Now that sites like Shopify and WooCommerce make it easy to launch digital stores, small business is becoming a big deal online: Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends report pointed out that the world’s 600,000+ digital merchants are earning over $25B annually.
But there’s a lot to learn between launching an online store and earning real sales. And not all SMBs succeed along the way.
When brands fail to find a loyal online audience, their digital storefronts shutter fast. So how can marketers make sure their shops strike the right chord with customers?
Learning is listening
Consumers spent a whopping $453B online last year, marking a 16% increase from 2016. And while Amazon had a lot to do with that growth, the “everything store” isn’t everyone’s thing.
Online stores and direct-to-consumer strategies are rising because they offer customers a more curated experience. But for that “curation” to resonate, shoppers have to trust that the shop will have stuff they really want.
Ideally, entering an online store should feel like launching a Spotify playlist inspired by a favorite musician: consumers already want, and expect, to like what they hear.
Success with online stores – just like audio – starts with finding and understanding your audience. And email is the best avenue for SMBs and online shoppers to get to know each other.
Finding the sound
SMBs sometimes think people will stumble across their online stores through search, or traditional display ads, and just stick around to buy.
But that’s a pipe dream, for plenty of reasons: 28% of website traffic is non-human, ad-blocking is on the rise, and the vast majority of “real” first-time visitors don’t arrive ready to purchase.
Email, on the other hand, delivers the stickiness that drives conversions. It creates a consistent way to put a brand’s personality and products on display in engaging ways – helping them find market fit and improve targeting over time.
The people who read a brand or publisher’s emails also have a much higher intent to buy than anyone who comes across an ad online. ROI from email is 122% – four times that of social media, direct search, or paid search – and it’s virtually fraud-free.
What’s more, email delivers a wealth of data SMBs can use to shape their product line, improve their content, or guide media buys as they continue to grow.
Open rates, subscriber behavior, and intent data can show brands how much their customers like what they “hear.” Brands can then turn up what works and tune out what doesn’t – earning their online stores the audience loyalty they need to succeed.
But there’s so much more brands can do to amplify their marketing program by leveraging email. Email is valuable to marketers because it’s a strong identifier. In fact, 89 percent of marketers believe that a customer’s email address is the single most valuable identifier there is. Click here to find out why email is a retail marketer’s best friend.