10 Things You Can Expect to See In eCommerce Marketing in 2017

What You Can Expect to See In eCommerce Marketing 2017

Be able to plan stronger eCommerce marketing strategies after reading this post! We're sharing 10 things you can expect to see in eCommerce marketing in 2017!

eCommerce marketing is one of the fastest moving fields in the industry. Every year there are new best practices, new hacks, and new ways to get even more from your eCommerce site.

It can be hard to stay ahead.

So here are our top 10 things you can expect for your eCommerce marketing. Keep an eye on these trends to drive a better bottom line in 2017.

1. Metrics continue to be critical

eCommerce marketing is a science more than an art. In order to squeeze every drop of value from your marketing dollars, you need to be relying on data to make decisions and inform your overall strategy.

And essential to using data to make decisions is gathering and understanding key metrics.

The exact manifestations will vary company to company, but most will find a key metric that is a good predictor of success. For example, Spearmint LOVE found that tracking their cost of customer acquisition (CAC) was their key to stretching their marketing dollars.

Other metrics for your eCommerce marketing might be:

  • Number of communications/touch points before a purchase
  • How many times an item is looked at before it’s purchased
  • Time of site and depth of site visit

And of course, there are a huge range of channel-specific stats so you can track which channels are doing well and which ones need to be paired back.

2. Strategy is more important than tactics

The biggest difference between good marketing and great marketing is strategy. It’s no longer enough for businesses to simply deploy a range of tactics to drive sales.

To be competitive today (more on competition in a minute) you need to be deploying overarching and holistic marketing strategies.

What’s the difference between strategy and tactics?

A strategy is the overall campaign plan or objective. Tactics are how you achieve your goal.

For example, a social media ad might be a tactic to drive sales. The strategy is the overall idea of where social media ads fit within a broader sales funnel and customer ecosystem.

To deliver quality eCommerce marketing, the strategy needs to be fully developed. Tactics will follow.

3. eCommerce marketing IS content marketing

It’s official – content marketing is here to stay. It’s how you can drive traffic to your site (SEO), engage customers, develop sales funnels, and position yourself as an expert in your industry.

It’s extremely difficult to deliver an eCommerce marketing strategy in 2017 without a large chunk of content marketing. Here are the two primary benefits:

  • Customers expect it. There are so many providers now writing great stuff on their blogs, customers expect free access to a dearth of information about your product. You need to be aware of that.
  • It drives organic traffic. Beyond the primary SEO benefits, content marketing is a great way to build authority, traffic, and time on site – all of which are going to help your ranking in the SERPs

There are other benefits as well though, namely content marketing is the best way to build a relationship.

4. Plan for a relationship, not a sale

Gone are the days when eCommerce marketing was all about the hard sell. Infomercial-type marketing is ineffective in the ecosystem of the modern internet. Instead, companies need to focus on building relationships with people over a long sales cycle.

This process is pegged to the rise of content marketing and specifically to the idea that the overarching goal is to be useful to your customer.

If you can make yourself useful to your customer when they’re NOT in market, then when they eventually move to the buying stage, you’re the one they think of.

For example, if you run an eCommerce site that sells TVs, you might blog a lot about how to fix an and troubleshoot TVs. Customers will look to your site for information on fixing their TVs (which seems like it costs you sales in the short term) but in the long term, most of those customers are going to want to upgrade.

And when they’re looking to upgrade and buy a new TV, guess who they turn to?

That’s right. You.

That’s why building relationships more than driving sales is going to be critical in 2017.

5. Expect more competition (even if you’re a niche)

eCommerce is projected to be $4 trillion globally by 2020.

And you’re probably not the only ones trying to cash in on this market.

What’s more, the rise of new website software, new drop shipping services, new digital marketing and marketing automation tools, the barrier of entry into eCommerce continues to drop.

For example, a simple WordPress site, a theme, a domain, and membership to a drop shipping service could get you up and running for under $200.

What this means is that there are increasingly niche sites focusing on deep penetration into a narrow market.

You need to be ready for this increasingly crowded space, and be prepared to spend to stay on top.

6. Conversational purchasing

With chatbots now commonplace, a new buying process has been developed. It’s conversational purchasing, where people interact with, people and brands in a messaging format. It’s the digitization of the sales representative.

For eCommerce marketing, it means that people can have their questions answered in real time and can help drive conversions as fence sitters turn into purchasers.

7. Videos will be the norm

Since Facebook had pushed more and more to go digital, it’s no surprise that videos are increasingly the norm for content creation and customer engagement. For services, this is often an ‘explainer video’ but for more traditional eCommerce options it might be a product review, a video showcasing the product (Asos uses these a lot) or just a video helping build a use case.

