Conversational commerce is a hot topic among eCommerce marketers. In this blog post, we take a look at the key benefits of conversational commerce and easy steps to get you started.
In a brick-and-mortar store, having friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive sales assistants is a powerful way to increase sales. That’s been the case since the first stores in history. So how can eCommerce merchants offer that same kind of sales-boosting service, but digitally?
The answer is conversational commerce – a marketing and sales tactic based on back-and-forth digital conversation. It takes the in-store sales associate experience and translates it to an online format.
But conversational commerce usually isn’t just a human agent sitting in front of a screen instead of behind a store counter.
Hiring a human team big enough to be available 24/7 for shoppers in all time zones isn’t practical or possible for most brands. Instead, eCommerce businesses now have the tools to automateconversational commerce using chatbots.
Let’s start by taking a brief look at how conversational commerce came about and discuss why chatbots (especially Facebook Messenger chatbots) are an ideal solution for automating this type of commerce. Finally, we’ll cover how your own eCommerce business can get started with conversational commerce bots.
What is conversational commerce?
Conversational commerce is a new sales method for the digital age. It gives shoppers a way to directly interact with brands in real-time in the format of a back-and-forth chat. Conversational commerce allows prospects to get their questions answered instantly as part of a live dialogue, instead of one-sided, delayed messaging (like email).
Conversational commerce not only makes for a pleasant customer service experience, but it moves shoppers more quickly down the funnel toward a conversion.
The best part: Conversational commerce is easy to automate, so brands of all sizes can watch their sales go up on autopilot. Chatbots are the most widely used solution for automation of conversational commerce because they’re easy and inexpensive to build, and available to help customers 24/7.
Facebook Messenger chatbots in particular have become extremely popular. Messenger already has over 1.3 billion monthly users, and it makes sense to meet shoppers where they are.
A brief history of conversational commerce
The term “conversational commerce” was coined in 2015 by Christopher Messina, an American blogger most famously known as the ‘inventor of the hashtag‘. Messina wrote an article about an emerging trend he’d begun to notice: Businesses were starting to invest more in messaging channels and focus on selling there.
Since then, this sales technique has exploded in popularity. It’s no surprise since people are more active on messaging apps than ever before. Users have over 7 billion conversations every day on Facebook Messenger alone. And while messaging is primarily a way for people to communicate with friends and family, they’re now interested in chatting with businesses that way, too.
As a result, online businesses now communicate with customers through Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and many other messaging channels. No-code, drag-and-drop software makes chatbot building easier than ever, so businesses can automate this messaging for maximum efficiency.
Conversational commerce benefits
Online stores of all kinds have started taking a keen interest in this type of commerce, especially in the form of chatbots. Let’s look at some of the benefits that conversational commerce offers:
1. Saves time and resources
You don’t need a huge team of highly trained customer service agents to be available 24/7. If you automate your conversational commerce strategy with a chatbot, it can take care of up to 80% of routine inquiries for you. Your human team will no longer have to waste time responding to repetitive questions, so they can focus on other tasks.
2. Improves customer experience
If you automate your conversational commerce efforts, customers can get instant assistance. They don’t have to search for FAQ pages or wait days for email responses from a human agent. Most common queries can be solved by a chatbot, which means instant, helpful service that will delight your customers.
3. Increases sales
Conversational commerce is a great way to provide personalized product recommendations to customers to encourage them to buy. Chatbots can be set up to do this seamlessly. They can ask a few basic questions about the shopper’s needs, recommend products and answer questions about them, then share links where the user can learn more and buy.
4. Offers the personalization element
When you converse with another human, you gather information about them by asking questions. Chatbots work the same way. Once they know a few things about the customer and their preferences (through the process of conversation), they can personalize future interactions.
They can offer tailored product recommendations, share relevant coupons and sale notifications, and more. 80% of customers say they’re more likely to buy from a brand that offers personalized experiences, so this factor is crucial for eCommerce success.
5. Helps brands stand out
Conversational commerce is becoming more popular by the minute, it’s true. But a strong conversational commerce experience will still be a novelty to many shoppers. If you design it right, it can be the memorable element that sets your brand apart from your competition – and keeps customers coming back.
Getting started with conversational commerce
The advent of no-code tools for building chatbots has made conversational commerce accessible for all brands. Here are a few basic steps to help your eCommerce store get started:
Analyze your support queries. Look at what your prospective customers ask about most often, then equip your chatbot to handle these needs and inquiries. You can have it answer FAQs or recommend products, for example.
Use no-code software to build a free Messenger chatbot. Tools like that will make the actual building process easy and non-technical, so you can focus on engaging conversational design instead.
Add a Facebook Messenger chatbot to your website. Don’t limit your chatbot to social media messaging apps. You can utilize it in different ways by adding the chatbot to your website or linking it to your Facebook and Instagram ads, so you can reach even more prospects.
Monitor the performance of your chatbot. Look for drop-off points where users might be getting confused or missing something, and correct or streamline those areas of the chat experience.
Taking your eCommerce chatbot to the next level
Once you’ve built a basic eCommerce chatbot, there’s lots you can add to it to make it even more useful for customers (and profitable for you):
Add artificial intelligence (AI) to your chatbot. Build an AI chatbot that can handle an even larger percentage of customer interactions on its own. Even no-code software often offers this capability. AI is far less intimidating than it sounds, and almost any business can take advantage of it to improve their conversational commerce capabilities.
Gather other contact information. When you build a chatbot in Facebook Messenger, you can always reach out to the user again later. The chats are linked to their Facebook account. But since 73% of consumers shop on more than one channel, the omnichannel approach is becoming more and more important. Your chatbot can easily request and store contact information for users on other channels, so you can reach out to them via email and SMS too.
Share information about relevant promotions. Conversational commerce can help you win repeat business as well. You can set your chatbot to notify users when you’re having a sale, especially if it’s on a type of item they’ve shown interest in before. Or, it can share coupons to get customers to buy again.
Join the conversational commerce revolution
Marketing evolves fast. Your eCommerce brand needs to keep up in order to keep sales rolling in and stay ahead of the competition. Conversational commerce is already booming, so don’t miss out!
This article was written by Bojana Vojnović from Chatfuel. Bojana is a content strategist with a finger on the pulse of the world of Messenger chatbots. She oversees a content creation strategy that helps business owners take their brand to the next level.
What is STP marketing and what role does it play in boosting conversions and revenue? We look at the Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning framework illustrated by real-life examples.
Segmentation targeting positioning marketing is a core concept in modern-day marketing. Without it, marketing campaigns would be generic, have little to no personalization, and overall would not be able to convert at a level most businesses would deem effective.
Let’s delve into the intricacies of the STP Model and see how implementing this framework into your eCommerce business can yield amazing results.
STP marketing is an acronym for Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning – a three-step model that examines your products or services as well as the way you communicate their benefits to specific customer segments.
In a nutshell, the STP marketing model means you segment your market, target select customer segments with marketing campaigns tailored to their preferences, and adjust your positioning according to their desires and expectations.
STP marketing is effective because it focuses on breaking your customer base into smaller groups, allowing you to develop very specific marketing strategies to reach and engage each target audience.
In fact, 59% of customers say that personalization influences their shopping decision and another 44% said that a personalized shopping experience would influence them to become repeat customers of a brand.
STP marketing represents a shift from product-focused marketing to customer-focused marketing. This shift gives businesses a chance to gain a better understanding of who their ideal customers are and how to reach them. In short, the more personalized and targeted your marketing efforts, the more successful you will be.
The STEP Formula
If you are looking for a simple way to remember and summarize the STP marketing concept, the acronym STEP is extremely useful:
Segmentation + Targeting Equals Positioning
This formula clearly illustrates that each segment requires tailored positioning and marketing mix to ensure its success. Let’s take a closer look at each of the three steps in the STP marketing model.
The first step of the STP marketing model is the segmentation stage. The main goal here is to create various customer segments based on specific criteria and traits that you choose. The four main types of audience segmentation include:
Behavioral segmentation: Dividing your audience based on how they interact with your business: What they buy, how often they buy, what they browse, etc.
Psychographic segmentation: Dividing your audience based on “who” your potential customer is: Lifestyle, hobbies, activities, opinions, etc.
Step two of the STP marketing model is targeting. Your main goal here is to look at the segments you have created before and determine which of those segments are most likely to generate desired conversions (depending on your marketing campaign, those can range from product sales to micro conversions like email signups).
Your ideal segment is one that is actively growing, has high profitability, and has a low cost of acquisition:
Size: Consider how large your segment is as well as its future growth potential.
Profitability: Consider which of your segments are willing to spend the most money on your product or service. Determine the lifetime value of customers in each segment and compare.
Reachability: Consider how easy or difficult it will be for you to reach each segment with your marketing efforts. Consider customer acquisition costs (CACs) for each segment. Higher CAC means lower profitability.
There are limitless factors to consider when selecting an audience to target – we’ll get into a few more later on – so be sure that everything you consider fits with your target customer and their needs.
The final step in this framework is positioning, which allows you to set your product or services apart from the competition in the minds of your target audience. There are a lot of businesses that do something similar to you, so you need to find what it is that makes you stand out.
All the different factors that you considered in the first two steps should have made it easy for you to identify your niche. There are three positioning factors that can help you gain a competitive edge:
Symbolic positioning: Enhance the self-image, belongingness, or even ego of your customers. The luxury car industry is a great example of this – they serve the same purpose as any other car but they also boost their customer’s self-esteem and image.
Functional positioning: Solve your customer’s problem and provide them with genuine benefits.
Experiential positioning: Focus on the emotional connection that your customers have with your product, service, or brand.
The most successful product positioning is a combination of all three factors. One way to visualize this is by creating a perceptual map for your industry. Focus on what is important for your customers and see where you and your competitors land on the map.
Benefits of STP marketing
If you aren’t already convinced that STP marketing is going to revolutionize your business, we’re breaking down the key benefits that STP marketing has over a traditional marketing approach.
Because STP focuses on creating a precise target audience and positioning your products/services in a way that is most likely to appeal to that audience, your marketing becomes hyper-personalized. With personalization:
Your brand messaging becomes more personal and empathetic because you have your customer personas and know exactly whom you’re talking to;
Your marketing mix becomes more crystalized and yields higher return on investment because you’re no longer wasting budget on channels that your audience simply ignores;
Your market research and product innovation become more effective because you know exactly whom to ask for advice and feedback in the development phase.
Fifty-eight percent found that personalization helps increase customer retention, 55% cited conversion and 45% found that personalization actually helped minimize the cost of new customer acquisition.
Finally, STP marketing levels the playing field. The framework allows small businesses and startups to find success in their niche markets when they normally wouldn’t have the reach to compete with the larger whole-market businesses in their industry.
STP marketing examples: The Cola Wars
STP marketing has been around for a long time – and it has been effective for just as long. We’re going to take a look at a real-world example of STP marketing so you can see how it has worked historically in increasing conversions and revenue.
Back in the 1980s, when Pepsi-Cola was trying to claim some of the market share from Coca-Cola, Pepsi used segmentation to target certain key audiences. They focused on an attitude and loyalty segmentationapproach and divided the market into three consumer segments:
Consumers with a positive attitude to the Coke brand who were 100% loyal to Coke.
Consumers with a positive attitude to the Pepsi brand who were 100% loyal to Coke.
Consumers with a positive attitude to both brands, with loyalty to both, who switched their purchases between both brands.
Pepsi had always focused their marketing efforts on the third segment, as it was the most attractive and had the highest return on investment. Focusing on customers loyal to Coke was considered a waste of time and money, as they were unlikely to change their purchasing habits.
However, that all changed with the launch of New Coke in 1985…
The new iteration of Americas’ favorite beverage missed the spot with a lot of loyal consumers, so Pepsi swopped in. In fact, as Mental Floss points out, “Coke’s headquarters received upwards of 1,500 calls a day, up from the usual 400, with virtually all of them complaining about the change.”
Sensing the change in consumer sentiment, Pepsi began targeting loyal Coke drinkers. The rival brand also refocused its positioning – Pepsi started drumming up the fact that Coca-Cola, supposedly, changed its classic Coke with New Coke to resemble more the taste of Pepsi. Their marketing campaigns were brutal (well, in today’s terms at least):
That same year, Pepsi announced a 14% spike in overall product sales. Pepsi was able to use STP marketing strategies to increase their market share and convert Cola-loyal customers to Pepsi-lovers.
How to create an STP marketing strategy: The full STP model
We covered the three stages of the STP marketing model, looked at the benefits and examples of this approach. While this provides you with an excellent overview of the concept, we want to get into the detail of creating an STP marketing strategy that serves your business.
Below you will find 7 steps to creating a solid marketing strategy using the full STP model.
1. Define the market
The global market is far too big and far too vast for anyone – even the biggest corporation with the most resources – to address. That’s why it’s important to break it down into smaller chunks and clearly define the part you are going after.
Typically, to evaluate your business opportunity, you will need to define your TAM, SAM, and SOM: Total Available Market, Serviceable Available Market, and Serviceable Obtainable Market.
Think of it as an iceberg. The very top peeking from under the water is your SOM – that’s the portion of the market that you can effectively reach.
SAM is is the portion of the total available market that fits your product or service offering. Whereas TAM is the total available market, in other words, “the overall revenue opportunity that is available to a product or service if 100% market share was achieved.”
For example, back when Airbnb was starting to pitch investors, they used the TAM, SAM, SOM model to explain their business potential. Their total available market (TAM) then was valued at $1.9 billion dollars and included any type of accommodation that travelers were booking worldwide.
Because their service offering was targeted more at the budget travelers who were using online booking engines to find their stay. In this case, the SAM was valued at $532 million dollars. Lastly, their SOM came in at $10.6 million dollars and signified the revenue obtainable for Airbnb.
Similarly with a consumer product, we can look at Diet Coke and say that its TAM would include the total beverage market. Its SAM would narrow it down to soft drinks, and SOM would zero in on the carbonated sugar-free drinkers out there.
There are several routes you can choose when defining a market. You can do so by:
Product category (apparel, health and beauty, food and beverage, etc.)
Country (United States, United Kingdom, etc.)
2. Create audience segments
Now that you’ve adequately defined your target market, it’s time to segment it using geographical, demographic, behavioral, and psychographic variables.
Each segmentation variable helps you tap into a different aspect of your audience and when you use them in unison you can create niche segments that really make an impact on your overall marketing effort.
For example, if you split your serviceable obtainable market into men vs women (demographic variables) you are still left with a pretty broad audience segment. However, if you start layering other segmentation variables on top, you can create a precise audience that you can make the biggest impact on.
Perhaps you go after women (demographics) in the United States (geographics) who prefer to spend money on luxury products (psychographics) who follow you on social media or have visited your website in the past (behavior).
As you can see, this layering method creates a hyper-focused audience segment that allows you to create an extremely personalized experience. And as we mentioned before, personalization has a huge impact on the success of your marketing efforts.
3. Construct segment profiles
When you’ve landed on your viable market segments, it’s time to develop segment profiles. Segment profiles are very similar to your ideal customer personas but they act as subsets of your main persona – they are detailed descriptions of the people in each segment.
Describe their needs, behaviors, demographics, brand preferences, shopping traits, marital status, and any other characteristics. Each profile should be as detailed as possible to give you and your business a good understanding of the potential customers within each segment. This will allow you to compare segments for strategy purposes.
4. Evaluate the commercial attractiveness of each segment
Cross-referencing your findings with available market data and consumer research will help you assess which of your constructed segments can bring in the biggest return on your investment. Consider factors like segment size, growth rates, price sensitivity, and brand loyalty.
With this information, you will be able to evaluate the overall attractiveness of each segment in terms of dollar value.
5. Select target audience/s
Now that you have detailed information on all of your segments, you need to spend some time deciding which ones are the most viable to use as your target audiences. You’ll need to take into account your overall business strategy, the attractiveness of the segment, and the competition that exists in that segment.
The best way to determine the most viable segment is by performing cluster analysis. Quite a complex and technical topic on its own (check out this guide to get more insights), clustering in the context of eCommerce segmentation means using mathematical models to identify groups of customers that are more similar to one another than those in other groups.
Your ideal audience segment is one that is both large and still growing, and you are able to reach with your marketing efforts. You’ll also want a segment that aligns with your business strategy – it makes no sense to focus your efforts on a segment of men in Australia if you are phasing out your menswear and don’t offer free shipping to Australia.
6. Develop a positioning strategy
Next, you need to develop a positioning strategy that will give you the best edge to compete in the selected target audience. Determine how to effectively position your product, taking into account other competitors – focus on how your positioning can win the largest amount of the market share.
There are several positioning strategy paths you can follow:
Category-based positioning – This calls for determining how are your products or services better than the existing solutions on the market.
Consumer-based positioning – This calls for aligning your product/service offering with the target audience’s behavioral parameters.
Competitor-based positioning – This is a pretty straightforward approach that calls to prove you are better than competitor X.
Benefit-based positioning – This calls for proving the benefits that customers will get from purchasing your product or service.
Price-based positioning – This calls for distinguishing based on the value for the money people get when purchasing your product/service.
Attribute-based positioning – Competitors, price, and benefits aside, this calls for zeroing in on a unique selling proposition that makes your product or service stands out from the rest.
Prestige-based positioning – This calls for proving that your products supply a certain boost in status to those who purchase.
Product Positioning Map – The product positioning map is a technique where the business uses visual display to show their products against competitors. This allows for an easy way of navigating and understanding which products are being represented in comparison with others, ultimately helping them make decisions about what should be prioritized or modified based on company needs.
Chose what positioning model makes the most sense based on your previous research, and which would allow you to reach your specific segment.
7. Choose your marketing mix
The last and final step in this long and winding process is to actually implement your strategy. For that, you will need to determine a marketing mix that will support your positioning and help you reach the target audience(s) that you’ve chosen.
A marketing mix consists of the so-called 4 Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. The 4Ps are one of the essential marketing models.
Lets breakdown what the 4Ps include:
Product takes into consideration factors like variety, quality, design, branding, features, packaging, services, availability, and convenience.
Price takes into consideration factors like pricing strategy, list price, penetration price, premium, discounting, payment methods, credit terms, and payment period. Are your target audience segments price sensitive?
Place takes into consideration factors like channels, coverage, location, inventory, logistics, and trade channels.
Promotion takes into consideration factors like digital marketing, public relations, social media, sponsorship, influencer marketing, content marketing, product placement, sales promotion and marketing communications. How will you communicate your value proposition to your target audience segments?
A carefully-curated marketing mix will ensure business success. However, if you do leave gaps in it, all the precious work you did at the previous stages might go to waste.
Here’s an example to illustrate a poor mix: Let’s say you want to sell a luxury skincare product to women in their 40s.
Your goal is to position it as a high-end addition to their skincare routine that targets concerns related to mature and aging skin. So you invest in print marketing and get your product featured in a couple of popular women’s magazines that skew towards the 30+ audience. You also make sure to price the product accordingly so it indicates the luxury category.
However, your packaging is cheap and poorly designed, while the product itself is sold in drugstores.
This inconsistency, which isn’t aligned with the overall positioning strategy, will prevent you from reaching your target audience in the first place; those who get reached will experience dissatisfaction resulting in negative word-of-mouth, which will eventually make your sales slumber.
Using the (segmentation targeting and positioning) STP model, businesses can identify their most valuable customer segments and create products and marketing communications that target those customers. This helps you create engaging, personalized marketing campaigns that convert visitors to customers at a high rate.
If you want to use clever segmentation and behavioral targeting methods in your eCommerce marketing strategy, get in touch with Yieldifyand we’ll be happy to help!
STP marketing FAQ
What is STP in marketing?
STP marketing (Segmentation Targeting, and Positioning) is a three-step marketing framework. With the STP process, you segment your market, target your customers, and position your offering to each segment.
What is an example of STP?
The most classic example of STP marketing is the Cola Wars of the 1980s. Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola used STP marketing to increase their market shares after the introduction of New Coke.
What are the 3 steps involved in STP marketing?
The three main steps within STP are: Segmenting your market (segmentation), identifying your target market (Targeting) and deciding on how you will position your brand (positioning)
We analyzed our data and handpicked 7 conversion optimization tactics known to boost holiday eCommerce sales. Check out these campaign ideas designed to make an impact before, during, and after the 2020 peak season.
If you’re selling anything anywhere in the world, then there’s slim chance you haven’t heard of the Cyber 5: A five-day period from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
For consumers, this month-long affair leading all the way up to Christmas is best defined by an onslaught of marketing campaigns, deals, and discount offers enticing to shop until they drop.
