The holidays are coming, and that means increased opportunity for many owners of e-commerce small businesses. Savvy owners should take this opportunity to draw as much traffic as possible to their sites and — most importantly — convert as much of that traffic as possible to customers while they’re there.
During the holidays, business spikes for nearly everyone, but e-commerce has been growing each year over the brick-and-mortar competition — and the pandemic has only increased this growth. In 2020, retail e-commerce sales skyrocketed, with a 35% year-over-year increase over the 2019 season in the United States.
Leverage Email Automation to Target and Send Marketing Materials
Even in 2021, email remains one of the most effective marketing tools available to businesses — especially small businesses, where owners need to make their dollars stretch.
In today’s crowded marketing space, the email statistics are staggering:
- There are 4 billion daily email users.
- An average open rate of 19.8% and click-through rate of 11.3%.
- Four out of five marketers say they’d rather give up social media than email marketing.
Clearly, email is a powerful tool for businesses of all types and sizes — including e-commerce small businesses.
Email marketing comes in a variety of forms, from new customer nurture sequences to abandoned cart emails reminding shoppers of items they might still be interested in. Emails can also be used to let customers know about promotions and limited-time offers, like those you might have around the holidays.
The downside of email is that it can take a lot of work. Preparing the emails, maintaining your contact list, and determining which customers are in which stage of your sales funnel can be a tremendous amount of work — especially for small business owners, and especially around the holidays.
Email marketing tools can take a lot of that pressure off. These tools offer a range of features to help businesses utilize email more effectively and to automate as much of the process as possible.
There are two major players in the small business email marketing space: MailChimp and ConvertKit. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but the general advice tends to be that MailChimp is better for e-commerce stores, while ConvertKit is better for creators. That said, ConvertKit also tends to have the better automation tools and more flexible segmentation, so you can send the right emails to the right person. It’s hard to go wrong with either.
Use AI-powered Personalization to Optimize the Customer Experience
The customer experience (CX) on your site can be the difference between a satisfied customer and a tick on your bounce rate. As you prepare for the holiday surge, make sure you take some time to consider the customer experience on your website and any other storefronts you have.
For an e-commerce store, CX starts and ends with your online shopping experience. Physical, brick-and-mortar stores give owners the opportunity to help their customers find items and experience the element of human interaction. These interactions and experiences can be missing with an e-commerce store, leaving the shopping experience feeling cold.
Shop owners that can provide a higher level of customer experience can give themselves a powerful advantage over their competitors — and when the competition is so numerous and fierce, that’s huge. Fortunately, there are tools available that can help you create a better experience for your customers, with no coding knowledge required.
Dialogue is one such tool. It uses AI and natural language processing to track and analyze customer behavior in real time. It then takes that data and uses it to automatically provide personalized recommendations to your customers. This enables you to not only provide your shoppers with an improved experience but also offers upsell opportunities that you might not otherwise get.
Dialogue helps e-commerce store owners remove friction and give customers a truly personalized shopping experience. Additionally, it works with all the major e-commerce platforms — including WooCommerce, Magento, and BigCommerce — and offers plug-and-play integration with a Shopify extension.
Optimize Landing and Sales Pages for Conversion Rates
Getting the right emails to the right customers at the right time is important. So is providing an excellent customer experience. However, if the shoppers come to your e-commerce store and leave empty-handed, you may need to work on your conversion optimization.
Any time a visitor takes an action on your website: whether that’s making a purchase, subscribing to emails, or anything else that moves them along your sales funnel — that’s a conversion. The conversation rate, then, is the percentage of overall site visitors that convert. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of adjusting your site to maximize the conversion rate.
CRO can be tough. That’s where a tool like Unbounce can help. Unbounce originally started as a landing page builder that helped small businesses build landing and sales pages designed to convert.
These days, it’s evolved into a whole suite of tools to help business owners optimize their websites for conversions. Unbounce has features specifically for e-commerce stores, like email capture forms, customizable Buy Now buttons, and more.
Optimize Your E-commerce Store For the Holidays
Whether your e-commerce brand is in the early stages, or you’ve been around for years, the holiday season is an exciting and challenging time. Competition is fiercer than ever, but there are also more opportunities for small business owners that want to try new things.
By adding automated email marketing, focusing on the customer experience, and optimizing for conversion rate, you can give your store major advantages over the competition. Any one of these would be huge, but all three together can help ensure you have your best holiday season yet.
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