Shopify Ecosystem

22 burning ecommerce questions answered by LoyaltyLion and experts

22-burning-ecommerce-questions-answered-by-loyaltylion-and-experts

Throughout January, we asked ecommerce merchants their burning questions about the future of retail. We answered what we could in a series of AMAs (rewatch them all using the links below). For each one, we were joined by experts from platforms like Shopify Plus, Klaviyo, ReCharge and Nosto.

But, following a year that sparked an ecommerce revolution, there sure was a lot merchants wanted to know! Below, we’ve collected the answers to the questions we didn’t have time to answer live. Keep reading to see responses to questions like:

  • What would you recommend are the top three things small businesses need to pay attention to this year?
  • How should you create a marketing budget during slow seasons?
  • What’s the most cost-effective way you drive BTC sales on your existing ecommerce platform
  • And many more!

Read for a year of accelerated ecommerce growth? Let’s dive in!

Want to read about the ecommerce trends shaping retail this year? Sign up for Accelerate 2021 where we exposed all


1. What would you recommend are the top three things small businesses need to pay attention to this year?

1. Consumers are showing a lot of heart towards small businesses these days. There’s been a huge surge in the discovery of ecommerce brands who offer the same or similar products and service as a bigger brands. And lots of customers would rather spend money with small brands instead of brands who already have more than enough. So we would say if you’re a small, local or family-run business, don’t be shy about letting people know. Own it, share it and be thankful for any support you get.

2. If you’re a small business using paid digital advertising, it will be very improtant that you understand the Apple iOS 14 update and how it’s going to affect advertising. There are big changes coming and it will drastically affect your reporting, attribution modeling and therefore, your stragegy. Take a look at our blog for a detail brief on the changes.

3. Similarly to point one, it’s never too early to be transparent when it comes to your brand values. These days customers prefer to shop with brands that have personality and offer something good to the world. Whether that’s cruelty-free beauty products or environmentally sustainable clothing. Whatever your brand values, make sure you shout about it to further connect emotionally with customers. Because 70% of emotionally engaged consumers spend up to two times or more on brands they are loyal to.


2. What is your take on traffic campaigns for small brands with a few thousand dollars monthly ad spend and high ticket price handmade products?

If you’re in ecommerce, don’t waste your money. Spend it on purchase campaigns. The Facebook algorithm is really good at finding people that fit your objective. Traffic will do just that; attempt to capture the cheapest traffic but not necessarily the most qualified traffic.

This applies to selling products specifically, as we’ve found some success with the traffic objective for promoting an event, webinar, blog post or lead generation capture page. If you’re looking to promote for these types of activities, we recommend setting up a specific retargeting campaign for the audiences captured by the traffic ad – and monitoring the success of those campaigns together. This way you’re implementing a full-funnel strategy and capturing leads and purchases with the campaign rather than just blindly sending cheap traffic to a page for the sake of it.

1

This question was answered by Elliot Brand – Marketing Specialist at the customer journey marketing tool, Shoelace


3. How should you create a marketing budget during slow seasons?

During the quieter periods of the year, it’s up to you to generate excitement around your brand and products to drive orders. Spend some budget on paid social advertising to drive up awareness around your brand and to re-engage your existing customers.

You could also include your loyalty program in paid posts. Advertise and clearly communicate the benefits of your loyalty program to encourage people to sign up. That way when the busy season comes along, you’ll have their contact details to be able to re-engage them at busier and quieter times of the year. You could also include a sign-up offer in these paid ads; for example, free shipping or a discount on their next order.


4. How do I target customers in a niche market?

To target customers in a niche market link your marketing back to what’s unique about that niche. Then show shoppers you absolutely understand them. For example, if you’re looking to sell sporting gear to trail runners don’t just talk to them about running in general. Really dig into the challenges that come with trail running specifically. You could share content about how to plan an effective route, for example.

User-generated content is also extremely important in niche areas. Often, it’s difficult to find advice or recommendations on specialist subjects online. Reviews from customers who are already using your products are extremely powerful in aiding shoppers in their decision-making. We recommend using your loyalty program to incentivize existing customers to proactively review your products.

The key to building customer loyalty in a niche area, is demonstrating that you are as passionate about that niche as your customers are. You also need to encourage those who are already using your products to recommend them to others.


