Keeping your ecommerce business operational takes hard work. Scaling it takes even more, but it also requires some creativity, ingenuity, and innovation. As the ecommerce industry continually evolves and transforms, it can be difficult to stay apprised of new technologies and strategies worth trying with your business. It can also be easy to overlook ideas sitting in plain sight.
As we put together The 250+ Page Playbook on Supercharging Your Store with Facebook Messenger, SMS, & Conversational Ads with Shopify, Klaviyo, and our 100+ partners, we spoke with many DTC founders, industry thought leaders and innovators about today's most important ecommerce subjects. We wanted to know what they had to say about a number of topics and we're sure you do too, so we've compiled some of the great responses we got below. Download the playbook in full here:
Question: What's one important thing most merchants fail to pay attention to?
"Your About page is SUCH an important sales tool that is often overlooked. To convert new customers, you need to build trust. And to build trust, customers need to know who you are, what you stand for, and why they should purchase from you. A solid About Us page can make or break a sale."
- Kelly Vaughn, Founder, The Taproom Agency
"As they scale, most merchants assume they know why customers are buying, but unless they've asked via interviews and surveys, its really just a best guess. Customer development surveys are a tremendously valuable tool to quickly find out why customers buy and how they see themselves."
- Kurt Elster, Senior Ecommerce Consultant, Ethercycle
"A lot of businesses fail to think about the entire purchase journey when crafting their engagement strategy. By taking the time to identify and map out the various touch-points for communication with a customer, you are then able to develop a plan for optimal engagement. Typically this will involve cross-channel tactics that allow you to stay top of mind with customers at each stage of the funnel. Leveraging tools and techniques that allow you to maintain consistent messaging and communication during this process is a sure-fire way to increase performance."
- Corey Dubeau, VP of Marketing, Northern
"Merchants spend so much time focusing on how to make more sales in the now that they often forget to set up a foundation that will scale well. And while you may not have much time in the moment to set up a strong foundation for the large company you'd like to be, it's imperative that you spare some time to start getting that foundation in place, or you'll end up losing a lot of money in the future as you scramble to set up a new foundation under a built house."
- Cara Wood, Digital Marketing Manager, The Shop Pad
"Their true expenses, including COGs, shipping and fulfillment, and marketing/sales costs. How much can you really pay to acquire a customer and how much do you net after each purchase?"
- Casey Armstrong, CMO, ShipBob
"There are other forms of remote seller nexus activities. This can include affiliate nexus, click-through nexus, marketplace facilitator laws and non-collecting seller use tax reporting. It’s important to make sure a business continues to be well educated on their exposure."
- Jordan Tobler, Strategic Partner Manager, Avalara
"Most merchants fail to tailor their site to an international audience. You do not need to localize your site for every country, language or currency out there but you do need to find a cross-border shipping partner with competitive international rates and the right messaging onsite to speak towards your international visitors to optimize for conversion."
- Cameron MacQueen, Global Head of Partnerships, Easyship
"I would say one of the most important things merchants fail to pay attention to would be customer feedback. With Octane AI, we can ask questions and create quizzes to get insight from our customers. This data is so valuable for an entire business as it can lead merchants in the right direction or even let them know that they are going in the opposite direction."
- Sammy Tran, Senior Email Marketing Manager, MuteSix
"Customer listening -- really any feedback is great feedback, you'll always have someone hating on your products, but if you really listen to what they are saying, this can help you create a product or product updates that can really make a difference to your business."
- Nikki Johnson, Director of Brand Development, The Basis
"Many merchants fail to pay attention to the cadence of customer communication across channels. Utilizing different tools to deploy emails, texts, Facebook messages, etc. makes it difficult to obtain a single customer view that facilitates this critical review. Taking the time to map out your customer journey and make updates to trigger timing and message suppression will help ensure customers don't opt out due to an annoyingly high frequency of marketing messages, allowing you to convert more prospects and retain a higher percentage of customers over time."
- Mandi Moshay, Associate Director of CRM & Email, Tinuiti
"While apps can be powerful tools on Shopify stores, many merchants do not unlock the full potential of integrations that enable more powerful marketing. For example, Octane AI's integrations with Klaviyo 10 x the power of both tools when being used separately."
