Matt Linder, writing for Internet Retailer, shares research from Forrester suggesting that “Online sales in the United States are expected to reach $523 billion in the next five years, up 56% from $335 billion in 2015.”
Let that sink in for a moment: $523 billion spent online in the U.S. alone.
This projected growth represents a huge opportunity for e-commerce sellers, but it’s also true that claiming a piece of this growing pie won’t be easy. Not only are new merchants taking advantage of the many tech tools that make e-commerce easy, data from eMarketer shows Amazon widening its already-substantial sales gap over other e-retailers.
As Phil Wahba explains in his Fortune column:
“Amazon’s e-commerce revenue rose 15.8% in the last 12 months to $82.7 billion. That is roughly the same clip as at Walmart (which reports results next week) which hit $12.5 billion. But because Amazon’s growth is from a much larger base, the chasm in dollars keeps widening.”
Success in this crowded, yet potentially profitable industry is multifactorial. You won’t win the e-commerce game by optimizing your AdWords campaigns while neglecting your product photography, or by going all-in on SEO while ignoring social media marketing.
To help ensure all your bases are covered – and that your odds of success are as high as they can be – we’ve pulled together over 70 of the web’s best e-commerce marketing resources for your review. They’re separated by category below for your convenience. Dive in and address your critical needs first, but bookmark this resource and come back as you take on new marketing projects.
- E-Commerce Sales
- E-Commerce SEO
- Content Marketing
- Organic Social Media Marketing
- Paid Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Referral Marketing
- Customer Service
- Photos and Videos
- Affiliate Marketing
- Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality
- E-Commerce Business
- State of the Merchant Report, Andrew Youderian, EcommerceFuel
Younderian’s survey of hundreds of e-commerce site owners could fit into several sections of this list, but we’ve included it here because of its data on store conversion rates and net profits. You may also, however, want to check out its list of recommended software programs or its demographic and income data on store owners.
- Infographic: How to Boost Ecommerce Revenue Through Upselling and Cross Selling, Sean Work, Crazy Egg
Getting a new customer is hard enough. Why not generate the maximum amount of revenue possible from every consumer by incorporating effective upsells and cross-sells into your e-commerce store?
- 50 Million Shoppers Prove Power of Personalized Recommendations [Infographic], Catalin Zorzini, Ecommerce Platforms
As Zorzini’s infographic notes, greater click-through rates do not necessarily mean greater revenue. What, then, drives people to buy online? As the article suggests, it can be things as simple as personal recommendations and reviews that really drive sales.
- Why a Product Recommendation Engine Will Fix Your eCommerce Game, Tara Thomas, Boomtrain
E-commerce success, in many cases, comes down to connecting the right people with the products they want to buy. Thomas offers product recommendation engines as a possible solution for making these connections – and it’s one that every e-commerce seller will want to investigate.
- How Tracking Ecommerce Metrics Makes the Holiday Season Brighter for Online Merchants, Yariv Mendelson, NanoRep
Yes, this article focuses on metrics tracking in the holiday season, but its lessons are applicable year-round. Take a look at Mendelson’s six recommended metrics that all e-commerce stores should be measuring, but don’t stop capturing and analyzing this information once the holiday season is over.
- Recommended Design Patterns and Best Practices for Your Basket/Shopping Bag, James Gurd, SmartInsights
Shopping baskets are often taken as a given by sellers who use popular e-commerce services like Shopify, Magento and BigCommerce. But the design of your shopping cart – and your checkout process in general – can have a major impact on your store’s conversions. Gurd explores important UX considerations and offers sales-driving suggestions.
- How to Write Product Descriptions To Grow Sales [Samples Below], Danielle Mead, BigCommerce
Another great entry on the subject of product descriptions, Mead’s article for BigCommerce shines in its use of samples that illustrate its recommendations. Covering examples from Onzie, Son of a Sailor, Solo Stove and more, you’ll walk away with concrete ideas for improving your e-commerce site’s product content.
