Author: Rachel Go
How to manage backorders
Demand is high. Orders are rolling in. Yet, stock levels are at zero and the warehouse shelves are empty. What do you do? Sell through and ship items later, or put all orders on hold until stock levels are replenished?
Selling products when you don’t have inventory can be a risky retail strategy. Implement a backorder strategy the right way and you’ll be able to successfully keep order numbers rising while waiting for stock to arrive.
Let’s explore everything you need to know about backorders: what they are, why they happen, and how to efficiently manage backorders and leverage their secret power for your eCommerce business.
What is a backorder?
Backorders refer to products that are temporarily out of stock and due to be replenished soon.
Selling products on backorder means you can capture a sale with the promise that customers will receive the goods as soon as stock levels have been replenished.
Backorders can happen for a variety of reasons (which we’ll dive into shortly) from unexpected demand to supplier delays.
Keeping track of your backorder rate is a great way to monitor the health of your inventory levels.
Calculate your backorder rate by dividing the number of undeliverable orders (due to temporary stock shortages) by the total number of orders, then multiplying the result by 100.
A high backorder rate indicates that demand often outweighs product availability, while a low backorder rate shows that you consistently have enough inventory to fulfill orders. Having some products on backorder can be a smart retail strategy for your store if managed efficiently. You’ve just got to find that sweet spot — too many backorders will upset your customers.
Backorders vs out-of-stock products: What’s the difference?
While backorders are products that are temporarily out of stock, the term backorder shouldn’t be confused with “out of stock”.
Products that are out of stock often don’t have a determined date for resupply. Out-of-stock products may be due to be replenished or they may be discontinued, never to grace your warehouse shelves (or customers’ orders) again. On the flip side, backordered products do have an expected restock date. This restock date is usually shared with customers so they know when to expect their order.
- Out of stock = not currently in stock with no set replenishment date
- Backorder = not currently in stock but has an expected replenishment data
Backorder vs backlog: What’s the difference?
The difference between backorders and backlogs is slightly more complex as backorders can be part of a backlog.
A backlog covers the total number of orders you have received but not yet shipped to customers. As you can see, this would include any orders that are on hold due to backorder.
Let’s say a customer places an order on the first day of the month, but it isn’t shipped until the last day of the month. That order will be placed on your backlog on the days in between ordering and delivery.
We know backorders happen due to products being ordered while temporarily out of stock. Meanwhile, backlogs refer to all orders that haven’t yet been shipped. This could be due to a myriad of reasons such as customers requesting later shipping dates, slower order fulfillment due to increased demand, or having products on backorder.
The risks and benefits of backorders
While it seems like a lucrative opportunity, retailers offering backorders need to tread carefully.
Lean inventory can be great for minimizing costs, waste, and resources. Go too lean with your inventory levels and you run the risk of stockouts, lost sales, and damaged customer relationships. You only have to look at the recent COVID-19 pandemic to know that retailers using just-in-time (JIT) inventory management were hit hard by supply and demand shocks.
As well as putting yourself at risk of supply and demand shocks, backorders can also impact customer relationships. Longer than expected lead times could lead to order cancellations, damaging customer trust and driving them into the arms of your competitors. Order cancellations due to backorders could then lead to overstocks where you have more inventory than demand.
Backorders shouldn’t form the backbone of your eCommerce business. Rather, they should be strategically used to maintain order demand, even when you don’t have enough stock on hand.
Backorders are great when managed correctly. An efficient backorder strategy can support customer retention by allowing people to place orders while you’re in between stock. Backorders also maintain product hype by demonstrating demand. Add these factors to the ability to sell products before you have inventory, and you’re well on the way to increasing revenue with a well-managed backorder strategy.
Effectively managing backorders requires a careful balancing act of finding the optimal replenishment levels and frequency.
What causes backorders?
There are a number of reasons why backorders might occur. A supply chain delay is the overarching cause of backorder. Broken down, these supply chain delays could be caused by:
- Products selling better than expected – It can be hard to judge which products will perform best. If products sell better than expected, you may find yourself facing stock shortages while you replenish inventory.
- Supplier issues – Not everything is in your control. Supplier issues might happen due to natural disasters, material shortages, strikes, shipping issues, or compliance errors — to name a few reasons. These issues can also cause stock delays leading to backorders.
- Inefficient inventory processes – Not all inventory processes are made equal and some put you at higher risk of stockouts. Using inefficient inventory processes such as just-in-time inventory management could cause backorders due to understocking products.
- Unexpected product demand – Products can peak in demand for numerous reasons. Whether it’s due to a high sales period such as Black Friday and the holiday season or your product went viral on social media, unexpected product demand could lead to backorders if demand outweighs stock levels.
- Low safety stock levels – Safety stock levels are minimum stock levels designed to protect against stockouts. Miscalculating safety stock levels could cause that safety level to be lower than actual demand and, in turn, may lead to backorders.
Whatever the cause of backorders may be, it’s crucial you have strong backorder management processes in place.
How to manage backorders?
Make backorders a revenue-driving force for your eCommerce store by following our best practices for efficient backorder management.
Decide whether to offer backorders
First, decide whether you want to offer backorders. Selling products on backorder sounds like a dream retail strategy — customers can still purchase while you wait for the products to come in. In reality, it requires astute attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
When deciding whether to offer backorders, ask yourself if you have the capacity to stay on top of backorder processes. Make sure your inventory and order systems are able to handle backorders. Having a reliable method for keeping track of backorders will help prevent order delays, cancellations, or even forgetting to ship backorders to customers.
You’ll need to have a pulse on accurate product restock dates and product demand too. Offering backorders is a numbers game where you balance incoming and outgoing stock against current and expected orders. You will also need to run a tight fulfillment and replenishment strategy to keep up with backorder demands.
Estimate the lead time for backorders
You shouldn’t offer backorders if you can’t accurately predict when the orders will be shipped.
Backorders are ideal for maintaining order volume while waiting for supplier inventory restocks. But, your customers aren’t going to wait forever. Selling products on backorder without an estimated lead time can be frustrating for customers. If they’re buying something online, they want to know when they’ll receive the goods.
Work with your suppliers to calculate the expected lead times for products. You can then decide whether it’s worthwhile offering backorders on a product-by-product basis. People may be willing to wait longer for investment items such as a new sofa or a designer handbag. These products could have back order lead times of 12 weeks or more. However, they may be less willing to wait for impulse purchases. Offering long lead times on impulse purchase items could result in high order cancellation or returns rates.
Estimate the lead time for all products in your inventory and determine if it’s a viable strategy before letting customers order products on backorder.
Anticipate order demand
Order demand ebbs and flows. Some products may sell consistently throughout the year while others experience peaks and troughs. Winter woolies, for example, will experience increased demand in the colder months.
Understanding the expected order demand throughout the year allows you to carefully forecast high purchase periods. You can then work out when you might need to put a strong backorder strategy in place. Offering backorders helps you handle spikes in order demand, especially unexpected ones. You’ll be able to retain customer orders, knowing that they’ll be shipped out on longer lead times.
Anticipating order demand throughout the year also helps you maintain accurate safety stock levels. You can adjust safety stock levels depending on the expected order volume. That way, you only need to offer backorders when you receive an unexpected increase in orders.
Prepare for backorders
There are a few things you can do to prepare for backorders and ensure your backorder strategy only kicks it when absolutely necessary.
We always recommend diversifying your supplier network. Having more suppliers you can pull from for product replenishment can reduce your chance of backorders. If you do need to offer backorders, you can contact your suppliers to see who can fulfill the backorders in the shortest turnaround time. Be mindful of the increased cost implication of smaller order volumes from backup suppliers.
Offering alternative shipping methods can also offer protection in the event of backorders. Let customers split their order so in-stock items are shipped immediately while they wait for backordered products to arrive at a later date. This minimizes frustration by ensuring customers still get the rest of their order. However, retailers offering split-shipping will incur two separate shipping costs which they can choose to absorb or pass on to customers.
Increasing production is another way you can prepare for backorders by keeping unexpected stockouts at bay. Make sure you have a sufficient amount of inventory to cover high-demand sales periods. That way, you can keep backorders to a minimum. After all, every purchase on backorder adds additional strain to your eCommerce fulfillment processes.
Add any backorder information to product listings
Be upfront about backordered products by adding backorder information to product listings. Transparency creates trust with your customers and prevents avoidable friction and frustration.
Add the expected lead time for backorder products on product listings. Make sure it’s easy for customers to see which products are available for immediate shipment and which ones will have longer lead times due to backorders.
Keep customers informed
Keep customers informed about their order status with emails and SMS messages. Send them order update emails and messages letting them know when they can expect to receive their orders.
This could include notifications letting them know:
- The expected delivery window for their order
- The arrival date of the products in the warehouse
- When the order has been processed for delivery
- The order is out for delivery
- An updated expected delivery time
Keeping customers informed every step of the way protects your relationship with the customer, building a circle of trust.
Making sure your customers know when to expect their orders also helps mitigate the negative effects of order delays. Delivery issues are the leading cause of customers detracting from brands. So, keep delivery woes at bay by keeping customers in the loop at all times.
Maintain accurate inventory records
Streamline inventory processes and keep real-time records of all inventory operations. Keep tabs on everything from current inventory levels to order backlogs. You need to know how much inventory you have available versus how much inventory you need to fulfill current and expected customer orders.
Accurate inventory records allow you to keep on top of all incoming orders, making sure you have enough stock to fulfill purchases. You can also check inventory records to see when you need to re-order stock from suppliers to cover backorders or maintain safety stock levels. Every backorder you receive is another unfulfilled order you need to manage. If you want to effectively offer backorders, you need to run a tight ship.
You can also use inventory records to forecast future stock demands and explore your current backorder rate. Analyzing your inventory records lets you optimize processes moving forward.
Optimize fulfillment operations
Don’t let your backorder strategy fail at the last hurdle. Ensure your fulfillment operations are equipped to handle backorders.
Backorders can result in periods where you have a large influx of orders that are put on hold until a set date. As soon as inventory is available, those orders in the backlog will need efficiently fulfilling to make sure they reach customers in the anticipated delivery window.
Fulfilling backorders can be a time and resource-exhaustive task. You may need to bring on extra warehouse staff to support with backorder fulfillment or outsource fulfillment to an experienced third-party fulfillment partner.
At MyFBAPrep, we’re ready to support retailers with our seamless fulfillment services. Simply send your inventory to us and we’ll handle the order fulfillment from start to end. You’ll even get real-time insights into inventory and orders.
Wrapping up — learn how to handle backorders and avoid losing customers
Backorders can be a lucrative revenue driver for your store but only when handled with care. When implemented correctly, backorders can maintain the flow of incoming orders and boost customer satisfaction with transparent communication.
Fail to finetune your backorder management operations and you run the risk of upsetting customers and putting strain on your inventory, fulfillment, and accounting. It’s a dangerous situation for any retailer to be in.
Create a clear action plan for handling backorders and you’ll be able to retain customers and keep them satisfied. Preparation really is the key to survival when managing backorders.
If you need a helping hand with backorder fulfillment, reach out to see how we can support you with our well-connected warehouse and fulfillment network.
5 email tools to master your eCommerce newsletters
Want to know Wayfair’s secret to building a $5.6 billion empire?
With email users expected to reach a whopping 4.59 billion by 2025 and 65% of consumers anticipating they’ll use digital shopping channels more in the future, email marketing is the solution that growing brands have been looking for.
Armed with an effective email marketing strategy and the tools to execute it, reaching your target customer via email is one of the best ways to drive leads and sales sustainably.
Thankfully, email marketing tools have become more sophisticated in helping eCommerce brands grow their followings, engagement, and bottom lines.