For retailers, on the other hand, it’s the most profitable time of the year. In fact, holiday eCommerce sales account for about 30% of the total eCommerce revenue each year!
Statista’s data shows that in 2019, holiday season revenue for online stores reached $135 billion dollars, which means it was increasing by an average of $14.75 billion ever since 2015. But what does it mean for the 2020 peak season and beyond?
Holiday eCommerce: Market insights
This year, online shopping has experienced a boom. Ushered by the COVID-19 pandemic, social distancing, and stay-at-home rules, consumers flocked to the internet to buy everything from groceries to clothing, office supplies, exercise equipment, and even stuff like bidets.
So, answering the question of what to expect from holiday eCommerce this year is as difficult as ever and is best approached with a data-driven mindset. Let’s look at some 2019 holiday eCommerce statistics to get a better idea of what’s coming.
2019 holiday sales statistics
Total 2019 U.S. holiday sales reached $722.6 billion (+4.1% lift from $694.32 billion).
U.S. holiday eCommerce sales reached $135.35 billion (+12% lift from $119.54 billion in 2018).
Cyber Monday 2019 was the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history with $7.9 billion in online sales.
Holiday eCommerce conversion rate reached 4.3% on desktop and 1.8% on mobile.
34.5% of 2019 holiday eCommerce spending happened via smartphone.
2019 holiday consumer behavior
60% of U.S. consumers said they start holiday gift shopping before December.
Home improvement was the leading holiday season eCommerce category by YoY growth.
Amazon was the preferred online store for Christmas gift shopping among U.S. adults.
Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) option was implemented by 60% of U.S. retailers.
2020 holiday eCommerce predictions
Based on the insights from Yieldify’s Peak Season survey of 400 UK & US eCommerce marketers and 2,000 consumers, there’s an increasing divide between the two camps.
On one side, 33% of marketers are choosing to opt out of 2020’s peak season campaigns compared to only 6% last year. Their positivity around improving the previous year’s results has also dwindled to only 45% saying they’re confident in their abilities to increase revenue. They cited concerns about a reduction in consumer demand, followed by increased competition with other eCommerce websites.
However, this is not at all reflected in the consumer report. In fact, according to Yieldify, 34% of consumers plan to increase their peak season spending. What’s more, the majority plan to mainly shop online with 48% of consumers heading to familiar websites and nearly one-third (29%) planning to shop on mostly new websites.
This huge disconnect between what marketers think consumers want vs what they actually want is where the opportunity lies for smart and agile eCommerce leaders. With less competition for an increased and more engaged customer base, marketers have a great opportunity to increase market share this peak season (and beyond).
7 CRO tactics to win this holiday shopping season
In order to help your store come out on top this holiday shopping season, we’ve delved into our proprietary data and client campaigns from last year and developed a list of holiday eCommerce specific strategies known to turn browsers into buyers.
The peak season, as well as the months leading up to it, are a great opportunity to grow your email list. And knowing that email marketing is consistently rated as the highest ROI marketing channel, it’s undeniably important to utilize in your holiday marketing campaigns.
As Campaign Monitor research shows, 116 million emails were sent on Black Friday seeing the highest number of opens and clicks. Another 106 million emails were sent on Cyber Monday. Overall, 20% of 2019’s holiday website traffic was coming from email.
That’s why our number one tactic is holiday lead capture. Here’s how to do it right:
Start your holiday lead capture campaigns early to get the maximum number of signups.
Offer holiday-specific incentives, such as access to pre-sale, exclusive discounts, and offers.
Update your creative to reflect the holiday theme.
Experiment with timing, i.e. show the form immediately after load vs some time on the page.
Pro tip: Go one step further and develop a fully-fledged EDM marketing campaign. Not sure what EDM marketing is? Check out our blog post.
2. Holiday wishlisting
With some retailers opting out of 2020 peak season campaigns altogether and others starting their promotional offers super early (looking at you, Amazon), even your most loyal customers might be confused as to what they can expect from your store this holiday shopping season.
To prevent customer attrition, offer your visitors a wishlist functionality. Inviting them to create an account and save items to their wishlist not only grows your database but it also creates brand attachment for peak season and beyond.
Start your wishlist campaigns before holiday promotions to people have time to create their lists.
Send wishlist reminder emails to get those customers back to your store.
Use the customers’ wishlist data to further personalize your marketing efforts.
Pro tip: Incorporate the data you get from the wishlisting customers into your social proof campaigns. For example, display a “Most Wished For” banner on popular items. Not sure how? Get in touch!
3. Social proof
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a powerful motivator, and with holiday eCommerce shoppers looking online more than ever, social proof will be an effective way to build urgency and drive conversions.
For the duration of the holiday shopping period, consider running social proof campaigns on both product listing pages (PLPs) and product detail pages (PDPs) alike. Use copy that suggests scarcity and creates an urgency to purchase, such as:
In high demand
Selling out fast
Sell out risk
Pro tip: Use real-time social proof to display customer activity here and how. For example, “X items sold in the last 24 hours” or “Only X items left.” For more social proof examples, head over here.
Timers are a great way to encourage shoppers to convert in-session because it makes them anticipate the feeling of regret if they miss the opportunity. eCommerce stores can use countdown timers in a number of ways: From flash sales and limited edition products to holiday campaigns, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Don’t forget you can also have your timer count up towards a specific date, for example, 10 days left until Thanksgiving sale!
Pro tip: Optimize your countdown timers for different devices. Whereas a pop-up overlay might work on desktop, mobile requires a different approach and is best served by a floating banner. See how M.J. Bale used countdown timers to boost conversions. Download the full case study here.
5. Holiday gift guides & recommendations
Don’t forget that the holiday peak season is not just about people shopping for their own needs. Gift shopping comes in strong with 9 in 10 Americans (89%) planning to buy gifts for friends and loved ones, and 54% of consumers taking recommendations from retailers, according to NRF.
Holiday gift guides are a great way to improve your eCommerce store’s experience by making site navigation easier, gift-searching more straightforward, and your brand more top of mind for the consumer. It is also a powerful tool for eCommerce websites to use cross-selling and upselling campaigns, and boost ancillary revenue.
Create a variety of gift guides based on relatable traits, such as price (gifts under $50), gender (for him, for her), relationship (for dad, for co-worker), hobbies (cooking, reading), etc.
Tap into influencers to curate and promote a gift guide to their followers.
Pro tip: Create a toaster campaign that shows up once the visitor has added an item to their shopping cart. Show highly-targeted and relevant offers based on that user’s in-session behavior. Not sure how? Get in touch!
6. Shopping cart reminders
While cart abandonment is a constant challenge faced by eCommerce marketers, it seems like COVID-19 might have introduced even more things to worry about come peak season. Looking at Statista’s data, the average cart abandonment rate across industries in March 2020 reached 88.05% (before it was usually cited to be around 75.6%).
While the rate might be different, reasons for cart abandonment remain the same. Usually, shoppers abandon their carts due to high shipping costs, unexpected taxes, and discount codes not working. Also to blame is the habit of comparison shopping.
Knowing how important holiday eCommerce sales are to the overall revenue of the business, deploying smart cart recovery tactics is crucial for any holiday marketing campaign. Here are our top tips:
Pro tip: Remind visitors of past shopping sessions and streamline their progress to checkout with shopping cart reminders. These can be effectively combined with urgency tactics like inventory warnings and discount deadlines to drive speedy conversions. Not sure how? Get in touch!
7. Return redirect overlay
Congrats! You did everything there is to optimize your eCommerce store for holiday season conversions. You got the traffic, made the sales. Not to rain on your parade, but inevitably, you’re going to be faced with returns. And a lot of them.
The reality is that many customers buy products with an explicit plan to immediately return some or all of their items. When it comes to holiday frenzy with discounts and gift shopping, this becomes even more true.
Don’t fret. Here’s a clever strategy to make those returners convert again. Using behavioral segmentation, you can target customers who have returned a product and serve them a personalized overlay with a copy that acknowledges their return and offers to find a better suitable item.
Pro tip: It’s important to know the reasons behind a customer’s return, otherwise this tactic might not be effective or even cause more dissatisfaction. Try to gather as much data as you can on the reasons behind a return and create targeting segments accordingly.
Not enough holiday CRO tactics? Get in touch and we’ll share 10 more!
Peak season is just around the corner and it’s important to start sowing the seeds – or in your case, holiday marketing campaigns. We can help you reach maximum exposure on your holiday promotions, turn browsers into buyers, abandoners into loyalists, and more.
All you have to do is get in touch with our team and we’ll share 10 other CRO tactics that our team has carefully curated for this holiday season.
With many e-commerce events and retailer trade shows canceled due to COVID-19, we sourced some of the best e-commerce conferences you can still attend in 2020. Note: We’ll keep this list updated with new information.
COVID-19 has turned marketers’ lives upside down, with event marketing and B2B trade shows taking one of the hardest hits. At the beginning of March, we’ve seen numerous e-commerce conferences being canceled and trade show organizers pulling the plug after corporate partners and attendees backing out due to coronavirus uncertainty.
The “grim reaper” of e-commerce conferences took mercy on no one: we’ve seen global giants like Shoptalk, Shopify Unite, RetailX drop at the same rate as smaller niche events.
Nevertheless, a major trend has emerged. Businesses that were either planning to attend or host their own physical event decided to shift their focus online. In a matter of days, virtual events started popping up promising the same immersive experiences and networking capabilities of a face-to-face event…but from the comfort of your sofa!
According to Bizzabo, 57% of marketers had to pivot their events to virtual due to the impact of COVID-19 with a whopping 92% saying they plan to incorporate virtual events into their strategy going forward even though almost ¾ haven’t run virtual events in the past.
So while we can still expect physical events to return sometime in Q4 or the beginning of 2021, they’ll likely never be the same. And not only due to post-COVID-19 safety regulations, but also the fact that event budgets will be relocated or cut significantly.
So where to go if you still want to network with your peers, learn about eCommerce trends and strategies from leading retailers, or simply showcase your eCommerce brand? Here’s our – continuously updated – list of best e-commerce conferences and retail events to attend in 2020.
eTail Canada Virtual Event [VIRTUAL] June 18, 2020, 12:00 PM – 3:30 PM EST The eTail Canada Virtual Event will give you tips, tricks, and lessons learned from the top minds in retail eCommerce and omnichannel.
eTail Virtual Event [VIRTUAL] June 22-23, 2020, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET The eTail Virtual Event is an online free-to-attend summit, bringing together tops mind in e-commerce and omnichannel providing the latest insights with the convenience of an on-demand digital event.
#TrendsOfTomorrow Ep.1: Budget-friendly hacks for eCommerce growth [VIRTUAL] June 24, 2020, 03:30 PM BST #TrendsOfTomorrow is a new virtual event series by Yieldify. Each month, our industry experts will share their top recommendations on a key area of e-commerce, followed by open office hours where we’ll answer your burning questions.
Shoptalk Virtual: Resurgence of Retail: A New Era of Shoppers and Stores Emerges [VIRTUAL] June 25, 2020, starting at 1:00 PM EDT In this session, Shoptalk will conduct three 10-minute interviews with leaders at three different retailers to highlight how each of them has approached store reopenings and what they’ve learned about what does and doesn’t work as they strive to win over COVID-wary shoppers.
Signifyd FLOW Virtual Meetup [VIRTUAL] June 25, 2020, 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM BST Signifyd FLOW Virtual Happy Hour brings together like-minded thought leaders, local merchants, and members of the e-commerce community to collaborate and empower each other during this unprecedented time of COVID‑19.
Northeast eCommerce Mini Summit [VIRTUAL] June 30, 2020, 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM EDT A day of networking, presentations, and panels from e-commerce industry leaders.
Events in July
eTailing Summit 2020 [PHYSICAL TURNED VIRTUAL] July 06, 2020 The summit continues to follow the award-winning structure that brings key e-commerce and digital managers from online retailers together with leading solution providers for focused one-to-one meetings via a pre-arranged itinerary of virtual business meetings.
Shoptalk Virtual: Changes in Consumer Behavior: Shoptalk Retail Framework for COVID-19 [VIRTUAL] July 09, 2020, starting at 1:00 PM EDT During this session, the Shoptalk team will provide an update to the Shoptalk Retail Framework for COVID-19 based on recent data and analysis related to changing consumer behavior. This update will look at how the new era in retail is being shaped by shoppers transformed by the COVID-19 experience.
B2B Online Virtual Event [VIRTUAL] July 15-16, 2020, 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM EST The B2B Online Virtual Event is an online free-to-attend forum, bringing together top minds in B2B manufacturing and distribution eCommerce and omnichannel providing the latest insights with the convenience of an on-demand digital event.
Events in August
eTail Asia 2020 [PHYSICAL] August 04-06, 2020 eTail is designed to help e-commerce merchants increase the profits from their online business. Inspiring keynotes, over 30 hours of intimate discussion groups, disruptive strategies, peer to peer conversations, and connections with the top minds at Asia’s most successful retailers.
B2B Online Chicago 2020 [PHYSICAL] August 05-06, 2020 The most disruptive digital, eCommerce, and omnichannel content. With 900+ B2B leaders exclusively in one place at one time, this is the only meeting place to shape the future of the industry.
iMedia Online Retail Summit: Australia [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: August 24-26, 2020 iMedia Online Retail Summit provides an intimate environment for senior online retail marketing executives to converge, debate, and discuss the major strategic issues they face in online retail. 2020 theme: Partnerships: great alone, better together.
#TrendsOfTomorrow: Personalization after COVID-19 [VIRTUAL] August 26, 2020 The COVID-19 crisis has drastically changed the landscape of eCommerce, with the industry jumping forward 10 years in a 90-day period. But what does that mean for innovation, particularly in the field of personalization? Join Yieldify on August 26th to learn more about the results of a personalization survey conducted with 400 eCommerce leaders.
MivaCon 2020 Digital Day [PHYSICAL TURNED VIRTUAL] Rescheduled to August/September 2020 The MivaCon 2020 Digital Day is all about empowering independent sellers. Merchant attendees will receive exclusive insights from top e-commerce experts on what they need to stay competitive, relevant, and profitable.
Events in September
eTail Asia & ANZ Virtual Summit Week [VIRTUAL] September 07-11, 2020 Accelerate your digital transformation with proven strategies from leading retailers, get your eCommerce, digital marketing, and e-delivery capabilities ready for COVID-19, and discover how the latest strategies, tools, and technologies are being leveraged.
One-to-One Monaco 2020 [PHYSICAL] September 01-03, 2020 The theme chosen for the 2020 edition will allow participants to better understand the expectations of a more committed and responsible consumer, and the challenges of market players who are massively accelerating in this process.
Shoptalk 2020 [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: September 14-17, 2020, Everyone who’s anyone is at Shoptalk. Over 8,000 individuals attend Shoptalk each year from almost 3,000 established retailers and brands, startups, tech companies, investors, real estate operators, media, Wall Street analyst firms, and more.
iMedia Online Retail Summit: New Zealand [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: September 14-16, 2020 iMedia Online Retail Summit provides an intimate environment for senior online retail marketing executives to converge, debate, and discuss the major strategic issues they face in online retail. 2020 theme: Partnerships: great alone, better together.
Paris Retail Week [PHYSICAL] September 15-17, 2020 Paris Retail Week 2020 will bring together trade professionals at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles in an ever more experiential format. Conferences, Workshops, Pitching, Awards, Innovation Tours, Store Tours, and announcements of new innovations will energize this event dedicated to sharing knowledge, experiences, and best practices.
Savant eCommerce London [PHYSICAL] September 16-17, 2020 Savant eCommerce London will explore both established and innovative approaches for you to efficiently drive profitability within your organization.
eCommerce Under the MiCROscope: Cart abandonment [VIRTUAL] September 23, 2020 With planning for peak season underway, Yieldify’s CRO experts are back with a special focus on cart abandonment and how to stop it. In this short session, we’ll be dissecting a selection of real eCommerce website live to show us best practice (and missed opportunities) when it comes to getting from cart to conversion.
The Virtual B2B E-Commerce Summit [VIRTUAL] September 24, 2020 Ready to get inspired by our virtual B2B summit for manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors? You will learn the latest and most practical information on how to succeed in e-commerce.
E-commerce Summit 2020 [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: September 28-29, 2020 The E-commerce Summit is an exclusive, invitation-only conference for retailers and brands. Focusing on the European market and the following three verticals: Fashion & Lifestyle, Home & Living, and Food & Care-, the top trending topics on E-commerce will be widely addressed.
Savant eCommerce Stockholm 2020 [PHYSICAL] September 29-30,2020 This year, Savant eCommerce Stockholm will explore the methods and strategies, both tried and new, for you to effectively drive profitability within your organisation.
eTail Virtual Event [VIRTUAL] September 29-30, 2020 The eTail September Virtual Event is a 2-Day online, free-to-attend summit, bringing together tops mind in retail and providing the latest insights with the convenience of an on-demand digital event.
E-commerce Expo London 2020 [PHYSICAL] September 30-October 01, 2020 E-commerce Expo is the UK’s largest event dedicated exclusively to the e-commerce industry. Focusing on customer acquisition, retention, and fulfillment, E-commerce Expo addresses the key areas to get your business growing.
Events in October
E-Commerce Day REMOTE [VIRTUAL] October 01, 2020 Get educated, motivated, and inspired by over 50 E-commerce Expert Speakers, Including Merchant Keynote Rebecca Minkoff.
Bloomreach Connect Global Online Summit [VIRTUAL] October 06, 2020 Meet the brightest minds from the worlds of tech and commerce. The 5th edition of this flagship event will bring a global speaker lineup and an immersive digital experience live from your home.
Savant Supply Chain Congress [PHYSICAL] October 06-07, 2020 Savant Supply Chain is always at the forefront of developments in your sector. An energizing and high-level event like no other in the supply chain space, it brings together 130+ Heads of Supply Chain, Logistics and Planning from Europe’s most established and most innovative B2C supply chains.
Drapers Digital Festival 2020 [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: October 07, 2020 An immersive festival featuring essential content from industry leaders, live awards judging, competitions, fringe events, and a celebration of the industry’s digital triumphs.
eTail East 2020 [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: October 13-15, 2020 eTail is a three-day conference designed to help e-commerce merchants increase the profits from their business. Action-packed stories, disruptive strategies, strategic conversations, and connections with top minds at America’s most successful retailers.
eTail Australia 2020 [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: October 13-15, 2020 With over 250+ retail decision makers exclusively in one place at one time, this is THE meeting place to benchmark your business with the best and shape the future of your industry.
Online Retailer Sydney 2020 [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: October 19-20, 2020 This October, hundreds of stakeholders, large and small, will come together to access the latest trends, strategic insights, solutions, tech and connections that will make a positive difference to their business in 2020 and beyond.
iMedia Online Retail Summit: South East Asia [PHYSICAL] Rescheduled: October 26-28, 2020 iMedia Online Retail Summit provides an intimate environment for senior online retail marketing executives to converge, debate, and discuss the major strategic issues they face in online retail in a closed forum. 2020 theme: Partnerships: great alone, better together.
PI Live London [PHYSICAL] October 27-28, 2020 PI LIVE London in an annual gathering of the brightest minds in e-commerce, affiliate, and performance marketing. Our events are carefully curated and designed with both retailers and publishers in mind giving access to great content, leading technologies, and potential partners across two action-packed days.
Events in November
B2B Marketing Expo 2020 London [PHYSICAL] November 10-11, 2020 Europe’s leading marketing event, connecting the most proactive marketing professionals with the tools, techniques, and innovations they need to be at the forefront of the ever-evolving world of marketing.
Events in December
Digital Travel US 2020 [PHYSICAL] December 14-15, 2020 Digital Travel is the premier interactive conference for travel executives who are looking to reimagine the customer journey. Join the top minds from hotels, OTAs, airlines, transportation companies, and everything in-between, to share practical insight on how to enhance personalization and improve their online strategies for better cross-channel experiences.
What is behavioral segmentation and why is it important to your eCommerce business?
Let’s answer this question and define some key behavioral segmentation examples.
Marketing Segmentation has always been a key component of the most effective marketing strategies. Dividing customers into smaller groups based on their needs and actions ensures you are best placed to efficiently solve their problems and in turn, sell more of your products.
Whilst understanding information such as your average customer’s location, age, and gender are essential first steps to begin addressing those needs, sometimes it is necessary to go one step further.
Leveraging other useful customer metrics like behavioral data can help you identify how your customers interact with your business.
For example, behavioral segmentation can answer questions like How many times they visit your online store before purchasing?; or Which promotional message – a discount code or a free shipping guarantee – is more likely to nudge them towards a higher-value purchase?