- A Simple (But Complete) Guide To Ecommerce SEO, David McSweeney, AHREFs
Simple is good, right? Starting out with e-commerce SEO can be overwhelming. Should you optimize your meta descriptions? Worry first about site speed? McSweeney’s guide offers an excellent starting place for new sellers that’s packed full of follow-along-with-me suggestions. Even established sellers will pick up something new from this resource.
- Ecommerce SEO: The Definitive Guide, Brian Dean, Backlinko
Dean’s article opens with the sentence: “This is the most comprehensive guide to Ecommerce SEO online.” And while we can’t guarantee that with 100% certainty, we can say that this resource is well worth your time. Go chapter by chapter if you’re new, or pick and choose the topics you need help with if you’re more established. Your e-commerce results will thank you.
- 50 Actionable Ways to Build Links to Your eCommerce Store, Shabbir, Bootstrapping Ecommerce
Link building remains one of the foundational principles of e-commerce. But how can you get other sites to link back to your store? This Bootstrapping Ecommerce piece offers 50 suggestions – meaning there’s almost certainly one or more that’ll work for your brand.
- Why Serious eCommerce Brands Need a Content Strategy, Ross Paul, Lemonstand
Though the penetration of content marketing into other web channels has resulted in a tremendous amount of digital noise, it’s made surprisingly little headway into the world of e-commerce. Paul’s article will leave you convinced that content marketing will make a difference for your web store – and ready to start crushing it with content.
- 12 companies that do ecommerce content marketing right, James A. Martin, CIO
If you’re going to do content marketing for e-commerce, learn from the best. Martin’s slideshow-style article profiles 12 great examples – even better, they don’t all come from major brands with budgets you’ll never beat. Case studies from smaller sellers like Famous Smoke Shop and Herschel Supply prove that any brand – with any budget – can leverage this technique effectively.
- The Advanced Guide to Content Marketing for Ecommerce, William Harris, Sellbrite
Harris’s guide assumes that you’re already on board with the idea of content marketing; instead of convincing you on the “why,” he barrels forward with the “how.” Check it out for recommendations on best practices, best resources, best tools and scaling suggestions.
- Advanced Content Marketing for eCommerce Traffic and Brand Recognition, Ross Paul, Lemonstand
When you’re ready to up your e-commerce content marketing game, you’ll want to spend some time with Paul’s entry on the subject. In particular, check out the way his article goes beyond the standard “AIDA” advertising model to incorporate additional stages like customer service, brand loyalty and brand advocacy – in addition to offering concrete strategies for fulfilling each of these needs with branded content.
Organic Social Media Marketing
Few marketers are as willing to “lay it all on the line” as Matthew Barby, and here, he walks readers step by step from the acquisition of his recipe site’s first follower to an audience of 5,000+. His guide isn’t explicitly e-commerce-related, but any seller will walk away from this article with concrete suggestions and next steps.
- Social Media Ecommerce: The Complete Guide to Social Shopping, Jennifer Beese, SproutSocial
Beese’s article offers a great starting point for e-commerce sellers who are totally new to social media marketing. In various sections, she breaks down the business case for social media marketing and the different networks on which sellers can connect with followers, as well as best practices for engaging with different customer needs throughout the sales cycle.
- The SaaS Company’s Guide to Social Media Marketing, Jayson DeMers, AudienceBloom
DeMers’s entry here defies categorization (even if SaaS involves selling online, is it really e-commerce?), but it’s a worthy read no matter what you’re selling. Skim through his coverage of the benefits of social media marketing, then stay for his detailed breakdown of each platform and his suggestions for scaling your fledgling audience.
- 40 of the Best Ecommerce Brands on Instagram in 2017, Giles Thomas, RisePro
Not sure how to get started on one of the web’s fastest-growing social platforms? Start here. Thomas’s article shows you 40 great examples to inspire your own campaigns, and then breaks down what makes each company’s Instagram outreach work.
- Ecommerce and UGC: How to Appear More Human to Your Customer, Miljana Mitic, Traffic and Sales
User-generated content (UGC) represents a great opportunity for e-commerce brands to engage with their customers and leverage the results of these collaborations to create appealing social promotions. Mitic, in this article, offers several great tips for getting started with this powerful strategy.
