2022 has been an exciting year — we’ve helped over 1,400 DTC brands get accurate insights on their Shopify and BigCommerce store performance, launched several new connections and data destinations to empower merchants with complete data across the customer journey, and we’re not stopping there!
We’ve got big plans on the horizon for 2023, and there’s no doubt you do too! As we round out the holiday shopping season and prepare for 2023, we asked experts across the ecommerce industry to share their top tips to help you kick off the new year and make 2023 your best year yet.
1. Pivot your retention strategy
With acquisition costs at an all-time high during the holiday shopping season, now is the perfect time to focus on keeping your current customer base satisfied and coming back for more.
“Beat rising customer acquisition costs by pivoting to your retention strategy.
“2023 is the year of LTV. Weaving in more LTV touchpoints into your customer journey is going to be absolutely crucial. We see brands implementing this in some really creative ways, particularly in the customer account portal! Totally transforming their customer account portals into engagement hubs, our brands are adding subscription-led loyalty programs, referrals, upsells, and even opportunities to gift subscriptions all directly built-in to the account portal experience.
“Moreover, gone are the days of the standard ‘Subscribe and Forget’ subscription experiences. Brands are complementing these LTV touchpoints with total flexibility over their subscription experience. Be sure to give your loyal customers total control over their customer journeys enabling them to expedite next orders, skip next orders, add or swap new products in their next orders to create more of a membership-like experience.”
— Gabriella Tegen, Founder & CEO at Smartrr
2. Run ads and scale them on Facebook
If BFCM has proven anything to DTC brands it’s that Facebook Ads are back! Brands are seeing their Facebook ads convert more effectively (and more affordably), but the key is building strong campaigns with proven ads.
“As marketers, we’re constantly adapting to changes, new trends, tactics, & best practices, but sometimes you just need to think more simply: run ads and scale them.
“Every Facebook Ad account should have a ‘Cold ABO Testing’ campaign and a ‘Cold CBO Winners’ campaign.
“Your ABO campaign should be used to test your new ads and determine whether they’re winners or not. Move the winning ads into your CBO campaign because you know these are going to convert. We do not want to test new creative in CBO because we are letting Facebook automate here. So let’s give Facebook the strongest ammo we’ve got!
“Following your cold campaigns, establish a ‘Warm Remarketing’ campaign to target all the people who engage with our brand, but did not convert.
“The goal of Facebook Ads is to get out of the learning phase as fast as possible and stay out of it. Build a plethora of strong evergreen ads that you’re going to run for a long period of time. I like to call these ads your account’s muscle. If your ads are performing in your testing campaign, leave them on & scale them as well.
“Run ads & scale them. It’s easier than you’re making it seem.”
— Tim Ferrar, Account Manager at Media Jet Marketing
3. Find the perfect moment to pop-up
Amidst a rising ‘opt out’ culture, consumers have grown increasingly wary about who they share their contact information with. Finding the perfect moment to enroll customers in your SMS campaigns is crucial to understanding your customer base and growing your subscriber list.
“Since SMS is a more personal and intimate channel (that’s part of its inherent value), it can make some consumers wary of opting in. If you find that to be the case among your target audience, take a value-first approach and wait until after they’ve made a purchase. This way you’ve been able to demonstrate value for them before asking for something as personal as their phone number, which builds trust and increases the engagement and long-term value of their contact.
“Use the order thank you page here with an in-page promotion so that it appears native to your website or via a pop-up to collect SMS opt-ins. This is great for order information like tracking notifications so they can know exactly when their purchase will arrive. (No porch pirates please & thank you!)”
— Michael Wadsworth, Partner Marketing Manager at Justuno
4. Send new subscribers a warm welcome
Speaking of SMS, now that you’ve found the perfect time to get their digits, it’s time to give them a warm welcome to your SMS community.
“SMS Pro Tip: 24 hours after a subscriber joins your SMS program, send a triggered message with educational content. You can share information like how your products are crafted, your brand’s values and mission, or how their purchases will make an impact. Include a link back to your brand’s “About” page so they can learn more.”
