Ecommerce Research – The BigCommerce Blog Ecommerce Blog delivering news, strategy and success stories to power 2x growth for scaling brands. Fri, 15 Jun 2018 16:19:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ecommerce Research – The BigCommerce Blog 32 32 14 Technology & Electronics Brands Amping Up Online Sales Wed, 23 May 2018 13:00:04 +0000 Retail revenue from consumer electronics/technology sales in the U.S. is projected to top $350 billion in 2018. If you’re like…]]>

Retail revenue from consumer electronics/technology sales in the U.S. is projected to top $350 billion in 2018.

If you’re like most businesses in this fast-growing and highly competitive market segment, you’re looking for an edge to capture the largest possible share of this revenue.

That edge is ecommerce excellence.

If you expect to grow your business this year, you need to give customers an exceptional online shopping experience.

That’s what this post is all about.

Below, we’ve explored how the best technology and electronics ecommerce sites stand out from the crowd by delivering a world-class customer experience.

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Best Technology & Electronics Ecommerce Brands

Technology and electronics brands compete with the big players – like Apple and Dell – as well as well-known disrupters like FitBit.

Beyond the challenging competitors, there are ever-changing product innovations in this industry and the ecommerce industry itself is constantly evolving. 

The following brands selling technology and electronics have:

  • Optimized for their specific customer base
  • Proven value on their sites to give consumers a reason to buy there instead of third-party channels
  • Remained bleeding-edge in design, UX, and product offering

Here are the best of the best from digital native brands like SkullCandy and NatoMounts to traditional brands like Kodak and Motorola.

  1. Skullcandy.
  2. Sharp.
  3. Kodak Phones.
  4. Precision Camera.
  5. Motorola.
  6. UPLIFT Desk.
  7. Discount Electronics.
  8. NatoMounts.
  9. FUGOO.
  10. Koi Computers.
  11. Zugu Case.
  12. Decibullz.
  13. Renogy.
  14. Signal Boosters.

Let’s dive in to see exactly how they are using their owned site to drive value, sales, and retention for the long-haul.

1. Skullcandy.

Skullcandy is a popular personal audio equipment brand. The company specializes in wireless headphones, earbuds, and speakers known for their style, quality, and ruggedness.

Skullcandy’s online store features stunning product images against beautiful landscapes, detailed product setup instructions, and stylish product videos.

The site conveys the brand’s message of pushing the boundaries of both sport and sound.

2. Sharp.

Sharp’s state-of-the-art electronic products are known worldwide for their quality, value, and design.

This Sharp ecommerce site is dedicated to the company’s line of televisions and includes a wide range of sizes and features.

Vibrant, colorful images featured on the TVs draw shoppers in and detailed product specifications give them all of the information they need to make a buying decision.

It’s a simple but effective site that drives conversions.

3. Kodak Phones.

Kodak has combined its high-end photographic capabilities with smartphone technology to create the Kodak EKTRA Smartphone.

The company’s ecommerce site is as stylish as its photography-first smartphone, featuring beautiful images of the phone and its accessories, complete product specifications, and reviews from industry experts.

It also includes stories by and about customers that feature photographs customers have taken on the Kodak EKTRA on adventures around the world.

4. Precision Camera.

Precision Camera has been in business for over 40 years and has grown to become the largest camera store in Texas selling new and used cameras, providing rentals and repairs, and offering classes to the public.

Since launching its ecommerce site on BigCommerce, Precision Camera has seen a 25% increase in conversions and 45% year over year revenue growth.

Visitors to Precision Camera’s ecommerce site can take a virtual tour of its brick-and-mortar store, use advanced search features to discover products, view detailed product information, read customer reviews, and take advantage of online promotions.

“We knew we needed an ecommerce platform that could accommodate our inventory of 6,500+ products, but we also wanted to be sure that it had the various shopping options our customers have come to expect from our brand, too,” said Sarah Hoffman, Online Sales Director at Precision Camera.

“The BigCommerce back-end makes it easy for us to manage products and incoming orders, and the customizable front-end allows us to make our website easy for customers to shop and buy items.”

Precision Camera grows online revenue by more than 31% MoM.

Learn how Texas’ largest camera retailer captures benefits from BigCommerce’s flexibility & customizations.

5. Motorola.

Motorola has long been known as a leader in mobile communications products.

The company’s Motorola Solutions ecommerce site sells adapters, batteries, remote speaker microphones, chargers, and other accessories for mobile phones.

Online shoppers can take advantage of the site’s advanced search features to sort products, view product specifications, and read product reviews.  

6. UPLIFT Desk.

UPLIFT Desk sells height adjustable desks, desk converters, ergonomic chairs, and desk accessories on its ultra-modern ecommerce site.

From the moment shoppers arrive on the site, they’re immersed in the UPLIFT Desk experience as they’re taken on a guided product tour.

Product pages display a wealth of information, including product specifications, assembly instructions, FAQs, warranty and returns information, customer reviews, related products, and product videos.

Shoppers can even use the site’s Desk Selector Tool guide to build a desk that is customized for their unique needs and workspace.

7. Discount Electronics.

Discount Electronics is an online superstore for new and used computer products.

From laptops, tablets, and monitors to printers, routers, and speakers, shoppers can browse and buy a wide variety of electronics on the company’s extensive but easy-to-navigate ecommerce site.

After migrating to BigCommerce, Discount Electronics was able to improve its customers’ shopping experience, immediately increase conversions by 10% by integrating Amazon Pay, boost year over year revenue by nearly 153%, and achieve peace of mind around PCI compliance.

“Our former platform caused some major headaches and issues around PCI compliance,” said Rick Culleton, CEO of Discount Electronics.

“With BigCommerce, we can rest assured that we’re PCI compliant 24/7/365. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate not having any compliance concerns whatsoever.”

Discount Electronics Saves $100,000, Remains PCI Compliant with BigCommerce.

Learn how Discount Electronics pivoted from focusing on technology updates and needs to excelling at marketing and letting SaaS solve for the backend.

8. NatoMounts. 

The Nato Smart Mount is a stick-on for GPS, smartphones, and tablets, and other small electronics products.

It magnetically attaches to devices, can be mounted virtually anywhere, and rotates 360 degrees.

The company’s ecommerce site is small but extremely effective, processing more than $20 million in sales since NatoMounts launched on BigCommerce over six years ago.

Integrations with mobile wallets achieved a 5% mobile conversion rate and integrating ShipStation enabled same-day shipping.

“By building these integrations with companies like PayPal and Amazon, BigCommerce provides non-household brands, like me, instant credibility,” said Brandon Chatham, founder & CEO of NatoMounts.

“We’ve tried several providers and ShipStation has been the only one able to handle our volume with the sophistication of multiple stores.”

NatoMounts goes all-in on mobile to achieve 5% mobile conversion rates

How one entrepreneur leveraged digital wallets to grow his portfolio of online stores.


FUGOO’s ecommerce site is, in a word, captivating. Using breathtaking photography, “the go anywhere speaker” is inserted in beautiful landscapes in locations around the world.

Much like FUGOO’s speakers, the company’s website has the right mix of stylish design, high-quality components, and competitive pricing.

FUGOO chose BigCommerce for its highly customizable platform, built-in SEO tools, and easy-to-master administrative tools. In just two months, FUGOO created a fully customized, experiential, and conversion-friendly online store.

“I knew how important it was to find a platform that would not only give us the flexibility we needed to quickly create a custom website on a tight budget, but that would enable us to grow over time,” said Gary Elsasser, CEO of FUGOO.

“Our site has been a source of great credibility for us, and it’s without a doubt a major driver of our success.”

Fugoo uses a brand-first approach to compete with industry giants.

A digital native brand finds a foothold globally with a low cost to entry and flexible frameworks.

10. Koi Computers.

Koi Computers sells high performance computing and technology solutions to businesses.

The company’s user-friendly ecommerce site enables B2B buyers to easily browse and configure products, dig deep into product features, view complete warranty information, and request a quote.

B2B buyers can also compare products side-by-side, which is an important feature when shopping for big-ticket items with numerous technical specifications.

11. Zugu Case.

Zugu Case sells cases for iPhones and iPads.

The company’s flagship product, the Prodigy X, durably protects iPads and includes a magnetic kickstand that adjusts to eight angles.

The company’s ecommerce site features visualization tools that enable shoppers to zoom in and scroll across products as well as view them in different colors.

Shoppers can learn more about Zugu’s cases by watching product videos and reading customer reviews.

12. Decibullz.

Decibullz are the world’s first thermo-fit custom molded earbuds/earplugs and the only ones on the market that can be remolded.

The company’s ecommerce site is geared towards a great customer experience by enabling online shoppers to view earbuds and earplugs in different colors, compare products side-by-side, get answers to frequently asked questions, read customer reviews, and see the earbuds and earplugs in action in product videos.

13. Renogy.

Renogy is a renewable energy company that provides solar products for homes, businesses, and recreational vehicles.

The company migrated its ecommerce operations to BigCommerce to make its site more modern and accessible to consumers with a greater emphasis on rich visuals, take advantage of built-in marketing and promotional tools, and gain access to customer insights and detailed analytics.

From viewing product videos, customer reviews, and product manuals to calculating energy requirements with solar calculators and requesting a custom quote, Renogy’s ecommerce site provides customers with an optimal shopping experience.

“While simultaneously redesigning our website and migrating to BigCommerce required a lot of preparation by our internal team, the transition was seamless,” said Valerie Duong, Marketing Supervisor at Renogy.

“Since launching on BigCommerce, we’ve experienced a 40% increase in conversion rate, 30% increase in revenue, and 20% increase in site traffic.”

Renogy energizes new markets with BigCommerce.

Learn how this renewable energy company sparked direct to consumer sales.

14. Signal Boosters.

Signal Boosters provides commercial signal boosting and wireless solutions for businesses, homes, and vehicles.

The company’s ecommerce site is easy to navigate and highly interactive. Visitors can watch product videos and how-to video tutorials, view photo galleries, download reports, request a site survey and floor plan analysis, and engage the company via live chat.

Signal Boosters is clearly committed to delivering great content that turns browsers into buyers.

Executive Summary

The best technology and electronics sites are poised to cash-in on this $350 million industry, giving consumers the online shopping experience they’re looking for.

Some themes shared across the 14 sites above include:

  • Clean, crisp design
  • Striking visuals
  • Comprehensive product information
  • Content marketing elements
  • Customer reviews

From decoupled performance layers to complete data orchestration and beyond, these brands choose BigCommerce for its open SaaS model providing the flexibility to achieve big, unparalleled results.

We’ve called these websites out for their superior customer experience. Does your business deliver the goods like these sites, or is it time to make a switch?

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The 19 Ecommerce Growth Challenges of 2018, Outlined by Amazon’s Annual Report Thu, 26 Apr 2018 14:47:31 +0000 On April 18th, Amazon released its Annual Report for the past fiscal year (2017). The Amazon Annual Report, which is…]]>

On April 18th, Amazon released its Annual Report for the past fiscal year (2017).

The Amazon Annual Report, which is made available to the public through the SEC, recapped the company’s remarkable year of growth.

However, it also put a spotlight on some of the challenges and obstacles Amazon will face in the year ahead.

From general Amazon growing pains to government regulation, part of the report took a hard look at some of the major issues and potential risks ahead that all ecommerce retailers need to consider (as Amazon third-party retailers or otherwise).

Let’s take a look at some of the important highlights as well as some of the specific challenges covered within this report.

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Amazon Growth Highlights

What can we take away at a high level from this report?

In a word: Growth.

Amazon Customer Base, Revenue & Shipping Data

Some of the biggest highlights of Amazon’s Annual Report were company insights shared for the very first time – like information around membership and revenue around Amazon Prime, the company’s subscription service.

  • Amazon Prime has over 100 million users.
  • Amazon Prime generated $9.7 billion in subscription revenue.
  • More than 5 billion items shipped worldwide with Amazon Prime.
  • Amazon now has 560,000 employees.

It was also revealed that Amazon Prime has more members (and a higher retention rate, at nearly 90% retention) than retail giant Costco.

Amazon Growth

Image source

But along with the good news about growth and spikes in revenue, Amazon also spent a good portion of this report talking about risks and obstacles they’ll face in the year ahead.

These issues are insightful not just for those who sell on Amazon, but for all ecommerce retailers working at scaling up their operations – as many of the difficulties discussed are relatable (albeit on different scales.)

Let’s take a look at those next.

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Amazon Risk Factors and Obstacles in 2018

The risks associated with the year ahead are fairly relatable for all retailers working in the ecommerce environment. From changes in technology to pending legislative issues, these are the top items to keep an eye on in 2018 and beyond.

1. Channel expansion and high-growth pains.

As Amazon continues to quickly scale up operations and diversify with new products, services, and verticals (like its acquisition of Whole Foods, for example), its rapid growth presents a unique set of challenges –– and places the company in a position that may be more vulnerable to risk.

The Amazon Annual Report states:

“We are rapidly and significantly expanding our global operations, including increasing our product and service offerings and scaling our infrastructure to support our retail and services businesses.

This expansion increases the complexity of our business and places significant strain on our management, personnel, operations, systems, technical performance, financial resources, and internal financial control and reporting functions.

We may not be able to manage growth effectively, which could damage our reputation, limit our growth, and negatively affect our operating results.”

This is an important insight (and a good reminder) to all ecommerce companies going through a period of rapid growth.

2. The risks of international operations.

One of Amazon’s biggest challenges in the year ahead will relate to expansion into international markets around the globe.

Data shows that as of 2017, Amazon’s global retail revenue continued to climb, as seen below (note the reporting change in Q1 of 2017).

Amazon Global Retail Revenue Growth

Image source

This is important for all ecommerce retailers with a global operation and international customers, as they will also need to consider some of the following risks:

  • Local economic/political conditions: Each international relationship is subject to the nuances of constantly changing economic and political conditions. This includes geopolitical events such as terrorism and war.
  • International regulations on ecommerce: From protective measures from governing bodies to taxes and export laws, it’s important to monitor the risks associated with international sales.
  • Business licensing across borders: Certification, licenses, or permits may be necessary for certain imports and exports. Failure to maintain these documents can result in negative business impacts.
  • Currency exchange restrictions: There many be limitations on investment of funds and/or foreign currency exchange restrictions to consider, as well as exchange rate values.
  • Language/cultural differences: When staffing is necessary around the globe, understanding language and cultural differences can be difficult to navigate and carry a certain amount of risk related to communication (or even harassment).
  • Net neutrality and access to the internet: Net neutrality and access to the internet in general could pose a major threat to the viability of ecommerce businesses that depend on internet connectivity. China and India, for example, in Amazon’s case, both regulate sales made through Amazon and its affiliates.

3. Optimization of data & fulfillment centers.

Along with Amazon’s rapid growth have come a particular set of challenges relating to the optimization of its data and fulfillment centers. This is a very relatable concern for any ecommerce retailer that’s growing quickly.

The report states:

“If we do not adequately predict customer demand or otherwise optimize and operate our fulfillment network and data centers successfully, it could result in excess or insufficient fulfillment or data center capacity, or result in increased costs, impairment charges, or both, or harm our business in other ways.”

There are a couple of things to consider here:

  • Inventory has to be optimized. If accomplished, optimized inventory will help lower shipping costs from fulfillment centers and increase margins.
  • Good terms are crucial with shipping companies. Since Amazon depends on third-party shipping companies to deliver packages bearing its name, it relies on a cost-effective agreement, reliable delivery, and good service from those providers through a contractual agreement with well-defined terms.

4. Seasonality and holiday strain.

Like most retailers, Amazon faces a massive influx of traffic and orders during the fourth quarter each year thanks to the year-end holiday shopping surge.

This rapid uptick in customer volume means preparing for things like:

  • Demand forecasting: Ensure there is enough inventory available without selling out.
  • Planning for increased shipping costs: Formulate a strategy for last-minute shoppers and express delivery.
  • Risk of site crash due to increased traffic: Add extra bandwidth for increased site traffic volume without having the site go down (which can hurt sales).
  • Extra staffing: Plan ahead for extra staffing during the holidays, including holiday pay and overtime considerations to meet customer demand.

5. Rapidly evolving business model.

The pains Amazon feels during the holidays doesn’t lessen too much throughout the rest of the year thanks in part to the company’s rapid growth.

Data shows that sales jumped from $135 billion to $178 billion between 2016 and 2017 alone.

Amazon Sales Growth

Image source

Let’s look at a few of the risks that accompany this growth trajectory.

  • Technology: The speed at which technology advances (and thus, users adapt their habits) poses a certain amount of risk for a business that can’t be flexible or agile enough to adapt to those changes quickly.
  • Stock value: As a publicly traded company, Amazon has to answer to investors while trying to maintain a rapid pace of growth. The stock value of the company is also extremely volatile and can be influenced by things like media coverage.
  • Industry trends: The way people discover, research, and buy products is always changing, so accounting for shifts and trends can be difficult and costly.

6. Government regulation.

There’s a lot up in the air right now around government regulation for companies like Amazon, but also for ecommerce retailers in general, too.

Watch for the following legislative issues to make an impact:

  • Data protection: With topics like GDPR in the news, ecommerce businesses have to think about how changes around data protection will impact their companies. This may require increased investment around data security and monitoring for risk mitigation.
  • Energy consumption: Any major changes to laws and regulations could have serious implications for everything from manufacturing to shipping and beyond.
  • Taxation: The Supreme Court is discussing ecommerce taxes right now, which could mean additional taxes for online retailers.
  • Online payment services: Changes around online payments could have major implications for ecommerce retailers –– not to mention the disruption posed by digital currencies like bitcoin and systems like blockchain.

Executive Summary

The numbers were good for Amazon this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed smooth sailing in the future.

Being aware of the risks and challenges associated with ecommerce in general and with Amazon’s unique business model allows the company to prepare as best it can. You can take a page from this playbook, too.

Amazon’s 2018 Risk Checklist for High-Growth:
  • Local economic/political conditions.
  • International regulations on ecommerce.
  • Business licensing across borders.
  • Currency exchange restrictions.
  • Language/cultural differences.
  • Net neutrality and access to the internet.
  • Optimizing inventory.
  • Good terms with shipping companies.
  • Demand forecasting.
  • Planning for increased shipping costs.
  • Risk of site crash due to increased traffic.
  • Extra staffing.
  • Technology.
  • Stock value.
  • Industry trends.
  • Data protection.
  • Energy consumption.
  • Taxation.
  • Online payment services.

Want more information about Amazon? Check out: How to Successfully Market Products on Amazon & Think Like a Buyer.

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Subscription Ecommerce Websites Saw 4,461% Revenue Boom in 5 Years: 20 Brands Reaping the Benefits Fri, 30 Mar 2018 12:41:12 +0000 Don’t even say it out loud: Heralded as the newest, greatest ecommerce strategy beginning around 2010, subscription box services like…]]>

Don’t even say it out loud:

Subscription boxes are not dead.

Heralded as the newest, greatest ecommerce strategy beginning around 2010, subscription box services like BirchBox, Trunk Club and Dollar Shave Club have not only made headlines – they’ve made billions.

In 2011, subscription brands made an estimated $57,000,000. In 2016, that revenue jumped to $2.6 billion – a 4,461% increase.

Even Amazon is in on the game (of course).

In fact, Amazon’s Subscribe and Save subscription service is the most used subscription service in the world, according to a McKinsey study.

Here’s a quick overview of the most popular services men and women subscribe to.

And while the most popular subscription sites above are focused almost exclusively on membership and subscription services, know this:

You don’t have to focus exclusively on subscriptions to make subscription ecommerce a profitable, predictable revenue driver.

In this post, we’ll look at the data available to help you determine:

  • If a subscription service will work for your target customers (i.e. do they care?)
  • The various types of subscription services (and if your business model currently fits)
  • The right subscription ecommerce model for your products and what to expect (i.e. churn!)

We’ll also look at 20 example of subscription ecommerce services across multiple verticals including:

  • Food & Beverage (the fastest growing subscription service vertical)
  • Health & Beauty
  • Fanatic (Niche segments, sports fans, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous (gifts, crickets and other off the wall boxes you can send)
  • B2B subscription ecommerce

Let’s dive in.

What is a Subscription Website?

A subscription website is a site that collects a recurring payment from customers in exchange for recurring product replenishment or on-going service.

Most popular subscription websites:

  1. Arbor Teas.
  2. NBA Thunder Shop.
  3. Atkins.
  4. New Chapter.
  5. Fresh Fronks.
  7. Sincerely Nuts.
  8. NuSocks.
  9. Fine Taste Club.
  10. Beer Cartel.
  11. Hawaii Coffee Company.
  12. Marquis Wine Club.
  13. Babeths Feast.
  14. Invader Coffee.
  15. Give Black Box.
  16. Flucker Farms.
  17. Lexli.
  18. Savor Beauty.
  19. Nutragen.
  20. Enertion Boards.

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Subscription Ecommerce By The Numbers

According to a study by McKinsey in February 2018, subscription ecommerce services are popular among young, wealthier populations.

They are more likely to be ages 25 – 44, have incomes from $50-100K, and live in urban environments in the Northeast.

Gender plays a big role here.

In total:

  • 15% of Online Shoppers Have Subscribed to An E-Commerce Service in the Past Year
  • 60% of subscribers are women…
  • But men subscribe to more boxes (3 versus an average of 2 for women)
  • 18% of male subscribers claim to be subscribed to at least 6 e-commerce services, compared to just 7% of female subscribers.
  • 58% of ecommerce service subscribers have multiple active subscriptions.

If I were a betting writer, I’d say based on the data, if you’re target market is younger than 40 and primarily in the Northeast or other larger cities – a subscription service would serve you well.

But, there’s more to consider here.

Let’s move on.

3 Types of Subscription Ecommerce

In general, there are 3 types of subscription ecommerce services:

  1. Replenishment: 32% of consumer subscribe for replenishment.
  2. Curation: 55% of consumers subscribe for curation.
  3. Access: 13% of consumers subscribe for access.

Here’s the value proposition for each.

TypeKey consumer valueDescriptionAcquisition and retention requirementsExamples
ReplenishmentSave time and money (convenience)Replenish the same or similar items, likely commodities. Examples include coffee, alcohol, teas, vitaminsConvenience most important factor for consumers. Low cost for recurring orders. Motivated by bundles and financial offers.New Chapter Nutragen Arbor Teas Fresh Fronks Hawaii Coffee Company
CurationSurprise factor based on variety. Receive a curated collection of a variety of items. Examples include food & beverage clubs, gift box clubs, beauty clubs, tee-shirt clubs. Word of mouth recommendations. Expect personalized subscriptions to become more tailored over time. Surprise and delight factor.NBA Thunder Shop NuSocks Savor Beauty Fine Taste Club Beer Cartel Give Black Boxx
AccessExclusivity.Earn membership access to exclusive items or services. Examples include specific instructor courses or access to specific education or exclusive product releases.Word of mouth recommendations Expect personalized subscriptions to become more tailored over

Curation services are the most popular, providing aspects of both the replenishment and the access models.

However, food & beverage brands are continuing to break into both the curation and the replenishment sectors.

For those in the replenishment sector, fresh weekly delivery of new food items is becoming increasingly popular.

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Subscription Ecommerce Factors for Acquisition & Retention

For subscription websites to gain new customers and continue to grow their subscription base, it is key that you nail 3 things:

  • Cost.
  • Convenience.
  • Customer experience.

This is because subscription customers subscribe to new boxes for the following reasons:

  • Wanting to try something new (25%) was the top response for curation subscriptions in the McKinsey study.
  • A financial incentive (24%) was cited most often for replenishment subscriptions.
  • A recommendation (24%) was the most-cited reason for access subscriptions.

Let’s look at each of your options here.

1. Subscription website cost.

This is important for all 3 types of subscribers:

  • Replenishment.
  • Curation.
  • Access.

According to the McKinsey report:

Many of the most popular services (including Birchbox, Dollar Shave Club, and Ipsy) charge relative low monthly fees of $10 or less.

Others, such as Blue Apron and Stitch Fix, have higher fee structures and can therefore generate higher revenues on a smaller customer base; for example, Blue Apron’s average order value was $58 and its average revenue per customer was $245 in the third quarter of 2017.

As you consider whether or not to launch a subscription ecommerce channel, think through if you can afford to low costs to $10 or less, or if you’ll need to follow a pricing structure in order to make margins work out.

Remember: the lower the subscription price, the higher the customer volume. The higher the subscription price, the lower the customer volume.

Key points to consider about subscription ecommerce price:
  • Cost of your subscription plays in to your overall average revenue per customer –– and will affect how much you can spend in order to acquire those customers.
  • Your existing margins will help to dictate your possible price points.
  • Think about reduced shipping costs using compact boxes with multiple items in predictable sizes and with predictable and relatively stable volumes.

2. Subscription website convenience.

This is most important for the following types of subscribers:

  • Replenishment.
  • Access.

A reduced hassle of choice and immediate access to needed or desired items drive adoption for these two types of subscription programs.

Key points to consider about subscription ecommerce convenience:
  • Advertise subscription options on your product page as well as on a specific landing page.
  • Explain how the process works, and what customers get. This should include price discounts for loyalty overtime in addition to the product itself.

3. Subscription personalization overtime.

All subscription box consumers stated that personalization overtime was very important for continuing to use a specific subscription website or channel.

However, it is most important for subscribers subscribing for:

  • Curation.
  • Access.

This aspect is a huge factor in continued subscription for consumers.

If consumers perceive they are not getting their desired value, which can counteracted with increased personalization, they will churn (at about 40%).

Key points to consider about subscription ecommerce personalization:
  • Use personalized email segmentation to follow up with consumers after items are delivered to understand their experience and perception of the box. Take that feedback seriously, and update all boxes moving forward to better fit the needs of the segments you are building out. Email segmentation tools like Klaviyo are important here.
  • Begin small, and do what doesn’t scale. Include personalized notes. Ask for feedback. Get specific messages in the box and convey the purpose behind each one. Give folks a clear vision of the value.

20 Examples of Ecommerce Subscription Websites

Let’s take a closer look at ecommerce sites using full subscription models or add-on subscription models to drive increased revenue.

There are 5 top categories subscription ecommerce works for. The final category is a catch-all. If you don’t fit in the top three, there is a possibility for you yet.

Top subscription ecommerce verticals:

  • Food & Beverage (the fastest growing subscription service vertical)
  • Health & Beauty
  • Fanatic (Niche segments, sports fans, etc.)
  • Miscellaneous (gifts, crickets and other off the wall boxes you can send)
  • B2B subscription ecommerce

Food & Beverage Subscription Websites

1. Fine Taste Club

A perfectly curated, surprise and delight box from Fine Taste Club. 

2. Fresh Fronks

Fresh Fronks deliveries weekly or bi-weekly fresh almond mil products to customers’ doors. 