This level of insight is what makes behavioral segmentation a must-have marketing strategy for eCommerce businesses. In this post we’ll cover:
Behavioral segmentation refers to a process in marketing which divides customers into segments depending on their behavior patterns when interacting with a particular business or website.
These segments could include grouping customers by:
Their attitude toward your product, brand or service;
Their use of your product or service,
Their overall knowledge of your brand and your brand’s products,
Their purchasing tendencies, such as buying on special occasions like birthdays or holidays only, etc.
Going beyond the traditional demographic and geographic segmentation methods and utilizing behavioral data allows for the execution of more successful marketing campaigns.
At the very least, behavioral segmentation offers marketers and business owners a more complete understanding of their audience, thus enabling them to tailor products or services to specific customer needs. Below we take a look at four more benefits of behavioral segmentation.
Why is behavioral segmentation so important?
Identifies the most engaged users. Being able to filter existing customers and potential prospects that display highest levels of engagement – for example, those regularly opening your emails, or spend the most time with your product pages – enables marketers to make more informed decisions on how and where to best allocate time, budget, and resources. In return, this makes your marketing more cost-effective, as you’re not burning through budget trying to warm up predominantly cold leads. You can focus on those most likely to make a purchase.
Improves messaging accuracy. Behavioral segmentation allows marketers to optimize their positioning and marketing messages toward the customer data at hand. Imagine you’ve already identified that 24-35-year-olds are the most active segment on your fashion eCommerce store. Behavioral segmentation allows you to enrich this demographic data by splitting the segment based on their interests and preferences, such as “interested in activewear” vs “interested in formal attire,” or “one-time shopper” vs “wardrobe overhauler.”
Provides refined personalized experiences. To provide a sense of brand persona and uniqueness, deeply analyzing your audience and resonating with customer needs, wants, concerns, and demands can make noticeable differences. Specifically, personalized approaches, such as displaying complementary products on the website or sending an upsell email after a recent purchase can not only lower bounce rate, reduce cart abandonment, or speed up the purchasing process, but also cement customer loyalty.
Builds brand loyalty. Customers who feel they are being attended to throughout their customer journey will instinctively favor the brand over competitors. Behavioral segmentation enables eCommerce businesses to reach extraordinary levels of customer satisfaction & retention, increase customer lifetime value, and boost long-term revenue. All due to increased targeting accuracy and higher levels of personalization.
What are the 4 types of behavioral segmentation?
There are four main types of behavioral segmentation that help form a complete customer profile throughout their buying journey. Each nuance provides actionable insights, which can be embedded in a variety of marketing channels and encourage customers to act on their purchase decisions.
You can break these down into four main behavioral segments.
1. Segmentation based on purchase and usage behavior
Segmenting by purchase behavior disentangles the varying trends and behavior patterns that customers have when making a purchase decision.
Segmenting by purchase behavior disentangles the varying trends and behavior patterns that customers have when making a purchase decision.
This form of behavioral segmentation provides insight into the buying stage that your customer might be in, their role in the purchasing process, the obstacles they are facing, the incentives they’re most likely to respond to and much more.
For example, customers who prefer to undertake research will often turn to search engines or reviews to be assured they are making the right decision purchasing from you, whilst customers that are particularly thrifty may only interact with your brand or product when on sale.
Ultimately, both of these customer types can fall into the same product affinity category. However, targeting all of them with the same marketing materials and messaging is destined to waste resources. The aforementioned careful consumer may not respond to discount promotions in the same manner as the thrifty one.
This is where segmenting by purchase behavior comes in. You can break these behaviors down into categories depending on:
How many interactions with your business does a customer need before proceeding to conversion;
What search queries a customer used to locate your brand, product or service;
What questions a customer asks when using a live chat or virtual assistant; etc.
Knowing this information allows you to respond to your customer’s needs in a relevant manner.
For example, customers who are in the research phase and are likely to leave to compare prices could be retargeted with a “best price” or “price match” guarantee. Alternatively, a shopper that is keen on social proof and buys in accordance with popularity trends could be targeted with a message suggesting that the item is in high demand, and moving fast.
2. Occasion or timing-based segmentation
Occasion-basedsegmentation categorizes customers who are most likely to interact with your brand or purchase from your website on either specific occasions or set times.
Occasions could include national holidays like Labor Day, a holiday season like Thanksgiving or Christmas, or life occasions, such as a wedding, new house, or vacation.
Occasion-based purchasing can also occur in a customer’s daily routine. Purchases like a happy hour round of drinks after work and a caffeinated morning drink are all types of occasion-based purchases as they are only bought at precise times.
Grouping customers using this form of segmentation involves monitoring a customer’s purchasing behavior to establish a pattern so that you preempt the targeting process.
For example, if your store has customers that participate yearly in your Thanksgiving promotions, but do not buy anything else from you throughout the year, you can use this information to market to the customer in weeks in advance.
3. Benefits sought segmentation
Segmenting by benefits sought refers to dividing your audience based on the unique value proposition your customer is looking to gain from your product or service.
Let us explain further. When we make purchases, we do so based on the belief that we will receive a certain value or benefit from using the product or service.
Even when purchasing something as mundane as toothpaste, we lean towards different value propositions: Some may be looking for whitening benefits while others seek comfort to their sensitive gums. Dividing consumers based on these factors embodies the benefits sought segmentation.
Grouping your data by benefits sought helps you narrow down the specifics of what drives customer purchases, revealing which product feature or service aspect they feel most attuned to. Divide data by these benefit categories when using this form of behavioral segmentation:
Quality: What makes your product better than your competitors?
Usage: How will it benefit your customer when they use it?
Customer Feedback: Are your customers happy with the product or service, or are there areas for improvement?
USPs: What makes your product unique from other already existing products?
Additional Benefits: Are there other advantages a customer could receive from purchasing your products or services?
4. Segmentation based on customer loyalty
Loyalty-based segmentation measures the level of loyalty a customer has with your brand, either through a rewards program, number of purchases, or general engagement with your marketing efforts.
Using loyalty-based behavioral segmentation helps you to zero in on existing repeat customers, their needs, behavior patterns, and more. Besides generating repeat revenue from your business, loyal customers are incredibly useful in terms of referrals, word of mouth, and feedback.
Extracting valuable information from this segment can help you optimize future campaigns, improve your value proposition, strengthen positioning, and more. Consider identifying factors such as:
What the key behaviors were throughout the customer journey that nurtured loyalty;
Which customers are the most appropriate or ideal type for loyalty programs;
What factors are most essential in keeping those segments of customers happy;
Which ways value received from loyal customers can be maximized.
The most common examples of customer loyalty segmentation can be reflected in the travel industry which regularly promotes frequent flier programs and the finance industry who offer rewards for big-spending platinum credit card members.
Behavioral segmentation examples for eCommerce
When used effectively, behavioral segmentation can produce astounding results, transforming previously cold leads or customers into newly engaged and retained ones. Here we list some real-life examples, so you can see behavioral segmentation at its subtle, very best.
Usage behavior: BabyCentre UK
Part of the Johnson & Johnson multinational corporation, BabyCentre UK is a pregnancy and childcare resource located in the United Kingdom. The company uses a Facebook Messenger app to suggest personalized advice and make targeted recommendations based on the input that it receives from the user, through a series of questions and answers.
For example in the promotional images above, when the parent selects weaning as the problem they are encountering, the BabyCentre app engages the user by giving them a list of signs to look out for, as well as then suggesting recipes for when the child is ready for solid food.
This tailored experience provides BabyCentre with actionable data that it can use to segment the user by the information obtained through their selections: For example, their child falling into an age category that experiences weaning. Categorizing by this data can help target the customer with repeat, relevant information – such as recipe guides or other helpful advice.
When Babycentre investigated what drove the highest levels of traffic to its website – the chatbot or email marketing – it revealed that the messenger bot recorded a read rate of 84% and click-through rate (CTR) of 53%. Together the stats made for an overall engagement rate that was 1,428% higher than its email funnel, adding further evidence to how effective segmentation can be when categorized correctly.
One out the box example of occasion-based purchasing segmentation came from a campaign initiated last year by famous Irish stout manufacturer, Guinness.
Guinness gives their brand name to sponsor the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Cup each year and regularly experience sales boosts through fans purchasing their drinks to complement the matches.
However, with industry stats showing that 6.1 million people now actively choose not to consume alcohol, Guinness wanted to find a way to diversify their marketing strategy to appeal to those who don’t drink, whilst also aiming to retain previously existing customers, and those most likely to purchase again from them throughout the time of the tournament.
So, just before the Rugby Tournament was due to begin they aired a 30-second advertisement advertising their new product: Guinness Clear.
The campaign used slogans such as “Make it a night you’ll remember,” and “Sometimes less is more” while alluding to the brand new ingredient of H20. The campaign reached 21 million people and immediately generated global media attention, with customers confused as to whether the product was a new product, or whether it was just water – which in the end, it turned out it was.
This process of segmentation worked across multiple audiences. For existing loyal customers, they immediately flooded manufacturers with questions as to where they could purchase the product, whilst those consumers that Guinness knew were more likely to buy, but only in conjunction with the event, were also targeted with a timely reminder of their brand to be enticed once again into purchasing.
Additionally, it had the potential to acquire any new or occasional drinkers who could be won over by a creative marketing campaign.
American skincare brand Olay used benefits sought behavioral segmentation when creating its Skin Advisor. The artificial intelligence beauty tool collects data from customers by asking them five to seven quick questions about their skin. The advisor then reveals the true age of the customer’s skin, and recommend products accordingly.
By asking the customer questions based around their skincare routine, and their preferences, Olay can collate data that can influence its product development, allowing the brand to bring out products that are most sought after and most relevant to their customers.
For example, through its Skin Advisor app, Olay gleaned that a large percentage of its consumer base wanted fragrance free products. Originally, these products were not even considered by Olay’s development team, but they were then able to be actioned for manufacturing.
Olay did the same when data from the Advisor revealed that many customers were seeking Retinol based products, and the subsequent lack of Retinol products in its range was contributing to the brand losing custom. In response, Olay released Retinol 24 which has gone on to be one of the brand’s best selling products and which helped to completely transform their sales.
Another behavioral segmentation example is that of DavidsTea who uses behavioral segmentation in their loyalty programs.
DavidsTea is a Canadian specialty tea seller who wanted a fun way to personalize their messaging to their most valued customers. Their timeline style emails won general applause across the internet and are ranked as one of the best email marketing examples, ever.
As the above screenshot shows, when a customer reaches a specific anniversary with the company, they receive a “look back” email that contains data such as where their first purchase took place and uses the recording of data such as their most purchased teas to give a fun, by weight, comparison.
By receiving this email the customer feels unique and valued throughout their customer journey and will be more inclined to continue purchasing.
Other types of behavioral segmentation
Whilst we have covered the four main types of behavioral segmentation, there are other strategies that encompass different behavioral segments. These include:
Segmentation based on customer journey stage
A customer’s buying journey develops in four main stages, which make up the widely known AIDA model. The AIDA model recognizes this process of deliberation as a sequence of 4 steps:
Attention: The consumer becomes aware of the brand, product, or service.
Interest: The consumer’s curiosity develops into a deeper interest.
Desire: The consumer starts imagining the product in their everyday lives.
Action: The consumer is ready to purchase.
It’s important to note the eCommerce buyer’s journey doesn’t end with the purchase. After the initial conversion follow Adoption (your customer makes repeated, regular purchases) and Advocacy (your customer becomes a loyal supporter of your brand, product, or service, frequently purchasing and actively promoting you by word of mouth, social proof, etc.).
Segmenting by the customer journey stage gives direction to your business objectives: To pull customers into the attention stage you’ll need strong advertising campaigns, media coverage, influencer support, and all that jazz.
However, to nudge customers from desire to purchase you’ll need well-positioned USPs, clear and informative FAQs, associative product imagery, and good website UX. Not to forget that 8 in 10 customers often leave products in their cart, strong remarketing campaigns via email, SMS, or browser will also come in handy.
Our client, Vinomofo, used this type of segmentation to develop a strategy that targeted specific audiences including new, returning visitors, returning clients, and more. New visitors were served with a $15 off incentive, whereas returning clients saw premium services depending on their basket value. Check out the Vinomofo case study in full to learn about the results!
All in all, gaining a comprehensive idea of the stage your customer is in, as well as the touchpoints they interact with, allows you to provide more relevant and timely communication that can lead to higher conversion rates.
Segmentation based on engagement
Customer engagement can be categorized by three levels:
Occasional: Customers sometimes have contact with your brand, product, or service but not regularly.
Regular: Customers regularly interact with your products or services, but fail to use them to the full extent.
Intensive: Your products or services are embedded in your customer’s life and they buy from you at any opportunity.
Just like customer journey stage segmentation, grouping customers based on their engagement levels can also help you to understand the reasons why their behavior falls into the appropriate category.
For occasional customers, surveys could be a useful tool in determining whether they lack the motivation or trust to purchase. Providing regular customers with marketing material that highlights all the features of your product or service may display changes in their behavior. Those who are intensive advocates of your product or service could benefit from loyalty or reward schemes in order to retain their custom and incentivize further word-of-mouth marketing.
Use this information accordingly and adjust both your marketing messages and strategies to appeal to each segment. This will aid customer retention by dividing the relevant materials between those engaged, and those unengaged, and ultimately help to reduce churn.
Segmentation based on satisfaction
Behavioral segmentation based on satisfaction is the most straightforward of them all. Utilizing customer feedback can help you to enhance your product or service by understanding which features your customers most desire, or which could help you edge ahead of competitors.
Use marketing tools like surveys and offer incentives for completing the feedback such as a discount off of their next purchase. These will be worth it in the long run.
Behavioral segmentation is a vital part of any marketing strategy, and implemented in one of the above methods can display data trends and insights that you may have otherwise never have uncovered.
By understanding customer behavior you can use this to improve performance across other channels such as email marketing, SMS marketing, social media marketing, and chatbot marketing to diversify your results.
By segmenting your users by their behavioral data, you gain a more comprehensive look at how you can adjust your messaging, brand, marketing materials, and ultimately products or services in order to stay ahead of the competition and reduce your customer churn.
Behavioral segmentation FAQ:
What is behavioral segmentation?
Behavioral segmentation refers to a marketing segmentation process in which customers are divided by their behavior patterns when interacting with a business.
What are the four types of behavioral segmentation?
The four main types of behavioral segmentation are based around purchase behavior, occasion-based purchases, benefits sought, and customer loyalty.
What is an example of behavioral segmentation?
Examples of behavioral segmentation include loyalty programs, happy hour events, survey collection, and recommendations, such as possible travel destinations, or ancillary products.
Looking to learn more about eCommerce merchandising? We handpicked 11 merchandising resources for all types of learners: from online courses to books and webinars – find one that suits you the best!
Most marketers would say that working through their eCommerce merchandising strategy is quite an exciting time. It means you are taking the steps to improve your business model, increase your revenue, and grow a loyal customer base.
The art of displaying products and offers on shelves to increase sales has long been a staple of retail stores. E-commerce merchandising is a relatively new concept in comparison, but it has quickly become just as important for digital stores as it has been for brick and mortar.
1. Fast Track Retail Buying and Merchandising. This beginner course introduces you to the specialized terminology, concepts, jargon, and acronyms of merchandising. This Udemy course will give you a full picture of how everything ties in together to help you fully understand the complexities of the buying and merchandising cycle in your business.
2. Shopify Compass’ store design courses. Shopify has a series of courses in its Compass program (formerly known as Shopify Academy) that can help you create a stunning eCommerce experience that converts visitors into loyal customers.
The second course – Introduction to Strategic Store Content – will teach you how to leverage strategic content to give your online store the strongest ROI. Lessons include learning how to optimize your website using best practices, and how every page on your website can work to lead potential customers through checkout.
The third course – Product Photography for eCommerce – focuses on the importance of product photography for eCommerce websites and teaches you how you can create your own low budget product photography.
3. The Art and Science of Buying and Merchandising. With this 7.5 hours long online course available exclusively on Business of Fashion (BoF), you will gain a general understanding of the buying and merchandising functions in your business.
Taking this course you’ll get advice on how to use your data along with your instincts to make big business decisions. Finally, you’ll get a look into best-in-class companies and how they execute their buying and merchandising strategies.
4. Retail Management – Merchandising, Distribution and Marketing. While this free course available on Alison focuses mainly on brick-and-mortar stores, the first half of the course has some great lessons that can easily be applied to eCommerce websites. In Module 1, you will learn how to set price points, the basics of visual merchandising, the principles of design, and how to effectively design to attract customers.
5. Product Styling for a Higher Revenue. Presenting your products in an appealing way in a big part of effective merchandising. Skillshare’s course will teach you how to create visually stunning images that are presented in a way that supports your brand story. Learning how to style your photos gives you the solid foundation you need to create beautiful images that convert.
7. Upstart!: Visual Identities For Start-Ups & New Businesses. If you are just getting started and you have yet to create a visual brand identity for your eCommerce business, Gestalten’s Upstart! is a great place to go for inspiration. This book showcases a range of visual identities that have been created by new businesses and start-ups and is a great way to find inspiration for your own visual merchandising.
8. The Ultimate Visual Merchandising Handbook. While this whitepaper on visual merchandising is written with retail stores in mind, 90% of the content is easily translated into the eCommerce world. The Tips and Tricks chapter is very applicable and offers some great takeaways and the How-To Measure VM Strategies provides a very interesting take on how to track and measure the success of your visual merchandising initiatives.
9. The Elements of Visual Merchandising. Another book that focuses mostly on brick-and-mortar stores, The Elements of Visual Merchandising has a lot of wonderful takeaways that can be applied to an online store. The Importance of shopping environment is one section to take note of – how can you create an eCommerce shopping environment that keeps your customers coming back? And the section on creative applications can help you to understand just how far you can go to entice your customers.
Best merchandising webinars and conferences
10. NRF NXT’s 2020 Digital Conference. This annual conference is the biggest retail eCommerce and digital marketing event. Happening virtually on July 20-22, 2020, the NRF NXT conference is known to focus on merchandising strategies as well as other salient topics for eCommerce businesses. This year’s session on end-to-end execution for AI results and creating growth through experimentation will have direct implications for any digital merchandiser.
11. E-commerce Merchandising Informational Webinar. The University of Vermont offers a 4-week intensive course on eCommerce merchandising and this pre-recorded webinar gives you insight into the course but also into the basics of eCommerce merchandising, the current trends in eCommerce merchandising, the 3 biggest issues eCommerce merchandisers face, and a few tips and tricks to get you started.
While eCommerce merchandising is still a new field and the resources available are working to catch up to the times, there are a lot of great places you can get your information from. And most importantly, a lot of the content that has been created over the years for retail merchandising still rings true. Don’t be afraid to take what works for your business and leave the rest behind. Good luck!
Struggling to choose from the variety of eCommerce merchandising tools available on the market?
We’ve narrowed it down to 6 must-have technologies that will help you scale your eCommerce site to new heights. These tools can help online retailers improve marketing campaigns, customer experience, improve average order value and more.
Merchandising is essential in the eCommerce world. Effective merchandising helps lead potential customers through the buyer’s journey and aims to convert them into loyal customers before they bounce to a new website.
Disclaimer: Yieldify is our product. We’ve done our best to present the information fairly because we want to help you make an educated decision but we’re especially proud of what we offer. We’ve seen it transform conversion rates, lead generation and revenue for so many brands – large and small – all over the world. You may have seen we use the Yieldify platform and services on our own website too. Learn more here and schedule a call with an advisor.
6 must-have merchandising tools for eCommerce
1. Yieldify: personalized customer journeys
Personalization is key to any strong eCommerce merchandising strategy. You need to make your customers feel like their shopping experience is tailored to their needs, much like a salesperson would in a retail store.
Yieldify is a fully-managed website personalization solution focused on creating highly-converting eCommerce customer journeys.
When it comes to merchandising, Yieldify’s solution is multifold:
Once you decide who you’re trying to reach, Yieldify’s CRO experts deploy a variety of well-timed campaigns for every step of your customer journey: From lead generation at the awareness stage to dynamic social proof at the moment of purchase, and beyond.
Using behavioral triggers, Yieldify’s personalization engine allows you to deliver tailored messaging based on real-time customer behavior, such as interaction with specific product categories or pages, shopping cart value, site searches, and more.
Yieldify’s team of designers elevate your merchandising strategy by implementing cohesive brand imagery and style in all the interactive elements used to enhance the customer journey.
