In the e-commerce industry, there’s no room for guesswork.
Countless e-commerce brands fail because they are ill-equipped and ill-informed.
True, there are several guides out there that can provide anyone with the fundamentals of success. But most of these resources, particularly the free ones, are not tailored to the specific needs of every brand.
Keep in mind that, in e-commerce, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution.
More or less, there will be some trial and error involved in growing a successful e-commerce business. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to acquire, analyze, and utilize the data that will pave the way for growth.
In this post, we’ll discuss ways to make data-driven decisions that will propel your e-commerce brand ahead of the competition.
Let’s jump in.
1. Devising Content Strategies Based on Competitor Data
If there’s one thing you can count on as an e-commerce entrepreneur, it’s the fact that you need a solid content marketing strategy.
You can’t hope to build a sustainable, online business if you only rely on paid traffic to generate sales.
At this point, it’s safe to assume that your online store already has a bunch of content, including your product pages and your “About” page that tells your brand’s story. These “cookie-cutter” content, however, are nowhere near enough to win your target audience’s trust.
The good news is, you no longer need to experiment for the sake of finding the perfect content marketing formula in your niche — your top competitors already did the heavy-lifting for you.
You just need to know how to identify them, the pertinent components of their strategy, and the tools you need for the job.
A straightforward way to find your top competitors is to perform a quick Google search.
One search phrase should lead you to dozens of popular brands in your niche. Just be sure to use something relevant and specific.
Once you identify your top competitors’ websites, the first thing you should do is take a quick look at their blog.
Don’t forget to take a look at the content categories they tend to focus on. You can base your content strategy based on the topics they cover, their typical blog post length, writing style, and, if applicable, any contributors.
While you’re at it, you should also take a look at their target keywords to give you a deeper understanding of their content strategy. A keyword research platform like LongTailPro has a built-in “Competitor Keywords” tool you can use for this.
When it comes to the writing style and the overall content quality, remember that you can always hire freelancers to fill skill and experience gaps. In e-commerce, it should be easy to find professionals who can match the quality standards of competitors.
2. Targeting Keywords with Purchase Intent
A content strategy is doomed to fail without a set of target keywords in mind.
Keywords, after all, make sure your content reaches the right audience. The only problem is, a lot of e-commerce brands disregard the user intent behind the keywords they target.
Suppose you’re selling gardening supplies on your website.
Sure, targeting the keyword “gardening tools” will probably help you reach people who are interested in gardening. Targeting the keyword “cheap garden tools for sale,” on the other hand, will help you reach people who intend to purchase products online.
These keywords with buyer intent are the key to generating sales for a new e-commerce business — and you already know how to find them.
All you need is a keyword research tool that allows you to find keyword variations with “filters.” Long Tail Pro, for example, lets you scoop up buyer keywords that contain the term “sale” within seconds.
3. Split Testing Landing Pages
Aside from your content, another crucial aspect of your e-commerce business is your landing page design.
In simple terms, a landing page is where visitors arrive, see your value propositions, and take action.
The internet is teeming with articles on how to design the perfect landing page. But at the end of the day, only your own data will help you determine the best design practices that will boost conversions.
You can speed up the number-crunching by A/B or split testing different versions of your landing page at the same time. It is a feature that’s usually integrated into most landing page builders like Unbounce and Landingi, but there are other CRO tools like Hotjar that have similar features.
For a more in-depth collection of performance data, every e-commerce brand must consider using Google Analytics. It is a free, robust analytics tool that will show you everything — from your landing page’s conversion rate to the pages where most of your users tend to leave.
4. Incorporating Trust Signals
As an e-commerce business, you should be updated on the latest industry statistics.
For one, statistics show that 15 percent of customers abandon their online carts due to concerns about payment security.
You can’t blame them. Who do you think will purchase from you if you don’t have any proof whatsoever of your credibility?
Of course, the kind of proof you can provide depends on the kind of business you’re in. For example, if you’re in the fitness niche, then a personal trainer certification should be an excellent accolade to showcase on your website.
Certifications are important in certain industries where your expertise is a selling point. This includes health, software development, marketing, and so on.
There are also different “trust signals” you can present to instantly build buyer confidence.
Trust seals from payment processors, for example, give potential customers the reassurance they need to make a purchase. For your reference, take a look at PayPal’s “Verified Logos” to understand how trust signals work.
Whatever you do, make it a priority to use Secure Sockets Layer or SSL encryption on your website.
Web browsers like Google Chrome alert users whenever they reach sites that don’t use encryption to protect their privacy.
Making data-driven decisions to grow your e-commerce business doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are truckloads of tools out there — free and paid — that will supply you with insights and help you turn the numbers into action plans.
The strategies above should give you a clear idea of where to start. Just remember to focus on one strategy at a time, be patient, and learn how to turn any result into stepping stones to success. Good luck!