In this post, we’ll explore why there’s never been a better time to bet on email marketing. We’ll also share some pro tips on crafting emails that get results, and some must-have email solutions to streamline the process.
Why now is the time to invest in email marketing
With TikTok’s unrivaled organic reach and influencer marketing’s enticing allure, it’s easy to overlook emails as just another marketing trope from the past. But email still reigns supreme in many ways. Let’s dig into why it pays to level up your email marketing today:
More conversions for less
With the right email campaigns and targeting, your brand stands in line for massive payouts. You can generate £42 for every £1 spent on email marketing.
Emails are an excellent way to nudge shoppers towards new products, related items, and exciting offers. As a result, you can also increase metrics like average order value, customer lifetime value, and cart abandonment rate with positive effects on your revenue.
Protect your brand from unexpected events
No matter how much you invest in social media marketing, you never truly own your profiles. In fact, you don’t have to look far for horror stories of social accounts with followers into six figures shutdown overnight.
However, one thing you can own? Your email list. And the best part is, that email marketing helps you to grow and nurture a following, regardless of what happens in the social media world. As your email marketing becomes more mature, you’ll build a solid safety net for your business.
Make your marketing strategies more productive
From PPC ad campaigns to influencer collaborations, email marketing complements nearly every marketing effort you can think of to help you get more out of them.
For example, you can gather email addresses from an influencer collaboration or giveaway, and gather a list of people to contact for future promos until they decide to unsubscribe. This way, you provide your brand with more opportunities to reach shoppers, kick start their buyer’s journey, and close sales.
Secure and sustain your audience’s attention
One of the great things about email marketing is it helps to solve the “out of sight out of mind issue” that plagues many businesses.
Email helps you build rapport and trust by showing up consistently in your subscribers’ inboxes, and offers the ability to cash in on this relationship later on. For example, say you own an acne skincare brand. You could share tips and tricks on how to beat breakouts. Once you offer your acne prevention line as a solution, shoppers will be more receptive to buying because you captured their attention, solved their problems, and earned their trust.
As the sales flood in, you’ll need top-notch fulfillment to keep shoppers happy. Learn how MYFBAPrep makes it easy.
5 must-haves for a successful email campaign
Crafting productive email newsletters isn’t just about words on a screen and pretty pictures. You need the full package of skills and tools to generate conversions. Let’s look at some of the other factors to consider and optimize for better results:
Whether running a broadcast campaign or nurture sequence, creating engaging emails your audience can’t wait to read is essential. This means researching your target customer’s wants and needs and giving every email a clear value proposition, whether it’s solving problems, answering customer questions, clarifying queries, or making a valuable offer.
Writing captivating email newsletters and campaigns is an acquired skill that takes a lot of time, practice, and split testing to master.
Using designs that resonate with your target customer and testing new templates to keep your email content fresh is also critical. If writing email copy and designs aren’t your strong points, don’t fret. You can enlist the help of an email marketing agency or freelancer.
A healthy email list
Your email list’s health can make or break your email newsletters’ productivity, so it’s vital to maintain excellent list hygiene. Some ways you can keep your email list in tip-top condition include:
- Avoid purchasing email leads
- Running an email acquisition campaign targeting your dream customers
- Cleaning your list periodically of incorrect emails and chronically unresponsive leads
Segmentation and personalization
If email marketing is the sauce, segmentation and personalization are the secret seasonings that bring the campaign recipe together. So, implement both tactics to keep your emails valuable and relevant to readers. Keep in mind that an emails relevancy will depend on things like the actions your audience members have taken, and demographic information such as:
- Customer journey stage
- Past purchases
- Purchase frequency
- Amount of time spent as a customer of your store
Email sending consistency
An email list’s health decays when you don’t contact leads regularly and consistently. So, set up an email schedule, set time aside to create content, and automate sending to ensure you stay in touch with your audience.
In the same breath, don’t overdo your email output. Keep promo emails at a max of 1 per day to avoid annoying and fatiguing your audience.
5 email marketing tools to skyrocket eCommerce sales
Once you’ve built up a small email list, researched the market, and crafted a comprehensive strategy, your next task is to find an email marketing solution to help you win. To help with your groundwork, here are our top picks for email marketing solutions:
Product highlights: CRM and eCommerce platform integrations, lead capture, design, and automation.
Dubbed the eCommerce revenue engine, Drip is one of the best tools on the market for helping eCommerce stores upgrade their sales with email marketing. Its innovative analytics and design capabilities combined with numerous integrations to CRMs and eCommerce sales platforms, ensure you’ve got all the data needed to craft hard-hitting, personalized campaigns.
Drip’s impressive automation sequence builder, lead capture forms, SMS marketing, and cart recovery also ensure your brand stands out and stays top of mind.
Product highlights: segmentation, split testing, dynamic email content, CRM, and API integrations.
Equipped with pro-level A/B testing, campaign management, email drip, and segmentation capabilities, Klaviyo ensures your campaign is built to win. API and CRM integrations will further support your efforts by feeding in customers and storing data to improve your email resonance with your subscribers.
Take readers on a personalized ride they won’t forget in a hurry with dynamic email content, customizable CTAs, and event-triggered actions. With Klaviyo, you’re never left guessing about an email campaign’s performance. Track results live using an activity dashboard complete with perks like ROI tracking, website visitor monitoring, and click recording to ensure you never miss a beat.
Product highlights: Flexible templates, drag and drop email builder, data capturing, and dynamic discount codes.
Omnisend is its name; nimbleness is its game. Boasting features like drag and drop content editor, email template library, dynamic discount codes, and preset saving, Omnisend takes agile email marketing to new levels.
Omnisend allows you to craft shoppable emails with sleek designs so good that customers can’t wait to hit ‘buy’. Seal the deal with expert data capturing utilization on things like your customer’s lifecycle stage, shopping behaviors, and message interaction to help you craft timely email content. If you’re looking for a solution to make your brand more memorable while staying on-brand, Omnisend is just the ticket.
Product highlights: Reporting, huge template library, customer list segmentation.
On a mission to help brands stay in touch with shoppers and drive sales faster, Constant Contact comes jam-packed with features designed to help get more business. From razor-sharp reporting to an extensive template library, you’ll have every you need to know what’s working and adjust campaigns for optimal results.
Constant Contact also allows you to pull customer data from your store and segment it into custom lists to ensure you always reach the right people. If your store needs more than email tools, you’re in luck. Constant Contact also provides a host of conversion-generating tools like survey makers, lead generation landing pages, social media ad management solutions, and much more to upgrade your marketing from all angles.
Product highlights: set and forget campaigns, visual customer path builder, and landing page builder.
Is your store an extension of your personal brand? ConvertKit is a solution you’ll need in your arsenal. Built to help creators own their audience and take control of their earning potential, ConvertKit provides audience-accelerating tools like a landing page builder and opt-in templates.
Speed up your email marketing setup with efficiency with a solution visual automation builder, content hub, and single-time campaign setups with RSS feeds.
Being all about the stats, ConvertKit also provides a useful dashboard to monitor audience actions and sales with the option to integrate your eCommerce tools for more intel on your revenue and audience.
Putting together a winning growth strategy? Get a top-class eCommerce fulfillment process to match.
Capture shoppers’ attention and pockets with scroll-stopping email content
Email marketing has risen through the ranks to become one of the top ways to communicate with your target audience, develop strong ties, and catapult sales. To get ahead you’ll need a well-crafted plan and the tools to execute it with precision.
Ensure you have shoppers gripped by every word by making your emails an asset to potential customers. Anticipate their needs and use your email copy to meet them and keep content exciting with new layouts and topics. Finally, give your subscribers red carpet treatment with personal touches, appropriate offers, and exclusive deals to ensure they keep their eyes peeled for your emails in their inbox.
Who knows. You could be one email campaign away from a bumper payday.
Ready to “wow” shoppers in your eCommerce business? Partner with MyFBAPrep.
4 Stellar content agencies for your eCommerce business
What do NASA, Kroger, and the BBC all have in common?
Showstopping content marketing strategies.
Using blog posts, videos, and everything in between, these brands have cracked the code on capturing the hearts and wallets of their target audience with show content.
And it’s easy to see why.
Not only are there 5 billion digital users and 4.65 billion social media users globally, but content marketing also generates 3x more leads than outbound marketing strategies and costs 62% less. Yet many brands struggle to create engaging content that generates leads consistently. If this sounds like you, don’t fret. You can team up with an eCommerce content marketing agency.
In this post, we’ll dive into what a content marketing agency is and discuss whether they can help your eCommerce brand get ahead. We’ll also share some top content marketing agencies for eCommerce businesses.
Don’t wait for your store to hit its next growth stage. Refine your fulfillment strategy with MyFBAPrep now for a smoother ride.
What is a content marketing agency? And what does it do?
A content marketing agency’s job is to spread the word about a business, increasing your brand’s perceived value, driving engagement, and closing sales.
Content agencies create content at every stage of the buyer’s journey to inch shoppers closer to hitting “buy” with every interaction. Some assets a content marketing agency can create include:
- Social media posts
- Blog posts
- Email campaigns
- Product descriptions
- Web copy
- Ad copy
- And much more.
Taking your brand to the next level? Ensure your fulfillment processes are fit for the task.
Benefits of working with an eCommerce content marketing agency
With popular marketing vehicles like pay-per-click advertising and influencer marketing to choose from, it’s easy to question whether content marketing can help grow your eCommerce brand. The answer is a resounding “yes”.
Let’s explore some ways content marketing can help you build a better brand:
Increase your content output
Let’s imagine you decide to start a blog. You’ll need at least 1-2 blog posts per week with relevant keywords. Then you’ll need to mix in other content assets like social media posts, explainer videos, and how-to tutorials to accommodate how people like to consume content.
The time, energy, and skills required to produce these successfully can’t be understated. It also becomes tempting to put off content creation during busy periods, slowing down your momentum. Luckily, when you’re partnered with a content agency, you can ensure that the work gets done no matter what.
Get more eyeballs on your offers
In today’s digital age, hoppers are glued to screens more than ever, 7 hours and 4 minutes per day to be exact. So, attention is currency. This fact provides a huge opportunity to get in front of your target customer, earn their trust through helpful content, and secure more sales.
Build brand authority
Being on multiple platforms with engaging content can educate shoppers on how your product can help them and improve its trustworthiness and authority in your target customer’s eyes. As your brand authority grows, you can become the go-to advisor in your niche, increasing your conversions.
Great tech builds great online stores. Discover how MyFBAPrep’s solutions help you thrive.
7 Qualities to look for in an eCommerce content marketing agency
While every eCommerce marketing agency will have its own quirks and specialties, there are some universal characteristics you want to look out for to increase your chances of picking a winning agency. Let’s look at a few:
Whether you’re promoting products on TikTok, launching new product descriptions, or split-testing web copy, eCommerce content needs to be eye-catching, engaging, and in line with the times.
Finding an agency with a creative eye and knowledge of what’s hot and what’s not is vital to remain competitive. Your content marketing agency should constantly test new asset types, topics, and tactics to keep content fresh and the lead pipeline full.
It takes different skills to create compelling content for a B2B insurance broker or SaaS company than for eCommerce stores. Relevant experience is essential to know what shoppers want to see now and predict what will be appealing in the future. Experience in crafting winning eCommerce content will also allow the agency to create content that appears native to the marketing platform and has the capacity to outdo competitors.
Transparency is essential for your content agency partnership to flourish.
Your eCommerce content marketing agency should be willing to share crucial project details. This is to help you understand how they’ll execute their duties and determine how to measure success. For example, the agency should reveal:
- The strategies they will use on your account
- Past results
- Campaign performance
- Fee structure
4) Excellent communication skills
Communication keeps the wheels spinning on a project, whether it’s a short, one-off gig or a long-term, large-scale project. So, look for clear, consistent communication in your initial interactions with a content agency. Also, sift through reviews for information on how they’ve communicated with past clients.
