Scaling with Shopify:
A Look into the “Future of ECommerce” Report
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"Rising acquisition costs force brands to foster long-term relationships with their customers. Businesses strengthen customer connections by putting their brand identity front and center."
According to Shopify, eCommerce sales haven't slowed down even though retail businesses have opened again. Suddenly, there are tons of direct-to-consumer brands vying for customers. Further, digital advertising costs are going through the roof, and customer acquisition models that rely on performance marketing are at risk. In addition, businesses are gaining an edge by investing in brand building, which increases the lifetime value of customers, accelerates the conversion rate, and attracts customers from outside their market and the industry as a whole in the long run.
What actions does the platform recommend to deal with this situation in its report?
Measure brand effectiveness
You can prove your brand-building efforts are producing value with today's attribution models and data-driven performance marketing. A single metric can't measure brand activity success. Measure your brand's top-level goals, such as growing share of mind, market share, and consideration, instead.
You will likely see tangible results after six months of running brand campaigns.
According to the Shopify report, using consumer surveys to measure your brand is a tried-and-true practice. The responses may be used to calculate metrics such as net promoter scores, brand perceptions, purchase intent, and brand recall, for example.
Focus on tracking changes in traffic, organic traffic, and backlinks following a brand campaign. Check for an increase in followers, social engagement, and most importantly, shares on all social platforms. A strong predictor of market share is the share of voice, taking into account in terms of pay-per-click marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and PR.
Implement long-term branding and short-term performance marketing
Don't let performance marketing get in the way of investing in your brand. To create brand evangelists and lifelong customers, combine performance marketing with brand marketing. Suppose you want to achieve increased return on investment from your performance-based advertising in the long run. In that case, Shopify recommends aiming for a 60/40 split between brand building and short-term performance marketing.
Reach out to new audiences through new channels and reduce costs
A strategy against digital advertising uncertainty is to try out new channels like voice shopping, connected TV, and messaging apps.
The Shopify document highlights, for instance, smart speaker shipments are on the rise, and connected TV ad spending is expected to grow. Email marketing integrations are still alive and kicking. Their data reveals that these channels are among the most popular apps worldwide.
Email and texts remain one of the most practical and cost-effective ways to keep in touch with customers. Also, for many direct-to-consumer companies, marketplaces are an effective way to attract new customers. Create offers for your store to entice shoppers to move to your site, then use the hero product to attract new customers.
ECommerce-specific financing options can become an excellent tool to innovate in unexplored channels.
Every customer touchpoint should convey your unique value proposition and brand differentiators
All aspects that make your brand unique, the story behind it, and the way you define your brand values should start every brand-building effort. Begin with these essential items that separate you from your competition, inspire your brand identity, and inform your branding strategy.
Companies create products that align with consumers' values, and shoppers are more likely to purchase from brands that share their values. Consistency is key. Demonstrate how your company's ethical stance runs through all aspects of your products or services, from the top of the organization to the front desk.
Your brand's purpose can get lost down the line as your company grows. Customer service and retail staff are crucial to how consumers perceive your brand at each touchpoint. You can improve the consistency and quality of your employees' communication to customers if you consider your workers as a brand audience and educate them on the brand's purpose, experience, and messaging.
"Death of third-party cookies forces brands to rethink personalization. Online retailers rehumanize their brands through communities, transparency, and shared values."
Twilio Segment affirms that 85% of brands believe they’re offering personalized experiences, while only 60% of consumers seem to agree. Personalized shopping experiences are still in demand from consumers, even as regulation makes tracking data more complex, and companies remove third-party cookies.
Innovating with first-party data is essential for building long-term relationships with customers, but personalizing alone is not enough. Building trust and enhancing brand equity are crucial to improving customer retention, with brand communities playing a pivotal role.
What are the actionable items Shopify suggests for this trend? Read below:
Make sure you hire the right team for your community's success
It takes a significant amount of time and energy to build a strong brand community. Community managers understand your customers and build relationships with them, allowing your brand to retain and gain more fans.
Besides providing customer service, these people also serve as liaisons between the company's development and sales departments as well as industry professionals, journalists, and other departments. The community manager creates and implements social media and communication campaigns that support your overall marketing strategy, establishes community rules, filters hateful language, etc.
This role is a responsibility-filled one, so make sure you have the right people in place.
Connect your community with your business results
Analyze your community's effectiveness using data. In addition to supporting your brand's overall marketing and sales goals, your brand community can show results in member growth and retention. Choose the KPI metrics that will validate your objectives, whether lead generation, conversion, decreased customer support costs, or average order value.
Providing personal information isn't a problem as long as the customer trusts the company that will use it. You can create personalized touches at scale by feeding community data back into your community strategy and your customer relationship management system.
In addition to being low-risk testing and iteration hubs for new products, brand communities are also excellent sources of customer information and real-time feedback.
