The BigCommerce Blog Ecommerce Blog delivering news, strategy and success stories to power 2x growth for scaling brands. Wed, 14 Mar 2018 19:41:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The BigCommerce Blog 32 32 7 Brands Discuss the Benefits of the New Cashless Economy and Apple Pay’s Growing Ubiquity Tue, 13 Mar 2018 14:00:37 +0000 Technology is restructuring how money moves. From crypto-currencies to peer-topper payments and one-click checkouts, modern innovations are shifting the basic…]]>

Technology is restructuring how money moves.

From crypto-currencies to peer-topper payments and one-click checkouts, modern innovations are shifting the basic payment infrastructure of our economy.

The gadget we carry in our pockets is becoming more than ever thought possible. And the wallet is its next target.

Adii Pienaar, Founder of Conversio and WooThemes (later acquired by WooCommerce), sums this up best:

Customers worldwide are using their mobile devices for online shopping more often.

Depending on who you want to believe, it’s estimated that since late-2014 more than 50% of all online purchases are made from mobile devices. Apple / iOS has about a 15% market share of mobile devices, which is a huge potential user base for Apple Pay.

The attraction of Apple Pay is the convenience of already having your credit card details on your device. Your customers are also already familiar with spending money on their Apple devices (even if it’s just via iTunes or the App Store).

In general, there’s a trend where customers are spending more dollars when they can act impulsively and with a low-level of friction.

Think about how easy Amazon makes this with their 1-Click Purchases.

From a historical standpoint, Apple Pay, was announced in 2014. But it wasn’t the first of its kind.

The Evolution of Mobile Payments:

A brief history of mobile payments, according to TechCrunch:

  • 1983: David Chaum, an American cryptographer, starts work on creating digital cash by inventing “the blinding formula, which is an extension of the RSA algorithm still used in the web’s encryption.” This is the beginning of cryptocurrencies.

  • 1994: Although this is disputed, some believe that the first online purchase, a pepperoni and mushroom pizza from Pizza Hut, occurs in this year.

  • 1998: PayPal is founded.

  • 1999: Thanks to Ericsson and Telnor Mobil, mobile phones could be used to purchase movie tickets.

  • 2003: 95 million cell phone users worldwide made a purchase via their mobile device.

  • 2007: Both the iPhone and the Droid operating system are released.

  • 2008: Bitcoin is invented.

  • 2011: Google Wallet is released.

  • 2014: Apple Pay is launched, followed a year later by Android and Samsung Pay.

  • 2020: 90% of smartphone users will have made a mobile payment. 

At the time of Apple Pay’s release (years following Google’s own Wallet application), Apple CEO Tim Cook described the magnetic stripe card payment process as broken for its reliance on plastic cards’:

  • Outdated and vulnerable magnetic interface

  • Exposed numbers

  • Insecure security codes

Since then, the same technology Apple uses for Apple Pay has become ubiquitous worldwide: EMV, a payment tokenization specification.

It is why your credit card has a chip in it.

Still, digital payment methods remain more secure than physical cards. They can’t be stolen, for one.

“Payments like Apple Pay are the the most secure payment method out there. Apple Pay contains multiple layers of dynamic encryption and is also protected by TouchID, Apple’s fingerprint technology,” says Jennifer Pollock, Content Marketing Editorial Lead, Square.

But digital payment methods like Apple Pay have another upside: emerging generations with cash flow and raised on cell phones prefer them.

From a study conducted by The Washington Post.

And by 2030, those surveyed expect digital wallets to be the primary source of payments.

“Obviously, consumers are nervous about credit card security so offering the many payment choices is a good idea. Apple Pay means they don’t even have to pull out their credit card at a register,” says Rieva Lesonsky, CEO,

To see how these trends are vying in 2018, I’ve interviewed 7 BigCommerce brands using the technology to understand their use case, their data and thoughts.

These two questions reigned supreme:

  1. Are people using Apple Pay?

  2. Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Here’s how their experience shook out.

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.

SerengeTee Targets Its College-Aged Audience

Experience SerengeTee’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

We have a young demographic made up of high school and college students. We’ve noticed a spike in mobile usage so this made all the sense in the world.

It makes the checkout process incredibly easy.

How was the implementation process?

Not bad at all. We had our developer do some simple styling, but that was about it.

Can you quantify the results?

We are continuing to see more and more users using mobile and fewer bounces in our cart. We can’t quantify Apple Pay effectiveness just yet, but we think that’s a helpful piece of the puzzle.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Absolutely, especially if the analytics are showing high mobile and iPhone usage.

Apple Pay is a solution to those low mobile conversions.

Typing in address and credit card info is an awful experience on desktop, never mind mobile devices. Add to that the fact that most people are on the go while using their mobile device and it’s not hard to understand why mobile conversions remain so low.

Adding Apple Pay gives your customers a frictionless way to instantly make a purchase without thinking twice about it.

– Richard Lazazzera, Founder, A Better Lemonade Stand

Spearmint LOVE Sees Mobile Orders Take Off

Experience SpearmintLOVE’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

Our traffic is now over 80% mobile. Any technology that improves the user experience for mobile users is something we consider testing.

Apple Pay makes the checkout process seamless and improves conversion.

How was the implementation process?

Like most native features on BigCommerce, implementation was easy. It took less than 10 minutes and required no developer time.

How has the button been working?

Our customers love it and we have had no technical issues since we implemented Apple Pay.  It is a core part of our mobile checkout process.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Yes, if you have high mobile traffic it is a must have feature.

One Click to One-Touch Checkout

Around 68% of all shopping carts are abandoned, and complicated checkouts are a major factor.

The Apple Pay integration streamlines the checkout process, increases security and decreases cart abandonment for mobile and desktop shoppers.

Plus, integration is a breeze. 

Activate Apple Pay Now.

CocoWeb Increases Conversion Rate 15% Across Devices

Experience CocoWeb’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

As a small ecommerce business, we feel the brand of “Apple Pay” will surely help our credibility as our customers checkout.

Needless to say, we also believed that the technology and user base would help us increase conversions.

How was the implementation process?

BigCommerce had been amazing in providing the support and technology for a smooth implementation process.

It literally took us less than an hour to implement and fully test Apple Pay on our website.

How has the button been working?

It has worked wonderfully.

In particular, it has help us increase our mobile conversion by more than 20% and our desktop by 15%.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

I think it is no-brainer to use Apple Pay for any serious ecommerce business, especially those small stores in which any additional conversion counts.

Apple Pay Exists Both On and Offline

It’s also worth mentioning that Apple Pay should help shrink the divide between online and offline sales, since customers can use it for both types of purchases.

Therefore, you may end up getting better sale management options along with more sales in general.

– Catalin Zorzini, Founder, 

Zin Home Grows Mobile Sales 20%, AOV 10%

Experience ZinHome’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

We added the Apple Pay button to allow customers a better, and more convenient, purchasing option.

We had noticed an increase in sales from mobile devices, and knew that by providing apple pay as an option, it would only increase them further.

How was the implementation process?

The implementation process was quite simple. When we switched to Paypal Braintree, and with the BigCommerce platform, it was as simple as flicking a switch to implement Apple Pay.

It couldn’t have been simpler.

How has the button been working?

Since implementing Apple Pay, we have seen a steady increase in the number of sales in which customers have selected it as their payment option.

We also know that as more people grow accustomed to using it, they will expect to find it on all online retailers as an option.

For us, providing that kind of ease of use, and the added security it gives our customers, is an important element of having an ecommerce business.

Can you quantify the results?

In the time since we implemented Apple Pay, we have seen a 10-20% increase in sales on mobile devices.

In addition, it should also be noted that there has been a decrease in abandoned orders that had been started on a mobile device.

Although we did not expect it to be impacted by the implementation, we have also seen an 5-10% increase in AOV on mobile orders.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

The answer is a simple one — we would absolutely recommend Apply Pay to other online stores.

The demand for such convenience is only going to grow, and the ease of implementation makes it a simple task to complete.

In addition, our increase in AOV and conversion rate are a testament to the smooth, seamless shopping experience that Apple Pay provides.

Less Mobile Abandoned Cart

One of the major hindrances to mobile buying has always been the checkout.

It’s easy to browse, it’s easy to add-to-cart, but the checkout process has always been cumbersome on mobile. Apple Pay streamlines the checkout and makes it easier.

– Allen Burt, Founder & CEO, Blue Stout

Natomounts Eliminates Chargebacks with Apple Pay

Experience NatoMounts site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

From a text to a call or even an Instagram notification, just about anything can take a visitor from our website.

We wanted to add a payment option that would allow someone to check out in seconds, so they can get back to whatever they were doing before linking to our site.

How was the implementation process?

Easier than I expected. BigCommerce and Stripe’s integration made it so we were up and running in literally minutes.

How has the button been working?

The integration has been working flawlessly and chargebacks for that card-type are practically non-existent.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

Implementing Apple Pay has only helped our website conversions, bounce rates, checkout process, and chargebacks.

I have yet to see a downside to enabling one of the easiest checkout processes we’ve ever implemented on our website.

Apple Pay is truly frictionless commerce.

Apple Pay is truly frictionless commerce geared to increasing mobile transactions.

My advice to retailers would be to run a thorough mobile UX audit and deliver a truly mobile first user experience to shoppers and customers.

Now that the mobile checkout has been more or less ‘fixed’ with Apple Pay (with Android Pay to follow), mobile devices will becoming the primary de facto online shopping device.

– Kunle Campbell, Founder, 2X Ecommerce

See how Natomounts created a mobile-first experience.

Giant Teddy Sees Faster Checkout, Higher Conversions

Experience Giant Teddy’s site. 

Why did you integrate the Apple Pay?

We decided to add the Apple Pay button due to the smooth transition offered during the checkout process.

Customers are now able to quickly proceed to check out and pay for their desired item – much more quickly than pulling out a credit card.

Apple Pay already has their billing, shipping and contact information saved to avoiding having to re-enter. This leads to easier navigation for our customers.

Can you quantify the results?

We have seen an overall increase in conversion since adding the Apple Pay button along with a few other additions were made to the website.

We can’t say for certain it was the Apple Pay button, but it certainly helps.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

We would definitely recommend Apple Pay to other stores for many reasons.

The biggest one is the security and safety it brings to the customers at checkout, especially for smaller businesses.

The button allows a business to offer a very fast and efficient payment method. It also is great for mobile users. So many people are already on their phone so much, so paying with it just makes it that much more convenient.

Speed + Trust

Speed and trust: the less info you need a consumer to enter on your site, the more likely it is that they will complete the transaction with you.

Services like Apple Pay help take that mental roadblock of manually giving you their credit card info out of the equation. Really, it is all about convenience.

– Chris Van Dussen, CEO, Parcon Media 

Nine Line Processes +600 Sales Immediately Through Apple Pay

Experience Nine Line’s site.

Why did you add the Apple Pay button?

Apple Pay has become increasingly popular over the years.

Offering new ways for our users to checkout allows us to stay ahead of the curve.

Since 80% of our traffic is mobile or tablet, it made sense to offer payment options that are baked into those devices.

We really want to offer our users the ability to check out faster without too much manual input. Apple Pay offers a much more speedy checkout process.

How was the implementation process?

The implementation process was pretty straightforward. We were able to get the payment method live in under an hour.

All we had to do was enable the feature and do some minor HTML adjustments to our checkout.

The implementation is incredible easy and can be integrated without a developer.

Can you quantify the results?

Just this year (2018), we’ve captured over 600 sales with Apple Pay. It has made up 2.5% of our orders in 2018 and we expect that number to increase as Apple Pay becomes more popular.

Would you recommend Apple Pay?

I would highly recommend implementing Apple Pay.

For a successful ecommerce strategy, implementing multiple payment methods allows you to capture more orders and streamline the customer journey.

We’ve noticed a huge spike in our mobile traffic, and implementing features such as Apple Pay only enhance that experience.

Because of the easy implementation and low risk, there is no reason not to offer this option.  

More Options, More Sales

Every time you add a payment solution, you make it easier for a related customer segment to buy and improve their conversion rates.

If you offer an impulse buy product, have a lot of mobile shoppers, or have items with lower AOVs, the Apple Pay user segment is probably not insignificant.

Go get them!

– Drew Sanocki, Private Equity Operating Partner, Empire Growth Group

One Click to One-Touch Checkout

Around 68% of all shopping carts are abandoned, and complicated checkouts are a major factor.

The Apple Pay integration streamlines the checkout process, increases security and decreases cart abandonment for mobile and desktop shoppers.

Plus, integration is a breeze. 

Activate Apple Pay Now.

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
How Landing Pages Catapult Brands to Beyond $20,000,000 in Online Revenue Fri, 09 Mar 2018 15:00:58 +0000 “Don’t judge a book by its cover” A short piece of wisdom we have all heard and, most likely, are…]]>

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”

A short piece of wisdom we have all heard and, most likely, are all guilty of doing anyway.

But don’t feel too bad, because, apparently, we can’t actually help it.s

As humans, we are predominantly visual creatures, meaning that:

“Wrappers in which things come not only powerfully affect what interests us but also how we react to the contents we find inside.”

We can’t help but judge:

  • Books by their covers.
  • Food by its appearance.
  • And, most importantly, brands by their landing pages.

Landing pages are a neglected but increasingly crucial brand wrapper – a key initial impression and touchpoint for many new shoppers.

Unfortunately, ecommerce landing pages represent a very neglected but increasingly crucial brand wrapper — a key initial impression and touchpoint for many new shoppers.

And even for those returning ones, ecommerce landing pages can play an important role in motivating traffic to continue engaging with your brand and ultimately convincing them to make a purchase.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that while brands today spend large portions of their marketing budget driving traffic to their digital storefronts, that paid traffic rarely reaches its full potential — as evidenced by subpar conversion rates.

That untapped value is a consequence of disjointed onsite experiences coupled with the simple truth that:

Consumers judge brands based on their preliminary experiences, abandoning them in response.

So, considering these two factors:

  1. The key role that initial landing page impression can play in the consumer journey.
  2. The painful fact that, as long as that traffic isn’t purchasing, you are likely going to have to pay for them again and again until they do.

Why not do everything you in your power to ensure that your landing page experiences are as seamless (and as revenue-driving) as possible?

This blog post will walk you through why landing pages are becoming increasingly important to positive and profitable ecommerce customer experiences.

We’ll also explain what you can do to optimize the value of your own landing pages – right now.

What is a Landing Page?

A landing page is a standalone webpage targeted to a specific cohort of your traffic, with the aim of providing a more relevant experience in order to achieve the ultimate objective of driving that cohort toward conversion.

A landing page can be defined as a:

Single page on a website that traffic is driven to from a specific campaign, whether that be an advertisement or an email campaign, for instance.

The definition and application varies from organization to organization.

The real and long-term goal of landing pages, as I see it however, is one that Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos envisioned back in 1999:

“We have 6.2 million customers, we should have 6.2 million storefronts.”

In other words, because every customer is unique and requires different types of attention and engagement to be convinced to purchase, businesses should adapt accordingly by tailoring their stores to each of those individual customers.

Enter ecommerce landing pages.

While retailers can’t be expected to actually create unique websites for every user, they can create unique digital storefronts.

Landing pages represent the tool through which brands can adapt to the user in question, creating relevant and positive-impression making experiences for each of the individuals engaging with your brand.

This is hyper-personalization.

By taking a customer-first, hyper-personalized approach to your landing page optimization strategy, you will do more than create impactful landing pages that guide your traffic in the precise direction you want them to go.

You will simultaneously unlock incremental value from each of those individuals, driving higher returns for your business as a result.

Maximize Top of Funnel Leads

Relevance is going to be your key competitive advantage in 2018.

You’re not going to be able to pull that off without becoming as 1:1 as possible in your communications with your top-of-funnel prospects.

