You’ve decided to take your business online and get your eCommerce store up and running. Great decision. Online shopping exploded during the coronavirus crisis and is likely to retain much of that momentum. To build and grow your eCommerce business, you need a marketing strategy. Choosing nopCommerce as your eCommerce platform already puts you a step ahead, since it offers a range of excellent marketing features out of the box.
Here, we will share 9 out-of-the-box features in nopCommerce that you can use to create an eCommerce marketing strategy for your store.
Choosing nopCommerce for your eCommerce store
nopCommerce works for all business sizes, from start-ups to global corporations within both B2B and B2C operations. With it, you can offer thousands of products, accept multiple currencies, and integrate with suppliers and shipping services.
Now, let’s jump into those features and how each of these features builds upon the other(s) to help you create a real strategy.
- SEO features
- Content marketing
- Product reviews
- Email marketing
- Customer rewards
- Affiliate marketing
- Website analytics
- Data-driven selling
1. SEO features
According to research by Salesforce, 87 percent of shoppers begin their product search in a digital channel. So, it’s pretty important. Many people even use their phones to search for products while they’re shopping in a brick and mortar store. SEO can help provide customers with the information they need to make that purchase. Let’s see how you can leverage some critical SEO features in nopCommerce.
Search engine friendly URLs
I don’t know about you, but I never really find URL’s like this one very helpful: https://www.example.com/products.php?id=a4217130-f5f8-4749-97f2-b02b2dc45d8a
While that product’s page may display just fine, that URL is pretty ugly. Imagine for a moment that you can share that link above with a potential customer, but, you’re not allowed to tell them anything about the link. Just
looking at it, they’d have no idea what product they should expect to see if they click it. Search engines wouldn’t have any idea either.
Compare that URL with this one from the demo store at nopCommerce.com: https://demo.nopcommerce.com/adidas-consortium-campus-80s-running-shoes
Without knowing anything about your store, it’s easy to get a pretty good idea that clicking this link will take you to a page about Adidas running shoes.
Search engines, and people, use information like URLs to get an idea of what your product page might be about. That is, by no means, how advanced search algorithms are but it is a small piece of how they figure out whether your page is relevant to a search.
With nopCommerce, for every page that you create, you can add a keyword-focused, search engine friendly page name, making it easy for customers and search engines to quickly identify what your pages are about.
If you log into the admin area of the demo store and go to any of the sample products in the catalog, you’ll find a section dedicated to SEO. nopCommerce gives you full control over the page name, allowing you to optimize URLs with the most relevant keywords.
For more information about SEO features in nopCommerce, check this SEO setup guide.
Like the search engine friendly URL, meta data offers more opportunities for you to provide detailed information about your product(s) to search engines, which in turn display this information to potential customers searching for your products.
Of these meta data fields, meta descriptions are particularly useful. When you add a meta description for your product, nopCommerce inserts it into the HTML of your product page. Search engines then use this HTML content to display the description to people searching for your product, as you can see in the following screenshot.
Google doesn’t use these descriptions to rank your site because they prefer you to write natural content written for real people, which leads us to our next feature
2. Content marketing
Since Google and other search engines favor natural content, you’ll want to take advantage of every opportunity to deliver it. With nopCommerce, you have multiple ways to develop a strong content marketing strategy. Let’s look at a few.
Product page optimization
Most customers make their final decision to buy while they’re on your product page. Knowing this, you want to make sure that you optimize every product page for conversions. Let’s look at how you pull this off in nopCommerce.
Take a look at the screenshot above and you’ll notice it has the following characteristics:
- Clear product name/title that matches the search result
- Attractive/professional images that showcase the product
- Clear pricing
- Clear call to action
- Well written product copy that matches search result
One important thing to note in this example is the product name is the same as the search engine friendly page name, tying the search result to our product page.
There’s also an additional short description which provides some more content to help customers make their buying decision.
nopCommerce doesn’t stop there though. You can also add even more valuable content by entering a full description. This is the natural content that search engines prefer to show in their search results.