Whatever it is, video is likely to be a big part of everyone’s marketing budgets going forward.

8. Mobile remains important

Mobile has traditionally been a low-conversion channel, used by customers largely in the prospecting stage of a purchase. But this trend is finally shifting.

eCommerce predicts that 2017 is going to be the year that purchasing goes mobile, with over half of all consumers actually buying via their smartphone.

What's more, despite the expansion of Google's AMP program over the last year, mobile remains a key ranking factor. Being a mobile first site makes you easier to find, and this doesn't look like it's going to change anytime soon.

9. Consider a subscription service

Since 2013, there’s been a steep rise in subscription services. From Sprezza Box to Frank & Oak (who have since expanded into brick and mortar stores) to dollar shave club, you can subscribe for virtually anything these days.

One way to boost eCommerce marketing efforts is to focus on subscribing customers instead of selling items. It builds a consistent revenue stream, it differentiates your offering, and most importantly, it is a great relationship builder between you and your audience.

10. Latch yourself onto a cause

In 2017, we predict you'll continue to see the rise of cause marketing for eCommerce brands (and especially pure play eCommerce brands). The benefits of cause marketing proceed themselves - while giving back to the community, you can also show your customers (and potential customers) that you truly care about giving back vs. just making another buck.

 

Conclusion

There you have it. 10 trends to get in on in 2017 to keep your eCommerce store generating revenue. Combined with driving high-quality traffic with SEO, AdWords, and Social Media, you can make 2017 your best year yet!

Need help executing your eCommerce marketing in 2017?

Contact Us


How Redirects Work 301 302 Dallas Advertising

Shopify URL Redirects: Are They 301s or 302s?

We were recently working on a client site and converting them over to Shopify's eCommerce platform. They were one of the first dance shops to sell online, so they've built up impressively strong domain authority and get a fair amount of organic search traffic. Shopify URL redirects were necessary to ensure throughout this migration that the client was able to retain the majority of their "link juice" despite the welcomed information architecture structure changes.

If you know what this means, we'll just give you the answer below and you can move along. If you're interested in learning more about the difference between 301 and 302 and why it's important to your online presence, keep reading.

The short answer is: Shopify's redirects are HTTP 301 redirects.

For the life of us, we couldn't definitively find out if Shopify's URL redirects were 301 or 302. We found article after article that discussed their URL redirects but no one specifically answered the question. This includes Shopify's own redirect help page!

It's an important detail in technical SEO setup that many people overlook when moving pages or migrating a site to a new platform that uses different URL structures. You can't afford to ignore the distinction, as your URLs will almost certainly change with a new website.

What are 301 Redirects?

Simply put, 301 redirects tell search engines that you have moved a page permanently. According to many tests, they pass between 85% and 99% of a page's "link juice" to the new page. Search engines are able to identify that you have moved a page that they have previously indexed.

What are 302 Redirects?

302 redirects tell search engines that you have moved a page temporarily. This is useful if you want to return users to the old URL because you've made a temporary change to the URL. The issue with a 302 redirect is that it passes 0% of the "link juice" we discussed before. 302 redirects effectively cause you to lose any of the authority that page has created for your site. It will negatively affect your organic search traffic if your intent was to replace the page entirely. An example scenario is getting rid of a page on your website, but setting up a redirect to, say, your home page, so that old links to that page don't break (404s are bad news).

Why do I want my URL redirects to be 301s?

Status 301 redirects are the only way to tell Google (or any of the other search engines) where a page has gone permanently. They will still categorize that page as the same content. You must build your site to accommodate that expectation. In other words, make sure the new page has the same type of content, or else your efforts (and page rank) will wash down the drain once Google realizes it's less relevant. Whatever you do, make sure all of your old URLs redirect to SOMETHING, even if the content isn't a one-to-one carryover. Dead links will kill you.

How do I test if a redirect is a 301 redirect?

Luckily, there are a fair amount of tools out there to help you confirm if the redirect that you have setup is status 301 or status 302. We like to use Redirect Checker or Screaming Frog SEO Spider to test client sites. On these sites, you place a URL into the field and out pops the HTTP status code for that URL. It's that easy.

I do want to mention that this confusion was specific to the Shopify platform. For most websites, a simple htaccess file can be edited to list out all your desired redirects. Upload to your host and you're all set. This type of upload is not an option for Shopify and some other platforms.

After this experience, we feel like we could write a book just on redirects! So let us know if you have more questions about the technical pieces or best practices.

Need help with your Shopify URL redirects?

Contact Us