Testing without analytics is like a sandwich without bread: messy and ultimately unsatisfying. Here are three reports and nine tests to guide you into higher profits.
Testing without analytics is like a sandwich without bread: messy and ultimately unsatisfying. Here are three reports and nine tests to guide you into higher profits.
When high-growth ecommerce companies shift their focus away from transactional short-term relationships to building long-term emotional customer relationships, they see dramatic business results.
In this special guest contribution, Smile Senior Rewards Specialist Stuart Arsenault covers how to turn transactional shopper relationships into emotional customer relationships …
The checkout is the store’s most critical moment. It’s the gateway to a smooth customer experience and importantly, store conversions.
Consumers are drawn to, and will reward with their loyalty, convenience. Executing on this, in part, means optimizing the checkout. Embedding an array of easy-to-apply discounts, promotions, and fulfillment options in your checkout shows customers you care when it matters most.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with Shopify Scripts, small pieces of code that you can copy and paste to optimize and automate the cart and checkout, like:
We’re seeing top-performing brands use Shopify Scripts to optimize and automate their ecommerce checkouts in creative ways. Since social distancing rules were enacted, Plus brands have created 27,000 discount codes.
Not only can these optimizations help you deliver a generous and memorable customer experience when customers need it most, but they can also help you reduce cart abandonment and lift conversions once the pandemic subsides.
Below are 13 discount, gift, and shipping optimizations you can use year-round:
Allbirds, a New Zealand sustainable shoe brand, creatively adapted the popular buy one, get one promotional concept into a buy one, give one opportunity for customers to support the healthcare community. The company is allowing customers to bundle any shoe purchase with a donation to a healthcare professional.
When checking out with an eligible pair of shoes, a donated pair is automatically added to the customer’s cart. The customer sees both the pair they’re purchasing for themselves and the pair being donated to a healthcare professional:
Even if customers aren’t buying a pair for themselves, Allbirds makes it easy to make a monetary donation which results in Allbirds automatically sending a pair of shoes to a frontline healthcare professional. The company says it has donated $500,000 in footwear to the healthcare community.
You can adapt the original buy one, get one free script below:
Chubbies, a lifestyle apparel brand uses a technique known as tiered pricing for bulk discounts. In addition to telling a consumer how much money they have to spend to qualify for a free gift or discount, Chubbies dangles discounts and gifts based on the number of items customers are willing to purchase.
The company combines a free gift alongside multiple discount “thresholds” including:
Chubbies also offers gifts for spending a certain amount of money. It allows buyers to unlock tiered discounts at different monetary levels. This encourages customers to add a new item to their cart:
Importantly, the gift or discount available to the customer qualifies for based on what they’ve added to their cart is automatically selected. The discount is automatically calculated as well:
Vessi Footwear, which sells stylish waterproof sneakers, offered customers a “choose what you pay” promotion to simultaneously provide customers with a discount and frontline healthcare workers with much needed personal protective equipment (PPE).
Here’s how it worked: Vessi allowed customers to pay full price, take 30% off, or take 40% off their orders. Each selection corresponded to a different donation amount and thus the number of surgical masks that could be purchased for frontline workers. The more a customer paid, the greater the donation:
Just bought my first ever pair of shoes from @VessiFootwear through this wonderful promotion. Here's hoping they fit on my wide feet.— Chris Golden (@lyteforce) April 2, 2020
P.S. They are a Vancouver based company and the reviews of the shoes seem pretty darn solid. https://t.co/flJOISg965
In just two weeks, Vessi and more than 30,000 customers raised enough money to purchase 400,000 masks for healthcare workers in the U.S. and Canada. “We’re incredibly proud of the thriving community we’ve grown and the initiative they’ve taken to make a difference by giving back, says Vessi’s Director of Digital Marketing Gabriel Scaglia Dias. “The positive comments and stories we receive from these initiatives make it all worthwhile.”
The initiative came about after Vessi asked its community for feedback on charitable initiatives. In doing so, Vessi realized its customers knew how to help their communities better than any company might. It’s why the company launched the Vesi Community Fund, which allows customers to pay-it-forward by making donations to the Vessi Fund when they checkout.
