People are shopping online at an accelerated rate - which probably doesn’t come as a surprise, considering we’ve all been stuck at home for most of 2020. The rate of acceleration might come as a surprise, though, as it has resulted in an additional $174 billion in ecommerce revenue in 2020 in the US alone. At $861 billion dollars total ecommerce sales, the pandemic gave online sales a boost it wasn’t estimated to reach until 2022.
This is good news for online merchants using ecommerce platforms like Shopify - yet it also means that competition is fiercer than ever. And with vaccinations under way, brick-and-mortar spaces will soon be reopening and consumers will go back to at least some aspects of their pre-pandemic lifestyles.
So how can online merchants prepare for this potential drop in sales and keep growing their online stores post-pandemic? Here are five tried-and-true ways to keep the upward trend in sales alive in your Shopify store.
1. Content Marketing
Now’s the time to up your content marketing game.
Valuable and enticing content is the key to success for any ecommerce store. It helps you build your brand and your customer’s trust, thereby boosting your reputation and SEO rankings, driving more traffic to your shop, and ultimately converting potential buyers into paying customers.
You should always be optimizing your content marketing strategy, but now is a good time for a general overhaul or at least a closer look at what’s working and what isn’t - and then increasing the first and changing the latter.
But it’s not just about adding more blog posts or sending out more frequent newsletters. Rather, you want to refine and hone your strategy to fit your goals and - more importantly - speak to your target audience.
To start this redefining process, try to answer the following questions:
- Do I need to redefine my goals (i.e. generating leads, creating awareness, improving traffic, etc.) for content marketing?
- Am I targeting the right audience?
- What does my audience need?
- How can I improve measuring, analyzing, and optimizing my content marketing?
- Am I engaging (enough) with my audience? How can engagement be improved?
- Does my content execution plan reflect the above answers?
- Have I been sticking to the schedule? What scheduling changes might make sense now?
- How can I amplify my content and share it in more channels?
To learn more about the nitty-gritty details of how to boost your content marketing strategy check 21 Content Marketing Tactics That’ll Skyrocket Your Search Traffic by Neil Patel.
2. Connect Your Shop to Facebook and Instagram
People are increasingly using social media for shopping. A 2020 study conducted among 4.500 Influenster community members in North America revealed the following stats:
- 82% indicated that social media is the most common channel they go to for information about a brand and its products.
- 29% stated that social media discoveries lead them to new purchases.
- 66% agreed that social media presence influenced their decision to buy from a specific brand.
- 74% visit the brand’s social media pages before buying.
Those are some stats no Shopify store can ignore. But why do we recommend Facebook and Instagram, specifically?
Of course, depending on your niche, target audience, and product, you might fare better with social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, or TikTok. But with 2.5 billion active monthly users of all ages, and sporting an incredibly robust advertising platform, almost any brand can tap into Facebook’s diverse audience. If you’re limited to a single social media platform for your social media marketing purposes, Facebook is your best bet.
At roughly one billion monthly active users, Instagram is our second recommendation. First, it’s owned by Facebook, making it easy to piggyback off Facebook’s advertising platform. Second, Instagram influencers are incredibly important to a lot of businesses. Partnering with the right influencer to promote your shop and products validates your brand and helps you reach your target audience. ‘The Gram’ is especially good for highly visual brands like designers, boutiques, and jewelry stores.
Learn all about connecting your Shopify Store with Facebook and Instagram here.
3. Text Message Marketing
Let’s get down to some of the less obvious ways to grow your Shopify Store, starting with marketing via text message.
Be honest: when was the last time your phone was out of immediate reach? If you’re anything like most people, you probably can’t even remember. We use our phones to plan our days, capture memories, entertain ourselves and others, do business, communicate, flirt, keep in touch - and a lot of that happens via texting on various apps. So don’t miss out on a prime marketing opportunity by not utilizing text messages to reach and communicate with your customers.
Also known as SMS marketing, text message marketing involves sending promotions, deals, and coupons to customers via text messages. It’s permission-based, of course. Customers opt-in to receive these offers and updates. Software like Yotpo or Twilio allow you to send these texts. SMSGlobal found that text messages (SMS) have an open rate of a whopping 98%, with 90% being read within three minutes after the message is received. Ergo, text messages have the highest read and response rate out of all channels on which to reach your customers, including email.
If you’re not quite convinced, check out these success stories of SMS marketing campaigns or learn How to Run a Successful Text Message Marketing Campaign.
4. Launch a Loyalty Campaign
An online store’s success doesn’t rely solely on gaining new customers. At least, it shouldn’t. Because enticing existing customers to buy from you again (and again) isn’t only cheaper than attracting brand new customers - returning customers also spend 67 percent more than new ones.
Loyalty programs are a great way to entice existing customers to return to you over and over. They’ll want to return because they’re rewarded by doing so. There are many different models and approaches you can take for launching your own loyalty campaign.
For Shopify, for example, KickoffLabs offers an easy-to-integrate rewards campaign that boosts loyalty and word of mouth by giving customers points for every dollar they spend - and every dollar spent by their friends.
KickoffLabs’ Shopify Rewards Campaigns
- make your shop easy to share,
- keeps your customers engaged with automated reward emails,
- rewards them for every dollar spent, and
- turns customers into brand ambassadors all in one.
Check out this Step by Step Guide to Running a Shopify Rewards Loyalty Campaign on KickoffLabs **to integrate our Shopify Rewards Campaign into your store right now.
5. Monthly Flash Sales
How much do you love scoring a deal? Probably a lot. Everyone does.
Learning that the pretty dress you’ve had your eye on for weeks is now 30% off might give you a literal thrill. Couple that with the promise of free shipping and the restriction of “For 2 Hours Only”, and you’ll only start breathing easy again once you’ve hit the Buy button and the confirmation email flutters into your inbox. Phew!
That’s the power of flash sales in a nutshell, where online shops offer substantial discounts or promotional offers for a very short period of time. The goal is to
- entice online shoppers to impulse buy,
- increase short-term sales, or
- sell excess stock.
A few years ago, flash sales had shown to generate a 35% increase in transaction rates. And online merchants who ran flash sales on the Wix platform in 2020 increased their monthly gross merchandise value (GMV) by over 64,000% with a flash sale.
Flash sales aren’t right for every store or every product, though, and you need to pick the right time to launch one. Be sure to check out this guide and examples on how to run successful flash sales before you take the plunge.
Keep Growing Your Shopify Store in 2021 and Beyond
There are So Many Ways to grow your ecommerce business. In the end, all those options come down to increasing
- the amount of customers,
- your average order value (AOV), and/or
- customers’ order frequency.
And you can leverage all these in one go by integrating a loyalty program like Shopify Reward Campaigns with KickoffLabs. Learn more about how you can boost sales, customer numbers, and customer loyalty with KickoffLabs for Shopify here.