The definitive guide to ecommerce marketing in Australia

In the early days of the consumer internet, online marketing was at its simplest. You created a website and let it be your online shopfront – that was more or less it. But in real-world terms, that is now the equivalent of putting out a sandwich board in front of your physical shop: useful if you happen to be walking directly past, but very limited as a marketing tool.

That’s where ecommerce marketing comes in. In fact, recent estimates are that over AU8.8 billion was spent on marketing online 2018. In percentage terms, that will mean that more than 50 cents of every marketing dollar spent will be spent on a digital medium.

But there is absolutely zero sense in reallocating a percentage of your marketing and advertising budget to ecommerce marketing without a firm understanding of what it is, what it can deliver, and how exactly you can optimise every dollar you spend. That’s what we’ve set out to do here today.

We’ll take you through the Australian ecommerce marketing landscape as it is today. We then take you through the major ecommerce marketing strategies, how to develop an ecommerce marketing plan, some marketing tips on how to further improve performance plus the benefits of ecommerce marketing and the real returns on investment you can expect if you implement an ecommerce marketing strategy effectively. We will then dive into the detail of likely future trends in ecommerce marketing.

The Australian Ecommerce Marketing Landscape

Australian ecommerce marketing has come a long way in a short time. We have become an export hub for everything from wine to vitamins to baby formula. Because of these trends, our ecommerce landscape has evolved dramatically and in a relatively short period.

Competing on a global scale has meant that Australian ecommerce is now highly developed, and even for those businesses that are not export-exposed, “a rising tide lifts all boats” – meaning that all ecommerce marketing is measured against the best examples on offer.

Here’s an interesting infographic that illustrates how well-developed the Australian ecommerce landscape has become:

How Ecommerce Marketing Works

In a nutshell, ecommerce marketing is how businesses take actions designed to drive awareness of their products or services with the aim of converting that awareness into a sale. Ecommerce marketing strategies are implemented to generate online sales.

For businesses with physical premises as well, offline sales can also be attributed to laser-focused ecommerce marketing, as customers discover products or services online before making a physical purchase. In fact, research by Google suggests that over 80% of shoppers will research products online before deciding what to buy.

Ecommerce marketers have plenty in their toolboxes to achieve these twin goals of boosting online and offline traffic and sales. The primary tool is a well-designed, search engine optimised (SEO) ecommerce website. A website that is up to date, mobile-responsive, fast loading, and well-designed markedly increases the chances of all the other ecommerce marketing strategies succeeding.

This is because a business website serves as the base upon which almost all other ecommerce strategies are built. In the most “end to end” example, a website will be the property that grabs the attention of a potential customer by appearing on a Google search, well before they learn about your business, product, or service. At that stage, they are merely a visitor, but the information on the website is tasked with converting them into becoming a prospect and entering your sales funnel by engaging with you: emailing, downloading, subscribing, or making a phone call. They become your customer or client when a sale is made.

eCommerce Marketing Strategies in Action

A sound ecommerce website is just a starting point for a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. Social media platforms, digital content creation, and search engine marketing are just some of the complementary tools that work hand in hand with your website to give you a comprehensive ecommerce strategy. There are plenty of other options too, so here are the top 13 “major muscle groups” when it comes to building a strong ecommerce strategy.

  1. Social Media

    Social media platforms, particularly Instagram and Facebook, have become increasingly important to marketers, but that does not mean that they should be the sole focus of ecommerce marketing activities. A strong social media presence is not the same as a strong social media ecommerce strategy. Too many social media accounts confuse interaction and the number of posts with effectiveness. The primary use of social media for business is to drive sales, not just clicks or likes.

    That means that a well-planned social media strategy will work backwards from that point to understand why people visit the social media page, and to determine how the content that goes on social media can assist in actually growing leads, sales, and revenue.