- How Social Selling Will Dominate the Future of E-Commerce, Aaron Orendorff, Convince & Convert
Social selling can be tricky, as brands walk a fine line between coming across as too promotional and finding meaningful ways to connect with consumers who are bombarded from all sides with advertising messages. Here, Orendorff tackles this challenge with suggestions on the ways companies can make an impact – even in an era of diminishing organic reach.
- 4 Ways to Craft a CRO Friendly Product Description, Krithika Siddharth, BrainSINS
Too many e-commerce merchants treat their product descriptions as an afterthought. Siddharth, on the other hand, makes the compelling argument that these fields represent a powerful part of the CRO process.
Paid Social Media Marketing
- Understanding the role of organic vs paid social media, James Gurd, SmartInsights
Determining when and how to move between organic and paid social media marketing is a challenge for many e-commerce sellers. Yet, in an age of declining organic reach, it’s often a necessity. Gurd’s piece offers concrete advice on how to balance the two for best online results.
- [GUIDE] Paid Social Strategy: Ads, Engagement, ROI, Denise Chan, Bitly
Chan’s six-chapter guide offers a tremendous amount of information not only on how to build a paid social strategy, but also on how to ensure it pays off with a positive ROI. It’s must-read information for any e-commerce seller who’s thinking of paying for social media ads.
- The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Email Marketing, John McIntyre, ReEngager
In this lengthy guide, published on DigitalMarketer, ReEngager CEO John McIntyre breaks down the process of launching an e-commerce email marketing campaign, from the tools you’ll need and the way you’ll want to map out your campaigns, to case studies from the likes of Amazon, Bonobos and Envelopes.com. Clocking in at more than 15,000 words, you’ll want to set aside plenty of time to dig into this one.
Another meaty e-commerce email marketing resource comes from e-commerce giant Shopify. This guide is divided into 11 chapters, enabling you to pick and choose the specific topics that need your attention. Our favorite? The guide’s chapter on transactional emails that can change your e-commerce results dramatically.
- 31 Ecommerce Email Marketing Tips to 5x Your Conversion Rates, Tracey Wallace, BigCommerce
Wallace’s piece is the perfect combination of theoretical and tactical. She begins by describing 11 specific email marketing campaigns all e-commerce sellers should put in place, and then ends with 20 tips provided by experts working in the field.
- Email Marketing for Ecommerce: 12 Essential Strategies to Build Your List, Sarah Peterson, SumoMe
SumoMe’s blog is a great resource for all things digital marketing, but in this piece, SumoMe’s Content Marketing leader Sarah Peterson shares 12 specific strategies that’ll help new and existing e-commerce sellers alike to build their email lists. If the money truly is in the list, you can’t afford to miss this article.
- How to Ensure Killer Email Deliverability, Andrew Youderian, EcommerceFuel
Don’t waste your email marketing investment with messages that get sent straight to your subscribers’ spam folders. In this podcast wrap-up, Youderian offers several suggestions – from testing your domain reputation to deciding between single and double opt-in – that’ll ensure your messages make it to the right place.
- A Guide to Ecommerce Email Marketing for Small Businesses, Karolina Petraškienė, Soundset
One of the most complete resources on email marketing, covering everything from list building to writing the actual email to marketing automation. This might be the only email marketing resource you need.
- 30 e-Commerce Marketing Messages That Boost Sales, Rob Goehring, Rewardstream
From our own Rob Goehring! Email is by far your most profitable marketing channel… that’s why it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with your audience via email. In this article, Rob dives into 30 events and opportunities to email your list, including examples and data on how it can be effective.
- The Ultimate Guide to Increasing Ecommerce Conversion Rates, Peep Laja, ConversionXL
If you take a look at only one CRO e-commerce resource, make it this one (and while you’re there, think about opting-in to CXL’s “7 Step Guide to a Successful CRO Program” lead magnet for even more helpful tips). Laja is one of the web’s foremost experts on CRO, and this helpful guide breaks down every facet of a successful e-commerce CRO campaign, from your product images to your copy and more.
