5 Marketing Technologies Every Retailer Needs

5 Marketing Technologies Every Retailer Needs

You snagged your favorite URL at GoDaddy and were approved for a merchant account to accept credit cards. Awesome! Now what?

With today’s plethora of plug-and-play options, it’s realistic that someone could open up a shop online in a few days or less. But growing your business and creating ongoing revenue is more complicated than just building up a storefront and stocking it with products.

You’ll need to implement a strategy for tracking and growing revenues, and keeping up with your customers to make sure you’re offering what they’re interested in buying.

Here are 5 marketing technologies to help grow your eCommerce business:

1. Storefront Host

2. Robust Data Analytics

3. Email Marketing Service

4. Social Media Planning/Tracker Tool

5. Behavioral Commerce Platform

1. Storefront Host – When visitors come to your site they expect to be able to find the items they’re looking for with ease. The storefront host you choose will impact the way your store looks to shoppers and will also be the technology that maintains a record of your category, product, and other sales pages so that they can be retrieved via search by your customers.

In addition, the storefront host you choose will also determine how you manage your online account. So it’s important to check out the merchant-side user interface before you commit to one vendor, because the number of features available to store owners will vary depending on the host.

Demandware is one example of an eCommerce platform host. They enable companies to easily design, implement and manage their own customized e-commerce sites. Their customers use an integrated platform to more easily launch and manage multiple e-commerce sites, initiate marketing campaigns more quickly, and improve e-commerce traffic. Several retailers including Callaway Golf, Crocs, Puma and Procter & Gamble use Demandware’s platform to host their storefront.

2. Robust Data Analytics – So you’ve built the site and now you have a store. Are you able to tell what’s happening in it? How many people are visiting? What pages are they clicking on? If you don’t have the means to see this information, you won’t know. In order to have a clear idea of who is visiting your site and to know the pages their viewing, you need robust analytics. An analytics platform such as IBM’s CoreMetricsWeb Analytics tool can track a customer’s browsing history and clicks over the long term and then help you to successfully attract and retain online visitors and customers.

Knowing more about the people visiting your site and where exactly they click can be extremely valuable information when you begin marketing to your customers. Once someone has visited your site and has familiarity with your business, it’s a good idea to stay in touch with them to either secure that first sale, or maintain them as a return customer.

You need to know who exactly it is you’re talking to so that you not only communicate with them in the way in which they prefer but also so you can entice them to take your desired action.

3. Behavioral Commerce Platform – Once you’ve attracted potential buyers to your site you’ll need ways to message them uniquely based on their shopping personalities and buying behaviors. With a behavioral commerce platform, retailers can segment their shoppers by behavior and launch campaigns in real time. If someone has been to your site three times in the last five days looking at the same item repeatedly, you should have a system in place that allows you to identify them as a very interested shopper and send real time on-site messages or offers to encourage them to purchase.

With a behavioral commerce partner like SteelHouse, marketers are able to segment their shoppers in real time based on behaviors and then deliver customized marketing campaigns to specific shoppers whether they’re still shopping on site or even if they navigat offsite. With solid retargeting ads and the ability to message visitors onsite, retailers can easily increase their conversion rates and average order values.

For example, a swimwear retailer could run an always-on “Sunshine State 15% Off” discount for all Florida residents who place $75 or more worth of bikinis into their shopping cart. Many retailers, including Folica, have seen significant lift in their conversion rates (see Case Study HERE).

4. Email Marketing Service – Choosing an email marketing service is the next step in growing a successful online store. Keeping a running list of past site visitors, customers, and potential new customers is important when you start to reach out beyond the walls of your online store and look to connect with people via their inbox. There are several email marketing services out there – some free and some not – but choosing a great email partner doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

Before heading out to comparison shop email marketing vendors, make a list of the things you’d like to do and how many people you think might be included on your list. Also, consider how often you’ll be sending correspondence. Will you be sending once-monthly, simple email reminders for upcoming sales, or will you be more active with your email list and send information out a few times a week?

Constant Contact is a great example of an email marketing service that’s easy to use and still resilient enough to handle even the largest mailing lists. Their pre-built templates mean you don’t need to be a designer to create impressive emails, and their extensive analytics system keeps track of who’s reading your emails and who’s clicking through to explore the links you send.

5. Social Media Planning/Tracker Tool – There’s no shortage of options when it comes to interacting with and engaging your customers. In fact, it can be nearly impossible to keep up with all of your social media channels. Using a comprehensive social media management tool is essential for any retailer that wants to participate in the wildly popular social realms.

Creating posts, tweets and shareable content is important when you’re trying to get the word out about your brand, but it can be very time consuming, therefore, you want to be sure to analyze which of your efforts result in the highest return on investment (ROI) so that you can maximize your content efforts.

Free social media management tools like HootSuite can help you stay on top of your company’s social outreach campaigns. Send tweets, update your Facebook status, and schedule content weeks in advance. Monitor click rates, respond to customers, and even be alerted when people mention your brand. They even have a premium account feature that enables you to view enhanced analytic reports and add several accounts to the main dashboard.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or well on your way to eCommerce domination, every eTailer needs a support system to keep their shop running.

By Aubrey Beck, Content

image sources: www.v3.co.uk