Vessi’s goal is to dip into the fund and allocate $1,000 a day to ten heroes who are giving back to their communities. While many of the projects being considered are coronavirus-related, expect Vessi and its community to partner with those doing good anywhere.
“The Vessi Community fund projects are extremely heartwarming to read and support,” says Scaglia Dias. “Our community is giving back in ways we could have never thought of; from painting murals, making masks, 3D printing PPE, to donating groceries. We hope that the positive effects stemming from these small initiatives, acts of kindness will extend beyond Vessi and throughout our society.”
While the two aforementioned initiatives were based on promotional codes and required no automation, Vessi relies on Shopify Scripts in many of its campaigns. For instance, Vessi has scripts running in the background to block discounts from gift cards as well as providing a BOGO discount if the customer buys a shoes-and-laces combination.
View the following to learn how to create checkout discounts:
It takes a visitor about 13 milliseconds to judge your site, so give the first-timers a chance to get a deal. A quick discount, like 20% off the least expensive item, is a great way to entice and conclude a purchase, but you’ve got to get that customer through the checkout.
Bombas, a premium sock brand, entices first-time shoppers to become customers with a pop-up that promises a special discount code. Plus, this strategy also ensures they capture a shopper’s email for future marketing.
Likewise, SkinnyMe Tea offered a 5% discount and a free eating plan to anyone who gave their email address, and their email opt-ins increased by 758%.
Scripts give shoppers an incentive to purchase multiples of the same product and increase average order size, creating the strange sensation of simultaneous spending and saving.
For example, depending on your margins, you might implement something like this:
Greats, a premium sneaker brand, uses a similar script to display a very visible discount as customers increase the quantities to their cart, making it clear that the larger purchase offers increased savings.
Similar to the previous script, this script allows buyers to unlock tiered discounts at different monetary levels. This encourages customers to add a new item to their cart to close the gap. Brooklinen uses a version of this Script to combine a free gift alongside three discount “thresholds”:
Stack discount codes can hurt profit margins. It’s crucial to protect your business amidst promotions and ensure that discount codes don’t run recklessly alongside sitewide sales. Think especially of Pura Vida Bracelets’ 50% off Black Friday, Cyber Monday extravaganza.
Abandoned carts exist all over the internet, and are left there by people who just couldn’t pull the trigger. Not to worry—you can customize your checkout to show your customers’ most relevant payment methods:
Urban Planet’s mobile checkout begins with offering shoppers a choice between PayPal, logging into their account, or utilizing Shop Pay.
According to Statista, 56% of shoppers say they abandon their carts because of unexpected costs. In fact, it’s the top reason why shoppers abandon carts—when they encounter higher than expected shipping charges or unanticipated processing fees or taxes or automatic cross-sells.
Precalculate shipping costs at checkout with the Script below, or consider adding a shipping estimate or calculator on product pages with apps like Estimated Shipping Cost.
Image from Business 2 Community
Shopify Plus comes with pre-built custom calculated shipping rates for different carriers shown at the checkout. Depending on your Shopify plan, you’ll be eligible for reduced rates from USPS, UPS, DHL Express, and Canada Post.
Tealeaves, a Canadian provider of master blended organic tea, offers its community a special local delivery option that’s only available to customers in the greater Vancouver area. If the customer’s zip or postal code doesn’t match the list of postal codes in the script, it’s hidden.
Based on this script, you could offer customers near your headquarters or warehouse delivery options like a guaranteed 1-day delivery or even a bike delivery. Neither of these selections would be visible for buyers outside the designated postal or zip code.
Feel free to use this script to create local delivery options that meet your needs:
Since stay-at-home orders were implemented, click and collect, including curbside pickup, increased 62%. Staples, a multichannel office supplies retailer, is well-positioned to take advantage of the accelerated trend toward click and collect. While the company is urging customers to stay home and rely on free delivery, it’s also offering contactless curbside pickup for most items.
