17 ecommerce marketing tips to follow in 2021

Two Women Working on an Online Store
(Image credit: KOBU Agency / Unsplash)

Running an online store is a lucrative business idea, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. Finding ways to make your ecommerce site stand out can feel like a daunting task.

The good news is that there are plenty of marketing tactics you can adopt in order to share your ecommerce brand with the right people, at the right time.

If you’re ready to up your marketing efforts and drive online sales, keep reading.

This article will walk you through 17 foolproof ecommerce marketing tactics to optimize your online store.

Three scrabble tiles spelling SEO laid out on a wooden table

(Image credit: Pixabay)

1. Use search engine optimization

A digital marketing essential, search engine optimization (SEO) will help your ecommerce store earn more traffic and, ultimately, more online sales. 

In a nutshell, SEO is all about improving your website’s search engine rankings. 

There are plenty of SEO tools that you can implement to monitor performance, but in the meantime you can take some simple steps to boost SEO for your website:

  • Improve your written content by doing keyword research to find quality target keywords for product descriptions.
  • Apply on-page SEO by creating keyword-rich meta descriptions and catchy title tags that will show up on search engines. 
  • Improve page load speeds and overall user experience as a slow, poorly-laid-out website will impact your rankings.

The easiest way to embrace SEO is by using a website builder to create your ecommerce store. Fast, affordable, and intuitive, these platforms are designed for small businesses.

As well as helping you to set up a fully-functional website and online shop with ease, the best website builders offer a range of SEO solutions. Here are some examples:

Wix – Helping you out from the get-go, this website builder gives users an optimized site structure, Google Search Console integration, and personalized SEO plans.

Zyro – As well as SEO friendly site structures and integrated Google SEO tools, you’ll get access to AI features to help optimize your copy, images, and blog titles.

Squarespace – This website builder has mobile-ready websites as well as clean HTML markup, built-in meta tags, and automatic redirects alongside other SEO tools.

2. Run search engine PPC campaigns

If you’re willing to pay to gain brand awareness, this ecommerce marketing strategy might be right for your online store.

At a basic level, pay-per-click (PPC) is a form of paid advertising where you pay an ad network every time someone clicks on your advert.

There are different types of PPC ads, like display (often called banner ads) and product listing ads which show your store alongside other ecommerce brands in Google’s Shopping tab.

When it comes to paid search campaigns, Google Ads is probably the most popular system there is, and you’ll need to bid on keywords to gain ad space.

But the result can be lucrative: paid search with Ads will give you the opportunity to maximize your store’s impressions and visibility. 

To nail this ecommerce marketing strategy and gain credibility with Ads, you’ll need to:

  • Be smart about keyword research by finding and using relevant keywords as ad text is essential if you want to win bids.
  • Improve your Quality Score with Google with relevant PPC campaigns that’ll help lower the cost of your ad clicks.
  • Supercharge your ad copy so that it’s enticing to users as well as relevant though you should also spend time making it click-worthy.


(Image credit: © unsplash.com, John Schnobrich)

3. Maximize your content marketing

Another essential ecommerce marketing strategy, content marketing (also known as inbound marketing) might not sound like the most obvious way to promote an online store at first.

One of the best digital marketing strategies for any type of business, content marketing relies on the content you put out to drive traffic and increase sales.

It’s all about improving your site’s search ranking by pushing out consistent, relevant stuff like blog posts, new product pages, videos, and podcasts.

You can easily make content marketing part of your ecommerce marketing plan by implementing tools and prioritizing some key actions:

  • Create a blog post schedule - Plenty of ecommerce sites have blog pages with useful content for their target audience about the products on sale. Releasing a regular blog post is a great ecommerce marketing strategy.
  • Optimize your product descriptions - While you’re writing, you should check in on the keyword status on each of your product pages. Will they generate sales from browsing online shoppers?
  • Add an FAQ page and how-to guides - Maximize the potential of your keyword-rich copy and fill your ecommerce website with content that’s both useful and viable within this marketing strategy.

4. Embrace social media marketing 

Your business’s social media accounts will likely become some of the most important marketing channels to your online store. 

This ecommerce marketing strategy can be a cost-effective way to extend your reach and drive traffic to your website. So how does it work?

It’s important at first to select social media platforms that are appropriate for your brand.

