3 Common eCommerce Marketing Myths Busted

eCommerce Myths Busted: Failing to market, account for all costs, and to seek help can lead to eCommerce marketing failures.

For this latest episode of eCommerce Marketing Myth Busters, it’s time to dispel some notions that are quite common to new sellers. Any experienced product marketing agency has encountered sellers with these untrue or half-true notions. They create obstacles to success that prove much easier to overcome early instead of later. Sadly, buying into these myths can cause online ventures to fail, even when they were based upon a sound business idea.

Three eCommerce marketing myths 

To get started with eCommerce on the right foot, learn the truth about these three eCommerce fictions:

1. If it’s on the internet, buyers will find it 

Most of the large eCommerce platforms make it simple for non-technical people to either set up stores and create listings. At the same time, just having products listed on the internet will not guarantee sales or even store visitors. That’s true even for retailers or direct to consumer advertising agencies with great prices, products, and service.

MarketingSignals put the reasons for eCommerce failures into two categories:

  • Poor search engine visibility: Either the new store has no visibility in the platform’s search engine or in such major search platforms as Google. Generally, it takes some time to get noticed by these search engines, so nobody can expect a high ranking at first.
  • Lack of effective marketing: New stores often start out with low search visibility, so they need to grow an audience through social media, blogs, paid ads, or even offline marketing. Internet stores need a sound marketing plan as much as they need products and a platform to sell them on. 

About two out of three failed online retailers offered one of the reasons above as the reasons they closed up shop. Other less-common reasons for store failures included running out of cash and an ability to profit on sales made.

The truth: Just building an eCommerce site and failing to market it almost never works.

2. Free shipping

Certainly, listings with free shipping have grown pervasive on plenty of eCommerce websites. Some platforms even give these listings preference in their search engines. Savvy sellers and even buyers should know that shipping costs money. If there’s no separate shipping cost, then that cost was built into the purchase price.

According to The Atlantic, seeing shipping charges at checkout ranks among the most common reasons that buyers abandon carts. At the same time, sellers who fail to either charge for shipping or pad their prices to make up for free-shipping offers will risk losing money.

Free shipping offers have been touted as a popular way to increase sales. As a caution, The Atlantic article illustrated the example of Etsy. The site used to offer the most visibility only to their most popular sellers. They changed to giving some preference in ranking for free shipping and found overall conversion rates dropped.

After this change to the way Esty ranked listings, some of their previously successful sellers struggled. To cope, many Etsy merchants compromised by offering free shipping for minimum orders, hoping they could absorb the cost with higher revenues per sale.

The truth: Sellers need to factor shipping charges into their overall costs one way or another.

3. Sellers have to work alone

Success with online sales takes more than just developing or sourcing good products and then finding an online venue to sell them on. It’s also critical to account for all of the costs involved to the business, including shipping, marketing, and overhead. Sellers need to find their market and learn to appeal to them through targeted marketing. Once shoppers find the store, listings need to entice them to push the Buy button.

Here’s the good news. Startups owners can seek help from experienced people in all of these disciplines. For example, Shopify says that every six months, one out of three of their merchants seek assistance from a Shopify Partner.

The Shopify Partner Program helps connect merchants with individuals that can identify and solve common problems. For other platforms or even a dedicated business site, it’s also possible to find an experienced consumer marketing agency that can help.

The truth: A lot goes into running an eCommerce business, and smart sellers know when to seek help.

What’s the Truth about eCommerce marketing?

Plenty of online sellers had leveraged their hobbies or past business experiences into successful eCommerce stores. Of course, eCommerce marketing also offers physical store owners a great way to expand their marketplace beyond their town or even country. The global online marketplace has topped $4.5 trillion and is expected to keep growing, according to Shopify. There’s still lots of room for savvy sellers to grow a new internet business.

While plenty of shoppers enjoy the selection, convenience, and prices they can find online, it isn’t always easy for a new store owner to attract them because the opportunity to profit has also attracted plenty of competition. It also takes money to source, market, and deliver products to customers, and sellers need to account for all of their costs. On the positive side, even new sellers can find the right assistance to start managing all aspects of their business the right way from the very first day.

