Why every Shopify store should offer a "Buy Now, Pay Later" payment method

There are so many aspects that go into running your ecommerce store — finding the right combination of products, creating eye-catching product pages with tasteful images, reaching relevant customers with your marketing efforts, managing inventory and shipping, to name a few. The decision of which payment option to use likely falls to the bottom of your list. A payment is a payment, right? Wrong! Selecting a payment method is one of the most critical elements of the customer journey, and offering the right assortment of payment options is one of the most direct ways to impact your conversion rate. Think of it this way: by the time a prospective customer has reached the payment phase of the checkout, they have already made a purchase decision. They’ve found your site, chosen a product, selected the right size and color, etc. They’ve already done the main leg work. At this point, any friction in the payment process can result in a lost sale. A customer is not a customer until they click that pay button. Your job as an online store is to make clicking that button as easy as possible. By now, you've probably heard of “buy now, pay later” solutions, like Sezzle. This new wave of alternative payment methods make optimizing conversions at this critical juncture especially easy. By allowing shoppers to pay for purchases over time (rather than all up front), this new payment solution has opened doors for consumers all over the world that fear the use of traditional credit.  What is a “buy now, pay later” solution? Retailers have long provided shoppers the ability to pay over time with installments. “Buy Now, Pay Later” solutions offer a new twist on financing for Shopify merchants (and any online retailer) with simple installment plans.  Layaway options became popular in the United States after the Great Depression, when retailers began offering them as a way to generate sales with cash-strapped consumers. In the old layaway model, shoppers would physically go to the store and put down installment payments for merchants to hold an item they wanted. Once a shopper had made enough payments to cover the purchase, the sale was complete. But in the 1950s, a new innovation was introduced that allowed shoppers to pay over time: the credit card. Credit cards allowed shoppers to swipe, receive their items immediately, and then pay the credit card company back at a later date. Credit cards quickly expanded to the nearly ubiquitous presence they are in retail today. Of course, the downside of paying with credit cards is that they are only available to those who are approved for credit; as many of us know, they also carry the threatening potential of exorbitant interest and fees. Luckily, new fintech solutions offer a modern alternative to credit cards designed for the modern consumer. Sezzle, for instance, allows shoppers to pay for ecommerce purchases in four equal, interest-free installments.  With this solution, shoppers pay only a fraction of the purchase price during checkout and merchants ship their orders right away. The buy now, pay later platform then pays the merchant upfront for the full amount, less a small processing fee. The remaining installments are automatically collected from the shopper every two weeks, with no interest or additional cost to the consumer. In short, buy now, pay later options provide a new way for shoppers to buy now, get their item now, and pay over time, at no additional cost. Why offer a “buy now, pay later” option? Buy now, pay later solutions are a proven way to increase sales for merchants. There are many benefits to adding an installment payment solution to merchants, including: 1. Reaching new customers To maximize your reach, it's no longer sufficient to offer only credit card options. Credit cards are a great purchasing tool, but only for customers who have them. However, the number of credit card holders in your target audience might be far fewer than you think; only one in three millennials own a credit card, according to a 2016 bankrate study.  There are many underlying factors driving this statistic — from the credit crisis of 2008, to mounting student loan debts for young people, to regulatory changes that made it more difficult for credit card companies to extend offers to those under the age of 21.  The key point for merchants is this: payment behaviors are changing dramatically for young consumers who have increasingly come to expect to be able to pay with a digital wallet, alternative payment platform, or an installment plan. In fact, over 87% of consumers want a simpler way to pay over time that is not a credit card. By not providing these options, you are leaving potential money in the cart. 2. Increasing conversions More than two-thirds of all online shopping carts are abandoned, according to the Baymard Institute. The second most commonly-cited reason was the cart becoming too expensive.  When customers see the total tallied up, they get sticker shock. Offering an installment payment solution that lets shoppers check out now and pay over time dramatically reduces cart abandonment rates.  On average, for stores that have added a buy now, pay later method, checkout conversions have increased by almost 40% for first time visitors. Reducing sticker shock of a one time purchase reduces cart abandonment, which means more sales! [note]There are other effective methods for reducing cart abandonment, too.[/note] 3. Reducing return rates High return rates are a pain point for merchants. When customers are consistently returning their purchases, it can add a lot of unwanted and unneeded stress to your store. For merchants that use interest-free installments, return rates have decreased dramatically — some stores even drop down to 1% in returns by adding this alternative payment method. Through lowering these returns rates, buy now, pay later solutions can keep you and your customers happy.  4. Tapping into a millennial trend Buy now, pay later solutions have exploded in popularity in recent months. In other parts of the world, similar payment methods have become the predominant form of payment, with young shoppers mainly driving this trend. Young shoppers like the freedom of paying over time, without the financial pitfalls that credit cards pose. For them, they see these solutions as a kind of layaway on-demand or layaway for the digital age. As more and more major brands accept these payment methods, the trend will only accelerate. Why not get ahead of the curve by implementing this solution for your store now? Global expansion of “buy now, pay later” The rapid customer acceptance and adoption of buy now, pay later solutions led to Sezzle’s first international expansion into Canada in 2019. This market was chosen given the similar customer profile and online shopping habits of American and Canadian consumers. Much like their American neighbors, Canadian consumers have an aversion to credit cards and a desire for more flexible and lenient payment methods, making this move a logical extension of Sezzle’s platform. This entry gives Canadian merchants the opportunity to offer a new payment solution to their customers. As Kappa Canada CEO stated, Sezzle is essential to delivering “flexibility in the buying process” to customers and gives them a platform to extend their brand reach. This expansion also opens up an entirely new market of consumers. The market of Canadian online shoppers is growing at an unprecedented rate and is anticipated to increase by more than 25% by 2021, making this the opportune time to expand into this space.  This rapid global expansion of the buy now, pay later space has proved very beneficial to those merchants that sell in multiple countries or use differing currencies. [note]If you have stores on Shopify Plus, learn how you can easily track your multi-currency sales with 100% accuracy.[/note] The US is brimming with merchants that sell their products worldwide, making it difficult when a payment platform only serves US shoppers. However, as the buy now, pay later space maintains its global growth, this problem will continue to diminish. Since its expansion in Canada, Sezzle has seen success with global merchants that now have the ability to sell to both US and Canadian consumers, in both American and Canadian currencies. For merchants looking to expand internationally, it will be important to note the aggressive growth that the buy now, pay later space has seen in recent years and the rapid growth that is expected to continue moving forward. As this alternative form of payment expands, so will its acceptance into international countries, making it an innovative move for every type of merchant.  The best pay later solution for small businesses Buy now, pay later payment solutions are a proven way to reach new consumers, increase conversions, and tap into what Visa has called a trillion dollar market. The right payment solution can have a dramatic impact on your sales and customer lifetime value (CLV / LTV). As you consider which payment methods to use, think of the customer first. In the customer’s mind, the payment process is an extension of the store. A bad payment experience — whether it involves high interest rates or getting hit with hidden fees — equals a negative shopping experience.  Therefore, it’s important to integrate payment options on your store that fit with the values and customer experience standards of your high-potential customers and buyer personas.   This is a guest post by Kevin Wild of Sezzle, a payments disruptor that allows shoppers to budget their payments over time by splitting purchases into four interest-free installments over six weeks. By offering its ‘buy now pay later’ solution, Sezzle provides consumers with the financial freedom to buy what they want without having to fall back on high-interest credit cards. 

