Welcome to Part Three of my blog series covering just a few of the things I learned as an attendee at Klaviyo: BOS – a wonderful two-day summit run by one of my favorite local startups.
In Part One I focused on how ecommerce companies can attract and convert website traffic to their businesses with session recaps of “Using Google To Grow Your Online Store,” “SEO for Ecommerce,” and “You Got Them To Your Site – What Now?”
In Part Two I shared email design tips for nurturing and retaining website leads from these two top-notch sessions: “Email A/B Testing: Beyond the Subject Line” and “Designing Emails That Convert.”
In this last installment we’re going to cover how you can make a name for yourself in a crowded industry and build for long-term success with a recap of these three expert-led sessions:
- Rewarding Customer Loyalty
- Channel Differentiation and Ownership
- Content Marketing For Your Online Store
There’s still a lot of ground to cover, so let’s dive in!
1. Rewarding Customer Loyalty
Steve Deckert, Co-Founder at Smile.io
Rather than focusing on how you can run a successful customer loyalty program, this session focused on traps that a lot of online merchants fall into, and the principles that make an ecommerce company successful at winning loyal customers in the first place.
3 Traps That Will Kill Your Ecommerce Business
Trap #1: Trying to Compete With Amazon
You will never beat Amazon on price, convenience, or selection. They’ve got one-click shopping, instant shipping and 562,382,292 products for sale as of January 2018. This is simply not a battle you can win.
Trap #2: Heavy Discounting
As more ecommerce stores offer heavy discounts, shoppers come to expect more heavy discounts. It’s a race to the bottom that no one wins. Essentially, you are optimizing for customers who only care about the price and aren’t loyal to your brand.
Trap #3: Reliance on Paid Ads
Google and Facebook aren’t getting any cheaper. As an increasing amount of merchants flock online to sell their goods through paid ads, the finite amount of ad space will become more and more valuable. In the meantime, adblockers are gaining traction and millennials have become advertising averse because they don’t trust sponsored messages.
Steve’s Tips For Building Brand Loyalty:
- Amazon is essentially a very effective vending machine. Your opportunity is to make your customer experience thoughtful and build a bond that no competitor can disrupt. What you want is to create an emotional relationship, not a transactional one.
- When you create enough value, people are willing to pay what your products are worth. You can find cheap items anywhere on the Internet; what’s rare is amazing customer service.
- Word of mouth is stronger than any ad. Your biggest fans and worth so much more than just what they spend on your products.
- What can you do to avoid rewarding your loyal customers with discounts? Give them first access to new product lines, and let them influence what you make. Provide them with something no amount of money can buy.
For more tips from Steve, you can check out the full session deck here.
2. Channel Differentiation and Ownership
Tracey Wallace, Editor in Chief at BigCommerce
Sachin Wadhawan, Director of Technology Partnerships at BigCommerce
This presentation provided guidance on building a foundation of brand loyalty and driving traffic to your online store, with plenty of examples of ecommerce companies who are doing it right.
Tracey’s Tips For Building Brand Loyalty:
- Be memorable and create valuable content. Selling through content rather than ads is a great way to build trust, particularly with millennials.
Brands doing “memorable” well:
- Make shopping more convenient and enjoyable (especially on mobile – keep an eye on site speed and use tools like Akamai’s Image Manager or Google Amp to keep things loading quickly). You want as few clicks as possible standing between your customer and checkout.
- Add a personal touch (like handwritten notes or exclusive community perks) that no one else can provide:
- Brand the post-sale experience (example: customized shipping boxes or tissue paper).
- Be honest and reachable. Excel at customer service.
Brands Who Do Trust Well:
- Gear Patrol
Sachin’s Tips For Sustainably Growing Your B2C Business:
- Build trust with shoppers by tracking their orders and shipments and streamlining the return process.
- Make it extremely easy to re-order by storing past purchase history.
- Provide wish list functionality.
- Store credit cards so the mobile checkout experience is seamless, and enable mobile digital wallets like Apple Pay. Finally, offer consumer financing if your products are big-ticket items.
Channels Outside Your EStore For Driving Ecommerce Growth
- Amazon (check out “Storefronts,” their new SMB merchant portal)
- Google Shopping (this is going to be powered by voice and likely AI)
- Facebook Marketplace (this is new and therefore FB will be putting a lot of dollars into making it successful. Become an early adopter before everyone discovers the free publicity!)
Brands Who Are Successfully Taking Advantage of Multichannel Opportunities:
For more tips from Tracey and Sachin, you can check out the full session deck here.
3. Content Marketing For Your Online Store
Matt Osias, VP of Content Marketing at Hawke Media
This session walked through content marketing basics and how you can use it to build your ecommerce customer base through trust, personalization and storytelling.
The Three Components of A Good Content Strategy:
- Setting business goals
- Getting to know your target audience
- Identifying the needs of your target audience
Matt’s Blog and Performance Measuring Tips
- Focus on the needs of your customers – that’s what gets them in the door. Then focus on what they want – that’s what will keep them coming back to you.
- Your quota in sales is dollars. Your quota in content is quality, because first impressions are everything.
- Investing time/resources in content marketing is not the same as investing in direct advertising. Content is evergreen and will help you make money while you sleep.
- When you’re first getting started with SEO, don’t look at the page view numbers, because you’ll easily get discouraged. Instead, look at the percentage of website traffic that your blog is attracting.
- On the subject of page views – you have to look further into your analytics to get a full picture of how your customers are responding to your content. How long are they spending on each page? What is their bounce rate? If you find that people are only looking at one page of your site and then leaving, you can try to retain them with a newsletter subscription, or links to other recommended articles.
- Make sure you optimize for site speed, and freshness of content. Keep your most popular posts up to date with new examples, external links and internal backlinks.
- It’s critical that your URLs contain words, not numbers.
Great Content Marketing Resources
- Moz.com (to build domain authority)
- Content Marketing Institute (for editorial calendars)
For more tips from Matt, you can check out the full session deck here.
Throughout the eight sessions I attended, the most common theme was testing. While all these experts provided best practices and rules of thumb during their presentations, when it came time for audience Q&A they repeated over and over that each company is different and you need to experiment with different approaches to see what works for your unique customer base.
At the end of the day, growing your business isn’t just a matter of spending more to make more; it involves getting to know your customers, offering them an optimized user experience, and helping them solve their challenges. When they win, you win.
That’s a wrap on my Klaviyo:BOS recap!
If you missed Parts One and Two, here they are for your reading enjoyment: