Year: 2021

MyFBAPrep Welcomes Hans Hickler To Our Advisory Board

a computer screen showing a mystery person and a my fba prep logo

MyFBAPrep is thrilled to announce that Hans Hickler has joined us as an advisor!

With more than 25 years of executive leadership experience with three multinational corporations, Hans advises CEOs across the logistics, security, eCommerce, and retail industries.

Before starting his own business in 2012, he was Agility Logistics’ Chief Executive of Asia Pacific, managing more than 20 countries and 7,000 employees. He was also DHL’s CEO for Global Customer Solutions, leading the development and sales of customer solutions across DHL Supply Chain, Warehousing & Distribution, Forwarding and Express Business Units.

Prior to that role, he was CEO of DHL Express USA, and CEO of APL Logistics and served on the Global boards of both organizations.

Hans joins Neil Ackerman and Scott Needham as a MyFBAPrep advisor. Scott is the CTO of BuyBoxer, and builds automation and operation systems around selling on Amazon.

Neil is the Senior Director, Global Supply Chain Advanced Planning and Innovation, for Johnson and Johnson across all segments including Pharmaceuticals, Biomedical Devices and Consumer Products. He is responsible for accelerating supply chain innovation and enablement of advanced planning processes and technologies worldwide.

User-Generated Content: How to Create an eCommerce UGC Strategy For Your Brand

an ecommerce website pulling customers using magnets

Customer acquisition and conversion rate are important for eCommerce success. An often overlooked tool to boost both of these is user-generated content (UGC), which merchants can encourage and utilize within the buying process.

User-generated content is a goldmine of social proof, referral networks, and interesting new use cases for your products. In this article, we’ll explore what UGC is, why it’s important, and how you can leverage (and request) this content for your business moving forward.

What is UGC?

UGC refers to the photos, videos, text, and/or audio content your buyers post online featuring your products.

This content can live in a variety of places online, including blogs, forums, your product pages, and on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, or Snapchat.

UGC can be organic — “I found X and I really love it” — or sponsored, wherein you work with an influencer to create the content. It can also include reviews, photos that users submit as part of a contest, and more.

User content gives you a wealth of assets to incorporate into your promotional efforts as well. You can repurpose publicly posted content (with credit and permission) on your social media and digital marketing channels to highlight your products and celebrate your customers.

Why do you need a UGC strategy for your eCommerce businesses?

Customers trust people more than brands. Consumers are almost 2.5x more likely to view UGC as authentic compared to content a brand creates. This is huge for eCommerce professionals, as it boosts credibility for your products.

1) Gain social proof

Beyond simply getting your name out there, UGC is also one of the most useful forms of free marketing. It’s authentic, trustworthy content from your existing fans and/or influencers who feel compelled to share reviews or images and videos of your product online.

UGC provides important social proof for prospective customers to rely on when considering your products for purchase. Seeing others use your items allows customers to imagine themselves using those products, as well.

2) Leverage word-of-mouth marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is the OG social media platform. Consider your own behavior: When you find a product you love that makes your life easier or otherwise blows your mind, what’s the first thing you do? You probably tell your friends and family about it. Now, imagine that type of positive review on a 100,000-follower scale.

If a fan with 25,000 followers shares content about your product, they’ve gone well beyond the “tell two friends” WOMM of yesteryear. Rather, they’ve potentially introduced your content to tens of thousands of prospects who, if they engage with that content, help spread the word even further.

A whopping 64% of marketing executives believe word-of-mouth is the most effective form of marketing, supporting the long-standing belief that WOMM can’t be beat.

3) Boost your product rankings

Having lots of positive reviews helps you appear higher in Amazon’s search results with a higher organic ranking. What’s more, as you receive positive reviews, more will flow in, further increasing your rank and making you and your products look even better.

4) Higher conversion rates

Here’s a fun fact for you: Ads based on user-generated content experience 4x higher click-through rates, and the cost-per-click is cut in half compared to average ad performance. More reviews means higher conversions and increased sales, too.

Once again, it goes back to trust and authenticity. If shoppers observe people just like them using and loving your products, they’re more likely to believe they themselves will do so as well.

5) Better SEO

As the cherry on top, UGC creates an important SEO channel for your online store.

If someone reviews your products on their blog, they’re likely to link to your website. If someone posts on social media, Google is working to index social content, including videos. If someone writes a review on your website or product listing, they’ve gifted your SEO team with voice-of-customer copy straight from your ideal users.

All positive content about your products boosts the probability of potential customers discovering your brand and making a purchase. Plus, what marketer would say no to free content creation for their products?

Dos and Don’ts of a UGC strategy

If you think UGC is beyond your control, think again. You can build a powerful UGC strategy that aligns with and complements your overall marketing plan and supports your SEO strategy. You can engage in lots of activities and tactics to increase UGC production for your business. Let’s dive in.

Do identify your best customers

Your best customers are low-hanging fruit for UGC creation. Look for those who make multiple or regular purchases. Your loyal and long-standing customers are proven fans of your product and are more likely to respond to your outreach than a one-time buyer. Once you’ve determined your best customers, you can cross-reference names or email addresses against social media users on various platforms or blogs to see if those users are active social influencers.

Also check to see if these customers are already creating content on your behalf. Have they left reviews? Did they share your store on Facebook or Twitter? If so, engage with those posts and keep track of those users.

Do craft a genuine, personalized request

Asking your customers for reviews, videos, or social shares is an important part of your UGC strategy. Sharing might not be at the top of your customers’ minds, even if content creation is at the forefront of yours.

However, you must make the ask carefully carefully and deliver it strategically to ensure you’re a welcome voice rather than an annoying distraction.

Imagine yourself in the customer’s shoes. Which of the following requests would you answer?

“Hi there, thank you for your purchase. If you liked your product, please leave us a review <link>.”


“Hi Lauren,

I wanted to reach out and thank you for your recent purchase! I hope your Fuzzy Puppy Seat is keeping your fur-family warm and cozy and has met your expectations. If not, please don’t hesitate to get in touch so we can make it right! If you’re happy with your purchase and experience, I’d appreciate it if you could share a review here <link>. Thank you!


Mark @ YourFavAmazonStore”

A genuine ask shows you aren’t simply sourcing reviews randomly; rather, you know who your customers are and what products they use.

If you have a longstanding or loyal customer, communicate your appreciation of their repeat business. You can ask them for feedback on how you can best meet their needs (which helps build trust) and then make your request for a review, post, video, or any other UGC.

Reach out to your customers on social media for an even more personalized approach. Making a private request via direct messaging demonstrates your interest in their content while simultaneously strengthening your seller-customer relationship.

Do invest in building authentic connections

Relationships are everything in business, so building strong connections with your customers is imperative for success. Start by going to the places where your customers are: namely, online. If your customers are active on Instagram and Twitter, you should be on Instagram and Twitter checking regularly for content featuring your products. When you see your product mentioned or displayed, engage!

For example, let’s pretend you sell baby products and you happen upon an Instagram photo displaying your exclusive wall art on a nursery wall. Like and comment on the post to open up a dialogue:

“We love how you’ve hung this piece! We’re curious — how did you come up with this nursery theme? It’s so cute.”

You can also reach out directly through direct messages (DM) to thank your customer and compliment their photo, as well as ask for permission to share their image (give them credit by tagging them in your own posts). This opens the lines of communication while simultaneously exposing your customer to a wider audience and supporting their personal brand online.

Do consider creative ways to ask

A one-size-fits-all email might come across as tacky or lazy, but a creative insert in your packaging that helpfully and cleverly points your customers to connecting on social media or leaving a review could be a welcome surprise (and part of your brand experience). You can work this step directly into your Amazon prep (or have a partner like MyFBAPrep handle this for you).

Some ideas for custom inserts could include a guide to how to use their product, a pop-up thank you card, an insert explaining where your raw materials were sourced from, a CTA to recycle and how to return used bottles to your company, or more.

Do follow up

Following-up is a key component of customer outreach and engagement. For starters, you want to make sure your customers are happy with their purchase. This contributes to a solid customer experience, as it demonstrates to your customers that you care about their satisfaction. In this form of outreach, you can ask for a review or rating as well.

Always follow up with your customers after you request they leave a review or share your product with their followers. This is especially important if you contact a customer out of the blue. You can frame your follow-up as a check-in on how they like the product and invite them to share their feedback with you if they’re unhappy or have concerns.

It’s also good manners to express your gratitude after a customer creates content for your products, or to check in if their review was less than positive.

Do maintain ongoing relationships

Your customer relationships and your UGC strategy don’t end with a single piece of content. Regular communication with customers is important to maintain those relationships.

You can maintain your relationships in many ways, but the best is by meeting your customers where they are and regularly engaging with them there.

Don’t forget that relationships are two-way streets. If your customers share reviews and content that promote your product, spotlight them right back. You can do this by sharing their blogs and social media posts on your own platforms.

Don’t incentivize

This tip is primarily for sellers on marketplaces that disallow incentivized review requests. For example, sending an email to your customers offering them incentives in exchange for reviews goes against Amazon’s community guidelines and policies.

Incentivizing your customers might look something like offering a 20% discount or free gift for leaving a review on your product listing.

While this is a big no-no, partnering with influencers isn’t…at least, not entirely.

