How to Grow your eCommerce Business - Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Google and More!
By Trevor Ginn
Many of the topics discussed are covered in his book, How to Grow Your eCommerce Business: vendlab.com/buy-our-how-to-grow-your-ecommerce-business-book/
www.Vendlab.com is an eCommerce marketing agency specialising in online marketplaces and eCommerce platforms.
How to Grow your eCommerce Business - Shopify, Amazon, eBay, Google and More!Aug 14, 2022
How to Manage your eCommerce Cashflow with Matt Putra from Eightx
Get our eCommerce book: https://vendlab.com/buy-our-how-to-grow-your-ecommerce-business-book/
In this week's podcast, Trevor talk to Matt Putra from Eightx about how to manage cashflows for eCommerce business. Questions we discuss:
· What is cash flow?
· What problems can people have?
· How to avoid problems these problems
· Tips for optimising cashflow
· How can eCommerce businesses get funds to grow?
· 2023 is going to be a shitshow – what advice do you have for businesses?
· What do you do when you are not thinking about cash flow?
How to Launch a successful DTC Brand with Matt Orlic from Inspired Brands
Matt Orlic is a successful Entrepreneur and sports enthusiast. He has launched 26 companies is 10 verticals.
In this interview, Matt discusses with Trevor his formula for success!
eCommerce Fulfilment with Harry Drajpunch from Amware
Buy my book, how to grow your eCommerce Business: https://vendlab.com/buy-our-how-to-grow-your-ecommerce-business-book/
In this week's show, Trevor talks to Harry Drajpunch from Amware (https://www.amwarelogistics.com/) about all thing eCommerce fulfilment. Topics we discuss include:
- What is a fulfilment house or 3PL – what services do they offer?
- What mistakes do people make with fulfilment?
- What kind of merchants does fulfilment work best for?
- What delivery do customers expect?
- How to combine a fulfilment house with marketplace fulfilment?
- What are the advantages of using a 3PL
- What are the disadvantages of using a 3PL
- What are the cost differences between using a 3PL and your own warehouse?
- How to differentiate between 3PLs
- How do you recommend reducing fulfilment costs?
- What are the latest innovations in fulfilment?
How eCommerce Companies can Drive Sales using NFTs with Dimitri Nikolakakis from DimNiko Agency
In the latest podcast, Trevor talks to Dimitri Nikolakakis about how eCommerce companies can use NFTs to drive sales. We discuss:
- What are NFTs
- Are NFTs a fad?
- How can eCommerce businesses use NFTs
- Why would an eCommerce business want to do this?
- Can you give an example of successful NFT use
- What technology is needed to use NFTs for ecommerce businesses
eCommerce Law with Paul Rafelson of Rafelson Law
Paul Rafelson Law from Rafelson Law is a specialist in eCommerce Law. In this interview, he gives his opinion on:
- Amazon suspensions
- Intellectual property disputes
- Product Compliance
- Ecommerce M&A
Paul also runs a non-profit called the Online Sellers Guild which supports small businesses in their detailing with the tech giants.
How to dominate you Amazon category with Will Haire from BellaVix
In this edition of the eCommerce Odyssey Podcast, Trevor talks to Will Haire from BellaVix about how to build your Amazon sales by dominating your category.
We talk about:
- Using off-Amazon advertising to drive traffic to Amazon listings
- Amazon DSP
- Amazon marketing strategies
How to Increase your eBay Sales with Nahar Geva from Zik Analytics
In this week’s podcast, Trevor talked to Nahar Geva from Zik Analytics about how to Boost your eBay sales.
Zik Analytics is a platform which helps sellers to research successful products to sell on eBay and other online platforms.Is eBay still worth selling on?
Yes! eBay is the number two online marketplace with 180 users worldwide.
Whilst eBay was originally a second-hand marketplace, most products are now sold at a fixed price.
Furthermore, selling multi-channel diversifies your business and reduces risk.What can be sold on eBay?
Almost everything can be sold on eBay. Growth categories include:
- Clothing (Under
- Outdoor sports
Unlike Amazon, it is easy to describe products on eBay individually. This means that products can be sold in a range of conditions. For this reason, many big retailers use eBay to sell their returns or end-of-line stock.How to Boost your eBay sales Titles
Write descriptive titles which contact long tail keywords. Use as many of the available 80 characters as possible.Item specifics
These are super important as they enable users to filter for the product they want to buy. You will not be included in filtered searches if you do not include specifics.Pricing!
