13 Marketing Strategies to Grow Your eCommerce Business

Jairene Cruz-Eusebio on Oct 13, 2021 6:58:10 AM

So you’ve finally launched your business. Congratulations! Now what?

The next step is undoubtedly to gain customers and keep them coming back for more. How exactly do you do that? Here are 13 Marketing Strategies that you can apply ASAP.

marketing principles in ecommerce

Table of Contents

Free Marketing

The Paradox of Choice

As Seen on TV Marketing

Mere Exposure Effect

Social Influence/Social Proofing

Curiosity Principle

Urgency Principle

Scarcity Principle

The Decoy Effect

The Principle of Reciprocity

Loss Aversion

The Principle of Exclusivity

Fear Of Missing Out

 

I. Free Marketing


Regardless of popular opinion, business is not all about sales. Communication is very important in any type of business and making something for free helps startups achieve just that. After all, who doesn't like free stuff?

 

Offering something for free is a great way to attract new and returning customers. A free item promotion can be used as an incentive to get people to buy your products or services, or to add more to their cart. Giving away free stuff may also reduce your costs for acquiring new customers.

 

Here are some of the ways you can use Free Marketing:

1. Free shipping on orders over $25 and free returns

Offering free shipping is a tried and tested technique that works wonders!  Customers love free shipping and will shop more often, hoping to take advantage of it. Offering such a deal is an excellent way to get people into the habit of shopping with you on a regular basis.

 

2. Free samples for customers to try before they buy

Providing something for free that would normally cost money can be another successful tactic in acquiring new customers. For example, if you own a food delivery business, give away a few bites of your bestselling dish (for taste-testing) when they sign up! This is also beneficial because it provides positive feedback about your brand which could influence them to make future purchases from you too.

 

3. Offer Samples to Encourage SMS Subscription

Incentivize your customers to SMS notifications by gifting them something for free when they do. For example, if someone subscribes to your SMS marketing messages and they have shown interest in a particular product, send them a coupon code that lets them buy it at a discounted price.

 

The benefits of offering something for free are endless and can help improve your business's bottom line significantly. The power of giving away something for nothing goes back thousands of years and has been used successfully throughout history. If done right, making an item available for free could work wonders in attracting new clients into the fold who may end up being long-term clients.

 

When you offer something for free, it communicates the values and principles of your company while breaking down barriers and encouraging users to buy more than they originally planned on buying.

 

II. The Paradox of Choice



When you walk into a store or restaurant, what do you see? Aisles and shelves filled with products. Dozens of different flavors for every type of food imaginable. Hundreds of models to choose from when buying a car. Thousands of options when trying to find the perfect outfit on an online clothing retailer's website.

 

The Paradox of Choice is a phenomenon that many people have experienced firsthand: being overwhelmed by too many choices. Barry Schwartz popularized this theory in his 2004 TED Talk where he explained how having more choices often leads to greater indecision, anxiety, and dissatisfaction.

 

 

For example, there are over 38,000 different varieties of breakfast cereal in the United States. When faced with all these options, many people feel paralyzed and end up buying the same thing they always buy (in this case, Frosted Flakes).

 

This phenomenon has even been studied by psychologists who found that consumers were more likely to purchase jam when presented with fewer flavors. The study also showed that despite having less variety, those participants actually enjoyed their experience more than if there was a wide selection available.

 

Another study showed that people were less likely to purchase expensive items when given too many choices (e.g., choosing which car model or computer). This may be related to lower self-esteem: if you don't feel good about yourself then you're more likely going choose an item that's cheaper or on sale rather than splurging on something nicer that makes you appear better off financially (unless it fits your personal style).

 

So what can businesses do? What should companies avoid doing? 

Here are some suggestions:

  • Don't bombard customers with too many choices.

Provide options, but not so much that it makes them feel overwhelmed. Try to keep the number of products limited and give more information about each option. The ideal choice number is three.

 

  • Create a single version of your product instead of different versions for each individual customer. 

For example, make one set price point for your service. If you need to place add-on services, limit it to three.

