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(SURVEY RESULTS) The Five Biggest Problems Ecommerce Businesses Face in their Marketing Right Now

We carried out a survey of ecommerce business owners to discover the biggest problems they face in 2019. These are the surprising results. Plus, you’ll learn how Marketing automation can help.

As an ecommerce business owner, you spend a tremendous amount of time and money on attracting new customers.

You need a strong & dynamic marketing strategy to bring enough people to your shop front. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of ecommerce businesses struggle. 

In our groundbreaking survey of over 200 eCommerce businesses, business owners revealed the biggest marketing hurdles they face in growing their business. Let’s find out what these were, and how Messenger marketing can help.

Challenge #1 – Store Conversion Rate is Too Low

According to our survey, 76% of ecommerce business owners struggle with low store conversion rates.

In many cases, this is likely a store optimization problem.  Cold traffic coming from external sources is always the hardest to convert, and your site needs to educate, entice and build trust all at the same time. 

Paradoxically, your site conversion can most easily be fixed by better marketing messaging and engagement. 

A strong Messenger marketing strategy can deliver a massive boost in this regard. According to stats shared by Neil Patel, 79% of business owners believe that a live chat service helps them to improve sales.

Of course, you may not have the time or resources available to dedicate to a 24/7 live chat option. In this case, automated Messenger chat can help you.

With a Messenger chatbot, you can provide instant answers to the common questions that potential customers ask. You can also provide information and shopping guides that help a potential customer along their journey.

eBay provides an ideal example of this in action. Their Shopbot acts as a personal shopping assistant for customers who want to find something specific on eBay. Customers can enter the details of a product that they want and the bot will use those details to filter through the thousands of products on the site.

Of course, the journey of discovery starts before getting to your site. A well thought out Messenger funnel can provide a near perfect mechanism for self-discovery, remove distractions and be entice the customer such that the purchasing decision is all but made by the time they visit your store.  

When compared to the average Google Shopping Ad cart conversion of 10-30%, customers who visit the site from a Messenger link purchase at over 50%.  

Challenge #2 – Not Enough People Return to the Store

Did you know that you spend five times more on attracting a new customer than you do on keeping an existing one?

Unfortunately, that’s the situation that many of our survey responders have to deal with. 70% of them say they struggle to get existing customers to return to their store. That means they’re having to spend more money marketing to new clients.

All eComm owners focus on driving traffic, but in our experience far too few invest sufficiently in the latest techniques to lure customers back for additional purchases. 

One of the great benefits of Messenger marketing, particularly with bot systems lilke Manychat, is that you can build highly targeted dynamic audiences to remarket to, and show re-engagement messages right inside their Messenger feed.  

However, 2019 has seen the emergence of the killer repeat business strategy for eCommerce. That is, the insane open rates of Messenger combined with the stickiness of eWallet loyalty. The ability to send offers and reminders direct to your customer’s mobile phone lock screen is a stand out capability, and a huge weapon in the fight to attract past purchasers back for more.  

Challenge #3 – It’s Difficult to Attract Profitable Customers

Our survey also revealed that 68% of ecommerce business owners struggle to attract profitable customers to their business. This means that customers are either purchasing low margin items, or just as likely, the wrong people are being targeted (cheap clicks, low conversion), or its costing too much to target the right people. 

A common mistake we see is leading with low cost (and therefore low $ margin) items in the hope that it’s easier to convert.  The trouble is, the best you can hope for is break-even sales, and more likely it’ll be a loss leader in the hope that you can either upsell or attract the customer back later.  Instead, try going in with a higher cost, higher $ margin product so you have more to spend and still stay profitable. If your product is something valued by your target customers, a Messenger marketing strategy is sure to convert it for you.

Poor audience targeting is often a culprit too. Every ecommerce business should have an audience avatar that represents their ideal customer. Use your purchasing data, and really dig deep using Facebook’s amazing audience insights to really get a picture of who your ideal (most profitable) customers are. 

For example, you may find that you sell more high-ticket items to people in a certain age group who live in a specific location.

You can then use this information to create better targeted Ads, and Messenger marketing funnels that resonate with the audience.

Rising costs of Ads on all platforms is certainly a common dilemma. According to our analysis, Facebook Ad inventory is more than doubled in the past 12 months, and shows no signs of dipping in the future.  The best insurance against rising traffic costs is to build relationships with you customers to stay front of mind, and enable multiple channels to reach out to them when you have offers, not just rely on paid traffic remarketing campaigns.

Challenge #4 – Low Sales Funnel Conversion

According to 64% of our respondents, low sales funnel conversion is a major issue.

Your sales funnel essentially represents the entire customer journey. It charts the course that they take with your business from the moment they first discover you, through to an eventual purchase. More advanced sales funnels also take aftercare and reengagement into account to drive repeat purchases.

The key with a good sales funnel is to find a message that resonates with your customers, ideally at the right time for them. For example, somebody who’s just entered the funnel will not respond well to a heavy-handed sales pitch. They want to learn more about your business before they commit to a purchase.

Likewise, someone who’s at the bottom of your funnel doesn’t need to hear about the benefits of your product. They already know them and just need a final push to turn them into a customer.

Traditional funnels struggle here because they tend to assume that everyone is the same.   This is where Messenger funnels really shine. With a well crafted conversation tree, customers can manage their own journey through your sales funnel, taking shortcuts to purchase if they’re already hot, or side roads if they need to explore further before making a purchase.  Perhaps best of all, when life interrupts the journey, a simple reminder is all that’s needed to get them back on track. In fact, we often see simple ‘timeout’ reminders increasing funnel conversion by as much as 30%!

While not an ecommerce example, Molly Mahoney’s “Mollybot” shows you what this looks like in practice.

It starts by introducing itself to the user and letting them know they’re talking to a Messenger bot. This creates trust from the beginning of the relationship.

Then, the bot asks questions about what the user wants to learn from Molly. Instead of launching into a sales pitch from these questions, it directs the user to relevant content.

This drives engagement and makes the user see Molly as an authority on her subject. 

All the while, the campaign is guiding the user through Molly’s sales funnel until they’re ready to buy one of her programs.

Challenge #5 – Low Email Open Rates

Email still accounts for something like 30% of eCommerce sales, and has been the go-to reengagement strategy for over a decade. In 2019, our eComm survey reveals it’s lost some of its shine.

51% of online business owners say that they struggle to get repeat sales because their email open rates are so low.  According to Constant Contact, average open rates are down to 17%, while click-throughs often languish at less than 10%.

In these cases, embracing Facebook Messenger is definitely recommended.

By contrast, Messenger is a wonderfully engaged medium. We routinely see open rates over 95%, and almost always over 85%.  When click throughs in Messenger are typically 30-50%, that makes for a compelling case for migrating more of your eComm engagement strategy to this new medium! 


This is just a selection of the marketing challenges you’ll face as an ecommerce business owner.

Beyond Points can help you to put real solutions into practice fast. We can introduce you to new marketing techniques that help you to target the right people. Plus, we can show you how to use Facebook Messenger bots to improve your returns.

Chat with us today to schedule your strategy session.