Crealyitcs Insights


Break down silos in ecommerce to drive performance

How to Make the Most of Your Fastest Selling Products

How do you make the most out of your best-selling products? For small and mid-sized eCommerce companies, seeing a handful of products make up the bulk of their revenue isn’t unusual. Of course, this isn’t an ideal situation. But for many eCommerce shops, it’s a reality.

You should always seek to maximize revenue from your best-selling products. Identifying why an item sells so well—and capitalizing on your findings—is critical if you want to grow your customer base. Want to learn how to take your best-selling products and increase their already-impressive sales? Consider implementing some of these strategies:

Identify the Reasons Behind the Bump in Sales

Sometimes it’s tempting to sit back and enjoy your success. However, it’s important to understand why certain products in your eCommerce store perform better than others. Products sell well for a reason, even if it boils down to effective promotion.

Why is your best-selling product attracting so much attention? Are you running ads for the product with a hefty budget? Is there a trend in your market that causes demand? Was the product mentioned a popular television show? Did a popular outlet link to your website? Any number of reasons might explain why a certain product “blows up” in a short period of time. Without identifying the “why” behind increased sales, you’ll struggle to take things further.

Capitalize on Market Trends by Engaging with Communities

If a product within your store experiences a sales spike due to increased demand trends within a market, it pays to engage with the community about that product. Reach out on social media: share information with those that have questions, and offer useful content about the product to communities. This way you can build trust and brand awareness on the back of the trend.

Encourage Reviews from Customers Who Buy the Products

 

Certain aspects of a product page can influence a product’s sales more than just reviews. Customers want to feel reassured that the product lives up to the sales hype. If your product has sold well with very few reviews on the page, you could see a significant bump in sales by attracting more.

If a product already has several buyers, it shouldn’t be too difficult to attract reviews. Reach out to buyers and encourage them to leave one too. Start by striking up a conversation about their purchase—and make sure that they were satisfied. Build some rapport, then ask for the review. Even a handful can go a long way with potential buyers.

Give Best-Sellers Homepage Screen Real Estate

A popular product signifies market demand. Unless your entire user-base buys the product after going straight to the product page (e.g. through a link from a large publication or exclusively through ads), it makes sense to promote it on your website’s front page.

You’ll be able to attract more visitors to the product page itself—and advertise the fact that you sell it. Stocking a best-seller doesn’t mean that every customer knows that you carry it. Do your best to raise awareness.

Highlight Your Sales in Email Campaigns

Social proof matters. Given the opportunity, you should always highlight how successful a product has been in your store. Customers who hear that something has sold well inherently have more faith in it. They’re also more likely to trust your sales messaging.

Ride the Wave

Successful products – especially unexpectedly successful ones – go a long way to helping eCommerce companies grow. But always, always leverage periods of increased interest – strike while the iron is hot! Try out some of the tips in this article. With any luck, you’ll take a high-performing product to the next level.


Reliable eCommerce Promotional Strategies that Grow Sales

For growing eCommerce companies, finding reliable promotional strategies to grow (and measure) their sales can be a struggle. Running successful sales might provide revenue bumps, but it rarely leads to sustainable, long-term improvement.

Fortunately, promotional marketing strategies exist to grow sales over time organically. They don’t result in the short-term sales hike you might see from a steeply discounted product, but they do provide you with a foundation for long-standing success.

Bundle and Upsell

Upselling and bundles are the most effective way to increase your average order size. However, only a few companies approach upselling in a way that reaches maximum potential. According to an Econsultancy study, upselling is more than 20 times as effective as cross-selling online.

Let’s examine how Apple sells iPads. On their iPad product page, Apple gives customers multiple opportunities to upgrade their purchase. Not only do they direct users to different iPad models at the top of the screen, but most of the page entices customers to buy accessories that will complement their new purchase:

 

This represents one of several upsell-focused promotions. They dedicate a lot of screen real estate to their accessories, and other upsell opportunities on their main product page. More eCommerce companies should look for ways to bundle products together and upsell accessories after the purchase of the original product. Placing more focus on this will certainly grow sales over time. It might also have an immediate impact.

Volume Promotions

One effective strategy for increasing your average order size is offering volume promotions to your customers. A volume promotion typically provides the customer with a benefit when they reach a certain payment threshold. For instance, you might offer a 5 percent discount or free shipping on any order above $75. Amazon, for instance, offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more of eligible items. Even small volume-based promotions can push your customers toward spending a few more dollars.

Take Steps to Generate More Reviews

 

Anyone working in eCommerce should understand the importance of product reviews. Why then, do so many sites often feature products with less than a handful of reviews, or no reviews at all? Customers crave them. According to BigCommerce, 69 percent of eCommerce shoppers want more reviews from the websites that they buy from.

Reviews are especially critical for new products in your store. A blank review page hardly inspires confidence in your product. You should always encourage customers to leave reviews by following up through email. Some companies offer additional incentives for leaving honest reviews, such as loyalty program benefits or coupons for future items. Getting a blank review page filled will benefit the product’s sales in the long-term.

Install Referral & Loyalty Programs

Many eCommerce companies fail to realize they already have their biggest marketing asset at their fingertips—their customers. 74 percent of customers actively identify word-of-mouth as a key contributor in their purchasing decisions. Today, most referrals come through social media, where your customers can broadcast their appreciation for a product to hundreds of people…with little effort required.

