Month: June 2022

Fixed vs. Flexible Logistics: How to Build Your Ops Strategy

a graphic displaying fixed logistics and flexible logistics side by side

Over the last two years, global supply chain chaos has upset world commerce. Very few came out unscathed, as 75% of businesses took major blows to their manufacturing, and managing logistics still remains a challenge.

Competition has become stiffer in the post-COVID market as brands clamor to regain ground and scoop up their competitor’s market share. Whether you have established roots with physical stores or are staking your claim on the online turf, you can get ahead through an under-utilized move: upgrading your logistical operations strategy.

In this post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of flexible and fixed logistics, detailing who they serve and under what circumstances. We’ll also share our step-by-step formula for crafting a productive ops strategy, so you can gain the upper hand.

Need a hand managing your supply chain logistics? Discover how MyFBAPrep can help.

The scoop on fixed and flexible logistics

There are a few methods available to shake up your ops strategy and scale your business through uncertain times. The most popular are the fixed and flexible logistics approaches.

How fixed logistics work

Fixed logistics require considerable company-owned assets that allow a business to own its fulfillment network. For example, a store operating under the fixed logistics model could own or hold long-term leases for assets like shipping vessels, warehouses, fulfillment centers, and van fleets.

A business using this method will also have to lean on multiple paid tools to execute their strategy successfully, such as:

  • Warehouse management software (WMS)
  • Inventory management software (IMS)
  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software

The commitments and expert help required to launch a fixed logistics strategy can add up quickly. It’s also not uncommon for the system implementation to take two to three months or longer.

Fixed logistics are best for…

A fixed logistics setup works best for high-volume businesses with complicated supply chains, and the budget to make a substantial financial and time investment without seeing an immediate return.

This model allows retailers to automate and customize processes for supply chain efficiency and customer satisfaction. For example, as a retailer, refunding orders as soon as a customer drops off their package gives them the “wow” factor and provides real-time insight into cash availability.

When operations run smoothly and market disruptions are minimal, fixed logistics give owners greater control over their supply chain and operational costs. The result is a robust supply chain and a strong competitive advantage.

How flexible logistics work

A flexible logistics setup typically features minimal assets and lacks lengthy leases, contracts, or set square footage allocations and locations. As a result, a supply chain with flexible logistics remains nimble and can respond to the ebbs and flows of a business cycle.

Instead of paying for multiple software to manage their supply chain, businesses that use the flexible logistics model gain access to these tools through their fulfillment services provider(s), without needing to fork over more cash.

However, this approach is less accommodating to unique fulfillment needs since it rarely offers automation or complex customizations. Instead, it oversees multiple businesses at once and streamlines operations. For example, under the flexible logistics model, your business could:

  • Share warehouse space with various brands
  • Work with different shipping carriers depending on customer demand and product type
  • Purchase pick-and-pack services according to the season

Flexible logistics are best for…

Fast-growing brands, especially eCommerce businesses, benefit from the flexible logistics model to optimize their omnichannel selling and expand restocking and fulfillment capabilities.

This setup also allows brands to adjust to supply chain issues and market shifts faster, without incurring huge costs or losses. It’s relatively quick to implement with many businesses setting up their flexible logistics systems in about two weeks.

Blending fixed and flexible logistics

If you’re unsure which model to choose, we’ve got great news: You can get the best of both worlds with an outsourced logistics partner. This partner will apply the fixed logistics model to key territories and core product offerings with high volumes, and reserve the flexible approach for fast-scaling products, new offers, and volatile markets.

Companies like MyFBAPrep can provide custom logistics solutions to enterprise merchants who find flexible logistics too limiting. A great example of this blended approach in action is the Pacers Running’s story. The company was unable to leverage flexible logistics with a 3PL that tried to put them in a box. Pacers Running’s luck changed when they joined forces with MyFBAPrep, which worked with them to produce a tailored fulfillment strategy and customized their chosen location to accommodate it. In one instance, MyFBAPrep installed a rack system to ensure the company’s warehouse met Pacer Running’s specific needs.

An optimized ops strategy may be the missing piece to your commerce success. Learn how MyFBAPrep can help your business thrive.  

5 Key commerce trends shaping ops strategy in 2022

Trends not only dictate consumer behavior — they also guide your ops strategy, influencing when it’s best to take a fixed or flexible logistics approach. To steer your logistics in the right direction, let’s hone in on some top commerce trends and how they could impact your brand.

1) Rising eCommerce orders

COVID-19 kick-started an online buying frenzy, with commerce sales estimated to reach nearly $7.4 trillion by 2025. However, the pandemic-fueled spending spree appears to be tapering off.

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer or own an eCommerce store, you’ll need to process inconsistent order volumes efficiently to stay profitable and maximize sales, customer happiness, and business growth. This makes a fulfillment house that can scale with your brand and provide consistent prices, a paramount asset to your brand.

2) Increasing consumer expectations for fulfillment options

Consumers lead busy lives. This lifestyle naturally fosters similar expectations, such as faster and smoother order delivery, more control over where their orders are sent, and how they conduct returns. To maintain customer loyalty, you’ll need to build a logistics strategy that can handle inbound and outbound packages from multiple sources quickly and without hassle.

3) AI is gaining a firm grip on commerce logistics

Gone are the days of number crunching with calculators and square paper; AI has taken over the logistics realm. From lightning-fast bucket systems that organize stock to clever robots sizing up packages for optimal delivery costs, AI is helping retailers worldwide make smarter choices about inventory purchasing, distribution, and fulfillment. To gain a competitive edge, inject AI into your store in a way that aligns with your core business areas and furthers your goals.

4) Omnichannel selling is going mainstream

As competition increases in commerce, many brands are leveraging marketplaces to delve into omnichannel selling. To set your brand apart, invest in technology, branding, and marketing that presents a unified shopping experience to customers from the start of their journey to the end. With this in mind, your fulfillment strategy will need to handle orders from multiple sources with accuracy and speed.

5) Supply chains are still unreliable

Global commerce is beginning to recover from COVID-19’s initial supply chain disruptions. However, the world is still struggling to regain the efficiency it previously enjoyed with unimpeded travel. Success in the post-pandemic market requires you to fortify your supply chain. This is especially important if you run a large enterprise, as even a 1% increase in demand could result in you requiring thousands of more products.

How to select between fixed or flexible logistics

Choosing the best ops strategy for your growing business can be a daunting task, especially if supply chain chaos has burned you in the past. That’s why we’re here to help. Let’s explore the steps that’ll ensure your logistical setup matches every season and trend.

Evaluate your business needs

It’s vital to assess where your business is currently and where it’s going to understand which strategies and tactics will help you get from point A, to point B most efficiently. Some questions to ask yourself include:

  • How big is our business right now?
  • What size do we want to scale to?
  • How many SKUs do we carry?
  • Are we planning to add more products? If so, when and how many?
  • How many territories does our business cover?
  • How quickly do things change?
  • Is our fulfillment process complex?

Outline your deadlines and deliverables

The next task on your ops optimization to-do list is to establish deliverables and key performance indicators (KPIs). To ensure your team has solid targets to work towards and assess progress against, write and distribute the essential details of your end vision, such as:

  • Mini goals you need to hit to reach your end target
  • Exact steps to meet every mini goal
  • Resources you require to hit your target

Learn what your competitors are offering and develop ways to surpass them. For example, stats show that 51% of retailers provide same-day shipping, and 65% intend to make it available within two years. You can rise above this standard by offering same-day redelivery to a selected address, if the shopper misses the first delivery attempt.

Logistics don’t need to be complicated. Learn how MyFBAPrep takes the hassle out of optimizing operations

Tap into the right AI for your business size and ambitions

Digital transformation is sweeping through commerce, which means you no longer have to implement a specific approach manually at any given time. Instead, you can rely on AI technology to make accurate calculations on your business’s current logistical needs and adjust your ops setup accordingly.

For inspiration, look no further than the eCommerce behemoth, Amazon. Here are just a few ways Amazon combines technology with strategic logistical planning to supercharge its logistics:

  • Increased its suburban delivery hubs to accommodate more same-day and next-day shipping.
  • Uses route optimization software to reduce delivery mistakes and maximize work hours.
  • Employs computer vision systems with AI-driven pods to categorize and track goods in their warehouses.
  • Relies on AI-driven purchase forecasting to optimize item location within each warehouse.
  • Uses an item categorizing system to reduce sorting errors.
  • Implements random, itemized placement on shelves tracked through barcodes to save space.

The point is, no matter your business size, you can harness the power of AI to take your logistics to the next level. If you’re a small seller hoping to grow to a medium-sized business, you could tap into AI-backed Inventory forecasting and inventory optimization solutions. If you’re a medium-sized business aspiring to become a large enterprise, you could implement barcoding analysis and robotics-assisted sorting, picking, and packing.

Get your suppliers and carriers on board

Every contributor to your supply chain has to work efficiently and in unison to obtain the speed, cost savings, and agility you need for operations to run smoothly. Communicate your goals to your suppliers and carrier(s) and ask them what they need from you to fulfill their roles.

  • Maintain clear, constant communication with all your partners to spot issues and opportunities early.
  • Vet each supplier and carrier regularly and be ready to swap out unreliable partners.
  • Maintain a 360-degree supply chain view to identify problems and alert the relevant parties in your network to prevent the issue(s) from spiraling.

Adopt the right tools and resources to facilitate growth

Whether you opt for fixed logistics, flexible logistics, or a blend of the two, you need to choose the right tools to streamline your operations and push your next growth stage. Some tools to implement or to ensure your fulfillment provider utilizes are:

  • Demand forecasting solution
  • Barcode printing, scanning, and monitoring equipment
  • Inventory management software
  • Distributed order fulfillment technology
  • Warehouse management software
  • Fleet management software
  • Cloud-based file storage
  • Compliance tool
  • Analytics and reporting tools

Tip: Many solutions combine tools for more efficient logistics management. Get the most bang for your buck by researching the best solutions for your mission. Check out inventory optimization software if you need a starting point.

Data analysis is your best friend

The numbers don’t lie. Assess your figures from past periods, noting when your logistics strategy excelled and when it fell short. You can deduce what type of ops strategy fits certain scenarios, incorporate them into your current process, and draft action plans for future endeavors. Here are some data points to watch:

  • KPIs
  • Growth figures
  • Delivery rate stats
  • Customer feedback

Wrapping up — Power growth with strategic logistics planning

As the fixed versus flexible logistics debate continues, rest assured that you don’t have to pick a side; you can have the best of both worlds. Being agile with flexible logistics is more important than ever to dodge supply chain disruptions and adapt to market shifts. Meanwhile, fixed logistics pave the way for order and predictability as you scale.

To improve your ops strategy, implement technology to keep an eye on developing trends in your business, niche, and the global market. Then, tweak your ops strategy based on the most efficient setup that’ll help you achieve your goals.

With a robust strategy, you’ll build greater resilience into your brand, upping its productivity and value. So, don’t wait — begin your ops strategy optimization today. Your future self will thank you for it.

Technology and robust strategy create razor-sharp logistics. Learn how MyFBAPrep can hone your supply chain today.

How to Sell On TikTok: Tools, Best Practices, and Step-By-Step Guides

A mobile phone with a tiktok logo and a shopping cart

TikTok is a popular app that boasts over three billion downloads and is currently the sixth most-used social platform in the world. In fact, it’s now more popular than Instagram among Gen Z users in the United States.

Known for the catchy and viral nature of its content, TikTok has become a powerful marketing and eCommerce channel for brands and individuals alike. In this article, we’ll discuss how to harness TikTok for your business, and share some useful tips at the end.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is an app that allows users to create and share short-form videos on any subject matter (so long as it falls within its terms of use). Its personalized feed is filled with offbeat videos utilizing music and sound effects, and has earned the platform a reputation for being addictive and engaging.

Its easy content creation and collaboration for amateurs and professionals has turned TikTok into a powerful marketing and eCommerce tool.

Brand benefits of TikTok

Here are some of the advantages brands can draw from the platform.

1) Greater reach

Through TikTok, you can tap into a massive pool of over one billion active monthly users located in more than 150 markets. What’s more, one out of four of those users exclusively use this social media platform.

What’s more, TikTok is still rapidly growing. As reported by Hootsuite, the platform gains eight new users every second and an average of 650,000 daily. And, according to data.ai, it’s expected to reach 1.5 billion users by the end of 2022.

2) Ease of use

TikTok’s focus on short-form content means producing videos and watching them also takes up less time and effort. Anybody can record anything and post it in a few moments.

Since the app automatically plays videos as you scroll through your feed, you can easily watch user-generated content and get hooked. The following usage statistics for various countries provide evidence of the platform’s addictive nature:

  • U.K.: An average of 27.3 hours per month, which is the most time spent on TikTok
  • U.S.: Comes in second with an average of 25.6 hours per month
  • Canada: Places third with an average of 22.6 hours monthly

3) Entertain your audience

A Global WebIndex survey found 60% of TikTok’s visitors spend time on the platform to find funny or entertaining content; meanwhile, 45% use it to fill up their spare time. Other common uses include:

  • Posting and sharing original content
  • Keeping up with the latest events
  • Learning

This means traditional, dry content will most likely flop on the platform. Instead, addressing these user motivations can help brands thrive on TikTok.

4) Brand building

Heightening brand recognition on TikTok is possible for businesses of all sizes. For example, the stationery and gifts brand Sommer Letter Co. — owned by artist Kyle Sommer — uses TikTok in the following ways:

This approach has garnered the brand 163 thousand TikTok followers and 1.8 million likes. Sommer even sends surprises to some of her best customers.

TikTok business tools

The platform also allows brands to set up a TikTok For Business account, where you can advertise and access other tools to help grow your business.

1) TikTok Ads Manager

The TikTok Ads Manager lets you create and manage TikTok ads based on your brand’s needs. It requires zero expertise, so you can conveniently access a global audience across the platform and its family of other apps.

2) TikTok Creator Marketplace

The TikTok Creator Marketplace (TCM), meanwhile, introduces you to the platform’s massive pool of influencers (for free). You can partner with them based on your industry, budget, and goals, which simplifies the process of finding the right one.

3) TikTok Creative Exchange

The TikTok Creative Exchange helps you produce the best brand content. With it, you can connect with experts to create native-looking videos for your TikTok ad campaigns.

The Creative Exchange recommends and matches you with the best marketing partner based on your project’s needs. You can then easily collaborate and sync your videos to the TikTok Ads Manager to launch your campaign.