Read: How to use social media for DTC success: Influencers, engagement, and customer support

While you can’t tell your influencer to leave positive reviews on Amazon, you can enter into a professional contract with influencers as brand partners who generate content on your behalf.

You can also send a thank you gift to your customers after they’ve left positive reviews to express your gratitude. Unlike incentivizing and offering a freebie before the review, sending a token of thanks is an endearing way to continue to build your relationship and show your customer how much you value them.

Chances are, your customer will also take the time to share your gift with their followers or leave a review for you!

Don’t forget to say thanks

“Thank you.” Two simple words that pack a (polite) punch when fostering relationships with your customers.

Hopefully, you thank your customers for their purchases, either through outreach after delivery or with inserts in your packages. However, you especially want to express your gratitude when customers take the time to share their feedback and leave a review on either your product listing or their own platforms or web domains.

Don’t be pushy

Sometimes, people prefer not to review your items publicly, even if they’re repeat buyers. It’s better to keep a loyal customer than to offend (and potentially lose) them by clogging their DMs and inbox with calls for UGC.

Make it clear from the start that you aren’t going to push the subject and that their feedback is entirely optional. After you follow up, mark that contact as non-responsive to UGC requests and ensure they aren’t bothered again.

5 Ways to collect UGC

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics and best practices, let’s talk about a few tactical ways to start collecting user-generated content.

1) Create a branded hashtag

The first step in your UGC strategy should be figuring out how to collect all of your user-generated content without having to hunt it down.

Creating your own branded hashtag and sharing it everywhere you inspire UGC will help keep all of your content easily searchable so you can discover and filter through it all at your convenience.

The last thing you want to do is invest time and resources into inspiring video reviews, shares, and posts, only to lose them in the social media void.

2) Delight your buyers with surprise freebies

A great way to inspire user-generated content is by delighting your current customers into showing their appreciation online. Throw in a free product for different occasions as a nice surprise, and add an insert with a prompt to leave a review or post on social (with your hashtag, of course).

Some ideas include:

  • When a customer has purchased more than X times, add a freebie as a thank you for being a loyal customer.
  • Add a freebie on an order they place during their birth month as a special surprise.
  • If someone is a subscription customer, consider throwing in a special surprise on their first year anniversary to say thank you for sticking with you for a whole year.

Read: Start a subscription box business: 15 Subscription boxes to create today

3) Run a few contests

Hosting contests that promote user-generated content is a great way to incentivize your userbase to create content around your products in specific ways that you determine.

For example, if you’d like to promote a new product you just released, you could offer it as a giveaway prize for people who post themselves using it or another complimentary product online.

Consider a DTC luggage brand asking their followers to share photos of where their suitcases have been, complete with a tag to the company social media profile and branded hashtag. The top three most-liked posts will get a complimentary, newly released travel sling sent to them wherever they are in the world.

Read: How to boost eCommerce conversions with giveaways and contests

4) Incentivize engagement

Some brands incentivize engagement by providing loyalty points for reviews, bumping customers to a new membership tier for posting online, and gamifying the process by providing a rewards checklist for every customer who signs up for an account.

For example, once someone signs up for an account and makes a purchase, show a pop-up checklist at the corner of their screen or via a thank you email (or both) that shows different actions and the corresponding points they can earn for completing them. A few can be:

  • Follow us on Instagram – 1 point
  • Follow us on Twitter – 1 point
  • Join our community on Facebook – 1 point
  • Post a photo of yourself using our product (and tag us) – 5 points
  • Share a video of how you use our products (and tag us) – 20 points
  • Complete this checklist and earn superstar status – 30 points

Tip: You may want to delay this to show up on their second purchase, depending on the results you get.

You can also use more creative tactics to incentivize buyers who haven’t signed up for an account with you, but follow you on social media.

For example, consider selecting one of your most active, engaged, and vocal fans every month and saying thank you publicly (with their permission). Announce that you’re sending a special thank you box their way, and show a teaser about what’s inside.

This goes a long way to building rapport with your biggest fans, who will likely create more UGC about it. It also encourages all your followers to start engaging with you and sharing their experiences with your brand online, and tagging you for visibility.

Read: Customer loyalty programs: 8 Benefits you can provide to encourage repeat customers

5) Prompt UGC across your post-purchase experience

Sharing a prompt to post a review or photo/video of buyers using your product at key points in the post-purchase experience helps achieve a few things:

  • You can ensure buyers that you’ll welcome their thoughts and value their feedback. That way, there’s no question about whether or not you’re listening.
  • It can remind users of your hashtag and/or social handles for when they post organically (so you don’t miss out on the content).
  • You can build up your brand culture and invite them to be a part of it, especially now that they’ve purchased and can experience the product themselves.

Consider adding a message on your confirmation page that welcomes buyers to the “club” and prompting them to follow your social profiles. This is an excellent time to introduce your branded hashtag and nudge buyers to see how others are using your products.

Then, a few days after they receive their purchase, send an email asking if they have any questions or concerns about the product. Give them an easy way to rate how they’re finding your product on a scale of one to 10, and for those who give you high scores ask them to leave a review.

Wrapping up — Use UGC to encourage trust and earn more sales

Now’s the time to think about how you’ll use UGC to promote and grow your business moving forward.

Creating a UGC strategy will increase the number of reviews you receive and help spread your name and products to new audiences and prospects. It also provides you with incredible content for your advertising.

Additionally, a strong UGC strategy will reveal new SEO opportunities, increase your rankings and conversions, and enable you to grow your business faster through authentic, trustworthy content.

eCommerce Logistics Chat: MyFBAPrep Joins The Riverbend Happy Hour

boxes in front of a warehouse that says "Amazon"

MyFBAPrep’s very own Taylor Smits joined the Riverbend Consulting Amazon Seller Happy Hour this month, to talk about all things FBA – from outsourcing, to prep, to all things in between.

Check out the recording below!

How to stay in stock on FBA

Staying in stock is vital for every business, no matter the season. Taylor explains how MyFBAPrep helps Amazon sellers ensure they don’t lose out on sales by keeping inventory replenished with smart fulfillment strategies.

Amazon scales, but FBA does not

Logistics is not most sellers’ core business, nor do they want it to be. Taylor discusses when it’s time to outsource FBA prep, from signs within the business to signs at home (ie. when your partner gets mad at the inventory sitting in your kitchen).

Why outsource FBA prep

Amazon sellers can quickly go down a rabbit hole of spending too much time on labeling and stickering their items in-house, and realize they “want to get their life back.” FBA prep can quickly get time consuming and distract from the main business, which is what sellers wanted to focus on in the first place.

Merchants don’t want to focus on FBA prep

MyFBAPrep takes something that’s difficult to scale completely off the plates of our clients, then give their time back so they can go focus on the business they signed up to run in the first place.

Outsourcing logistics to experts

Look for a fulfillment partner who can boast expertise in the field. Amazon FBA prep is changing constantly, and eCommerce logistics are getting increasingly complex. Merchants should aim to work with a company that can also help guide strategy, and ensure compliance.

Hiring and personnel during COVID-19

In addition to it being stressful and time-consuming to manage an in-house logistics team, the pandemic has also made it more difficult to hire and maintain warehouse staff for many merchants.

How to choose your eCommerce logistics partner

Look for FBA knowledge and expertise. A warehouse needs to have experience dealing with your specific items, for example bulky or heavy items.

The importance of having a good account manager to client ratio

Your logistics company should always have someone who knows FBA prep and the process in your warehouse, and able to get eyes on your inventory.

How can multi-channel sellers ensure on-time delivery

Taylor discusses seller strategies he’s seen successful merchants employ in order to stay in stock and deliver reliably (such as looking at other ports and staying informed).

The future of growth in eCommerce

Diversification, omni-channel selling, Walmart Fulfillment Services, DTC websites, and more are all on sellers’ minds.

What does the supply chain of 2022 look like?

Can sellers expect more congested ports, sky-high freight prices, and slow deliveries? Taylor breaks down what to expect in the world of eCommerce logistics and supply chains next year.

7 Product Photography Tips to Enhance Your Listings

an analog camera with a lens

Product images steal the spotlight on Amazon. Whether on search result pages or individual product detail pages, images are front and center — and have the power to make or break your chances of landing a sale.

With this in mind, consider the following tips to elevate your product photography and create listings that convert.

7 Product photography tips

1) Use the right equipment

When in a pinch, an iPhone camera can get the job done. But ideally, you’ll want to shoot your images using a DSLR that gives you the greatest control over the brightness, sharpness, and resolution of your images.

Beyond this, you should invest in a tripod and a few lenses that capture both wide and close-up shots clearly. Fortunately, you likely don’t need to worry about portability as much as stability, so you won’t have to stock up immediately on equipment that’s easy to travel with.

In addition to the basics, there’s plenty of other gear you could purchase, including light stands, light modifiers, backgrounds, and editing software. However, you don’t have to purchase this all at once. Assess your needs and add to your collection gradually.

2) Find a white background

Amazon requires you to shoot your main images against a pure white background. For this, you can use white fabric — such as a bedsheet — or a backdrop purchased online. Make sure every surface surrounding your product is covered with your white sheet (Amazon wants to mimic the appearance of your item floating on its interface).