If a customer is checking out on Staples.ca and is in close proximity to a retail store, they'll see the option to have their order fulfilled at a nearby location. They’ll even see an estimate of when the order will be ready for pick up.
Being part of a club can have its benefits, and while your company might not be Amazon Prime yet, you can certainly take a chapter from their book. Invite shoppers to join your community, and reward them with incentives like free shipping on items. You could also do an “item of the month” subscription service.
CandyClub, a subscription box brand, offers specific subscription packages with different monthly lengths, products, and pricing.
Nanoleaf’s customers were understandably upset when they were slapped with taxes after they already paid for their products.
Their Shopify Script allows the company to set up international storefronts that let customers check out in their own currencies, and offered local deliveries that were faster and cheaper than their previous international providers.
Hidden fees or taxes sour the experience. These unexpected costs ruin the buyer’s experience, making it less likely that they come back. That’s why it’s crucial to be able to show a customer exactly what they’ll be paying, in their own currency and taxes, in order to deliver some transparency and build trust.
For more guidance, take a look at how to:
It’s not clear if or how COVID-19 will permanently change consumer behavior. Offering discounts and promotions when millions are unemployed is a no brainer. However, discounting in a post-COVID-19 world requires more data and judgment.
How price-sensitive are your customers? What discount would they respond to—or do they care about saving money? If they’re loyal to your brand, do they care more about exclusive free gifts than price? If you’re not sure, that’s okay—make an educated guess, and consider this the first test as a way to validate that guess.
Also, a promotion is only as good as it is communicated clearly. Running too many promotions at once can confuse customers as they decide on the best one to choose (or try to learn about all of them!).
As a rule of thumb, especially at the beginning, I’d recommend only running a couple of different scripts at the same time. This means you can test different discounting strategies, but really focus on communicating them to your customers and seeing which work. It’s common to have one script running all the time, and then an extra promo to new customers or a sitewide discount.
I hope you use Shopify Scripts to the fullest! It’s a great tool to drive conversions, attract new customers, and retain old ones during a global pandemic and long after.
If you haven’t launched your own ecommerce subscription service … you’re missing out on a market growing at 4,461%.
But where to start? And how do you optimize if you’ve already begun?
Today we’re breaking the true business value of ecommerce subscriptions by exploring industry-wide data as well as how four different Shopify Plus merchants:
You know you have a great product, now you need other people to know.
The problem is you also know that acquiring new visitors and customers is costly. In fact, 92% of online shoppers don’t become new customers on their first visit … nor do they even have that intention.
How do you improve conversion rates, increase sales, and drive higher returns on your ad spend?
The answer lies in building multi-channel campaigns for new customer acquisition …
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) regularly break records, but not all of them are good …
For 64% of retailers, shoppers acquired during BFCM have a lower lifetime value (LTV) than shoppers acquired at any other time of the year.
Lucky, help has arrived.
With the help of LoyaltyLion’s CEO, we’re examining exactly how to move customers from ‘one time’ to ‘repeat’ to ‘loyal.’
The key? Personalization at every stage ...
Inside this article, you’ll discover …
When you look at Forbes’ list of Most Valuable Brands, you’ll find a lot of the usual suspects, including Apple, Disney, Nike, and Coca-Cola.
What do all of these brands have in common? They make you feel something.
When you buy an Apple product or visit a Disney theme park, you’re getting more than just a product. You’re getting a complete experience that plays to your emotions and leaves you wanting more.
This type of experience is the difference between traditional advertising and the power of brand communities. It’s also what builds long-term brand loyalty.
These emotional relationships are the future of commerce. When you understand how your brand makes your customers feel, you unlock the secret to building a community that customers want to join, stay engaged with, and share with others.
Thankfully, we can boil this down to three steps:
These three steps work together to deepen every customer relationship, regardless of whether they’re behind a screen or not.
Here’s how we’ll get there in this article:
One of the key differentiators between a transactional relationship and an emotional one is the commitment to delivering value. Transactional brands care only about the current sale and put little thought into building a lasting customer relationship.
