Discover the essential eCommerce marketing features, best practices, and key elements that will kick your revenues into overdrive and put you ahead of the game so you can sell more online courses and training programs.
What is eCommerce Marketing?
Starting up your business can be a challenge with many factors to consider depending on your brand and the audience. However there's a checklist of important elements that are keys to brand growth and maximization of profit.
One of these elements is functional and efficient eCommerce, especially one that creates a positive and seamless experience for consumers. Dysfunctional or inept eCommerce can lead to potential missed revenue and opportunities for growth.
eCommerce marketing is the strategy of using promotional activities to drive traffic to your website where the bottom line is to ultimately drive purchases. In addition, ideally retaining those customers by utilizing tactics for staying in touch.
There are a few reasons why one should adopt an eCommerce strategy. Aside from the obvious correlation to meeting business objectives, you can easily structure a platform around an integrated marketing strategy. If it coexists with a brick and mortar location, eCommerce can provide more in-depth store features that can extend a customer’s relationship with a brand.
Creating specifically tailored website pages with custom promotional pricing and configurations can optimize you for SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click) advertising. Both are great metrics for tracking new leads in which you can integrate and manage through platforms like Salesforce or Mailchimp.
For the subject matter of this article, our examples will be referring to selling online courses to keep in context and relevance with our brand. However these features and benefits can be applied to eCommerce for essentially any industry.
So your website’s eCommerce platform is up and running but you may just have the bare minimum. In addition to bandwidth, there are other essentials you’d likely want to consider because as a brand you want to encourage and promote innovation.
Always finding ways to create a better user experience can lead to more sales continuously meeting both marketing and business objectives. Here is a list of features that can help your platform be “steps ahead of the game”.
1. User Accounts
Managing purchases and monitoring course enrollment is efficient when all activity gets handled in one place. Personalized information helps streamline marketing efforts so recommended catalogue items such as eDownloads, or tangible products can be tailored to your learning needs.
This can also provide easy checkouts so information does not have to constantly be reentered before purchase. Make sure however to not only state the benefits of but be transparent with the policies behind user accounts such as stating how often an email newsletter will be provided, or that information will be kept confidential.
2. User-Friendly Platform
A well designed, creative platform goes a long way and will motivate repeat purchasing, as 76% of consumers want something that is easy to use. This includes easy to access product catalog with easily accessible product features and reducing as much friction from person to purchase as possible.
The bottom line is for the checkout process to be as quick and easy as possible because people simply don’t have the time to put forth the effort into a platform that is difficult to figure out. A pleasant eCommerce experience can create life-long fans.
3. Mobile Optimized Website
Transactions are made more frequently on online mobile, through applications therefore the need for mobile optimization is important. 1 of 3 purchases are made from a mobile device so an adaptive website is key to creating an overall continuous and positive user experience.
With the demands of this day and age, the usability of a website when viewed on a phone can have a direct effect on its search engine ranking position. If your website is not optimized it runs the risk of reduced traffic. And it just looks overall careless.
4. Social proof and User-Generated Reviews
Social proof is an important asset and should not be overlooked because they reinforce your eCommerce. Not only does it prove the legitimacy of your brand but it provides real life sentiments towards the quality of your product. This can be important for eLearning courses as a highly involved purchase you want to know you are buying into something worthwhile.
In social psychology, people will trust the word of others as purchases tend to draw forth an emotional trigger. It’s been shown that a minimum of at least two to three review sites will be searched before deciding to make a purchase, existing in the form of social media posts or ratings from third party websites. Note that a few negative comments are ok, as long as it’s shown that it has been addressed. Too many positives can harbour that “too good to be true” feeling.
The ability to integrate user-generated reviews can be great to have on your website and can give customers a glimpse into unique product features and insights. Social media is also a great tool to feature excerpts or video samples is a great way to promote online courses
5. High-Resolution Photos
Since people are visual creatures and With increased purchasing through online eCommerce there is a lack of physical tangibility from product to buyer. High-quality images and photos provide a definite support for the buyer experience. Catalogs can provide samples of product presentations, course material from textbooks with attributes and descriptions.