  2. Shoppable Videos & Content

    One practical example of this kind of thinking is the creation of “shoppable” videos. This can apply to a very diverse range of industries. For example, a recipe video showing a rapid time-lapsed sequence of the preparation of a tasty treat (a favourite of social media) from ingredients to finished product can include hyperlinks in the video caption section to a shopping list needed to make the recipe. Businesses from food manufacturers to kitchen fit-out specialists can create this kind of content to showcase their products in a format that is known to drive online engagement.

  3. Influencer Marketing

    This technique focuses on sourcing people or brands that have an influence over your target market. Influencers exist everywhere and continue to grow. According to Forbes, Influencer marketing is expected to grow even further in 2019, with Google alone seeing a 325% increase in “influencer marketing” searches.

    Influencers can be found on YouTube and Instagram. They are noteable, because they have a large number of subscribers and followers and have successfully built a community around them that knows, likes and trusts them. By either building relationships with them or through using paid sponsorships, it can help draw attention to your product.

  4. Content Marketing

    Written content like articles, blogs, longer form white papers, and case studies form the backbone of a strong content marketing strategy, which in turn grounds a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. Then, of course, there is infographics, audio and video content as well.

    From a content marketing perspective, apart from writing articles or blog posts, you could also consider having guest blog posts written. This can be an effective technique, not only for attracting links to your website but also for getting exposure from sites that might have a larger audience that you.

    From an ecommerce perspective, optimising your product pages for short keywords relating to your product will also help. For example, if you sell electronic equipment, a google search for “Samsung 4K Smart TV” is more likely to show if you have included that on your product page. Optimising your product pages also helps with search engine optimisation.

  5. Search Engine Marketing

    Getting the top result on a particular Google search is a goal that every marketer and advertiser is aiming for. The first page of Google is an incredibly valuable lead generation tool for any business, and consequently, many hours are spent figuring out how to have your business appear there.

    Search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimisation (SEO) are the two prongs to this strategy.

  6. Search Advertising

    SEM can include paid marketing campaigns where businesses buy advertising inventory in order to appear alongside certain identified Google search results. This is then charged on a “pay per click” basis where each click on an ad on the Google page after a search is conducted is charged as a paid lead.

  7. Google Shopping

    This powerful service provided by Google, enables retailers to show images of their products, its price and the retailer brand name at the top or side of the Google search results page when people are looking for a particular product.

    Like Google ads, it operates on a pay per click basis and enables retailers to show both search ads and shopping ads when a user types a query into Google.

    It’s set up by creating a Google Merchant Centre, and creating a feed of your products. The feed contains various product information including the price, image, description, sizes, and product condition. Linking the merchant centre to Google Ads enables a retailer to run the ads via Google ads.

  8. Local Inventory Ads

    Local inventory ads are a subset of Google Shopping. They enable retailers who have nearby stores to see what you have in stock as well as get directions to your store and see store opening hours.

  9. Remarketing

    Often called retargeting, remarketing is a smart way to remind visitors about your products. It enables you to place your products in front of people who visited your website, viewed a product page and who did not make a purchase.

    David Jones, one of the largest known retailers in Australia, saw a 97% increase in conversion rate and a 72% increase in return on ad spend when they used a Remarketing strategy in 2015 to target digital shoppers.

    Your products can be shown anywhere across the web – on Facebook, Instagram and on vast networks of websites, like news.com.au, to people who have visited your online store. Ads can be either static or dynamic ads. The static ads show an image you select while the dynamic ads automatically show some of the products they viewed in the ads.

    Remarketing can be activated either through Google Ads, Facebook or even Instagram.

  10. Search Engine Optimization

    SEO is often thought of as the more “organic” marketing method that relies on business pages and websites appearing in the unpaid results section of the paid without the discreet “ad” badge next to the result. This is a big topic but basically it involves optimising your website so it is found in search engines.

    There are a lot of components to SEO. These include speeding up your website, ensuring it displays well on a mobile device, optimising your images, ensuring page titles, descriptions and product pages are optimised.