2019-12-18

The Shopify merchant's guide to Google dynamic remarketing ads

As a Shopify merchant, you probably use a number of marketing strategies to drive unique traffic to your store.  With the help of SEO marketing, PPC ads, and even influencer advertising, you will notice a significant increase in traffic to your site. However, not all new visitors ensure a conversion (most don't), and not all Shopify marketing strategies are created equal. In fact, over 75% of all online businesses report that new visitors hardly convert or commit to making a purchase.  If you're finding many of your shoppers stop midway through the purchase funnel (either after adding an item to cart or not purchasing after multiple store visits), thenGoogle dynamic remarketing ads  sounds like the perfect solution for you. Campaigns from these types of ads result in increased sales and greater visibility among potential buyers. With the full guide below to creating dynamic remarketing ads that drive higher-quality traffic to your store, you'll give shoppers the extra push they need to convert.   What are Google dynamic remarketing campaigns? Google’s dynamic remarketing campaigns are special Google Ads campaign types that target users who have already visited your Shopify store at least once. These campaigns are fully customizable; different ads can be used for different visitors based on their interaction with your store. As a concept, remarketing ads were born from the idea anyone who has visited your store or clicked on a product must be interested in a purchase. While this may seem like an assumption, the stats don't lie. The main job of remarketing campaigns is to follow up with visitors and remind them of their initial interest, which inducing them to make the purchase. For example, let's say you sell sports apparel on your Shopify store. A visitor on your site looks up a pair of Nike shoes, reads the product description, stays on the page for 45 seconds, and then exits the tab. With a Google dynamic remarketing campaign, you can send targeted ads for Nike shoes to that visitor based on the product page they visited. You can create these campaigns with multiple iterations as well. For instance, you can split your visitors into customizable audience lists and have Google send out custom ads based on the list they belong to. These lists include shoppers who visited your home page, product pages, added an item to cart, and more.  Why Shopify merchants need Google dynamic remarketing campaigns  There are many advantages of using Google dynamic remarketing ads in order to meet your sales goals and increase your business’s growth. There are many advantages of using Google dynamic remarketing ads in order to meet your sales goals and increase your business’s growth. Here are a few of the best reasons for you to sue such a campaign using a Google ads dynamic remarketing guide.   Reason 1: Encourage shoppers to return to their carts About 75% of shopping carts are abandoned without a completed checkout. This is where remarketing ads can make a difference. Most shoppers simply browse or add things to their cart for a purchase at a later date. You can create a campaign that targets such kinds of visitors and remind them of their interest which will nudge them into making a sale. If your store has a special offer, you can also add this to the ad which sweetens the deal for the customer. Reason 2: Personalized ads Recent studies by Accenture show that customers prefer personalized ads. Not surprisingly, the chances of a shopper making a purchase increase significantly following a "personalized" ad. Google dynamic remarketing campaigns are tailor-made for ads that feel personal and highly targeted.  One way to do this is sending customized emails based on past shopping behavior on your site. This creates a personal connection with the customer and makes them feel like you care about their experience and patronage. Reason 3: Returning customers Returning customers tend to spend more money than any other type of shopper. A remarketing campaign wades through the sea of choices and reminds customers of their previous spending history. These types of targeted ads will boost your sales and create a stronger bond with your customers. Reason 4: Updating shoppers One of the top advantages of a remarketing campaign is showing new products to past (interested) visitors.  For example, if you have recently expanded your product line to sell plus-size clothing for women, creating a campaign about this update will keep you relevant. A shopper who couldn’t find her right size (but liked the style of clothes at your store) has a better chance of returning to your store. You can also use the campaign to promote customer loyalty programs. Reason 5: Great ROI Blue Mist Marketing found remarketing campaigns cost 56% less than other types of marketing strategies. Google dynamic remarketing campaigns give you relevant data to show exactly how much you are profiting with respect to your time investment. Based on this data, you can create more effective marketing ads. How to create a dynamic remarketing campaign in Google Ads Even with minimal coding experience, dynamic remarketing is fairly easy to set up. Google automatically creates 5 different customer match lists based on the pages shoppers have visited on your store. These include: Converted customers Homepage viewers Product Page viewers Shopping cart abandoners Category Page viewers You can also customize these lists. However, if this is your first time using dynamic remarketing, we suggest you use Google’s list and make changes later. Creating a remarketing campaign is a simple 3-step process. For success, carry out the following steps in order: Make sure that your Google Merchant Account is linked with your Google Ads account Using the right tag, add the Google remarketing pixel to your online store Set up a bid after you have created your desired dynamic remarketing ads Step 1: Link your Google Ads account with your Google Merchant account 1. Go to the Google Merchant Center. Click on the three small dots in the top right-hand corner next to your icon. Click on Account Linking. 2. Add your Customer ID for Google Ads, and then click on ‘Send link request’. 3. Select the Settings to a cog in your Ads account, and click ‘Linked accounts’ from the drop-down menu 4. Select the Google Merchant option 5. You will see a request in your Google Merchant Center like the screenshot below: 6. Select ‘View request’, and click on ‘Approve’. It will say ‘Approved’. Your Google Merchant Center will be now linked with Google Ads. [note]If you want to audit your Google Merchant Center, check out the Google Merchant Center audit guide.[/note] Now that you've linked your Google Ads account with your Google Merchant Account. Let’s move on to Step 2. Step 2: Use the right tag & add the Google remarketing pixel to your Shopify store Go to ‘Shared Library’ in Ads, and select ‘Audiences’. Select website visitors and click on ‘Set up remarketing’. Check the “use dynamic search ads” box and select the type of business from the dropdown. Click on 'Set up remarketing'. Select ‘View Ads tag for websites’ and then add the code to have the remarketing pixel on your website. For Google to build the lists, you'll need to first identify your category pages, home page, checkout pages and product pages. Step 3: Create your dynamic remarketing ads Now that your Ads account is linked and you've added the Google remarketing pixel, the next step for you is to create your Dynamic Remarketing Ads: Use the Google Display Network to create a new campaign. Select the option that says ‘Take action on your website’. Name your campaign and fill the settings as you would do for a search campaign. Tick the box next to ‘Use dynamic ads’ to confirm that you want to use dynamic ads. Select the business area and the merchant feed you choose for your dynamic ads. Save the campaign, and create your first ad and relevant ad groups. How to create Google dynamic remarketing campaigns with AdNabu  AdNabu dynamic remarketing app is a convenient app that helps Shopify merchants simplify  process of creating customized and targeted remarketing ads. It takes out all the guesswork and offers full customer support while merchants install and run their ad campaigns.  AdNabu automatically creates the remarketing tag on its own, saving you the effort of doing it yourself. It applies this tag to all of your site pages, scans each relevant visitor profile for matching campaigns and ensures audiences are properly created in Google Ads.  Here is how to easily install the AdNabu dynamic remarketing app: Login in to the Shopify app store Use the search bar to find AdNabu Dynamic remarketing App Select the Google Ads Dynamic Remarketing App Select Add App Link your Google Ads account Login with your Gmail address linked with your Google Ads account Read the terms & conditions and allow permission Your Shopify store will show a success page. Google Dynamic Remarketing app is now live! Google Ads conversion tracking for Shopify success Remarketing ads are a great strategy for stores of all sizes. But if you can't track how ther ads are performing or converting, what's the point? Linking Google Ads with Google Analytics is the easiest and best way to track your campaigns to make adjustments and improvements over time. But only one tool connects them with 100% data accuracy. Littledata's smart connection for Google Ads automatically pulls your Shopify data into your Google Ads account, so you can retarget ecommerce segments and track your sales easily. To name a few, the connection: Increases your Google Ads ROI with Shopify data for smarter retargeting Get back visitors who abandoned cart Retarget your users who viewed product details but didn't buy Prevents you from wasting money acquiring visitors who have previously purchased Get consistent data across both platforms View Google Ads costs in Google Analytics Connect Littledata's Shopify app for accurate tracking of checkout steps [note]You can try Littledata free for 2 weeks and test out the connection for yourself![/note] Wrapping up Google dynamic remarketing campaigns have proven to be a cost-effective, sales-boosting marketing move. One of the biggest advantages of using these campaigns is the ability to capture returning shoppers. Without a loyal customer base, your store can't survive in a market where merchants live and die by churn. Capturing the attention of shoppers is vital tom Shopify success, and Google dynamic remarketing does just that!   This is a guest post by AdNabu. AdNabu helps improve sales in Google Ads for ecommerce companies. If you are running search, shopping or display campaigns in Google Ads, their software will be able to increase your sales. Sign up today for a 14-day free trial.