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Don’t Get “Gooped”: Credible Health and Wellness Marketing Tips

Outlandish health claims make trouble. Health and wellness marketing needs quality content and credible distribution channels to develop long-term trust.

Since there’s even a Netflix show about Goop, the wellness company has gotten a lot of attention. Founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop has also attracted more than a little criticism for making questionable claims about the efficacy of its products. Not judging, but some of their natural remedies include jade, sexual-wellness eggs and psychological-energy sprays.

Actually, according to NBC Newsthey were once judged and had to pay $145,000 to settle a California lawsuit for making unsubstantiated health claims. To avoid getting lumped with Goop by today’s savvy consumers or even worse, legal authorities, consider some examples of other businesses that can inspire an effective and authentic health and wellness marketing campaign.

Authentic, credible health and wellness marketing

 In contrast to Goop, Sophie Scott serves as the editor-in-chief of BALANCE, a trusted wellness publication from the U.K. She was quoted in Forbes as saying they worked hard to establish credibility. She understands that many people have lost trust in her industry and doesn’t blame them. For one thing, BALANCE focuses upon prevention, so it’s not as easy to document effectiveness than it might be for a company that promoted remedies.

At the same time, she believes that during these stressful times, people need the practical and effective information that her publication offers more than ever. As an example, she mentioned that stress alone causes $1 trillion in global productivity losses every year. In addition, the worldwide wellness industry is estimated to have a worth of $14 trillion, so it’s obvious that lots of people are seeking these kind of solutions. 

Taking a page from BALANCE, these are some ingredients of their success as a credible and successful healthcare marketing agency and publication:

  • Focus upon factual information: It’s important to ensure that all messaging contains only well-researched and factual information. For instance, BALANCED earned a Wellspoken Mark, given to health and wellness companies that adhere to high standards for only making honest claims. No business wants to be accused of Goop marketing tactics, so take care to only promote proven substantiated benefits.
  • Develop a high-performing marketing strategy: BALANCE charges for printed magazines, but they don’t just rely upon hard-copy distribution. They’re also very active with their content on such social networks as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. They have a website, Balance.Media, a podcast, and even promote live events. One example of a past live event that’s creative and relates to their ongoing mission was a live saxophone spin class.

What can a healthcare marketing agency learn from BALANCE about distributing content?

While BALANCE covers a broad range of topics in their publication, they’re not really in the business of promoting their own products. Instead, they use their publication to research health and fitness ideas and in the process, often advertise other companies. Because they’ve gained credibility with their audience, they might serve as a perfect publisher to attract a growing supplement, fitness, or skincare marketing agency.

At the same time, health and wellness manufacturers and distributors may want to develop their own marketing platforms, perhaps both online and offline, so BALANCE can serve as a great example. As another example, Casper produces mattresses, and they began publishing their own print magazine, Woolly. Newer businesses might decide to keep their content online but take something away from the idea that a credible wellness publication can also serve as a great place to promote their brand.

Find a niche and establish credibility

To get started, it’s best to find a niche and establish credibility there first. As an example, MyFitnessPal maintains a blog that features articles about diet, exercise, and diet-friendly recipes. They use the blog pages to insert promotions for their newsletter, apps, and other products. Sometimes, in turn for great content, they offer bylines to topic experts.

As an example, a fitness trainer provided an article about easing into weight training. The trainer’s credibility comes from his experience as a college athlete, power lifter, an advanced degree in Exercise Science, and co-ownership of a gym. At the end of the piece, the blog inserted a promotion for relevant features in their app and prompted readers to download it. This serves as a good example of using relevant, valuable content to attract and audience and then taking the chance to market to them.

A wellness business doesn’t need or want Goop marketing

Goop certainly gained some attention from their marketing tactics and perhaps, their celebrity owner. It’s not the kind of publicity that a legitimate healthcare marketing agency would suggest for any company that wants to earn a reputation as credible and authentic. Instead, develop high-quality content that doesn’t rely upon outlandish claims and then find distribution channels with the sort of reputation you want your brand to associate with.

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DTC Marketing Subscription Box Tips to Move Your Brand

How successful DTC marketing companies use flexible plans, content, and pricing to attract and retain their valued customers.