3. Atkins

Atkins sells refillable meal kits to help their customers reach their goals. 

4. Beer Cartel

The Beer Cartel offers a variety of recurring billing and subscription packs, based on your beer drinking needs. 

This is a perfect example of curation subscription. 

5. Sincerely Nuts

Sincerely Nuts offers bulk pricing as well as recurring and subscription ordering. 

6. ArborTeas

ArborTeas offers subscription refills for certain items –– and uses an FAQ page to help answer any questions about the program. 

7. Marquis Wine Club

Monthly wine delivery –– a perfect blend of replenishment, curation and access. 

8. Hawaii Coffee Company

Personalized coffee replinishment delivery.

9. Invader Coffee

Take coffee subscription services to the level level with clearly defined benefits, savings and convenience. 

10. Babeths Feast

A great blend of replinishment, curation and access, this subscription box allows you to customize your order, your delivery and save money and time. 

Health & Beauty Subscription Websites


This is access subscription ecommerce at its finest, including a clearly defined landing page with details on exactly what the program gets you.

2. Lexli

This is a replenishment subscription program for beauty items – hitting on the convenience factor for products you like, but use often and therefore run out of often. 

3. Savor Beauty

This is a choose your own adventure subscription box, where you can opt in for replinishment or curation choices. 

4. New Chapter

New Chapter takes things one step further with a subscribe CTA and a call-out to the savings you’ll have for the subscription over the one-time purchase.

5. NutraGen

A simple replenishment subscription program. 

Fanatic Subscription Websites

1. NBA Thunder Shop

NBA Thunder is filling the closets of all their most loyal fans with a monthly tee club that is the definition of curation and access. 

2. NuSocks

A curation box for high-quality, fancy socks. 

Miscellaneous Subscription Websites

1. Give Black Boxx

Curation and access combine here for ultimate surprise and delight and value. 

2. Flucker Farms

I’ll leave you to your own conclusions on the value (and the high ratings!) for this product – but it is replenishment that keeps customers coming back.

B2B Subscription Ecommerce 

1. Enertion Boards

Make it easy for your partners to sell to your goods.

2. Vypin

B2B recurring orders for customers on-the-go. 

Ready to Launch Your Subscription Business?

Whether you want to launch a brand new subscription business or launch a subscription channel (or option) for your customers, get the PCI compliance you need and the ease of install necessary to increase revenue and save time – for both you and your customers.

Get started now.

Ecommerce Recurring Payments Tools

Functionally, in order to make subscription ecommerce work, you need a recurring payments tool.

There are plenty out on the market – but ensuring yours enable checkout on your domain (not all do) and is PCI compliant is important.

Here are 3 of the most popular tools:

Rebillia’s subscription service is a game changer for those of us who need to keep up with the likes of Amazon. Offering a subscription service to our offering has not only delighted our customers but has helped us manage our business more effectively. You wont be disappointed!

Jeff Stripp, Zogics

We needed a solution to allow our customers to conveniently re-order supplies for their gardens with as little hassle as possible, and MINIBC’s app provided an AUTOMATED solution that did that and more!

Not only are we getting the re-order functionality but we’re also getting vault which is something our customers have been asking us for a long time now. We’re always trying to stay ahead of the game, so when we went looking for a solution we were really excited to have found MINIBC. 

– Arny Pollack, Director of Operations, Hydro Empire.

What Makes a Good Ecommerce Subscription Platform?

Here’s a quick ecommerce subscription platform checklist.

A good ecommerce subscription platform will:

  • Be PCI compliant.
  • Allow you take orders easily.
  • Be optimized for conversion.
  • Not send customers to a new URL for recurring order checkout.
  • Allow for on-site recurring orders (rather than a new site where you’d lose SEO value and engagement).
  • Be customizable, for both you and your end customers to maintain that personalized experience necessary to reduce churn.

Be sure you ask all of the above questions to any solution provider you are considering working with.

Executive Summary

Remember: ecommerce subscription churn is 40% and most folks only subscribe to 2-6 boxes (women less and men more).

Be sure your box fulfills a primary subscription website needs, either offering replenishment, curation or access to consumers.


  • If you sell to folks unders 40 primarily in the Northeast, you are ripe for a subscription service.
  • If you have a loyal base with high customer lifetime loyalty and recurring orders, a subscription service makes sense, and generates convenience for your customers (and more predictable revenue for you).

Want more insights like this?

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Promotional Effectiveness Metrics & Email Capture Benchmarks Across 10 Ecommerce Industries [2018 Report] Thu, 01 Mar 2018 19:19:31 +0000 There’s a problem in ecommerce that needs to be addressed, and fast. Catch-all, batch-and-blast ‘expert’ advice that is not applicable…]]>

There’s a problem in ecommerce that needs to be addressed, and fast.

Catch-all, batch-and-blast ‘expert’ advice that is not applicable to your business.

Every store is different.

It’s about time we understand that and leverage the data we have to make meaningful changes that increase sales and benefit the different types of businesses out there.

To do that, data to help your individual brand benchmark success and make strategic decisions is crucial.

That’s why combed through hundreds of thousands of data points from our customers over Cyber 5 2017.

Why Cyber 5 data?

  • It is when the most amount of consumers are shopping online – giving us a wealth of data to sort through for almost all industries
  • It is also when brands spend an increased amount of time planning and running promotions (likely in the same way they should all year).

These 2 aspects give us a perfect storm of perfect promotional execution and potential engagement volume to understand how promotions affect conversion for 10 different industries:

  1. Arts and Entertainment
  2. Beauty
  3. Children
  4. Clothing
  5. Food and Grocery Retailers
  6. Health
  7. Home and Garden
  8. Jewelry
  9. Shopping & Marketplaces
  10. Sports

Let’s address first things first…

What is Promotional Marketing?

Promotional marketing is the use of incentivization to drive a consumer to take a certain action to increase a brand’s awareness, generate sales or create brand loyalty.

Promotional marketing messaging can include:

  • Discounts on a purchase.
  • Free products for an email signup.

Online retailers leverage promotional marketing in many ways to drive their on-site visitors to take an action that benefits their business.

How to Measure Promotional Lift:

Promotional lift is the percentage increase in sales or site traffic attributed to a promotional campaign.

Promotional lift is measured by calculating the percent change in sales or traffic between a regular (non-promotional) time frame for the business versus a the promotional time period.

For instance, if you ran a week long campaign that produced 2,168 sales, versus a regular week when you get 1,006 sales on average, your promotional lift is 115.51%.

Here is the 2-step formula:

  • Increase = New Number – Original Number
  • % increase = Increase ÷ Original Number × 100.

Now, before we dive into the actual numbers, let’s first make sure we are all on the same page about how we define the promotion lift metrics.

In this study, we looked at 3 metrics for our promotional lift calculations:

  1. Conversion rate without promotions.
  2. Engaged conversion rate with the promotion.
  3. The percent change between those two numbers.

Let’s take a look.

1. Conversion rate (CVR).

Conversion Rate (CVR) refers to the percentage of visitors to a website who resulted in a sale.

This population is segmented down to visitors who did NOT interact with a Justuno promotion and still completed a purchase.

For the Furniture industry, 0.63% of on-site visitors did NOT interact with a promotion but ultimately still resulted in a sale.

However, 2.17% of on-site visitors who did interact with a Justuno promotion resulted in a sale. That’s a 244.44% increase in conversions.

2. Engaged conversion rate (CVR).

Engaged Conversion Rate (Engaged CVR) is referring to exactly that, the percentage of on-site visitors who interacted with a Justuno promotion and completed a purchase.

3. Calculate percent change of CVR vs engaged CVR.

The % Change effectively is the difference between a normal visitor’s rate of conversion as opposed to the rate of conversion of a visitor who interacts (engages) with a Justuno promotion.

Here’s how these two stats breakdown by industry in our study.

Promotional Effectiveness & Lift Benchmarks

The goal of the study was to understand what affect offering promotions on your site has on conversion rate.

Moreover, we wanted to break that down by ecommerce industry.

After all, the conversion rate improvement (or not) for an online furniture store’s promotion versus a health and beauty store will be vastly different.

And for store owners and marketers, those differences help you weigh the benefits to running such a promotion –– or sticking with your no-discount guns.

As it turns out, every single industry we looked at saw measurable and impactful conversion rate lift from running promotions.

Here’s how that broke down.

Promotional Effectiveness Overview by Industry

Industry Conversion Rate Engaged Conversion Rate Percent Change / Lift
Arts & Entertainment 2.53% 5.95% 135.18%
Beauty 2.65% 6.60% 149.06%
Children 3.58% 15.98% 246.37%
Clothing 2.19% 7.25% 231.05%
Food & Grocery 2.05% 5.60% 173.17%
Furniture 0.63% 2.17% 244.44%
Health 0.40% 12.16% 3150%
Home & Garden 1.40% 10.02% 615.71%
Jewelry 1.04% 5.50%  428.85%
Marketing & Advertising 1.88%  7.62%  205.32%
Marketplaces  3.55%  8.62%  142.82%
Sports  1.15%  7.34%  538.26%

Click here to see a PDF version of this chart.

Email Capture Rate Benchmarks

In addition to looking at conversion rate improvements due to promotional activities across industries, we also did a deep dive on email capture rates.

This is because the size and engagement of your email list is a crucial piece of the growth puzzle in ecommerce.

  • Sure, Amazon can get you tons of sales. But you don’t get a single email address.
  • But on your own website, you can not make a sale and still get an email address.

Why is that important?

Because then you no longer have to pay to talk to that person – assuming they are engaged with your email.

And even if they aren’t, you can now begin to retarget and remarket both to that email address as well as to their friends and family through lookalike audiences on Facebook.

All in all, how many emails you can capture is important.

So, we wanted to know:

Does offering a promotion to nab an email address increase conversion rate on email capture forms?

That answer was also decidedly YES.

Here’s how that broke down.

Email Capture Overview by Industry

Industry Average Email Capture Conversion Rate
Arts & Entertainment 1.19%
Beauty 4.15%
Children 3.41%
Clothing 5.66%
Food & Grocery 2.56%
Furniture 2.74%
Health 2.99%
Home & Garden 2.16%
Jewelry 6.77%
Marketing & Advertising 4.08%
Marketplaces 2.17%
Sports 2.62%

Click here to see a PDF version of this chart.

Promotional Effectiveness & Email Capture Rates by Industry

OK. Let’s get into the meat of it.

Below, we’ll break down exact metrics and show examples across various ecommerce industries, including:

And for each vertical, we’ll look at:

  • Average conversion rate without a promotion
  • Promotional conversion rate Benchmarks
  • Email capture benchmarks

Here we go.

Related Reads

Arts and Entertainment Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.53%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 5.95%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 6.3%

The arts and entertainment ecommerce industry comprises:

  • Musics
  • Audio
  • Photography
  • Visual arts
  • Design stores.

This industry has a relatively high conversion rate already at 2.53%, without the use of promotional marketing.

However, that conversion rate increased 2X, to 5.95%, after leveraging promotional marketing on-site.

The most successful promotional strategy for retailers in this industry was a discount offering for an email address.

Site visitors converted with this promotion at 6.3%.

Email capture bars like this are also useful for avoiding pop-ups, which can be penalized by Google and hurt your SEO rankings.

These are particularly effective on mobile devices.

Beauty Industry Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.65%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 6.60%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 10.47% for Skin Care, 5.2% for Beauty & Fitness.

Conversion rates for the beauty industry increased almost 4X for retailers using promotion.

Without promotions, conversions were 2.65% on average for the industry.

With conversions, that spiked to 6.60% on average.

The Beauty Industry itself had email capture rates noted at:

  • 10.47% for Skin Care
  • 5.2% for Beauty and Fitness

Above average engagement rates at 10.47% and 5.2% indicate that on-site visitors of this niche enjoy email marketing from these retailers.

This indicates that promotional marketing with the intent of email capture performs very well. Take the promotion below, for example.

Beauty Bridge offered 20% off for an email capture.

Promotions like this see up to a 16.2% conversion rate after opt-in for the beauty industry!

Jewelry Industry Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 1.04%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 5.50%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 8.08%

The jewelry industry in ecommerce holds includes websites such as and Fossil.

The average conversion rate for jewelry brands starts out fairly below average at 1.04%.

After the use of promotional marketing, conversion rates jump to 5.50% on average – a 4.45X increase.

The jewelry industry has email capture rates at 8.08%. Offer a discount promotion for lead capture increases this almost 6X.

This promotion in particular performed at a 13.9% impression to engagement rate, capturing thousands of emails during the BF/CM rush.

A common trend noticed during the BF/CM weekend is that the benefits of promotional marketing are only amplified by increased traffic and on-site visitors.

Home and Garden Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 1.04%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 10.02%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 10.8%

The Home and Garden industry has a low base average conversion rate for non-engaged visitors at 1.40%.

However, the increase is significant post engagement with promotional marketing, jumping up to 10.02%!  

That’s an 8.6X increase.

Here’s a quick example to really drive this vision home.

Half Price Drapes ran a promotion during the BF/CM time frame and saw a 10.8% engagement to conversion rate with a two-step mobile promotion.

The above promotion collected emails at a 17.54% engagement rate during the weekend, meaning almost 1 out of 5 visitors opted into the promotion for the possibility of an immediate conversion or later email lifecycle marketing.

Leveraging increased mobile traffic (BigCommerce saw mobile orders surpass 50%) nets huge benefits for the Home and Garden industry, not only for email marketing, but for same session sales as well.

Health Industry Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: .4%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 12.16%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 6.91%

The Health Industry boasts the biggest increase in conversion rate after using promotional marketing.

This is in part due to the fact that the average conversion rate for non-engaged visitors begins low (at 0.40%).

This increases drastically to 12.16% after promotions, making promotional marketing an enormous benefit to online retailers in the Health industry.

Green Virgin Products utilizes an animated exit intent promotion to incentivize on-site visitors back from leaving the site.

This type of promotional marketing can win back visitors who could have otherwise left and never resulted in a sale to begin with.

A key tactic used often with promotional marketing and exit intent is the idea of scarcity and urgency.

Driving sales with promotional marketing benefits exponentially when a sense of immediacy is invoked.

Email engagement rate for the health industry was 6.91%, an above average email capture rate.

Food and Grocery Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.05%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 5.60%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 28.85%

The Food and Grocery industry is a large and rapidly growing industry. In 2017, sales amounted to $14.2 billion, and are expected to rise to $30 billion by the end of 2018.

With such rapid growth expected, retailers in this niche should maximize proven digital marketing strategies for cultivation.

Food and Grocery retailers using promotional marketing experienced a lift from 2.05% to 5.60%, leveraging strategies such as exit intent to increase retention for on-site visitors.

The Liquor Barn leverages the exit intent strategy to gently incentivize visitors who are leaving without purchasing using a 5% discount on their order.

Percentage discounts used for promotional marketing can vary and should be tested thoroughly to provide maximum benefit for a business and it’s on-site visitors.

The Food and Grocery industry averaged a 28.85% email engagement rate, meaning for email popups, 3/10 visitors opted in.

Clothing & Apparel Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 2.19%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 7.25%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 18.83%

The Clothing industry is an enormous market, accounting for 43% of all online marketplace purchases.

Almost half of all purchases in this vertical are made in popular marketplaces such as Amazon.and eBay.

Promotional marketing helped leverage an increase in CVR from 2.19% to 7.25%, a whole 5 percentage points for the better.

Retailers in this space should leverage exit intent as well as contests to increase email sign-ups and immediate conversions.

Mentalfloss, for example, ran contest sign ups, a great promotional marketing tactic, to collect thousands of emails from on-site visitors.

Contests have the benefit of opening up the possibility of email lifecycle marketing (traditionally the highest form of ROI) as well as engaging a visitor that would otherwise bounce.

For the Clothing & Apparel industry, Email Capture Rate is an astounding 18.83%, making email popups a must have for retailers in this space!

Shopping & Large Marketplace Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 3.55%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 8.62%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 16.14%

Shopping is a broad industry that encompasses websites such as Amazon, Etsy and large, general marketplaces.

If your store has a wide array of products, working off of the data presented in the Shopping industry would be a great step for you and your business.

The CVR change noticed with the use of promotional marketing was more than a 5% increase in conversions.

The Shopping industry itself already has a high CVR (3.55%) without the use of promotional marketing, but leveraging this tactic increases sales more than double!

With promotional efforts, conversion rate increased to 8.62%.

Popular retailer Serengetee leverages the use of contests alongside promotional marketing to engage potential customers and merge them into digital marketing workflows.

Email engagement rate for the Shopping industry was observed at 16.14% when interacting with an email popup.

Serengetee appeals to a younger audience, who are very receptive to email marketing, and benefits intensely from promotional marketing that focuses on supporting other digital marketing efforts such as email.  

How Modern Consumers Shop Across Channels


Consumers shop on their own time, in their preferred channels and compare across stores and prices. Here’s everything you need to know from demographic shopping habits to how folks in the cities versus rural areas differ. 

Build your omnichannel strategy for your target customer right now. 

Get the study now.

Sports & Outdoors Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 1.15%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 7.34%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 2.62%

The increase in sales conversions after the use of promotional marketing is very significant in the sports industry.

Post engagement with promotions, accounts in the sport industry experienced an increase from 1.15% to 7.34%, a significant raise in what would be an otherwise average conversion rate.

Online retailers such as Gameday Sports Memorabilia leverage promotional marketing by way of ‘cart abandoner promotions’ to increase conversions.

Cart abandoner promotions are behaviorally triggered, based on when an on-site visitor attempts to leave the site with product in their cart, and factors such as cart value, specific products, etc.

Promotions then incentivize visitors to remain on-site and complete their purchase with an offering of some sort, in this case $20 is offered.

Utilizing a dollar amount instead of a percentage discount can often increase conversions due to consumer psychology, but as always, A/B testing your findings is recommended.

Pro Tip

A/B testing a flat dollar amount offering vs. a percentage discount can provide insight into what performs best for your audience.

Children’s Goods Promotional Effectiveness Benchmarks

  • Average Conversion rate: 3.58%
  • Conversion rate with promotion: 15.98%
  • Email capture conversion rate: 3.58%

Increase in CVR for the Children’s Shopping industry is very significant, with average CVR increasing from 3.58% all the way up to 15.98%.

A sharp difference in between normal CVR and an Engaged CVR can point to a promotion-receptive audience.

On-site visitors that are promotion receptive are actively looking for deals or incentivization, and when offered it, are much more inclined to complete a purchase.

Email engagement rates are at 3.58% for the Shopping/Children industry, so leveraging promotional marketing for email capture is a very viable strategy to build lists.

Popular website such as Robeez leverage email signup bars to incentivize visitors to exchange their emails for a percentage discount on an online order.

As examined previously, the Children’s Shopping industry is examined to have promotion-receptive visitors so the use of an email signup bar can open up opportunities for immediate and more ‘lifecycle’ conversions post purchase.

Executive Summary

Examine your industry’s benchmarks for average conversion rate, conversion with promotion and email capture conversion.

Your goal should be to beat the benchmarks.

Benchmarks such as this give you a window to work towards or applaud yourself for.

Your promotions, list building and email marketing are all important strategies to building your customer base, your repeat customer list and your online community.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Harry from the Justuno dev team for helping to pulli so much insightful data! He ran a ton of SQL queries to really hone the data in. This wouldn’t be possible without you!

Don’t see your industry listed here? Tweet us at @justunosocial and ask for some insights!

Want more insights like this?

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]]> 1
Your M-Commerce Deep Dive: Data, Trends and What’s Next in the Mobile Retail Revenue World Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:00:08 +0000 I often find myself doing a double-take when someone refers to mobile commerce as “the next big thing.” For me…]]>

I often find myself doing a double-take when someone refers to mobile commerce as “the next big thing.”

For me this implies that mobile commerce is a trend, a passing fad that will soon be forgotten, or superceded by something else.

It isn’t.

Is mobile commerce different to ecommerce?

Yes, and no.

Mobile commerce is a natural progression of ecommerce.

On some levels they are nearly identical, but there are also important differences between the two.

As a result, you will see me use ecommerce instead of mobile commerce a few times throughout this article, and you are welcome to do the same.

But I will only interchange them when referring to the aspects that overlap; there will be times when only mobile commerce will do.

Why does mobile commerce matter?

Mobile commerce is not replacing ecommerce, but a larger portion of ecommerce sales are now coming from mobile devices.

eMarketer forecast global ecommerce sales of $2.290 trillion for 2017, considerably higher than the $1,179 trillion forecast by Goldman Sachs in 2014.

At the same they were expecting mobile commerce to account for up to 70% of ecommerce sales throughout Asia.

In Germany, the US, and the UK, mobile commerce was predicted to make up a third of all retail ecommerce sales.

By now your website – and online store – should already be accessible on mobile devices, but that doesn’t automatically mean your business is ready for mobile commerce. And as eMarketers numbers suggest, you could be missing out on a lot of sales.

Per DynamicYield, “Only 12% of consumers find shopping on the mobile web convenient“. That’s a lot of room for improvement.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s start from the beginning.

What is mobile commerce?

Mobile commerce, also called m-commerce or mcommerce, includes any monetary transaction completed using a mobile device.

It is an advancement of ecommerce, enabling people to buy and sell goods or services from almost anywhere, simply using a mobile phone or tablet device.

But mobile commerce is more than just a simple evolution of ecommerce.

It has also served as a trigger for new industries and services, or helped existing ones grow, including:

  • Mobile money transfers.
  • Electronic tickets and boarding passes.
  • Digital content purchases and delivery.
  • Mobile banking.
  • Contactless payments and in-app payments.
  • Location-based services.
  • Mobile marketing, coupons, and loyalty cards.

Are there different types of mobile commerce?

While m-commerce covers a wide variety of transactions, they can all be categorized as one of three types:

1. Mobile shopping.

Mostly similar to ecommerce, but accessible via a mobile device. Mobile shopping is now possible through mobile optimized websites, dedicated apps, and even social media platforms.

2. Mobile banking.

Not too different to online banking, though you may find some transaction types are limited or restricted on mobile devices. Mobile banking usually involves a dedicated app, though some banks have started experimenting with the use of chatbots and messaging apps.

3. Mobile payments.

There are so many diverse mobile payment options that we have chosen to cover them in detail further in this article.

As a business owner, and user of BigCommerce, your exposure and interest in mobile commerce would mostly relate to shopping and payments, which is what the rest of this article will focus on.

Advantages (and Disadvantages) of Mobile Commerce

There are disadvantages to many forms of doing business, but this should never be viewed as a significant hindrance.

The advantages usually outnumber the disadvantages, and there are ways to overcome many of the pitfalls, especially when you know what some of them are.

Let’s start with the good, first.

Common Benefits of Mobile Commerce

1. Better overall experience for customers.

Ecommerce already made shopping more convenient.

Consumers were given access to:

  • A wider variety of products.
  • More competitive pricing.
  • All without ever having to step away from their computer.

With mobile commerce, they still have these benefits, but now they don’t even need a desktop computer.

As long as they have a mobile device, they can shop whenever they want, wherever they are.

New mobile commerce applications that enhance the customer experience even further include:

  • Augmented reality, with Ikea and Sephora among top retailers using augmented reality apps to complement their mobile commerce business
  • Chatbots and messenger apps which making it easier for businesses to interact with their customers using apps and services their customers already use and love.

2. Phenomenal growth potential.

eMarketer expects global ecommerce sales to reach $4.058 trillion by 2020, representing 15% of total retail sales.

And the percentage of that belonging to m-commerce will also continue to grow, as more online retailers see more than 50% of traffic coming from mobile devices.

This suggests that retailers investing more in mobile commerce can ultimately expect a higher conversion rate and ROI.

3. A true omni-channel experience.

An omni-channel experience is when stores sell both online and offline — likely also selling through multiple online channels (i.e. on Amazon, eBay, Facebook, B2B).

We’ve also been referencing the importance of listing your product wherever consumers are already spending their time. This is increasingly known as contextual commerce, a more strategic take on the overarching omni-channel term.

Omni-channel is about being where your customers are, and making it possible for them to buy what they want.

And mobile commerce makes this easier than any other form of multi-channel marketing and selling.

Push Products to Amazon in One Click

BigCommerce’s Amazon integration is really good – and it’s really helped us out. We’re converting more ecommerce and online sales due to our Amazon presence now.

I would have never gone out to put products on Amazon on my own. The fact that it was going to be easy to integrate directly through BigCommerce if why I did it – and now, we see 1 out of every 10 orders coming to us through Amazon.

It’s a great gateway to gaining customers, especially when you are strategic about which products you put up there, and which you make exclusive for your own site.

I think beyond just selling on Amazon for Amazon’s sake. Being there helps to create more customers for our website, too. It helps us with volume and with growing our website and our clientele.

– Brent Densford, CEO of BeachRC

4. Variety of payment options.

With new mobile payment solutions emerging, it is now possible to offer customers a truly diverse range of payment options.

This doesn’t mean we’ve moved beyond “cash or card,” but mobile commerce has given up mobile wallets, which make one-click checkouts possible in more than one store.

No more having to manually enter your credit card details and shipping details the first time you shop at a new online store.

Popular mobile payment solutions include:

  1. Apple Pay.
  2. PayPal One-Touch.
  3. Visa Checkout.
  4. Amazon Pay.

Common Pitfalls of Mobile Commerce

1.Constant need for optimization.

This isn’t so much of a pitfall as it is a need to change your way of thinking when it comes to developing and managing your online store.

As we will discuss later, the speed at which the pages of your website load play a critical role in conversions and repeat business.

You will need to be aware of advancements in technology, and changes in optimization best practices to ensure your website – at least on mobile – offers a superior experience that is fast and simple to use.

2. Variety of payment options.

The diversity of payment options is both a benefit and pitfall when it comes to mobile commerce.

Many mobile wallets are not available in all geographical locations, while consumers in some locations prefer one payment option over another.  

In Holland, for instance, 70-80% of people use iDeal, which is a payment system not really used anywhere else. If you don’t have iDeal in Holland, the Dutch won’t buy from you.

All countries have their nuances like that, which is why it was so important we used Adyen with BigCommerce. Adyen supports a large volume of sales, and allows customers to choose their preferred payment method without cluttering up the checkout flow with a bunch of different payment options.

You can even use IP addresses to automatically fill in a country’s preferred payment as someone checks out, so you don’t disrupt the checkout flow for the end user.

Rogier van Genugten, CEO at Vinyl Express

And offering more choices for payment isn’t always a good thing.

A regularly cited study from 2000 found that a higher number of choices often leads to a decrease in sales and customer satisfaction.

It will be difficult to get the right mix of payment options when your online store first launches, but in time you will gather reams of data about your customers that will allow you to adjust them to what your customers use and want.

One-click solutions will always be preferable because they make checkout less cumbersome, but don’t ignore some payment options because they only work in certain locations.