eBay is a competitive marketplace, and so pricing is a critical factor. Monitor your pricing and ensure your offer is competitive.Imagery
Use high-quality professional images which display the product effectively. The main image should be on a white background and take up the majority of the image.Watch your metrics
eBay monitors metrics, and better-performing sellers will get higher-ranking search results.Variations
Using variations combines multiple products into a single listing, improving listing performance and conversion rate.Sell internationally
By making your listings available to international buyers through your own shipping or eBay’s Global Shipping programme, sellers can increase sales by at least 5-10%.Share this:
Reducing Cart abandonment with Valon Xhafa from Behamics
Cart abandonment is a big problem with up to 70% of carts abandoned before a sale is completed. With traffic becoming more expensive, this is a growing issue for retailers. In this podcast, we talk to Valon Xhafa from Behamics about the major causes of abandonment and how to fix them.Common causes of cart abandonment
There are two main causes of abandonment
1. Technical. The website does not function properly, e.g. payment failure, images do not load. This accounts for 30-40% of abandonment
2. Behavioural. The useability of the site impeeds the purchasing process
For example, sites can cause users to make too many decisions and overwhelm the user.Common misconceptions about cart abandonment Users want to buy everything in their cart
Adding to a cart is not necessarily an indication that the shopper is looking to buy. Many sellers use it as a wish list.Upselling is always good
Too much upselling can suffocate users, leading to higher rates of abandonment. The merchant needs to know when to upsell and when to close the user.More options are not always better
Having too many options (e.g. payment, product options) forces users to make decisions, suffocating the user. Fewer options mean faster decisions and potentially higher conversion rates.Fixing cart issues Monitor your site for errors
Using a tool like Google Analytics, monitor the performance of your site and identify the points at which your site fails.Make it simple, stupid!
Simplify the purchase process as much as possible. Valon's Behamicsolution provides a solution for predicting the options which will most appeal to each userFocus on site speed
You only have a brief window to make an impression on your user. Benchmark and work to improve your site speed. For example, faster images are one of the biggest reasons why buyers leave a site without buying.
Improving Shopify conversion rates with Shaun Brandt from Oddit
Shaun Brandt from oddit.co is an expert in website conversion. Trevor talked to him about how to boost the conversion rate by removing barriers to the online purchasing experience
Problem with Shopify templates
As themes are easy to install on Shopify, there is a tendency to think that the themes are optimised for conversion. Many themes are aesthetically pleasing at the expense of the user experience.Choosing a Shopify template
Using a template which advertises itself as having a high conversion rate is an excellent place to start when choosing a template.
Whilst themes do go through a vetting programme to be accepted in the Shopify store, this does not include usability testing other than passing some basic tests.Speeding up your site
Site speed is a vital factor in conversion rate. Factors which slow the site down include:
- Images which are not web optimised
- Front-end apps, e.g. reviews, sliders etc
Your conversion rate will depend on your traffic source and add strategy. For example, if you get your traffic mainly from SEO or social or paid search, you will have very different conversion rates
The best way to benchmark your site's performance is to stop looking at the site yourself and do some user testing. Set users tasks on the site, e.g. add a product to basket and look at where they are struggling. If you have a limited budget, there is no need to get people from your target audience, just people with no site experience.Solving usability issues
Shaun recommends the following process for solving issues with the site
- Perform usability testing
- Make a prioritised list of issues with the site as identified in your testing
- Use A/B testing to try out different versions of the target page(s) and identify solutions
Make change incrementally and do not make too many changes simultaneously (the fewer, the better). If you make too many changes at once, you will not know what caused any changes.Low hanging useability fruit
· Site speed. There are a lot of simple things which can be done to improve speed quickly, e.g. optimising images
· Copywriting. Create clear copy. Cut the fluff! Tell the user what you make, not the problem you solve
· Calls to action. Make these clear and descriptive
· Don't overwhelm the user. Don't give them too many options.
The State of the Amazon Marketplace with Ryan Flannagan of Nuanced Media
In this episode of the eCommerce Odyssey podcast, Trevor talks to Ryan Flannagan of Nuanced Media about the status of the Amazon Marketplace in 2022. They discuss:
- Growing in a maturing market
- How brand keep a competitive edge on Amazon
- Importance of reviews
- Grow strategies for advertising on Amazon
- Getting product retail ready
- Measuring performance ACoS or TACoS?
Nuanced Media has written a 2022 Amazon strategy guide which is available from their website – well worth a read!
How to Maximise Google Ads Performance
In this week's podcast, Trevor talks to John Horn from The Stub Group about how to Maximise your Google ads performance. Google has been increasing the automation of its ads programmes, recently introducing the highly automated Performance Max format.What is Performance Max
Performance Max campaigns use machine learning to try and achieve a retailer's goals. They are highly automated and do not require the advertiser to specify any targets. To create a PM campaign, a retailer must specify
- Product feed
- Performance goals
- Audience signals
- Ad creative
Google takes this info and finds customers for your business within your target.Benefits to retailers
PM campaign is a massive time saver; in John's experience, they outperform standard shopping campaigns.
In my experience (Trevor), whilst it is possible to beat automation in the short term, in the long term, performance is steadier.Optimising Performance max Optimise product feed
The data you submit to PM is your biggest lever when optimising performance. Areas to optimise:
- Video content
Creating attractive and relevant ad assets will help Google understand your products and promote them more effectively to potential customers.Audience signals
With privacy becoming a more significant issue online, companies like Apple have stopped shaving customer data with advertisers. To help Google learn faster, submit audience data to Google, e.g. customer emails.
In my experience (Trevor), adding audience data makes a massive difference to performance.Performance Targets
Carefully choose your performance target. The most aggressive a target, the harder Google will find it to find customers at that price.
Joihn talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
7-Figure Q4 & Black Friday Email Formula with Renis Krumins
In this week's podcast, Trevor talks to Reinis Krumins from email marketing Agency agencyjr.com about how to kick it out of the park with email sales this Q4.4 Phase Q4 Email plan
Reinis recommends a four-phrase approach to email this Q4
- Re-engaging the email list.