It all starts on-site by identifying your audience through opt-in campaigns. Join BounceX and BigCommerce as we guide you through how identification begins on your site and how to guide the customer journey to increase opt-ins.

Reserve your seat now.

The Difference Between Landing Pages and Product Pages

The great thing about ecommerce brands is that you already have versions of landing pages: your product pages.

There are key differences between these two, however.

These differences may seem subtle in the chart above, but their impact is critical.

The main difference here is one of purpose:

  • Landing Pages are used to drive paid for, targeted traffic back to a specific conversion. Landing pages are considered low- funnel (closer to the final sale).
  • Product pages are used to attract browsers (both organic, direct and less targeted paid audiences) back to a page and allow for additional browsing. Product pages are considered mid-funnel, when consumers are still comparing options.

Page UXLanding PagesProduct PagesPurpose
Site NavigationNoYesBecause landing pages are most often used in advertisements to drive targeted consumers back to a specific conversion, landing pages strip the individual page of any other click through opportunities outside of the main CTA. This includes removing site navigation.
Clear Call to Action (CTA)YesYesBoth landing pages and product pages have a clear CTA (add to cart). On landing pages, however, this is the only CTA – and often uses language more targeted to the targeted audience being driven to the page.
Additional CTAsNoYesAgain, landing pages only have 1 CTA. Product pages often include a site navigation for additional browsing as well as similar or related products. Many product pages include multiple lower-level CTAs for those who are not yet ready for purchase.
Product Description + Additional ContentYesYesBoth landing pages and product pages include additional product copy. On landing pages, however, the copy is often re-written for a specific audience, rather than a more general organic or direct audience.
Optimized for SEOPotentially, but not necessarily YesLanding pages can be optimized for SEO, but many brands have landing pages unindexed so that the offer on the page remains specific to the targeted audience, and to better measure conversion rate and campaign success in terms of ROAS (return on ad spend). Product pages are heavily optimized for SEO, as one of their main goals is to attract organic traffic.

Let’s look at a few examples of each.

Inclusion of site navigation on page.

  • Landing page: No
  • Product page: Yes

Because landing pages are most often used in advertisements to drive targeted consumers back to a specific conversion, landing pages strip the individual page of any other click through opportunities outside of the main CTA.

This includes removing site navigation.

Clear CTA (call to action).

  • Landing page: Yes
  • Product page: Yes

Both landing pages and product pages have a clear CTA (add to cart).

On landing pages, however, this is the only CTA – and often uses language more targeted to the targeted audience being driven to the page.

Additional CTAs.

  • Landing pages: No
  • Product pages: Yes

Again, landing pages only have one CTA.

Product pages often include a site navigation for additional browsing as well as similar or related products.

Many product pages include multiple lower-level CTAs for those who are not yet ready for purchase.

Product description and additional content.

  • Landing pages: Yes
  • Product pages: Yes

Both landing pages and product pages include additional product copy.

On landing pages, however, the copy is often re-written for a specific audience, rather than a more general organic or direct audience.

Landing pages often have less copy than typical product pages.

Optimized for SEO.

  • Landing pages: No, not necessarily
  • Product pages: Yes

Landing pages can be optimized for SEO, but many brands have landing pages unindexed so that the offer on the page remains specific to the targeted audience, and to better measure conversion rate and campaign success in terms of ROAS (return on ad spend).

Product pages are heavily optimized for SEO, as one of their main goals.

You can choose to optimize your landing page for SEO if you desire.

4 Steps to Implementing a Landing Page Strategy

Here is how most online brands run advertising campaigns:

  • Launch a Facebook of Google PPC ad.
  • Drop shoppers who click on those ads on specific category or product pages
  • See low conversion rates on those product pages as customers begin to browse other sections of the site
  • Lose the ability to properly measure ROAS (return on ad spend).

This is occurring even outside ads, but in campaigns in general.

Here’s how most people are running email marketing campaigns for instance:

  • Launch an email marketing campaign targeted to a specific customer segment
  • Drop that customer off on a specific product page
  • See low conversion rates on those product pages as customers begin to browse other sections of the site
  • Lose the ability to properly measure ROI (return on investment) for the email campaign, and LTV (customer lifetime value) generated from individual campaigns.

In both situations, you’ve now created an attribution issue.

Why does attribution matter?

Brands quickly scaling past $5,000,000 in annual online revenue must get really, really good at attribution.

Attribution is the clear understanding of sales produced by each individual channel.

As your brand scales, it is likely that some channels will work much better for you, whereas others either need improvement, or can be dropped to swift focus and double down on where resource spend in producing high sales.

Without proper attribution understanding (ROI and ROAS from all channels), you cannot make educated strategy implementations.

Bad data returns bad investment.

Landing pages help to alleviate this issue.

If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this:

Do not simply drop targeted traffic off on any page on your website, left to either convert or not convert.

Instead, use landing pages for your targeted audiences.

Here’s how to know when you should create a landing page:

When to Create an Ecommerce Landing Page

Funnel StageCampaign TypePage ContentsPotential CTA
Top of FunnelLookalike AudiencesCreate a landing page that tells your brand story including who you are, why you exist and what you believe in. Also show off social proof (from customers and media outlets, if possible) and begins to build community with the lookalike audience.Join the Community and Take 10% Off Your First Purchase The goal here is to capture an email address so you don’t have to pay to market to these folks again. You’ll then retarget traffic that lands on the page, but doesn’t convert (i.e. give you an email address) to test a new message and offer.
Mid-FunnelRe-targeting CampaignWith Facebook Dynamic Ads, make it easy on yourself and send those folks back to product pages for similar products. Use landing pages in this segment to drive home positive sentiment after purchase. Do you have tons of social proof? Or a particular story about a customer who used your product for something really cool? Or do they just love your brand? Share those stories on landing pages to turn traffic that browsed to traffic that bought.Experience [the product] for yourself. OR Add to bag/ checkout. The goal here is to drive to purchase through social or other customer proof points which are shown to increase customer trust in your brand and solidify conversions. You’ll be doing this simultaneously with Dynamic Retargeting Ads. Note: You do not have to do this with all products. Test it out with products you know drive high customer lifetime value and customer loyalty first.
Bottom of FunnelUpsell CampaignYou are likely already running an abandoned cart campaigns back to that customer’s checkout. Great. Use landing pages to upsell additional, related products or bundles to either close the sales at a higher price, or have the customer buying again. You can also use discount codes in these – though it is best to test your audience with a bundle strategy first.Get the better bundle, now. Your goal here is to first, close the sale. And second, to ideally close the sale with a higher average order value. Look through your top performing products and see what you could bundle those with across your site. Then, create a landing page promoting those bundles specifically to audiences who have abandoned cart. This is a great way to avoid discount promotions after cart abandonment and grow top-live revenue sale-by-sale.
Already PurchasedRe-engagement CampaignRe-engagement campaigns are targeted at increasing customer lifetime loyalty (LTV) and repeat purchases (retention). Make customers feel special by offering them first access to new products, campaigns and collections before the rest of the world. You do this by creating an un-indexed landing page. Be an early adopter. OR Get the goods before anyone else. Your customers are your VIPs. Make sure they are treated like it.

Now, let’s look at examples.

1. Top-of-funnel landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Lookalike audiences

The Strategy

Create a landing pages that tells your brand story including who you are, why you exist and what you believe in.

Also show off social proof (from customers and media outlets, if possible) and begins to build community with the lookalike audience.


  • Join the Community and Take 10% Off Your First Purchase

The goal here is to capture an email address so you don’t have to pay to market to these folks again.

You’ll then retarget traffic that lands on the page, but doesn’t convert (i.e. give you an email address) to test a new message and offer.

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.

How to find this audience

Begin with a list of your current customers – or your VIP customers – which you can find here.

Note: This works best if you are B2C brand.

Upload that list into Facebook to create a Lookalike audience.

Build a landing page using a BigCommerce webpage or an app like ShoGun.

Launch your Facebook campaign and measure results.

2. Mid-funnel landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Re-Targeting Campaigns

The Strategy

With Facebook Dynamic Ads, make it easy on yourself and send those folks back to product pages for similar products.

Use landing pages in this segment to drive home positive sentiment after purchase.

  • Do you have tons of social proof?
  • Or a particular story about a customer who used your product for something really cool?
  • Or do they just love your brand?

Share those stories on landing pages to turn traffic that browsed to traffic that bought.


  • Experience [the product] for yourself.
  • Add to bag/ checkout.

The goal here is to drive to purchase through social or other customer proof points which are shown to increase customer trust in your brand and solidify conversions.

You’ll be doing this simultaneously with Dynamic Retargeting Ads.

Note: You do not have to do this with all products. Test it out with products you know drive high customer lifetime value and customer loyalty first.

How to find this audience

Within Facebook, re-target those who clicked-through specific ads with relevant landing page content.

Set up that landing page using either a BigCommerce webpage or an app like ShoGun.

3. Bottom-of-funnel landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Upsell Campaigns

The Strategy

You are likely already running an abandoned cart campaigns back to that customer’s checkout.


Use landing pages to upsell additional, related products or bundles to either close the sales at a higher price, or have the customer buying again.

You can also use discount codes in these – though it is best to test your audience with a bundle strategy first.


  • Get the better bundle, now.

Your goal here is to first, close the sale. And second, to ideally close the sale with a higher average order value.

Look through your top performing products and see what you could bundle those with across your site.

Then, create a landing page promoting those bundles specifically to audiences who have abandoned cart.

This is a great way to avoid discount promotions after cart abandonment and grow top-live revenue sale-by-sale.

How to find this audience

Go to your View But Did Not Purchase report in BigCommerce and download the emails.

Find which of the products within the list are most abandoned – or you can see that in this specific report in BigCommerce Insights.

Create a bundle to increase final checkout appeal for the product. Use the following report in BigCommerce Insights to see which products folks buy most often with other ones.

Chances are, those two would make a really great bundle.

4. Already purchased landing pages.

  • Typical campaign type: Re-engagement, LTV, retention campaigns

The Strategy

Re-engagement campaigns are targeted at increasing customer lifetime loyalty (LTV) and repeat purchases (retention).

Make customers feel special by offering them first access to new products, campaigns and collections before the rest of the world.

You do this by creating an un-indexed landing page.


  • Be an early adopter.
  • Get the goods before anyone else.

Your customers are your VIPs. Make sure they are treated like it.

Maximize Top of Funnel Leads

Relevance is going to be your key competitive advantage in 2018.

You’re not going to be able to pull that off without becoming as 1:1 as possible in your communications with your top-of-funnel prospects.

It all starts on-site by identifying your audience through opt-in campaigns. Join BounceX and BigCommerce as we guide you through how identification begins on your site and how to guide the customer journey to increase opt-ins.

Reserve your seat now.

How to find this audience

Either use your entire customer list, or section out your VIP customers from your BigCommerce Insights report.

This is the same audience you used for your Facebook Lookalike Campaign above. 

Download their emails and give them a specific customer group in which only they can see specific products.

Now, launch a landing page using either built-in webpages and the BigCommerce Buy Button or an app like ShoGun to showcase the products.

4 Key Elements Every Page on Your Site Must Have

Every landing page you build will be hyper-personalized for the audience who sees it.

But, every audience is influenced by many of the same things, including:

  • Context.
  • Clarity.
  • Perceived value.
  • Relevancy.

This is true for product pages as well (even category pages!).

Every page you build on your site needs to do these 4 things incredibly well.  

1. Create undeniable value on every page.

In a world where every consumer has an infinite number of options for nearly any given product at their fingertips — where Forbes whispers of the death of loyalty — ensuring that your visitors understand why they should buy from your brand is crucial.

Unfortunately, that undeniable value that sets your brand apart from the rest is very rarely clear outside of the homepage or the About Us page.

Just look at this standard product landing page.

Note: This is not a BigCommerce site. You can view all of BigCommerce’s optimized themes, templates and landing pages here. Industry leaders like Theme Forest have also designed optimized themes for BigCommerce customers

The problem here isn’t actually with the template, but with what most ecommerce retailers do (or don’t do) with that template.

Think about the new visitor engaging with a Facebook Lookalike product ad for sandals.

  1. She clicks through the ad and lands directly on a product page that probably looks similar to the templated one above.
  2. She sees the sandals, they’re cute, but she could probably get similar ones on Amazon for a cheaper price.
  3. And finally, she clicks back and continues browsing Facebook.

What wasn’t clear to this new user when she landed on the product page was all the details that would have likely motivated her to engage further:

  • An expiring promotion on sandals or free shipping, returns, and exchanges
  • Or the fact that for every pair purchased, another pair is donated to a woman in need

In other words, since the home page is no longer the sole landing page, it is up to you to ensure every page on your website resonates with value.

And why shouldn’t it?

Most retailers have specific value propositions — whether pricereturn policy, brand story, or social responsibility.

Those elements are a part of your business for a reason, why not share them with your consumers, especially if they will drive value for your business in return.

Here are a few examples of product pages (which can easily be turned into landing pages!) that include valuable information typically on Homepage or About Us pages – from the headline right through the details — and how these retailers weave in those storylines.

Examples of the best ecommerce landing pages

Handpicked Wines‘ Product Page

My Magic Mud Product Page

Atlanta Light Bulbs’ Product Page

This one is a bit more traditional, but still follows similar rules of visibility to show consumers the value in buying with them.

2. Make it easy.

What this really boils down to is the 3-Second Rule, or the theory that:

You have roughly 3 seconds the capture a visitor’s attention.

Otherwise, they’re gonezo.

So, with this in mind, it is crucial to ensure that on every landing page, a consumer can answer the following questions within 3 seconds:

  1. Who you are and what do you do
  2. Why you are of value or of interest to them
  3. What they should do next

Let’s look back at that templated product page we saw earlier.

Note: This is not a BigCommerce site. You can view all of BigCommerce’s optimized themes, templates and landing pages here. Industry leaders like Theme Forest have also designed optimized themes for BigCommerce customers

Now, step back, close your eyes, and open them for 3-seconds.

Can you answer the above three questions?  

I can’t — and not just because this is a templated page.

Per #1, we are already working on ensuring who you are and your value is reflected across every page.

But what about what they should do next?

In the above image, that next step is lost in plethora of page distractions. Even the add to cart button is barely visible at the bottom of the page.

This type of convoluted landing page design is not conducive to seamlessly making a purchase.

My eyes even have to move down the page to see the discounted price, and the discount itself is tiny!  

Additionally, while the product image is large and clear, I don’t really understand the associated labels.

If it’s “HOT” because of the price, shouldn’t that great discount be reflected prominently?

When it comes to making the purchase decision, consumers are flooded with hesitations:

  • Do I really need it?
  • Is it too expensive?
  • Could I find it cheaper?
  • Is it worth the investment?
  • Why should I trust them? (queue social proof)

It is up to the landing page to alleviate those hesitations.

On product pages, this means ensuring clear product images along with prominent CTAs and easily understood value propositions.

We haven’t hit on category pages too much in this post, but let me reiterate, these tips are for every page on your site.

So, on category pages, this means making sure your product images are clear as shoppers scroll through in addition to ensuring customers understand the product offerings.

In this example, while scrolling through the category page, a few things are immediately clear:

  • Value: Free Sample & Free Shipping and Returns
  • Product: Large, clear product images
  • Product Options: the “more shades” tags give interested users another reason to click
  • Next Step: persistent “Add to Bag CTA”

The brand took the idea of motivating the user to take action to the next step.

By creating the “Add to Bag” CTA button, they have simplified the checkout process, giving users the ability to easily add items to their cart.

Every ecommerce landing page (and really every page of your website) should be created with the goal of getting your user to take the next-most productive step.

Once a user has made it to a category or product page, they have essentially told you what they are interested in.

It’s up to you and your pages to ensure they are.

3: Identify the right traffic.

Now that you’ve optimized the general landing page experience across your website, it’s time to take it one step further.

