Some say that ecommerce sites have little need for sustained lead or customer cultivation online. People come to a site, buy what they need, and leave, all of which can be done under 30 minutes. Why should an ecommerce site consider distributing free resources or sending periodic updates for lead engagement if its sales cycle is so short?
We at HubSpot preach the opposite belief. The concept of attracting prospects, engaging them, and eventually turning them into customers applies to ecommerce websites as much as it does elsewhere. Here we conclude three reasons that inbound marketing contributes to business growth for ecommerce websites.
1. Successful transactions on ecommerce sites don’t always happen in one visit. Prospects who abandon shopping carts can be cultivated as leads.
Numerous statistics show that 57-75% of all shopping carts are abandoned before the sale is closed. Here is an overview of the top 10 reasons (based on a survey of 719 consumers) for shopping cart abandonment and the percentage of consumers citing each as a reason:
- High shipping prices (72%)
- Comparison shopping or browsing (61%)
- Changed mind (56%)
- Saving items for later purchase (51%)
- Total cost of items is too high (43%)
- Checkout process is too long (41%)
- Checkout requires too much personal information (35%)
- Site requires registration before purchase (34%)
- Site is unstable or unreliable (31%)
- Checkout process is confusing (27%)
The take-away point is that potential buyers have many reasons to restrain from buying on the first visit. If an ecommerce business only counts on those who do buy the first time and neglect to follow up with those who abandon shopping carts, it is invariably losing a large portion of its market segment. Most potential buyers have some level of interest in the products an ecommerce site offers, and cultivating and deepening their interest may significantly improve the likelihood of converting them into customers. Treating potential buyers as leads to be cultivated—and thus going through the process of sending e-mail newsletters, free product-related resources, and the like—is one big step into the realm of inbound marketing. To be able to nurture these abandoned shopping carts, make sure your shopping cart provider can track and provide you that contact info or is integrated into a system that can .
2. Ecommerce businesses can also retain prospects who have not provided their contact information by shifting the website’s focus from “buy immediately” to “learn more”
Depending on your website design, some potential buyers provide their contact information before shopping cart abandonment while others don’t. The latter therefore does not count as leads at this stage. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have lost a lead source, however. People leave a site when they are not ready to buy and they are presented only the option to buy immediately. If an ecommerce website portrays itself as a platform that not only sells but also helps potential customers determine what products best fit their needs, it becomes much more capable of engaging a wider audience.
For instance, you can add the option of “learn more” which directs people to a page of useful resources concerning the product. If your website carries a price advantage, you can compare the price your website offers with market prices. If a purchase points to the direction of production instead of consumption, you can provide comprehensive information on the production process. For example, if people want to buy dumpling peel instead of dumplings, they very likely will make dumplings for themselves or for their businesses. In that case, you can integrate resources elsewhere on the web on how to make dumplings and solicit contact information in return for free-kit download.
There are many other ways to retain prospects. In fact, addressing any of the 10 reasons listed above that lead to cart abandonment will enhance your site’s ability to engage prospects. Whether it be shortening the check-out process, reducing the required fields prospects need to fill to check out products, or breaking down a costly item into several more affordable pieces, you should pick based on your needs.
3. Raising the online visibility of your ecommerce website gets you more website visitors.
Besides cultivating those who visit your website, you should think of reaching those who might not have heard of your brand before. This is where content creation, promotion, and optimization—the three fundamental elements of inbound marketing—come in handy. By writing blog articles and promoting them on social media websites, your free information sharing may attract many interested prospects to your website. Optimizing for keywords that relate to your business model or the kinds of products you sell may also improve your website’s search ranking, which similarly generates an additional source of website traffic. In other words, ecommerce websites can benefit as much from inbound marketing strategies as other websites do. No matter what you sell or how you sell it, enlarging the pool of potential customers and engaging them always help with business growth.