Provide members with a compelling reason to keep returning
Despite all the work it takes to keep a community strong, you need a clear understanding of why the group exists and what it will contribute to both your members and your brand. Your community should support your business goals by helping others find answers to questions about your product.
Norms, traditions, and shared values create a sense of connection. An open community can help you reach a wider audience, but creating exclusive content or spaces can make it more likely for your fans to participate. Sign-ups via email, a series of purchases, referrals, posting a review, a donation to a shared cause, or non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are possible tactics.
"New commercial opportunities emerge on the biggest social platforms. Brands embrace experimentation to take advantage of social commerce."
In this era of eCommerce, almost all activities are taking place on social media platforms, from brand marketing to customer service and shoppable ads. Platform diversity and rapidly evolving features enable brands to reimagine customer engagement, leading to unique customer experiences.
Taking advantage of video is central to social eCommerce. Social-first strategies are becoming increasingly popular among leading brands, such as live streaming, video chats, and recommending products based on personal preferences.
Social media channels will continue to grow in popularity around the world. What to do in this scenario? Here's what Shopify recommends:
Customize your live commerce experience
Black Friday, Halloween, and Singles' Day are good times to hold live events that allow your customers to shop in real-time or live-stream your product launches with product demos or influencer recommendations.
Make sure you take your consumers behind the scenes so they see how you make your products, how they're sourced, or how you style them. Plan your time of day, how long you'll be live, and what channel you'll use. Regardless of the format, make sure team members answer questions, moderate discussions, and serve as facilitators.
By using the right live streaming platform, customers can make purchases without having to leave the social network they're already on. With fewer clicks, the conversion rate will be higher. Make your calls to action as appealing as possible. Don't forget to arrange your set with the same level of care as your storefront if you are creating a virtual shopping experience.
Success on live streams will increase your product demand in the short term, so you need to be prepared. Work with your eCommerce team to make sure you have enough stock before your live shows.
Create an online experience that converts
Whether it's replicating your website experience on social media to provide familiarity or showcasing top-performing products on social media, create a great social storefront with care. Incentivize social media sharing with discounts and promotions.
Create videos and make sure you only show one or two products on each. Throughout the video, incorporate easy-to-click calls-to-action. The use of shoppable video ads will give you an in-depth view of conversion data, such as clicks-to-views, clicks-to-buys, and clicks-to-shares.
In order to validate your top-performing channels and activities, use several data sources to validate your attribution models. As well as using Google Analytics UTM parameters to measure users' behaviors, analyze your ad account data, look at your click journey, and ask customers how they found you thanks to app integrations like Enquire Post Purchase Survey.
After reading these recommendations, you may want to read the full report, which you can find by clicking here. You may also be wondering how to implement many of the suggestions if you are encountering cash flow problems now or if you anticipate that you will unbalance your finances because of the nature of your business.
With an understanding of the unique needs of the eCommerce business, there is a financial solution that can give you budget breathing room and help you implement these recommendations faster.
Continue reading to learn more.
An ECommerce-Minded Financing Solution
Initially, you built your Shopify store or any other online business as much as you could with the funds you had. Whether it's eCommerce cash flow issues or you simply want to add some capital without getting into debt, the time has come to make a decision on funding. Cash flow stability and reliability are necessary for tackling this challenge and taking advantage of new market opportunities and the eCommerce trends provided by Shopify and briefed in this guide.
There are many options to choose from when you start your search and they all can be an integral part of your capital stack. During your investigation, you will likely come across traditional bank loans, business credit cards and lines of credit, and loans for small businesses. However, all of these may come with a number of disadvantages since they were not specifically designed to stabilize eCommerce cash flow.
The good news is, online retailers also have access to eCommerce-specific financing options. You can get the cash you need to operate your business by taking advantage of industry-oriented financing options.
The following are some ways these solutions are unique:
- Unlike traditional bank loans, this type of financing provides funds directly into your eCommerce business account, and your sales determine the financing limit.
- Your Shopify store can communicate directly with them through their plug-and-play systems. As a result, your inventory and sales are automatically integrated with the financial instrument system in order to make seamless calculations.
- As an added benefit and unlike bank loans or credit cards, you don’t have to worry about monthly minimum payments, late fees or over-extending yourself.
- Payment for eCommerce financing occurs as soon as the online transaction happens. In this way, you can get cash whenever you need it.
Shorter eCommerce sales cycles make these financing solutions particularly appropriate for the industry. You can eliminate cash flow challenges and boost sales and inventory turnover for your eCommerce business with specialized financing options. An eCommerce financing partner can become a crucial component of your team, helping you grow and deal with financial challenges so you can succeed.
Identify a financing partner who is familiar with eCommerce sellers. You can get assistance if you are a first-time entrepreneur or a seasoned entrepreneur who wants to grow. You can connect your Amazon Seller Central or Shopify account directly to your financial solution so that you get the cash when and how much you need. You can also take advantage of real-time, interest-free funding on-demand.
Put your business's needs first by finding a trustworthy financing solution that can minimize expenses so you can optimize your operations.