Do your retail website revenue targets seem a little out of reach? Rather than staring at the numbers until your head hurts, you might want to consider a new course of action to get your B2C (business-to-consumer) ecommerce website growth rate on track.
Those in charge of the best ecommerce websites and marketplaces (looking at you, Amazon and eBay) know how to implement various winning strategies to attract shoppers and keep them coming back. Whether you’re selling personal care items, healthcare supplies, or home decor, your ecommerce store doesn’t need to be worth a billion dollars, with a zillion product categories, to unlock the benefits of taking these steps. You don’t need to reinvent the ecommerce wheel. To bolster your bottom line, just keep reading and learn what the key players among online retailers do.
B2C ecommerce advantages and disadvantages
Before thinking about the best B2C digital marketing strategies for your business, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of engaging in B2C ecommerce vs. in-store selling in the first place.
Advantages of ecommerce sites
- A wider reach: B2C retailers can expand their customer bases beyond the limited geographical boundaries of their physical stores to reach a global B2C ecommerce market (e.g., from North America to Europe and China).
- Lower operational costs: Compared with offline brick-and-mortar stores, retail ecommerce sites typically require less physical space and fewer employees.
- Convenience for shoppers: B2C ecommerce enables people to browse, make buying decisions at their leisure, with omnichannel options, and buy anytime, anywhere.
- Easy access to customer data: Being able to track consumer behavior on your site can produce invaluable data points for improving your product offerings and strategies, facilitating your market growth.
- Personalization: With the power of data and analytics, companies can use artificial intelligence to create personalized content marketing — campaigns and product recommendations tailored precisely to individual consumer preferences.
- Enhanced customer support: Chatbots, along with other online customer-support features, can be employed to resolve customer questions and improve the online shopping experience.
- Scalability: Ecommerce platforms can accommodate business growth, allowing companies to expand their product offerings and grow their customer bases without adding expenses such as additional physical stores.
Disadvantages of ecommerce sites
- A highly competitive landscape: Numerous online businesses, whether they’re engaged in business to business (B2B sales) or B2C types of ecommerce, are aware of the mammoth B2C ecommerce market size and their place within it. B2C marketers are actively vying for bigger pieces of companies’ market share, making it challenging for new and small businesses to stand out.
- Shipping and logistics challenges: With the B2C business model, managing inventory, shipping, and delivery of items to customers can be complex and costly.
- Technical issues and disruptions: Dealing with website downtime and software bugs can of course negatively impact your business transactions and the customer experience.
- Security and privacy concerns: In ecommerce models, security breaches and data leaks can erode shopper trust and potentially lead to legal consequences.
10 B2C strategies for achieving success
In the ever-changing world of ecommerce, by implementing B2C strategies to make key differences, you can rack up some impressive KPIs. Here are a few tried-and-true rules:
Know your customer…
It’s no joke: understanding your shoppers’ demographics, preferences, and pain points is not only the right thing to do, it can mean the difference between soaring and crashing with the B2C model. By conducting market research and developing buyer personas, you can gain eye-opening insight into who these folks are — what makes them tick and what they need. Then you can streamline your products, B2C marketing campaigns, and customer service all to expressly meet their needs and convert them to happy customers.
Let’s say your target audience is primarily young, tech-savvy consumers. They complete their purchases from different on-the-go physical locations using their mobile devices, and they’re sustainability conscious. Therefore, you need to focus on ensuring that your B2C ecommerce platform is responsive, invest in social-media marketing and advertising (hello Instagram and TikTok), and ensure that your logistics network is sustainable.
And listen to them
How are you going to hit your revenue targets if you don’t know where you’re going wrong? Individual customer feedback can be a gold mine of information nuggets for improving your products, services, and business operations. By actively seeking feedback and addressing your shopper concerns, you can ensure that your offerings meet their expectations and you increase your B2C ecommerce market share.
Look at the customer reviews of your products or services. Are there recurring issues? For instance, if customers consistently complain about slow shipping, it might be time to partner with a more reliable shipping provider.
Meet their expectations
Tailored promotions and product recommendations based on preferences and past purchases can really improve your online sales. Online shoppers also expect personalized experiences, with 78% having chosen, recommended, or purchased more from brands that provided them. If you’re an online clothing store, for example, emailing personalized promotions — those featuring seasonal items similar to what a shopper has previously browsed or purchased — is one way to entice them to your platform.
Be a social animal
Without a social-media online presence, you’re not likely to build much product awareness or make significant business-to-consumer sales. It’s a way to make connections with shoppers where they hang out, putting a face on your ecommerce platform. Plus, being active on a social media platform (e.g., reading people’s comments) can help you stay on top of B2C ecommerce trends and proactively adapt your marketing efforts to go where the market and your audience are heading.