To see more about how Yieldify can help you improve your eCommerce merchandising strategy and turn more website visitors into buyers, check out their case studies here.
2. Hotjar: heatmaps and behavioral analytics
Heatmaps are arguably the most powerful way to visualize and understand what your customers are doing on your website. And Hotjar, the industry-leading heatmap and behavior analytics tool, is a great addition to any merchandiser’s tool belt.
Hotjar provides a variety of ways for eCommerce marketers to optimize their website merchandising strategy. Using their heatmaps tool, you can visualize the clicks, taps, and scrolling behavior of your website visitors. This allows you to see the areas most browsers tend to focus on, as well as the ones they overlook.
The most common use case is to see how far down your page customers actually scroll. If you have placed important information at the bottom of the product page, such as customer reviews, 360º product close-upvideo, or – god forbid! – your “Add to cart” button, but your heatmaps show that only 15% of visitors scroll down to see it, it’s a good indication to move that crucial information above the fold.
Hotjar also allows you to make session recordings. You will be able to see in real-time how potential customers are interacting with your eCommerce store. This all but eliminates the guesswork and lets you see exactly what usability issues they may face and what areas of your website are working for you and what areas you need to focus on to improve customer experience.
HotJar can be placed across key areas of eCommerce sites to gather data on the key steps within the eCommerce funnel. For example, you can place heatmaps and set up session recordings on a category page to review click through rate of product placement. You can then repeat this process across different product lines.
Alternatively, you could place these on a specific product page to see how product descriptions are performing, are the complementary products you’re cross selling having the right impact? You can review session recordings to see if you’re keeping the customer’s attention
Lastly, Hotjar enables you to gather more feedback and understand what your potential customers want to achieve when visiting your website with their feedback polls feature. You can target questions to customers anywhere on your page to gain valuable information on what is and isn’t working for them on your eCommerce website.
For example, you can ask how the visitor came across your website, what motivated or prevented them from making a purchase, or how to generally improve the website experience. See more Hotjar poll examples here with lots of them focusing on eCommerce.
3. Hawksearch – next-level product search
Effective search is an essential element of your merchandising strategy. You want a search tool that is simple, functional, and easy-to-use. But that is the bare minimum of what your search needs to achieve – with Hawksearch, it can do so much more.
Hawksearch is a powerful merchandising tool that delivers the right content, at the right time, and allows you to create the best user experience possible. With Hawksearch, your product categories can be applied as search filters, and be displayed based on the search results page.
You can also add a layer of personalization to search results, to highlight products based using location, weather, past purchases, and more. And finally, you can use the power of machine learning to identify relevant recommendations to show potential customers to upsell and cross-sell based on their behaviors.
According to AddThis, 84% of eCommerce sites don’t actively optimize or measure their on-site search. This in itself presents you with a quick opportunity to improve user experience and convert browsers into buyers.
A study by eConsultancy showed that while the average conversion rate across all websites measured at 2.77%, site search users converted at 4.63%. Whilst we can always try and guide users through websites there will be nothing quicker than effective site search.
4. Shutter Stream – 360º product photography
For eCommerce websites, having excellent product photography is a big part of online merchandising. In retail stores, it’s easy enough to display your products – customers can pick up, examine, and try on products in person. Online, you need to make sure that your product images are high-quality and appealing to entice potential customers to buy from your website.
Product pages are one of the most important pages on an eCommerce site, images make up a huge part of that. According to a study by Etsy, about 90% of surveyed shoppers believe the quality of eCommerce images were very important when deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
Shutter Stream creates software and hardware for eCommerce product photography that is designed for users of any skill level. The goal is to help anyone and everyone create high quality still and 360-degree product images in-house instead of needing to hire a professional photographer.
Shutter Stream Photography Software integrates image composition, camera control, image editing and image processing tools into a single standalone application that helps to automate and batch process standard imaging tasks.
5. AstraFit – virtual fitting room
If your eCommerce website is selling clothing, then let us introduce you to your newest employee – AstraFit. The smart assistant you never knew you needed, AstraFit helps to create a personalized shopping experience by advising potential customers on product sizes and helping them to pick the best fitting clothing.
AstraFit is a must-have merchandising tool in that it gives you a virtual fitting room right on your site by allowing them to see how garments fit their unique figures, by providing them with an easy to understand description of how the garment will fit and feel, and giving them a personalized fit score for each garment they look at.
6. Guided Shopping
Research has found that 83% of shoppers need support during their online journey. Providing a guided shopping experience can come in many forms, from simple chatbots and quizzes, to virtual shopping assistants, or via a tool such as Shopware.
This is a simple but very effective tool to have within online merchandising strategies. Guided shopping helps you keep customers’ attention, promote specific product lines, push relevant products, and can also help cross selling by showing what other customers also purchased.
A great example of this can be seen below from Sephora which provide users with a quiz to help guide their experience and quicken product discovery.
Once users are finished with the quiz they are provided with specific products that can fulfil their needs. This leads to effective product placement in quiz search results, will be a more engaging format than simply searching for products, and provide a unique shopping experience. You can see an example results page below.
No matter what your eCommerce niche is, online merchandising is something that you need to implement into your business. A strong merchandising strategy can help you increase your revenue – for example, one study found that personalized product recommendations resulted in a conversion rate that was 5.5 times higher.
Being able to implement a merchandising strategy is not without its obstacles, so finding a good merchandising tool that simplifies processes along the way is priceless.
Disclaimer: Yieldify is our product. We’ve done our best to present the information fairly because we want to help you make an educated decision but we’re especially proud of what we offer. We’ve seen it transform conversion rates, lead generation and revenue for so many brands – large and small – all over the world. You may have seen we use the Yieldify platform and services on our own website too. Learn more here and schedule a call with an advisor.
Wondering how to create a winning merchandising strategy? Read our blog post to learn about 7 surefire merchandising strategies to boost eCommerce sales.
Often associated with brick and mortar stores, a solid merchandising strategy can make or break your eCommerce store.
If you’ve never given thought to how your eCommerce store is organized, how you present products to customers, or how potential customers move through your online store, now’s the time to dive in and develop your eCommerce merchandising strategy.
Building a strong merchandising strategy is key to increasing your conversions and sales. It helps you determine which products are most likely to be purchased and whether or not the customer has a good experience while shopping.
There is a wide variety of merchandising strategies you can employ in your eCommerce store – different strategies will work better for different business models. Read on to learn how to start creating an eCommerce merchandising strategy that is designed to increase revenue.
7 eCommerce merchandising strategies proven to boost sales
Every element of your eCommerce store plays a role in creating an effective merchandising strategy. How these elements interact with each other adds another dimension to your strategy. From your homepage and product pages to menus and checkout process, you need to be aware of how to optimize each element.
Here are seven ways that will help you to create a bulletproof merchandising strategy and move the needle on the most important business metrics:
1. Understand your customer journey
How do your customers find their way to your eCommerce store? And once they find their way to your store, what do they do next? Deciphering your customer journey will give you valuable data on how to interact with different customer personas and ensure you are connecting with them at the right time, in the right way.
Mapping your customer journey involves gathering data and thinking critically about how your customers currently engage with you, but the end result is invaluable when creating an effective merchandising strategy.
A customer journey map is a diagram that outlines the steps that a customer takes when engaging with your company. The more touchpoints a customer has, the more in-depth and valuable the map becomes.
Think about how your customers are interacting with your brand: Do they follow you on social media, subscribe to your newsletter, find you via a search engine? However they arrive, every interaction they have with you is an integral piece of information that will help you shape a merchandising strategy that effectively reaches your target customer.
2. Shape traffic accordingly
Once traffic arrives at your eCommerce site, it is important to funnel it to the right places.
More often than not, the first customer touchpoint with your online store will be the homepage. It is important to ensure that your homepage layout is optimized for conversions as this will set the stage for how your potential customers navigate and interact with your eCommerce store.
Keep your design simple, photography effective, and copy straightforward. A study conducted by GoodFirms found that 84.6% of people believe that crowded web design is the most common mistake made in the web design industry.
Basically, you need to Marie Kondo your eCommerce website. Make use of white space, and most importantly, don’t pull customers in different directions – give them one, max two focal points above the fold.
A great place to guide their attention is to new collections, best-selling products, or an eye-catching sale section that highlights current discounts and promotions.
Your website navigation should be simple, clear, and easy to understand. Think of this as the map to your website – if new visitors can’t figure out how to locate things they want, they will bounce.
You should have categories and subcategories that are descriptive and a menu logic that is easy to follow. You can also add product images to your main navigation categories to really drive home what it is that they can expect on each category page.
Finally, make sure your search bar stands out and easy to use. According to a survey conducted by InstantSearch, customers that use site search are 3x more likely to complete a purchase on an eCommerce website. Think about using clear language when labeling your search bar and implementing an autocomplete feature to help customers find exactly what they are looking for.
3. Personalize the experience
In 2020, consumers no longer want shallow, one-off experiences with brands they purchase from. Instead, data shows, more than 60% of modern consumers expect brands to connect with them.
Quite often, eCommerce marketers look at demographic and geographic factors, such as age, gender, physical location, family status, etc. to craft personalized copy and use selective photography to appeal to a particular segment:
A clothing store could choose to highlight their sale on parkas for someone living in New York while a Los Angelite will be served with an offer for swimsuits;
A tourism company can change their website hero image to reflect romantic SPA getaways for two vs. family-friendly travel packages;
A bank can have multiple microsites with services for a specific age group (student loans vs. retirement plans).
Less popular, but arguably more effective are psychographic and behavioral segmentation. With psychographics, retailers can target customers based on hobbies, values, lifestyles, and more. Behavioral segmentation enables brands to divide their audience based on previous purchasing behavior or real-time interactions with the eCommerce store.
For example, you can look into their previous purchases, purchase frequency, favorite product categories, average order value, and more to create a personalized experience through the touchpoints they are served.
To tie it back to merchandising, you can serve overlays that highlight more expensive luxury goods to customers whose AOV is usually high. Alternatively, those who tend to purchase fewer or cheaper products can be served with cross-selling product recommendations to increase their basket value.
4. Grow the shopping cart
A higher volume of transactions and more items per transaction directly correlate to an increase in profits. A strong merchandising strategy helps you optimize your website to allow for more purchases with a higher value.
Cross-selling is a technique we’ve already mentioned before. It’s designed to get customers to spend more by purchasing related or complementary products. To make the most of cross-selling, you should present related items on your product details page to pique the interest of your customers.
Upselling is another technique that gets customers to spend more by purchasing an ungraded or premium version of what they already have in their shopping cart. Here’s how our client Petal & Pup cleverly used checkout progress bars and product recommendations to boost the shopping cart value.
5. Generate excitement
Never underestimate the power of a sense of urgency. Merchandising strategies that focus on generating excitement understand that when something is limited edition, seasonal, or low in stock there is a general sense of necessity.
For example, Starbucks’s seasonal drinks are a perfect example of generating excitement. Millions of people wait every year with bated breath for the release of the Pumpkin Spiced Latte – only available for a limited time, this seasonal favorite is a big moneymaker for the coffee chain.
Impulse buys, new arrivals, seasonal items, limited edition, special items, and rapidly growing segments are all different ways to drive excitement. Our client Linenhouse used real-time social proof to indicate how many people viewed a particular product in the last 24 hours, thus showcasing it’s a popular and in-demand buy.
6. Strengthen your brand image
Strengthening your brand might seem more like a marketing strategy than a merchandising strategy. But enhancing a brand through merchandising looks very different: It focuses on strategies that highlight the quality, service, price, variety, delivery, and presentation of your products.
If you are looking to increase your brand image for merchandising purposes, consider exclusive product offerings, highlighting your USPs and special offers like free shipping and returns, a money-back guarantee, or an extended warranty.
7. Defend your turf
Unless you’ve found an untapped niche, odds are there is some competition in your eCommerce space. By using a turf-defending merchandising strategy, you are actively maintaining and protecting your market share against competitors.
Usually, these strategies take the form of aggressive pricing and promotion strategies. Because this can dig into your margin, we suggest taking an equally proactive but less aggressive approach to defending your turf.
You can leverage customer reviews or testimonials by placing them on the homepage as well as product pages to show potential customers why you are the best choice in the industry. You can also use a variety of trust badges to instill faith in your customers.
Spending the time to build a strong merchandising strategy is a worthwhile investment. Let’s remember once more the 7 merchandising strategies that are sure to boost conversions and revenue:
Understand your customer journey
Shape traffic accordingly
Personalize the experience
Grow the shopping cart
Strengthen your brand image
Defend your turf
You will need to spend time to determine which strategies work best for your eCommerce business – the above seven strategies can be mixed and matched in an endless variety of configurations. But when you finally land on the perfect strategy, you will see an increase in revenue.
Learn how to effectively use geographic segmentation in your eCommerce marketing strategy. Get inspired by real-world examples from industry-leading brands.
There is no easier route into personalized marketing than market segmentation. By breaking down your customer base into groups, you can target your resources and ensure your audience receives the messaging that is most relevant to them.
Behavioral segmentation – grouping customers based on their past actions, like spending habits, browsing habits, and brand engagements.
The premise is simple enough, but the key to successful market segmentation is understanding exactly how it can best work for you. Today we’re going to do a deep-dive on geographic segmentation, and discover all the different ways your marketing can benefit from it.
What is geographic segmentation?
Geographic segmentation involves segmenting your audience based on the region they live or work in. This can be done in any number of ways: grouping customers by the country they live in, or smaller geographical divisions, from region to city, and right down to postal code.
Geographic segmentation might be the simplest form of market segmentation to get your head around, but there are still plenty of ways it can be used that companies never think about.
The size of the area you target should change depending on your needs as a business. Generally speaking, the larger the business the bigger the areas you’ll be targeting. After all, with a wider potential audience, targeting each postcode individually simply won’t be cost-effective.
In total, there are six factors that pertain to geographic segmentation and can be used to create customer segments:
Location (country, state, city, ZIP code)
Climate and season
Population type and density (urban, suburban, exurban or rural)
Geographic segmentation benefits
Easy to implement
Geographic segmentation is different from the other types of market segmentation (especially psychographic and behavioral) because it requires fewer data points.
As a result, it offers a quick and effective route into personalized marketing and can offer tangible ways to reach potential customers using only their location as a starting point.
Higher product relevancy
This helps not only to improve sales but also creates a better relationship between customer and business. Presenting relevant items to customers improves user experience, reducing the amount of effort they need to put in to find what they want.
Improved advertising effectiveness
By presenting more targeted ads, you’ll guarantee that more of your marketing budget is spent reaching relevant customers, and less wasted on those who have no need or interest in your product.
This isn’t to say that geographic segmentation is always the best strategy to employ. It has specific uses for specific businesses and industries. Small businesses working in localized areas will benefit immensely from targeting their marketing to just these areas. Big businesses with products that will have consumer hotspots in specific regions will also benefit.
An international manufacturer of big four-wheel drive vehicles will achieve more sales targeting customers in rural areas than those who drive congested city streets.
But businesses that sell products that do not depend on region-specific patterns won’t benefit as much from geographic segmentation. Consumers of Corn Flakes are likely to be as common in one region as the next.
Geographical parameters by which to segment
There are several geographical parameters you can use, these include:
Getting the obvious out of the way. Segmenting by location gives you a lot of options. It could be a city, a town, different countries, or even a continent. This can also be used to identify a new geographic location your business may wish to expand into.
Do you think they are buying winter tires in Dubai? Segmenting by climate helps you identify areas where the climate is appropriate for your product or service.
When addressing your target market you need to account for cultural variations and sensitivities. For example, In Western cultures, white symbolizes purity, elegance, peace, and cleanliness. However, in China white represents death, mourning, and bad luck.
This can either focus on density or population type. A brand may choose to focus on a densely populated city area, for example, a fitness chain wouldn’t set up a gym in a rural area. You can also overlay demographic information here to find target audiences.
Urban, suburban and rural
These three different environments all need different and specific marketing strategies as customer needs are different. Those in cities and suburbs tend to have more purchasing power than rural areas, so products can be more expensive.
Not every country in the world wants or can be marketed to in English. If you’re running a marketing campaign it will be essential it’s done in the local language. You’ll need to make sure you’re ready to enter a market if all your marketing messages are going to need to be changed.
Geographic Segmentation Examples
An example of geographic segmentation is an ice cream company segmenting a country by how hot different regions are and targeting those specific areas that are hottest and therefore more likely to buy ice cream.
But that’s a very basic example.
There are however a number of different variables that you might consider when setting up your own geographic segmentation. These are the different ways you might choose to target consumers once you’ve decided on the location you want to focus on. Let’s look at how each might best be used.
Example 1: Segmenting based on location
Though all geographic segmentation involves grouping customers by the area they live or work in, here we’re talking about selling purely based on the availability of a product to a certain area. This is a tool that is useful to businesses that only have the infrastructure or facilities to serve customers within certain boundaries.
The food box subscription service Oddbox has, until recently, only had the infrastructure to deliver within the borders of London. However, they have now expanded to deliver to another nearby city, Brighton.
Using geographic segmentation they were able to target potential customers living in the city and deliver relevant marketing via social media ads. See their ads targeting Londoners and Brighton residents back to back above. As a result, users who weren’t previously aware of Oddbox can be shown the service now available to them.
For bigger, global brands segmentation by country becomes even more important. One brand that always hones it’s advertisements to the country it’s targeting is McDonald’s.
To see exactly how they do this watch the video below.
Whilst the above videos can be used to address an entire country, some brands choose to go even more local and focus on specific cities.
One brand that tried this was Nike with their “Nothing Beats A Londoner” video. The video does a great job of addressing football fans in London by including key landmarks, local football stars, and general life in London.
Time zone marketing is most useful to large businesses, as they are more likely to be operating across multiple time zones. It can also be of interest to smaller businesses if they operate in nations that have more than one time zone, as the United States.
Email marketing is an area that can hugely benefit from segmenting by time zone. Whilst big announcements and press releases should generally be shared at a set time, generic email marketing often benefits from being seen at a certain time of day.
If you are looking to have your customers read your email first thing on a Monday morning, segmenting by time zone allows it to arrive at 8:45 am local time, putting your email right at the top of the pile.
Example 3: Segmenting based on climate and season
There’s nothing worse than a badly targeted advert – except being caught without a winter coat in the middle of a deep freeze. Marketing based on the climate or season in a specific location allows you to present the most relevant information to your audience.
Seasonal offers tend to run for long periods, like the IKEA promotion above, which was marketed to British customers just as the summer kicked in. They can also be extremely time-sensitive, like a supermarket’s promotion of ice cream during an unexpected heatwave.
If you’re targeting an area that is consistently hot, or perhaps for the duration of summer months you could get a bit more creative. The below example from Coca-Cola does just that.
The below outdoor advertisement is in Dallas, Texas. Summer temperatures here are consistently above 95°F so the ad works really well.
Example 4: Segmenting based on cultural preferences
Different regions will have different values that determine whether or not customers decide to make a purchase. In some cases, these values will be determined by the dominant local religion or long-standing traditions and customs, but in other cases, they can be more esoteric local habits that nonetheless need to be understood and catered for.
One of the most common considerations for food manufacturers is religious dietary restrictions. Companies like Haribo that primarily sell gelatin-based sweets, use slightly adapted recipes to cater to the needs of certain demographics.
The German-based company’s main factory in Bonn and their UK factory in Pontefract create their standard range of sweets. Their base in 99% Muslim-majority Turkey, however, makes and markets only halal gummies, using bovine gelatine instead of the porcine gelatine found elsewhere.
From an advertising point of view it’s also important to consider local culture. A recent example of this is Toyota’s TV adverts for its new car the Camry.
In total eight commercials were made to target different demographics across America.
Toyota even went one step further and ran the commercials in between TV Programmes whose main viewership matched the ads. People would see different commercials based on whether they were watching “Scandal” on ABC, which has a high number of African-American viewers, VS a Spanish-language network show on NBC such as Universo.
Example 5: Segmenting based on population density
Another variable to consider is the density and type of the population in the area you’re targeting. People living in urban areas have very different experiences than those in suburban, exurban, or rural regions.
Being able to segment by population density is especially useful for home and garden retailers. Imagine you’re someone like Home Depot. You probably shouldn’t pitch city-dwellers an electric riding lawn tractor, when you’d have much more luck marketing them a manual push reel lawn mower, which takes up less space and is suitable for small garden maintenance jobs.
Don’t forget about the other types of market segmentation
Overlaying other types of market segmentation on top of these geographic parameters will allow you to drill down to a specific target market you can run targeted advertisements to. This ultimately will help you achieve customer growth and product sales.