“Topic Page” is a name unique to nopCommerce but they’re simply stand-alone content pages. Think of pages like your “About Us” page or your “Company Mission.” These are topic pages in nopCommerce.
These pages are where you can get creative. Here are some ideas of how to use topic pages for content rich marketing:
- Product comparisons
- Product buying guides
- Product demos
- Product landing pages
- Videos of customers using your product(s)
Videos are a great way to include fun content on your site, especially if you’re selling products that can be showcased well with video. Video marketing works just as well for things like product installation guides as it does for something as exciting as customers sharing their ride down some ski slopes.
Just embed the videos you post on YouTube into the pages of your eCommerce store and you’re providing some valuable content, especially if it's user generated, which leads into our next building block.
3. Product reviews
One of the most important types of user generated content that you can add to your site are product reviews.
According to Podium, 93 percent of consumers say that online reviews affect their purchasing decisions. Many shoppers won’t even purchase if a store doesn’t have user reviews. Another benefit of user reviews is that they offer that natural content that search engines look for, adding to your SEO strategy.
With nopCommerce, reviews are available out of the box and you have full control over approval of each review. When a review comes in, you simply log into the admin, approve the review and even add a reply.
4. Email marketing
DMA Insights reports that 99 percent of consumers check their email every day. This is why, according to Campaign Monitor, a leading email marketing provider, email delivers the highest ROI for marketers. For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI. With nopCommerce, you can tap into the power of email marketing using a handful of cool out-of-the-box features.
Newsletters are a great way to keep your customers engaged with your business. They’re also an ideal way to bring customers back to your store, especially if you can tailor the email based on a customer’s activity in your store.
Once people sign up for your newsletter, they need something interesting from you. nopCommerce gives you the ability to create and schedule email campaigns. While campaign emails are essential to your email marketing strategy, automated, or transactional emails, have a 75% higher open rate and a 152% higher click-through rate than promotional emails, so you can’t ignore these types of emails. Fortunately, nopCommerce has you covered there as well.
nopCommerce allows you to create customized transactional emails for most activity that will happen in your store that calls for an email. For example, if a customer purchases something from your store, you can send them a customized email thanking them for their purchase. To make it even better, you can personalize that email, which increases email open rates and engagement.
5. Customer rewards
Now that you’ve developed great content and you’ve set up email marketing campaigns to keep customers coming back to your store, it’s time to give them a little more incentive. Luckily, nopCommerce has a number of out-of-the-box features that allow you to reward your loyal customers.
For example, you can offer reward points for every dollar a customer spends in your store. You can even configure how many points they receive for a configurable dollar amount. These points can then be redeemed for products in your store.
You can also offer customers discounts and coupons, either for a fixed value or a percentage off of their purchase, e.g. $10 off or 20% off. Discounts can be applied to products, entire categories, order totals and more. There’s even an option to offer free shipping on orders over a certain dollar amount.
6. Affiliate marketing
If you’re not familiar with it, affiliate marketing is a relationship wherein you, the store owner, agree to pay a commission to someone for promoting and selling your products.
These people are affiliates. When you add them to your affiliate program, they receive a unique link to your store which allows them to promote your products on their own social media channels, websites, emails, etc. If somebody purchases from their promotion, you give them a percentage of that purchase as a commission. It’s a great way to turn your loyal customers into a marketing team for your eCommerce business.
nopCommerce allows you to set up an affiliate program out-of-the-box and, it’s as simple as entering a person’s information into a form. nopCommerce also makes it just as easy to track affiliate performance. When you’re in the admin UI, you can view any customers and orders that came from particular affiliate’s promotions.
7. Website analytics
Analytics will help you understand if your SEO efforts are leading to more traffic. It will help you see whether that product page optimization results in more sales for a particular product. It will also help you identify those high performing affiliates who are flooding your store with new sales.
nopCommerce integrates with Google Analytics out-of-the-box, all you have to do is enable it. When you set up your store, log into the admin and head to
Configuration -> Widgets.