- Warming up the email list.
- Early sign up and commitment phase
- Black Friday!
In any email list, there will be inactive users who have not interacted with an email recently. Send these customers text-based, personalised emails to get these users to re-engage with your business.
This email should be a 'personal' email from the founder or give some helpful information about a product.Warming up the email list
There are two parts to this
- Relationship warm-up
- Technical warm-up
The relationship email focuses on building the brand in the customer's emails. For example, it could be about charitable work the brand is doing. Alternatively, use value-based emails which highlight products in a non-sales way, e.g. top 3 tips on using product XX
The second side of the warm-up is the technical warm-up which ensures deliverability. Add a custom sending domain (if you have not already done so) to your email software. I.e. emails will come from XXX.com, not from the email software's domain. Email from shared domains can have delivery issues as some senders will be spamming people. By using your own domain, you avoid this issue.Early sign-up and commitment phase
To build your list, create a special page on your site so that customers can sign up to get early access to offers. Send this to your email list. To build this list, you use paid advertising and retargeting
These users get first access to Black Friday deals.Black Friday
From 19-20th Nov, customers who signed up for early access get emailed. From 20-21st Nov, send 2 emails every day. It is essential to be aggressive around Black Friday as customers are getting lots of emails. If you send only a few emails, your messages will not be seen.
Launching a Subscription Program with Matt Holman from QPilot
In this week's podcast, we talked to Matthew Holman from Qpilot about how to run a successful Subscription scheme.What is an eCommerce subscription
Subscriptions are a part of eCommerce, which is experiencing strong growth. A four or five-fold increase is expected over the next few years.
There are two main types of eCommerce subscription
- Membership subscription, i.e. giving discounts and deals, e.g. Amazon Prime
- Automatic repeat purchases of physical goods, e.g. monthly subscription box
Many subscription services have been launched recently, and some commentators have suggested that subscription fatigue is setting in. However, if you can get it right, a subscription service will generate recurring revenue and help form a close relationship with your customers.What kinds of products do subscriptions work best for?
Subscriptions are typically used for consumables, i.e. things which are used regularly e.g.
- Fresh food
- Food supplements
- Dog food
- Health and beauty products
These items are things which are used on a daily or regular basis and the customer is shopping for frequently. Getting products on a subscription saves the customer time.Steps to launch a subscription business Step 1. Understand your customer
To launch a successful subscription business, you need to understand your consumer and consider whether there are products they are currently getting elsewhere.
- Think about how you can add value to the consumer. Are there certain products which customers buy regularly?
- Are there products that would complement your current range that could be sold on a subscription basis? For example, could you start a pet food subscription offer if you sell pet accessories?
- Why should the consumer buy from you?
Details to consider are:
- What frequencies will you offer? E.g. Weekly, monthly, quarterly
- Selection options. Is it a fixed offer, or can the customer selection options
You will need a platform to run your subscription service. There are 30+ apps on Shopify (of which Qpilot is one option). Compare the app's functionality against your proposed subscription offering and choose the one that bests fits your requirements.How to promote a subscription service
Your offer should have a dedicated page on your site highlighting the features and benefits of your subscription scheme. Include:
- Subscription contents, i.e. what you get
- Subscription benefits. Why this helps the customer and the value it provides
- Highlight benefits such as environmental impact
- Subscription conditions. How will payment be taken, and how can the subscription be cancelled
To promote your subscription scheme, start by promoting the scheme to customers who are already frequently buying from your site.
Qpilot recommends giving a discount of no more than 10%. Pricing too low will leave less room for discounting in future. For example, You might want to run a sales event over a holiday weekend to drive additional salesImproving performance Understand your customers
Subscriptions can be very profitable as customers buy for several months before cancelling. Ask customers why they sign up and leave the programme to improve performance. By understanding why people leave, you can change your programme to improve performance.
There are two types of churn
- Passive churn. Customers forget to update their payment details so the subscription expires
- Active churn. Customers elect to leave the programme
To reduce churn, ask customers why they leave the programme. For example, they m
Creating Great Organic and Paid TikTok Content with Lauren Schwartz from Loft 325
In this week's eCommerce Odyssey Podcast, Trevor talks to Lauren Schwartz for The loft 325 about how to create compelling organic and paid content on TikTok.What is Tiktok
Tiktok is an engagement platform where people go to be entertained. Posts consist of short videos (mostly less than 15 seconds) on any topic, which are consumed at a fast rate.Engaging with videos
When strolling through a TikTok feed, users can click on a video to interact with it. You can like videos and also view the user's profile to see their other posts. On the post can be a link to their website.Organic and paid content
Like other social media channels, TikTok has the option to post organic (unpaid) and paid content (ads). Ads appear in the feed and link to the advertiser's content using calls to action such as 'Shop Now' or 'Learn More'.Organic Tiktok
When creating organic TikTok content, look at what is trending on the TikTok app. These can be trending:
Think about how you can integrate these trends with your posts, e.g. by adding the latest hashtags to your description (e.g. #tiktokmademebuyit). Look at how people are people are talking about products and how they are talking to consumers.
By utilising the latest trends, you will begin to understand what people want to see from your content. If you are successful, your content will appear more on the 'For you' page.