Of course, it is neither feasible nor wise to try to create hyper-personalized landing page experiences for every individual arriving at your website.

Instead, you should focus on the highest-value cohorts of your traffic.

These are not only the ones you have invested your budget toward, but they are also the individuals you know you can motivate to take productive action with your business.

But, how do you identify the right traffic?

As mentioned earlier, start by diving into your website analytics.  

Specifically look into your top traffic sources, not only from a traffic volume perspective but also from a revenue perspective.

These sources typically include Email, Paid Search, Organic Search, and Direct, to name a few.

Once you have pinpointed those top traffic sources, dig even deeper and look at the specific campaigns responsible.

  • Do those jumps in traffic arise from specific marketing emails or promotions?
  • Are they a result of cart abandonment ads on Facebook?
  • Are there specific search terms you have ads for that are just killing it for you?

By sifting through all of these details, you’ll be able to get a clear understanding of which specific cohorts of traffic are the most valuable to your business.

If you are using an analytics solution like BigCommerce’s Insights, you can easily see reports that take this a step further.

Here is a taste.

Grow with Metrics That Matter

Drive up to 25% more revenue with premium insights and get details on your store’s performance with built-in analytics.

Activate Insights Now.

Marketing Insights Reports

In this section, you can dive into customer lifetime value by channel on day 1, 90 and 180.

This will help you understand which channels (AdWords, Email, Facebook, etc.) drive the highest lifelong loyalty and repeat purchase rates.

What is this helpful for?

Understanding where to put your ad dollars to drive consumers back to your product landing pages for purchase.

Here are the three reports you get.

Here is what the 90 day report looks like, and how you can download the data to further investigate.

Product Insights Reports

Here, you can dive into which products (and subsequently product landing pages) are performing the best, and which need a little work.

This data is pulled based on individual product conversion rate data. So, if its a rock star product, it is likely a rock star landing page.

Further, you can use this data with the Marketing Insights data to understand which products to market for the highest return on ad spend.

Moreover, you can use these insights to see which products are bought together most often.

This is a good indicator of what additional products to include on landing pages for upsell opportunities.

Customer Insights Reports

With these reports, you can dive into various customer cohorts including:

  • Best customers
  • Customers at risk
  • Low AOV customers
  • Customer lifetime value (30, 90, and 180 days)
  • Customer lifetime value by product (day 1, 90 and 180)
  • Best products for repeat purchase (By month)

This data is helpful for understanding customer behavior on your site, which products drive loyalty and creating landing pages that best attract high AOV and full-price customers.

Most useful, however, is to use this data for retargeting on Facebook to earn more “Best customers” using already known characteristics of that cohort.

Here are the full reports you have access to:

4. Behavioral marketing.

Once you have optimized landing pages and product pages, and you know who to target, you can begin to use behavioral marketing to really personalize every aspect of your site.

When any visitor lands on your website, you should be able to detect a couple of things with the proper tagging and a behavioral marketing partner like BounceX:

  1. If it’s her first time onsite
  2. If she came through an ad and what type
  3. Which ad specifically and the content of that ad

Since you’ve already identified your most valuable traffic-driving campaigns, you can target the individuals who come through those experiences with behavioral marketing tactics.

So now, when that new user clicks through your Facebook Lookalike ad and lands on your sandals product page for the first time, two things will occur simultaneously:

  1. She’ll likely remain onsite longer because your unique value propositions are clear
  2. She’ll understand that the sandals are on sale for a limited time only

Both of these are a result of your on page optimizations.

With behavioral marketing, you can add a third element to the optimization process.

Here’s the scenario:

Knowing this shopper is a new prospect who has never purchased from you before, you know she’s going to need slightly more convincing before she agrees to purchase from you and likely won’t make the purchase in her first visit.  

So, as she’s clicking through the product images and demonstrating clear interest, you respond to her behavior by offering her ‘Free Shipping’ when she enters her email address.

Now, you’ve not only captured her information in case she abandons but you’ve also given her another reason to buy from you today. It’s people-based marketing, people.

Executive Summary

Every page on your website is should be optimized for perceived value and brand storytelling to drive conversion.

However, there are critical differences between landing pages and product pages.

These differences have to do with attribution, and effectively measuring your ROAS and ROI for specific audience segments.

Whether you are looking to drive net new customers or increase retention, landing pages are a silo-ed view into specific customer behavior and CRO that can help your grand grow far beyond $20,000,000 in annual revenue.

This is the ground floor to forecasting. It is how to make sure attribution at your brand is never convoluted. It is how you begin to build a testing culture.

Landing pages are how you ultimately build a brand from $5,000,000 to $20,000,000 and beyond.

Maximize Top of Funnel Leads

Relevance is going to be your key competitive advantage in 2018.

You’re not going to be able to pull that off without becoming as 1:1 as possible in your communications with your top-of-funnel prospects.

It all starts on-site by identifying your audience through opt-in campaigns. Join BounceX and BigCommerce as we guide you through how identification begins on your site and how to guide the customer journey to increase opt-ins.

Reserve your seat now.

Want more insights like this?

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]]> 8
How I Turned My Father’s 90s B2B Business into California’s Fastest Growing Online Succulent Seller Tue, 06 Mar 2018 18:08:16 +0000 When my father bought and launched a succulent company called Mountain Crest Gardens to complement his tree seedling business back…]]>

When my father bought and launched a succulent company called Mountain Crest Gardens to complement his tree seedling business back in the 1990s, it wasn’t a main focus of his.

Instead, it was a natural extension for his contract-based conifer tree seedling business:

A small side hustle that sometimes broke even and sometimes was a tax-write off when it wasn’t profitable.

Mountain Crest Gardens was a very different type of business than the type my father had grown to be an expert at.

In the beginning, the company he bought that became Mountain Crest Gardens sold plants via print catalog and mailing lists.

He tried to make it a wholesale operation. But working with big box stores, distribution centers, and large garden centers was such a pain.

He gave up by the early 2000s and decided to move the business online to sell and ship plants directly to customers.

That’s when he reached out to me – his son with a computer science and marketing degree living more than 500 miles away from home.

It was mostly my initiative to help with advertising and remaking the website. I was naturally drawn to the competitive and creative nature of retail business.

Initially, I saw it as more of a hobby and “helping our family business out a little bit” than as a viable career path.

That was the early 2000s, back when we had a funky website on an old platform. Didn’t everyone then?  

I was helping to make sure our Google Adwords were up and running and that we weren’t overspending our budget.

That was about it – and things putted along.

I still had a full time job in Southern California. My father still had his full-time B2B family business.

You might have two guys going after a side-hustle, but that doesn’t produce the outcomes of a full time focus. Sales were flat throughout the 2000s.

Nothing really happened.

Nothing might of ever happened, if it weren’t for Magento Go shutting down and recommending their customers to BigCommerce.

Today, Mountain Crest Gardens is California’s fastest growing online succulent seller. And, we’re getting better and more efficient than ever.

In 2017, we saw a 45% increase in revenue with a decrease in Google ad spend vs. 2016. That’s huge!

Here’s how we got there.

The Sunset of Magento Go Meant a New Day with New Tech

In 2012, I decided it was time to turn that funky old website into something semi-usable. I found Magento Go and used my computer science background to rebuild the site.

  • Sales went up that first year.
  • They went up even more that second year.

That’s when I started to realize:

“Oh, maybe this can be an actual job for me.”

And then, 2014 – Magento Go announced that they were shutting down.

The email they sent to alert us recommended BigCommerce. To me, it was an opportunity to seriously reconsider the mechanics of building an online brand that complemented the offline side business.

Suddenly, I was putting more and more hours into my side-gig, getting more and more serious about this website that was turning a profit despite our reluctance.

After all, things had been complicated on Magento Go.

Yes, we saw an increase in sales, but:

  • Changes required my dedicated time and attention.
  • Any new features needed to be integrated –– by me.
  • Small changes were a big demand on my already limited time.

There were a lot of reasons to not put too many eggs in the online business basket.

But then things changed – fast.

The reason? On the new platform, our sales skyrocketed.

We quickly grew from a team of three to a team of 20 – and in just about four years, our sales are up 10x.

By that time, I had already quit the corporate job, but the growth had me moving back home to Northern California to grow the team and build a world-class brand.

Today, I’m an executive at Mountain Crest Gardens and I oversee all our operations.

So how’d we get there?

How did I go from an interesting, family side hustle to bring my father’s B2B business (which we still operate) to a consumer audience via the web?

Well, that’s a story about fear, Amazon and making sure my father’s legacy survives beyond my generation.

Sunset Magento for Your Brand.

Magento doesn’t have to sunset for you to experience the success. Migrate your data over, for free and on your own time, to test out the benefits for BigCommerce. 

Test drive BigCommerce, no commitment.

David v. Goliath, or: Buffering a Family Business from Amazon

Things were going well after our initial transition to BigCommerce:

  • Traffic went up
  • Conversions went up

But there was still an elephant in the room: Amazon.

I was well aware that Amazon was (and is) taking over every industry.

I knew that it behooves small businesses like us to build out communities and lifestyles NOW before Amazon comes for our segment.

I knew I needed to buffer the brand from Amazon ASAP. This meant a shift in focus around our marketing efforts.

We specifically needed to leverage our community through:

  • Content marketing.
  • User-generated content.
  • Social content.

Because here was the thing: until I could make the elephant in the room more of a mouse, I wouldn’t be able to grow the Mountain Crest Garden brand effectively.

I needed to buffer us, and secure us from Amazon’s overarching reach.

And to get that security, I needed a community.

To build that community, well – I needed content, and lots of it.

Uncovering Amazon’s Achilles Heel

Amazon’s business model rewards cheapness of product over anything else, something that doesn’t really fly for most people in the world of live plants.

You can’t palletize and store plants in a Prime warehouse without quality suffering, for example. Amazon also can’t do community and lifestyle like niche segments can.

They can’t harness the passion and experience of my father, which he passed down to me, and that I can now share with our customers.

This is where the biggest problem comes in for brands like me (and I’m assuming like you).

How do you create the content needed to build a community to beat out Amazon?

Back in 2015, I was getting emails like crazy from apps and tool companies trying to get me to use their service.

I ignored almost all of them.

After all, sales were going up, traffic was going up. You only have so much time in the day.

But when I realized I needed content to build the community necessary to bumper ourselves in from the impact of Amazon, I knew I needed help.

That’s when I looked back into a company that had reached out a few months earlier.

Rivet Works had come to me via email with a content-based marketing solution they said helped brands promote user-generated content.

The first time they reached out, I was too busy. Google AdWords was working, and I was heads down in the day to day.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized the potential was there.

It was automated user-generated content via reviews. Their pitch was this:

  1. Scrap regular text-based reviews.
  2. Ask customers for it all: a review, a photo of their product in the wild, and a star rating.
  3. Get their permission to use all of the above for marketing purposes.
  4. Automatically update those images and reviews to the correct product pages –– and then launch social advertising campaigns with the content sent in by users, and their own reviews of the goods.

It was intriguing – though to be fair, I still don’t 100% buy in to the idea of completely scraping text-based reviews. 

On top of Rivet Works, I also use Shopper Approved (which automates a survey as well for text-based reviews).

It’s an all-in reviews strategy: get quick text reviews to establish popularity, but also get photo based reviews for social proof and great original content.

Shopper Approved does indeed net a larger number of reviews overall than Rivet Works,

They are just less exciting.

With Rivet Works, I got photo proof that people liked my products – with no extra work on my end.

And at the time, I had gotten good at Google AdWords. I figured that if the rest of the process could be automated and all I needed to do was learn a new advertising platform (Facebook), it was like a win-win.

So we moved on it.

I pushed Google AdWords management to an agency (Logical Position shout out here because it’s working great!), built out our team, and we leaned into a new marketing strategy.

Here’s what happened next.

Automation, User-Generated Content + Becoming BIG

A big part of our new strategy included leveraging social proof through user-generated content.

We wanted to start gathering user-generated content that:

  • Added context around how our products are used in buyers’ everyday lives
  • Were instances of real, authentic social proof
  • Accommodated the seasonality of our business

With Rivet’s help, we started doing just that.

We began spotlighting photos of what customers were actually doing with our plants.

Within a year, we gathered more than 2,000 user-generated photos, and began highlighting them all over our website, videos, blog and on our social accounts.

To encourage submissions, Rivet helped us incentivize this process via a contest in which customers who submit images are entered to win a $100 gift certificate once a month.

Today, we’re still doing this – and it’s working.

Year over year, we are seeing a 40% increase in customer engagement and submission.

  • February 2017: 90 photos and videos submitted.
  • February 2018: 125 photos and videos submitted.

And, February is still very much our off-season. Last year we had 119 photos and videos for March, 204 for April… then it skyrocketed to 494 for May!

So, apply 40% gains for those months, and you’ll get an idea of what we expect this year.

Then, we repackage this user-generated content as social media material.

On the average Facebook post that features one of our customer photos, we see high organic engagements: 100+ likes, a handful of shares, and 3,000+ reached.

It’s effortless organic marketing for us – and the sales keep rolling in.

The Secret to a 20-Person, 7-Figure Brand: Automation

Along with user-generated photos, we also put a big focus on collecting customer feedback and reviews, which we then leverage for both our internal and external marketing efforts.

We encourage all new customers to complete our short pop-up survey through Shopper Approved, which asks questions about why the shopper selected a particular product and why they’re buying from us.

Once they’ve received the product, we follow up with a full email survey, which again helps us gather important elements of social proof like testimonials and reviews – while also helping us better understand our customers.

The best part of all of these efforts: They’re largely automated.

That means we can remain hands-off and watch this rich, relevant content roll in month after month.

The Next Generation of Our Family’s Legacy: From Seedling to Success

Looking back at where we started, it’s incredible to see how far we’ve come.

This business didn’t take off overnight. For years, it was just…there.

It wasn’t until I was able to put my full attention into this operation and we started using automated user-generated content that it transformed from a mere side hustle into a growing, profitable operation.

Not only did this growth enable me to leave my corporate job, but it’s also now something I can pour myself into 100%.

  • That I can experiment with.
  • That I can watch grow.

It’s an opportunity to build something that lasts – as an extension of the family business.

And while I focus heavily on site design and UGC, these aren’t the only tools I use to turn what was once a 1990’s offline, B2B succulent farm into California’s most successful succulent site for both our traditional B2B customers and whole new, growing segment of B2C consumers.

I obsess about these things even more than marketing:

  1. Constant re-evaluation of all business procedures and expenses, looking for inefficiencies.
  2. Take advantage of a great ecommerce benefit: constant experimenting with pricing, new products, names, description, and onsite information.
  3. Landing pages, landing experience, and on-site SEO are supercritical! An area where sweating the small stuff really pays off.
  4. For aesthetic products like plants, obsess about the quality of your main product photos (angles, background, lenses, lighting, post processing and editing, and realism).
  5. Be honest about the luck involved with good timing in a particular market. Maybe you had a great idea but the time just wasn’t quite right! I’m not sure how Mountain Crest Gardens would have grown 10 years ago when succulents were mostly known as “cactus” and novelty collector plants – even if we had all this same tech!

In the end, though, we’re building our community. We’re buffering against Amazon. We’re bringing this family business into the next decade.

And I couldn’t be more proud.

Want more insights like this?

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]]> 3
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?

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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Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Create a Strategy for Social Media Buzz & Skyrocket Referral Sales Tue, 27 Feb 2018 16:04:55 +0000 Finding new ways to generate ecommerce sales is getting tougher. Competition is fierce. And simply having a presence and a…]]>

Finding new ways to generate ecommerce sales is getting tougher.

Competition is fierce. And simply having a presence and a nice looking web store is no longer enough to make you stand out.

Winning nowadays requires strategy and squeezing the most out of every opportunity.

But there’s one powerful area that tends to get neglected by ecommerce businesses:

Word of mouth marketing (or WOMM).