Market segmentation is such a powerful tool for reaching your customers in ways that feel relevant and useful to them. Geographic segmentation is perhaps the simplest way to get your foot in the game.
Think about exactly how your company can best benefit from it: Are you a big company that can utilize different messaging across different regions, or a small business that stands to get a lot more bang for their marketing buck if they target their local area? Maybe your product will be of particular interest to city-dwellers, or most in-demand during certain seasons.
Whatever the case, there’s an opportunity to use geographic segmentation to your benefit.
Geographic segmentation is a marketing strategy that presents potential customers with targeted messaging based on their geographic location.
What is an example of geographic segmentation?
A great example of geographic segmentation is a clothing retailer that presents online customers with different products based on the weather or season in the region they reside in. A customer in New York will require much different clothing in the winter months than one living in Los Angeles.
What companies use geographic segmentation?
Geographic segmentation is used by companies across many sectors, but it’s most useful to businesses selling goods that might be affected by changes in climate or local customs. Companies with very defined regional interest, like sports teams, or small businesses offering local delivery, also benefit from marketing targeted this way.
Video is known to build trust and increase engagement levels. But what kinds of videos does your eCommerce business need in order to see a revenue uplift? Here, we look at six types of eCommerce videos known to boost sales.
An eCommerce marketing strategy is dynamic and often made up of many separate elements. You’re running ads on social media. You’re writing emails. You’re promoting your product store…
In this post, we’re going to cover the reasons why you should create an eCommerce video marketing strategy and give you a variety of video ideas to choose from.
Let’s dive in!
4 reasons why your business needs a video marketing strategy
1. Video converts viewers into customers
Your customers are more likely to buy your product if your eCommerce marketing strategy leverages the content medium they prefer.
Wyzowl found that two-thirds of people (66%) said they’d prefer to watch a short video to learn about a product or service, which is over 3 times higher than people who said they’d prefer to read a text-based article (18%).
Product videos and video content marketing are the tools you should use to sell your products. But that’s not all Wyzowl discovered in their survey.
Turns out, 80% of video marketers say video has directly helped increase sales.
In return, 84% of consumers say that they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
2. Video builds trust between you and your audience
In 2019, Stackla conducted a survey of over 1,500 consumers and marketers in the US, UK, and Australia. The study revealed that 90% of people say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support. This is even more true for younger generations.
Video is the most human form of digital communication.
It displays your voice, your face, your eyes as if you’re standing in front of your customers. It lets you show off your personality. And it demonstrates confidence in your brand and products. All of which can create a strong bond between you and your audience.
3. Mobile users crave video
If you would rather read text or watch a video on your smartphone, which one would YOU rather do? The answer seems obvious, and you probably assumed your audience prefers video, too.
Well, YouTube confirms it. More than 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices, according to YouTube’s own research.
The best part? Consumers who watch your video content on their mobile devices are nearly 2x more likely to feel a personal connection to your brand and 1.3x more likely than desktop users. This is super important to keep in mind. Make videos that cater to mobile users first.
On Twitter, for example, Tweets with videos are ten times more likely to 10x more engagement than Tweets without video. Facebook videos have an average engagement rate of 6.13% compared to just 3.6% for Facebook posts in general.
The newest video platform, TikTok, has the highest average engagement rate posts of any social media platform. And 90% of people say they have discovered a brand or product on YouTube.
It should be obvious at this point that eCommerce success is closely related to having a strong video marketing strategy in place. What you have to figure out now is, what type of videos should you create?
6 types of eCommerce videos you need in your marketing strategy
1. Product close-up
Buyers want to see videos of your product that make them feel as if they are holding it themselves. Product close-up videos zoom in on your product and display specific features viewers may not see in pictures, or demonstrate a function that has to be observed very closely, or simply show off your product from multiple angles.
Product close-up videos leave nothing to the imagination. You should try to capture as much detail as possible so customers will have a clear understanding of what they’re buying.
Here’s a product close-up example from Truwood watches, showcasing their product in various environments and angles.
2. Product overview
A product overview video goes in-depth into the features and benefits of your product. This type of video usually features a speaker demonstrating how the product works and why your audience should consider buying it. This can also help build excitement for your product, especially when leading up to a product launch date.
Here’s a product overview example for the Olympus’ OM-D E-M5 Mark III camera.
You’ll notice he describes many of the top features of the product, how to use those features, how this camera differs from previous versions, and why photographers should buy it. You’ll want to describe your product in a similar way.
3. Video testimonials
Social proof is one of the most powerful and persuasive motivators to get people to buy your product, and it’s essential to include in your eCommerce marketing strategy.
Nielsen surveyed more than 28,000 people in 56 countries and found that 92% of consumers around the world trust recommendations from friends and family above ALL other forms of advertising, which represents an increase of 18% since 2007. And Brightlocal found that buyers prefer to read an average of 40 online reviews before believing a business’s star-rating.
Here’s a great example of a video testimonial for the Roku device. The goal is to have your customers describe specifically what they like about the product, how it helped them, and how it improved their life or solved their problem.
4. Product tutorial
While the product overview shows off the features and benefits of a product in broad strokes, a product tutorial video demonstrates how a customer can perform specific tasks using the product through step-by-step instructions.
These types of videos are super important for skeptical buyers who are wary of being disappointed by big marketing claims. Showing them how to achieve a particular goal with your product is a powerful way to convince them to buy it.
Here’s a product tutorial example demonstrating how to use the Milk Makeup Kush liquid eyeliner.
The other reason product tutorials are a crucial piece of any eCommerce video marketing strategy is because you want your customers to succeed when using your product.
If they buy it but don’t know how to use it, or use it poorly, they won’t remain your customer for long. But if you set them up for success with easy-to-follow product tutorials, they’re much more likely to stick around.
5. Message from the Founder/CEO
A message from the Founder of the CEO video is not used by many companies, but when executed well, it can be a powerful tool to add to your eCommerce video marketing strategy.
Featuring your company leader in a video is one of the best ways to personalize a brand and develop a deep connection with your audience and customers. A study by Ace Metrix revealed that ads featuring CEOs performed better, on average than ads without a CEO.
This type of video has many different uses. The CEO of Mancrates created a video where he tells the story of their company and expresses gratitude for what they’ve been able to accomplish thanks to their loyal customers.
One of the most famous examples is the Dollar Shave Club video ad featuring the founder, Michael Dubin, mocking their competition and positioning their razors as a cheaper, superior option.
There are many ways to make a message from the CEO video. In fact, you could produce the other videos on this list, but instead of an actor or other associate in your company, your CEO is in the video. The only requirement is that your CEO is good on camera, authentic, and charismatic. If they check those boxes, then you should definitely produce this type of video.
6. Explainer video
Explainer videos are very popular and widely used to explain your product in a short period of time. They usually tell a story about a customer’s journey from dealing with their problem, finding your product as the solution, and achieving outstanding results with the product.
Many explainer videos are animated but they can also be live-action. They’re usually 30-seconds to a minute in length. These videos don’t necessarily show off all the features of your product but hit on the emotional reasons why your customer needs a product like yours and shows the outcome of having your product.
Here’s a great example from Tommy John undershirts. They open with a central problem they know their audience deals with and position their undershirts as the perfect solution.
How to start incorporating video In your eCommerce marketing strategy
By now you should know why it’s important to use videos in your eCommerce marketing strategy, and what type of videos you can use in different stages of the customer journey.
But where do you start if you want to make the most use of your eCommerce videos? There are a couple of no-brainer steps, such as:
1. Post these videos on your social media channels: YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, etc. Make sure to match the dimensions, length, and other technical parameters of each platform. Consider adding subtitles to your videos for people who don’t like to watch with sound. Also take into account what time you are posting, for example, the best time to post on Instagram may be different to the best time to post on Twitter.
2. Use them in your lead generation and retargeting ads.Video ads allow you to build an audience of engaged people because you can track their video view statistics. Combined with static image ads and served at the right moment, video ads can generate huge ROAS.
3. Embed these videos on your website: homepage, about pages, product pages, FAQ pages, etc. Having videos on these pages will boost average time spent on the site and will likely improve the customer experience by providing answers on the most relevant questions.
4. Serve them across the entire customer journey: from lead capture forms to exit-intent overlays, etc. At Yieldify, we built multiple campaigns for our clients across various eCommerce industry verticals.
For instance, direct-to-consumer sportswear brand HYLETE ran a cart abandonment campaign highlight free shipping and returns to see which type of content – still image overlay or a video overlay – would generate more engagement. The results revealed that video was more effective at driving conversions, with 42.2% uplift versus the control group.
In another example, Yieldify helped France’s leading home shopping network, M6 Boutique, reinforce its core brand values using video. To visitors browsing the M6 Boutique website, Yieldify showed a live stream of M6 Boutique’s TV channel in a corner Notification. As a result, the M6 Boutique live stream gained 150,000 additional views in just a month.
Lastly, we teamed up with the award-winning festival operator We Are FSTVL to create an exit-intent overlay with an embedded highlight reel from the previous year’s event. The brand split-tested click-to-play video with sound against a video that autoplayed without sound. The results showed that an auto-playing video created greater engagement, achieving a +33% uplift in customers clicking through to get tickets.
This article was written by Joe Martin from CloudApp.
Joe is CloudApp’s GM and VP of Marketing. With more than 13 years of experience in the industry, he provides strategic guidance on how to build and use the right stack for businesses. Formerly Head of Social Analytics at Adobe, Joe believes marketers need smart training and leadership to scale company growth. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @joeDmarti.
Are you an eCommerce SMB wondering how to compete with Amazon? Then this article is for you. We look at 3 ways even small and medium retailers can take on the eCommerce behemoth.
From a bookstore outside of Seattle to an eCommerce giant, the story of Amazon is both fascinating and inspiring. That is unless you’re an eCommerce entrepreneur trying to cut a piece of the market share for your business…
The platform that controls 45% of the eCommerce market share in the US (expected to reach 50% in 2021) can seem impossible to surpass and, frankly, quite intimidating to most.
Given its size, everyone who sells physical products through an online store is essentially in competition with Amazon. The niche, industry, or the size of your business don’t really matter since this is a platform that boasts about easy access all over the world, fast shipping, and extensive product diversity.
So how do you compete with Amazon in the already highly saturated world of eCommerce? You learn from its competitors!
A behemoth like Amazon attracts the strongest competitors and there’s a lesson to learn from their clash. Today we’ll discuss three strategies that proved successful in the fight for customers’ attention and engagement, even when acting in the shadow of a giant.
1. Build the best possible user experience
Content marketing creates a personal connection with shoppers, but they must feel at ease on your site for the connection to be built. What does this mean?
Page speed matters
The attention of consumers is a priceless commodity these days. And they know this! According to a 2019 Retailer Website Performance Evaluation, 90% of respondents said they had left an eCommerce site that seemed slow to load. If this isn’t enough, 57% of the ones that leave, go to a competitor and 40% go to Amazon!
Google also supports the idea that slow pages make you lose customers and released the below graphic depiction of how fast this happens:
Pay attention to mobile shoppers
Another issue that could keep customers away from your online store is a lack of compatibility between desktop and mobile devices.
According to Business Insider Intelligence, in the US alone, there are over $170 billion in smartphone sales and over $34.7 billion in tablet sales in 2020. As such, the m-commerce market (online shopping using a mobile device) is expected to reach 32% of the entire eCommerce market share.
Amazon might not be the best when it comes to user experience (it’s difficult to create flawless user experience when you have so many things to organize). But still, they’re constantly improving their page speed and have a mobile app that encourages mobile users to shop.
Build a mobile app for your store
A mobile app comes with lots of benefits, among which are: better communication with customers, better engagement due to social media sharing possibilities, and convenience.
But you can take it one step further and use Augmented Reality (AR) technology to improve user experience. Brands like IKEA, HomeDepot, Sephora, and others use AR in their apps to combine online shopping with in-person shopping by allowing users to run a virtual test trial.
While it may seem a bit futuristic, AR is not a new technology and modern mobile devices support it. Furthermore, if you’re a tech-savvy entrepreneur, it’s a good idea to learn React Native, the main programming language used to implement AR features. It will help you understand how the technology works and how to communicate your needs to developers.
2. Focus on a niche
There’s no doubt that Amazon knows how to provide customers with what they want and need.
The company uses a blend of fast delivery, low prices, and increasing product diversity to position itself at the top of online shoppers’ preferences. In fact, for many Americans, Amazon is the go-to store for everything.
This is their strength, however, it’s also their weakness.
eCommerce can be a soulless world where uniqueness and authenticity are swallowed by a sea of mass-produced generic brands. The fact that you can buy socks, lawnmowers, and inflatable boats from the same eCommerce store tells a story to anyone who wants to listen.
So, how to compete with Amazon, the “buy everything” eCommerce giant? You start by carving a narrow niche for yourself and care for it like it was your baby!
The biggest strength of small and medium-sized eCommerce stores stands in their select list of products that cater to a very specific niche.
Let’s take Beardbrand as an example. This is an online store that sells all things beard-related. From oils to combs, scissors, and trimmers, you can find anything you need to maintain and style your facial hair.
But this is nothing new. After all, you can find all these products on Amazon as well as in other stores. However, Beardbrand is thriving.
The reason behind this success stands in the fact that they provide beard aficionados all over the world with a strong sense of community and valuable information. Through engaging and useful content marketing, as well as an exclusive Alliance membership, they positioned themselves as an authority in the niche that offers their customers a unique buying experience.
You don’t go to their store just to buy stuff. You go to learn and connect with other bearded men who are proud of their looks.
Use content marketing to your advantage
Content marketing helps brands connect with their audience and create a personal experience that lacks in Amazon’s online marketing campaigns.
Of course, since Amazon is so big and popular, they don’t really need a content marketing campaign and they can promote their products using their newsletter system and regular ads.
But smaller brands, without access to such large audiences and marketing budgets, can use content to attract niche customers who want more from the shopping experience (as stated in the Beardbrand example).
Due to the plethora of platforms available right now, companies can create a wide array of diverse content, in different formats, for different audiences. The secret is to find relevant topics that get the target audience engaged and interested.
For instance, if your online store sells clothes, your customers will be interested in learning about which materials are best for their needs or how to select the right fit for their body shape. In many situations, blog articles, eCommerce video content, or even short descriptions are extremely useful in promoting your products.
Think of brands such as Glossier or Away that have started their own online magazines – Into the Glossand Here Magazine respectively – to provide their customers with fresh, useful, and engaging content that goes beyond their products and taps into their values and the lifestyle they’re selling.
There’s also the option of engaging with influencers who are relevant to the brand. This solution is helpful when everyone creates content on the same topics and you want to stand out from the crowd. Furthermore, influencers expose your brand and products to a prime audience, that’s happy to be provided with recommendations.
3. Don’t give up your brick-and-mortar store (just yet)
If you know Amazon only as a giant eCommerce retailer, you’ll be surprised to learn they also have physical stores all over the US. It may seem counterintuitive, especially now when more and more brick-and-mortar stores are closing their doors in favor (or because) of online shopping.
But maybe it’s time to learn a lesson from Walmart, one of the biggest competitors Amazon has on the global market.
Walmart makes most of its revenue ($514.41 billion in net sales per year) from classic retail that takes place in physical stores. But they also have a strong online presence, coming in second after Amazon.
Now, you’re wondering how to compete with Amazon when even Walmart couldn’t, right?
Again, your strength stands in a smaller size and a more select audience. A physical store provides a way to interact with customers directly, which can only enhance the overall experience.
In addition, a well-designed physical store can be a fantastic way to engage your shoppers’ needs to share on social media. Encourage your visitors to post selfies in your store and with your products, and get the word of mouth going.
Lastly, a fixed location is something that can help trigger your campaigns in Google Merchant Center. Your ads will be displayed to locals interested in the type of products you sell, which is likely to bring more people into the store.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter if one of your biggest competitors is Amazon. They are already established on the market and there’s no way you could beat them.
But this shouldn’t be your goal.
Your goal should be to learn from them and their competitors in order to build your own unique and authentic brand. Amazon is a fantastic teacher as they were pioneers in many areas of eCommerce and they continue to innovate and grow even now. Their journey speaks of the power of determination and attention to details, but most importantly, it shows that good customer service can take you a long way.
In conclusion, if you want to succeed, you must build your eCommerce empire around your customers’ needs, not the other way around. The moment you forget to care for your audience is the moment your strategies will fail. So, before anything else, use the technologies at your disposal to understand who will buy from you and why.
COVID-19 ushered in meaningful change for eCommerce, but what will the impact be on eCommerce personalization trends in 2020 and beyond? Read our findings from a survey of 400 eCommerce marketers.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw eCommerce make 10 years’ worth of growth in a 90-day period, drastically altering not only the present landscape of eCommerce but also its future. McKinsey, the institution that first reported the sector’s immense growth, has come to refer to this monumental shift as ‘The Quickening’.
However, with COVID-19 accelerating eCommerce to unprecedented levels, where does that leave personalization, a trend that was beginning to experience a surge in growing consumer demand?
In July 2020, Yieldify conducted research with 400 eCommerce leaders* across the UK and US to explore the current state-of-play in regards to website personalization specifically, the challenges it faces, and where it could be heading next. Here, we summarize just some of our crucial findings.
Key personalization trends:
1. Over 74% of companies surveyed already have a website personalization program in place.
2. In 2020, retention (58%) has overtaken conversion (55%) and acquisition (45%) as the key goal for website personalization.
3. Only 54% currently use AI-driven predictive segments. However, this was identified as an area of high potential growth, as 89% expected to be using it by the end of next year.
4. The three biggest obstacles that stand in the way of scaling a personalization strategy are: A lack of expertise (37%), limited functionality (36%), and a lack of time (35%).
Website personalization’s winning component? Data, say 74% of marketers
The modern-day consumer is evolving. With access to the global economy, the latest technology at their fingertips, and social sharing working in their favor, today’s consumers know they are in control of their shopping experiences.
“Customers in today’s era […] have the means to explore, research, and share every purchase decision. […] You have to be responsive to their needs immediately instead of trying to direct them,” says Gayatri Patel, eBay’s Director of Global Data Infrastructure.
This growing power of consumers means they are increasingly dictating when, where, and how they engage with brands. Instead of a funnel-shaped sales process where brands push information to customers, the process is now inverted – consumers are actively pursuing brands and channels that they feel are relevant to themselves as individuals, whether that’s morally, ethically, or environmentally.
The challenge for eCommerce businesses is to keep up with growing customer expectations, and the distinctiveness of them. Enter: Personalization.
Currently experiencing a surge in popularity, personalization enables today’s consumers to feel as though their wants and needs are heard, understood, and incorporated as integral parts of their shopping experience.
From a brand’s perspective, personalization offers a way to contextualize, and individualize, the messaging, offers, and experiences they deliver using unique data retrieved from each visitor’s profile.
So it’s no surprise that over 74% of companies surveyed have made changes to ensure website personalization is a key part of their business.
When surveyed, 76% of our respondents said that currently, the most popular option for driving website personalization is real-time behavioral data, ahead of historical cookie data, third-party data, and individual user profiles ingested from CDPs.
These findings would indicate that website personalization is largely generated in response to in-session behaviors. A user session refers to a group of user-specific actions performed on a website or within an application during a period of time. These sessions contain data that can visualize user behavior by recording their button clicks, page loads, and service requests which give identifiable indicators of visitor motivation and desire.
This data can then be used by developers and marketers alike to increase user retention and reduce churn by better understanding what users seek most from the site. Having that understanding of a user or visitor means personalization strategies can be tailored to those requests.
Scaling a personalization strategy is not without obstacles
At its core, personalization delivers tailored, meaningful, and relevant communication to your consumers. In return, this connection between brand and follower becomes an effective – and desired – conversion rate optimization tool. But juggling a multitude of user behaviors is not without drawbacks, even with sophisticated personalization technology available to assist the process.
Our research showed that there were a handful of obstacles preventing scalability and subsequent, potentially higher conversion rates.
Out of those surveyed, 37% said they lacked the expertise required to either take the next step or optimize their personalization strategy further. Another 36% advocated having limited functionality or personalization tools available to do so and 35% stated they simply did not have the time.
Nonetheless, these findings are still encouraging. Together they indicate that it is not an unwillingness to scale, but a lack of knowledge, skillset, and functionality required to enhance the strategy.
Overall this suggests that personalization is not ineffective, as if more marketers and eCommerce owners were equipped with the time to enhance their knowledge, they would implement larger personalization solutions.
The majority of website personalization will soon be powered by AI
In personalization strategies, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a valuable, efficient, and time-saving resource capable of consolidating multiple data streams from various channels, extracting valuable insights, and then identifying actionable trends.
