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Online business is boomin’ — that we can’t deny. Ecommerce sales have been steadily rising over the past few years, and recent reports predict they’ll hit $2.14 billion by 2022.

But the massive growth of ecommerce retail has a downside, too. Because just as big-box retailers have dominated brick-and-mortar, ecommerce giants like Amazon and Ebay have made online marketplaces their domain.

This doesn’t fare well for small business owners, of course, who admit to perceiving these marketplaces as a looming threat. But there’s good news: Amidst the chaos of the ecommerce battlefield, it’s possible for all of us to live in profitable peace.

If we’re equipped with ecommerce marketing, that is.

We asked a group of martech pros how they use ecommerce marketing to stay ahead of the competition. To reign supreme, they say, ecommerce businesses must:

  1. Make the first move
  2. Design a natural user flow
  3. Cultivate a niche community
  4. Give value first to profit later


Make the first move

Jordan Mitchell

Jordan Mitchell, Copywriter at The Product Writer

“Digital success starts with identifying your ideal shopper and familiarizing yourself with their lifestyle. Do they spend their days posting selfies on social media? Go there. Invest in Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest marketing. Are they deal shoppers who only shop with a coupon code in hand? Consider teaming up with deal sites. Whatever the case may be, find out where your customers hang out, and create an authoritative presence there.”

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Michelle Killebrew

Michelle Killebrew, Chief Marketing Officer at Nomiku

“With today’s empowered customer, marketers must meet the individual customer where they are and personally serve them based on their preferences.”

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Ryan BeMiller

Ryan BeMiller, Founder at ShoppingSignals.com

“Generate targeted traffic through SEO, paid search, Facebook ads, product listing ads, promos, contests, referrals and social media. Figure out where your customers hang out, and get your message in front of them on those channels.”

read more from Ryan

Design a natural user flow

Sally Golland

Sally Golland, Ecommerce & Retail Consultant at Golland Consultancy

“It is your job to provide the customer with a website that will guide them through all that you have to offer at every stage of the decision-making process. From when they land on your site to check out and paying, how easy can you make it for them?”

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Mark Fidelman

Mark Fidelman, Chief Executive Officer at Fanatics Media

“Once on the website, make sure you have Google and Facebook pixels enabled, so that if they don't buy your product, you can retarget the visitor later. If they do purchase ensure you have an email nurturing process so that you can upsell and cross-sell.”

read more from Mark

Cultivate a niche community

James Whitelock

James Whitelock, Freelance Digital Marketing Consultant at JamesWhitelock.com

“Look for opportunities in the long-tail [keywords] to drive more targeted traffic and attract users with a strong intent to purchase.”

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Vanhishikha Bhargava

Vanhishikha Bhargava, Content Marketer at Exit Bee

“Simply put, make use of word-of-mouth promotion and ensure an impressive experience on-site to become a successful ecommerce store that people fall in love with.”

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Give value first to profit later

Drew Thomas

Drew Thomas, Entrepreneur & Consultant at TrueDrew.co

“Today, ecommerce success is based on brand, authenticity and trust. Marketers need to provide value, be transparent and participate in the community. Marketing campaigns need to ultimately drive revenue, but they should be less about selling and more about interacting.”

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Robyn Johnson

Robyn Johnson, Amazon Strategic Business Coach & Consultant at Best From the Nest

“Focus not just on the algorithm of each search type (Google, Amazon, Ebay, etc.) but on the intent of the searcher. Focusing on helping fulfill the intent of the user has the longest term ROI.”

read more from Robyn