Ways eCommerce brands can grow sales the remainder of 2022
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Inflation is up. Unemployment is up. And, overall American sentiment on the state of the economy is grim.
A recent survey from the Wall Street Journal found that 80% of surveyed consumers described the economy as "poor" or "not so good." And, a CBS News poll tracking Americans’ outlook on the economy found 69% of respondents reporting that the economy is bad.
While the overall attitude regarding the current economy is lackluster, NRF reports that retail sales will still grow between 6% and 8% to more than the $4.86 trillion recorded in 2022.
Even if consumers are upset by inflation and the current state of the economy, the good news is they are still spending—especially during the upcoming holiday season. In fact, 30% of all retail sales typically happen between BFCM and Christmas.
If you’re an eCommerce brand or retailer, now is the time to double-down and prepare to grow your sales this upcoming season. Here are effective ways you can grow your sales this year, according to eComm industry experts.
1. Start selling and marketing across all platforms
As eCommerce becomes increasingly more popular and as brick-and-mortar comes back to life, there is no one, single platform where consumers spend most of their time.
In fact, data from Salsify in 2022 found that consumers shop across 7-8 different touchpoints before making a purchasing decision.
Other data supports how critical it is to take an omnichannel approach to sales and marketing. Omnisend found omnichannel campaigns earned a 494% higher order rate than those depending on just one channel (0.83% versus 0.14%).
“TikTok is what everyone is talking about. But that is just another channel. Understanding your customers and serving them the right content on the right platform is a huge opportunity for both small and larger brands,” says Rok Hladnik, founder of FlatCircleAds.
It’s also worth talking about Google Shopping, considering how much opportunity there is to occupy first page Google real estate with your products.
“If you don't have a functioning Google Shopping spend, you're missing out. I'm still surprised at how many brands are just leaving Google Shopping on the table. There's real value and volume there,” says Andrew Faris, owner and growth strategist at AJF Growth.
If you’re looking to capture more sales this season, it’s essential to expand where you sell. If you don’t sell on TikTok and Instagram, start now. If the shelves of your brick-and-mortar store are empty, restock. If your eCommerce website is difficult to navigate, redesign it. The more ways and places you can reach customers, the more it increases your selling potential.
2. Use data more effectively (ahem…get in on first-party data)
While it’s essential to market and sell every place where your customers spend time, there are both smart and ineffective ways to make decisions about where to invest your time and budget.
The smart way: Capture data and use it to inform your business decisions. Data-driven sales and marketing are involved and include marketing attribution, audience research, and third-party data (while this is still possible).
While there are several methods and tools you can use to get customer data, one of the most effective and popular methods right now is capturing first-party data (especially in light of iOS 14.5).
“Data will be a key factor in future advertising strategies where brands will need to rely more heavily on their first-party data,” says Josh Duggan, founder of Vervaunt.
“A common tactic we deploy is looking at when users typically become lapsed and then serving free gifts, discount messaging, etc. to users before they become lapsed.”
A report from BCG states that companies that link all of their first-party data sources can generate double the incremental revenue from a single ad placement, communication, or outreach.
3. Segment your content for different audiences
Speaking of using data effectively, remember, your audience is likely highly diversified. And you want to send the right content to the right customers at the right time.
For example, if you sell shoes, it would be a mistake and highly overwhelming to your customers if you were to send a mass email showing off your entire shoe collection.
Instead, segment your lists by customer profiles and make good use of dynamic content to send highly personalized messages to the right segments within your audience.
Sticking with the shoe example, segmenting your lists would mean you’re sending the men’s collection to your male-identifying customers, and the women’s collection to your female-identifying customers.
This may seem like obvious advice when personalization is such a critical consumer expectation. But stats show 89% of marketers don’t currently segment their email lists, even though HubSpot reports that segmentation is the most effective strategy for email campaigns.
Email isn’t the only marketing avenue where it’s essential to segment your audience and create different content for different audiences. It’s also essential to create different landing pages for your diversified audience.
“Create 4-5 specific variations of landing pages tailored toward different audiences you serve,” says Tina Donati, content marketing lead at Alloy Automation.
“For example, if you have quiz data that tell you 45% of your customers have oily skin, you can create a retargeting ad for just those customers and send them to a landing page all about your products for oily skin.”
4. Leverage bundling and add-to-cart upsells
The best time to sell to loyal customers is when they’re actively buying from you. If you don’t believe it, take a trip to Costco for a carton of eggs, and see what you come home with. I’d put money on the house you grabbed more than what you planned.
