Six eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014

    By Jesse Aaron | Small Business

    At its core, eCommerce is about getting people the products they need in the most efficient and timely manner possible. For today’s eCommerce sites, the stakes have been raised as technology has greatly improved their capabilities.

    Technology provides businesses with strategies and tools for offering customers a faster and more efficient user experience with online shopping. For eCommerce businesses looking to grow, here is a list of tips and strategies for continuing to improve your operations in 2014.

    1. Free and Faster Shipping

    Free shipping deals have become the norm rather than serving as an exclusive offer. Also, customers have grown accustomed to having the option to select a faster method of shipping. For these reasons, upgraded shipping options are necessities for modern eCommerce sites.

    Six eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014 image amazon primeSix eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014

    These options can become a reality for your company by partnering with a business specializing in offering shipping services. If this type of service isn’t in the budget, research your own methods for making shipping cheaper and more efficient.

    2. Utilize Mobile

    The trend toward mobile shopping has never been more evident than on “Black Friday” when 40 percent of all online shopping was carried out via a mobile device. This statistic stands as a wakeup call for eCommerce sites that have not yet begun to capitalize on the value of mobile shopping.

    In order to take advantage of mobile for your company, you need to ensure your website is compatible with a variety of mobile devices. Investing in a responsive web design might be your best bet in terms of promoting compatibility and a consistent user experience for shoppers.

    3. Content Marketing

    In terms of digital, content marketing presents itself as an avenue for engaging potential customers and getting them associated with your brand. Companies that effectively utilize content marketing are able to raise awareness for their brand and to cultivate valuable relationships with people online.

    The best way to implement content marketing into your strategy is to offer people something useful or entertaining. This type of content tends to be appreciated and stands out from other content. Small businesses looking to market content should focus on offering people industry relevant tips, tricks and small pieces of branded media.

    For the past 3 years the internet has been brimming with content marketing. The problem is that most content suffers in one of the following areas:

    • Budget/Quality: the content design and material itself is low quality due to limited budgeting and/or time and resources.
    • Relevance: the content looks great, but has little connection to anyone who discovers it
    • Timeliness: the content looks great and is relevant to a niche, but it feels stale.

    Many businesses that have integrated content marketing teams know these challenges very well. There’s a general assumption that “boring” businesses will not be able to maximize content marketing.

    Let’s demystify the rumor with a few examples.

    In this first example, we see how a mustang parts company has blended elements of timeliness, relevance, design, and even some humor (highlighted in a red box):

    Six eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014 image funny cj infographicSix eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014

    This is from the CJ Pony Parts blog and shows how to properly create content that aligns with a niche (mustangs) and hits all the important areas: 1) timeliness; 2015, 2) relevance: gear-head stats, facts, and graphics 3) design: high quality/professional.

    In the next example, we’ll see how CardHub uses popular memes to solidify credit score information (highlighted with a red box):

    Six eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014 image funny cardhub infographicSix eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014

    In this example, we see the use of two popular memes on the foreground, with an additional meme in the background. This is smart and relevant for two major reasons:

    • The target demographic for this information is college students and young adults – the demographic that pretty much invented memes.
    • The content itself, while seemingly “boring”, is likely to be shared on social networks among  friends because it conveys important and relevant information in a funny & simple way.

    4. Understand Communication Channels

    Regardless of how great your company’s content is, it won’t matter if it isn’t delivered to the proper audience. Therefore, you must do some research in order to develop an efficient strategy for delivering your content to its intended target.

    Time, money and expertise are also factors determining the channels your company will utilize. This means your marketing channels must reach the intended audience without straining your company’s resources. In order to find the best marketing mix for your company, try experimenting with platforms such as blogs, social media, mobile applications and other mediums for distributing content.

    5. Guided Discovery

    Six eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014 image amazon inspired viewingSix eCommerce Growth Hacks for 2014

    In a fast paced society, customers prefer to shop quickly and efficiently. One way for your company to aid in this process is to offer guided discovery on your website. Directing customers to suggested products based on previous buying actions can be beneficial both for the customer as well as your company.

    This strategy is not limited to companies with large budgets, as small businesses can study their own user data in order to make suggestions to customers. The increasing popularity of this strategy is welcomed by customers who wish to spend less time searching for products while discovering more of the things they want.

    6. Stay Brand Focused

    The aforementioned tips and strategies all have one thing in common, a focus on building your brand name. In the modern world, customers are buying your brand name just as much as they are buying a product or service. Product diversification has declined, and people are placing a greater value on the relationships they have with particular brands. This means getting back to the basics and focusing on offering people quality products and services.

    Having a sound business model is critical, as return business will depend upon the user experiences you offer customers. Content marketing and free shipping are excellent tools for promoting sales, but they simply represent smaller facets of a unified and foundation of brand image.

    In 2014, eCommerce sites have a variety of tools available for addressing their audiences and offering their customers a smooth sales experience. Whether you plan to revamp your marketing efforts or to improve your site’s design, 2014 presents itself as an opportunity for growing and your business.

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