Avalara > Blog > Ecommerce > Help your ecommerce store stand out in the vast online universe

Help your ecommerce store stand out in the vast online universe

  • Jun 23, 2020 | Gail Cole

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Since its inception in the mid-1990s, ecommerce has accounted for a growing percentage of retail sales. This growth has accelerated (and will likely continue to do so) in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has restricted in-person shopping throughout the country. To succeed in this new and changing environment, businesses must have an online presence.

An online store entails more than a sleek website, though that certainly helps. To better understand what it takes to create a successful ecommerce shopping experience, Avalara commissioned business intelligence platform PSFK. The opening chapter in the resulting five-chapter report explores the first, and perhaps most essential, stage of the customer journey: Shopper marketing and discovery.

One in 1.7 billion

With more than 1.7 billion websites (i.e., unique hostnames) on the World Wide Web, your potential customers are unlikely to discover you on their own. You need to find them. To do that, you need to know where they spend their time, what they like, and when they’re most likely to be open to your messaging.

Get out there: Dynamic outreach is key

Managing customer data is as essential as gathering it. Robust customer relationship management (CRM) software helps ensure you reach customers with targeted messaging at a time when and place where they’re most likely to be receptive.

Advanced CRM and marketing systems enable you to create detailed, cross-channel profiles that help your brand experts understand current and potential clients. They can also automatically generate and publish personalized messaging across different channels

Get social: Go to where your customers are

With the average internet user spending more than two hours daily on social media, it’s worth exploring how social media can be incorporated into your customers’ journey. Social media provides an opportunity to be playful, piquing interest among prospects while deepening the engagement of existing customers.

For example, Facebook’s integrated polls and interactive games are a fun way to gather information about users’ preferences. The same is true for platforms that allow customers to virtually try on products. Snapchat’s dynamic ads respond to a user’s past behaviors, and AI and machine learning help the stylists at Stitch Fix better understand their clients’ preferences and buying behavior.

Indeed, social media platforms have become essential marketing channels. According to a 2019 Commerce Report by Global Web Index, one in four internet users now discover brands through recommendations or comments on social media. And 21% of internet users purchased items through social media channels in the third quarter of 2019. Brands that don’t have a social media presence are missing out.

Get visual: Connect real life to digital commerce

Visual search technology helps consumers find items they see — and want — in the real world. For example, Pinners can use the new visual image-recognition tool, Pinterest Lens, to identify and locate products they find appealing. Interactive print ads created by The New York Times Magazine and Google Lens allow readers to watch videos that accompany editorial content.

The resulting experiences from these searches and interactions are typically richer and more memorable. 

Be relevant

Most consumers understand that marketing is unavoidable: Ads will appear as they surf social media, listen to podcasts, and use apps.

To ensure those ads are relevant rather than irritating, consumers are increasingly willing to share personal information. In fact, 63% of online shoppers are open to sharing personal data in order to help favorite retailers and brands meet their needs.

Collect that information and put it into CRM systems that can help you better market to prospective and current customers. Help yourself stand out as one in 1.7 billion.

Discover more insights in the Digital Commerce Playbook.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail Cole is a Senior Writer at Avalara. She’s on a mission to uncover unusual tax facts and make complex laws and legislation more digestible for accounting and business professionals.