Did you hear? This January we brought together 12 leaders from the ecommerce space for Accelerate 2021: a series of ebooks and ask me anything sessions. Each one was packed full of the ecomm trends you need to react to this year.
If you missed it, head over to the resources hub to check it out:
You can now watch the recording of the first AMA below (with speakers from Shopify Plus, Klaviyo and ReCharge). Don’t have time? Keep reading to see all of the answers summarized.
1. Any tips and recommendations for how a family operated business to compete with major corporations in our industry?
People are looking for homegrown stories. Focus on your “Why”. Why were you empowered to start your own business? Why is the mom-and-pop store better than Amazon? Why should the customer support small businesses? What local charities do you give back to?
It’s about understanding your “Why” and communicating it as best as possible. At Shopify, by default you have scalability built in. And, most ecommerce martech tools are scalable platforms as well. It’s a question of hopping on, creating a great brand and making yourself look as international as you want. Then, do international marketing to compete with those big brands.
2. What will be the main trend for advertising products and/or services in 2021?
As a result of Covid, we saw a pendulum shift in ecommerce. Many people who have never shopped online are receiving products and services from ecommerce businesses. The trends for 2021 will depend on where you are in the world and how your country is coping.
Facebook and Google ads are still going to be a high priority. Ad spend has increased massively over the last two years. It has been estimated that this year around $690 billion will be spent on advertising across Google and social platforms like Instagram. If you’re concerned about the iOS 14 update check out this article for our recommended actions.
Additionally, podcasting and radio advertisements are something to look out for this year.
3. What types of products or verticals work best for a membership model?
The products and services that work best for membership models are often the opposite of those that work for a normal subscription model.
Replenishment or curation products like toiletries or coffee are suitable for standard subscription models because you can top up again and again. On the other hand, the access model is more about luxury and high-end products.
The point of a membership model is to build a community. Instead of offering products to subscribers, you are offering access to a community and a section of content.
See Freshly Picked and CrossRope for examples of successful membership models.
4. What is the most unusual subscription you have acquired during lockdown?
Who Gives A Crap is a toilet paper company. Last year, as you will know, there was a shortage. However, they did a phenomenal job of putting their existing customers first.
They received a ton of new requests but their inventory was limited. So they canceled new orders and just focussed on existing orders and building their community.
Other subscriptions worth mentioning include Dollar Shave Club, a company that delivers razors and grooming products to your door, and Blinkist, a book-summarizing subscription service.
5. I have a small mailing list. What is a good size to start a loyalty program?
Any size mailing list is good enough to start a loyalty program. If you have customers who have made a purchase from you then you have a shopper that could make a second and third purchase.
You can also explore ways to use a loyalty program to build your mailing list. This can be achieved by incentivizing people to refer friends or to sign up for your newsletter.
Give customers a reason to sign up. For example, if you are a cooking subscription business, are you going to send recipes every week? Read more about incentivizing newsletter sign-ups here.
6. How can brands continue to remain human during an ever-evolving political landscape?
It’s difficult and there’s no one-size-it’s all approach. You have to read the room and you have to be honest.
To start you can use your website or landing page to demonstrate that you recognize what’s going on and show how you are contributing to your community. Put your community first and value them more than making a quick buck.
The challenge for merchants is getting ahead of things. Often it’s about reacting. You can succeed by being empathetic and human in your marketing. Read this Klaviyo blog about how to communicate with empathy during the pandemic.
7. Social media is a big deal for us. How do we get our customers more engaged?
Social media can often be a one-way conversation. But customers who are engaged on your social channels will help you spread your brand further afield. We advise setting up a loyalty program so you’re not just rewarding but you’re incentivizing for social media engagement.
Also focus on user generated content. Show your customers engaging with your product and post their reviews. This will help to build trust signals.
Many brands run competitions on social media. This is a good idea but you have to ensure the prize you are offering is relevant and that the people you are engaging with are potential customers. Ultimately, provide value and your customers will come later.
8. What are the key opportunities in 2021, and where should my business focus its efforts?
A key opportunity will be bridging the gap between in-store and online. Think about click and collect and delivery services. Allow consumers to conveniently and safely receive products while continuing to offer a great experience.
Know your customer. For example some companies started putting QR codes on their products. When customers scan them at home this enables them to run discount offerings for customers. They used this as a tool to segment their customer base.
Data profiles can help you create personalized moments for your customers. Collect information about your buyer’s behaviours and preferences. Then capitalize through your own channels: email, website or SMS marketing.
9. A question for ReCharge. What are the best practices to incentivize customers to subscribe beyond typical discounting (10-15% off), especially for new brands who have customers trying the product for the first time?
Play around with customer preferences. A one-size-fits all program doesn’t work unless it’s a really simple product. Experiment with discounts and referrals. Ideally, try to follow the lead of your customers.
To ensure repeat customers have your marketing automation set up. Think about triggering emails based on what they have purchased. Remember to check your marketing automation because messages can quickly become out of date.
At ReCharge we have Workflows that allow you to have a separate first and second subscription charge. It’s totally customizable and helps you go beyond the typical discounting schemes.
10. Now that we’ve brexited how do we set up our stores to sell including duty and taxes to the EU?
In a nutshell, you could switch on Shopify Payments. You can sell in multiple currencies and test different countries just by enabling shipping to those countries in your Shopify store.
Alternatively, if you are planning a big project or you want to set up a whole Euro based store you could roll out a completely separate store.
Begin by experimenting with Shopify Payments. It’s easy to do and it’s not just for Europe. We want merchants to experiment with selling all around the world.
11. On the Brexit topic. I am a UK registered company and my prices are inclusive of VAT. How do I best communicate to international buyers that the VAT will be taken off at check out and how do I set this up on Shopify?
If you are using Shopify payments it’s easy. All you have to do is switch on the other currency i.e. switch on the Euro for those countries that use it. You can communicate it on the actual PDP itself, in the cart or in the checkout using the liquid script.
If you are not using Shopify Plus it might be a bit trickier. As we’ve mentioned before, you could try opening a separate store.
12. Any ideas for a campaign to our email list for customers who have not purchased in a year?
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to expect a sale on day 366 if they’ve been away for a year. Ideally, you don’t want to leave it that long as it could lead to deliverability issues.
Ultimately, the approach should be less about sales and more about community. Keep them engaged, talking and part of your network. Brands often just look at sales. That’s the wrong way to go about it.
Focus on the moments between sales. Communicate why you appreciate them as a customer. Entice them with content, referrals or reviews. There are so many touchpoints where you can be reaching these people in between purchases. They will come back when they are ready.
13. How do you get customers to post UGC?
It can be challenging. One of the things we see is companies combining loyalty points and reviews. You can use your loyalty program to offer points to encourage people to leave reviews. As a result you’ll get more UGC coming through because your customers are getting something in return.
This practice works well with a membership model. You can create a tiered system that rewards customers based on what they would post and based on what they can generate for you.
Ready to accelerate your growth this year?
Access all the ebooks here. Or, if you want to discuss how retention-building tactics fit into your winner’s strategy this year, book a time to speak with one of our loyalty experts now.