Emotional brands, on the other hand, prioritize generating value above and beyond the sale. This approach is known as value-add marketing, and is instrumental in creating a brand customers want to talk about.
You can add value to your customer experience in a number of ways, including video tutorials, blog posts, and exceptional customer service, but the way I have the most experience with is rewards.
With points, VIP tiers, and referrals, you have the perfect opportunity to intentionally build a brand experience that gets customers involved at every stage in the community building process:
▢ Points: to encourage customers to join your community
▢ VIP tiers: to motivate customers to get and stay engaged
▢ Referrals: to incentivize customers to share your brand directly
Addressing all three stages delivers exceptional value to your customers while also furthering your brand objectives.
The best part is these rewards will also create a valuable switching barrier that serves as the best tool for retaining every customer you welcome into your community.
In order to help you understand the powerful impact of starting your own brand community, let’s take a look at how three brands have zeroed in on each stage of the community building cycle.
As the first stage in the community building cycle, getting customers to join is incredibly important. If customers aren’t willing to create an account with your store, they’re effectively saying that they don’t find value in your brand community, making it difficult to win them back in the future.
MyChelle Dermaceuticals tackled this problem by increasing the value of creating an account.
With the launch of their Clean Beauty Club in September 2018, they started offering customers the chance to earn points for joining their community. These points could later be turned into dollars-off rewards, sweetening the deal even further.
With this small but powerful change to their customer experience, the beauty brand saw an incredible 32% growth in the number of customer accounts in only one month.
This type of success goes to show how something simple like a points program can have a huge impact on how valuable your brand looks to new and returning customers.
When we consider stage two, Engage, you don’t need to look further than Trail Cam Pro’s brand community to get an idea of what it takes to design a truly engaging customer experience.
Specializing in hunting cameras and accessories, Trail Cam Pro recognized that they needed to do something if they wanted their customers to stay engaged in between purchases. After all, just because a customer joins doesn’t mean they’re going to be motivated to return!
Much like MyChelle, Trail Cam Pro discovered that rewarding customers for different actions unlocked the secret to ongoing engagement they were looking for. Between social shares, celebrating birthdays, and making purchases, TCP’s members have ample opportunities to return to the brand and discover even more value.
In fact, customers find the experience so valuable that they simply can’t wait to earn and redeem more rewards.
With an astounding 44% redemption rate, TCP’s brand community is not only growing but also engaging, setting them up for incredible success in the future.
The third stage of the community building cycle is incredibly important to setting your brand up for sustainable growth.
When you get customers to share your brand with others, you decrease your dependency on paid ads and open up opportunities for you to focus on more repeatable, cost-effective forms of marketing.
Referrals are undoubtedly the best way to empower customers to spread the word, but they need to be worthwhile in order for your members to take action.
Jimmy Joy recognized that if their customers were going to do all the heavy lifting, they deserved to be rewarded accordingly. That’s why they introduced their Refer-a-Friend program, which rewards both new and returning customers with a discount for every successful referral.
By introducing a sense of reciprocity to their brand experience, they made it more worthwhile for anyone who encountered their brand to shop there.
This approach to referral marketing has resulted in 52% of all referred customers making a purchase at their store.
Not only does this indicate a significant boost to their community’s numbers, but it also means their brand is in front of more people than ever — all without the need to further invest in paid ads.
While improvements at any stage of the community building cycle are fantastic, it’s even more impressive when all three work together seamlessly.
Let’s look at how inkbox has incorporated each of the three stages into their customer experience:
From the beginning, inkbox — inventors of the inkbox tattoo, “a temporary tattoo that actually looks authentic” — has understood the importance of getting their customers to join their community.
In order to make this more valuable, they decided to launch a points program that rewards customers for creating an account at their store. Aptly named inkfam, the program went live in January of 2017 and has seen incredible growth ever since.
A lot of this success can be attributed to how easy the program is to find and, as a result, join. With a clear “Community” tab in their site’s top navigation, both new and returning customers can easily find their program’s beautiful explainer page.