3. Easier for customers to compare prices.

The traditional way to do a bit of comparative shopping was to know your prices in advance, by scanning a number of catalogues and advertisements before you went to any physical stores.

Alternatively you could have moved from one shop to another, and get a great workout in the process.

But mobile commerce has – again- simplified this.

Armed with little more than a mobile phone, customers are able to rapidly compare the prices – and shipping costs – for dozens of stores until they find the one offering the most value.

And most of the time this happens without you even knowing it.

You can overcome this by – like your customers – constantly being aware of what your competitors are charging for the same products, not just those close to you, but also those miles away, and even across borders.

4. Need to know and comply with a wider range of regulations.

This is a pitfall for both traditional ecommerce and mobile commerce: knowing and complying with a large number of tax laws and other regulations for all the countries you ship to.

Some online stores avoid this by only selling and shipping to residents of one country, or only a small handful of countries.

But this severely limits the size of your market, which is meant to be a benefit of ecommerce.

It is true that some products can only be shipped to a few international markets, but for everything else you should – as your business grows – investigate the feasibility of expanding across borders.

A smart alternative is to make some of your products also available via Amazon, so while your own online store only ships to certain locations, through Amazon you are able to ship far more widely. With Amazon taking care of many of the regulations involved.

Own a New International Market Now

Cross-border commerce happens for online brands regardless of their strategy. The internet is a free for all –– with IP addresses dictating the currency your international consumers see.

But what if you are ready to invest in international expansion and localization to own a brand new market long before you competitors?

That’s what this guide will teach you to do.

Get the guide.

Understanding Mobile Payment Options

Choosing the right payment solution for your ecommerce business is even more important when it comes to mobile.

Your customers would prefer skipping the need for adding credit card and shipping details, so one-click solutions that integrate with mobile wallets offer you and your customers more.

Simpler checkout and payment leads to more conversions, more sales, and more repeat business.

For some brands, like Power Support, choosing the right payment solution can result in an immediate increase in conversions. For Power Support, they say a 26% increase in orders within two weeks after installing Amazon Pay.

Mobile payments is one type of mobile commerce that has become an industry all of its own.

Mobile payments now include:

  • Mobile wallets, also referred to as digital wallets
  • Contactless mobile payments
  • Closed loop mobile payments
  • Money transfers
  • Mobile point-of-sale (POS)
  • Carrier payments

While not all of these are applicable to ecommerce, it helps to understand what each type of mobile payment means.

1. Mobile wallets.

Mobile wallets make it easy for online shoppers to securely store their credit card details, shipping address, and more.

The benefit to shoppers is that when paying for online purchases they don’t need to enter all this information again, which can be especially awkward on mobile phones.

At checkout they simply select the mobile wallet they are registered with, and authenticate using Touch ID or a PIN. Nothing more.

There are a many mobile wallets available, though some are limited to specific geographical locations, and only a few are accepted by most ecommerce merchants.

Here is an example a brand out of the UK, Sour Cherry, using PayPal One-Touch for a one click payment option.

Similarly in the U.S., brands like Natori build a one-click m-commerce option:

Well-known mobile wallets include:

  • Apple Pay.
  • Google Pay.
  • Amazon Pay.
  • PayPal.
  • Samsung Pay.

2. Contactless mobile payments.

Contactless mobile payments make use of select mobile wallets to facilitate payments made in-store.

Supported mobile wallets typically include:

  • Apple Pay
  • Google Pay
  • Samsung Pay

Some banks launching their own mobile wallet too.

When making a payment in a physical location, customers can place their phone close to a supported terminal to validate and transmit payment, instead of swiping their debit or credit card.

3. Closed loop mobile payments.

Closed loop mobile payments are exactly the same as mobile wallets, but are linked to a single brand via a dedicated mobile app.

Examples include:

  • Walmart Pay
  • Starbucks
  • Taco Bell

All allow users to add their card details to the mobile app, and to then use the app to pay for their purchases in-store.

Here’s an example of Atlanta Light Bulbs’ app payment walk-thru. You can see, you only have to insert your information once, and then it’s one-click every other time you buy from them.


4. Money transfers.

Money transfers were previously limited to banking apps, but now there are an increasing number of ways to transfer money from one person to another – on a mobile device – without using a banking app.

Early adopters of this include:

  • PayPal
  • Google

Now you have:

  • Venmo
  • Square Cash
  • WeChat
  • SnapChat
  • Facebook Messenger

Convenience = Conversion

Anything that makes mobile and in-app payments easier is a plus. Venmo, for example, can be use for both single and split payments in so many scenarios. That means that it can only bolster conversions and revenue when offered as an option.

– Krista Fabregas, Editor, Ecommerce & Retail, FitSmallBusiness

5. Mobile point-of-sale (POS).

Mobile POS is a way for smaller merchants to process card payments without a traditional card reader.

bulSquare, PayPal, and other payment solutions also offer mobile card readers that are portable, and only need a mobile phone in order to process any payments.

These could either be small card readers that attach to your mobile phone, or contactless card readers which would allow customers to pay for their purchases using certain mobile wallets.

Some of these solutions integrate with various ecommerce platforms, so if you have both an online and physical store your sales and inventory are automatically synced.

Offline to Online Inventory Syncing – Automatically

The Square POS inventory sync and catalog import are exactly what I was looking for. Other platforms take up to 24 hours to update inventory, but BigCommerce captures changes instantly.

– Alexander Head, Drink Dispatch

6. Carrier payments.

Used less frequently these days, carrier payments were perhaps the original form of mobile payments.

Carrier payments were once a popular method for paying for downloadable ringtones, but is now mostly used for making charitable donations.

A user sends a message to a specific mobile number, and the value of the transaction is added to their next cellphone bill.

The Impact of Page Speed on Mobile Commerce

Page speed has always been an important consideration for websites, and it is even more important when it comes to mobile commerce.

Google has been encouraging developers to optimize for mobile page speed ever since they noticed that more than 50% of search queries were happening on mobile devices.

Page speed has long been a ranking factor, but Google has always only considered the speed of desktop versions of websites.

This changes in mid-2018 when mobile page speed becomes a ranking factor.

+272% in Mobile Revenue

The number one benefit of re-platforming is the responsive site. Now our mobile conversions are increasing rapidly. Mobile conversion rate is up 272% and mobile revenue is up 193% since this time last year.

I’m obviously very pleased with our growth and I definitely attribute it to our re-platform and our new mobile sites.

– Cory Barnes, Digital Marketing Manager for Exxel Outdoors

But how your site ranks in Google isn’t the only reason to pay attention to mobile page speed:

  • Forrester found in 2009 that 40% of consumers won’t wait longer than three seconds for a page to load before leaving a site completely.
  • With online shopping, site loyalty is contingent on page speed for 52% of shoppers. If made to wait, 14% of online shoppers would simply switch to shopping at another site.
  • After a poor site experience, 79%  of online shoppers state they are less likely to support a site again.

The study reporting these figures is almost 10-years old, but our expectations in terms of mobile page speed are likely even higher now.

A more recent study by Google found that the probability of bounce increases exponentially the longer a site takes to load on a mobile device.

Mobile Experience is key.


Mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic, and we are seeing mobile sales approach desktop sales. This trend will continue moving forward, with mobile eventually overtaking desktop sales.

Retailers with a mobile first mentality will outperform those that treat mobile as a second priority. This mobile first mentality applies to everything: web design, email layouts, reward programs, and more.

– Steve Deckert, Co-Founder, 

5 steps you can take to improve mobile commerce page speed

Most ecommerce platforms have various page speed optimizations built-in, but this doesn’t absolve you from running a few page speed tests, and identifying areas that could do with improvement.

1. Run some tests.

It is important to remember that users with a high-end smartphone on a WiFi connection will have a far superior experience than someone with a mid-tier smartphone with a 3G connection.

To account for this, we suggest running separate speed tests using several different tools:

  • Test My Site – a Google tool for testing mobile page speed. The test is run over a simulated 3G connection, and the results show how long the page takes to load, and how many visitors you can expect to lose with that loading time. You can enter your details to receive a slightly more detailed report via email.
  • PageSpeed Insights – another Google tool, but here you can expect a grading (and improvement suggestions) for both mobile and desktop speed. Here the performance of your website is compared to that of pages monitored by the Chrome User Experience (CrUX) report, and rated as fast, average, or slow. Your page is also assessed to see if it follows any common performance best practices, and you are then given suggestions on how to improve performance.
  • WebPageTest – using this tool you are able to specify what browser, device, and connection type the test should be run on, giving you a better idea of how your website performs for the average user. The results are more detailed, and while you aren’t given any suggestions, you will be able to better identify the root cause of any performance issues.
  • Pingdom – the reports returned after a test using Pingdom are easier to understand than those of WebPageTest, but the free test doesn’t include an option for mobile only.

It’s important to remember that all of the tools mentioned here are only ever testing the page speed for a single URL, not your entire site.

Depending on how your site has been designed, many suggested optimisations could be applied to your entire website, though you may still want to test several different pages to look for any isolated issues.

The following points will discuss how you can implement suggested optimisations to improve the mobile page speed of your site.

2. Optimize & reduce images.

Images are one of the biggest contributing factors to poor page speed for two reasons:

  1. They aren’t always optimized, and
  2. There are often too many on one page

Ecommerce sites undoubtedly benefit from the use of high quality images, but modern image optimization makes it possible to reduce the file size of images without affecting the digital quality.

But image optimization isn’t just about reducing the file size, it’s also about resizing images for different devices.

Get Automatic Image Optimization Now

BigCommerce recently partnered with Akamai to integrate automatic image optimization into BigCommerce stores using the Stencil theming engine.

The Akamai Image Manager automatically optimises and resizes images, and also converts them image formats that offer higher levels of compression. Customers in the closed beta for this integration reported as much as 70% improvement in load time across their sites.

Learn more.

Unfortunately, ecommerce sites are also at risk of poor mobile page speed as a result of too many images on a single page.

Because customers can’t pick up – or try on – products in an ecommerce store, it’s only natural to compensate for this by including multiple images of the same item from different angles.

But the old adage of “less is more” still applies here.

If you plan your product photos properly, it is possible to get by with two to four images, instead of six or more.

In many instances, all you need is a shot of the front, the back, and maybe one or two close-ups that show specific features.

Given how much influence images have on page speed, optimizing your images – and even reducing the number of images on each page – will almost always result in a noticeable improvement in load time.

Mobile Is Here

In the digital space we’ve been banging the drum on mobile for years now and there are still many sites that don’t get it.

Optimize your forms, create mobile first designs, load pages quickly. Mobile is here. Understand how your customers use mobile and optimize.

– Stephen Slater, Digital Advertising Manager, TopRankMarketing

3. Minimize code.

Minifying HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code involves stripping the relevant files of all spaces and line breaks.

Doing this doesn’t reduce the file size as dramatically as with image optimization, but every millisecond improvement in page speed counts.

Google recommends several tools which will minify your code for you, though most ecommerce platforms also minify these files automatically.

Every App Is Code

More built-in functionality means less apps –– and less apps means less code –– and less code means a faster site.

But that’s only part of the reason why BigCommerce merchants sell 34% more than those on Shopify.

Learn more.

4. Reduce tracking snippets.

The use of 3rd-party tracking and analytical services is a necessary evil when it comes to ecommerce.

But if you’re not using the Google Tag Manager, the snippets of code required by each service can affect page speed.

With Tag Manager you are still able to use all your preferred tracking and analytical services, but you only need to add one snippet of code to each page.

Set Up Google Analytics Across Your Site in 3 Minutes

BigCommerce customers don’t need to manually install snippets on every single one of their site’s pages to get the benefits of Google Analytics data.

Instead, one snippet drop on the backend will automatically place the code where it needs to go on your site to make setting up tracking quick and easy.

5. Do a feature audit.

Featuritus is a term originally used to describe the unnecessary addition of features to software.

And it’s a term that – along with Bright Shiny Object (BSO) syndrome – is also relevant to web sites.

Each feature and software integration you add to your site requires additional resources, which impact on page speed.

A feature audit means honestly judging the value of each feature and app you’ve integrated into your site.

The tests you ran through Pingdom and WebPageTest would show the impact of any scripts, images, and other resources needed for some features and apps.

Now ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you and your customers benefit from all of them?
  • Is the benefit gained more valuable than that of a better page speed on mobile?
  • Would removing any of them negatively affect sales and conversions?
  • If so, is there a way to keep the feature or app, but reduce the impact on page speed?

Depending on your site structure, not all of the optimization suggestions made by Google – or discussed here – will be possible.

And while those that are typically lead to speed improvements measured in milliseconds, each millisecond adds up.

And in the words of Daniel An, Global Product Lead for Mobile Web at Google:

No matter what, faster is better and less is more.

Remember also that there is a lot to gain from taking a mobile-first approach to developing and optimizing your website.

Mobile-First Wins

When we designed our new website, I told the designer, ‘Don’t send me desktop designs. Make mobile perfect, then make a responsive version for desktop.’

We’ve achieved 5% conversion rates on mobile with over 80% of our sales on mobile devices.

 – Brandon Chatham, CEO at NatoMounts

Deciding Between a Mobile App and Mobile Website

People began talking about mobile apps as the future – and as a must-have for any business – soon after Apple and Google first launched their app stores.

And while for some businesses there certainly is value in having a branded app, there is still some doubt over whether every business stands to benefit from having a branded app.

In their analysis of Google in late 2015, Morgan Stanley wrote:

Mobile browser audiences compared to mobile app audiences

U.S. mobile is still largely a browser based world as mobile browser audiences are ~2X larger than app audiences across the top 50 U.S. mobile web properties.

As shown, the median browser audience (across the top 50 U.S. mobile apps as of July 2015) has grown at 61% per year, while app audiences have grown at an average of 51% per year.

Said another way, mobile browser audiences have grown 1.2x faster than mobile app audiences off of a 1.8x larger base.

Note that this over-indexing toward browsers is the opposite of what most investors we speak with expect, who often ask about the”app-lification” of consumer behavior as we transition from desktop to mobile.

We attribute this difference to the most commonly cited industry report on app and browser behavior published by Flurry, which asserts that:

Nearly 90% of time spent on mobile (across iOS and Android devices) occurs in app.

But Flurry’s breakdown of how people are spending their time on mobile matters, as we see that the app time spent data is skewed upward by gaming (32% of time) and social (a total of 29% of time between Facebook at 17%, Other messaging at 10% and Twitter at 2%).

This doesn’t suggest SMEs should completely abandon the idea of a branded app.

There are times when a mobile app definitely helps, especially when it offers more than a mobile web site can, as Doug Root, CEO at Atlanta Light Bulbs discovered through one of BigCommerce’s software integrations, which:

[…] enabled us to build our own shopping app.

Our customers love it! We’re able to give it to our commercial customers, to set them up, put their favorite products in their phone, and then say, “Here, bam! All you’ve got to do is order on your phone, and you’re ready to go.”

Orders just roll in on the BigCommerce platform. It all talks back and forth wonderfully.

And BigCommerce’s strategic partnership with Handshake promises to give B2B customers unique features like:

  • A mobile sales app for paperless order writing. Perfect for tradeshows and customer appointments, it works both online and offline and helps you ship orders in hours instead of days.
  • A B2B ecommerce portal that lets customers place orders with you more often. It streamlines your processes, reduces order time and eliminates service calls for pricing and availability.
  • A dedicated mobile commerce app for your B2B buyers to help them save time by buying from their shelves. They can scan barcodes or search for products to quickly build orders.

For B2C customers, a Progressive Web App (PWA) could prove to be of more value than simply repackaging your website as a mobile app.

PWAs are a fairly new concept that has seen incredible adoption by big brands over the last year.

There are several features of PWAs that explain this:

  • The can be developed and deployed in less time – and at a lower cost – than regular mobile apps. In most instances they only require some modifications to your website code, and the inclusion of a few extra components.
  • They already support key “app-like” features like push notifications, background syncing, offline functionality, and being ‘added’ to the home screen. Other features like geo-fencing, etc. are planned.
  • They are cross-platform, and if setup correctly, will work as a traditional website on any desktop device and Apple mobile device. On Android devices (using the Chrome browser) they look and behave more like a traditional mobile app.
  • They don’t need to be submitted to app stores, which means you don’t need to put in extra effort marketing them, and your customers are not expected to download and install anything.

Progressive refers to another key feature: PWAs need to be supported by almost any device and browser, from entry level through to high-end.

This usually means either only including features supported by entry level devices, or creating different versions for different devices.

With PWAs, all the features you want can be included, but they will only become available to users progressively.

A user on a slow connection with an entry-level device will still be able to browse your store, and place an order. But they won’t see certain interactive features, and background syncing and offline functionality might be disabled.

AliExpress was a very early adopter of PWAs, and following their launch noticed:

  • Conversions for new users across all browsers grew by 104%, with an 82% increase in their iOS conversion rate.
  • The number of pages visited per session per user across all browsers doubled.
  • Time spent per session across all browsers grew by 74%.

One possible explanation for the iOS growth – despite the current lack of support for PWAs on iOS – is that PWAs are usually faster than regular websites and mobile apps, and use considerably less data.

Deciding whether to launch a mobile app – or PWA – shouldn’t be driven by claims that everyone else is doing it.

It should, instead, be influenced by whether or not it offers benefits and value to your customers, and to you.

Top Mobile Commerce Trends in 2018

As a final reminder that businesses can no longer afford to ignore m-commerce, the data team at BigCommerce analyzed figures and trends across the BigCommerce platform in 2017, in order to highlight just how important mobile commerce is right now.

Here are the biggest mobile commerce trends in 2018, based on consumer shopping data.

1. Increased trust.

More consumers feel comfortable shopping on mobile than ever before. Security issues have diminished as the age of m-commerce has increased.

Additionally, consumers are more and more of the “digital native” age, meaning they’ve grown up with computers and the internet their entire lives.

These generations are more likely to use mobile commerce than older generations.

2. Faster checkouts.

One-page checkouts and digital wallets (Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal One Touch) have improved mobile conversion by up to 10% at launch.

And it’s no surprise – as more consumers are comfortable shopping on mobile, more convenient mobile checkout experiences have surged in popularity.

Still requiring folks to type in all their credit card numbers?

You’re losing out on sales.

3. Easier to use sites.

More and more sites are now optimized for mobile use.

As mentioned earlier in this piece, m-commerce isn’t going anywhere. It isn’t the next new trend. It is a staple of modern retail.

As a result, ecommerce platforms and businesses alike have moved into near 100% responsive site builds, meaning most sites today are easy to use on mobile.

What’s more though is that many brands are moving to mobile-first, or mobile-unique experience. In this instances, a mobile site is created specifically for the mobile user –– different than what the desktop version looks like.

Brands that do this often see an increase in mobile conversion due to easier site navigation and specific experience built for the unique browsing patterns and challenges of mobile shopping.

Mobile Commerce Statistics

Look, you don’t need an article to tell you that mobile commerce is important.

You probably shop on your phone – or browse there at the very least.

That said, numbers never hurt, especially if you are needing to convince others in your organization about the benefits of a mobile-first m-commerce strategy.

So, let’s look at the numbers.

Revenue impact for the retail industry.

  • Mobile conversion increased 30% YoY from 2015 to 2016.
  • In 2012, mobile sales accounted for 10% of total purchases across BC stores
  • In 2016, mobile commerce sales accounted for 31% of total purchases

Same store mobile commerce growth stats by country YoY.

  • U.S. businesses – 24% growth.
  • Australia & New Zealand businesses – 33% growth.
  • European businesses – 18%.
  • Canadian businesses – 19%.
  • Asia-based businesses – 42%.
  • Other – 30%.

Mobile device differences.

  • iOS users spend 18% more on average than Android users.
  • Desktop average order value (AOV) is 53% higher than mobile AOV (iOS + Android).

Desktop still matters.

  • Desktop AOV is 50+% higher than mobile AOV.
  • Average conversion rate by device:
    • Desktop: 4.31%.
    • Mobile: 1.5%.

Here’s the full m-commerce infographic to share:

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

]]> 6
The History of Ecommerce: What The Past Says About Tomorrow’s Retail Challenges Tue, 13 Feb 2018 18:41:14 +0000 When it comes to ecommerce, a word that first comes to mind is growth. Ecommerce expert Gary Hoover’s research shows…]]>

When it comes to ecommerce, a word that first comes to mind is growth.

Ecommerce expert Gary Hoover’s research shows that just in the last 14 years, the growth of ecommerce companies has skyrocketed across the board.

And some merchandise lines (like clothing and beauty products in particular) have achieved a remarkable 25% average CGR between 2000-2014.

This trend isn’t slowing down, either.

In fact, growth projections estimate that by 2022, ecommerce revenues will exceed $638 billion in the U.S. alone.

Globally, ecommerce growth projections are also on an upward trajectory:

They show that retail sales may exceed $4.058 trillion by as soon as 2020.

Image source

Even more data reinforces the ecommerce growth trend:

  • There may be as many as 2.14 billion digital buyers worldwide by 2021 (eMarketer)
  • U.S. ecommerce sales of apparel, footwear, and accessories projected to exceed $123M by 2022 (Statista)
  • Shoppers spend 36% of their budget online on average (BigCommerce)

But what’s exciting about this is that there’s still so much opportunity within the online marketplace.

U.S. Department of Commerce data shows that ecommerce sales currently average about 9.1% of total retail sales. That means there is still endless opportunity for brands to launch an ecommerce website and to expand their reach.

When you factor in the expanded ecommerce selling opportunities through omni-channel retail (like adding Amazon and eBay storefronts to your sales approach, for example), it’s easy to see that now is the best possible time to grow an ecommerce business.

It’s Now or Never

There has never been an easier time in history to build a business PERIOD.

The cost of entry is lower than ever before. The ability to access & qualify experts is much easier. The ability to speak directly to your customers and make adjustments has never been easier.

– Eric Carlson, Co-Founder, 10x Factory

What is Ecommerce?

Essentially, ecommerce (or electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods (or services) on the internet.

From mobile shopping to online payment encryption and beyond, ecommerce encompasses a wide variety of data, systems, and tools for both online buyers and sellers.

Most businesses with an ecommerce presence use an ecommerce store and/or an ecommerce platform to conduct both online marketing and sales activities and to oversee logistics and fulfillment.

Keep in mind that ecommerce has a few different spelling variations. All of these are synonymous and correct –– their use is largely preference-based.

  • E-Commerce
  • eCommerce
  • Ecommerce
  • e-commerce
  • e commerce

Types of Ecommerce

Generally, there are six main models of ecommerce that businesses can be categorized into:

  1. B2C.
  2. B2B.
  3. C2C.
  4. C2B.
  5. B2A.
  6. C2A.

Let’s look at each type of electronic commerce in a bit more detail.

1. Business-to-Consumer (B2C).

B2C ecommerce ecompasses transcations made between a business and a consumer.

This is one of the most widely used sales models in the ecommerce context. When you buy shoes from an online shoe retailer, it is a business-to-consumer transaction.

2. Business-to-Business (B2B).

B2B ecommerce relates to sales made between businesses, such as a manufacturer and a wholesaler or retailer.

This type of ecommerce is not consumer-facing and happens only between business entities.

Most often, business-to-business sales focus on raw materials or products that are repackaged or combined before being sold to customers.

Training the New B2B Buyer

Training your customers to use the new B2B tools is important for adoption.

Changing the way some customers do business with you can be a roadblock or a benefit.

Position the change in a way that makes your customers’ lives easier.

– Andy Etemadi, CEO, EYEMAGINE

3. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C).

One of the earliest forms of ecommerce is the C2C ecommerce business model.

Customer-to-customer relates to the sale of products or services between, you guessed it: customers.

This would include customer to customer selling relationships like those seen on eBay or Amazon, for example.

4. Consumer-to-Business (C2B).

C2B reverses the traditional ecommerce model (and is what we commonly see in crowdfunding projects).

C2B means Individual consumers make their products or services available for business buyers.

An example of this would be a business model like iStockPhoto, in which stock photos are available online for purchase directly from different photographers.

5. Business-to-Administration (B2A).

This model covers the transactions made between online businesses and administrations.

An example would be the products and services related to legal documents, social security, etc.

6. Consumer-to-Administration (C2A).

Same idea here, but with consumers selling online products or services to an administration.

C2A might include things like online consulting for education, online tax preparation, etc.

Both B2A and C2A are focused around increased efficiency within the government via the support of information technology.

History of Ecommerce

The history of ecommerce dates back further than you might think.

It was initially introduced about 40 years ago in its earliest form.

Since then, electronic commerce has helped countless businesses grow with the help of new technologies, improvements in internet connectivity, and widespread consumer and business adoption.

One of the first ecommerce transactions was made back in 1982, and today, it is growing by as much as 23% year-over-year.

Ecommerce Timeline:

YearMajor Ecommerce Event
1969The first major ecommerce company, CompuServe, is founded.
1979Michael Aldrich invents electronic shopping.
1982Boston Computer Exchange launches as one of the first ecommerce platforms.
1992Book Stacks Unlimited launches as one of the first online marketplaces for books.
1994Netscape launches Netscape Navigator, an early web browser, making it easier for users to browse online.
1995Amazon and eBay launch.
1998PayPal launches as an online payment system. launches.
2000Google launches AdWords as an online search advertising tool.
2005Amazon launches Amazon Prime with expedited, flat-fee shipping for members.
2005Esty, an online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods launches.
2009BigCommerce launches as an online storefront platform.
2009Square, Inc. is founded.
2011Google Wallet launches as an online payment system.
2011Facebook launches sponsored stories as a form of early advertising.
2011Stripe launches.
2014Apple Pay launches as a form of mobile payment. launches.
2017Instagram shoppable posts are introduced.
2017Cyber Monday sales exceed $6.5B.

1969 – CompuServe is founded.

Founded by electrical engineer students Dr. John R. Goltz and Jeffrey Wilkins in 1969, early CompuServe technology was built utilizing a dial-up connection.

In the 1980s, CompuServe introduced some of the earliest forms of email and internet connectivity to the public and went on to dominate the ecommerce landscape through the mid-1990s.

1979 – Michael Aldrich invents electronic shopping.

English inventor Michael Aldrich introduced electronic shopping in 1979, which operated by connecting a modified TV to a transaction-processing computer via telephone line.

This made it possible for closed information systems to be opened and shared by outside parties for secure data transmission – and the technology became the foundation upon which modern ecommerce was built.

1982 – Boston Computer Exchange launches.

When Boston Computer Exchange launched in 1982, it was the world’s first ecommerce company.

Its primary function was to serve as an online market for people interested in selling their used computers.

1992 – Book Stacks Unlimited launches as first online book marketplace.

Charles M. Stack introduced Book Stacks Unlimited as an online bookstore in 1992 – three full years before Jeff Bezos introduced Amazon.

Originally the company used the dial-up bulletin board format, but in 1994 the site switched to the internet and operated from the domain.

