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Ecommerce March 27, 2015

The 5 Best Ecommerce Marketing Tactics You'll Ever Use

You’re an online store owner. You have your website, your order processing, and your payment processing set up - ready to accept any volume of orders that may come your way.

It's been a little while since you've launched, but you haven't really seen the volume of visitors and sales you had expected. Perhaps you're seeing healthy traffic and revenue but are hungry for more, wondering how you can really take your site to the next level.

No matter what volume of traffic you are receiving, if you can't convince and convert those visitors, you are likely to never see the growth you desire. Additionally, the ability to market your products effectively and consistently will keep your online store in the sights of your audience at all times. 

Below are 5 of the absolute best ecommerce marketing tactics that you can implement to capture and re-capture the interest of your target audience and drive more sales.

1. Retargeting

What it is: Retargeting works by keeping track of your website visitors (and what products they view) to display your ads to them - wherever they are online.

Since a small portion of first-time visitors will buy from you, retargeting consistently reminds your visitors of your company’s presence and how your products can potentially make their lives better.

Website visitors who are retargeted with display ads are 70% more likely to convert on your online store.

For an example of how this works, I visited the accommodations site  Agoda and looked around their hotel deals.

I exited without booking or reserving anything. I just looked around and went to a few pages.

Retargeting In Action

After a few minutes, I went onto Facebook and saw this under the sponsored tab:

Retargeted Ad Served Example

You're likely familiar with this type of retargeting and have probably seen hundreds of persistent ads for brands across your sessions and devices. This works for anything online really: services, sites, and especially products.

Try this: Facebook Retargeting

With around 1.393 billion monthly active users, Facebook is one of the top social networks. It's also a highly engaged place for conversations between trusted friends and communities that you are a part of and is often purely used for leisure and mindless browsing. 

This makes it especially conducive to product placement and shopping deals.

If you want a well-structured, easy-to-use platform for retargeting across multiple devices, Facebook is an excellent place to start. Your brand will remain at the top of your visitors' minds and be visible at a time during the day / week where users could be more likely to purchase. 

You can start Facebook retargeting immediately by trying out a retargeting software like  AdRoll. It's one of the biggest names in the industry and you can get a 2-week free trial.

If you want to read more about retargeting, check out Hubspot's guide, A Beginner's Guide to Retargeting Campaigns.

2. Abandoned Cart Emails

What it is: There are a lot of times when a customer will visit your website, shop around, include items in their cart, but never complete the whole checkout process. Abandoned cart emails try to re-initiate that same checkout process via follow-up emails.

You might not have known that  67.45% of online shopping carts are abandoned. This means that for every 100 customers that has shown significant interest, 67 will leave your store (and probably never come back).

Sending abandoned cart emails can give you another opportunity to bring your customer back to your website while they are still actively shopping around for those specific products or services.

It works quite similarly to retargeting.

The biggest difference is that retargeting is paid, whereas sending abandoned cart emails is free.

An “abandoned cart email” is often very direct about a user leaving after visiting a product and leaving their cart. While retargeting is more passive, abandoned cart emails are an active effort to recoup potentially lost revenue.

Abandoned Cart email Example

You remind the visitor that they wanted this item. Wanted it enough to put it in the cart to check for pricing. This is your chance to present some marketing copy that is really unique to your brand and also a great time to offer discounts, upsell, and show that you were paying attention to their needs / know this customer.

Try This: Capture Emails During Checkout

If you want to do this automatically, you need to set up a system that can detect if a visitor has visited your checkout page but has not visited your “order confirmation” page.

When they are in the checkout, you can use a solution like  Barilliance to trigger a coupon or an offer to save the cart in exchange for their email. You can then combine this email with the anonymous data that you collect about that user to create a customer profile, from which the abandoned cart email is personalized!

This way, you can easily send an email to follow up and ask why they haven’t completed their transaction with you but also really tailor this experience to improve your chances of a conversion.

3. Offers for Referrals

What it is: Time and time again, studies have proven that friends buy from friends (and friends of friends). You can offer a discount in exchange for a social share, review, referral, and more. These create virality and expand your reach beyond your immediate network.

In fact,  65% of new business comes from referrals. Additionally, people are 4 times more likely to buy a product or service if the referral came from a friend.

In referral marketing, this can go two ways: 

  • Reward your customer by buying from you and referring their friends
  • Simply reward them just by referring their friends to you.

