Recent statistics show that eCommerce spending is expected to reach 36 billion dollars in 2023. That is a massive 20% increase from 2022 and we want you to get a slice of the action.
Thriving brands are considering how best to navigate the turbulent times we face right now. To stand out in a crowded online marketplace, e-commerce brands need to challenge their own status quo and focus on being customer-centric. This requires regularly evaluating and updating their marketing strategies to ensure that they are meeting the needs and preferences of their target audience. Consumers demand authentic value and are likely to purchase from purpose-driven brands. Considering ways that make sense for your brand’s uniqueness encourages visitors to stay longer and makes them more willing to pay a premium for your product or service.
This article is not how to develop your edge but rather a quick look at 3 simple and actionable marketing tips that deal with some of today’s typical challenges for eCommerce entrepreneurs faced with the challenge of supply chain, rising shipping costs and the growing challenge of ensuring a flow of user generated content is taking place for your brand.
As you read this write down one idea from each that makes sense to improve or implement and add a date you commit to execute, this way, your time will be well spent right here! Enjoy.
Creative Thinking and Pre-Sale Articles
Post pandemic brands are seeing an easing of the complexities in supply chain issue, the latest lockdowns in China and high energy and fuel are still challenges facing manufacturers today however managing inventory and balancing cashflow efficiently is a well-known business challenge. According to a report from Retail Dive, brands lose as much as USD$1 trillion a year in revenue through simply running out of stock through lack of inventory management. After all, the worst user experience is when shopper finds a product to purchase, adds to cart and discovers it’s out of stock!
So, what can you do if you’re in this position, you’ve had a run on a popular item and you’re going to be out of stock or your new product launch is delayed?
Run a Pre-Sale promotion!
A pre-sale article is a type of content that is published before a product or service goes on sale. It’s typically used for new product launches and a great way to boost cashflow. The purpose of a pre-sale article is to generate interest and excitement in the product or service, and to encourage potential customers to make a purchase when the product or service becomes available or even pre-pay for priority delivery. Pre-sale articles can take many forms, including blog posts, social media posts, or email campaigns. They may include information about the features and benefits of the product or service, as well as details about the upcoming sale or promotion.
Pre-sale articles can be an effective way to build anticipation and drive sales when a new product or service is launched. In this economic environment, it could be that pre-selling existing inventory involves promoting an offer to determine which item or service gets high enough demand to establish what is even worth replenishing if cashflow is tight.
The deliverables for a pre-sale campaign will depend on the specific product or service being offered, as well as the marketing strategy being used to promote it. Some common deliverables for a pre-sale campaign might include:
- A clear and compelling offer: This could be a detailed product description, a list of features and benefits that has a logical explanation for the pre-sale.
- Marketing materials: This could include promotional videos, emails, social media posts, landing pages, and other materials used to promote the pre-sale.
- Incentives for early adopters (new product only): These might include discounts, bonuses or other rewards for customers who participate in the pre-sale.
- A plan for fulfilling orders: This could include details on production and shipping schedules that carefully manage customer expectations.
- A system for tracking and managing pre-sale orders: This could include a customer database, an e-commerce platform, or other tools for managing orders and customer information.
- A plan for post-sale follow-up and customer support: This could include customer service protocols, warranty or return policies, and other measures to ensure customer satisfaction after the pre-sale period.
There are many creative strategies that can be put to work with Pre-sale articles.
The Need for User-Generated Content (UGC)
Perhaps nothing speaks of credibility more than actual customer social media proof in post that tag the brand and of course, authentic customer reviews from the buyers themselves. After all, they’re reflecting their own experience of the product or service for others to see —today savvy customers seek authenticity and will refer to UGC before deciding making a buying decision or whether to support the brand’s cause. User-generated content (UGC) can be a valuable asset for online direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands for several reasons.
Brands should garner UGC at every opportunity. UGC often carries more credibility than content that is produced directly by the brand, because it is seen as being more authentic and unbiased and therefore trustworthy. This can help to build trust with potential customers and increase their confidence in the brand.
Real customer reviews are almost ten times more valuable than brand-generated content or inputs from sponsored content.
UGC can also help to drive more traffic to a brand’s website and social media channels, as it is more likely to be shared by users than branded content. Finally, UGC can provide valuable insights for the brand, as it gives them a glimpse into how their products are being used and perceived by customers in the real world.
Retailers should the most out of UGC ensuring there is a flow of recent user content being displayed as reviews across all their products and services—including negative ones. We’re always proud to get a 5 star review however it seems questionable for users when they don’t see any other reviews rated lower than five stars. Receiving low-rated reviews is also an opportunity to improve and should always be promptly attended to by responding personally as the brand. Social listening is key because leaving messages floating around with no response can also indicate the brand is not caring or responsive to customer needs.
Need a creative way to generate a marketing campaign that brings high value user-generated content?
Host a contest or challenge on social media. Here’s how it could work:
- Identify a theme or topic related to your product or brand that would be of interest to your target audience.
