The latest data tells us that online shopping will nearly double between 2016 and 2020. But with saturated markets and fierce competitors, how can you reassure your customers that your product is the right choice for them?
This is the main question we will attempt to answer throughout this post.
So, if you are keen on getting more sales for your online products, keep reading as we discover the latest trends and methods used by top brands across the globe.
Let’s start with the design.
We are living in the golden age of website design, with greater accessibility to UX and UI-patterns than ever before. And this means more possibilities for promoting your products in front of new customers.
Kate Harrison, who regularly publishes startup-related columns on Forbes, had this to say about the importance of design in eCommerce,
“Good web design is one of the most effective growth tools for an eCommerce business. Every aspect of your eCommerce business, from your company’s logo to your website’s appearance and usability, to your marketing brochures, must be smartly designed to maximize the user experience. Conversely, poor design can kill your business.”
And if you are wondering what is poor design, here is an example:
This is simply not the standard you want to express in the current design timeline.
If you want to drive sales and actually promote your products, you need to look for ways to use design as a means of promotion.
A means of establishing a strong brand presence, something that people can remember you by.
Take a look at this product on-boarding process from Golden Coil.
Golden Coil specializes in selling planners and notebooks.
But, instead of promoting their products with a sloppy product page, they are using the on-boarding approach to put customers in charge of customization.
This 10-step process lets new customers FULLY customize their planner or notebook, to the point of custom layouts and engravings.
You can segment your existing customer base to pinpoint the similarities between different buyer personas.
And as you develop personas, you can better personalize the design experience that users get when they land on your product pages.
Key takeaway: Focus on designing your product pages so that they feel alive. Don’t settle with the default product page provided by your favorite theme. Put in the effort to customize and personalize, and sales numbers will speak for themselves. Design plays a significant role in instilling trust in potential customers.
Website things: Performance and optimization.
If you love reading marketing articles, you’ll know that website performance affects your conversion rates quite heavily.
In fact, HubSpot reports that, “Up to 79% of customers who are dissatisfied with a website’s performance say they’re less likely to buy from the same site again.”
And this actually exemplifies itself in practice as well. There’s something dubious about a website that loads slowly and drags the whole user experience down.
The Web is slowly but surely moving towards a more optimized browsing experience. This is visibly evident when one looks at Google’s efforts to make the web faster with their release of Accelerated Mobile Pages. You also have projects like OpenLiteSpeed, which has shown to be up to 15,000 times faster than traditional web servers!
So, summing up, there’s no question that performance does affect your bottom line. And as such, here are a few tips to help you optimize your website without the need to hire a systems engineer.
Get a reliable web hosting plan
Unless you know how to work with a dedicated server, your best bet for website hosting is to use a managed hosting provider. And because no single company can provide the exact same service, it pays to do a little bit of research and looking-into alternatives.
Brands like InMotion have been around for decades, which also means that they have far more experience, and can provide services that are both easy to work with, but also provide exceptional results.
It pays to perform a thorough, detailed review of the host, analysing every aspect of it, from the actual features, to the more nuanced aspects, such as extended customization and configuration, how support handle difficult problems and how the site performs under different conditions.
For example, the following InMotion hosting review provides a deep product-wide overview, depicting different scenarios that your website might experience. So, whether it’s InMotion or another web hosting company, it pays to do your due diligence because that will make all the difference.
Start optimizing your images and photographs
Visual content such as images takes up an enormous amount of website space. And, as a result, images can also be the biggest culprit in slowing your site down. The good news is that you can optimize images — reduce their file size — without sacrificing quality.
Addy Osmani has written an entire eBook on the subject of image optimization. So, if you’re feeling like you want to dig deep on the topic, the Essential Image Optimization eBook is a magnificent read. It’s free, too!
But, if reading is not your cup of tea and you want results instead, you are also in luck!
Fortunately, image optimization is not something taken lightly by the web development community. And because of this, everyone has access to great tools and software for optimizing images quickly and effectively.