 

This will help reduce confusion and decrease decision fatigue. Instead focus on creating unique experiences tailored specifically for every person who walks through your business' doors or visits your website.

 

Remember: variety isn't always better! And don't forget that there is always a possibility for you to offer different variations of your product or service down the road, but only if your consumers really ask for them.

 

  • Don't offer an overwhelming amount of discounts or sales. 

Too much choice is bad, but so are too many deals. Customers will become overwhelmed with the number of special offers that you have and most likely won't buy anything at all because they don't know which one to choose!

 

The paradox of choice occurs when people feel like their options are limited. They want more style, selection, convenienceeverything! But what happens when businesses try to give them exactly what they ask for?

 

Many consumers end up feeling disappointed in themselves since they can never seem to make a decision (even if it's something as simple as picking out which flavor of ice cream).

 

So remember this: less really can be more sometimes.

 

III. As Seen On TV Marketing



As Seen On TV commercials have been around for decades. In the past, you would see these advertisements before a show or in between programs. Nowadays, they are everywhere - from your phone to social media sites to TV shows themselves. 

 

But how do As Seen on TV ads work? What's the secret behind them? And what have we learned about their psychology and effectiveness over time?

 

We see celebrities singing praises of all sorts of productsfrom food items like orange juice or chocolate bars, to beauty tools such as facial masks or makeup kits, even home appliances have gotten into the game with things like vacuum cleaners being advertised on late-night shows. If these famous people use them then surely they're good quality, right? 

 

While this is not necessarily true, many people still believe it to be. The credibility and popularity of the celebrity or show promoting the product somehow trickles down to the product.  People seem to believe that if a celebrity endorses a product, then it must be good.

 

This is a version of Social Proofing, which means that people follow what others do. We see this all the time, especially with online shopping trends and social media posts. If everyone is doing it then surely it must be good!

 

Nowadays, As Seen on TV sales are not limited to only those that appear in your television sets or show up as ads before a movie starts rolling - they've moved into the digital marketing space too! You'll find them popping up just about everywhere you go: Facebook Ads, Instagram Stories, TikTok, and more.

 

As Seen On TV commercials don't actually need to air during actual shows for them to work; just having their product advertised somewhere counts enough. This technique is being widely used by e-commerce stores nowadays, simply by using the popular red and white logo.

 

as seen on tv

 

Sometimes, brands place the show's name on their website for better credibility. Take GroupHug, for example. It is an online store featured in Shark Tank.

 

If you know the shows and media outlets mentioned, even if you didn't see the actual episode where they were featured, you would instantly trust them. That's instinct.



IV. Mere Exposure Effect



The Mere Exposure Effect is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people prefer things they are familiar with over others. Familiarity can be achieved through exposure to something, which in turn will cause it to be more liked than other stimuli. The mere exposure effect has been proven and tested extensively, and this principle works well for new businesses that need brand awareness.

 

The best way to utilize this psychological principle is by collaborating with influencers in your industry. The Mere Exposure Effect can be applied when people are exposed to a brand for the very first time, but it is especially effective if they have seen you before and were impressed by you. This will increase their trustworthiness towards what they have seen so far, which ultimately leads them to be more likely to purchase from you.

 

It’s worth noting, though, that there are some downsides of using the Mere Exposure Effect too much or incorrectly. If an audience realizes that they are being manipulated into liking something, then all trust between both parties is lost forevereven if the business returns later on with different goods/services! Hence why the Familiarity Principle must be used sparingly at best.

 

To establish brand familiarity for your online store and products, here is a list of some techniques:

  • Maintain a blog with regular posts

This will increase the number of backlinks to your site, and Google sees this as a positive signal for higher rankings in search resultsresulting in more brand exposure!

 

  • Utilize social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter

These are great tools for marketing because they allow you to reach an enormous audience within seconds. You can use them to launch new products or campaigns by creating contests or asking questions through polls which people must answer correctly before receiving their reward. This is also known as Social Media Marketing.