What is Word of Mouth Marketing?

Word of mouth marketing (WOMM), also called word of mouth advertising, is the social media era’s version of simple word of mouth.

  • Traditionally, word of mouth marketing was spread from one person to another based on recommendation.
  • Modern word of mouth marketing describes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring instances where users share their satisfaction with a brand.

In today’s hyper-connected world, a single recommendation can have far greater impact – leading to word of mouth marketing (WOMM) or word of mouth advertising strategies to capitalize on the opportunity.

Many best practices and marketing tactics encourage natural word of mouth, but campaigns — particularly on social media — can have the explicit aim of promoting an online business’ social exposure.

According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. Even academic research into WOMM has proven its effectiveness in conversion.

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.”

Proof is in the Success

I’ve seen ecommerce brands blow up by developing a Facebook Group, having YouTube influencers talk about them, and by getting on podcasts. And while this all happens online, this is still WOM advertising.

– Eric Carlson, Co-Founder, 10x Factory 

Organic Word of Mouth vs. Amplified Word of Mouth:

Word of mouth marketing happens in 2 ways: organically and through the use of marketing and advertising campaigns.

The two have inherent overalps –– and over a good WOM marketing strategy will cause icnreased organic WOM. Vice versa, if you already have a decent amount of organic WOM, your WOMM campaugns will be much more successful.

These two types of WOMM are called and defined as:

  • Organic word of mouth: Organic WOM occurs naturally when people become advocates because they are happy with a product and have a natural desire to share their support and enthusiasm.
  • Amplified word of mouth: Amplified WOM occurs when marketers launch campaigns designed to encourage or accelerate WOM in existing or new communities.

Word of Mouth Marketing Statistics

  • Nielsen report that 92% of consumers believe suggestions from friends and family more than advertising.
  • Beyond friends and family, 88% of people trust online reviews written by other consumers as much as they trust recommendations from personal contacts.
  • And 74% of consumers identify word of mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decisions.
  • But only 33% of businesses are actively seeking out and collecting reviews.
  • Despite that fact that a little, can do a lot. When specific case studies were analyzed, researchers found a 10% increase in word-of-mouth (off and online) translated into a sales lifts between 0.2 – 1.5%.

But there’s much more to word of mouth advertising and marketing than just ‘do a good job and hope for a referral.’

So in this post we go into full detail on the subject:

  1. What it takes to make word of mouth marketing work.
  2. Specific strategies (with real-life examples) for setting up a steady flow of referral customers.

WOM is Here to Stay

Word of mouth will never go out of style. It is, and will remain, the #1 way people make choices about brands.

– Jamie Turner, Author, Speaker, and CEO of the 60 Second Marketer 

Why Care About Word of Mouth Marketing?

Tactics such as setting up a cool social media ad or experimenting with AI in ecommerce may sound more exciting (and like quicker wins).

A strong word of mouth strategy at the heart of your business can lay the foundation on which to build everything else from.

The Advantages of Word of Mouth Marketing:
  • Grow sales without the ad spend: Many brands from The Hustle to Bangs Shoes and more use word of mouth marketing instead advertising spend to increase sales and fanbase.
  • Build a community not a commodity: Word of mouth marketing works to build an engaged fan base rather than a buy and bolt customer. Higher engaged customers buy more often and recommend their friends more often, extended your return on time spent on the strategy and generating a high customer lifetime loyalty.
  • More funding, more freedom: Brands with high customer lifetime loyalty and therefore repeat purchases receive more angel and venture funding. Why? Because CAC to LTV, or Customer Acquisition Cost to Lifetime Value, is considered one of the most important aspects of a healthy business model in the early days of a company’s lifecycle.

In fact, there are three crucial factors a quality WOM marketing strategy can affect:

1. Brand loyalty.

According to the National Law Review, it can cost five times more to acquire a new customer than keep a current one.

And Bain & Co estimate that a 5% increase in customer retention can boost a company’s profitability by 75%.

And think about this:

A positive word of mouth advertising and marketing strategy keeps customers coming back. And referring other customers. Who also keep coming back. And referring more customers….

All of a sudden you’ve got a machine that’s pumping out new customers who are all loyal to your brand.

2. Brand trust.

HubSpot show that 75% of people don’t believe adverts, yet 90% trust suggestions from family and friends and 70% trust consumer reviews.

In other words:

People trust friends, family (and even strangers) more than they do ads.

Word of mouth marketing means your brand is being recommended in the most trustworthy context possible. And first time browsers are much more likely to take that crucial extra step of handing over their payment details.

3. Creating a buzz.

It’s great to have ad budgets and perfect sales funnels. But the only way to create a genuine buzz about your brand is to have impartial people shouting about you in the media and on social networks.

And a good word of mouth marketing strategy severely increases the likelihood of this happening.

Impress the right person and you might even end up getting featured in something like the New York Times.

In fact, this is the exact strategy Flash Tattoos used when they nabbed a promotion and collaboration with Beyonce. The brand was able to earn the star’s interest at festivals and through natural WOM promotion on Instagram of their products. 

Next thing you know, Beyonce is knocking down their door to get a custom collaboration. 

The collaboration made national headlines, including:

For Flash Tattoos, sales increased 1,100% following the collaboration. 

Creative WOM Beats Ad Unit Economics

Word of mouth is becoming increasingly and a must-have component of any ambitious brand’s marketing strategy.

Paid acquisition through channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Google have become significantly more competitive, which is putting increasing pressure on brands’ gross margins (when considering customer acquisition costs).

Brands thus have to focus on alternative marketing tactics, which have more cost-efficient unit economics and simply requires less of a monetary investment.

One of the best recent examples is Patagonia’s “The President Stole Your Land” campaign. Their tweet about this got more than 60,000 retweets. The overall campaign, which Patagonia targeted at their own customers, generated worldwide publicity and contributed greatly to their marketing efforts.

– Adii Pienaar, High King of Ecommerce, Conversio 

Create An Epic Experience First

There’s one thing to make sure of before doing anything else before creating effective word of mouth marketing strategies:

That you’re already creating an epic customer experience.

Trying to get people to refer their friends and family to your business is almost impossible if they had a poor experience. Even with an average one it’s difficult.

You could even do the opposite and spark up a whirlwind of negative publicity.

People refer others because they want to share something they love. Not just because they might get a discount voucher for doing it.

And with 65% of consumers having cut ties with a brand over just a single poor encounter, it’s more important than ever to create that amazing experience.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure that happens:

WOM is Built-In Trust

Word of mouth customers convert better because they already have a level of trust and confidence in your business that has transferred to them from the person who recommended your store.

People who arrive by other channels, by contrast, might know nothing about your store and have to be convinced first. Their levels of ‘trust’ are lower and conversions are correspondingly lower too.

In addition, if someone has had a good experience with your company and passes this message along they are also likely to point out helpful tips (i.e. be sure to pick up your discount coupon, or log in to get a free gift, etc) that make your offering more attractive to that person BEFORE they have even visited the site.

Word of mouth customers come with built in levels of trust and confidence that other channels don’t.

– David Mercer, Founder, SME Pals 

1. Sell quality products.

It’s impossible to create a positive experience if what you sell just isn’t up to scratch.

Your business will fast become more about managing returns than anything else.

So being able to source and sell quality products is crucial.

Take a look at the negativity caused in this TripAdvisor review:

The restaurant obviously spent a lot of time working on their logo design and how they looked to new customers.

Yet their product (the food) and overall experience for the customer was totally lacking.

A poor review and a customer likely to spread plenty of negative word of mouth.

Create Good Products to Get Good Profit

Word of mouth is possibly more important than ever.

Creating a great and personal experience around a high quality product can lead to all sorts of virality – online and offline.

The reverse is true as well.

If you treat customers poorly or sell lousy products, people will know and tell other to stay away. And because of social media, they can influence not only their friends but also friends of friends and beyond. 

– Josh Mendelsohn, VP, Privy

2. Seamless order process and site UX.

According to justuno, 93% of consumers consider visual appearance to be the key deciding factor in a purchasing decision.

And a Forrester report claims better UX design could increase conversion rates by up to 400%.

Bottom line:

You need to make your ecommerce site and ordering process – across all devices – slick and simple to use or people will just give up (and certainly won’t come back).

A great example of this is the Carolina Panthers online shop.

They used BigCommerce to redesign their site to look amazing and be easy-to-use across all devices:

Take a look at some of the reviews after the change:

And the numbers don’t lie either – with the Panthers’ store seeing a:

  • 83% increase in mobile conversions
  • 37% increase in overall conversions
  • 16% decline in bounce rate.

3. Run a tight operation.

A recent PCA Predict report claims that 49% of consumers would shop online more if they felt more confident about delivery and 57% are reluctant to use a retailer again if delivery is late.

So running a tight operation after a sale’s been made is crucial.

It’s hard to provide that positive, referrable experience while carrying around a reputation for backorders and order mishaps.

This means having bulletproof processes in place to perfectly control your inventory without overselling and a seamless fulfillment system to ensure on-time deliveries.

While also being super speedy in responding to and resolving any mishaps that do occur.

4. Go above and beyond for the customer.

Of course, there’s no one way of doing this.

Every customer interaction is different – but should be treated as an opportunity to impress.

It’s about being in the mindset of striving for excellence in every situation and always putting the customer first.

Zappos are the absolute masters of this. In fact, their CEO Tony Hsieh has regularly described them as a “service company who happen to sell shoes”.

The internet is filled with a multitude of what can be seen as small, yet powerful stories about how Zappos creates wow experiences for customers every single day.

They’ve even started turning them into cool promotional videos:

Ideas For Building Your Word of Mouth Marketing Strategy

Creating an epic experience for customers is sometimes enough to get some of them shouting about you and referring others.

But really making the best word of mouth marketing campaign strategy requires greater thought.

You need to move away from hoping people tell their friends about you. And towards specific strategies that actively encourage people to refer.

Let’s take a look at some ideas to help you build you WOMM strategy:

WOM works for all verticals

One of the big shifts around the concept of word of mouth is that people are spreading products in a different way.

It’s no longer through their voice and is instead happening through their fingertips. Whether it’s a viral product like the Star Wars shower heads getting thousands of shares on Facebook or a new SaaS service getting thousands of upvotes on Product Hunt; the concept of word of mouth is the same but the channel is different. 

– Ross Simmonds, Digital Strategist, Foundation Marketing

1. Set up word of mouth triggers.

A word of mouth trigger is your ‘x factor’.

The thing that makes your business stand out from any other in your industry or space.

This means giving your customers something memorable. An experience, thought or feeling they can’t get anywhere else.

And they’re left being almost forced (in a good way) to talk about you to others.

The Hustle, for instance, sends an ambassador promotion email anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple months after someone joins (they continue to test timing for effectiveness). Here’s the email they send:

Of their nearly 600,000 subscribers (as of writing), this email has earned them more than 4,000 ambassadors, each of whom recommends upward of 25 people to The Hustle. 

2. Use visual triggers.

Disney does an amazing job of this with their theme parks.

They create a stunning visual experience that people just want to take photos of and share with other people.

But this can be a little trickier to create when it comes to ecommerce.

You could create a website so stunning and unique that people just have to share it. But navigation, ease-of-use and conversions should always be your first point of call.

IKEA is a great example of a brand using a visual trigger to create word of mouth.

They were among some of the first retailers to embrace Augmented Reality in a big way and created a huge online buzz when launching their AR app:

This video has 1.4 million views on YouTube and was shared across copious other channels because people were visually amazed.

3. Do or create something unique.

Creating something totally different and out of the box is another way to trigger people into spreading the word about your business.

But that doesn’t mean you need to totally reinvent the wheel.

It could be that you market your business in a way that’s totally different to anyone else in your space. Or that you take an old product and sell it in a completely new way.

Dollar Shave Club is a fantastic example of both of these ideas.

Not only did they take an old product (a shaving razor) and sell it in a new way (via subscription to monthly grooming packages). But they also marketed themselves using self-deprecating humour in an industry that’s mostly known for producing serious commercials of men with chiseled good looks.

In fact, they gained 12,000 customers within 48 hours of this initial YouTube video going live in 2012 (and it now has over 25 million views):

4. Emotional provocation.

Tapping into people’s emotions can be very powerful for generating shares and getting people to talk about your business.

This can be done via taking something you believe in and tying your company brand closely to it on social media, your website and anywhere you can.

For example:

Android believe in their slogan “Be Together. Not the Same”. And their ‘Friends Furever’ video went on to become the most shared ad of all time by simply encapsulating this concept.

BigCommerce retailer Ben & Jerry’s also does this really well by attaching themselves to a cause they hugely believe in – environmentalism:

5. Encourage user generated content.

Content generated by your users, customers and followers can be much more powerful, engaging and shareable than run of the mill company updates and photos.

In fact:

According to an Adweek infographic, 85% of users find visual UGC more influential than brand photos or videos.

Meaning engaging your follower base in a two-way conversation can encourage them to start shouting about your business on social media – effectively endorsing and referring you to their friends and followers.

Offering discounts for posts that meet certain criteria is one way to encourage this. Or running an ongoing social media competition on your own hashtag is another.

BigCommerce retailer Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams does this fantastically well.

They have stores all across America and get customers to Instagram themselves enjoying their ice cream while using a special hashtag for the store they’re at:

And even go a step further by creating community sections for each store on their website – filled with social proof of people loving their ice cream:

6. Push ratings and reviews hard.

Not every person is going to refer dozens of friends and family.

But that doesn’t mean they didn’t love their experience. And certainly doesn’t mean you can’t use their feedback to convince others to buy.

According to BrightLocal’s 2017 Customer Review Survey:

  • Consumers read an average of seven reviews before trusting a business – up from six the previous year.
  • 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations
  • 49% of consumers need at least a four-star rating before they choose to use a business.

So feedback and word of mouth from your current customers is crucial.

That means collecting and prominently displaying honest reviews of your service and products in as many places as possible – marketplaces, websites, in-store, social media posts and anywhere else you can think of.

If someone is willing to shout about your business, make sure everyone knows about it.

Alcoholic drinks retailer BeerCartel do this brilliantly on their BigCommerce store by prominently displaying product ratings in the top left and a reviews tab on the right:

With the tab on the right causing a pop up box filled with reviews to appear as an overlay:

And they also do a great job collecting reviews on social media too:

Use Reviews to Their Full Social Power

Reviews are the modern word of mouth. Consumers are reading reviews and they’re asking for advice on social networks. Word of mouth is more important and bigger than ever before.

– Stephen Slater, Sr. SEO and Digital Advertising Manager, TopRank Marketing

7. Create an official referral program.

A referral program isn’t going to trump a bad experience for your customers.

But offering systematic referral rewards is a great way to nudge happy customers into actually taking that step and introducing others to your business.

In fact:

Texas Tech research has indicated that 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer a product or service but only 29% actually do.

So gently pushing customers towards taking action on referrals could be a game changer.

Rewards could be anything from:

  • Discount off next/first order.
  • $X gift card for referring a certain number of people.
  • Straight up paying people for referrals.
  • Bonus gifts with next order for referring people.

Outdoor apparel retailer The Clymb does an awesome job with their referral programme, clearly highlighting it in their website header:

The reward itself is then clearly explained at the top of a dedicated page:

And they then make it super easy to share via email and social media. Even providing a pre-populated message and potential earnings according to number of email addresses entered:

8. Know Your Customer LTV.

A key caveat to mention here though is that you need to know your customer numbers and metrics – especially average lifetime value.

There’s no point giving a reward of, say, $50 if your average customer only has a lifetime value of $25. You’re just throwing away money.

This is why reward programs lend themselves particularly well to subscription services or businesses that see high customer retention.

But knowing your numbers means you know how much you can afford to spend as a reward.

For example:

In their early days, PayPal literally paid people just for getting someone else to open an account ($10 to each the referrer and new customer).

