- B2B megabrand GE went direct-to-consumer with their smart bulbs, C by GE, and custom ecommerce site
- The Emazing Group, which runs multiple brands through Shopify Plus, has grown from $15M in 2016 to $20M in 2017 and is on-track to break $30M this year
- In 2018, the consumer electronics ecommerce market will be worth $301.2 billion and is projected to grow to $418.4 billion by 2022; meanwhile, IoT could be worth up to $11.1 trillion by 2025
Consumer electronics are an integral and lucrative part of our everyday lives.
However, as we move toward complete market saturation in 2018 and beyond, consumer electronics (CE) websites face a unique set of challenges.
First CE sales are slowing. People aren’t rushing to buy staple products, like smartphones and TVs, nor the latest gadgets like they used to.
Second, electronics are highly seasonal.
This causes a conundrum. On one hand, season-specific product sales mean you can forecast based on historical data. On the other, how can you change consumer behavior to purchase throughout the year?
Third, thanks to the rise of crowdfunding sites, technology has a much lower barrier to entry. Competition has increased threatening many legacy brands.
How can consumer electronics businesses cut through the clutter to grab digital attention and grow sales?
The answers come by evaluating what 10 consumer electronics sites are doing to smarten their ecommerce strategy.
- C by GE: From B2B Conglomerate to D2C Ecommerce
- The Emazing Group: Spotlight Product Pages with SEO
- Nanoleaf: Global Ecommerce Done Right & Automatically
- Ring: Consistent Messaging Across Channels in Every Season
- Mevo by Livestream: Specs, Shots, and Streaming Sizzle
- Rad Power Bikes: Popping Up for Online-to-Offline Sales
- asgoodasnew: Comparison Shopping Made Easy
- TrackR: Getting Found by Alexa & Customers
- Anova Culinary: International Sales via Facebook Ads
- Smart Nora: From Kickstarter to Enterprise Brand
1. C by GE: From B2B Conglomerate to D2C Ecommerce
Founded in 1892, GE is one of the largest multinational B2B conglomerates in the world. Yet, when they launched C by GE and introduced consumers to their latest innovation — a series of Bluetooth-enabled smart lightbulbs — they decided to go D2C instead.
Although most people are familiar with their brand (and logo), this was a new arena.
C by GE is more than just an ecommerce site; it’s a portal of education on LED lighting and the benefits of smart-home technology. By creating a highly customized website, GE showcases the product line — bulbs, lamps, apps, and more — as well as invites people to interact with their smart tech and stay up-to-date on new developments and releases:
Going D2C online adds agility and intimacy to B2B enterprises. It lets you create and test new products through stand-alone stores, open untapped revenue channels for down-market distribution, and highlight innovation through content-rich experiences.
2. The Emazing Group: Spotlight Product Pages with SEO
The Emazing Group began as a single product that founder Brian Lim (below) sold out of the trunk of his car, LED-embedded gloves. Today, the group encompasses three brands that span verticals like consumer electronics, lifestyle, and fashion: EmazingLights, iHeartRaves, and INTO THE AM.
In 2016, the latter was already on Shopify Plus, while the former two were not. This caused the company to hemorrhage losses month after month because of SEO-related problems.
“The impact that Shopify had on our SEO strategies was ground-breaking,” says Katie Knoll, Digital Marketing Manager at The Emazing Group.
“We could have never achieved such results with Magento. We were able to lock down top spots for some of our most valuable keywords, bringing in new customers and more revenue than ever before.”
Once they replatformed, they saw an increase of 31% year-over-year in organic traffic for EmazingLights, while iHeartRaves saw a 130% YoY increase, not to mention a 22.59% conversion equalling a 227% increase in revenue in one single month.
All told, the company’s brands have grown annual revenue from $15 million during 2016 to $20 million in 2017 and are on-track to break $30 million this year.
No matter your business, SEO for product descriptions need to be locked down. Utilizing backlinks and internal linking is all well and good, but you need to ensure those links don’t break.
What’s more, SEO-friendly URLs, enticing meta descriptions and page titles that match up with search queries, and clean coding on the back-end are all vital.
3. Nanoleaf: Global Ecommerce Done Right & Automatically
Despite being sold in hundreds of stores around the world, Nanoleaf relies on its ecommerce platform to service 15-20% of its customers. This means customers can shop in their native language and currency without any surprises upon delivery (i.e. duties, taxes, and surcharges).
“We needed to offer customers a better experience,” says Paul Austin-Menear, Director of Digital Strategy at Nanoleaf. “And get them their orders in a timely manner and that’s what our international storefronts and warehouses allow us to do.”
When considering an international ecommerce strategy, putting your customers first is at the heart of it. In following with Nanoleaf’s example, testing how customers will experience your front-end (online ordering process and receiving their delivery) as well as ensuring your back-end (inventory tracking and fulfillment) can be huge revenue drivers.
4. Ring: Consistent Messaging Across Channels in Every Season
Ring is a great example of using consistent messaging throughout your marketing to fully leverage the seasonality of consumer electronics shoppers.
Leading up to Father’s Day, their homepage promoted a 15% sale on select products. That seasonal event led to a series of videos and a sticky bar at the top of subsequent pages.
Given their family focus, Ring ran a similar promotion for Mother’s Day. But here’s where smart truly comes into play …
In addition to their onsite consistency, they also marketed the event offsite with tailor-made content for each social channel:
Best of all, in both cases, the eligible items are already marked down ensuring customers don’t have to fiddle with discount codes upon checkout.
This gives customers a sense of consistency with a uniform message onsite and off. It also simplifies the process of buying by already discounting the items – the retail equivalent to “priced as shown.”