While editing software comes in handy when you want to touch up your images, avoid using it to remove the background of your image entirely. This can easily lead to distortion or false customer expectations if, for instance, you shoot your image under yellow lighting, but remove the background to make it look like it was shot under white lighting.

3) Watch your lighting

Speaking of lighting — use natural lighting whenever possible to provide the most accurate representation of your product. Make sure your lighting isn’t too bright or severe to cause glare or distortion.

If you need to use artificial lighting, leverage umbrellas and reflectors to cast bright, even light across your item. In either case, it’s best to have a designated spot within your home or office to shoot your photos. This ensures the overall look and feel of your product images remain consistent across all your Amazon listings.

4) Be mindful of relative size

According to Amazon guidelines, your product must occupy at least 85% of the area of your main images. However, when it comes to secondary images (aka your alternate images), you have more freedom over how your product is displayed. You can show your items in various environments and situations, or even overlay them with text.

As you capture these photos, be careful not to portray your product as bigger or smaller than it is. Provide objects, models (when appropriate), or labels to showcase the true size of your products so your customers aren’t surprised.

5) Include close-ups of key features

Close-ups are typically much more alluring and informative than wide images. They allow your customers to inspect the finer details of your product, like the fabric, zippers, and pockets of a bag.

When deciding what to capture in close-ups, consider how customers would examine your item in person. Don’t leave things open to interpretation; zoom in on the details that make your products unique or attractive.

6) Capture every angle

When customers evaluate products in store, they tend to hold the item up and inspect the top, back, inside, and outside. Likewise, your online photos should showcase your products at multiple angles.

They should essentially offer a 360-degree view of your product so customers know exactly what to expect when they receive it in the mail. If you’re not sure which angles are optimal to post on your listing, take various shots to keep in your library and test which images perform best.

7) Show your products in action

Aside from setting the right customer expectations, images serve to inspire your customers. They help build personal connections or affinity towards your product even before your buyers see it in person.

When photographing alternate images, go in with a plan. Consider what you want your customers to feel when they see your product — do you want them to feel safe? Energized? Relaxed? By showing your products in various use cases, you help shoppers visualize themselves using your items.

You can simultaneously communicate the intended use of your product and the intended user. For example, if you sell a children’s toy, you can showcase kids within your target age range playing with your toy.

Wrapping up — Harness the power of high-quality photos

Photos are some of the most important components of your Amazon listing. They reel your customers in and build confidence in your brand. Don’t put your sales at risk by overlooking the importance of your images, and take the time to learn the best practices of product photography.

How to Start Selling Books on Amazon

a book on amazon displayed on a mobile phone next to a stack of books

It’s hard to remember a time when Amazon was just a bookseller. But in 1994, when Bezos hatched his idea for an online store, books were nothing short of a godsend. 

Books not only promised high demand and low costs, but a large variety of titles to choose from. Sure enough, within just two months of launching Amazon, Bezos was earning $20,000 a week—purely from book sales. 

It stands to reason that books remain near and dear to Amazon’s heart, and continue to ring in a hefty load of sales. Today, Amazon accounts for more than 50% of the entire U.S. market in printed books. The book category still earns one of the highest average profit margins (25%), according to JungleScout’s 2021 State of the Amazon Seller Report, making it an attractive product category for sellers. 

If you’re looking to sell on Amazon, books are a great place to start. Here’s a quick guide to selling books successfully on the marketplace. 

How to find books to sell on Amazon 

Amazon allows you to sell books in a variety of formats (hardcovers, paperbacks, or ebooks) and conditions (new or used). Of these, printed books still outpace their virtual counterparts. While Amazon is tight-lipped about the breakdown of its book sales, it’s projected that ebook sales only make up around 21% of total book sales, consistent with industry-wide statistics. 

When it comes to finding books to sell, you can source inventory by…

  • Purchasing new books from wholesalers, distributors, or publishers that sell these in bulk
  • Collecting used books from thrift shops, library sales, local books stores, estate sales, and/or other online marketplaces like eBay 
  • Dropshipping books through providers like AliExpress, which can ship items directly to your customer 
  • Publishing your own ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Before purchasing inventory, make sure to check Amazon’s best sellers lists for an idea of popular titles and genres throughout the years. You may additionally want to consider sub-niches, like bookmarks, that could complement and increase your book sales. 

Picking the right delivery method

After you’ve compiled a list of books to offer, you can start selling them through Amazon’s third-party marketplace (aka, Seller Central) or first-party portal (Vendor Central). Vendor Central is currently invitation-only and is reserved for merchants who can sell to Amazon in bulk. Amazon will then list, price, and promote your products however they want, retaining all the profits from sales.

Seller Central is attractive to most sellers because of the level of control it provides. You can better define the messaging around your products in addition to the pricing (though to win the buy box, you’ll need to price competitively). 

As a third-party seller, you also have the option of fulfilling orders in one of several ways:

  • Package and ship items from your own warehouse 
  • Tap a third-party logistics partner (3PL) 
  • Participate in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) 

FBA is by far the most popular option of the three. A whopping two-thirds of Amazon sellers use FBA, both because of the convenience it provides and the competitive advantages it offers. By using FBA, you can earn the coveted Prime status on your listings and gain priority when competing for the buy box. 

Note that FBA isn’t as simple as hauling your inventory to one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers. FBA has strict criteria for how to properly prep your items for storage. Should you fail to meet these criteria, you risk additional fees, delays, or rejection of your shipment.

This is where services like MyFBAPrep come in handy. MyFBAPrep can handle the prep process for you so that you can safely offload logistics and remain compliant with Amazon’s detailed requirements. 

Read: A list of essential FBA prep services and how they work

Setting up your book listings

A good book listing needs a good cover. In other words, you’ll need to take some time to compose an Amazon listing that’s worthy of first-page status. Just like Google, Amazon has its own algorithm for ranking products. 

There are several best practices to follow when it comes to optimizing your Amazon listings. But keep in mind that if your book is already being sold by another Amazon seller, then you’ll likely be joining his/her listing and have to request content changes via a support ticket. 

Monitoring sales and trends 

It goes without saying that your job isn’t done once your books are listed for sale. You’ll want to establish a process for tracking your sales over time, and identify which products are worth restocking versus retiring.

One of the best ways to keep up with new trends is by following a book club or forum. See which genres, authors, and titles excite people and/or are being marketed heavily by their publishers. Tools like JungleScout can further help you to estimate sales based on a product’s performance across the entire site.  

What to do with old stock

At some point, you’ll likely have to figure out a plan for getting rid of slow-moving inventory. If you’re an FBA seller, a contingency plan is especially important for avoiding long-term storage fees or removal fees.

As a first line of defense, try adjusting your price. Sometimes lowering your price by even a few cents could be the difference between earning the buy box and losing it, or landing a sale versus zero movement. 

Although Amazon doesn’t allow books to be the primary item of a bundle, you can include it as a secondary item to add value to your bundles. So if you sell items other than books that relate to your titles, you can bundle them together to create a unique SKU, or even give a few books away for free to encourage purchase of old stock. For example, you may want to throw in a yoga book with a yoga mat (the primary item).

Alternatively, you could experiment with Amazon PPC ads to draw more attention to your products. If all else fails, then consider donating books or selling them at wholesale prices to another reseller. Avoid hanging on to stagnant inventory for too long and losing out on opportunities to sell more popular books. 

Wrapping up — Selling books on Amazon

With at least half of all books sold on Amazon, this category is an excellent one to invest in for all Amazon sellers. Follow our tips above to pick the best books to sell, find the right delivery method for your business, and even use books to enhance your other listings.

How to Find International Suppliers for Amazon FBA

a magnifying glass on a globe

This is a guest post from Hammad Nafees, Content & Outreach Specialist of ZonGuru. ZonGuru is an all-in-one Amazon toolkit that helps private label sellers with product research, niche evaluation, competition analysis, listing optimization, inventory tracking, customer review acquisition, and running day-to-day operations of their Amazon business. Their tools provide data from across 10 Amazon marketplaces, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Australia, Germany, and India.

What’s the most important part of building a successful Amazon business?

Some would say acing your PPC campaigns. Others might side with listing optimization, and the list goes on. But for us, sourcing takes the win. It can literally make or break your product.

The price point, quality, sales, and profit margin of your product — all are dependent on where you source your product from. If you source a cheap, low-quality product, you might get a higher profit margin, but your customers will be quickly disappointed, sales will drop, negative reviews will crop up, and your store will ultimately crash.

Similarly, if you source a high-quality, but expensive product, you’ll either have a high price and won’t be able to compete in the market, or have a low margin and may not make enough to keep your business afloat.

Therefore, the better your sourcing, the better your chances of success.

So, what options do you have when it comes to sourcing a product for Amazon?

You can go local and find manufacturers in your country/region, or you can search internationally. While working with a local supplier may seem to have the advantage (i.e., lower communication barriers, keep track of production more easily, faster turnaround times, and, of course, convenience), most successful sellers actually source their products from overseas.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the benefits of international sourcing and some places to source from.

Benefits of international sourcing

Businesses thrive with international suppliers. Just like local production, overseas sourcing has its own benefits. Below, we’ve highlighted the ones you can’t overlook.

1) Cheaper rates

Let’s kick things off with everyone’s favorite perk: saving cash on their purchases! Reduced production costs are one of the prime benefits of global sourcing.

