Category: Ecommerce

E-M and Now Introducing S-Commerce

Social Commerce (S-Commerce) is the new sales channel brands are looking to exploit. S-Commerce apps blend the ease of mobile sales with the functionality of social networks. It became the new hot platform in China with the launch of Weiden in 2011, a platform that incorporates affiliate marketing with WeChat (like WhatsApp) in a mobile app shopping experience. This new “self-marketing” enables the consumer to share and sell products for a commission. This platform now boasts over 600 million users! There are also a host of shopping app’s in the US that are gaining market share: Spring, MallZee, Keep, StyleKick and LiketoKnowit are harnessing the power of social and mobile shopping. Did you know in the US mobile shopping accounts for over 21% of ecommerce sales? Yes- It’s time to jump on board this trend.

S-Commerce also refers to all the sales you make via Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and other social networks. As social networks look to help you, the brand, monetize your audiences, they are also asking you to invest money and time into social advertising. So then how do you best decide which platforms to invest in? How to determine which apps are worth your time? It’s time to evaluate your marketing and sales initiatives and determine what experiments to say yes to, and where to draw the line.

S-Commerce App’s

  1. Look to distribute on social selling platforms that have robust marketing initiatives. No point on being on a platform without any users.
  2. Check out the requirements to be a brand on these platforms. Spring has a simple form to sign up: https://www.shopspring.com/for-brands and integrates seamlessly with Shopify, Rakuten and Magento.
  3. Most mobile commerce apps will need you to have an Affiliate Marketing setup. So if you are considering signing up for an Affiliate Marketing platform like Rakuten or Commission Junction, start the process now. These big platforms require you to have a strong front and backend to be able to work within their systems: http://www.cj.com/advertiser/join

S-Commerce Networks

  1. Don’t activate the sales functionality on social networks you aren’t intentionally active on. Example: you’ve linked your Shopify account to Facebook but you don’t even have a Facebook page you are building robustly.
  2. Don’t pay for mobile advertising if your site is not optimized for sales. This means Instagram advertising and mobile advertising for Facebook. Your website needs to be easy to navigate on mobile and the layout has to be intuitive. I suggest checking your site on your phone every few weeks to test out different pages and make sure its shoppable.
  3. Companies like LikeitWantit, Like2Buy, Chirpify and Soldsie have been helping brands create conversation between Instagram and ecommerce. Nothing has risen to the top as the go-to platform, but all of them are worth checking out.
  4. Brands like Dylanlex are creating “Shop Instagram” pages to drive traffic to one destination on a website. http://dylanlex.com/pages/shop-the-instagram This becomes an easy way to drive social images and messaging through a landing page that speaks to the Instagram user.
  5. Become active on networks that are actually ROI producing. Twitter is best for peer-to-peer connections, and Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook take the stage for sales conversion. Take down the platforms you are not using.

Syama’s Crystal Ball

I believe that social commerce will continue to be optimized and therefore become a market driver in sales. Websites from 5 years ago that were not built to be mobile friendly will need to be revamped and brands who are not building their brands through social networks will and are falling behind. You simply cannot and will not be successful with out cohesive messaging on all consumer platforms.

The social selling apps and platforms that will rise to the top will create their own affiliate marketing platforms to help brands onboard. Consumers will be looking to diversify their shopping experience, and will not be satisfied with only being able to find major advertisers on the mobile platforms. It’s redundant to see the same brands everywhere – so social selling apps will need to be more curated.

Brands will continue to shift digital advertising spends from desktop to mobile advertising, and integrations with apps like SnapChat and Instagram will allow for more targeted sales and discounts. Because these brands will need to adopt more sensitive analytic systems to be able to target cohorts on social; imagine if you could target users who like or open your content more than others. The tools to market via social will be akin to the email newsletter as the analytics and tools become more sophisticated.

As a brand the decisions always remain the same. When to adopt new technology, and how much time to spend on it? I remember a time back in 2008 when I was working at Barneys New York and we would meet with big brands, not naming names here, who didn’t see the value in selling online. Now look at where we are, social commerce is here to stay. Pick your platforms, build them out, and engage. Play with the new social selling apps out there and get your business ready to sell in a new way. The new integrations will likely roll out to big businesses then trickle down to API’s for Shopify and Woocommerce users. Sales and marketing strategies will need to adapt to this- so start turning the wheels!

If you are ready to implement new sales, marketing or merchandising strategies to your business then set up a consultation. Email: hello@scalingretail.com Scaling Retail is the consulting firm for retail globally. Specializing in startup and growth stage ecommerce, brick & mortar, and wholesale.

