Sincere steps to launch, build and launch a profitable online store

Whether you are considering establishing your e-commerce business as a side job or as a full-time job there are a couple of steps to take into consideration when starting.

From defining which is the product you are selling, to your brand, business name, which platform are you going to use to build your store.

I know, it can be overwhelming. But we are here to make this process much easier and provide the necessary resources and tools to get you started.

Find “The Product” you are going to sell

This is the most important and crucial step. Without a good prduct, you are going to struggle and spend hours for very little or no benefit. I see it constantly, there are a lot of entrepreneurs coming to me saying

I launched the store, I spent X hours and Y money on ads and still I don’t get sales”.

True, there can be many reasons behind that statement, but what I find as the most common mistake is the little research is done on the product before launching an online shop.

So let’s get started

What can you do to find “your product”?

Let’s start by differentiating 2 types of products you can sell:

  1. Commodity Products. Those are the products everyone needs such as clothes, toys, makeup, accessories. Now you must be aware that this will be the products that can be easily replaced and have higher competition.

A commodity product is low in value, easily replaced, and can only compete with a low price. Because of this scary prospect, the goal of nearly every e-commerce marketer is to build a brand that is so valuable that their product can never be a commodity. “, Cara H.

These are products you can buy anywhere, from Amazon to eBay or Walmart — toys, food, sports accessories, etc. That is the reason a lot of e-commerce entrepreneurs are afraid of the high competition behind them and there is a high possibility once the competition starts the product will become obsolete.

2. Niche products. There are a lot of entrepreneurs that design/invent their own version of a product to innovate traditional categories such as food, personal hygiene, jewellery and many others.

Some good ideas of current niche products are food and drinks on the go, buy it for life products, craft drinks or smart backpacks just to name few.

Take a look at LilyBee Wrap for instance. They are selling reusable food wraps with innovative and eco-friendly solutions.

eCommerce: Commodity vs Niche Products 1

Smart backpacks are an innovative solution for entrepreneurs, digital nomads or business people travelling a lot. They come with a lot of accessories such as chargers, USB, Bluetooth, RFID and other extras that we are not even sure how to use.

eCommerce: Commodity vs Niche Products 2

Amazon, eBay and Walmart can buy items in large quantities being able to lower the price of a product, therefore your startup will not be able to compete.

However, offering unique products along with commoditized ones and building a great brand and customer experience you can find the perfect formula and not fall behind.

Now it is a matter for you to learn what drives you to sell a certain product.

Continue reading

There is a new trend that is shaking the eCommerce industry. That is D2C, that stands for “Direct to Customer”, which allows consumers to visit the manufacturer’s website, select and purchase products directly from them. Customers can see which dealer has the product in stock, how close it is, will the dealership it and can they do same day shipping or in-store pickup. Customers can also fill out required forms such as a wavier and release, and/or complete any digital content that may be required such as online classroom materials or safety videos.

Unlike traditional retail competitors, D2C brands can experiment with distribution models, from shipping directly to consumers to partner with physical retailers to opening pop-up shops.

Of course, in this space, no e-commerce company stands taller than Amazon, and every e-commerce company must factor the company into its growth strategy. These companies have figured out how to use Amazon for (partial) distribution of their products or carved out niches away from Amazon’s marketplace.

But there are companies that achieve great results through direct to consumer business models. How they did it? Let’s dive a bit deeper and analyze their strategies:

Design their own products: How to turn simplicity in a product line into luxury

Today we find the world’s dominant retailers online, but the D2 companies are not following this trend.

Instead, they focus only on selling a handful of different products and many started out with just one. It’s a way to cut through the noise and get people’s attention, to brand your product as “the best.” With so many options available on a site like Amazon, selling just one is a prestige move that establishes that “no alternatives will do.”

It’s also a prudent move: only selling one product lets you pivot back to the drawing board and make adjustments as you get feedback from your early adopters.

To succeed with this strategy, startups must use speed and data analysis as an advantage. They have to be willing to fail quickly and change the direction of the entire organization if necessary. Their success suggests many consumers agree that sometimes less is more.