Many foreign suppliers and manufacturers offer their services at a competitive price due to cheaper labor, especially in low-cost regions. This can be a great way to maximize your business’ bottom line if you’re on a tight budget.

By cutting down on expensive production and labor costs, you’re able to allocate that money elsewhere.

Additionally, you can assure yourself of the quality standards of these products by pre-ordering samples. This is crucial, especially for selling on a marketplace like Amazon, where quality control is a high priority.

Besides these, there are other aspects that tip the scale in favor of sourcing overseas.

2) Access to technology

Often, businesses are forced to outsource because domestic suppliers lack cutting-edge technology or specialized knowledge to stay competitive.

Most sourcing destinations have devoted significant portions of their finances towards manufacturing. Their production plants are equipped with the most up-to-date technology globally, which plays a vital role in maintaining the quality standards of products.

3) Greater variety

Some countries  simply have better resources, both in terms of labor and raw materials, to make products that may not be available elsewhere. From exotic footwear to bamboo cups, you can find anything and everything.

You can also ask suppliers in these countries to personalize your product according to your specifications, which helps you establish your USP while selling on Amazon.

4) A wider pool of potential suppliers

Everyone wants to get hold of quality products while spending the minimum necessary. This is where you can leverage different online marketplaces and handpick suppliers that meet your requirements.

No need to rush into making a decision. With international suppliers, the ball is in your court.

5) More resilient logistics

When you have multiple suppliers you can rely on, your business is more flexible and resilient to disruptions in the supply chain. Instead of going completely out of stock if one global region is cut off from your warehouses, you can start sourcing additional units from your alternative suppliers.

You can also optimize your global logistics for speed and cost. For example, if you’re seeing that shipping lanes from a certain country are delivering more quickly, you can shift to that manufacturer temporarily until other congested routes clear up.

Where to find suppliers internationally

Now that you know how sourcing internationally can benefit your Amazon business, let’s dive into where to source your products from.

With over 193 countries on the world map, you have plenty of options to find what you need. But which ones are best for international sourcing?

Well, we have a list to help you out.

1) China

Probably the most popular sourcing destination. China offers an extensive variety of products you can have manufactured at cheap rates. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of this manufacturing giant.


  • Mass Market
  • Expansion capabilities
  • Cheap manual labor
  • One-stop solutions like Alibaba make it easy to sift through suppliers
  • Production leader across all sectors


  • High U.S. tariffs
  • Chinese suppliers have become competitors rather than manufacturers in recent years for Amazon sellers
  • Language barrier

Websites for finding Chinese suppliers:

If you feel sourcing in China has become saturated, or you’d prefer venturing into a more niche market, here are some other countries you can shop in:

2) Vietnam

Located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is an up-and-coming sourcing hub for many Amazon suppliers. It can be cheaper than China if done right. Here are the benefits of choosing Vietnam:

  • Its geographical location: Vietnam has a large number of seaports, which provides shipping convenience and helps avoid shipping woes.
  • Multiple trade agreements: Vietnam is a politically stable country with numerous positive trade relationships. This means trade is faster and smoother compared to most countries.
  • Fit for small businesses: Since Vietnam has a developing market, local factories and manufacturers are open to accommodating small orders, which makes it an excellent choice for small and medium-sized businesses.

Vietnam is famous for exporting goods like textiles, clothing, leather items, footwear, plastic and rubber items, wooden products, furniture, headgear, and briefcases.

Websites for finding suppliers in Vietnam:

3) India

Known as the home of exotic spices, India is much more than that. It’s earned a name for itself in textiles, metal tools, chemicals, jewelry, ceramic cookware, and footwear. Let’s look at why you should source from India:

  • Skilled labor: India has a large workforce, with most of them both experienced and skilled. This means you gain a shorter lead time and relatively less hassle regarding the end product.
  • Easier communication: While communication in other Asian countries could become difficult at times, that’s not the case in India. English is a widely spoken language in the country, and most of their contracts are in English as well.
  • Access to raw materials: In India, raw materials are abundant, so the goods are more likely to be authentic with low costs.

Websites to find suppliers in India:

4) Thailand

The Thai market has steadily grown over recent years. With many trade agreements and a booming infrastructure to facilitate trade, it’s a market worth checking out.

  • Strong network of factories: Thailand has a large network of factories, warehouses, manufacturing units, etc., that cater to a variety of goods.
  • Quality production: Equipped with the latest technology, modern machinery, and skilled workers, products sourced from Thailand are commonly of high quality.
  • Ease of business: Not only does Thailand have good trade relationships, but the local people are respectful and value others’ time and commitments. You can easily find long-term suppliers in Thailand.

A huge chunk of Thailand’s exports consist of rubber, fishing products, machinery, automotives, jewelry, handmade goods, and more.

Websites to find suppliers in Thailand:


We’ve discussed the benefits of international sourcing, countries you should look out for, and a few marketplaces to help you get started.

After reading this blog, we hope you’ll be able to make informed decisions on which country to source from, knowing how it can cater to your Amazon business needs. Find your destination, research suppliers on the marketplace, negotiate your price, and start selling.

Ready, set — source!

Walmart vs. Amazon: Which eCommerce Marketplace is Better For Your Brand?

a browser displaying amazon's website side by side with a browser displaying walmart's website

This is a guest post from Channel Key, a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for brands worldwide. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, and ongoing consulting.

Call it the retail rivalry of the century. For 30 years, Walmart has ruled as the king of all retailers, easily outperforming its competition by offering a vast selection at low prices. Along the way came an online bookstore called Amazon. From a humble garage in Seattle, Amazon quickly grew and expanded into other market territories. It proved to be a formidable force, launching innovation after innovation.

Then, it happened: In 2019, Amazon surpassed Walmart and took the crown as the world’s largest, most valuable retailer (outside of China). In terms of gross revenue, Amazon solidified its top position this year. Forbes reported the eCommerce giant generated $610 billion in retail revenue from June 2020 to June 2021, while Walmart brought in $566 billion.

But this rivalry is far from over. The brick-and-mortar juggernaut is seeking to reclaim its title by charging onto the digital battlefield with its own platform: Walmart Marketplace.

For brands, the rivalry between Walmart and Amazon has proven beneficial, providing more opportunities to reach customers and increase sales. While eCommerce has been around for years, it’s only recently become a mainstream way of shopping. The COVID-19 pandemic turbo-charged this growth, as lockdowns, in-store capacity restrictions, and fear of contagion forced people to embrace online marketplaces like Amazon.

Today, brands know eCommerce is an essential component to their success. What remains unclear for many is which marketplace to join: Amazon, Walmart, or both?

Below, Channel Key highlights the major similarities and differences between the two platforms to help you decide which is the better eCommerce channel for your brand.

Amazon overview

As the largest and most powerful online marketplace in the U.S., Amazon is a popular platform for businesses and individual sellers.

It’s relatively simple to start selling on Amazon. The platform offers two plans: Individual and Professional. With the Individual plan, you pay Amazon a commission of $0.99 per sale. The Professional plan costs $39.99 per month no matter how many items you sell. For both, Amazon collects a referral fee from each sale as well, which is a percentage of the total transaction and varies by product category.

You also need to decide whether to sell as a first-party (1P) seller or a third-party (3P) seller. In the 1P model, you are the wholesaler and Amazon is the retailer. This follows a traditional two-tier distribution model where you negotiate pricing and terms with your Amazon buyer, sign a Vendor Agreement, and ship your product to Amazon when you receive weekly replenishment purchase orders. This business is run through the Vendor Central portal.

With 3P, you become the retailer. In this model, you set up your own Amazon storefront and sell your products directly to consumers. Sellers on Amazon have full brand authority and complete control over how they list and market their products. Unlike 1P Vendors, 3P sellers set their own pricing, determine which products to list and promote, and manage their own inventory through the Seller Central dashboard.

Amazon 3P sellers have two options for fulfilling orders: Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). In the FBM program, you are responsible for maintaining your own inventory and shipping products to customers. FBA sellers, on the other hand, pay Amazon to handle all receiving, packing, shipping, customer service, and returns. One of the main benefits of FBA is that your products become eligible for Amazon Prime Free Two-Day Shipping.

Walmart Marketplace overview

Walmart Marketplace is similar to Amazon in several ways. Sellers undergo an approval process, onboard their listings, choose a fulfillment option, utilize marketplace marketing and advertising programs, and get paid.

However, there are a few key differences. First, it’s challenging to qualify as a Walmart Marketplace seller. While Amazon welcomes just about anyone to open a digital storefront, Walmart is selective about the brands it allows to sell under its name; until 2016, Walmart Marketplace was an invitation-only platform.

Today, any brand can apply, but they must demonstrate a history of eCommerce experience on other platforms, reputable customer service, a compelling product assortment, and competitive pricing before receiving approval.

Walmart Marketplace offers several fulfillment options. Like Amazon’s FBM program, sellers can opt to self-fulfill orders (upon qualification) through its Seller Center platform. Walmart Marketplace FBM sellers can display the “Free Two-Day Delivery” label on their approved listings, which is a core component of the retailer’s strategy against Amazon. Thanks to the latter’s precedent, one- and two-day shipping are now factored into the customer’s purchasing decision.

