19 Experts Share eCommerce Digital Marketing Tips

Feb 14, 2017 by Mike Peggs Category: Sherwood Blogs 0 comments

According to Internet Retailer, eCommerce sales are expected to grow to more than $400 billion in the next several years, with Forrester Research estimating $414.0 billion in sales in 2018 and eMarketer estimating $491.5 billion in 2018. The secret to success is no longer as simple as launching a website, loading your inventory and seeing how it performs. The most successful retailers are strategic and targeted in their efforts, both online and off.

Many online retailers are wondering how they should approach marketing in the modern era. Traditionally, TV commercials, radio spots, billboards, magazine and newspaper ads, reigned supreme for retailers. Now that we live in a world that is extremely digitized, the playing field is vastly different. If you’re a store owner selling goods online, or a company offering their services, understanding your consumer’s behavior within a digital landscape is pivotal. You have to familiarize yourself with the various online channels, programs and software.

So how does one take on such an important task?

Well, we asked 19 experts in the fields of digital marketing and eCommerce, and they gave us their insights! See what these experts had to say about how they integrate traditional and digital marketing, what the most important online channels are, and how they are using big data to grow online sales as well as increase repeat purchases.

John Rampton is an internet blogger and digital marketing expert who is also the co-founder and CEO of Due – an online invoicing and payment solutions provider. He is a serial entrepreneur, adviser, mentor and investor, as well as author, and industry conference speaker. He is also a thought leader across numerous areas, including entrepreneurship, internet of things (IoT), fintech, and internet marketing.

Twitter: @JohnRampton


On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

One of the best ways to integrate both channels is to reference what is being done on each one. For example, if you are using social media to share videos, mention or provide that link to that channel in traditional marketing efforts. Likewise, you can use digital marketing to announce a traditional marketing event, such as a pop-up shop or other offline event. Consistency in look and feel is another way to integrate traditional and digital marketing so that wherever the audience sees anything about the brand it looks, feels, and sounds the same.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook continue to be important channels for retailers primarily due to the target audiences gravitating to these channels as well as the focus on video that has become the biggest draw. This is also where influencers are spending their time, so retailers can leverage them as well to win customers.

On using big data to grow online sales and increase repeat purchases.

Big data has become very important in understanding our customers, their pain points, and what they need. In turn, this data has helped us develop more features for our online invoicing and payments solution to increase the use of our services. The big data points also have helped us to shape our marketing messages to make us more appealing to the target audience that shares similar traits to our existing customer base.

Tabitha Naylor is the founder of Successful Startup 101, a digital magazine that provides answers to today’s most pertinent questions facing startup founders. She is also the owner of TabithaNaylor.com, a marketing firm that delivers “big agency” quality at rates that are affordable for startups and small businesses.





On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

I think the key is that you have to think of traditional marketing and digital marketing as pieces in the entire marketing puzzle. That means that rather than trying to slot two pieces into the same empty space, these two marketing methods should complement each other. The truth is that traditional marketing such as TV ads; print ads, flyers and billboards are not dead. They are still very effective at getting people’s attention, but the problem is that that they are not sustainable by themselves. That’s why it so important to augment traditional marketing with digital marketing. For example, if you run a billboard for your business, it may help put your company’s name in people’s minds. But to really brand your company, you could run a social media campaign that plays off your company’s name or logo or corporate message in a fun, entertaining way that further distinguishes your business.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

They’re all pretty important, but I think you’re seeing two that are really standing out for retailers: Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is still a monster when it comes to outreach to consumers, because with more than a billion users, the opportunities are endless. And with Facebook Live becoming more popular, retailers are taking advantage of the benefits of live streaming to engage, entertain, educate and entice prospects and turn them into customers. Twitter is still pretty potent when it comes to retailers, because it’s an instantaneous form of communication between retailers and customers. Retailers can offer new products, discounts, sales and contests on Twitter, but even more importantly, they can take care of any customer complaints in a public way that shows how much they value customer service and customer satisfaction. Plus, Twitter is still the best platform on which retailers can create viral content that can help draw consumer attention in a good way. So the bottom line is that retailers should create a dedicated Twitter page and make sure someone updates and monitors that page on a daily basis.