Not something most brands can do. But PayPal knew their numbers and created 7-10% daily growth in user base with it selling for $1.5 billion a few years later.

Today, PayPal continues to lead the payments industry charge. They even sell their point-of-sale system to ecommerce brands in the exact same way ecommerce brands sell to their own customers.

The Most Important Metric

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. – 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 

Spark WOM among influencers

Some people have a strong social media and online following. And hold a lot of sway with their recommendations.

In fact:

Research from Twitter and Annalect claims 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.

So getting your brand or products reviewed and talked about by relevant influencers in your industry can be a fantastic word of mouth strategy.

Some influencers you can outright pay to promote a product. But there are other ways too.

Activate Social Influencers

Word of mouth marketing is often rooted in great campaigns through social influencers. It’s important for brands to think about how to incorporate and experiment with this.

– David Feng, Co-Founder, Re:amaze 

1. Send products for free.

Once you’ve identified relevant influencers, simply sending them one or some of your products for free can get them talking about it online.

Be careful not to expect or demand anything just because you’ve sent free product. Some of these influencers will get a lot of free stuff and they might not want to review it all.

Minimalistic watch retailer Daniel Wellington used this strategy almost solely to build their online business.

They simple sent one of their watches to selected Instagram influencers along with a unique discount code to include in any posts:

This strategy helped Daniel Wellington climb to almost 4 million followers on Instagram with over 1.6 million posts in the #danielwellington hashtag.

2. Connect with a worthy cause.

Following on from one of the above WOM triggers suggestions – influencers and celebrities are always wanting to show their support for causes they believe in.

Meaning you can gain serious word of mouth exposure while supporting something cool too.

Sun Bum sells sunscreen – without any of the typical bad stuff in it. They also make and sell sunscreen specifically for children’s skin. But that isn’t all.

Sun Bum partners with schools across the U.S. to bring in professional (and famous!) surfers from around the world to teach kids about the importance of sun protection.

Support for the project in the surfing community is huge. But it’s also something that many celebrities and key influencers are more than happy to promote and post about – plugging Sun Bum in the process.

3. Solve a real challenge (yes, even influencers have them!).

Online app brand Vivino is beloved by wine novices and sommeliers alike around the world, but in the NBA –– their share of influencers is far and wide.

“Shoutout to my Vivino app,” says Warriors point guard Stephen Curry. As Kevin Love, the 5 time basketball All-Star and NBA Championship winner, says, “It’s like Netflix for wine.”

For Blazers guard CJ McCollum? “It’s life-changing.”

WOMM Executive Summary

Word of mouth advertising and marketing can be a monumentally strong player in growing your ecommerce business.

But it’s imperative to start with the fundamentals.

It doesn’t matter how many marketing consultants you hire, amazing ecommerce conferences you attend or new age growth hacks you try. If you can’t provide a quality experience for customers and run a tight operation then you’ll fall short somewhere along the way.

Get this right first and then use the strategies in this post to keep multiplying your happy customer base over and over.

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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How to Set Up an Ecommerce Loyalty Program to Improve Retention, Build Community and Drive 5X in Sales Fri, 23 Feb 2018 15:00:07 +0000 A few years ago, Forbes contributor Ken Krogue noticed a lady returning rotten, moldy fruit at a Costco store. The…]]>

A few years ago, Forbes contributor Ken Krogue noticed a lady returning rotten, moldy fruit at a Costco store.

The clerk attending to the woman kindly offered her money back, even though she bought the fruit days ago, when they were still fresh.

Costco is willing to go to great lengths to keep their customers satisfied.

After a year hiatus from having the top Net Promoter Score (NPS), Costco is back in the top spot.

What is the Net Promoter Score?

The Net Promoter Score is a tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships and can be related to a firm’s revenue growth.

The math is simple behind Costco’s business:

Loyal customers who buy repeatedly are more profitable than ones that buy once.


Because repeat customers have a higher lifetime value, meaning that over the course of a customer’s projected buying time with your brand, you can predict a high return on investment.

For instance, if you spent $5 to earn a customer and you know that over the course of that customer’s lifetime with your brand, they will likely spend about $100, that’s a great lifetime value to churn (or cost to acquire a customer) ratio (LTV to CAC).

Costco works hard to keep their customers because it costs 5x less to retain customers than acquire new ones and loyal customers spend up to 67% more than new customers.

Customers become loyal to a brand when the products are high quality and are delivered as promised, or when the brand can offer them amazing customer service.

Yet, due to intense competition, great customer service, like that at Costco’s brick-and-mortar stores, isn’t always enough to keep customers coming back.

So, how can you increase retention and customer lifetime loyalty?

That’s what we’ll cover today, teaching you how to Implement a customer loyalty program that works for your brand.

We’ll cover:

  • What an ecommerce customer loyalty program is.
  • Why you need one.
  • The various components involved in building out a customer loyalty program.
  • The types of customer loyalty programs available (and their hybrids).
  • Examples of ecommerce customer loyalty programs (with case studies).

Let’s dive in.

Provide Repeat Value

If you want lifetime customers, you not only have to continuously prove that your product is worth what they’re paying for it, you also have to give them that something extra.

Show them that you’re the expert in your field and reward them for their loyalty. Many businesses use loyalty programs to reward repeat purchases which has shown to be very effective, especially for ecommerce.

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

What is a Customer Loyalty Program?

Customer loyalty refers to a customer’s willingness to work with or buy from a brand repeatedly as a result of positive customer experience, satisfaction, and the value the customer gets from the transaction.

A customer loyalty program helps push customer loyalty by providing rewards to customers that frequently patronize the business’ products and services.

Through the loyalty program, the customers may be given:

  • Discounts and rebates.
  • Rewards.
  • Free merchandise.
  • Coupons.
  • Access to unreleased products.

Loyalty programs first originated in the 1950s, when grocers gave customers stamps for making purchases, eventually spawning airline miles rewards in the 1980s.

Who Needs a Customer Loyalty Program?

Anyone who has customers can benefit from a loyalty program.

However, certain types of internet retailers will see greater value from a loyalty program.

These retailers have the following characteristics:

1. Online retailers who receive a steady stream of at least ten or more orders a month will see greater benefit from a reward program.

Repeat orders are more likely when online retailers are generating a steady stream of new customers.

If you are not generating a steady stream of customers or orders already, launch an ad program to raise brand awareness and drive traffic to your site.

Google Shopping is a tried and true favorite for most mid-market brands, but Facebook and Instagram are equally attractive and allow you to narrow down your audiences with Power Editor.

2. Online retailers operating in a niche where customers are price sensitive are ideal candidates for a loyalty program.

Price sensitive customers respond better to rewards than customers in big ticket or luxury markets where price is not an important factor.

A loyalty program in a fashion or beauty niche can also be successful. Sephora, for instance, has a hugely successful loyalty program.

If your various selling channels have different selling propositions – for instance, on your independent website your unique products are more of a draw than your prices, but on your Amazon channel, your price competitiveness wins out – then consider running different loyalty programs for those two audiences.

Or, test out a loyalty program to help grow a specific channel.

3. Online retailers operating in markets with several competitors are also ideal candidates for a loyalty program.

These retailers see the greatest benefit from loyalty programs since they are at the greatest risk of losing customers to competitors.

A loyalty program may also help you to stand out amongst your competition, giving you the upper hand and making you appear more customer-centric than other brands.

Why You Need an Ecommerce Loyalty Program (Hint: Retention)

The biggest advantage of a loyalty program is that it has the potential to align your entire business toward the most profitable segment of your customer base.

This means that your business will begin catering more to customers who have high repeat purchases or average order value – depending on what type of loyalty program you implement.

Over time, you’ll also be able to use the data collected from a loyalty program to figure out ways to make the least profitable customers more profitable, increasing your customer lifetime value, and thus company revenue and projected profitability overall.

Loyal customers often convert and spend more money with brands they like, with 78% of loyal customers willing to spread the word to their friends and family.

Word-of-mouth marketing is one of the best and most powerful kinds of marketing, with 92% of people preferring suggestions from their friends and family over traditional advertisements.

Here are some other benefits of a customer loyalty program:

  • Retain existing customers. As mentioned, it costs 5x less to retain customers than acquire new ones
  • Acquire new customers. Although the main purpose of a loyalty program is to retain existing customers and increase repeat orders, it can also be used as a benefit to attract new customers.
  • Move customers up the buying ladder. A loyalty program will systematically move your customers up the buying ladder – converting first time buyers into repeat buyers and keeping your repeat buyers spending more often with you.
  • Win back lost customers. While it may seem inevitable that a certain percentage of customers will be lost over time, a loyalty program will allow you to identify, target and bring back these lost customers.
  • Increase the lifetime value. When you increase the frequency of customers shopping with you, you will automatically increase the lifetime value of your customer.
  • Identify your best customers. A loyalty program identifies your best customers. Once identified, you can then start observing patterns in their behavior. These patterns can be used for better merchandising, advertising and customer service.
  • Create your best brand influencers. Your best customers are buying repeatedly from you because they love what you are doing. These customers are prime candidates to be your brand influencers. A loyalty program helps you to take the first step, which is to identify your potential brand influencers.
  • Set you apart from the competition. The best part of a loyalty program is that it can inoculate you from the competition. With a loyalty program in place, your competitors will have a harder time peeling away your customers.
  • Reduce advertising costs. When you learn who your best customers are, you can target your advertising to bring in more new customers who fit the profile of a best customer. These new customers are more likely to convert into repeat customers. This data can help you to cut down advertising costs by eliminating advertising in mediums that attract one-time buyers or deal-seekers.

Components of a Loyalty Program

All loyalty programs boil down to a simple concept – customers are rewarded for taking certain actions. Businesses customize on the above principle to create their individual loyalty programs.

These customizations consist of making changes to the following components:

1.  What actions will customers be rewarded for?

Successful loyalty programs focus on a single customer action: getting customers to buy again.

However, you can also reward your customer for other types of actions such as store registrations, referrals, social shares, etc.

The most successful loyalty programs focus on repeat orders and ignore ancillary actions such as social sharing, reviews, etc.

2.  How will customers redeem and use their rewards?

Once your customer has earned a reward, you will need to decide how the customer will access and use their rewards.

This is where most online stores make the mistake of complicating the program. Some common mistakes include:

  • Making the customers manually redeem points.
  • Offering rewards that are difficult to use such as coupons or gift certificates.
  • Avoid these mistakes by making it easy for your customers to earn, redeem and use their rewards.

3. What kinds of rewards will you offer?

You can offer your customers several kinds of rewards from free shipping to percentage off to store credit. It is tempting to assume that strong rewards will lead to a successful loyalty program.

On the contrary, an easy to use loyalty program will always outperform ones that offer greater rewards. It is best to start a loyalty program with one reward.

4. What are the rules of your customer loyalty program?

The rules of your loyalty program allow you to protect yourself from abuse.

However, it’s best to have a few, sensible rules and not make it overly complicated.

Below are some simple rules to get started with:

  1. Rewards are available to registered customers only.
  2. Points earned or redeemed do not apply to tax or shipping.
  3. Points are earned and redeemable by the email address on account only.
  4. Points are non-transferable.
  5. Points may only be redeemed for purchases and have no cash value.
  6. Points are accumulated by current purchases only.
  7. We hold the right to cancel an account at any time.

Ideas for Designing a Great Ecommerce Loyalty Program

According to The Loyalty Report 2017, the average customer is involved in 14 loyalty programs but can only effectively engage in 7.

When customers cannot engage in a loyalty program effectively, both the business and customer lose money on time and effort.

Similarly, research finds that 54% of loyalty memberships are inactive with 28% of customers abandoning the loyalty programs without redeeming points.

It is imperative to design a great loyalty program that customers actually make use of.

The best tip to designing a great loyalty program is to keep it simple.

“Keep it simple,” Andy Etemadi, CEO of EYEMAGINE. “Make it easy for customers to join and even easier for customers to participate. Make it fun for the customer and encourage competition with a leaderboard.”

The most common loyalty programs involve a process where the customer earns points for every purchase. These points can be translated to freebies, discounts or special perks—each depending on the number of points accumulated.

However, some loyalty programs make earning and redeeming points more complicated than it needs to be.

The best ecommerce loyalty program is:

  • Easy to understand: The best loyalty programs are easy to understand. Keep things as simple as possible. Instead of giving out 3 points for each dollar spent, hand out 1 point for each dollar spent. It is easier for customers to grasp.
  • Easy to use: Make it easy for your customers to earn and use their rewards. Try not to make your customers jump through hoops. Eliminate steps like requiring separate enrollment into the loyalty program, offering difficult to use rewards such as coupon codes. Customers become more loyal only when they use their rewards. So make it easy for them to earn and use their rewards.

Case in point: Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program.

For every purchase, customers swipe their Beauty Insider card. The card tracks the amount of money customers have spent at Sephora, with each dollar purchase earning a point.

These points can be redeemed for new beauty supply items.

Here are some other things you can do to create an awesome ecommerce customer loyalty program:

1. Give it a Personal Touch.

Customers want to feel like they are valued.

  • Train your employees to treat customers well.
  • Give a personal touch so that when you ask of something from your customers (say, a survey or poll), they will willingly oblige.

It’s important to be available to customers via different channels: chat, social networking sites, and email.

A personal touch could also mean implementing personalized recommendations based on recent product views or purchases.

86% of consumers say personalization plays an important role in their buying decisions, and 87% of shoppers said that when online stores personalize, they are driven to buy more.

Remember, too, that the most common loyalty program features often aren’t the most successful.

According to Bond and Visa Brand Loyalty Report

The more unique a loyalty experience and offering you can provide, the more successful it will be. Tailor it to your community and audience.

Focus on Authenticity

My biggest piece of advice to build customer loyalty is to focus on building authentic relationships.

Being true to your brand—and not being afraid to be playful, fun, or quirky if that’s what your brand is — is more likely to get your customers to come back again and again.

– Kayla Lewkowicz, Marketing Manager, Privy.

2. Build a Sense of Community.

“Build a community for your brand,” says Alex Birkett, Growth Marketing Manager at Hubspot. “Community building is a long term play and an underrated asset. But for good reason – it’s hard to build an authentic community”.

As far as how to execute this well?

“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”.

This is even more important in 2018, as Facebook algorithms change to surface more community content than brand or advertising content.

Just look at AdWeek’s advice to brands in light of the Facebook algorithm change in January 2018:

  1. Publish less content via your Facebook page, but focus on more meaningful content that reinforces key brand messages.
  2. Use Facebook advertising for awareness and promotions.
  3. Stop any engagement baiting in your posts now — the kind of posts that say, ‘Like this for yes, angry for no,’ and so on. They won’t work.
  4. Stop posting any content with a link to your blog or website. You cannot rely on Facebook for traffic.
  5. Go back to your community and produce content that encourages meaningful one-to-many discussions.
  6. Produce more live videos (not pre-recorded ones).
  7. Look at setting up groups to build your community.
  8. Look at the areas that are growing. Chatbots and messaging should now be a definite focus, alongside your Facebook brand page.

All of those recommendations are a call to community-building. It is more crucial than ever for businesses to integrate Messenger and initiate one-on-one conversations.

Begin building your community now. The best way to do that is by offering add-on services and forums to your existing product offerings.

Below, you’ll see that BombTech Golf (a brand that has grown to $12M in revenue in 3 years) offers a Facebook Community Group, SnapChat engagement, a professionals group, a fittings service and more.

Your brand doesn’t have to offer all of these, but it is smart to begin figuring out how to incorporate at least one of them as soon as possible.

WGSN calls this the upcoming generation the “crowdsourced capitalism” one.

Here is how they describe it:

Let’s face the facts – the sharing economy is here to stay and continues to disrupt. Estimated to grow to $335bn globally by 2025, this peer-to-peer marketplace is set to further impact the traditional corporate-centred economic model.