 

  • Give samples of new products away

This is so that customers can try them and see if they like them. Mere Exposure Effect works best when customers are able to physically touch the product, so this is a great way of achieving that!

 

  • Keep your design consistent 

You should do this across all platforms/websites where you have personal accounts set up, even though some people might not be fully aware of how this principle operates within their minds. Consistency increases the Mere Exposure Effect, so always try to keep it the same! 

 

The mere exposure effect is a great way to boost brand awareness and increase sales, which is why it is something that e-commerce businesses should take advantage of. Remember: consistency is key.

 

V. Social Influence or Social Proofing



Have you ever been in a situation where someone else's opinion of a product or service mattered more to you than your own? If so, then you've experienced social proof. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that surrounds the idea that if many people believe something is good, then it must be true.

 

It's easy for people to trust brands if they are already being trusted by others. Social proofing has helped businesses grow and succeed for years because consumers often rely on what others think before making their decision. 

 

There are several ways for you to include social proofing to your marketing strategies to gain more sales, some of which are as follows:

  • Using Customer Reviews and Testimonials 

If you already have a loyal customer base, then make sure to ask for their reviews on the products. You can do so by sending follow-up emails and SMS messages asking about their experience. You can also encourage them to do so by providing an incentive. For more information, check our article on how to entice your customers to post a review.

 

social proofing

  • Using Social Media 

Encourage people to share images of products they purchased from your business with the hashtag #MyBusinessName so that it will influence others as well. This is called UGC or User Generated Content. If you have a Shopify store, you can install apps that allow customers to upload images together with reviews.

 

  • Using Celebrity Endorsements 

These are people who have a large following on social media channels like Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. They can also be TV personalities or bloggers with thousands of loyal fans. You might need to spend money for these endorsements but if you target the right ones, it's worth it! For smaller businesses, you can go for influencers whose audiences fall under your actual target market.

 

  • Indicate the number of products purchased 

Sales pops and sales counts are great ways to show potential customers that a lot of people have already purchased the product and continue to do so.

 

All in all, you can leverage the social influence of people by simply giving your customers a good experience. Social proofing is a great way to promote your business. It can help you gain your potential customer's trust, and consequently, more sales. When you treat your customers right, it increases the chances of them telling others about it. 

 

VI. Curiosity Principle



Curiosity is a powerful force that every human being has. It's what drives the world of marketing, and it's one of the best ways to keep your customers interested in your products. What better way to make them purchase something than by making them curious? 

 

When applied correctly, it can make your website traffic skyrocket and convert more visitors into paying customers. But how does the curiosity gap work? And why is it so effective? 

 

curiosity in marketing

 

First of all,  let's define it. The curiosity gap is a psychological principle that makes people want to know more about something they don't fully understand yet. In other words, if someone feels like there's a part of the story missing, their brain will try its best to fill in those gaps. 

 

And since our brains are programmed for seeking information everywhere, we'll take every opportunity available, even when shopping online. What this means is that creating curiosity by leaving parts of your content empty can convince the user to click on the post or add to find out more.

 

But how do you actually implement this principle? Here are some ideas: 

  • When posting on social media pages of your business, leave out some product details.


    This way, if the customer wants to learn more, they will either reach out to you for more information or would visit your website. 

  • When creating ads, don't mention the product immediately.

    State the problem and how it was solved and then place the solution (ie. your product) towards the end. As such, the customer would have invested their time and feelings when reading through someone else's experience. It helps build curiosity as well as put a good word for your product even while it is not yet being revealed.

  • Another way to implement the curiosity gap is by using articles.

    They work perfectly when placed on your blog page because you can also increase your SEO score and reach a wider audience. This would help grab attention from those who are not yet familiar with your brand and, therefore, drive more traffic towards your website or social media pages where they'll be able to learn more about what makes you unique. 

 

The curiosity gap is an important principle in marketing that can be used to your advantage. We recommend using this technique when posting on social media, creating ads or articles for your website, and leveraging SEO tactics like blogging. It's a great way to get more clicks and sales with less effort while building up interest in what you do best.  