5) Ability to meet deadlines
Consistency is essential to building a successful content marketing strategy. A reliable agency should help you establish a predictable workflow, meet deadlines, and implement tactics to ensure content launches on time. For example, if you need weekly blog posts, they should work and could even help you build a content pool you can pull from if a content asset needs more time to create.
6) Track campaign performance
“What gets tracked, gets measured.” Reputable content marketing agencies will subscribe to this sentiment. The agency you pick should not only track results through custom-picked KPIs. They should also keep you informed on their through clear reporting.
7) SEO-optimization skills
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a critical role in amplifying your content and pushing organic content to your store. Look for an agency that understands the value of SEO and can help you craft and implement a comprehensive SEO strategy in tandem with your content strategy.
4 eCommerce content marketing agencies to watch
Finding a suitable content agency starts with good, old-fashioned research. This vital step can make or break your content marketing success, so make it a priority from the start. To launch your search mission, here are 4 eCommerce content marketing agencies to look into:
Best known for: Creatives, Email Marketing, SEO
Common Thread is a full-scale eCommerce marketing agency with an eye for content that grows businesses. From email marketing to SEO, this agency’s expansive skill set and belief in connecting the dots across marketing platforms ensures stores see huge returns.
Never a brand to shy away from giving valuable advice upfront, Common Thread offers a free content audit to set the stage for success with their brand.
Best known for: Content creation, PPC, and Web Design
Fluid Commerce is all about helping you create strong branding and sales across marketing platforms and shopping channels. Using agile content strategies, regular split testing, and web design.
As its name suggests, Fluid Commerce helps brands say “no” to rigid marketing strategies, helping create relevant content that keeps up with the fast-paced, ever-changing eCommerce world. If your site runs on Adobe Commerce (Magneto 2), you’re in luck as Fluid Commerce sites this platform as one of its strong points.
3) SEO Works
Best known for: SEO, PPC, and Web Design
Dubbed digital growth experts, SEO Works has been helping eCommerce brands get a foot up the rung using top-tier SEO services for over a decade. From content-driven SEO to award-winning PPC campaigns, this agency thrives from using a data-driven approach to drive traffic and sales.
SEO Works has achieved impressive results like a 557% uptick in online revenue on a project and an all-star client list, including brands like Decathlon, Denby, and Lowe alpine.
Best known for: Full-scale eCommerce Marketing
Blending content marketing, email marketing, CRO, PPC, and Paid Social, Inflow is on a mission to help online stores scale sustainably.
Once signed up, each client gets a custom strategy and help from specialists to get more eyeballs on their products, increase sales, and keep shoppers coming back for more.
InFlow’s multifaceted approach to content marketing is working a treat. They now boast a 97% customer retention rate and 134% increase in Ad revenue as just a few of their wins. So, if you’re looking for a content agency with a solid track record and extensive experience, InFlow could be just what you need.
Win big with eCommerce content marketing
Working with a reputable eCommerce content marketing agency is an effective way to scale up content production, drive engagement and improve your lead generation. So, be on the lookout for the tell-tale signs of a great content agency like experience, communication, results monitoring, and a creative eye.
Be open to trying new ways to market your business with content and allocate funds to sufficiently test strategies. Soon, your business will be on the path to profitable content funnels, bigger paydays, and an ever-growing audience.
Ready to level up your eCommerce business? Learn how MyFBAPrep can help.
Community building strategies for DTC brands
There was once a day when TV commercials ruled the world. Over-the-top production quality, crowd-stopping visuals, and emotional storytelling were common methods brands used to grab people’s attention.
These days, people have grown numb to disruptive advertising techniques. Consumers want meaningful connections. They want to know brands care. As such, we’ve seen a dramatic shift toward personalization and community-building.
The secret sauce for DTC success is to create an immersive experience for consumers. Running a DTC brand is about more than selling products. Flourishing DTC brands curate the entire customer experience. Things aren’t slowing down either. This is just the beginning of the DTC takeover.
If you want to build a champion DTC brand at every step of the customer experience you need to build an affinity with your audience. In this article, we’re sharing our favorite strategies for building a strong DTC community.
How DTC brands differ from traditional retailers
The key difference between DTC and traditional retail is that DTC cuts out the middleman.
The traditional method of selling products relied heavily on go-between solutions for manufacturing, marketing, and sales. DTC brands, however, favor direct relationships with their suppliers and customers.
Rather than relying on out-of-home (OOH), television, or magazine ads, DTC brands reach customers directly through online mediums such as social media, YouTube, and podcasts.
Traditional retail tends to focus on the product experience and selling as many products as possible. DTC prioritizes the entire customer experience. They want to create a favorable experience every step of the way, not just at the point where people are ready to purchase. It’s evident that DTC is more focused on community and loyalty than one-time purchases.
Another key priority for DTC is hyper growth. Traditional brands often rely on longevity and brand heritage as an indicator of quality. Yet, brand age no longer holds as much value as it once did.
Tactics such as personalization, AI chatbots, reactive campaigns, and increased product development are some of the ways DTC brands are innovating at a faster rate. With increased innovation, these DTC brands are overtaking traditional brands on the road to hypergrowth.
Community + Loyalty = The secret to DTC success
Community and loyalty are arguably the secrets to running a successful DTC brand.
Consumers are more likely to be loyal to brands that offer higher quality products than competitors. Yet product quality isn’t the only influential factor over brand loyalty. Many consumers will stay loyal to a brand if they feel a strong sense of community.
Community-building is one thing that DTC brands get right. From a brand perspective, community-building means capturing customer loyalty with interaction and engagement. Loyal brand communities can be built naturally through customer reviews, feedback, and forums. These communities can also be curated through smart community-building strategies. Curated brand communities create a sense of exclusivity where community members feel like valued insiders.
Building brand communities also provide a coveted space for customers to share their feedback, wants, and challenges. These consumer insights can be used to tailor your brand to your ideal audience’s expectations and desires.
6 community-building strategies for DTC brands
Don’t leave community-building up to chance. Leverage the secret power of engaged brand advocates by tapping into these tried-and-test strategies for building strong DTC communities.
Get to know your audience
First things first, you need to understand your audience. If you don’t know who your audience is or what they care about, you won’t be able to create the product, content, or experiences they love.
Find out what makes your target customers tick by conducting audience research. Interview customers and carry out surveys to get to know your buyers better. Speaking with your customers and target audience is the best way to unearth their desires and challenges.
Talking to your audience also offers an opportunity to optimize your brand tone of voice — how do they speak? What’s their emoji use like? What phrases and slang words do they use? What would they never say?
Focus part of your audience research on uncovering the brands and channels they enjoy. If your target audience hangs out on TikTok, you know to add this channel into your marketing strategy. Looking at the other brands they engage with presents an opportunity to analyze these brands and find out what it is that people love about them.
Let your audience guide your brand strategy by focusing on adding value to their lives. Everything from product development to tone of voice, marketing campaigns, sales messaging, and design can be led by audience research.
Daye, a CBD tampon brand, is a DTC brand whose strategy is led by audience research. Daye goes beyond product-led marketing. Instead, they focus on sharing content informed by audience interests and values — sexual health, culture, and innovation. Being an active participant in these conversations allows Daye to show their audience that they care.
Daye also collaborates with other brands that are affiliated with their target audience. Partnering with Squish beauty, a purveyor of acne patches, allows Daye to increase their appeal to its younger audience members. Daye and Squish can use this collaboration to bolster both of their communities.
Content-wise, Daye can be found sharing relatable memes, educational threads, and empowering messages as a way to tap into audience interests.
Hone in on word-of-mouth recommendations
Word-of-mouth will likely always hold the reigning crown as the most powerful marketing tactic. Yet, how word-of-mouth looks will change over time.
Where word-of-mouth once focused on recommendations from friends and family, it now extends to peer-to-peer selling, referral schemes, and influencer relationships. There are countless opportunities to hone in on word-of-mouth recommendations as a brand.
Shoppers are actively seeking word-of-mouth recommendations before making a purchase — almost 50 percent of consumers will seek social media comments to learn what others think about a brand. But word-of-mouth recommendations aren’t a one-way street. Customers these days expect brands to actively respond to social media comments. Publicly responding to customer feedback is key to building a trusted community.
Word-of-mouth recommendations influence consumer emotions and intentions. Customers are more likely to be enthusiastic about your brand, feel more strongly affiliated, and be much more likely to purchase. Tapping into word-of-mouth marketing builds strong bonds with your target audience.
In the digital era, you can build a community through digital word-of-mouth methods such as influencer activation, affiliate marketing programs, referral schemes, and review platforms. Remember to engage with any recommendations and be active in online forums where consumers are discussing your products.
Direct peer-to-peer selling is one example of how word-of-mouth recommendations have undergone a digital transformation. In peer-to-peer selling, consumers become advocates as they buy products, share them with their peers, and encourage them to also make a purchase. Brands like Storr are capitalizing on the power of peer-to-peer selling.
Storr is a peer-to-peer sales channel that lets people make money selling brand-new goods with their peers. With Storr, anyone can open an online store to easily sell products they love and recommend. Storr’s model allows brands to acquire new customers based on trust, expanding their community every time a new customer comes via peer recommendations.
Inject some personality into your brand
Don’t be afraid to have fun — inject personality into your brand as a way to attract your ideal customers. If you want to build a cult following, you need to embrace your brand personality.
Think about it: people connect better with people. Personifying your brand makes it more relatable for people. Research shows that creating a strong brand personality can positively impact brand love. This heightened brand love subsequently increases brand loyalty, word-of-mouth, active engagement, self-disclosure, and a willingness to pay more.
Channeling a conversational tone of voice can increase customer affinity as they associate your brand with more ‘human’ qualities.
The translation app DuoLingo has nailed its brand personality and tone of voice. With 4.5 million followers (and counting) on TikTok, DuoLingo has successfully used its Duo mascot to personify its brand and grow an active community.
Looking toward a DTC retailer who has embraced their personality, we have Who Gives A Crap. Toilet paper isn’t the most glamorous product on people’s shopping lists. It’s something we all stock up on as part of our grocery shop, often without a second thought. Yet, Who Gives A Crap toilet paper has leveraged its brand personality as a way to revolutionize the way we see toilet paper brands.
With the fun tone of voice, quirky designs, and caring values, Who Give A Crap has built a bought-in community of followers. Who Gives A Crap encapsulates a down-to-earth tone of voice that makes them seem relatable to consumers. Their DTC brand started with a crowdfunding campaign engaging an early community of insiders by promising social media shout-outs, launch party invites, and branded swag in return for investment. Who Gives A Crap’s brand strategy has been informed by community-building tactics from the very start.
Leverage the power of live shopping
Get up close and personal with your customers with live shopping.
The immersive experience of live shopping goes beyond the norm of plain products on a shelf or online storefront. Live shopping offers real-time interaction and conversation. Use live shopping to offer a behind-the-scenes view of your brand or drum up hype for new product launches. Live shopping combines shopping with entertainment by drawing upon tactics such as expert collaborations and gamification.
35% of people purchase products after watching a brand’s social media live stream. If anything, this statistic demonstrates the power behind building authentic immersive experiences for your brand followers.
Recognizing the power of live shopping, TikTok is currently testing a live shopping feature that lets brands and creators sell products in real-time. Learning how to sell on TikTok is critical for nurturing a loyal brand community — and the addition of live shopping only makes TikTok a more central component for any DTC brand strategy. The rise of live shopping on TikTok’s UK platform is transforming the iconic ‘TikTok made me buy it’ phrase.