1994 – Netscape Navigator launches as a web browser.

Marc Andreessen and Jim Clark co-created Netscape Navigator as a web browsing tool, and formally announced its introduction in October of 1994.

During the 1990s, Netscape Navigator became the primarily used web browser on the Windows platform before the rise of modern giants like Google.

1995 – Amazon and eBay launch.

Jeff Bezos introduced Amazon in 1995 primarily as an ecommerce platform for books.

That same year, Pierre Omidyar introduced AuctionWeb, which would later become what we know today as eBay.

Since then, both have become massive ecommerce selling platforms that enable consumers to sell online to audiences around the globe.

1998 – PayPal launches as ecommerce payment system.

Originally introduced as Confinity by founders Max Levhin, Peter Thiel, Like Nosek and Ken Howery, PayPal made its appearance on the ecommerce stage in late 1998 as a money transfer tool.

By 2000, it would merge with Elon Musk’s online banking company and begin its rise to fame and popularity.

1999 – Alibaba launches.

Alibaba Online launched in 1999 as an online marketplace with more than $25 million in funding.

By 2001 the company was profitable. It went on to turn into a major B2B, C2C, and B2C platform that’s still widely used today.

2000 – Google introduces Google AdWords as an online advertising tool.

Google Adwords was introduced in 2000 as a way for ecommerce businesses to advertise to people using the Google search tool.

With the help of short text ad copy and display URLs, online retailers began using the tool in a pay-per-click (PPC) context.

2005 – Amazon introduces Amazon Prime membership.

Amazon introduced Amazon Prime in 2005 as a way for customers to get free two-day shipping for a flat annual fee.

The membership also came to include other perks like discounted one-day shipping and later access to streaming services like Amazon Video and members-only events like “Prime Day.”

This strategic move helped boost customer loyalty and incentivize repeat purchases. Today, free shipping and speed of delivery are the most common requests from online consumers.

2005 – Etsy is launched.

Etsy launches in 2005, allowing crafters and smaller sellers to sell goods through an online marketplace. This brought the makers community online –– expanding their reach to a 24/7 buying audience.

2009 – Square launches.

Square was founded in 2009 by Jack Dorsey and Jim McKelvey. The first Square app and service launched in 2010.

Square allowed offline retailers to accept debit and credit cards in their brick-and-mortars and absolutely anywhere for the first time ever.

The idea occurred to Dorsey when in 2009 when McKelvey (a St. Louis friend of Dorsey at the time) was unable to complete a $2,000 sale of his glass faucets and fittings because he could not accept credit cards.

2009 – BigCommerce launches.

Eddie Machaalani and Mitchell Harper co-founded BigCommerce in 2009 and introduced it that year as a 100% bootstrapped ecommerce storefront platform.

Since then, more than $8 billion in sales have been processed through the platform and the company now has headquarters in Austin, San Francisco, and Sydney.

Other ecommerce technology platform providers launched in the same era. Shopify (2006) and Magento (2008) are also recognized as market leaders alongside BigCommerce.

Internet Retailer’s 2018 Guide to the Top Ecommerce Platforms saw all 3 of these platforms on the list –– with BigCommerce annual store growth and revenue numbers topping out at #1.  

2011 – Google Wallet introduced as digital payment method.

Google Wallet was introduced in 2011 as a peer-to-peer payment service that enabled individuals to send and receive money from a mobile device or desktop computer.

By linking the digital wallet to a debit card or bank account, users can pay for products or services via these devices.

Today, Google Wallet has joined with Android Pay for what is now known as Google Pay.

2011 – Facebook rolls out sponsored stories as a form of early advertising.

In 2011, Facebook began rolling out early advertising opportunities to Business Page owners via sponsored stories.

With these paid campaigns, ecommerce businesses could reach specific audiences using the social network and get in the news feeds of different target audiences.

2011 – Stripe launches.

Stripe is a payment processing company built originally for developers. It was founded by John and Patrick Collison.

2014 – Apple Pay introduced as mobile payment method.

As online shoppers began using their mobile devices more frequently, Apple introduced Apple Pay as a mobile payment and digital wallet tool that allowed users to pay for products or services with an Apple device.

2014 – launches. was founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Marc Lore (who had sold his previous company,, to along with Mike Hanrahan and Nate Faust.

The company competes with Costco and Sam’s Club, catering to folks looking for the lowest possible pricing for longer shipping times and bulk ordering.

2017 – Shoppable Instagram is introduced.

Instagram Shopping launched in 2017 first with ecommerce partner BigCommerce.

Since then, the service has expanded to additional ecommerce platforms and allows Instagram users to immediately click an item, and go to that product’s product page for purchase.

2017 – Cyber Monday sales exceed $6.5B.

In 2017, ecommerce growth breaks a new record with online sales breaking $6.5 billion on Cyber Monday – a 17% increase from the year before.

Mobile sales also break records with an excess of $2 billion in sales made via mobile devices.

The Impact of Ecommerce

The impact of ecommerce is far and wide with a ripple effect on everything from small business to global enterprise and beyond.

1. Large retailers are forced to sell online.

For many retailers, the growth of ecommerce has expanded their brands’ reach and has positively impacted their bottom lines.

But for other retailers who have been slow to embrace the online marketplace, the impact has been felt differently.

At a high level, retailers that fall into the middleground are the ones feeling the biggest changes in response to the impact of ecommerce.

Foursquare data shows discount stores and luxury retailers are maintaining their footholds with consumers, but ecommerce adds to the fierce competition for retailers within the mid-tier.

Research also indicates that one type of retailer in particular has seen a major impact from the rise of ecommerce: Department stores.

As Amazon becomes consumers’ go-to source for products traditionally purchased at department stores, chains like Sears and Macy’s (for example) have seen decreased sales across the board.

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2. Ecommerce helps small businesses sell directly to customers.

For many small businesses, ecommerce adoption has been a slow process.

However, those who’ve embraced it have discovered ecommerce can open doors to new opportunities that were never possible before.

Slowly, small business owners are launching ecommerce stores and diversifying their offerings, reaching more customers, and better accommodating customers who prefer online/mobile shopping.

Gallup research shows that 2 in 10 small businesses have expanded their ecommerce presence over the last two years, and 11% say they plan to increase their ecommerce efforts in the coming year.

Online Brands Must Stand for Something to Stand Out

Your customers aren’t just buying your product, they’re buying into an identity.

Selling t-shirts is one thing; you may get some sales and some devoted fans. But selling a lifestyle of what those t-shirts unlock will lead to much more long-term success.

Think about why people choose to wear a brand like Patagonia, for example. They could easily purchase the same exact apparel options at North Face, REI, or dozens more.

But Patagonia stands out because of the environmental activism. They practice what they preach, they stand for something, and they’ve built a lifestyle around their brand –– for people who love the outdoors and want to preserve it.

– Kayla Lewkowicz, Marketing Manager, Privy

3. B2B companies start offering B2C-like online ordering experiences.

Data from Four51 indicates that in the B2B world, ecommerce will account for the majority of sales by as soon as 2020 – while other data sets show that 79% if B2B customers already expect to be able to place orders from an ecommerce website.

Ecommerce solutions enable self-service, provide more user-friendly platforms for price comparison, and helps B2B brands better maintain relationships with buyers, too.

What’s more: Scholarly research indicates ecommerce has made a large positive impact in the B2B market by enabling process improvements and lowering operational costs overall.

Remember: B2B Consumers Are Also B2C Consumers

B2B customers are thinking more like B2C customers everyday, and need to be marketed to accordingly.

B2B buyers are increasingly millennials, who approach sales differently. B2B brands need to be online and adjusting their pitches and sales technique for this new generation of buyer.

– Rieva Lesonsky, CEO, GrowBiz Media &

4. The rise of ecommerce marketplaces.

Ecommerce marketplaces have been on the rise around the world since the mid-1990s with the launch of giants we know today as Amazon, Alibaba, and others.

In the chart below, we can see that Amazon is the outlier in regard to ecommerce marketplace growth, but we can see that others are making headway.

Image source

By offering a broad selection and extreme convenience to customers, they’ve been able to quickly scale up through innovation and optimization on the go.

Amazon in particular is known for its unique growth strategy that has helped them achieve mass-adoption and record-breaking sales.

But Amazon doesn’t do this alone. As of 2017, 51% of products sold on Amazon were sold by third-party sellers (i.e. not Amazon).

Those sellers also make high profits from the sales on the marketplace, though they are required to follow strict rules enforced by Amazon.

Statistic: Percentage of paid units sold by third-party sellers on Amazon platform as of 4th quarter 2017 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

5. Supply chain management has evolved.

Survey data shows that one of ecommerce’s main impacts on supply chain management is that it shortens product life cycles.

As a result, producers are presenting deeper and broader assortments as a buffer against price erosion. But, this also means that warehouses are seeing larger amounts of stock in and out of their facilities.

In response, some warehousers are now offering value-added services to help make ecommerce and retail operations more seamless and effective.

These services include:

  • Separation of stock/storage for online vs. retail sales.
  • Different packaging services.
  • Inventory/logistics oversight.

6. New jobs are created but traditional retail jobs are reduced.

Jobs related to ecommerce is up 2x over the last five years, far outpacing other types of retail in regard to growth.

However, growth in ecommerce jobs is only a small piece of the employment puzzle overall.

A few quick facts on how ecommerce has impacted employment:

  • Ecommerce jobs are up 334%, adding 178,000 jobs since 2002
  • Most ecommerce jobs are located in medium to large metropolitan areas
  • Most ecommerce companies have four or fewer employees

Scholars indicate that ecommerce will continue to directly and indirectly create new jobs in the high-skill domains like the information and software sectors, as well as around increased demand for productivity.

Researcher Nuray Terzia concludes:

“In addition to the net employment gains and losses, ecommerce will have an impact on the demand for certain skills. The evidence suggests that ecommerce demands a whole set of new skills where responsibilities and decision-making becomes more information based.”

The flip side of this, however, is that upticks in efficiency paired with a shift away from traditional retail may lead to some job losses or reductions in workforces as well.

As with any major market shift, there are both positive and negative impacts on employment.

7. Customers shop differently.

Ecommerce (and now omni-channel retail) has had a major impact on customers. It is revolutionizing the way modern consumers shop.

Today, we know that 96% of Americans with access to the internet have made a purchase online at some point in their lives and 80% have made a purchase online in the past month.

And not only do customers frequently use ecommerce sites to shop: 51% of Americans now prefer to shop online rather than in-store.

Millennials are the largest demographic of online shoppers (67%), but Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are close behind at 56% and 41% participating in online shopping activities respectively.

Omni-Channel Consumers Spend More, Too

Omni-channel is where it’s at.

Take Carter’s for example. Only 12% of their customers today are “multi-channel” or “omni-channel” shoppers – meaning they shop in person in stores and online. But, they spend 2X to 3X as much as a single-channel customer (store-only or online-only).

That leaves a lot of room for organic growth simply by getting existing customers to use another channel (online or in person).

– Brett Owens, Marketing Director & Co-Founder, LeadDyno

8. Social media let’s consumers easily share products to buy online.

Researchers have discovered that ecommerce has made an interesting social impact; especially within the context of social media.

Today, ecommerce shoppers discover and are influenced to purchase products or services based on recommendations from friends, peers, and trusted sources (like influencers) on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

In the International Journal of Market Research, M. Nick Hajili wrote:

“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in ecommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly influencing perceived usefulness.”

If you’ve ever been inspired to buy a product you saw recommended on Facebook or featured in an Instagram post, you’ve witnessed this social impact as it relates to ecommerce.

Social Proof is Modern Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is arguably the most important marketing tactic of ANY business.

If you set up an ad that acquires a customer for $10, that’s good. Assuming that’s profitable for you based on your CoGs, etc., then keep scaling your ads.

But if you can get 1 person to talk about your brand with 10 of their friends and 5 of them buy… And you repeat that for every customer that comes into your store…

You’ll get so many sales you won’t be able to keep up with inventory and shipping.

– William Harris, Ecommerce Marketing Expert, Elumynt

9. Global ecommerce is growing rapidly.

Around the world, ecommerce is growing.

Forbes reported in 2016 that 57% of people surveyed in 24 countries across six continents had made an online purchase in the past six months.

And ecommerce’s global impact has been especially large in countries like China – eclipsing growth in all other countries.

Since 2014, China has seen major increases in sales each year – and it’s projected that by 2019, the country will have nearly $2 billion in retail ecommerce sales on its own.

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Global is your Biggest Opportunity

The biggest opportunity brands have today is reach. Online brands have the possibility to reach an unlimited audience globally. It’s very difficult to do, but I believe that’s the greatest opportunity for online businesses.

– Emil Kristensen, CMO and co-founder, Sleeknote.

Advantages of Ecommerce

Ecommerce has many different advantages – from faster buying to the ability to reach large audiences 24/7.

Let’s take a look in detail at some of the top perks it has to offer.

1. Faster buying for customers.

For customers, ecommerce makes shopping from anywhere and at any time possible.

That means buyers can get the products they want and need faster without being constrained by operating hours of a traditional brick-and-mortar store.

Plus, with shipping upgrades that make rapid delivery available to customers, even the lag time of order fulfillment can be minimal (think Amazon Prime Now, for example.)

2. Companies can easily reach new customers.

Ecommerce also makes it easier for companies to reach new customers all over the globe.

An ecommerce store isn’t tied to a single geographic location – it’s open and available to any and all customers who visit it online.

With the added benefit of social media advertising, brands have the potential to connect with massive relevant audiences who are in a ready-to-buy mindset.

Build a community for your brand.

Community building is a long term play and an underrated asset. But for good reason: it’s hard to build an authentic community.

Building a robust and lively Facebook community at ConversionXL helped us tap into customer insights and get natural customer feedback, but it also opened a direct line of communication with customers and fans of the brand in general.

The discussions that happen there now, organically, are amazing and the community is a valuable thing on its own, outside of any branding/acquisition concerns.

– Alex Birkett, Growth Marketing Manager, HubSpot

3. Lower operational costs.

Without a need for a physical storefront (and employees to staff it), ecommerce retailers can launch stores with minimal operating costs.

As sales increase, brands can easily scale up their operations without having to make major property investments or having to hire large workforces.

This means higher margins overall.

4. Personalized experiences.

With the help of automation and rich customer profiles, you can deliver highly personalized online experiences for your ecommerce customers.

Showcasing relevant products based on past purchase behavior, for example, can lead to higher AOV and makes the shopper feel like you truly understand him/her as an individual.

Following Amazon’s Personalized Lead

In very recent history, Amazon Go’s blending of technology and customer data to create a new retail shopping experience is something all brands need to examine for takeaways.

– Jordan Brannon, President, Coalition Technologies

Disadvantages of Ecommerce

Although modern ecommerce is increasingly flexible today, it still has its own set of disadvantages.

Here are some of the downsides to ecommerce retail.

1. Limited interactions with customers.

Without being face-to-face, it can be harder to understand the wants, needs, and concerns of your ecommerce customers.

There are still ways to gather this data (survey data, customer support interactions, etc.), but it does take a bit more work than talking with shoppers in person on a day-to-day basis.

The Flip Side of Face-to-Face

I think the biggest shift in retail in recent history is the ability to have a direct conversation with your customer.

In the past, CEOs wouldn’t necessarily be on the front line of sales. But, with social media & ecommerce, you have the ability to have a direct conversation with a massive portion of your customer base.

These conversations can lead to better marketing that speaks your customer’s language, better products by asking your customer what they really want, more successful product launches by gaining customer input, and direct advice on how to improve overall.

– Eric Carlson, Co-Founder, 10x Factory

2. Technology breakdowns can impact ability to sell.

If your ecommerce website is slow, broken, or unavailable to customers, it means you can’t make any sales.

Site crashes and technology failures can damage relationships with customers and negatively impact your bottom line.

3. No ability to test or try-on.

For shoppers who want to get hands-on with a product (especially in the realm of physical goods like clothing, shoes, and beauty products) the ecommerce experience can be limiting.

However, with the help of video, product images, and even VR technology, companies are finding new ways to overcome this aspect of the online shopping experience.

The Future of Ecommerce

Research predicts that the future of ecommerce is a bright one.

By 2022, ecommerce revenue in the U.S, alone is expected to reach $638 million, with the toys, hobby and DIY vertical seeing the largest growth.

And it’s no passing trend, either.

Many Americans now see online shopping as a must-have: 40% say they can’t live without it.

Image source

It’s also interesting to note that looking ahead, ecommerce expert Gary Hoover’s data projects ecommerce retail sales will eventually even out with that of brick and mortar.

This means that even though the online sales trend will continue to grow, there’s plenty of business to go around.

But that’s not all.

Experts also predict that, soon, most ecommerce interactions will be an omni-channel experience for shoppers.

This means they’ll expect to be able to research, browse, shop, and purchase seamlessly between different devices and on different platforms (like a standalone web store, an Amazon presence, etc.)

Other trends to watch for in the future of ecommerce include:

  • Robust customer journeys and personalization.
  • Artificial intelligence-enabled shopping.
  • Digital currencies.

Overall, we have to remember that ecommerce is still fairly new in the big picture of retail.

The future holds endless opportunity, but its success and continuation will largely depend on buyers’ preferences in the future.

FAQs About Ecommerce

What are the main features of an ecommerce website?

Most customers look for a few key features when evaluating an ecommerce website. These are elements that improve the overall online shopping experience by making it highly functional and user-friendly.

  • Easy to use features: Simple navigation tools, easy checkout flows, etc.
  • Mobile compatibility: Compatible and functional on all mobile devices
  • Discount code and promotional capabilities: Allows shoppers to use discounts on-site
  • Security features: Payment processing is secure and reliable
  • Social proof: Validation from past customers and trusted sources
  • User-generated content: Reviews, ratings, and photos that add to the ethos of offerings

Is ecommerce safe?

Yes, ecommerce is safer than ever before.

With the help of multi-layered ecommerce security, monitored transactions, regular PCI scans, SSL certification, protection against DoS/DDoS attacks, and hosting solutions that are PCI compliant, ecommerce stores can offer shoppers the peace of mind that their online purchases are made in a 100% safe and secure environment.

What is ecommerce fulfillment?

Ecommerce fulfillment encapsulates the entire process of receiving an order and shipping it to the customer.

This includes all of the operational and logistical steps that are part of this process, such as inventory management, warehouse organization, order oversight, packaging and shipping, and customer communication regarding order fulfillment.

This aspect of an ecommerce store can be outsourced to an order fulfillment service or managed via dropshipping.

What is an ecommerce marketplace?

An ecommerce marketplace is a type of site where products or services are sold and then processed by the marketplace operator.

These include selling platforms like Etsy, Amazon, and eBay, for example, which are often part of an omni-channel sales strategy.

What are some examples of popular online marketplaces?

  • Amazon.
  • eBay.
  • Alibaba.
  • Etsy.
  • Walmart.
  • Jet.
  • Overstock.
  • Newegg.
  • Rakuten.

What is an ecommerce platform?

An ecommerce platform is a software tool that allows retailers to build and customize digital storefronts and to manage their website, sales, and ecommerce operations from a central hub.

BigCommerce is an example of an ecommerce platform.

What is a hosted ecommerce platform?

A hosted ecommerce platform is one that handles all website hosting responsibilities rather than requiring the individual to do so via a third party solution.

This removes much of the complexities around managing the software of your ecommerce operation and is often cheaper than self-hosting.

In hosted ecommerce platforms, the platform handles updates, security, and other related tasks for the store owner, who is essentially renting the software from them. BigCommerce is an example of a hosted (SaaS) platform. 

Further Reading

Additional Ecommerce Resources

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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72% of Sites Fail Ecommerce Site Search Expectations: 3 Steps + a Checklist to Ensure Yours Isn’t One of Them Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:24:02 +0000 It’s official: mobile ecommerce on-site search experiences are abysmal. You probably didn’t need a study to prove that out. In…]]>

It’s official: mobile ecommerce on-site search experiences are abysmal.

You probably didn’t need a study to prove that out.

We’ve all been there, after all – typing on a mobile screen into a tiny box that serves us little to no accurate results.

In fact, according to a recent Baymard Institute Mobile Ecommerce Usability study, most of us use on-site search when on mobile (and over other mobile search experiences).

Here’s exactly what they found:

On-site search was found to be the preferred product finding strategy of the test subjects, as they perceived it to be faster than category navigation.

And yet, despite most of us using on-site searches on mobile, the mobile search experience on ecommerce sites is almost entirely broken.

Even on desktop – where consumers using on-site search spend 3-4x more with a given brand – most online stores fall short.

“[This data] comes as little surprise, as we’ve already documented how severely desktop ecommerce search misaligns with users’ search behavior,” points out the author of the Baymard study.

“For example, 70% of (desktop) ecommerce search implementations are unable to return relevant results for product-type synonyms (requiring users to search using the exact same jargon as the site) and 34% don’t return useful results when users search for a model number or misspell a word with just a single character in the product title.”

That’s a big deal – because if a consumer is taking the time to type in what exactly they are looking for from your brand, then they are further down the funnel than any other potential consumer on your site.

And yet, most ecommerce brands treat on-site search as an afterthought.

But you shouldn’t, because ignoring on-site search results in:

  • Lower desktop average order value
  • Decreased mobile conversion
  • Reduced SEO – and thus, less organic traffic

With so many brands ignoring this issue, it’s important to break this down to the basics. After all, consumers are using site search bars (despite all the odds against them – hard to see, difficult to use, etc.) and brands still aren’t paying any attention to them.

Meet the Consumers Who Use On-Site Search

Broadly speaking, online shoppers can be split up into two predominant types:

  1. Browsers.
  2. Searchers.

The first type – Browsers – goes through a string of behaviors that is the online equivalent to window-shopping.

They are shoppers who really don’t know precisely what they are looking for, or perhaps are not sure exactly how to verbally express what they want.

Browsers can navigate through multiple merchandise collections, often using the site menu and view many products in one session, without ultimately buying a thing.

Searchers, on the other hand, are shoppers who exhibit a clear intent.

When navigating a website, particularly an ecommerce website, they are looking for a category of products, a specific product, color, or even a SKU.  

The above example is from a nationally recognized online store, where their best performing on-site search keywords are SKUs.

This focused behavior leads to a exponentially higher likelihood of conversion. This is why search can be characterized as the most important conversion vehicle on on your website.

3 Ways to Optimize Mobile Search for Increased Sales

Think of on-site search as a handy assistant to your most important shoppers – those who exhibit a clear intent.

This is especially true on mobile, where on-site search experiences across 50 of the top online brands (in the study conducted by Baymard) shows the brands average mobile on-site search experience is way below customer expectation par.

This makes sense. Here are the 2 biggest issues confronting searching mobile consumers.  

  1. When it comes to mobile, the smaller screen and touch functionality affects browsing experience.
  2. Viewing is more limited than on desktop. On mobile, a consumer typically sees only one or two products per screen, while on a laptop or desktop it’s likely that dozens of products are visible at once.

These cause mobile browsing to be a more tedious experience –– causing shoppers to abandon the funnel and lose you the sale.

Is it possible this variance in mobile behavior and lack of UX is partly responsible for the lower mobile conversion rate when compared to desktop?

It’s only a correlation, but it’s enough so to light a fire under any brand not focusing on optimizing for it.

Here are 3 tips to power-up mobile site search for your store.

1. Make your mobile search box visible and open.

Designers and UX professionals know the importance of search, and typically assign it prime real estate in a custom theme.

However, in many default store themes, the search box is missing or hidden on the mobile screen.

As a result, search becomes a small magnifying glass icon that is hardly noticeable to the eye, or worse, buried among many other menu items.

Recognize this?

Keep in mind, that shoppers of the ‘Searchers’ variety are your most important customers, and they already know what they want to buy.

Make your search box visible, open and easily accessible, so that people can engage with it intuitively.

What follows is common sense: if your mobile shoppers can type what they are looking for and find it quickly, conversion is not only more likely, it is accelerated.

When shoppers see a clear, open search box front and center, they are encouraged to start their journey by telling you what they are looking for.

Let’s look at 3 examples:

1. BB Crafts.’s visible search box helps shoppers find what they want on mobile, with the search bar clearly visible and ready for text just below the logo.

2. So Good to Buy.

So Good to Buy has a similar design, putting the search bar open and clearly visible just above the logo and below the sales banners.

3. Sam’s Furniture.

Sam’s Furniture’s mobile search bar blends more into the theme, but remains open and visible. It also allows for a photo search option as well.

Sam’s Furniture One of the Most Innovative Brands of 2017

Selling furniture online is hard. Not because its expensive. Not because there are a ton of competitors.

Those things matter, sure, but it is the difficulty in shipping that is the real issue.

Here’s how Sam’s Furniture figured it out.

2. Use rich autocomplete with error-correction to engage shoppers.

Google has cornered nearly 80% of the web search market. It’s safe to assume your online shoppers are familiar with it.

We are all therefore conditioned by Google to expect an autocomplete function.

This means that the search engine predicts a search query as it is typed.

When the autocomplete mechanism works well, it:

  • Helps users save time
  • Iterates their search queries better
  • Finds the results they’re looking for, faster.

In ecommerce, these benefits extend not only to suggesting the search query, but also suggesting the most relevant products.

If the user selects a popular query, he or she would get to a results page, without the need to type the entire product name or search query.

In addition to saving time, this implicitly also assures the shopper that they’re in the right place, since they are not the only one searching for this particular term, phrase or item.

If, alternatively, a shopper selects a recommended product, they would proceed to land on the product page.

From there, they can conveniently click the “Buy” button and begin the checkout process, without first going through a search results page.

Here’s how that process works.

  1. Go to search
  2. Type in search – it auto-populates
  3. Go to product pages instead of search category page

This quick shift from search to product page, in turn, accelerates the purchase cycle and speeds up conversion.

What’s more is that on mobile, autocomplete holds even greater importance, since screen real-estate is scarce, and smartphone typing is error-prone and somewhat harder to execute, compared to desktop.

This is precisely why rich autocomplete is infinitely crucial to mobile conversion.

Shoppers should be able to find products even if they misspell all or part of their query, and this is more likely to happen if visitors are engaged from the very first character they type.

Let’s look at another example by Group Vertical, which uses rich autocomplete to engage shoppers and minimize the typing requirement.

3. Use merchandising to promote products where it matters.

Search is all about anticipating shoppers’ intent.

And with AI on the horizon and machine learning getting faster and much, much smarter –– on-site search may be the first arena to employ these new technologies.

After all, AI algorithms predict with high accuracy which products a shopper will select at a given moment for a specific search query.

For instance, when a shopper searches for “running shoes” – what are the products he or she are most likely products to click on?

AI and machine learning can get us closer to the results.

Search apps and search engines are self-learning. This means that those engines analyze, learn and improve the relevance of search results over time.