On using big data to grow online sales and increase repeat purchases.

First, it’s important for retailers to understand that big data is a combination of customer data, social media data and mobile data. By analyzing the information from these three data sources, retailers can determine where they want to focus their strategy. For example, if retailers learn that their targeted consumers are younger and most active on social media, their marketing campaigns must emphasize engagement on social media channels such as Instagram and Snapchat, which are heavily frequented by young Millennials. Once retailers understand the buying behavior, wants and needs of their targeted consumers, they can offer the incentives that will grow sales and encourage repeat business.

Vladyslav Ionov is a digital marketing specialist with more than eight years of experience in digital agencies throughout Mexico; specialized in e-Commerce. Clients include Best Buy Mexico, Wal-Mart Mexico, Soriana and Famsa.






On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

I own a number of small e-commerce sites. Since I started to acquire traffic, I’ve been mad about the sites’ conversion rate and have tried out numerous CRO tools. The tool that suites me the best is HotJar, a very powerful and the most complete CRO research tool.

HotJar combines the four key elements of CRO research (heat maps, session recordings, user testing and surveys) in one single platform/script that you can easily install on your site with Google Tag Manager. They have an absolutely amazing tool for e-commerce sites Conversion Funnel that breaks down the conversion path and analyses each step much better than Google Analytics. This tool alone increased my conversion rate by more than 20%.
There’s a free plan limited to 2,000 page views per day. That’s enough for me and I’m sure is enough for many small e-commerce sites out there.

Tom La Vecchia is the president of X Factor Digital Marketing who has sold over $100M and began his company to give business owners access to the best sales/digital marketing talent. In 2012, he developed a 4-Step sales process called the “X Factor Selling System,” which became an Amazon best-selling title.


Twitter: @TheSalesExpert


On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

We like a hybrid approach of Digital and Traditional, however, we are digital first as SEO is the primary driver. For PR, print still holds a lot of weight as print still lends credibility to a campaign. The best way to integrate to refer the mediums to each other, for example print should include the website and the online ads should say featured in xyz print media. The ads become synergistic and complement each other.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

Paid Channels: Google Shopping is critical. Also Bing and Yahoo have other solutions and are usually less expensive. Also online platforms are must: Amazon, eBay, Sears and Rakuten to start.

On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

The premier platform is Magento. If you don’t have a big budget, BigCommerce is a good start. SiteScout is good for traffic analysis. Optimization for Conversions is Optimilizely.

Robert O’Kruk is a digital advertising power house who is recognized as one of Canada’s youngest preferred Google Partners guru and expert. Robert has actively managed more than $10 million USD in digital ad spending across diverse and expansive variety of industries – serving both B2C and B2B clients.




On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

When it comes to integrating traditional marketing and digital marketing it’s a simple as sticking to what you know about your audience. Regardless of the type of marketing it is, all marketing can be considered the “facilitation of communication”. So if you know your potential and existing customers well, ideally you understand what type of messaging, content and more is most valuable to them. Keeping this is mind, use each marketing tactic offline or digital, to appeal to what you know about your audience and bring them value through your marketing efforts.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

Google AdWords. Specifically using Search, Dynamic Remarketing and Shopping Campaigns.

On using big data to grow online sales and increase repeat purchases.

I’ve already mentioned Google AdWords above which would definitely be my number 1 recommended tool. For many eCommerce websites, phone calls can be a big part of business. This is especially true in industries with high value products where customers typically require more hands on support before they make a purchase.

For these online stores where phone calls are important, I highly recommend using CallRail a call tracking platform that can let you know the number and quality of calls from digital advertising channels, or any other traffic acquisition channel. Using a tool like CallRail can be absolutely essential to determining the full value any traffic acquisition channel provides. An easy win for ROI focused digital marketers.

Kristin Ferguson is a highly passionate and driven professional with a background in account and project management, and marketing.