Image credit: Retail Insider
Outside of TikTok, many brands are already using live shopping as a core sales strategy. Shoe retailer, Aldo, hosted a live shopping event in partnership with celeb stylist Mimi Cuttrell and TikTok creator Nate Wyatt. Hosted on their native ‘Aldo Live’ landing page, the event saw a spike of 17,000 page views in the first five days following the event. The average viewing time was 12 minutes and six seconds and an engagement rate of 308% showed high levels of community interest.
Popping off on TikTok right now — e.g. Paula’s Choice https://www.tiktok.com/@paulaschoice / https://www.paulaschoice.com/on-the-rise – regular TikTok live shopping videos & work with 10 on the rise influencers to promote their skincare range and live shop
Focus on user-generated content
You get the idea by now — person-led content is king for building engaged communities. Forget corporate product-quality content, DTC brands that want to resonate with their audience need to zoom in on homegrown content creators.
Add a user-generated content (UGC) strategy into your marketing strategy to ensure you’re creating engaging content that resonates with your audience.
UGC refers to any content — be it text, videos, reviews, or images — that is created by people, not brands. Better yet, these people are everywhere. UGC creators can be anyone from your everyday customers to influencers and online content creators. These UGC creators can be found all over the internet; on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and podcasts.
Work with creators who resemble your audience as a way to build a strong community for your brand. Hire UGC content creators to create native content for your own channels and promote it on their channels. Working with content creators that have established audiences will help your brand forge connections with their community and, in turn, expand your own loyal following.
When bringing UGC into your marketing strategy, make it easy for everyday consumers to create and share content. Have a hashtag, incentivize people for sharing your brand online, tell them where to share (e.g. tag us on Instagram), offer templates and filters, and reshare their content to your channels too. UGC acts as social proof, letting other people know how consumers feel about your brand.
UGC generates deeper connections by humanizing your brand, much like crafting a unique brand personality. Even traditional brands have tapped into UGC such as Coca-Cola’s 2011 ‘share a coke’ campaign that encouraged people to take photos of their named beverages. While UGC isn’t a new concept, it has seen a significant uplift in recent years as more brands uncover the power of humanizing their brand.
Paula’s Choice is a skincare brand that understands the potential behind user-generated content. On their own social media channels, Paula’s Choice hosts share educational and entertaining user-generated content that busts common skincare myths, decodes ingredients, and cuts through scary jargon. They are also backed by their ‘on the rise’ team of ten skincare influencers who create user-generated content promoting Paula’s Choice.
UGC-led social media strategies are one of Paula’s Choice’s main tactics for nurturing their community. Their first-ever influencer campaign leveraged user-generated content. They hired 18 content creators and gifted 1,500 influencers to generate user-led content featuring their products. This campaign drove $963,000 in earned media value and was received positively by beauty and skincare fans.
Collaborate with your brand allies
Building trust can be hard when you’re just getting started. One way to make sure your brand reaches the right people is by collaborating with complementary DTC brands. The trick to successful brand collaborations is to make sure they are complementary brands rather than direct competitors.
Brand collaborations are a mutually-exclusive way to boost brand exposure and strengthen your communities. When finding great partners to collaborate with, revisit your audience research. Partner up with brands that your audience already loves. A pizza oven brand may, for example, want to partner with an outdoor furniture brand or a clothing brand might benefit from partnering with a haircare brand.
You can have fun with this community-building strategy. Take Glossier for example — the beauty brand Glossier partnered up with pet brand Bark on a limited-edition range of Glossier-branded pet toys. The team behind Bark originally approached Glossier for a collaboration after noticing how many Glossier companies were bringing dogs into the store. This fun campaign reflected the light-hearted nature of Bark’s brand personality while tapping into Glossier customers’ love of pets.
Wrapping up — Grow your DTC community
Community is everything in the world of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. Customers who feel like they belong to a community will have higher levels of brand loyalty and will be more engaged shoppers.
Community-building is a viable strategy for any DTC retailer that is willing to create immersive experiences. Get creative and don’t be afraid to add a flair of personality to your brand strategy.
Above all else, make sure your audience is at the heart of everything you do. From live shopping events to brand collaborations and user-generated content, creating unforgettable experiences for your audience is crucial for building loyal and engaged communities.
Here at MyFBAPrep, we offer seamless order fulfillment services for passionate DTC brands. You can focus on nurturing your community while we offer them the 5-star experience they expect to receive.
Looking for more DTC inspiration? Take a look at our ultimate list of DTC brands here.
How to start a subscription box business
The 2021 global pandemic revived subscription boxes. And their popularity doesn’t seem to be fading anytime soon. There’s a reason why subscription boxes are so popular among consumers.
Thanks to its convenience, personalization, and savings potential, the subscription box model is here to stay.
If you’re yet to embrace the powers of subscription boxes, we’re here to share the best practices behind selling them and how to start your own subscription box business.
Already offer subscription box services? Keep reading to learn how to grow and scale your subscription box business.
The power and popularity of the DTC subscription box model
Subscription boxes come in many shapes and sizes. From replenishment services to curated collections, subscription boxes typically contain multiple products. Customers will receive their subscription box on a regular basis — be it weekly, monthly, or another frequent schedule.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands that offer subscription boxes add a lucrative recurring revenue stream to their business. Repeat orders will routinely roll in as subscription box orders go out. Meanwhile, customers will benefit from predictable deliveries and may even have control over what they receive.
According to Jennifer R. Wolkin, PhD, an NYC-based clinical psychologist, subscription boxes can uplift our emotions — “When we find something new in the box, the mesolimbic dopamine pathway, thought to play a primary role in our brain’s reward system, is likely stimulated to release dopamine. Dopamine is known as one of the reward and pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters.”
Essentially, subscription boxes act like mini-rewards by firing up our dopamine receptors (the reward center of our brains) and result in making us feel happier.
Research in the UK noticed the popularity of subscription boxes soared during the height of the 2020 pandemic and is set to grow to £1.8 billion ($2.16 billion) by 2025. 55% of shoppers said they signed up for a subscription box as a way to treat themselves — backing up Wolkin’s claim that we buy subscription boxes as a way to reward ourselves and evoke positive emotions.
In the US, the Washington Post found that some Americans were subscribed to as many as ten subscription services. The subscription economy in the US is expected to grow to an impressive $1.5 trillion by 2025.
As a DTC retailer, subscription boxes offer an opportunity to increase your bottom line while delivering positive experiences for your customers.
Subscription box business best practices
Understanding what it takes to deliver a showstopping subscription box will allow your brand to stand out against a sea of subscription competitors. Before you dive into adding subscription box services to your online store, brush up on some best practices.
Learning from some of the subscription box giants, we’ve pulled together our best practices for DTC retailers looking to start (or grow) their subscription box model.
Carefully choose your niche
Get specific about what you want to sell as part of your subscription service. Choosing a niche will allow you to enhance your bottom line by becoming the go-to merchant for that product type.
When choosing your niche, aim for an industry that is desirable without being overly competitive. Look for a gap in the market and aim to fill that gap with your subscription service.
Dollar Shave Club is a DTC subscription brand who are reaping the rewards as a result of niching down. Dollar Shave Club could have easily curated a subscription box of skincare products but they took their model a step further by specifically niching down to razors.
They recognized a gap in the market and fulfilled that need with their subscription box. According to McKinsey, Dollar Shave Club is the most popular subscription box among men and the second most popular subscription service overall, just behind Amazon Subscribe & Save.
Take inspiration from Dollar Shave Club by seeking out a popular, yet underserved niche.
People often buy subscription boxes as a gift for themselves or others. So, keep that gifting experience alive by investing in presentation.
By putting that extra effort into your subscription box presentation, you’ll curate an unboxing experience that will fill consumers with joy whenever they open it.
A carefully created unboxing experience can increase perceived value, generate brand loyalty and increase your chances of going viral. You only have to search “unboxing experience” on YouTube to know how much people love presentation.
As part of their Unboxing series, Lumi unboxed Empathy Wines, a DTC subscription wine service co-founded by entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, the outer mailer packaging is branded. This creates brand visibility from the offset. This branding continues on the inside, oozing personality and creating a visually appealing backdrop to your subscription products. Bonus gifts of collateral cards, stickers, and information cards about the farmers and brand pull the customer into the experience and enhance the brand values.
Level up your presentation to create powerful unboxing experiences.
Choose a fulfillment partner
Don’t fall victim to fulfillment bottlenecks. Before you even launch your subscription service, consider how you plan to fulfill orders.
Shipping subscription boxes require more legwork than selling standalone products. You need to curate boxes, add multiple products, remember additional details (such as information cards), and ship them out on time. You also need to account for new subscribers and any cancellations. Managing subscription box fulfillment can quickly get overwhelming.
Find an experienced subscription box fulfillment partner to help you smoothly ship subscription boxes. The organization is key here. Inform fulfillment partners in advance of upcoming subscription box contents and ensure they have all the inventory they need in good-time to prep orders.
The pull of personalization is one of the main factors that encourage consumers to buy subscriptions. Subscription box customers also want to be delighted and surprised by their subscription.
Whether you curate boxes based on customers’ answers to a quiz or you give them the freedom to choose their own products, consider personalizing the subscription box experience. Tailor subscription box contents to delight customers.
Stitchfix is one subscription service that knows the power of personalization. Stitchfix sends clothes straight to its customers’ doorstep with each item carefully hand-selected based on consumers’ size, style, and price range.
Customers simply complete a style quiz, choose their frequency schedule, and they’ll receive personalized clothes as chosen by a personal stylist. Stitchfix shoppers can choose the items they want to receive from stylists’ recommendations or they can leave the choice down to the stylist.
Follow Stitchfix’s example by weaving personalization into your subscription box model.
How to start a subscription box business
Now we’re aware of the best practices underpinning successful subscription box models, let’s look at the steps you need to take to start a subscription box business.
Conduct market research
If you want your subscription box business to be a roaring success, you need to find a lucrative angle. Conducting market research will allow you to uncover consumer interests and identify gaps in the subscription box industry.
Get inside your target customer’s head to find out what they want from a subscription box. You can do this by speaking directly with customers, conducting market research surveys, or researching forums and competitor offerings.
Figure out what your customers want from a subscription box — is there a particular category or product type? How much are they willing to pay? How often do they want to receive the goods? Is it for themselves or someone else?
When conducting consumer research, remember there are typically three main reasons why people buy subscription boxes:
- Replenishment – To save time and money by automatically replenishment repeat purchase items
- Curation – To receive a curated selection of different items, designed to delight and surprise
- Access – To gain access to exclusive opportunities, offers, and products with additional VIP perks
Analyzing the subscription box market will also allow you to identify which boxes perform exceptionally well, along with spotting any gaps that aren’t yet being fulfilled.
Take meal subscription kits for example. This category of subscription boxes is really popular. From child-friendly meal kits to healthy recipes and prepped meals, there’s an abundance of choices for anyone looking for a meal subscription box. With so many companies already offering this service already, you may struggle to make your brand stand out if you don’t have a great unique selling proposition (USP).
Identify opportunities in existing inventory
As well as scouring the subscription box market for ideas, you can also look for opportunities within your existing inventory.
If you already sell products, you should have a good idea of your consumer’s main interests. Whether you are a general merchant selling a wide variety of stock or you’re a specialist retailer who has niched down to one specific category, analyzing your existing inventory offers great insight into what your customers already enjoy.
First, review your popular products to see what items your customers purchase most. Next, look at what products people frequently buy together. Then use these insights to build curated subscription boxes based on customer interests. You could offer replenishment subscription boxes or curated collections related to the most popular products.
