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How to Grow Your E-commerce Business in 2020

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In the past five months, e-commerce has noticeably increased. It was already steadily rising due to life moving more and more online, but the Covid-19 pandemic has caused it to grow even faster than expected. This rapid surge has left many businesses in a position where they need to develop a stronger web presence – and fast! – or in a position where they’re flooded by consumer demand and using all their resources just to keep up.  In this article, we’ll tackle the first subset of businesses: those trying to develop a stronger web presence to capitalize on all the e-commerce growth.

It’s a given that if you want to increase your growth as an e-commerce company, you need to increase your sales. But you obviously can’t just wave a magic wand to do that. If you want higher sales volume, the first thing you need to do is attract more people to your website. And we all know cutting through the noise and clutter online can be a major challenge. 

That’s where Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) comes in to play. 

SEO refers to the keywords, related keywords and long-tail keywords you use on your website. The more you optimize your site for keywords, the higher up you can appear in the results of a Bing or Google search. For example, let’s say you’re a company that sells protein bars online. Each and every page of your website should intentionally be populated with the keywords people use when they search online for protein bars. If you’re having trouble honing in on what those keywords should be, try a site like Ubersuggest. It’s free, and it will help you generate a list of keywords. In the example above, when “protein bars” was inputted to Ubersuggest, a list of 540 keywords and long-tail key words (or longer phrases people search) popped up. The list included things like: protein bar, protein bars, protein bar one, quest, Costco, Kirkland, low carb, healthy, protein, vegan, and so on. Ubersuggest even gives ideas for particular types of content you could host on your site using keywords – like protein bar recipes ideas.

READ MORE:   4 Use Cases of Insurance Chatbots for a Compelling Customer Experience

We Got Them Here, Now Let’s Get them to Stay 

Once you attract people to your site, the next hurdle is keeping them on your site so you can entice them into making a purchase. If your website looks dated or it is difficult to navigate, you can safely bet new customers will click away faster than you can say “e-commerce.” The bad news is: if people click away from your site quickly, the search engines punish you by lowering your ranking in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). It is therefore imperative that your website be attractive to the eye so people stay on your site as long as possible. Ways to hold the attention of new customers include using high quality photos and videos and minimizing clutter. 

Further, you want your site’s content to be easy to digest and relevant. It would behoove you to look at competitors’ websites to see the type and quantity of information they include and follow suit. Back to our protein bar example: if your competitors all have beautiful photos of their protein bars, a vibrant color palette, great videos, and great articles about the health benefits of their particular protein bar, you will need to post similar content if you want to stand a chance at keeping customers on your site. 

Here’s an example we use on one of our top-performing product pages, called the Brondell Swash 1400

You can see on the page we include:

  • High Quality Photos
  • Video Walkthrough 
  • Reviews on the Top
  • Production Information 

Another great way to hold peoples’ attention on your site is to include any awards, badges or seals of approval you’ve earned. These marks of cachet can go a long way in building trust with a new customer. Another way to earn trust and keep people on your site is by posting customer reviews and testimonials. These could be Google Reviews, Yelp reviews, or testimonials.

How Do You Make These Improvements? 

Now that you know how important it is for your website to look great and have amazing content, you might be thinking: Okay, I’m sold. I need to re-design my website, but how do I do that? I’m no web designing guru! Don’t despair. You can always hire someone else to take charge of your website’s redesign. Or a more middle-ground approach could be to use the services of a company like Squarespace or Shopify – which provide you with various templates to choose from and require minimal web design knowledge. 

The nice thing about a service like Shopify, for example, is that it helps ensure a potential customer’s checkout experience on your site goes as smoothly as humanly possible. According to various market research firms, 70% of online shoppers begin a shopping process online, then abandon their carts due to some sort of “friction.” Things that cause friction at checkout include suddenly revealing hidden costs, forcing shoppers to register for your site in order to complete the purchase, and a checkout process that is simply too long. Knowing what causes friction, your goal should be to devise a checkout process that is friction-less, while still getting you the information you need.

READ MORE:   Why You Need To Develop Negative Buyer Personas

A great example of an extraordinarily fast check out process is the Amazon “Buy now with 1-click” option. It literally couldn’t be easier – which is part of what has made Amazon a trillion-dollar company!  If a one-click option isn’t something you can feasibly do, consider putting a progress bar at the top of your site during checkout so customers can track how far along in the process they are. Another useful tip is to de-clutter your checkout page so that users have as few distractions as possible to entice them to click away. Easy checkout = more sales!