5. Do you have any tips to increase my conversion rates?

Conversion comes in many forms – too often we think of it as only a purchase. However, a loyalty program signup, a review or a social media follow are all conversions too. It’s important to think about how you can increase conversion across the customer journey, not just at the checkout.

To really increase conversion, you need to make things as easy as possible for the shopper. If you want them to join your program, make it really obvious how. If you want them to refer a friend, ensure they can do so with one click and via channels they’re in every day – like WhatsApp. If you want them to make a purchase, keep your checkout simple. Removing friction is the fastest way to improve conversions of any kind.


6. How does your company help small ambitious businesses who are starting their growth? (specifically for LoyaltyLion and Nosto)

The beauty of a loyalty program is that it can start simple and grow with your business. With LoyaltyLion, you can launch a very simple but entirely on-brand program that initially just rewards customers for simple actions like purchases and account creation. This means you can start rewarding and retaining your customers from day one. You can then build on your program adding more features as you start to have more customers to retain. This allows you to put retention at the heart of your strategy from the outset. It also helps you limit the amount you have to spend on acquisition in the early days.

Nosto offers a simplified version of our solution called The Incubator Plan, which starts at €99 per month for product recommendations. This offering provides the power of Nosto’s personalized product recommendations with a few simple clicks that downloads a cartridge onto the small business’s online store. You can also add on-site pop-ups and email widgets that allow you to send personalized recommendations to customers’ inboxes for another €99 per month. As these businesses grow with Nosto’s features, they can upgrade their plan to achieve more complex use cases.

2

This question was answered in collaboration with Zulay, Content Marketing Manager at Nosto.


7. How do you use loyalty alongside your discounts?

Sometimes offering loads of discounts can leave you feeling like you’re in a race to the bottom. Competing on price alone is not enough to build loyalty. Customers who are only interested in price will spend with whatever brand is cheapest. To create a loyal customer base, you need to differentiate from competitors with special benefits that will peak customers’ interests and add value to your brand.

This is where a loyalty program becomes useful. Yes, you can offer some discounts and money-off vouchers in your program, but you can also offer so much more. Two effective tactics are:

  • Experiential rewards such as free consultations, free tutorials, early access to sales or new products. These types of perks align with your customers’ interests and will add value to your program and brand, prompting customers to stay with you over others
  • Charitable rewards such as planting a tree or donating to a charity. These kinds of rewards align with your customers’ personal values. Shoppers will see value in engaging with these rewards as it is an easy way to support something they believe in. As well as this, it will build a stronger emotional connection between consumers and your brand
A38458266c252941ea4fc0b17d8c6cfa

For more on this, check out this webinar from Blend Commerce featuring LoyaltyLion called Discounting for loyalty – Is there another way?


8. The best ad strategy for starters given Facebook’s rising cost and unbearable CPM

There’s no silver bullet solution as to where you need to spend your money. Be where your customers are and where your customers will be which is every channel.

Everyone in 2021 will talk about going omnichannel, but if that isn’t possible due to budget restrictions it’s better to invest deeper in stronger channels.

The top two biggest platforms are Google and Facebook – it’s the foundation of all paid ads for every ecommerce store. You can test and carve out a niche in other platforms but the stress for great creatives is often emphasized further on these platforms (which may be more expensive to invest in at an already limited budget). That said, if you have creatives or can draft creatives that fit those platforms, I would dedicate a test budget if the channel makes sense for the audience (TikTok/Snapchat are both great arbitrage opportunities to set-up test budgets on).

1

This question was answered by Elliot Brand – Marketing Specialist at the customer journey marketing tool, Shoelace


9. How would you grow a new activewear brand on a limited budget?

Our first tip would be to know your audience and target audience. With an activewear brand, you have one key element that may make it easier to build your brand – your audience is interested in fitness. You should maximize on this by sharing useful content around exercise. Blogs, videos, infographics, product reviews and interviews are just a few examples of the type of content you could be creating. This way consumers who discover your brand will see value in following you and engaging with you.

If you have a limited budget, social media should be your main tool to share your fitness content and generate visitors to your website. Learn how to share on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter effectively and be consistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are Instagram accounts with 100k followers. It may seem tedious but don’t let it drop. Put the work in and you’ll see the numbers rise.