Referral programs give your biggest brand advocates even more reason to recommend your products. Many of your customers will be doing so anyway, but added incentive can be the push that many need.

Loyalty programs can quickly generate positive word-of-mouth. By giving back to your most loyal customers and showing that you appreciate them, you create more brand advocates: who in turn will refer more business over time.

Additionally, loyalty programs incentivize customers to buy more products from you (in order to hit the thresholds that benefit them).

Genuinely Engage with Online Communities

There is nothing more beneficial for an eCommerce business than for the brand to become immersed in the culture and communities of their industry. Taking part in genuine discussions (without being promotional) will build your credibility within the community and keep your brand top-of-mind.

The key word here is “genuinely.” Customers and the communities they inhabit can smell self-promotion from a mile away. In fact, just participating in a community as a representative of your brand is transparently promotional. You’ll have to actively engage for long periods of time and take part in relevant discussions that won’t directly benefit your brand to win them over. Engaging directly with your customers over time will foster brand advocates and increase referrals.

Effective Promotion is a Long-Term Strategy

Promoting your eCommerce company isn’t like running a PPC campaign, where the results are immediate and measurable. You’ll often chip away at these different strategies for months before the real benefits become apparent.

When it comes to assigning resources to a new strategy, reliability can be an issue. No one likes to take a shot in the dark. The strategies outlined in this article are proven to work, but will require testing and tweaking to find the right iteration for your company.

 

 


5 Tips for Improving Personalization in Your eCommerce Marketing

Customers want to buy products from companies that understand them. According to Accenture, 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a company that knows their name and recommends options based on previous purchases.

In fact, according to a study by Infosys, failing to provide personalized website content frustrates a huge 74 percent of customers. Customers have positive reactions to businesses that actively try to get to know them…and deliver valuable content that aligns with their interests.

All eCommerce companies should work to improve their personalization efforts on an ongoing basis. By improving the systems that you use to collect, filter, and utilize data, you’ll develop deeper connections with your customers that result in higher lifetime values. As you do, take these eCommerce personalization tips into consideration:

You Can Only Use What You Collect

Effective personalization relies on data. You need to learn about your customers to deliver content that they find interesting and relevant. Your ability to do so plays a huge role in your ability to build a relationship with prospects and customers over time. But you can’t use what you don’t know.

Great personalization begins with your ability to actively collect the data. This should include information that you actively ask them for, as well as data tied to their activity on your site.

Purchase, search and browsing history are all potential goldmines for personalized marketing materials. However, collecting the data in and of itself isn’t enough, you must also filter, track, and actively use the data in your marketing campaigns to see a positive return.

Recommendations Based on Purchase, Search & Browsing History

Far too few companies actively collect data about their customers’ search and browsing history when engaging on their website.

Most eCommerce companies use their customers’ purchase histories to influence personalized marketing campaigns. However, far too few companies actively collect data about their customers’ search and browsing history when engaging on their website. Even fewer actively use that data to connect with their customers.

You’d be hard-pressed to find data more valuable than the product searches of your current customers. These are the products and categories that they are actively interested in and may be in the process of researching. Despite the interest, your customers may not be ready to buy right away. By integrating items that they have viewed and searched for into your customers’ marketing materials, you keep the products top-of-mind.

Public Tools Can Help Close the Gap

It might seem enticing to develop your own internal personalization tools. Be cautious, however: this can be costly and time-consuming. Plenty of existing eCommerce personalization tools can fill in until you have something more robust developed in-house. Optimonk, Personyze, and BounceX represent some of the more popular options.

You may want to research a tool that exists specifically for your eCommerce platform. These may not integrate directly with your current data collection processes, so be sure to research the available options to find the best fit for your current technology stack.

Static Homepages… a Relic of the Past

Personalization at every turn reflects the new normal for eCommerce companies. You’ll find that static homepages are also going the way of the dodo bird.

Your homepage represents prime real estate, and often the most-visited page by your customers. Injecting personalized recommendations onto your homepage offers a powerful route to getting your visitors to engage with more products.

As usual, Amazon provides an excellent example. Today, it fills their homepage with smart recommendations for their customers, based on browsing and purchase history. For instance, a fan of sci-fi books might see something like this:

Amazon offers recommendations from a range of categories…

They don’t limit it to a single section, either. When you visit the Amazon homepage while logged into your account, you’ll see recommendations for a range of categories including new releases, previously viewed products, and recommended products based on previous purchases.

A Consistent Stream of Great Content

Effective personalization in eCommerce is about more than just directing your customers to the right products. It’s about getting to know them on a deeper level. The more data that you can collect and use in your marketing materials to deliver a relevant, consistent stream of content that they find interesting, the better your ongoing relationship will be.

Well-executed emails can help to make your interactions more personal. Provide your subscribers with dynamic email content that considers previous purchases, viewed and items…and calls-to-action.

Great personalization starts with collecting the right data. But when and how you use that data is just as important. Let customer actions drive the personalization in your marketing, and you’ll turn one-time customers into brand advocates.


Identifying Products to Sell…and Finding the Right Product-Market Fit

Perhaps you are a new retailer looking to nail down your product lines. Maybe you’re a veteran retailer looking to shake things up. Either way, the process of choosing which products to sell is arguably the most important one in your business. The items you put on your shelves (and offer on your website) play a huge role in defining your brand.