One huge point about your website to keep in mind: your site needs to work equally well on desktop and mobile. Many e-commerce businesses forget about how their site loads and looks on mobile, which is a big mistake. Especially given that in 2019, almost 2 billion purchases were made via mobile. Further, 95% of e-commerce customers report doing research on their devices prior to making a purchase! So it is well worth your while to ensure your site looks great and loads quickly on all devices.

Let’s Not Forget the Videos

Another thing that can help your e-commerce business grow is starting a YouTube channel. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. That means having a presence there is worth your time and energy. Plus, videos – specifically product videos – help potential buyers better understand your products and services. According to marketing guru Neil Patel, viewers are anywhere from 64-85% more likely to purchase products after watching product videos. So consider making a How-to video, or a product review, or a testimonial, or a product comparison. Another quick example to show how we put this in practice, we have a YouTube channel for all our users to reference, but we also include an easily accessible video library on our website that users can look through when evaluating different product. 

A bonus for your efforts: Google – which incidentally owns YouTube – prioritizes websites that have video in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Which means having videos on your site, preferably hosted on YouTube, is a great way to raise your rankings in SERPs. And remember, the higher up you are on those results pages, the easier it is to get customers to your site.

READ MORE:   How to Increase Your Email Open Rates in 2020

Social Media & Email is Always Great

If you have money to invest in advertising campaigns, another strategy to consider to grow your e-commerce business is to allocate money for either a social media campaign, an email marketing campaign or both. Over 2.6 Billion people use social media, and on average, they use it for 2.5 hours per day. Further, 94% of companies who use social media for e-commerce pay for social media advertising – the biggest two spends being Facebook and Instagram. It is therefore likely that your competition is spending money on social media, so you probably should, too. Email marketing is also a great tool to reach your customers since studies say almost a quarter of online sales are generated by it. Consider either organizing your own email campaign or using a service like MailChimp to organize one for you.

In conclusion, if you want to take part in the e-commerce growth that is happening all around us, start by looking at your website. Make sure it looks attractive, make sure your content uses plenty of keywords for SEO, and double-check that the checkout process is friction-less. Consider starting a YouTube channel or investing in a marketing campaign via email or on social media. And last but not least, remember the power of word of mouth. If you treat your customers right, provide them with a great product and an excellent shopping experience, they will spread the word – and that will lead to the continued growth of your e-commerce business.

Jensen Lee is the Founder and Managing Member of bidetsPLUS, an online retail store specializing in bidet toilet seats. Prior to bidetsPLUS, Jensen held management positions in technology-related fields, in both the U.S. and Europe. He has held the position of Product Manager of Global Network Services for British Telecom. Most recently, he held the position of Executive Director of Product Marketing at AT&T Interactive, AT&T's internet advertising division.

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4 Use Cases of Insurance Chatbots for a Compelling Customer Experience

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From back-office tasks to handling customers, virtual assistants, a.k.a., chatbots are innovating the Insurance sector by leaps and bounds. And understandably so. The new-age policy-holder is also transforming. From shopping for – and even self-servicing aspects of – insurance policies online to comparing policy quotes and prices, customers have evolved, and so have their expectations from the insurers. In fact, data by Cognizant claims that 64% of users say that the best insurance chatbot feature is the ability to contact customer service 24 hours a day.

In this blog, we will look at the top-4 use cases of insurance chatbots that are enhancing customer experience, while winning their hearts and minds – one conversation at a time:

1. Quick Access to Information: For the Policyholder & the Provider

In the insurance world, the value of getting contextually-relevant and insight-driven customer data for insurers cannot be overstated. On the other hand, there’s a growing need to educate customers about the existing products and services. This is where chatbots work their charm. Let’s look at some real-life examples to understand how this process works:

HDFC’s life insurance chatbot, Elle, is a good example to start with. This chatbot doubles up as a Financial Guide to assist users in choosing the best plans and solutions for them. The bot is available 24×7 for users and is capable of addressing routine FAQs in addition to answering queries related to policy details, requests for premium receipts, fund value, payment history, annual premium statement, among other things.

