The list of challenges facing eCommerce businesses today is extensive. The fallout of the pandemic has led to increased competition, and that combined with Apple’s latest privacy update (allowing users to opt out of data tracking) has led to a steep rise in acquisition costs. Brexit has also caused significant disruption, and it’s likely to be some time before the dust even starts to settle.
And of course, there’s the increased expectations of the consumer. The narrative has moved from price and convenience to one of experience, placing greater demands on every branch of business operation.
But behind these challenges sit many windows of opportunity, provided you have the right systems and process in place.
We’ve been speaking to some of our industry expert contacts to get their advice on growth strategy for the year ahead. Here’s a look at their insights, and the key techniques we recommend all eCommerce businesses adopt.
Actionable data is key to business growth - and when that data relates to conversion attribution, you have a clear view of what drives sales.
We’ve been tracking the impact of on-site reviews lately with our newest solution, FullPicture.io. There’s a lot of stats out there on how influential customer reviews are, but we wanted a way to prove ROI for individual brands - so we built one, and got some pretty impressive results.
When we looked at Waterdrop, we found customers that interacted with review content prior to purchase had an AOV 10.3% higher than those that didn’t. But it’s not just the impact of reviews you can track with FullPicture.io. We’ve turned it into an all-in-one eCommerce analytics platform that gives you - wait for it - the full picture.
‘Knowing where your customers come from, the exact actions they take on-site, and the impact this has on purchase decisions helps you scale up by doing more of what works.’
The tools you use have a huge impact on your growth potential, as does the extent to which those tools are compatible with each other. For example, a helpdesk solution like Gorgias integrated with REVIEWS.io can bring valuable efficiencies to your customer support efforts.
Integrations with ESPs like Klaviyo help bring personalisation to your email marketing through review data, and platforms like LoyaltyLion enable reward programmes that encourage retention.
The beauty of building your own tech stack, instead of opting for an all-in-one suite solution, is that you get to pick the very best apps and platforms for each function. And because they’re the best, they’re all designed to integrate seamlessly with one another in what’s known as a best-of-breed approach.
Best-of-Breed advocate and Head of Growth at Daasity, Jeremy Horowitz, offers his advice here:
“As you start to think about your 2022 budgets, really take another look at your tech stack. The best analogy I’ve found is building your tech stack like building a house. You need to make sure your foundation is properly in place. Then add each story on top of the previous one, and really map out how each piece plays together to solve your current problems while scaling to grow into where you want to go.”
We highly recommend taking some time to review the pros and cons of your current set-up, how it’s inhibiting growth plans, and exploring the best alternatives. We recently made an update to our user dashboard, which now offers recommendations for 3rd party apps to help you make choices with the best ROI. You’ll also see your active integrations at the top of the page so you can monitor and track performance with ease.
Labour shortages, Brexit and an all round global shipping crisis have made the importance of efficient supply chain management abundantly clear. It’s true that a lot of the disruption caused has been out of the control of the eCommerce businesses that have suffered, but that just makes being one step ahead all the more important.
We got insight from Ben Clarke at James and James Fulfilment on this one. He stresses the need to understand customer behaviour and gain full visibility across your entire supply chain. It’s imperative that you know the lead times for all your best stock, and are aware of any potential delays.
It’s also vital that you know your seasonality. We’re not just talking summer/winter here, but any relevant dates and events that may prompt a peak in traffic (think Easter, Valentines Day etc.) Look back on historical data to forecast demand, and set warehouse, supply and logistics processes in motion. Ben also points out that this is another area where the right tech is critical.
It may be one of the oldest techniques around, but word of mouth is still the most powerful tool for encouraging business growth. It drives quality traffic, increases conversion rates, and helps create a strong identity around your brand - something consumers seek more and more as they look to connect with things that help them express their own sense of self.
With that in mind, social proof through authentic customer reviews should form a major part of your growth strategy. Just like it does for Ash Young, founder of CarMats.co.uk:
“Reviews are so important as they instill trust, we get so many comments from customers telling us they have bought specifically because of the reviews. We also use review content as a cornerstone of our social advertising, there's nothing better than real customer feedback to help potential customers decide if you are right for them.”
Whilst social commerce may be gaining some traction, we firmly believe that Google will remain the go-to platform for shopping queries and a primary source of ‘low hanging fruit’ revenue, provided you optimise performance.
We’ll admit ROAS isn’t quite what it used to be, but one of the best ways to combat these rising acquisition costs is to use a Google Licensed review solution. This means that, once certain conditions are met, you’ll be awarded a Google Seller Rating - visible in your paid ad campaigns - which in turn can lower your PPC. At the same time it’ll boost your visibility, improve your quality score, and earn you trust with the consumer.
This isn’t so much about implementation as it is awareness at this point in time. Facebook launched the concept into the spotlight when it changed its name to Meta, but if you’re still in the ‘Meta what now?!’ phase you might want to catch up - because this digital revolution is changing the face of consumer goods.
Today’s young consumers are interacting in different worlds, and making purchases that reflect that. They’re not always focused on physical, tangible goods, but additions to their online personas. Why buy a physical pair of trainers - that only your immediate contacts will see - when you can buy a digital pair for your entire online audience to admire?
It may sound like an issue for future you, but at the very least, take some time to understand this consumer group and their ecosystem - because the Metaverse is coming to eCommerce.
Despite its many challenges, there’s never been a more exciting time to be part of the eCommerce space. It’s busier than ever before - both in terms of custom and competition - and it’s evolving at a profound rate.
Consumer expectation is forcing brands to raise their game, bringing better standards and greater creativity. And prominent tech solutions in the eCommerce space are pushing boundaries to deliver greater ROI for their own customers.
We’re proud to be part of the pack, and reinvest our own growth into our market leading solution to better support you with yours. Not a REVIEWS.io customer? Try us out with a free 14 day trial.