 

VII. Urgency Principle



The Urgency Principle is the idea that people are more likely to take action when they have a sense of urgency. When you give them a limited time frame, it creates an environment where they feel like there is no choice but to act now or miss out on something great. This can translate into higher conversions and sales for your business if implemented correctly. 

 

One e-commerce business that does this well is clothing retailer Frank & Oak. They release limited quantities of new styles every day so their customers know that if they want them, they need to act fast before it's gone forever.

 

The best part about using the Urgency Principle in e-commerce businesses is that it can be applied easily! In fact, there are several Shopify apps that focus on creating urgency so that there won't be any need for you to manually place it on your website.

 

Here are some of the ways to apply this to your business:

  • Add a Sale Expiration 

Nothing is worse than missing out on a sale, even if the product on sale is not something you actually need right now. Adding an expiration date to your sale promotion can increase the urgency, making the customer feel like he has to purchase now or henceforth buy the product at full price!

 

  • Use Countdown Timers for Pre-Orders 

If there's something new or different coming up from your brand that customers can pre-order, let them know with a countdown timer on social media. Your audience will get excited knowing they have an opportunity to be one of the first ones to try the new thing which means higher conversions all around.

urgency

 

  • Add a Cart Expiration Timer 

If you're running a flash sale, adding an expiration timer to the cart page can help create urgency. Even if your customers aren't in any rush to buy right now, it will decrease the chance of them procrastinating and never purchasing at all.

 

  • Use Trigger Words 

Phrases and words such as "be the first to get it" or "for 24 hours only" or “until {date}” are trigger words that let your customers know you're offering something that won't be available for long. These words are useful in email, push notifications, and SMS Marketing

 

Urgency is a powerful principle in marketing. It increases a product's perceived value, which is why it is very effective with impulse purchases.

 

VIII. Scarcity Principle



The scarcity principle is usually paired with the urgency principle as they are closely related, although not the same. A study by a professor at Stanford University found that "the mere mention of limited availability creates feelings of desire" (cxl.com). This is because people want what they cannot have, and when something becomes scarce, our natural reaction is to buy as much as possible before it's gone forever.

 

Not only can scarcity encourage your customers to buy, but it also encourages your customers to BUY MORE for free that they may not have access to the product for a long while.

 

Here are some of the ways you can apply scarcity to your online store:

  • Show Stock Count 

Showing the number of items left in stock is a great way to convey that scarcity. "Only X items left" can trigger the customer to immediately buy before he losses out.

 

  • Show the Number of People Viewing 

If there are a hundred people viewing and there are only a dozen pieces left, it means there's not enough for everyone. If the viewer doesn't buy now, someone else may beat him to it.

 

  • Sell or Offer Limited Edition Items 

As its name implies, limited edition items are those that have been produced at a limited capacity. If they run out, there's very little chance they'll be produced again, hence customers quickly buy these.

If you don't sell limited edition items, why not give them away for a minimum purchase cost? Just make sure the minimum purchase is high enough to get you a decent ROI, even with the free offer.

 

The scarcity principle is one of the most important principles in marketing. It refers to how we react when something becomes scarce and we want what we cannot have. When combined with urgency techniques, you'll get an unprecedented increase in sales.

 

However, make sure not to use it as often because when your customers get used to it, they will realize that it is just a sale tactic and that there is no real urgency or scarcity.



IX. The Decoy Effect



Have you ever chosen one thing over another without really knowing why? You might have been influenced by a decoy. The Decoy Effect is the psychological phenomenon in which people are more likely to choose one option if they're presented with an alternative that is less desirable. 

 

This technique, also called decoy pricing, can be applied in e-commerce as well as brick and mortar stores. In essence,  it's a marketing tactic where there are three options; one is the ‘decoy’, which seems like it would be more expensive than the other two choices. The decoy has to be reasonable enough for customers not to think that they're getting ripped off but still less desirable than option A or B.

 

Option A will be the least priced one, usually with minimal features and benefits. Option B will entice people into thinking it has better value because of an attractive price tag compared to Option C and its better features compared to Option A. This will lead people towards choosing Option B without knowing that the seller actually intended for them to choose it.