As an ecommerce business selling products, remember that you’ll need at least one highly visual platform on your social media roster, like Instagram or Pinterest..  

Once you have platforms set up, you can implement social media management tools to help analyze your account’s engagement and conversions. Then it’s time to start posting:

  • Maintain a schedule for your social media posts and be consistent. In order to gain an active following, your ecommerce business needs to be present.
  • Create an aesthetic for your grid, feed, or page. This is a great way to showcase your ecommerce brand and get a standout social presence.
  • Use Linkin.bio as part of your ecommerce marketing strategy to drive potential customers to product pages from your social media accounts.


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

5. Set up an Instagram shop

Social media platforms make it easy to experiment with dozens of different ecommerce marketing tactics in one go – shoppable posts are a great example.

As a successful ecommerce store, you should already have Instagram as a key marketing channel. It’s highly visual, it has global reach, and it’s where many social media trends start.

You can also use Instagram as an intuitive online shopping tool.

Upload your store’s product catalog to your business account, and see how many potential customers you can reel in with this ecommerce marketing strategy:

  • Use tap to shop which allows users to tap once on your grid posts to see the names and prices of products. They can then tap on the tag to visit your website.
  • Have fun with the swipe up you’ll have access to for your stories, even without 10,000 followers – don’t forget to add shoppable tags.
  • Get featured on the explore page among other ecommerce businesses to boost your brand’s visibility and lead generation potential.
  • Don’t forget your content needs to be optimized as part of your ecommerce marketing approach: consider photo quality and product descriptions.

6. Set up a Facebook shop

Similar to Instagram, the world’s most popular social media platform also has a shop option for business page users. Why not maximize your ecommerce marketing opportunities?

This is more than Facebook Marketplace, the one-stop destination for preloved goods from around your neighborhood. Instead, a Facebook shop is much more slick.

Maxing out the number of selling platforms your business has is a cool ecommerce marketing strategy, as long as every touchpoint looks the part.

On social media, you’ll be competing with other ecommerce brands as well as trying to fit your products into the platform’s confines. 

Luckily on Facebook, you’ll get a headstart – your shop is customizable so you can create a layout that embodies your brand. After that, it’s time to make the most of this resource:

  • Use the Commerce Manager tool to uncover insights like traffic volume and location, shopping behaviors, and number of impressions. 
  • Mobile-optimize your shop with crisp, clear photos and slick product descriptions so that users can browse on the go.
  • Curate product launches to boost the discovery potential of your Facebook shop, and help people stumble across it more easily.

Reposting on Instagram

(Image credit: Shutterstock/@metamorworks)

7. Repost user-generated content

Here’s an ecommerce marketing strategy that you might not even know is an ecommerce marketing strategy until you get your head in the game.

Check out some of your favorite ecommerce brands and you’re sure to come across examples of user-generated content on their social media profiles.

This is where a brand reposts a photo, video, or review that shows a happy customer’s real life experience with a product they have purchased and are using.

For example, a glasses store might repost a selfie that one of their customers took wearing their new specs – and for good reason.

User-generated content like this highlights the loyal customer and promotes credibility.

You see the post and probably think that this brand is legitimate: there’s an actual human who has successfully bought the brand’s products. So how do you replicate that?

  • Encourage customers to tag you in their photos for a chance to be featured on your page. Try adding a friendly comment on your packaging or receipt to suggest it.
  • Create a hashtag that is easy for your customers to remember and repeat, in order for you to find them and tag them.
  • Schedule a weekly carousel of your users’ content to make customers feel an active part of your marketing campaigns. 

8. Supercharge your email marketing

This is a digital marketing method that has well and truly stood the test of time. Email is one of your brand’s core marketing channels, so you need to use it wisely. 

One of the best aspects of running email marketing campaigns nowadays is that they can be automated and tracked with sophisticated email marketing software to help you optimize your results.

This includes doing things like segmenting your mailing list to generate drip campaigns. Essentially, automating emails is great for testing and perfecting  marketing strategies.

That said, if you really want to win with your email campaigns, it’s vital to produce engaging, interesting content that will drive ecommerce sales.

After all, even though people sign up to your mailing list, they still need to open the email.