It’s why every so often, Google has a major update to their algorithm. As the algorithm evolves, so does the code and thus engineers must get involved.

Of course, machine learning and AI are only half of the equation.

The other half relates to the online merchant’s strategic choices, which can vary according to a number of business related considerations, including:

  • Item profitability
  • Ongoing or ad-hoc promotions
  • Stock shortage and surplus

These merchandising decisions dictate a variety of decisions:

  • Which products are promoted ahead of others
  • Which products are hidden or buried according to season, promotion or keyword
  • Which products appear in searches initiated from specific geographic locations.
  • Which products appear for specific customer groups and segments

Advanced merchandising capabilities are doubly crucial when it comes to mobile shopping.

Once again, this is due to the small screen size, and the fact that shoppers who browse search results will typically only look at only the first few to see if that’s what they are looking for before moving on.

You can’t count on shoppers giving you a second chance – not when competition may be out-UXing you.

By ensuring that the search algorithm takes into account not only the verbiage used, but also other factors such as user behavior, location and promotions, merchants can better match shoppers’ intent and display the most relevant results possible.

Then, the path to conversion is quicker. is merchandising search results to optimize conversion with over 50,000 products. This is key for parts and whole product vendors. They need to promote whole products ahead of their parts. In the example above, you see that when you search for drone, you first get the whole drone product rather than drone engine replacement part.

Your On-Site Search Optimization Checklist

If you’ve been struggling to improve mobile conversion rate in on your site, dive in to your on-site search report and see what shows up.

  • Are folks searching for items that get no results?

Don’t be like HP. Ensure your search results always show something relevant – or at least moves them to another idea.

  • What are your most popular search terms?

Can you use those to inform your SEO strategy, too? The above keywords get people to click on the product page. That would probably be the case on Google, too. Try it out!

  • Are consumers using site search at all?

BigCommerce’s in-store search analytics report breaks down in-store search queries to help you better investigate needs. Learn more about the report here.

Additional apps you can use like Instant Search+ also provide in-depth search analytics for better decision making and optimization prioritization.

  • Can you install a heat map tool (Lucky Orange, for instance) to see if users hover or click on the bar?

The above questions are how you determine if your on-site search functionality needs a facelift.

And in all likelihood – it does.

Not even the biggest brands out there get this right even 50% of the time. But you can.

And that’s how you win over the competitors.

Recommended Site Search Functionality & Best Practices
  • Make sure your search bar in visible on all devices.
  • Use autocomplete for quicker searches.
  • Ensure misspellings still have results.
  • Merchandise on-site search results for relevance.
  • Turn your frequently searched for items into FAQs for SEO.
  • Use images rather than only text.

Additional Store Search Best Practices

Learn how to set up your BigCommerce site for an exceptional on-site search experience now.

Want more insights like this?

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The 19 Ecommerce Trends + 147 Online Shopping Stats Fueling Sales Growth in 2018 Wed, 20 Dec 2017 14:00:25 +0000 Conducting high-level research into who buys what, when and why, with regards to Americans shopping online, can be costly and…]]>

Conducting high-level research into who buys what, when and why, with regards to Americans shopping online, can be costly and time-consuming — which is why we’ve done it for you.

BigCommerce has teamed up with retail and payment experts Square to dive deep into the shopping habits, behavior and preferences of thousands of American buyers across multiple generations in 2018.

Free Download

Get the Comprehensive Modern Consumer Shopping Habits Study in a PDF version for further reading, research and action. It’s free and a quick download away.

Download Report Now

In addition, we’ll be breaking down the top ecommerce trends of 2018.

We began monitoring the impact of these trends during Cyber Five 2017.


Because a lot happens in a year within retail and ecommerce.

And every new product, tool, technology and strategy that enters the market hits a crux during Cyber Five.

That’s when those new rules to success have to pass a very hard test:

Do these strategies actually work under the height of industry traffic, sales and scrutiny?

Let me give you an example:

2017 has been the year of Facebook Advertising.

But we’ve all been in that year before, with another tool you have heard of: Google Shopping and PLAs.

Those two tactics still work wonders for brands, with the caveat that:

  1. Competition is fierce and as a result…
  2. Costs are high.

Those two factors often make Google Shopping and PLAs harder for brands making less than $10M in annual sales to compete.

It’s a big-box play where demand is high and visibility is low in supply. And you all well understand economics 101.

Facebook is about to go through the same transition.

But I’ll let one of my go-to experts on Facebook Advertising explain this for me.

In 2018, one thing is guaranteed, Facebook Ad inventory will go up in cost.

Facebook has made a lot of ecommerce owners into millionaires, but now big brands are realizing the power of Facebook and the cost is going up. – Eric Carlson, Co-founder, 10X Factory.

He isn’t the only one who sees this coming.

As a result, many experts are recommending alternate approaches to success for 2018.

This is especially true for brands just breaking into the $1,000,000 in annual revenue club – or at least have it in sight.

Brands like that are considered early stage, high-growth ecommerce companies.

And they have a big challenge to address:

Allocating funds appropriately to sustain and accelerate growth without losing it all.

It’s a hard task at hand. So, here’s what I did:

  1. I reached out to 31 experts to ask what 3 areas they’d focus on (or are planning on focusing on) for 2018 to drive real growth and get ahead of the trends.
  2. Then, I went through all of their answers, and gathered them into categories.
  3. Next, I ranked them based on how many experts said this strategy or areas of focus was important.

And this post is the culmination of that information – along with 147 stats to back up how the industry has gotten here.

Join the Ecommerce Growth Summit

This half-day pre-IRCE event on June 5 is limited to only 250 attendees and includes speaking tracks from:

  • Jennifer Fleiss, Co-founder of Rent the Runway
  • Ken Natori, President of The Natori Company
  • Jenny Buchar, Senior Manager, Digital Operations at SkullCandy
  • and others!

Food and drinks are complimentary – as are Q&A sessions with the speakers on how they grew to $100M, launched wholesale and direct to consumer channels, migrated from Demandware and Magento and so much more.

Reserve your spot now

Top 19 Ecommerce Trends of 2018

Here are the top 19 ecommerce trends and growth strategies recommended by Internet Retailer 1000 brands and the experts that advise them, in order of priority.

  1. Localization, Personalization & CX.
  2. Community Building, Customer Engagement & CRM.
  3. New Content Types & SEO.
  4. Mobile Optimization.
  5. Social Media Advertising, Campaigns & Retargeting.
  6. CRO & Data-Driven Optimizations.
  7. Technology.
  8. Email Marketing, Automation & AOV.
  9. Influencer Marketing.
  10. Omni-Channel Management.
  11. Payment Solutions.
  12. Branding.
  13. International.
  14. Customer Lifetime Value & Referral Programs.
  15. Catalog Extension.
  16. PR.
  17. Shipping + Fulfillment Optimization.
  18. Sales Tax Liability.
  19. Pricing.

To help keep you focused on these priorities, I’ve broken down the top 10 below, and looked at:

  • What it means
  • Why it’s so important
  • Materials you can use now to brush up on the topic
  • Brands already doing it well so you can mimic their approach, and alter it for your specific audience.

This is your ultimate checklist for what you should be focusing on, in order of priority, for 2018.

Bookmark the page, and dive on in.

1. Localization, personalization and customer experience.

I know what you’re thinking:

There are way too many topics combined into a single strategy here.

But that’s just not true.

Localization is a segment of personalization, and all personalization aims at bettering the customer experience.

Let’s look at it in that lens.

What is customer experience?

Customer experience historically has involved WOW’ing the consumer. Providing exceptional customer service, fast shipping, low prices, an easy-to-navigate site.

This discipline includes:

  • UX
  • Pricing strategy
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Customer service.

In 2018, though, personalization and localization are being added to that mix.

This is because easy-to-navigate websites, fast shipping and transparent pricing are already the norm.

Now, brands must look to new tactics to make their customer experience a differentiator.

What is personalization?

Personalization in ecommerce often refers to personalized merchandising. When personalizing a site experience, brands use a variety of known customer data points to serve contextually relevant content and products.

Those data points can include:

  • Search Queries: Recommend products based on a customer’s search terms
  • Purchase History: Recommend products based on a customer’s past purchases
  • Shopping Cart: Recommend products based on the current contents of a customer’s cart or wishlist
  • Social Behavior: Recommend products based on product rating, shares and likes
  • Geographic Location: Suggest relevant products based on customer’s local climate or other regional considerations
  • Customer Segments: Use purchase histories of customers with similar demographics to recommend products

Using data points like the above, site pages will be altered to best serve and convert the individual consumer.

What is localization?

Localization is a form of personalization in which the IP address of a customer alters site content to provide for more contextual merchandising and content.

Here’s an example from Tyler’s TX. My IP address is coming in from Austin, Texas – so the site serves me Austin, Texas content.

Best Online Guides for Personalization

Here are a few guides you can use to learn about personalization, localization and on-site merchandising to increase your customer experience.

  1. The Ecommerce Personalization Manual: 3 chapters full of actionable steps to increase your revenue through measurable personalization testing and implementation.
  2. How to Use Local Marketing to Sell More: From local SEO to localized merchandising and everything in-between, here’s a step-by-step guide to get more locals to your site.
  3. How 12 Wildly Successful Stores Use Visual Merchandising to Drive Sales: It’s not just about implementing the personalization, it is also about how it looks. This guide will show you exactly how to do it –– based on what is already working in the market.
  4. How 3 Brands Conquered Global Markets via Localization: Localization matters most when dealing with international audiences. Here’s how you can localize to earn global sales, no matter your size.
  5. Personalization Apps + Tools to Help You Implement: A list of tools and apps you can begin using now to implement personalization strategies.

3 Real World Personalization Examples

Here are how 3 brands currently optimized their customer experience using a variety of personalization tactics.

1. Marucci.

Marucci on-site bat customization tool hits it out of the park – seriously.

Customers can build their own bat, including material, color and even initial customization.

Then, once you build the bat, that bat will follow you around the web until purchase.

Check it out.

2. Declaration Co.

You can use a combination of out-of-the-box personalization tools and additional applications to turn your product pages into landing pages (i.e. high-traffic driving, high-converting).

Check out below how Declaration Co. makes this work.

P.S. They use the Personalized Recommendation App by Beeketing.

3. Paul Mitchell.

Wondering how you can collect additional data to better personalize?

Create an educational survey to lead consumers further down your funnel, as well as collect additional information.

Check out the one Paul Mitchell emailed out to their list:

2. Community building, customer engagement and CRM.

It’s hard to build a community and appropriately engage with your customers if you don’t have a rock solid CRM.

What is a CRM?

CRM stands for customer relationship management. You’ve probably heard of one of the most widely used ones: Salesforce.

What these tools do is aggregate customer information – including order information, additional data points they’ve given you – with touchpoint information.

In other words, you can go to a customer’s profile in a CRM tool and see:

  • When you last emailed them
  • Who last spoke to them on chat and about what
  • When they last bought something
  • What their average LTV is
  • So on and so forth.

For ecommerce brands, this often means pulling in information from:

  • On-site chat
  • Facebook messenger
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Order statuses
  • Customer groups
  • Loyalty programs
  • Referral programs
  • And more

Why does all of this matter?

Because how effectively you speak to your customer, solve their issue and get them to the cart directly affects engagement, conversion and your bottom line.

Omnichannel Applies to CRM, Too

Establish a single customer system of record.

It’s nearly impossible to truly accomplish #1 without one.

Make sure it can resolve identities across devices!

– Eric Keating, VP of Marketing, Zaius

Best Online Guides for Customer Engagement

Get a head start in improving your customer engagement via community and CRM. Here are the best guides to walk you through each aspect.

  1. How to Navigate the Chaotic Chat Channels of Modern Ecommerce Customer Service: Two brands give you a behind-the-scenes look at how they manage exceptional customer service across all channels. Hint: They use Reamaze.
  2. 8 Tools + Must-Know Strategies to Drive Customer Acquisition and Lifetime Loyalty: Everything you need to know from Day 1 to get more customers now and then keep them coming back for the long term (i.e. how to build a community of buyers).
  3. What Sending 100,000,000 Emails Taught Me About What Doesn’t Work: The best way to learn how your customers want to engage? Learn how they don’t. But don’t learn it firsthand. This article will show you the pain, and the solution, so you can go into the game smarter and better.
  4. How to Set Up an Ecommerce Customer Loyalty Program: This guide will walk you through everything you need to know, from why to how and then how to measure.
  5. How to Use Customer Testimonials to Drive 62% More Sales: Already have a ton of engagement? Here’s how you can use that engagement to get even more.
  6. CRM and Customer Relationship Management Tools: All the tools you might need to grow your program and track your conversations more strategically and seamlessly than ever before.

Have You Gone ChatBot Yet?

Now is a great time to starting thinking about chatbots.

There’s a lot of different types of chatbots available now that can help you on-site with customer service, or Messenger bots that can help you build longer and stronger relationships with your customers and fans.

– Richard Lazazzera, Founder of A Better Lemonade Stand

3 Real World Customer Engagement Examples

The very first step to ensuring your customers engage with your brand is to ensure they can SEE that they can engage with your brand.

Here are 3 examples of brands doing just that.

1. Olive Ave.

Olive Ave uses subtle but clear on-site messaging to alert customers to a variety of customer engagement tools, including:

  • Reviews
  • Chat
  • Rewards

This is a common trio of customer engagement tactics – allowing customers to see and leave reviews, talk to someone for help and/or join the rewards program.

See how they did it below.

2. Mountain Crest Gardens.

Mountain Crest Gardens is, in my professional opinion, light years ahead of most ecommerce brands in terms of customer engagement.

They used a tool – Rivet Works – to collect not just customer reviews, but customer photos of their products being used.

And people LOVE it.

They use those photos on their review page (below), on product pages as well as in social media –– always with a call to action for a customer to also submit.

It’s an engagement tactic that kills 3 birds (AKA tactics), with one stone (AKA email).

3. Shongolulu.

Want to know one of the best ways to build customer engagement?

Get them involved directly in your company mission.

Many brands with philanthropic missions, like Shongolulu, encourage customers to become brand ambassadors –– sharing the message with the world.

And it works!

As the micro-influencer and ambassador community grows, so too does your brand’s presence across the web.

After all, it’s always been a small group of dedicated people who changed the world.

Let your brand lead the next charge.

Be Yourself. Sell More. It Can Be That Easy.

Turn yourself and your employees into personalities. You’ll develop quicker and more meaningful relationships with your customers when it’s personal.

In 2018, people connect with other people – not brands, or companies.

– Brett Owens, Marketing Director & Co-Founder, LeadDyno

3. New content types and SEO.

Even during Cyber Week 2017, in BigCommerce’s User Facebook Group, I had brands telling me that while their campaigns performed insanely well, organic still drove the most conversions.

That’s right – organic traffic still ranks as the #1 tactic for driving traffic and conversions for the long term.

This isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. Nor is it one you can just ignore.

  • You want to win at least on long-tail keywords.
  • You want traffic to your site to be at least 50% organic.

This is because:

  1. You don’t have to pay for organic traffic: In theory, you have to pay with your time or a salary to a content creator and SEO manager)
  2. People like to find “the best” on their own, not through ads: If they can type in a keyword on Google, come to your site and be floored at what you offer –– they are converting. And fast.

What is SEO?

SEO is the acronym for search engine optimization.

This is mostly referring to Google’s search engine because it is the most used in the world (next to Amazon’s, but that’s a topic for another time).

The more optimized your website is, the higher you show up in Google’s search results.

Your goal is to rank 0-5 for any related keyword search.

Most ecommerce brands optimize for long-tail, at least at first. Getting high ranking for short-tail keywords is hard. Bigger brands typically win here because of their Domain Authority, which takes into account:

  • How long your site has been live
  • How much traffic it gets
  • How long people stay on it
  • How many people link to it
  • Etc.

Think Far Beyond the Sale

On-site content to draw in customers in times other than a purchase point is becoming super important for LTV increase without large marketing spend.

– Erik Huberman, Founder and CEO, Hawke Media

What are long-tail vs. short-tail keywords?

“Bow ties” is a short-tail keyword. “Bow ties for dachshunds” is a long-tail keyword.

Long-tail keywords are just more specific.  

Best Online Guides for SEO + Content

Optimize your site as it currently is, and get content ideas now from these comprehensive guides.

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce SEO: Learn how to attain page 1 ranking + see all the tools the experts use, how, when and why. This is the scientific side of SEO.
  2. How to Master Amazon SEO: Yes, Amazon also has a search engine – called A9. This post will teach you how to rank well there, too.
  3. How to Build a B2B SEO Strategy to Beat Out Your Competition: Online B2B sales are growing. Getting your B2B SEO strategy in shape now will set you up to win for the long run.
  4. The Content Strategy to 3X Your Ecommerce Traffic: You can build it, that doesn’t mean they will come. This guide will show you how to make sure your content, your site and your products get seen. It doesn’t end at publish –– it ends at sales.
  5. How to Turn Product Pages Into High-Converting Landing Pages: This is a HUGE opportunity. Turn your product pages into optimized landing pages and you’ll get more traffic AND more sales. This guide will show you how (plus the good and the bad of the tactic).

Content marketing is harder than ever. Don’t give up.

Content marketing hasn’t changed much from last year beyond the fact that it’s harder than ever before to rank.

  • You’re competing with more brands.
  • You’re competing with more landing pages.
  • You’re competing with more videos on YouTube.

So, it’s time to invest in creating content that is both optimized for search and maximized for shareability on social media.

– Ross Simmonds, Founder, Foundation Marketing

3 Real World Content + SEO Examples

The best advice out there right now in terms of SEO for ecommerce brands is this:

Turn your product pages into optimized landing pages.

How do you do that?

Check out the brands below.

1. Jackson Galaxy.

Jackson Galaxy uses video, clear CTAs, lots of copy and tons of reviews to turn their product pages into an SEO-optimized landing page.

2. BlanksUSA.

BlanksUSA uses campaign pages as landing pages in order to drive long-tail traffic to products easily grouped for a specific customer segment.

In this case, for the small-business audience.

3. Orion Cooler.

And what if you just want to make sure your homepage is optimized? Well, be sure you include:

  1. Interactive graphics
  2. Videos
  3. Cross-linking.

Orion Coolers does this well.

4. Mobile optimization.

Mobile optimization these days isn’t just about having a site that is responsive.

That’s just step #1.

Having a mobile-optimized site also means including:

  • Mobile-optimized search
  • Digital wallets
  • Product videos

And that’s just for starters.

Mobile and Desktop UX Should Be Equal

Mobile experience need to be on par with desktop. That’s just expectation these days.

– Josh Mendelsohn, VP Marketing, Privy

Digital Wallets + Mobile Optimization

Mobile commerce is continuing to rise thanks to one new technology: digital wallets.

These wallets allow for one-click purchasing that makes buying on the go less annoying.

Examples of digital wallets and one-touch payments include:

  • Amazon Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • PayPal One-Touch
  • Visa Checkout

Focus on Mobile Checkout

Offer Apple Pay, PayPal Express or Visa Checkout and don’t make the customer have to fill in all of their details on a mobile phone.

Ease of purchase is key.

Also, think about credit. PayPal Credit was previously expensive for the retailer.

Today’s buy-now, pay-later systems are not – including PayPal Credit and Klarna.

– Rupert Cross, Digital Director, 5874

Best Online Guides for Mobile Optimization

Mobile is the New Desktop

In the digital space we’ve been banging the drum on mobile for years now and there are still many sites that don’t get it.

Optimize your forms, create mobile-first designs, load pages quickly. Mobile is here. Understand how your customers use mobile and optimize.

– Stephen Slater, Digital Advertising Manager, TopRankMarketing

3 Real World Content + SEO Examples

1. Couture Candy.

On mobile, what would you do?

Fill out your email and begin an account…or just use Amazon Pay?

2. CocoWeb.

Same scenario here –– sign up, or just hit Apple Pay and be done with it?

“We have seen an AOV increase of over 25%, a mobile conversion increase of over 75%. We accomplished this while decreasing mobile paid traffic by over 50%!” 

3. Solo Stove.

You don’t even need to take them to a cart. Just use a pop-up like Solo Stove does to help the customer decide where to go next.

Make sure payment is one of those options.

Mobile Means Everything

Mobile experience will be key in 2018.

Mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic, and we are seeing mobile sales approach desktop sales.

This trend will continue, with mobile eventually overtaking desktop sales.

Retailers with a mobile-first mentality will outperform those that treat mobile as a second priority. This mobile-first mentality applies to everything: web design, email layouts, reward programs and more.

– Steve Deckert, Co-Founder,

5. Social media advertising, campaigns and retargeting.

Social media advertising, specifically Facebook Advertising, was all the rage in 2017.

Many an ecommerce business owner turned a pretty $1,000,000 in annual revenue off of this tactic.

And while many may still be able to do so in 2018, it is likely that the cost is going to go way up.

In the meantime, be sure you have the basics down:

  1. Upload your catalog to Facebook Shop
  2. Use Dynamic Product Ads to retarget site visitors based on what they viewed.

Social Media is Scientific

Brands need to gain a scientific understanding of social media marketing and become experts in A/B testing in site building, content development and marketing/advertising.

All of these work together.

– Krista Fabregas, Editor, Ecommerce & Retail, FitSmallBusiness

What is Social Media Advertising?

Social media advertising is a popular channel for ecommerce brands to use to run campaigns, drive traffic and close sales.

It works best when:

  • Retargeting customers who visited a site to come back and close a sale
  • Using customer testimonials and videos to earn visibility
  • Creating an online, loyal community

Facebook Advertising has historically been the most popular social media advertising channel.

The Pillars of Modern Social Media Advertising

Good social media advertising and marketing is about 3 things:

  1. Engaging with consumers where they are – in social media – and not just using social media as an advertisement, but as a way to truly engage with and celebrate your fans
  2. The use of user-generated content in your social media, which will help you both celebrate your fans and provide a more authentic engagement experience for consumers
  3. Leveraging micro-influencers in a broad and authentic way to expose your content to new consumers.

– Neal Schaffer, Author, The Business of Influence

Best Online Guides for Social Media Advertising

Retargeting and Engagement Go Hand in Hand

Building a culture around your brand will be the only way to compete and thrive in a marketplace that turns everything into a commodity driven by price and reviews.

So focus on engagement, retargeting and community.

– Bryan Bowman, Founder, eCom Underground

3 Real World Social Advertising Examples

1. Tommy John.

Tommy John uses a gifting video along with a customer testimonial in this re-targeted Facebook Ad.

2. Rollie.

Rollie is an Australian brand that has (clearly) just launched in the US. They are likely targeting me based on my geographic location and having visited their site before.

This link leads back to a specific campaign page.

The ad is an image.

2. Nike.

Nike is using the multiple photo option ad (aka, not a video) and promoting customized items in the ads.

Video + Ads = Success

Facebook prioritizes videos and videos help build way more trust then just a regular ad. Videos are so powerful and using Facebook Custom Engagement Audiences you can sequence potential customers who watch 10 seconds of one of your videos to another video.

Using Facebook Video Ads combined with Custom Engagement Audiences alone you can sequence potential customers all the way down a video funnel that goes from Awareness to Engagement and then to Conversion.

In 2018 video will continue to be a huge opportunity for ecommerce brands.

– Daniel Wallock, Marketing Strategist, Wallock Media

6. CRO and data-driven optimizations.

CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, which you can only do through data-driven optimization and decision making.

These two aspects are tied hand in hand. You cannot do one without the other.

Average ecommerce conversion rates rest at about 2% – and that’s not very good.

Conversion rate optimization allows you to run tests to determine which various designs, language, etc. increase sales versus others.

Then, you can launch updates sitewide to see a major lift.

CRO Tools Are Cheap and Easy

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) to me is priority 1, 2, and 3.

The tools are cheap and easy to use. The data they can provide is invaluable.

Look for little wins here and there and over the course of the year you will find that you have made it far more likely that a visitor to your website becomes a paying customer.

– Zach Heller, Owner, Zach Heller Marketing

CRO Best Practices

Here are a few key best practices and tools to use for CRO and testing.

  • Keep yourself out of the picture: Don’t create navigation categories just to create categories. Only include links your shoppers find valuable. This is not the time or place to rely on aesthetics or your gut feeling. Instead, use Google Analytics or your ecommerce analytics to determine your most frequently visited landing pages (i.e. Women’s, Men’s, New Products, etc) and then link out to those within your site navigation.
  • Use tools to avoid assumptions: Consider using Crazy Egg, HotJar or Lucky Orange, tools that provides heat mapping. Heat mapping is an insanely valuable way to better understand how a shopper uses your site. This type of information is extremely informative, especially when coupled with additional metrics regarding your online store, like in-store search and website exit rates.

  • Create categories based on search: If you’re a BigCommerce merchant, use your in-store search analytics to help determine what shoppers are looking for, then bring those categories front and center. If you’re not a BigCommerce merchant or you’d like another look at what shoppers are searching for on your site, use Google Analytics: Google Analytics > Account > Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms.

Get more in touch with your market

Regularly get your customers on the phone. Ask why they choose you. Ask what problems drove them to you in the first place. Ask how they view you compared to competitors.

Ask, ask, ask.

Their answers are literally what should go on your website to connect more deeply with your market and generate more sales.

Nothing generates more ideas for how to improve your website than these conversations.

– David Tendrich, Co-Founder & CEO, Reliable PSD

Best Online Guides for CRO

Testing is Always Priority #1

Every brand has to first test their way to success. That’s always a top priority.  

The second is to spend 10% of your time/budget testing new techniques and technologies.

And the third is to be sure to share your successes and failures with everybody internally. That way, you can be sure you have a staff with a knowledge base.

– Jamie Turner, Author, Speaker, and CEO, Jamie Turner Live

3 Real World CRO Examples

OK, so this is the one section of the post where I can’t give you any original examples.

A/B testing is a private strategy for businesses, and rarely do they share their insights beyond the internal teams.

That makes sense.

You don’t want to show your strategic and data-backed advantages to your competitors, do you?

I found a few examples, but none show you side-by-side design comparisons.

1. Andreas Carter Sports.

One of the biggest changes we made was to the ‘Add To Cart’ button. Simply changing it from black to a blue color has reduced abandoned carts by up to 50%. – Jeremy Hagon, Marketing Manager, Andreas Carter Sports

2. SerengeeTee.

We have continued to improve conversion through A/B testing and design upgrades. Last year, conversion was 4.2%; this year, we are at 4.6%.

The average conversion rate in our industry is somewhere in the 2-3% ballpark.

This has given us an edge against other clothing brands. – Jeff Steitz, Founder and CEO at Serengetee

3. Natomounts.

I have 30 BigCommerce sites up and the reason I keep coming back is because my development staff and design staff are familiar with the templates and the backend. We can quickly create a website or create a duplicate website for A/B testing in less than a few days. – Brandon Chatham, Founder & CEO of NatoMounts.

