How to Promote Ecommerce Website

So you've got yourself a modern, professional-looking ecommerce website and you're ready to start selling your products online. There's just one problem - you don't have any customers yet!

There are numerous different ways to promote an ecommerce website and grow your online customer base. Here are just a few options for you to consider...

Promotions

Promotions - such as a seasonal sale or site-wide price reduction - can be a quick and easy way to generate interest in your brand and products. If users get a good deal, they will be more likely to tell their friends about it, and and if the product exceeds expectations then the customer may even return and purchase something else after the promotion has ended.

Blogs

Blogging can be a very cost-effective way to drive more traffic to your website. Not only can blog posts be used to highlight new products and special offers, they can also rank for popular search terms and hugely increase your brand's visibility in the Google results. Try to identify common questions within your industry, then write blog posts that answer them - you'll be amazed at how much organic search traffic a well-written, informative blog post can generate.

Social Media

Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter offer businesses a near-limitless amount of opportunities to reach new customers. You can start a simple social media campaign by posting appealing content and linking it back to your ecommerce website - this method of promotion is completely free, and can draw in a lot of potential customers if you take the time to build your audience and consistently publish engaging, relevant content.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

An SEO strategy is an important consideration for any website, but ecommerce websites especially - every category page and every product on your website is another chance to get seen in the Google search results. Ideally, each page on your website should target a different keyword (or set of keywords) that is specifically relevant to that page and that page alone. This will help Google and other search engines to work out which page to show for any given search term.

You can read our SEO tips for ecommerce websites here!

Pay-Per-Click Advertising

Some ecommerce websites do reasonably well without spending a penny on paid advertising, but platforms like Google Ads and Bing Ads can make a huge difference if you're looking to get your brand in front of a wider audience. PPC (pay-per-click) advertising only costs money when people actually click through to your website, meaning that you won't be charged unless your adverts are generating traffic. Of course, you'll have to work hard to make sure that your website is converting as much of that traffic as possible into actual custom for your business!

Product Reviews & Working With Influencers

Reaching out to bloggers and other influential people within your market is a great way to spread the word about your business quickly! The best approach will depend on the nature of the products/services you offer, but you might consider sending out some products for people to review, or inviting a popular vlogger to visit your premises for a video. Try to choose personalities who already have a large online following, and bear in mind that some may charge a fee for promoting your brand.

Here at Designer Websites, we specialise in ecommerce website design as well as search engine optimisation, PPC advertising, blog writing, and a variety of other techniques that can help you to grow your customer base. Use the links below to find out more about our services.

Ecommerce Design >    Request a Quote >

google

What’s happening?

Google are officially rebranding Google AdWords – it’s been a long time in the coming, and after more than 17 years, Google are consolidating their Ad products to fall under one umbrella name & service. Henceforth, Google Ads will be the catch-all title for the vast majority of Google’s Ad tools. Other related products will fall into the categories of Google Marketing Platform and Google Ad Manager.

Why?

After nearly 20 years of AdWords, what has triggered this rebrand, I hear you ask? Well, to answer that question we have to consider a few different strands. The official word from Google has come mostly in the form of comments from Sridhar Ramaswamy – Vice President of Ads & Commerce at Google.

Ramaswamy stated that the rebrand is at least partially a response to “consistent feedback” that the duplicity of Ad products offered by Google can lead to a confusing experience for the user.

Many have also predicted that the removal of the term ‘word’ from the brand name indicates an incoming departure from keyword driven advertising. Ramaswamy himself has been quoted saying the brand change “is indicative of where we have been directing the product” – but exactly how this new direction will play out remains to be seen.

When?

The AdWord rebrand was first announced at the end of June, but the official changeover is scheduled to take full effect on 24/07/18. From this point on, all users who wish to continue using AdWords will have to do so using the rebranded Google Ads platform.

Out with the old, in with the new

At a glance, we’ve considered some of the pros & cons of the new Google Ads interface.