Launch their products: How to get mass mindshare quickly and cheaply

When you sell something like a mattress, or a shaving razor, or cosmetics, your total addressable market is huge. There’s no one out there who doesn’t need a bed. Millions of people need to shave.

Because these markets are so big, the brands that dominate them are usually well-entrenched and hard to disrupt.

Successfully entering these markets, therefore, requires establishing a high degree of mindshare very quickly. It means going for “shock and awe” launch storytelling over a more subtle, slow growth strategy. And most of the top D2C companies that we studied for this piece did just that when they got started.

Their competition was well known, but no them. In some cases, these companies pursued traditional advertising means and others they got attention in unconventional ways.

Build a better customer experience: How to build an end-to-end brand

A key focus for these D2C companies is “quality.” We’ve talked about how they market themselves and how slim, tailored product lines create a kind of prestige around their offerings. But more important to the idea of “quality” here is the overall experience of buying the product, rather than the product itself.

The successful D2C companies approach quality from a different perspective. They cater and exploit the desire of simplicity, the one to avoid choosing and the desire for something that is just fine.

Go viral: How to bake ubiquity and virality into a physical product

Perhaps the greatest inherent advantage that D2C startups have over their incumbent competitors is a better grasp of the inherent dynamics of the internet. That means everything from how the power of SEO compounds over time to how to create an organic, viral-ready infographic. The most important D2C companies understand how these channels work and have been able to bend them to their will in order to grow.

Which is the future of retail?

As a conclusion, there’s very little evidence that Amazon, Facebook and Google’s dominance over traditional retail isn’t going to slow down in the future. But there’s also a ton of evidence that it is more than possible to build new, powerful retail brands today.

Continue reading

The rise of the chatbot: A more personalized experience thanks to Artificial Intelligence.

The implementation of chatbots has become common these days and we are no longer afraid of these digital assistants and Artificial Intelligence automation anymore.

The question is: How can chatbots benefit your business?

We are experiencing a chat boom in eCommerce and chatbots are predicted to manage 85% of customer service interactions by 2020, so is time to get ready. Below we break down how to use an e-commerce chatbot to drive acquisition, retention and loyalty.

Drive Customer Acquisition

  • Chat Bubble

On Shopify or Shopify Plus, you can enable Facebook´s native Messenger integration to allow visitors to interact with you via Mesenger on Facebook.

  • Product-Page Buttons

Addittionally to chat bubbles you can add customized buttons in different shapes and sizes. This should be your second point of integration and keep the call to action message relevant.

  • Facebook Page

On the facebook page you can set up the ¨Send Message¨ location to your bot and define the first message a welcoming on or an answer to the question a visitor submits.

  • Facebook Ads to Bots

Chatbots remove the need for your prospect to type anything in order to become a subscriber. With the click of a button, the prospect engages in Messenger and is signed up.

Incentivize Sales with Coupons

The number of adults using digital coupons in the US is expected to increase by 50%. So how can you capitalize the interest for coupons? By offering discounts inside a bot, you can take advantage of this huge opportunity.

  • Landing Page to Bot

How you capture a customer’s attention? By redirecting prospective customers from coupon landing pages to chatbots and asking a few questions to gain insights about their needs.

  • Coupons via Chatbots

After clicking “Send to Messenger,” the bot can either open with a question to encourage engagement or deliver the coupon code immediately.

  • Go Beyond the Coupon

There is no doubt that coupons and discounts incentivize first-time sales. However, the significant challenge is to turn customers into loyal clients. Here is where VIP experiences are the key to retention.

  • Velvet Rope Experiences

Bots serve as a vehicle to deliver “velvet rope” experiences for three reasons:

  • Instant gratification
  • Personalization and interaction
  • The ability for your customer to use the bot across devices

No matter how a person enters your chatbot, whether from a website, an ad, or otherwise, you can immediately offer a personalized experience.

  • Comment to Messenger Bot

Facebook chatbots offer a new way to drive acquisition on Facebook and Instagram. If your brand has already established a following on either platform, leverage this tactic.