10. How can I make a build a box using ReCharge and Shopify?

Build-a-box has long been a pain point for merchants using Shopify. We at ReCharge built a demo store and step-by-step instructions for how to get your build-a-box model up and running. All are detailed in this blog post focused on best practices for a bundling application.

3

This question was answered by Chase – Growth Marketing Manager at ReCharge.


11. What are the most needed apps to appear in SEO and boost sales in ecommerce?

The first thing we would recommend is a reviews platform. Reviews and other user-generated content are great for SEO as well as building consumer trust. You can use an app like Reviews.io to start collecting customer reviews and using them on your website to boost SEO.

The second tool we recommend is YouTube. Google likes video content and you can use keywords in videos, descriptions and transcripts, the same way you do in blogs, to boost your SEO.


12. I would like to understand how we can utilise some of these platforms for B2B marketing

Most of the tools featured in Accelerate 2021 can be used for a B2B brand.

For example, you could use an email service provider (like Klaviyo) to send tailored comms to your customers to encourage them to return and engage with your store.

Or you could implement a loyalty program with LoyaltyLion so professionals in your space return to you as their trusted provider. For example, Donna Bella Hair provides hair extensions for professional stylists and salons. They gift their clients loyalty points for purchases so they keep them as their provider.

Screenshot 2021 02 15 At 17.07.43

ReCharge is also a great platform if you’re a B2B business. It’s likely you’ll have clients who repurchase the same products from you often. You could easily set up subscriptions to these products so your clients don’t have to return to your site to re-order – particularly when they have plenty of other areas of their business to worry about.

You can also see how to build Shopify Plus store for your B2B brand here.


13. It was said that ecommerce grew by circa 15% in North America in the first four months of Covid. What are the growth predictions for ecomm in 2021, as compared to total retail sales?

This is a really tricky question to answer. The ecommerce growth in 2020 was completely unexpected and it’s as yet very unclear what 2021 is going to look like in reality.

However, there is no disputing the fact that there are now more people shopping online who were not previously. Many who were uncomfortable with ecommerce are now regular online shoppers following months with no alternative.

This trend will not go away and ecommerce will continue to grow as more and more people enjoy the convenience. But that’s not to say that a return to traditional retail is unrealistic. There are many out there who still want to feel and touch products before they buy them or those who simply love nothing more than an outing to the shops with friends. As retail brands continue to innovate with trends like curbside pick-up, retail and ecommerce are likely to come closer together and more synchronized but it’s likely that both will continue to see growth.


14. What are some trends in the luxury fashion space?

We predict that luxury fashion brands will do more to build connections with their customers. Already, luxury fashion thrives because customers connect with brands on an emotional and aspirational level. People buy luxury because the product maintains a particular image of themselves. To enhance this image, they’ll return to the brand more often to buy more products.

Fostering community online will be the best way to grow this influence and loyalty – particularly at a time where it’s more difficult to connect through the in-store experience. Just look at Farfetch’s Community if you need an example of how luxury brands are already buying into customer communities.

Farfetch Communities Womenswear

This year, look into new, virtual experiences that connect customers all over the world. You could put on virtual styling sessions that your customer community gets access to first. Or, maybe, send your most loyal customers passes to an invite-only, online fashion show. This way, you’re giving them an experience others can’t.


15. How can I improve the appearance and location of the “edit subscription” button when you log into our site? And does ReCharge work with bundles?

Check out the documentation for the demo store and step-by-step instructions for how to get your build-a-box model up and running. Editing the appearance and location of the buttons in the Customer Portal is all detailed in this support article.

3

This question was answered by Chase – Growth Marketing Manager at ReCharge.


16. What’s the most cost-effective way to use our brand positioning to drive new sales on our existing ecommerce platform?

The most cost-effective way to get your brand positioning working hard for you, is to integrate it into every tool and tactic you’re using. Reflect your brand values in everything that you do.

If you’re posting regularly on social, use your posts to communicate what you stand for. If you have a loyalty program, tailor your rewards to support the causes you and your customers believe in. If you’re creating content, do so in a way that reflects your brand’s purpose.