    A common error many websites make is not having enough information about the product on their product pages. Ideally, product pages should be as detailed as possible. This not only provides a good user experience; it helps the search engine understand the content on the page.

    Another little used technique is to use structured data on your product pages. Often called schema, it is a tag-based language that defines entities on the internet. It is added to the HTML on your website to improve the way search engines read your webpages in search engines. Specific schema for product pages can be found at schema.org.

    So far, we’ve talked about on the page optimisation techniques for SEO, however another part of SEO, is off page optimisation.

    This basically involves getting links to your website. But here’s where things can get tricky. It’s not just about getting any link to your website, it’s about getting good quality links that point back to your website from other related websites. This is where having quality content that is worthy of being linked to is important. Creating graphics or newsworthy content that attracts bloggers, influencers or news editors is critical.

  11. Email Marketing

    While email marketing is not new, it can be incredibly powerful for ecommerce. There are 3 essential components:

    1. Obtaining permission to send emails
    2. Automated emails
    3. Sending regular promotional emails to set user expectations early

    Getting permission to send emails

    Many websites embed email subscription forms at the bottom of the website, others have them display as soon as a user lands on the website. While we are huge advocates for collecting email addresses, you need to consider if you want to disrupt users straight away before they have had a chance to engage with the page. But there are so many other options – from slide in boxes, drop down banners and intelligent pop-ups.

    What’s an intelligent pop up? It’s simply a pop up that can be set to be displayed after a certain period of time, or after a user has scrolled 50% of the page, or on a signal that a user is about to exit the page.

    Our personal favourites are exit intent pop-ups. These can be used effectively to entice a user to sign up to receive special deals or offers just prior to them leaving the website.

  12. Automated Emails

    There are 3 main types of automated emails: welcome emails, transactional emails and triggered automated emails like abandoned cart emails.

    Welcome emails can be as simple as welcoming a user after they have signed up to your newsletter.

    Transactional emails, on the other hand, are those that send order confirmations or any other follow up post purchase emails. They can include things like shipping details or even customer surveys.

    Triggered automated emails are those emails that occur as a result of the user doing something. A perfect example of this, is abandoned cart emails. This is where a user is sent an email when they have left something in their shopping cart and not finalised the transaction. Automated emails can also be used for items in a wishlist. For example, if inventory levels for the item are low, then an email can be sent to let them know and help prompt them into action.

  13. Affiliate Marketing

    This is a type of performance-based marketing where someone else promotes your products and are rewarded with a commission. They may employ a number of different marketing tactics, including some of the methods outlined here. The benefit is that you can multiple people help market your products but the downside is that you need some stringent guidelines in place to ensure brand integrity. Affiliates may also be more attracting higher value products if the marketing costs are particularly high. There are a number of platforms that can help you manage the commission process.

    Expanding to new channels (eBay, amazon, marketplaces)

    Many retailers often supply their products to other retailers as well as sell their own products online.

    Marketplace sites like eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Grays Online, Catch, Hard to Find are basically online stores where multiple vendors come together to sell their products. The advantage is that you can tap into their large audience and email list. The disadvantage is that some may decide to develop their own product that may end up competing with yours. Costs vary on different platforms – some are subscription based, some have listing fees, while others charge a percent commission on the sale. It’s also common to have a combination of different models.

How To Develop A Bulletproof Ecommerce Marketing Plan

So you’ve launched your store and started to send traffic to it. Now what! The next step is to develop a marketing plan.

  1. Setting Goals

    One of the most important part of your plan is set your marketing objectives. These should flow from your business objectives. While some larger brands might include brand awareness as a goal, smaller sites might have different goals.

    Most ecommerce stores, however, might have goals along the lines of increasing the number of new website visitors, increase customer repeat purchase rate, improving the conversion rate, increasing the number of email subscribers, or reduce customer acquisition rates.