  • Quizzes for Personalization

Quizzes consistently rank among the most shared features on social media. Therefore quizzes inside of a chatbot are the next logical progression.

Increase Conversions

According to Michael Aagaard (former CRO of Unbounce): “Conversion rate optimization really isn’t about optimizing web pages – it’s about optimizing decisions.” So if we apply the same principle to chatbots, they can optimize decisions in multiple ways:

You don’t know. You can’t know unless you’ve asked the customer some questions. Conversations reveal insights beyond trackable actions.

  • Build Product and Purchase Suggestions
  • Increase Conversions Using Help Guides
  • Offer Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences
  • Create Product Finders to Aid Purchase Decisions
  • Implement Messenger Cart Abandonment Recovery

Retain and Engage Existing Customers

Transactional messages, support, and a host of post-purchase offers sent at the right time not only help increase retention but also meet the needs of each customer.

All these measures are mainly used for Facebook Messenger, nevertheless, other social media channels have more feature to offer. Stay tuned for future articles where we are going to tackle each one of them.

Continue reading

Even nowadays, there is a mismatch between what retailers offer and what costumers want or need. Modern consumer behaviour has been altered so much during the last years that even in a healthy economy, retailers have struggled to see their benefits.

It is not because shoppers aren’t shopping but because their buying process has evolved into a long and more complicated one. Therefore you need to understand their behaviour to define your omnichannel strategy and make sure your brand will dominate and increase sales. We have prepared some tips to help you go through it:

  1. Start with your internal structure first. That will give a seamless customer experience. To do that you have to make sure system inventory syncs and supply chain management tools are working properly.
  2. Pick the channels you know best and you feel with most comfortable working with. Pick one and becomes the best at it, only in that case move to a second or third channel.
  3. Consumers engage with brands across different communication and sales channels. This can be overwhelming, especially at the beginning, but research is creating new knowledge. Dive deep in each channel and adopt new ones incrementally. Try to use tools such as Hootsuite to plan your resources accordingly.
  4. Draw the customer journey to see how each customer interacts with the store. The goal of this is to think everything from the perspective of a customer and understand their purchase story.
  5. You should start creating the same message across all channels to present a unique and consistent image to your customers.
  6. Try to learn as much as possible from your audience’s preferences. Which are the devices they use to visit your site? Is that a mobile device, tablet or pc? Which are your competitors? The answers to these questions will bring you closer to your customer’s needs.
  7. Always start with the target customer in mind. Spend time in the communities they are part online, facebook groups, influencers they follow in Instagram, podcasts they listen to. This will help you understand which are the motivations they have and the channels they use.
  8. Which are your principles? Have you already envisioned which are the principles? Strategies and tactics you will use in order to become successful. In other words, your brand’s “Why?” and the hopes, dreams, fears and desires of your prospect.
  9. The importance of understanding the differences between the communication channels – some are good for strong sales. Some for testing. Some for unloading obsolete products.
  10. Is important to think about how to make customers’ shopping experiences seamless since it can be a huge differentiation when it comes to sales, marketing and converting shoppers.

So let’s recap and see again the main steps to kickstart your new channels strategy!

  • Define your ideal customer. Who is your target customer? If you notice a purchase pattern between millennials, why not trying out Instagram? That is a good starting point.
  • Define your goals. Don’t go into a channel with 0 goals. Having a defined goal is crucial to measure your sales and ROI.
  • Define your acquisition funnel. Pencil out your acquisition funnel: attract, acquire, nurture, convert, and retain. Define what are you going to do for each step.
  • Know your metrics & track everything from day one. You should begin tracking everything immediately so that you can start gathering data around your customer behaviour.

As a conclusion, consumers prioritize convenience, experience and quality when making online purchases. Also, eCommerce becomes an integral part of life and if two years ago it was fast delivery and quality packaging. Today, while those factors are valued a brand’s opportunity to reach, retain and extend customers’ lifetime value lies in giving them what they want, how and when they want it.