2019-12-11

4 tips for Shopify Plus merchants selling internationally

Cross-border ecommerce for businesses using Shopify Plus is a simple and effective way to grow your business, boost sales and expand your brand’s global reach. However, a common mistake of many companies is quickly jumping into international ecommerce without taking time to develop a proper strategy for selling internationally (comparing couriers, targeting customers on a local level, etc.).  Fortunately, top solutions like Easyship make cross-border logistics frictionless and simpler, as we partner with Shopify and offer access to a global network of shipping solutions with discounted rates.  Here are 4 tips to help your Shopify Plus business sell internationally in a way that’s smarter and more cost-effective. Use multiple couriers to cut shipping costs In most cases, international shipping is naturally more expensive than domestic shipping.  This means grappling with import taxes, duties, additional paperwork and other expenses that can quickly add up.  Fortunately, there are solutions! To cut shipping costs and better protect your profits, you should always use multiple couriers to find and leverage the best shipping solutions available.  Transparency with taxes and duties at checkout is also important, as they can quickly cut into your profits fast and complicate cross-border transactions for you and your buyers.  Depending on the following factors, courier shipping costs can vary dramatically: the tax and import duty regime of the destination country delivery time and parcel size, weight and dimensions However, by comparing couriers transparently to see which offers the best deal for international shipping, you can lower your shipping costs and boost your bottom line in a simple, effective way. Offer global tracking When it comes to cross-border ecommerce and logistics, gaining customer trust is key.  Because your products are being shipped internationally, the chances of delayed deliveries and potential damage to your shipments admittedly increase. This can cause buyer concern, which is no surprise.  However, you can give your customers peace of mind and earn their trust by offering international parcel tracking.  By leveraging tracking service apps like Aftership, you can effectively track shipments worldwide and relay the information to your customers, building a sense of trust and security as their orders move across country borders. Target shoppers on a local level When you target shoppers with familiar messaging (language, cultural isms, and local advertising) including the use of country-specific stores, you’re drastically increasing your chances for conversion. There are a few simple ways to do this: Create local versions of your online store Redirect your paid advertising channels  Your advertising efforts on Google Ads and Facebook Ads can be redirected to send international shoppers to the specific store version of their country. This means shoppers can browse products and checkout in their native currency, increasing your chances to record a purchase.  Local versions of websites can help make your online store feel more accessible for potential customers depending on their location. Online merchants should always use different URLs for different versions of their site as well as hreflang annotations and sitemaps to mark country-specific pages appropriately.  Language localization is also critical for reaching international shoppers. Be sure your store visitors are able to access multiple languages. This is a feature specific to Shopify Plus.  Airinum, an Easyship client, makes it simple to switch between languages and currencies on their website. Make sure your digital marketing efforts are also localized with language-specific email marketing campaigns and local SEO campaigns. Langify and Yappn Translation System are two viable services to use for effective language translation, though hiring native language writers often worth the added cost to ensure a more accurate translation of your website copy and marketing content. Accept local currency payments Finally, be sure that your online store can accept payments in local currencies.  Forcing shoppers to pay in a currency they’re not familiar with could make them feel uncomfortable, especially when import taxes and duties are involved in conducting cross-border transactions. However, offering local currency payment options can help to build a sense of security and reassurance for international visitors by creating a localized, buyer-friendly user experience. More importantly, it’s an effective way to boost sales. 🚀 As a Shopify Plus user, you can use Shopify's payments feature to make transactions safe and easy. It gets even better — if your store presents prices in multiple currencies, Littledata’s Shopify app is 100% compatible with multi currency. Go global with Shopify Plus International ecommerce may seem complex and intimidating, even for experienced businesses with vast resources.  But by implementing a strategy for cross-border ecommerce — including the use of multiple couriers to cut shipping costs, offering global tracking, targeting customers on a local level and accepting local currency payments — you can better prepare your business for global scale. By focusing on these areas, your business can appeal to shoppers on a hyper-local level while boosting your store revenue through increased sales and lower shipping costs. After all, that’s the key to success in the competitive world of international sales.   This is a guest post by Steve Longo, the Content Writer for Easyship, the leading all-in-one shipping platform trusted by more than 40,000 clients worldwide to lower their shipping costs and break down the barriers of cross-border eCommerce and logistics.

2019-11-26

5 things every Shopify merchant needs to know about customer retention

Every brand using Shopify needs to focus on customer retention if they want to thrive, not survive, long-term.  It’s not enough to only acquire customers or simply engage with customers.  Without retention marketing strategies to turn one-time shoppers into loyal, repeat customers, you’re missing out on the most valuable customers your Shopify business could have. Here’s why: Retained customers have a higher AOV It’s no secret: customers that spend more are better for your business. But did you know that with every purchase they make, your most loyal customers spend more each time? Research by RJ Metrics showed that of your loyal customers, your top 10% spend over 3 times more per order than the bottom 90% of your business. If that seems crazy, this is even crazier: your top 1% loyal spenders spend 5x more than your bottom 99%. Your most loyal and retained customers don’t just love you, they love buying from you! Retained customers are more likely to convert So if your repeat Shopify customers make more valuable purchases, it probably takes more effort on your end to make those more valuable purchases, right? Wrong! With customer retention strategies in place, your retained customers are actually more likely to convert than first time buyers.  To accurately track both first time purchases and repeat purchases (and all the events that lead up to the purchase), Littledata's ReCharge connection is the perfect integration for Shopify stores, particularly subscription stores. [subscribe] Customers that have purchased from you only two times previously arenine times more likely to convert when they land on your store. Even if you’re operating with a small average order value (AOV), you can make huge strides with your bottom line with the right retention strategies in place. Repeat customers have already been through your customer journey (i.e. from discovery through consideration through purchase and post checkout). This means they know and understand your total brand experience.  If you’ve done your part to make the customer experience exceptional, customers will be more motivated to add more products to their carts in the future (and re-live their positive shopping experience from before). Retained customers can’t help but talk about your brand Your user-generated content and other social proof can have a profound and lasting impact on your Shopify store’s traffic, conversion rates, and profits.  Customers that share their purchases and leave reviews will influence the buying habits of everyone who sees the content they create.  The more often customers shop with you, the more likely they are to refer their friends to a store, and with the power of a referral program, you can help motivate your most loyal brand advocates to spread the word about your products. By giving both types of advocates a reward for referring (and giving their friends a reward for accepting the referral) you turn your brand advocates into a self-powered marketing machine that churns out more loyal and retained customers exponentially. Win-win. Retained customers come back during your most profitable seasons As soon as BFCM campaigns come to a stop and the ROI is being analyzed, many Shopify businesses (particularly Shopify Plus stores) already begin planning for next year.  For your repeat customers, you never have to wonder if they’re going to come back during your busiest sales season. While most shoppers will spend an extra 17% more during the holiday season, your retained customers will spend 25% more all on their own!  While you might want to make sure you’re making the most of Black Friday Cyber Monday, your efforts should be focused on your top customers and making sure they remember that buying from your store is a top option.  Retained customers are more likely to return At the beginning of this article, we mentioned that retained customers are more likely to convert. However, before they convert, they have to first find their way back to your store.  Luckily, the odds of a customer making a purchase gets better and better with each sequential purchase they make.  After one sale, a customer has a 27% chance of converting again, but after a second and third sale, their chances increase to a staggering 54% chance of returning.  Tracking customer retention is...simple? Tracking customer retention may seem like a daunting and time-intensive task. Luckily, many of the key metrics that measure ecommerce success and retention are things you’re already keeping an eye on. No matter how intensely you focus on retention, perhaps the two most important metrics to track are:  Repeat purchase rate (RPR) - the percentage of your current customer base that has purchased for a second time. This metric is a solid indicator of the value you’re providing to your customers. Average order value (AOV) - the average dollar amount spent each time a customer places an order on your store. To calculate AOV, simply divide total revenue by a given number of orders. As your customers become more engaged with your brand and move from being simply acquired to retained, these metrics should give you a square idea of the affect more retained customers are having on your bottom line (and your customer lifetime value).  Two other significant metrics are referral traffic and customer churn rates.  Referral traffic - this is easy to see with a Google Analytics integration and easy-to-use loyalty and retention software. Referral traffic will help you know whether you need to hone your referral messaging or change the value of a referral offer. Churn rate - for subscription stores especially, Shopify merchants live and die by churn. This is the rate at which customers stop subscribing to your store (aka the rate of “come and go”). Churn is the flip side of your repeat purchase rate since it tells you how many of your customers shopped with you once but didn’t bother coming back. Knowing this number will help you accurately measure the success of your combined retention strategies. Retained customers are your best customers Even after landing sales, your work isn’t done. The more time and effort you invest in engaging with your existing customer base and motivating them to be loyal to your store, the easier it will be to bring them back and push them to make a repeat purchase.  Start building the brand loyalty that will make your Shopify store a success story.    This is a guest post by Tim Peckover, the Growth and Content Marketer at Smile.io who lives for a good book, strong cup of coffee, and building community. Smile.io provides easy-to-use loyalty programs to help businesses transform one-time sales into repeat, loyal customers. 