Success on organic TikTok is measured by engagement. These include:
Both organic content and ads should have a hook, i.e. something interesting to get people to stop and watch the content for more than 3 seconds. Text on the screen makes people stop and read.Creating Ads on content
When creating ads, create content around the trends. Paid content on TikTok should look exactly like organic posts (look 'native'). Look at the styling of other successful posts and emulate this in your content. High production value ads are not necessary as they will not look organic.
2 or 3% is a good click-through rate for an ad. $30 is a good CPA. Ads are usually charged on a CPC basis.
Creating a Single Source of Truth for your eCommerce Store with Maximilian from Get Klar
In this video Trevor Talks to Maximilian Rast from Klar about how to measure performance across your eCommerce business. Businesses sell through many channels and drive traffic across numerous different advertising platforms and campaigns. By combining this data, you can get a more accurate picture of performance, enabling better decision-making. Klar is a system which centralises all your data in one place - check it out at www.getklar.com.
Dropshipping with Jon Warren from Dropship Breakthru
Jon Warren is an eCommerce entrepreneur and Coach who specialises in high ticket dropshipping. Jon teaches dropshipping at Dropship Breakthru.
Dropshipping is an attractive business model as you do not have to pay any money upfront. Jon makes a good case for launching a dropshipping business, but I have had bad experiences with dropshipping for the reasons I outline below.
Jon’s take on dropshipping is that the only way to do it is to focus on high-ticket items. This gets round the problem of low margins, as a low margin on a high ticket item can be a high dollar amount. That said, you will still have all the other issues I outline below. Some of these will be multiplied, as accepting the return of a high ticket item can be difficult and costly.
What is Dropshipping Drop shipping where the seller accepts customer orders but does not keep goods sold in stock. Instead, they pass the order details to either the manufacturer, a wholesaler, or another retailer, which then ships the goods directly to the customer.
Dropshipping pros Dropshipping seems like a good idea, and many people promote it as a get-rich-quick scheme.
It has many advantages on the face of it
No upfront costs. You pay for products as you sell them No overheads. No need for a warehouse for pesky things like warehouses or staff Access to an extensive catalogue. You do not have to worry about sourcing products, just publish the drop shippers catalogue and you have a ready-made business No work! No need to worry about troublesome things like packing Dropshipping Cons There is no such thing as a free lunch. In my experience, dropshipping is more trouble than it is worth:
Competitive. Dropshipping products are available to a lot of sellers and so are competitive and low margin Limited control. As a dropshipper, you surrender control of the delivery process to your supplier. Poor consumer experience. In my experience, dropshipping is often a poor customer experience. Slow, difficult to arrange, bad communication. Long delivery times. If you are getting products delivered from overseas, delivery can take weeks. This is not a good customer experience Returns build-up. As the retailer, you will normally need to accept any returns yourself. These will quickly build up Dropshipping I have tried I’ve tried dropshipping in various ways, failing to take off.
Books In the UK, there is a huge book wholesaler called Gardeners books. They offer a straight-through processing service which we integrated with our eCommerce system. This meant that orders would automatically be fulfilled. We set this up and waited for sales to roll in. Bingo!
Unfortunately, this failed for several reasons:
It was hard to calculate the shipping cost of each book so hear to know what to charge Low sales. Amazon was always cheaper We wanted to implement a long tail strategy, i.e. list 500K books on eBay, but eBay would only let us list 25K at one time Furniture Furniture is a massive pain! It is heavy and prone to breaking, so perfect for dropshipping. However:
Dropshipped furniture is widely available, so very competitive Hard to get stock updates from suppliers, so I frequently had to let customers down Buy to order Stock is a pain, so I thought we would try buying stock to order. I found a supplier who could provide a stock update feed. I fed the stock levels into our system, thinking this would mean that we would never oversell and put the lead time to 3 days, thinking this would work if orders were delivered the next day. Brilliant?
In my experience, suppliers do not have good stock levels and frequently deliver late. Platforms such as Amazon performance standards and if your supplier cannot meet these, the whole system fails. For example, if the max order defect rate on Amazon is 1% and your supplier can only deliver right 98.5% of the time, this will cause problems for your account.
5 Key eCommerce Metrics with Ben McAdam from Profits Collective: Revenue, Margins, Marketing, Owner Pay & Profit
Revenue is your income from sales. If you do not have revenue, you do not have a business! A healthy company should have a growing revenue.
Break up your revenue into categories or products to understand what drives it. You do not want to run out of the products which are vital revenue driversMargins
Margin is the difference between what the customer pays and the cost to the merchant. If you do not get the ratio between what an item costs and what you can sell it for right, you will not be profitable, no matter how high your revenue. You cannot outsell a margin problem.
With low margins, you will not have enough profit to grow the business or pay yourself. A sale price of 3 to 5 times your cost price is healthy. If your multiple is only two times the cost, business owners tend to burn out when your turnover hits six figures.Marketing
Are you spending enough on marketing? If you spend to little, you will not sell enough, too much and you could have got a better return. Spending 5 to 15% of your revenue is a healthy amount.Owner Pay
Owners should make sure they pay themselves so you can live. It is a balance as you do not want to starve the business of funds. You have to be able to pay yourself a market rate for the tasks you will want to delegate later. You will be stuck doing these tasks if your business cannot afford to pay the market rate. Making sure you can afford to pay someone else to do your job is a good indicator that your margins are OK.Profit
Unless your business is profitable, you will not be able to do important things like pay down debt, pay yourself and attract investors.
