8 Smarter eCommerce Marketing Strategies That Aren’t PPC

The eCommerce market will be worth a whopping $6.54 trillion by 2022. While shoppers will buy more and more products online, this figure also means that more sellers will step up to fulfill buyer demand.

Translation: eCommerce is getting more competitive.

You’ve got a great piece of the pie right now, but if you want to hold on to your share of the market (and we’re pretty sure you do), you’ve got to think outside the box.

Not all marketing strategies will work for your Shopify store. Nope.

Instead of following someone else’s playbook, you’ve got to create a custom mix of marketing tactics to boost brand awareness, reach more buyers, and drive sales. Be part of the $6.54 billion future of eCommerce.

Follow these 8 eCommerce-friendly marketing strategies to earn more for less hassle.

8 tried-and-tested product marketing strategies

By the way, as much as we love pay-per-click advertising, that’s not going to move the needle for your eCommerce store.

Instead, rely on these 8 strategies that promote your eCommerce store in a more organic, thoughtful way. You might have to spend a little bit of money to get these campaigns off the ground, but the ROI will be so worth it.

1 – Encourage user-generated content

Word of mouth marketing is the holy grail of eCommerce marketing. For one, 92% of customers trust suggestions from friends, family, and popular online figures more than branded content.

User-generated content, or UGC, is the digitized version of word of mouth marketing and it holds so much potential for eCommerce brands.

Marjanslove endorsing Kalumi beauty products.

With UGC, customers share their honest experiences with your brand or your product. That includes everything from customer reviews to unboxing videos to Instagram selfies.

But why do we care about selfies, anyway? UGC matters because:

  • It builds trust: You need to build trust with customers. After all, if a buyer doesn’t trust you, she certainly isn’t going to trust your products.
  • It’s authentic:  UGC is awesome because it’s believable.
  • It empowers your customers: Instead of bragging about yourself with traditional marketing, UGC helps customers brag about you. Plus, these customers don’t get squat for featuring you; they’re just talking about you because they love your product!

Incentivize your customers to create UGC. Whether you run a contest or exchange UGC for shoutouts, it’s the perfect way to not only engage with shoppers but boost your brand reach in an organic way.

You can try DIYing a UGC campaign, or you could press the Easy Button and partner with Trend. Our network of vetted influencers creates professional UGC that you can repurpose anywhere you like. Nice, huh?

User generated content

2 – Incentivize shopping

eCommerce is a fierce gig. You’ve got to not only sell customers on your products but get them so committed to your brand that they click “Buy Now” without flinching.

In other words, you need to incentivize shopping.

You want to whip shoppers into a buying frenzy, and that means building craveable, exciting experiences when they shop with you.

Loyalty or rewards programs might sound overplayed, but trust us, they’re the best way to get customers to not only buy more per order, but to come back.

Sephora does a great job of this. Their Beauty Insider rewards program works because it:

  • Gives 1 – 1.5 points per dollar spent.
  • Gifts customers with a free product on their birthday.
  • Offers seasonal savings and free shipping
  • Grants access to insider-exclusive events.
Sephora rewards program.

Whether you offer a BOGO deal, a stamp card, or a point system, loyalty programs are a slam-dunk for boosting eCommerce sales. Just make sure the rewards are worth it: a $1-off discount isn’t super generous, and it won’t get people excited to shop.

If you don’t want to do a loyalty program, consider a giveaway. People love getting free stuff, and they’ll do a lot to get it, too.

But make sure the giveaway is relevant to your business. A weeklong trip to Paris is a fun prize, but unless you sell berets or baguettes, you’re going to attract the wrong audience. Remember, the goal of the giveaway is to find relevant customers. Give away a years’ worth of your most popular product instead.

3 – Partner with influencers

“Viral” is the golden unicorn of eCommerce marketing. If you can go viral, you’ve hit the jackpot for product sales. One of the easiest ways to go viral is to partner with an influencer.

Influencers have a trusted base of online followers who already trust them.

Instead of nurturing a community for years yourself, you can immediately tap into an influencer’s following to boost eCommerce sales.

And this isn’t a fluffy strategy, either.

On average, businesses earn over $5 for every $1 they invest in influencer marketing.

Whether you want a sponsored Instagram post, a blog, a video, or something in-between, influencers get a lot of ROI for eCommerce sites.

Gymshark has a great Instagram influencer strategy that boosts their reach. Gymshark’s Instagram posts frequently tag its network of influencers, appealing to that influencer’s audience while boosting the Gymshark brand.

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Did you even go to the gym if you didn't take a picture as evidence? 🤔👀 📸: @deniceemoberg @Gymsharkwomen #Gymshark

A post shared by Gymshark (@gymshark) on Mar 6, 2020 at 11:06am PST

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Functional Fridays 💥 Complete 4 sets x12 reps for each slide of @realrubaali's workout 💦 Don't forget to save 💾 @Gymsharktrain #Gymshark

A post shared by Gymshark (@gymshark) on Mar 6, 2020 at 7:05am PST

You can find influencers by sifting through hashtags on Instagram, but let’s be real: that takes a lot of time, and even if you find an influencer, there’s no guarantee they’re high-quality.

Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping you find a good influencer, go with a secure, vetted platform built for influencer marketing. Trend’s network of screened influencers helps you hit the ground running for pain-free influencer marketing.

4 – Discount (but carefully)

Who doesn’t love saving money? Discounts are an easy way to attract new customers, convert people who are on the fence and bring back past customers.

But you can’t discount willy-nilly. You’ve got to use this marketing strategy carefully.

If you’re always offering discounts, over time, that will actually cheapen your brand.

Customers won’t buy your full-price offerings because they don’t think you’re worth it. After all, you don’t see brands like Tiffany’s discounting their goods, do you?

If you don’t have a luxury brand where discounts would hurt you, feel free to offer occasional discounts.

You can discount by:

  • Asking for a customer’s email in exchange for discounts.
  • Offering free shipping.
  • Giving bulk order discounts.
  • Offering subscribe and save discounts.
Offerred discount on wesite

On top of that, slash prices for seasonal sales (like Black Friday), for abandoned carts, or on customers’ birthdays.

If the product costs below $100, tell the customer how much they’ll save as a percentage (25% off). If your product is over $100, display that in dollar signs ($25 off).

5 - Sharpen your email marketing

Proactive emails for discounts shouldn't be your only weapon for email marketing. Your emails should also be reactive based on the actions your consumers take on your website.

Personalization is all the rage today and what better way to do so than sending content to your customers based on what they are looking at.

Add and optimize abandon cart emails to send reminder emails to your customer base when they fail to complete a purchase.

Don't just stick to plain abandon cart emails though.

Add some juice to them with:

  • Customer reviews
  • Spotlighting a single product
  • Highlighting a loyalty reward that can be used

You can also sharpen marketing for your customers is by recommending similar products.

Include similar products in emails based on previous purchase or previous products a customer has viewed.

These recommendations can also be included on your site for more power.

6 – Collect reviews

Reviews make the eCommerce world go ‘round.

95% of all online shoppers always check reviews before buying anything online.

Customers need reviews to know if your product is worth their hard-earned money.

If a product doesn’t have any reviews, few customers want to take a chance on you. They’ll leave your site and buy elsewhere, which is the opposite of what you want.

buttstrap reviews

Create an eCommerce marketing campaign that encourages customer reviews.

You can’t incentivize reviews if you’re on a platform like Amazon, but through Shopify, you can usually offer discounts, freebies, or other low-cost incentives in exchange for an honest review.

Collect more reviews by:

  • Replying to all of your existing reviews, both good and bad. This shows you’re responsive and encourages customer engagement.
  • Sending customers a post-purchase email.
  • Slipping a piece of paper with the product asking for a review.
  • Add a review request on your Thank You page after the customer orders.

Naturally, you’d like to collect a ton of 5-star reviews, but don’t ask customers to give you 5 stars.

Mous case review

That’s pretty sketchy.

It’s not a good look, so always ask for people’s honest opinions. Customers can see through fake reviews, anyway, so it’s always best to be 100% genuine.

7 – Market through SMS

You’re connected to customers via social media and email, and that’s great. You need that for eCommerce marketing.

The thing is, these channels are still very competitive. You’re competing with baby pictures and cat videos and work emails.

Believe it or not, SMS marketing is a great way to connect with interested customers in a clutter-free environment.

83% of Millennial shoppers open SMS messages within 90 seconds.

Plus, 48% of shoppers say they prefer loyalty messages via SMS, not email.

If you need to get more customer engagement, give SMS marketing a try for your eCommerce shop. SMS marketing gets an impressive 98% open rate (yes, we had to double-check that number) and they’re more deliverable than emails, anyway.

Feel free to keep your email campaigns firing, but don’t overlook the ROI of SMS marketing for eCommerce.

8 – Find affiliates

The great thing about eCommerce is that you can promote so much of your business online. Because of that, you should always take advantage of affiliate programs.

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Scratches ✨ ASOS DESIGN - Chemise rayée en coton à manches longues volumineuses (1625432) Topshop - Sacoche bandoulière - Sauge (1649507) #asseenonme

A post shared by Syana Laniyan (@asos_syana) on Feb 23, 2020 at 7:24am PST

Reach out to a fleet of bloggers and offer them a 30% (or whatever percentage floats your boat) commission every time someone buys products through their affiliate link.

It’s as simple as giving your affiliates a unique link to promote the product. They do their thing promoting your site and you both win in the end.

Not sure how to attract affiliates? You’ll build a network of loyal referrers when you:

  • Advertise your affiliate program on your website.
  • Blast an email targeted to blog writers or owners in your niche. If you were Sephora, for example, you would reach out to bloggers in the beauty niche.
  • Give a decent return. Don’t offer a 5% discount. Make the discount juicy enough to motivate affiliates to sell.
  • Advertise! You can run a brief paid ad campaign on social media to connect with more affiliates.

If you’re looking for examples, check out DIFF Eyewear’s great affiliate program.

DIFF eyewear affiliate program.
DIFF eyewear affiliate program 2

If you don’t want to do a full-blown affiliate program, you can always offer a customer referral program. Give loyal customers $50 off their next order every time they refer a friend.

This gets people sharing your products in an organic way that benefits both you and them. It’s a win-win!

The bottom line

eCommerce is a growing retail niche, and it’s only going to get bigger. But “bigger” also means more competition, and that’s why you have to competition-proof your eCommerce site right now.

Use these 8 product marketing strategies to create a unique, comprehensive marketing plan to boost your eCommerce sales.

Enjoy a synergistic effect that not only increases customer retention but puts more money in your bank account.

Promote the same great eCommerce website, but jazz it up with marketing strategies proven to win. Get some fresh ideas to think bigger and sell more in 2020 and beyond.

While some of these strategies are easy to implement, influencer marketing and user-generated content require a lot of your time.

Stick to fulfilling orders and growing your business, not sifting through Instagram for content. Trend helps eCommerce sites source better UGC and vetted influencers through our platform.

Get a free demo now to see what all the hype is about.