You’ve created a brilliant product, launched your ecommerce business and developed a solid customer base — and now you’re looking to scale.
But with total ecommerce spending expected to exceed $7 trillion by 2025, there’s no question that the competition is heavy. And as an ecommerce business among millions, taking your brand to the next level can feel easier said than done.
For help, let’s turn to the experts. We sat down with a few of our Tech Partners to get their take on how to scale your online business using smart, sustainable growth strategies.
Follow their tips for ecommerce success and you’re bound to see exponential growth in no time.
Extend is a product protection technology that lets you give customers peace of mind when opening a new revenue stream. Using their digitally native solution, merchants can sell product protection plans at zero risk, no cost and without nearly any development work.
We spoke with Rohan Shah, Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of Extend, to get some insight on growing revenue and the post-purchase experience.
BigCommerce: How can merchants grow revenue without adding new costs?
Rohan Shah: “Merchants have to be cost-conscious given the macroenvironment we’re in today — rising competition, rising costs, supply chain issues, etc. We talk to a lot of leaders and executives who say they feel like they’re stuck on the customer acquisition treadmill, but there are ways to grow revenue and get more value out of your customer relationships without a ton of up-front cost.
“Some of today’s value-added services are frequently overlooked as growth levers, and product protection is one of them. To evaluate which services might have the greatest impact on your margins, think about how they might drive conversion, repeat purchases, customer satisfaction and lifetime value. You have to make sure you’re making the most out of every customer interaction — and that’s exactly where product protection can play a significant role. And for BigCommerce merchants, Extend is free to use and install right from the app marketplace.
“Product protection is a time-tested service that drives pure profit at no cost — and gives merchants another opportunity to continue the dialogue with their customers after the point of sale. While not everyone will buy a protection plan on every product, not being able to sell them to the customers that want them leaves money on the table and customers underserved.”
BigCommerce: What are some of the underused tactics for engaging customers post-purchase?
RS: “How do you build a relationship with a customer? Or, better yet, with anyone? It’s by having a dialogue. A strong dialogue isn’t created with a handshake, but rather with continued engagement across multiple parties.
“By looking beyond just acquisition and the point of purchase, many brands realize that the moment a customer starts to use their product is a great opportunity to start that dialogue. And what merchants often neglect is what comes next — pain points customers might experience downstream while actually using the product.
“It’s amazing what you can do for a customer relationship by solving problems for that customer downstream. This is what drives loyalty. This is what drives engagement. And frankly, this is what drives people back to your website to buy more products. Product protection is great for merchants, because it’s another opportunity to continue the dialogue with your customers, to get them back to your website. If you’re solving your customers’ pain points, they will come back.”
Trustpilot is a leading review platform that lets brands collect and showcase verified reviews from trusted customers. Using the Trustpilot plugin, BigCommerce merchants can automatically trigger service and product review invitations to customers and start building a trusted brand.
Here we spoke with Jake Wallace, Head of Global Technology Partnerships, to get their take on how reviews and feedback can increase exposure and better engage with customers.
BigCommerce: What is your number one recommendation for brands looking to improve SEO?
Jake Wallace: “Our number one recommendation to improve SEO performance is to add product reviews to product pages on your website.This is easy with Trustpilot’s TrustBox schema markup, which ensures your Trustpilot Product Reviews will be indexed directly on your product pages. Within the next 30 days, Google should start noticing the fresh content on your site and begin indexing it.
“If you’re collecting reviews from all customers, then the high frequency of keyword-rich content in your product reviews will prove to Google that you’re an authoritative website. Since Google loves fresh, relevant content like this, your product reviews can help generate Review Snippets for your products in Google search, increase your keyword reach and increase your visibility to help you stand out from your competitors.”
BigCommerce: What strategies or best practices do you recommend for getting feedback from customers?
JW: “The best way to get customer feedback is to ask! We recommend businesses integrate their review invitations into the customer experience to ensure that every single customer receives an invitation at the right time. This ensures that you get more reviews from all customers, and that your reviews are representative of the customer experience.
“By using Trustpilot’s app for BigCommerce, you can trigger a review invitation to customers at the right time to ask them for a review when they’re most engaged with your product.”
Brightpearl is a retail operating system (ROS) that helps automate back office operations so that merchants can spend their time and resources growing their business.
Using Brightpearl’s BigCommerce connector, merchants can manage high orders volumes and simplify the complexities of being a growing ecommerce business.
Sara Sousa, Director of Product Marketing, Global Partnerships, shared their take on how to increase efficiencies and profitability while reducing overhead costs.
BigCommerce: How do back-office solutions (e.g., ERPs, inventory management software, etc.) increase efficiencies and reduce operational costs?
Sara Sousa: “Typically, merchants are in the market for some sort of automated retail operating system because they’re growing and starting to experience those growing pains such as:
Increase in order volumes which puts pressure on manual processes and results in poor consumer experiences.
Issues stemming from too many manual processes, such as mispicks in the warehouse and inaccurate reporting or data.
Lack of resources to spend focusing on front office activities such store management, website improvements, customer acquisition, etc.
