Marketing and Managing an Outdoor Sports e-Commerce Platform

Posted by Sara West on Sep 18, 2017 3:24:19 PM

Not to be a “dramatic millennial,” but before we launched a major outdoor sports e-commerce store for a client in late 2015, sales were scarce, dismal, and depressing. Almost two full years later, we’re on-track to make a 200%+ increase in sales by the end of the year. Not to mention, during the historically slowest months for sales, we managed to pull in an average of double our normal daily sales. And we did all this by transforming how we thought, marketed, and managed our client's outdoor sports e-commerce platform.

5 Key Things to Focus On

1. UPDATE EVERYTHING REGULARLY

As humans, we update things on a regular basis- from our cars to our electronic devices, and even the people in our lives. Similarly, updates are the backbone of any e-commerce website. You need to regularly update your backend operations, your software, your APIs, your warehouse, and your products. When was the last time you did a product audit of your warehouse? Or better yet, when was the last time you did an online audit of your website’s backend? From the hardware making your site run, to the outerwear your customers are buying, updates are important when managing your e-commerce platform.  Using an online inbound tool, like HubSpot, helps with keeping a schedule of updates, both for the company's social presence, and internally. In addition, it's a nice way to keep a record of what the company has done and said in the past.
 
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2. INTERACT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS

This seems like it would be a no-brainer, unfortunately, how to interact is something that a lot of people have to be taught. This includes interacting on social platforms as well as in a customer service role. Are you hiding inappropriate comments on Facebook? Are you reaching out to customer inquiries in the comments? Are you liking photos your company is tagged in on Twitter? All of these tactics are important to show consumers that there is a heartbeat behind the product and behind the e-commerce store. Interaction goes hand-in-hand with high-quality customer service. How quickly are your customer service representatives responding to request tickets? Are your customer service agents giving fully detailed responses to your customer’s questions? Are you putting the customer first? These are questions that should be in the forefront of your mind, regardless of the season.
 
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3. CREATE CONTENT THAT HELPS YOUR CUSTOMERS

Marketing 101 will teach you that “Content is King.” Ergo, content and content creation should reign supreme when managing your e-commerce store, too. This means having content creators who regularly write blogs; having a steady stream of social posts that are scheduled out (at least 10 days in advance on a calendar); and of course, keeping your content flywheel flying! However, the most important aspect of content creation is making sure you’re creating content that speaks to your audience. That means continually researching and re-researching your demographics, geo-locations, and customer personas. The better you are at connecting your content to your customers, the more interactions, the more email captures, and more success you’ll have managing your e-commerce store.
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4. GROW YOUR CONTACT DATABASE WITH OFFERS

Everybody loves a deal, and there’s no better way to increase online traffic to your website and e-commerce store, than to run a social sweepstakes. Sweepstakes are a great way to engage customers, capture emails, and get the public talking about your product (both on and offline). If it’s in your company’s budget, try a quarterly sweepstakes giving away one of the hottest items of the season, or the top selling item in your e-commerce store. In addition to hosting sweepstakes, be sure to constantly offer a variety of free content offers. Content offers are the perfect way to give your customers the information they want, while also getting something in return: their email address. This mutual relationship not only builds your customer base, but shows the customer’s that your company is reliable for information, education, and even entertainment. Woobox is a great online host that can help you transform any contest into a socially-engaging, fun, sweepstakes mega-tool. Below, is an example of five of Woobox's live sweepstakes:
 

5. SELL WITH SALES

The number one goal of any e-commerce store is to earn profit. This happens naturally, to an extent, but can always be increased by running sales and promotions, and running them often. For example, in our client’s outdoor sporting e-commerce store: every time we send out a store sale email or post about a sale on social media, sales go up- and not just for the item advertised, but overall. Regardless that your products are already selling, it doesn’t hurt to run a small sale here and there, even if it’s just to make room for new inventory (always be updating, remember?).  Notice on the Cabela's ad below, there are over a dozen things on sale- and that's just the front page of the ad insert!
 
In the last two years, we did a total of five things when managing an e-commerce platform: update, interact, create, offer, and sell. Five changes that we constantly tweaked to maximize reach, influence, and profits. We did these five things diligently, consistently, and sometimes even obsessively; and they worked! And they can work for managing your e-commerce platform, too!
 
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Topics: Blog, Tips, Development, e-Store, Marketing, e-Commerce, Management