Online shopping will continue to dramatically impact every aspect of retail especially because of eCommerce’s focus on convenience, pricing, and product availability. But it’s more than just those basic things. It’s about what you give the customer, how you make them feel and why they should buy your product.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways innovative online retailers utilize online sales and promotions, plus some psychological factors, that enable them to grow their customer base and push their way into being business “disruptors.” And you can do these things too!
Their Businesses Are Unique Like You
If you look at the success of “furniturepreneurs,” like Wayfair and Joybird, you can see how they are turning the furniture buying experience on its head. They are bringing a new wave of disruption to the furniture business through their eCommerce sites.
The convenience, pricing and product availability, mixed with a great online retail experience and an easy return policy, makes eCommerce the norm while brick-and-mortar stores continue to struggle.
Wayfair has even weathered the Amazon effect because they offer exclusive home furnishings that people crave, even if Amazon is still a competitor for them.
“Home is a pretty unique category that I think consumers think about differently than grocery or consumables and paper towels and their TV, where they all want to buy the same items and mainly replenish those items,” said Niraj Shah, Wayfair’s CEO, in an interview on CNBC. “At home, you want unique items.”
All you have to do is go to Wayfair’s mobile site to see what they are doing right:
Put your call to action above the fold: You’ll see right off the bat “Free Shipping Over $49.” If you click on it, you’ll see that you can also pay a flat-rate of $4.99 for purchases under $49. You can also get fast two-day shipping on thousands of items from toasters to towel racks. They also have an easy return policy if the item you bought isn’t quite right for you. Bam, sounds pretty good, right?
Take advantage of the seasons: The next thing you see is that they are having a 70 percent off sale on outdoor items — because it’s almost summer, and people are thinking about patio furniture and accessories. They are having a similar sale in what is dubbed a Tax Refund Event — because people are in the process of getting their tax refunds back. They know what their customers are thinking, and they are ahead of the game.
If you go to your favorite online site, what does it do for you? Is there a call to action, and is the site easily navigable? Are they promoting reduced prices?
They Make Customers Feel Special
Offer a perk: Not only are the cupcakes mouthwatering enough to pay full price for, Sprinkles Cupcakes never shies away from offering their customers a perk or deal. As a member of their loyalty club, you can earn points and get exclusive deals on their products, free cupcakes on your birthday, invites to exclusive events, and more.
Get Social: If you go to Sprinkle’s Facebook page, you’ll notice that they aren’t aggressively trying to sell you anything, yet they’ve still developed a loyal fanbase.
“Social media is key for Sprinkles since we do not employ traditional advertising,” VP of Marketing Nicole Schwartz told Content Boost. “We have wonderful followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram who not only share our posts but go to our Cupcake ATM and create original content to share with their friends.”
You’ll also notice on Facebook that Sprinkles will periodically give away free baked goods with the purchase of another item or bake something unique that isn’t on their regular menu. Those are the tactics that make customers feel like they are involved in something special because the offers are for a limited time only. Scarcity marketing is a valuable tool!
They Stand Out From the Crowd
“The 1947 Dress.
The most flattering dress of the 20th century…
Rita wore it. Coeds and secretaries wore it. Your mother wore it. Women looked wonderful in it. Still do. Always will.
Unless the female form undergoes some kind of radical transformation.”
This isn’t your typical product page copy describing a dress. You are placed in a certain time and place that’s relatable today. The standard manufacturer product description isn’t in the vocabulary of the J. Peterman Company. (It doesn’t hurt that the company was made famous in Seinfeld, but still.)
eCommerce businesses shouldn’t copy and paste product descriptions and expect people to swoon.
“What you end up getting is a bunch of boring product characteristics that mean absolutely nothing to the customer,” writes Danavir Sarria on copymonk. “Like, who cares if your bottle is 3 inches in diameter. No one.”
Danavir says you should outline questions that help you write a “who wears this” story. Ask things like, “Who are the people that would use your product?,” “Where do they come from?,” “What do those people do for a living or for fun?”
All of the above examples show that content can be produced and used in many different ways, but the bottom line is that your brand is helping the customer, entertaining them, or showing them you care, as well as a variety of other offerings. Useful eCommerce content needs to fit with your brand’s values or it looks fake. Strategy is important to your success.