Choosing the Right Shipping for your Business

Lillian Anselmi is part of Modalyst an online distribution platform specializing in dropshipping for independent brands. Their technology allows e-commerce stores to easily add products, receive real time inventory level updates, and automate the ordering process. With their Shopify App, online stores are able to manage hundreds of suppliers from all over the world.

Recently she wrote an article on the Modalyst Blog about choosing the right shipping strategy for your online store and I thought it would be helpful for some of you who may be struggling with this decision. 

If you are an online retailer, you better get your ship together or you will certainly lose customers.

In all seriousness, shipping should be considered as one of the most crucial elements in your online strategy and should be analyzed like any other business decision.  A customer’s experience is influenced as much by the products you are offering as it is by the shipping costs associated with those products.

In fact, a UPS study shows that shipping is the number 1 reason customers abandon their carts. Say what?! Yep, the number 1 reason. So lets get down to business.

How do you determine which type of shipping policy is going to keep your customers interested but not at the expense of your business? Let’s go through some different scenarios.

#1 ) I am an experienced online retailer with a loyal customer base and predictable sales

Firstly, congratulations. Not an easy feat. This allows you some flexibility and creativity with how you want to deal with shipping. This is a great opportunity to offer free shipping. Of course as a business, nothing can actually be FREE, so be sure you are making up for it in another way.

For example, Wild Dill, a successful online baby boutique, offers free shipping when you sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Instagram. While the store will likely lose money on the first transaction, they have captured the customers information to use for direct marketing campaigns making the chances of a return visit very likely.

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Another popular e-commerce site BOUTQS, offers qualified free shipping. For example, if a customer purchases $100 or more in products, they will ship for free. No doubt this incentivizes the shopper to add more items to their cart, so this can be a win-win. However, the key is to know the difference between your average order size and your free shipping threshold. For example, if your average order size is $75 and you need an order of $100 or more to cover free shipping, it seems likely you can get them to buy $25 worth of additional items to reach that threshold.

 

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#2) I sell one of a kind / unique items to a niche demographic

If you are in the business of selling novelty items, you have one major advantage that offers you a guaranteed win on shipping. Due to low competition, you have relative flexibility in your product pricing. This allows you to embed the cost of shipping into your MSRPs and still offer “free shipping” while making sure your costs are covered.

#3) I offer a variety of products / price points to a wide audience

In this case, you may want to be careful. If your orders are unpredictable (in terms of type of products and price points) it will be difficult to devise a strategy that works site wide. In this case, calculated shipping is likely your best option. Try embedding a shipping calculator on your site so the rates are accurate and you can avoid cutting into your margin as much as possible. Otherwise, simply charge what you pay to ship the item. This requires a little more work as you will have to price out the shipping for each item but is well worth it.

#4) I am a specialty store selling similar size products

If you are a jewelry site, for example, you are most likely sending the same size box to each customer. Use this predictability to your advantage and offer flat rate shipping on all orders. Choose a standard box size that fits a certain amount of your average size items so that unless they choose an unusually high amount of products, you should be covered. Customers will like the transparency and easy to understand policy. Don’t forget to always adjust rates based on current pricing outlined by each carrier.

For example, HERE is a great guide on the new pricing announced by USPS for 2016.

 

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In conclusion, there is no one size fits all for shipping policies and it is best to take a deep dive into your customer base and understand what will work for them and for your business.

If you are interested in joining Modalyst, please sign up for a FREE TRIAL here. Modalyst is offering the Scaling Retail community a discount on membership so mention Scaling Retail in your sign up form to be eligible. Email Lillian@modalyst.co with any questions.

How to Get Sales Online

Congratulations! You have started your website, uploaded your kickass products and now you need some tips on How to get your product out there.

1. Get To Know Your Backend
2. Pitch Your Site
3. Start Your Digital Marketing Strategy
4. Don’t Forget About Direct Marketing Campaigns
5. Make Sure You Have Engaging Captivating Content

Did you find this video helpful? Need more tips? Leave a comment below, so we can chat!

Thank you for watching.

For more tips and exercises for building a fashion website check out
Creating Fashion Websites That Sell by Syama Meagher and Nicole Giordano: http://www.scalingretail.com/product/creating-fashion-website-that-sell/
Check out Scaling Retail website for more business ecommerce and retail tips, reviews and more: http://www.scalingretail.com/

Contact Syama for any questions: Syama@scalingretail.com

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