4) TikTok Shop

Lastly, TikTok Shop is a feature that allows TikTok businesses to showcase and sell their products via shoppable videos and livestreams. Entertainment, eCommerce, and interaction combine to help you offer people a smooth and community-driven in-app shopping experience.

How to use TikTok for eCommerce

TikTok is an excellent tool to build communities, brands, and revenue. There are various ways to use TikTok for your eCommerce business beyond just a sales channel. In this section, we’ll go over a few ways you can use this platform.

1) Build your community

Nurturing connections among TikTok users can help eCommerce businesses thrive on the platform. In fact, TikTok’s What’s Next Report 2022 revealed users loved engaging with brands and products on its platform:

  • 73% of people felt more deeply connected to the brands they interacted with on TikTok.
  • Meanwhile, 67% said TikTok motivated them to make a purchase — even though they weren’t planning to.

Conducting campaigns that encourage TikTok users to get involved is one way to achieve this type of engagement.

The U.K.-based fashion retailer Pretty Little Thing uses this type of approach. To build its presence among its target audience of 16- to 24-year-old women, the brand showcases the transformations women can experience through its diverse collections.

Pretty Little Thing also offers followers opportunities to feature or collaborate, win discounts, and share their opinions, which encourages them to engage on TikTok. This has garnered the brand 1.9 million TikTok followers and over 36 million likes.

2) Test new products

Some brands use TikTok as a space for product development — an approach puzzle company Blue Kazoo has adopted, with great success. Through the comments section, the company receives customer feedback and uses it to identify trends and make product changes.

Blue Kazoo has also reached out to artists through TikTok and emails to submit designs for new puzzles. As a result, the company has connected with three artists, has enjoyed more sales, and has new products in its pipeline.

3) Provide customer support

TikTok can also be used to answer customer concerns. For instance, the skincare brand Starface — known for its star-shaped hydrocolloid pimple patches — uses its feed like a live-action FAQ page. Through tutorials and Q&As, the brand addresses questions such as:

  • “How many stars are in a pack?”
  • “Should I apply it after my moisturizer?”

Using their TikTok presence this way allows Starface to offer its followers a knowledge base for its product and engage with them on a personal level. To date, the brand has 1.2 million TikTok followers and 22.7 million likes.

4) Implement influencer marketing

Collaborating with social media influencers on TikTok is another way to bolster your eCommerce efforts. It’s so powerful, in fact, that brands are making an ROI of $5.78 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

To utilize TikTok’s short-form style and viral nature, you can easily partner with a creator to produce branded promotional content on the TikTok Creator Marketplace.

Take the beauty brand Benefit Cosmetics as an example. Through TCM, it was able to work with 22 Gen Z/Millennial creators and Vamp — an influencer marketing agency — to launch the Benefit Brow Challenge.

This campaign, produced for the release of Benefit’s new Brow Microfilling Pen, resulted in 22 videos launched in a synchronized fashion. It went viral and generated more than 3,500 hours of views and 1.4 million impressions off of just 4.5 minutes of creator content.

How to use the TikTok Creator Marketplace

Now we’ll walk you through how to use TCM.

Step 1: Create a TikTok For Business account

First, complete this form to sign up.

 

You can do it either via email or phone, and TikTok will send a verification code before you can complete your registration. Or, if you have one, you can also use your existing TikTok account.

Step 2: Find and select an influencer

Once you have access, start looking for a TikTok creator you want to work with.

 

You can search for potential partners using filters like Country or Region, Age, Gender, Reach, Audience, etc.

The most notable, however, is eCommerce Anchor, which displays qualified creators who’ve enabled TikTok’s eCommerce anchor function. This lets them insert a link that directs viewers to your product or external landing page.

Meanwhile, clicking on a creator’s profile lets you view the following information:

  • Core Metrics: Key performance indicators including Total Reach, Engagement Rate, and more
  • Sample Videos: A creator’s sponsored and non-sponsored videos, even their most recent and most popular
  • Audience Demographics: This shows their audience’s gender, age, the percentage of a creator’s active vs. inactive followers, and the brand device used (Apple, Samsung, Huawei, etc.)
  • Performance Trends: Shows data on followers, views, and engagements over the last three months
Step 3: Contact your chosen influencer

To get in touch with your chosen creator, you must first fill out a contact form.

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It’s mostly basic information, but since TikTok prohibits some industries from advertising, you’ll have to specify yours. You’ll also need to select your main goal for working with the creator, which includes options like gaining more brand exposure, increasing website traffic, etc.

Lastly, in the Suggested Talent Fee section, you can choose between To be negotiated and an Initial suggested fee.

Step 4: Wait for the influencer’s content

After you and the creator iron out the campaign details, all that’s left is to wait for the video to be uploaded. Once that’s done, post it and see how it does.

Step 5: Monitor your campaign

TCM has a reporting tool that allows you to observe your campaign’s performance.

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To ensure these insights are available, make sure the creator you hired associates their sponsored video with the proper campaign and discloses that the videos are sponsored.

5) Advertise to your audience

Hootsuite reports that ads on TikTok reach 17.9% of all internet users who are 18 years old and above — which translates to 884.9 million people.

The ability to advertise to this massive audience is a huge opportunity for eCommerce brands, and TikTok makes it possible through its Ads Manager and Creative Exchange.

How to use the TikTok Ads Manager

Getting started with the platform’s advertising tool is simple. First, log into the Ads Manager with your TikTok For Business account.

Step 1: Select your objective

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Then, click the Campaign button and choose among the seven ad objectives under the Awareness, Consideration, and Conversions categories. Take note, however, the Catalog Sales objective is still in beta and only available in supported regions.

Step 2: Set your campaign name and budget

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Here are some tips to remember:

  • Your campaign name can be up to 512 characters. Also, make sure it’s unique and memorable.
  • If you have enough money (or want) to assign limits for certain ad groups instead of the whole campaign, set your budget to No Limit. Otherwise, you can set a Daily or Lifetime budget.
  • For the App Installs and Conversions objectives, campaign budget optimization is available under the Lowest Cost bid strategy.
  • TikTok is testing a Suggested Bid feature for optimized cost-per-click objectives.
Step 3: Name your ad group and choose placements

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You can include up to 999 ad groups per campaign, and each one’s name has a 512-character limit. Be aware your placements are dependent on your location. Other notes regarding placements are:

  • Automatic Placement: Optimizes ad delivery for you
  • TikTok Placement: Ads appear in the For You feed
  • News Feed App Series: For ads in TikTok’s other apps
  • Pangle: TikTok’s audience network
Step 4: Look at Automated Creative Optimization

For new advertisers, TikTok recommends turning this setting on, which you can do before uploading assets for individual ad creation. It lets TikTok make combinations of your images, videos, and ad text for you. Then, the system only displays those that are performing well.

Step 5: Select your target audience

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You can select either a lookalike or custom audience. You can also target your ads based on criteria including Gender, Age, Location, Device Details, and more.

Step 6: Set your ad group schedule and budget

You’ve done it for your overall campaign, now it’s time to do the same for the ad group. Simply choose its daily or lifetime budget, then its start and end times. Based on your time zone, under Dayparting, you can also choose to run your ad at specific times of the day.

Step 7: Select your bidding and optimization options

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Choose whether your optimization goal is conversion, clicks, or reach (although it can be determined automatically by your campaign objective).

Then, set your Bid Strategy:

  • Bid Cap: Maximum amount per click (CPC), per view (CPV), or per 1,000 impressions (CPM)
  • Cost Cap: The average cost per result for optimized CPM
  • Lowest Cost: The ad system generates the highest number of results possible at the lowest cost

Lastly, choose between two delivery types:

  • Standard: Evenly distributes your budget over the campaign’s scheduled dates
  • Accelerated: Spends your budget as quickly as possible
Step 8: Create your ad(s)

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Choose from three formats: image, video, or Spark ad. If you’re using TikTok only rather than the family of TikTok apps, you can only choose either video or Spark ads.
  2. Add your photos or video. Within Ads Manager, you can also create a video using the video template or video creation tools.
  3. Choose a default thumbnail or upload your own.
  4. Input your text and link. On the right side of your screen, check out the preview of your ad, then add any relevant tracking links.
  5. Finally, click Submit.

Here’s some other relevant information to help you make your choices:

  • Your ad will go through a review process before going live
  • An ad group can have up to 20 ads
  • Each ad’s name can contain up to 512 characters, but it’s only for internal use and doesn’t appear on the ad
  • According to TikTok research, using the TikTok video editor can decrease cost per action by up to 46%
  • With Spark Ads, to use content, you’ll need to get in touch with the creator(s) and get an access code from them.

How to use the TikTok Creative Exchange

If you want to take it a step further, you can use TikTok’s Creative Exchange to connect with an expert and produce stronger content. Access it through your TikTok For Business account, then follow the steps below.

Step 1: Turn in your project brief

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  1. Go to I’m an advertiser and click Get started.
  2. Choose Create project and fill in the necessary Business information, Project details, and Content details.
  3. Select how much campaign performance data you’ll share with your creative partner.
  4. Finalize everything, then click Submit.
Step 2: Select a creative partner

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  1. Open your project.
  2. Click Select creative partner.
  3. Explore the recommended partners and learn about their work by clicking View more.
  4. Click Select to choose your desired partner.

Your creative partner will be automatically assigned if you don’t choose one within 36 hours of your project’s submission.

Step 3: Add your project assets

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  1. Click Assets, then select Edit under Existing creative assets.
  2. Add your brand assets’ (e.g. images, videos, and animations) URLs.
  3. You can directly Upload up to five files to the platform.
Step 4: Add collaborators

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  1. Click + in the upper right of the page, just above Edit.
  2. Select the collaborator’s level of access: Manager, Editor, or Commenter.
  3. Either enter their email address or share the project link with them.
  4. Once the collaborator accepts your project invitation, you can get in touch with them by clicking the chat icon.
Step 5: Monitor your project’s progress

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You can track your project’s progress — which is grouped into Pending, Production, and Complete — using the bar on the left side.

Step 6: Communicate with your creative partner

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  1. After your creative partner shares their work, click Deliverables.
  2. In the Creative Concepts module, click the Preview button.
  3. Review the concept or download it to your computer.
  4. Leave your feedback and comments with your creative partner through chat.
  5. Once you’re satisfied, click Approve so your partner can begin video production.
Step 7: Review and approve your partner’s work

You can review your creative partner’s uploaded video drafts by clicking Deliverables and accessing the Videos module. Leave your feedback via the comments panel, then approve their work or request further edits.

Step 8: Sync approved videos to TikTok Ads Manager

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  1. Once you’ve approved your partner’s work, go to Deliverables and access the Videos module.
  2. Choose which videos you want in your ads and click Sync to Ads Manager.
  3. You can then go to TikTok Ads Manager and use the videos in your campaigns.
Step 9: Share performance data with your partner

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  1. To share campaign insights with your creative partner, click Performance.
  2. Then, under Creative partner permission, select Edit.
  3. Select the level of data you want to share, and click Confirm.

6) As a direct sales channel

TikTok Shop lets you use the platform as a sales channel. The U.K.-based perfume brand PerfumeBoss Ltd. joined TikTok Shop in October 2021 and hosted its first shoppable livestream two days after onboarding.

Afterwards, the brand committed itself to hosting more than five of these livestreams per week and experienced superb growth in the following areas after a two-month period:

  • Net Revenue: 438%
  • Order Volume: 369%
  • Followers: 32%

How to get started with TikTok Shop

If you want to do the same, getting started is simple. Take note, however, that TikTok Shop is only available in ​Indonesia, the U.K., and Northern Ireland for now.

Step 1: Prepare your requirements

You’ll need your TikTok For Business account to sign up and, based on your destination market, you can register as one of two types of sellers.

Individual

Only citizens are allowed to apply as individual TikTok Shop sellers, and you’ll be required to provide government-issued IDs like:

  • Your passport
  • ​National ID
  • Driver’s license
Corporate

As for corporate entities, here are the documents you’ll have to prepare:

  • Your ​business license
  • ​Certificate of Incorporation
  • ​Company Registration Certificate
  • ​Proof of eligibility under applicable law to sell products/services via TikTok Shop
Step 2: Turn in your application

After turning in your documents, TikTok Shop will evaluate your application based on its registration guidelines. You’ll then be notified to undergo account verification and will learn whether or not your application was approved.

Step 3: Set up your profile

Once you pass, you can set up your seller profile. Here’s what you’ll need to provide:

  • Your TikTok Shop name — which you can no longer change once submitted
  • A valid and accurate warehouse and return address
  • Bank account information that aligns with your identification documents. Also, corporate sellers should use a business bank account
  • If you want to use brand names or any intellectual property, you’ll need to apply for proper authorization
Step 4: Start selling

If your TikTok Shop passes all the necessary procedures, you can start posting and selling your products. For further information, visit the Seller University.

For other markets

For markets that are unable to join TikTok Shop, you can still participate in TikTok Shopping through the platform’s partnerships and integrations with other eCommerce marketplaces.

Shopify

If you have a Shopify business, you simply need to download and install the TikTok Shopify app. Through it, you can produce video ads, track metrics, and manage your orders. It also integrates with your TikTok Ads Manager and lets you manage your TikTok Shopping tab.

Bigcommerce

For BigCommerce stores, you can now download the platform’s TikTok for Business app through your Channel Manager. It automatically installs TikTok Pixel on your storefront, which allows you to monitor your advertising campaigns. You can also:

  • Sync your BigCommerce catalog to TikTok to create dynamic ads
  • Add a Shopping tab to your profile page with product links that redirect customers to your BigCommerce store
Other platforms

Selling on TikTok through its integrations with other marketplaces like Square and Ecwid is also possible. Just prepare your requirements beforehand and follow the necessary procedures.

TikTok best practices for eCommerce

Finally, here are some tips to boost your TikTok eCommerce efforts.

1) Create immersive, shoppable livestreams

Providing your customers with better immersion can accelerate your brand’s conversions. In fact, brands have reported conversion rates of up to 30% when they use livestream shopping.

Here are some ways to produce more engaging and immersive livestreams:

  • Adding elements like Q&As, reviews, and chat creates a more interactive experience — something buyers miss when browsing an online marketplace
  • Product demonstrations/tutorials, featuring influencers or industry experts, and offering behind-the-scenes looks makes shopping more personal and educational
  • Implementing an “event” type of format that includes mini-games and prizes entertains your audience and keeps them interested

2) Improve experiences with augmented reality

Incorporating augmented reality (AR) can offer people a fun and convenient online shopping experience. It can serve as a creative branding tool as well as allow the target audience to preview how your products fit, boosting their confidence before purchasing.