“Elle is another initiative by HDFC Life to simplify customer interactions and provide a quick and easy resolution to their queries, from anywhere and at any time.” – Subrat Mohanty, Chief Operating Officer at HDFC Life

Another interesting example to consider is VisitorCoverage’s travel insurance intelligent chatbot, Luna, which sells contextual travel insurance policies to frequent travelers. This bot leverages AI and machine learning capabilities to help customers navigate the complexities of travel insurance while delivering top-notch services, and that too, regardless of the user’s location and time difference:

Key takeaway: Virtual chatbots are bridging the gap between the policyholder and the provider to offer a seamless customer service that’s in everyone’s best interests.

READ MORE:   Why You Need To Develop Negative Buyer Personas

2. Automated Insurance Agents, at the Customer’s Beck-and-Call

Contrary to popular opinion, chatbots, in general, have evolved over time to be able to handle complex procedures such as claims filing, goal setting, etc. in a jiffy. One of the catalysts of this change can be attributed to the fact that these smart bots have gone from being reactive to proactive – in delivery, and in style.

This is precisely why 53% of people are more likely to buy a product from a provider they can reach out to on a chat app. 

In fact, it wouldn’t be out of line to imagine these bots as every customer’s personal insurance agent. After all, chatbots can address queries throughout the insurance value chain and offer a host of other personalized benefits such as:

  • 24×7 customer service.
  • Reduced processing time.
  • Instant query resolution (thanks to a rich database).
  • Streamlined and simplified customer service.
  • Patient access to relevant information and reminders (e.g., for pending payments) at every step of the way.

The end-goal? By digitizing the Insurance customer journey, these mobile-enabled bots have been able to boost customer satisfaction in the insurance realm.

Zurich UK’s bot, Zara, is an interesting case in point. The bot enables users to process claims relating to non-emergency car and home claims in an effortless manner:

The bot initially gathered data pertaining to the customer’s preferences and sentiments based on various metrics such as adoption, customer satisfaction, etc. to gauge the consumer’s perception. The results were anything but ordinary. An article from the Business Insider quotes:

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“The insurer beat expectations in terms of the number of reported claims through Zara. It also recorded a transactional Net Promoter Score, a customer satisfaction metric, of 80 — which constitutes a “world-class” rating — and slashed the time it takes to process claims.”

Key takeaway: By providing an “always-on” digital experience around claims, the company was able to deliver a compelling customer experience.

3. Guided Buyer Experience for an Individualized CX

“Insurers could save up to $7 billion over 18 months using AI-driven technologies by streamlining administrative processes.” – Accenture Report

In the healthcare technology and insurance domains, chatbots have been assisting users on a variety of complex tasks such as providing information addressing billing inquiries, explaining the pre-authorization processes, guiding users in the claims filing process, checking the claims status, understanding the existing coverage, and so on and so forth.

Take, for instance, the case of Zhong An – China’s online-only insurance company, which boasts more than 400 million customers with over 10 billion policies sold! But what attributed to the company’s gigantic success? The answer lies in using AI-driven data to extract behavioral data from more than 300 partnerships. This helps the company cash in at the right moments in which the customer can use an insurance product.
“Insurance is a data game. In the future, IoT, everything within telematics, and even wearables will generate huge piles of data. The question is if you use this data to really generate tailor-made solutions for your new customers. The second time your customer buys the same policy, maybe you could consider different scenarios for pricing. To understand and use your customer’s latest data for recent purchases; that would be the preferred direction.”—Bill Song

The company claims that over 97% of the customer queries are directed to its chatbot communication tool, not requiring any human intervention. As you can imagine, this not only lowers staff load but also drives a quality-driven interaction with users and offers them instant gratification – both of which are key for delivering a holistic patient experience.

READ MORE:   4 Use Cases of Insurance Chatbots for a Compelling Customer Experience

Other chatbots that deserve a special mention include:

  • Commercial auto insurer, Next Insurance’s bot on Facebook Messenger
    with which small businesses can obtain quotes and buy insurance:

  •  Trōv’s bot offers on-demand insurance covering personal items such as electronic gadgets, home appliances, etc.:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key takeaway: In the Insurance domains, chatbots will soon emerge as the rule, not the exception. And why not? More and more chatbots are emerging as the patient’s personal assistant for all things insurance- and healthcare-related, making their lives convenient as they recover from their ailments.