 

This psychological principle is easily applicable in e-commerce stores by placing three pricing plans for every product or service. It gives the user the illusion of a better choice. 

 

For example,  a seller on Etsy could set up a product with three options, one that is $20 and has little to no features or benefits; another option which might be $30 but offers more value like free shipping, some free trinkets and other small perks; and finally an expensive option (the decoy) of $50 for those who don't mind paying extra because it has better "details".

 

Usually, people will opt for the middle option (the $30) because people will think they'll get more value out of it than the first one, but it is cheaper than the last one.

 

However, the middle option is not always the target choice. Sometimes, it can be the decoy. Take for instance Netflix. They offer three plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. 

 

netflix decoy effect

 

Taking a look at the image above, it's easy to see that you'll get the bang for your buck when you subscribe to the Premium plan. It costs less than double the Basic Plan even if the features improve greatly, and for a few more bucks than the Standard Plan, you'll get better viewing quality at double the allowable screens!

 

Can you see the irrelevant choice here? It's the Standard Plan.

 

X. The Principle of Reciprocity



The Principle of Reciprocity is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when people feel an obligation to give something back in return for what they have received. It can be observed in many aspects of life, but we will focus on how it applies to e-commerce businesses.

 

The principle works based on the nature of humans to want to give something back when they receive something. It leverages that feeling that wells up in you when someone does something nice for you and makes you want to do the same thing for them or share your good fortune with others by giving them things, too.

 

There are two types of reciprocity and these are:

 

1. Material Reciprocity

This is where a person gives something of material value to another individual. In return, the other individual feels obligated to give back their own item or value in kind, equal to that received from the first party.

 

For example: If your business provides free samples for customers and at the same time includes an invitation card with words such as ‘kindly leave one for someone else,’ then it would be considered Material Reciprocity. This method has been used by companies such as Dropbox through its Referral Program, which offers reward credits when existing users refer new memberships.

 

2. Psychological Reciprocity

The second type is Psychological Reciprocity, which occurs when people feel to respond positively without receiving something material.

 

The act involves an invitation or suggestion that causes the other to feel indebted and then compelled to return the favor. This method is often used in social marketing, where businesses offer free assistance to customers who are willing to share their contact information with them.

 

They will use this opportunity for future promotions by sending offers directly through email, which creates a sense of obligation when they receive them - resulting in customer loyalty!

influence

 

2a. Emotional Reciprocity

Under Psychological Reciprocity is Emotional Reciprocity. This is where a company will provide excellent customer service, free shipping, or other benefits to get their customers emotionally invested in the business. This can be done by offering unexpected perks that show your appreciation for their loyalty and trust, such as handwritten notes of thanks, personalized products with names on them, and other customer loyalty perks.

 

These are just some of the many ways you can use reciprocity in your business online. There's no need to reinvent the wheel - stick to these methods and test what works best for you!

 

No matter what you do, though, make sure it is authentic. Customers can feel fake "giveaways" from a mile away, so don't overuse them.

 

XI. Loss Aversion



Loss aversion is when people are willing to work harder in order to avoid losing something they already have than they would be if they were given the opportunity to acquire something of equal value.

 

To understand how this psychological principle can be used in e-commerce, let's look at an example: You offer customers a 10% discount on their purchase, but it expires after 24 hours. The majority of them will make their purchase before time runs out because they want to avoid losing that 10%.

 

But what if you offered that same customer 20% off for 6 months? They might think about it more and wait until the last minute to decide whether or not they're going to buy.

 

In essence, if you want the customer to grab the opportunity right now, make them feel that they would lose something if they don't take advantage of it right now. So when providing discounts, instead of lengthening the amount of time that your customer to make a purchase to use a discount, shorten the time frame.

 

Another concrete example of this phenomenon is the Cyber Monday and Black Friday sale. Do you ever wonder how people would be willing to camp out outside of brick and mortar stores just so they can get inside shops the moment they open on a Black Friday? Or why they would wait till midnight or wee hours of the morning just to take part in a flash sale at odd hours?