— Elodie Huston, Content Marketing Manager at Attentive
5. Don’t underestimate the power of marketing
“The run-up to Christmas signals an end to the calendar year and so we believe it’s an opportune time for ecommerce brands to position themselves strongly for 2023. The power of marketing during this time cannot be understated, those brands that put in the graft and double down on marketing efforts will have the most success going into the new year.
“Focus on diverse traffic acquisition (i.e don’t focus solely on Facebook or Google Ads for example) and push hard to be unique and stand out from the competition so that customers choose your brand over others.
“It’s also worth noting that it can cost five times as much to acquire a new customer compared to maintaining an existing one, highlighting the importance of retaining your relationship with customers once you’ve acquired them to ensure they’re kept satisfied and come back all year round.”
— Ross Adamson, Marketing & Partnerships Executive at Charle Agency
6. Reward your best customers at the end of the year
The end of the year is the perfect time to show your top customers some love— after all, it is the season of giving. Running an RFM analysis with a reporting tool like Daasity makes it easy to identify which customers are your top performers, based on how recently they placed an order, how often they’ve made purchases, and how much they spent.
“Reward your best customers at the end of the year!
“At Daasity, we believe the best way to group customers by value (and ID your best customers) is via RFM Analysis.
“RFM breaks down customers by three dimensions of behavior: Recency, Frequency, and Monetary.
“Almost every brand has RFM charts like this…
“…Where you can see that the longest bar corresponds to RFM 1 customers (i.e., your top 10% of customers on an LTV basis), who are almost 40x more valuable than RFM 10 customers (i.e., your bottom 10% of customers on an LTV basis).
“Basically, your RFM 1 customers are the best-of-the-best-of-the-best: they’re the most engaged with your brand, spend the most, and (probably) love you the most. Shoot them a 10% end-of-year “Thank you for being you” discount, and you might just drive some extra purchases before 2023.”
— Dave Swendemen, Senior Content Manager at Daasity
7. Get your budget ducks in a row
To keep the momentum going into the new year, prioritize what needs to happen in Q1 and set aside a budget for this. This will allow your team to remain agile and start off strong at the head of the new year!
“Get your budget ducks in a row.
“As an agency, we often hear this side of the New Year that merchants would rather pick up certain conversations about projects or builds at a later date. While this is undoubtedly a very busy time for many, these discussions are then further delayed when merchants need to then reassess budgets. This leads to a brand delaying the start of a project from early January to some time towards the end of Q1 as a result of not focusing on any financial preparation activities ahead of time. These delays can be costly for brands that cannot afford to lose momentum.
“Align with your team on what needs to happen in Q1 in relation to your ecommerce store, then designate a specific budget to this, or even push forward with conversations with suppliers so you can hit the ground running. If you get to grips with where your spend either is currently or what it needs to be from 2023 onwards, it means that you’ll have the ability to move quickly on activity that will be able to help you start the year strong. Avoid a Q1 lull by getting ahead!”
— Nathan Abbott, Head of Growth at Underwaterpistol
8. Use data to prevent BFCM churn
Many BFCM customers often yield a low LTV — whether they’re discount shoppers, or buying gifts for people on their holiday list, they don’t intend to come back for more. Using customer data, brands can better understand these customers and offer strategic incentives to help mitigate their churn.
“The most important strategy post-holiday season in my mind centers around customer retention.
“Typically, brands see a large influx of new customers and subscribers as a result of their BFCM marketing pushes and promotions. In addition to a nice bump in sales, you now have a treasure trove of data to analyze over the next several months. Use this data to track customer cohorts that signed up during the holiday season, and follow their short-term and long-term behaviors as it pertains to churn.
“It is common for businesses to see an increase in customer churn from this cohort, as a lot of savvy customers buy a product or sign up for a subscription just for the discount, and then churn. Mitigate this behavior by offering incentives at strategic junctures in a customer’s lifecycle with your brand. This could be free shipping (if you don’t already offer it), a one-time discount, or even a “surprise and delight” gift before the charge that your data shows most customers tend to churn on.