On her go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

My go to digital marketing tool for ecommerce sites is Google Search Console – this is actually a go to marketing tool for EVERY site, no matter what. First (and most importantly) it’s FREE! It does a great job of providing resources and tools to help publishers understand what is happening with their site. No matter your level or knowledge of digital media, Search Console makes it easy to understand what is happening to your site from a search perspective, including your search appearance, traffic, technical updates and crawl data.

Dave Hermansen is a 13+ year e-Commerce veteran who has been featured in national media several times as an expert in the field. His company currently operate more than 50 eCommerce websites – all with their own blogs – in addition to running an eCommerce training course.



On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

There are many facets to marketing an eCommerce store, but the best source of free traffic other than ranking well organically is social networking. Our go-to tool for that is Hootsuite – www.hootsuite.com. In about 20 minutes, we can schedule our social postings for an entire week, letting Hootsuite spread them out naturally over several social networks. We use the Hootsuite Syndicator plugin which allows us to subscribe to RSS feeds of relevant blogs and share stories from those websites to all of our social networks via Hootsuite with just a push of a button. A real time saver, Hootsuite allows us to maintain our social presence throughout the week without having to actually login to each social network it several times per day.

Rob Thompson is an experienced digital marketing strategist from London. As the co-Founder of marketing blog, Trendjackers, Rob regularly writes about social media, digital marketing and marketing strategy.


Twitter: @RobMThompson

On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

Content Marketing! Personally, I think that one of the more interesting ways that which retailers are fusing traditional marketing with new digital marketing strategies is through the use of content marketing. Content marketing is a cost effective way to reach customers in a digitally connected world and combines the traditional skills required for retail marketing to succeed, such as understand key audiences and combines them with new digital marketing techniques such as SEO & social media.One example of content marketing being used successfully, to solve customer problems and to generate new enquiries, is Vapeclub. Operating within a relatively new market, the retailer identified that there was an increasing amount of questions being asked by new customers surrounding their products. VapeClub responded by creating a YouTube tutorial titled ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Vaping’, which has to date generated over 1 million views and has attracted over 2,200 customers directly to the retailers website.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

Instagram! In my personal experience, I’m inclined to strongly agree that Instagram can be a highly effective channel for retail brands, as the visual nature of the platform easily lends itself to showcasing products and presenting attractive lifestyle imagery. The main reason why I think that Instagram is highly significantly for retailers is that it is very possible still to grow your audience for free on Instagram by using an effective hashtag strategy. As a discovery network, brands can leverage Instagram hashtags to connect directly with new, relevant audiences in their niche in a highly targeted & organic way.Increasing your brand’s presence on Instagram as a retailer has become increasingly important in recent times as marketers report that growing your profile organically on other social networks like Facebook has become substantially harder in recent times. With other networks reporting dramatic drops in organic reach and moves toward a pay-to-play model of content promotion, Organic growth on Instagram has still remained relatively consistent which recently which has lead to the platform earning the nickname, ‘the holy grail of retail.

On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

I am a bit of a data nerd, so for me, the go to marketing tool for any eCommerce website would have to my favourite dashboard program – Cyfe. Cyfe is great if you are running a lot of different digital marketing activities because it allows you to pretty much track all of the different aspects of your business. Using Cyfe dashboards I am able to keep a close eye on all of my different social media accounts, email campaigns, website data & more.My favorite part about Cyfe is that it allows you to get a more holistic view of your business. Furthermore, because I am able to track all of the different parts of my business from one convenient login, this puts an end to having to open several different tabs in order to track the success of my marketing campaigns.

Johnathan Glide is a Director at BrightHaus, a digital marketing company based in San Diego. He loves working with small businesses to drive growth and improve their presence.



On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

I really like Shopify for stores with smaller inventories. There is a wide selection of really great themes, and customization is easy. For companies with large inventories and many product variations, I prefer to use Big Commerce. Again, it’s a very good CMS designed just for online shopping. For the many users who employ WordPress, fear not! WooCommerce is a great option and is easy to use. In regards to other tools, email capture plugins are fantastic, and no online store is complete without a solid cart abandonment campaign.