Walmart seems to acknowledge the new standards Amazon set. In February 2020, the company introduced Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS). Similar to Amazon’s FBA, WFS sellers store their inventory at Walmart fulfillment centers. When a customer places an order on, WFS picks, packs, and ships the item(s) on the seller’s behalf. WFS also handles all customer support and returns for these orders.

The WFS end-to-end fulfillment experience grants access to Walmart’s omni-channel capabilities, such as its Free & Easy Returns program.

Approved items wear the Free Two-Day Delivery and Fulfilled by Walmart tags for increased product visibility and higher conversion. Like FBA, the WFS cost structure includes a fixed monthly storage fee and a fulfillment price that’s based on item weight.

Walmart+ vs. Amazon Prime

Walmart and Amazon both offer subscription-based services that provide members with various benefits and perks. Launched in 2007, Amazon Prime boasts more than 200 million subscribers worldwide (102 million in the U.S. alone) and is one of the most popular and appealing features of the Amazon platform.

Walmart launched its own membership service called Walmart+ in September 2020. With 8.2 million subscribers, Walmart+ is much smaller than its Amazon counterpart. In terms of performance, it’s difficult to compare the two programs because Walmart+ has little data available. From a customer point of view, both function virtually identically and offer similar benefits.

Source: Jungle Scout

How Walmart Marketplace stacks up against Amazon

Without a doubt, Amazon is the more powerful eCommerce platform. It has nearly 20 years of experience over its retail rival, during which time it has built a global marketplace that serves billions of customers and millions of sellers. A new report from Jungle Scout forecasts Amazon to end 2021 with over $468 billion in eCommerce revenue, while Walmart’s online revenue is expected to reach $75 billion.

That said, to underestimate Walmart’s role in eCommerce would be a mistake. For almost 50 years, Walmart has accumulated a massive customer base by offering low prices, familiar brands, and fast and easy in-store pickup and returns. This gives Walmart Marketplace the potential to become an eCommerce powerhouse – and they’re well on their way. According to the same Jungle Scout report above, Walmart’s eCommerce sales could increase 89% this year, compared to Amazon’s 16%.

The primary selling point of Walmart Marketplace is gaining access to its established network of locations and customers. In addition to 11,500 brick-and-mortar stores frequented by 265 million customers each year, more than 120 million people visit each month (according to their data). This is only a fraction of Amazon’s monthly search traffic, so to compensate for it, Walmart emphasizes other key distinctions to attract sellers.

Nine out of ten Americans live within 15 minutes of a Walmart store, which makes returns and customer service easy by leveraging the retail giant’s existing capabilities in its brick-and-mortar network.

Amazon pros

MASSIVE CUSTOMER BASE – Amazon dwarfs Walmart Marketplace in terms of number of customers. With an average of 2.7 billion monthly visitors worldwide (compared to Walmart Marketplace’s 100 million unique visitors per month), your brand will reach far more shoppers on Amazon.

EASY ONBOARDING – Launching your business on Amazon is much easier than on Walmart Marketplace, which requires an application and review process. Once you purchase a selling plan and set up your account, you can list your products right away.

ACCESS TO AMAZON PRIME – As an FBA seller, your products will automatically display the coveted Prime Badge. This makes your items eligible for free two-day shipping and increases their visibility for Amazon Prime Members.

TARGETED MARKETING AND ADVERTISING – Amazon’s advertising suite is much more robust than Walmart Marketplace’s platform, offering a wider selection of ad types, targeting options, and reporting tools.

Source: Jungle Scout

Channel Key takeaways

For most businesses, whether you should sell on Amazon or Walmart Marketplace will come down to one factor: how established your company is. Just about anyone can open a Seller Central account and begin selling on Amazon.

Conversely, Walmart Marketplace requires a history of selling online via your own website or eCommerce channel. Startups and young indie brands often have no choice but to start with Amazon.

For established brands that are not on either, the question usually is not, “Should we sell on Amazon or Walmart?” But rather, “Should we sell on Amazon and Walmart?” The former is a much larger marketplace that offers access to more customers. Larger brands with strong marketing budgets will have no problem finding their customers there.

For this reason, established brands typically begin with Amazon and then consider adding Walmart Marketplace. Whether or not the latter is a good fit will depend on factors like industry and production capabilities. If you sell products in a category with high search volume and low competition, and you have the infrastructure to support both marketplaces, then Walmart Marketplace is likely a good fit for your business.

At the end of the day, there’s no magical formula to determine which marketplace is better for your brand. Both have their pros and cons.

Walmart Marketplace has been around for more than a decade, but by industry standards, it’s still in its infancy. From a seller’s point of view, this offers both advantages and disadvantages compared to Amazon.

With only around 100,000 current sellers, it can be much easier to generate traffic to your listings than on a platform with 6.4 million competitors.

On the other hand, its marketing and advertising capabilities are noticeably limited. Amazon has a much larger collection of consumer shopping data that it uses (with the help of advanced technology) to develop an increasingly expansive arsenal of tools to target customers.

Still, Walmart is no entry-level soldier in the ranks of retail. It’s the former king, a retail behemoth with six decades of momentum, and it’s determined to reclaim the throne by shifting its forces to eCommerce.

Regardless of the outcome, the true victor of this rivalry will be neither Walmart nor Amazon; it will be the brands who profit from the ongoing challenge to create the most modern and effective ways to reach their audiences, and the customers who save time and money with easier, more streamlined shopping avenues.

How to Leverage SMS Marketing For Your DTC Business

a mobile phone displaying messages and alerts

Our smartphones have become our lifeline. We use them to order groceries, keep in touch with loved ones, take photos, write notes, learn new languages, shop online …

With the average person spending at least three hours a day on their mobile phone, it makes sense to take advantage of this usage for your DTC business.

SMS marketing is on the rise, with 75% of consumers admitting they’re open to receiving texts from brands they care about.

If your DTC business doesn’t already tap into SMS marketing, you’re missing out on a lucrative opportunity to improve your buyer experience and boost customer retention. But don’t worry, we’re here to walk you through everything you need to know about leveraging SMS marketing for your DTC business.

What is SMS marketing?

SMS marketing refers to the process of using SMS (Short Message Service, or texting) to connect with customers and inform them of campaigns, promotions, news, and updates.

SMS marketing is similar to email marketing. Both are forms of owned media marketing, except one reaches customers through their email address while the other reaches them using their phone number.

With SMS marketing, you have full control over who receives your text messages. You can segment your audience and personalize your messages to your customers. This makes SMS a highly personal form of marketing that’s perfect for DTC brands.

Why use SMS marketing

The average American checks their phone 160 times each day. That means, if you use SMS as part of your sales and marketing strategy, you have 160 opportunities to engage consumers — and to make a sale.

We aren’t saying you should text your customers 160 times a day. Rather, we’re simply highlighting the full potential of SMS marketing and how it can be one of the best ways to get in front of your target audience.

From the ease of connection to the speed at which people respond to text messages, there are many benefits to using SMS marketing as a DTC brand.

Customers value convenience. Being able to navigate seamlessly from their text messages to your mobile website to browse and check out makes SMS marketing a convenient marketing channel for your customers.

SMS marketing provides a direct line of communication between your brand and your customers. It takes approximately 90 seconds for someone to check a text message. So, SMS marketing can help you reach your customers faster than ever before.

Incorporating text messages into your marketing strategy can help you stand out from competitors as well. The digital space is overflowing with email marketing and paid advertising across social media, search engines, and websites. SMS marketing offers a refreshing alternative channel of communication.

The unique nature of SMS marketing can also build more genuine connections with your customers, as proven by customers stating they would be happy to receive text messages from brands.

If all of the above points don’t convince you to try SMS marketing, perhaps the costs will. Unlike other marketing channels, SMS marketing can be incredibly cost-effective, regardless of how many messages you send or how many recipients you have. It’s an attractive tactic for DTC brands who may not have large marketing budgets.

SMS marketing statistics

To illustrate the power of SMS marketing, here are some of our favorite SMS marketing statistics:

  • The average U.S. smartphone user touches their phone 2,617 times a day (source)
  • 75% of people would like to have offers sent to them via SMS (source)
  • SMS has a 97% read rate within 15 minutes of delivery (source)
  • Sending customers a follow-up SMS can increase email open rates by 20%–30% (source)
  • On average, consumers have 192x more unread emails than text messages (source)
  • 90% of SMS messages are read within the first 90 seconds of receipt (source)
  • 60.8% of people would like the ability to text businesses back about customer support issues (source)
  • 50% of consumers report that flash sales and time-sensitive promotions would encourage them to opt in to a business’s text messages (source)
  • 54% of consumers want marketing text messages, yet only 11% of businesses send SMS messages (source)
  • 86% of small business owners who use SMS messages say texting offers higher engagement than email communication (source)

On a larger scale, these statistics reveal that SMS marketing is not slowing down.

Consumers are more invested in their smartphones than ever before, so, if you want to get in front of your target audience, you need to tap into that dependency via SMS text marketing.

3 Ways to use SMS marketing

Rather than speaking to consumers as a business, SMS marketing lets you speak to them person-to-person through casual text messages.

So, how can you make sure your SMS messages strike the right tone?

Take a look at the following examples to learn what a successful SMS marketing message looks like (and maybe even use them for your own SMS text marketing!).