Ben talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
Understanding Site Speed and Core Web Vitals with Shawn O'Neil from Speed Sense
Shawn O'Neil from Speed Sense is an expert on website speed. In this podcast, we discuss how you know if you have a website speed issue and how to build an engaging website experienceWhy is site speed important?
Website speed is important for three reasons:
- Conversion rate. Faster sites give a better user experience leading to lower bounce rates and higher conversion rates
- SEO. Site speed is a ranking factor for Google natural search and is measured by their core web vitals metrics
- Return on ad spend. Sites which convert better will give a higher return on ad spend.
You can identify if you have a site speed issue by scanning your site using the popular site speed using a tool such as Google page speed. This will give two categories of metrics
- Real user metrics (RUM). How users are experiencing your site
- Synthetic. An estimated speed metric
The metrics given on the Google page speed tool will give benchmark for the site speed. If the major pages on the site pass core web vitals then that is the minimum benchmark for judging your site speed is acceptable.
Another good measure is to compare your site to your competitors.What are Core Web Vitals
Google has chosen the metrics in the core website vitals as they are a good proxy for user experience. They fall into three groups:
- Is the page loading
- Is the page responding quickly
- Is the visual presentation stable
Whether you will pass core web vitals will depend on (amongst other things) our technology stack (e.g. Shopify, Magento) and the number of applications which are loaded with the page. A common problem is below the page functionality e.g. tracking is slowing down the site.Choosing a fast theme
Though it is an imperfect measure, when you are choosing a new theme, test it using Google page speed. This is imperfect as the theme demo will not have any user metrics.Top tips for building a fast engaging experience
- Priorities things that are the primary purpose of that page. For example, on a product page, this will be the product details. This data should load before services like reviews, social sharing etc.
- Preload your largest contentful paint (LCP) image.
- Third-party tags in tag manager should be loaded after the main page content.
- Image size. Compress your images properly. Max 300kb/image.
How to Improve Referral Program Performance with Jay Gibb from CloudSponge
If your service is good, word-of-mouth marketing will already be happening for your store. A referral scheme encourages this behaviour by incentivising your customer to sell your brand to their friends. An existing customer will click on a link, send a referral code to their friends, and receive something, e.g. discount on a future purchase, a gift or a payment.What are the reasons why referral schemes perform badly
Referral programmes fail to take off for a number of reasons.Not publicising the programme enough.
If you do not tell your customers about your referral programme, they won't sign up! Common mistakes include:
- Requiring a login to participate
- Hiding deep in your menu structure
- Not including it in receipts and invoices
- Not including info in footer and header
Whilst some people want to get a reward for making a referral, others value being the hero that sent an offer to their friends. Doubled-sided referral programmes cater for both customer types.Making people type in email addresses
If you make users type in email addresses, they will get bored quickly. Users only have so much patience to enter a comma-separated list of emails, especially on a mobile device.
Using a solution like Jay's company Cloudsponge, customers can import contacts directly from their email solution, e.g. Gmail. They can sign in directly to their email account and easily add multiple contacts. Cloudsponge has found by using this solution, referral schemes can double or triple referrals.
Grow your sales by word-of-mouth marketing with Raul Galera from Referral Candy
In this week’s podcast, Trevor talks to Raul Galera about how to set up a successful online referral scheme.What is an eCommerce referral scheme?
If your service is good, word-of-mouth marketing will already be happening for your store. A referral scheme encourages this behaviour by incentivising your customer to sell your brand to their friends. An existing customer will click on a link, send a referral code to their friends, and receive something, e.g. discount on a future purchase, a gift or a payment.How do eCommerce referral schemes work?
Raul recommends the following steps to launch a successful referral scheme:
- Invite past customers
- Create automation to invite customers automatically after purchase. This could be a popup or an email
- Make your programme public. Advertise it on your site by displaying it prominently and creating a sign-up form
There are two main difference between affiliate and referral marketing
- Relationships. In an affiliate programme, publishers will have a large audience to which they promote affiliates. This is a one-to-many relationship where the publisher does not know the person to which they are promoting. Referrals happen with a close circle, e.g. friends and family. Being more personal, these recommendations have a lot more power.
- Rewards. Affiliate programmes typically give most of the reward to the referral. The buyer may not get a discount. Referral programmes typically give a similar reward to both parties.
The best referral schemes reward both the referrer and the new customers. This incentivises the referrer to work hard on your behalf and the new customer to buy.What kind of verticals does referral marketing work best for?
Referral schemes work well across many verticals but work especially well for direct-to-consumer brands as they are trying to build a community. Also, products which have a sharable component, e.g. fashion, technology.How to run a referral scheme?
The steps to run a referral scheme are:
- Platform. You will need a platform to track referral sales, e.g. Referral Candy
- Design referral structure. Look at customer behaviour and think about what will incentivise them.
- Promotion plan. Think about how you are going to promote your plan. Just telling people once is not enough. You need to be reminding your customers regularly.
- Build a community around your customer base. In the long run, this will be hugely beneficial to your brand.