Laith Hanthel has proven ability to generate triple-digit B2B and B2C sales growth by generating demand/leads through the use of analytics, technology, and digital distribution/communications channels. He is an expert in developing and mentoring teams, driving continuous improvements to accelerate growth, creating efficiencies, and revitalizing failing operations.

Twitter: @lhanthel

On his/her go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

I have over 8 years’ experience in e-commerce management and used both WordPress and Magento platform. There are many tools I use on a day-to-day basis but if I have to choose one tool it would be Google Analytic / Web master tool. In one platform I’m able to see traffic source, time spent on the site, bounce rate, and most importantly audience segmentation.

Publicity expert Joan Stewart, who frequently ranks #1 for “free publicity” on Google, works with business owners, nonprofits and organizations that need to use free publicity in traditional media and online visibility in social media to establish their credibility, enhance their reputation, position themselves as experts, sell more products and services, and promote a favorite cause or issue–without an expensive publicist.

Twitter: @PublicityHound

On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

Retailers can use push notifications to notify customers of special sales and promotions and get them in the door. Brick and mortar stores can offer something for free in exchange for someone’s email address. It doesn’t even have to be a customer.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

This depends entirely on the age of the target market. The top five social networks in 2016 were Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Yet Boomers are more likely to be found on Facebook than they are on Instagram. Consumers ages 18-29 are more likely to be on Instagram than on Facebook. Go where you audience is. If you aren’t sure where they are, ask them. Pew Research just released an interesting fact sheet that shows who uses social media, and how it has trended for the last four years by gender, race, income, education level and other demographics. You can see the full results at PewInternet.org.

On using big data to grow online sales and increase repeat purchases.

First, I track data such as open rates, who clicks on which links, etc. People who have bought already can be emailed again with another offer, rather than emailing my entire list of people, most of whom probably wouldn’t be interested. I can segment my very best customers, who I call my “SuperFans,” and offer them higher-priced products or services without aggravating my entire list. Second, I upsell at checkout. People buy a $49.95 product and I offer them another $49.95 product for half price.

Max Schleicher is a digital marketing manager at Insureon, a small business insurance agency located in Chicago.


Twitter: @insureon

On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

1. Google Analytics.
This one is a no-brainer. Google Analytics tracks on site behavior data in a thousand ways. You can look at bottom-line performance (i.e., how many users are making a purchase on your site) as well as big picture performance (how has your organic site traffic performed compared to last year). Google Analytics offers a few baseline UX measurements like how long users spend on your site, the bounce rate, and how many pages users visit. This allows you to measure how successful your latest marketing campaign is in terms of customer experience. How many conversions are you getting per visit? Did your site redesign actually make people more like to stick around and spend time browsing your wares? When used properly Google Analytics will give the insight you need to direct your front end team, optimize user experience, and improve conversions.

2. Ahrefs.
Ahrefs tracks how many other sites are linking to yours. Links are a key SEO metric, so the data we get from Ahrefs really directs our content strategy. It allows us to compare our link portfolio to our competitor’s, see where we’re weak, and identify opportunities to build new links. This allows us to optimize our SEO strategy to compete with brands that are much larger than us.

Anita O’Malley is the CEO and president of Leaderati, a NJ WBE/SBE certified social and digital marketing communications firm. With 25+ years of demonstrated success in bringing numerous B2B organizations and offerings to market, she has vast experience in expanding brand reach, and creating effective, award-winning internal/external communications programs and processes.

Twitter: @Leadarati

On his/her go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

Wix is our web-based app for the best go-to tool for building an e-commerce website. You can build it out as much as your client wants with add-on apps or keep it simple. Templates are beautiful, easy to use and more important, facilitates our customers’ ability to make their own content edits on the fly. This is critical especially for e-commerce sites as products/offerings can change rapidly.