Alas, many companies don’t use a rigorous enough process when choosing their products. Worse still, many throw darts in the dark…and hope for something to stick. Retailers must do their due diligence and ensure that they sell products that connect with their ideal customers.

Dig in and do some research. This can be the difference between growing a company…and seeing shelves filled with unsold products. Choosing wisely depends on finding items with “product-market fit.”

What is Product-Market Fit?

This is simply 1. How well your products fit the demand within your market and 2. Whether or not they sell.

Of course, this is a basic tenant of running any kind of retail business. The goal is always to sell products that customers want. But, by defining the goal and creating processes around it, you give yourself a repeatable strategy for success that can be tweaked as needed to improve results.

Your own data offers the best path to finding product-market fit. Which items have traditionally sold well for your business? Are there tangentially-related products that fall into the same categories? What products haven’t sold well?

Determining which products are the right fit should take a wide array of different things into account. Does a product complement your current line of products, and does it make sense to add to your store thematically? Do your competitors offer the same or a similar product? How does it perform for them?

Identifying trends and rising products within your industry offers a great way to grow your customer base (and generate revenue on a short-term basis). However, you should aim to identify solid short and long-term fits for your shop.

How to Identify Product-Market Fit

For eCommerce operations, different strategies exist to determine product-market fit. A good strategy for identifying new products must be well-rounded. It should incorporate your own data, customer feedback, and competitive intelligence. As you look to identify new products, consider these strategies:

  • Identify and solve customer pain points. What issues are truly plaguing your customers? This is often referred to as the heaven/hell dynamic. What hell are your customers suffering from? What heaven can you deliver in a product that solves those problems? Pay attention to the searches that your customers are doing on your site to identify products that they expect you to carry.

  • Conduct Keyword Research. Keyword research will help you gauge customer interest in everyday products. Product keywords with high search volumes in search represent demand and interest within your market.

  • Ask Your Customers. It seems like common sense, but many companies overlook the value that the opinions of their current customers can present. Ask them what they would like to see you carry.
  • Look for Gaps, Capitalize on Trends. What product categories are your competition failing to cover? What recent trends have given way to opportunities within your industry? Not every product needs to have staying power. A six-month trend can be a huge driver of new business if you position yourself right.

Finding new products that are a good fit for your customer base isn’t a one-time task. It’s an ongoing battle. You can’t plan for new industry trends, and you should always try to stay on top of even small changes in demand.

Trust Your Data

Trust it your own internal data. It should reveal what your customers want, what they are willing to buy, and what products just aren’t resonating with them.

As you identify new products that you believe are a good product-market fit, check the temperature of your customers with soft-launches. Maybe consider advertising the product on your homepage and sending out some marketing emails, and see how well it does.

It’s much easier to convince current customers to buy a new product than it is to bring a new audience to your business. While there are circumstances that make either strategy the right choice, your focus should typically be on growing the customer lifetime value (CLV) of current customers. As we’ve mentioned previously, this is much less expensive than acquiring new ones!


5 Tips for Creating a Cohesive Omnichannel Customer Experience

For retail companies, there is nothing more important than customer experience. According to a study by Gartner, 89 percent of companies will compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. A large part of that experience comes from a company’s ability to provide a clean, consistent experience to their customers: through multiple channels.

Increasingly personalized retail experiences have shifted customer expectations. More is expected of retailers today than was expected even ten years ago. This shift in thinking represents a larger shift in thinking, from “customer service” to “customer experience.”

This experience includes omnichannel consistency. Customers expect that their interactions with a company, both online and offline, will be recorded…and provide a certain level of consistency. However, many businesses still struggle to provide a consistent, streamlined experience to their customers.

We’ve mentioned the “O” word previously on our blog. Omnichannel customer engagement strategies work. In fact, according to one study, companies with established blueprints retain 89 percent of their customers.

To improve your omnichannel efforts, consider implementing these tips within your company:

A Reliable Operational Foundation

Your ability to offer a consistent omnichannel experience will only reach the heights that your operational foundation will support. Without the right people, processes, and tools, you’ll never be able to provide a truly seamless experience.

A reliable operational foundation starts with clear leadership that sets the tone for the rest of the company. Larger companies hire entire teams to manage their omnichannel efforts, but that option isn’t always possible in smaller companies.

Investing in new platforms that are specifically designed to streamline omnichannel processes is necessary for long-term channel integration.

Connected Omnichannel CRM

A great example of a platform that will be required to start offering a truly omnichannel experience to your customers. Your CRM should include all identifiable communications that you have had with a customer, be it through social media, email, or an in-store conversation.

As large retailers begin to improve their own omnichannel offerings, more customers will begin to expect that their interactions will be recorded and accessible.

Improved Employee Training

Today nearly everyone conducts research online before purchasing a product. Even in-store, customers are pulling out their phones and checking reviews before buying.

This means that customers are more informed than ever before. They are more likely to know the ins and outs of the products that they are considering, along with a few competitors. It is important that your employees are knowledgeable and able to have in-depth conversations about the products that you offer. There are few things more off-putting to a customer than feeling like they are more knowledgeable than staff after just a few minutes of cursory research.

In these situations, it is jarring for a customer to go from the company website, where all information is perfectly laid out and accessible, to speaking with an employee that knows very little about the product.

The need to provide a better customer experience underpins the focus on omnichannel strategies. If your customers aren’t having a good experience in working with your floor staff, it could mitigate the goodwill you’ve earned through providing a more consistent experience.