2019-11-14

6 things Shopify merchants need to know about SMS marketing

Marketers understand why it’s critical to target customers with the right message at the right time.  For product marketers and ecommerce managers, SMS is an increasingly essential part of multi-channel marketing — especially with a mobile-first online retail market. In this article, we’ll summarize 6 benefits you may not know about SMS marketing. We’ll also outline how to use SMS effectively for better lead acquisition, closing rates and customer loyalty for your Shopify or Shopify Plus store.  By the end, we hope you’re ready to integrate SMS marketing right away!  1) SMS is one of the most immediate channels available SMS (a.k.a. text message marketing) is perhaps the most direct route to customers when it comes to D2C marketing. With a 98% open rate and a 5x click rate compared to other channels (such as email marketing), SMS is a more casual and less threatening channel for customers.  Not only do standalone SMS campaigns have a high success rate and proven ROI for Shopify merchants, but they also enhance and support other marketing channels like email and social marketing. As mobile shopping activity continues to rise, shoppers expect to receive offers, discounts, consultations and other promos through mobile messaging. 2) SMS can help you recover lost sales Merchants not utilizing SMS as part of a mobile marketing strategy are missing out on building direct relationships with customers. As a result, this could mean sacrificing sales.  Littledata found that, on average, nearly 60% of mobile shoppers abandon their carts before completing checkout. [subscribe] Many of these incomplete checkouts may be due to unanswered questions. And while automated messaging may not solve these barriers to purchase, it can certainly reengage shoppers through incentives or simple reminders to complete their checkout.  3) SMS helps you better understand your customers You can learn more about the purchasing behavior of your customers by studying back-and-forth conversations.  For example, SaveMySales is a performance SMS marketing app that offers a dashboard showing customer conversions from which merchants can track trends, like commonly asked questions or concerns preventing them from purchasing.  This type of insight helps merchants understand the customer journey (and blockers) their customers face, which can lead to better Shopify conversion rates. 4) SMS will increase customer engagement SMS marketing can help you directly build 1:1 relationships and trust with your customers.  Shoppers appreciate messages that make them feel valued or special, especially when messages include personalized responses from real humans that solves their barrier to purchase.  Whether shoppers are casually browsing before a first-time purchase or they are returning for a repeat purchase, shoppers are more likely to buy when they experience a level of brand trust. 5) Full-service SMS marketing for Shopify merchants SaveMySales is the only human SMS marketing solution that acquires subscribers, sends messages, and replies back to shoppers.  By combining AI with the world’s best live agents, the company has created the most personal marketing channel ever. The platform drives up to 20% increases sales for Shopify stores by answering questions, providing suggestions, offering deals, and up-selling. Some of the best features include but are not limited to: Building SMS marketing lists - the Opt-In Pop-Up enables brands to quickly acquire SMS subscribers from their website Abandoned checkout recovery - brands can recover lost sales by connecting shoppers directly with a live agent that can answer questions and remove barriers to purchasing Interactive SMS campaigns - brands can rapidly build a subscriber list and talk to thousands of shoppers at once with beautiful, segmented outreach We recommend Shopify stores use SaveMySales as part of their ecommerce multichannel strategy for engaging with shoppers at every stage of the purchasing funnel — not only because it’s a proven method, but also because it offers the peace of mind shoppers want.  6) Without proper tracking, it’s all for naught While you’re building this high-converting engagement channel for your brand, for Shopify and Shopify Plus merchants, one thing matters just as much as engagement — tracking each step of the customer journey.  Luckily, Littledata’s smart analytics app for Shopify connects your store data to Google Analytics or Segment, and tracks every event, from casual product page clicks to final purchase. It's automatic tracking our merchants can trust. If you're on Shopify Plus, check out an enterprise plan to get a dedicated account manager to help with data setup, reporting and optimization. Thinking into the future SMS marketing is becoming an increasingly essential channel as a direct line of communication to get in front of shoppers, recover lost sales, understand customers, and increase customer engagement.  SMS can be used as part of a multi-channel strategy for engaging with customers at each stage of the customer funnel to help increase conversions and ROI for your Shopify store.  We recommend using SaveMySales to build the most personalized SMS marketing strategy that will impress your customers and help them build a relationship with your brand.   This is a guest post by Cindy Le from SaveMySales, a performance SMS marketing app for Shopify and Shopify Plus stores.