Kent Lewis is the president of Anvil and oversees sales, marketing and operations. Under his leadership, Anvil has been recognized as an Inc. 5000 fastest growing private company as well as most admired, most philanthropic, fastest growing company as name by Portland Business Journal.

Twitter: @KentJLewis

On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

For starters, any brand that has separate digital and traditional marketing departments, budgets and processes is doomed. The marketing department should be as integrated as the marketing campaigns. Campaigns should be omni-channel, but with mobile in mind throughout the experience and measurable. Integrate digital elements to make offline marketing more measurable. For example, integrate hashtags into traditional media channel campaigns to improve measurement of engagement and action online.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

The most important online channels for retailers include: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest (shopable Pins) and YouTube, based on popularity and ability to engage users.

On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

The number 1 tool for ecommerce websites should be analytics, whether it be Google, Adobe, Webtrends or equivalent. Secondarily, an SEO-friendly shopping cart is also essential (i.e. Magento, Shopify or Demandware). Additional tools should focus on improving the user experience via heat-mapping, A/B & multivariate testing and email/marketing automation/CRM platforms that capture prospect and customer data and use it to nurture over the customer lifecycle.

Bryan Clayton has been in the lawn care industry his entire working life starting with moving neighbor’s lawns to ultimately founding Peach Tree Inc – a market leading landscape company in the southeast and growing the firm to over 125 employees.

Twitter: @YourGreenPal

On his/her go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

An essential marketing tool for e-commerce sites most people do not know about is Intercom. Like every other startup we have Google analytics integrated throughout our app however we get much more value out of intercom.io Intercom is the only tool this kind that enables companies to combine qualitative data and quantitative data. We live and die by it because it allows us to combine the data of what people are doing inside of our app along with talking to them while they are doing it. This allows us to move quickly off of user feedback and develop heuristics around user behavior while slowly validating the assumptions with actual quantitative data. You can stare at it all day long instead of Google analytics but you can’t ask your users why they are doing what they’re doing when they do it.

Amandah Blackwell is the founder of Savyy-Writer.com and is the creative leader who brought nearly 10 years of experience in business communications, content development, strategy and writing: copywriting, digital marketing, and ghostwriting.


Twitter: @savvy_writer

On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

Retailers integrate traditional and digital marketing in a connected world by doing the following:
· Determining their target audience.
· Finding out where their target audience is and how they get their information, online and offline.
· Deciding on their message.
· Considering SEO.
· Determining the 4 Ps [product, place, promotion and price].
· Selecting their promotion mix [public relations, advertising, personal selling, etc.].
· Choosing their channels [radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, billboard, direct mail, social media, email marketing, etc.]

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.The most important online channels for retailers in 2017 are:

· Facebook – Facebook Live.
· Twitter.
· Instagram.
· Pinterest.
· Amazon.
· YouTube.
· eCommerce [mobile ready] website.
· Online showroom.
· Paid search.
· Mobile marketing.The most important online channels for retailers are the ones where their audience hangs out. If customers don’t use Twitter, retailers would waste time and money marketing to an audience who isn’t using the social network. If customers use Facebook, it makes sense for retailers to create, develop and maintain a Facebook page. It also makes sense to create and post ads.

On using big data to grow online sales and increase repeat purchases.

I’m using big data to grow by doing the following:
· Reviewing unstructured data such as social media posts and metadata.
· Reviewing multi-structured data, e.g., social networks and web applications.
· Analyzing technology requirements – using the right tools.
· Considering the cost vs. revenue – determining the benefits.
Keep in mind that “Big Data” is nothing new – it’s a buzzword. Retailers who may be intimidated by it shouldn’t be. What they should do is determine the most important pieces of data pertinent to their business. Maybe start with a “top 10 list” or “5-7 pieces of information.” Remember, less can give you more.

Steve Twomey is a digital marketing and SEO expert. He is also the founder of MasterMindSEo, a Majestic Brand Ambassador, as well as Huffington Post and Tech.co contributor.

Twitter: @MasterMindDBS

On his go-to digital marketing tool for an eCommerce website.