- Adam Pearce, Marketing Director, Blend Commerce
"Concentrating on acquiring new users while ignoring the power of their existing customer base. We see this happening often with eCommerce stores of all sizes, but especially with those who are in the rapid growth stage. Your existing customers are going to be your best marketers, if you leverage customer-centric growth strategies, such as referral campaigns, reviews and UGC, as well as loyalty programs. It can cost up to 5x less to acquire users through referral campaigns than through paid advertising."
- Summer Lindman, CEO, Talkable
"Most merchants tend to focus specifically on their cost to acquire, discounting the lifetime value of customers and a more holistic approach to reaching customers. Online ads can't do the heavy lifting to sustainably build loyalty to a brand, so brands need to consider the entire customer journey experience and how they reach people throughout."
- Megan Terwilliger, Marketing Director, Prestige Pro Media
"Merchants overlook the revolutionary spending shift of millennials and Gen-Z. Millennials want to use their own money and most don’t want traditional credit. According to a 2016 Bankrate survey, just one-third of people ages 18–29 have a credit card and most millennials prefer to use a debit card instead of risking getting into financial trouble with a credit card. The same survey showed that 23% of millennials have one credit card. Only 6% of millennials have two cards."
- Ben Pressley, EVP of Sales, Operations & Strategy, Afterpay
"Too many merchants spend tons of time and money thinking about how to drive more traffic to their sites and turn those first time shoppers into first time customers, but fail to put enough effort into engaging and capturing those people who are interested in what you sell, but not ready to buy today. Making it simple for people to stay get email, SMS, and messenger messages from your brand means you have a marketable audience you can nurture over time and turn not only into first time customers, but loyal advocates."
- Josh Mendelsohn, VP of Marketing, Privy
"Customer experience. The successful, enviable brands we’re all watching have optimized for customer experience. It’s the lens through which every decision they make is made. Focus on the customer experience builds brand loyalty, which fuels growth."
- Erin DeCesaris, Growth Strategist, Fuel Made
"Content and testing strategy to optimize audience segmentation and communication strategies."
- Elyas Peshtaz, CEO, Q3 Digital
"Building thought-leadership in the industry or niche they are involved in. People buy from brands they know, like, and trust. The way to building a bridge to your customer is to share and curate content that resonates with them vs promotional-only messaging."
- Steve Hutt, Shopify Expert, Ecommerce Fastlane
"Lifetime value of a customer and retention. There is heavy focus placed on just driving that 1st sale but if you place emphasis on loyalty and retention then you build a much healthier brand, long-term. You’ll also turn one-time purchasers into long-term brand evangelists, which is the best form of marketing out there."
- Cooper Harris, Founder & CEO, Klickly
"Maintaining a focus on what is bringing in revenue can be difficult when building and maintaining a lifestyle brand. Sometimes one can be drawn to the flashy and the sexy but need to keep sights on what will actually produce sales. Focusing on the product and the customer are still paramount to the success and staying power of a dot com company."
- Alex Back, COO, Apt2B
"I believe a fundamental consideration for any brand’s holiday strategy should really be paying close attention to the customer journey. Platforms like Shopify and Big Commerce have made it easy to spin up a beautiful store, but it's really important to understand what pages on your website are experiencing a high drop off rate. Considering the investment that brands are putting into acquisition channels, you want to make sure that your site has a frictionless checkout experience."
- Margot Paterson, Tech Partnership Manager, Clearbanc
"How their customer interfaces with their brand. What is the experience for the customer when coming in cold? How much education happens either through content or through messaging that helps a person decide on if this is right for them?"
- Alex Kyle, Facebook Marketing Expert, Hawke Media
"Most merchants are still afraid of using new technologies to power their ecommerce. However, developers and platforms like Shopify have made it phenomenally easy to integrate solutions that move the needle for your store."
- Felix Suellwold, Head of Partnerships, PushOwl
"Many merchants overlook the importance of brand building. This is not surprising because it can be hard to quantify and often takes very long feedback loops to start seeing the positive impact. But the brands who get this right have a serious edge against their competitors. Ignore at your own peril!"
- Reza Khadjavi, CEO, Shoelace