1) Abandoned cart reminders

Win back customers who abandoned their online cart mid-shopping spree with SMS text messages. Similar to cart abandonment emails, these messages use the site visitor’s contact information (in this case, their mobile number) to send them a message shortly after they abandon their cart.

These automated text messages gently remind customers they left products in their cart without completing the purchase. Cart recovery SMS could lead to higher click-through rates (36% vs. 3.2%) and higher conversion rates than email equivalents.

Try this example abandoned cart SMS message:

Hey {FirstName}, did you forget something? Use the code {DiscountCode} to save 10% when you check out today ️! Get it now before it’s gone: {AbandonedCheckoutUrl}

2) Customer loyalty program notifications

Customers love a loyalty program. Don’t believe us? 75% of consumers say they would switch brands for a better loyalty program.

Retain and reengage existing customers with a loyalty program. Then, use SMS text marketing to remind them of their points balance, benefits, and to cash in their latest rewards.

Try these example loyalty program SMS messages:

Example loyalty program welcome text message

Congrats {FirstName}, you just became a {BrandName} loyalty member ! To celebrate, we’re offering you 30% off your next order when you use {DiscountCode}: {SiteUrl}

Example loyalty program reminder text message

Hey {FirstName}, we haven’t seen you in a while! Check out our latest collection and use your {PointsBalance} points to treat yourself to something nice. You deserve it: {SiteURL}

3) Shipping updates

Offering fast shipping is a sure-fire way to win over consumers. But that isn’t all you can do to satisfy your customers’ online shopping needs.

Customers also appreciate updates on the progress of their online order. 83% of shoppers expect to receive regular communications about their purchases.

Shipping update SMS messages let you inform shoppers about their order process, from the moment its picked up to when it’s due to land on their doorstep.

Try this example shipping update SMS message:

Hey {FirstName}, we have some exciting news ! Your {BrandName} order is on its way! You can keep track of your order here: {TrackingNumber}

SMS marketing platforms

If you are swayed by the idea of supercharging your DTC marketing efforts with SMS messaging, then you need to know about the best SMS marketing platforms.

SMS marketing doesn’t involve manually texting consumers one by one. With SMS marketing platforms, you can automate messages to go out to your customers. You can use these to provide customers with shipping updates, create specific SMS marketing campaigns, send exclusive offers and promotions, reengage shoppers, and much more.

Some of the best SMS marketing platforms available include:

  • ActiveCampaign
  • Birdeye
  • Klaviyo
  • MobileMonkey
  • Omnisend
  • Sendinblue
  • Zipwhip

To understand the various benefits of using an SMS marketing program, let’s dive into some of the services listed above…

ActiveCampaign is a popular omni-channel marketing tool. With ActiveCampaign, you can engage your customers wherever they are by sending messages through texting, WhatsApp, and other third-party apps like Twilio and BulkSMS. You can also set up SMS automation workflows to send messages to customers automatically when they perform a certain action.

Birdeye aims to help companies convert customers through business messaging solutions. Their omni-channel tool allows you to connect different apps so you can effortlessly switch between text and email. This tool also lets you turn voicemails into text messages to respond to customer enquiries easily.

With a laser-focus on eCommerce, Klaviyo offers SMS marketing automation for DTC eCommerce brands. This allows business owners to create strong, personable relationships with their customers through customized, automated text messages that inspire action.

Whatever your business needs, the perfect SMS marketing platform for your brand is out there to help you forge long-lasting relationships that keep your customers happy and your business growing.

SMS marketing best practices

As with any marketing tactic, following best practices will help you earn the most profitable results.

To help you start off on the right foot with SMS marketing, we recommend the following best practices.

1) Be consistent

You need to find the middle ground between sending too many messages and not sending enough. Customers should hear from you often enough to remember your business and feel compelled to take action. However, messaging them too frequently can make them feel suffocated and overwhelmed. As a result, they may opt out of receiving SMS messages from you altogether.

Aim to send text messages consistently. You can do this by creating automated text message workflows based on actions your customers take, such as shipping updates and abandoned cart reminders. You should also schedule frequent SMS marketing campaigns each month to re-engage your existing network of shoppers.

2) Provide measurable, exclusive value

Customers need to feel valued to maintain their brand loyalty. You can achieve this by sharing exclusive rewards, bonuses, and offers with those who opt in to your SMS messaging. These exclusive rewards will make them feel valued, and will encourage more people to sign up for your SMS marketing services to receive these special offers.

Be careful not to overuse rewards, though. Too much of a good thing is possible; offering too many rewards, flash sales, or promotions could negatively impact how your brand is perceived.

3) Make it personal

Personalization is one of the easiest ways to make your marketing messages feel unique. Use custom fields such as first names to send more personable, customized texts to your customers.

You could take this one step further by segmenting your audience based on customer data, such as the categories they tend to shop or their order frequency. Based on this information, you can send them tailored SMS marketing campaigns that are more relevant to their interests and shopping behaviors.

4) Be helpful

Customer service is key as a DTC brand. If you offer two-way communication, make sure you’re responsive when customers send SMS messages to your business number.

Similarly, you can use SMS to provide customer service and assist customers with their inquiries. Being helpful can move customers from a state of curiosity and “just browsing” to being engaged customers.

5) Keep it above board with disclaimers

When incorporating SMS messages into your marketing strategy, remember to include disclaimers.

Marketing disclaimers are a legal requirement. When sending marketing messages, you also need to include a link to your T&Cs and privacy policy, as well as let customers know how often you plan to text subscribers, whether any messaging and data rates apply, and how to unsubscribe from further SMS messages.

Your customers will appreciate the transparency. So, while it may seem boring, it’s in your best interests to share the necessary disclaimers.

How to introduce SMS marketing

If you already make use of email marketing, adding SMS marketing to your strategy should be a seamless process.

1) Collect consent

Before you fire out text messages to your customer database, you need their consent. Nobody wants to receive marketing messages they didn’t opt in for. So, make sure you first collect consent for SMS marketing from your audience. This can be done by emailing subscribers with an exclusive discount if they join your SMS list. You could also add a pop-up or flyout form to your website to collect customer information and consent for your SMS marketing services.

2) Plan your SMS messaging

Recall the SMS best practices and how we said consistency is key. Having an SMS marketing strategy in place will ensure you send customers relevant text messages with value. More importantly, your SMS strategy will make sure the text messages you send support your business goals.

In general, you should send three types of messages: transactional, automations, and campaigns. Transactional messages are related to customer orders, such as shipping updates. Automation and campaigns are marketing updates, with automations being SMS messages sent automatically based on customer behaviors and triggers (e.g., abandoned cart SMS messages), and campaigns being one-off messages. Campaign messages could include seasonal promotions or new product line announcements.

When devising your SMS marketing strategy, remember also to consider the frequency of your texts, and whether you plan to segment your SMS audiences.

3) Let people unsubscribe

Before putting your SMS marketing strategy into action, you need to set up an unsubscribe process. Make it easy for your SMS subscribers to opt out if they no longer wish to receive messages from your business. You could do this by setting up a rule where customers can simply reply “STOP” to unsubscribe automatically from your SMS list.

4) Harmonize your marketing channels

Don’t let your SMS marketing work in silos; your planned SMS activity should fit into your wider marketing strategy. For instance, you may want to maintain consistent messaging across your email marketing, organic social media, and SMS messaging.

Alternatively, you could create exclusivity by offering an SMS-only coupon code, then using email marketing, your website, and social media to let customers know how to join your SMS list to redeem this exclusive offer.

Whatever you do, make sure your marketing channels work together to help you achieve your business goals.

5) Measure and monitor your results

Finally, don’t just send out SMS marketing messages and hope for the best. Be strategic with your messaging and analyze its performance.

Your chosen SMS marketing platform should be able to keep you informed of relevant metrics and KPIs, such as message delivery rate, open rate, click rate, and opt-outs. You can determine the success of your campaign based on which metrics align with your goal. For instance, if you sent an SMS message with the intention of increasing online sales, you’ll want to measure the conversion rate of that message.

Use these metrics to determine the success of your SMS marketing. You may spot patterns in activity. For example, you may find using emojis can encourage more people to click links in your messages.

Analyze your campaigns and keep tweaking them until you find the SMS marketing sweet-spot that works best for your DTC business.

Wrapping up — Engage your DTC customers with SMS marketing

SMS marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage your customers. It’s a largely untapped channel that your customers are almost always on, and gives you a direct line into your favorite customers’ undivided attention.

Follow these best practices to build your community, give your buyers the information they want before they ask, and show your customers you value them.

How to Write Effective Abandoned Cart Emails

a paper in an envelope with a shopping cart and a pencil

Your inventory levels are fully stocked, your marketing campaigns are flying out, and you have a constant stream of people visiting your website.

It sounds like a recipe for success, right? Not necessarily. You’ve forgotten one crucial element: shopping cart abandonment.

Over 88% of online shopping orders are abandoned. If you neglect abandoned shopping carts, you’re missing out on valuable sales.

Abandoned carts are the leaks in your online sales bucket. However, you can use abandoned cart emails to plug these holes.

Keep reading to learn why you need to prioritize abandoned carts, what a good abandoned cart email looks like, and how to write abandoned cart emails that convert.

Abandoned carts are hurting your eCommerce business

In any eCommerce business, it’s inevitable some website visitors will leave without buying anything. In fact, four out of five people who visit your eCommerce store will add something to their cart, then leave without purchasing.