Don’t forget to also look at the slow-moving stock. Building subscription boxes also offers an opportunity to clear old stock. While these items may not sell so well on their own, they could make great additions to subscription boxes when positioned next to star products and best sellers.
Know your numbers
You should have a good grasp on your inventory, fulfillment, marketing and sales costs if you already sell products online. Knowing your numbers will allow you to dig deep into the financial viability of your subscription box idea.
When crunching numbers for your subscription box, remember to look at the costs of:
- Presentation box
- Mailer packaging and any packing materials
- Picking and packing
- Printed materials
- Products to be included in the box
Consider every cost related to launching your subscription box and use those insights to work out your budget, price point, and potential returns.
Create a powerful unboxing experience
We’ve already discussed the power of presentation but we felt now would be a great time to reiterate the importance of creating an unboxing experience.
Think about what your customers will see when their subscription box lands on their doorstep. Consider how you can create moments of delight through packaging choices, design, print materials, and the small unexpected details throughout.
Review packaging suppliers and team up with someone who is able to bring your unboxing visions to life. You may be able to work with existing suppliers or you might want to expand your network by working with new packaging providers.
Map out the customer journey
Knowing how your customers interact with your brand will make sure you cater to them through every step of the customer journey.
The customer journey is made up of multiple touchpoints. It’s likely your customers will experience several of these touchpoints before making a purchase decision so you need to make them count.
Some touchpoints you need to consider when mapping out the customer journey are:
- The very first interaction someone has with your brand
- Product pages
- The buying experience
- Social media content
- Online reviews
- Post-purchase communications
- Delivery experience
- Follow-up communication
- Ongoing interactions
Analyze each step of the customer journey and look at ways you can make customers feel appreciated and delighted. Focus on optimizing user experience at each stage to create an unforgettable experience for your subscribers.
Set up your tech
Offering subscription services often require more advanced tech capabilities than your standard eCommerce website.
Some eCommerce marketplaces and websites make it easy for retailers to offer subscription services. Shopify users can set up recurring payments so they can sell subscription products. Meanwhile, Amazon merchants can offer Subscribe & Save options for customers wanted repeat purchases of frequently-bought products.
Alternatively, you might want to set up a dedicated subscription platform. You can use a platform like Subbly to build an intuitive subscription website.
Other tech considerations to think about when launching a subscription product are an onboarding quiz, email campaigns, and a subscription app. While none of these are necessary to launch your subscription box, they could help you stand out from the crowd.
Birchbox, a subscription beauty box, lets customers build a tailored subscription box based on their answers to a beauty quiz. This tech feature is a great way to add layers of personalization to the subscription experience.
Nail picking, packing, and shipping
Shipping subscription boxes requires more attention to detail than standard customer orders. So, nailing your fulfillment strategy for picking, packing, and shipping orders is a crucial step when launching a subscription box service.
Ensuring subscription boxes go out in a timely fashion is an organizational masterpiece.
Take HelloFresh for example. Recipes will be shipped to subscribers on a weekly basis. Yet, not all subscribers receive the same products, nor do they all receive their subscription on the same date. Subscribers get to choose what recipes they want (or receive a random choice curated by HelloFresh) and they get to choose which day of the week they want their box to arrive. HelloFresh subscribers can also opt to skip boxes or add on additional recipes.
As you can imagine, a lot of thought and preparation goes into making sure each HelloFresh subscribers box goes out accurately and timely.
Make sure you have the resources and systems in place to seamlessly pick, pack and ship subscription boxes.
Market your subscription box
Finally, you can’t start a subscription box business without marketing. If you want to make sales, you need to invest in your marketing strategy.
Your subscription box marketing strategy should consist of pre-launch, launch, and post-launch marketing activity.
Before launching your subscription box, ramp up demand with sneak peeks and teasers. Create a waiting list so interested customers can be first to hear when the subscription box drops.
When launching your subscription box, invest in launch campaigns across social media, email marketing, and paid marketing channels. Map out PR opportunities and out-of-home advertising too. Working with content creators and influencers is a great way to increase visibility and demand for your subscription box so pull together a roster of well-aligned influencers.
Marketing your subscription box doesn’t stop after the launch period is over. Ongoing marketing activity is key for ensuring your subscription box continues to grow month on month. Plan subscription box content into your ongoing marketing activity and consider creating subscription box-centered campaigns.
Other marketing activities could include designing a customized quiz, offering exclusive gifts and discounts, introducing a loyalty scheme, integrating reviews and social proof into your marketing content, or collaborating with other brands and creators on exclusive boxes.
Get creative with your marketing to create showstopping content that attracts, nurtures, and converts your target audience.
How to grow and scale your subscription box business
Launching a subscription box business is just one part of the puzzle. Once you’ve launched, you then need to hone in on strategies for growing and scaling your subscription box business.
New challenges will arise as your subscription box business grows. Learning how to maintain momentum is one of these challenges. Hitting a plateau is normal when launching a subscription business. But, with the right strategies in place, you can soar past the plateau and secure healthy subscription rates.
Grow and scale your subscription box business by investing in these activities.
Tap into customer needs and interests with surveys
Want to know what subscribers love about your subscription box? Ask them! The same goes for understanding what grinds their gears.
Use customer interviews and surveys to find out where your customers’ needs, interests, and challenges lie. Speaking with your subscribers is the best way to find out how you can deliver even more value with your subscription box.
Ask for feedback
Feedback is valuable so be sure to ask subscribers for their thoughts and opinions.
Make it easy for customers to leave feedback in post-purchase surveys or product reviews.
Other shoppers can use this feedback to make informed purchase decisions about signing up for a subscription box. Your marketing team could also use feedback as part of their marketing strategy to demonstrate customer satisfaction. Meanwhile, product development teams can use feedback to optimize and improve future subscription boxes.
Optimize your inventory
Opportunities are all around you —- especially in your warehouse. Grow your subscription box business by optimizing your existing inventory.
Improve inventory turnover rates by finding ways to turn your inventory into subscription box opportunities. You could create mystery boxes containing surplus stock or create exclusive seconds boxes where customers can get products with minor defects at a discounted rate.
Optimizing your inventory doesn’t mean clearing old stock. You can also strategically order new stock from suppliers to gain preferential rates. Order high-volume stock for items you plan to include in subscription boxes, saving money and ensuring you have enough items to fulfill subscription box orders.
Outsource fulfillment to an experienced partner
As your subscription box business grows, staying on top of orders can be hard work.
Working with a subscription box fulfillment partner may be just what you need to optimize subscription box fulfillment.
At MyFBAPrep, we can manage the prep and fulfillment of your subscription box orders, ensuring everything goes out as expected and building customer trust. Meanwhile, you can focus on other areas of your business such as planning the next subscription box contents to wow your subscribers.
Create an engaged community of subscribers
Your subscribers fuel the success of your subscription box business. Without those subscribers, your business model wouldn’t exist. So, how can you create an engaged community of subscribers?
Engage with them!
Show your subscribers you genuinely appreciate them by engaging with them consistently. Create an exclusive group for subscribers and release content that is for their eyes only. Interact with their posts on social media and forums, reshare content they post about your brand, and send them frequent emails.
Building a genuine connection with your subscribers is a surefire way to maintain long-standing customer lifetime value (LTV).
Develop a referral program
Reward subscribers for their loyalty by developing a referral program. A well-designed referral program incentivizes existing subscribers for spreading the word about your subscription box.
If you want to acquire new subscribers and grow your subscriber rate, create a referral program. By doing this, your subscribers will inadvertently become your marketing team. They will spread the good word about your subscription box in hopes of receiving something in return. You can offer subscribers rewards such as money off their next box, exclusive discounts, or free gifts whenever they refer a friend who also signs up.
Referral programs can lead to rapid subscriber growth so this is one strategy you don’t want to overlook when scaling your subscription box business.
Wrapping up — start your subscription box business today
Subscription boxes are a lucrative opportunity for online retailers looking to increase their bottom line and generate high levels of customer satisfaction.
Build a subscription box business today if you want to deliver outstanding experiences for loyal subscribers. Before starting your subscription box business, take time to look at market opportunities so you can craft a powerful solution for your target audience. And don’t forget about that all-important unboxing experience.
Need a subscription box fulfillment partner to support the growth of your business? Get in touch to see how we can help you take your subscription box model to the next level.
How to take your eCommerce store global
Selling online allows you to reach a whole world of customers at your fingertips. If you’re only serving consumers in your town, region, or even country, you are missing out on valuable growth opportunities.
Expanding your eCommerce business into international markets is a potent strategy for scaling your eCommerce store and reaching even more customers.
At the same time, global expansion can be overwhelming. There are a lot of i’s to dot and t’s to cross as you navigate the various processes involved in taking your eCommerce store global. Thankfully, we’ve rounded up the steps on how to take your eCommerce store global.
The power of global eCommerce expansion
The rise of eCommerce has brought us all far closer, across oceans and islands. For eCommerce stores, it’s crucial to take advantage of the ability to sell internationally.
Global eCommerce is the process of selling your goods to customers in foreign countries. Unlike local eCommerce where you only sell to customers residing in the same country as your store, global eCommerce lets you reach customers from all corners of the globe. Your reach will expand, and your sales will increase, allowing you to build loyal communities in exciting new markets.
While 2020 may have been a challenging year for many, the eCommerce industry saw unprecedented growth. Every market experienced double-digit growth, with Latin America having the largest growth at a 36.7% increase.
The growth trend doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. Global eCommerce sales are forecasted to hit $5.5 trillion this year and surge past $7 trillion by 2025.
If those numbers tell us anything, it’s that a plethora of opportunities lie within expanding your store globally.
Other benefits of taking your eCommerce store global are:
- Greater access to new customers
- Shorter sales cycles
- Improved product-market fit
- Building your international presence
- Easier expansion into new markets
- Decreased sales and support costs
Plus, most eCommerce platforms, marketplaces, and storefronts have made it easier than ever to sell in foreign countries. Global expansion really is just a few steps away for your eCommerce store.
Steps to taking your eCommerce store global
International eCommerce expansion isn’t a case of clicking a button and watching the global sales roll in. Expanding your store globally requires careful planning, expert partners, and a few handy tools.
Research the market — is there a good product-market fit? Who are your competitors? How can you increase visibility? There are a lot of questions to answer before expanding your eCommerce store.
From finding the perfect fulfillment partner to navigating taxes and localizing your eCommerce strategy, we’re sharing key steps to follow when taking your eCommerce store global.
Identify and analyze target markets
Before diving straight into selling your products everywhere and anywhere, do your research. Identify the markets you want to expand into and analyze potential performance.
After all, there’s no point in investing in a new market, if you won’t be able to reap the rewards.
Analyze the target markets you are most interested in by looking at:
- Product-market fit
- Any potential restrictions or limitations to cross-border selling
- eCommerce market research
- Keyword research
The above data will all give you valuable insights into the potential growth opportunity in your chosen market. Repeat this research for each of your chosen markets and, where possible, speak to potential customers directly through audience surveys and interviews.
Find an international fulfillment partner
Shipping to international customers from your country of origin will quickly get expensive.
Reduce shipping costs while speeding up deliveries by working with an international fulfillment partner.
Your eCommerce fulfillment partner should be equipped to handle international warehousing and storage. Utilizing warehouse facilities close to your international customers will reduce shipping costs, improve efficiency, and minimize delivery windows. At MyFBAPrep, we work with a network of warehouses, handling multi-warehouse fulfillment set-ups for eCommerce and DTC merchants.
We’ll store your products, manage shipping, and do all of the quality checks you’d expect from a fulfillment partner. We’ll even scale alongside your business, growing your warehousing and storage needs as your business grows. Not forgetting, unexpected roadblocks will become a thing of the past as we seamlessly manage item prep and delivery from our international network of warehouses.