One such example is the online retailer ASOS which, in 2020, tested an AR feature that gave shoppers a glimpse of how its clothing would look on different-sized models. The brand’s experiment received positive responses on Twitter.

AR can also improve your conversions. According to one study, virtual fitting rooms can make online shoppers more curious about a product and increase their intent to purchase.

3) Choose the right influencers

Find influencers that fit your brand’s niche. The fashion-tech startup WANNA, for example, was working on the relaunch of Wanna Kicks, the company’s AR app that lets users virtually fit a wide selection of kicks.

It wanted to reach a young audience through TikTok, namely Millennials and Gen Zers, to boost the app’s downloads. To release relevant content, WANNA worked with TikTok creators who spoke the same language as sneaker enthusiasts.

In turn, these creators made videos that demonstrated how to use the Wanna Kicks app in a fun way. The campaign matched what WANNA’s audiences liked and garnered 15 million views, 75 thousand app installs, and a 15.91% engagement rate.

4) Get creative with your challenges

Catchy challenges can do wonders for TikTok eCommerce. Through fun hashtag challenges, the American fast-food chain Chipotle has driven up its sales and Chipotle app downloads.

One example is the brand’s #ChipotleLidFlip Challenge, created in 2019 to spread awareness of free delivery for digital orders during Cinco de Mayo. Users were encouraged to record themselves flipping a burrito bowl and adding their own spin on it.

Chipotle even partnered with huge creators like David Dobrik, and the challenge produced 111 thousand videos in its first six days. This, in turn, generated a record day in digital sales, app downloads, and delivery orders, especially among the Gen Z audience.

The Lid Flip Challenge generated almost 320 million views on TikTok, but another challenge Chipotle created fared even better: The #GuacDance Challenge, which encouraged guacamole fans to flaunt dance moves dedicated to avocados, has garnered 1.1 billion views.

Wrapping up — Learn how to sell on TikTok to access a powerful eCommerce channel

TikTok provides brands with the tools they need to thrive on the platform. It makes advertising and marketing simple, collaborating with content creators easy, and helps businesses offer seamless in-app shopping experiences for their customers.

And, given its massive audience and viral nature, TikTok can easily help businesses grow and reach new audiences — as long as they’re willing to get creative. Overall, the social media platform has built itself up into a major force that can help your eCommerce business flourish.

BFCM Checklist: How to Get Ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2022

black friday 2022 on a calendar

While most people are embracing the sunshine and preparing for summer holidays, eCommerce professionals should be thinking about the upcoming holidays… this winter!

The winter holiday season traditionally kicks off with Black Friday and, in recent years, Cyber Monday sales, making this November weekend one of the most critical sales times for merchants.

Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. This major shopping event falls on the Friday after American Thanksgiving, with Cyber Monday taking place the following Monday — in short, the weekend has become one big shopping spree.

I know what you’re thinking. “It’s not even June!” But this year, it’s vital to prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) as early as now to ensure seamless sales.

Why BFCM is so important to your bottom line

Black Friday and Cyber Monday, or BFCM, is one of the most anticipated shopping opportunities for consumers and, thus, one of the most anticipated sales periods for merchants (both online and in-store).

The shopping event became popular in the 1960s as a way to mark the start of America’s shopping season. While people used to skip work to hit the stores, consumers are now able to shop from the comfort of home. Although this “holiday” was born in the United States, it’s recognized in many parts of the world, especially in countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The revenue potential from BFCM is huge: In 2020, a whopping 174 million shoppers took advantage of the BFCM sales, compared to 83.3 million the year prior. Meanwhile, Cyber Monday was the real goldmine, with sales of $10.8 billion in the U.S. alone, marking the single largest sales day of the year. Globally, the 2019 BFCM weekend generated $717.5 billion in sales.

For many merchants, BFCM is a game-changer, with the potential to produce year-making sales. Read on to learn how to maximize the 2022 sales event with our all-inclusive Black Friday-Cyber Monday Checklist.

How to make the most of BFCM

Over the past several years, the number of shoppers lining up for Black Friday sales in stores has waned as consumers opted for the convenience of online shopping over cost savings. This presents a great opportunity for eCommerce merchants seeking a piece of that $10.8-billion pie. Since “eCommerce” and “convenience” are so closely intertwined, merchants with online stores have gained the upper hand, and with it, the freedom to be creative with their BFCM offerings.

While customers will be ready to drop some coin during BFCM, it’s important to remember you’ll be competing with offers from dozens if not hundreds of other merchants. With this in mind, you need to plan for your BFCM thoughtfully and well in advance to make the most of this sales period through killer deals, exceptional customer service, and brand loyalty.

1) Be aware of annual considerations

BFCM is a highly lucrative sales event, but it can also be a logistical nightmare if you haven’t thought ahead and gotten your proverbial ducks in a row. Each year, there are a few factors that change, such as the state of the supply chain, dates and deadlines, and marketplace events.

Before you dive into your BFCM planning, make sure to consider the following:

Supply chain challenges

Recent years have seen supply chain issues the likes of which merchants have never faced before. These can affect all aspects of a business, from procuring and receiving goods to getting them shipped out to customers.

The supply chain crisis continues as 2022 unfolds, with product availability issues, inflation, labor shortages, and political decisions making it extra challenging to move goods.

If you’re an Amazon seller, we recommend working on your Amazon IPI score and getting as much inventory into Amazon FBA as possible to prepare for the surge.

Shipping timelines/cut-off times

Shipping goods is always challenging, but never more so than during the holidays when carriers are overwhelmed with packages.

In the winter season, knowing your cut-off times for packages is absolutely critical; holiday shoppers often don’t have the time (or the patience) to wait for items to arrive.

Check with your preferred shipment partners about their cut-off dates and communicate them to your customers to limit last-minute scrambling.

2) Diversify your sales channels

Diversifying your revenue streams across different sales channels can help you capture more consumer market share, and boost visibility across different platforms.

Consider tweaking your deals based on what does best on each channel, for example offering one bundle on Walmart.com and another on your Shopify store.

Your BFCM offers should also be advertised across sales channels well in advance of your sale’s launch to get customers excited and help them plan ahead for their shopping activities.

Read: Tips on using multi-channel fulfillment for omnichannel selling

3) Stock up on inventory across sales channels

As we mentioned earlier, it’s important to order the appropriate amount of inventory for the BFCM rush as early as possible. Supply chain issues are a concern every year, but global conditions have exasperated them further than we’ve seen before in 2022.

For Amazon sellers, work on boosting your Amazon IPI to help increase your FBA storage allocation, and store as much as possible in FBA. Send in your light and fast-moving goods, because this is usually the most cost-effective item for FBA, and a high sales velocity can help increase your FBA inventory limits.

In addition, create mirror FBM listings in case your FBA listings run out of stock, and prep and prepare your goods for sale as early as possible. You’ll want your items ready to replenish FBA inventory as soon as it’s running low, and you can use this pool of items to fulfill FBM orders as well.

Read: How to choose an Amazon FBA prep service

For multi-channel merchants, the key will be to store inventory in strategic locations, and use redundancy to help prevent stockouts. That means you want inventory in multiple places that can kick in if something happens to your primary fulfillment provider.

For example, you might sell on Walmart through WFS, and Amazon through FBA. You’ll want to pick another 3PL partner you can use for FBM and Walmart orders in case you run out of stock with your marketplace fulfillment providers.

4) Customize your deals 

A look at social media during any shopping event will quickly yield information about what consumers do and don’t like. Your BFCM should be personalized for your unique customers and sales channels.

Some tips to execute custom deals:

  • Avoid misleading creative or communications about your deals. Give the customer all the information they need about the deal up front.
  • Don’t over-communicate early sales, especially if you’re pushing the same message repeatedly.
  • Each customer is unique. Segment your customer base and change your messaging, deals, and even your communication tactics to fit each audience.
  • Keep track of who has already purchased, so you don’t send them the same promotions again. Instead, try offering them something new, or personalize your next message based on what they bought.
  • Adjust your messaging for each channel. Your copy should be customized for email, SMS, social media, and other formats.
  • Highlight exclusive deals. For example, you may only offer a certain bundle during BFCM, and via your Shopify website. 

5) Give newsletter subscribers early access

Show your existing customer base some love by offering early access for newsletter subscribers.

This could be a special coupon code that’s available in the days leading up to your big sale to give loyal customers a little something extra in return.

You could also create a custom landing page specially for your newsletter subscribers to purchase from. They would just have to click a tracked link to get access, or confirm the email address they used to sign up.

6) Offer two-day shipping

Two-day shipping is the bare minimum customers expect these days. If you don’t usually offer two-day shipping, BFCM is a great time to add it to your repertoire.

Two-day shipping ensures your customers receive their packages quickly, and can boost conversion rates as well.

Worried about the cost or logistics of fast shipping? Consider partnering with a fulfillment provider like MyFBAPrep to handle your order fulfillment and shipping needs.

An external partner can help you leverage economies of scale to get the best deals, and unify your customer experience across a wide fulfillment network.

Read: How to offer free shipping while protecting your margins

7) Consider Black November

BFCM deals start rolling into people’s inboxes and popping up in digital advertising channels almost as soon as the Halloween makeup comes off. 

In fact, some retailers have taken it a step further and moved to a bigger sales period: “Black November.” 

If you want to extend your sales period and take some pressure off your BFCM weekend, consider running your deals throughout the entire month of November.

Just remember: If you run a full month of deals, keep your creative and messaging fresh, and avoid bombarding your existing customers with the same content over and over.

8) Provide multiple payment options

Consumers want choice, and how they can pay is a very important one. Multiple methods let your shoppers enjoy purchase flexibility.

While credit, debit, and Paypal are among the most commonly used payment options, other avenues are growing in popularity thanks to their flexibility and convenience.

Some new emerging payment methods:

  • Apple Pay/Google Pay/Amazon Pay: These mobile payment systems can be used for online purchases. They handle the entire checkout process with pre-filled defaults and only require PIN or TouchID verification to complete transactions easily and quickly
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: This layaway-esque option does exactly as it promises — let shoppers buy now and pay later. Affirm, Afterpay, Zip, Sezzle, and PayBright act as point-of-sale loans and split the cost of a purchase over a few weeks or months with regular installment payments instead of a single up-front cost.

9) Look at what worked well in the past

Every brand is different, so it’s important to analyze your past metrics to make decisions on how to proceed in 2022.

It can be difficult to decide which of the last three years you should look at to predict 2022. 2019 was the last “normal” pre-pandemic year. 2020 had huge tailwinds for eCommerce. 2021 saw a slight return to normal, but faced some headwinds when it came to PPC and fierce competition.

We recommend looking at 2021, the most recent sales year, as an indication of what to expect in 2022.

Check out what products sold best during your previous BFCM weekends, and look at the sales channels that performed best.

It’s also crucial to look at what didn’t work. Maybe your newsletter tanked, or a particular sales channel didn’t perform as well as you’d expected.

By learning what didn’t work, you can find opportunities to improve and make 2022 your best BFCM yet.

2022 BFCM checklist

The key to a successful BFCM lies in a lot of advanced preparation and planning. The following checklist should cover most of what you need to know to have your most successful sales event yet.

Prep for a longer sales process and sales period

Short BFCM sales are a thing of the past. As previously stated, sales and promotions now run for weeks (or even months) prior to BFCM, especially online. Since door-buster deals and long lines at stores are waning, you need to be locked and loaded for a longer sales period. This means offering your deals before and after BFCM.

Why?

According to a 2021 holiday trends study by Justuno, almost 65% of U.S. shoppers planned to make their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving. What’s more, global eCommerce spending didn’t decline after peak holiday sales in 2020!

Test your site and be ready for traffic surges

Real talk: There’s never a good time to have your site slow down or crash. But, BFCM weekend? That’s probably the worst time you could imagine. 

Your online store’s speed is important to your customers, and a major contributing factor in your conversion rate and your store’s discoverability in search. Make sure you test your server load capacity, then wait for the surge of shoppers to flood in.

Have your fulfillment strategy locked and loaded

Surges in sales mean more orders to fulfill. While this is a great problem to have, there’s no denying the logistics can be challenging. This is why you need a clear and established fulfillment strategy in place.

Will you fulfill all orders yourself, or will you outsource? Can you optimize your fulfillment workflow to improve the process for your team? Decide how you’ll fulfill orders and make sure you have everything set up for it before the sales begin.

Read: How to create resilient eCommerce logistics and operations

Make sure you’re mobile-first

Mobile commerce, or MCommerce, is on the rise; according to Shopify, 71% of BFCM purchases were made on mobile devices in 2021. This means it’s crucial that your store is optimized for mobile. 

Make your store mobile responsive, and ensure it’s easy and intuitive to purchase from an online device. Test your processes through mobile and make any necessary changes before the BFCM kickoff.

Start planning now

We know it feels early for BFCM, but the time to put your plan in action is now.

Start thinking about every element of your BFCM strategy, from your messaging and creative to your customer retention post-BFCM and everything in between.

Test your prep work for the bundles you want to offer, experiment with different packaging, get your product shots ready, and send in your replenishment orders.

By doing so, you can concentrate on the action during your BFCM event without worrying about the minor details.

Begin building anticipation on social media

Social media is a great way to hint at your upcoming event ahead of your sale to build anticipation and grow your audience. You can use it to expand your email marketing lists too. To build anticipation on social, consider:

  • Inviting users to sign up for your newsletter for early, exclusive access to sales
  • Sharing positive reviews and other UGC about your store and products
  • Counting down to your sale kickoff on your website
  • Sharing discount codes with loyal customers
  • Running contests on social media

Double down on your top sales channels

If you already sell on more than one channel, identify those that are most lucrative to your business and double down on them during the holiday season.

You want to look at:

  • Which channels have the highest conversion rates
  • The platforms that capture your most loyal customers
  • Marketplaces your products are ranking well organically in
  • Where your products have the most visibility

Explore the sales channels that resonate most with your target shoppers so you can reach potential buyers early this year.

Create a contingency plan

Even the best laid plans go sideways sometimes. Make sure you’ve got a backup plan if the you-know-what hits the fan by considering worst-case scenarios and being ready no matter what’s thrown at you.

For example, you can set up backup bundles, flash deals, and prepare pre-order landing pages that will kick in if something sells out.

