eCommerce: digital marketing tips for beginners


Table of Contents

The health emergency of the last year and the travel restrictions imposed on the population have certainly favoured the greater use of consumers in online purchases. For example, in Italy, the data from the B2C eCommerce Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano show that the number of eShoppers grew by over 2 million units in 2020. In fact, today, Italians who buy online more or less assiduously are 29 million, equal to 48% of the Italian population.

The new daily habits are reflected in increasingly complex and varied purchasing paths: omnichannel has become the normality of the customer journey. The tendency of the past years to search the web for information on products before going to the store to buy them (webrooming) is increasingly combined with the habit of also finalizing the online purchase. The purpose of the brands, therefore, is to be able to intercept the customers wherever they are, at the exact moment in which they are most likely to buy, accompanying and supporting them throughout the process of maturing the purchase decision. An analysis conducted by The European House Ambrosetti on behalf of the Netcomm consortium confirms this, highlighting how companies that sell online put the improvement of user experience (22%) at the top of their investment priorities, followed by the creation of greater value from sales data (19%) and the development of omnichannel (16%). In fact, mobile is at the centre of the new purchasing paths. Just think that, according to the B2C eCommerce Observatory of the Politecnico di Milano, in Italy as many as 51% of online purchases were completed through the smartphone in 2020.

On the other hand, the evolution of eCommerce sees an increasingly important role in the marketplaces that are distinguishing themselves for the ability to attract users and offer services that many brands alone would not be able to support. Today, 50% of eCommerce revenue on product sales is made through marketplaces. Food, design, home furnishings, fashion are the most active sectors that you can find on these platforms.

But what are the main eCommerce trends that will change the market in the years to come? Here are some of the major trends:

  • Storytelling and accurate, clear, and complete description of the product or service with multimedia content.
  • As part of an integrated purchasing process, social commerce is gaining more and more importance with features such as “one click” to Instagram shopping in reels, or links in bio, fast checkout and integration with social payment tools.
  • The possibility of processing in real time the digital traces left by the customer in his purchase path, through Machine Learning technologies and artificial intelligence, ensures an increasingly effective personalization of the offer, together with the analysis of the multitude of information with web analytics tools also used for predictive purposes.
  • Retargeting is a very effective tool for brands to increase conversion rate; in fact, managing to intercept the needs of a user who has already interacted with the company, through one or more points of contact in preparatory moments for the actual purchase, it is possible to bring him to the purchase.
  • LIA (Local Inventory Ads) campaigns translate into the ability to combine the availability information of a product in a specific store with the propensity of a user to go to that store, i.e., using digital it is possible to help selling in the physical world.

What is eCommerce and what are its advantages?

eCommerce is the online selling of products or services. Compared to traditional selling, it offers the following advantages:

  • Overcome geographical limitations
  • Gain new customers
  • Lower costs
  • Locate the product quicker
  • Provide more information on products
  • Create targeted communication
  • Remain open all the time

In the last few years, people have been shopping online on websites and on mobile apps. For this reason, companies of all sectors are now leveraging eCommerce to achieve their online sales goals. These goals vary by activity and there are no limits to what you can do. 

If you want to open your own online store, you just need to keep reading this article, where we will provide you with all the necessary information on this topic.

How to build an eCommerce website

How can you get started using eCommerce for your business? A first step might be to offer your customers a way to transfer money to your business over the web. You can do this by adding payment services like PayPal, or similar, to your website, which make online payments simple.

If you are starting to sell online for the first time, you might want to try a ready-to-use service or an ecommerce service, that offer templates for you to easily add product pages to your website and let you integrate payments, such as Squarespace, WooCommerce by WordPress, Magento or Shopify. There are many alternatives and almost all of them offer the following features:

  • Product search
  • Inventory management
  • Online payment
  • Customer accounts
  • Order management

You should also make sure that your online showcase is made up of high-quality images and content. Taking care of this showcase can help make the online shopping experience more and more similar to the in-store one.