My absolute favorite has to be TinyPNG — a free-to-use browser tool that can optimize up to 20 images at once. It works for PNG and JPEG files, and you can even get it as a WordPress Plugin.
The miniscule differences in compression percentages from different tools aren’t worth the loss in efficiency.
Visual marketing: It’s not the same as text.
Did you know that the average person remembers only 20% of the text they have read, but more than 65% of what they have seen with their eyes?
Not only that, consumers who watch product videos are more likely to finalize their purchase: on average, the likelihood of finalizing a sale was in the 85% range.
What is visual marketing, in simple terms?
- It’s the quality of the photos you use for your product pages.
- It’s the type of videos you add to your landing pages.
- It’s the type of galleries that you use inside your content.
- And more recently, it’s also the type of illustrations you use in your web design.
And taking “risks” can yield great rewards. For example…
MailChimp redid their entire website design back in 2018, and a lot of their focus was specifically on the visual representation of a brand identity.
And rest assured that the reception for this redesign was very positive across the board.
So, how can you implement more visual marketing inside your growth strategy?
Use only high-quality photos
Don’t tempt yourself to visit sites like Pexels or Unsplash. Everyone knows that their free stock photos have been extremely overused.
If you are going to make visual marketing work for you, you’ll need to invest in a professional photographer to help capture the essence of your products.
You can always attempt to do it yourself if you have a capable smartphone or even some professional camera gear.
Add videos as part of your marketing strategy
For something small like a postcard or even a cooking pan, you probably don’t need to create a video unless it’s truly something innovative.
However, if your product promises to transform consumers’ lives, then you’re going to want to include videos as part of your strategy.
Samsung’s Gear is a revolutionary Virtual Reality headset that’s transforming the world as we know it.
But what are the chances that consumers would truly understand this product if not for Samsung including a video preview?
The same can be said for your products. A video helps to bring products to life, further helping to entice consumers to click the buy button.
Invest in a visually-stunning website design
A website’s design is much like a business card — if it stands out, you’re going to pay attention. And when it comes to visual marketing, nothing speaks louder and more clear than a professional store design.
And keep in mind that sometimes, the beauty lies in the details. The little intricacies that make the shopping experience easier. TeslaThemes is a great example of how design can be merged together with technicalities.
In as saturated market as WordPress themes (which are necessary if you use WooCommerce for your digital store), it’s a relief to find brands that understand modern trends and web design possibilities.
Having features like ‘Quick Checkout’ can really help boost your sales. Additionally, you might want to build a community on top of your store. In that case, you’ll need a design that can meet those requirements.
Create content with rich visuals
If you operate a content marketing strategy, you are going to want to be consistent with your use of visuals.
Melanie Moore says, “88% of marketers used visuals in more than 50% of their published articles, with 56% saying they used visuals 100% of the time.”.
And these numbers are expected to grow quickly over the coming year.
So, how to amp up your content with awesome visuals?
- Use plugins. If you sell your products using WordPress, specific plugins which can help you add stunning visuals to your website. The Gutenberg Editor is proving to be quite reliable when it comes to easy and painless visual management in WordPress sites.
- Use tools. You can use a tool like Pablo to create photos that are pleasant to share on social media websites. One study indicated that images led to an 85% interaction rate on Facebook and increased shares of content by 35%.
- Case studies. A content type that’s ripe for visual content is case studies. You can conclude interviews with your existing customers to find out how your products are helping them. Case studies add tremendous value when it comes to “convincing” consumers of a sale.
Try out different types of visual content and see what works best for your specific strategy.
Let’s keep going.
Email marketing: Still an industry-favorite.
You might not like it, but email marketing is going to remain as one of the top marketing channels for many years to come.
It’s effective! Email marketing provides the best ROI as reported by marketing experts. And, with email list building tools, it’s so easy to collect new subscribers and leads for your site. AddThis offers free tools to help capture leads from your website.
But, how to maximize your chances of successful email campaigns if your current ones are not working out?
The place to start would be to understand the current trends in email marketing.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Personalization and Hyper-personalization. Marketing, in general, is leaning towards a personalized structure. And email marketing was one of the first channels to really take this concept seriously. These days, most brands use some form of personalization to make subscribers feel like they are involved with the growth of the brand.