- Invite your followers to participate in a contest or challenge by creating and sharing content around this theme. This could be a photo, video, blog post, or other type of content.
- Offer prizes or incentives for the best submissions. This could be a free product, a gift card, or some other reward.
- Promote the contest or challenge through your social media channels and email list. Encourage your followers to participate and share their submissions with their own followers.
- Select the best submissions and feature them on your social media channels and website. This could include sharing the content, tagging the creators, and giving them credit for their work.
By hosting a contest or challenge, you can generate high-quality user-generated content that aligns with your brand and resonates with your target audience. This can help increase engagement and build buzz around your product or service.
Below are a few more ideas for generating user-generated content easily:
- Host a Q&A or AMA (Ask Me Anything) on social media: Invite your followers to ask you questions about your product, industry, or anything else, and then answer them in a live video or written post. This can help generate engagement and content that is directly relevant to your audience.
- Run a social media hashtag campaign: Choose a specific hashtag related to your brand or product, and encourage your followers to use it when sharing content related to your brand. This can help create a centralized hub of user-generated content that is easy to track and showcase.
- Offer a photo or video contest: Invite your followers to share photos or videos featuring your product or showcasing how they use it in their daily lives. This can be a fun and engaging way to generate user-generated content that is both creative and authentic.
- Encourage reviews and testimonials: Encourage your customers to leave reviews or testimonials on your website or social media channels. These can be valuable sources of user-generated content that can help build trust and credibility for your brand.
- Collaborate with influencers or micro-influencers: Partner with influencers or micro-influencers who have a large and engaged following in your target market. Encourage them to create and share content featuring your product or brand, which can help generate high-quality user-generated content and reach a wider audience.
Is Free Shipping Critical for D2C Online Stores?
Online buyers often get turned off by shipping costs. It’s a competitive marketplace online and free shipping is widely expected. There are several reasons why free shipping is a vital conversion consideration for online brands today:
- Customer expectations: Many online shoppers have come to expect free shipping as a standard feature of online shopping. In fact, a survey conducted in 2021 found that free shipping was the most important factor for 76% of online shoppers when deciding where to make a purchase.
- Competitive advantage: Offering free shipping can help an online brand stand out in a crowded market and make it more attractive to potential customers.
- Increased conversions: Offering free shipping can lead to increased conversions (i.e., more sales) because it removes one of the common objections that shoppers have when considering making a purchase (i.e., the cost of shipping).
- Customer loyalty: Offering free shipping can help to build customer loyalty by creating a better shopping experience for customers which increases the likelihood of them returning to the brand in the future to repurchase – remember, repeat buyers is when profit happens!
How are brands able to absorb free shipping with rising fuel costs and increases in delivery charges?
There are several ways that brands can absorb the cost of free shipping despite rising fuel costs and increases in delivery charges:
- Offer free shipping only on orders above a certain amount: This allows the brand to offset the cost of free shipping by requiring customers to spend a minimum amount before they are eligible for free shipping.
- Include the cost of shipping in the price of the product: This allows the brand to absorb the cost of shipping into the overall cost of the product, rather than charging it as a separate fee.
- Use less expensive shipping options: Brands can negotiate better rates with carriers or use less expensive shipping options, such as standard ground shipping rather than expedited shipping.
- Use a fulfillment partner: Brands can use a fulfillment partner, such as a third-party logistics company, to store and ship their products. This can often result in cost savings due to the economies of scale and negotiating power of the fulfillment partner.
- Increase prices: As a last resort, brands can increase their prices to cover the cost of free shipping. However, this may not be a popular option with customers depending on the circumstances and relationship and can potentially lead to a decrease in sales.
It may require a combination of these strategies and higher level agency help to craft a strategy for your particular needs.
New data shows according to Forbes after surveying 3000 customers that “half of the people surveyed reported they altogether avoid retailers that do not offer free shipping, and 77% have abandoned a purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options.”
Some buyers are willing to add more items to their cart to qualify for free shipping. We agree that it is possible that offering free shipping can increase the average order value (AOV) on a Shopify store. However, it’s important to note that free shipping is just one factor that can affect AOV. Other factors, such as the price and quality of the products, the effectiveness of the store’s marketing efforts, and the overall shopping experience, can also play a role in AOV.
In addition, it’s worth considering that offering free shipping may not always be the most effective strategy for increasing AOV. For example, if the cost of offering free shipping is too high for the store, it may not be a sustainable long-term strategy. In this case, it may be more effective to focus on other strategies for increasing AOV, such as offering bundle deals or cross-selling related products.
In conclusion, successful eCommerce stores understand that boosting sales and improving customer satisfaction requires more than just advertising. Improving the overall customer experience is a cost-effective approach that can have a lasting impact on the success of a brand. ECommerce stores can improve the customer experience through email notifications, showcasing proof of satisfied customers, and offering free shipping. By implementing these creative marketing ideas, eCommerce stores can effectively drive sales and build customer loyalty.
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