Referral Candy uses a metric (referral rate) which is the ratio of referral order to the total number of sales.
A good referral scheme should generate at least 2% of a company's revenue, with some companies generating 10% or even 33%.
How to create Great Website SEO Content with Katrina McKinnon from Copysmiths
In this podcast episode, Trevor talks to Katrina McKinnon from Copysmiths about the importance of quality content for generating natural search traffic.Is content still important?
Creating great content is still vitally important for merchants as the most successful eCommerce stores get 60% of the traffic from organic searches. It is essential not to put your eggs in one basket by depending too much on organic or paid traffic.How to create great content
Copywriters research keywords using tools like Hrefs. They then construct posts which include these keywords and publish them on a blog.
The recommended length is 1400 words, broken up with other types of content such as images, quotes, tables etc. Breaking up slabs of text increases dwell rate and reduces bounce rate.
Always write content which is focused on readers and not search engines. Google will track which post are getting read and give these higher search positions.What are the best kinds of content to publish
Successful types of content include:
- Listicles. E.g. Top 10 lists.
- 101 ways to XYZ. Great for inspiring customers
- Answer to questions
Google likes posts that answer the questions asked in the article title. It also likes multimedia.How often to publish?
Once a week is the minimum frequency of publishing for which you should aim. Google says in its website guide that sites should write 'well and often'.How to create content in-house or find a writer?
- In-house writer. Difficult to maintain creativity. They tend to burn out
- Agencies. Have quality processes in place and are good for companies looking to scale.
- AI. AI content creation has its place tends to sound like robots
Organic social does not generate much traffic anymore. Some companies will have separate organic and paid social accounts as organic traffic may be reduced if paid social is also used on the account.How to measure success?
A successful article will show up for 200 keywords, an unsuccessful article 20 keywords and a really successful article, 2000 keywordsHow long does it all take?
Stores with about 1m+ visitors a year should see content ranking in 2 weeks. Brand new stores will take several months.
Katarina talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
Combining Email and SMS marketing to increase ROI with Jason K. Williamson of e2.agency
Using Email and SMS to drive repeat customers with Jason K. Williamson of e2agency
Jason K Williamson is a specialist in combining SMS and Email marketing to turbo charge your repeat purchase rate. In the week's podcast, Trevor picks his brains on how to get the most out of your retention marketing campaigns.What are the best strategies in 2022 for getting customers to return to your Shopify storefront?
There are three different prime methods for driving customers back to your customers
- Retargeting on media buying. You should be following your customers at all times
- Email marketing. This is great as emails are easy to collect as people are used to giving their email out to receive offers and updates. Email marketing can be run at a large scale at a low cost
- SMS Marketing. This is the most potent way to retarget customers. Customers are already on their mobile and so can purchase in only a few clicks
SMS marketing at scale used to be only available at the enterprise level. Now there are great apps on Shopify that can be used to collect and send SMS campaigns for a low cost.
For Shopify users, a checkout option enables customers to subscribe to SMS messages. SMS marketing is super powerful as 98% of SMS' are read in the first 4 hours.Best SMS use cases
SMS’ can be collected via Shopify and then used to contact customers (with their consent!). ROI on SMS is much as 10x higher than email. Jason recommends the following use cases:
- Abandoned cart. Sending SMS' to customers reminding them to complete their purchase. This is the most successful automation with the highest ROI
- Sending campaigns to your audience. Sending a campaign like you would with email is even simpler with SMS as it only requires writing a short message. No need to worry about creative, subject lines or deliverability.
Growing your list as fast as possible is the best way to start seeing a good return on investment. Jason recommends using email offers to build your SMS list. Jason calls this the Trojan horse method. The process is as follows:
- Ask the customer to subscribe to an email newsletter for an offer
- Offer them the to upgrade to a better offer if they subscribe to an SMS offer
This enables the customer to feel they are in control as they are upgrading, not signing up for the first time. Using a juicy offer will maximise the uptake.The pitfalls of SMS marketing
SMS is a dangerous marketing channel. The fines can be huge if you send emails to customers who have not given consent.
To avoid this, make your messaging super clear.How to ensure that SMS does not cannibalise email traffic?
SMS has the highest open rate and conversion rate. Because of this, if you have a customer's email and SMS, send them an SMS first for the best results. A phone number is a personal thing which is challenging to get, so treat these customers like VIPs. To avoid cannibalisation, send different messages, even if the offers are identical.What is the best platform for running campaigns?
Jason talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
Using Email Marketing to Increase sales with Kelsey Johnson from AWeber
In this week's podcast, Trevor talked to Kelsey Johnson from the email marketing aWeber about how to use email to generate sales for your eCommerce business.Email is still important!
Email is used more than any other communication platform and is still widely used, even among Millenials and Gen Zs. Most people will look at their email daily, so it is a very personal and effective way to reach customers. Unlike other platforms such as social, it is used for work, private message and promotional messages.Benefits of email marketing
Email marketing works across almost all businesses and has the following benefits:
- Drives repeat business. Emails enable merchants to stay in touch with customers and encourage future sales.
- Nurture future customers. Customers may sign up for an email marketing list as they are interested in making a future purchase
- Ownership. Unlike marketplaces and social media channels, you have complete ownership of your email list
- Cheap! Email marketing is very cost-effective.