- Interactive email campaigns. Airbnb, Dropbox, Slack, and other recognized brands have been seen sending emails that include direct surveys, and search forms so that subscribers can look things up directly from the email newsletter.
- Artificial Intelligence. Yes, AI is coming to email marketing, too. At the moment, the most popular use case for AI in EM seems to be subscriber analysis. AI can recognize purchasing and interaction patterns that you would otherwise overlook.
- Adaptive design. The growth of email apps and clients means that there is a stronger emphasis on email design that can adapt to specific viewports. Using design tools and testing email adaptability is critical if you wish to ensure a high open-rate.
But, if you wanted to incorporate these trends specifically, where would you start?
Check what other brands are doing
This is hands-down my favorite site to use whenever I’m looking for newsletter inspiration. Really Good Emails compiles world-class email newsletters from some the internet’s biggest companies and brands.
You can narrow your search down to specific categories and sub-categories.
And with thousands of emails in the directory, you’ll never need to worry about running out of inspiration.
Also, it’s a great platform to use to identify similarities between newsletters.
And, as such, identify the most common trends.
Use your existing data for email personalization
If you are going to personalize, use the data that you already have.
This is especially true to affiliate products.
You have marketers sending new leads your way, and some of those leads might put your product in the basket.
But, the sale never closes…
So, what can you do?
First and foremost, you can offer an incentive. Send a cart reminder email and throw in a generous discount that won’t break your bank.
You can also do one-time follow-ups with an enticing offer.
If someone signed up to use your product as a free customer, then why not wait a few months and offer them to onboard as a paying customer?
AI: Chatbots as customer support representatives
How often have you left money on the table by not being able to provide real-time customer support?
While it’s hard to make concrete estimates, Invesp reports that, “More than 67% of consumers worldwide used a chatbot for customer support in the past year and around 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent by 2020.”.
And customers themselves love the real-time interactions with chatbots.
Consumers report that they love that chatbots provide 24/7 access to support, reply time is instant, and that it’s easy to find answers to pressing questions.
If you operate a complex product you can save yourself a lot of time by adding a chatbot to your eCommerce storefront.
And who knows, you might also generate a few extra leads!
Push Notifications: An emerging marketing channel
Did anyone tell that that push notifications increase engagement by up to 90% and more than 60% of users with push notifications enabled will return as users?
Not only that, push notifications are exceptionally useful in eCommerce and product promotion.
Here’s how top brands use push notifications in their campaigns:
- User Segmentation. Most PN software lets you segment your subscribers. As a result you can send extremely targeted notifications based on products that you have up for sale.
- Promotional offers. The beauty of push notifications is that they reach the user instantly wherever they are. Also, they are much more prying in comparison to email. Top brands send out special deals or alert customers about an upcoming sale.
- Automated notifications. Did someone forget to finish their checkout process? Has a subscriber been absent from your app for more than 2 weeks? Send out an automated push notification to remind them that you still exist!
- Geo-based offers. This is one area that email will always struggle to get right. If you have access to geographical data of your customers, you can send personalized notifications based on their location. Uber, Grab, and similar ride-sharing apps are already utilizing this approach.
And if you don’t know where to start, check out OneSignal. They offer a free service (up to a point) and also develop a custom WordPress plugin.
But, if you would like to remain in charge, then give Gotify a try. It’s an open-source server that you can use to host your very own push notifications platform. All data and interactions are your responsibility.
There you have it. An in-depth look at the current trends for product promotion.
It’s going to be an exciting year, and there is still a lot of room for growth in areas like web design, email, and artificial intelligence.
As long as you are keeping your wits about you, there should be no issues with adapting to new trends and implementing them into your day to day workflow.
Alex Ivanovs is a Digital Marketing expert who has worked with world-class brands for more than a decade. His work is published in thought-leading magazines such as Entrepreneur, and he has worked with some of the best brands in the digital growth space.
Last modified: April 9th, 2019