2019-09-30

How to create customer loyalty strategies for each customer segment

Understanding and leveraging customer data to provide a curated service is the key to ecommerce success.  One study found that 53% of customers would give up personal data for a personalised shopping experience. This starts by diving into what makes your target customer tick – the types of products they like, their average spend and previous purchases.  When merchants use this information well, more customers will come to trust your brand, enjoy engaging with your brand, purchase from you more and tell others about you (brand advocacy). Beyond purchasing behaviour and demographics, channeling your customers into a loyalty program allows you to categorise them into three distinct customer segments: Loyal: Customers who purchase from you often and have a high customer lifetime value (CLV) At-risk: Those who have shopped with you before but haven’t made a purchase within an expected timeframe – this could be weeks or months depending on your business Lapsed: If they haven't made a purchase in a certain number of days, weeks or months, they qualify as lapsed In this post, we’ll look at the ways to leverage loyalty data. In other words, you’ll learn to target customers with appropriate content at the right time to improve the customer lifetime value of your store visitors. Loyal customers Quite simply, loyal customers are your best and most ideal customer type.  They typically spend more and are worth up to ten times the value of their first purchase. They’ll also tell others about their positive experience with you through referrals and online reviews. This is especially significant since customers acquired through referrals tend to spend 200% more than the average customer.  Once you have identified your loyal customer base, you can encourage these customers to repurchase in a variety of ways.  First, you can nudge them to refer friends to earn points. This proves that you’re willing to reward them even if they don’t purchase.  Meanwhile, you’ll acquire new customers with 16-45% more loyalty as a result. You can also offer a free gift on their birthday to show that you value them not just as a buyer, but as a person.  Wildish, an outdoors and adventure apparel company, have orchestrated a brilliant referral strategy. They offer referred friends 20% off their first purchase, plus a chance for the existing customer to earn 500 “coins” (loyalty points) if the referred friend spends over $20 (an amount that’s both reasonable and achievable).  At-risk customers At-risk customers might have purchased from you in the past, but it’s been a while since they’ve returned.  Your job is to draw them back and remind them why they bought from your store in the first place. To start, try sending loyalty emails between purchases to keep your brand top-of-mind. Let your email recipients know how many loyalty points they have accumulated and have ready to spend.  You can also tailor these emails based on product interests or past browsing and shopping behaviour — you can find all this info within Google Analytics. [subscribe] Beauty Bakerie sends a loyalty email to their customers when their points are about to expire, nudging those customers to return and re-spend:  Alternatively, you can surprise and delight these customers by helping them scale the ranks of your loyalty program. By moving at-risk customers up a tier, you can offer them more exclusive access to your experiential rewards and product offers. Gym Direct does this well by pushing customers on an upward trajectory to unlock more benefits. This way, customers want to return to your brand and re-engage with the new perks they’ve unlocked. These perks can include tutorials, free gifts or access to an exclusive community. Lapsed customers If someone hasn’t purchased from you in a while, it doesn’t mean they are lost causes. They might just need a pull in the right direction.  Re-engage lapsed customers by showing them why you’re set apart from competing stores. Make them feel like they’re discovering you for the first time. One way to do this is by notifying them via email of the recent changes you’ve made to your loyalty program.  Annmarie Skin Care uses loyalty emails to remind customers of their focus on environmental initiatives, connecting to these shoppers on an emotional level that goes beyond the product.  Customers are reminded why shopping with Annmarie Skin Care was important to them in the first place — this means they’re more likely to return to purchase: Alternatively, surprise these lapsed customers into returning by offering access to one-off double points events (as long as they’re a member of your loyalty program).  For example, Nashua Nutrition has run one-day-only double points events to encourage loyalty members to earn more loyalty points by spending within a certain timeframe: It boils down to data  Ultimately, retaining your existing customer base through data analysis and creating a personalised shopping experience is key to long-term ecommerce success.  This all starts by monitoring your shoppers in Google Analytics, optimising your product pages and understanding your customer segments to retarget with ease and design loyalty programs that convert.  To learn more strategies for improving your customer lifetime value and customer retention, check out the LoyaltyLion Academy. This is a guest post by the team at LoyaltyLion, a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform trusted by thousands of ecommerce brands worldwide. Merchants use LoyaltyLion when they want a fully customised loyalty program that is proven to increase customer engagement, retention and spend. Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.