 

The feel of losing out on a sale, even if the items are now really needed right now, can greatly influence a person's decision-making.

 

XII. The Principle of Exclusivity



As one of the most popular strategies, many businesses have started using exclusivity in order to convert more leads. This strategy has been proven effective for both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores alike.

 

What does it feel to be part of an exclusive club?  Most people would say that it feels good and is rewarding, which makes this strategy a great choice for businesses. 

 

How can you use exclusivity in your e-commerce business? There are many ways that marketers have found success with using the principle of exclusivity as part of their marketing campaigns. 

 

  • Add Requirements to Be Part of the Exclusive Group 

This means that the customer will only be part once they purchase a minimum amount. Look at gold and country club members--they enjoy specific perks because they have purchased something or pay annual membership with this invite-only group.

exclusivity

 

  • Provide Prestigious Benefits 

Being a VIP means you have access to something that others will beg or pay to have access to. They want it but can't easily get it.

 

  • Add Waiting Lists 

This is a great way to entice customers into buying something immediately. If they're not sure about it, but see that there are tons of people waiting in line for this item or service, then the customer will be more likely to purchase now instead of later when it may no longer be available.

 

  • Make Exclusive Announcements 

When businesses have big news for their products, special offers, etc., they can make exclusivity part of these promotions by making an announcement on social media and other platforms where everyone can see it but only a handful will benefit from it. 

 

The members of your exclusive club will feel happy knowing they are getting something that not everyone is getting, and other customers will crave to be part of the exclusive club. The latter can prompt customers to buy more or do anything to fulfill the requirements.

 

This tactic is also called ego-baiting.

 

Exclusivity is all about building customer loyalty by creating an environment where customers feel privileged to be able to shop or use products from your store alone. When you invite them into this exclusive club, they will want to stick around and become repeat customers in order to continue feeling special. 

 

XIII. Fear Of Missing Out



Why is social media so popular today? Whatever your generation, you’d be interested to be part of a social media network where your peers abound.

 

FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, is a phenomenon that has been around for centuries. It's so powerful because it taps into one of our most basic human instincts: fear of abandonment and social exclusion.

 

fear of missing out

 

The internet and smartphones have made FOMO even more potent than before. As we scroll through Facebook feeds, Instagram timelines, and Twitter streams feeling like we're missing out on something important happening in real-time all around us—we can't help but notice how FOMO affects marketing today.

 

The fear of missing out is a powerful emotion-- and it's one that marketers and e-commerce site owners can use to their advantage. It's no secret that consumers are more likely to take action when they feel like they're at risk of missing out on something important, but how exactly can marketers or e-commerce sites capitalize on this? Here are some ways:

 

  • Show your product as being used by people within the same circle

This will work if you know your target market well. If you do, then you'll also know who they follow and who they feel are part of their "circle." If people from the same circle are using your products, they will feel left out for not doing the same, so they'll consequently make a purchase just to be part.

 

  • Use influencers 

Again, make sure this influencer falls under your target market. You don't want your promotion to be hit-and-miss, so make sure you research what kind of crowd a specific influencer attracts before hiring them or sending them products to promote.

 

  • Promote User-Generated Content

Social networking platforms are great places to utilize UGC. Your previous customers may even need additional prompting to post their pictures of the purchases; all you need to do is encourage them to use the correct hashtag, so the post links back to you. Posting is like proof for them that they did not miss out.

 

To have a successful marketing campaign, one must consider how the target market will react. The FOMO phenomenon effectively improves marketing as it taps into the basic human instinct of fear of abandonment.


***

We hope you’ve been able to glean some new ideas from this blog post and we look forward to helping your business grow. There is no time like the present, so get started with these marketing strategies right away! What are your favorite techniques for keeping customers coming back?

Speaking of which, why don't you try our 14-day free trial? It's a useful tool, whichever marketing tactic mentioned above you intend to use to promote your business.

Topics: eCommerce, Best Practices

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