Continue reading

With debilitating competition coming from companies such as Amazon, Walmart or Costco, retail stores are struggling. There were 16 chains that filed bankruptcy in the US in 2018 and 50 more did it the previous year.

Why retail is dying?

There is a new shift in the retail industry from the mall and physical stores to online purchasing on smartphones and tablets. As large chain stores struggle to keep up their sales, there is a rise in online sales, independent and artisan retailers. They are stepping up to take their place on the high/main street.

It is common for big brands to announce job cuts, bankruptcy filings. A renowned luxury fashion brand announces deep job cuts. A multinational shoe retailer has filed for bankruptcy protection. Another store chain, once the biggest name in retail confirms that its future it can be in danger.

This trend has been named as the “retail apocalypse” and is one of the biggest the business world has seen. This is not only due to technological innovations but also due to the death of malls across different countries, not only the US.

Is there still hope for retailers?

Despite the bad news we still have hope. Companies like Nordstrom, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting goods plan to open stores. They are fighting against the odds and work to reimagine the customer experience. Their strategy is to cut down cost, minimize labour and infrastructure costs while offering a wide breadth of products.

Other retail stores are experimenting with experiential retailing to provide a more engaging brand experience for customers. In a similar direction, others are re-examining their loyalty programs to bring back customers to their shops.

What is more important, many retailers are investing in technology to provide unique experiences that are not possible to provide in brick-and-mortar stores. Thes initiatives include virtual reality, apps and e-commerce store. This trend is common in the sports retail industry, where companies such as Adidas launched its own app available in more than 25 countries. And as their CEO confirms “there is no doubt e-commerce and e-commerce through a mobile environment is the future of our company”.

How eCommerce changed consumer retailing?

Consumer shopping habits are changing drastically thanks to the explosion of eCommerce,

… and online shopping is quickly becoming the preferred way to shop for consumers around the globe. Here are a few innovations that allowed this change to happen:

The rise of mobile shopping has blurred the line between the physical store and the online experience. Consumers use mobile for different reasons during the sale cycle:

To discover new products

  • To locate products and compare prices
  • To create and manage shopping lists
  • To make purchases
  • To review purchases

Customers expect a seamless shopping experience that is customized to their shopping preferences.

But more important, according to Accenture’s 2018 Pulse Check research, more than 90% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize them and personalize the experience.

Digital marketing transformed shopping into a Social Activity.

Consumers today rely on the opinions of others to guide their purchase decisions, and they have immediate access to those reviews. Anyone on social media can be an influencer for a brand.

As a conclusion, the shift to e-commerce is imperative since eCommerce gives customers immediate access to information, ability to shop on different devices and the option to share their experiences on social media, which has completely altered their expectations and the way they shop.

These are only a few reasons why eCommerce and the implementation of new technologies can boost your retail business revenue. For more info do not hesitate to contact us.

Continue reading

2019 is here and with another year coming, we must watch closely which are the new trends in the industry. Moreover, we should analyze and adopt them, otherwise, we risk to fall behind the competition.

Below we explain step by step what should you consider to be up-to-date with eCommerce trends:

Retail is dying: Retail industry has suffered many losses in the last years. It is not enough with offering discounts and lower prices because larger online players know this game much better. :

What to do?

In the retail world you need to start diversifying your products, analyze your customer’s touchpoints and innovate inside and outside of the physical store to retain a larger amount of loyal customers.

Consumers are the innovators: When you know what a customer is thinking about you it makes it much easier to innovate. For that reason, brands and consumers will get even closer. But why? When consumers understand a brand’s products they will be more involved in other aspects of the brand

What to do?

Be open to listening, take feedback, offer surveys and implement your customer’s ideas.

Chatbots, the new standard: They offer an improved consumer experience. And is not because we are saying it, but because according to Hubspot 48% of consumers would rather connect with a company via live chat and 35% want to see chatbots more often according to Ubisend.

What to do?

If you haven’t started already than is a good time to start building your own chatbot or have someone do it for you. The new member of the team will help you drive engagement, sales and offer better customer support.