Refer-a-friend Program Example

The above is an example of the latter - where a friend is referred and the referrer gets rewarded for the new business.

Try This: Just Ask

You don’t need an overly complicated system to make this happen.

Simply sending an email to your list of existing customers that asks them to give you one contact that they think can benefit from your products.

Make the offer super clear that you’ll give them 50% (or a dollar amount) off of their next purchase for every referral that generates business for you.

Alternatively, you can use a software solution like Gleam which allows you to run promotions that require specific user actions (like tweeting, liking on Facebook, or emailing the offer to a friend) before they get their coupon code.

4. Point-Based Loyalty Programs

What it is: Point-based loyalty programs allow you to offer a fun shopping experience for your customers while generating company revenue at the same time. The best part: if your points have a value that equates to discounts and freebies for your customers, you will generate repeat business and loyalty.

In order to make this work for your business and your patrons, you need to be set on building a sustainable loyalty program.

A loyalty program where you offer "points" for each dollar or purchase in your online store may help increase not only your sales, but the value of those sales. 

Some findings:

Example Loyalty Program SpecsThe above is a great example of a multiple-rewards loyalty program. In addition to free shipping and points on the dollar, you get gift cards for hitting point plateaus and there are events and sales for multiplying your points.

Try This: Draft Your Loyalty Program

Before anything else, you need to draft the terms and conditions of your loyalty program. 

After all, you can’t just grab a solution and implement it without knowing how everything will interact (and how much these deals will cost you).

Here are some suggestions for your points program:

  • All purchases from your online store should earn points.
  • Make your reward points valuable and worth earning.
  • Keep the dollar-to-point conversion calculation as simple as possible.

There are a few software companies that can help you create loyalty programs without any custom coding. Take a look at  Sweet Tooth or Rezoop.

5. Upselling and Cross-selling

What it is: When you upsell, you encourage your customers to purchase upgraded versions of products or services (better features, better specifications, more value) or to get the more expensive version of what they’re looking at. When you cross-sell, you are offering a complementary product that either fits the theme of the first product or can also help solve the problem.

Upselling is a solid strategy because of the 60x60 rule: that 60% of customers will buy an additional product worth 60% of the one they just bought when offered an upsell.

The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%; whereas the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5% to 20%. You can see how appealing selling to your existing customers can be, especially when in a niche or situation where gaining new traffic is difficult.

Additionally, when you upsell there is far less friction because they are already reasonably committed to some sort of purchase. If you come off as trying to add value to their purchase, you are more likely to succeed than if you try to hard-sell them into a higher price-point.

Cross-Selling Example

In the above example, I am being cross-sold on complimentary leather products to the one I have already placed in my cart. You may notice the "users also bought" section on Amazon - this is probably the best example of cross-selling on any ecommerce store. It adds the power of (implied) recommendations to their cross-selling, adding social proof to the purchase of those complimentary products!

Try This: Offer Products in Your Receipts

Upselling and cross-selling are typically done while the customer is browsing and adding items to their cart to capitalize on impulse purchases.

An innovative way with offering these promotions to your products is through their purchase receipts. You can approach a customer with a thank you / welcome email like normal, but also include other product suggestions at the same time.

Post-sale promoting has a number of advantages over on-site promotions:

  1. The user has already committed to your brand and trusts you.
  2. They will almost 100% open a transactional email.
  3. An email is much more permanent than a popup.
  4. It's a free marketing channel with high engagement rates.

The best part about including your upsell in your transactional emails is that customers engage with transactional emails such as order, shipping and return / exchange notifications at a much higher rate than they do with promotional and branding-focused campaigns.

Receiptful Transactional Email Marketing

You can use a solution like  Receiptful (above) to generate these cross-selling and promotional emails. It doesn't cost anything to create your emails and will help increase lifetime value of your customers - as you can include some sort of promotion in every transactional email you send.

Other tools that allow you to upsell your customers are Conductrics and Evergage.


All of the solutions I've listed are vital to the world's largest online stores and are really the essential tools of modern ecommerce marketing.

Your site is ready to implement and start succeeding with most of these tactics. While none of them will be ready overnight, you can begin planning for them immediately.

With a little time and effort, you can decide which will be the most effective for your situation, but all of them are valuable and will drive revenue and re-engage your visitors.

This original version of this post appeared on the Receiptful Blog. This post has been modified and republished with permission.

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