Customers Appreciate Transparency

Your customer experience feedback will depend on your ability to set expectations and communicate with your customers. To provide a multi-channel experience, you’ll need to be transparent to set those expectations.

What are your customer service hours? How would you prefer customers to contact your business? If a customer wants a multi-channel experience, on which platforms are you set up to deliver that from?

Be honest and straight-forward and you’ll find that your customers will gravitate toward the platforms and communication channels that suit their own requirements.

Effective Omnichannel Requires Solid Foundation

Putting too much focus into omnichannel strategies doesn’t make much sense if you don’t have the processes that lead to a solid customer experience foundation in place.

Looking for further reading on the omnichannel challenge (and how to tackle it)? Read more here.


eCommerce Shipping Tips — Moving Your Products Profitably

Did you know that shipping costs are the number one reason for cart abandonment? Freight speed, costs, and reliability are a huge priority for customers. Shoppers care about a range of related aspects, including total cost, the order threshold for free shipping, and how quickly the item will arrive. You’ll find freight and fulfillment operations at the heart of any successful eCommerce business. Understanding how to give your customers what they want is key to developing lasting relationships.

Transparency and clarity represent the most important traits of an effective shipping policy. Customers want to know what they are being charged, why they are being charged it, and when they can expect their package to arrive by. As you begin to evaluate your strategy, consider these tips to provide effective and seamless shipping that ticks all of your customers’ boxes:

Set Clear Shipping Expectations

Speed…or cost?

Customers want to have a complete picture of their transaction as early in the process as possible. Companies that don’t provide a total order amount that includes shipping until several pages into the checkout process are likely leaving money on the table. Don’t try to hide shipping costs until deep into the checkout process if you want to reduce cart abandonment.

You can set clear shipping expectations by following a few simple rules:

  • Give your customers options. Your customers want to know that they are in charge of their order experience. While it may seem beneficial to provide simple, fast shipping even if it means a higher cost, you’ll alienate customers that place less importance on shipping speed in exchange for a lower overall cost.
  • Provide clear outcomes. What does shipping cost? How does that affect the total price of the item? When will the package arrive with each chosen option? By giving transparent shipping choices to your customer early in the process, you give them an option that best suits their needs.
  • Real-time updates. Shipping isn’t an exact business. Sometimes packages arrive early. Sometimes late. In either case, the customer may need to make arrangements for the package. Giving them access to carrier-based tracking systems is nice; providing simple automated email updates ensures the information is received. Setting expectations is important, and sometimes that means setting them post-purchase as well.

By following these simple rules, you’ll offer a shipping experience that reduces frustration and improves cart abandonment rates.

Comparison Shop Shipping Providers

Shipping prices matter. A lot. The top reason for abandoned carts in the ComScore survey mentioned earlier was “shipping costs that made the total purchase more than expected.” This goes to show that your customers are often basing the cost evaluations on the total price including shipping, not just the listed price of the item. Even a small change in shipping price can have a profound effect on your sales.

If you can switch providers to significantly reduce your shipping costs, you’ll notice immediate impacts in cart abandonment rates. Faster shipping also improves customer satisfaction, provided the service is still reliable. There aren’t a whole lot of shipping options out there for eCommerce companies, but doing your homework and finding that balance between reliability and cost is critical.

Fulfillment Simplifies Your Business

Storage

Sometimes the biggest improvement that you can make in your freight processes is simply stepping to the side. Fulfillment providers specialize in one thing — handling the warehousing and shipping of your products. It’s a significant portion of any eCommerce operation. A reliable fulfillment partner can free your team to focus on other areas of your business. It can also offer you peace of mind, knowing that experts are handling a critical aspect of your company.

If you do oversee the process yourself, don’t forget to stay in touch with your customers post-sale. Clear communication can make a big difference, so update them when their order ships out, is received by the local depot and arrives for collection.

Clear, Consistent and Profitable 

Profitable shipping rests on policies that set customer expectations through clear options…and then deliver on those expectations. While price is a huge concern for customers, by providing transparent totals early in the checkout process you will reduce abandoned carts and reduce frustration among your customers.


7 Critical eCommerce Metrics for Optimization and KPIs

The top eCommerce companies are laser-focused on metrics, using them to inform strategy, provide better products, deliver customer service, and grow. Selling online without keeping a close eye on your KPIs is a lot like trying to run with your eyes closed — you might get to where you want to go, but it is definitely going to take longer. You also run the risk of getting lost in the process.

But — having access to large amounts of data doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to make things overcomplicated. There are dozens of metrics that can be used to measure success in eCommerce operations. However, it is best to boil things down to a few key metrics that speak to the overall effectiveness so as not to get lost in the weeds. By focusing on a few key metrics, you keep yourself from getting overwhelmed and can focus on improving in critical areas.

Here are vital eCommerce metrics that all companies should be tracking:

Conversion Rate

The most basic of all important eCommerce metrics. Your conversion rate plays a critical role in overall success. Are you actively turning your website visitors into customers? Are they buying your products? If they aren’t, you won’t be in business for long. Ecommerce companies should constantly work to improve the conversion rates of individual product pages, and more broadly the different sections of their sales funnel.

Average Acquisition Cost (AAC)

Average acquisition cost measures how much it costs your company to acquire a new customer, one of the most important metrics in your arsenal. The metric helps companies to optimize their overall marketing by ensuring that they pay for quality traffic, and keep advertising costs in check.