From both a compliance perspective and to ensure good performance, it is essential to get customers to opt to receive emails from your business.Steps to run an email marketing campaign
Kelsey recommends the following steps to run an email marketing campaign:
- Choose a tool. You will need a tool to run your email marketing campaigns that supports list management, sign up forms and automations. Very nice to have are split testing and good reporting.
- Migrate your existing list. Ensure that any email your port over are recent to prevent ending up in the spam box.
- Integrate with your eCommerce platform. Systems such as Shopify will integrate with most email markets tools enabling customers to be added to lists automatically.
- Add a sign-up form to your site. Pop-up forms with a discount are one of the most effective ways to build you list AND incentivise sales
- Create automations. Automations are email flows which automatically send emails to customers to keep them in the loop. Automations could recommend new products or invite them to follow you on social media (see below).
- To be most effective, tailor the email to the recipient. Most email marketing tools will enable the email to be personalised, for example, with the recipient's name and product recommendations based on their purchase history.
The bigger your list, the greater your opportunity to make sales. It is never too early to start list building. Strategies for building a list include:
- Pop up form on your site
- Tick box at checkout
- Make listing building part of your social strategy. Link to your email sign-up form from your social profiles and offer an incentive to sign up
When customers are added to a mailing list, they can be automatically sent a series of emails called an automation. These need only be set up once and can generate a steady stream of sales over time. Successful automations include
- Welcome series. E.g. send a different popular product every day for 5 days
- Weekly product. Send out a product of the week to each customer
- Win back. After a customer has not purchased for a while, send through an enticing offer to win them back
- Abandoned cart emails. Send out emails to customers who have started the checkout process to remind them to complete the purchase. Abandoned checkout emails are among the most successful email automations.
If you have specific offers, or useful announcements, these can be broadcast to your
Toilet Seat Thinking with Matt Edmundson from Aurion Digital
In this week's podcast, Trevor is joined by the eCommerce coach and entrepreneur Matt Edmundson. Matt has successfully exited several eCommerce businesses, including Jersey Beauty Company (https://www.jerseybeautycompany.co.uk/). He now works as an eCommerce coach (https://mattedmundson.com) and runs the digital agency Aurion Digital (https://auriondigital.com/).
In this podcast, we discuss Matt's entrepreneurial journey and how he advocates customer-centric thinking (which he calls toilet seat thinking) to launch successful businesses.
Using Interactive Quizzes on Shopify to improve Conversion with Gen Furukawa from Prehook
In this week’s show, Trevor talks to Gen Furukawa from Prehook, an application for Shopify which allows merchants to run quizzes to learn more about their customersWhat is a quiz
A Shopify quiz (as enabled by Prehook) asks customers questions and collects data about their preferences. It helps them find the product they want by recommending a product. Examples include (considering ):
- Asking the age of the child to recommend toys
- Asking the kind of products customers are looking for
After the quiz, a store can send a welcome flow personalised to the customer’s profileWhy use quizzes?
After iOS 14 brands no longer have the channels they had to run profitable ads. In the past DTC brands could create campaigns using platforms like Facebook, learn which customer segments performed best and optimise their campaigns. CPC and acquisition costs are increasing and it is more difficult for brands to understand who their customers are and how to target them
Quizzes are a mechanism to learn more about your customers and optimise your marketing efforts. Benefits include:
- Simplifying the buying process (and improving conversion rate)
- Create a personalised buying experience
- Accelerate list growth
- Capture verified zero party data (data which customers directly and willingly share with a brand)
- Send targeted messaging (e.g. email, SMS) based on the customer’s answers
A successful quiz should offer something of value to the customer for example:
- Personalised shopping advice e.g. recommend a product
- Personalised advice e.g. recommended articles
Quizzes can be used at multiple stages of the buying process for example:
- Top of funnel – in the top navigation e.g. shopping assistance
- Hook for a Landing page e.g. Drive traffic from email
- After a process – a post postage quiz can establish attribution
- Feedback on products
The success of a quiz is measured through increased revenue and list growth.Who does well with quizzes?
Prehook has found that the following types of products do particularly well with quizzes:
- Food and drink
Using AI to improve customer retention with Shanif Dhanani from Apteo
Apteo is a platform which uses AI to automate and personalise marketing campaigns. We talked to Shanif Dhanani from Apteo to get their tips on how to increase your customer retention and how AI can help.5 Top things which eCommerce stores should be doing to increase customer retention
1. Stay in touch with your customers. Your customer will be lost if you do not stay in touch via email and ads.
2. Personalise. 70-80% of customers only buy once. Reaching out to them with relevant offers will increase the conversion rate whilst irrelevant offers will be ignored.
3. Create a sense of urgency. If you are sending out constant offers, customers will just wait for the next offer to make a purchase. By sending a limited time offer to targeted customers you will encourage people to appreciate your brand to make repeat purchases. Free shipping works well with loyal customers.
