In this opinion piece, Ralph Vugts (pictured below), development director at Engaging.io, explains how to how to effectively drive and convert traffic to an e-commerce site.
The beauty of selling online is once it’s set up efficiently, you can sit around in your underwear at night drinking a glass of wine while the orders are rolling in thinking, ‘Watch out Jeff Bezos, I’m coming for you!’
An e-commerce store is a sales and marketing team that never sleeps and is always there ready to flog [insert product here]. But where Bezos really nailed it of course is automating as much of the process as possible… and probably wearing pants most of the time (especially in the office).
There are tons of great platforms out there like Shopify or WooCommerce that can be set up and running pretty quickly and perform pretty well out of the box. But to get the most out of them, you need to feed the users’ shopping cart behaviours into business intelligence tools or a marketing automation platform to figure out how to target your customers as cost effectively as possible.
The tricky and most expensive part comes with the need to drive more traffic to the store and then convert that traffic to sales. It’s pretty easy to buy ads from Google and Facebook. The biggest missed opportunity I see clients making is only a small percentage of this traffic often converts to sales. A lot of marketers still only focus on getting more clicks and then simply hope they purchase at some stage.
For example, an e-commerce site gets 1000 visitors from running some ads. Fifty of those people buy something, and the other 950 bounced never to be seen again. If you talk to an advertising person about this, they will suggest re-marketing products, but that of course eats into the marketing dollars. Also, before throwing more money at the 950, are these really the right people? To evaluate this properly, more data needs to be collected and analysed.
How to target without ads
Over the years, marketing platforms like HubSpot, MailChimp and others have greatly improved on their e-commerce integrations. These integrations allow for shopping cart and customer behaviour data to be directly fed into these marketing platforms. This then allows for much easier segmentation, follow up and cross-sell to the existing database.
A particularly powerful combo is Shopify and HubSpot, as it has a native plugin, so with a few clicks it’s possible for marketers to be up and running with these types of campaigns. This integration easily allows for the follow up on abandoned carts via email and populate smart calls-to-action on the website to either cross-sell, or try to capture more data to further personalise the experience for customers.
A lot of these marketing tools now allow for the roll-out of your own integrations. So, even if Shopify isn’t your shop of choice, you can still feed e-commerce data into these marketing platforms via their APIs (it just takes a little bit more work on the development side).
Ultimately, any business wants to know what marketing activities drove sales and which did not. Once properly integrated and understood, they can quickly see what does (and doesn’t), work and either improve those activities, or shift budgets into higher performing campaigns.