Merchants who are replatforming their website and are often left with a back office which is no longer supported or is a catalyst for implementing more automation.
Those who are looking to introduce more sales channels and ways of selling such as B2B or DTC, and often are using systems not built for the future changes.
“Most commonly, merchants who have ‘outgrown’ their OMS (Order Management System) or other point solutions are usually the best candidates for something like a full ERP or Retail Operating System (ROS).”
BigCommerce: How can merchants reconfigure their supply chain strategies to increase profitability?
SS: “For retailers, optimizing inventory and being able to accurately predict demand for their products is the key to striking the delicate balance of avoiding stock-outs of the most profitable items and avoiding having warehouses packed with inventory that can’t be shifted.
“Another tactic to explore is automated shipping. Automated shipping typically means that as orders are placed, pick, pack and ship workflows — including choosing the best shipping provider, sending invoices and printing labels — are triggered automatically.
“If implemented properly, automated shipping can help dramatically boost supply chain efficiency, saving valuable time and resources. Ultimately, automating shipping can help your business continue to grow and keep your customers happy.”
Klaviyo is a unified customer platform that gives merchants direct ownership of their customer data and interactions, allowing you to better understand your audience and foster long-term customer relationships at scale.
Here we sat down with Alex McPeak, Content Strategist, to discuss unique customer acquisition strategies and how to enhance your email marketing.
BigCommerce: Beyond a discount pop-up asking for email/phone number, what are some other customer acquisition strategies that brands should be implementing?
Alex McPeak: “Marketers should seek to collect as much robust, consensually given data as possible from shoppers and customers. One of the best ways to do this is through a quiz.
“Featuring a quiz on your ecommerce site can serve as your assistant to help shoppers better identify which products from your brand are best for them — in turn, this leads to a higher conversion rate.
“In addition to attracting high engagement rates, quizzes can also help you improve the customer experience down the line. Every question a shopper answers is another zero-party data point that you can use to personalize your email and SMS marketing communications.
“Of course, a quiz is only one of several ways you can activate your ethically collected data to improve customer engagement and drive more sales.”
BigCommerce: What is one piece of advice that you would give to a merchant that’s trying to improve their email marketing program?
AM: “One tip for merchants who want to improve their email marketing program is to create a VIP segment of your very best customers. The qualifiers of this VIP segment can be based on purchase frequency, LTV, AOV or total spent with your brand.
“Where this segment really comes into play is with testing new ideas and collecting feedback, all the while improving retention and growing customer loyalty.
“You can leverage this segment to get direct customer feedback and promote opportunities for them to speak to someone on your team to relay their experience with your brand and suggest ideas for expansion or improvement.
“These customers are also the biggest fans of your brand, which means they’re going to be more receptive to new marketing campaigns. For example, if you roll out a referral program or a loyalty program, you could test the reception of it with your loyal customer base to see if it’s worth rolling out on a larger scale.
“Additionally, providing exclusive experiences like these, and other perks such as early sale access, event opportunities or sneak peeks of new products will make these shoppers feel extra special and create loyal customers for life.”
Chatting with Christian Little, Director of Marketing, we got the inside scoop on how to leverage customer data for ecommerce growth.
BigCommerce: How can brands better use their data to identify growth opportunities?
Christian Little: “At PayHelm, we like to look at traffic sources and their corresponding KPIs (specifically conversion rate). If, for example, you find a website like Reddit is sending you traffic which is converting because people are talking about your products there, then it’s probably worth setting up advertising campaigns on Reddit targeting these people (advertising on Reddit is extremely cost effective, by the way).
“Conversely, using that data for ROI analysis is also a great tool. Let’s say you paid an influencer to promote you on their Twitter account. You can look at the traffic their promotion has sent to your website and see how those people are interacting with your website. Follow the flow from that particular source, and sometimes you’ll find interesting things happening on your website that might be turning people away.”
BigCommerce: How can merchants use customer data to inform sales and merchandising tactics?
CL: “A great example of using data to improve merchandising tactics is to review all of your product sales and see what else people are buying in your store. Oftentimes people will come to your website for a specific product, but then they might add other products. You need to use your data and reporting to find commonalities between products.
“This can give you some really solid cross-selling options simply by creating “deluxe bundles” or special promotions around those products. Amazon is the master of doing this — for every product you view on their website, they list dozens of ‘You may also like these’ products — because it works. There are often plugins available to automatically do this for you, and it can result in a huge lift in average order value.”
If your business has recently reached a growth plateau, don’t fret — there’s still hope for future success. But know that it likely won’t happen overnight.
To be a leader in your niche, you have to make smart decisions from the get-go — like choosing a scalable ecommerce platform — and continue innovating as your business grows.
By taking the advice of these industry experts, you’ll be able to give your business just the revamp it needs to reach the next level.
Haylee is a Content Marketing Writer at BigCommerce, where she partners with the SEO team to craft narratives and blog content. She earned a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin and afterward spent a year abroad to pursue a Master's in International Management from Trinity College Dublin. When she’s not writing, you can usually find Haylee with her nose in a book, enjoying live music or scoping out the best local coffee shops.