AI is quietly powering personalized experiences everywhere, from music giants such as Spotify to fashion industry leaders like Tommy Hilfiger. Whether it’s implemented into a live chatbot or a product recommendation engine, it’s converting visitors to consumers and most importantly, retaining them.
One of the most important findings from our research was the discovery that whilst 54% of all size businesses currently use AI-driven predictive segments, 89% are planning to be using it by the end of next year.
In our research, positive responses to planning to implement AI-driven predictive segmentation by the end of 2021 far outweighed negative responses across all company sizes surveyed. And responses were especially positive in small to medium-sized companies, which is unsurprising given the impact on time constraints due to the ongoing economic fall out of the pandemic.
As eCommerce companies continue to navigate the negative impacts left behind by the COVID-19 pandemic, AI is the perfect solution to the problem of having to do more with less. This is a personalization trend that will continue to be identified as an area of high potential growth as more companies look for time-efficient methods of scaling, growing, and enhancing their business in economic downturns.
In the future, simply being a favorite won’t be enough
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, fundamental changes have been observed in consumer behavior. With more independent stores opening up online, offering discounts, or simply better, safer shopping experiences, as well as additional bonuses like faster delivery times, consumers are starting to shift their loyalty from companies they used to purchase from in the past.
As customer loyalty now remains a swirling cloud of uncertainty, within the eCommerce companies we surveyed, 58% stated that their drive to pursue a website personalization strategy came from wanting to retain their customers. In comparison, 55% said that their driving factor was conversions, whilst only 45% were driven by acquisition alone.
It’s reported that between 65% and 85% of consumers intend to continue new shopping behaviors post-pandemic. The pressure is on for eCommerce businesses to not only optimize the entire customer lifecycle but make the personalization experience so effective and intelligent that customers simply return time and time again.
These are only four of our key findings. Within the full report, we dive deeper into personalization trends post-pandemic, as well as evaluate how different types of content (static, dynamic, and user-specific) fit into personalization strategies.
Wealso identify the key purchase drivers that are reigning king amongst the economic uncertainty and explore how privacy and personalization go hand in hand. You can download the full report here.
In summary, the current state of play for website personalization indicates an industry that intends to accelerate rapidly over the course of 2021.
As businesses look to favor customer retention over acquisition strategies and supercharge their insights through growing technology such as AI machine learning, eCommerce personalization trends will be prime drivers in helping to provide business saving boosts to enterprises of all sizes.
Whereas adoption rates in July hovered between 50% and 70% for many executions, many were forecast to reach over 90% in less than 18 months’ time and seem on track to do just that.
* An online survey was conducted with a panel of potential respondents. The recruitment period was 6th July 2020 to 20th July 2020. A total of 400 respondents completed the survey: 200 respondents residing in the UK and 200 respondents residing in the US. Only senior marketers or eCommerce directors at retailers with an eCommerce presence were eligible to take part and complete the survey. All questions within the survey were verified to be MRS compliant by a marketing research company specializing in online and mobile polling.
What is Word of Mouth Marketing and how to create a foolproof WOMM campaign for your eCommerce store? Read to find out our top 5 tips and more!
I recently watched a video of California surfers taking on a famous wave called the Wedge. One particular surfer had a surfboard that caught my eye. During his interview, he couldn’t stop raving about his Beater Board.
Now, I definitely wasn’t in the market for a new surfboard. I already have too many. But after seeing it in action, and hearing him talk about it, I felt I could trust what he was saying.
A few clicks later, I had a brand new Beater Board. I told my friends about it too.
That right there is the power of word of mouth marketing. To drum up enthusiasm about your product that your customers can’t wait to tell more people about it.
And you know the best part? It is a marketing strategy you can easily implement within your eCommerce business right now.
In this article, I’m going to break down exactly what word of mouth marketing is, demonstrate how it is used in business today, and show you how it can help you take your store to the next level. Here’s the full outline:
Word-of-mouth marketing can convince potential customers to purchase products as well, just like how the surfer’s enthusiastic endorsement convinced me to buy a Beater Board.
The internet makes it easier to get your happy customers to spread news about your great products. Between social media and blogs, happy customers are now able to share their experiences not just with their friends and families but with the entire world.
Word of mouth marketing has become more effective and important to your business than ever before.
To return to surfing one last time: there are so many manufacturers making top-notch boards. I own a number of them. Even for the best surfboard makers, it’s hard to stand out against other surfboard shapers, manufacturers, and stockists.
A personal recommendation could cut through the noise. 70% of US consumers trust product recommendations from friends and family, compared to 15% of consumers who trust brands on social media.
Word of mouth marketing is social proof and trust rolled into one.
So there are plenty of opportunities for your eCommerce store to grow, it’s simply a matter of getting noticed in a highly competitive market.
That’s why, on top of all your other marketing tactics, it’s well worth implementing word of mouth marketing within your marketing campaign.
And you know the best part about word of mouth marketing? It’s basically free. And if your brand is worth bragging about in the first place, then you’ve got unlimited free marketing right in your pocket.
5 tips for a successful Word-of-Mouth marketing campaign
If your customers have a positive experience with your brand, they’ll naturally want to talk about it. And why wouldn’t they? We all want our close ones to enjoy the same great things that we’ve stumbled across.
This can be done through many forms of media like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, vlogging, and blogging. It can occur through face-to-face interactions. Or, perhaps from influencers that work with brands to advocate for a brand’s product or services.
In fact, a survey conducted around the world involving respondents from 56 countries found that 92% of consumers trust earned media, such as word of mouth recommendations from friends and family. Furthermore, they trusted this type of marketing above all other forms of advertising, including search engine ads (37%) and banner ads (24%).
Here are 5 tips to get started on your own word of mouth marketing campaign.
1. Ensure that your products and services are worth talking about
No marketing campaign can outlast a bad product, no matter how marketing-savvy you are.
To give your brand the best chance of being talked about by your customers, you must offer your customers something they’ll love. After all, why would anyone brag about something they aren’t excited about?
So make sure you are getting the basics right first. Share-worthy products, top-shelf customer service, and awesome after-sales services all build customer trust and will encourage them to talk about your brand.
Take Byron Bay’s brand Spell for example. They not only make some of the world’s most beautiful bohemian clothes but they have also used the ethical clothing movement to their advantage.
And that’s a super-smart move, as you can see below ethical clothing is trending. The fashion and clothing industry has seen a big uptick in the demand for clothes that are manufactured and sourced ethically.
In following this trend and aligning with customer demand, Spell has created a killer product that is easy to market, is super social media friendly, and, best of all, is next-level shareworthy.
A great product and marketing strategy will get even the most tight-lipped customers talking.
2. Offer referral incentives that your customers will love
To ensure the success of your word of mouth marketing campaign, it’s an absolute must to offer referral program incentives that your customer base is going to love.
They offer a 20% discount not only to their existing customer but also to any new customer they refer to your shop. And considering that they amassed over $3 billion in 2019, up from $1.8 billion in 2014, their marketing strategy works well.
It turns out that their target market is made up of millennials, who not only like ethical fashion but also a good deal, according to Jeff Fromm who is a market-analyst for Futurecast. So when Timberland hit those two key points in their referral marketing campaign, their revenue exploded.
Timberland is a perfect example of how offering referral incentives that your ideal customer would love can be a powerful marketing move.
3. Provide first-class customer support
Sometimes the product isn’t the thing worth talking about. Often it’s the service that people really care for. If you get your customer support dialed in, people will be shouting your praises from the top of their social mountains. And on the flip side, if your brand is a pain to deal with, you’ll lose customers faster than you can build new ones.
So once you gain a new customer, you want to keep them.
Continuing on the ethical clothing trend here for a bit longer, check out how Patagonia ensures their customers are returning to their stores.
Patagonia offers top-notch after-sales services like their repairs policy. If any of your Patagonia garments happen to break, tear at the seams, or is substandard in any way, their team will repair the item free of charge under their Ironclad Guarantee.
If the damage is due to general wear and tear, they will repair the garment for a fair price. Not only that but they also offer this repair service to garments and apparel that aren’t manufactured by their own team.
In doing so, Patagonia is not only further aligning with their ethical clothing pledge, a big reason why many customers shop there in the first place, but they are also offering awesome after-sales services that will ensure their customers will return to their stores again and again.
Remember, return customers are great customers. Not only will they continue to spend money buying your products and services but they are also much more likely to be talking about it also.
And referred customers are 4 times more likely to buy when referred by a friend. So get your customer support right and you are on your way to serious success!
Think about it. Reflect on the last time you bounced out of an online purchase. Ask yourself what led you to abandon your cart or, worse still, opt out before you even started adding anything to your order.
Perhaps it was the site’s pesky pop-ups that drove you away, maybe a clunky purchasing experience was what frustrated you into desertion, or perhaps it was hidden shipping fees that finally drove the final nail in the f#*% coffin.
Whatever it was, put yourself in your customer’s place. What can you do to ensure their purchasing experience is as quick and easy as can be?
Take a look at The Little Market, their single-page checkout makes for a super easy checkout that offers their customers an easy and stress-free shopping experience.
To get your store’s purchase process right, like The Little Market has, ponder these questions and considerations:
Site speed and page load time: Is your site clunky and slow?
Website usability and ease of use: How optimized is your site’s layout and how hard is it to get around?
Site navigation: How easy is it for your customers to find a product they’re on the hunt for?
Shopping cart design: How easy is it for a customer to checkout? How many steps are involved? How long does it take?
If you get all of these things right you can seriously improve your site’s success. Remember happy customers = more word of mouth = more conversions.
5. Leverage customer reviews
Sometimes WOMM isn’t as easy as it sounds. Occasionally you have to give your customers a gentle nudge in the right direction. A good way to do this is to integrate a reviewing system into your eCommerce store.
Because customers love to see other people’s experiences with your brand. They’d rather see those insights, opinions, and points of view than your advertising and sales pitches.
So consider customer reviews as just another form of word of mouth marketing, encouraging new visitors to your site and potential customers to trust your brand’s products and services.
Take Verishop here. They’ve integrated a basic review system within their site. It’s clean, simple, out of the way, but it serves its purpose: to boost your customer’s confidence when making a purchase.
These reviews, negative or positive (hopefully positive), are incredibly influential on people. They will help to increase your sales, boost your ROI, and, best of all, act as that beautiful form of free word of mouth marketing.
Leveraging word of mouth doesn’t have to be super complicated. In fact, it should be relatively easy and very cost-effective if you get it right.
Now that you know exactly how to set up your referral program just right, there really is no excuse. Get out there and start a killer WOMM campaign, your business and profit margins will thank you!
This article was written by Brody Hall
Brody Hall is a digital nomad, content writer, and SEO buff for ReferralCandy and CandyBar. He quite enjoys sharing his knowledge of environmentalism, self-care, and board sports. You will often find him enjoying an early morning coffee while checking his local surf breaks. If you feel like a chinwag, find him on LinkedIn.
Retailers across the globe are adopting the BOPIS model to meet customer expectations and needs. But what exactly is BOPIS and what impact can retailers expect from it? Discover that and more in the article below.
You’ll struggle to find a successful eCommerce company that doesn’t offer BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store) option to their customers, and there’s a good reason for it.
This method is a good stepping-stone between traditional brick-and-mortar companies and online retailers who are looking for ways to keep customers happy. It’s also a great compromise between those who love in-store shopping and those who swear by shopping online.
Below, we’ll take a look at the impact that the BOPIS strategy has had on eCommerce and the retail industry as a whole, as well as how you can use it to drive performance and sales.
It’s become a popular retail strategy that allows customers to have the best of both worlds: online shopping and in-person pickup. That way, customers don’t have to pay for shipping, wait a long time for their items to be delivered, and deal with delivery errors that often arise with order fulfillment. They can shop from the comfort of their own homes, purchase the item online and go to the store when it is time to see the item is ready for pickup.
BOPIS is a great strategy for eCommerce that allows you to create a great blend of online shopping and physical stores, making the shopping process more convenient for everyone.
Brick and mortar businesses with eCommerce functionality have been making the most of this online and in store experience. Many retailers now offer bopis as part of their checkout process.
How the (BOPIS) buy online pickup in store strategy works
The BOPIS strategy is fairly straightforward to implement. If you have both an eCommerce website and a physical retail store, all you have to do is simply add an extra delivery method and ensure your stores can process these orders efficiently and provide a good bopis experience.
You’ll also need to ensure that there is a designated area that allows customers to quickly pick up their items. This could be a specific section within your store location or even curbside pickup to effectively deal with bopis orders.
Here’s a more detailed look at the BOPIS shopping experience:
Customers will browse the online inventory to see what’s available, and when they find an item they want, they will be given an option to select “pick-up” or “delivery.”
Once the order has been placed, the local storefront will fulfill and hold onto the order.
The customer will go to that local storefront to pick up their order; there is typically a designated pickup area or help desk that can assist with online orders.
Best Buy is a great example of adopting buy online pickup in store. On their website, shipping details and pick up options are clearly and consistently displayed throughout the buyer’s journey.
BOPIS statistics & its impact on retail and eCommerce
BOPIS has been increasing in its adoption rate by retailers consistently over the past few years. It’s reported that by 2021, 90% of retailers will offer the Buy Online Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) option.
The below chart by Microsoft shows that BOPIS searches surged across retail categories: “Categories that contained necessities saw the largest growth in BOPIS as a result of the pandemic, with grocery and mass retailers leading the way. Pet supplies, home and garden, and beauty also saw significant increases in BOPIS shopping.”
So why are more and more eCommerce websites adopting a BOPIS model? Why is offering in-store pickup becoming more popular?
The short answer is – BOPIS leads to more sales.
BOPIS leads to increased online activity and sales
Major eCommerce companies that adopted BOPIS in recent years have seen an uptick in sales as customers are more eager to buy online and pick-up in store. This behavior was amplified by recent conditions around the globe as retailers battled with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
KIBO Commerce data shows retailers are seeing customers select the BOPIS option four times more than they were before the pandemic began. What’s more, compared to 2018, BOPIS orders have increased dramatically and now make up around 40% of total retail orders.
Companies such as Petco and Dollar General have seen an increase in their overall sales figures thanks to the introduction of a BOPIS option. According to AdWeek, Home Depot saw 48% of its online sales in 2018 use the BOPIS method.
The biggest reason for increasing sales is that customers are more likely to purchase additional items when picking up their orders in-store.
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), over 50% of adult shoppers use BOPIS, and 67% of those people add additional itemsto their carts when they know they can pick them up immediately.
This behavior was also seen by Lululemon – the brand reported 20% of shoppers who chose to pick up their orders in-store made an additional purchase when they came to collect it.
BOPIS growth & why it’s growing
Possibly the biggest driving factor behind the growth of BOPIS is convenience. Recent research from The National Retail Federation found that 83% of consumers find convenience while shopping to be more important to them than it was five years ago.
Added to this the report also found that 97% of respondents backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient. On the opposite end of the scale, 70% of respondents said BOPIS improved their shopping experience. So it’s clear there is a continued interest in buying online, pick up in-store.
The benefits of BOPIS for retail
As seen above, BOPIS can potentially help eCommerce stores increase sales numbers by providing a delivery option that customers will use and appreciate. There are also some other advantages.
Lower or no delivery costs. According to Offers.com study, 35% of respondents said they favor the BOPIS method because it allows them to avoid shipping costs. And in the odd times that you do have to pay to pick up in-store, the fees are usually much lower than home delivery.
Ultra-fast service. It can be stressful tracking a package that’s coming from somewhere else in the globe, hoping that when it arrives (if it does), it’s the correct item and it is undamaged. Picking an item up in-store means that customers can place an order and then go to their local store to pick it up if it’s in stock. Of course, you may still need to wait a few days if the item is not in stock.
Peace of mind. Some shoppers don’t like the uncertainty of waiting for a package to arrive without even being able to look at the physical item first. BOPIS offers a kind of in-stock insurance that online stores can’t always provide. Customers can open, view, and determine whether the product is right for them and meets their needs. If not, they may be able to return it straight away.
Extra purchases and increased foot traffic. Customers are more inclined to make purchases when they know they can pick it up in the store, so they are much more likely to add extra items to their purchase. Moreso, BOPIS will actually get people into your store. This presents you with an extra chance to make that point of sale display, or in-store only offer work even harder.
The Challenges of BOPIS strategy in retail
BOPIS can be a great strategy that yields very positive results, but it’s not without its own set of challenges. There may be some times where the BOPIS model causes an overwhelming or unsatisfactory experience for customers, and you may not feel completely satisfied with it on your end, either.
So here are some things to look out for if your planning on using a BOPIS strategy which left unchecked can lead to poor results and annoyed customers:
Potential pick up queues. If too many customers are taking advantage of your BOPIS strategy at once, and they are all rushing to their local store for a pickup, that local store may have long lines. Make sure you have a designated area and even designated staff to deal with these customers quickly.
Lack of inventory. There are times where larger eCommerce companies cannot keep up with certain inventory demands. It’s important to keep an eye on what’s selling so you can keep them stocked up. Your POS or stock system needs to be in constant communication with all other systems involved to ensure that inventory levels are where they need to be.
Lack of participation by the storefront. The in-store pickup location needs to be fully on board with your BOPIS model. Unfortunately, some stores do not do a good job telling customers where to go, what line to stand in, or who to talk to in order to pick up their online order. Ensure that the BOPIS model is ingrained in your stores and new starter packs.
5 examples of successful BOPIS strategy implementation
So what companies have been using the BOPIS model the right way? Here are some examples of those benefiting from this strategy.
Dollar General is a chain of variety stores in the US. In late 2019, they introduced DG Pickup, their own name for BOPIS, under the slogan “Get in, out and done even faster.”
“Our digital efforts are focused on making things easier for our customers by providing an even more convenient, frictionless, and personalized shopping experience,” the CEO Todd Vasos said of the initiative.
This ended up helping Dollar General increase sales by 27.6% to $8.4 billion in the first quarter of 2020. It is also one of the biggest reasons why the store was able to stay open during mandated COVID-19 restrictions.
Lowe’s is an American retailer specializing in home improvement with 2,000 stores nationwide, so, of course, BOPIS is ideal for them. Lowe’s identified the need to improve their systems and rolled out over 88,000 mobile devices capable of processing BOPIS orders.
The aim was to help customers get in and out of the store faster, to streamline their experiences, to better manage inventory, and, of course, to increase sales. Which it did.
Another American retailer that’s making the most of BOPIS is Petco. Petco is an American pet retailer in the United States with over 1,500 stores nationwide. Another perfect candidate for BOPIS.
So it may come as no surprise to know that within the first month of offering BOPIS transactions, Petco drove 100,000 BOPIS orders and a 5% increase in net new customers and eCommerce revenue.
In the third quarter of 2019, Nordstrom reported one half of its department store digital sales growth coming from order pickup. Added to this in Los Angeles, two-thirds of digital sales growth came from in-store pickup.
Co-president Erik Nordstrom has even said that order pickup is the company’s most profitable transaction: “Leveraging existing store assets and digital capabilities enabled us to implement their shared inventory approach without making additional material investments … This represents a meaningful opportunity to increase convenience for customers during the holidays and at a lower cost for us.”
In 2018, Home Depot began a three-year plan to invest over $11 billion dollars into improving its retail experience. A big part of this strategy was to better blend its physical and digital selling experiences.
According to CEO Craig Menear, the strategy is paying off as he described 2019 as a record year for the company. Sales for the fiscal year 2019 were $110.2 billion, up 3.5% from 2018’s $108.2 billion. He also went on to add that its online customers choose to pick up their orders in stores more than half the time.
The BOPIS bottom line & best practices
So if you’re a brick and mortar retailer with an online presence who isn’t offering BOPIS you may want to start looking into that. You’ll be providing your customers with a convenient delivery method that has been proven to increase sales across multiple retailers.
Just make sure you have, or can get the following requirements in place to ensure a successful BOPIS offering:
A website or app for ordering.
At least one brick and mortar location.
Real-time inventory capabilities.
A location that allows for easy pick up in store or even curbside pickup
Online shoppers are always on the lookout for convenience, this is the main driving force behind retailers adopting the buy online, pick up in-store model (BOPIS). This presents you with an extra chance to make that point of sale display or in-store only offer work even harder.
The key here is to work with the best fulfillment companies, which ultimately places orders in the hands of your customers much faster.
What is BOPIS in retail?
In retail & eCommerce BOPIS simply means buy online, pick up in-store. Customers can purchase items online, but choose to collect their purchase in-store rather than getting it delivered.
