E-commerce is changing rapidly. More and more businesses are jumping into the market with the hope of getting a piece of cake. Meanwhile, traditional marketing methods seemingly don’t help store owners get the outcome they want.
In order to maintain your revenue number and make it bigger – whether or not you have a retail presence – you need a well-thought-out eCommerce marketing strategy to boost your brand awareness and online sales. The first and foremost step is keeping track of new updates and trends to level up your marketing plan.
That’s why we’re here to help. This blog aims at providing six trending eCommerce marketing tactics in 2019, which you can apply to improve your own marketing plan.
Let’s dive in.
1. User-generated Content Marketing
When it comes to building an eCommerce marketing strategy, social proof is the holy grail of success.
The reason is very simple: Trust is the most valuable asset of any online retailer, and the most trusted source is other customers. This source can be in many forms like word of mouth, shares, likes, reviews, and social buzz, which is user-generated content (UGC) in a nutshell.
In general, user-generated content is the content created by a brand’s customers, influencers, or social followers. The content is contributed by a real person, making it unbiased. Thus, when a customer reads the content, they more likely trust it because someone like “them” has written it.
With that said, a lot of content can qualify as UGC, including comments on your site, customer reviews, testimonials, social media posts, videos, Instagram stories, photos, and blog articles. Anything that comes from your customers or your followers.
Here is a good example of UGC:
The beauty blogger Madeleine Spencer wrote a review of a Charlotte Tilbury’s new product.
UGC can require a little effort and input from you. Also, it comes a little to no cost to your business. But the best thing is UGC can take your brand’s authenticity to the next level.
You know that your customers (both existing and potential) have long been bombarded with marketing messages like “the best”, “best ever”, “the ultimate”. The truth is too much hype backfires. Naturally, customers are probably reluctant to trust brands when they’re fed those messages. Only one product can be the best, so all the others are lying?
It’s understandable when a brand would be biased toward their own products. But this doesn’t mean that each of its messages should be taken with a grain of salt.
This is exactly where UGC can give you a helping hand.
In customers’ eyes, UGC comes in as an unbiased and unsolicited outside information source. It’s the content coming from people like them, who bought a product and found it worthy. That’s why UGC can solve the problem of authenticity that many brands face today.
What’s hot in UGC 2019?
Now is time to look at UGC trends which are likely to become more popular in 2019:
Visual content: Anybody with a smartphone can now create a video or an image in a few seconds. That’s why visual content, especially images of real people using your products, is a good boost to build trust, authenticity, and credibility for your brand.
Shortened attention span: People will continue to go for UGC that is short, funny, surprising, and/or positive. They want to laugh, think, or feel good (about themselves, mostly) all the time.
2. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing isn’t a new phenomenon. You may know it works. And the fact is it does work well!
Based on a study from TapInfluence and Nielsen Catalina Solutions, influencer marketing generates 11X more ROI than traditional marketing methods. For every dollar invested in influencer marketing, brands reportedly earn $7.65, on average.
By building a strong relationship with celebrities and influencers in your niche, you can help your brand’s SEO, reach, engagement, brand awareness, and sales. This is a good strategy to create effective user-generated content that offers long-term benefits.
Key statistics about influencer marketing for 2019:
- By 2020, influencer marketing is estimated to hit $10b. The competition will be higher among eCommerce businesses.
- About 94% of marketers state that the transparency and authenticity of the content contribute greatly to eCommerce influencer marketing success.
- More than 558k Instagram influencers have over 15k followers.
- 22% of young adults (aged from 18 – 34) made a large purchase after seeing their influencers endorsing a product.
With this in mind, 2019 will be the year influencer marketing shifts from who to how. That is, instead of looking for influencers to work with, the focus now changes to how to activate them to get the real results. Marketers should come up with more creative ways to collaborate with influencers to level up their brands.
In addition, due to the emergence of fake sponsored content as well as fake followers and engagement, there will be much pressure on Instagram to introduce effective regulations. Customers are pretty discerning about dishonesty, and this will encourage brands, influencers, agencies to find ways to improve their authenticity.