Get a tax calculator on your website
Taxes, import duties, and customs charges — the tax implications of selling across borders can get somewhat complicated.
Each country has its own tax rules and regulations for international imports. Before selling into another country, read up on the international laws and taxes such as import duties, tariffs, value-added tax (VAT), and other tax obligations.
Help customers understand the expected taxes by adding a tax calculator to your website. A tax calculator will minimize customer confusion and set expectations as they get a clear insight into how much tax they’ll pay on imported goods. You’ll be able to sell internationally and your customers will get upfront transparency on their orders.
Zonos is a great eCommerce tax calculator and best of all, it’s free. With Zonos’ tax calculator your customers can get estimated taxes and duties whenever they add an item to their cart. This way, they won’t get any nasty surprises when their order arrives.
Add a translated version of your website
Give international customers a localized experience by adding a translated version to your website.
In 2021, $3.33 billion in global eCommerce sales came from non-English speaking countries highlighting the need to set up a multilingual site that is accessible (and readable) by people outside of your native country.
Translating your site to multiple languages doesn’t have to be a giant feat either. Several apps will automate the translation process for you or you can hire a native speaker to translate your content.
We recommend working with a native speaker for key pages where accuracy is crucial. While translation apps are great, they aren’t 100% error-free. So, where possible, work with a native speaker to either translate your content or edit your translated pages.
Localize your website
Localization is not to be confused with translation.
Translation, in its simplest form, focuses on converting the language of your site’s content into the new target language. Meanwhile, localization adapts every aspect of your eCommerce site to create a user experience that is a perfect cultural fit for your new target market.
Localization takes the site appearance, flow, and features into consideration, changing these to suit the target country. Localizing your eCommerce site will make customers feel at home, wherever they are in the world.
Elements to consider when localizing your site include:
- Ease of navigation and how people move through your site
- Language and regionalism
- Societal codes of humor, etiquette, and symbols
- Images, videos, and graphics
- Colors, shapes, and styles
- Values and beliefs
- Measurements, currency, and geographical references
- Date and time formats
- Contact information
- Legal information
- Payment methods
Localization is a fundamental aspect of any global expansion. Shopify’s eCommerce Market Credibility Study found that 47% of consumers said having a local presence was a significant factor in deciding which brands they shop from.
A further 52% of global shoppers are more likely to shop from a company with shared values. So, if you want to increase sales with a global market, you best be focusing on localization.
Offer multiple payment methods
Shoppers preferred payment methods will vary from country to country. If you’re planning to expand your store globally, take time to consider which payment methods you will offer to customers.
In the Netherlands, 61% of eCommerce transactions are made using iDEAL — a Netherlands-based bank transfer company. Meanwhile, the majority of online shoppers in the UK use Visa and Mastercard as their preferred payment methods.
Research the preferred payment methods in your target countries and update your eCommerce payment options accordingly.
Offer localized customer service
Set up localized customer service as part of your eCommerce global expansion strategy.
81% of shoppers say a positive customer service experience will influence the likelihood of them making another purchase, according to research by Zendesk. When customers reach out for support, it’s important that you do everything possible to minimize friction and frustration.
Language or cultural barriers, lack of local call centers, and anti-social contact hours could all play a role in maximizing customer frustration. Therefore, if you want to improve the user experience for international customers, you need to offer localized customer service.
Work with customer service teams in each of your target markets to ensure you provide customer support that takes cultural differences into account. Having native customer service agents for each of your target markets will facilitate communication, build trust and loyalty, and help both parties reach a suitable resolution faster.
Use an intuitive customer service platform such as Gorgias to manage customer service on an international level. Gorgias can detect up to 54 languages in support tickets, making it an ideal choice for global eCommerce stores wanting to deliver outstanding customer service.
Diversify supplier relationships
Working with local suppliers could mean the difference between running a global eCommerce store that generates money versus a global eCommerce store that eats into your profit.
The logistics of shipping products to your customers can be hard work if you aren’t working with local suppliers. Find international suppliers for your products and locate manufacturers who are based in your target markets.
Local suppliers will be more reactive than those who are farther away from your customers. Working with local suppliers will allow you to offer faster shipping times and potentially reduce production costs for some target markets.
Better yet, diversifying your supplier network will help your store stand strong in the face of disruption. If the COVID-19 pandemic taught us anything, it’s how fragile the supply chain really is. Working with multiple suppliers around the world will help reduce the impact of supply and demand shock, border closures, or other unexpected disruptions to the supply chain.
Develop market-localized marketing
Just as you need to localize your eCommerce store, you also need to localize your marketing strategy. When it comes to marketing your eCommerce store, you need to lead with a localized lens.
Adapt your marketing messaging, imagery, channels, and offers to suit each of the countries you operate in. The marketing campaigns that work for your US market may not necessarily work for European or Asian markets. So, tailoring your marketing is key to ensuring global success.
Not doing your marketing research could have severe consequences for your brand. Take the American beer brand Coors, for example. Their “Turn It Loose” campaign worked wonders with their US customers. Meanwhile, its impact went down the toilet (so to speak) in Spain. It turns out their “turn it loose” tagline loosely translated to “suffering from diarrhea” in Spanish — not an association you want to be made with a drinks company.
While the Coors example may be an extreme example of international marketing gone wrong, it highlights the importance of localizing your marketing messaging.
Localize your marketing strategy by working with marketers in your target markets and adapting marketing materials to suit each market. When adapting marketing material, go beyond translations by researching cultural and societal expectations in your target markets.
Remember to double-check those translations too — if it doesn’t make sense, come up with a new tagline that works best for your chosen country.
Humanize your brand per market and change imagery to suit your target audience. Work with local influencers in your target countries and localize any marketing photography or videos.
Offer favorable international shipping options
Finally, nobody wants to pay over the odds to receive their order. In their global shipping survey, BigCommerce found that 77% of global shoppers had abandoned a purchase due to unsatisfactory shipping options.
The “Amazon effect” has undoubtedly put pressure on global merchants to offer fast and affordable shipping options to customers around the world. Give your eCommerce store a competitive edge by offering favorable international shipping options.
Team up with an international fulfillment partner and work with shipping providers local to international customers. Give customers a choice of shipping options so they can choose the shipping rates, lead times, and providers that they prefer.
Be transparent about shipping prices too. Make sure customers can see the true cost of purchase before they checkout by sharing estimated taxes and import duties for their order.
Wrapping up — Scale your eCommerce store with global expansion
Expanding your eCommerce store globally presents an exciting opportunity to scale your business and connect with customers around the world.
Selling in other countries may be a whirlwind adventure but once you get your head around the key strategies for globalization, you’ll be ready to take on the international markets. Be sure to do your research and localize your store to really prepare it for global success.
For more insights on how to grow your eCommerce store, read this blog article where we share our 5 favorite ways to scale your eCommerce business.
8 Common reasons for Amazon seller account suspension
Picture this. It’s early Monday morning. You open your laptop to check yesterday’s sales, but Amazon’s password firewall stops you. Your log-in details are no longer valid. Confused, you hover over to your email, and there it is – the dreaded message from Amazon support.
Amazon’s email states your selling privileges are revoked effective immediately. If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In 2021, Amazon went on an infamous suspension spree which saw sellers with $1 billion in total revenue locked out of their accounts.
As you navigate a seller account suspension, the initial questions are what caused Amazon to suspend your account, and how can you get your prized account back? We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll reveal 8 common reasons for Amazon seller account suspensions and how to overcome them.
What is an Amazon seller account suspension?
An Amazon seller account suspension is when Amazon blocks you from selling on their platform for breaking one of their rules or failing to meet one of their many standards. This punishment damages your business and your listings as you’ll lose sales, rankings and decrease your IPI score.
In addition, your stock will take on an “unfulfillable,” and you’ll still incur storage fees for any inventory stored in Amazon’s warehouses. Amazon can also destroy your inventory once it’s had the unfulfillable status for 60 days.
An account suspension differs from an account termination, which signifies the end of the road for an Amazon seller. So, there’s still hope for getting your account back if you follow specific steps.
Did a fulfillment error cause Amazon to suspend your account? Discover how MyFBAPrep can prevent future recurrences.
8 common reasons for Amazon account suspensions
An Amazon account suspension not only puts a roadblock in your eCommerce business’ growth but can also negatively affect your customer experience and reputation. Thankfully, this stressful situation can be resolved and avoided. To help you dodge the Amazon account suspension bullet, let’s look at some scenarios that can cause Amazon to take away your selling privileges:
1) Updating your banking details
A simple bank account update can leave you without an Amazon account. If Amazon feels your banking credentials don’t add up and you can’t provide the additional information, they can suspend your account.
2) Breaching Terms of Service
Maybe you manipulated Amazon’s algorithms, sent unauthorized Hazmat to FBA, used underhand tactics to get reviews, or launched an aggressive launch strategy that toyed with Amazon’s rankings. Breaking any terms of service will have you headed straight for suspension.
3) Providing a bad customer experience
Poor product ratings, high returns, and going out of stock dampen Amazon’s prized customer experience. If this occurs too often, you’ll have your account taken away.
4) Getting an additional account without permission
Amazon is super strict with its one-account policy. Therefore, if you don’t get written permission before you sign up for another account, you could walk away empty-handed.
5) You upgraded from sole proprietorship to a limited company
It’s hard to believe a simple change in company structure can result in an account suspension, but it’s true. Before you know it, you’re swept up into a storm of back-and-forth support tickets, requesting additional verification documents and information. If you can’t provide the requested details within the set time frame, your account is in jeopardy.
6) Glitches in the Amazon Matrix
Sometimes Amazon gets its chastisements wrong, and you pay a heavy price. For example, Amazon’s security checks and measures (algorithms) glitched suddenly, causing it to shut people’s prized accounts. Amazon has also closed accounts due to mistaken identity, believing the account holder violated the one account policy when in fact, another person with an Amazon account used their WIFI or laptop.
7) Inaccurate product description(s)
Whether you twisted the truth or made a genuine mistake, inaccurate descriptions are a huge no-no in Amazon’s books. Why? They can lead to higher return rates and an unsatisfactory customer experience, which Amazon would rather avoid. Amazon seeks to protect its interests with an account suspension.
8) Not providing complete invoices
Amazon expects every seller to upload accurate VAT invoices for their business customers swiftly after their goods ship. If you fail to meet this expectation, you’ll get a warning. But if you fail to meet this requirement again and your invoice defect rate exceeds 5%, you could be waving goodbye to your Amazon account.
Stay ahead of the game and build a competitive fulfillment strategy that plays by Amazon’s rules.
How to handle an Amazon account suspension
Lost your Amazon account? While getting your selling privileges back isn’t easy, it’s still possible. Here are the steps to increase the chances of getting your account back:
Keep calm and find the problem
First things first, don’t panic. Dig into the details to find out what went wrong. Analyze the email you got from Amazon. This information will help you craft a solid recovery strategy and avoid having your selling account revoked in the future for the same reason(s).
Be proactive. Unfortunately, Amazon customer support won’t be coming to your rescue any time soon. So, double-check any information they give you and look through Amazon’s seller central content.
Nail your Plan of Action (POA)
Amazon requires you to create a POA that states what went wrong and how you aim to resolve the issue(s) and prevent it from reoccurring. Here are some questions to answer in your POA to up your odds of getting your account reinstated:
- What did we do wrong?
- What actions will we take to rectify the problem(s)?
- How will we strategize to prevent the issues from happening again?
Also, before writing your POA, understand what you need to do by reading Amazon’s POA guidance for the territory you sell in. From here, implement the following tips to sharpen your POA’s delivery:
- Set the scene with a short introduction.