How does in store pick up work?
If a website offers in store pick up you can select this option when checking out. Your purchase will then be stored at a designated pick up area ready for your collection.
What is Gross Merchandise Value and why is it important to your eCommerce business? We break down what GMV means, how you can calculate it, and how you can improve your GMV.
When you are running an eCommerce website or deal with any kind of retail, it is vital to know what GMV is. Also known as Gross Merchandise Value or Gross Merchandise Volume, this important figure tells you the total value of goods you have sold over a certain period. This is a good metric to keep in mind when working on ways to increase sales and expand your company’s bottom line.
Below, we’ll take a look at everything GMV: what it is, why it is so important, and how you can improve your own GMV while making sales to satisfied customers.
What is GMV (Gross Merchandise Value)?
Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) is a metric that measures your total value of sales over a certain period of time. It’s a metric that is most commonly used in the eCommerce industry and is also sometimes referred to as Gross Merchandise Volume.
GMV can be used to determine the overall health of an eCommerce business, and a good indicator of growth. This is because it measures the volume and value of merchandise sold or the number of transactions handled. So if your GMV is up, business should be good!
According to the Corporate Finance Institute, eCommerce GMV should be measured at least once per year, if not once per financial quarter. However, it’s important to note that the Gross Merchandise Value calculation is made before the deduction of fees and expenses associated with the sale of products. This includes things like the cost of delivery, discounts, advertising costs, and returns, etc.
GMV is at its most useful when it’s being used as a comparative measureover time. This could be comparing current quarter sales vs the previous, or year on year. Ultimately, Gross Merchandise Value is another way companies can understand and put a figure on their sales numbers.
How to Calculate GMV
The simplest and most common way to calculate GMV is by using the formula below. This simply takes the price charged to the customer and multiplies it by the number of items sold:
Gross Merchandise Value = Sales Price of Goods x Number of Goods Sold
So let’s say you sell 10 products for $100 each, your Gross Merchandise Value would amount to $1,000.
Why you shouldn’t rely on GMV alone
Calculating your GMV in this way will give you a good idea of how much growth your business is experiencing as it looks at how much you are actually selling. However, you shouldn’t rely on it solely as the one formula to determine how healthy your company is.
This is because while Gross Merchandise Value tells you how much you’re growing, it doesn’t tell you whether or not you are actually profiting off the real value of the items you sell.
For example, if GMV was your company’s primary growth metric, you may focus on more expensive, big-ticket products as the sales price of these products will help boost your total transaction value.
However, the margins on such products are often much lower than cheaper products such as clothing. So as you can see, it’s not necessarily an accurate representation of an eCommerce company’s performance.
So going back to our example above if those 10 products you sold for $100 cost you $75 to make or purchase, you’re only making $250 profit.
You won’t be able to use this formula to determine if you are selling your items for too much or too little as it doesn’t take into account margins. Number seven on our list below can help you do that!
So should I still track GMV?
Yes, it’s still an important metric as it essentially calculates your total gross sales value. Of course, you want this figure to be relatively high as sales are the lifeblood of any eCommerce business.
When you use this figure comparatively, you want it to be growing, whether it’s year-on-year or quarter vs quarter. If it’s growing, it means you’re either selling more, or you’re selling more expensive items both of which should be good for your bottom line.
But as we mentioned above there are other financial metrics that can help determine the performance of your eCommerce business.
Consider using other eCommerce KPIs to get a more balanced and accurate view of your performance:
1. Net Merchandise Value (NMV) is what you get after you deduct all the fees and expenses from your Gross Merchandise Value over a period of time. It’s a more realistic look into how your business is actually performing as it takes into account costs, refunds, etc.
NMV = GMV – All Costs (marketing, refunds, gateway payments)
2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is calculated simply by dividing all costs spent on acquiring customers (including software costs, marketing team salaries, etc.) by the total number of customers acquired in the time period the money was spent.
So let’s say you spent $5,000 on marketing in one month and acquired 500 new customers. Your CAC would be $10.
CAC = Total Marketing Spend / Number of acquired customers
This is an important metric as it essentially tracks the effectiveness of your advertising, and how much you are paying to get new customers. If this figure is too high, you’ll be eating into margins and wasting your budget.
3. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) works out the amount of money customers will spend with you over the entire life of your relationship. To calculate CLV you’ll need to define LTV first, that is Lifetime Value:
LTV = AOV x Number of transactions x Retention time period
4. Average Order Value (AOV) tracks the average amount a customer will spend each time they place an order. It’s simply calculated by dividing the total revenue by the number of orders.
AOV = Revenue / Total Number of orders
It’s clear you want this number to grow as it means your customers are spending more money with you, again this links back to CAC and increasing your CLV. If the amount is low you may need to look into ways of increasing your AOV.
5. Conversion rate (CVR). For eCommerce websites, thiswill be one of, if not the most important KPI to track. Conversion rate is an important metric that shows how your overall website is converting visitors into customers.
CVR = Number of transactions / Number of sessions
6. Profit Margin per Product (PMpP) will help you determine which products to push, how much you can discount, and where to keep a closer eye on things because margins are tight.
Product margin per product is easy to calculate. For example, if you sell a product for $25, and it costs $20 to make, the gross profit margin is 20% ($5 divided by $25).
7. Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a customer loyalty and satisfaction metric. The score is taken from asking customers how likely they are to recommend your product or service to others on a scale of 0-10.
Satisfied customers mean returning customers so again the Net Promoter Score metric can help improve lifetime value and average order values as customers will be willing to spend more with you as they know the product or service will deliver.
3 ways you can spark GMV Growth
So if GMV is one of the financial metrics you are tracking, you’ll want to see this figure increasing. Since gross merchandise volume is the direct measurement of your growth, it only makes sense that smart e-commerce business owners will be looking for ways to improve it.
Need some ideas on boosting your Gross Merchandise Value? Here are a few:
1. Offer Free Shipping where you can
A study by UPS showed that 58% of online shoppers are willing to add additional items to their order if it means they get free shipping… Offering free shipping either across the board or after customers have reached a certain price threshold can be a great way to boost your GMV and your sales overall.
Not to mention this will increase the base value of your average order, as customers will start to add more items in order to qualify for free shipping.
2. Invest in cross-selling strategies
Cross-selling is a powerful way to get customers to buy more. The best part is, you don’t have to do much to convince them; it’s the customer that makes the final decision to buy more and expand their shopping cart.
You can add a “frequently bought with this item” window on your product pages, or even offer some accessories as last-minute add-ons on the checkout page. You’d be surprised how much this can boost your GMV!
3. Add bundles
Another great way to encourage your customers to buy more (without being too pushy about it) is to offer bundles and packaged deals. Not only is this effective for getting rid of some of your less-popular inventory, but it also can significantly improve your GMV.
Customers will be happy to invest in a bundle since they are getting more products than usual for a price that is much better than usual, so they will feel that they are getting a great deal. Meanwhile, you are making bigger average sales, getting rid of old inventory, and boosting your GMV. It’s a win-win situation!
So whilst GMV will be a good metric to look at to determine total sales value and if this is improving, it needs to be used in conjunction with other metrics to give you a true picture of business performance.
It is critical to consistently measure your growth over each month to determine what you may be doing right or wrong. By creating more buying opportunities for customers using smart cross-selling strategies for adding bundled deals, you will be encouraging more activity on your website.
? What is GMW & What Does It Mean?
GMV or Gross Merchandise Volume is a term in eCommerce that shows the total sales value for merchandise sold through a marketplace over a specific time frame.
? How is GMV calculated?
To calculate GMV simply take the sale price per item charged to the customer and multiply this by the number of items sold. For example, if you sell 10 t-shirts at $50, the GMV is $500.
? How can I boost GMV growth?
There are many ways you can attain GMV growth. We detail 3 easy ways such as offering free shipping, product bundles and cross-selling strategies.
However, there’s a big question in the background: What happens to all our grand plans for innovation when a Black Swan event arrives?
Most of us had eCommerce projects in play when the coronavirus crisis arrived. These kinds of innovation projects can be big or small. It can be replatforming, switching or onboarding new technologies, or trying out new acquisition channels.
Now that the world has changed so quickly overnight, how do we decide what to do with them?
Ecommerce projects: The state of play
First of all, none of us are alone in pumping the brakes in light of upheaval. In a recent survey by Marketing Week and Econsultancy, 43% of marketers reported having delayed or are reviewing planned technology or infrastructure spending in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
This comes as part of a wider freezing of growth. The same survey reported that 55% have paused new product or service launches, and 60% have delayed budget commitments.
These numbers seem fairly substantial. However, they actually show that around half of marketers aren’t changing their plans for growth or innovation in light of the crisis. That’s a significant proportion of the competition that is still pressing ahead with business as usual (more or less).
So the question is: Which of these two opposing camps should you fall into?
Which camp are you in?
From what we’ve seen in the last few months at Yieldify, where we work with around 1,000 eCommerce websites worldwide, there’s a fairly clear set of two different factors determining whether or not companies are pausing innovation projects.
Prioritising short-term fires
First up is fire-fighting. Many eCommerce companies – whether they’re seeing a huge spike in demand (like our clients at Domino’s Pizza) or seeing traffic drop – are dealing with immediate disruption to their businesses that has to be prioritized.
For example, many have seen their supply chains impacted by lockdown in China. Others have had difficulty in fulfilling orders as lockdowns increase in their home markets. Both of these have been accompanied by the challenges of remote working and a diminished workforce as a result of illness and self-isolation.
If you’re experiencing crisis management challenges such as these, it makes perfect sense to press pause on innovative eCommerce projects to redeploy your resource where it’s most needed. However, it’s vital as a leader that you raise your head up from the current fires to see what’s next on the horizon and be ready for it.
This crisis – like any other – will be over at some point, and business will return to normal.
Long-term innovation vs. economic fallout
The second motivation we’ve seen for halting activity on eCommerce projects has been longer-term concerns about business success and viability in anticipation of the economic impact of COVID-19.
This is where things get a little bit more complicated. Exercising caution in the face of potential rough times is, of course, a smart thing to do. But to stop completely is potentially to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
One of the hottest takes in our space right now is that the coronavirus crisis isn’t necessarily disrupting the eCommerce industry. It is simply accelerating change that was already in play.
Put simply, it’s saying that the ones to survive this turbulent time will be the ones who had already done the work of transitioning successfully to a digital model. And the ones who don’t survive were already in trouble (or at least heading towards it).
You can agree or disagree with this. For us, we think it’s a little too early to commit fully to an idea like that. However, there’s an important lesson in it for anyone who’s freezing their eCommerce projects in the face of a crisis: It’s very likely going to impede your recovery.
You can look at it this way: If you’re lucky enough to be in a part of our industry where consumer behavior is generally playing in your favor as a result of COVID-19 (let’s say, online groceries), you’ll still need to emerge from this time with an ability to turn your newly-acquired customers into actual lifetime value. That work starts now.
Alternatively, you might be in a vertical where there’s real nervousness about what a recession might do to your business. Luxury goods, for example.
You’re about to head into a time where there’s a smaller market to share, so your competitive edge needs to be ten times sharper. With less traffic coming in, your conversion rate has to get higher. You’re going to need to take your website’s experience to the next level to win. Again – that work starts now.
How to keep moving forward
If you had some grand plans in February that suddenly came grinding to a halt in March, where do you go from here?
To help you determine how you should move ahead, we recommend asking yourself the following three questions about the eCommerce projects you’ve pressed pause on:
1. What positive impact does it stand to make?
This is the first question to ask as part of a pretty simple cost-benefit analysis. In the world that we’re about to enter, you’ll need to make sure that you’re getting measurable results from your eCommerce projects in order to justify the resource and the budget.
Focus in particular on those actions that will improve your website experience. Traffic is already volatile and there’s a limited level of control you have over this. Turn your attention to making sure that the traffic you’re getting converts at a higher rate.
2. What disruption and risk do your eCommerce projects entail?
If we’ve determined the benefit, then look at the cost. How much does your project necessitate putting your existing business at risk?
For example, replatforming usually involves teething troubles and bug fixes (39% see a drop in conversions immediately after launch). In the case of Marks and Spencer, it even involved getting existing customers to reactivate accounts – a huge risk!
At times like this, you may want to delay sweeping changes in technology. But remember, that doesn’t mean ruling out changes altogether. For example, most chatbots and onsite messaging tools integrate with just a couple of lines of code and can be easily removed if you need to – and can make a real impact on your bottom line right now.
3. Can you be iterative?
Aside from looking at the cost-benefit analysis that you first put together, take the time to break your eCommerce project down with fresh eyes. If something seems too labor-intensive or high-risk at this point, see whether you might be able to break down your project into smaller, more manageable stages.
Being agile and iterative at this point will help you immensely (a principle that applies to how you do business as a whole – not just how you manage innovation).
Perhaps you’ve re-evaluated your eCommerce projects and determined that even in their most agile form, the fires you’re fighting still need to come first. That’s perfectly OK.
But let’s return to the point we made earlier about keeping your eyes on the prize, even when things are crazy.
If you’ve decided that your project is on ice for this week, ask yourself again next week. Don’t park this conversation for a months’ time. In the world we’re in now, a month is a lifetime. Check-in with yourself every week and repeat the exercise to make sure you’re on the front foot.
In the meantime, we recommend signing up for E-commerce Leadership Series: our new series for founders, VPs, CEOs, and other eCommerce leaders. You will get access to valuable e-commerce leadership content, exclusive dinners, and event invitations.
Learn how to effectively use demographic segmentation in your eCommerce marketing strategy. Get inspired by real-world examples from household brands.
If you want an effective way to target your marketing, customer segmentation is an excellent entry point. Segmentation groups customers based on different factors and allows you to apply messaging that speaks directly to their needs.
There are 4 main types of market segmentation: demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral. Each provides different ways to look at your customer base, and define what it is that will help you sell to them.
In this blog post, we’re going to do a deep-dive into demographic segmentation, and see how generic non-character traits like age, religion, or level of education can help guide your eCommerce marketing strategy. Let’s begin!
What is demographic segmentation?
Definition: Demographic segmentation groups customers and potential customers together by focusing on certain traits such as age, gender, income, occupation & family status.
It’s an accessible form of market segmentation, as it requires fewer data points to implement than psychographic or behavioral segmentation, whilst offering more selective nuance than geographic segmentation. There are plenty of ways to segment markets using demographics.
The most commonly used demographic segmentation factors are:
Level of education
The simplest way to adopt demographic segmentation is by using factors like agegender income, but there are many non-character traits that you can focus on. Income and family structure are particularly useful factors for retailers, allowing them to single out certain groups that might be interested in purchasing a specific product or service.
Business-to-business (B2B) marketers, however, are much more likely to rely on occupational segmentation to ensure they are pitching their products to the people who actually make purchases for their company, and not an intern who has no purchasing power.
Segmentation vs. targeting – what’s the difference?
It’s important to recognize that segmentation and targeting differ, though they can be closely linked.
Market segmentation isn’t about targeting specific customers, but about creating groups based on the different traits that they share. Demographic segmentation allows you to collate your customers in a way that then lets you identify the best way to promote your goods or services to them.
Once you’ve segmented your market, you might look to target a segment – targeting itself is the action of looking at an already defined market segment and asking yourself how you can reach them specifically.
One way to better explain how segmentation and targeting are different but work together is via the STP marketing model.
STP (Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning) is a three-step approach that combines each of the above practices to hone in and successfully market to consumers.
First, we segment the audience using market segmentation practices.
Next, we choose which of those segments to target.
Finally, we use this information to guide our positioning and identify the most effective marketing mix to reach the audience we want to focus on.
What that could look like in real life is a hypothetical food company that uses demographic data to segments its market by age group. Looking at sales across these segments, they might acknowledge that 25-30 year-olds are not buying as many yogurts as older segments. So they would look to target their marketing campaigns towards the 25-30-year-old group in order to change this.
Having chosen this demographic segment as its target, the company can start working on its positioning to make it youthful and its marketing mix to reach the target market via channels they use most.
Demographic segmentation benefits
If you use demographic segmentation as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll benefit from the following:
1. Improved personalization. A segmented market allows you to present different messaging to different demographic segments. The same product can be shown in different ways – for instance, a car might be marketed as a family-friendly vehicle to parents, whilst couples who don’t have children are shown other benefits, like its suitability for long driving holidays. So your marketing strategies should resonate a lot better.
2. Improved product relevance. As a result of this, you can ensure people seeing your marketing are presented with products more relevant to them. Demographic marketing is particularly useful for advertising kosher or halal products to the right audience. An advert showing a non-halal meat product to a Muslim could risk isolating the customer and putting them off making future purchases from you.
3. Improved advertising effectiveness. To take the above example further, you’ve also wasted your marketing budget in advertising that non-halal product to a Muslim, as they are never going to be a buying customer. Demographic segmentation allows you to target the most relevant customers, and ensure that there is minimal waste in your advertising budget, higher ROAS, and lower CACs.
Is demographic segmentation right for me?
The short answer is: it depends. Demographic segmentation is not always the most effective type of segmentation to use. It’s important to look at what you are selling, the size of your business, and who you are selling to. It might be that there are other strategies that would work better.
A company that only has the infrastructure to service a local area might be better served using geographic segmentation, and one that sells hobby-centric products like c
Disadvantages of Demographic Segmentation
As highlighted above using demographic segmentation may not be the right move for everyone. As you’re only focusing on basic data that excludes actual customer behaviours and desires its effectiveness is limited.
For example, just because we have two people in the same demographic segment doesn’t mean they want the same things.
Using the wrong demographic variables
In some cases, it won’t make sense to use every demographic variable there is. So don’t. For example, if you’re selling high-end luxury products segmenting your market by income makes sense. If you’re selling food, segmenting by Gender may not be the most useful variable to use.
Demographics will always play an important role in identifying your target customer but it’s vital to combine demographics with other types of market segmentation to get the complete view.
Examples Of Demographic Segmentation In Marketing
Because there is such a wide variety of demographics that you can use to segment your market, there’s also a wealth of options for utilizing the strategy. Let’s look at some demographic segmentation examples in action.
Segmenting based on age
Whilst it isn’t a universal truth, it’s fair to say that people of different ages often have very different desires and Whilst it isn’t a universal truth, it’s fair to say that people of different ages often have very different desires and expectations. Taking this into account as you plan your marketing strategy can be a useful tool.
Age segmentation example
Saga Holidays sell travel packages exclusively to those over 50, and their marketing reflects this.
The images they use to show their holidays are serene and peaceful, the people represented in the lifestyle shots are well in the target audience’s age range, and the company goes out of its way to highlight the USPs important to their age segment: airport pick up, door-to-door travel service, insurance, etc.
This won’t necessarily appeal to all over 50 year-olds, but those who are still looking for busy, exciting adventures are not Saga’s target market anyway, so using demographic segmentation in marketing this way makes a lot of sense.
Segmenting based on gender
Gender-specific marketing can be a very powerful tool when done well, but it’s increasingly important to consider your messaging.
Pen manufacturers Bic have twice been called out for using lazy stereotypes to sell to women: first by producing a Bic for Her that was nothing more than a pink pen; and second with an International Women’s Day campaign that told women to “Look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, work like a boss.”
Effective gender marketing isn’t about playing up gender stereotypes, but about presenting clear, effective, and taEffective gender marketing isn’t about playing up gender stereotypes, but about presenting clear, effective, and targeted marketing.
An excellent example of this is our client War Paint for Men, a men’s make-up brand that provides clear and effective marketing towards their chosen market segment: from the brand name to the imagery to the content, their message is crystal clear.
Segmenting based on income & occupation
A very useful marketing tool is to segment by occupation or related demographics, such as income bracket or the level of education the person has reached.
Students are the frequent target of marketers, as a segment who are easily defined and have unique interests and needs. Perhaps the most common of these strategies is income-related segmentation.
Marketers find this tool useful as people in different income brackets can have drastically different approaches to making purchases. Crudely speaking, those in lower brackets are more likely to be swayed by good value, whereas those with more disposable income will be happier to spend more for a better product.
Compare the bright and casual tone that mass-market wine brand Barefoot uses, above, with that of the luxury sparkling wine brand Nyetimber, below.
Segmenting based on cultural background
Demographic segmentation also allows us to group our customers by ethnicity, religion, and nationality. This is perhaps most useful for those in the food sector, particularly for businesses selling food or products from specific cuisines.
WaNaHong is an online Asian supermarket selling primarily to Asian expats living in the UK. Their website features many familiar products from China, Japan, Taiwan, and other Asian nations, and is also skewed heavily towards providing the best experience for their customers, with many headings and products described in both Chinese and English.