Another trend in influencer marketing you shouldn’t ignore is that a lot of influencers will become entrepreneurs. More specifically, influential people will launch their own brands by making use of their abilities and existing followers to market themselves. Just look at the craft brewing and cosmetics industries, and you’ll see. Now influencers are more than just the face of a specific brand, they are also the brand. This is a real challenge for FMCG companies.
If you’re new to the world of influencer marketing, read our definitive guide for eCommerce stores to get a detailed overview of how to build a surefire influencer marketing strategy.
3. Instagram Marketing
Here is the fact: Instagram is now the platform that brings the largest profit for brands. 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business, and over 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile on a daily basis.
These numbers count.
You can’t ignore Instagram anymore. Or, you have to make more attempts to optimize this platform to drive sales for your business. Here are some predictions which will help you know what to focus on in 2019.
Shopping features and product tagging. Instagram already has facilities to let people shop not only from feed posts and stories but also from Explore and video posts. These new shopping features allow users to easily browse products and buy what they want, making shoppable Instagram certainly get bigger this year.
Instagram Direct. There was a huge improvement to Instagram Direct in 2018, making it possible to send gifs, voice messages, share Stories or posts, and do a video chat. This feature is steadily becoming a powerful messaging platform, directly compared with Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. In 2019, you can expect Instagram to help businesses to respond to all their direct messages easily and continue building features for Direct.
Instagram Stories with Stickers. Don’t just create a regular feed post like you used to do. This year, you should focus on design interesting and engaging Instagram Stories with stickers. It’s a free, fun, and easy way to connect with your followers and motivate them to invest in your products.
Chatbots aren’t new technology by any stretch. But in 2019, they continue to evolve in the way they are being used from a marketing perspective.
80% of businesses state they already have a plan to use chatbots by 2020. This is a huge number, and your competitors may be among them.
That’s why you should consider chatbots when planning an eCommerce marketing strategy.
Generally, chatbots can help recommended products, address customer concerns, warm prospects, and make purchases. Using chatbots, you give your potential customers a natural and personalized way to connect with your brand.
In the future, buying online products will probably not differ from purchasing from a physical store. Virtual assistants will recommend and guide customers through the process like human assistants, including finding the right products based on needs and preferences.
5. Live Video
Pre-recorded videos are quite out of fashion. You should shift your focus to another thing, called live video.
Like chatbots, live video isn’t uncommon. But it will also become even bigger in 2019, thanks to Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and live streaming on other platforms.
By going live, your customers feel that you’re speaking directly with them, making them interact with you by commenting and asking questions in real-time. You can add personalization elements to encourage your customers to stick to your video longer and be more engaged.
Live video can be used in many ways. For example, brands can make a live video to show off their new products, provide tutorials, Q&A sessions, interviews, live tours, and more. This simple and free way to improve brand awareness is one that many eCommerce stores will start taking advantage of.
6. Artificial Intelligence in Marketing
Last year, artificial intelligence (AI) changed from a technology of the future to mainstream technology in most fields. And this year, it’s expected to do more in the eCommerce industry. More specifically, AI will impact online retailers in two main ways: (1) the way they communicate with their customers, and (2) the way they work backstage.
More accurate semantic search engines. Customers always want to receive exactly what they search for and have been intolerant for irrelevant content. And, this is where AI can help. First, Natural Language Processing and AI together can help identify typos, offer autocorrect suggestions, etc., making the semantic search engine more precise. Additionally, AI can offer more search options based on the way which customers find products, like voice and image search.
More precise up-selling and cross-selling recommendations. AI can analyze previous customer behaviors and anticipate their needs, then offer smart recommendations. Hence, your customers can get more relevant products and may want to make more purchases. The evidence is Amazon’s sales increased by 29%, and Netflix got 75% of successful item suggestions.
Better insights for marketing and planning. Rakuten developed an AI algorithm which can segment customers based on their preferences or shopping behaviors. Marketers can use smart predictions of sales to manage logistics costs more effectively. At the same time, they can categorize marketing materials with content that could best sell their products.
Over to you
So, that’s it! Six eCommerce marketing strategies to help your online business grow in 2019. Take action and start boosting your revenue today.