Make inventory decisions now

Picking and ordering the products you plan to promote during BFCM should be done as early as possible, especially if you rely on suppliers to manufacture or source your inventory.

Around the world, suppliers have been operating above capacity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and so require time to ready products for you.

Look at your inventory reporting to see what products have traditionally sold best and promote those during your BFCM sale.

Establish a shipping and delivery strategy early and communicate

Key sales periods are a good time to revisit your shipping strategy.

This doesn’t mean you need to offer every shipping option out there. It’s more important to align with your customers’ needs and to balance affordable and feasible options for your business. Moreover, when customers have too many shipping options to choose from, it can actually have a negative impact. Keep it simple, offer a few options (e.g., two-day, regular shipping), and create a better customer experience.

Also, remember that how you charge customers has a big influence on both your conversion rate and your profit margins. Consumers now expect free and fast shipping — preferably both. While free shipping isn’t actually free since you cover the cost, absorbing this expense can have a big payoff, especially if it increases the average order value (AOV), such as in instances where you offer free shipping over $X amount.

You might also consider offering a “buy online, pick-up in store” (BOPIS) option if you have brick-and-mortar locations.

Organize upcoming sales and share with your team

Plan your deals and discounts well in advance rather than throwing a sale together at the last minute. Take time to review your margins and inventory so you can set enticing discounts that still make sense for your business.

Create preplanned sales maps, prepackaged bundles, and exclusive deals. Share them across your team and with fulfillment partners so everyone can plan and prepare.

By documenting and preplanning, when sale dates approach, you can quickly and easily set your business up for success.

Optimize order and fulfillment workflows in advance

When a high volume of sales pour in over a short period of time, it can be difficult to fulfill and ship orders quickly. Some ways you can optimize your fulfillment workflows in advance of BFCM include:

  • Organize your fulfillment area
  • Hire additional staff
  • Communicate clearly and regularly with fulfillment and delivery partners
  • Prioritize and organize orders
  • Partner with a fulfillment partner like MyFBAPrep

Set up abandoned cart recovery

BFCM is a great time to shop. That means consumers will be going to multiple stores, comparing offers, and likely abandoning their carts.

If you want to crush it this BFCM, you need a compelling BFCM offer to convince customers to purchase with you. Failing that, you need to set up abandoned cart email sequences to get them back after they’ve left.

Consider using:

  • Abandoned cart emails that provide additional discounts
  • Pop-ups that show upon exit intent that share limited time offers
  • Sidebars that upsell or cross-sell to showcase the variety of your store

Update your website with BFCM creative

In the month leading up to BFCM, you want to have images and graphics ready to go live on your website. That includes your homepage, banners, product pages, and even pop-ups.

Tip: Prepare these creatives in advance so you have a branded look across all your communication channels (ie. social, emails, website).

If someone visits your website coming from an ad or social media, you want them to recognize they are in the right place, and be able to find their deal right away.

Retarget past visitors and customers

When you retarget past visitors to your store, you reach people who might have forgotten all about you and would have otherwise missed your sale.

You can and should retarget customers who have previously purchased from your store as well. Existing customers are usually easier to reach and market to than brand new ones, so they should be high on your priority list. They’re also more likely to buy, which boosts your likelihood of closing a sale with them. 

Launch email marketing campaigns

Start planning your email campaigns long before your Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales kick off.

In addition to getting the word out before the deals go live, they reduce the number of things you have to manage right before your sales period begins.

To create the best email marketing strategy:

  • Place email collection fields and sign-up pop-ups on pages so you can email shoppers who’ve visited, but aren’t ready to buy and help build suspense and buzz about your upcoming sale
  • Personalize your campaigns to give your customers a more tailored experience
  • Send hints or teasers in the weeks leading up to your BFCM sale launch so your audience knows to watch for your announcement
  • Thank your customers after the sale wraps up
  • Remember to send abandoned cart emails

Use BNPL to increase conversions

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions allow customers to make an online purchase today, then pay for the order in installments over a period of time, similar to layaway.

These solutions are proven to boost conversions as well as AOV.

BNPL can also reduce cart abandonment rates by offering an additional payment option.

Reward loyal customers

BFCM is a great time to build relationships with previous customers and convince them to return to your store. It’s also a prime opportunity to reward your loyal customer base by targeting them early with your best deals.

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

Offer stellar online chat support 

Chat support on your website is a great way to connect with your customers in real time to provide much needed support and personalization.

Online chat can also include FAQ links to help connect shoppers with answers they need when you or your team is unavailable.

Blow your customer service out of the water

The holidays can be a hectic time for customer support, and the hard truth is, they don’t always bring out the best in our customers. One way to improve the customer experience is to be courteous and respectful of your customers, and have a quick response time when issues arise.

Arm yourself and your team with pre-written, helpful phrases and replies so you can deliver consistent service in the moment with minimal effort. Some common customer frustrations to prepare for include:

  • Lost or delayed orders
  • Dissatisfaction with purchases
  • Damaged packages or products

Offer easy returns

Returns are as much a part of the buying experience as payment options, with most shoppers today expecting free and easy returns.

Clearly communicate your returns policy and make sure it’s easy to understand. Popular places to showcase your policy include a dedicated Shipping and Returns Policy page, your FAQs page(s), and product pages. It should be included in all order notification emails as well.

Assess your checkout experience

Be honest: Does your checkout experience inspire customers to buy? The checkout process is a make-or-break moment that determines whether customers pay up or bail.

Lengthy checkouts can be a conversion killer, especially on mobile, so accelerated checkouts like Shop Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Amazon Pay, etc., are a great option to boost conversions.

These checkout methods let customers autofill saved information, which reduces barriers to purchasing.

Read: How to optimize your checkout process

Ask for feedback before BFCM

A fresh set of eyes can help you identify issues on your website and provide important feedback that can improve your shoppers’ experiences. Look for common problems or areas where visitors are confused or frustrated and work with your existing customer base to find solutions before you kick off your BFCM sale.

Be ready to nurture BFCM customers

Once you’ve earned a customer, it’s imperative you nurture that customer to increase the likelihood they’ll return to your store to purchase again.

Prepare nurture email campaigns to keep your BFCM customers engaged long after the sales have ended to turn these one-time buyers into repeat customers with a higher lifetime value

You can send post-sale emails to subscribers, engage with them on social media, or set up retargeting campaigns to remain top-of-mind with relevant products and enticing messaging.

Wrapping up — Get ready for BFCM 2022 as early as today

BFCM may seem like it’s far away, but it’ll be here sooner than you expect. By preparing early, you’ll be ready to launch your deals and tactics in the most efficient, effective way possible.

You’ll also ensure your assets are ready to go, inventory is prepared, and you don’t miss out on sales because you overlooked an opportunity.

Follow the BFCM checklist we’ve shared above to set yourself up for success. Happy selling!

Importance of eCommerce Personalization in The Buyer Journey

a man and a woman building a website

Personalized shopping experiences are the cornerstone of many brands’ business models. This display of excellent customer service and an enhanced buyer experience, tailored to customer needs and preferences, drives brand loyalty and increases the likelihood of larger, more frequent purchases from customers.

In the digital space, it’s difficult to achieve the level of customer service and engagement found in brick-and-mortar shops — but not impossible. Although the merchandising, sales staff, decor, and overall atmosphere of in-store shopping have a unique impact on shoppers, you can create a customized and thoughtful eCommerce experience with a few tips and tools.

In this article, we’ll discuss personalization in eCommerce and how you can take your digital customer experience to the next level.

Personalization in eCommerce

In eCommerce, personalization refers to a shopping experience customized for your customers based on their past engagements with your website.

Your brand needs to display dynamic content grounded in customer data like demographics, intent, preferences, browsing history, previous purchases, and device usage (e.g., whether the customer is shopping on the web, mobile, a tablet, or a smartwatch).

Data collection is the foundation of personalization. Several data collection points are critical to eCommerce personalization, including:

  • Traffic
  • On-site interactions
  • Email
  • Personal data
  • Paid media pixels
  • Purchases
  • Search
  • Pricing

By tracking these data points, you can make informed decisions based on reliable evidence. You can then implement the insights gained from these points into your personalization efforts, such as what the financial threshold is for customers, or what kinds of content are most likely to engage and convert them.

To be successful in your personalization efforts, it’s crucial you determine:

  • What data you’re tracking
  • Who you’re tracking
  • When you track that data (which should be in real time)
  • How you track (including tools used)

Avoid generalizing and making assumptions about your shoppers; not all traffic is the same, and individual intentions can vary enormously.

Why personalization is important

Giving your customers tailored experiences distinguishes your brand. A report from McKinsey & Company found that “…companies that excel at personalization generate 40 percent more revenue from those activities than average players.” It’s proven to help you stand out from the competition, which leads to several larger benefits.

Personalization also ensures the content displayed to your customers is relevant to them. Data from an Epsilon research survey revealed 80% of customers are likely to make a purchase when given personalized experiences. The opposite holds true as well: When brands fail to deliver a personalized experience, customers are more likely to seek out a competitor who will.

Increase sales

According to Infosys, over 85% of consumers say eCommerce personalization influences their behavior, and nearly 75% of marketers assert it increased their sales.

When you show shoppers relevant content, they’re more likely to engage with it and, eventually, complete a purchase. You can accomplish this by leveraging tools and widgets that allow you to:

  • Display recommended products for up-sell, cross-sell, or even down-sell opportunities
  • Show products to visitors “Based on your browsing history”
  • Customize floating headers or other offers based on visitor behavior, geography, and more

Build brand loyalty

More than 70% of consumers expect personalization from the brands and businesses they choose, which means your brand loyalty is at risk when you forgo tailoring your customers’ experiences.

As digital behaviors expand, so do consumer expectations — especially when major eCommerce leaders raise the bar for other companies. Brand loyalty increases when consumers see brands have made an effort to get to know their shoppers and demonstrate how well they know them. This can take the form of displaying relevant ads, offering targeted promotions, celebrating milestones like birthdays, and sending triggers based on behaviors, to name a few actions.

Boost customer engagement

Customers are more likely to engage with content that’s relevant to them, so the more personalized your content is to your customer, the higher your engagement rates will be. This creates a cycle where your customers increasingly engage with your content, making it easier for you to personalize it to boost engagement, etc.

You can derive valuable information from every interaction to deepen your knowledge of your customers. In turn, you can use that to craft more targeted marketing initiatives that will close more sales.

How to create a personalized experience for customers

A personalized online shopping experience begins with personalized marketing, where you study your existing customer data and collect actionable insights to steer your efforts. Research shows personalized marketing yields higher conversion rates, and with ever-rising CPCs and more discerning shoppers, personalization matters now more than ever.

According to McKinsey & Company, “consumers don’t just want personalization, they demand it,” so it’s critical to get this right and make it an integral part of your business model.

Communicate clearly

One of the simplest solutions to providing a personalized experience for your customers is through maintaining open communication. However, that communication has to be a two-way street.

Although you should strive to communicate your brand value proposition and product information to your customers, listen to their feedback as well to capture valuable data. Use form submissions, polls, and personalized opt-ins to gather this information and get to know your customers. This will help you understand their interests and needs on a deeper level and improve future communication.

Retarget

Retargeting, or remarketing, is the practice of showing customers ads based on previous interactions they’ve had with your business’s digital presence. This can range from engaging with social media content to browsing product pages or even adding items to cart.

When you retarget, you provide a personalized experience to customers by showing them content they’ve previously engaged with or that’s similar in nature, which produces a cohesive shopping experience.

Say thank you

Post-purchase communications are a prime opportunity to add a personal touch.

Rather than sending a generic thank you message, thank your customer by name and include the name of the product they purchased as well as any order updates you can provide in the message.

Tip: Include content that will help them get the most out of their purchase, such as a useful hint or demo video link.

Tailor messaging to customer activities/purchase habits

If you don’t offer subscriptions or auto-renewal of purchases, you can nevertheless send tailored messaging based on your customer’s previous purchase habits. The makeup company Clinique does this well: They send reminder emails to customers letting them know it may be time to replace their products.

You can deliver unique messaging at multiple touch points; remind customers they’ve left something in their cart, or show retargeting ads based on past browsing history. Whatever you choose, that messaging should be suited to your individual shoppers’ activities and interests.

Create offers based on customer actions

Customized offers based on customer actions are one of the best examples of personalization in eCommerce.

For example, when a customer purchases a particular product, you can send them offers based on complementary products that may help them get the most out of their original purchase.

Or, if a customer has left an item in their cart, that could trigger a special offer to close that sale, such as 10% off, free shipping, or a free gift with purchase.

Display location-based products & campaigns

If a customer lives in the desert, they probably don’t want to see ads for snow boots. Location-based campaign targeting shows customers content that’s more relevant and thus of interest to them so they’re more likely to engage with it.

To display products or campaigns based on location, you have to construct your campaigns around demographic data collected from your customers. These campaigns or displays can vary from product-specific (e.g., showing snow boots to people who live in places where snow is common) to area-specific, like showing state- or city-themed items.

Upsell, cross-sell, & downsell

Upsell, cross-sell, and downsell opportunities are relatively easy ways to personalize the shopping experience for your customers.

When your customer has engaged with a particular product or added it to their cart, you can showcase other items through the widgets on your site. These can include:

  • Cross-selling opportunities, such as showing products that complement the item(s) your customer is considering
  • Upselling opportunities, like displaying a larger or newer — and usually more expensive — version of the item(s) the customer has engaged with
  • Downselling opportunities, which include showing customers a smaller, less advanced, and usually less expensive version(s) of a product or products the customer is looking at (usually if you notice they are about to exit)

These actions can help your customer find the product best-suited to their needs, providing excellent customer service and increasing the likelihood they’ll complete checkout.

Streamline site navigation

When visitors arrive on your website, they don’t want to spend time clicking from page to page to find what they’re looking for. Instead, use your navigation to personalize the experience for new and repeat customers by helping them reach relevant content. This saves them time and boosts your conversion rates.

For example, you may ask a first-time visitor to your online store to select the type of product they want and direct them accordingly. When a customer returns to your website, you could display a unique-to-them banner based on their previous browsing history to help them search.

Personalize opt-ins

Just like online traffic, not all customer preferences are the same, so it’s imperative you personalize opt-ins for your customers to ensure they receive the content they want and avoid what they don’t.