6. Special Offers
Providing special offers seasonally or as part of a subscription can be a way of offering an incentive for having a user account. For free online courses create an option of auto-enrolling directly from the catalog and skip the payment steps with an accelerating purchase feature.
From a retail standpoint, continuous special offers can improve search engine optimization (SEO) and drive traffic to your website. Especially if unique landing pages are involved. Offers that involve reduced fees can support a buyer’s motivation as stats have shown that free shipping can entice a 30% increase in purchases.
Wishlists are potential revenue, especially if you can share them with customers or learners, and will provide more reach. Especially useful as it allows you to compare products and courses, or just save yourself the hassle of having to look for a particular item again.
8. Related Items
Automated emails can drive potential purchases by providing similar or related options either through email or directly on the website. The intention is to create that “stickiness” effect: an action that marketers strive to achieve. Enticing curiosity and excitement.
Create a personalized experience for the consumer. For example, if someone has purchased a level one course, you can offer a secondary course within the same catalog and a product that provides extra support.
It’s a great way to increase sales and expand cart size and allows for the belief that the brand cares about the needs of their consumers.
Important to also understand the needs of the consumers and to know what items are commonly bought together. Therefore brands can make curated suggestions to provide ease of mind for the buyer.
9. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
A standard feature that all businesses should have on their website. It can legitimize your brand and to reinforce “buyer confidence” but be aware that the more searching a buyer needs to do for answers the more this confidence can deteriorate.
With high purchase involvement such as online courses, programs and technology people need a go-to place resource to mitigate any doubts.
There's much appreciation for brands that show they can provide honest feedback and conversation. And to tailor this with a “brand voice” can be used to support a better buyer experience.
10. Security Features
By providing information such as payment, account credential and past purchases behaviours, consumers want to make sure they are making purchases while their information is kept confidential and safe.
To prevent security breaching strict practices should be enforced regardless of the business type and size. Some important features to consider should be a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate, two-factor authentication or a firewall.
Visible private policy links should be provided stating the confidentiality and procedures of any information provided to make way for payment gateways such as Stripe, Moneris, Authorize.net, PayPal and Braintree can be used in confidence.
11. Advanced Payment Options
This feature should be applicable depending on who your consumers are and your product.
Better order management and flexibility can allow customers, who are selling online content, to update their product’s prices with the freedom to create invoices, shipments and credit memos for split payments.
Policies however must be transparent in terms of payment options and limitations ie. cryptocurrencies. To build trust and understanding between brand and consumer
12. Detailed Shipping Information
Unexpected shipping costs are the number 1 reason for cart abandonment… Best practice shows predetermined costs at the beginning of the checkout process and should include delivery time and shipping options. If you’re selling across borders, state the countries that are available along with the accepted currency.
Present promo shipping whenever applicable and provide as much transparency needed to prevent any ambiguities. For post-purchase allow the consumer to track through services such as USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL.
13. Multi Touchpoint Contact
Contact us page or some form of communication must be present and easily visible.
These trust elements should be shown and provided whenever needed to reduce friction if the consumer is to get in touch with your brand. Points of contact can be a chat bot, phone, email, online form.Social media links. Google maps for location if applicable is a standard best practice.
14. Return Policy
And lastly, a well written and comprehensible return policy should be present. Peace of mind for the buyer is an important eCommerce goal and provides an agreement and understanding between consumer and brand.
For more advice, best-practices, and how-to guides for creating, boosting, and improving your digital marketing and eCommerce, check out these additional resources:
- Webinar: 3 Brilliant Ways Proven To Get Your Online Courses To The Top Of Google
- Webinar: Marketing Your eLearning: Keys to Success
- Webinar: Enhancing Your eCommerce For Your eLearning Business
- eBook: What is an eLearning Business? Examining the $200-billion eLearning Industry
- Article: Integrated Marketing Communications: What It Means & How To Do It Right
- Article: Sell Online Courses from your Own Website with Moodle LMS
- Article: Why Your LMS Needs eCommerce Integration For Selling Online Courses Part 1
- Article: Why Your LMS Needs eCommerce Integration For Selling Online Courses Part 2