- Keep your POA short, simple, and easy to read.
- Acknowledge where you went wrong and avoid the blame game.
- Focus on the facts and only include relevant information.
- Provide evidence of your store’s positive performance.
- Add a conclusion summarizing the actions you have taken to make things right.
- Make a direct request for Amazon to restore your account.
For example, if Amazon closed your account because you’ve sold one too many faulty products. You would devise a strategy detailing what you’ll do to increase product quality, including more quality assurance checks throughout the manufacturing process, sourcing better materials, and creating a robust design.
Be strategic in your communications with Amazon Support
Amazon Support doesn’t have the best reputation for being forthcoming with their help towards sellers. So it’s important not to waste your best opportunity to reason with Amazon about your account suspension — your POA.
Here are some things to remember when dealing with Amazon support to dodge communication errors.
- Avoid generic or rambling responses.
- Maintain an upbeat and polite tone in all your communications, whether in your POA or speaking with Amazon Support.
- Don’t bug support for updates, as this could delay your application.
- Don’t blame customers or Amazon support for issues, regardless of whether they did something wrong or not.
3 Best practices to avoid Amazon account suspensions
1) Stay updated on Amazon’s Terms of Service
Amazon’s terms of service are constantly changing so it’s critical you stay updated on the latest rules and policies, to avoid hiccups in your selling journey. To give you an idea of which areas to pay attention to, here are some common areas sellers go astray:
- Trying to rig the review system: asking for positive reviews, asking customers to contact you before they, asking people you know to buy your items and leave a positive review.
- Failing to keep negative feedback at 1% or less: Some sellers get caught out when their product has a low perceived value compared to what they sold in their listings.
- Not keeping canceled or delayed order shipments under 1% or less: Some sellers that fulfill orders internally or with a 3PL get caught out by lagging inventory data and inefficient fulfillment processes.
2) Keep your prep and fulfillment processes in check
It’s important to know your duties and responsibilities according to your chosen prep and fulfillment process. To do this, study the service level agreement (SLA) from your fulfillment service(s). Some typical SLAs you’ll encounter include:
Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) SLA: Details responsibilities you’ll have as an Amazon seller like sourcing and sending goods to Amazon. The FBA SLA also Amazon’s commitments to you as a seller, like receiving inventory into their fulfillment centers and shipping goods to customers on time.
Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) SLA: This covers what you’ll be accountable for as a seller taking on the fulfillment process, like safe delivery of orders to customers within the shipping options’ standard delivery times.
Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) SLA: Explains the obligations you’ll have when sending prime goods from your warehouses.
Whichever SLA you opt for, it’s vital you uphold your responsibilities within the agreement (like replenishing stock before you run out to avoid rushed receiving and restocking). This approach will help you:
- Maintain a great customer experience
- Avoid costly fulfillment errors (e.g., sending goods to FBA compliant that don’t meet Amazon’s packaging requirements)
- Boost repeat orders and returning customer rates
3) Maintain a healthy IPI score
The Inventory Performance Index is a metric Amazon uses to determine how well you manage your stock’s turnover. It’s essential you take consistent actions to improve your IPI score. Failure to do so can lead to Amazon reducing your inventory limits and even the dread account suspension. According to Amazon, the most critical moves you can make are to:
- Keep a happy medium between how much inventory you sell and how much you keep in FBA (between 30-60 days’ worth of stock)
- Avoid racking up excess and aged stock
- Solve listing issues
- Ensure your top-performing products have enough stock to service demand
Tip: Amazon changes their minimum IPI score, so stay informed on what the latest figure is.
Avoid seller suspensions and get your fulfillment right first time with MyFBAPrep.
Following an Amazon account suspension
An Amazon account suspension is an uncomfortable situation for any seller to face. However, if you can stay calm, execute a solid win-back strategy, and learn from your mistakes, your Amazon business can make a full recovery. The best strategy is to prevent suspension in the first place so ensure you stay updated on your obligations as a seller.
Is your fulfillment process in compliance with Amazon’s terms? Course correct with MyFBAPrep.
6 eCommerce Slack Communities to join
Whether you are an eCommerce newbie or a seasoned professional, it’s imperative for business owners to connect with other professionals, experts, and potential partners. These connections and opportunities to network are invaluable when it comes to learning more about the industry, seeking or sharing advice, and growing your business.
However, reaching the right people can be challenging. Social networking apps like LinkedIn make it easier to meet and connect with new people. However, these platforms don’t always make instant messaging easy and it’s more difficult to communicate at scale. Then, there are in-person networking events, workshops, and conferences, although these can be costly and time-consuming endeavors. Fortunately, in today’s ever-digital world, there are platforms like Slack available to help you get better connected.
If you aren’t currently using Slack, here’s what you need to know along with 6 eCommerce Slack Communities to join.
What is Slack?
Slack is a messaging app for businesses that connects professionals to the information they need. It’s faster, think instant messaging, better organized, and even more secure than email. This makes it perfect for communicating with your team, vendors, or like-minded business professionals.
At its core, Slack is a tool for collaboration and conversation. This enables people to exchange instant messages privately, in group settings or “channels”. Similar to email, you can attach files, share photos, and, perhaps best of all, you can communicate entirely with GIFs. What more could you ask for?
Unlike social media and social networking platforms like LinkedIn, Slack is designed with communication in mind. Think of it like ICQ, but for professionals. When Slack first came onto the scene, it was used exclusively by teams as an intra-office communications platform, but the technology has evolved in recent years. Now, Slack can be used for both intra-office communications and for external communications, such as Slack Communities.
What are Slack Communities?
Remember the old-school forums? Slack Communities are similar, except better and more engaging.
Slack Communities are digital congregations, similar to Facebook Groups but with an instant messaging component. Unlike Facebook Groups, Slack enables file transfers and direct peer-peer calling (which, of course, you can do with Facebook friends via Messenger). There are hundreds of Slack Communities dedicated to every topic under the sun.
Within Slack Communities, you’ll find #Channels which are group discussions with dedicated topics (like General, Marketing, Advice, Water cooler/random chats, and more). When you join a Community, you have the option to join all or some of the channels available. Most communities will request that you not add new channels without prior consent from Community Managers. These managers are usually available to help you find the channels best suited for your needs.
Why join Slack Communities?
Slack’s eCommerce communities are perfect for gaining practical knowledge and connecting and networking with other eCommerce professionals. Through these communities, eCommerce merchants and developers can engage with one another to learn, share, and celebrate successes.
In many Slack communities, events like Ask Me Anything (AMA) sessions are held featuring experts who can answer questions, share experiences, and offer up useful advice. These events provide an up-close-and-personal look into the lives of industry experts and leading eCommerce professionals to help you expand your knowledge and grow your business.
If it’s advice and opinions you’re seeking, Slack communities are a great place to poll your peers.
Reasons to use Slack Communities include:
Slack Communities can be a great way to find new hires for your growing eCommerce business or to find companies or individuals, with whom you can partner for specific business needs like marketing, logistics, or even HR.
Give a little, take a little. Slack Communities are a gold mine for eCommerce professionals seeking advice for all manners of things related to running an online business. In fact, there are Slack Communities designed solely for sharing best practices and advice on everything you need to know about eCommerce!
From peer-to-peer marketing amongst community members to staying on top of current marketing trends, content creation, or learning more about marketing in general, Slack Communities are a great place for all of the above and more.
Finding new ways to add value to your existing customers can be a full-time job. Fortunately, collaboration is made much easier with Slack Communities. From joining forces for unique digital shopping experiences to co-hosting pop-up shops in local communities, Slack Community networking can lead to an abundance of collaboration opportunities.
When you’re considering expanding into new markets, either geographically or in terms of products for sale, it can be daunting to determine your next steps. Slack Communities can be a wealth of information about different markets and can help you find support in new areas too.
Suppliers/Vendors or Partners Discovery
If you’re looking for new partners, Slack Communities might be the ticket. Connect with suppliers, vendors, third-party logistics partners, marketing firms, and even influencers through the myriad of Slack communities specific to eCommerce.
6 eCommerce Slack Communities to join
Now that you know why you should consider joining a Slack Community, you might be wondering where to begin. If you don’t already have a Slack account, that will be your first step! Get signed up for Slack by signing up with your business email (or use their Single Sign-On with Google or Apple).
There are a lot of Slack Communities out there and deciding which ones to join can be overwhelming. Here are a few of our favorites:
Drip is a marketing platform that enables eCommerce brands to run multi-channel marketing campaigns quickly and easily by gathering and organizing customer data. The product allows brands to make personalized, omnichannel customer journeys at scale to improve conversions, boost sales, and grow revenue.
The Drip Ecomm-unity is a curated community of Drip experts, eCommerce industry professionals, founders, and international operators from some of the coolest eCommerce brands, email, SMS marketers, and creative thinkers. The Ecomm-unity features several useful channels including:
- #EcommEssentials: everything eCommerce-related
- #Troubleshooting: the place for Q&A, support, and more
- #ChitChat: a space for conversation – casual or otherwise!
- #EmailMarketing: a space to discuss email workflows, bounce rates, abandoned carts, and more
- #SMS: a place to talk text marketing
Arguably no one knows eCommerce quite like Shopify. If you aren’t familiar with Shopify, it’s an eCommerce platform for online stores and retail point-of-sale systems. It’s cloud-based and hosted and provides a seamless, all-in-one platform to support eCommerce businesses from the creation of an online store, right through to the close of a sale.
The Shopify Partners Slack Community is for app developers, theme developers, Shopify agencies, and other ecosystem partners who work towards enabling merchants. This is a huge community that’s very active and includes members from all over the world. It’s also the official channel for Shopify Partner Townhalls. To join the Partner Community, you must have an email registered with an official Shopify Partner.
Not a Shopify Partner? Don’t sweat it. There’s the Shopify Community too! The Slack Community brings together fellow Shopify store owners, partners, Shopify team members, mentors, and educators. It’s a space to share ideas, learn from one another, brainstorm, and just connect. You can apply to join the Shopify Community using your personal or business email, with business being preferred. There are no anonymous members, so be sure to include your business name and your full name when you request. It’s also important to include all of this information on Slack when you join.
The Slack eCommerce Academy is a global community of founders, entrepreneurs, and eCommerce professionals that learn how to build, grow, and scale eCommerce businesses together.
The most popular channels include:
- #General: The Marketplace Academy, where founders, entrepreneurs, and fans of marketplaces get together and discuss everything there is to talk about when it comes to online marketplaces.
- #Founders: A channel dedicated to learning, teaching, discovering, and sharing tips, articles, and experiences as it relates to founders’ experiences.
- #Hiring: If you’re looking to build or expand your team, learn about hiring, or simply network, this is the eCommerce Academy channel for you.
- #Pains: We’ve all got them! This is the channel for airing your woes and troubleshooting solutions.
- #GrowthHacking: The channel for anyone seeking to grow their business.
eComm Talk is a Shopify lovers’ community where Shopify users and enthusiasts can connect, ask and answer questions, and make lasting relationships with colleagues.
Some of the channels you’ll find include:
- #AMA: The Ask Me Anything space where AMAs are held periodically, featuring Shopify experts.
- #Development: A general chat channel dedicated to the topic of development. Expect to see questions and discussions related to dev work and get answers to your dev questions here.
- #Marketing: If you want to discuss your marketing efforts and how to level them up, this is the channel for you. Learn how to better market your stores/apps, share your best tips, and boost your sales.
- #Themes: Shopify themes deserve their own channel! Join this channel if you want to talk about theme creation, selling themes, or troubleshooting theme development.
- #Jobs: Hiring? Looking for a new role? This is the channel for you!
