In an effort to “stay with the times”, brick-and-mortar retailers are rushing to set up online stores. If this sounds like you, then you know the drill.
You did your homework and found an eCommerce solution that played nicely with your point of sale.
You spent time building something professional and unique – something that represented your brand well.
You entered all your product details and categories and made sure your inventory was in order.
And then, you launched.
Unfortunately, many merchants who launch their online store are disappointed with the initial results and the slow trickle of orders. While eCommerce truly is the present and future of retail, the reality is, the real work starts after you flip the switch.
“When we switched to Lightspeed my first goal was to have the online store pay for itself and pay my bill for the Lightspeed system. That was achieved within about 60 days.” – Jeremy Renaud, co-owner, Bling Box
In this article, we’ll cover the three ways you can begin marketing your online store after you’ve launched so you can instantly start reaping the benefits of selling online.
Getting the word out to your existing audience
The easiest way to start driving people to your site is to simply get the word out to your existing audience and customer base. The following strategies can be used no matter how many followers, email list subscribers, or customers you have.
Create print media to display in your store
As a brick-and-mortar retailer, your store’s foot traffic is one of the best “audiences” you can reach – they already have a concrete experience with your brand and were interested in your products enough to be there in the first place.
What we recommend:
- Install signage for the storefront or entry (Something like this or this)
- Give away flyers and handouts to give to customers with their purchase
If you don’t have an in-house graphic designer to create these, you can easily hire a freelancer on Upwork or a trusted design agency, or use Canva or Vistaprint’s templates to do it yourself.
These materials need to communicate three things:
- The URL or QR code to your online store
- Excitement about the launch of your website, framed as a benefit to the customer (e.g. exclusive online-only discounts, shop from your home, easy/no-hassle shipping and returns policies, exclusive gift with purchase for a limited time, etc.)
- A small discount as an added incentive (10% off for first-time orders on the site)
Be sure to also have your staff spread the word to customers in the store. They should be familiar with the discounts and the convenience that your online store offers to customers so that they can communicate those things effectively as well.
Say a customer wants an item in a size that is no longer in stock. When verifying your inventory in your point of sale, you realize you have lots of stock at your warehouse. In these situations, encourage your staff to offer to place the order for them online and have it shipped to their home free of charge as a way to make up for it not being readily available in store. Customers will notice and appreciate you going the extra mile.
Post on social media and run a limited offer to create urgency
We love this as a simple approach you can start using immediately. All you have to do is create a couple of graphics to post on social media platforms you’re already active on.
Simply talk about your website in the caption of these posts – again framed around the benefits and conveniences to the customer. Make it about them. Why is this good news for them?
Along those same lines, we highly recommend running some sort of limited promotion as a part of the announcement (ex: Next 25 orders get a freebie included with their purchase). The customer limit adds a different level of urgency and can be a very effective strategy to prompt impulse purchases.
If you have an existing email list, make sure you include this in your promotional communication plan.
Email past customers
If you’ve been in business as a brick-and-mortar shop for a while, chances are that you already have a pretty sizeable database of customers and email subscribers. This is the perfect opportunity to reach out to them, either to include them on the limited offer or a special discount as a way of showing some customer appreciation.
Create an abandoned cart email campaign
One of the most crucial marketing campaigns that an eCommerce store can set up is called an Abandoned Cart Flow. This is an email (or series of emails) sent to a customer who adds a product to their cart but then leaves without purchasing.
These emails goal is to get those abandoned products back in front of the customer before their interest or need for the product wears off. Automated timely messages like these, to an otherwise lost customer, plays a major role in your marketing automation strategy, and are one of the best conversion-boosting tools in eCommerce today.
The best part is that you only need to write the emails once and then let them go to work for you on autopilot.
The schedule we recommend most often looks like this:
- Email #1 – 4 hours after abandoning cart
The purpose of this email is to get them back in front of the products before the luster wears off. What’s most important here is to create a sense of urgency and close the sale.
- Email #2 – 24 hours after abandoning cart
This email is quite similar to the first email. Remind them that they have a limited time to complete their order before their reserved items get released back to the public.
- Email #3: 48 hours after abandoning cart
Make an offer. If they still have not completed their checkout, use this email as a way to offer them a small discount using a special, one-time discount code.
Harness the Power of Your Facebook Pixel
98% of your site’s visitors leave without buying anything. Yes, that’s high – and that might be surprising to you. But that’s just the reality of online retail. The biggest eCommerce sites in the world are ecstatic to see conversion rates between 2-4%.
What can you do to achieve those numbers?
One of the best tools at your disposal is Facebook Pixel. If you don’t already have your Facebook Pixel installed on your site, you should do that as soon as possible.
In short, the Facebook Pixel is a script you add to the code of your website that tracks visitor behavior. This data allows you to then retarget those individuals (or to custom lookalike audiences) with Facebook and Instagram ads.
If you’re one of the many eCommerce stores with conversion rates less than 2%, having the ability to get back in front of customers after they have left your site is crucial to your growth.
How to fully utilize the Facebook Pixel is a masterclass all on its own, but here is a tried and true marketing funnel for Facebook ads that you can use to get your feet wet. The customer lifecycle looks something like this:
- A shopper discovers your products through an existing marketing channel (e.g. social media, organic search, pay-per-click ads, or word of mouth).
- They visit your website and have a look around. Then, not ready to make a purchase, they leave.
- Using your Facebook Pixel, you retarget anyone who has been to your site in the last 90 days with a Facebook or Instagram ad promoting one of your most popular products or categories.
- This brings them back to your site. If you’ve done a good job at gaining their trust and interest, they are much more likely to buy.
In the visual above, you’ll also see a retargeting opportunity for shoppers that abandon their carts (a concept we covered earlier in this article). More advanced use of the Facebook Pixel will let you serve ads just to those individuals that came to your site and initiated the checkout process but did not buy.
Getting back in front shoppers that were further along in their shopping process, in particular, is extremely valuable and effective. They’ve already expressed enough interest in your product(s) to add it to their cart. So if you can peg down what it was that kept them from making the purchase, you have a very strong chance at winning their business. Your best bets are to either offer free shipping or a special discount.
Want to sell online?
See why Lightspeed eCom is the best fit for your business
If you’re frustrated with the results you’re seeing from your online store, a great way to get a jumpstart is to look for low-hanging fruit – reach out to your existing audience and customers, and utilize powerful tools like email automation and the Facebook Pixel to get back in front of the shoppers who weren’t quite ready to buy, but can easily be persuaded.
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