If you’re in the market for holiday or seasonal discounts, consider pre-loading your ecommerce products with the promotional prices instead of discount codes. You can do this for select prices (like Ring did), or you can make the discount applicable to all items.
5. Mevo by Livestream: Specs, Shots, and Streaming Sizzle
Walking the line between technical specifications (the steak) and selling sizzle isn’t easy online. The more sophisticated yet artistic your audience … the more daunting and precarious that line becomes.
To meet these dual — and often dueling — demands, Mevo by Livestream front loads their website with rich and sophisticated imagery (center), a heartfelt features page (right), and a growing catalog of Shot on Mevo videos (left) that run from celebrity influencers to family reunions:
However, when it comes to the Technical Specifications page, they are all business — detailing anything and everything the most scrupulous shopper might want to know:
To do both — and sell on every page — Mevo relies on Shopify Plus; namely, the universally embeddable Buy button:
“Shopify Plus allows us to focus on product development,” says Jeremiah Linder, Marketer at Livestream. “Having a plug-and-play option that is still flexible enough to meet our business needs and maintain the aesthetics we want is great.”
6. Rad Power Bikes: Popping Up for Online-to-Offline Sales
When you’re shopping in the ecommerce silo, it’s hard to know if a product is trustworthy or not. Rad Power Bikes knows its customers want to try their bikes before purchasing. That’s why they’ve created an online-to-offline (O2O) strategy.
Try Our Bikes offers potential customers the opportunity to test ride the bikes and see first-hand how rad their product truly is. They have a Seattle store as well as B8ta locations across the country.
More than that, these offline locations also allow customers to purchase bikes on the spot (often clearance products), and get their bikes serviced.
Depending on the type of eletronics product you offer, consider whether it’s important to have them experience your wares IRL.
Will this increase the likelihood of purchasing? Will this foster trust in your brand and loyalty? Will this add to their overall experience with your brand? If you answered yes to any one of these questions, perhaps you need to consider O2O as well.
7. asgoodasnew: Comparison Shopping Made Easy
asgoodasnew is a German electronics site offering the latest tech — smartphones, laptops, and electronics — for around 30% less than retail prices.
Despite only selling refurbished and secondhand products, they have a large returning customer base because of their generous return policy (30 days) and warranty (30 months).
With thousands of products — each with their own specifications, conditions, and price points — asgoodasnew guides shoppers through a comparison experience that is second to none:
- A prominent search bar and mega menu aids easy discoverability
- Availability and prices are shown for products on all category pages
- Quick “compare product” boxes lead to custom comparison pages
- Cart-level upsells then offer visitors complimentary products
8. TrackR: Getting Found by Alexa & Customers
Who hasn’t lost their keys or their wallet?
TrackR—the lost and found gadget—allows you to track (hence the name) misplaced items, like the aforementioned. By downloading the smartphone app and syncing your chips, you can find virtually anything you’ve tagged.
Anything, that is, except for your phone since you need the app.
However, since teaming up with Amazon’s Alexa, you can now find your phone, too. Bonus points because it’ll make your phone ring if it was left on silent mode.
Being part of the IoT revolution means your electronics need to sync up with personal digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomePod.
Another benefit is that teaming up with these mega-brands will also help ensure customers adopt your technology faster.
9. Anova Culinary: Introducing International Sales via Facebook Ads
Social media advertising offers B2C and D2C direct access to their ideal customers in new and existing markets. When you already have an existing social media following, you can utilize Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to target ads to similar people around the world.
“Using Facebook’s international Lookalike Audiences, we quickly expanded into new countries,” explained Marius Giese, VP, Direct Sales, Anova Culinary. “This tool allowed us to reach massive amounts of qualified people at scale in new geographical areas.”
The results were impressive:
- 5x return on ad spend
- 4.3x increase in reach
- 60% decrease in CPA
10. Smart Nora: From Kickstarter to Enterprise Brand
To date, almost 7,000 technology-based products have been successfully launched on the Kickstarter platform since its inception. With all this competition, any new electronics (and tech) projects should take advantage of all that an ecommerce site has to offer … even when you’re in the funding stage.
Take Smart Nora as a great example of what you should do. The product has only been on the market for a couple of years, yet they started their ecommerce site when they were still in the throes of their crowdfunding stage.
This allowed the team at Smart Nora to do a few things very well.
First, they were able to create a website with more information on this new technology so their backers could understand the science behind snoring and behind Smart Nora. Shopify Plus also allowed them to compile a database of their backers, all 3,500 of them. This way, sending funding, expected production and delivery updates, and, of course, a big fat virtual thank you.
But one of the biggest reasons crowdfunded projects should set up their ecommerce site simultaneously is so they can keep backend logistics (i.e. fulfillment) in order.
If you’re in the planning stages of a crowdfunding campaign for your new product innovation, consider building your ecommerce store simultaneously. This will help you save many-a-headaches and much time down the road.
And if you want to know all the reasons this is a great strategy to employ, read How to Transition From a Kickstarter Campaign to a Successful Shopify Store.
Final Thoughts on the Best Consumer Electronics Ecommerce Sites
If you’re selling consumer electronics, you need to take advantage of the full resources of your ecommerce platform.
Whether that means integrating apps like Sales Pop, having a multi-channel strategy and offering your customers a native purchasing experience with social media, or starting before your crowdfunding campaign has successfully ended …
You can have a more robust and user-minded website by simply utilizing the right platform’s native features and ecosystem.
What’s more, smart electronics should be integrated with personal digital assistants as well as iOs, Android, and Windows systems so that your customers can truly have a one-touch experience.