Community now – or fail later. Those are your current options.

3. Market the program

You could have the best customer loyalty program in the world but if no one is joining, then it’s not really doing anything for your ecommerce business.

  • Advertise and spread the word about your program.
  • Invite people to join through email, social networking sites, and online ads.
  • Encourage and incorporate user-generated content, so that your customers will be empowered to act as your biggest brand ambassadors.

Users who interact with ratings and reviews are 105% more likely to buy. UGC creators have an average 300-700% higher conversion rates, as well.

Here are a couple apps and tools that help brands generated user-generated content at scale:

  • Rivet Works: Combing the power of product reviews with product photos via email automation. Check out MountainCrest Succulents to see it in action.
  • Curalate’s FanReel: Combing the power of micro-influencer marketing with on-site traffic and conversion. Check it out in action at Spellbinders.

How to Build an Influencer Program for Your Brand in 6 Months

It turns out that with the right product, the right tools and the right attitude, any brand can hop on the influencer marketing train today – and see results in just 6 short months.

Here's how they did it.

4. Be Ready to Adapt.

Not all customer loyalty programs are going to be perfect from the very beginning, so be ready to make some changes depending on customer response.

A few aspects to remember:

  • Start where you’re already at: Identify and optimize new loyalty assets in your organization, that are currently hiding in plain sight.
  • Do not operate in a silo: Integrate your Program and your brand’s discrete initiatives into a cohesive loyalty ecosystem.
  • Use your people to enable a better member experience: devote your program to enabling a better brand experience across the board.

How to Create and Implement a Customer Loyalty Program

As described earlier, a loyalty and retention program has two goals:

  1. Convert new customers to repeat customers
  2. Keep your repeat customers shopping with you

It takes significant time and effort to accomplish both of the above goals using a DIY loyalty program.

A more manageable approach is to start a DIY loyalty program that focuses on your best customers and keeps them shopping with you (goal # 2).

The first step to creating and implementing an effective customer loyalty program is to start by identifying:

  • Why you need to have a customer loyalty program
  • Program goals
  • Key customers
  • What your customers like about your products

After answering these questions, you should next focus on the type of loyalty program you’d want to implement.

Above all, ensure that it is consumer-centric in its execution.

Determine how you will track the information that you’re going to get from the loyalty program, and what you will do with it.

By doing so, you will have a benchmark for knowing how well your program is doing. Below are the steps to build brand loyalty and drive LTV with a home-brewed loyalty program.

3 Steps to an Ecommerce Loyalty Program
  • Step 1: Create a quarterly or monthly report of your top customers by amount spent.
  • Step 2: Send a reward to the top 10% of customers in the monthly/quarterly list of your best customers.
  • Step 3: Rinse and repeat each month. As you get into the rhythm of doing this month-in and month-out, you’ll notice patterns and can take the following additional actions:
    • You may notice that some best customers have stopped shopping. Follow up with these customers by offering them a discount or store credit.
    • You may also notice that some customers consistently return each month. You can reward them with a simple thank you note.

After deciding on the basics, you can focus on fine-tuning your ecommerce customer loyalty program in terms of things such as:

  • Terms and conditions of your program
  • Rewards that you will offer your customers
  • How you’ll communicate with the members. Many communicate via email marketing, but there are also programs that have a dedicated website and/or app

After getting all the details down pat, you can pre-launch your loyalty program by testing out a beta or pilot program, available only to a select few.

These people should be your most loyal and profitable customers. If you are using BigCommerce, you can find those customers and their emails here:

A pre-launch beta is ideal, as it allows you to fix whatever issues pop up in the beta program before you go live.

After going live to all customers, remember to use and analyze the data you collect and make adjustments and improvements when necessary.

Here are your next steps once you launch the program fully.

Remember, redeemers are 2c more likely to be highly satisfied with the Program than non-redeemers, yet still 1/5 of Members have not redeemed, putting them at a higher risk of attrition.

  1. Focus on the redemption experience, not the reward.
  2. Encourage reward goal setting.
  3. Foster better awareness of accumulation status, and communicate progress.
  4. Take action to mitigate post-redemption attrition risk

Types of Customer Loyalty Programs

1. Points system.

A points system represents the easiest and simplest kind of loyalty program.

It’s based on the principle of spending more to get more points. Points should be redeemable in the form of rewards, such as:

  • Discounts.
  • Freebies.
  • Special items.

This works especially well for shops that encourage frequent, low-cost purchases.

This also seems to be the most popular program type for online stores.

Pro tip: make it straightforward and not too complicated.

Let’s look at several examples.

See the example below from Grow and Behold. This brand uses to manage a straightforward rewards program.

InnerEgo has a point system set up based on order value. This one is also setup using

And here’s another example from Sitara Collections using S-Loyalty.

And finally, Sophie & Toffee use SLoyalty as well to run a point-based, tiered system.

2. Tier system.

A tier system is based on levels of loyalty: the more a customer buys, the higher up the rewards tier they can travel.

This is typically used for businesses with customers who make big-ticket purchases that don’t happen often, such as in the travel industry. Many airlines have adopted this type of program.

The goal is to keep members around for the long term.

Besides travel, this type of customer loyalty program can be applicable to the ecommerce industry as well. COLLOQUY found that 50% of consumers said they increase their spending or change their purchasing behavior to get a higher tier status in a rewards program of this type.

Pro tip: Start by presenting a small base reward for simply being part of the program and make the next levels easily achievable to reduce program abandonment. has something similar setup, using RewardCamp.

3. Partnership program.

According to COLLOQUY, 68% of millennials will remain loyal to a business that offers them the most rewards. Additionally, Collinson Latitude found that 82% of consumers said loyalty programs would be better if they offered more choices.

A partnership program is a great way to target millennials and form partnerships with other businesses.

In Austin, BigCommerce’s HQ hometown, there is a very popular meetup group called Boss Babes. This group partners with brands and local hotels, spas, etc. to offer retreats and other discounted options to their members.

Find something similar in your area to help boost awareness and align yourself with brands and ideas that are on the rise.

4. VIP (paid) program.

Some companies offer a VIP program where customers pay a membership to join. Once you’re a member of that VIP program, you have access to exclusive perks such as discounts, freebies, and priority access to events.

One such example is Amazon Prime, which charges an upfront fee for VIP services like free and expedited shipping.

By doing this, Amazon is able to offset cart abandonment (caused by expensive shipping fees) by making customers feel as though they are getting a much better deal.

5. Other reward programs.

Other rewards that companies can opt to have include:

  • Donations to other companies. This is best if it’s aligned with your company culture, such as TOMS, which donates a percentage of profits to its many causes.
  • Gamification/Contests, such as AppSumo, which constantly runs online sweepstakes that promise to winners gadgets such as Macbook Pros, Fitbits, and software programs such as Photoshop and Dropbox Pro. By doing this, they were able to accrue hundreds of thousands of subscribers to their email list and social sites.

Pro tip: Make sure that the odds of winning the game are no more than 25% and that purchase requirements are attainable so that the members feel that they aren’t being duped.

Make sure everything is legal before taking the contest public.

6. Hybrid programs.

This is a combination of any of the aforementioned loyalty programs.

The trick is to find elements from different programs that mix well together, as is the case with Kiehl’s Rewards, which gives you a guaranteed free birthday gift as well as $10 reward for every $100 purchase.

Oxygen4Life has set up a complete hybrid program using Zinrelo. You can see the experience below, where they offer:

  • Point-based
  • Tiers through account creation
  • Birthday bonuses
  • And more.

7. No loyalty program.

Some brands, such as Apple, do not have a loyalty program but still have a lot of loyal customers — as evidenced by the many people who fall in line every time a new iPhone or Apple product is released.

Apple is able to get away without a loyalty program because their products are so hard to resist from the get-go.

If you’re a pioneer in your field or are redefining your category, it’s quite possible that you don’t need an ecommerce customer loyalty program.

How to Select a Loyalty App

To have success you need to have the right ecommerce customer loyalty software. To deploy your loyalty programs, many brands offer management via a loyalty app.

Having a mobile app is helpful, especially when customers are out and about without their wallets but still want to patronize your business.

Making it possible to pay with credits in your loyalty app also makes adding transactions to your database easier because everything is done electronically.

Many brands such as Starbucks, Dominos, 7-eleven and top airlines (such as AirAsia) have loyalty apps. Investing in this type of ecommerce customer loyalty program can be quite lucrative, as 75% of all smartphone users are interested in interacting with loyalty schemes via their mobile phones.

The good news? You don’t need to spend too much to create your own customer loyalty app. You can implement your loyalty program using one of the many loyalty apps on the BigCommerce app store.

The most successful loyalty programs make it easy for your customers to earn, redeem and use their rewards. A good app will walk you through all the decisions involved in setting up the loyalty program.

But most importantly, the best ecommerce loyalty software will do the following:

  • Keep things simple.
  • Make it easy to redeem rewards.
  • Make it easy to use the rewards.
  • Provide monthly performance metrics.

Here are top ecommerce loyalty program software apps to consider using:

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Customer Loyalty Program

These metrics can help to indicate the effectiveness of your customer loyalty program:

1. Customer retention rate.

Measured over a given time period (a year, a quarter, etc), the customer retention rate measures the number of customers you have retained over a certain time period.

By implementing a successful loyalty program, these numbers should increase. According to a study by Reichheld and Schefter, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.

2. Net Promoter Score (NPS).

As mentioned previously, the Net Promoter Score is a tool that can be used to estimate customer experience, which is related to a firm’s revenue growth.

It is a score on a scale of 1-10 that demonstrates how much a person would recommend your business to others. It is measured by subtracting the number of customers that wouldn’t recommend your business from the number of customers that would.

3. Negative churn.

Customer churn refers to the number of customers that cease their relationship with the company, determined by a certain time period when a customer fails to interact with the business.

Negative churn is the opposite: measuring those that have purchased more or upgraded.

Final Thoughts

With many available options in the market, it can be hard to retain hard-won customers.

With the right strategy and structure, an ecommerce customer loyalty program can level the playing field — even helping to push things in your company’s favor!

Ecommerce businesses:

  • Have you set up an ecommerce customer loyalty program?
  • How have you found success?

Tweet @BigCommerce and we’ll share the best insights with our community!

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.

]]> 9
How 29 Sites Built the Perfect Ecommerce Product Pages (Best Practices & Examples You Can Steal) Tue, 20 Feb 2018 15:00:12 +0000 It’s official. Mobile commerce is on the rise (and not just browsing, but actual conversions) Google is getting more serious…]]>

It’s official.

  • Mobile commerce is on the rise (and not just browsing, but actual conversions)
  • Google is getting more serious about their mobile algorithm, separating it from it’s desktop version to account for mobile consumer habits and preferences
  • Webstores are officially storytelling complements to Amazon, where price and convenience reign.

These 3 factors all mean one thing:

Your product page is the most important page on your site.

Build your product page effectively and both your traffic and conversions will skyrocket.

Fail to do so, and almost all your marketing and advertising efforts will fall short of goal.

This is risky business – and it’s the same business that digital marketers building landing pages have long been grappling with.

Your product page is now a landing page – at least in function.

This means it needs to (in order of importance):

  • Use psychological triggers to convince browsers to add to cart
  • Grab consumer attention immediately to the add to cart button
  • Fully explain both the product and the company (after all, consumers are bypassing your homepage)
  • Build trust in the product and company, often through social proof
  • Upsell or resell to increase AOV

There are a variety of ways to do each one of these, and we’ll focus on each section below and show you examples of how folks are turning their ecommerce product pages into landing pages.

The key is to focus on these 3 best practices:

  1. Keeping your product page focused on the product and consistent with your brand
  2. Boosting your customers’ loyalty and confidence
  3. Inspiring customers to become promoters of your brand.

The bottom line is that the quality of your product page — its visual elements, content, and navigation—has the power to make or break your store.

Let’s dive in.

The Anatomy of a Perfect Product Page

Product pages are ubiquitous. They are an industry standard –– a best practice, if you will.

Browse any online store and the multitude of components typical of product pages are recognizable on nearly every site you visit.

And that’s because, as the Baymard Institute so elegantly puts it:

It’s often on the product page where users make up their mind on whether or not they want to purchase the featured product.

This makes the product page layout, product page design, and features, the centerpiece of the user’s ecommerce experience.

At the same time, the product page layout and features are under a lot of strain as they’re largely a template reused for almost every single product on the site.

So, the question becomes:

How do you create a high quality user experience on a single ecommerce product page that you can easily replicate across your entire catalog?

7 Ecommerce Product Page Best Practices

Well, first you make sure that you have all the necessary elements of a product page to begin with.

From there, you can update and optimize.

Here are the 7 product page requirements:

  • Feature image
  • Gallery or product photos
  • Product overview, including title, price, features, CTA and customization options.
  • Product description.
  • Social proof, including review and ratings.
  • Similar product suggestions (upsell and cross sell).
  • Human interaction for any help or guidance needed.

Let’s walk through what each one of these are before we dive into examples.

1. Feature Image.

The single most important element of ecommerce product page design is your feature image.

This is an eye-level, mid- to long-shot that showcases your product.

Just imagine what an ecommerce product page would look like with a poorly lit and pixelated image, or even without one at all!

Would you trust a store that failed to properly photograph their products?

Your feature image can excite visitors or turn them away as it forms their first impression and helps them decide whether to look further.

Your best bet is a polished, perfectly centered product image with a white or light background and soft or no shadows.

You’ll also be able to use this image on Amazon in the case you sell your product on that marketplace. In other words, two birds, one stone.

Take a look at Stormy Kromer’s product image below. It is clean. It is large (you can zoom in on it). It looks like it is worth the price.

Beyond the feature image, the product page must convince the browser of the item’s value.

2. Gallery of product photos.

If your feature image successfully wins over your visitors, the next thing they are most likely to do is browse your image gallery.

Galleries are another important aspect of ecommerce product page design. Ideally, you will have about a dozen images in such a gallery, most of them clean-cut, like your feature image, and showing your product from all relevant angles.

It’s also good to include at least one or two in-context or lifestyle images to invite an emotional response from your customers.

You can even add a 360-degree shot, too, that engages consumers even more or a video that conveys other information or answers customers’ questions.

Do you need a dozen extra images?

No. You only need enough images to allow consumers to better visualize your products –– especially the details.

Other than paying for shipping, not being able to touch or feel, or try out, a product is the most hated aspect of online shopping.

If you can solve for that with only a few images, more power to you.

Here’s a great example by Solillas, where they have 4 total images:

3. Title and overview.

Beyond the images, your product page needs to give high-level information of the product right off the bat.

That information includes:

  • Product title.
  • Price.
  • Features and components.
  • CTA.
  • Customization options.

Ideally, all of this information lives above the fold. That isn’t always possible (in fact, it is rarely possible).

Many brands make up for this with aesthetics.

Instead of using heavy text for an overview (this is *not* the description), they use colors, fonts and icons.

Let’s look at a couple examples.

Ethel’s Baking

Ethel’s Baking nails the product image (yum!). Beyond that, the product overview information is clean, branded and clear.

Here is what they do well:

  • Use of iconography to highlight important and differentiated product information (in this case, gluten free)
  • Branded font as a way to bolster the brand even on a product page (where users may not have even seen the homepage)
  • Review visibility in the form of stars (more use of iconography). This helps to build trust.
  • Customization options up-front.


There’s so much that goes into ecommerce product page optimizations, including things like product focus, great images, copy quality, product reviews, button placement, access to important information, etc.

The list goes on and on.

My #1 piece of advice is to focus on aspects of your product page that instills trust while diminishing anxiety. These usually come in the form of reviews, shipping, return policies, etc.

— David Feng, Co-Founder and Head of Product, Reamaze

Hook & Albert

Hook & Albert does a great job with their overview section as well.

In fact, later, we’ll look at their entire product page as a great example of a landing page.