These abandoned carts are hurting your eCommerce business.

Even if you invest in product stock,  spend money on paid advertising, or generate lots of traffic to your site, if you have a high cart abandonment rate, you’re throwing money (and sales!) away.

Thankfully, there’s a solution.

By perfecting your abandoned cart emails, you can reduce your cart abandonment rate and increase your sales.

What are abandoned cart emails?

Abandoned cart emails are transactional emails automatically sent to customers who added products to their cart, but failed to complete their purchase.

These emails remind shoppers they have items left behind and encourage them to return to the store and complete their online purchase.

While abandoned cart emails are transactional, they’re also an effective marketing tactic for recovering lost sales. According to Moosend, 21% of people will click on abandoned cart emails, and 10.7% of those will go on to complete their purchase.

Customize your abandoned cart emails to further encourage people to return and complete their purchase. In their report, Klaviyo found that eCommerce stores that sent a series of two or three cart recovery emails made the most revenue. So, it’s a good practice to test different types of abandoned cart emails and see what works best for your store.

Types of abandoned cart emails

As seen in the above examples, abandoned cart emails don’t have to be boring. You can have fun and get creative with them.

To help you recover lost sales, try one of these types of abandoned cart emails:

  • Simple abandoned cart email – Keep things simple with a single email that highlights the customer’s abandoned cart items and states, “You forgot something.”
  • Helpful abandoned cart email – Some customers may abandon their cart because they need more help. Use your abandoned cart email to answer FAQs and offer support with their order.
  • Personal abandoned cart email – Personalize your abandoned cart email by including information specific to the products the customer left behind.
  • Scarcity abandoned cart email – Use scarcity in your cart recovery emails to encourage customers to go back and complete their purchase before they miss out.
  • Incentive-driven abandoned cart email – Encourage shoppers to go back and complete their purchase by offering an incentive for checking out, such as “Get 10% off when you complete your order.”

When deciding on the best abandoned cart email for your eCommerce store, focus on what your customers are most likely to respond to. You may need to test a few styles before you find the one that works for your brand.

Great abandoned cart email examples

Now that we’ve explained abandoned cart emails, let’s look at some examples of ones that work.

Use these as inspiration to optimize your own abandoned cart email.

Dollar Shave Club

In their abandoned cart email, Dollar Shave Club hooks people in with a short and direct question as their subject line: “Where did you go?”

The email itself sticks to this concise narrative by using easy-to-read bullet points to list the benefits of choosing Dollar Shave Club razors.

They then use a longer email to showcase their product before finishing up with persuasive copy designed to encourage shoppers to complete their purchase. This final paragraph also doubles down on the benefits of choosing Dollar Shave Club.


As one of the giants in the sportswear industry, Adidas isn’t afraid to take a bold approach to their abandoned cart emails.

Rather than selling the benefits of their products, Adidas opts for witty, tongue-in-cheek humor to encourage shoppers to check out their left-behind shopping carts. Their abandoned cart email starts with the subject line, “Sorry to hear about your wi-fi…” which is bound to get curious shoppers clicking on their email.

Once opened, the email continues the broken wi-fi assumption with the headline, “Is your wi-fi okay?” They keep the email short, but point out alternative options for shoppers who may need more encouragement by showcasing reviews and letting readers know they can customize products.


For creative brands such as Society6, it makes sense to lean into visuals. The Society6 abandoned cart email delivers maximum impact by being picture-heavy with minimal text. While it may not say much, the copy included is persuasive.

Their email subject line states, “Cart reserved (with the best offer available)” to hint that customers could receive an offer if they complete their purchase.

Upon opening the abandoned cart email, readers are hit with a time-sensitive offer letting them know their cart has been reserved for the next 48 hours. Underneath this headline is a small and powerful call-to-action (CTA) button that reads “Get My 30% Off.”

This CTA encourages shoppers to return to the store and finish their purchase to reap the savings.

Abandoned cart email best practices

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to writing abandoned cart emails. The previous examples showcase how every eCommerce store can add their own flair to these communications. But there are some best practices to consider.

Follow these abandoned cart email best practices to help convert those hesitant shoppers into customers.

1) Time it right

When you email customers matters. Klaviyo found 91% of the top 100 performers sent their cart recovery emails less than five hours after someone abandoned their online cart.

Additionally, as more time passes, the success rate of abandoned cart emails decreases. So, be sure to send your abandoned cart emails sooner rather than later. You want to reengage these shoppers while your brand is still relevant in their mind.

2) Personalize it

Personalization is key to engaging online shoppers. You up your chances of turning browsers into customers by interacting with potential customers in a way that feels personal and genuine. Adding a customer’s name into the email subject line, for example, can increase the email open rate by 20%.

You can further personalize your cart abandonment emails by displaying the items in their cart. You never know why someone might leave before purchasing. So, showing them the items they left behind is an effective way to guide them back on your site.

Don’t forget to include a CTA button that helps them easily navigate back to your online store so they can pick up where they left off.

3) Stay relevant

Don’t alienate your customers. Speak to them in a language they understand; use humor, make references they’ll get, and play to their interests. By tapping into your customer’s interests, you can build a strong connection based on relatability. This helps you stay relevant to your ideal customers.

Take Bonobos, for example: In their abandoned cart email, Bonobos does a great job of using humor and wit to reengage shoppers. This playful approach works well to recapture the attention of potential customers.

Another way to stay relevant is to increase the number of abandoned cart emails you send. Consider setting up an email series.

One abandoned cart email might not provide the persuasive push customers need. Klaviyo found almost half of the top performing eCommerce brands sent a two-part abandoned cart email series. While engagement decreases with the number of reminder emails sent, some recipients will still convert and complete their earlier purchase. So, sending two or three cart recovery emails could help you stay relevant in shoppers’ minds and encourage them to purchase their forgotten items.

4) Keep it short

Frequently, shorter emails are better. When sending abandoned cart emails, keep them short and concise.

Add too much detail and you run the risk of distracting your readers. Instead, maintain focus on the goal of your abandoned cart email and make sure everything included aligns with this goal.

To do this, make sure you feature only one call-to-action: getting them to complete their purchase. You can then complement this CTA with strong visuals and bite-sized copy that help persuade the reader to revisit your site and finish their purchase.

5) Add incentives

Oftentimes, people abandon their shopping cart due to costs. Whether that’s unexpected shipping fees, wanting to see if they can find a cheaper alternative elsewhere, or not being able to find a coupon code, customer purchase decisions are often driven by money.

When looking at why customers with intent to purchase abandon their online cart, Baymard Institute found that 49% left it due to extra costs (i.e., shipping, taxes, fees) being too high.

Giving shoppers an incentive for completing their purchase can reengage some of those forgotten purchases. You could do this by including a coupon code in your abandoned cart email. Tailor this incentive to your customers’ needs, interests, and values. For example, if your eCommerce store features a customer loyalty program, you could offer them the chance to double their reward points when they complete their abandoned cart purchase. Alternatively, you could offer free shipping, premium delivery, or a discount when they complete their abandoned purchase.

Wrapping up — Rescue your revenue with abandoned cart emails

Customers abandon their shopping carts for all sorts of reasons. However, ignoring abandoned carts alienates a valuable segment of your customers.

You can recover sales that have been lost because of abandoned carts by optimizing your cart recovery emails. When doing this, consider what tactics will work best for your audience, and be sure to keep in mind the best practices we’ve outlined here.

How to Boost eCommerce Conversions With Giveaways and Contests

a shopping cart with gifts in it and a bow on the cart

It’s a familiar scene: You’re in the grocery store when you spot some free samples. You immediately make a beeline for the sample stall, curious to see what’s on offer. The next thing you know, you’ve filled your cart with the trial product.

Research shows that offering free samples can immediately boost sales. It can also increase customer satisfaction and, in turn, their likelihood to repurchase.

The same principle applies to your online store visitors. Even though your eCommerce store is digital, you can still take advantage of other forms of free samples.

Giveaways and contests (the free samples of eCommerce) pique the interest of your online visitors. Incorporating them into your marketing strategy can be a smart way to generate more sales for your store.

Do giveaways increase sales? Here are some statistics about giveaway performance

While giving something away for free may seem counterintuitive, there are many benefits to running contests and giveaways as part of your eCommerce marketing strategy.

Contests and giveaways are strategic promotional tactics that can help your eCommerce store reach new customers and reengage existing ones.

Encouraging people to share your giveaway or contest is a simple, yet powerful way to extend the reach of your campaign. The more people share your giveaway, the more people will see it.

When executed successfully, these contests and giveaways can also drive brand awareness, increase customer loyalty, and expand your store’s bottom line. Some of the benefits of running eCommerce contests and giveaways include:

  • Drive brand awareness – By encouraging sharing, contests and giveaways are a great way to get even more eyes on your store and products.
  • Increase customer loyalty – Gamification makes shopping with your brand fun and encourages customer loyalty.
  • Grow your social media following – A study by Tailwind found that companies running Instagram contests grow their followers 79% faster than those who don’t.
  • Generate more leads – With one in three entrants opting in to receive more information from brands, contests and giveaways can be a great lead magnet for your eCommerce store.
  • Boost sales conversions – Contests and giveaways can be a strategic way to boost sales for your eCommerce store by enticing consumers to try something out and drawing them into the brand.
  • Cost-effective marketing – Giveaways and contests don’t have to be expensive. Think about the prize value compared to forecasted conversions; you give a little to gain a lot.