So, for starters, you can optimize this ecommerce marketing channel with a newsletter that will engage your subscribers – here’s how:

  • Formulate winning headlines - Use emojis, flash some discount values, think of your brand voice, and make it irresistible to open your emails. 
  • Use calls to action - Email marketing is about enticing people to shop in your store, so make it super easy for them to do so.
  • Write something interesting - Give people something to scroll through and remember, like a behind the scenes story. 


(Image credit: Shutterstock)

9. Reduce abandoned carts

Digital marketing is important at every stage of the user journey, not just right at the beginning. Sometimes, you have to try to pull back a lead as they’re slipping away.

Cart abandonment is a well-known sore point for ecommerce businesses. Right before they hit ‘purchase’ on a basket full of products, a potential customer leaves the store.

That’s why sending abandoned cart emails is one of the best marketing strategies out there for ecommerce stores. It acts to resolve any doubts and push through a transaction.

Abandoned cart emails also help you as the business owner to understand potential pitfalls.

Perhaps your shipping options are too limited, or the user doesn’t think your site looks secure. Either way, here’s how to put this ecommerce marketing tactic into action:

  • Use a direct, friendly headline to grab the user’s attention so that they feel compelled to open the email.
  • Show a photo of what they left behind in their cart, and highlight the best features of those products as a reminder.
  • Sweeten the deal with a discount if you have the budget to do so – this is a feature that you could A/B test with automation.

10. Utilize wish lists

Ecommerce businesses have plenty of perks, but often they lack some of the cool things that physical, local businesses get to enjoy like a shop window that passers by can stare into.

The good old-fashioned shop window is the ultimate in traditional marketing techniques. People see your beautifully-styled wares, they’ll stare at them longingly, and eventually buy them.

Luckily, there’s a way to replicate that on ecommerce websites – enter the wish list.

Much like a lot of your content marketing output, your store’s wish list feature will live as a page on your website.

On each product page, shoppers can add each product  to a wish list by clicking on a heart icon if they’re not yet ready to purchase. Their coveted items will be saved for future use.

So how does this relate to ecommerce marketing? Here’s how:

  • You can make them shareable - Empower users to share their wish lists with family and friends for upcoming events. They’re then directing other people to your store with purchase intention. 
  • You can send email reminders - A great ecommerce marketing tip is to contact wish list users periodically to nudge them to buy, or to let them know that products are low on stock or recently discounted. 

11. Create a rewards scheme

You know by now that digital marketing doesn’t begin and end with lead generation. In fact, the work goes on long after customer conversion.

An ecommerce marketing tactic you shouldn’t overlook is introducing a loyalty program. 

Retention rate is going to be important to you as an online store owner, and ensuring that your shop has a steady flow of repeat purchases is just as vital as finding new customers.

Plus, customer loyalty is an incredible source of marketing for ecommerce stores. Think of all the people your most loyal customers can share your business with.

Here are some ideas for capitalizing on happy customers with a loyalty program:

  • Create an incentive - People won’t just want to accumulate points for no reason. Offer a gift or discount code after the customer has made a certain number of purchases.
  • Give exclusive access - Allow those on the loyalty list to preview new collections or attend special events that make them feel a part of an exclusive group.
  • Send monthly emails - Monthly emails can be sent out to update customers on their loyalty account balance, suggesting what they could purchase as this helps keep them engaged

12. Upsell and cross-sell

Ever been asked if you want fries with your burger? And then asked if you want to upgrade from a medium to a large for only an extra $1? That’s cross-selling and upselling.

These sales techniques certainly aren’t exclusive to fast food restaurants – you’ll find them in plenty of ecommerce businesses, too. 

Upselling and cross-selling are useful marketing strategies as they help to promote additional products in the moment, as well as showing your business’s capabilities.

You can use sales enablement software to figure out how to upsell and cross-sell your products, but here are the key considerations for making this an effective marketing strategy:

Be relevant - Cross-selling socks with a crate of beer is kind of weird, and less likely to generate the boost you need to either product than if you were to pair your crate of beer with a bag of chips, for example.

Show value - Always remember the target audience in the scenario and make sure that you’re presenting a valuable deal. Can they save money with an upsell? Will they get more with a cross-sell?

Influencer Taking a Selfie

(Image credit: Mateus Campos Felipe / Unsplash)

13. Work with influencers

Let’s go back to one of the most lucrative ecommerce marketing channels right now: your social media account. Which influencers is your brand following?