To improve returns on direct to consumer advertising, why not consider a subscription model? After all, it can help improve your company’s typical customer experience by offering convenience and discounts. At the same time, it’s likely to dramatically increase retention. Find out how to add recurring revenue to your D2C marketing plan in order to enjoy faster and more sustainable growth.

How to maximize subscriptions to your DTC marketing plan

Look at a popular example of a company using direct to consumer advertising for a subscription service. According to Core DNA, a D2C marketing agency, Dollar Shave Club enjoys an incredible 50 percent retention rate after 12 months. Even after two years, that figure only drops to 25 percent.

Combining an outstanding retention rate and recurring revenue fueled their rapid growth. Look at the example of Dollar Shave Club and some other successful DTC companies to gain some inspiration.

Flexible subscription options can overcome objections

Since Dollar Shave Club engaged in DTC marketing, they could offer some flexible options that may have contributed to their retention rate. For instance, they have a “Not-So-Hairy” option that lets customers skip months. It’s interesting to note that they tend to take in more transactions on the second month than the first one. Customers might already have blades for the current month, and this option can overcome that objection.

In any case, it’s always a good idea to figure out the market’s possible objections and pain points. Adding in some flexibility to help maximize benefits and prompt quick purchases can help attract more reluctant shoppers.

Subscription pricing tactics to reduce competition

Because Zuora provides subscription apps to online retailers, they’ve paid attention to the effectiveness of various pricing strategies. In Zuora’s view, competing on the price of a basic subscription may be inevitable for some products. Their best advice to a product marketing agency with stiff competition may be to keep prices as low as possible for the first subscription. Then try to maximize revenues with possible upsells.

Of course, they also offered the example of T-Mobile. Instead of solely competing by price, the mobile carrier was one of the first to sell their services without requiring a contract, which helped them double their subscriber base within three years.

They still have subscribers who pay monthly fees for services, and often, for extra insurance and to pay off their phones. After getting a phone, many customers also decide to add a tablet or accessories. Their strategy provides an example of a company that offered more flexibility in order to maximize customers and the potential for upsells.

Consider using content for marketing DTC subscriptions

A more traditional consumer marketing agency may suggest using mostly paid ads to gain brand recognition and attention. In particular, a startup marketing agency could advise very new brands that they need to sell products as quickly as possible to start driving revenue. That can work; however, a lot of companies have enjoyed success by using an inbound, content-driven marketing scheme to attract their audience.

Some companies even start with content before they ever offer their products by subscription. As an example, Glossier sells beauty products directly to consumers. The founder, Emily Weiss, started with a beauty blog and strong social media and video presence that offered insights about celebrity beauty rituals. Her content strategy also allowed her to connect with plenty of online influencers.

Only after the blog attracted 15 million views each month, Ms. Weiss decided to develop her beauty company. By that time, she already had a huge, loyal audience. Even better, she had gotten to know her market very well.

Other brands do it the other way. They begin their product brand and then develop online and in some cases, offline content. Popular kinds of online content include blogs, videos, and even webinars. For offline content, businesses might sponsor such relevant events as demos, classes, tables at festivals, or booths at trade shows.

Benefit from loyal customers and brand ambassadors

Word-of-mouth marketing still performs very well. By offering a referral program, a DTC subscription business can recruit an army of brand ambassadors from its own satisfied customers. Also, the nature of recurring revenue can make it easier to entice customers to spread the word by offering them recurring discounts or rewards every time their recruit’s subscription charges them.

And since recurring customers can offer businesses a high lifetime value, it’s worth an investment to keep them. Loyalty programs can motivate customers to stay subscribed by providing them a way to earn discounts, reward points, or free gifts every time they get an order.

Work to create the best customer experience with subscription plans 

Of course, customers enroll in subscription plans to enjoy convenience and discounts. Businesses should learn about their customers to deliver the best possible experience and overcome potential objections. Some succeed by offering very simple options to maximize efficiency and avoid overwhelming people. Others provide a variety of plans to try to satisfy different kinds of customers. Finding the perfect balance may require some testing and surveys.

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Is the “Paradox of Choice” Ruining Your eCommerce Site?