Here is what they do well:

  • Beautiful imagery up-front, showcasing packing needs in image #2 that is vital to understand for the buyer
  • Limited time offer call out to increase conversion
  • Review visibility in the form of stars (more use of iconography). This helps to build trust.
  • Need to know specs information before the fold (AKA without having to scroll)
  • Chat option.


Now let’s look at an example that goes a bit more minialstic in an effort to address the brand’s specific audience.

FLOS’s products come at a higher price point, meaning there is a longer buying funnel in general.

To push consumers to purchase, they must include information that helps to visualize the product in their space as well as communicate value.

Here’s how they do it:

  • Multiple product-solo and lifestyle product images
  • Designer call out to speak to the value prop
  • Clear customization options available
  • Dimensional sizing charts to help consumers visualize the item in their space
  • Chat option.

All right – after you get your product overview accomplished, now it’s time to really drive home your product page SEO capture any lingerers.

To do that, you need unique product descriptions.

4. Unique product descriptions.

Product pages are the most important part of your store, not just because they inform customers about your products and entice them to buy from you.

They are important also because great product pages help with your search engine rankings and bring in more customers in the first place.

Improving your product pages is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your sales, and all it takes is a bit of time.

Here is what you need to create highly ranked product pages:

  • Unique product description
  • Product videos
  • Social proof (which we’ll cover in the next section).

Unique product description

Writing a unique product description can be challenging.

After all, it’s hard to measure how well copy is doing at converting someone. It’s more of an assist than the player making the goal.

That said, writing product descriptions that are both optimized for your product page keyword (typically your title) as well as speaks to your branding is the goal.

To do that:

  • Use Google to search for your keyword. Take a look at your competition’s product pages. Your goal is to make yours better.
  • Use bullet points and graphics to get information but boring to read informational across.

Let’s look at a couple examples.

Subzero Superfoods

Subzero Superfoods does a fantastic job on their product pages. Beyond having great product photography, they turn their product description into a true journey.

How do they do it?

  • Use iconography to quickly showcase important product features
  • Include directions or recipes if relevant for your product (how to put it together, etc.)
  • Be fun in your product copy –– if that’s in your brand’s standards.
  • Include images and showcase what else is included in the product. This helps to prove out value.


Maybe you’re thinking right now:

I have way too many SKUs to get that detailed about every single product.

That’s a fair thought.

Let’s look at an example of brand that also have thousands of SKUs and how they manage their product descriptions effectively: Marucci.

Here is how they do it:

  • Keep the product descriptions short and sweet.
  • Use additional photography to draw the eye to the information.
  • Include relevant, must-know info including specs, etc.
  • Link off to additional product information on the blog to increase site interlinking and SEO.

And while unique product descriptions are necessary, there’s one more factor to the product description game that will help increase your search rankings and your conversions.. And that’s product video.

Product Video

Videos are a fantastic way to show off your products and make your shoppers feel like they’re getting an in-person demo.

Remember, the #2 most hated aspect of online shopping is the inability to touch or try the product.

Video can help solve for this.

Even better, videos will drive more people to your pages thanks to better search results, then help convert them once they’re there.

Chew on these:

Why do videos increase search results?

Google uses a number of factors when ranking any given page.

Video is helpful because:

  • Video results in a click on your page (to play the video) meaning a signal of engagement to the algorithms.
  • Videos result in longer time spent on page due to the length of a video (keep them short!), meaning a signal of engagement to the algorithms.
  • Also, Google owns YouTube and rewards the use of it.

So adding videos to your product pages can help you in every aspect of the online sales cycle.

Product videos engage your users more, meaning they’ll spend more time on your site (increased page stickiness).

Great. So videos are a major benefit to your store, but how do you get your hands on them?

If you have product demos from the product manufacturer, that’s better than nothing.

But the best solution is to make them yourself.

Not only do you get to fully control the content of your video, but it’s better for your search results if you’re putting out unique content rather than just adding something everyone else has.

How to Make an Ecommerce Product Video:

If you’re not a professional videographer (few are), it may seem a little intimidating to shoot your own product videos.

Thanks to the glut of cheap cameras and easy-to-use editing software on the market, it’s actually pretty easy.

No matter if you are just starting up or are managing the ecommerce site or aspects of it for a multi-million dollar brands: you can start making and testing product videos right now.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Start with a script. Know what you’re going to say so you aren’t tripping over your own words. You don’t have to stick to the script exactly, but just have some talking points to help keep you on track. Make sure they include the key differentiators of the product.
  • Keep it short. In studies, some of the best performing videos are 30 seconds or less in length. And going over three minutes means performance plummets. Just keep in mind that attention spans online are even shorter than normal.
  • Show and tell. Take full advantage of the medium by showing the product in action, not just standing beside it and listing the features. When you mention a feature, show how it works.
  • Act natural. Not everyone is comfortable on camera, but you want to appear as natural as possible to set the right tone. Think of it as having a conversation with your customers, just like you would if you were showing them a product in person.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Giant Teddy

Giant Teddy makes great use of time by turning their product photo shoots into opportunities for product videos as well.

Given that for Giant Teddy, the size of the item in relation to other things is the most important aspect to get across, they can cut a short 45 second video with the photographer to showcase that feature.

Check out the video below and the product page here.


Kodak takes the idea of including a product video to the next level – using 4.

Then again, Kodak is hitting the ecommerce market hard. Their entire site experience is exceptional – with a WordPress front end for SEO and unlimited customization and BigCommerce for the checkout functionality to offset PCI compliance concerns and inventory management.

But, for today, let’s just focus on their product videos. You can see how they are laid out below.

See the entire page here.

Rand McNally

Rand McNally hits in the middle here. They produce videos specifically for their product pages,

This is especially effective if you can manage it. Rand McNally produces a small number of products, so they have the opportunity to make each one impactful.

See the video below to describe their GPS product here.

Pro Tip

While writing product descriptions is nobody’s favorite task, getting them right is essential.

If you are short on hours in the day, try a platform like Automated Insights that uses AI and machine learning to help you create your product description in half the time.

Though automated programs can save you a lot of time, make sure you give their results at least two rounds of edits by an actual person. Make them catchy and memorable, ensure that they tell a story, and pack them with all the info customers are looking for.

5. Reviews and ratings.

Product reviews build trust, and that trust increases conversion.

More than 80% of consumers consult reviews when making a purchase, and adding them to your site can help lift sales by as much as 18%.

In fact, reviews aren’t just helpful in increasing conversions.

They are a new and necessary aspect of our online shopping lives.

Research have found that social media impact on how we perceive a stranger’s recommendation has altered historic beliefs and assumptions.

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.”

Drum all that up to mean one thing:

You need social proof on your product pages.

Let’s check out a few examples.


You need to build more trust with your audience.

I continually see ecommerce sites that put very little energy into making their product pages look better than just a generic page with no social proof.

Obviously you want to make it easy for the buyer to buy the product, but you don’t necessarily want a empty page.

Displaying reviews below the product and testimonials from major magazines or other outlets can be incredibly effective at building trust.

Overall, it’s important to provide real evidence that your ecommerce store is more than just another generic site.

– Daniel Wallock, Marketing Strategist, Wallock Media

Paul Mitchell

Adding social proof and product reviews to your page can take many forms.

Clearly it must include actual reviews.

But most sites already do that.

So, what can you do to take it to the next level? That’s where this example from Paul Mitchell comes in.

They’ve added respected third-party awards to the product page to help seal the social proof deal.

Two Leaves

Two Leaves, like Paul Mitchell, also allows for customer reviews.

On this particular product, there are more than 50 of them.

But, they also do something few others brands do – they humanize their employees and use their preferences (after all, we all have taste buds!) to highlight staff favorites.


You’ll notice in the example above that Two Leaves also formats their reviews a little differently than usual.

Let’s take that to the extreme.

MountainCrest uses a tool called RivetWorks to source product photos and reviews at the same time.

This gets them plenty of images they can use on their site and social media, along with the reviews and visuals for them to help sell their products.

See the full product page here.

6. Similar product suggestions.

Take a look at Sierra Designs’ impressive Related Products section.

It is clean, large enough to be noticed, and located below everything else so it’s not obtrusive.

These product suggestions are another layer to your on-site strategy that helps you further engage and delight your visitors with items that can complement their selection.

All product pages on your site are customizable in this aspect. Here is how you set up recommended or related products.

You essentially have 3 options. You can use one, none or all of them.

  1. Customers also viewed: These show up on the product page. It follows this logic: Customers who viewed this product also viewed these products. [photo]
  2. Related products: This also shows up on the product page, and can be manually set. It follow this logic: Products with similar names or descriptions; can also be set manually. [photo]
  3. You may also like: This is a pop-up after a customer adds an item to the cart. It follows this logic: Products that are similar based on name and description. [photo]

You can also market similar products via hard coding, apps, pop-ups, or even chatbots that serve as personal shopping assistants.

And don’t forget about using data to serve the right upsells and cross-sells at the right time.

If you are using BigCommerce Insights, you can use the Frequently Bought Together report to see which items make the most sense to upsell customers to.

6. Customization options.

If you’re offering items in different size and colors, make it seamless for customers to customize their selected product.

This is called hyper-personalization, and it’s one of the most popular ecommerce marketing tactics of the year.

Place easy-to-use customization options on your sidebar or another place, where they are clearly visible.

Every interaction counts, and the shorter and smoother each option is, the more likely customers will make a purchase.

What’s more is that you can add in conditional logic.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Andie Swim

Andie Swim allows customers to add on logos, initials and more to their swimsuits.

Check it out below:

They set this up using product options.

In total, they have 7 product options deployed – 2 conditional.  


Marucci clearly does their product pages very well. Second mention in this article!

Beyond their typical product pages, they also have a customized product section.

See the experience below:

How many product options did you see? 14 – 1 of which using conditional logic!

And that one using conditional logic is actually an upsell. 


BonBonBon has mastered the art of hyper-personalization.

You can go to their site today, and order any combination of any number of BonBons that you want.

No kidding.

And – they didn’t use product sets to do this. They used plain and simple SKUs.

That’s right. Every possible box combination is entered on the backend as a SKU (hidden from customers typically). That’s how they can serve up the “price point in mind” feature.

Setup Hyper-Personalization On Your Site Now

On BigCommerce? Product options are out of the box. Follow the video below or the link here to set them up.

7. Human interaction and FAQs.

Finally, be sure to provide links to any additional information your site visitors might be looking for.

For example, include a clear link to your returns and exchanges policy page as well as to a frequently updated FAQs page that can answer any outstanding questions.

Our Pampered Home does this well. See their product page here.

You can even go a step further and install a chatbot that answers common questions.

You don’t want visitors to navigate away from your page by searching for more info on Google. If that happens, you have not done your job.

Coast New Zealand does this well, offering important informational based on data points. In this example, my IP address is coming in from the U.S. So, I get an international message.

Product Page Optimization

All of this work put into your product page is important for conversions. But, you want to make sure that it drives increased organic traffic over time, too.

More free traffic. More conversions. That’s a winning strategy.

Let’s look at how to do it.

1. Stay on top of your SEO.

SEO is the most affordable long-term strategy to sustainably generate leads, and you should always keep it in mind when building and promoting your product pages.

Keep in mind that your product page speaks to both people and search engines, so research your keywords well to get key-phrase ideas and enrich your SEO.

Below is an example of how different key phrases related to “pink shoes” compare according to data from Semrush.

Source: Semrush

Your product copy should be informative and memorable while also keeping SEO in mind and including the relevant keywords you have researched.

Likewise, invest time in optimizing your metadata both for your page in general and your images.

Include descriptive key phrases in the alt text of your images to give your organic ranking a leg up.

In addition, use videos to make your page rank better and drive more traffic.

Search engines favor pages that include videos because it’s a phenomenal way to create unique, quality content.

Another great way to boost your ranking through organic traffic is to join affiliate programs and generate backlinks to your page.

Getting links from authoritative industry sites and blogs tells search engines that your store is to be trusted and promoted.

7 Ecommerce SEO Best Practices to Improve Product Page Rankings:

Optimize your product pages now by following these seven ecommerce SEO best practices to increase your product page rankings and your conversion rate.

  1. Know how users search for your products by doing keyword research.
  2. Write unique product descriptions.
  3. Create titles, meta descriptions, H1s and Image alt tags based on keyword research.
  4. Use long-tail keyword phrases.
  5. Ensure you have product rich snippets.
  6. Add additional content to product pages.
  7. Promote and engage.

2. Curb the size of your images.

Your web page also must load fast enough on all devices, including mobile, so don’t overload it with images that take forever to load.

Rather, keep your images light. Follow your platform’s image guidelines to strike the right balance between quality, zooming capability, and a fast-loading site.

Every extra second your page takes to load can hurt your conversion rate.

Editor’s Note: If you are on BigCommerce, the platform takes care of image optimization for you – automatically. Learn more here.

With that in mind, test your images and your product page using Google PageSpeed Insights to see if you can optimize them for both desktop and mobile.

And use the world of tools out there to further optimize them.

Page Load Speed Is Often Overlooked. It Shouldn’t Be.

One of the most overlooked metrics on product pages is the time to load the site, and with a lot of ecommerce traffic coming from mobile, this becomes even more important.

We’ve seen with several brands massive improvements in conversion just by increasing the site speed.

– Eric Carlson, Co-Founder, 10X Factory

3. Keep a Uniform Look.

Finally, keep your product pages and images uniform and consistent across all your product lines.

Consistency promotes trust and increases your conversion and retention rate.

One way to maintain an orderly look is to use the same aspect ratio and product scale across all your product lines so visitors can easily navigate your pages without being distracted by the image style itself.

Keeping your images square is also good standard advice so that they look good on all devices, including smartphones.

Here’s a great example from Meeaudio. All images are perfectly sized for consistency and quick loading.

Product page optimization should be someone’s full-time job.

This process should be codified in your procedures, measured and executed continually.

The three metrics we currently use are 1: Search Results Page Rank, 2: Sub-Category-Page-Rank (online marketplaces), and 3: Sales Volume.

Sometimes when sales volume dips against historical numbers it is due to changes in the way pages are ranked. If you’re keeping an eye on these metrics and trends, daily, weekly, monthly you can adjust pretty quickly in order to regain your sales volume.

– Jason Boyce, Co-founder & CEO, Dazadi

The Impact of Powerful Visuals

The visual media you use on your product pages is up to your brand. But you have a lot of different options – and some types tend to work best for specific purposes.

Let’s look at each option.

1. Photos.

Quality images are your best brand advocates, casting the very first impression on your customers.

Everything else on the page, including content and navigation, is there to build on that first impression and lead your visitors to a purchase.

So take your time with your photography. Create unique and polished photos that evoke trust and boost your consumer lifetime value.

2. 360-degree shots.

360-degree shots are super interactive and make your page stand out. People love them!

They are proven to increase conversion, reduce returns, and attract more attention to your website.

While they can be pricey and complicated to shoot, if you can fit them in your budget, they can positively affect your bottom line.

3. Video.

Not only do people usually prefer video as a way of learning new information, video is also responsible for the majority of internet traffic.

On product pages, video helps your organic search ranking and is a great tool to grab attention, create relationships with your customers, or answer questions about product features in seconds.

Solo Stove, for example, uses a lot of videos on its product page to the delight of its customers and conversion rate alike.

Source: Solo Stove

While quality video production is expensive, if you’re just starting out, you can shoot a few seconds-long blurb videos that promote a lifestyle or answer questions with just about any camera.

Adding them to your gallery will give substance to your page and help your conversion.

Engaging Apps and Plugins (Tools!)

Another way to fortify your product page that no ecommerce store can ignore is using apps and plugins that interact with your customers.

They can help you tackle:

  • Abandoned carts
  • Answer questions
  • Offer suggestions.