Capturing more sales from actively buying customers isn’t a strategy reserved for brick-and-mortar stores. Upselling and bundling can also be highly effective sales tactics for eCommerce brands.
“One of the best ways to combat rising ad-platform costs is to increase average order value (AOV) and customer lifetime value (LTV). It’s critical to regularly review your data to see which products customers are purchasing together, and test those combinations as bundle upsells in the add-to-cart phase,” says Alexa Kilroy, head of brand at Triple Whale.
Kilroy offers bundling and upselling as a tip for eCommerce retailers because Triple Whale data has repeatedly shown how effective this strategy is.
“This is so valuable for sellers that Triple Whale offers an entire feature for it. With Triple Whale, you can view which products consumers are most likely to purchase together (or add on/test with purchases beyond the first), so you can implement these upsells directly into your checkout flow,” says Kilroy.
“We recommend A/B testing different upsell options on a monthly cadence, then reviewing your monthly cohort data, so you see how these affect not only your AOV/LTV, but also your upsell opt-in and conversion rates.”
5. Prioritize your website’s user experience (UX)
On average, U.S. consumers visit more than 130 websites a day, and it only takes them about 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about your website.
If you’re looking to engage customers and keep them on your site, you have to put user experience at the top of your priority list.
“With rising ad costs, you need to learn how to capitalize on the traffic you already have, and a good website experience is a big part of that. And I don't just mean a pretty design. Yes, that's important, but so are site speed, accessibility, and optimizing for mobile-first,” says Justin Soleimani, co-founder of Tumble.
Not only is it critical to make sure your site is designed nicely, loads quickly, and works across devices, but you also have to cater to increasing customer demands for convenience, flexible options, and excellent service.
“Convenience is key to improving the user experience, and meeting customers where they are through mobile-friendly websites and offering flexible payment options helps customers make purchases on any device from any location” says Soleimani.
What’s more, stats show that not only will customers give your website more attention when you prioritize the UX, but they will spend more. Gladly found that 82% of customers will spend more money on companies that deliver great online service.
6. Showcase live lifestyle online
Even as more consumers are shopping online than ever before, their demands for an IRL shopping experience hasn’t diminished.
In other words, customers want to try on products—even if they can’t physically touch them. They want to see how a couch will look in their living room, even if it’s not physically present. Customers want robust details about what they’re about to purchase, and it’s up to brands and retailers to provide customers with these details.
“Static images don't help to sell a product whether it's low end or high end. It's important to showcase the look, feel, sound, and shine of a product in the most realistic way possible so customers who are shopping online have no doubts as they complete their purchases,” says Slisha Kankariya, CMO at With Clarity.
There are several ways to showcase your products and give them that “real life” feel, even when everything is digital.
Sparkling water brand, Recess does this with its detailed product descriptions (PDP) and images. Customers can’t virtually taste Recess, but they can browse Recess’ PDPs, read through the detailed descriptions, understand its unique benefits, and feel validated with social proof.
Farfetch, a clothing and beauty brand, is another brand that is providing excellent “IRL” experiences on its website. Farfetch has adopted Snapchat’s AR technology, 3D Body Mesh, to bring virtual try-on to consumers.
It works too. Thirty-five percent of people say they would shop online more if they could do virtual try-ons.
7. Consider a brand collaboration
Two heads are better than one. And two brands working together to expand their reach into each others’ loyal audiences is better than one brand going it alone.
This year, we’ve seen several popular, non-competing brands team up to attract new customers.
We’ve seen Beko Appliances team up with Healthy Kitchen to promote a net-zero home on Earth Day. Recently, Sony and Honda partnered up to focus on producing mobility services and eclectic vehicles by 2025. And, of course, there was the Target and Apple project to create enhanced shopping experiences across both their stores.
But you don’t have to be a huge, recognizable brand to benefit from a brand collaboration. “Find a non-competing brand that sells a product or service that your customers would love. There are many ways the two brands can work together to either boost their sales or get access to a new sales channel” says Rok Hladnik, founder of FlatCircleAds.
Remember, 71% of consumers say they enjoy co-branding partnerships, so give it a whirl in preparation for your next campaign.