AAC should play a key role in your overall marketing strategy. Sometimes, paying higher amounts for higher quality traffic proves to be more profitable than focusing on quantity. Start by analyzing all of the traffic channels that you use — paid advertisements, review sites, referrals, and social media — and compare the average acquisition cost per customer through each channel to see where your time is best spent. It’s important to have a maximum cost in mind and never exceed that number, so you are never losing money through any channel.  

Average Order Value (AOV)

Average order value is pretty straightforward — it measures the average size of every order placed through your company. While this metric is dependent on the actual cost of the products that you sell, taking a long-term view of the metric can be telling. An average order value that consistently climbs shows that you are doing a good job of attracting your ideal customer and presenting them with items they are interested in during the shopping process.

Repeat Customer Rate (RCR)

How often do your customers come back to buy from you a second time? To measure your customer return rate, calculate the percentage of your total customers who come back to make a second purchase. Some would argue that your repeat customer rate is the most telling metric for long-term eCommerce success.

When a new customer makes a purchase, you’ve already spent money acquiring them. Sending marketing materials that facilitate a second and third purchase help to improve the lifetime value of the customer, and help the company get a lot more bang for their buck after acquiring them.

There are many strategies that you can employ to improve your repeat customer rate. Constantly working to improve the nurturing segments of your sales funnel can have a positive effect on your repeat customer rate, not to mention lifetime value numbers.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Customer lifetime value measures how much a customer spends with your company throughout the entirety of their customer lifecycle. There are several metrics within the category that you can use to calculate the lifetime value of a customer, but on the whole, CLV is an excellent metric for measuring your customer retention, just like repeat customer rate. Customers who make more orders through your company will naturally have a higher lifetime value.

As we’ve mentioned previously, getting everyone on board with integrating CLV into your daily workflows can cause challenges. People can be resistant to change, particularly if the pre-existing system is perceived to be “working.” Luckily, there are strategies available to help coax reluctant colleagues.

Unlike return on ad spend (ROAS), CLV can have implications for other departments, including Marketing and Customer Retention. Look for an advocate outside of your team to help your cause. If this fails, why not present the benefits of implementing CLV? As well as putting the facts on display, you could identify relevant audiences…and put it into action via a free trial.

Refund Rate

How often do your customers bring your products back, requesting a refund? Every eCommerce company has a certain percentage of orders that are returned, it just comes with the territory of selling products online. However, a high refund rate can mean issues with setting expectations on your order pages, product quality issues, or poor customer satisfaction. Ecommerce companies should always be working to reduce their refund rates.

Website Traffic

Website traffic gets a lot of focus because it is front-facing and visual, but it means very little without context regarding traffic quality and conversion rates. That doesn’t mean that website traffic is a completely useless metric, however. You should use overall website traffic trends to gauge market popularity and take big-picture views of your overarching strategies. Higher traffic levels give you more data to work with in the optimization process. In that sense, it is very important to have continually increasing levels of traffic as you carve out your market share.

 

Simple but Effective

When choosing the metrics that you will use to inform your strategy, it’s important to keep things simple. Every bit of data you have represents a KPI in one way or another. Many metrics have overlap with others and it wouldn’t make sense to track both so closely. Instead, try to boil your chosen metrics down to just the most important KPIs, based on your own operations. The KPI metrics in this article give you a good, well-rounded starting point for measuring your effectiveness and finding areas for improvement.

 


How to Use Google Showcase Shopping Ad Campaigns (and why they matter)

“40 percent of shopping searches are on broad terms…so they turn to search to discover and explore…”

– Google study (2015)

If you sell things online, the chances are you’ve heard of Google’s product ads. You’re probably familiar with their display ads too. But what about Showcase Shopping Ads? Since rolling out in July 2016, this format acts as an intermediate between its two older cousins.

Unlike product ads (relevant for shoppers targeting specific items) or display ads (which complement a shopper’s email or video experience), Showcase Ads allow you to show a variety of products at once.

According to Google’s own research, 40 percent of shoppers don’t know exactly what they’re looking for. As a result, you can use this format to entice inquisitive shoppers earlier in the buying process.

 

Upper Funnel (i.e. Showcase Ads): More general queries; User isn’t searching for specific products; Branding is more important; Expected clickthrough rate is lower

Lower Funnel (i.e. Product Ads): More specific queries; User is searching for a particular product; Branding is less important; Expected clickthrough rate is higher

 

The search giant pitches Showcase Ads as a “broad match type” for Shopping: they appear when a user searches for generic terms (“winter coats”, for example). Searches elicit relevant products, along with appropriate images that you’ve selected for each ad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How much do Showcase Shopping Ads cost?

The ads use a maximum CPE (cost-per-engagement) model. This means that you’ll get charged when:

  • Someone expands the ad and spends 10 seconds exploring it.
  • Someone clicks on the product or link in the expanded ad within a 10-second timeframe.

Creating Showcase Shopping Ads

Be warned – Showcase Shopping Ads are only available in the new AdWords AI (and only in markets that offer Google Shopping). To create a successful campaign, you’ll need to switch to this format if you haven’t already. While you create the ads in Shopping, they can appear in both Search and Search Partner websites.

1. Using standard settings, create a new shopping campaign for your Showcase Ads:

2. Create a new ad group

Select “Showcase Shopping” as the Ad Type (instead of Product Ads). Then enter an ad group name, adjusting your ad group level CPE.

