Marketing Guide, here are three classic mistakes to avoid in 2019: 

  1. Confirmation bias

    The Mistake: Favouring information that confirms existing beliefs or discrediting evidence that challenges our preconceptions.

    The Solution: Always start a new campaign with an open mind. Experience is useful, but not as useful as evidence.

  2. Congruence bias

    The Mistake: Focusing on testing a preconceived idea, without testing alternatives.

The Solution: Your CTR might be high, your CPC might be low, but you don’t know what this means unless you try multiple versions of your content.

  1. Conservatism bias

    The Mistake: Trusting old information more than new evidence. This leads people to revise opinions more gradually than the available evidence suggests they should.

The Solution: Constant evolution is essential in a field based on competition and innovation. Make sure your marketing team are equipped and empowered to respond fast.