4. Faster & Efficient Claims Management & Underwriting Processes

“The global chatbot market is expected to reach USD 1.25 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 24.3%.” – Cognizant Study

If you think conducting insurance business only requires human agents, think again. Lemonade Insurance’s business is conducted online, solely by their in-house chatbot Maya. In fact, the company has been able to drive conversations with users that mirror those with live agents. A remarkable feat, in our opinion:

That’s not all. Lemonade Insurance’s AI bot, Jim, set a new world record by paying the insurer’s claims in just three seconds and with zero paperwork (sounds too good to be true right?). Here’s the proof:

Key takeaway: Insurance chatbots can seamlessly integrate communication, comprehension, and collaboration, keeping customer-centricity in mind at all times – ultimately boosting customer satisfaction and happiness.

Closing Thoughts

“68% of insurers are already using chatbots in various segments of their business.” – Accenture

Clearly, chatbots and other AI-driven technology have evolved from being mere instruments of Insurance sales pitches to virtual conversational agents that have transcended the overall customer experience to another level by facilitating multi-faceted customer interactions. What’s your (s)take?

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Best Marketing Automation Software For Small Business


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We spend the majority of our time on the web. The business scenario is now transitioning from offline to online work methods. There are some amazing technologies that the companies are incorporating for easier workflow. These include artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT), etc. But, a buzzword among all the businesses is marketing automation software.

Earlier, only the B2B companies used it. But, nowadays, even the B2C companies are integrating it into their workflow. But, what exactly is marketing automation?

What is Marketing Automation?

In simple terms, marketing automation delivers value through technology. It is the simplification of marketing processes through the integration of technology. No, it’s not about big companies using this. Rather, quite a lot of small-scale companies are using marketing automation software.

Automation software allows marketers to streamline and automate the workflow process. It offers several benefits including increased efficiency, generating better revenue, and others.

Components of Marketing Automation

With the increasing channels, marketers have to manage several components. Companies are using digital marketing software and automation software. For complete marketing, the various components included are:

  • Central marketing database: It is like a system that contains all the records. It helps in segmenting and further targeting the right audience. It is the one-stop place for all the marketing data for your company.
  • Engagement marketing engine: It involves all the processes carried out across various platforms. These include the creation, automation, and management of processes that take place through the customer’s journey.
  • Analytics engine: Once you put in place the strategies, you need to know whether it worked or not. The analytics engine tracks, analyses and optimizes the various factors. These include ROI, impact on revenue, success rates, etc.

Benefits of Marketing Automation

Once you are through with all the components and what marketing automation, it is important to know why companies are using it and what are the benefits of marketing automation.

  • Reduction in staffing costs: With automation, you do not need a team of 50 people dedicated to one task. It reduces labour efforts through automatic marketing campaigns. Once set, it sends the emails.
  • Increase ROI: You can increase customer lifetime will cross-sell, up-sell, and others. Automation helps in increasing lead generation, customer retention leading to successful ROI.
  • Improved accountability: With the tracking and analytics tools, the automation software helps you know where the bottlenecks of the company are. With this, you can have a defined marketing process. This helps in improved lead nurturing, further better accountability of software.
READ MORE:   7 Effective Lead Generation Strategies to Boost Your Reach

Tips to choose the right marketing automation software

Do you have a small business? Are you planning to get started with the automation software? Here are some of the tips to follow to get the best results on your investments:

  • Create a roadmap for business workflow: Understand your business plan well. Set goals. Know what will work at what level of the marketing funnel. The simpler and streamlined your strategy is. The easier will be the implementation of marketing automation software.
  • Take recommendations: Do not rely on one choice or decision. Conduct thorough research. See what has worked well and for which companies. Take recommendations from other people in the same field. It allows you to have better and varied options.
  • Check the budget: Marketing automation software is expensive. Manage your finances, and have a fixed budget. Check the tools according to the same for effective results.
  • Analyse the feedback: Take reviews from the customer or the audience. Understand and analyse their choices. Optimize the website, content, and services. Fulfill customer satisfaction at best levels.
  • Take trials of software: Sometimes you can’t understand the features until you use them. The more research you do, the better. You don’t want to regret later and end up changing platforms.