From there, they can easily engage with any of the calls-to-action on the page to create an account and officially become part of the inkfam.
This high visibility is complemented by other join initiatives. New visitors are prompted to subscribe to their mailing list with two separate overlays: first, on the homepage, and second, as they continue to browse.
Combining this upfront value with high-program visibility on their site has significantly lowered their community’s barrier to entry, making it easy for every customer to understand the benefits of joining.
They’ve also created a variety of exciting content to help supplement the appeal of their points program. From videos to giveaways, user-generated content (UGC) to social media, inkbox puts inkfam — and #inkboxlove — at the center of almost everything they do.
All of this increases their customer’s desire to engage with their community and amplifies the brand’s appeal for both new and returning shoppers.
While it might be tempting to assume that simply getting a customer to join your community is enough, a thriving community is not a set-it-and-forget-it part of your brand experience.
In order for it to be sustainable, it needs to encourage your customers to stay engaged. inkbox tackles this challenge by structuring VIP tiers around what they call “Chapters.”
Customers intuitively understand which tier is the highest and are encouraged to get there with the promise of more points earned per dollar spent at each successive level.
They’ve also supported their VIP structure with a number of different earning actions. Besides points for purchases, customers can also earn rewards for engaging with the brand on social media.
This makes it easy for members to incorporate the community into their day to day life, establishing their relationship with inkbox as part of their lifestyle — not just a brand they shop with.
By incentivizing different actions and notifying inkfam members via email when they’ve earned more inkbucks and moved up through the different “Chapters,” inkbox can focus on new and exciting ways to deepen the emotional relationships they have with each of their members.
As we mentioned earlier, the true power of a brand community lies in its ability to mobilize members to share their experience with others. These peer-to-peer referrals are what drive the sustainable growth that truly separates a brand community from the illusion of growth through ads.
inkbox emphasizes this powerful marketing channel by offering their most generous reward for successful referrals. With a whopping 1,000 inkbucks on the line, members can send $10 off codes to their friends through email, social, and even direct messages.
This builds a reciprocal relationship that gets both new and returning customers excited to participate. It also sets new customers up to engage by highlighting the value of inkfam at every stage without having to chase down new customers.
Most impressive of all are inkbox’s results:
For an even more detailed look at inkbox’s success, grab the case study on Smile.io …
If you want to continue grow your business sustainably, you need to shift your focus away from being purely transactional.
By ignoring your customers’ desire for emotional connections, you prevent your business from experiencing long-term growth that doesn’t rely on ever-increasing ad spend to survive.
When you give your customers the chance to join, engage with, and share your brand with others, you welcome them into personal relationships that deepen over time. These changing relationships are the difference between one-time transactional relationships and lifelong brand loyalty.
With value-add marketing and rewards, you have all of the tools you need to retain more customers, decrease your ad spend, and build your brand community!
About the Author
Kirsten is a Marketing Specialist and lead editor of the Smile blog. With experience helping merchants in virtually every industry build strong brand communities, she is committed to transforming the world of commerce into one based on true emotional relationships and making magic where she can.
For high-volume online retailers, SEO can play a major role in growing not only organic traffic but conversions and overall sales …
The results from the merchants featured in today’s article include a 102% increase in sales from organic traffic, a 227% increase in revenue, an organic search traffic lift of 101%, and a total transactions increase of 297%.
By following five steps to optimize your SEO …
“Beauty” might be its moniker … but the ecommerce cosmetics industry can sure get ugly. And for good reason. $675 billion reasons by 2020.
Today’s beauty moguls are obsessing over more than the next long-wear formula or highlighter you can see from space. Instead, they’re focused on technological innovation, ethical sourcing, organic biochemicals, and pairing quality with affordability.
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the — well, you get the idea — of the best beauty ecommerce sites in the world …
Across the board, ecommerce subscriptions are seeing incredible growth.
Between 2013 and 2016, visits to top subscription box websites increased 2,963% and sales rose by the billions. Of course, big numbers are often useless for practical application.
That’s why — in this special guest post — we’ll look at how adding subscription-based products enabled …