The One Tactic Above All Else

Every business, depending on what stage they are in, will have different priorities, but I know what we’ll be focused on.

We’re going to add more great private label products and drive more traffic via email marketing.

But number 1 for us, as always, is continual conversion optimization.

– Jason Boyce, Founder, Dazadi

7. Technology.

There’s been a massive shift in retail. Everyone feels it.

  • It’s why there is so much more competition.
  • It’s why marketing matters so much more than ever before.

It all comes down to two things: cost of entry and scale.

The cost of entry and cost to scale have dramatically reduced over the years. It would be impossible a decade ago to launch a website paying only $30 a month.

Today, that’s the norm.

And because the cost to entry is so low, more people has entered. And a lot of those people are scaling –– again, because the technology to do so costs so little.

Suddenly, marketing to earn your fair share of the market is one of the most important factors to success.

And if that’s the case, well…

Then you better make sure you tech stack works for you.

Let’s listen to Grant Yuan, President of

My advice for other business owners is this: it’s important to save time and work on the things that matter.

Rather than tying up time with manual data entry and packaging, focus on things that help your business grow – like marketing, business development, etc.

Let tools and integrations take care of the other elements of the business, and outsource work when you need it.

Don’t be afraid to invest in resources that help you grow faster and with less stress.

20 Most Popular Ecommerce Tools

Here are some of the most popular tools, apps and technologies for ecommerce brands. 

  1. MailChimp.
  2. Shipstation.
  3. QuickBooks Online.
  4. Facebook Ads Extension.
  5. JustUno.
  6. Buy Buttons.
  7. Yotpo.
  8. ShipperHQ.
  10. AfterShip.
  11. inkFrog Open.
  12. Signifyd.
  13. Xero.
  15. PixelPop.
  16. InStockNotify.
  17. Shippo.
  18. Soundest.
  19. Form Builder by POWr.
  20. BigCommerce.

3 Real World Examples of Brands Using Technology to Grow

1. So Suzy Stamps.

Honestly, InStockAlerts is worth its weight in gold. When I was starting out, I didn’t have a lot of inventory. I didn’t understand how fast I was going to grow. So, I’d do a new product release and within an hour I’d be out of stamps.

Suddenly, all my customers wanted to know when a product would be back in stock. They wanted an email to let them know so they didn’t miss out on it a second time.

I knew I didn’t have time to send everyone an email! Then, I have more sales with no additional time spent. It’s magic. – Suzanne Moore, Founder, So Suzy Stamps

2. Atlanta Light Bulbs.

We also use PriceWaiter on our product pages – which lets the buyer name a price. The buyer goes to our site and says, “Hey, I want to buy 50 of these at $2 a piece.”

On the backend, we have loaded up all of our pricing rules into the PriceWaiter system. That app knows if we are willing to sell X items for Y dollars –– as long as the order value is above Z.

PriceWaiter auto-calculates all of that on the fly for the B2B buyer so they don’t have to wait to hear back from us. They just get a message that says we’ve accepted their offer, or if the price is too low, we offer them a different deal. –– Doug Root, CEO at Atlanta Light Bulbs

3. Incy Interiors.

We use several different integrations with BigCommerce right now, but we like the social tools that make it easy to optimize things like email campaigns we send out through MailChimp.

We’re currently setting up a more robust CRM system, but we use MailChimp to work on lowering cart abandonment rates and staying in touch with our customers.

We also like that the social media tools for Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram make it much easier to share our products. – Krista Withers, Founder of Incy Interiors

Your Secret Weapon

Leverage new technologies and services to make purchases as easy as possible. Never forget that there is tech out there to help you solve a variety of problems.

– David Mercer, Founder, SMEPals

8. Email marketing, automation and AOV.

Email marketing has long held the #1 position as the most profitable growth channel for online stores.

There is a few reasons for this:

  • Building your email list drives top-of-funnel connections – allowing you to build out a funnel that turns email addresses into real, loyal customers.
  • Receipt emails are the most opened emails bar none. Your opportunity to upsell or drive loyalty here is huge.
  • Your email marketing open and click-through rate are easily measurable, and give you a good understanding of how engaged your audience is (or isn’t).
  • Because metrics are easy to track, A/B testing messages to increase engagement is relatively easy, and won’t affect on-site conversions.
  • Doing all of the above is free once you capture that email (also depending on the cost of your email service provider).
  • Best yet, all of the above can be automated. This means you can set and forget, check the number, re-optimize and then go about your business is other areas.

All in all, email marketing drives increased loyalty, repeat purchases, net new purchases and increased AOV, and it can do all of that without you having to actually send individual emails to individual customers.

Automation is the real winner here – and email marketing is a test-bed of measurable aspects you can manipulate in order to drive growth behind the scenes.

Automation That Feels Human

Every ecommerce brand should prioritize their automation, whether that’s automated emails or on-site campaigns.

It’s the name of the game and one that you’ll need to do without sacrificing too much of the human touch to execute it well.

–  Kayla Lewkowicz, Marketing Manager, Privy

Best Online Guides for Email Marketing and Automation

3 Real World Email Marketing Examples

Email marketing doesn’t always have to be about journeys and streams.

Those are big parts of what makes email marketing work. But the #1 thing you must do is this:

  • Be honest.
  • Be open.
  • Be transparent.

You want your audience to connect. Here are some great ways to do it.

1. Dorco.

Dorco sent out a personal email from the CEO of the company to promote an organization called ShowerUp –– a mobile truck that goes around to homeless communities to provide hygiene options –– like shaving –– to the community.

It’s a heartfelt letter with a real signature. It also includes a coupon code so that you can give and get discounted off.

It’s a win-win-win.


Sometimes, philanthropy and sales can go hand in hand.

This is especially true with They run a site that allows folks to buy gifts that help those in the underdeveloped world.

Here is an example of one of their holiday emails to their base.

3. Kelty.

Remember, beyond giving and philanthropy, your emails should build community among your base.

Kelty, a camping site, does this incredibly well. Each of their emails is themed, with an image to support the message.

Yes, they showcase products. But they also showcase content to help readers and customers nail down their next adventure.

9. Influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is one of the most effective strategies to growth for online brands.


Because consumers trust other people’s opinions over almost anything else.

Word of mouth is powerful – and today, word of mouth doesn’t have to happen face to face.

Instead, it can happen Instagram post to Instagram Post or YouTube Video to YouTube Video.

And better yet, for brands at least, you don’t have to pay an insane amount of money to make influencer marketing work for you.

You don’t have to be, know or pay for Kylie Jenner, for instance.

Instead, you can empower a group of micro-influencers to create a groundswell of support that isn’t expensive to maintain and that feels more natural, community-driven and honest than large payouts to big names.

Influencers Are Vital

A strong network of influencers is a vital part of building a strong, sustainable ecommerce business.

– David Mercer, Founder, SMEPals

Most Commonly Used Influencer Marketing Strategies

  1. Content Featuring Your Products or Services
  2. Product or Service Reviews
  3. Promote Giveaway Contests
  4. Offer Discounts to Drive Conversions
  5. Offer Custom URLs for Free Access

Best Online Guides for Influencer Marketing

3 Real-World Influencer Marketing Examples

1. Natori.

Natori promoted their line of sports bras through fitness influencer Sarah Dussault.

Natori is a brand that sells luxury lingerie, women’s clothing and home décor.

If they were to promote any of their other products through this specific influencer, it wouldn’t be as relevant.

But in this case, the product they were promoting was a line of sports bras, so a fitness influencer like Sarah was a good choice.

2. Skullcandy.

Skullcandy works with YouTube influencers to offer honest reviews of the product. This is a great tactic to use if you are certain of your product’s quality.

Check out the video below for an example.

You’ll notice that the influencer doesn’t mince words – these headphones used to be expensive. They don’t cost as much anymore.

Thoughts like that help to convey honest value and feedback to the audience. In YouTube influencer marketing, you often won’t have much say over what an influencer says about your product.

3. Di Bruno.

Product and service reviews similar to the YouTube example above can also be done in print/text.

An excellent example is Hello Subscription’s detailed review of their experience with Di Bruno Bros. Hello Subscription is a blog dedicated to promoting and reviewing subscription boxes.

Their Co-Editor, Tom, reviewed a “House of Cheese Pairing Club,” box from Di Bruno Bros. The review included more than 20 images, and detailed descriptions of the contents of the subscription box, about which Tom also shared his honest opinions.

10. Omni-channel management.

Omni-channel may be an industry buzzword, but the need for it at the level of growing brands cannot be ignored.

Most brands sell in more than 1 place. Here is a non-exhaustive list of options:

  • Webstore
  • Brick-and-mortar
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Houzz
  • Alibaba
  • Wholesale
  • Etsy
  • Pop-up Shops
  • Events + Markets

And that list is only ever going to grow.

For brands, the first trick is deciding which channels make the most sense for you.

The second trick is to scale each of those channels, and subsequently the brand, effectively – maintaining exceptional inventory, branding and customer experience across the board.

So…let’s start from the beginning here…

Omni-Channel Requires Rethinking

The rapid growth we’re seeing in the ecommerce space has far reaching implications for the tools and services we use to convert customers on a daily basis.

This also means that ecommerce brands need to focus more attention on how new tools and new customer behavior will interact.

Omni-channel sales require businesses to rethink how goods and services will reach consumers or at least attract consumer attention.

–  David Feng, Co-Founder, Re:amaze

What is Omni-Channel Management?

Omni-channel management is process and strategy by which brands manage their inventory, branding and customer experience across a variety of channels.

Common tools brands use include:

  • ERP
    • Brightpearl
    • NetSuite
    • Sage
    • SAP
  • System Integrators
    • eBridge Connections
    • Jasper Studios
  • POS
    • Square
    • Springboard Retail
    • ShopKeep
    • Hike POS
    • Amber POS
    • Lightspeed Retail POS
  • CRM
    • Salesforce
    • Reamaze
    • Hubspot
  • APIs

Best Online Guides for Omni-Channel Management

Gain Control, or Lose It All

Gain control of your distribution channels, addressing sales tax liability and expand into international marketplaces. That’s a good 2018 strategy.

– James Thomson, Partner, Buy Box Experts

3 Real World Influencer Marketing Examples

1. Glory Cycles.

Glory Cycles began on eBay and has since build a legacy brand on their own webstore.

But they haven’t left eBay behind. Today, they use the marketplace to sell returned items for a profit.

We don’t put a lot of energy into our eBay efforts, but we do use it to sell our returns.

The reason for that is we’re a bit limited in what our vendors allow us to sell on that platform, so it’s primarily a channel for moving returned product.

It’s extremely simple with the BigCommerce integration.

For a long time, we shied away from doing a lot of eBay business because we didn’t want to run two separate systems, but with BigCommerce we can run everything from a single location.

When we get an eBay order, it still comes through as a normal order in BigCommerce, and that was very attractive to us. –– Clive De Sousa, President, Glory Cycles.

In this model, BigCommerce serves as the inventory management hub.

2. BeachRC.

BeachRC sells on eBay, Amazon, their webstore and brick-and-mortar. They use BigCommerce as their inventory hub, and Square as their POS.

BigCommerce’s Amazon integration is really good – and it’s really helped us out. We’re converting more ecommerce and online sales due to our Amazon presence now.

I would have never gone out to put products on Amazon on my own. The fact that it was going to be easy to integrate directly through BigCommerce is why I did it – and now, we see 1 out of every 10 orders coming to us through Amazon.

It’s a great gateway to gaining customers, especially when you are strategic about which products you put up there, and which you make exclusive for your own site.

I think beyond just selling on Amazon for Amazon’s sake. Being there helps to create more customers for our website, too. It helps us with volume and with growing our website and our clientele.

I’d say 99% of everything we do is through BigCommerce. We’re not using Amazon Seller Central very much. I want to make everything easy and streamlined for my team, so we use the BigCommerce Control Panel and Channel Manager to do almost everything. – Brent Densford, CEO of BeachRC

3. Casey’s Distributing.

Casey’s Distributing built an app on top of BigCommerce’s API to sell wholesale to brands across the globe. The app uses Casey’s Distrubuting’s inventory in BigCommerce as the hub of its system.

We’re building an app for the BigCommerce app store that will connect our inventory feed to BigCommerce store owners who want it. Working with thousands of retail businesses, we know that one of the challenges when starting a store is figuring out what to sell.

Well, Casey’s can help – and we’re using the BigCommerce API to do it.

Soon, BigCommerce store owners new to selling online can add NFL/NBA/NCAA/NHL/MLS merchandise to their sites to sell. These are brands people know and love.

The app will connect all the dots for BigCommerce customers. They can add products through it, pick the teams they want and then the app will update the quantities for them and it will help them remove products after they become obsolete.

It’s a no-brainer if you are just getting started. The API makes it incredibly easy. – Ben Johnson, VP Operations at Casey’s Distributing and President, MaxQV, LLC.

That app is called League License.

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147 Online Shopping Statistics Behind Why These Ecommerce Trends Matter Most

For article length sake, I cannot go into this amount of detail for the other 9 topics considered very important by experts.

However, the 10 tactics above are in order of priority. Start from #1 and work your way down.

Get these channels and strategies optimized, and you’ll be ready to tackle the other 9 – and will have a bulky bottom line which which to do it.

Struggling with getting your CEO, CMO, founder or even yourself on board with some of these ideas and strategies? 

Not to worry. This is where data comes into play. 

BigCommerce and Square, as mentioned earlier, teamed up to dive deep into the shopping habits, behavior and preferences of thousands of American buyers across multiple generations.

You can download that full guide below. 

Free Download

Get the Comprehensive Modern Consumer Shopping Habits Study in a PDF version for further reading, research and action. It’s free and a quick download away.

Download Report Now

That deep dive and research also gave us 147 stats on exactly how U.S. shoppers shop online, including:

  • Who does the shopping
  • Where they shop
  • When they shop
  • Why they shop
  • What they buy when they shop
  • How they shop 

Why is this research so important?

Because it’s easier than ever for businesses to have a digital presence across a variety of channels.

A 2017 point-of-sale solutions survey of 1,164 U.S. business owners conducted by Square and Mercury Analytics found that:

  • 56% have a physical store.
  • 21% have a pop-up store, or pop-up at events.
  • 34% sell through their own website (using a website building platform).
  • 25% sell through Facebook (40% on social media as a whole).
  • 16% sell through Amazon (more should, considering almost half of purchases begin here).
  • 22% sell through other marketplaces (including Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc.).

However, despite how easy it is to launch a webstore, scaling an online business remains extremely difficult even for the most seasoned ecommerce expert.

Ecommerce sales are growing, but many retailers are struggling to capitalize on their digital sales channels.

The secret to success in 2018 is no longer just get it out there and see how it performs. The most successful retailers are strategic and targeted in their efforts, both offline and on.

It’s called omni-channel selling, and it’s something BigCommerce and Square have been exploring over the past year, in an attempt to help connect the dots between your business and the those who want to buy from your business.

Are you an omni-channel seller?

It’s not just about broadcasting on all channels, though. Effectively targeting a ready-to-buy audience requires solid data and statistics on your customers.

Below, you’ll find ecommerce trends, data and statistics reporting on exactly how Americans shop online, why customers convert, why they don’t and who your business should be targeting on the various online channels in order to optimize for ROI.

This data gives you a window into what consumers look for in an online shopping experience, showcasing the potential to adapt your ecommerce business to fit the modern shopper.

These findings can percolate through every aspect of your business: product pages, emails, content marketing and much more.

Online Shopping Trends and Statistics
  1. General online shopping statistics.
  2. Ecommerce trends by generations.
  3. Ecommerce trends by parental status.
  4. Ecommerce trends by gender.
  5. Ecommerce trends by city-size.
  6. Spending and conversion rates.
  7. Buying frequency.
  8. Customer location at time of purchase.
  9. Types of online goods purchased.
  10. Influencing factors on conversion rates.
  11. Social media as an influencing factor.
  12. Online shopping in society.
  13. Shopper characteristics by channel.

Let’s dive in. 

General Online shopping data:

  • 51% of Americans prefer to shop online in 2018.
  • 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone.
  • Ecommerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website.
  • Online orders increase 8.9% in Q3 2016, but average order value (AOV) increased only 0.2% — indicating that transactional growth is outpacing total revenue.

Online shopping trends by generation:

  • 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop on online rather than in-store.
  • 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of Seniors will click to purchase.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend nearly 50% as much time shopping online each week (six hours) than their older counterparts (four hours).
  • 48% of millennials have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 46% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 29% at category-specific online stores.
  • 56% of Gen Xers have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 49% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 37% at category-specific online stores.
  • 59% of Baby Boomers have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 42% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 39% at category-specific online stores.
  • 51% of Seniors have shopped on marketplaces, 66% at large retailer sites, 30% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 44% at category-specific online stores.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend 6 hours per week shopping online
  • Baby Boomers spend 4 hours per week shopping online.
  • Seniors spend 2.5 hours per week shopping online.

Ecommerce trends by parental status:

  • Parents spend more of their budget online in comparison to non-parents (40% vs. 34%) and spend 75% more time online shopping each week (7 hours vs. 4 hours for non-parents).
  • Parents spend 61% more online than non-parents ($1,071 vs. $664).
  • Nearly half (49%) of parents stated that they cannot live without online shopping.
  • 53% of U.S. parents have shopped on marketplaces, 78% at large retailer sites, 53% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 34% at category-specific online stores.
  • 54% of non-parents have shopped on marketplaces, 72% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 37% at category-specific online stores.

Online shopping trends by gender:

  • Men reported spending 28% more online than women during the past year.
  • 52% of men have shopped on marketplaces, 75% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 31% at category-specific online stores.
  • 56% of women have shopped on marketplaces, 74% at large retailer sites, 48% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 40% at category-specific online stores.
  • Men and women both report spending 5 hours per week shopping online.

Online shopping trends by city-size:

  • Although they have greater proximity to physical stores, customers in large or mid-size metropolitan areas spend more online annually ($853) than suburban shoppers ($768) or those in rural areas ($684).
  • Americans in metropolitan areas are spending the most online.
  • 63% of suburban shoppers share that shipping costs are their least favorite part of online shopping.
  • 38% of rural shoppers cite strong concerns about online privacy.
  • 49% of Americans in metropolitan areas have shopped on marketplaces, 76% at large retailer sites, 45% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 30% at category-specific online stores.
  • 60% of Americans in suburban areas have shopped on marketplaces, 73% at large retailer sites, 44% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 42% at category-specific online stores.
  • 58% of Americans in rural areas have shopped on marketplaces, 71% at large retailer sites, 39% on webstores or independent boutiques, and 40% at category-specific online stores.
  • Americans in metropolitan areas report spending 4.5 hours per week shopping online.
  • Americans in suburban and rural areas both spend 5 hours per week shopping online.

Online spending and conversion rates:

  • 51% of Americans think shopping online is the best way to shop, with 49% preferring shopping in-store.
  • Americans spend 64% of their shopping budget in-store, and 36% online.
  • In the last year, shoppers have spent the most with ecommerce marketplaces ($488), closely followed by major online/offline brands ($409) such as Nordstrom or Best Buy.
  • 74% of Americans have shopped at large online/offline brand name retailers, 54% on ecommerce marketplaces, 44% at small and specially online brands and 36% at category-specific online retailers.
  • When shopping online, nearly half (48%) of online purchasers first turn to a mass commerce marketplace.
  • 31% first shop at a large online/offline brand name retailer, 12% first shop at a category specific online retailer, 7% first turn to a small/speciality online retail brand (more on conversion rates here).
  • 52% of smartphone owners use online banking (or e-banking), indicative of a further trend towards mobile shopping

Online shopping buying frequency stats in America:

  • 95% of Americans shop online at least yearly.
  • 80% of Americans shop online at least monthly.
  • 30% of Americans shop online at least weekly.
  • 5% of Americans shop online daily.

Customer location when making a purchase online:

  • A quarter of online shoppers (25%) have made an online purchase from a brick-and-mortar store.
  • 43% of online shoppers have made a purchase while in bed.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers are nearly 3x as likely as Baby Boomers and Seniors to have made an online purchase from bed (59% v 21%).
  • 23% of online shoppers have made an online purchase at the office.
  • Nearly 3 in 10 (29%) of Millennials and Gen Xers have made a purchase from the office.
  • More than 15% of Baby Boomers and Seniors have made a purchase from the office.
  • 20% of American online shoppers have purchased from the bathroom or while in the car (a +1 for mobile commerce).
  • Millennials and Gen Xers are 5x more likely to have made an online purchase from the bathroom (31% v. 6%) than Baby Boomers and Seniors.
  • One in ten customers admitted to buying something online after drinking alcohol.
  • Men are more than twice as likely as women to have made a purchase after consuming alcohol (14% to 6%).
  • Younger generations are 5x more likely to drink and shop than their older counterparts (15% to 3%).
  • Parents are twice as likely as non-parents to have made an online purchase after drinking (15% v 7%).

Statistics about types of items purchased online:

  • 60% of shoppers have purchased clothing, shoes and accessories items from large retailers, 54% at marketplaces, 44% from category-specific and 45% from webstores.
  • 43% of online shoppers have purchased computers or electronics from marketplaces, 41% from large retailers, 29% at category-specific online stores and 17% at webstores.
  • 34% of shoppers have purchased beauty items at marketplaces, 31% at large retailers, 29% at webstores and 25% at category-specific online stores.
  • 55% of shoppers have purchased books, movies and music shop at a marketplaces, 36% at large retailers, 24% at webstores and 21% at category-specific online stores.
  • 18% of shoppers have purchased flowers and gifts on marketplaces, 18% at large retailers, 24% at webstores and 28% category-specific online stores.

Stats about what influencing factors get people to buy online:

  • The top three factors that are very or extremely influential in determining where Americans shop are price (87%), shipping cost and speed (80%) and discount offers (71%).
  • Seniors are less influenced by discount offers than other generations: 47% to 74%.
  • Almost a quarter of online shoppers (23%) are influenced by social media recommendations.
  • 42% online customers find recommendations from friends and family influential, twice the number who cite advertisements as influential when determining where to shop.
  • Younger generations more receptive to advertising: Millennials and Gen X are twice as likely as older generations (27% vs. 14%) to be influenced by advertising.
  • 23% of shoppers are influenced by social media recommendations/reviews.
  • Online shoppers want products to be brought to life with images (78%) and product reviews (69%).
  • Female respondents cited that they enjoy online shopping (51% vs. 37% of male respondents), invest more time (60% vs. 46% for male counterparts) to find the best deals and often search for coupon codes to get discounts (48% vs. 29% for males).
  • 66% of online shoppers have decided not to buy an item because of shipping costs.
  • 72% of females and 59% of males have decided to abandon their purchase because of shipping costs.
  • 49% of cite not being able to touch, feel or try a product as one of their least favorite aspects of online shopping.
  • 34% said difficult to return items and long delivery estimates were also a pain (indicating a desire for same-day delivery).
  • 21% of Americans state that unattractive or hard-to-navigate websites is frustrating when buying online.
  • 78% of online shoppers want more images from ecommerce sites.
  • 69% of online shoppers want more reviews from ecommerce sites.
  • 46% of online shoppers want more product comparisons from ecommerce sites.
  • 42% of online shoppers want more testimonials from ecommerce sites.
  • 30% of online shoppers want more video from ecommerce sites.
  • 42% of online shoppers have made a purchase they later regret.
  • Millennials are more likely to experience purchaser’s regret than any other generation (51% v 37%).
  • 21% of Americans have accidentally bought something they didn’t want.
  • More than half of Millennial and Gen Xers (55%) have overspent when shopping online, while just under two in five (38%) of baby boomers and seniors have done the same.
  • 48% of online shoppers have bought or spent more than planned when shopping online.

Social media as an influencing factor on conversion rates:

As social commerce continues to grow, these trends are indicative of the massive potential for retailers to connect with shoppers on their favorite platforms.

  • 30% of online shoppers say they would be likely to make a purchase from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat.
  • 20% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Facebook.
  • 17% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Pinterest.
  • 14% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Instagram.
  • 12% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Twitter.
  • 10% of online shoppers would be likely to make a purchase from Snapchat.
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Facebook (23% vs. 17%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Instagram (18% vs. 11%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Twitter (17% vs. 7%).
  • Men are more likely than women to make a purchase through Snapchat (15% vs. 6%).
  • 29% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Facebook.
  • 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Pinterest.
  • 21% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Instagram.
  • 18% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Twitter.
  • 13% of online shoppers would be likely to follow a brand on Snapchat.
  • 20% of online shoppers would purchase an item a friend has included on their Pinterest board.
  • 18% of shoppers would purchase an item a friend liked on Facebook.
  • 21% of online shoppers would purchase an item featured in a brand’s Facebook post.
  • 18% of online shoppers would purchase an item from a brand’s Pinterest board.
  • 51% of Millennials would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 36% of Gen Xers would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 14% of Baby Boomers would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 3% of Seniors would be likely to make a purchase over social media.
  • 29% of Millennials and Gen Xers would likely make a purchase through Facebook if given the option.
  • 26% of Millennials and Gen Xers would likely make a purchase through Pinterest if given the option.

Online shopping in society:

  • 2 in 5 (40%) online shoppers say they couldn’t live without online shopping.
  • Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers are more than twice as likely as seniors to say they couldn’t live without online shopping (43% to 20%).
  • Online shoppers are nearly twice as likely to say they could not live without online shopping as they are to say they could not live without streaming music (40% to 21%).
  • Online shoppers are 8x as likely to say they could not live without online shopping as they are to say they could not live without dating apps (40% to 8%).

Shopper characteristics by channel:

Marketplace shopper characteristics and trends.

  • 55% of all ecommerce sales are done through branded stores, vs. 45% via marketplaces.
  • Of the 45% of all sales through marketplaces, the most common destinations are:
    • Amazon – 36%
    • eBay – 8%
    • Etsy and others – 1%
  • Shoppers on marketplaces search for product online more often and spend more online, too.
  • The marketplace shoppers is more likely than the average shopper to enjoy taking their time to find the right deal (62% v. 54%).
  • More likely to research brands before making a purchase (61% v. 48%).
  • Average amount spent per year on marketplaces: $488.
  • What marketplace shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (44%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (43%), Computers and electronics (34%), Health and beauty products (29%).
  • 70% of shoppers plan to check out Amazon Prime on Prime Day, per DigitalCommerce360

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Learn more about Amazon’s evolution from bookstore to worldwide sales giant.

Large retailer shopper characteristics and trends.

Shoppers on large retailer sites are high spends and are less likely to shop elsewhere.

  • Those who have ever shopping at a large online/offline retailer are less likely to research brands before making a purchase (53%) than those who shop at small/speciality (58%), marketplaces (61%) or category-specific (61) online retailers.
  • Average amount spent per year: $409.
  • What larger retailer shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (28%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (47%), Computers and electronics (32%), Health and beauty products (24%).