Allow customers to select their opt-in preferences when signing up for newsletters and other communications. These could include options like:

  • Helpful hints
  • New product releases
  • Deals and promotions
  • General business news
  • Frequency of communications

Helpful tools

During the early days of business, you may be able to stay on top of personalization efforts manually, but as you scale and grow, you’ll likely need to automate them. There are dozens of tools available to support personalization efforts, from data collection to enabling website edits quickly and easily. We’ve listed a few recommendations to get you started:

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is a popular lead generation software that marketing agencies, eCommerce websites and small businesses use to help them grow their subscriber lists and build their businesses.

The software’s value lies in its behavior automation capabilities, which can help eCommerce professionals unlock maximum revenue by reducing cart abandonment rates and improving conversions. This automation allows the platform to glean information from your customers and grow your subscriber lists so you can focus on other aspects of your business.

OptinMonster offers both a WordPress plugin and a Shopify app — among other options — for a seamless add-on to your online store. With this platform, you can create:

  • Personalized exit-intent pop-ups to help you recover lost revenue from abandoned shopping carts
  • Floating headers to promote flash sales and deals with countdown banners (which are personalized to each visitor)
  • Coupons and other lead magnet offers based on visitor behavior to help you convert hesitant shoppers into email subscribers for future email marketing opportunities

WPForms

WPForms is a form builder for WordPress boasting easy form creation for your website, including payment forms, contact forms, registration forms, and more. It also offers a powerful personalization feature you can use to boost sales by:

  • Creating surveys or polls to learn more about customers for improved targeting
  • Sending personalized thank you emails to every visitor who submits a form on your website
  • Collecting and storing geolocation data along with form submissions so you can better segment email lists and craft location-based offers

Of course, being a WordPress form builder, WPForms is only applicable to websites hosted on WordPress.

Barilliance

If your goal is to produce a personalized experience throughout the full customer journey, then Barilliance is for you. Its AI-driven product recommendations personalizes and then automates cross-sell and upsell opportunities across all customer touchpoints. Meanwhile, its website customization ensures your visitors are targeted with real-time, tailored messages and offers to increase sales.

Barilliance also includes cart abandonment and customer retention tools, live shopping notifications, and more.

Salesforce B2B Commerce

Salesforce’s B2B Commerce solution uses its Einstein AI software to help online retailers tailor product recommendations for all web visitors.

The solution provides unified data to personalize each interaction to grow revenue across channels thanks to its automation, AI, and single data source that unifies touchpoints. This enables you to convert more customers and drive loyalty as you provide a seamless customer journey from beginning to end.

Bunting

Bunting allows you to create personalized website content for each visitor. It offers solutions based on your selected pain point or primary focus: Acquire Traffic, Convert Visitors, or Retain Customers.

Specifically, you should look at Personalize, an AI-powered solution that earns more sales by customizing the visitor experience through product recommendations, website personalization, urgency and social proof, and cart abandonment reduction tools.

Wrapping up — Upgrade your buyer experience through eCommerce personalization

By adding personal touches throughout the buyer journey, you transform their experience from a basic transaction to a thriving relationship. Building these connections deepens loyalty, increases customer lifetime value, and leaves them with a great impression of your brand — which your shoppers may then share with their friends and family and on social media.

Personalizing various aspects and tailoring suggestions, messages, and offers to your customers can have stronger impacts on more than your bottom line. It can grow your brand, enrich shoppers’ experiences, and produce loyal customers.

5 Amazon Listing Quality KPIs to Focus on For Growth

2 women and a man looking at their computer screens

This is a guest post from Tina, a a marketplace specialist at BellaVix. She’s a passionate and experienced Amazon marketer with five years of experience. Driven by challenges, Tina is a people person who gains energy from social encounters. You can bribe Tina with good music taste, delicious baking recipes, or discovering a hidden tourist gem.

Globally, there are nearly two million small and midsize third-party businesses selling on Amazon, with roughly 3,700 new sellers joining the platform every day. If you want your products to rank above the dozens of other businesses in your niche, it’s crucial to understand Amazon’s ranking factors. Once you know which ones contribute to improved rankings (and how), you can optimize your listings to rank higher and earn better results.

Although there are many factors essential to your brand’s success on Amazon — conversions, CTR, relevant keywords, product listing completeness, etc. — some of these should be tackled before others (for example, you need traffic to your listings to improve conversion rates).

This post will focus on KPIs we’ve found to be the most important to track to rank and sell better on Amazon.

5 KPIs to focus on to boost Amazon sales

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, provide valuable insights sellers can leverage to improve their online businesses. They’re a crucial part of your growth strategy on Amazon because they reveal what’s working well with customers and how people interact within the system.

Let’s break down five main KPIs that significantly impact your sales growth as an Amazon seller.

1) Content quality

High-quality product detail pages (PDPs), including images and videos, are the first thing you should consider when differentiating your products and improving your positioning on Amazon. First impressions matter, so your product needs to stand out to generate traffic and growing sales.

Invest more of your time creating unique, high-quality, interesting, and relevant content, and stay up to date with the latest opportunities to enrich your Amazon content.

Here are some concrete ways to maximize your optimized listings:

  • Employ the most relevant keywords to product titles and bullet points.
    • Your product title is the first thing customers see and makes a huge impact on how your product ranks in search results. As such, optimizing your listing (through SEO) should be the first thing you improve to draw more traffic to your product listing.
    • Amazon uses the A9 Search Algorithm to best match customer searches to the desired product, and content is an important factor that influences your search ranking results in it.
  • Publish up-to-date pictures.
    • Quality images support sales and help build your brand’s perception.
    • Aside from general product images, spotlight its critical features, the product in use, and lifestyle images.
    • Include award badges to provide additional value for potential customers.
  • Showcase videos
    • Videos help you build relationships with potential customers by putting a face and voice to your brand.
    • Effective videos highlight product features and benefits and show their various uses.
    • You can add up to six videos to each product page, so you can combine “how to use” and influencer videos with general product videos.
  • Add A+ content to present your brand and products as premium and professional.
    • Amazon asserts sellers can increase sales 10% by educating your customers about your product with A+ content.
    • Each section of your landing page sells the next, and all the creatives need to entice the visitor to keep scrolling. A+ content does this best.

To calculate the quality of your content, you can take advantage of numerous tools that’ll review the status of your titles, key points, images, and other elements of the product page to determine which parts of your content should be improved.

2) Reviews

Once you know you have a rich listing and valuable content for your brand, consider your reviews strategy. Amazon reviews are a critical factor of your store’s success; they directly impact conversion rate, rankings, and your sales.

From Amazon Vine to the “Request a review” feature, there are many opportunities to enrich your product pages with customer opinions. We also recommend searching competitors’ reviews to look for common complaints or issues. Avoid the same mistakes and refine your on-page content to surpass customer expectations.

Follow Amazon’s Review Policy to avoid negative repercussions for your store. Some restrictions to be aware of include:

  • Posting a review of your own product or a competitor’s product
  • Offering a financial reward, discount, free products, or other compensation to a third party in exchange for a review of your or your competitor’s product
  • Providing a refund or reimbursement after the buyer writes a negative review and asking them to change or remove the review before or after the reimbursement
  • Creating a variation relationship between products to manipulate reviews and boost an item’s star rating via review aggregation

As mentioned earlier, there are two Amazon initiatives sellers can use to increase their reviews:

a) Amazon Vine

This program invites Amazon’s most trusted reviewers to post opinions about new products to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions. Amazon invites buyers to become Vine reviewers (also known as Vine Voices) based on the insightfulness of their Amazon purchase reviews.

To be eligible for this program, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Professional Selling Partner
  • Register your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry
  • Be identified as a brand owner
  • Have eligible FBA offers

b) Request a review

  • This is an optional way to request reviews from your buyers, found on the Order Details page.
  • Sellers can use this feature once per order between five and 30 days after the order delivery date. This ensures customers receive relevant, recent review requests.

When you receive a negative product review, you can contact the customer directly to remedy the issue. Navigate to the Customer Review section on your store’s dashboard. After clicking “Contact Customer,” you’ll be presented with two options:

  • Courtesy Refund – Offer a full refund
  • Customer Support – Ask the customer for additional details on the order to try and fix the problem

When communicating with customers, always maintain a positive, understanding, and friendly tone.

Once you start collecting customer reviews, you can leverage in various ways them to drive new sales, including:

  • Display reviews on your website
  • Share them on social media channels
  • Familiarize yourself with customer needs and update listings accordingly
  • Incorporate your best reviews in your PPC campaigns

To keep an eye on your ratings, you can check your Amazon account or have a review tracking tool manage them for you.

3) Inventory Performance Index

Although Amazon keeps secret the math behind their Inventory Performance Index (IPI), the company does suggest sellers pay special attention to three factors to boost their number:

  • In-stock inventory – Avoid stockouts and lost sales
  • Excess inventory – Minimize inventory carrying and storage costs
  • Stranded inventory – Ensure your products are available for purchase and delivery

If your IPI falls below 350, Amazon will limit your ability to send more inventory and impose a penalty on any excess inventory sitting in Amazon warehouses. You can review your IPI in the Manage Inventory tab.

4) Buy Box percentage

A whopping 83% of Amazon sales go through the Buy Box, so knowing how to win the Buy Box for your products is critical to earn more conversions. Numerous factors affect your chances of winning the Buy Box, including your chosen fulfillment method, total product price, and delivery speed. Check these regularly and make improvements on the most critical variables to increase your Buy Box win rate and, in turn, your sales.

You can find Buy Box metrics on your Seller home page and in Amazon Business reports on the ASIN level or as the average rate of all your listings in a chosen period.

Source: BigCommerce

5) Unit session percentage rate

The unit session percentage rate is the number of units ordered divided by the total number of sessions. So, the greater the percentage, the more sales you’re making.

This metric indicates the quality of your product page and your advertising strategy. You can improve your conversion rate by taking the following steps:

  • Include product videos
  • Split test to find the perfect product photos and phrasing
  • Improve SEO (pay special attention to keywords in your product title and page copy)
  • Upgrade your A+ page branding
  • Increase the number of reviews and their ratings
  • Revise and optimize your PPC activities

Wrapping up — Choose your Amazon KPIs wisely

Simply put, there’s no shortcut to improve your Amazon performance. However, focusing on the KPIs mentioned above will boost your rankings in the Amazon product search algorithm and consequently lead to sales growth.

5 Ways to Scale Your eCommerce Business

a computer screen displaying ecommerce metrics

Estimates report global eCommerce revenue will total $55.5 trillion USD in 2022. With an increase in digital activities combined with a mass shift in shopping habits (spurred in part by the 2020 onset of the Covid-19 pandemic), eCommerce is experiencing exponential growth. As it continues to boom globally, it’s important to understand how you can scale your business and build a growth strategy grounded in real-world evidence and proven tactics.

Read on to learn some of the most effective ways to scale your eCommerce business.

1) Add SKUs

One exciting method is to add SKUs (stock keeping units) to grow your catalog or store offering. In inventory management, a SKU is a distinct type of item for sale, already purchased, or tracked in inventory, such as a product or service, and all attributes associated with the item type that distinguish it from other types.

You can use SKUs in a number of ways to increase your sales and scale your business, such as adding new products, products similar to those you already sell, or bundling your existing items to offer your customers value and convenience.

New products

Fresh offerings keep your store relevant and can attract a wider audience. However, new product development can be costly and time-consuming, so you need to do your homework first and understand which products are most likely to sell well.

Begin by identifying a need. Talk to your customers and scope out what the competition is selling. Then, determine what sales volume you expect, calculate pricing, plan your marketing strategy, and make sure you’ve budgeted accordingly.

Similar products

Finding products similar to those you already sell is a safer foray into adding products than building from scratch. This could include selling different sizes of the same product or offering multiple brands in the same product category (e.g., sneakers by Adidas, Nike, and New Balance).

If you decide to sell products similar in nature to those in your catalog, it’s imperative to verify there are no clauses in your existing contracts that restrict this activity.

We recommend choosing your best-selling products and identifying similar items at both higher and lower price points to attract new customers across the spending spectrum.

Existing product bundles

A safe and easy way to add new SKUs to your inventory is to bundle two or more of your popular products for sale. You have a few options to do this:

You could create bundles of two or more of the same product. For example, sell two coffee mugs as a set or a six-pack of one-month-supply bottles of vitamins.

Offer a discount on these bundles to add value and convenience, especially since it cuts down on shipping costs while helping you move more inventory. This is also a great solution when you’re trying to move less popular items.

You could build bundles of complementary items (think shampoo and conditioner or a day and night cream combo). Again, you can offer a discount on this multiple-item bundle.

These complementary sets make it easy for customers to purchase everything they need for a particular use, plus save money on products and/or shipping. Best of all, they give you a new product to market and sell, which contributes to your business growth.

Read: How to craft your bundling strategy for DTC success

However you add SKUs to your product lineup, it’s a good practice to market them to your existing customers. We recommend a newsletter announcing your new product(s), retargeting advertising, or even early access for your subscribers and loyal customers.

2) Increase average order value

Arguably the most effective way to scale your business is to increase your average order value (AOV).

Growing AOV has multiple benefits: It increases the return on investment (ROI) spent attracting and converting new customers; it reduces the cost of fulfilling orders; and, ideally, it also earns you more bang for your buck when moving and shipping out those orders.

Below are our favorite ways to boost your eCommerce business’s AOV.

Offer free shipping over a certain threshold

How many times have you added a pair of socks, some lip balm, a measuring tape, or some other small item to bump your purchase total over the threshold for free shipping? Consumers (understandably) loathe paying for shipping. An $8 shipping fee is perceived as less tolerable than paying $15 for a new hat, so offering your customers free shipping over a payment threshold is an easy and effective way to boost average order value.

To ensure your free shipping offer doesn’t backfire, you’ll need to run the numbers to figure out what that threshold is for your business. A quick look at major retailers reveals this threshold can range from as low as $25 to as high as $200. That range also varies based on the products you sell and the requirements for their safe shipment.

Showcase similar or recommended products

Similar or recommended product widgets use upselling or cross-selling to increase AOV.

Upselling occurs when you convince a customer to purchase a more expensive option than the one they’re looking at or have added to their cart. A good example of this would be offering a larger (and thus more expensive) version of a product, like a 100-pack of pens over a pack of 50.

Cross-selling is when you offer a complementary product to your customer, such as suggesting a bag of coffee beans to go with their coffee machine.

When implemented correctly, both upselling and cross-selling increase average order value. In an upsell, the customer may only purchase one item, but it’s the more expensive one. With a cross-sell, the customer purchases the original product as well as complementary item(s) to make a larger order that costs more.