Listed below are some of the ostensible & more significant differences produced by the rebrand:

  • Pro: advancement in reporting style – in the new Google Ads interface there is a greater level of detail afforded to the way data is displayed; including the ability to create graphs to visually display data from Ads.
  • Con: The major change in layout has meant those familiar with AdWords have had to learn how to navigate the new layout to find what they’re looking for; the new look is akin to the dashboard style used across other Google services. For the time being this change is making things a little frustrating for marketers.
  • Pro: Showcase Ads – this new Ad product allows advertisers to display a group of products (rather than just one) along with a small amount of text so that brands can more comprehensively introduce their business to a new prospect.
  • Con: Columns in the new Ad interface have been reset meaning specified information is no longer displayed when accessing Google Ads – the upshot of this is more time is spent  seeking out information, when you could already be processing it.
  • Pro: Promotion extensions – this new feature gives advertisers the ability to show and link to specific offers within Ad text. This new addition should result in far greater click through rates, which is always music to marketers’ ears…

 The bottom line

As with anything new, Google Ads has been met with a certain amount of reluctance; infamously, people don’t tend to like change, but we’re sure that brands and businesses will begin to adapt to the features of Google’s Ad rebrand – just as Google’s Ad products will continue to evolve based on feedback from users.

 

Chatbots

The demand for customer service via instant messenger has recently reached new heights; since the revelation that messaging apps are more popular than social networking sites, companies have been scrambling to find a way to use instant message to their marketing advantage.

The result? Businesses are investing in more forms of live chat – from those manned by humans, to 24/7 automated chatbots.

What are chatbots?  

Chatbots are a piece of automated computer software; they are programmed to mimic human conversation through a chat interface.

 As Artificial Intelligence (AI) develops, more advanced forms of chatbots are being released.  AI chatbots can utilise machine learning to convincingly replicate human conversation, and consequently improve the user experience.

For the most part, though, businesses are still using simpler chatbot software for customer service and marketing. In these instances, chatbots work on a rule-based system – they look out for trigger keywords and provide what is deemed to be the most relevant response. For example, if a user mentions a particular product and the word ‘stock’ the chatbot might reply with a stock update for the specified product.

Why the popularity?

In our world of convenience, user patience grows continually thin. We already know that mobile speed is an absolute must-have for successful websites and is even used as a ranking factor by Google.

Thus, it naturally follows that consumers don’t want to waste their time on hold when making a phone call or waiting for a response via email. Instant messaging provides a space where customers can submit a query and instantly receive a response. This service has business and marketing benefits too – quicker response time means the chance of your prospect going elsewhere before converting is greatly reduced.

The pros and cons: human live chat v chatbots

As with anything, there are pros and cons to both chatbots and live chat systems manned by human assistants. Here we weigh up the different considerations for both options:

24/7

 One of the most obvious benefits of chatbots is their availability. No matter what time of day or night, a chatbot can be active and open for queries – this is a pretty appealing prospect when the digital realm demands that information be readily available at all times.

Complications

Chatbots may be able to accept customer enquiries 24 hours a day, but one thing they can’t do is handle niche or difficult questions. The nature of a chatbots programming means that if a user asks a question which doesn’t correspond to a specific query or keyword, it won’t be able to help.

 A live chat assistant can be far more responsive to customer’s needs, meaning a more tailored customer service experience for the user.

The cost

Creating a chatbot is significantly cheaper than employing a team of live chat assistants. While having a single live chat operator may be effective for very small companies, in most instances one person isn’t capable of handling multiple enquiries at once – the upshot of this is delayed response time, which defeats the purpose of live chat in the first place.

 A chatbot can respond instantly to a large pool of enquiries at any given time, meaning no customer is left frustrated.

Human touch

Speaking of frustrations, chatbots aren’t without their own enraging issues. As touched upon before, chatbots can only respond to queries they’ve been specifically programmed to understand. They can even be tripped up by spelling errors and typos.

Comparatively, a human assistant would not struggle with a more complex query or typo. Having a real person responding over live chat means they can also provide the additional service of salesperson, adding to the marketing benefits of live chat.

A chatbot can –  in a limited function –  recommend products based on what they think a user is searching for, but it’ll never be as persuasive or convincing as a personal recommendation from an actual person.

To conclude…

When it really comes down to it, on a one-on-one basis a chatbot could never beat the customer service provided by an actual human being. However, on a larger scale, the waters become more muddied. What works best for your company will depend on your particular business and the size of your customer base.

 Many organisations take the middle ground, using chatbots in the first instance, with a small team of human chat assistants ready to take over when things get more complex.  

With the current speed of AI advancements, we’re certain that most of these chatbot flaws will soon be a thing of the past – but for now, best not to hand everything over to the bots just yet.