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The biggest hurdle for nearly every online retailer is no longer maintaining their ecommerce technology. It isn’t getting up and running. It isn’t managing inventory. It isn’t setting up proper shipping and tax information. No, all of these issues have long been solved for when it comes to running an online business. In fact, there’s an entire ecommerce ecosystem consistently working to automate, improve and generate more convenient, cost-effective solutions for online retailers of all sizes.
The biggest hurdle is for nearly every online retailer is generating a high conversion rate and fostering a loyal community of customers whose lifetime value allows you to scale your business confidently. To do so, brands set up shop on social, create personas unique to their brand identity, optimize their SEO, ensure their sites are mobile-ready and so, so much more. And yet, doing all of these things is still only scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to putting your best foot forward and helping potential new customers find your brand. It’s just that nowadays, every single online brand, from the startup down the street to Samsung, is implementing these tactics.
So, how do you stand out? Well, you find new, unique platforms where brand presence is slim, but user engagement is high, and then you dedicate your time toward it.
Meet The Hunt, one such online platform where consumers are posting pictures of outfits they like and asking other online shoppers to help them find something similar. It is akin to a visual Q&A, peers asking other peers where they can purchase items or looking for style advice.
“Does this outfit look good on me? What should I style with this pair of skinny jeans? What color coral lipstick looks best on me? Those kinds of questions are all things that people might ask on The Hunt,” said Sara Brooks, head of business development and marketing at The Hunt.
And, according to Brooks, those are the kinds of questions that brands can use to suggest their own products to shoppers.
“Retailers and small businesses participate just like any other member of the community. They create an account. They use their brand name as the account name and they use their brand logo as the photo –– essentially giving them some level of credibility. Then, we verify their account.”
We know, it sounds like a lot of work to hop on a new platform (after all you’re managing so many already) and answer direct questions from consumers, but, consider this: The Hunt has more than 300,000 weekly active users, and more than four million registrations.
“We see about a 100,000 hunts started per week,” said Brooks. “And those are people who are actively looking for product suggestions based on an event they’re going to or a picture that they’ve seen, and they want something similar.”
Of course, don’t just take The Hunt’s word for it. Some online businesses regularly using the platform are seeing 8-10% of their sales and about 25% of their traffic come from The Hunt. Most of these brands are in the apparel and fashion industry, and most searches are looking for items costing less than $50. For online fashion brands looking to quickly increase their traffic and conversion numbers, this platform is a hidden treasure trove of niche customers already halfway down the purchasing funnel. All you have to do is suggest an item they like.
Brooks let us in on a few of the platform’s best practices for increasing site traffic and conversion for your ecommerce brand. Read below to get the full scoop on how to start utilizing The Hunt now.
The Hunt Best Practices for Brands
There are two different strategies for using The Hunt, and it all depends on what you’re trying to get out of it.
- Find hunts that have a lot of people following them and add your products to those. With this strategy, simply with one product suggestion, you’re getting access to a lot of different people who are following that particular hunt. In essence, you are casting a wide net here, pulling a higher number of visitors for brand awareness purposes.
- Take a more consultative approach, where your brand interaction with the customer is one-to-one. If somebody is looking for a specific outfit for a specific occasion, and your brand has a near identical or actually identical piece to what the customer is looking for, then this strategy is ideal. It is great for building brand affinity and loyalty. If you’ve done a good job of suggesting a product, that person is more likely to purchase because they’ve gotten a suggestion directly from the store.
For most brands, The Hunt recommends a healthy mix of both strategies. Most hunts get solved within 24 hours to a week, meaning that brands will be able to see pretty quickly if items are resonating with users based solely on the engagement with the product itself.
Finally, there is one last thing to keep in mind before you head over to The Hunt: make sure your site is mobile friendly.
“95% of our activity is happening on our mobile apps across iOS and Android,” said Brooks. “For brands, this is not only driving brand awareness among a really targeted group of people, but it’s also driving those with a high intent to shop to a brand’s mobile site, generating leads and ultimately conversions.”
In all, for online fashion brands with mobile-ready websites, there is little downside to spending a few hours a week on The Hunt to pull in increased traffic, build brand awareness, increase sales and create a trusted customer relationship where few brands are currently interacting. Indeed, it is a smart move to make The Hunt a serious part of your ecommerce strategy.
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