3. Targeting your products

Here’s where it gets interesting. You can choose to target all products from your campaign (a selection of jumpers, for instance) – or a selection of different product types. We recommend opting for the latter. Create product partitions based on:

  • Google Product Category
  • Product Type
  • Item IDs
  • Brands
  • Labels

 

4. Adding images

Next, you’ll need to adjust the images. Header images (JPEG/PNG) have specific requirements:

  • Dimensions: 1080 x 566 px
  • Space the important aspects 82 px from the top and bottom edge
  • Max file size: 10MB
  • Use a high quality, professional image with at least one product

For the collapsed ad either use a cropped version of the header, or a product image (which will be taken from your feed).

5. Adding copy

Finally, add the text you need (as indicated below). Both headline and description text are optional – but it’s worth being specific.

  • Headline: 24 characters
  • Description: 70 – 120 characters
  • Final URL: Needs to be relevant to the products shown
  • Display URL: 25 characters

 

Et voilà! Your ad is complete!

Early research suggests that Showcase Ads receive more impressions on tablets and mobile devices. However, it’s more than likely they’ll lead to increased brand awareness. To learn more about these and other PPC tips, follow our blog or contact us at info@crealytics.com.

 

 


Strategies for Staying in Touch With Your Customer Post-Sale

For eCommerce companies, your ability to attract new customers and keep them coming back plays the largest role in your company’s success. Acquiring new customers is expensive. On average, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer, compared to retaining an existing one. A five percent increase in customer retention can increase profits between 25 and 95 percent.

There is no time more important to your ability to retain a new customer than the hours and days following their first purchase. Your post-sale engagement with your customer should be outlined, tested, and optimized for retention success.

Your most important asset in retaining your customers is data. With new customers, you’ll have a limited amount of this to work with. But, with each new interaction, you gain additional insight into how to successfully interact with them to facilitate additional purchases.

Customer satisfaction is becoming an increasingly important KPI for eCommerce companies. To improve your customer retention rates and build relationships, consider implementing these strategies:

Confirmations and Status Updates

It may seem obvious, but quick and consistent communication is valued by customers. When an order is made, an immediate confirmation of the purchase sent to their email is expected. However, all eCommerce companies should go the extra step and continually update their customers throughout the ordering process.

Letting your customers know when their order was received, shipped, arrives at their local shipping depot, and when the package is delivered makes the order tracking process simple. It’s important to find the balance between providing order updates and emailing a new customer too often. However, when the updates are relevant to their order, you are less likely to find falling satisfaction rates.

Customer Support Outreach

Customers love a personalized service. Letting them know that you appreciate their business and are eager to help them if they need it can go a long way toward laying the foundation for a long-term relationship. After they place their initial order, try scheduling an automated email from one of your customer service reps, offering to help and answer any questions that they might have.

Receiving a personalized email from an actual employee of the company facilitates a feeling of security and creates a more personal relationship between your company and the customer. Additionally, it encourages them to ask questions when they do not want to take the time to go through the support ticket system. Having a customer support rep introduce themselves to new customers can help to facilitate conversations, which play a key role in customer retention.

Quality in-house support also goes a long way. If a customer has a problem (or question about) a product, they don’t want to spend a lot of time waiting on hold, speaking with someone that can’t solve their problem.

Empower your in-house support team. They should be able to provide quick answers and solutions to first-time customers, without referring the complaint up the chain. Great support wins the hearts and minds of customers. They can forgive a mistake. They can’t forgive terrible support.

Get to Know Them Better With Surveys

Want to retain more first-time buyers as long-term customers? Show them that you care about them and are learning from your interactions. As more eCommerce companies find innovative ways to use their data to deliver personalized campaigns, customers’ expectations grow. Consumers have grown to expect online retailers to deliver relevant marketing materials, based on their interactions with the company.

Asking that your customers fill out a short survey and providing something in return — like a coupon code on an item related to their original purchase — can help you to learn more about them while improving survey conversion rates. Keep your surveys short and simple to fill out. Learning something about a wide swath of customers is more helpful than learning a lot about very few.

Nurturing Email Campaigns

How quickly a customer returns depends heavily on your industry and the types of products that you sell. A retailer that specializes in holiday decorations is going to have a completely different sales cycle than someone that specializes in selling household necessities.

For both companies, nurturing is still important. Your sales cycle should inform the frequency and strategies of your nurturing campaigns, providing relevant and interesting content at opportune times during your sales cycle.

Online Retargeting

Similar to email nurturing, retargeting reminds customers to come back to your site and make another purchase.

Creating lists based on order value and order count per customer can be a highly effective retargeting strategy. In most cases, you would want to bid more for top ad placement for any customers you know have purchased two or more times in the last 60 days. Or you can go even further—and create combination lists with engagement metrics.  For example, you could combine “Purchased > 2x” and “Days since last visit > 15″.

Also, in case some of those customers are searching for your competitors’ brand terms, you might like to remind them of your loyalty program. Do this by creating a new ad group that targets a competitor’s search terms with an RLSA list.

Be mindful when engaging in retargeting activities. It’s difficult to prove incrementality in retargeting ads and you don’t want to pay for a customer that was looking for you anyway. We’ll have more on incrementality testing soon, so watch this space!

Relationships Turn First-Time Buyers into Repeat Customers

Once you’ve acquired a new customer your focus should shift toward building long-term relationships. By regularly reaching out through nurturing emails, special offers, and surveys, you put yourself in a position to learn more about them and deliver increasingly relevant materials as your relationship matures.