Shall we start talking about D2C? Direct-to-consumer model is helping businesses thrive in their respective industries. So what advantages this model offers? It helps businesses to build a deeper relationship with their customers, allows them to get products to market quickly and have better control over the brand’s products and reputation.

What to do?

Don’t know the first steps? We can help you!

An increase of decoupled or headless content and commerce systems. As we mentioned before more enhanced and personalized customer experience is the most important action a marketing strategy will have as the main goal. How decoupled and headless CMS’ can help? They allow brands to have more control over the user and customer experience.

What to do?

If you already have implemented headless or decoupled CMS you need to ensure your developers can improve CX continuously and make improvements. If you are about to do it there are few tools that will help you do that.

Smart home assistants & voice recognition systems are the new competitive advantage. According to eMarketer, in 2017 more than 35.6 million Americans used a voice-activated device once per month. At the same time Amazon, Google and Apple’s voice solutions will continue to drive the industry forward, leaving eCommerce brands no other option than to adopt voice-savvy customer experiences.

What to do?
Alexa Skill is the easiest and best way to optimize your website for voice searches. So, what are you waiting to start implementing it?

Machine learning and AI to improve sales funnels. This year Artificial Intelligence will reduce the friction in the buying process. Therefore, AI-powered platforms will start providing more targeted, personalized experiences and marketing campaigns that will increase online sales.

What to do? 
AI-based eCommerce solutions are still in their infancy. Although now it is the right time to start incorporating AI into your brand via chatbots and personalized campaigns.

Let’s talk about Amazon again … How big is getting, it is worth competing against it or even better, how can small eCommerce businesses use Amazon to do more business?

What to do?
 If you want your brand to remain competitive in the age of Amazon, your next step is to figure out how to that.

B2B eCommerce growth to accelerate. For the B2B space, digital channels will continue to open to new markets to reach more target customers.

What to do? 
According to a study made by Gartner, 40% of the B2B digital commerce site will use price optimization algorithms to deliver product pricing dynamically. So your next step is more clear now.

Mobile payments will increase. Everything is about making the process simpler, faster and safe. Research shows that the global payment revenue from 2015 to 2019 have increased by more than 60%.

What to do?
Evaluate your payment gateways to make sure you accept mobile payments in-store and online.

Subscription box market has exploded in recent years. This trend is increasing in recent years and subscription box SaaS companies are facilitating this boom. That is why big players such as Blue Apron are making moves as traffic to subscription services sites rose 18% and the trend will continue to increase.

What to do? 
If subscription-based eCommerce can be applied to your brand you could start practising by launching a subscription box added to your existing catalogue.

Brands to increase collaborations to create larger marketplaces.Additionally to Amazon, product players will work together to create industry-specific marketplaces to create industry-specific marketplaces and access to deep product inventories.

What to do? 
If there is no collaboration in your industry you can instigate it, otherwise just join the crowd for a better purpose.

…and yes, influencers will keep driving sales. Nowadays 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by recommendation of their closest social circle and 30% of the are more likely to purchase a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger.

What to do? 
If you find influencers in your niche on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, it is wise to start investing in them.

Personalize, personalize and personalize again. This is not a trend by itself because it has been applied for years ago. As technology allows brands to get more and more specific, consumers are going to continue to expect more and more personalized content and service as time goes on.

What to do? 
Personalization based on users previous interest and browsing behaviour will be at the forefront. Brands that understand this principle will be ahead of their competitors.

Shoppable Instagram Stories. There is no secret that eCommerce brands will continue to use Instagram to engage and to sell to their target customers. Therefore we expect eCommerce companies to get more creative and experimental with the features Instagram offers. As such, you will see more often shoppable posts, Stories and in-Story “stickers” from your favourite brands.

What to do? 
You need to experiment with Instagram features and see how users react.

Is there anything you want to know? Do you still have questions about how to implement all these trends? Let’s have chat at p.Xel Digital Agency.

Continue reading

Subscribe to our newsletter