Embracing influencer marketing is totally accessible to smaller businesses as much as larger ones, and the premise is pretty simple.

In short, your brand approaches an influencer – someone on a platform like Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube, who has a large, loyal, and engaged audience.

You then pay them to promote your products through reviews or by wearing and using them.

Working with influencers is arguably a more credible way to utilize paid marketing as this is a human personality with the trust and confidence of their followers. Just remember:

  • Choose an influencer who fits your brand - It pays to be discerning about the type of person you want to be an ambassador for your ecommerce store, even though you’re asking for their help. It will feel more natural and gain more traction.
  • Promote in an organic way - Of course, your influencer is being paid to feature your product, but have a marketing plan in place to ensure they are natural and subtle (but not deceitful) in how they advertise. 

14. Use affiliate marketing

If you’re a regular user of platforms like Instagram, you might have noticed that some of your favorite influencers use affiliate links in their content. 

Marketing with affiliate links is a different approach to influencer marketing, however.

In this case, you pay commission to a third-party person or website which has referred traffic to your store, but only when a transaction has taken place.

Affiliate marketing is an extremely measurable ecommerce marketing strategy, as you’re tracking clicks, traffic, and the success rate of your affiliate partners.

Much like the use of influencers, affiliate marketing plays to the (hopefully genuine) idea that your brand is trustworthy, credible, and desirable.

Here’s a couple of formats that your store might use for this ecommerce marketing move:

  • Blog posts - This reliable content marketing strategy sees a third-party website review your product in writing, season the post with affiliate links, and then share it with their readers. The idea is that those readers find their way to your online store.
  • Social media channels - As mentioned, you might want to give influencers or affiliates a promo code or bespoke link that they can share with their followers on their own platforms. They’ll then earn commission on each sale.

15. Look to local marketing

A less well-used ecommerce marketing strategy, local marketing requires you to zoom in on specific neighborhoods or regions where you have a wide potential customer base.

This is a great tactic for stores with a brick and mortar presence and a reliance on foot traffic.

If you want to become known in your local area beyond traditional marketing, or you’re ready to win over the hearts and wallets of your community with tailored deals, there’s a lot you can do.

For starters, work out the area that you want to be targeting. Are you looking near to a store, or perhaps close to your warehouse or office? 

Then, start pulling the levers to offer an enhanced service to local users – you should:

  • Revisit your keywords - Optimize your product descriptions and other pages with keywords that are relevant to your local area. 
  • Make your site mobile friendly - This ensures that your business shows up in local searches, so that people know and get excited about the fact you’re nearby.

16. Share and monitor reviews

Ecommerce marketers can’t control what customers say about your business in reviews – or at least, they shouldn’t – but this is a key part of your marketing mix.

Using reviews as an ecommerce marketing tool has a ton of benefits. You’re embracing great referral marketing opportunities, and boosting the credibility of your store.

You’re adding a sense of impartiality to your ecommerce platform, which is going to be important as new leads try to gain a sense of trust for your business. 

Plus, by facing reviews head-on, you’re holding your brand accountable. Nobody wants to see an embarrassing, unresolved review of their own business on the internet.

So how do you make reviews into an ecommerce marketing essential?

  • Ask customers to review products after they have made a purchase. Send a reminder email with a simple call to action that makes it easy for them to leave a star rating and a few words. 
  • Include reviews on product pages so that potential customers can see the largely unfiltered opinions of people who have no loyalties to your store. Brutal, but useful.
  • Share positive reviews on other digital channels like your email newsletters, or Instagram grid posts.


(Image credit: Shutterstock / PureSolution)

17. Perfect your website layout

Alongside every other ecommerce marketing technique, you should make sure that your ecommerce website is looking as good as it possibly can.

A clear, aspirational layout with cool features or witty copy will go a long way towards making a lasting impression with future customers.

Make sure to consistently check on your website to keep it fresh, innovative, and a strong part of your ecommerce marketing toolkit. Remember to:

  • Optimize your product descriptions
  • Focus on fast page load speeds
  • Use high-quality images with a zoom function
  • Implement cool features
  • Integrate social channels
  • Make the user journey easy and intuitive
Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.