- My Favorite CRO Hacks for Ecommerce Sites, Neil Patel, Crazy Egg
Neil Patel is another well-known name in the digital marketing space, and in this guide, he breaks down specific CRO hacks that all e-commerce sellers should try. Hit up this article if you have a good grasp of CRO basics and are looking for actionable strategies to implement right away.
- 10 Brilliant Conversion Rate Optimization Lessons That eCommerce Giants Can Teach Us, Csaba Zajdo, Optimonk
What we like about Zajdo’s piece is the way it breaks down lessons from some of the web’s biggest e-commerce names – from Amazon to BestBuy, Walmart, Target and more – into easily-digestible recommendations that sellers of all sizes can implement. Our favorite? Check out his section on using proactive customer support to drive sales.
- How to be a heavy hitter in enterprise e-commerce CRO, Alhan Keser, WiderFunnel
Keser’s article is a bit higher-level than the pieces listed above, but it’s a great jumping-off point if you’re a larger retailer looking to dive into more technical CRO. As an example, ever wonder why your website flashes on load? Keser gives you the answer – and several possible solutions.
- How to Quickly Improve the Conversion Rate of Your Ecommerce Store without Spending a Dime, Neil Patel, The Daily Egg
Another great entry from Patel, this article breaks down the exact steps you can take to bump up your sales rates – all without costly investments in tools and testing. Patel’s suggestions are easily implemented and encompass every aspect of your e-commerce site, from its product images to its item descriptions and more.
- Increase Landing Page Conversions with Exit Intent Technology, Giles Thomas, AcquireConvert
Exit intent is a relatively new e-commerce strategy that uses technology to detect when visitors are about to leave your site and prompts an engagement offer (such as an email opt-in pop-up or a new coupon code) to encourage them to stay. Implementing tools like these can be tricky, but Thomas breaks it down – step by step – with the screenshots needed to walk you through the process successfully.
- “How to Segment Your Traffic to Increase Leads and Conversions”, Marcus Taylor, Convince & Convert
According to Taylor, “Traffic segmentation can generate an 89 percent sales uplift and 58 percent increase in average order value.” This may be more of an intermediate CRO technique, but – when implemented using Taylor’s helpful screenshot walk-throughs – it can be a powerful one for your e-commerce store’s bottom line.
- Essential Guide to Google Adwords for Ecommerce, John Komarek, Pixelter
Google’s paid advertising platform, AdWords, is notoriously tricky. Competition is tough, and earning a positive ROI is even harder. If you’re new to the platform, start here with Pixelter’s Essential Guide for the training needed to start your campaigns successfully.
- Google Adwords for eCommerce: How to Get the ROI You Want, Ty Rothstein, StoreYa
That issue with AdWords ROI we just mentioned? Yeah, it’s a big enough deal that you’ll find entire articles dedicated to the subject. Rothstein’s piece is a great resource in this realm, whether you’re brainstorming your first campaigns, or trying desperately to save one that’s costing you money.
- The e-Commerce Google Shopping Guide, Dan Pratt, AdHawk
If Google AdWords is on your radar, the question of whether or not to promote your goods on Google Shopping must be as well. In this article, Pratt shows you how to set up your account, create campaigns and structure your bids to get your e-commerce shop noticed.
Mobile marketing for e-commerce sellers comes in several different flavors, including text messaging, push notifications and location-based geo-targeting. Choosing the right approach for your shop can be complicated; this quick guide from StitchLabs will get you started.
Got 42 minutes free? Then you’ve got time to dig into some of the top mobile marketing trends e-commerce sellers need to be aware of. Released in June 2016, all of the webinar’s lessons are still relevant to sellers who want to harness the potential of mobile marketing in 2017.
- Mobile Marketing for eCommerce: You’re Doing It Wrong, Ari Messer, AgileCRM
Implementing mobile marketing for e-commerce isn’t a quick-and-easy, one-size-fits-all approach. If you’ve launched mobile campaigns but aren’t seeing the results you expected, Messer’s guide may help you determine what’s going wrong – and how to fix it.