Provide coupon codes tied to spend thresholds

H&M does a great job of leveraging coupon codes with spend thresholds with their regular “X% off over $X” sales that often run for short periods of time. Offering a coupon code as an incentive to buy more can work in two ways:

  1. You can offer coupon codes for the present order to encourage customers to spend more in the moment. A recent H&M online sale, for example, looked like this: “- 10% off $80 order – 15% off $100 order – 20% off $150 order”
  2. You can also offer coupon codes to be used for a future sale, which has the added bonus of enticing customers to return to claim their prize. Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic are notorious for this with their Cash Coupons, which are used during future windows either online or in stores.

This approach sets a minimum spend requirement for customers to receive a coupon for future savings.

Give special deals for larger carts

“Buy two and get the third half off”

“BOGO 50% off”

“5 for $25”

We’ve all experienced the draw of these types of advertisements, haven’t we? Offering special deals encourages customers to add more items to their cart, which increases the number of items per sale as well as your AOV.

Read: 7 ways to boost average order value (AOV)

3) Extend your customer lifetime value

True or false: a one-time customer who spends $1,000 once is more valuable than a customer who spends $100 every six months for years.

If you said “true,” you’re missing out.

Attracting new customers is expensive and, if they only spend once and then leave, your ROI is shot. Rather than one-time big spenders, it’s more cost-effective to attract regular, loyal customers who may spend less per transaction, but keep coming back (although, let’s be real, we like big spenders too).

Keeping your customers coming back to buy again is the key to extending and increasing their lifetime value (LTV). Customers with a higher LTV equate to business growth.

Read: What is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) and why is it so critical in eCommerce?

Create a newsletter

Communicating with your customers beyond their initial purchase is critical to building a relationship and breeding loyalty. A newsletter is a great channel for this.

Newsletters keep your customers informed about new product launches and market special sales events, and offer additional value by providing helpful tips and tricks for using your products and getting the most out of their purchases. They also keep you top-of-mind among your customers.

Read: 7 Keys of eCommerce email marketing

Prioritize customer service

If you want customers to return in the future, it’s important to give them a fantastic experience. To do this, prioritize customer service and their experience from beginning to end.

Start by creating clear marketing messages. Make sure your online store is easy to navigate, and eliminate any nasty surprises — like duty fees or shipping costs — by openly communicating all costs associated with your products. Keep your customers informed throughout the fulfillment and shipping processes with regular updates and expectations management. And, of course, thank them for their purchase.

If something goes off the rails, be sure to work with them on solutions. This demonstrates your stellar customer service, which endears your customers to you and fosters loyalty to your brand.

Retarget customers

Once a customer has visited your store, regardless of whether or not they buy, you should retarget them with an approach tailored to the customers’ past actions.

If a customer purchased a particular item, they don’t want to see ads for it repeatedly. Instead, your retargeting should focus on complementary items and new products. If a customer hasn’t purchased, retargeting with ads specific to the item(s) they viewed is appropriate.

Offer loyalty programs and deals

Keep your customers coming back by offering a loyalty program and special, “members only” deals. (These can be advertised in that newsletter we mentioned earlier!)

Loyalty programs can take on a number of forms: You can offer points like Sephora or a free product after every 10 purchases — whatever works best for your business. Running loyalty programs and special deals encourages customers to sign up and return so they can reap the rewards of being your customer.

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

4) Add sales channels

The more places you sell your products, the more opportunities you have to close deals.

eCommerce sales channels are the various platforms you use to sell your products. You may also have offline channels to expand your audience. When you add sales channels to your business, you increase your exposure (and the likelihood of making a sale), but choose your channel wisely.

Look for opportunities in other marketplaces

If you only sell on one platform, it might be time to expand to other sales channels and piggyback on common practices there.

For example, if you begin selling on Amazon, you can offer Prime perks like free same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping. When you remove shipping fees from the equation, customers might feel inspired to tack on an extra item or two.

If you do decide to sell on other marketplaces, consider setting up your own store. Again, Amazon offers sellers unique, customizable virtual storefronts, for example. This allows you to showcase multiple products in one place, and set up recommended items on your product listings to upsell and cross-sell to customers.

Bonus: Marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Etsy, and others already have loads of traffic each day. More customers means more sales opportunities.

Think outside the tab

If you operate a standalone eCommerce store, we know it can be hard to attract new customers and that marketing efforts can sometimes fall flat. That’s why it’s important to think outside of your domain when you’re ready to get serious about scaling your business.

Here are some of our favorite ways to see brands expand:

Pop-up shops

Pop-up shops at brick-and-mortar locations provide a unique opportunity to interact with customers and grow relationships in person. You could also launch pop-up shops online.

A pop-up shop is a low-commitment tactic that attracts customers with its novelty while creating a sense of urgency due to their “limited time only” opportunity to shop. Depending on your brand, target audiences, and location, you can leverage these shops in a number of ways.

Often, pop-up shops are the result of the relationship a brand has built with another company or brand. For example, your shoes can be sold at a local clothing boutique, or your fitness equipment could be showcased at a local fitness studio. As another avenue, you could consider setting up a kiosk during special events at local shopping facilities around the holidays.

The most important part of your pop-up shop plan? MARKETING. Create lots of hype and excitement in advance of your event to attract customers.

The greatest benefit of a pop-up shop is the experience it provides your customers. It might feel counterintuitive, but focus less on closing sales and more on building relationships.

Experiential shopping

Experiential shopping has become a popular eCommerce trend in recent years. It creates immersive, memorable experiences that engage the customer in new ways as they get to know your brand and products.

According to Forbes, experiential is the future of eCommerce. While experiential shopping may seem best-suited to in-person shopping, you can bring it online as well. You can use augmented reality (AR) for virtual try-ons, for example, or leverage influencer engagement (more on that later).

You can also implement experiential shopping in events such as the pop-up shops we discussed above. Just like those, the purpose of experiential shopping is to engage with your customers. Focus on their experience rather than their checkouts, and you’ll foster long-lasting relationships that yield repeated purchases and loyalty.

Social selling

As social media continues to grow, so, too, do the opportunities to sell on these channels.

Social media is an effective way to target new customers and retarget existing ones by providing a personalized shopping experience.

Once you’ve carefully selected your target audience (see below), you can use social media to present buying opportunities to those groups and individuals who are most likely to be interested in your goods. Since shoppers can buy directly through platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, you can create seamless experiences that make it easy for your customers to check out without needing to navigate away from their favorite social apps.

Social media also gives you the opportunity to engage with your customers, so break out your customer service hat and reach out to or respond to customers on your established channels.

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

Leverage influencers

Social media influencers are the holy grail of social media selling because they provide credible social proof to support your products. Taking it a step further, you can work with influencers to craft unique experiential shopping opportunities such as Instagram Live events where an influencer shares your products that customers can buy in real time.

When partnering with influencers, work with those who share your brand’s values, and establish key performance indicators (KPIs), brand messaging, and guidelines in advance to protect your and your influencers’ brands.

Read: Influencer marketing strategy: How to find the right partners for your brand

5) Increase advertising spend

Increasing advertising spend might seem like a quick fix to attract new customers and sell more. However, you need to monitor your advertising spend carefully to maximize its efficacy and help you realize the greatest return on investment.

Before you dial up the dollars spent, take the following steps.

Know when to spend more

Upping ad spend is close to a science. Some companies make the mistake of dialing up the spend in hopes of remedying their advertising woes, but the right solution is to spend strategically.

Increase your spend in the days and weeks leading up to major sales events (think Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Grading Day, Easter, etc.).

Consider slowly upping your ad spend and analyzing how that affects your business. A good benchmark is to increase spend once a week over the course of four to five weeks, then review your metrics. If you don’t see a rise in conversions and your AOV hasn’t budged, you need to look at other elements of your marketing strategy.

Refine your audiences

It’s useless to increase your ad spend if your ads are served to people who are unlikely to buy. To hit the right segments, hone in on your target audience and set parameters carefully. By making sure you target the right people with your ads, you can increase your ROI and optimize your ad spend.

Choose marketing channels wisely

While you carefully consider your audience, you should also look at where they spend their time and choose advertising channels accordingly. For example, if your biggest customer demographic is 60 and older, TikTok is generally not your best bet — but Facebook might be.

Keep in mind though, not everyone is a fan of social media. As such, search engine advertising and Google, Yahoo!, and Bing are great avenues for advertising.

Read: Facebook ads vs. Google AdWords: Which is better for your eCommerce brand?

Test and repeat

If you retain nothing else from this article, remember this: Always test your advertising. Every time you alter your ads, it’s important to test and monitor their success closely. By doing this, you’ll optimize your ad spend and strategy to reduce ad costs and improve efficacy.

Wrapping up — Start scaling your eCommerce business with tried-and-true strategies

Use these five time-tested strategies to grow your business and watch your revenue and sales volumes soar.

Whether you add more sales channels, expand your catalog, increase your LTV and AOV, or go all in on ads, follow the tips we list above to ensure a seamless growth experience.

How to Start Selling on Amazon Canada

an ecommerce shop on a computer screen surrounded by shopping icons

This is a guest post from Forrest. Blair is the Chief Marketing Officer and Founder of AMZ Prep, one of Canada’s fastest-growing startups in the fulfillment space that helps businesses and brands with their warehousing & logistics needs. From flipping items at garage sales to becoming a global entrepreneur, eCommerce is in Blair’s DNA. Starting as an Amazon seller, Blair has used his experience to build AMZ Prep with a focus on addressing the pain points he experienced as a seller to ensure your Amazon FBA business reaches its full potential.

Expansion is a positive sign of booming business, and with Amazon, you can expand into other marketplaces to grow your reach. By launching a store on Amazon Canada, you’ll be able to target a wider audience with markedly less competition, as well as more room for growth.

Read our guide below on the benefits and potential long-term success of expanding into Amazon Canada.

Why sell on Amazon Canada

Selling on Amazon Canada offers many advantages, no matter where your business is based. Below, we highlight some of the top benefits of expanding into this marketplace to show you how this move can take your brand to new heights.

1) More opportunities

Amazon.ca garners a noteworthy 15.9 million unique visitors each month. This provides a new opportunity to showcase your products to a fresh market of buyers. Plus, with a lower number of sellers than Amazon.com, you have a higher chance of gaining more listing views and conversions.

Amazon Canada is also showing signs of rapid growth in the market, which makes jumping in early all the more important. With a smaller market size (and therefore less competition within Canada), this is a unique opportunity to grow your brand.

2) Diversify your revenue streams

One of the obvious benefits of expanding your sales to Canada is that it diversifies your revenue streams, but with less risk since you stay on the North American continent rather than going overseas.

Additionally, Canadians share many of the same consumer needs and interests as their southern neighbors, so it’s easier to break into their market.

The significant market and cultural overlap between Canada and the U.S. simplifies marketing and advertising efforts in Canada since you can employ many of the same methods you do at home. In addition, geographic proximity is a major bonus, as it reduces delivery times and saves on fulfillment costs.

3) Increase revenue

Tapping into a new market all but guarantees more revenue for your business. Also, if you use the North American Remote Fulfillment (NARF) program, you already have an idea of your demand in the Canadian market.

By transitioning to Canadian FBA, you can reduce your business expenses and increase listing conversions.

4) Optimize ad spend

We have noticed sellers who use NARF alone see lower conversion rates when advertising in Canada and Mexico. This results in a higher advertising cost of sales (ACOS) and a lower return on advertising spend (ROAS).

By selling on Amazon.ca and having inventory within Canada, you can help boost your ROAS thanks to domestic inventory that’s eligible for Prime-speed shipping. This helps your ad dollars go further while also boosting your customer experience.

5) Open inventory limits

Amazon U.S. and Amazon Canada have separate, unrelated FBA inventory limits. Therefore, expanding to Canada allows you to have more inventory on hand that’s ready to sell. You can also optimize inventory allocation in each region independent of one another.

6) Greater brand valuation

Establishing and growing an international presence will boost your brand’s value in the long term.

One of the factors that Amazon aggregators should consider when buying a brand is expansion opportunities. Having an international footprint shows that a brand does well across different markets and has a flexible supply chain.

Expanding to Canada and beyond will help your brand become a global name, and thus drive more sales from multiple markets.

7) Less competition

Depending on your niche, you may have few competitors in Canada, or the competition may fail to take full advantage of the Canadian market.

For those competitors who are already in Canada and enjoy a market share, use their presence to your advantage: You can analyze their success to gauge how high demand is for your niche. Then you can begin to carve out your own market share by introducing your products so Canadians have greater choice.

How to launch your store on Amazon Canada

If you’re on the southern side of the border, it may seem daunting to get started in Canada. Below, we outline some simple steps to make the process as seamless as possible.

1) Establish your business

As an international seller, you can make your life significantly easier by creating an Amazon North American Unified account. This account allows you to switch smoothly between amazon.com, amazon.ca, and amazon.mx in the seller central. This will simplify your processes for listing products and managing orders in each country.

A Unified account lets you do the following in each North American market:

  • Share listing info and manage inventory
  • Track orders
  • Access tools
  • Manage single monthly subscriptions
  • Accept local currency payments

You should also consider hiring an Amazon Canada consultant to ensure your northward expansion goes smoothly. Amazon Canada consultants and agencies are experts in selling and marketing in Canada and have the best tools and tricks to help you establish your business in this market.

2) Canadian taxes

When you sell products in Canada, you’re responsible for paying taxes, duties, and customs clearance fees when applicable. This includes federal and provincial sales taxes, which vary for each province and territory (as outlined in the table below).

Provincial and territorial tax rates in Canada

Make sure you understand the non-resident importer (NRI) requirements as well. These are legal requirements for sellers located outside of Canada who import goods for sale in the country.

The first importer requirement you should obtain (and one of the most significant) is a business number from the Canada Revenue Agency.

This is what allows you to operate as a business within Canada. Without it, you risk being shut down and fined, and you may lose out on the inventory and processes you’ve already set up in the country.

3) Inventory management

To simplify inventory management, make sure you use the right SKUs for your needs.

You should employ a global SKU if you ship your own orders to a variety of countries. Use marketplace-specific SKUs if you have distinct inventory pools in each country.

4) Importing inventory to Canada

Importing inventory to Canada from the U.S. can be costly since you have to pay customs for inbound transportation to the U.S., then pay Canadian customs when you export to Canada. To cut down on expenses, see if you can ship your products directly to Amazon FBA fulfillment centers in Canada from your own warehouse in the U.S. or China. This will help you avoid an assortment of intermediate shipping fees.