    Bear in mind, that decreasing acquisition rates might reduce the overall number of transactions so it’s important to have an understanding the impact one objective might have over the other. Therefore, it’s a good idea to prioritise your objectives. This will help if there are any goals that inadvertently conflict.

    There are two ways to set goals. Firstly, look at your current website stats and aim for improvements. Alternatively, you can also look to industry benchmarks. According to e-consultancy, the average conversion rate for ecommerce websites ranges between 1-2%

  2. Break Down The Tactics

    Once your objectives are in place, it will then be easier to look at different activities to see which ones are more likely to deliver on your goals.

    “Resist the temptation to do every single one of the major tactics we listed above. For a start, most businesses do not have the resources to attempt to do everything. Usually, either budget or time will be a major constraint.”

    Resist the temptation to do every single one of the major tactics we listed above. For a start, most businesses do not have the resources to attempt to do everything. Usually, either budget or time will be a major constraint.

    Focus on doing a few major activities first and doing them exceptionally well rather than trying do everything. You could also stagger the activities over quarters to help manage the workload. In this case, prepare a timeline with budgets assigned for each activity.

    Also bear in mind that some activities might take some time to get traction. For example, paid search might take a few months to get the best results while social media may take even longer.

  3. Data Analysis

    If you are not sure what to do first and you have existing data and ecommerce tracking in place, then look at your customer acquisition reports in Google Analytics. A good tip is to review the performance of different traffic sources. You might find some traffic sources have delivered a lot of traffic but not much in the way of sales, but others have delivered sales in spades. This will help inform your marketing plan.

    It’s also good practice to set up monthly reports to see how you are tracking to your plan. Doing so will enable you to adjust your tactics. For example, if you have decided to use Instagram to generate sales and you find its not working so well initially, you might need to dig deep and work out if it’s the content, the message or even the time posted that’s impacting performance. Doing data analysis on a regular basis will help you adjust as you go.

Ecommerce Marketing Tips

  • Get product / customer reviews
  • Consider exit intent pop-ups asking people to join your newsletter as they show signs of exiting the site
  • Be competitively priced
  • Ensure your website is easy to navigate and ensure it has the ability to search and filter products
  • Use high quality images and video on your product pages
  • Make the shopping cart experience frictionless
    • Have a clear and simple return policy
    • Show contents of showing cart throughout the journey
    • Show shipping costs early
    • Highlight secure checkout
    • Offer flexible delivery options
    • Let customers know what payments you accept early on
    • Offer Flexible payment options (buy now, pay later (afterpay, zipmoney) & credit cards)
    • Offer customer support
    • Forms – set so numbers display when they need to input numbers and alphabet when they need to input letters
    • Allow guest checkout
  • Measure your conversion rate and optimise accordingly
  • Enable users to pick up where they left off if they abandon the cart

Your Most Valuable ecommerce Marketing Assets

Depending on your business, there is a range of eCommerce marketing assets that will be vital to your marketing efforts. These include:

eCommerce Marketing Plan

It may take some time to pull this together, but once you do you will have a framework from which to work for years to come. This is an area where our Swoop Digital team really shines, and we can work with you to create this solid foundation from which everything else will flow.

eCommerce Website

As mentioned above, having a website that informs, educates, and builds trust is important. It will present your products in the best way possible and lead visitors to an easy purchase decision.

Photographs

Having your products professionally photographed and using paid talent where necessary can make a huge difference in whether someone will hit a “Buy” button. Shooting different views, colours, close-ups of features, and products in-situ all help move prospective purchasers to take the next step. Having a media library from which to choose will be so useful when it comes to creating blog posts and social media posts.

Video

Demonstrating how things work, are worn, assembled or fixed can be very powerful, and open up other avenues for sharing, e.g., creating a YouTube Channel.

Shopping Cart

Streamlining the purchase process with an efficient shopping cart will help ensure cart abandonment is kept to a minimum, while at the same time collecting buyer details for further marketing. We are happy to look at your current shopping cart and recommend improvements that will make a real difference to your bottom line.