2019-08-21

3 reasons your product pages are underperforming

According to Baymard, 69.57% of online shoppers abandon their cart. That means that for every three people that add an item to their cart, two of those people end up not purchasing. As a store owner, this can be extremely frustrating. You’re running a business, so you want to see sales — not abandoned carts. On the other side of the coin, however, I can assure you that your customer was frustrated, and this is exactly why they abandoned their cart. While there are a million reasons why a customer would abandon their cart, there are a few common threads and factors for mounting frustration. The good news? They’re all easily measured with data and improvable with some common sense. [subscribe heading="Try Littledata free for 14 days" background_color="grey" button_text="start my free trial"] 1. Your mobile site experience sucks As an agency owner, I see a lot of websites. Yet it still surprises me how many ecommerce brands suffer from this issue. Over 50% of all traffic to ecommerce sites is coming from a mobile device, yet many brands are perfectly fine with letting their customers suffer through an almost unusable mobile experience. This is an extremely common cause of cart abandonment. If you’re curious, you can look within Google Analytics to see how many people abandon carts on different devices. While most websites are ‘responsive’ these days, that does not mean they’re usable or easily navigable. Have your parents, your siblings, or your significant other run through your online experience and try to purchase a product, and you’ll see the shortcomings in your mobile experience. Responsive design hardly considers the goals of an ecommerce website. When a store design is not user friendly, this leads to higher abandoned cart rates. 2. Your product pages don’t provide enough information The next commonality with cart abandonment is all too simple, but it’s one of the leading causes. It boils down to the customer having a question about the product: How big is it? What is it made out of? How much does shipping cost? How long until I can get it? What’s your return policy? Is it waterproof? Your product page needs to answer every question a shopper could ever have about your product. There are so many advantages to ecommerce, but the main disadvantage is that the customers are not holding that product in their hand. So, they can’t answer a lot of those questions on their own. You need to be their five senses in describing that product and your policies so that the customer can make a completely informed purchase decision. If I have more questions than answers, I’m not buying. (Not sure how to fix your product pages? You can get my 8-point guide on product page improvements by joining our mailing list here.) Some of the questions your customers have might not be obvious. Being so close to the product and the brand often puts blinders on business owners. An easy way to solve that is by asking your customers! You can use apps like Hotjar to ask your customers questions on why they’re leaving a product page. 3. Your apps, files or images are slowing down your page load speed The last issue to tackle: your page load speed. This is something that is often overlooked by people new to online businesses. If your website takes too long to load, I’m out of there. There are quite a few reasons why this would happen, but the main reasons are typically 1) too many apps and 2) content not sized properly for web. Apps are amazing, and I frequently recommend them to our clients to solve requests. What's not amazing about apps is their tendency to add bloat to your website. That’s why I highly recommend never installing an app unless you absolutely need it. The more apps you have installed, the more data that is being loaded on every page, and the slower your website will be. Uninstalling apps does not necessarily mean that the underlying code is deleted either. Take this as a warning. Additionally, oversized video and photos kill load times. I know that lifestyle photography you shot for your new collection is beautiful, but a five megabyte photo on my mountain 3G connection takes entirely too long to load, and I’m now browsing Twitter because I got fed up with your store. People are impatient. They do not want to wait, they want things instantaneously. You can view and track your site speed in Google Analytics to get some ideas on where you can improve those metrics. Ecommerce reporting and data tracking is key. Fix customer frustrations, fix your cart abandonment problem Customer frustration is the root of most abandoned carts. Your customers want a quick, mobile-friendly, simple experience — so create one! This is a guest post by Chase Clymer, Co-Founder at Electric Eye and Host of Honest Ecommerce. Chase is an ecommerce expert making brands more money every day. He's also a fan of islands, tacos, and Magic: The Gathering.