As we anticipated, you can make the purchase process easier by adding a payment service to your eCommerce website. This type of solution allows you to add a button to your website that customers will click on to make a payment. They will then land on another payment website that takes care of the transaction for you. Once the order is completed, the customer will be sent back to your website. When a transaction takes place, you will receive all the information necessary to fulfil the customer’s order. You will then be able to focus on your business, while someone else will take care of complex electronic transactions.

At some point, however, you may want to integrate the transaction process directly on your website, for example by providing online payments and a shopping cart, so that customers can buy multiple items in a single session. While integrating this process comes with additional costs, it also offers real benefits. You could use a standard service, like Squarespace, to get started. These services give you greater control over the purchase and payment process and allow you to make changes and improvements.

You could also customize the thank you page with specific offers. Or promote other items similar or complementary to those the customer has just purchased. 

Another advantage is that you can track the entire customer experience, including the digital marketing campaign that brought visitors to your website. You can get more information about these people and see what website content they interact with and what potential customers are more likely to do on your website.

How to improve customers’ experience

The first thing you should consider improving your customers’ experience on your eCommerce is “responsive design”. This type of design adapts to different screen sizes. If, on the other hand, you want to ensure an optimal shopping experience on smartphones, you could even create a dedicated mobile website or a mobile app.

Other ways to improve your online store are:

  • Make navigation easier: you can add categories and sub-categories to organize your inventory.
  • Carry out formal tests: you can see how your visitors react to different solutions.
  • Add a search bar: you can satisfy the needs of all kinds of customers by giving them the possibility to directly search what they need.
  • Create videos or add photos: these contents can help customers fully understand what you are trying to sell them.
  • Encourage customers to create an account: this will allow customers to track their orders, save their favourite products, have access to offers and discounts, etc.

Product promotion and merchandising

Promoting products in an online store is not that different from doing it in a real store, as online stores also showcase specific products. Using part of your home page as a showcase or running advertising campaigns with dedicated landing pages can be a great way to promote your products online.

Think about the last time you made an online purchase. You may have been shown “recommended products” after you have viewed or placed some items in your shopping cart. That happens because while you scroll the pages of a website, that website is also gathering information on articles that interest you.

In addition, many shopping cart service providers for eCommerce (such as Magento, Volusion, Prestashop, and Shopify) offer product suggestion services.

How to use retargeting for eCommerce

Did you know that your eCommerce website can track the buyer behaviour and respond with dynamic ads? And that this allows you to attract visitors back to your store after they leave to visit other websites? This is what retargeting is about.

An eCommerce website owner can understand a lot from a shopper’s behaviour: what products they are interested in and even what they were about to buy. This is all very useful information for your business because it allows you to create very specific advertisements aimed at people who have shown interest in certain products.

To be able to monitor these behaviours, however, you will need to install a tracking code on the pages of your website. This code keeps track of the products on the page that the buyer is interested in and then uses this information to send advertisements on one or more of the online advertising networks.

Another important thing is to know when to stop showing these ads. It is certainly possible that the visitor has found the same product elsewhere and bought it or simply that he has changed his mind and will not buy it regardless of the price. Almost all retargeting solutions allow you to set limits and test how many times you will show the same ad to the same person and for how long.

As with any other advertising campaign, it is essential to measure and optimize the performance of your retargeting campaigns over time. This means tracking conversion rates, trying out new ad types, adjusting parameters, and using analytics to manage campaigns.

How to set up eCommerce tracking

To see eCommerce data in your Analytics reports, you need to:

  • Enable eCommerce for each view in which you want to see data.
  • Add code to your website to collect the eCommerce data and send it to Analytics. To complete this task, you need to be comfortable editing HTML and coding in JavaScript or ask for help to an experienced web developer.

For more support, please click on this link. 

Conclusions on eCommerce

Starting an eCommerce activity could be a real turning point for your business and allow you to increase your incomes. In this article, we gave you the necessary information to start setting your eCommerce website.