Online store shopper characteristics and trends.

Shoppers on webstores enjoy shopping and visit a variety of retailers.

  • Small/speciality online shoppers spend the majority of their budget elsewhere — a yearly average of $501 on marketplaces, $404 at omni-channel retailers and $233 at category specific online retailers.
  • Those who have ever shopped at a small/speciality online retailer are more likely than the average shopper to say they enjoy shopping (55% to 45%).
  • Average amount spent per year: $182.
  • What webstore shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (15%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (27%), flowers and gifts (15%), Health and beauty products (19%).

Category-specific shopper characteristics and trends.

Shoppers on category-specific sites are loyal to brands, not to the retailer type.

  • Category-specific shoppers are more likely than the average shoppers to tend to stick to certain brands or retailers (52% v. 42%).
  • And they’re more hesitant than the average shopper to make large purchases (49% to 41%).
  • Average amount spent per year: $259.
  • What marketplace shoppers buy: Book, movies, music (21%), Clothing, shoes and accessories (30%), flowers and gifts (19%), Health and beauty products (19%).

For more information, see the full data analysis on omni-channel selling here.

Want more insights like this?

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Cyber Week 2017: Black Friday Stats, Cyber Monday Trends + 25 Brands Reveal The Secrets to Their Success Tue, 28 Nov 2017 20:30:57 +0000 Cyber Week is officially over. Black Friday and Cyber Monday –– the two largest online selling days of the year…]]>

Cyber Week is officially over. Black Friday and Cyber Monday –– the two largest online selling days of the year — are in the books.

Now, it’s time to pick, pack, ship and take a look at your marketing campaigns to see which won, which lost and what that may mean for your 2018 marketing initiatives.

It’s also time to check out what happened at large in the ecommerce industry during Cyber Week 2017. Here are some top level findings.

Cyber Week 2017 Trends

  • Thanksgiving Day saw the highest YoY increase in overall GMV; however, Cyber Monday remained the most popular day for making purchases over the five-day period.
  • Automotive retailers saw the highest average order value ($235.10), followed by retailers within the Sports & Outdoors ($143.50) and Home & Garden ($103.60) categories
  • Consumers in California, Texas, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania made the most purchases for the second consecutive year
  • iPhone users spent 7.1% more during Cyber 5 than Android users

While those stats may help to inform your 2018 direction, benchmarking yourself against the industry and specifically against your vertical is the best bet to understand your success.

That’s why below you’ll find aggregated data across tens of thousands of online brands that shows:

  • Year over year same-store sales and orders data
  • Year over year device breakdown (desktop v. mobile and iOS v. Android)
  • Average order value by vertical

And you’ll get all of this information broken out in aggregate across Cyber Week and in individual days, including:

  • Thanksgiving
  • Black Friday
  • Small Business Saturday
  • Sunday
  • Cyber Monday

You’ll also hear from 25 of this year’s most successful brands on which channels worked and what they did to grow sales more than 500% in each of their respective verticals.

Most Successful Cyber Week 2017 Tactics

  • Selling on Amazon
  • Content + Commerce Integration
  • Facebook Advertising Optimization
  • Niche PPC Strategies
  • Site UX & Checkout Optimization
  • Inventory Preparation
  • Influencer Marketing & Social Media Engagement
  • Showcasing User Generated Content
  • Focusing on Video Marketing

Without further ado, let’s take a long, hard look at what 2017’s Cyber Week had in store for online sellers.

Want to Sell More Online? Your Platform Matters

Each year, BigCommerce looks at same-store sales to determine the real increase in revenue and orders data year over year for ecommerce brands on the platform.

This means we have excluded brands from the data set that joined BigCommerce prior to Cyber Week 2016.

This allows us to dig past a “big, pretty number” and get to the meat of the event: how much did sales really increase this season?

And for brands on BigCommerce, on average, sales increased 21%. The industry average for Cyber Week 2017 was 17%, on average.

That means brands on BigCommerce saw 4% more revenue than those not using the platform.

Let’s look at how each day broke down.

Cyber Week 2017 GMV Increase

  • Thanksgiving: +24.18%
  • Black Friday: +22.22%
  • Small Business Saturday: +22.79%
  • Sunday: +22.02%
  • Cyber Monday: +17.84%
  • Cyber Week: +21.17%

Online Shopping is the Newest Thanksgiving Tradition

In our survey of brand holiday preparedness prior to Cyber Week, BigCommerce found that 39% of brands that start planning for their holiday campaigns in January make more than $1,000,000 in annual revenue.

Yep, that means that early planning and making millions in revenue is correlated.

It also probably means that those brands start their Cyber Week campaigns even before Thanksgiving. And in fact, the biggest increase in orders and sales in 2017 over 2016 was on Thanksgiving itself.

Turns out, Thanksgiving is for turkey, football and online shopping.

See How 1,018 Brands Prepared for Cyber Week 2017

When did brands start planning? Which channels did they invest most in? How much were they expecting to grow? Get everything you’d want to know about how brands mentally prepared for Cyber Week 2017.

Get The Data Now

Mobile Orders Surpass 50%

It has officially happened.

Mobile orders have surpassed desktop orders on all Cyber Week days except for Cyber Monday.

In 2016, excluding Cyber Monday –– when more consumers shop from desktops at their offices –– 54% of orders were on desktop devices and 46% were from mobile devices. In 2017, 47% of orders were from desktop devices while 53% were from mobile devices –– almost the exact inverse!

Interestingly, however, apart from Fashion & Jewelry merchants, desktop purchases accounted for a higher percentage of overall revenue across industries, despite making up a lower percentage of orders.

This suggests that users are more likely to purchase more expensive items on their desktop devices compared to mobile.

Including Cyber Monday data into the mix puts desktop and mobile neck and neck –– 50% desktop orders and 50% mobile orders.

Here’s how that broke down over Cyber Week.

Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 55%
    • Desktop: 45%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 53%
    • Desktop: 47%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 43%
    • Desktop: 57%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%

Desktop Still Rules for Revenue

As mentioned above, apart from Fashion & Jewelry merchants, desktop purchases accounted for a higher percentage of overall revenue across industries, despite making up a lower percentage of orders.

This suggests that users are more likely to purchase more expensive items on their desktop devices compared to mobile.

Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop GMV

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 45%
    • Desktop: 55%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 47%
    • Desktop: 53%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 32%
    • Desktop: 68%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 42%
    • Desktop: 58%

Phone-In Orders Have Highest Conversion Rate

In total, manual and phone-in orders made up less than 1% of total orders over Cyber Week 2017.

Cyber Monday had the largest percentage of phone-in orders at 2% of total orders.

Pro Tip

Add your phone number to your site and staff the phone lines. Customers calling in for personalized orders are highly likely to purchase, and at a higher price point, too.

Find more insights like this in BigCommerce’s Facebook User Group.

Biggest Buyers by State

Looking to drive up sales through targeted segmenting and advertising? Your best bets are probably the following 10 states.

They have spent the most online over Cyber Week for the past 2 consecutive years.

The only difference in this list between 2017 and 2016 is that Georgia and New Jersey have switched places.

  1. California
  2. Texas
  3. Florida
  4. New York
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Illinois
  7. Virginia
  8. Ohio
  9. Georgia
  10. New Jersey

Vertical Specific Trends: AOV, Device Purchasing and More

In 2017 on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, significantly more orders were made on mobile devices for the Automotive (+10%), Fashion & Jewelry (65.41%) and Health & Beauty (18.22%) merchants.

Significantly less orders were made on mobile for Home & Garden (-12.75%) and Toys & Games (-16.08%) merchants.

For the automotive industry, average order value came in at $230.79 for Cyber Week. For Fashion & Jewlery, average order value was significantly less at $79.40.

However, Fashion & Jewelry accounted for 37% of total sales and Automotive less than 5%.

What does all of this mean?

That no two verticals should be held to the same standards.

Consumer shopping expectations and preferences alter between industries based on information needed and price point requested.

So that you can better benchmark your results, here are the top industries broken down for you.

1. Automotive

Automotive merchants on BigCommerce made 40.23% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Automotive Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +51.38%
  • Black Friday: +34.9%
  • Small Business Saturday: +37.47%
  • Sunday: +42.61%
  • Cyber Monday: +41.76%
  • Cyber Week: +40.23%

Automotive Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $226.47
  • Black Friday: $263.88
  • Small Business Saturday: $223.58
  • Sunday: $198.68
  • Cyber Monday: $241.35
  • Cyber Week: $230.79

Automotive Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 56%
    • Desktop: 44%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 55%
    • Desktop: 45%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 53%
    • Desktop: 47%

2. Fashion & Jewelry

Fashion & Jewelry merchants on BigCommerce made 16% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Fashion & Jewelry Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +17.98%
  • Black Friday: +18.37%
  • Small Business Saturday: +26.58%
  • Sunday: +16.27%
  • Cyber Monday: +5.91%
  • Cyber Week: +16%

Fashion & Jewelry Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $83.45
  • Black Friday: $80.36
  • Small Business Saturday: $77.23
  • Sunday: $77.27
  • Cyber Monday: $78.69
  • Cyber Week: $79.40

Fashion & Jewelry Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 63%
    • Desktop: 37%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 62%
    • Desktop: 38%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 63%
    • Desktop: 37%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 63%
    • Desktop: 37%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 60%
    • Desktop: 40%

3. Food & Beverage

Food & beverage merchants on BigCommerce made 6.5% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Food & Beverage Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +2.62%
  • Black Friday: +6.71%
  • Small Business Saturday: +7.14%
  • Sunday: +25.4%
  • Cyber Monday: -0.2%
  • Cyber Week: +6.5%

Food & Beverage Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $91.67
  • Black Friday: $83.41
  • Small Business Saturday: $83.16
  • Sunday: $85.57
  • Cyber Monday: $97.16
  • Cyber Week: $88.19

Food & Beverage Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 38%
    • Desktop: 62%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 48%
    • Desktop: 52%

4. Health & Beauty

Health & beauty merchants on BigCommerce made 18.69% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Health & Beauty Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +39.11%
  • Black Friday: +16.12%
  • Small Business Saturday: +13.42%
  • Sunday: +11.64%
  • Cyber Monday: +20%
  • Cyber Week: +18.69%

Health & Beauty Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $81.61
  • Black Friday: $78.64
  • Small Business Saturday: $73.53
  • Sunday: $70.87
  • Cyber Monday: $87.95
  • Cyber Week: $78.52

Health & Beauty Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 57%
    • Desktop: 43%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 55%
    • Desktop: 45%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 56%
    • Desktop: 44%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 46%
    • Desktop: 54%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 54%
    • Desktop: 46%

5. Home & Garden

Home & Garden merchants on BigCommerce made 20.19% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Home & Garden Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +23.64%
  • Black Friday: +24.23%
  • Small Business Saturday: +19.14%
  • Sunday: +23.78%
  • Cyber Monday: +15%
  • Cyber Week: +20.19%

Home & Garden Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $112.29
  • Black Friday: $114.25
  • Small Business Saturday: $86.68
  • Sunday: $89.63
  • Cyber Monday: $113.83
  • Cyber Week: $103.34

Home & Garden Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 57%
    • Desktop: 43%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 43%
    • Desktop: 57%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%

6. Sports & Outdoors

Sports & Outdoors merchants on BigCommerce made 22.42% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Sports & Outdoors Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +12.71%
  • Black Friday: +34.59%
  • Small Business Saturday: +27.36%
  • Sunday: +19.64%
  • Cyber Monday: +14.38%
  • Cyber Week: +22.42%

Sports & Outdoors Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $144.55
  • Black Friday: $148.91
  • Small Business Saturday: $136.95
  • Sunday: $132.98
  • Cyber Monday: $147.91
  • Cyber Week: $142.26

Sports & Outdoors Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 40%
    • Desktop: 60%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%

7. Toys & Games

Toys & Games merchants on BigCommerce made 24.66% more in 2017 than 2016 during Cyber Week.

Here is how it broke down.

Toys & Games Cyber Week 2017 YoY GMV

  • Thanksgiving: +41%
  • Black Friday: +39.56%
  • Small Business Saturday: +28.11%
  • Sunday: +12%
  • Cyber Monday: +8.2%
  • Cyber Week: +24.66%

Toys & Games Cyber Week 2017 Average Order Value

  • Thanksgiving: $94.53
  • Black Friday: $100.32
  • Small Business Saturday: $85.62
  • Sunday: $78.13
  • Cyber Monday: $89.35
  • Cyber Week: $89.59

Toys & Games Cyber Week 2017 Mobile v. Desktop Orders

  • Thanksgiving:
    • Mobile: 52%
    • Desktop: 48%
  • Black Friday:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%
  • Small Business Saturday:
    • Mobile: 51%
    • Desktop: 49%
  • Sunday:
    • Mobile: 50%
    • Desktop: 50%
  • Cyber Monday:
    • Mobile: 44%
    • Desktop: 56%
  • Cyber Week:
    • Mobile: 49%
    • Desktop: 51%

How 25 Brands Conquered Aggressive Cyber Week Goals

Facebook Advertising, Amazon, eBay, PPC and Buy Buttons were the most successful channels for online brands this year.

So, we reached out to some of the most successful ones, based on the data, to ask what they did to ensure they’d increase sales through their hard work.

Here is what they had to say.

Cyber Week 2017 Most Successful Ecommerce Brands

1. Olive Clothing

In the lead-up to the winter buying season, we allocated resources to migrate our site from Blueprint to Stencil, initially to enable hi-res product images in the carousel and in the hope of speeding-up the site experience over mobile, while being mindful of the wider benefits of the platform modernization.

To enable access to the Optimized One-Page Checkout, we migrated our payment gateway from Realex to for low-cost transaction fees and added a second payment option through Stripe to facilitate ApplePay, anticipating continued growth in site access via mobile.

Having invested in Facebook Ads engagement with a wide spread of international territories throughout 2017, we shortlisted our key international territories, and added localized currency conversions for them on our store.

We also undertook a radical review of our shipping terms and implemented a sophisticated matrix of shipping options via ShipperHQ — with prices and free shipping customized in line with terms we’d negotiated with our shipping providers. Prior to the review, we’d seen increased shipping costs as we entered new international territories.

In the lead-up to Black Friday and throughout Black Friday, we reallocated much of our Facebook ‘awareness’ tier ad budget into the ‘consideration’ tier across our key territories and strengthened our Dynamic Product Ads (DPA)  budget — leveraging the Facebook/BigCommerce catalogue integration for DPA.

We rolled out a series of MailChimp campaign emails, commencing at 8:00am GMT on Black Friday, which have proven to be great for driving traffic — and we keep those site visitors engaged with DPA throughout the sale period.

With the exception of our email marketing, 100% of our marketing efforts was executed via the Facebook ecosystem.

That means Facebook posts, Instagram posts, Facebook & Instagram ads, including the recently released Facebook Messenger placement.

We didn’t pay a penny on SEO or Google — not for AdWords, Display Marketing, or Google Shopping. We’re still considering some experiments with Google’s products, but our ROI from the Facebook ecosystem has been so strong we’ve allocated 100% of our growth ad budget to our existing campaign framework with Facebook.

— Rohan Moore, Managing Director, Olive Clothing Limited

2. Goose Creek Candle

This is our first year with BigCommerce and we experienced a 68% growth in sales during Black Friday weekend. Because of our incredible growth over the past 3-4 years, we struggled to find an ecommerce platform solution to support us.

Since our launch date, we have yet to experience any downtime or inconsistencies in service. The BigCommerce team has been all about supporting our business.

The robust platform and its applications have helped us successfully reach our sales goals month after month.

— Jordan Meece, Brand Executive, Goose Creek Home Fragrance

3. Dorco

Proper planning for every moment of the big sale days of the year, making sure all MARCOM is in total sync to drive traffic, and leveraging as well as maximizing customer data are the top three tools we use to guarantee great results.

— Ken Hill, CEO, Dorco USA.

4. Pink Lily

This year we definitely focused our efforts on two main things for this holiday season.  

First, inventory preparation.

We spent months making sure we had enough inventory on hand to fill our customers’ needs.  The team focused on a lot of holiday themed items, such as graphic tees and pajama pants, as well as our bestselling boutique items.  

Black Friday discounts were offered on these items as ‘doorbusters’ to entice shoppers to come to the website early.

We knew demand would be high so we made sure we had 100s in stock of each item.  

And second, social media engagement.

We scheduled over 70 influencers to do sponsored posts for us on Black Friday, showcasing our items and advertising our sales.  

This led to a huge increase in traffic, as potential customers were being directed to from many different channels.  

Our marketing team also did live videos on Facebook all day to advertise the promotions and different items.  

We had contests, giveaways and a $1,000 gift card for one lucky winner.

Our customers and followers really enjoy participating, as it enhances their experience and promotes engagement.  

We had over 75,000 visits to our website on Black Friday alone.  

At the end of the day all this preparation really served us well. We did over $500,000 dollars in sales in just three days!  

We owe a big thanks to our entire team for working so hard to get ready for this busy season.

— Chris Gerbig, Co-Founder/President, The Pink Lily Boutique

5. Nickel & Suede

Facebook is a sales generator year round for Nickel & Suede, especially on holidays, because our customers are trained to purchase through our links there.

Our Facebook page is one of the first places we update with promotions, coupons, new products and other news. We post consistently to Facebook every day and make sure to post great content, including links to products, on key sale days like Black Friday.

We frequently boost posts that are doing well on our page and always have Facebook ads running.

Another key strategy is that we plan posts that include answers to frequently asked questions and recommend best sellers to make purchase decisions easier for customers. We also work with influencers who have a strong presence on Facebook. This year we gave them extra coupon codes to share on their pages over the holiday shopping week.

— Kilee Nickels, Co-Owner, Nickel & Suede


The single most important thing we do during Black Friday week and Cyber Monday is engage openly and honestly with our customers.

We’re transparent about why certain products go on sale (or not) and we explain pricing as best we can.

We’ve even started sharing inventory levels right on the product pages for all our gear and apparel.

Overall, we’ve found that leading with transparency results in a genuinely receptive audience and a sales season that’s as good for our customers as it is for our business.

Here are some examples of this type of engagement from the past few days:

  1. Real Time Sales Update: Posted the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  2. Why GR1 is NOT on Sale: Posted Thanksgiving Week
  3. Black Friday livestream: Originally posted via Facebook live on Black Friday
  4. GORUCK subreddit: Our CEO is active daily
  5. We also post regularly on our private Facebook group reserved for GORUCK event finishers only. These are our VIPs.

— Andy Nelson, Senior Content Director, GORUCK

7. Aran Sweater Market

We maintain our focus on offering an online shopping experience that is customer-focused on

This enables our customers to easily and quickly shop our broad range of quality, authentic Irish Aran knitwear which is key to our strategy at this time of year.

— Patrick Kelly, Head of Digital & eCommerce, Aran Sweater Market

8. Spearmint LOVE

Part of our Black Friday marketing strategy was focused on using native features from Facebook and BigCommerce; most notably the Facebook Shop, product catalog integration and dynamic product ads.  

Together, these products enable us to deliver a highly personal marketing campaign to our rapidly growing audience.

— Shari Lott, Founder and CEO, Spearmint Love

9. Grace & Lace

We strive to hone in on what our customers like and what they want. We spend a lot of time learning about our customers by following their purchasing behavioral patterns and considering their feedback regarding what items they like, what items they shop and what items they buy again.

We geared our Black Friday sales to really target them based on these findings. We position ourselves to capitalize on the offer from the bottom line. In addition, broadening our marketing reach and several other factors gave us stellar Black Friday results.

— Melissa Hinnant, Owner and Designer, Grace & Lace

10. NaturallyCurly

I was so excited when BigCommerce launched Buy Buttons. I knew it was the perfect way to help integrate commerce into our content site,, which is hosted on a separate platform from our eCommerce site, SHOP NaturallyCurly.

We started with adding Buy Button links on some of our landing pages.

Then, just in time for Black Friday, we added the Buy Buttons to the bottom of our articles so customers can shop the article.

It was much faster and easier than building out a product widget or carousel, and now we know exactly where the revenue is coming from.

— Jacqueline Cheney, VP Ecommerce, Texture Media LLC l NaturallyCurly

11. Scooter Hut

Over the years, we have found our customers prefer consistency over the Black Friday-Cyber Monday weekend. This is our process:

  • Decide on a promotion (this year it was 20% off storewide)
  • Start the promotion on the Thursday afternoon before Black Friday
  • Run it through until Tuesday midday

By not changing the promotion during the weekend, our customers know they can purchase anytime over the five days without the risk of “losing out” on a bigger discount as the weekend passes.

Building this kind of trust with our customers over the years has resulted in us more than doubling our Black Friday sale figures every year. I’d say this is the biggest factor to our regular success on Black Friday-Cyber Monday.

— Scott Mackintosh, CEO, Scooter Hut

12. Newport Vessels

In the past, Black Friday really wasn’t a big revenue day for us. But this year, we focused on creating high-quality marketing content the month leading up to Black Friday.

We’ve always had high-quality products, but we feel the difference this year was that our new style of fun marketing videos and images really resonated with our target customers.  

We gave them a strong and concise call-to-action, and it worked!

–– Patrick Dean, President, Newport Vessels

13. Petra Gems

When it comes to maximizing sales during peak traffic times like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, preparation is everything.

As a merchant, it is imperative to plan for such events at least a month or two in advance. In addition, you want to prepare your customers for the event by marketing to them well in advance.

Building your campaigns on Google and Facebook can take anywhere between two to three weeks at a minimum. Again, planning and timing are critical in addition to having excellent landing pages and ensuring everything is properly optimized.

I would also note that for any high-value merchant to be successful, they have to have a stellar reputation and walk their talk. Otherwise, having success online will be extremely difficult.

Over time, I have learned that it is also equally important to be consistent and focus on the long term instead of burning all your advertising budget in a short period.

Therefore, it is also important to be realistic about your expectations from peak events because everyone else, especially the big guys, are also competing against us and will outbid us in any advertising campaigns.

For us, we have focused on finding a narrow niche in terms of advertising and leveraging that everywhere.

Final advice: study first, and then test and analyze your advertising campaigns every day!

— Sharif Azami, Owner, Petra Gems

14. Paul’s Home Fashions

Our website mostly caters to people outfitting entire rooms and homes with one or several bedding collections that we carry.

We try to feature luxurious products that we know our shoppers will love, and we offer the the most competitive prices with exceptional customer service.

As for Amazon, we rely on quantity and focus on everyday items and holiday specific items within our listings.

— Gerry Reyelts, Vice President of Operations, Paul’s Home Fashions

15. Rosenthal USA

In order to prepare for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire holiday season, we hired a great agency –– factor-a, based out of Cologne, Germany –– to take a closer look at our Amazon marketplace listings.

They took 16 SKUs and optimized them in terms of keywords and overall content.

In addition, they placed sponsored product ads and headline search ads (now also available for seller accounts).

Those changes for only a fraction of our product range really did the trick. Our seller ranking improved tremendously and we started selling more.

Now, the majority of our Amazon growth stems from the products that were part of factor-a’s initial portfolio.

We are really happy with those guys and will now move forward with optimizing even more products to hopefully amplify the success.

— Marc Osenberg, eBusiness Manager, Rosenthal

16. My Minimo

This year, we shifted the focus from the Minimo Bath & Body brand to highlighting our customers.

We utilized customer-generated content (photos, videos and reviews) from Rivet Works, one of the apps BigCommerce provides, and promoted that content through Facebook and Instagram advertising.

With the abundance of real customer experiences on our website, rather than influencer-generated content, new visitors feel more comfortable purchasing.

— Mary Ware, Founder & CEO, My Minimo

17. Big Star Lights

More people are finding out that commercial-grade Christmas lighting products are much better than big-box store Christmas lighting products. And people find us mostly through organic search and through word of mouth.

A lot of our clients are professional Christmas light installers who are insanely busy this time of year.

We provide a quick and easy way for people to order, as well as help people with choosing the right product by phone or by using online chat.

We also hired a 3rd party SEO company and about 1 week ago we started an Adwords campaign. Other than SEO work, we’ve never advertised before last week –– ever.

So, we expected big results from that!

— Daniel Cowan, Holiday Lighting Expert, Big Star Lights

18. Vent Covers Unlimited

We have incorporated a multifaceted approach on Amazon, including Prime, Seller Fulfilled Prime and Merchant Fulfilled Prime. We have also utilized headline advertising and standard keyword advertising.

But the one thing that has really boosted our sales has been the elevating of the quality of our Amazon listings to meet or exceed that of what we have on our BigCommerce site.

Specifically, the enhanced brand content, brand website and the ability for us to quickly add and group new products to the Amazon platform has led to consistent growth.

— Tim Dye, Owner, Vent Covers Unlimited

19. Marmalade Mercantile

First of all, we made sure we were well stocked for all of our best selling merchandise. We stocked up on seasonal merchandise, too.

This year, we decided to try Facebook Product Ads to drive sales.

The BigCommerce Facebook ads extension makes them super easy to set up and we are very happy with the results!

Another thing we did this year was to rewrite our abandoned cart emails. We made them more personal and tried to directly address reasons why people may have left their carts without checking out. This improved our conversion rate dramatically!

— Ken &  Deb Moree McKinney, Owners, Marmalade Mercantile

20. Magical Butter

Magical Butter creates viral, mouthwatering seasonal recipe videos that crush it on Facebook!

Advice for my contemporaries is to shoot compelling content and add depth to your social communities. Your followers will become incredible brand ambassadors!

— Garyn Angel, CEO, Magical Butter

21. Hippie Butter

I added Bigcommerce Buy Buttons to my blog posts to make it easier for people to find the products they’re reading about.

Adding Buy Buttons to my blog and email increased both the conversion rate and SEO ranking.

— Brad Irvin, Founder, Hippie Butter

22. Southern Straws

We have focused a great deal on social media marketing and driving customers to our website.  

We also listened to our customers and offered products and combo packages on our website that customers were asking for, i.e. gift tins in 3 sizes for any occasion and holidays.  

— Margaret Amos, Co-Founder, Southern Straws

23. The Edinburgh Casting Studio

We primed our Facebook audience the weeks before Black Friday by launching a brand new product which we promoted using short videos with a lovely Christmas-y feel.

In the days leading up to Black Friday, we put boosts on existing content with strong engagement and introduced free shipping for orders over £100.

At midnight on Thursday, we put up Black Friday banners on our Facebook page and online shop. Then, across the weekend, we boosted a selection of existing videos to maintain engagement, each promoting the Black Friday offer but focusing on different products from our range.

First thing on Monday morning, we added a Cyber Monday banner to our Facebook page and website, then boosted our newest video with a “LAST CHANCE! Offer Ends Midnight!” message.