2019-07-11

8 ways to minimise cart abandonment

It might be a familiar sinking feeling - why do users keep deciding at the last minute not to buy an item? There are a whole range of reasons that online shopper abandon their shopping carts. You might not be able to do anything about the majority of these reasons, but if you are seeing a high cart abandonment rate then it is definitely something you can actively work on minimising. In this post I dive into shopping cart abandonment: what it is, why it matters, and how to minimise it using proven practices from successful ecommerce sites. What is the average rate of cart abandonment? The Baymard Institute has compared reported cart abandonment from 41 studies, to conclude that the average rate stands at 69.57% in 2019. However, reports varied wildly over the years. In 2010, Forrester Research calculated that cart abandonment stood at just 55%. At the high end of the scale, AbandonAid stated in 2017 that cart abandonment occurs 81.4% of the time. Is your average checkout completion rate below the industry average? How to calculate cart abandonment rate Fortunately, there is no need to consult a mathematician when it comes to calculating your cart abandonment rate. To find the percentage of users who have not completed a purchase after adding an item to their cart, you must divide the number of complete purchases by the number of carts created: 1 - (Complete purchases/Carts created) x100 After doing this division, subtract the result from 1 and multiply by 100 to get your percentage. Fortunately, there’s no need to get the calculator out. You can easily monitor ecommere analytics with Littledata’s Shopify app. Connect this to Google Analytics to make the most out of tracking user movements - in this instance, when they removing products from the cart. Why might a cart get abandoned? There is no simple answer to this question. The truth is, carts get abandoned for a variety of reasons, although the recurring theme is that a lower abandonment rate means a more intuitive and trustworthy store. A high proportion of people browsing your store might be doing so in the hope of coming across a hidden discount, to compare prices or to check your stock against competitors. Some might even be compiling a wishlist for the future, with almost no intention of purchasing your product now. In short, there isn’t a lot you can do about this type of shopper. Focus, then, has to turn to the shoppers who would have made a purchase, was it not for an element of your site or checkout process that led to them scurrying away. As part of the Baymard Institute’s research into cart abandonment, it conducted a survey of over 2,500 US adults asking why they abandoned their purchase after passing the stage of adding an item to their cart. Many of the factors above can be countered by making tweaks to the checkout process. Take the second largest influence - “the site wanted me to create an account”. By offering a guest checkout option where an account is not necessary, this 34% of respondents will be one step closer to purchasing the product in their cart, and avoiding the dreaded stage of checkout abandonment. What goes into a better checkout process? It’s fine to say that the checkout needs to be streamlined in order to reduce cart abandonment, but what does this actually mean? What are the characteristics of a site that experiences relatively low checkout abandonment? This is specifically about what happens after a user has added a product to their cart - optimising add-to-cart rate itself is a different stage in the purchase funnel that we have talked about before here at Littledata. The first thing to take a look at is the intuitiveness of your buying process. After adding a product to cart, ensure that the following trail resembles a standard ecommerce store. This might mean identifying a clear “checkout button”, followed by payment options and providing delivery address, then reviewing the order before submitting. Any significant change to the standard process could throw a user off balance. Making your store as trustworthy as possible is another key step to reducing cart abandonment. Check that the secure payment icons are visible when checking out, and a money-back guarantee will always send a customer’s confidence skyrocketing. Offering incentives to complete a purchase also does the trick. As mentioned, shoppers may be on your site as part of a price comparison tour, so making a 10% discount visible from the outset will make your site a winner in the eyes of many a potential customer. In a similar vein, you should make sure that product and delivery details are easy to locate and understand. Adweek shows that 81% of shoppers conduct detailed research before buying a product, so make this task easier for them. Please don’t include any last-minute delivery charge shocks. Another thing to consider is the mobile-friendliness of your checkout process. The statistic that half of all ecommerce revenue will be mobile-based by 2020 is banded around a lot, but shouldn’t be ignored. If a site is near impossible to navigate on mobile, you can be sure of frustrated cart abandonment. 8 ways to minimise cart abandonment I want to give you a list of specific ideas that you could implement on your site. These have all been taken from Missions - our new optimisation tool. Each mission consists of a pack of ecommerce optimisation tips on a certain subject, complete with evidence and studies found by our researchers. The following eight tips, of course, have all been taken from our “Minimise Cart Abandonment” mission. Steeped in proof, we like to take a step away from gut feel. These tips have all reduced cart abandonment for other sites, and I am sure that some of their effects can be replicated. 1) Send cart abandonment emails This one really is the only place to start. We will of course take a closer look at tweaks you can make to your sales funnel, but targeting people who have already abandoned their carts is a crucial way of reviving a potential sale. Ecommerce site owners are becoming increasingly aware of the opportunities provided by email marketing. Hertz are one company making the most of this practice, reporting that 37% of people who opened a cart abandonment email went on to make a booking. In the past, so much money would have been left on the table by users who abandoned carts. Now, it’s so easy to send a personalised email to every customer who abandons their purchase on your site. This is all about remembering that not everybody who abandons a purchase does so on bad terms. They may simply have gotten distracted, or left the purchase for a later date. A friendly nudge back towards your buying funnel might be just what they are after! 