According to the paradox of choice idea, offering too many choices can stress out customers, reduce conversions, and detract from business.

The “paradox of choice” phrase comes from a marketing book and a Ted Talk by Barry Schwartz, a well-known psychology professor. On the surface, having plenty of choices seems like a very positive thing. Dr. Schwartz thinks this idea often backfires because people get so overwhelmed by having a great number of choices that they may fail to make any decisions at all.

Online shopping offers consumers an almost unlimited range of choices. Recently, businesses have taken a look at eCommerce marketing to find out if having so many options benefits buyers and sellers as much as they might have thought. As with most marketing questions, it can depend upon the business, market conditions, and unique marketing strategies.

Can offering fewer choices make eCommerce marketing more profitable?

The recent experience of many restaurants can illustrate the idea that offering fewer choices might provide businesses with benefits. Though they’re not typically thought of as traditional eCommerce businesses, a lot of dine-in restaurants had to publish online menus and offer to-go orders because of social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

To simplify ordering and eCommerce web development, they considered the fact that a few items generally generated most of their profits and sales. Thus, they often trimmed menus and featured only their most popular meals.  More than a few restaurants decided to maintain their limited menus even after they reopened because they found smaller menus move improved efficiency more than it turned away customers.

During the outbreak, restaurants needed to run as efficiently as possible for a number of reasons, including restrictions on capacity and problems with supply chains. As time passes and things return to normal, some of these places may add back more items to their menus. However, while they need to remain very lean and agile to cope with the outbreak, many have decided that reducing frills and choices solves a lot of problems. Particularly for businesses that need to trim budgets and run as lean as possible, the notion of offering fewer items has obvious merit.

How fewer choices might increase conversions

To see why limiting options won’t always reduce sales, consider one study from a Columbia University psychology professor. Dr. Iyengar set out a tasting table in a grocery store with 24 different jam flavors. That table attracted 60 percent of the shoppers who passed by. Later, she reduced the selection to to only six flavors and attracted only 40 percent of the customers.

At the same time, she enjoyed conversion rates of only three percent when she offered 24 flavors and thirty percent when she only offered six. Even though she attracted fewer tasters to the table, she sold a lot more jam when she limited choices. In response, Dr. Iyengar agreed with Dr. Schwartz’ idea that offering too many options might lead to information overload. She believed more customers turned away because so many choices made them feel fatigue or even stress.

How does the paradox of choice impact online sales?

An Amazon marketing agency might also keep this in mind when deciding on how many products to offer or even if Amazon will provide the best platform to focus on. Who hasn’t started shopping on Amazon at one time or another and found so many options that nothing ever got ordered at all?

According to BigCommerce:

  • Amazon already sells more than 12 million products.
  • Amazon lists over a million products in the home improvement category alone.

At the same time, some channels enjoy fairly low conversion rates. For instance, only two percent of Echo owners have used their device to order products. Maybe this audio-only device doesn’t lend itself so well to an eCommerce platform with so many choices.

DTC companies and distributors may want to also consult with a Shopify agency to see if they would have a better opportunity marketing with their own distinct shop. Most third-party sellers also use other platforms, so testing more than one option appears prudent. Even then, new sellers should probably consider starting with only a few products. As they grow, they might slowly and carefully expand their offerings and even remove some low-performing products.

Finally, trying to become all things to all people can make it difficult to remain efficient. Meanwhile, offering a few, well-chosen options makes it easy to deal with inventory, customer service, and sometimes even eCommerce web development. Businesses with fewer products might not attract as many prospects. Still, if they can balance a lower number of visitors with high conversion rates, lower operating costs, and fewer hassles, maybe they can use this tactic to increase profits.

What can the paradox of choice tell you about your customers?

Of course, some companies thrive by offering lots of interesting choices. For instance, having lots of creatively named ice cream flavors has appeared to serve Ben & Jerry’s very well. Lots of fans of this company can’t wait to taste the latest creation.

Still, Dr. Schwartz cautioned that providing too many choices might lead people to take shortcuts that will prompt them to pick something that they believe is good enough instead of taking more time to find the best solution. He also said people with too much freedom of choice may have extremely high expectations and that increases the risk of disappointment.