OMetrics is a leader in affordable AI chatbots and conversion rate optimization tools and services specializing. The company specializes in chatbots, lead bots, business lead generation, and A/B conversion optimization testing for eCommerce sites. In short: they’re in the business of helping you grow.
It’s no surprise, that the OMetrics CRO Growth Hacks is a Slack community dedicated to all things growth via CRO, SEM, SEO, email, business strategy, and everything in between.
You’ll find channels like:
- #General: The everyday, general conversation space for team-wide communication and announcements.
- #CRO_hacks: Conversion Rate Optimization is the name of the game here. Learn about CRO hacks to level up your landing pages, email campaigns, and website.
- #SEO_hacks: Ready to take your search engine optimization even higher? This channel is for discussing SEO best practices and hacks, sharing wins, and asking questions.
- #Business_hacks: From business strategy to pivoting your company, questions about employee management, and even more, this is the channel for all of your overall business needs.
- #Site_Critique: Want some constructive criticism? You can drop your website’s URL in this channel to request insights and feedback from peers and experts.
If you’re unfamiliar with Online Geniuses, they’re one of the biggest SEO and digital marketing Slack communities out there! This community is dedicated to helping members improve their SEO and digital marketing to realize a greater return on those investments and grow their businesses through sharing and connection.
Online Geniuses has more than 35,000 vetted members of its global community including VPs, CMOs, freelancers, consultants, and agency owners from every corner of the digital marketing ecosystem. They regularly host Q&A sessions with industry experts to deliver valuable information to members on topics of interest running the full gamut of digital marketing.
Slack Communities are an effective way for eCommerce professionals to connect with and learn from their merchant counterparts, industry experts, developers, and other professionals involved in the various areas of the eCommerce ecosystem. You can join as many or as few Slack Communities as you choose, based on your unique interests and business needs.
By joining Slack Communities, you can build your skills, grow your business, and even make some friends along the way.
The What, Why, and How of Shopify Audiences
Updates like cookie opt-ins, iOS14, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are creating smaller audiences for advertisers to work with. As a result, eCommerce businesses and retailers with an online presence have to find newer, more effective ways to reach their target customers.
Enter Shopify Audiences.
With its growing data pool and next-level targeting, Shopify Audiences is the saving grace brands have been searching for to reach new buyers.
In this post, we’ll dive into Shopify Audiences and reveal how it can help your business craft higher-converting ad campaigns. We’ll also offer practical guidance to make the most of a Shopify Audiences integration.
What is Shopify Audiences?
Shopify Audiences is an insights exchange network that gathers conversion-related insights from merchants on Shopify who have opted into the program.
From this data, Shopify employs machine learning to craft audience lists of U.S. and Canada-based customers for use on digital advertising platforms, like Facebook and Instagram (and more to come). You can also select items from your product catalogs to showcase in ads and gain an edge over pure-play Facebook and Instagram ad targeting.
Tapping into insights from the millions of opted-in Shopify merchants, allows brands to optimize their marketing campaigns’ targeting in ways that weren’t previously available on ad platforms. Plus, Shopify Audiences operates with trust and transparency at its core, boasting features like an opt-in/opt-out setup and a fair order attribution model (more on that later).
How Shopify Audiences works
It’s easy to implement Shopify Audiences as the next step in your marketing strategy: Create an audience list, then export it to your chosen ad platform (currently, Facebook or Instagram). You can then launch ads based on the list.
For instance, say you sell outdoor equipment like lawnmowers. Once you opt into the solution, Shopify Audiences can gather data on your shoppers. It’ll then create a custom audience of people interested in lawnmowers and related tools, like sprayers and shovels. If shoppers from the custom audience engage and purchase, Shopify will attribute that sale to the campaign.
You first need to check your eligibility to use and install the Shopify Audiences app. You must be:
- A Shopify Plus user
- Located in the U.S. or Canada
- Use Shopify Payments
Once you meet these requirements, sign up for the app to opt into the network through the following steps:
- Head to your Shopify admin and click Apps.
- Go to the Installed apps section and select the Shopify Audiences app.
- Click Set up audiences.
- Choose to turn on the data contribution and consent to Shopify Audiences’ terms and conditions.
- Link the Facebook account you want to use for advertising by clicking Set up.
Once you’ve linked your store to Shopify Audiences, you’ll start contributing data to the Shopify Audience data pool and can craft custom audiences.
It’s time to step up your eCommerce operations. Discover how MYFBAPrep can help you claim the top spot.
The perks of Shopify Audiences
Shopify Audiences has opened a world of revenue-generating opportunities to online retailers. Below are some of the advantages you can gain from this innovative tool:
1) Improve top-of-funnel marketing campaigns
While you can’t add existing customers to your lists, Shopify Audiences makes up for this by helping you find high-intent buyers. The custom audiences sharpen your targeting and drive more brand awareness.
2) Gain the upper hand in targeting U.S. and Canadian markets
Shopify Audiences is currently a location-specific tool serving the U.S. and Canada, which gives sellers in these countries a competitive advantage over businesses covering other territories, like Europe.
3) Access secure and privacy-compliant data sharing
Data sent to Facebook is used for data matching and then deleted. Also, audiences sent from Shopify to Facebook go through a secure method that you can’t download, which keeps your customer data top secret.
4) Attract and retain more customers for less
Refined targeting and growth-powering reports obtained through Shopify Audiences lead to faster research and higher return on investment (ROI) on ad budgets.
Each custom audience is based on previous buying behavior, so you’ll have the knowledge necessary to craft ads that resonate with your target customer to increase conversions. You’ll also receive live, accurate data on shoppers’ current wants and needs to keep them coming back for more.
5) Fair order attributions for reporting accuracy
Unlike other marketing tools, Shopify Audience isn’t quick to take credit for an order simply because you use the platform. The program’s attribution model accredits an order to an exported audience when a buyer purchases while your ads are live and up to a week after the campaign ends.
Also, if your customer is in more than one audience when they buy, Shopify Audiences will split the order and its total amount equally between the audiences responsible for generating it.
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Best practices for producing profitable ads with Shopify Audiences
To succeed with Shopify Audiences in the long term, it’s vital you adopt a winning strategy and maintain an inquisitive mindset. We’ll help you get started with some top practices that’ll see huge wins with Shopify Audiences.
1) Keep your data fresh and accurate
The quality of your data pools relies on the information you put into them (remember, you can’t update or download an audience once you’ve exported it to Shopify Audiences).
So, ensure the data you feed into your audience list is current and correct. To obtain the best insights on quality and performance, be sure to:
- Schedule time to check your order and customer data regularly (including removing anomalies, duplicates, and errors)
- Use robust tools to manage your inventory and organize store-related information on a clear dashboard
- Create and launch your ads on the same day you send the data to Shopify Audiences
2) A/B test with intent
A/B testing has become a buzzword in the marketing world, with some brands randomly split testing in hopes of finding their golden ticket. But to gain better results from Shopify Audiences, you must approach A/B testing strategically and with a clear purpose. Here are a few testing tips to remember:
- Keep your ad budgets in line with each ad’s audience size.
- Only A/B test audiences on Facebook.
- Consider audiences with U.S. and Canada-based buyers only.
- Exclude your current customers from the campaign you’re comparing it against.
3) Let insights guide you
Use Shopify Audiences’ reporting tools to understand campaign effectiveness and gain relevant, actionable insights from your results. You can then make data-backed adjustments to your ads to improve conversions. Shopify Audiences generates two types of reports:
1) Overview reports provide a bird’s-eye view of how Shopify Audiences campaigns impact your store. You’ll see information like:
- Total orders — Combines all orders from your audiences, including those you’ve archived
- Total sales — Aggregates the number of purchases from all buyers in your audience lists
2) Detailed reports zoom in on more granular metrics like:
- Average order value — The typical amount buyers spend in your store per order, calculated as Total revenue generated / Total number of orders
- Top products sold — The items shoppers in the audience list bought the most
- Orders — The approximate items customers in an audience list purchased
- Sales — The estimated cash earned on orders from an audience list, calculated as Gross Sales (excluding gift card transactions) – Discounts – Financial Refunds + Taxes + Shipping Costs
- New customers — The approximate number of people in your audience list that have become buyers
Tip: Analyze reports on ad campaign spend impressions and clicks on Facebook to gain a more well-rounded view of your campaign’s performance. This will reveal where to double down your marketing efforts to skyrocket leads and sales.
4) Optimize your ads
Although Shopify Audiences is an ad network, it’s not an ad platform. This means you need to nail the essentials of a winning ad for your targeting to succeed. Here are some ways you can upgrade your ads:
- Create eye-catching images and videos (avoid stock photos and videos).
- Use engaging storylines and tone of voice.
- Build sales funnels with optimized landing pages and offers for every stage of the buyer’s journey.
If optimizing Facebook and Instagram ads isn’t your expertise, don’t sweat it. Get help from a Shopify expert for faster results.
5) Remember your other marketing channels
No matter how well your campaigns perform with Shopify Audiences, you also need to nurture your other marketing avenues. Leverage the Shopify Audiences tool to strengthen your Facebook and Instagram ads and diversify your marketing. Once you’ve mastered your Shopify Audiences targeting, some other channels to focus on include:
- Influencer marketing
- Email marketing
- Organic social media marketing
- Pay-per-click ads
- Inbound marketing
Wrapping up – The path to success through Shopify Audiences
If the numbers are falling short in your current ad campaigns, there’s still hope. Shopify Audiences has cleared the path to sharper targeting and higher conversions for eCommerce businesses, both large and small. While it’s still a young tool, you can use Shopify Audiences to gain a competitive advantage, build your customer base, and grow your revenue.
Ensure the data you feed Shopify’s algorithms is current and accurate and split test purposefully and often. Finally, optimize every element of your ads and combine your existing marketing strategies with Shopify Audiences’ powerful network of information. With these tips and best practices, your marketing efforts will soon drive your store towards huge paydays and supercharged growth.
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How to sell on TikTok: Tools, best practices, and step-by-step guides
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?
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
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:
- As a blog that offers followers/customers a behind-the-scenes look at the brand’s growth journey and creative process.
- As a forum to answer frequently asked questions and provide tips for fellow artists and businesses on TikTok.
- For personal interactions with customers and answering questions about Sommer, like what her favorite art supplies are.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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:
- 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.
- Add your photos or video. Within Ads Manager, you can also create a video using the video template or video creation tools.
- Choose a default thumbnail or upload your own.
- 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.
- 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
- Go to I’m an advertiser and click Get started.
- Choose Create project and fill in the necessary Business information, Project details, and Content details.
- Select how much campaign performance data you’ll share with your creative partner.
- Finalize everything, then click Submit.
Step 2: Select a creative partner
- Open your project.
- Click Select creative partner.
- Explore the recommended partners and learn about their work by clicking View more.
- 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
- Click Assets, then select Edit under Existing creative assets.
- Add your brand assets’ (e.g. images, videos, and animations) URLs.
- You can directly Upload up to five files to the platform.
Step 4: Add collaborators
- Click + in the upper right of the page, just above Edit.
- Select the collaborator’s level of access: Manager, Editor, or Commenter.
- Either enter their email address or share the project link with them.
- 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
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
- After your creative partner shares their work, click Deliverables.
- In the Creative Concepts module, click the Preview button.
- Review the concept or download it to your computer.
- Leave your feedback and comments with your creative partner through chat.
- 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
- Once you’ve approved your partner’s work, go to Deliverables and access the Videos module.
- Choose which videos you want in your ads and click Sync to Ads Manager.
- You can then go to TikTok Ads Manager and use the videos in your campaigns.
Step 9: Share performance data with your partner
- To share campaign insights with your creative partner, click Performance.
- Then, under Creative partner permission, select Edit.
- 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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.