I would use Majestic’s Link Profile Fight Tool. This will give you a great idea of your website vs your #1 competitor. Fact of the matter is that links and content are huge determining factors of who is on top of Google. You can see what kind of links your competition has, and what kind of content pieces that they developed in order to earn those links. Then you can borrow their idea on those topics. You simply go and build a better content piece than the one they built. Bigger, better researched.

Then contact the people who linked back to your competitor’s page and ask if they would not mind including your updated resource in the article as well. This type of process can help build relevance to your website, and drive targeted traffic. Utilizing content marketing to drive organic rankings in Google can ultimately lead you to e commerce success.

Heidi Cohen is an Entrepreneur Magazine “Top 10 Online Marketing Influencer” of 2016 and the Chief Content Officer of the award winning Actionable Marketing Guide, focused on social media, content, and mobile marketing. As a consultant and a professor, Heidi helps executives and students understand and apply actionable tactics to execute their marketing strategy. She has worked with Citibank, The Economist, Bertelsmann, NY Times Digital and other top companies.

Twitter: @HeidiCohen

On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

Retailers can easily integrate traditional and digital marketing. A few tactics to accomplish this:
• Ensure your business is findable for local and business and product specific searches. This includes non-search products like Yelp.
• Have a mobile-first online approach. Ensure that prospects can find the information they need on-the-go. The major drugs chains are good at this.
• Be present on shopping related platforms, specifically Instagram and Pinterest.
• Use your retail establishment to build your house email file.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

Most customers (both B2C and B2B) start their buying process online, before retailers are aware that they’re in-market. To enter their consideration set retailers must have a blog. It must contain these 5 types of content: product information, customer FAQs, how to’s, styling and ratings and reviews. Ideally, retailers also have a house email file that provides value beyond promotional push notices. From a third party media perspective, you must be visible and searchable on:

• Search—both text and voice.
• Amazon – for anything they offer.
• Facebook – since it’s the second biggest media entity and ads tap into their big data.
• Instagram – for visual products.
• Pinterest – For visual presentation and pre-shopping research.

On using big data to grow online sales and increase repeat purchases.

Retailers should start by understanding the data related to their customer base, specifically your data and related search and social media data. Use this information to determine who are your best customers and what sets them apart from the rest of your customers as well as who you should unmarked to. Many companies neglect to determine that all of their customers are profitable.

Dave Davis is the managing director of Redfly Digital, a digital marketing agency that specializes in paid search, analytics and reporting.

Twitter: @RedFly

On how retailers integrating traditional and digital marketing.

This has been an ongoing challenge for many retailers that we work with. From tracking to attribution and de-duplicating conversion actions. Google has made some great strides with allowing custom data management platforms to be integrated into its analytics suite and that’s helping, but the biggest change is coming in the form of better customer relationship management platforms. The big players are not only tracking the sales pipeline, but tracking the branding efforts and marketing channels that led to that pipeline. It’s an expensive and sometimes frustratingly inaccurate game to get into but when the numbers are large enough, some real great insights can be obtained.

On the most important online channels for retailers in 2017.

In 2016, we saw the great move to mobile that was predicted many years before. I believe we’ll see more mobile first approaches to all channels in 2017. I think we’ll see an increasing weight being put on the channels Google is growing in. The most important channel though will be all of them as we now have the data driven attribution models to allocate budget and resources to in the correct measures. Businesses will stop fawning over social as they see that it’s simply a poor player in the whole conversion path and more focus will be put on the channels that contribute more. Mainly search and new display channels.

On using big data to grow online sales and increase repeat purchases.

The biggest use of big data is not even our own data, it’s Google’s location data. With the release of in-store visit conversion data (which Google provides based on the statistical likelihood that a device in close proximity to your store went in there), we’re now able to complete the online to offline loop. Coupling that with e-receipts for in-store purchases, we can create a complete profile of the user in the customers CRM so that the relationship can be nurtured and further campaigns can be levied against that new (and complete) rich data set.