Whether your goal is to increase awareness or drive sales, the right kind of eCommerce contest could help you reach that goal.

What are some online giveaway ideas?

When it comes to hosting an eCommerce contest or giveaway, you have the freedom to be as creative as you like.

Choosing the right type of contest depends on three key elements:

  • The intended goal of your contest or giveaway
  • Audience behavior and interests
  • The selected prize for the giveaway

For example, if your goal is to increase your social media following, your target audience is millennials, and the prize is a $100 gift card, a social media giveaway on TikTok would be a favorable option.

Below, we’re sharing some of our favorite eCommerce contest and giveaway ideas to help you get started with running your own giveaway campaign.

Social media giveaways and contests

Social media apps are a great place to host a giveaway or contest. If one of your goals is to raise brand awareness, then a social media giveaway may be the right choice for you.

Choose the right platform based on where your target audience is most likely to be. Then, have fun planning your giveaway.

Social media giveaways can be as simple as asking entrants to follow your brand page and tag a friend in the comments, or it could involve asking them to share their own photos to enter the contest. Whatever you do, be sure to read up on and follow the promotional guidelines of your chosen social media platform.

You could even collaborate with another brand like Nutribullet did in this Instagram contest. Doing so will expand your reach by allowing you to tap into your brand partner’s social media network.

Lead generation sweepstakes

A sweepstake is a contest where winners are selected at random. This type of contest is conducive to lead generation, as the rules for entry can be as simple as entering an email address for the chance to win a prize.

If you decide to run a sweepstake to boost lead generation, consider setting up a contest landing page where you tell entrants the details of the sweepstake: what prizes are available, how to enter, and when a winner will be drawn.

Once you’ve captured their email addresses and contact information, you can employ ongoing marketing to keep them engaged and guide them along the purchase path.

Gamification contests

Next time you plan to host an eCommerce contest, think about how you could make it more appealing through gamification.

Gamification inspires customers to take action through a sense of reward and achievement. It draws on our emotions, which then impacts our levels of satisfaction and brand love.

One brand that does gamification well is the fast-food giant, McDonald’s. Their Monopoly contest encourages people to collect “game pieces” in return for the chance to win prizes with a range of value. Some of the prizes offered in the past have included free food, cars, and a $1 million prize.

For your eCommerce store, you could create a virtual game that customers can take part in online. Remember, the more appealing the prize is, the more likely people are to participate.

Referral contests

We’ve spoken before about the value of an eCommerce referral program. In a similar vein, referral contests can also be a powerful tool for amplifying the performance of your eCommerce store.

Referral contests are straightforward: customers can refer a friend to gain an extra entry in your contest. Rewarding contest entrants with bonus entries further incentivizes customers to participate in your giveaway by increasing their chances of winning.

For instance, you can give users a second entry when they mention your giveaway on Twitter, and a third one when they share a unique referral code to get their friends to enter the contest. You could up the stakes even more by creating a leaderboard to build the sense of competition.

Seasonal giveaways

Even if your product doesn’t change with the season, you can take advantage of key holidays to boost sales and drive traffic to your online store.

Black Friday, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day are just a few of the holiday periods you can leverage with seasonal giveaways. Rather than just offering a seasonal discount like most eCommerce stores, develop a well-thought-out seasonal giveaway or contest to stand out from other online retailers.

One giveaway idea you could run during a festive period is a 12-day Christmas giveaway. This could comprise a series of small daily offerings, all of which lead up to one grand prize on day 12 of the giveaway. This will not only boost sales over Christmas, but also increase customer retention by encouraging them to reengage with your contest constantly.

How to run your own giveaways and contests

Now that you have a good idea of the eCommerce contests you can run, it’s time to map out the strategy for hosting a successful giveaway.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to running your own eCommerce giveaways and contests:

1) Set a clear goal

We cannot stress enough how important it is for your contest to be goal-led. As soon as you start thinking about your eCommerce contest idea, first consider what you want to achieve with the contest.

Once you’ve settled on a clear goal, establish the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll measure. For example, if your goal is to increase sales, your KPI will be to measure the number of orders received.

2) Offer an enticing prize

The prize you offer needs to be appealing enough to make people want to participate.

When deciding on a prize, consider what would interest your audience the most. Analyze existing customer behavior and look at what they’re already telling you.

At the same time, you need to make sure the prize is financially viable for your brand. To do this, you need to determine if the cost of the prize will be redeemed in forecasted conversions, leads, or new customer acquisitions. According to Hubspot, the average value of a contest prize is $369.

Tip: Make your prize something that you can encourage the winner to create UGC out of. It should introduce your winner and their fans to your brand.

3) Build out your promotional strategy

To make your eCommerce contest or giveaway a success, you need to have a solid marketing strategy in place.

Whenever you host a giveaway event, you should have a checklist of marketing activities to perform before, during, and after the contest campaign.

Add a contest landing page and pop-ups

Before the contest takes place, you need to create a contest landing page. This page should be the go-to place to tell your audience everything they need to know about the contest.

Make sure it contains enough information to generate interest while focusing predominantly on encouraging buy-in. Tell people how they can take part, and make it as easy as possible for people to enter your contest from this page.

You could add a countdown bar to your landing page or as a pop-up box on your eCommerce store to build excitement in the lead up to the contest going live.

Promote your contest on social media

Besides updating your own website, you should also plan out your social media activity. Create a series of pre-launch posts to drive interest and let customers know about your upcoming contest.

As part of your social media marketing, you could collaborate with popular influencers to promote your campaign once it’s live. This will further extend the reach of your campaign, increasing its chances of virality.

Make your giveaway shareable

If going viral is one of your goals, work a viral loop into your marketing strategy by making your contest shareable. A viral loop is a referral marketing tactic that will drive continuous referrals to your contest.

Tap into email marketing

Don’t forget the power of email marketing. Create a series of contest-related emails comprised of pre-launch teaser emails, an announcement email, contest reminders, and post-campaign emails including a winners spotlight and suggested next steps. You might also offer an exclusive coupon code for contest participants who didn’t win this time around.

Marketing checklist

Before launching your eCommerce giveaway, implement the following steps to help set your contest up for success:

  • Create contest landing page
  • Add a contest countdown to your website
  • Send out pre-launch teaser emails to your existing audience
  • Announce your upcoming contest on social media

These activities will help increase awareness for your upcoming giveaway, making sure people know what it is, when it’s happening and how to get involved.

4) Launch your giveaway

With your contest marketing strategy in place, you should now be ready to launch your eCommerce giveaway or contest.

Keep the noise alive once your contest has launched by continuing to promote online. Again, make sure you post about it on social media and through email marketing. As previously mentioned, you could also work with influencers to promote your contest, or host a live shopping stream as part of your promotional activity.

When the contest is over, spotlight your giveaway winners as a way to celebrate their success and make them feel like valued members of your community. With their permission, you can post about your winners on social media, or create a “past winners” page on your website as a way to celebrate previous winners and generate social proof for future giveaways.

Post-giveaway, you should also send out emails to everyone who participated thanking them for taking part and encouraging them to stick around. This email could include an exclusive offer and direct them to where they can shop the prizes on your website. Offering free gifts or coupon codes to those who didn’t win can further boost eCommerce sales after the giveaway has ended.

5) Measure performance

Last, but not least, is to measure the performance of your eCommerce contest or giveaway. Remember to check how your contest performed using the KPIs you chose to measure when first establishing your contest objective.

Measuring the contest’s performance will gain you a deeper understanding of what did or didn’t work well so you can improve your future contests. If you’re part of a marketing team, gathering performance statistics will also help you obtain buy-in from stakeholders or senior management for future contests by demonstrating their effectiveness.

eCommerce contest and giveaway apps

You can approach hosting eCommerce contests and giveaways in several ways. You can manage them manually by, for example, running a social media giveaway, monitoring entries, and announcing a winner. However, this approach can be time-consuming.

Luckily, there’s a wide selection of eCommerce giveaway apps you can use to run your next contest with ease.

Rafflecopter is an easy-to-use platform for running giveaways that can be seamlessly embedded into your website.

If you’re looking for something more intuitive, ShortStack offers a variety of landing page contests, social media contests, and games.

Similar to ShortStack, Wishpond is an all-in-one platform with various solutions to take care of all your marketing growth needs. Wishpond offers 12 types of social media contests, including photo contests, referral contests, sweepstakes, and leaderboard contests.

When it comes to finding an eCommerce contest app for your online store, you won’t be short of options. Do your research and choose an app based on your specific eCommerce contest idea and requirements.

Wrapping up – Use eCommerce giveaways and contests to leave an impression

Running an eCommerce giveaway or contest can be a powerful way to build followers, generate leads, and boost conversions for your online store.

Before running a contest, you first need to determine your contest goals, focusing on who it’s for, what you want to achieve, and how you’re going to measure the performance. From there, you can choose the perfect contest format to attract, engage, and convert your ideal leads into customers.

Remember, contests are meant to be fun. So, make sure you have some fun while planning your giveaway strategy. The more appealing your contest is, the more likely it is to go viral.