On this page, you’ll see a Google Analytics widget that you can configure to add your Google Analytics tracking information.
Just about everything that happens in nopCommerce gets tracked. For example, anytime somebody searches for a product, their search term is tracked and tallied to determine popularity. Every purchase is tracked to identify hot products. You can track which products a particular customer has viewed.
nopCommerce does a great job of collecting analytics that will help you grow your store. While collecting analytics is essential, you need to be able to do something with that data.
8. Data-driven selling
All collected data in your nopCommerce store is presented to you in ways that you can act on it. Let’s walk through some ways that you can leverage your data with nopCommerce.
Dashboards are an essential part of any eCommerce solution. They’re great for getting a snapshot view of how your store is performing.
When you log into your admin, you can jump over to your dashboard, you’ll see that nopCommerce delivers this high-level view but also lets you drill down into important metrics for your store, e.g. your latest orders.
Customer activity log
One very cool analytics feature is the customer activity log. Here, nopCommerce stores the data it tracks on what your customers are doing in your store. For example, when a customer views a product or category, or places an order, this will appear in the activity log.
With this kind of data, you can see the products that customers are viewing, adding to their cart/wishlist, or even purchasing. Going back to our email marketing block, you can use this data to create email campaigns to promote related products to these customers.
Or, if you notice that a product has been added to a cart but there is no completed purchase, you can reach out to that customer and offer a reward or discount to incentivize them completing the purchase.
nopCommerce gives you full control over what types of activities you want to track.
System logs are where warnings, information and, most importantly, error messages are stored when something goes awry. They may not seem like a marketing feature, but I’m going to include them because they can alert you to any hiccups that could negatively impact your marketing strategy.
It’s never fun to put your marketing strategy on high gear and learn that it was thwarted by a broken link, or an error that prevented a customer from completing a purchase. That’s why you’ll want to keep an eye on the system logs in nopCommerce to identify any of these issues, fix them and get back to working your marketing plan.
The reports section is another place where nopCommerce gives you some great actionable data, like the following.
- Low Stock
- Bestselling products
- Products that have never been purchased
- Which countries have the most sales
- How many registered customers you have in your store
- Which customers have purchased the most (in $ and quantity)
This brings me to my final nopCommerce feature that you can use to create your marketing strategy and grow your store.
nopCommerce was designed to be customized to fit the needs of your store. You can do this in three major ways.
nopCommerce is open-source software. If you have the technical skills needed, you are free to download the source code for nopCommerce and hack it up however you feel you need to for your store.
If you want to change the look of your store, you’re free to do so. If you want to add custom functionality, do it. While you’re free to download and hack away at the source code, nopCommerce was designed to allow you to achieve those customizations, without changing the code, using Themes and Plugins.
I’m sure you can guess from the name, themes are packaged up designs that allow you to customize the appearance, and to some degree, the functionality of your store. Since nopCommerce is open source, if you have the ability, you can create your own theme and apply it to your store, enforcing your brand.
If you don’t have access to a designer/developer who can tackle theming your store, nopCommerce has a marketplace where you can download a theme.
If you find a marketing tool that isn’t in this list of out-of-the-box features, the marketplace is also a great place to find plugins that provide all kinds of extra functionality. You can even filter the marketplace to find plugins developed specifically for Marketing & Sales.
While plugins and themes are arguably not “out-of-the-box” features, I included them to showcase that customization is. nopCommerce was designed to allow you to extend it however you feel you need to grow your market and grow your eCommerce business.
Let’s wrap up
Creating a solid eCommerce marketing strategy takes time and work. We’ve walked through 9 ways that you can use the features in nopCommerce to create a real strategy to help grow your store.
Your challenge now is to put these tools to use.
Let us know what works for you and if you need help along the way.
The post was written by Bayshore Solutions, an experienced nopCommerce partner. Company delivers custom eCommerce solutions across all industries. Its certified developers build secure, scalable, and supported solutions tailored to the unique business needs utilizing the power of nopCommerce.