Perhaps offering lots of flavors works for Ben & Jerry’s because selecting ice cream doesn’t require a big investment. Also, the company’s been very creative about their release strategy and devoted themselves to building customer trust. With the jam experiment, customers were first introduced to an unfamiliar brand. A more expensive and durable kind of product may also take a bigger risk.

Is less more for eCommerce marketing?

The choice of how many products to offer and which online platform to use can depend upon many factors. These might include the type of product, overall marketing goals, and the company’s market audience. Still, any business that’s struggled while trying to appeal to as many people as possible might consider narrowing its focus to see if they can gain more attention from a smaller market.

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10 Amazon Algorithm Hacks to Accelerate eCommerce Marketing

Amazon’s algorithm cares about relevance, conversions, and customer experience. Here’s how to boost your eCommerce marketing to get Amazon pages right.

Even before the coronavirus outbreak, TechCrunch announced that Amazon had already taken over about half of the entire eCommerce market. During the outbreak, eCommerce spiked. Larger and recognizable online brands gained the lion’s share of that boom, so it’s easy to imagine that Amazon has retained or even increased its position as a market leader.

If, like so many others, you’ve decided that joining Amazon is a lot easier than trying to beat them, make sure you employ the best tactics to gain as much visibility and as many sales as possible. Begin by understanding how the algorithm works and the Amazon marketing hacks you can use to benefit from that knowledge.

Ten Amazon marketing hacks to help ensure your products gain exposure

Actually, Amazon only has three core ranking factors. They based these upon their intimate knowledge of what it takes to sell well on their platform. Improving these will help you gain more visibility and earn higher revenues:

  • Conversion rates: Higher total sales and higher sales per visit can help win favor from the Amazon algorithm. Of course, more sales and profits benefits you as well. 
  • Relevancy: Amazon needs to see product pages as relevant to searches and also-bought and also-viewed suggestion boxes. People who want what you’re offering will be able to find you, further increasing your chance of making sales.
  • Retention and customer experience: Having repeat customers, a good number of mostly favorable reviews, and a low defect rate can help you find favor with Amazon’s ranking scheme. They’re signs that you’re satisfying first-time buyers well enough to turn them into loyal customers.

Of course, most businesses set eCommerce marketing goals that will help them attract and retain customers. To use Amazon marketing services to meet these goals, consider these ten tested tips:

  1. Optimize product listings: Clear images, engaging, informative text, and a completed product page can keep customers on the page longer. They’re more likely to consider you credible enough to buy from. Bounce rate, time spent on page, and of course, sales all factor into the algorithm.
  2. Encourage social interactions: Make sure customer questions get answered and try to encourage reviews. You should never pay for reviews, but you’re certainly free to ask for them. Having more social interaction also gives you user generated content that can feed Amazon’s algorithm and even help you rank well in other search engines.
  3. Price right: Amazon makes it incredibly easy for shoppers to compare prices. You need to make certain you’re either competing on price or making it clear why some aspect of your product makes it worth more than seemingly similar products that cost less.
  4. Craft good titles: Optimize your product title by including search terms and product and brand names. You should strive to maximize both clarity and relevance. Your title needs to encourage buyers to click while also letting the search engine understand the nature of your product.
  5. List product features: If you list your product features with bullet points and additional search terms, you’ll make it both user- and search-friendly. A list makes it easier for buyers to quickly figure out if your product meets their needs.
  6. Fill in the specification section: Amazon provides this section for such important information as size, weight, and color. Completing it provides customers with information in a fairly standardized form that they’re used to. It also shows Amazon that you’re diligent.
  7. Carefully consider categories and subcategories: Some people browse by category and subcategory. By choosing the right ones, you’ll have a better chance to get found both by searchers and browsers.
  8. Spend time choosing search terms: You can find some research tools that will help you uncover the types of search terms that shoppers may use to find products like yours. Avoid frivolous or subjective terms while including as many potentially relevant terms as possible.
  9. Provide excellent customer service: While Amazon cares about sales and conversions, they also care about returning customers. Your attention to quality, prompt shipping, and other aspects of customer service should help you enjoy better reviews, repeat customers, and a better rank.
  10. Become an Amazon Prime seller: Amazon Prime members now outnumber non-Prime shoppers on the site. Naturally, they give more exposure to Prime sellers. You need to apply and in some cases, work your way up to getting accepted into the program as a third-party seller. 