This will help new customers who are shopping around to immediately identify that you are a brand that they could align with longer-term, catching their attention more effectively than more costly approaches like digital ads or influencer marketing.


17. Which metric (or metrics) do you believe is the best indicator of a product’s potential to generate a high volume of sales?

High purchase frequency is a strong indicator. If it’s a product that someone is going to need to buy often and multiple times, it will always perform well. Particularly if the customer becomes loyal to that product.

If it’s a new product you’re launching, why not let a top segment of your most loyal customers test it out and give you feedback? You could send them a free sample with their next order and ask them to rate the product based on particular criteria: such as packaging, quality, smell and consistency.

If the scores are high with a small focus group of your loyal customers, it’s likely it’ll be a hit with the rest of your shopper base. As you bonus, you can then use these ratings as social proof when marketing the new product to new, curious customers.


18. What are the best way to build your subscriber base?

There are tons of ways to build a subscriber base but unfortunately no single way that is considered the “best”. Check out the resources we have available including the following:

3

This question was answered by Chase – Growth Marketing Manager at ReCharge.


19. When will ReCharge do away with hidden variants? And are there any plans to integrate with Shopify gift cards?

ReCharge is working closely with Shopify on their rollout of a unified checkout – this includes payment processors and Shopify gift cards. The Shopify APIs are being rolled out on their schedule and as soon as ReCharge gets a hold of the new endpoints, we do our best to provide the most requested features, including this one, in a timely manner.

3

This question was answered by Chase – Growth Marketing Manager at ReCharge.


20. How do I start early preparing for the next BFCM, whilst also holding non-discount driven customers attraction and retention in our ecommerce businesses?

Early prep for BFCM can begin right away. This is because there’s no better time to build connections with your customers and give them the motivation to return to you when the peak period arrives.

First, encourage your existing customers to become long-term brand fans now by giving them exclusive, top-tier experiences. This could include experiential rewards such as first access to new products or secret sales.

You should also stay in touch with your existing customers ahead of the sales and show them how you’re emotionally aligned with them. Darn Good Yarn, for example, stays in touch with their customers all year long and shows them – in email updates – where their products come from and how the brand supports fair working conditions for their manufacturers.

Screenshot 2021 02 15 At 17.13.47

Connecting with your customers on shared values like this will mean they’ll return to you over another brand when the sales season rolls around. They will have formed a connection with you and shopping for low prices elsewhere will be low on their priority list. Check out our Crunch Time guide for more ways to engage customers outsides of sales peaks.


21. Are there any plans for integrating journeys and flows between LoyaltyLion and Klaviyo?

LoyaltyLion currently has an advanced integration with Klaviyo that improves email marketing. Check out our help doc here to see how to set the integration up.

With the integration, you can sync across data from your loyalty program and add fields into your Klaviyo emails to improve customer engagement and your ability to personalize. For example, you can send customers reward available emails and monthly loyalty summary update that includes how many points they’ve acquired, what loyalty tier they’re in, and what rewards they can redeem with their points. Learn more about the kinds of loyalty emails you can send.

The integration also allows you to use your loyalty program data to identify customer segments and use them in your email marketing. You’ll be able to identify which customers are loyal, at-risk or churned so you can target them with email campaigns that suit their needs.

The integration can also be used to improve your acquisition strategy. By identifying your most loyal customers through LoyaltyLion, you can then send them Klaviyo emails that include their unique referral URL and how many loyalty points they’ll get if they make a successful recommendation. This will encourage them to share your brand with friends and loved ones.


22. What are first steps for a business to introduce SMS to their subscribers. We have ReCharge, and often people do not see our emails from Klaviyo because it goes to spam. SMS seems to be the best way to alert customers about their subscription. We’d love to know where to start.

Check out a few of these articles that dive into the world of SMS marketing. Because SMS is so new, the “best practices” are always changing and adapting. 

3

This question was answered by Chase – Growth Marketing Manager at ReCharge.


Ready to accelerate your marketing this year?

Check out Accelerate 2021 for a series of ebooks and AMAs full of winning tactics to take pole position this year. Or, book a conversation with one of our loyalty experts to put retention on your road map this year.

Accelerate 2021 Be Ahead Of The Trends

Special thanks to our friends at LoyaltyLion for their insights on this topic.
I'm also on