[Customer acquisition channels for e-commerce] 8 ways to boost visibility and attract clients

The Internet is a wonderful thing because it gives us plenty of selling options.

However, unless your company is a giant enterprise with a loaded budget, you simply can’t reach every corner in the world.

And that’s why it’s so important to choose the right customer acquisition channels for your e‑commerce, as this decision has a direct impact on your sales and overall profitability.

In that vein, today we’re going to tell you:

  • What a customer acquisition channel is.
  • The 8 best acquisition channels for e‑commerce.
  • Tips to be more efficient in each of them.

Off we go! 😉

👉 What are customer acquisition channels?

The concepts “acquisition” and “recruitment” are not the same, although they can be viewed as synonyms in this case.

When we talk about recruitment in the world of e‑commerce, we’re typically referring to the different ways to attract traffic to our website (no matter if they become clients in the end or not).

For example:

  • SEO.
  • Advertising, in its broad sense (Google, FacebookYouTubeInstagram, etc.).
  • Networking strategies (such as writing guest posts).

On the other hand, acquisition normally refers to the channel or path from which you find and close new clients.

Examples of these include:

  • Sales-directed ads.
  • SEO with transactional keywords (tackling product and category names).
  • Etc.

As you can see, they’re similar (but not equal) concepts.

Don’t worry if the difference still isn’t crystal clear – the important thing at this point is for you to learn how to attract more visitors to your shop… and turn them into customers.

And that’s what we’re about to explain to you.

👉 8 e‑commerce acquisition channels to increase your sales

Now we’re going to show you 8 prominent channels you can use to find new customers and boost your sales.

✅ 1. SEO (and transactional keywords)

SEO helps you improve your positioning on search engines and attract qualified traffic to your store.

But, as we said before, we’re not going to settle for just attracting traffic, right? We want to close sales.

For this, we first need to know the difference between the two main keyword types according to the user’s search intention:

  • Informational: Users look up information for learning purposes. They’re just forming an opinion and are not ready to buy.
  • Transactional: Users turn to a search engine to buy a product.

Now that you know this part, the question is obvious: what keyword type should you focus on to drive more sales?

Bingo!

The focus must be on transactional keywords.

We’ll tackle these keywords from category pages and product cards rather than from blog posts since our goal is to improve the conversion rate.

This example from Reebok will help you understand.

In this case, the transactional keyword is “women’s running shoes” (the user is looking for different models to choose from), so the best way to tackle this keyword is through a category page, as the image shows.

ecommerce customer acquisition channels

There are products within every category and each of them has their own keyword, which we’ll tackle by means of the product card.

For example, in this case we want to position for the following shoe model: “zig kinetica assassin’s creed valhalla”.

customer acquisition channels ecommerce

It’s in these types of pages where we’ll be using transactional keywords (purchase-oriented, that is).

➡️ Content marketing as an acquisition channel

If you’ve decided to create a blog as part of your inbound marketing strategy, you’ll need to write your posts in such a way that they target the informational keywords we told you about earlier.

At this point, content marketing is just a customer recruitment channel.

But if you somehow connect your posts’ topics with your product, you can link them to your cards and categories to lead users to the buy button.

✅ 2. Paid advertising

There are 2 major options in the world of Internet advertising:

For example, if we google “vegan proteins”, the ads shown in this slider at the very top are all paid ads.

customer acquisition channel on ecommerce

In both modalities (SEM and social media), ads typically lead directly to product cards, though there are other alternatives, such as links leading to squeeze pages (or recruitment pages) where a free gift may be offered (that is, a lead magnet).

Once we have a visitor’s email, we’ll be able to send them updates about the different product we offer as well as share useful information (we’ll talk about email marketing later).

✅ 3. Remarketing (don’t let potential customers fade away!)

We’ll keep it going with the ads theme, but remarketing ads are a bit different than what we’ve covered thus far.

As the name suggests, we want to re-recruit potential customers that previously showed interest in our products but left the shop empty-handed for whatever reason.

In other words, you encourage users to revisit your store reminding them of the products they were interested in by means of paid ads.

Want to learn more?

Here are a few more examples of remarketing strategies you may find useful.

✅ 4. Affiliate marketing (+ references)

Affiliate marketing allows you to sell your products through other websites or professionals (here we enter the domain of influencer marketing) typically related to your sector.

The setup is rather simple: they advertise your products and get a commission on every sale they generate.

➡️ Referral programs

In this case, it’s references we’re talking about (without commissions of any sort).

The old “recommend us to a friend” and the like. Clients are typically offered a reward in the form of discounts, points, or even free products.

✅ 5. Email marketing (useful for more than just sending discounts)

Email marketing is a very powerful tool when it comes to increasing sales.

Once potential clients give you their email address, you no longer rely on remarketing or SEO to lure them back to your store since you can also reach them by email.

Besides, this allows you to:

  • Instill more confidence: by showing successful examples or how your products work.
  • Foster loyalty among your audience: by sending them useful information.
  • Boost your brand: by explaining your values, telling your story, showcasing your staff… (there are gazillions of options).

Plus, if you add powerful tools such as autoresponders or conversion funnels, the potential of this strategy as a means to increase sales goes through the roof.

Never done email marketing and don’t know where to start?

Check out this post on optimizing your email marketing strategy.

✅ 6. Social media (your shop window)

Social networking sites aren’t just the perfect place to build a community, enhance engagement, and foster loyalty. They’re also the perfect place to display your products and generate sales.

But don’t neglect your content – that’s the key to social media marketing.

For this, we advise you to apply the 80/20 rule – 80% of your content should provide value and the remaining 20% should be sales-oriented.

✅ 7. Chat & phone calls

Customer service channels are essential to get more sales. Sometimes, customers are very interested in a product but there’s a little something stopping them from buying.

In these cases, a chat tool is the perfect way to address their doubts and answer any sales objections they may have. In most cases, this is the last push clients need to go through with a purchase.

Similarly, offering users a phone number they can call is a very useful way to close sales. Talking to potential customers instills confidence in them and proves quite effective when selling expensive products or those that require long or complex explanations (and when the purchase decision needs some reasoning).

✅ 8. Marketplaces (online shopping malls)

Marketplaces are platforms where different stores can showcase and sell their products.

Amazon and eBay are the best examples of this.

Here are some of the advantages of using marketplaces as acquisition channels:

  • They generate more traffic, so you have more chances to sell your products.
  • They facilitate technical tasks by providing you with a place to show your catalog.
  • They help you establish yourself as an authority and instill confidence in your clients.

There are also some downsides, however: you have to pay a commission for every sale, you’re likely to deal with some pricing wars with the competition, and you don’t have access to your customers’ details (since they belong to the marketplace).

If you’re interested in working with marketplaces, we recommend reading these posts first:

👉 What’s your favorite customer channel acquisition?

Seems like you can’t go wrong… right?

But now you must be wondering which of them would be best for you.

The truth is, there aren’t good or bad channels, per se. There are only more or less profitable ones.

And that’s why it’s crucial that you measure the ROI from each of them and then work to optimize your investment. Once you do that, you can try branching out to a different one.

As with all marketing-related issues, it all comes down to measuring and tweaking time and time again… rinse and repeat. 😉