You can also use apps to create a sense of urgency and scarcity, which are proven to boost conversion.

Some of the key tools you can employ include:

Source: Chatra

12 Best Ecommerce Product Page Examples

Your product page is one of your most important sales tools your business has.

Keeping it optimized and up-to-standard is a must. So, as a wrap up, let’s look at 12 innovative product page examples.

1.Hook & Albert.

2. Olive Clothing.

3. Coast New Zealand.

4. Marucci.

5. Enro.

6. Tabitha Simmons.

7. Kardiel.

8. Atkins.

9. Fresh Fronks.

10. Ethel’s Baking Co.

11. Handpicked Wines.

12. Solo Stove.


Don’t be afraid to go above and beyond the status quo. Most product page designs are very generic and follow a similar pattern as the competition.

That said, the most important metrics for ecommerce product page optimization range from social and referral traffic to conversion rates.

You want to see referral traffic coming to your site because it indicates that the story your product page is telling is compelling. You want to track conversion rates because it’s important that your visits are turning into sales.

– Ross Simmonds, Founder, Foundation Marketing

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.

]]> 4
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.

Mobile Responsive Out Of The Box

BigCommerce had multiple out-of-the-box theme options that were mobile-responsive. I bought a template for $149.

Honestly, that was a game-changing moment because all of our mobile traffic from social media, could now check out easily.

The conversion rate immediately went up. Mobile time on site went up. Everything went up! When I switched from Volusion, we could only do $400,000 in sales. My first year with BigCommerce, we almost tripled our sales to $1,100,000.

– Tyler “Sully” Sullivan, Founder of BombTech Golf

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.

]]> 4
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

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.

Image source

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.

Image source

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?

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Your Free Ecommerce RFP Template + 176 Questions to Ask Before You Migrate Wed, 07 Feb 2018 15:00:51 +0000 You’ve reached the tipping point. One last major site outage. One bug undetected for months that could have cost you…]]>

You’ve reached the tipping point.

  • One last major site outage.
  • One bug undetected for months that could have cost you millions (but you thankfully caught!).
  • One more feature that will cost way too much and take much too long to build.
  • One last peak season losing sleep wondering if the infrastructure will hold this time around.

It’s time to switch ecommerce platforms. It’s time to get it right this time.

It’s time to empower your brand to focus on marketing and selling your goods, not on being technologists just trying to keep your site alive.

Now what?

It’s time to find the right ecommerce platform fit for your unique business, which means it’s time to issue an RFP.

What is an RFP?

An RFP (Request for Proposal) standardizes your evaluation criteria across the 3-5 select vendors you choose to send it to.

It effectively puts every platform out there on an equal playing field. You are, after all, asking each vendor the same questions. You can then benchmark answers directly against one another –– without any sales chatter to trip you up.

Implied in this is something rather simple:

If you don’t send an RFP, each vendor will likely sell you on what they have –– removing your ability to judge each platform effectively across the business critical requirements of your brand.

RFPs help you minimize the number of platforms you bring into phase 2 of your re-platforming project: platform demo presentations.

Simply by a vendor responding to an RFP, you are clearly shortlisting which solution will work best for your unique requirements, which vendor took the process seriously and which have already committed to winning your business.

But RFPs aren’t easy. They aren’t designed to be.

The questions you want to ask each vendor span internal departments and needs –– and even within those have various prioritizations.

To help you begin this process as easily as possible, my team is giving away the templatized RFP we offer to large merchants we speak with who are just beginning on this journey.

How to Use an RFP

When handing this document off to brands, I typically accompany it with a few best practices to help them navigate the waters. Here’s what I share with them.

The effort a vendor puts into the RFP is also a signal of their commitment to your requirements.

  • Pay attention to the quality of responses you get.
  • Make sure the platforms you speak with are putting some skin in the game.

In the RFP itself, there is a column of priority. That’s the first column after the question. For that part, be sure to get internal sign off on which aspects are business critical and which others might not be as important.

This will help you to determine the right platform for your needs, and guide the platforms you send the RFP to on which items are the most important to properly explain. Be sure the priorities are set right for each question before you send it off.

Use this as a starting point. Please personalize it to your business requirements.

  • There might be migration questions that are not relevant to you and there might be questions missing that might be important to your business.
  • Look through each section and confirm that these are your most business critical requirements.
  • Be sure the priorities are set right for each question – BEFORE you send it off.

This is an RFP template that helps you to get started. It is definitely best accompanied with a cover letter with further details on pricing needs and services requirements.

Traditionally, this part is done in a Word document, not Excel, and includes business scope, pricing expectations and service requirements.

Here are the 176 questions you’ll want clarity on before you begin to narrow down your ecommerce platform choices when approaching a migration.

Your Free RFP Template

The hard work of an RFP shouldn’t be on you. It should be on the sales engineers at the technology companies you are vetting out.

That’s why we’re giving away the RFP template we recommend to large brands looking to move ecommerce platforms, including:

  • More than 176 ecommerce questions.
  • A convenient Google Spreadsheet format that you can easily convert to Excel

Make your platform providers work for you. Below are recommended questions to ask ecommerce providers.

Get your RFP template now.

Company Overview Questions

  1. How is your company structured? (Public / Private, Partnership, Joint Venture, Subsidiary, etc.)
  2. How long has your company been in business?
  3. Please list your top competitors and their respective market share. What are your key differentiators from competitors?
  4. Please describe your product(s)
  5. What is the most current version of your product and when was the last release date?
  6. Please list all external 3rd party applications your product integrates with
  7. Please list any formal partnerships you have with other technology vendors
  8. How many merchants are currently using your software?
  9. Please provide the size & scope of your top 5 clients. List 3 customers that are similar in size and scope to us.
  10. How many people do you employ and in how many locations?
  11. How do you price your application? Describe your license methodology or structure.

Site Design, Development and UX Questions

  1. Please describe how our team will make storefront design and user experience changes on your platform?
  2. Do you offer full access to HTML & CSS?
  3. How is In-browser editing of theme files supported?
  4. How much control do we have over customizing the checkout experience?
  5. Please describe Themes/Storefront Templates available for us to select a design from
  6. Are themes customizable? What can we not customize?
  7. Local development environment to manage code customizations prior to publishing
  8. Are themes Standards Compliant?
  9. Can we preview our product catalog in any theme, without purchasing the theme?
  10. What 3rd Party Developers/Designers would be available to us?
  11. Would we have the ability to Install & use Web Fonts?
  12. Would we have the ability to install additional Plug-Ins or Apps?
  13. Do you enable Persistent Shopping Cart?
  14. Where do you store all our images and content?
  15. How is Geo Targeting implemented?
  16. How much of the design customizations can be done in a local development environment vs in-browser editing?
  17. Are your designs Mobile Responsive?
  18. List all 3rd party programming languages required to make theme changes
  19. Do you offer Mobile Optimized Checkout out-of-the-box?
  20. How many template themes are available for us to choose from?
  21. Do you provide feature upgrades to any themes we purchase?
  22. Describe the ability to publish storefronts in multiple languages.

IT + Hosting Questions For Ecommerce Providers

  1. Describe how the software is hosted.
  2. How do you manage automatic backups? How often do you backup?
  3. Define your Server Redundancy process
  4. List your most recent uptime results. What uptime did you experience during the last holiday season?
  5. How many environments (dev/test/uat/etc) does a typical client use to manage the implementation of enhancements?
  6. Describe how the software can be monitored (at all tiers) for availability and performance.
  7. Describe how the software can be scaled to support additional user and API load.
  8. Describe how high availability and disaster recovery are addressed.
  9. What controls are used to protect against malicious code?
  10. How often are upgrades delivered to clients?
  11. What browsers and devices does the software support?
  12. Describe how Import/Export of data can be scheduled.

Important Ecommerce Security + PCI Compliance Questions

  1. Is the software PCI compliant?
  2. Describe how the software supports federated identity and Single Sign On (SAML/OpenID/OAuth/etc).
  3. Describe how security roles are defined and what access restrictions can be managed by role.
  4. Describe how Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as customer names, addresses, preferences and shopping habits are stored and handled in a secure manner.
  5. Describe how data access and change is audited.
  6. Will your employees, contractors or support personnel have access to Client, customer, order or shopping data?
  7. Describe how security vulnerabilities are identified and mitigated.
  8. Describe any additional data protection, audit or financial control features of the software.
  9. Are SSL Certificates included?

Administration + Ease of Use Questions

  1. Please describe how we can manage our product catalog within your system.
  2. How do you import/export catalog & customer data?
  3. Is there a WYSIWYG editor available?
  4. Do you provide a Drag & Drop Editor?
  5. Can Product & Price lists be Imported/Exported in bulk?
  6. Do you provide a Staging & Preview environment so we can test before launch?
  7. What admin roles & permissions are available for Users?
  8. What types of reports and analytics are included?
  9. How do we configure Site Search Rewrites & Redirects?
  10. Do you provide a CMS for Content Pages & Blogs?
  11. How much of the store administration can be done from a mobile device?
  12. Do you provide URL Redirects?
  13. Do you offer your own POS System or integrate with an existing one? List all POS systems you integrate with.

Customer Service Questions

  1. How can we segment our customers and members into separate groups?
  2. Can customers access “Saved Addresses” during the checkout process?
  3. How can our customers manage and view order history?
  4. List all order management capabilities
  5. How can we reorder the products on behalf of a customer?
  6. Do you support Wish Lists?
  7. How are refunds/partial refunds managed?
  8. How do you manage Rewards/Points?

Ecommerce Analytics Questions

  1. Do you provide a Dashboard with business critical metrics?
  2. Does your solution offer built-In Analytics or via 3rd party app?
  3. Is Google Analytics integrated?
  4. How do you support Google Tag Manager Integration?
  5. Do you provide analytics and insights for metrics including customer LTV?
  6. Is there a report for Total Revenue/Sales?
  7. How can we report on product and merchandising?
  8. How would be generate a Tax Report?
  9. What types of shipping and fulfillment reports are available?
  10. Can we generate a low stock inventory report?

Checkout + Payment Option Questions

  1. Is mobile optimized, single-page checkout supported?
  2. Can customers pay using Amazon Pay?
  3. Can users pay in browser and on mobile with Apple Pay?
  4. Can Customers Check Out as a Guest?
  5. Are customers able to use stored credit cards and shipping addresses during checkout?
  6. Are there options for both Authorize & Capture and Authorize Only?
  7. Can Customers Save their Shopping Cart?
  8. Are Tax & Shipping Estimates provided to Customers?
  9. Can Customers Ship to Multiple Addresses?
  10. How do you support recurring payments and box-of-the-month orders?

Marketing + Promotions Questions

  1. Can we manage marketing promotions and banners separately for each category?
  2. How extensive are your cart-level discounts and promotions? Is any coding required to set these up?
  3. How can promotions be limited to specific products?
  4. Is there the ability to run Shipping Promotions?
  5. Can promotions be scheduled to launch and end at a date and time?
  6. Describe how multi-tier pricing for quantity discounts works.
  7. Are coupon codes supported?
  8. Can promotions be limited based on customer groups or audience segments?
  9. How do you support bundled products?
  10. Can the platform handle product exclusions for promotions?
  11. Can bonus products be added to the cart as a result of the cart contents?
  12. Does the platform support online and offline Gift Cards cards through the same system?
  13. Is a gift registry or wishlist supported?
  14. Is gift wrapping an option customers can choose?
  15. Can gift messaging be added to orders?
  16. How do you manage abandoned carts? Can we include offers in abandoned cart emails?
  17. How do you support Google Trusted Stores?

Email Marketing Questions

  1. Are Transactional Emails native to the platform? Can these be fully turned off if we want to use an external Email Marketing Automation application?
  2. Can we integrate with a 3rd Party ESP?
  3. How are Abandoned Cart emails handled?
  4. Can we create an email-signup form?
  5. How can we create a Contact Us form?
  6. Are Email Templates mobile responsive?
  7. What 3rd party email applications are integrated? MailChimp and ConstantContact integrations available?

SEO + SEM Questions

  1. Can product meta-tags be customized?
  2. How do you support 301 Redirects?
  3. Are SEO-Friendly URLs auto-generated for products and category pages?
  4. Can URLs be customized?
  5. What type of blog management is included in your solution?
  6. Is a sitemap included?
  7. Do you support canonical tags?
  8. What is the process to disallow URLs in robots.txt?
  9. How can we export product feed from your platform?
  10. Do you support Google AMP integration to optimize mobile search results?

Social Media Questions

  1. Does your product meta data include Open Graph Tags?
  2. Please describe how we can publish our product catalog to Facebook Shop. Is there an additional cost for this service?
  3. Are social media sharing links on PDP supported?
  4. Are social media sharing links displayed post-purchase?
  5. Can customers or end users login to our storefront using Social Login (Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc)?
  6. How can we display User Generated Content such as Pinterest or reviews in our store?

Products + Categories Questions

  1. Can we add multiple images per product? Is there a limit to the number or size of images?
  2. Do you support SKU level images with image switching on variation selection?
  3. Is Product Image Zoom enabled by default?
  4. How easy is it to add video to PDP? Is there a limit on the size and length of videos we can upload?
  5. Please describe how product options and option sets are managed in your system
  6. Please describe how variations or options can be configured?
  7. Is there a quick edit option available to modify stock levels or pricing change?
  8. Do you support both digital and physical products?
  9. Is Inventory Management built-in?
  10. How do you support real-time Inventory sync within multiple channels?
  11. Can inventory be tracked at variation level?
  12. Does the shipping system understand and support Dimensional Weight?
  13. Are Custom Product Attributes supported?
  14. Can you configure related items?
  15. Is it possible for related items to be automatically generated?
  16. Do you allow pre-orders?
  17. How do you support custom Product Pages? Can these be configured per category?
  18. Are Product Reviews built-in?
  19. Is it easy for customers to share products with friends from the PDP?
  20. Is Site Search predictive?
  21. Can Categories be sorted manually in the Control Panel?
  22. Can Categories be used for Private Sales?
  23. Are Category Filters supported?
  24. Do Categories & Products have Breadcrumbs?
  25. Are Page/Product/Category URLs auto-generated?
  26. How can we customize the product and category level URLs?
  27. Does the platform support multi-level category navigation?

Ecommerce Questions About Omnichannel

  1. List all 3rd party marketplaces you are currently integrated with.
  2. How would we manage catalog publishing with specific pricing and product information per channel?
  3. Can users check out within Facebook or would they be re-directed to our online store?
  4. Do you support publishing catalog to eBay? Is it restricted to specific verticals or categories?
  5. Is there a centralized view of all our orders across all channels?
  6. Do you support publishing product catalog to Amazon?
  7. How can we promote our products via Google Shopping?
  8. Describe your integration to 3rd party channel management applications like Channel Advisor?
  9. What additional marketplaces do you plan to integrate with in the next 6 months to a year?
  10. Do you support Pinterest buy buttons?

Services Questions

  1. Please provide details about your on-boarding processes for new clients.
  2. Please provide an example of an implementation timeline.
  3. Do you provide training and user documentation for the entire platform?
  4. Please describe your support process (including tools) along with standard SLA’s.
  5. Please describe your change management processes including the system audit logging capabilities.
  6. How does our historical data (orders, customers, products) migrate to your solution?
  7. List all Services resources who will be dedicated to our business.
  8. Provide an example of a QBR or Customer Success Plan you offer your customers
  9. Do you have extended support hours for supporting an event’s onsite operation?

Ecommerce Questions About Customer Support

  1. How big is your customer support team and where are they located?
  2. Please detail your Phone Support offering. Is it available 24/7? Is there an additional cost associated with this service?
  3. What are your average wait/response times for phone support?
  4. Is there a priority queue available for urgent and time-sensitive requests?
  5. Can we get a dedicated Support Representative if needed?
  6. What ticketing system do you use? How can we track status of our tickets?
  7. What are your Support SLAs

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