Why spend time on your Amazon product listings?

While Amazon has plenty of shoppers, it also attracts fierce competition.  It might seem like you need to spend a lot of time in your product page to get it right. Many sellers invest in an eCommerce marketing agency to help them get started. After all, a well-crafted product page can complement your excellent service and high-quality products to keep producing sales for years in the future. As you work to improve the way that Amazon’s algorithm views your pages, you will also improve your chances to sell more products and grow your business.

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Use These Tactics to Advertise Like Chewy.com

DTC brands are known for their clever, original, and on-trend ads. Read what we can learn from the pet product marketing tactics Chewy.com uses to connect with audiences.

In a few short years, DTC (or D2C) brands have gone from a novelty to an essential part of the lives of most consumers. Emarketer forecasts that DTC sales will account for $17.75 billion of total ecommerce sales in 2020, up 24.3% from the previous year.

Many of the newer DTC brands who have become household names have used highly memorable and creative direct to consumer marketing approaches to gain traction. One such example is Chewy.com, a DTC pet brand. Let’s take a closer look at how Chewy.com advertises, and what we can learn from their pet product marketing approach.

Using a savvy DTC ad strategy to build market share

This Chewy.com ad cleverly targets the new parent demographic. One of the primary benefits of Chewy’s direct to consumer marketing model is convenience — it delivers toys, chews, food, and treats directly to a consumer’s home, in a box.

For new parents, saving a trip to the local brick and mortar pet store is a significant draw. Chewy’s ad shows how its service can ease the burden of new parenthood, often one of life’s most overwhelming experiences.

Chewy’s ad is smart for another reason: It targets a large and growing demographic. Pets are often regarded as “training babies” by millennials, who are delaying the rituals and milestones of adulthood longer than earlier generations. Because younger people humanize their pets and treat them as family members, they are more willing to pay for premium products and services. Focusing on the “new parents with a dog” market is a smart move for Chewy.com, given their passion and willingness to spend.

Chewy’s ads also make an economic case familiar to DTC or D2C brands. This ad stresses that all the products offered by Chewy are not only cheaper than those found in a brick and mortar retailer, they also come with free shipping.

It’s a powerful ad because today’s “pet parents” want to do more for their animals, but they may be constrained by lack of income (a particular problem for younger pet parents). Chewy’s ad maintains that it’s possible to buy the best for your animal by opting for their low overhead DTC model.

Chewy.com also released ads focusing on the ease of the delivery and exciting experience of “unboxing” a collection of dog food, treats and toys; an ad showing how Chewy.com customer service reps can assist with helping find food for dogs and cats who are “picky eaters”; and ads that feature specific owners and their dogs, all enjoying Chewy.com boxes.  

All of the ads are upbeat, brief and colorful and feature lots of testimonials and images of happy pets. Additionally, all of the company’s pet product marketing messages highlight at least one aspect of Chewy.com DTC value proposition: Cheaper products, easy delivery, the boxing experience, etc.

Experience-based advertising and marketing, Chewy-style

Chewy operates on the premise that consumers only share two types of experiences online: Great ones and terrible ones. So Chewy, obviously, strives to generate the former.

The company has drawn notice for sending flowers and condolences to a customer who called to cancel an order after a pet’s unexpected death. The customer was stunned and appreciative and later shared the story on social media.

Chewy is also known for sending handwritten notes addressed directly to its customers’ pets — a whimsical touch that plays extremely well in an era when most of us humanize our animals.

The takeaway

DTC brands seeking to build awareness, attract new audiences, and engage with their existing customers would do well to consider Chewy’s direct to consumer marketing, DTC advertising, and customer service model.

Chewy’s ads are not high concept; instead, they hammer home the core value proposition of the company’s DTC model and show plenty of happy and excited pets.

At Bigeye, we have the experience and expertise to create top drawer DTC ad campaigns such as those created by Chewy.com. Contact us today for more information about how we can help you reach your goals.

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