8. Offer multiple, secure payment options
If I’m browsing social media and a cool influencer tells me to buy something I’ve had my eye on, I will. But I cannot tell you how many purchases I’ve abandoned due to a lack of payment options. Namely, the merchant doesn’t have Apple Pay or PayPal.
The time it takes me to stand up and find my credit card gives me enough time to rethink my purchase and decide it’s not worth it.
I’m not alone. In the period from January 1 to June 30, 2022, 93% of consumers neglected up to ten carts because their preferred payment method was not accepted.
“Make it easy for customers to purchase your products. This can be done by offering a variety of payment options, including online and in-store payments, as well as shipping methods.” says Aviad Faruzo, CFO at Faruzo.
Customers will also abandon carts if they don’t feel like their credit card data is secure. Baymard found nearly 20% of shoppers abandoned a cart for security reasons.
“Offering multiple payment options and secure transactions that protect consumer data demonstrates reliability and a consumer-centric mindset” says Justin Soleimani, co-founder of Tumble.
One of the best sites I’ve seen in terms of robust and diverse payment options is Fanjoy. Fanjoy currently has 12 different options to pay, including the major credit cards, Amazon, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Meta, and Venmo. This makes desktop, social, and mobile shopping a breeze.
9. Elevate the shopping experience with personalization and experiential retail
Personalization isn’t an option in today’s highly digital world; it’s compulsory. Consumers have so many shopping options—both online and in-store—and the brands that get more attention from consumers are the ones offering personalized and immersive experiences.
Stats show 80% of consumers are more likely to buy from companies that offer a tailored experience and 72% say they will only engage with personalized messaging. Personalization also goes a long way in fostering customer retention. 49% of consumers said they would likely become repeat buyers if offered a personalized experience by a retail brand.
The first thing that may come to mind when thinking about personalization is tailoring marketing messages to consumers. While this is essential if you want to capture your customers’ attention, it’s also critical to personalize all types of shopping experiences.
“Elevate the in store experience or virtual consultation experience to be as personalized as possible. Try to bridge together online browsing habits with in-store service to provide customers with a seamless journey whether it's live or online,” says Slisha Kankariya, CMO at With Clarity.
“Use browsing habits, and interest forms that are submitted to elevate the merchandise in store and shown to customers in certain geographic locations.”
You can also use this personal customer data to capitalize on one of retails most recent and popular trends—experiential retail.
Experiential retail is when brands create meaningful shopping experiences for their customers by directly engaging them in-person. The physical store is usually highly branded and designed to invite customers to experience the brand IRL.
Canada Goose is an example of a brand creating immersive IRL experiences to help customers get a real feel for its products. The brand introduced a cold room into five of its stores. The purpose of the store was to let customers try on its clothing in rooms at -27 degrees Fahrenheit. This kind of attention to detail makes it possible for customers to personally experience the benefits of the product—instead of taking a brand's word for it.
This trend is projected to continue to grow as 60% of shoppers will expect brands to dedicate more floor space to experiences than products by 2025.
10. Partner with creators
Creators hold tremendous power to influence consumers to make purchases. It’s why 93% of marketers have already used influencer marketing in their campaigns, and why this kind of marketing is a key advertising strategy.
There are several ways to find and partner with creators, including collaborating on paid video for your social channels, paying for sponsored posts on your favorite creators’ channels, gifting products that lead to paid partnerships, and building organic relationships with creators.
“I really like the Influencer Seeding strategy. Literally ask for nothing. Just tell them you like their content, and that you would love to get your product in their hands. Many of them will post organically from there. Grab that content, get permission from the influencer, and then, crucially, use it as your creative in your ad account,” says Andrew Faris, owner and growth strategist at AJF Growth.
“There's a simple reason this is so effective: Influencers are validated by their ability to generate compelling content. That's how they got all those followers. So they very often send back socially-native, product-focused stuff that works great for ads, and it can be a shockingly cost-effective way to generate very high performing ads.”
While Influencer Seeding is a great way to make connections and build organic relationships, make it a priority to pay creators for the work they do.
Whatever method you use, keep in mind that 58% of consumers purchased a product in the period from January 1 to June 30 of this year because of a creator's recommendation.
Take advice from the experts and boost your sales this season
Even though the economy is shaky right now, there’s good news. Many consumers are still buying and overall retail sales are still on the rise.
The best thing to do during unpredictable times is double-down on creating personalized, memorable, and convenient marketing initiatives and shopping experiences. How? Follow the expert advice listed in this article, and wait to rake in the sales.