There is a lot riding on the customer’s experience during and immediately following their first order. Most customers will buy from a company more frequently after a positive initial experience. Taking the time to get to know them and deliver personalized marketing materials can go a long way toward building trust and earning repeat business.

 


How to choose the best KPIs for your eCommerce Business

When you run an online store, there are literally a thousand key performance indicators to measure. Keeping track of all of it, while necessary, can make your head spin after a while.

However, these KPIs can paint a picture of how your store is doing, where your customer’s biggest pain points are, and your ultimate opportunities for growth.

Every bit of data that you have is a KPI in one way or another. Whether or not it’s useful depends on the goals you set and if you know what to do with it.

How to Set KPI Goals for Success

If you’re choosing the best KPIs to focus on for your eCommerce store, you need to decide on an ultimate goal for your eCommerce site.

Choosing KPIs based on your overall goals will help you focus your attention on where you want to grow and what steps you should take next. Otherwise, it’s possible to get wrapped up in all of the data that you have.

I’ve outlined a few common scenarios that would drive common eCommerce goals and what KPIs would directly impact them:

Boosting Conversion

For example, say you’re getting a lot of traffic, but your conversion rate is low. You would choose your KPIs based on getting a higher amount of customers through your conversion funnel rather than driving traffic to your site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KPIs for conversion

KPIs to focus on:

  • Visits/Traffic
  • Bounce Rate
  • Failed Discovery/Browse Abandonment Rate
  • Checkout Abandonment Rate
  • Conversion Rate

The theme here is to focus on the KPIs that are found along your sales funnel. If one of these is particularly high (or particularly low, like your conversion rate) that is where you need to focus your test and action plan.

Driving Traffic

However, if your conversion funnel is yielding a higher conversion rate, but your traffic isn’t as significant as you’d like, you’d focus on KPIs around your traffic, where it’s coming from, and how to improve it.

KPIs for traffic 

KPIs to focus on:

  • Channel Group
  • Channel
  • Visits
  • Bounce Rate
  • Conversion

For driving traffic, you want to look at your traffic and sources, and how well those convert. After all, there’s no point in driving traffic if they’re not going to boost your conversion too. For your on-site metrics, focus on where your visits are coming from and look for opportunities.

To illustrate in the screenshot above, we can see that, at 5.6 percent, there is a pretty significant conversion rate for Google AdWords. It might be worth it to push more budget towards that channel to bring even more valuable traffic to your site.

Alternatively, you could test other channels where you aren’t bringing in very much traffic at all. While Twitter, Youtube, and LinkedIn aren’t doing much for your conversion rate, Pinterest only brought in 10 visits, but had a 10 percent conversion rate. It might be interesting to test a few Pinterest ads for your action plan.

There are also a few off-site KPIs you should look at through each of your channels’ analytics, for example:

  • Social CTR (click through rate)
  • Engagement rates
  • Social shares

Improving Average Order Value (AOV)

You might be in a situation where your traffic and conversion are great—but your customers aren’t quite spending as much as you’d like. In this case, you’d want to focus on customer behavior on your site and personalization KPIs.

KPIs for AOV

KPIs to focus on:

  • Order Count
  • Revenue
  • Average Order Value

AOV= Revenue / Order Count

While AOV is a KPI in itself, you want to take a look at the revenue that’s generated as well as your order counts. It would also be a good idea to measure this against visits and your channel sources, which will show you which of your channels are providing customers who spend the most.

For example, if you can see that there’s one channel where customers are ordering a little less than others, you can offer bundled products to these customers in particular, or implement a threshold for a coupon.

Let’s say your Instagram traffic is purchasing a bit under the average for your store. Create a 10% off coupon that’s Instagram exclusive with an attainable spending threshold to drive up AOV for this channel.

On the other hand, seeing which of your channels bring in customers who spend the most can also help you reallocate your resources into that channel to boost traffic and conversions from it.

AOV= Revenue / Order Count

While AOV is a KPI in itself, you want to take a look at the revenue that’s generated as well as your order counts. It would also be a good idea to measure this against visits and your channel sources, which will show you which of your channels are providing customers who spend the most.

For example, if you can see that there’s one channel where customers are ordering a little less than others, you can offer bundled products to these customers in particular, or implement a threshold for a coupon.

Let’s say your Instagram traffic is purchasing a bit under the average for your store. Create a 10% off coupon that’s Instagram exclusive with an attainable spending threshold to drive up AOV for this channel.

On the other hand, seeing which of your channels bring in customers who spend the most can also help you reallocate your resources into that channel to boost traffic and conversions from it.

Increasing Repurchase Rate

Perhaps your problem isn’t necessarily conversion, traffic, or AOV, but more that your customers don’t reconvert as much. Then you would focus on the KPIs geared towards bringing your customers back to your store.

KPIs for Repurchase Rate 

KPIs to focus on:

  • Channel
  • Repeat vs New order
  • Order count
  • Revenue
  • Average Order Value

To focus on your repurchase rate, look at your new vs repeat customers and orders. Notice that your repeat customers order more than new customers, so put an action plan in place to turn your new customers into repeat customers.

A great way to do this is to incentivize these new customers with a great email campaign. Offer something special to get them to come back, like an exclusive look at new products and priority on ordering them. You could also offer a discount or free shipping if you don’t already offer it.