- Why Personalized Referral Programs Work, Jai Rawat, Demandware Blog
Referral marketing programs can be the “secret sauce” of successful e-commerce campaigns; after all, it’s often easier to get a satisfied customer to recommend your product than it is to convince a cold prospect to convert. Jai Rawat, CEO of ShopSocially, breaks down what makes these programs tick in this article for Salesforce’s Demandware blog.
- 10 Referral Marketing Practices for eCommerce Startups, Edward Costa, Aum
If you’re sold on the benefits of referral marketing, Costa’s guide offers 10 quick suggestions on the types of programs you may want to deploy. Click in to learn about the difference between after-purchase referrals, influencer reviews, social media referrals and more.
Cloudio’s guide to referral marketing starts with the “why” of this strategy and then offers a fully-fledged “how” section that’ll show you exactly how to put together a successful program. Bookmark this article for reference and plan to stop back periodically as you ramp up your referral initiatives.
- 8 Ways to Encourage Ecommerce Customer Loyalty in 2017, Armando Roggio, PracticalEcommerce
Not only are loyal customers more likely to purchase from your company again in the future than cold prospects, but they’re more likely to refer others to your business as well. Here, Roggio offers eight easily-actionable strategies online sellers can take to boost customer loyalty.
- 4 Viral Strategies That Grew Billion Dollar Companies, Rob Goehring
When it comes to e-commerce marketing, you should learn from the best. In this piece from our own blog, Rob discusses the 4 elements that billion dollar unicorn startups like Airbnb, Dropbox, and Slack leveraged to drive viral referrals and take over the tech world.
Customer service may not immediately jump to mind as an e-commerce marketing strategy, but it’s a great way to earn repeat business and referrals (think Zappos, for example). In this BrainSINS guest post, you’ll learn how the big e-commerce brands leverage customer service to drive sales – and how you can as well.
- Unmask Your Inner E-Commerce Customer Service Superhero This Holiday Season, Monica Givati, NanoRep
Givati’s piece may be targeted to holiday shopping concerns, but the advice she gives applies throughout the year as well. Her recommendations on omni-channel support, response timeliness and customer self-service will prevent the kinds of bad customer experiences that’ll cause you to lose sales.
- Why the Best Measure of Customer Value is the Value You Provide to Your Customers, Mike Wittenstein, StoryMiners
We’re loving the important point this piece makes: the relationship between customers and companies isn’t measured in dollars and cents. It’s the value that each entity provides the other that drives success. Check it out for Wittenstein’s suggestions on how to measure – and increase – the value you provide to your buyers.
Photos and Videos
- Ecommerce product photography tips: a beginner’s guide, Jeff Cardello, Webflow Blog
Often it isn’t your pricing or your product description that gets a prospect to buy: it’s your product pictures. Investing in this area is critical for e-commerce success, and Jeff Cardello’s guide will help get you started with easy-to-follow tips even non-techies can follow.
- Ecommerce Product Photography: The Essential Guide, Paula Jakubik, WebRetailer
Paula Jakubik of WebRetailer offers another great tutorial that shows, shot by shot, how to compose e-commerce product images that sell. Even better, she shares low-cost suggestions – such as using a plain white backdrop and leveraging natural lighting – that mean even the newest e-commerce sellers on a budget can benefit.
- 25+ best practices for ecommerce product videos that sell and convert, Miljana Mitic, GoodVidio
Product videos may be even more effective than product images when it comes to e-commerce sales. Mitic’s article shares suggestions for planning your e-commerce video strategy, as well as tips on executing it, whether you’re a new seller or a seasoned videography pro.
- 12 Dos and Don’ts for Product Videos in Visual Commerce, Miljana Mitic, GoodVidio
Another suggested article from Miljana Mitic, this piece gives you a great overview of the best ways to incorporate video into your e-commerce site’s product descriptions. Check it out for recommendations on everything from appropriate video lengths to tips on where to position your videos within your store.
Shopify, the team who is designing one of the fastest growing e-commerce platforms, has just launched Burst, a site where e-commerce startups can find product-focussed images, useful business ideas and case studies. Check it out for a ton of great pictures that you can use to build your product catalog and beautify your store’s home page.