2) Trigger exit surveys and live chat at key moments If a user is on the brink of exiting a site in frustration at not being able to find what they want, a live chat session could keep them around. Some classic stats served up by BoldChat suggest that live chat is the preferred method of communicating with a business for 21% of shoppers. If you manage to solve a customer’s biggest doubts, they will be one step closer to completing a purchase. In turn, exit surveys allow you to gather the opinions of customers who abandoned their cart. Why didn’t they make a purchase? Gold dust. Easily identify recurring themes and patch these things up so fewer potential sales slip through the net. A handy tip for exit surveys - give people open-ended questions to answer instead of preset options. According to Groovehq, this will increase response rate by 10%. 3) Use address lookup technology to minimise typing Form-filling is dull. Customers know this as well as anyone, and will often go to great lengths to avoid it. If your checkout funnel is littered with unnecessary forms to fill, more than a couple of potential customers will run like the wind. Of course, a customer’s shipping address is central to completing their order. To make this easier on them, some accurate address lookup technology such as Loqate will squash the time it takes to get things done. Anything you can do to make the form-filling process as pain-free as possible is a surefire way of reducing your cart abandonment rate. Hotel Chocolat, after introducing address lookup, reported a 19% uplift in the amount of people completing each stage of their checkout funnel. 4) Give shoppers the option of using a guest checkout Finding the option to “checkout as a guest” is starting to come as naturally to customers as looking for the “add-to-cart” button. Research from the Baymard Institute indicated that 30% of all shoppers abandon their purchase immediately upon viewing a registration process. Not even a second thought! Similarly to tip #3, this is all about saving time on the customer’s side. If they have a product in their basket and are willing to pay for it, the last thing you want to do is shove a registration form in their face. 5) Use dynamic retargeting to recover lost sales Stella & Dot saw their average order value increase by 17% when targeting customers with more relevant ads. This is all about employing technology which is able to accurately create a picture of a customer’s browsing experience, so that they can be targeted with adverts to match their interests. Although female lifestyle and fashion website Stella & Dot were more focussed on increasing their average order value, dynamic retargeting is a valid method of reducing cart abandonment by presenting individual users with adverts to match their activity. 6) Provide a one-click checkout Made famous by retail giant Amazon, a one-click or one-step checkout allows a user to immediately purchase a product if they already have their payment details registered on the site. The ability to avoid form-filling and save time is a godsend for shoppers - and the estimated $2.4 billion value of Amazon’s recently expired one-step checkout patent goes to show this. Other ecommerce sites have designed one-click checkouts of their own, finding that they do wonders for retaining customers within the purchase funnel. A case study by Strangeloop showed that implementing a one-step checkout increased conversion rate by 66%. 7) Be clear about delivery (especially free shipping) A joint study conducted by eDigitalResearch and IMRG found that 53% of cart-abandoners cite unacceptably high shipping costs as the reason for abandoning their purchase. Making sure that your shipping fees are blindingly obvious from an early stage in your purchase funnel will prevent any user frustration at discovering the cost just before payment, or simply not being able to locate this information at all. A study by Accent has shown that 88% of online shoppers expect free shipping to be offered to them in one way or another. Failing to meet this rising expectation will likely result in a chunk of abandoned carts. 8) Experiment with exit-intent popups It isn’t a coincidence that popups always appear just when you are about to close a page. Many sites use technology that detects an aggressive mouse movement towards the top corner of the screen - usually a sign that it will be closed down. These are a last-ditch attempt to keep a user browsing the site, but if they capture attention in the right way then they can work wonders in terms of saving a cart that was about to be abandoned. A common tactic is to offer a discount. Research from Beeketing indicates that 48% of ‘window shoppers’ would buy a product they were interested in if they were offered a limited-time discount. This works on the scarcity principle - a perceived rush to buy a product can prevent someone from abandoning their cart to come back at a later date. Reduce your cart abandonment today Packed with plenty of tips similar to the ones we have explored, the ‘Minimise Cart Abandonment’ mission will equip you with an arsenal of techniques to drive that statistic down and keep shoppers inside your purchase funnel until the very end. Littledata automatically benchmarks ecommerce sites so you can see how you compare, then recommends missions to optimise performance. Knowing your average checkout completion rate is a good place to start. Whether you're looking at a Shopify abandoned cart or abandoned carts on a different ecommerce platform, you can launch the 'Minimise Cart Abandonment' mission directly from your Littledata dashboard. Use the app to track progress as you test ideas to discover what works best for your site. And one final tip: don’t try to fix everything at once. Start with one of the tips above that’s most relevant to your current shopping funnel, and go - or should I say grow - from there! This is a guest post by Jack Vale, a UK-based freelance writer and ecommerce expert.

2019-05-16

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