Reducing Marketing Spend

Maybe everything is more or less going well for your online store, but you’d like to ideally drive down your marketing costs to improve your bottom line. The KPIs around your marketing spend and ROI would be the most useful for this goal.

Reduce marketing spend KPIs

KPIs to focus on:

  • Paid Channels
  • Visits
  • Order Count
  • Revenue
  • Total Marketing Cost
  • Cost/Order
  • ROI
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
  • Conversion Rate

In the case above, I’ve filtered for only Facebook to show how it’s performing. There’s a lot to analyze if you think you’re spending too much on marketing, but the most important metric is ROI. While the example, in this case, is 129.4 percent, which is rather good, we can ultimately boost this by improving the conversion rate from this channel.

As we can see above, we’re spending €7,313 on Facebook ads, which is bringing in €17,582 in revenue. This means that each visit we’re bringing in only costs us €0.18, but the conversion rate is only 0.4 percent.

AOV= Revenue / Order Count

While AOV is a KPI in itself, you want to take a look at the revenue that’s generated as well as your order counts. It would also be a good idea to measure this against visits and your channel sources, which will show you which of your channels are providing customers who spend the most.

For example, if you can see that there’s one channel where customers are ordering a little less than others, you can offer bundled products to these customers in particular, or implement a threshold for a coupon.

Let’s say your Instagram traffic is purchasing a bit under the average for your store. Create a 10 percent-off coupon that’s Instagram exclusive with an attainable spending threshold to drive up AOV for this channel.

On the other hand, seeing which of your channels bring in customers who spend the most can also help you reallocate your resources into that channel to boost traffic and conversions from it.

What’s really to look at here is cost-per-order, which ends up being €44.81 per order. To get a good idea as to whether or not this is a high number, look at your average order value:

Reduce marketing spend KPIs #2

This means you’re giving up a little more than 40 percent of your margins for these orders, though you’re bringing in tons of traffic with these ads.

What can you do?

Test your Facebook Ad targeting so you’re not casting such a wide net. It’s great that people are clicking on your ads, but if they’re not converting, they may not be the people you want to target.

Tracking your KPIs for the Best Results

In order to properly understand your eCommerce store’s performance, you need to be a scientist. It’s time to test and track the KPIs you’ve selected for a determined length of time. I recommend, at the minimum, one month to get enough data to analyze.

If you have a lot of traffic, you might be able to track your results after a shorter amount of time, but in the long run, this will depend on your eCommerce site and the flow of traffic and purchases you have. If you have less traffic, or are in more of an ebb part of the natural ebb and flow of business, you might need to extend your testing period to two to three months.

Make sure you’re comparing your results to comparable time periods. Ecommerce stores have natural business cycles, like any other business. It’s important to compare it to a similar stage in your business cycle and growth. We recommend testing it against the same time period for the previous year.

Once you’ve determined your goals and what KPIs you’re going to track, keep detailed records of your results, and set concrete goals for each of your KPIs.

For example, if your traffic was “X amount” during the same time period last year, say you want to improve it over a three month period by 20 percent. Setting concrete goals will allow you to measure the success of your campaigns over the time period that you test. It will also show you how aggressive to be in your campaigns when you create your action plan.

Putting Together an Action Plan Based on Your Results

When you put together an action plan to achieve your results, think about your ultimate goal that you first defined. Look at your results and think about the concrete goals you want to achieve. Ask yourself based on your past results how you can achieve those goals.

Let’s look at a practical example:

Say you get decent traffic and conversions, and you want to test a campaign to bring customers back to your store for purchase. Let’s say you have a lot of new customers, but your churn rate is far too high.

Time to think like a scientist:

Say you want to bring 5 percent of your new customers back to purchase from you within three months. You think that a remarketing email campaign will bring that many customers back and push them to convert. That’s your hypothesis.

Outline exactly how your plan will take place:

  • What is the overall strategy of this remarketing email campaign?
  • How often will you send these new customers emails?
  • Which customers will receive the campaigns and why have you chosen those customers?
  • What incentive are you giving your customer to come back (discounts, free shipping, loyalty points, etc)?
  • Is your result measurable, and what KPIs will you focus on to measure your results?

Once you have your plan in place, all that’s left is to implement it and record your results. Focus on the KPIs you’ve chosen as your most important metrics, and measure the data over your test period.

Compare your results with the same KPIs from the same period last year. This will show you the differences that your tests have made. Be sure to note any potential variables that might skew the results of your campaign, so that you can replicate the test again later.

When your test is finished, analyze your results. Write down every change that you saw over your test and see if you’ve reached your goal. Then, take a look at other KPIs that you weren’t focusing on and see if there was an impact on those instead. You might be surprised how many of them are linked based on customer behavior.

With your results, you can see how you’ll implement future tests on your eCommerce site and what you can expect from your campaigns. Maybe your campaign didn’t meet your goal- that’s perfectly fine. It means your hypothesis was a bit off, or maybe you can tweak your campaign so it works better for your customers.

Think critically about your results, and always ask yourself how you can improve your tests for next time.

While all KPIs are useful in one way or another, keeping an eye on the KPIs that directly impact your goals will help you keep your campaigns focused. Concentrating on goal-oriented KPIs for your eCommerce store will help you zero in on the exact data that you want to analyze.

By choosing the most important KPIs to track, you can clearly follow your store’s progress and growth, as well as measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.