“Remember, even extending your customer lifecycle by one charge can have a massive impact on your bottom line!”
— Paul Hughes, Senior Account Manager at Recharge
9. Personalize your SMS strategy
Stand out from the crowd with personalized SMS messages. And no — that doesn’t just mean calling your subscribers’ by their first names! With 96% of customers interested in receiving weekly text messages from the brands they love — up from 31% last year — now’s your chance to perfect your SMS strategy, understand what drives your customers, and build a community around your brand.
“We all get dozens of texts each day — your messages need to stand out for recipients to pay attention. People are more likely to act on a text when it looks like you wrote it just for them. This means more than just including basic details like a first name — provide value to your customers by speaking to their unique needs and interests, or by sending exclusive offers aligned with their past purchases.
“Strategically personalizing your texts helps you nurture relationships with customers by making them feel special. Plus it motivates them to take action immediately.”
— Jessica Schanzer, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Klaviyo
10. Understand your top-performing channels
The key to maximizing your customer retention and optimizing your acquisition costs — especially in uncertain economic conditions — is understanding which channels and campaigns are performing the best and bringing in more high-LTV customers.
With accurate attribution insights at your disposal, you can better allocate your marketing budget to campaigns that work, and spend less on those that don’t.
“Based on Shopify’s 2023 ecommerce trends report, 73% of DTC brands plan to rely on external financing in the coming year to get closer to profitability. After a bumpy Q3 and Q4 we expected to see this, but perhaps not such a high percentage.
“For most of these brands, 2023 will be all about increasing customer net revenue retention and decreasing the cost of new customer acquisition as aggressively as possible.
“One of the key factors to steer these brands towards a positive outcome is having accurate product and purchase data linked with the complete marketing attribution data in your Google Analytics or other data destinations used by your organization.
“So for 2023, my advice to all DTC brands is to prioritize having accurate acquisition, ecommerce, and marketing data even over saving costs.”
— David Pascu, Head of Client Services at Littledata
11. Re-engage your BFCM shoppers
Your brand is more than the discounted rate you offered during BFCM. Build a loyal community by re-engaging your customers and incentivizing them to buy again.
“Following BFCM, brands now need to focus on re-engaging with the customers who bought during this time.
“A solid strategy around capitalizing on the influx of new customers is imperative. You can start by looking into order quantities from these customers and comparing this with the average days between transactions. This will give you an idea of when they may reorder or replenish, meaning you can time your reorder or replenishment messaging perfectly.
“Now is a great time to demonstrate value beyond just the discounted rate they got for BFCM. Start building brand value and loyalty by making them feel part of your tribe with some regular communication. By showing them some love, you’ll give yourself the best chance for them to return and pay full price next time.
“Create engaging touchpoints to build trust. Why not ask them how the product they bought is performing? Are they enjoying the product? If the product was a gift, ask how it was received.
“Lastly, why not surprise and delight your newly found customers with an unexpected gift or a thank you? This doesn’t need to be expensive, but it does need to feel personal and relevant. After all, this is also likely to cost you less than acquiring a new customer.”
— Jason Chappel, Head of Client Strategy at Blend Commerce
12. Leverage subscriptions to boost retention
Between an unsteady economy and rising acquisition costs, brands have their focus on keeping their current customers satisfied. To keep customer lifetime value (LTV) high, integrate as many opportunities for upselling and recurring orders as possible.
“With the days of cheap customer acquisition behind us, and many of the key ecommerce markets in recession, customer retention is now mission-critical for DTC brands. Increasing repeat order rate, repeat order frequency, cross-sell conversion, and minimizing subscription churn are all essential levels to pull in order to maintain a strong customer lifetime value in 2023 and win the DTC race.”
— Harry Willis, Partnerships Lead at Relo by Blueprint
And that’s a wrap!
As we wrap up 2022, take these tips with you to start off 2023 on the right foot. Subscribe to our newsletter to stay in the loop on all things ecommerce analytics with weekly updates from our analytics experts.