Reach the right people
Then there’s paid social-media advertising. The chances are often good that you can reach your B2C audience with segmented ads to increase your conversions. Let’s say you want to make a splash on Black Friday by featuring several lower-priced items. You can isolate the appropriate segment of your audience (by age and location, for instance) to ensure that possible prospects see your ad.
Skeptical? A recent survey found that when it comes to purchasing decisions, 35% of people were influenced by social-media ads.
Make SEO your secret weapon
You have a great B2C ecommerce site with swanky products that match your audience’s wants and needs. The only problem is that your target shoppers can’t seem to find you. You don’t appear on Google’s first page of search results.
Did you forget about SEO?
Well-planned SEO strategy can improve your search rankings in Google and other search engines, making it easier for people to find your site and learn about your products or services. It pays to focus on optimizing your content to increase your online visibility with relevant keywords and high-quality backlinks. Use a mix of short- and long-tail keywords, and think about the importance of semantic keywords.
When you determine the right keywords, you can then compare them with competitors’ to potentially discover new revenue-generating opportunities. SEO can be a long game, but played well, it can reap some pretty outstanding rewards.
Keep it simple, stupid
Nope, that’s not an insult. KISS is a pillar of successful web design, development, and sales strategy. An uncluttered, user-friendly B2C ecommerce website is essential for a positive shopping experience. In fact, businesses have been known to lose 35% of sales due to bad end-user experiences.
The big beasts of ecommerce get it: shoppers must be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Look at Amazon. Though it’s bulging with more than 12 million products (and expanding every day), you can still zero in on exactly what you need, whether it’s a 4K TV or some other consumer electronics gadget, attire for your cousin’s wedding, or a Nicolas Cage prayer candle.
Build strong customer relationships
If your shoppers aren’t buying, that means you aren’t selling. Providing exceptional direct-to-consumer customer service, staying engaged on social media, and rewarding repeat customers through a loyalty program can help you build and maintain lasting relationships. For instance, try giving shoppers loyalty points for every purchase, which they can then redeem as discounts on future purchases. When you improve customer satisfaction in ways like this, be prepared to enjoy higher ecommerce sales and ROI.
Don’t forget to upsell and cross-sell
Upselling and cross-selling are one dynamic duo you definitely need by your side: some sales professionals claim that cross-selling accounts for up to 30% of revenue. By recommending complementary products during the browsing stage on the way to the decision-making process and checkout, you can encourage customers to make more-substantial purchases. Let’s say a shopper is looking at buying a new smartphone. You can subtly suggest she add a cool-looking case or screen protector for it by listing “Frequently bought together” items.
Put yourself out there
Ever considered investing in social commerce? One route would be collaborating with influencers and brand ambassadors to help expand the market reach for your ecommerce business and introduce your products to new audiences. For example, if you’re running a cosmetics ecommerce platform, your decision makers could opt to partner with a beauty influencer who could review (positively, of course) and promote your products. Their mobile-commerce messaging to a mass following could be a key factor in elevating your online-shopping sales.
Another proven strategy: participate in trade shows and industry events where you can highlight your products or services and connect with potential customers. In short, don’t be shy.
Embrace data and analytics
What mobile devices do your shoppers use? Is your website responsive enough for easy mobile shopping, with near-real-time search results? Are slow page-load times turning your shoppers off? Tracking your key performance indicators (KPIs) and utilizing your customer data can help you answer these questions, then make informed data-driven decisions to guide your B2C marketing strategies. If you want to know what’s stopping you from hitting your revenue targets, just look at your data.
“Power comes not from knowledge kept but from knowledge shared”
Bill Gates rightly deduced this. Effective knowledge management is essential for B2C companies striving to enhance their sales performance. By prioritizing knowledge management, you’re equipped to streamline sales processes, optimize marketing team efforts, and provide personalized experiences. Plus, empowering your sales teams with information they need about products, ecommerce industry trends, and customer preferences can help them do their jobs.
Ready to rock your B2C search?
Of all these B2C sales-model strategies, improving search functionality is arguably the most key to boosting your conversion rates, attaining online store success, increasing your retail sales, and ensuring profitability. And it makes sense: online shoppers, whether they’re new customers or returning loyal buyers, can’t follow up and buy your products or enroll in your services if they can’t first locate what they need on your online platform.
At Algolia, we deliver exceptional AI-aided search and discovery for B2C ecommerce platforms, helping personalize the transactional journey through insightful recommendations and more.
Looking to make missed B2C sales targets a thing of the past? Contact us about getting your site ready for a rewarding future of enduring ecommerce success.