However, you can only ship to an FBA center if you meet all FBA labeling compliances. This may cause difficulties if you don’t have a Canadian return address in case the shipment is rejected. A workaround for this is either to establish a Canadian address by leasing space or use a Canadian fulfillment partner’s address.

5) Fulfillment and returns

Fulfillment

As mentioned previously, you can ship inventory directly to FBA fulfillment centers in Canada. If you opt for this route, it’s helpful to use a Canadian third-party logistics (3PL) partner to receive your inventory and forward it to these centers. When you first get started in Canada, you’ll have small inventory limits, so it’s best to use a 3PL to drip-feed inventory to Amazon.

3PLs within Canada can handle FBM there if you prefer having more control over your fulfillment processes. Read this comprehensive guide to learn more about FBM in Canada.

Returns

Returns from Canadian customers will need to be routed to a Canadian address. If you partner with a Canadian Amazon 3PL, they’ll be able to receive and process returns for you. If not, you’ll need a Canadian address such as a warehouse leased directly or with a partner.

6) Advertising in Canada

Another area that has far less competition in Canada than the American market is advertising. Fortunately, setting up your Amazon Canada ads is simple, since all ad placements are the same in the Canadian market.

It’s worth noting that ROAS is generally higher in Canada, and CPC is lower than it is in the U.S. Despite the similarities though, Canadians are fundamentally a different breed of customer than their American counterparts. Make sure your marketing efforts reflect this by taking into consideration their differences in culture, tastes, and values.

An important example is your use of spelling differences, such as “color” versus “colour” and “gray” versus “grey.” Implementing American spelling will mark you as foreign and may annoy potential customers. Consider hiring a local agency to help optimize your advertisements for the Canadian market.

Canada’s larger variance in weather is another important factor to keep in mind, as it impacts product and advertising needs. For example, unlike countries with mild climates, many parts of Canada see cold snowy winters. That means it’s not the time to advertise light jackets or patio furniture.

Conclusion

By expanding to Amazon Canada, you’ll diversify your revenue streams, experience less market and advertising competition, and establish a global presence for your brand. Although you may face some hurdles at the beginning, the process can go much more smoothly by partnering with Canadian 3PLs and Amazon advertising agencies. By sharing your products across borders and beyond, you’ll show off your quality offerings and promote your business’s growth.

The Complete List of eCommerce Listing Tools for Sellers of Every Size

products with shopify, amazon, ebay, and walmart logos

Many online sellers choose to perfect a particular sales channel, essentially putting all their eCommerce eggs in one basket.

The real secret to success, however, lies in multi-channel selling; rather than relying on one, amplify your brand presence across multiple sales channels to achieve optimal results for your business.

You’ll reach a wider variety of customers and increase sales, all while strengthening your brand resilience.

Multi-channel selling can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be if done right.

Leverage eCommerce listing tools to streamline multi-channel sales and turn diversification into your online store’s superpower.

What is a listing tool?

Multi-channel listing tools act as the middleman between you and your sales channels.

Instead of having to update product listings across each individual marketplace or sales platform manually, you only need to update the listing tool. The tool will then automatically push the product listing updates to the relevant sales channels.

Simply set up your product data, connect your marketplaces and sales channels, and you can then manage all of your listings in one location.

Sellers have a variety of listing tools to choose from. Knowing which one is right for your business depends on your specific needs, including how big your business is, the channels you need it to cover, and what your forecasted growth looks like.

At the bare minimum, you want a listing tool that will:

  • Reduce inventory management time and resources
  • Enable bulk image upload
  • Allow you to enter product descriptions
  • Streamline workflows with automation
  • Provide accurate and consistent cross-channel product information
  • Automate product stock updates
  • Optimize order management processes

The appropriate eCommerce listing tool will make your life easier. Before choosing one though, do your research and weigh the pros and cons.

Benefits of listing tools

On the positive side, integrating your sales channels with a multi-channel listing tool can save significant time for your eCommerce business.

The days of juggling several channels will be behind you, replaced with far more efficient product management processes.

The benefits of using a listing tool include:

  • Increased efficiency – Reduce the amount of time it takes to manage inventory and product listings by updating listings across multiple marketplaces
  • Improved accuracy – Use automation features to increase product accuracy, ensuring product listings reflect real-time data (e.g., availability)
  • Minimized human error – Automate product update tasks and streamline the product management process to minimize the risk of human error
  • Scalable – Streamline product management to free up resources, time, and money that can then be reinvested into growth
  • Optimized customer experience – Enrich product listing descriptions and features so product information is clear for customers

Watch brand Vincero, for example, used Skubana’s multi-channel listing tool to streamline their sales channels and manage multiple warehouses.

In turn, they doubled sales within the first year and improved their order fulfillment.

Using a multi-channel sales tool also made them less reliant on Amazon, thus increasing the resiliency of their business.

Disadvantages of listing tools

No tool is perfect. While listing tools can smooth out your business operations, they require more technical know-how than a simple installation to incorporate into your processes.

Some things to be mindful of before choosing a listing tool include:

  • Complex setup – Listing tools can be complex to set up and may require the support of a technical team to ensure everything is connected and operating as expected
  • Requires training – To get the most out of your listing tool and ensure they’re used without any hiccups, you may need to invest in training
  • Efficiency relies on integrations – Keep a close eye on your integrations and routinely keep them updated to prevent issues within your listing tool

When it’s appropriate to use an eCommerce listing tool

If you only sell your products on one marketplace, you probably don’t need an eCommerce listing tool. With that said, you could still benefit from using a channel-specific listing tool. For instance, an Amazon-specific listing tool can make it easier to list products, fulfill orders, and manage inventory.

Broadly speaking, brands that operate across multiple platforms will benefit the most from employing an eCommerce listing tool.

So, if you have products on your own website and a combination of Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, or any other sales channels, it might be time for you to invest in an eCommerce listing tool.

Whether you’re a one-person retailer trying to juggle multiple sales channels, or you’re part of an eCommerce team whose time and energy are being sapped by managing hundreds of listings, a multi-channel listing tool may be just what you need. You can update all of your listings in one location while keeping on top of inventory and maintaining high product listing standards.

Listing tools for every business size

Small eCommerce businesses may not need an all-encompassing listing tool.

Conversely, cheaper, more simplistic listing tools may not be advanced enough to meet the needs of large-scale retailers selling thousands of products across multiple platforms.

To help you find the right eCommerce listing tool for your brand, we’ve compiled this list of the best listing tools for sellers of every size.

Auctiva

Auctiva helps multi-channel sellers save time and sell more across multiple channels with their centralized seller toolkit.

Whether you already operate across several marketplaces, or you’re looking to expand into new channels, Auctiva can set you up with a centralized sales system.

The membership level you select determines which sales channels you can use with Auctiva:

  • Startup – eBay listing tools only
  • Standard – eBay, Amazon, and Facebook Marketplace
  • Professional and Enterprise – eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, and any marketplaces available through MoreCommerce

One of Auctiva’s unique features is that it integrates with MoreCommerce. Members on the Professional or Enterprise plan gain access to MoreCommerce’s multi-channel sales capabilities without having to buy a separate MoreCommerce subscription fee.

The scaled membership levels mean eCommerce sellers of varying sizes can benefit from using Auctiva and, as their business grows, so can their Auctiva plan.

CedCommerce

CedCommerce helps small and medium-sized sellers increase their brand visibility across some of the largest eCommerce marketplaces.

Brands operating on eCommerce platforms such as Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Prestashop, and OpenCart can expand their reach into global online marketplaces with CedCommerce. By integrating their existing online store with the tool, retailers are able to leverage the benefits of multi-channel sales.

One thing we love about CedCommerce is that it isn’t restricted to U.S. marketplaces. Sellers who connect their shop with CedCommerce have the opportunity to sell on a global scale. The tool supports marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Fruugo, Lazada, Groupon, and Cdiscount, to name a few

ChannelAdvisor

ChannelAdvisor is one of the latest multi-channel listing tools available. If you’re looking for a listing tool that can do it all, ChannelAdvisor may be just the tool for you.

Offering an intuitive set of enterprise-level tools and integrations, ChannelAdvisor works best for large retail businesses. ChannelAdvisor’s customer list includes famous names such as KitchenAid and Asics, which speaks to the size of the brands they’re able to support.

Sellers using this tool can streamline their eCommerce operations, expand to new channels, and grow their sales. ChannelAdvisor helps brands reach consumers across hundreds of global sales channels, including marketplaces, retailer networks, marketing channels, and your own website.

Some of the channels ChannelAdvisor covers include Aldi, Amazon, Curated by Anthropologie, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Facebook, Fruugo, Lowes, Maisons Du Monde, and Pinterest.

Ecomdash

With ecomdash, you can manage your website and marketplaces from one platform. It also features a website builder, making it a great platform for newly started online retailers.

You can process orders, manage product listings, and keep an eye on all your online sales channels through ecomdash. Starting at $20 per month, it’s a reasonably priced listing tool that even the newest online store owners can get on board with easily.

The marketplace and sales channel integrations currently available for ecomdash are:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Shopify, Shopify Plus, and Shopify POS
  • WooCommerce
  • Walmart
  • Etsy
  • BigCommerce
  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
  • Google and Google Shopping
  • Bonanza
  • Magento

The online sale channels options for ecomdash are more limited than with other listing tools. However, the available choices are perfect for retailers who are just getting started with multi-channel selling.

Expandly

Expandly touts itself as a cost-effective way to sell through multiple sales channels. With that said, pricing starts at $175 per month, so it isn’t the cheapest listing tool on the market.

As an all-in-one eCommerce solution, Expandly helps retailers connect, manage, and automate their listing, inventory, orders, shipping, and accounting processes.

The current marketplace integrations available on Expandly are Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and Wish. They also offer shopping cart integrations for over 25 popular cart tools including Shopify, WooCommerce, and OpenCart.

GeekSeller

GeekSeller offers easy and affordable multi-channel selling for any large-scale retailer that wants to customize and expand their online store.

With GeekSeller, you can automate product listings, quantities, and order management, as well as manage repricing and analytics.

GeekSeller prides itself on having official partnerships with its supported marketplaces. As a retailer, this means you benefit from priority support. They were also one of the first official Walmart API partners — an accolade that further highlights the strong direct relationships the tool has with its partners.

GeekSeller supports Walmart multi-channel selling across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The tool also integrates with a number of popular marketplaces and sales channels, including Walmart Drop Ship Vendor (DSV), MercadoLibre, Amazon, Wayfair, and eBay.

GoDataFeed

GoDataFeed helps online retailers expand brand and product visibility by syndicating their product listings to over 100 search engines, marketplaces, and shopping carts.

Trusted by over 2,000 retailers, GoDataFeed makes it easy to connect your online store to other sales channels. Their technology helps retailers increase their product performance instead of their ad spend. As well as listing products on multiple sales channels, retailers can also optimize product descriptions and values to improve product performance.

Along with optimizing product performance, GoDataFeed helps users identify and resolve any integration or compliance errors so their product listings go live without any complications.

Popular integrations include Amazon, Facebook, Walmart, and even Snapchat, helping get your brand listed in even more places.

inkFrog

inkFrog provides Amazon and eBay sellers with powerful listing tools to customize the company’s optimized listing templates that accelerate store performance.

Originally created to streamline eBay store management, inkFrog now allows users to expand their eBay business into Amazon with cross-channel listings. Using your eBay listings as a template, you can easily adapt product listings for Amazon and publish your products on both channels.

If you’re an eBay seller looking to streamline product management, optimize listings, and expand your store’s reach into Amazon, inkFrog would be a valuable listing tool for you.

Kyozou

Retailers in search of an advanced eCommerce listing tool that’s simple to use may find Kyozou a top choice.

Offering end-to-end inventory management, Kyozou helps online sellers list their products across multiple sales channels while also streamlining day-to-day store operations. You can stock multiple warehouses, easily manage inventory, enable multi-channel listing, simplify the order process, and manage shipping — all on one platform.

Kyozou connects with popular marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Walmart, and Etsy. They also provide integrations with specialist marketplaces such as eBay Motors for car sellers, Reverb for musical instrument sellers, and Newegg, which originally started as a computer and electronics sales platform.

Linnworks

Linnworks has helped many retailers grow their businesses by scaling up multi-channel selling capabilities. With Linnworks, you can use their centralized platform to manage all of your sales channels as well as access immediate insights to gain visibility over real-time business performance.

Linnworks is the ideal eCommerce listing tool for retailers that want to grow their business strategically by automating multi-channel selling and analyzing opportunities for optimization.

Sales channels included in Linnworks include Amazon, BigCommerce, eBay, Magenta, Shopify, and Walmart.

Listing Mirror

Listing Mirror allows online retailers to replicate their product listings across multiple sales channels, helping them reach even more customers.

As well as connecting with the top eCommerce platforms, Listing Mirror actively adds new marketplaces, partners, features, and core updates every day. These frequent updates and improvements give users powerful features that adapt to the ever-changing eCommerce landscape.

Features available through Listing Mirror include:

  • Listing creation and management
  • Bulk listings
  • Automatic listing imports
  • Inventory syncing
  • Product kitting and bundling
  • Variation management
  • Listing data backup maintenance
  • Multi-warehousing
  • Purchase order management
  • Order routing and splitting
  • Reporting capabilities

Due to its versatility, Listing Mirror can be complex to set up, but it’s a robust eCommerce listing tool once all the integrations are up and running.

Listing Mirror integrates with most of the leading eCommerce marketplaces and delivery platforms on the market, including Walmart, Etsy, Wish, Reverb, TopHatter, and Overstock.

MoreCommerce

Built for small and medium-sized brands, MoreCommerce helps retailers sell their products across various marketplaces and sales channels.

As well as selling on popular marketplaces, MoreCommerce users can also sell their products on four exclusive marketplaces: Open Sky, Dot & Bo, 11Main, and Gemafina.

Multi-channel selling is easy with MoreCommerce allowing you to import your products, adjust pricing, and list your products on up to 14 major marketplaces.

Cin7 Orderhive

Cin7 Orderhive is a comprehensive inventory management tool that offers multi-channel eCommerce listings, order fulfillment, shipping, stock management, and product pricing adjustments.

This tool helps both startups and enterprises automate their eCommerce workflow for seamless multi-channel sales.