Best marketing automation software for small business

There is no ‘best’ platform. It all varies depending on your requirements. Choose the platform according to the features and functionality. While some need digital marketing software, the other company needs one-for-all automation software. These platforms can save a lot of time and energy. Some of the best marketing automation platforms for your small business include:

PeppyBiz

It is the all-in-one marketplace. At PeppyBiz, you can automate all processes all throughout the sales funnel. It helps you in visualizing the customer journey. The features offered at PeppyBiz include:

    • Omnichannel marketing helps you connect with customers across all platforms
    • Get started quickly with the easy setup
    • Visualise the customer journey through automation
    • Track customer’s actions
    • Send personalized content to the customers
    • Turn the leads into positive sales
READ MORE:   Why You Need To Develop Negative Buyer Personas

OptinMonster

It is quite a popular software for lead generation. If you are running a business website and want to increase the growth, this is the perfect fit. With flexible features, OptinMonster campaigns help in converting leads. These are converted into resourceful subscribers and customers. Some features of this software include:

    • You can design and optimize your campaign
    • Sending across automated messages to the audience
    • Integration with other tools
    • Actionable insights
    • A/B testing
    • Automation of real-time behaviour

Constant Contact

It is an email automation tool. It eliminates the need for manual work of sending out emails. Even though emails are like an age-old method, about 70% of marketers still use it. It is because of its successful conversion rates. Constant Contact helps you grow the email list. Further, it offers high-conversion email campaigns and marketing solutions. To send emails, they also offer customized email templates. With it, you can send behaviour-triggered emails. It is flexible with all sorts of websites. With powerful integration, you can also track real-time results. Do you want to focus on emails?  Constant Contact is the perfect choice for email automation software. Plus, they offer a free trial month as well.

Sendinblue

It helps you plan your marketing campaign with digital marketing software. With its toolbox, you can communicate with your users. Further, it helps in the engagement of the audience and lead generation. It offers an all-in-one solution to deal with consumers through various means. These include texts, emails, live, chats, etc. The various features offered by Sendingblue include:

    • Landing pages for various campaigns
    • Track customer details through CRM
    • Growing your email list with customer sign-ups
    • Retargeting through Facebook which helps in boosting audience
    • Email heatmap
    • Time algorithm
    • Integration of the platform with various tools

Drip

It is quite popular and suitable automation marketing software for e-commerce websites. It helps in the automation of every step of the customer journey. It allows you to track customer actions. Further, it also offers email customization based on customer activity. You can integrate this digital marketing software with other tools as well. The features of Drip are:

    • Revenue optimization
    • Split testing for improvisation of campaign results
    • Personalization based on customer behaviour
    • Reaching out to the audience
READ MORE:   How to Increase Your Email Open Rates in 2020

Hubspot

A known name among the marketing tools. It is an inbound marketing software. It works well for small businesses and is the right choice. With Hubspot, you can plan your marketing campaigns. You can automate the marketing strategy with the powerful resources it offers. Hubspot provides you with robust options for marketing automation, which include:

    • Email marketing tools for free
    • Personalization of content for customers along with regular follow-ups
    • Effective features for customer support
    • Conversational bots for solving live queries
    • Automation of lead scoring and generation
    • Analysis of marketing campaigns

Infusionsoft

This marketing automation software works well for small businesses. Even freelancers can use it. It helps you in automating the processes throughout the sales funnel. You can integrate with over 220 platforms. Some of these include BigCommerce, Gmail, Outlook, etc. They also offer a 14-day free trial. The various features that Infusionsoft offers include:

    • Building landing pages
    • Designing marketing campaigns
    • Generation of business reports

Mailchimp

It is a very popular software because of its user-interface. It also offers a seamless user experience. Mailchimp helps you in building a strong customer base. This boosts loyalty and customer engagement. One of the major reasons that small businesses are comfortable with this software is because of its pricing plans. You can integrate several features which include WordPress, Facebook, Shopify, etc.

Marketo

It is an industry leader. Several companies across various sectors including media, healthcare, manufacturing, etc. opt for this. Marketo is a robust automation platform that helps you achieve your business goals. You can customize the package as per your requirements. For advanced functionality with growth in business, you can even upgrade your plan.

Conclusion

In brief, all the automation tools are to the rescue for small businesses. All one needs to check is that they do not end up splurging beyond their budget.

You can choose a suitable tool from the above-mentioned marketing automation software. 

You should consider the future perspective and growth while opting your automation software. So, what are you waiting for? Get started with these tools. The list does not sum up here. There are ample other options you choose to get the best results.

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