The last two years have been a wild ride for e-commerce companies and 2022 will have its own set of adventures for companies to navigate. However, no matter what the upcoming year looks like, there are three areas that should be at the center of your e-commerce business’s focus.
Leverage Social Media and Online Influencers
For e-commerce brands, getting potential customers interested in your product and clicking through to one of your online sales channels is critical. Social media platforms know that they have prime real estate for brands as the average consumer spends about two and a half hours every day scrolling on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Pinterest, etc. So, if your brand wants to sell online, you must have an active presence where the consumers are.
Most social media platforms have become extremely brand-friendly and offer both free and paid tools for creators and brands to reach their target audience. Instagram, for example, has a feature called Reels which is a free, short-form video feed where creators and brands can hop on video trends, create product videos, and further their following via short, entertaining videos.
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, regularly makes an appearance on his own Instagram account to answer questions and give advice to users. One of his continued pieces of advice for those wanting to grow their presence on the platform is to be consistent in using the newest features of the app, particularly Reels. Part of leveraging any social media platform is to hop on trends and use the newest features that the platform pushes out. This shows the algorithm of the app that you are tuned in and active on the platform, resulting in your content going further.
If your brand has room to spend on advertising on social media platforms, consider partnering with a few influencers who can get your message and products directly to consumers. If you don’t have a mammoth budget, don’t worry. Although mega-influencers are still flourishing on social media, influencers with a smaller following can actually be more effective as they tend to have a more loyal, in-tune audience; and with their smaller follower count, a smaller price tag. If your brand is just testing the waters with influencers, consider partnering with a micro or nano influencer.
- Nano-influencers: 1,000-10,000 followers
- Micro-influencers: 10,000-50,000 followers
- Mid-tier influencers: 50,000-500,000 followers
- Macro-influencers: 500,000-1 million followers
- Mega-Influencers: 1 million+ follower
Retain Revenue and Maintain Customers with Subscription Models
Successful brands continue to capitalize on consumers’ busy lives by making the purchase and re-purchase process as easy as possible. As of recent, this has evolved into the ‘subscribe’ or ‘subscribe and save’ offering. Popular on Amazon and also leveraged heavily by nutrition and supplement brands, this sales model allows consumers to purchase a product with a cyclical automatic repurchase sequence, often every 30, 60, or 90 days; depending on the product. After the first initial purchase, customers will automatically be charged for and sent their specified items on a sequence.
For example, you buy a bottle of vitamins that contains a month supply; with a subscription model, the brand will set you up to automatically repurchase and be sent the same bottle for the next month before you run out of the first bottle. Not only is this beneficial in circumstances where you don’t want to forget and go days without an item, but it also makes consumers’ lives easier and hooks them on one product as there is a larger hurdle to switching brands.
Even more enticing for customers is the ‘subscribe and save’ model. This type of subscription model has the same time saving and automatic repurchase and ship benefits as a traditional subscription model but it adds additional benefits by giving subscribers a discount, often anywhere from 5-15%.
Get Serious About Shipping
At this point you have leveraged social media to reach your target customer, you have maintained their business with subscription offerings, and now you have to actually get your product to the customer; which is the most important piece. Shipping is so important that 58% of consumers have quit doing business with a retailer due to a negative shipping experience.
Now that the peak season rush has passed, what shipping struggles did your business experience in Q4? How did increasing costs, surcharges, and accessorial fees affect your income? What constraints did you experience when it came to shipping capacity from the carriers? Overall, were you satisfied with your shipping?
For most brands, being competitive with shipping means being able to profitably offer free shipping with a 2-4 business day delivery timeframe. However, in order to offer free or reasonably priced shipping to customers, your business must have competitive rates that can either be rolled into the price of the product, offered as a flat rate, or be reasonable enough to not dissuade customers.
If your business is losing profit due to shipping costs or if you simply feel like you’re missing something when it comes to shipping, don’t stress. in a recent episode of Tee Up: Logistics Insights, Jake Wertner and Glenn Gooding break down why shipping could be a hurdle for your e-commerce business, and what you can do to offer competitive shipping. Listen here.
In the New Year, there are what seems like a million things your e-commerce business could focus on, but for business growth, efficiency, and customer satisfaction; social media and online influencers, subscription models, and competitive shipping should be at the top of your list.