Marketplace integrations available through Cin7 Orderhive include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, Jet, Storenvy, and Flipkart. Premium users can also list their products on the Houzz marketplace.

With capabilities expanding beyond product listings, Cin7 Orderhive is a powerful tool for retailers wanting a solution that streamlines and automates tasks across their eCommerce operations.

Sellbrite

Owned by GoDaddy, Sellbrite makes it easy for online retailers to list and sell their products on popular marketplaces. As with the other eCommerce listing tools, Sellbrite users can list their products on Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Google Shopping, Sears, and Newegg.

One of the main attractions of Sellbrite is they now offer a free model for small retailers. Up-and-coming eCommerce brands selling fewer than 30 products a month can use Sellbrite for free.

Sellbrite also offers a powerful marketplace management tool for Shopify stores. So, whether you’re looking to expand your reach into new sales channels or optimize your sales on Shopify, Sellbrite has you covered.

SellerActive

SellerActive is a multi-channel listing tool that helps eCommerce businesses build a centralized product catalog, bulk upload listings to multiple channels, and incorporate automated repricing technology to implement pricing rules.

SellerActive’s suite of tools is geared towards medium-sized eCommerce stores selling physical products on more than one online marketplace. The marketplaces supported by SellerActive include the usual suspects of eBay, Amazon, Newegg, and Walmart marketplace.

It’s worth noting that Cart recently acquired SellerActive, which may lead to new features and upgrades within the SellerActive platform.

Sellercloud

Sellercloud is a multi-channel eCommerce listing tool designed to support both small and large retailers.

Dedicated to helping retailers exceed their year-over-year growth targets, Sellercloud holds a number of commendable badges, including the “eBay Gold Solutions Provider” badge and the “G2 Highest User Adoption” badge for Spring 2022.

The tool integrates with over 45 sales channels so online retailers can reach even more customers across the internet. Despite connecting with so many sales channels, Sellercloud’s interface is easy to use, and the included data insights mean you can make informed business decisions.

Sellware

Sellware is a comprehensive eCommerce listing tool enabling sellers to list their products on eBay, Amazon, Google, and other popular marketplaces and stores with ease.

The Sellware team is attentive, making sure users can easily set up their stores for multi-channel sales. Sellware has been carefully designed to automate the repetitive tasks of selling online, synchronize seller inventory, and manage various product listings.

You can even use Sellware to manage orders and dive into cross-channel analytics and reporting. The webstore integration gives you the option of managing inventory and orders in your preferred web store or through the Sellware system. Whichever you choose, Sellware will ensure the details are updated across all your channels.

With so many functions to support your business, Sellware is best suited for medium to large brands or small retailers on a mission to scale their business.

Skubana

Skubana seamlessly integrates all your products, fulfillment centers, and sales channels into one platform.

Its platform is designed to allow retailers of all shapes and sizes to optimize and grow their brand. Whether you sell direct to consumer (DTC), wholesale, through marketplaces, at pop-ups, or in a brick-and-mortar store, you can use Skubana to streamline your eCommerce operations.

Integrating with leading eCommerce partners, marketplaces, and 3PLs, Skubana makes it easy to list your products on multiple sales channels, manage inventory, and stay on top of orders.

With Skubana, you can even track supplier data such as pricing, minimum order quantities, and product lead time. Its intuitive features organize and improve the sales operation of any eCommerce business.

Solid Commerce

Solid Commerce enables online retailers to manage their inventory across major marketplaces, online stores, and shopping cart providers.

The company asserts anyone who sells on multiple online marketplaces will benefit most from using their eCommerce listing tool. By streamlining, centralizing, and automating business operations, Solid Commerce empowers brands of varying sizes to succeed in multi-channel selling.

Solid Commerce isn’t limited to stores that hold physical stock: Its dropshipping solution means brands can easily manage multiple dropshippers and automatically update dropshipper inventory levels, purchase orders, and shipping information.

The marketplaces Solid Commerce supports include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Etsy, The Home Depot, Back Market, Overstock, and more. Covering such a large number of marketplaces means Solid Commerce users can reach even more customers online.

QuickBooks (formerly Tradegecko)

While QuickBooks is usually associated with accounting, the company also offers inventory management.

In 2020, QuickBooks acquired Tradegecko, an omnichannel eCommerce solutions provider. This merger allowed QuickBooks to offer a wider range of inventory and order management services. Users of QuickBooks’s inventory manager can sync product listings across Amazon, Etsy, and Shopify, to name just a few of the supported marketplaces.

By combining inventory management with bookkeeping and accounting services, QuickBooks reduces the number of tools you need to run your business. This further streamlines your eCommerce operations.

Zentail

While it may be last on our list, Zentail is leading the industry with its AI-powered listing tool, SMART Types.

SMART Types is a unique tool that maps product listings across multiple sales channels in a matter of minutes, not hours. SMART Types will also automatically categorize and attribute your products for you. This intelligent automation tool makes it even simpler for online merchants to scale their business.

Zentail also connects with Amazon’s multi-channel fulfillment program so you can use FBA inventory to fulfill non-Amazon orders.

The tool empowers retailers to think bigger than Amazon, stating they can turn Amazon businesses into defensible brands. Geared towards Amazon sellers, Zentail helps Amazon retailers break into multi-channel selling so they can grow their reach, sales, and revenue.

Wrapping up — Grow your store with an eCommerce listing tool

Whether you currently sell on one platform or 10, your store can benefit from implementing an eCommerce listing tool.

Look at any listing tool’s website and you’ll find lots of real-life case studies to show the growth possibilities with multi-channel sales. Using an eCommerce listing tool will streamline business operations as you scale your brand and sell on more eCommerce channels.

No matter the size of your business, an eCommerce listing tool can be a lucrative way to grow and expand. With so many tools to choose from, you’re bound to find one that supports your store’s needs.

SEKO Logistics Taps MyFBAPrep to be Preferred Amazon FBA Partner

a MyFBAPrep logo and a SEKO ecommerce logo on an image of an airplane

New Deal Gives Amazon Aggregators Access to New Warehouses &
4 Million Additional Square Feet of Warehouse Space

Chicago, IL (June 7, 2022) – SEKO Logistics announced a partnership today with ecommerce logistics company MyFBAPrep as their preferred Amazon FBA partner. The new deal will include co-branded products and expands SEKO’s offering to include Amazon FBA fulfillment services. The partnership gives MyFBAPrep’s client roster of Amazon Aggregators access to SEKO`s global fulfillment warehouses and an additional four million square feet of new warehouse space globally.

In addition to adding to their US footprint, SEKO brings a network that reaches into Europe, Canada and the Asia Pacific regions. SEKO will help support MyFBAPrep’s cross-border ecommerce expansion into additional markets including Australia, Japan and China. Each SEKO warehouse is strategically placed in close proximity to major ports and airports – allowing for a maximum of 24-72 hour delivery windows facilitated via modern facilities run by top talent with expertise in Amazon prep, ecommerce fulfillment and logistics solutions.

“We are excited to partner with MyFBAPrep as they are a great fit with our overall ecommerce strategy and further our mission of being small enough to care and big enough to scale globally. Through this strategic partnership, we’ll be able to combine our extensive industry insights while leveraging MyFBAPrep’s technology-enabled platform to seamlessly service a new cohort of the largest Amazon aggregators and Amazon sellers that are driving the ecommerce market to record highs. We look forward to expanding our Amazon capabilities with MyFBAPrep,” said David Emerson, SVP Ecommerce at SEKO Logistics.

“Amazon private label aggregators have raised over $12 billion in institutional funding and acquired hundreds of Amazon brands in the last year. This partnership with SEKO creates a truly global solution that allows these aggregators to quickly add top-performing warehouse nodes, consolidate their footprint and scale their brands, while reducing supply chain complexity,” said Tom Wicky, Co-Founder and CEO of MyFBAPrep. “With this new partnership, we’re doubling our global footprint, while still being able to offer our customers the same level of five-star, white-glove service that we’re known for. No one else is doing what we’re doing in the Amazon FBA space and we’re excited to take our business to the next level with SEKO.”

About SEKO Logistics

We provide a suite of logistics services which enable you to use your supply chain as a competitive differentiator. As a customer centric organization, we are powered by the expertise of our people and our in-house-developed, best in class, configurable technology. It is this combination which gives SEKO its strength. With over 120 offices in 40 countries worldwide, SEKO’s unique shareholder management model enables you to benefit from our specific industry sector expertise, coupled with vital in-country knowledge and unparalleled service at the local level.

About MyFBAPrep

MyFBAPrep is the leading eCommerce warehouse network for Amazon aggregators, enterprise-level brands and top Amazon sellers. Operating a global network of more than 50 warehouses and seven-million-square-feet of operating warehouse space, MyFBAPrep offers a full suite of ecommerce 3PL services including Amazon wholesale and private label, direct-to-consumer (DTC) fulfillment, and B2B retail. Powered by its SaaS technology platform Preptopia™, sellers get access to unified billing, analytics, business intelligence reporting tools and real-time inventory views across multiple warehouses in the network. The company provides FBA Prep automation, modern robotics item picking, and a dedicated account management team. Based in Coral Springs, Florida, MyFBAPrep moves over $1 billion in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) and processes over 10-million units annually.

How to Lower Your ACoS by Optimizing CPC

an ecommerce site on a laptop surrounded by a shopping cart and boxes

This is a guest post from Rick Wong. Rick is the founder of SellerMetrics, an Amazon PPC Software. Having worked in some of the world’s largest financial institutions in Canada, he ventured into Amazon selling in 2017 and sold his Amazon business four years later.

The term “ACoS” has become a catchphrase among Amazon sellers, and it stands for the Advertising Cost of Sale. This metric is an Amazon performance indicator specifically for ad campaigns in the Amazon Advertising interface.

More than 75% of Amazon sellers utilized Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising in 2021, which means your competition is likely using it.

In this article, we will go over the essential performance measures, how to calculate ROI, and how to lower your costs by focusing on cost per click (CPC).

What is Amazon PPC ACoS?

What does Advertising Cost of Sale (ACoS) stand for? Simply put, ACoS is the proportion of total ad spend to total sales income. In other words, it informs you how much money you made for every dollar you spent on advertisements.

How to calculate ACoS

The formula for calculating Amazon ACoS is as easy as a ratio of spend to sales.

ACoS = (Total ad spend / Total sales revenue) x 100

Example: If you paid $1.20 on a keyword and got $6 in sales, your ACoS is (1.20/6) x 100 = 20%.

This calculation implies that a smaller proportion of ACoS is optimal. When your ACoS is low, it signifies your numerator – your total ad expenditure – is lower than the number of sales you’re getting.

However, keep in mind that Amazon PPC also allows you to increase exposure organically, even without clicks. That means the straight objective of lowering ACoS just by lowering budget may not provide the best ROI.

How to calculate your best Amazon bid

Optimizing your Amazon PPC bid is one of the main ways to minimize overbidding and underbidding. You can optimize your bids by using the following formula:

Optimal Bid = (Target ACoS%/Current ACoS%) x CPC

Example:

  • Target ACoS% → 30%
  • Current ACoS% → 45%
  • CPC → $1.25

They’re using the above data, your most optimal Amazon PPC bid would be $0.83 (30%/45%)*$1.25

The most important Amazon PPC metric to track: CPC

There are a lot of data on your Amazon advertising dashboard, but if there is one that you should keep an eye on and monitor, it’s your cost per click.

This is a critical metric because of the following reasons:

  • CPC is a direct proxy for market competitiveness; as CPC rises, so does marketplace competitiveness. If this is the case, you must be extremely cautious.
  • Manipulating your CPC will directly change your ACoS%. This allows you to either optimize for ROI or increase ACoS% to boost sales. (Higher ACoS% = Higher Visibility)
  • You may utilize your CPC to calculate your CPA (cost per acquisition) and, as a result, your realistic goal ACoS percentage.
    • CPA = CPC/Conversion Rate ➡️ realistic target ACoS % = CPA/AOV

As an example:

  • Average order value (AOV) = [Sales/Orders] = 840.44/55 = $15.28
  • CPA = 1.56/0.1698 = $9.10
  • Realistic Target ACoS % = $9.10/$15.28 = 59.55%

If your CPC is $1.56 and your AOV is $15.28, your ACoS % will be in the example above. If you find this ACoS acceptable, it will be determined by your break-even ACoS, which we will discuss later.

Calculate your realistic objective ACoS % in the meanwhile and have it in your back pocket.

Lowering your ACoS% means lower CPC

If you have experience with Amazon PPC I think you can see where I am going with this. The next actionable step is to make changes to your bids according to your attributed cost per click (CPC).

If you want to keep your impressions at its current levels than your current bid should match your current CPC, but if you want to increase impressions from your current levels than you increase your bid from your CPC.

Lastly, since CPC is a key component to the bid optimization formula, if you change your bid lower than your current CPC, you would in effect lower your ACoS%.

How to optimize your Amazon PPC campaigns

With this knowledge, we can now go to your Amazon Advertising console and start making bid adjustments based on your CPC (Cost Per Click).

Step 1 ➡️ Down Bid High ACoS (>100%)

Criteria:

  • Last 60 days – 3 (Amazon PPC sales attributions)
  • Clicks ≥ 8
  • Orders > 0
  • ACoS > 100%

Action:

  • Decrease Bid to ➡️ CPC * 50%

Step 2 ➡️ Down bid Above Target ACoS (40%)

Let just say my target ACoS% is 40%, you can replace this number to whatever your target ACoS% is.

Criteria:

  • Last 60 days – 3 (Amazon PPC sales attributions)
  • Clicks ≥ 8
  • Orders > 0
  • ACoS ≥ 40% and ≤ 100%

Action:

  • Decrease Bid to ➡️ CPC * 75%

Step 3 ➡️ Up bid Over Optimized Keywords

The idea for this is to make sure the keywords that are really driving sales at a low cost gets a bid that closer to the market. This will ensure that you are winning the keyword bid auction.

Criteria:

  • Last 60 days – 3 (Amazon PPC sales attributions)
  • Clicks ≥ 8
  • Orders > 0
  • ACoS ≤ 20% (half of target ACoS of 40%)

Action:

  • Decrease Bid to ➡️ CPC * 125%

Conclusion

Lowering your ACoS% without affecting your sales is a difficult but crucial indicator for Amazon PPC effectiveness. But this can be done incrementally using your CPC as your keystone metric.

Every seller should establish a unique CPC/ACoS% levels for their most comfortable sales levels. We hope you find our information to be useful in planning your future advertising initiatives!