How eCommerce Improves Your Book Marketing Plan, Part 2

How eCommerce Improves Your Book Marketing Plan, Part 2

Kristin Eastman, M.S.

A few weeks ago, we posted part one of this two-part series on the buyer’s funnel and the three major pillars of eCommerce—product pages, shopping cart, and checkout.

That first post focused primarily on how to improve your marketing using product pages, or for our purposes, what we called “book pages”. In this article we’ll conquer the last two pillars of the eCommerce tripod: shopping cart and checkout.

Understand Your Shopping Cart Data

The shopping cart is the brain center of your eCommerce system. While the consumer may only see which books they have added to the cart, there are a ton of things happening in the background like:

  • Identifying each book with a custom key/code
  • Identifying similar books the consumer may be interested in
  • Shipping costs and logistics
  • Tax calculations

As you can see, the cart does a lot of work for you. It also captures some useful consumer data you can use to support your marketing strategy. These data points can be separated into three categories:

  • Books Added
  • Wishlist Items
  • Abandoned Cart Items

Books Added

The books your customers add to their shopping cart tell a story of their own—about your customers and their preferences.

If you sell a variety of genres, books added can tell you which genres are most popular. You may notice trends in the types of book fans your marketing attracts—some types may be expected while others may surprise you.

Use this data to polish your messaging and inform your strategy, such as:

  • Creating a book marketing campaign around a popular title that you haven’t focused on, to give it an added boost in impressions.
  • Making your own Top 10 lists based on books added. You can also share this list in your email marketingcampaigns or Newsletter.
  • Analyzing if the books you've targeted are not being added to carts, and adjusting your marketing. You can do this by tweaking your target audience, choosing a different channel, or simply putting a little more effort behind the campaign.

Wishlist Items

Now that we’ve covered the books they have added, let’s take a look at the books they plan to add, but just aren’t ready to pull the trigger on purchasing.

Most consumers create wishlists for various reasons. Maybe they are getting ready for an upcoming baby shower or discovered a new topic they want to learn about and are a bit overwhelmed with your amazing selection.

This very informative shopping cart element has a good bit to say about your potential customer base. But what if books are continusly added to wishlists and never purchased? Some things to consider include:

  • Looking at other books in your inventory. Are there similar titles that do get purchased? If so, do a quick comparison. Look at book covers, descriptions, and prices. This can uncover areas of the wishlisted book that may need improvement.
  • Offering a more extensive preview of the book. The book description may not provide enough detail. Previews offer the consumer a deeper dive; just enough to get them invested in the content.

Abandoned Cart Items

Oh you poor, poor abandoned books. Don’t get down on yourselves. We’ll find you a home soon enough.

Often consumers add products (in our case, books) to their shopping carts, but never purchase them. Cart abandonment is an ecommerce tragedy, but you can turn things around.

Take a similar approach to these books as you would with those on a wishlist. The interest is there, they just need a little extra nudge. We suggest using the same tactics you would apply to moving a wishlsted book along to checkout:

  • Compare inventory and make adjustments
  • Offer a bigger carrot— like a first chapter preview or free sample

So, your marketing brought the customers to the website. Your selection has them clicking. Why are they not buying? Could it be your checkout process?

Understanding Your Checkout

So books are added to the shopping cart - now let's make that transaction.

**Screeching tire sound**

Often one of the biggest contributors to increasing cart abandonment rates is a lengthy and confusing checkout process. Lucky for you, there’s data and touch points you can focus on to fix that.

  1. Convenience

A consumer that has added books to their cart and is ready to purchase wants to do it right then. These common checkout pains can put the brakes on any purchase.

  • No guest checkout—Not every visitor wants to take the time to create an account.
  • Missing payment options—Make sure you accept a wide range of credit cards. Also, some people don’t like entering credit card info online. PayPal is a great option for them.
  • Long checkout process—Make the checkout process as short and easy as possible. Lengthy and confusing checkouts lead to frustration and abandonment.
  1. Security

Convenience isn’t the only reason a consumer could leave the cart and checkout. Trust plays a big role.

A secure checkout stamp or label eases worries about consumer data. But keep in mind, you can only put the label there if your website and cart are secure - look into SSL Certificates.

Having different payment options helps out here as well. Everyone has a different level of online trust with their preferred financial institution. Options like PayPal give consumers a little more peace of mind when shopping on an unfamiliar website.

In general, assuring consumers their information will be safe is a smart practice.

We covered the touch points, now let’s look at checkout data that can be used to help your marketing.

Checkout Sales Data

After checkout is complete, you will have a direct connection to your readers/consumers, via a treasure trove of sales data. Upon purchase you learn:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email address
  • Books purchased
  • Format of books purchased
  • Time books were purchased
  • Payment option used

Use this information in your book marketing plans and use it wisely.

From the top of the funnel down, you now have the tools you need to delight consumers with engaging marketing and ensure they get the books they want with the highest levels of ease.

You are this much closer to securing repeat buyers and eventually, brand advocates and loyalists.