4. Tell your story. To stand out, you should tell your story to give your brand personality.
5. Cross-sell. Use your data to create relevant offers cross channel.Using AI to help with retention marketing
Running targeted marketing campaigns is time-consuming. AI tools such as Apteo can help segment your customer data, enabling you to save time and create more personalised campaigns. Apteo is a Shopify app and integrates directly with the major email tools. Example uses of AI created custom segments include:
· Customised campaigns
· Customer emails
· Insert dynamic products into emails
Shanif talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
How to Automate your Shopify Store with Kaus Manjita from getmason.io
In this week's podcast, Trevor talked to Kaus from Mason, a Shopify app for automating eCommerce storefronts. We talked about the benefits of automating storefronts andBenefits of automating a Shopify store?
Competition is fierce and it is hard to stand out and grow online. By automating processes on your online store, you can save time and stand out from the crowd. Areas for automation include
- Email marketing/CRM
- Customer loyalty
- Shipping and fulfilment
- Customer experience
- Customer support
- Order tracking
Avoiding the day-to-day processes necessary to run your site allows you to spend more time growing your business.Automating your Shopify storefront
Whilst automation in email marketing and fulfilment are widely available, few retailers use automation to keep their storefront fresh. Areas which can be automated include:
- Creating collections, e.g. best sellers, new products
- Inventory updates
- Sales and promotions
- Product bundles, e.g. Creating high converting products into bundles.
Using a solution such as Mason, these processes can be automated, saving time and improving performance.Example success automations
The Mason team have an off the shelf menu of successful automation which can be quickly implemented. Successful automations include:
- Creating bespoke collections based on customer behaviour
- Badges advertising sales and discounts
- Running promotions and sales
Kaus talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
Increasing Cross Border Sales with Andy Hooper from Global eCommerce Experts
In this week's episode of the eCommerce Odyssey Podcast, Trevor talked to Andy Hooper from Global eCommerce Experts about all things Cross Border Trade.The Cross border Opportunity is as big as ever
Brexit and the general economic condition have made international trade more difficult. However, merchants should not give up on international sales! The opportunity is still massive.
· 500 million consumers in the EU
· Many retailers have pulled out of the EU
· EU and UK regulations are still very similarBasic steps to selling internationally
Recommended steps for starting your international sales:
1. Research your market. Research if your product can be sold from a compliance point of view and if there is likely to be any demand
2. Compliance. Make sure your business and product are compliant with local rules and make any necessary changes.
3. Marketplace strategy. Choose the right route to market for your productsLogistics
The logistics solution you use is determined by the size of your business. Bear the following in mind:
· Shipping pallet into Amazon EU FBA is time-consuming
· Sending items into a 3PL in the EU and then sending parcels into FBA s quicker and enables orders to be fulfilled directlyBest channels for expanding internationally
When expanding internationally, first look at where you are already successfully selling. If you are on Amazon already expanding into their international sites is a great place to start. That said, Amazon is not the biggest platform in many countries. For example:
· Bol.com is the biggest marketplace in the Netherlands
· Cdiscount is a big player in France
· Allegro is the biggest online retailer in Poland
Start with what you know and then look for other opportunities.Top ten tips for selling internationally
1. Understand your market and country. Good tools include Jungle Scout and Helium 10.
2. Make sure your product is compliant with the country you are selling into
3. Make sure your business is compliant with the country you are selling into
4. Identify the right marketplace to sell-through
5. Find a local fulfilment partner (3PL) for delivering stock to Amazon (and other platforms) and dealing with returns
6. Have a solid shipping and customs process
7. Customer service. Ensure you can cope with customer service in local languages
8. Think about how you will scale your sales and build a multi-channel approach
Andy talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
How to use Shipping Updates to Increase Repeat Purchases on Shopify
In this week's eCommerce Odyssey Podcast I talked to Kiril Kirilov cofounder of rush.app about how they improve delivery communication on Shopify. Rush is an app that is deeply integrated with over 400 couriers with the aim of closing the loop between ordering and delivery. Not only do they help improve customer service, but they also enable merchants to use communications to drive customers back to a store and repeat purchases.
Kiril had the following advice for optimising shipping comms on ShopifyCommunication with customers as often as possible
By sending out updates at every stage of the delivery process has major benefits for retailers.
- Increase customer satisfaction by keeping them in the loop
- Cut down on customer service queries
Every time you send out a delivery update to a customer, the customer is encouraged to come back to the site where they can be upsold.Wow consumers with great service
Get the basics right to impress with your delivery
- Shipping speed. Deliver items before people start to wonder where they are
- Be in stock. Ensure you have stock available for quick delivery
Kiril talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.
Shopify Usability with Adam Pearce from Blend Commerce
Shopify is the leading eCommerce platform for any size of store. It is easy to set up a store, but how do you get the best performance? Adam Pearce works for the leading Shopify usability agency Blend Commerce. In this week's eCommerce odyssey Podcast, Trevor took the opportunity to pick Adam's brains on maximising the conversion rate of Shopify storefronts.
Optimising eCommerce Pricing on Google Shopping with Burc Tanir from Prisync
In this edition of the eCommerce Odyssey Podcast, we discuss dynamic price with Burc Tanir from Prisync. Prisync is a competitive price monitoring and repricing tool which enables customers to increase sales and profit by altering pricing in real-time based on market conditions.
Burc and Trevor discuss how to win more sales and increase margin by dynamically updating pricing. It is not always a race to the bottom, Prisync finds that 60% of their pricing actions are upwards.
Burc talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.