15 ecommerce customer acquisition strategies to succeed in 2021

by | Apr 15, 2021

ah. ecommerce customer acquisition. it’s the lifeblood that runs through the veins of your business. yep. it’s that essential. 

it can be a slippery thing to grasp. but capture it you must. 

and there’s a catch: understanding how to master this part of your business can be tricky. that’s why we rounded up 15 ecommerce customer acquisition strategies to help your business succeed in 2021.

things to consider for customer acquisition

customer acquisition is the process and methods your business uses to capture new customers. 

there are many different branches to the customer acquisition tree – especially when it comes to ecommerce. here are the six stages of the customer acquisition process:

  1. awareness
  2. interest
  3. consideration
  4. evaluation
  5. decision
  6. purchase

each step might require a different combination of strategies to reach the final stage of ecommerce customer acquisition: purchase.

customer acquisition strategies that work in 2021

really✨ know your audience

how well do you really know your audience?

it turns out that we don’t always know and understand the audience as well as we should. don’t make assumptions about your target audience. get to know them. understand what makes them tick and what drives their behaviors.

getting to know your audience is the first step to long-lasting customer acquisition.

keep things fresh

keeping your content fresh goes a long way. search engines place more value on fresh content. and your audience will too. 

ever stumbled upon an article from 2018 that seems just a little outdated? your business deserves more than that.

refreshing old content doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. it can be as simple as updating your backend postdate or throwing in a few new paragraphs and republishing. and voilà. what was once old is now new again.

offer free trials

offering free trials is an easy way to inspire confidence and master customer acquisition. 

for example. you know your product/service is bomb dot com. but you’re having trouble getting leads into that bottom-funnel: the purchase decision.

this is where that free trial offer comes in. 5-day. 2-week. or even month-long. choose a trial period that fits your business and give customers the opportunity to fall in love with what you’re offering.

make your website pop

quarantine life taught us that online shopping is HUGE. like $861 billion huge. your website should stand out from the crowd to really master the customer acquisition process.

you should be updating your website every three to five years. at minimum. but an attractive website can hurt your acquisition strategy if the page speed is sluggish. don’t compromise function for style. and make sure it’s mobile-friendly.

dig into the insights

the brilliant thing about digital marketing is the insights. there are a few specific metrics you should monitor:

  • average order value
  • number of items purchased
  • number of transactions/customer lifetime
  • conversion rates on various steps
  • cart abandonment rate

use that delicious data to your advantage. don’t run campaigns blindly. keep an eye out for any trends that can help you retarget or inspire reevaluation.

focus on SEO

good SEO doesn’t happen overnight. but the payoff is oh so sweet. seo is the backbone of organic reach. it’s one of the primary organic drivers of customer acquisition. 

optimize your on-page copy and site map. maintain your presence and engagement on social media. bolster your blogs with beautiful product photography and carefully crafted alt-text.

make it interactive

websites. ads. social content. making your marketing content interactive across all platforms is a surefire way to boost customer acquisition. 

try integrating custom quizzes to collect new customer leads. use polls and sliders in your social content. create hidden gems on your website to draw customers in. try out video content. all of these interactive features will help drive customers through the end stage of the acquisition process.

partner with influencers

listen up folks: influencer marketing is here to stay. partnering with influencers helps create a more intimate bond with your customers – which can mean better quality customers for life. 

not to mention that ROI on influencer marketing is 11x more than traditional digital marketing strategies.

the good news is that the identification and selection process is becoming much more streamlined and efficient. you can find various marketplace apps (like these) that help make managing influencer content so much easier.

don’t underestimate the value of education

having trouble encouraging customers to jump from the evaluation pool to the deep end of the decision stage? sometimes a gentle nudge can come in the form of education. 

purchase hesitation is normal. especially when it comes to ecommerce. that’s because a computer (or mobile) screen lacks the touch and feel aspect of in-person shopping. yes. even if you strategically plan that photoshoot and get killer product shots.

educating your potential customers can break down the purchase barrier and create a life-long customer. and it doesn’t have to sound like one of those old-school infomercials. try doing a takeover with a local influencer to help educate your customers and answer any FAQs. you get bonus points for bundling strategies.

maximize your ads

the key to maximizing your ad ROI is with a well-planned (and well-executed) strategy. that starts by understanding the difference between advertising platforms.

social media ads are relatively cheap to run. conversion rates average between 0.7% and 0.9%. 

then there’s Google ads. you might pay a little bit more upfront – but the conversion rates can be worth it. average Google ad conversion rates hover right around 4.4%.

oh. and don’t forget about email marketing with an astounding 5.3% conversion rate.

catch ‘em with promos

you’d be hard-pressed to find customers that can resist a solid promotion. sales and discounts are a great way to incentivize customers and encourage them to finish the acquisition funnel.

sales and discounts can influence your customers to purchase based on a few psychological principles:

  • scarcity
  • social influence
  • perception of savings
  • exclusivity

this is a three-step strategy: set the promo. build hype. let the incredible product images speak for themselves.

monitor acquisition costs

marketing can get expensive – if you don’t manage the budget. one way to keep track of total acquisition costs is by monitoring your customer acquisition cost (CAC). 

monitor which spends are value-added and which you should probably let go of. customer acquisition is only important if your business remains profitable.

personalize the experience

canned responses and templates can save you time but they might cost you money in the end. modern customers have come to expect a personalized ecommerce shopping experience. 

use search behavior data and complementary products to pique interest in related products that they might be interested in. the data shows that suggested products generate almost 68% of all ecommerce sales.

A/B testing is your BFF

can’t seem to find that magic combo to lead customers through the end of the acquisition funnel? it’s time to make A/B testing your BFF. here are a few examples of what you can tweak for your testing:

  • product copy
  • landing page
  • email campaign copy
  • video vs. infographic. vs. gallery vs. static
  • layout

A/B testing provides insight into which marketing campaigns deliver the highest ROI on customer acquisition. these tests help you work smarter –  not harder.

improve your customer acquisition with high-quality product photography

customer acquisition is one of the most essential parts of your job. take a few of these strategies and learn to master them. but keep in mind our favorite secret weapon: unforgettable product photos. nothing boosts customer acquisition like stand-out product pages with gleaming product photography.

if you’re looking to ramp up your content game but still feel unsure where to start – check out these resources:

feel smarter already?

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