Fulfillment isn’t often discussed as part of an e-commerce seller’s marketing strategy, but know this: all the fancy marketing strategies in the world won’t mean a thing if your customers don’t receive the right items, on time. This beginner’s guide to fulfillment from PixelUnion covers the basic options all new e-commerce sellers need to know when they’re getting started.
- Order Fulfillment – The Ultimate Guide to Fulfilling and Shipping Ecommerce Orders, Krista Fabregas, FitSmallBusiness
Alternatively, if you want to dig a little deeper into the world of fulfillment, check out Krista Fabregas’s guide on the FitSmallBusiness website. There, you’ll find a discussion on everything from carriers and rates, to drop-shipping, to hybrid approaches to item warehousing and shipping.
- Why All Ecommerce Brands Should Be Doing Affiliate Marketing In 2016, Emil Kristensen, Sleeknote
Launching a new e-commerce brand is challenging. What if you had your own army of workers who were out there, every day, spreading the word about your company and sending qualified buyers your way? Creating your own affiliate marketing program can do just that, and Emil Kristensen’s series of interviews with Shawn Collins will show you how.
- How to Get Started With eCommerce Affiliate Marketing, Raghav Haran, Oberlo
In this recent article, Haran claims affiliate marketing is one of the only channels where you can get a 100% return on investment, every time – because there’s no upfront investment required. His step-by-step guide shows you how to build your own affiliate tracking system, find affiliates in your niche, and contact them to get them involved.
Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality
- The Growth of Artificial Intelligence in E-commerce, Jake Rheude, RedStag Fulfillment
AI might sound too futuristic to affect your business, but several artificial intelligence programs are already in use in the world of e-commerce. RedStag’s incredibly comprehensive infographic breaks these programs down by opportunity, helping you to get ahead of the technology curve.
- Artificial Intelligence for Ecommerce: Beyond Customer Segmentation Strategy, Tara Thomas, Boomtrain
Thomas’s article is about more than customer segmentation; it breaks down the e-commerce industry today and how it is and will be impacted by artificial intelligence. From product recommendations to virtual shoppers, this is a must-read for e-commerce sellers.
- How virtual reality will change the face of ecommerce, Holly Cardew, StartupSmart
Alongside AI, virtual reality is poised to change the way consumers shop for goods. Holly Cardew of StartupSmart offers several key insights into current and future technology – something all sellers will want to keep their eyes on as the field evolves.
- The Definitive Guide to Chat Bot Strategy, Lior Bachar, NanoRep
An automated robot that handles your customers’ most common questions might seem like the sci-fi of the future, but it’s increasingly becoming a reality in the form of chatbots. NanoRep’s article offers one of the most comprehensive looks so far at what this strategy is and how it’s taking shape within the world of e-commerce.
Just because you don’t maintain a brick-and-mortar store doesn’t mean you aren’t liable for harm caused by the products you sell. Not only does Pixel Union share the important steps and considerations your business should be undertaking, it also offers two compelling examples of why you need to care about e-commerce product liability.
- 8 Tips for a Better Return Policy for Your Store, Pixel Union
For many sellers, return policies are an afterthought. Too often, they’re templated text, copied from other websites – and while that might work as a starting point, adopting an inappropriate return policy can cut your profit margins and disappoint your customers. Pixel Union, in this article, gives you eight actionable tips for creating a better policy.
- List of Conferences for 2017, RedStag Fulfilliment
Looking to up your e-commerce game? Attending a conference can be a great way to speed up a focused learning process, as well as to make important networking connections that’ll help you down the line. RedStag’s list offers the most comprehensive collection of upcoming events for 2017.
- The Complete Handbook to Sales Tax, Business Tax and Amazon FBA Tax (+92 Ways to Save), Jennifer Dunn, BigCommerce
Don’t get caught by e-commerce taxes. Not only can handling your business’s taxes cost you money, it can get you in trouble with the IRS and other tax agencies. Spend some time with Dunn’s comprehensive article on the subject, and then make sure your current tax practices are up to par.