Instagram Shopping, TikTok, Reddit, and Quora are only some of the many unexplored eCommerce marketing channels ripe for acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones this year. In this introduction to eCommerce marketing in 2021, I’ll go over a rundown of some interesting new channels and tactics to reach your audience online.
4 eCommerce marketing channels to explore
There are 1.8 million online sellers in the USA, but 67% only use major social media platforms for marketing their eCommerce brand. That means 33% don’t use channels like TikTok, Twitch, Quora, or other lesser-known channels. Let’s talk about some of those smaller channels, and some new additions to your eCommerce toolset.
TikTok is a video sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second soundtracked video clips. These videos cover everything from viral dances and cooking hacks to product unboxing and home fashion shows.
The app has over 1.5 billion downloads and is especially popular with under 30 (62%) – making it great for reaching Millennial and Gen Z audiences.
Marketing your eCommerce products can take the form of:
- Organic content – Creating funny and shareable content that includes your items and generates organic interest.
- Paid content – Using TikTok ads to push promotional videos that feature your products in front of relevant audiences.
- Influencer content – Working with influencers and micro-influencers to increase brand exposure among their followers.
- Branded effects – Developing stickers, filters, and lenses that your target audience wants to use.
TikTok is also testing a Shop now button, which could take the eCommerce world by storm later this year.
Tip: You can create, run, and optimize TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard by installing the TikTok app.
2) Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shops
While Instagram and Facebook aren’t anything new, their native shopping functionality is. Last year, we saw the launch of Instagram Shopping and Facebook Shops, which allows users to discover, browse, and buy products directly within the apps.
Right now, the Instagram interface has a smoother shopping experience, with the ability to tag products directly in a photo and post. However, Facebook shouldn’t be too far behind, with 85% of orders from social media coming from Facebook and making for great incentive to optimize the buyer experience.
By creating a Facebook Shop or Instagram Shopping tab, you expose your brand to additional marketing through:
- An intuitive and curated product discovery feed
- A customized storefront, complete with product collections
- Wish list functionality, allowing customers to save products for later
- Shoppable posts, stories, and IGTV
Tip: Add fast tags to your Facebook and Instagram ads to boost your conversion rate and lower CPA.
Quora is a question-and-answer website that has a huge community covering nearly every niche thinkable. It’s nothing new, but its value for eCommerce merchants is often overlooked.
Online communities are excellent for generating leads. Invest some time establishing a presence on Quora for…
- Exposure: Quora has some pretty impressive SEO, making it a top search result for many queries. If your answer does well on a popular question, you’re likely to capture relevant audiences and hitch a ride on Quora’s SEO investment.
- Research: Quora is excellent for researching commonly asked questions about your product niche, helping you understand what your buyers want to know, what their pain points are, and the best content strategy to reach them.
- Expertise: Quora allows you to establish yourself as an industry expert by providing informative answers to potential customers.
- Advertising: Quora’s advertising platform comes with three different ad types, allowing you to promote your brand through text ads, image ads, and promoted answers.
Tip: Quora users aren’t looking for a hard sell, they want answers. You can link to your website (and you should have it linked in your profile), but you should prioritize answering questions. Later in your post, you can introduce your product with a disclaimer that you’re affiliated.
Reddit describes itself as “a network of communities based on people’s interests.” Think of it as a massive online collection of forums. It was founded in 2005, but has recently started to gain steam among eCommerce merchants looking to find a relevant audience.
People come to Reddit to be informed because they trust the communities within. Therefore, it’s not unusual for shoppers to use Reddit for product and brand recommendations.
This makes Reddit a great place to advertise your products while providing useful and non-promotional contributions to discussions that increase brand awareness. Subreddits are organized by interest, making it a fantastic place to research your audience and get insights into what they want.
You can also do some organic marketing, by posting and staying active in relevant communities, but beware; Redditors are notoriously hostile to blatant marketing.
5 eCommerce marketing tactics to test out
Aside from a variety of new channels to test out in 2021, there is also a range of new eCommerce marketing tactics to use simultaneously.
1) Add dynamic shipping tags to your ads
Fast shipping is making waves in 2021, especially as much of the world’s shopping has had to shift online. It’s one of the best competitive advantages you can get for your eCommerce store, and you can set up dynamic fast tags to show various service levels and countdown timers based on zip code.
Deliverr, a client of mine, enables merchants who want to add fast shipping tags as a differentiator to their ads and listings.
Buyers see free and fast tags on your ads with next-day or 2-day shipping displayed, depending on the location of your stock and your potential customers. This helps your ads stand out to attract clicks and conversions on some pretty competitive platforms.
2) Host an online event
Speaking of Deliverr, I organized the first annual Deliverr Discoverr conference. It gave me a glimpse into a great way to engage your audience and build rapport.
Want to try it out before you host one? Many wineries have been hosting virtual wine tastings, and they can make for a fun, interactive way to see how the process is fun.
3) Get user-generated images in your Google Reviews
Google enhanced its Shopping tab last year, making it easier for customers to browse, find, and purchase products from within Google. That means you want to take advantage of the ability to add user-generated images into your Google Shopping product reviews.
Investing in user-generated content like reviews has always been a great eCommerce tactic, but the ability to make reviews more engaging and showcase your products in use can help you earn more trust and inspire purchases.
4) Use Instagram Shopping in Reels
If you’ve delved into Instagram Reels (Tik-Tok style, short-form videos), then Instagram’s latest update is perfect for you to dive into and extend the value of your content by repurposing it for another channel.
You can now tag Instagram Reels with your products, allowing viewers to tap to learn more, save, or buy. And, if you’re working with Influencers, they can add a “Branded Content” tag to their Reels, creating transparency among your customers.
5) Build hype and share limited-time offers with Twitter Fleets
And last but not least: Twitter has joined in on the video action with Twitter Fleets. Fleets are temporary tweets that disappear after 24-hours, much like Instagram Stories.
The temporary and unshareable nature of Fleets makes them perfect for publishing limited-time offers, hosting giveaways, and offering behind-the-scenes content to engage your audience.
2021 brings plenty of new, fun, and innovative ways to reach your audience, engage new customers, and re-engage old customers. Kick-off the year by signing up and familiarizing yourself with these new channels, and spending some time thinking about the best ways to reach your audiences on them.