— Alison Martin, Commercial Director, The Edinburgh Casting Studio

24. Hogies Online

It is all about having a great team behind our store and having everyone add input into how we can strive to improve​. In particular, we focused on three areas.

Our Shop

  • First, we changed our shop to a fully responsive​ theme  and worked on customizing our store to reflect what our customers wanted.​
  • We made sure that all our products had great information and high-quality images to ensure our customers could have all the information at their fingertips.
  • We tested our checkout thoroughly to ensure customers were not left confused and frustrated.
  • With growth in mobile/cellphone orders, we ensured that our site was optimized to give our customers the very best experience.


  • We made use of the customers we already had and marketed to them with email campaigns tailored to their previous sales from Black Friday 2016.
  • We built awareness of Black Friday on our social media sites and promoted to engage with groups of potential customers.
  • We used apps such as Justuno and sent coupon codes to abandoned carts and various other marketing.
  • We hired a marketing company to help promote our shop with enticing and eye-catching banners.
  • We encouraged our customers to leave product reviews by offering them a coupon code.


The most important part of all the above is having a great team behind the store.

Every single one of us are passionate and determined to show our customers what we have to offer and to offer the very best customer service.

And it goes without saying that we made use of the help and support from BigCommerce by visiting BigCommerce University and getting valuable support from the BigCommerce chat lines.

— Laura Godfrey, Sales & Marketing Manager, Hogies Online

25. DealBeds

The most important thing our business does that helps with sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday are our merchandising and visual descriptions of sales being offered.

This helps lead customers in the right direction to purchase. Also, we have super friendly staff ready to answer any and all questions throughout the day via phone, email and chat.

— Abe Issa, Manager,

26. FunStuff

For Black Friday we took two specific actions.

First, we ran a competition a month before Black Friday to end on Black Friday to win a ride on jeep.

We asked our customers to pick their favorite colour and comment, like and share which generated a lot of traction and got people talking.

This is a photo I took myself of the jeeps we sell in my front garden and feel it looks very natural and appealing to customers.

This generated over 26,000 of a reach and over 1,000 clicks.

Second, we doubled our retargeting campaign to anybody engaged with Facebook and our website for the last 60 days, the week before Black Friday and pushed out specific Black Friday coupon codes.

Even prior to Black Friday gave away the codes to any interested customers that phoned us up looking for Black Friday deals.

— Gerard Mullane, Founder of FunStuff. 

Want more insights like this?

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Shopping on Instagram Now Available: 1,416% Traffic Growth, 20% Revenue Growth + Real Examples to Get You Started Mon, 02 Oct 2017 13:03:22 +0000 In March, we shared that BigCommerce merchants would be among the first to gain access to Instagram’s new product tagging…]]>

In March, we shared that BigCommerce merchants would be among the first to gain access to Instagram’s new product tagging capabilities — built specifically for ecommerce brands — which significantly enhance product discovery on the platform.

Over the past several months, our product team has been working closely with Instagram to ensure the easiest on boarding experience for merchants.

Today, we’re excited to announce Instagram Shopping is now being rolled out to BigCommerce stores in the US.

Over the next few weeks, stores who have connected their store to Facebook Shop will begin to see the feature light up.

For those that are unfamiliar, here’s how Instagram Shopping works.

Need to Know

Currently, Facebook is restricting Instagram Shopping to U.S. based merchants who sell physical goods in select product categories that fit their Privacy Policy.

The fastest way to get ready to sell on Instagram is to get your store approved by Facebook Shop.

Once approved, you will see a message within your Instagram app guiding you to connect your Facebook Product Catalog to tag products on your Instagram posts.

BigCommerce customers not eligible at launch will automatically receive access as additional country support is added.

Here is what you must have for Instagram Shopping to be available for you today:

  1. A US Instagram Business Profile with US-English language settings. Physical location of your HQ doesn’t matter if the two requirements above are met.
  2. Sell physical products in US dollars
  3. Have a Facebook Product Catalog approved and connected to Facebook Shop. You do not have to actually have Facebook Shop live. You just need the catalog to be connected and approved.

If you can check off #1 and #2 –– and just submitted your catalog to Facebook –– know that Instagram will be rolling out approvals in batches of 2 weeks. When your store gets the feature, you will see a message within the Instagram App.

Why Instagram Shopping?

Instagram has been the de-facto platform for visual storytelling for years, lauded by consumers and brands alike for its unique focus on the beautiful photography and videography, which collectively serve as vignettes into the lives, and lifestyles, of their creators.

With shoppable posts, customers have even greater opportunity to connect with the brands they love through the ability to quickly see relevant information — like product descriptions and pricing — with a single click without ever having to leave the Instagram app.

Additionally, once they’ve found an item to purchase, shoppable posts automatically provide links to corresponding product pages on your website so that customers can quickly add to cart and checkout, or browse the remainder of your catalog.


Instagram by the Numbers

More than 800,000 shoppers use Instagram every month, and brands around the world are using the platform to share their stories and products with consumers in a visually engaging way.

When it comes to Instagram, ecommerce businesses by and large recommend the platform. Whether you are advertising, building an audience or both – Instagram has fueled hundreds of thousands in sales.

Here’s why.

  • 800M — Number of monthly active Instagram users.
  • 500M — Number of daily active users
    • Increased from 400M to 500M since March 2017
  • 5X — Instagram growth rate compared to overall social network usage in the U.S. (Source: Inc.)
  • 25 — Percent more likely it is that Instagram users are in the top income quartile than average Internet users. (Source: GlobalWebIndex)
  • 5M —  Number of active Instagram business profiles (Source: Facebook)
  • 60 — Percent of people who say they discover new products on Instagram (Source:  Instagram)
  • 70 — Percent of users who follow a business on Instagram (Source: Instagram)
  • 75 — Percent of users who take an action after seeing a business post (i.e. visit a website, search, shop or tell a friend) (Source: Instagram)
  • 500,000 — Instagram advertisers (Source: Facebook)
  • 150M— Number of daily active Instagram Stories users just 5 months after launch (Source: Instagram)
  • 33 — Percent of the most viewed Instagram Stories come from business accounts (Source: Instagram)
  • 36 — Percent of B2C brands that consider Instagram to be “very important” or “critical” to their social media marketing, compared to 13% of B2B brands (Source: Inc.)

How to Start Using Instagram Shopping

The rest of this article will walk you through the best practice advice and revenue stats BigCommerce and Instagram beta brands have seen over the past few weeks.

But, this is an Instagram feature – which likely means you don’t need stats or stories to convince you to to start using it.

So, here’s how to get it for your brand right now.

  1. Make sure your Instagram app on your phone is updated. Go to your phone settings and update the app if it is not. If you do not see any Instagram Shopping tags, this is because your app on your phone is not updated.
  2. Make sure your product catalog is synced with Facebook Shop for your brand. Instagram pulls your Facebook product feed through –– and you can connect your store with Facebook using BigCommerce’s Channel Manager.
  3. Click the options tab on your Instagram business profile, scroll down to products and click. You’ll then be taken through a series of screens introducing you to the product.
  4. Authenticate your Instagram business account via your Facebook account. The product will take you to this next step immediately. This is how Instagram knows what products you have. If you have not connected your store to Facebook Shop, do that now (step #2). Choose the product catalog you want to sync with Instagram for Instagram Shopping.
  5. Now that you’re set up, go to upload a photo as you normally would. Then, on the caption page, you now have the options to tag people *and* products.
  6. Select “tag products” and tap on the photo to tag products, the way you would if you were tagging a person.
  7. In the search bar, type the name of the product in the photo. Select the product you are tagging and then move the tag on the photo to the correct spot. Instagram will pull in all product catalog information from Facebook, including a link back to your site from the photo. Again, follow go back to step #2 if this isn’t working for you. You can add up to 5 product tags per photo.
  8. Hit share and your post with your shoppable tagged products is live!

Here are the video walk-thrus, if those are easier to follow.

Instagram Shopping Setup Video Walk-thru

Instagram Shopping Tagging Video Walk-thru


Instagram Shopping Stats: 11,233% Increase in Traffic

Over the last few weeks, BigCommerce and Instagram invited 50 BigCommerce brands to beta the feature. We wanted to know a few things:

  1. If it was easy to use for the brands themselves
  2. If their fans and customers like it
  3. And, most importantly, if it increased engagement and revenue.

Below, you’ll find the successes of 6 brands using the feature priori to public availability.

The #1 thing you will notice is that those who have alerted their fans across channels to the Instagram Shopping capability are the brands that have seen the highest increase in traffic and revenue from Instagram.

Our #1 piece of advice to brands wanting to drive traffic and revenue through Instagram Shopping is to use your Facebook channel, email marketing, Instagram posts and Instagram Stories to remind your customers that the feature is now available.

It is a new feature for Instagram, and Instagram users do not appear to be used to it quite yet. Help them get there.

Natori – 1,416% Increase in Instagram Traffic

  • # of posts with tagged products at time of writing: 61
  • Increase in traffic from Instagram: 1,416% WoW
  • Increase in revenue from Instagram: 100% WoW

“Instagram has played a major role in helping us build a brand, and we love how the new shopping features allow us to easily showcase our products in a way that feels authentic to the community we’ve built,” said Ken Natori, President for The Natori Company. 

“In just a few short weeks of using the new shopping features on Instagram, we’ve seen a 100 percent increase in revenue from the channel and a massive 1,416% increase in Instagram referral traffic to our website.”

Instagram Shopping Promotion + Best Practices from Natori

“We announced the availability of Instagram Shopping on Twitter and Facebook. Overall, it has increased our traffic, the integration was quick and tagging is easy,” says Colin Talbot, Digital Marketing Manager, Natori.

“We can’t wait for the teams to offer increased analytics and the ability to tag both products and people in the same post.”

Magnolia Boutique – 20% Increase in Instagram Revenue

  • # of posts with tagged products at time of writing: 117
  • Increase in traffic from Instagram: 4% WoW
  • Increase in revenue from Instagram: 20% WoW

“We’ve seen a traffic increase of 4% increase WoW since starting the shopping campaign and a 20% increase in revenue WoW,” says Susan DelPriore, Magnolia Boutique.

Instagram Shopping Promotion + Best Practices from Magnolia Boutique

“To promote it, we included specific instruction on how to shop our feed in our email blasts. Did an Instagram Live video telling people about the debut of Instagram Shopping. “We also included instructions in the posts in our feed, had several Instagram stories reminding people they shop our feed and cross promoted on other social media channels.”

“In all, I’d recommend Instagram Shopping to other online brands. It makes shopping easier for our Instagram fans. We get many questions from people asking how to shop our items, and this makes that process easier.”

“My best piece of advice is that, since this is very new, it is important to provide instructions and to cross promote. Making sure you product feed is updated is very important,” says Susan DelPriore, Magnolia Boutique.

SpearmintLOVE – 13% Increase in Instagram Traffic

  • # of posts with tagged products at time of writing: 208
  • Increase in traffic from Instagram: 12.61% MoM
  • Increase in revenue from Instagram: 8% MoM

“We’ve seen a 12.61% increase in Instagram traffic (month over month) and an 8% lift in purchases attributable to Instagram Shopping (month over month),” says John Lott, CFO at SpearmintLOVE.

“The integration with the BigCommerce Catalog has been seamless. It is easy to tag products and drive customers directly to the product page right from Instagram.”

Instagram Shopping Promotion + Best Practices from SpearmintLOVE

“To build awareness for Instagram Shopping, we created Instagram stories and organic posts that announced the new feature and showed our audience how to click to shop. We continued these posts for the first two weeks of the launch,” says John Lott, CFO at Spearmint LOVE.

“Overall, Instagram shopping is a natural fit for ecommerce stores and is an organic way to engage with your audience”

Native Union – 2,662% Increase in Instagram Traffic

  • # of posts with tagged products at time of writing: 9
  • Increase in traffic from Instagram: 2,662% MoM
  • Increase in revenue from Instagram: 100% MoM

“We are seeing the analytics in BigCommerce and it’s great to finally see Instagram traffic to the site,” says Tanya Keller, Community Manager, Native Union. – Still fine tuning their approach

  • # of posts with tagged products at time of writing: 1
  • Increase in traffic from Instagram: None yet
  • Increase in revenue from Instagram: None yet

“We will be announcing it in an email blast and ICYMI sections of future email blasts,” Danny Hunsaker,

“Overall, we feel that Instagram Shopping during the holidays will provide the opportunity for busy shoppers to quickly see a watch they like on our IG post and quickly make a purchase.”

“The ease of use for Instagram Shopping is great. Plus, it’s still early in the beta testing, so we’re still analyzing and fine tuning our approach.”

Marucci – Easy to implement, waiting for the holidays

  • # of posts with tagged products at time of writing: 3
  • Increase in traffic from Instagram: None yet
  • Increase in revenue from Instagram: None yet

“We love the ability to use Instagram, our most engaging social platform, to direct customers to our products,” says Chad Vinges, Marketing, Marucci.

“While we’ve been able to implement the product tagging feature, we’re in the middle of a low-selling, low-engagement season, so we’re not able to see any real change thus far (only one week of use).”

“I’m extremely confident, however, that Instagram shopping will be very beneficial to our holiday selling efforts and in our peak selling season in Q1 & Q2 of 2018!”

How to Measure Instagram Shopping Success

Do you want to see similar results to the stats and stories above?

Great – then you need to know how to find how your Instagram Shopping tags are performing.

To do that, you have 2 options:

  1. On Instagram: Under your post analytics, there are Instagram Analytics on your click-thru on Instagram Shopping as well as to your site.
  2. Your BigCommerce Analytics: If you are using the new analytics, then under Marketing >> click on Social >> click on Instagram >> measure l.instagram revenue and traffic week over week (or month over month) to see how much Shopping has worked. You can even make sure BC and Instagram Analytics are showing similar #s based on visits.

How to Grow Instagram Audience Engagement

Wooing 164,000 Instagram Followers

With more than 164,000 Instagram followers and $0.11 average cost per conversion across Instagram and Facebook audiences, Spearmint LOVE is one of the most successful Instagram advertisers on the platform.

Shari and John Lott credit the success to Shari’s expert eye for merchandising and design. Here’s their advice on how to grow an audience and advertise to them effectively.

Spearmint LOVE Sees 991% Yearly Revenue Growth

Get the details on how this brand broke the SMB glass ceiling.

What is your #1 priority in creating an engaging Instagram business profile?

If I had to pick the most important thing, I would say the pictures need to feel genuine. Posts that feel over “photo-shopped” often lack an authenticity that is really critical to connecting with your audience. Find a style that works for you and post often, i.e. 3 to 5 times a day.

What advice would you offer other online businesses looking to grow on Instagram?

The most important advice is be very particular about what you post. If your feed lacks a cohesive feel, your audience will have a hard time relating to your content.

Once you have a clear aesthetic that is resonating with your audience, network with other Instagrammers with a similar size audience. In our early days on Instagram, we did a lot of “friendly follows” with other Instagram accounts that we respected and that were a good fit for our audience.

Using Instagram to Drive 25,000 Visitors Per Day

With more than 261,000 Instagram followers, The Pink Lily Boutique has successfully turned their Instagram feed into a highly-profitable channel, helping to turn $1M in monthly revenue for the brand.

Here is how the Pink Lily team engages with their audience to grow a massive fan base and tons of sales.

How Pink Lily Handles 600+ Orders Per Day

With 600+ orders and 25,000 site visitors per day and $1M in monthly revenue, see exactly how Pink Lily Boutique scaled operations to meet their massive demand.

What are the top priorities in creating an engaging Instagram business profile?

There are many things we do to dominate on Instagram. Here are a few:

1) We post 8-10 times per day, 7 days a week, so there is always fresh content to be seen by our fans.

Some are product images, some are lifestyle shots, some are funny videos. We like to mix it up!

2) We offer Instagram photo contests and giveaways for customers to win free merchandise or a gift card!

A customer has to tag their friends and share one of our contest posts and we will pick a random winner every week! Everybody loves free stuff, so this is always a popular promotion for us.

3)  We ship all items to our customers in a custom poly mailer bag to drive user-generated content.

The bag has our logo and our own exclusive hashtag for customers to tag us on Instagram when they take a selfie in their new outfit.  If customers post a selfie on Instagram wearing our clothes and tag #pinklilystyle, they will be featured on the front page of our website. This has been a great promotion. Customers love the idea of being featured on a website that has 25,000 visitors per day.



4)  We let our customers choose which items we buy.

When shopping for new items or attending a market, we let the customers ‘Be the buyer.’ We take pictures of the items we are considering and then we post them to our social media pages, asking our fans to ‘be the buyer’ and let us know what they think about particular items.

For example we will post a picture holding a dress in each hand and ask the customer ‘Which dress do you like best? Left or right?”

This not only gives us a look at the specific buying habits of our customer, but our fans feel great knowing that we value their input and we try and stock our website based on the items that they truly want.


What advice would you offer other online businesses looking to grow on Instagram?

Keep your customers engaged! Ask their opinions, give away items, make them laugh, etc.

An engaged fan is more likely to turn into a customer. Make sure they know that you value their input and want them to be extremely satisfied with their purchase.

Using Stories to Sell 48,200 Fans

With more than 48,200 Instagram followers, Grace & Lace was skyrocketed to household name when they appeared on Shark Tank. Today, the team uses Instagram to connect with their audience and fans across the country.

Here is their best advice on how to grow a loyal base.

How Grace & Lace Manages Inventory Across Channels

Selling so much through Instagram and other channels including Facebook and Pinterest can be challenging. Here’s how the Grace & Lace team figured it all out.

What are the top priorities in creating an engaging Instagram business profile?

For us, we work to strike a balance between promoting our products, giving our fans a behind the scenes look at Grace & Lace, sharing my life as a mom, wife, and entrepreneur, and adding a little levity or inspiration to their week.

We try to build a valuable relationship with our fans so that when they’re ready to buy something they can’t try on first or see in person, they have had positive interactions with our brand online and they trust me and Grace & Lace enough to take that leap of faith.

What advice would you offer other online businesses looking to grow on Instagram?

Tell your story. Facts tell, stories sell.

Successful brands drive engagement with a story or an experience around their products. Stories enable us to create a connection not only with our fans but with a new audience.

Instagram is a powerhouse for you to visually tell that story and showcase that experience. It’s not about marketing your product; it’s about marketing the experience that comes with owning your product.

Most products we sell are shot on a mannequin first. We’ve tested and 100% of the time, a model photo, flat lay, or even a selfie photo gets more engagement than a mannequin photo.

It’s the same product, but a shot of the model walking down the street on a pretty day shows an experience. The flat lay complete with accessories shows an experience. The selfie shows an experience. And don’t get sidelined by ‘the gear’ involved in taking great photos. It’s not about the gear. It’s about connecting people to your story, to the experience, of your company.

How to Find a Balance with 45,200 Followers

With more than 45,200 Instagram followers, Nickel & Suede admits they began on Instagram early –– and have long been awaiting shoppable posts to make Instagram advertising as successful as Facebook’s.

Here is their best advice on how to grow a large following and advertise effectively.

What are some tactics you’ve used to create an engaging Instagram business profile?

Our followers appreciate using IG as a platform where they can get to know us without scouring our website.

When we started Nickel & Suede, Instagram was still growing in popularity and we knew that it was somewhere we needed to have a strong presence. We started off by networking and collaborating with other brands that we related to and that was a big initial boost at a time when users were first creating IG accounts and choosing who to follow.

We quickly found that the biggest struggle was having enough continually engaging, high-quality content. We’ve worked hard to create great imagery to share with our followers that is informative and personal. We try to keep our followers updated in real-time with information about new releases, behind the scenes and sneak peeks.

We also try to think of our audience as “new” every couple of months so we shift to introducing ourselves every so often or sharing little “did you know” bits about us. We think our followers appreciate using IG as a platform where they can get to know us without scouring our website.

What advice would you offer other online businesses looking to grow on Instagram?

It’s been interesting to find a balance for our business on a platform like Instagram because most of its users are there and have been there for personal reasons. They want to connect with friends and family there and so finding a way to fit your business into someone’s personal feed is a hard thing to do.

So, my advice is first, you have to have great images. Whether you take them with your phone or your camera, make sure they are interesting and high quality. What you say in your caption also matters, but the picture is what sells you.

Second, I would suggest finding ways to keep the platform personal to your customer. Find ways to make them feel like an insider. Offer behind the scenes shots or share something personal about employees. Don’t make it all about selling. Instagram users need a personal reason to follow a business.

That being said, Instagram has been shifting and changing over the last year. It is becoming more like Facebook in that it is slightly less personal and will soon have more ways to boost for businesses.

Follower growth is slower than ever right now, but we don’t think it will stay that way. We are sure Instagram will slowly become an even better and better place for businesses to be. And when they start offering more ways to advertise and easier ways to sell through the platform, it will be pay to play. It will be worth it just like it’s worth it to pay to play on Facebook.

13 Experts Advise on Instagram Shopping

Instagram is a high-engagement platform and more and more brands are looking to it to drive much more than sales –– i.e. customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Here’s how 13 experts from across the ecommerce industry recommend businesses measure Instagram success, run Instagram campaigns and think about Instagram Shopping.

Tara Johnson, Lead Reporter – Retail, CPC Strategy


Instagram Shopping will be useful for online stores. If you think about it, there is an obvious risk if you don’t have a shoppable Instagram. For example, if a customer sees an item they like on the platform, but there’s way for them to buy the item or link to your site, you risk losing that sale.

William Harris, CEO, Elumynt


If you want to increase ROI on Instagram – or any channel for that matter – figure out how to use the platform the way consumers use it. If you’re salesy, people are going hate you. But, you’re engaging, it will go a long way in terms of bringing you real, lasting customers.

Johnathan Dane, CEO & Founder, KlientBoost


Just like Facebook, prioritize your audience targeting in this order:

  • Custom audiences
  • Lookalike audiences
  • Saved audiences

People who know you (custom audiences) are going to usually provide a higher and quicker ROI compared to the people who’ve never seen you before (saved audiences).

As for Instagram Shopping, if it’s anything like the success from Google Shopping, then it will be huge, but it won’t be the same.

I see this more of a Pinterest-style rollout that will certainly be very interesting to test, but will require stores to rely more on talent of photography and not shopping feeds.

Kunle Campbell, Founder, 2X Ecommerce


Instagram Shopping will be especially useful for retargeting ads and for shopping cart recovery. I think conversions from impulse purchases by audiences that have just discovered your brand via Instagram will be low.

But the big opportunity will likely come from audiences that have initially engaged with ecommerce brands on their websites.

Drew Sanocki, Nerd Marketing


The success of Instagram Shopping comes down to their execution. Twitter announced ecommerce years ago and it was a dud.

I’m optimistic here, though, because the medium is so visual. I think they will make impulse priced items a real possibility.

Where else today can you really sell an impulse item other than on your own site to your own traffic?

Emil Kristensen, CMO & Co-Founder, Sleeknote


I really love Instagram shopping. You now have the possibility to show images of your products without having to link to them in your bio. This is a feature I’ve really been looking forward to.

I used to work as an ecommerce manager at a furniture and interior design ecommerce store, where we would show beautiful images of our products in different environments to illustrate how you could use them. The problem was that people couldn’t just click the image and buy the product.

We had to list every single item on the image correctly according to the product name on the website. This quickly becomes a problem if you have many products in one image. Moreover, users had to click the link in our bio, and search for the product on the website and then buy it. That process is way too complicated, and most users will drop off before completing the purchase.

The new feature allows you to tag your products in the images and then users can click on the product on the image and be sent directly to the product page where they can buy it.

Instagram advertising now has the potential to become more than just a retargeting platform for ecommerce. You can do push advertising and reach out to cold leads with awesome images of your products in use.

You should always use images where you show your products in their “natural” environment instead of just showing a simple product image. For instance, if you sell furniture, you should decorate an entire room with different furniture to show how everything goes together, which can also increase additional sales.

Alex Birkett, Growth Marketing Manager, ConversionXL


I can’t speak for their effect on anyone else, but I can say anecdotally that Instagram ads have been far more effective for me than any other social media advertising. I’ve downloaded something like four apps and bought health supplements because of Instagram ads.

The easier Instagram can make it to capture both attention and money within the app, the more powerful the service will be for retailers. That’s what Instagram Shopping does.

Jason Quey, Founder, The Storyteller Marketer


I believe Instagram Shopping is going to be huge for ecommerce businesses. Pinterest has already proven this to be a successful model. The average order value of sales coming from Pinterest is $50.

Thinking about that in terms of Instagram, Yotpo found Instagram engagement rates were 45% longer than visitors from Facebook, 62% longer than visitors from Pinterest, and 40% longer than visitors from Twitter.

Jessica Thiele, Marketing Manager, Virtual Logistics


Give your audience exactly all the information they need right in the app itself (including payment processing, if you have items to sell). The more work you make your audience do, the more barriers to buy you’re unintentionally creating.

Instagram Shopping is hugely helpful with this. It provides a smoother purchasing funnel on Instagram than ever before.

Nancy Badillo, Digital Marketing Specialist,


I’m actually quite excited to try it out for myself. I love how seamlessly integrated it is and how you can showcase the product and price upfront. Many consumers want to know as much about the product before they head to buy.

In a world where many people have a short attention span, this HELPS!

Jason Dea, Director of Product Management, Telus Health


When it comes to retail, especially online, distribution is king. The products with the best and widest distribution models may not always win, but they often have the best odds.

Instagram Shopping is yet another highly engaging direct to consumer distribution channel that may prove very fruitful for savvy brands.

David Feng, Co-Founder and Head of Product, Reamaze


Instagram Shopping is yet another reimagining of how retail is evolving and how merchants must adapt their resources to access customers. Instagram Shopping will likely become very successful for established brands with large followings.

For smaller and less established brands, the process of acquiring followers, adapting the actual store to handle checkout workflows, order abandonments, adjusting the customer lifecycle funnels, and creating enough content to make Instagram Shopping successful still needs proof of concept.

For the majority of stores in the marketplace today, Instagram Shopping should hold as a very interesting feature for now.

Ben Cahen, CEO, WisePops


Test a micro-conversion on your Instagram landing page. And if you’re not creating a landing page, optimized for mobile, which is unique to your Instagram offer, start there.

Once you have your LP, the micro conversion has two possible ROI boosting benefits: 1) Data has shown that micro conversions imitate the conversion in a less threatening way and increase overall conversions and 2) If you get a contact method you can remarked to those leads later and potentially boost overall sales.

Final Word

And that’s it folks. As Instagram Shopping launches to additional regions, we will let you know.

Until then, download the the 62 Real Examples of Instagram Shopping in the Wild guide. It will give you ideas, inspiration and help you understand exactly how to use the feature moving forward.

Want more insights like this?

We’re on a mission to provide businesses like yours marketing and sales tips, tricks and industry leading knowledge to build the next house-hold name brand. Don’t miss a post. Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

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