CRM Software

To help manage your customers’ details, their purchase history, and spend levels, it is important to have a Customer-Relationship-Management (CRM) software in place, and this can often be incorporated in your Shopping Cart. If you don’t have this in place already, the Swoop Digital team can help you with this.

Testimonials

You can say whatever you like about how good your product or service is, but it is only when genuine clients or customers say it that it will really resonate with shoppers. Having written testimonials is great, particularly on social media, but if you can obtain video testimonials – well, this is priceless. Again, these can be used on your social media properties, including YouTube.

The Benefits of Ecommerce marketing

What any marketing manager or business wants to know is: what are the benefits to my business of ecommerce marketing? We’ve put together a short list of some of the main benefits, but it also pays to remember that each industry and business will likely have specific use cases for ecommerce that are best developed and drawn up by a comprehensive online marketing strategy.

  1. Open 24/7

    For customers, ecommerce marketing means that they can do research from the comfort of their home or from a bus seat on their commute: whichever time is most convenient to them. A well-constructed website is not just about selling. It’s also about generating leads for your business through being an automated, ever-present marketing channel. It can educate, inspire, and nurture your potential customers even before you are aware that they have found your business.

    There have been many studies about how to optimise websites so that visitors get the most value for the time they spend on them, and that businesses are more likely to convert those browsers into warm leads or sales. Of course, what works for a services provider will be vastly different to what works for a vitamins manufacturer, so this is where tailored, specific advice really maximises your marketing spend by ensuring it goes to the right strategies.

  2. Lead Generation

    An optimised website can not only attract leads from search engines, but it can also turn those browsers into “warm leads” for businesses that aren’t suited to closing the sale on the website. For service-based businesses, these warm leads might take the form of a phone call during business hours or an inquiry form submitted for a tailored quote. A strongly designed ecommerce marketing strategy will map out the customer experience of your website and nudge customers through the website in a logical way so that their questions are answered and they are more likely to get in touch.

  3. ROI Decrease marketing Spend, Increasing ROI

    The goals of increasing the return on investment (ROI) of marketing campaigns while either maintaining or even trimming the overall marketing spend is possible with a well-designed ecommerce marketing strategy, especially where other combinations of online and offline marketing are currently not achieving the desired results. There may also be the scenario where the current online marketing spend has not achieved the desired results, or it is not clear to your business whether it is effective or not. An experienced ecommerce marketing consultant can assist with putting in place quantifiable reporting metrics and spending tracking to ensure that results are measured and then optimised.

The Future of
Ecommerce and Marketing Automation
in Australia

Ecommerce marketing is a relatively new standalone discipline, which means that ways to improve it are still being developed. In much the same way as the assembly line revolutionised car manufacturing, ecommerce marketing automation has the potential to change the face of online marketing as a whole. Marketing automation is a very broad umbrella term for a number of strategies, so some case studies help to illustrate the point

For an online store, a major problem for businesses is so-called “abandoned carts” where shoppers have selected several items and added them to their cart, but have clicked away from the site without actually purchasing.

A good marketing automation strategy will create an email 12 or 24 hours after they have not purchased the items reminding them that they are still available, and perhaps incentivising them to act immediately in exchange for a small discount.

Other simple actions, like sending a thank you email on the first anniversary of a customer’s first purchase or giving those who subscribe to emails exclusive access to deals or pre-sales before the general public receives them, can be driven by sophisticated (but not complex) automated marketing strategies that have been proven to generate increased engagement and sales.

Swoop Digital:
Your Ecommerce Marketing
Partner

Swoop Digital has been a leader in the Australian digital marketing scene for many years. Our expertise in ecommerce marketing is setting the benchmark for developing results-driven strategies that are tailored to our customers’ sales objectives. We invite you to contact us today for an obligation-free discussion about your business and how we can help take it to next level success [contact details].