Since the pandemic, consumers are spending more on eCommerce businesses than ever before. Many small businesses and entrepreneurs have been spurred into action by this online ‘Golden Age’ and the scramble to set up eCommerce businesses has created a lot of competition.
Even if you’re confident you’re selling the best thing since sliced bread, growth doesn’t come easy. With so many websites battling for traffic in a growing space, our team preaches the following: if you want to grow your business, you’re going to have to S.C.R.A.P.
What does that mean exactly? On the surface, it means that the success of any business depends on being scrappy, aggressive, and putting in the hard work. But when you dig a little deeper, you’ll find the real, actionable steps to what can take an eCommerce startup to a seven-figure business.
So, without further ado, let’s unpack S.C.R.A.P–the five ways LaunchBoom recommends growing your eCommerce (or any) business.
Whether you have a brick-and-mortar shop or a website, it’s vital to get new customers through the door to grow your business. In eCommerce one of the fastest and most reliable ways to do this is through paid advertising. When brainstorming about your advertising strategy, you’ll need to focus on these three things.
If you’re selling kitchen products, you already know that it’s best to target your ads to people interested in cooking. But, it’s also important to target audiences based on where they are in the buyer journey.
For example, here’s a basic funnel:
Yes, your audience should be those who have an interest in your product category, but every kind of lead needs a different type of nurturing. Your objective with paid advertising is to target each level of the funnel with different creative strategies. More on this is in the next section.
Your goal with customers at each level of the funnel above is to get them to move closer to buying. You’ll accomplish this with effective messaging, like communicating your unique selling proposition or highlighting how your product solves a problem.
When the leads are cold, you want to get them to know you. Think of this like prospecting–you want to explain who you are and what your product does.
When the leads are warm, you want to get them to like you. Now that they’re familiar with your brand, try using a product walkthrough video by someone at your company, or better yet, the founder.
Finally, when the leads are hot, you want customers to trust you. This is the perfect opportunity to start implementing user reviews or even photos of your offices and staff. Showing who’s behind your operation is a great way to open up and build that trust with your leads.
Once you’ve mapped out your audience targeting, it’s time to brainstorm how to get their attention. If you’re struggling with your creative, you can actually go to Facebook and see what kinds of ads your competitors are running.
On the left side of their Facebook page, you’ll find a section labeled “Page Transparency.” After that, click on “Go to Ad Library” which lets you see any ad they are currently running. Pay attention to the ads they’ve been running the longest. Chances are, those are the ones that have consistently performed the best.
Analyze what you think makes those ads so successful, and apply it to your own creative strategy. Don’t kick yourself trying to reinvent the wheel. Stick to what works!
Having the right audience, messaging, and creative will help you to spend more efficiently. Everyone’s budget is different, but whether you’re spending $10 thousand or $10 million on advertising, make sure you’re getting a 4-5x return on ad spend (ROAS) for healthy growth.
2. Conversion Rates
Now that you’ve got some awesome ideas for an advertising strategy, it’s time to think about maximizing conversion rates. Ask yourself: how am I going to get people to buy?
One tried and true method for increasing conversion rates is with social proof. If you’re coming over to eCommerce from a successful crowdfunding launch on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you’ve likely gotten positive feedback from your backers. Be sure to reach out to them and ask if they can leave reviews on your new eCommerce site.
Another way you can repurpose positive reviews is by putting them in your advertisements and emails. This way, people who haven’t visited your website yet still learn what others are saying about your product.
On the flip side of increasing conversion rates, you also want to make sure you’re not unintentionally decreasing them by giving customers a bad user experience. For eCommerce businesses nowadays, it is crucial to optimize your website for mobile.
Some LaunchBoom partners have seen up to 90% of traffic come from mobile devices. Those instances were not outliers, they are the trend, so it’s really important to focus on this during development.
When optimizing for mobile, aim for:
- No pop-ups or sidebars
- Fast loading speeds
- Optimized pictures and videos
- No unnecessarily long blocks of text
You’re going to encounter some technical issues along the way, and users are bound to have a negative experience at times. Take every mistake as a learning opportunity, and set your eCommerce site up for healthy conversion rates and long-term growth.
3. Repeat purchases
When thinking about growing an eCommerce business, some might think that they should only invest in acquiring new customers. That means continuing to pump more money into Facebook and Google ads to try and reach new audiences. But, did you know that it’s actually cheaper to retain a customer than it is to get a new one?
What’s something you’re almost guaranteed to have from someone after they’ve bought your product? Their email address! Using strategic email marketing promotions, you can acquire repeat purchases indefinitely at a cost-effective rate.
Some of the partners we work with at LaunchBoom have come from crowdfunding, meaning they were only offering one product on their eCommerce sites in the beginning. If you’ve only got one product and you want to increase repeat buyers, you’ll have to ask yourself why they should return:
- Will customers need a refill?
- Will the product wear out over time?
- Does the product make a good holiday/birthday gift?
- Will there be upgrades in the future?
Once you figure out how to position these emails to past customers, set up your sequences in an email marketing platform like Klaviyo. Try timing your campaign leading up to Black Friday, since purchase intent will be at its annual high. And as an added bonus, you can offset the inflated costs of running ads during the holiday season by marketing to those who already know your product.
4. Average Order Value
When you go to a fast-food restaurant, are you ever asked if you’d like to add something more to your order? That business is exemplifying how to increase your average order value. This is an essential step to growing any business, and we want to show you how it applies to eCommerce.
Here’s an example of a crowdfunding product that presented a challenge since it was a standalone product:
For this at-home fitness machine, we selected two additional items that customers could bundle together. This accomplishes two things. One, it increases the average order value by over 10%. Two, the items are small enough to package together with the main product, so we don’t pay any additional shipping costs.
When you get an idea for these types of add-ons, we recommend reaching out to your manufacturers for great deals. These bonus items are going to be related to your main product, so chances are your manufacturer can produce them for you cost-effectively. If they can’t, they should have connections they can point you to.
One of the first things our team needs to understand about new partners is their financials. What are their variable and fixed costs, and how much do they want or need to net at the end of each month? These are the questions that drive a business, and the most important numbers to understand in order to make a business profitable.
There are several profitability tricks of the eCommerce trade, many of which we will expand upon in a separate article, but here are a couple so you can get started.
Optimize your ad rates
Many people would like to pay that extra bit more in Google ads to outrank their competitors. They’d be surprised to learn that it doesn’t always lead to a more cost-effective conversion rate, though.
It’s okay to rank just a little lower, especially when you’re just starting out. You’re aiming for good engagement, not the most engagement amongst competitors. This can be a substantial relief on your fixed monthly costs.
Utilize your leftovers
It’s well known that the world is experiencing supply chain issues. If you’re experiencing shipment delays, that means everyone above you in the chain is, too. This has created a need to put leftover raw materials from the manufacturing process to good use.
For example, if you’re selling a product that uses a lot of leather, can you think of a way to utilize the leftover leather? Perhaps repurposing it into belts, wallets, or straps which you can upsell as bonus items turning waste into extra profitability!
This strategy synergizes really well with what we talked about in increasing average order value. If you get an idea, don’t be afraid to call your manufacturer and talk it through.
Starting an eCommerce business is tough, but growing it into a healthy business can be a fun challenge. Hopefully, these five tips help you get started on the path to growth. But, if you’d like to learn more, speak with one of our product launch experts today.