We can find our final group of demographic traits in the home – looking at marital statuses, family structure (for instance, how many children a family has), and the life stages of those in each family.
This could include things like how far each child is into their education, whether the person is renting their home or owns it and, in the case of the latter, whether or not they have paid their mortgage off.
Department store Kohl’s presented brilliantly conceived Back to School marketing campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic that both spoke to parents’ needs to buy equipment for the new school year, but also acknowledged the very specific and unique situation they were facing – highlighting that children might be heading back to school, but might also just be logging on for remote learning at home.
Either way, they present themselves as a solution and allow for those in this particular life stage to feel catered for.
Demographic segmentation is an excellent ecommerce conversion rate optimization strategy to provide relevant and targeted messaging to potential and existing customers. The key for your business is identifying which demographic segments are most relevant to you, and how best to utilize the opportunities segmentation affords you.
Demographic segmentation FAQ:
What is demographic segmentation?
Demographic segmentation groups customers and potential customers together by focusing on certain traits that might represent useful markets for a business.
What are the 5 main different segments for demographics?
We’re in unprecedented times: COVID-19 was likely not a scenario in anyone’s crisis planning playbook. But can crisis bring opportunity?
While there have been corporate casualties during the COVID-19 crisis, there sure have been some winners too. For example, Walmart, Amazon, Peleton, and other consumer goods companies have not only fared well but arguably flourished under an influx of increased consumer demand. You can attribute much of this success to effective crisis planning.
These successes highlight the importance of fully understanding how to respond to a crisis. Also, emphasizing the business benefits of creating a positive brand experience during trying times.
So, let’s start by looking at what actually constitutes a crisis and how it’s created.
What is a crisis?
What is a crisis? A crisis is any event that will (or could) lead to an unstable or dangerous situation affecting an individual, company, community, or whole society. During this situation, difficult and important decisions must be made, which can result in positive or negative impacts.
Crisis is universally driven by fear. That’s what feeds the fire during a crisis situation and causes it to escalate. When people are afraid or there’s uncertainty about something, they naturally become fearful.
However, for brands, this is dangerous. Fear often leads to assumptions, rumors, and other developments that can turn a potential crisis into a full-blown crisis. Thus crisis planning is key to any comprehensive business strategy.
What is a Crisis for Your Company?
When crisis planning, it’s important to clarify what is considered a crisis for your company and what is not. Many companies do this by creating a hierarchy of crisis levels.
For example, if an issue is isolated and has not affected many people or isn’t known beyond a few people, this is not a crisis. It could have the potential to be a crisis, but at that level, it is not. We consider this a level one crisis. If the issue spreads and more people are affected, becoming known among a wider group, this is a level two crisis. When the issue becomes public and is affecting a large group, this is likely a full-blown crisis.
As part of your crisis planning, you want to create rules on how you treat each crisis level to outline the role you play in proactively communicating during them. This will help guide your communications plan for positioning your senior leadership team and the brand itself.
There are certainly many ways to respond to a crisis and it will largely vary brand to brand. For example, some people tend to retreat and not have a voice or take a stance, others are more neutral, while some take a proactive approach and address the crisis head-on.
But before we delve into how to best position yourself during a crisis, let’s first look at how to best prepare for a crisis situation – ideally minimizing any potential negative impact.
Crisis Planning Fundamentals
1. Build Relationships With Your Key Audience
First, it’s crucial to make sure you actively communicate with your key audiences on a regular basis so you have a strong track record for engaging with them. Don’t wait for a crisis situation to be the first time you focus on building these relationships. Be a good corporate citizen and build strong relationships with key constituents and it will pay dividends later down the line when you really need their support.
It’s worth remembering that if you have a positive reputation and track record, your key audiences are more likely to forgive you when you make a mistake. This preparation work can buy you precious goodwill from both the public, media, and other stakeholders involved. It’s certainly worth the effort.
2. Keep Messaging Consistent
During a crisis situation it is more important than ever to bring your “A Game”. You want to make sure you deliver a consistent message time and time again. Do this by using similar messaging for internal and external audiences and try not to deviate from the company’s line.
If you put out different messages, it can negatively affect your credibility and make you look suspicious. It’s ok to update your message as the situation evolves, but it should still stay consistent. Look for ways to incorporate your brand messages, which you would ideally have defined in your crisis planning. Whether it is on your website, in media interviews or internal meetings, incorporate your key brand messages and cover your bases.
3. Utilize any Increased Exposure
While no one wants to be in a crisis situation, it’s actually a unique opportunity where you have the attention of your key audiences. All eyes are on you, but if your response is well-received, the results can be lucrative.
Most of the time, brands are trying to get their customers and potential customers to pay attention to them — through marketing, advertising or digital channels – and during a crisis, they actually want to hear from you. Don’t run away from this: use it to create a positive brand experience and actually build stronger relationships with employees, customers and attract new customers. These potential advocates will also help you in future crisis planning.
Once you have nailed these crisis planning fundamentals, let’s move on with how you would structure your responses when the crisis hits.
Formulating Your Response: Where do you Begin?
When thinking about how to communicate with key audiences during a crisis, where do you start, how do you know what to say and where to say it?
These are all questions you need to be able to answer as part of your crisis planning. Here’s how:
First, identify who your key audiences are – employees, customers, potential customers, investors, etc.
Secondly, identify where they are and how to reach them – email, text, social channels, PR, paid digital, traditional advertising, etc. so you know the best way to engage
Finally, clarify what you want to communicate and how you can stand out – you want to be authentic and not be seen as taking advantage of the situation, but you also don’t want to add to the noise. Ensure you communicate in a meaningful way and stay away from fluff or jargon in your messaging
Follow these three simple rules and you will always deliver relevant and timely responses via appropriate channels that are guaranteed to have optimal impact.
But what if that isn’t enough and you want to take it to the next level?
Creating a Crisis Planning Thought Leadership Strategy
During a crisis, people are scared and looking for resources and information to help guide them through the crisis. With COVID-19, we have seen how quickly information can change and the need for reliable resources as the situation has unfolded – new learnings, best practices, policy changes, etc.
In recent months we have seen every company and CEO send out communications about their response to COVID-19. And, in some ways this was appropriate. However, in others, it seemed like they were just sending the communication because it was what everyone else was doing.
Following the status quo didn’t seem meaningful or authentic. As part of your crisis planning, consider whether this will resonate well with your audience. Transparency is key and identifying what you want to take a stance on, and ensuring it is relevant to your target audiences and that it reinforces your brand, is the first step in creating a thought leadership position during a crisis.
A great example of this is Starbucks. The CEO did a great job communicating about COVID-19 and reinforcing the brand’s mission and values. Below is an email from the CEO to consumers sent on March 12, 2020.
Example: Starbucks Crisis Planning Response
“At Starbucks, we believe it is our role and responsibility during this time to prioritize two things: the health and well-being of our customers and partners while also playing a constructive role in supporting local health officials and government leaders as they work to contain the virus. Through that lens, we will continue to make decisions with vigilance and courage informed by the latest science-based information and guided by Our Mission and Values.
I want to also thank you for supporting our Starbucks partners who proudly wear the green apron. We have a long-standing history of caring for our partners, recognizing they are the heartbeat of Starbucks. That is why, as we navigate this dynamic situation, in addition to our sick leave benefit and mental health offerings, we are also expanding catastrophe pay so that partners do not need to feel like they need to choose between their health and their work.
Thank you for being a loyal customer. It is our intent to remain transparent, providing the latest information from Starbucks here.
Starbucks’ resilience is owed to our unwavering Mission to inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.
We are privileged to serve you and your community and look forward to seeing you soon.”
This email does a great job of outlining what Starbucks is doing to address the situation, reinforcing its brand/mission. It helps to instil confidence in consumers so they know what their favorite brand is doing, what they can expect and how Starbucks is going to continue updating them as the situation changes, and continue providing a consistent brand experience.
Building on this, next we’re going to glance inward and look at how senior company representatives can position themselves as thought leaders during a crisis. We’ll be tackling 5 top tips that you can put into action either alone or with a team.
5 Top Tips For Becoming A Crisis Planning Thought Leader
1. Don’t be shy when crisis planning
As a business leader, take a proactive approach to communicating with internal and external audiences as part of your crisis planning. This is a time when people want to hear from you – whether it’s via email, your website or other channels. Give them the attention and reassurance that they need, speaking from a trusted position of authority for added gravitas.
2. Communicate with your key audiences on a regular basis
Don’t just communicate at the beginning of the unfolding crisis, but make sure it’s consistent throughout the year. That way your audiences know you’re authentic and are there for the long haul, building up added trust over time.
3. Create opportunities to engage with key stakeholders
Whether it’s through Zoom or other virtual tools, make it personal. Identify the appropriate channels as part of your crisis planning, then you can simply activate your plan when the time is right. It will be important to ensure these meetings run smoothly, so some quick Zoom tips to plan and manage this process more productively are to make sure you have a set agenda, make sure key stakeholders are engaged on the call, and finally make sure you’re not on mute when you start talking! It doesn’t matter whether you are using Google Meets, Teams or an alternative such as Zoom, those tips will serve you well.
4. Launch new initiatives that are timely and resonate with your key audiences
Now is the time to try out new HR initiatives that can engage employees and help show them how much they’re appreciated. This can also be a good opportunity to launch external initiatives in your community and with customers, further building a community of advocates that can, in turn, support your brand.
These might include:
Participating in a food drive or other ways to help people in need
Offering flexible pricing or COVID sales to help address consumer concerns about spending money
Providing resources to customers – give away free masks with every purchase, or send a COVID care package to customers as a way to let them know you care, offer free Webinars on issues related to your business, etc.
5. Take a proactive crisis planning approach to social and media channels
In a time where social media silence or ‘no comment’ could be deemed an admission of guilt, it pays to get ahead of the game. But rather than jumping straight into defense mode, there are other options that are more tactical.
Draft articles, blogs or vlogs on what you’re doing during these challenging times to meet the needs of your employees and customers – positioning them more as helpful advice – not boasting
Launch a PR campaign to secure interviews on local and trade media channels to discuss what you’re doing and encourage other business leaders to help their communities and customers during these challenging times
Ultimately, you want to stay positive – focus on how times are tough, but talk about the future and what we can do now to prepare for the post-COVID phase.
These are trying times, and people are looking for strong leaders who can guide and support them during this new normal. Take a stance and be there for your employees and customers in a meaningful way. Don’t send out communications just for the sake of it or create content that is fluff. People will see right through it.
To be a successful leader you must show confidence, be authentic, be caring and show how you are addressing their needs. By following these best practices for crisis planning, you will position yourself as a thought leader and grow your brand. But importantly, you will also help to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
This guest post was written for Yieldify by Shana Harris, COO at Warschawski, a widely recognized thought leader in PR and crisis communications.
Want to learn more about crisis management for e-commerce? Episode 2 of our new web series, #TrendsOfTomorrow, is all about this topic. Click here to access the full video archives.
Creating a crisis management plan is tough, least of all during a global pandemic. Here are the five key defining behaviors of effective eCommerce leaders.
In a fast-paced industry like eCommerce, a leader’s ability to create an effective crisis management plan has become a critical skillset. Experience often plays a key part, but it doesn’t automatically make or break someone as a good leader in a crisis. Let’s explore what does.
Good vs Effective Crisis Management Plans
When you think of the qualities associated with ‘good’ leaders, it’s likely your response is emotion-based. These leaders are often compassionate, unequivocally committed to both their team and company success when times are tough. Decisions are made ethically, after much consideration, and for the greater good.
‘Effective’ leaders work slightly differently. These are the ones that simply get the job done, no matter what crisis or obstacle gets thrown at them. They are goal-oriented and fixated on moving the needle from where it is now, to where it needs to be. All with the aim of securing a successful business outcome.
The key difference here is the ‘effective’ leader’s ability to make quick decisions under intense pressure and creatively explore solutions. If something isn’t working, strategies are pivoted immediately, using the latest information at their disposal.
Can a leader be both ‘good’ and ‘effective’?
In short, yes. A great example of this is Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand. According to research, she is “the most popular New Zealand prime minister in a century,” with 92% of poll respondents saying that her decision to take strict measures during the COVID-19 crisis was “the right call.”
Ardern has built a strong reputation for caring about people. However, she also has a strong, evidence-based strategy for applying that ethos in a practical way. This had resulted in a high level of trust and respect worldwide.
Clara Ross-Benham, Head of People and part of Yieldify’s leadership team agrees, commenting: “a balance is important, especially during a crisis where we often see a conflict between the needs of the employee and the employer. A manager serves two functions: to lead a team and to contribute to the success of the business. Communication and honesty will go a long way in building the trust of your team and navigating them through unsettling situations. It’s important not to over-promise. The goal of both a ‘good’ and ‘effective’ leader here is to ensure that the employee and employer have an understanding.
“A successful leader should be able to connect and to collaborate. Achieving this requires empathy and greater business awareness. I believe the best leaders care genuinely, not just about their direct reports but about the company as a whole. This allows leaders to bring together the right people, give effective feedback and work as a collective.”
But what is the glue that binds Jacinda and other effective leaders together? Below we explore the 5 key behaviors of crisis planning, nominated by business leaders for business leaders, adding in our own top tips.
5 Key Behaviors To Embrace When Creating A Crisis Management Plan
Martin Seeley, CEO of MattressNextDay believes “Honesty is one of the most valued character traits, but many leaders fail to achieve it.
“In a crisis, a leader must admit when he or she doesn’t have answers to all the questions rather than confusing people with false information. Withholding important information that could affect employees is also dangerous because it can breed mistrust and uncertainty. Honesty will make people work for you not because of your title but because of who you are.”
Top Tip: It’s key to communicate, and that doesn’t stop at the leadership team. Consider creating an FAQ document or intranet page that provides clear answers to the important questions that all employees are asking. Even if the answer is simply ‘we don’t know yet, but we’re working on it’. Silence fuels fear and promotes distrust, which is exactly what you want to avoid.
2. Acting with courage
According to Abhi Lokesh, CEO of printing company Fracture, courage is mission-critical in many ways. “Whether it’s how you communicate with your team to being willing to make significant changes to your business strategy in the face of adversity. However, in many ways, courage can be found in the actions you DON’T take versus the actions you do take.”
“We tend to admire and lionize those leaders who exemplify the traditional definition of courage. For example, being bold and instinctive, shrugging off doubt and ignoring reason, single-mindedly striding into battle or tackling adversity head-on. The truth is that courage and cowardice often get confused for each other. It’s important to try and understand the difference.”
“The courageous leader is the one who exercises restraint and calm even in the eye of the storm. As human beings, we’re biologically wired to react instinctually to danger – hence our “fight or flight” response. It’s incredibly hard to fight that impulse and conquer that instinct. True courage is not simply following the herd and doing what everyone else is doing. Instead, it’s stopping and asking “Why?”, reflecting upon past experiences, and seeking counsel from those around you.”
Top Tip: It’s easy to confuse action and motion with courage. So be patient and ensure that you’ve analyzed a situation from the necessary angles before you make a move. Whatever decision you make will likely face intense scrutiny, so having the facts, figures and logic to back up your rationale will help overcome any objections.
3. Anticipating the unexpected
John Moss, CEO of English Blinds comments: “An effective leader during a crisis is one that is calm and adaptive. They understand that the crisis is still evolving and is, by nature, unpredictable, and so requires a fluid and responsive approach to mitigation and management.”
“Being able to take a big picture view and understand not just the current or direct impact of the crisis is important too. This ensures that the secondary or knock-on effects that are apt to happen down the line are prevented or planned for as well.”
“Staying one step ahead, being able to visualize the potential directions or conclusions things will take, and problem-solving or troubleshooting on the fly are key skills. As is being able to keep a cool, clear head and provide direction and reassurance to others.”
Top Tip: Forward-thinking is a key component of any crisis management plan. The more scenarios that you can predict in advance and create a plan for, the more prepared you will be when disaster hits. However, of course, there will always be events like a pandemic that takes us by storm. In which case, having a basic framework that applies to any scenario will be invaluable. You can find this in our Crisis Management Toolkit which is free to download here.
4. Critical thinking
According to Carolyn Cairns of Creation BC: “One trait of an effective crisis leader is their critical thinking skills. They should be able to understand and appreciated the unique complications of each crisis situation.”
“A leader with critical thinking skills can recognize the logical links between concepts, recognize the validity and significance of claims, spot contradictions, or flaws in judgment. Thus, allowing them to make the best decisions.”
“They must also be able to assess how certain information can be relevant in specific situations especially during a crisis like the pandemic.”
Top tip: Trusted third party stakeholders can prove to be valuable sounding boards for testing out new strategies and ideas. They are far enough removed from the crisis management plan at hand that they can offer fresh perspectives and spot subtle flaws that might otherwise be missed. Invest time in building these relationships as they can bring other great rewards as well!
5. Leading from the front
Laurie Battaglia, CEO of Aligned at Work®, commented: “In times of crisis, people are looking for a visible leader, one who leads by example and knows how to engage the hearts and minds of people who are under pressure.”
“People seek information and guidance during times of crisis. They hope that the leader either has experience in leading through a crisis or that the leader is surrounded by smart people with that experience or knowledge.”
“Great crisis leaders know when to make a snap decision, and when to engage with others to come up with the best solutions. They inform, stay visible, and create an environment where others can step up or step into leadership with them. Value is placed on listening and listening often. They surround themselves with trusted advisors who have the people’s interests at heart. And they describe the larger purpose that people sign on for and support.”
Top Tip: Leading by example doesn’t have to mean taking the entire burden of the world on your shoulders. Surround yourself with a trusted crisis-ready team and bring those employees with you on the journey to the solution. Listen carefully to what they have to say and use this to help inform what actions you take. This will also assist you in achieving buy-in across the business when your plan is ready to present publicly.
The role that effective leaders can play in a crisis management plan is immensely valuable to any organization. Aspiring leaders shouldn’t wait for a crisis to occur to start nurturing their skills. This will ultimately allow them to perform to their full potential if/when disaster strikes.
Things to remember:
Be honest and promote an environment of trust and respect
Leverage your team and listen closely to their input
Always look at situations critically and ask “Why?” before acting
Have the flexibility to be able to pivot strategies as the crisis evolves
“Greatness is not in where we stand but in what direction we are moving. We must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it—but sail we must and not drift, nor lie at anchor.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Want to learn more about creating a crisis management plan for e-commerce? Episode 2 of our new web series, #TrendsOfTomorrow, is all about this topic. Click here to access the full video archives.
When you’re looking to improve the effectiveness of your marketing, segmentation should always be one of your first ports of call. Learn about the 4 most common types of market segmentation, plus some other ones that you may have missed.
Market segmentation is an increasingly important part of a strong marketing strategy and can make all the difference for companies in competitive market landscapes, such as e-commerce.
When up against a range of online competitors, effective communication is the best way to differentiate your business. Market segmentation offers an opportunity to pinpoint exactly what messaging will drive your customers to make a purchase.
The 4 basic types of market segmentation are: 1. Demographic 2. Psychographic 3. Geographic 4. Behavioral
We’ll go into there 4 types in a lot more detail below.
For example, the four types of segmentation are Demographic, Psychographic Geographic, and Behavioral. These are common examples of how businesses can segment their market by gender, age, lifestyle etc.
Let’s explore what each of them means for your business.
1. Demographic segmentation: The who
Demographic segmentation might be the first thing people think of when they hear ‘market segmentation’. This is perhaps the most straightforward way of defining customer groups, but it remains powerful. Demographic segmentation looks at identifiable non-character traits such as:
Level of education
Profession/role in a company
For example. demographic segmentation might target potential customers based on their income, so your marketing budget isn’t wasted directing your messaging at people who likely can’t afford your product.
Luxury goods manufacturer Montblanc worked with Yieldify to present a selection of offers across their website. One sought to raise conversions using a Father’s Day deal that offered a free gift to those spending over £200 – an amount that acknowledged the spending expectations of Montblanc’s target audience and saw a +118% uplift in conversions for those targeted.
Another offer was aimed specifically at corporate gift buyers – a market segment that Montblanc particularly appeals to – and resulted in a +30% uplift for that segment.
Segmentation isn’t just about your business reaching customers more effectively – it’s also about those customers seeing messaging that is more relevant to them!
2. Psychographic segmentation: The why
Psychographic segmentation is focused on your customers’ personalities and interests. Here we might look at customers and define them by their:
Compared to demographic segmentation, this can be a harder set to identify. Good research is vital and, when done well, psychographic segmentation can allow for incredibly effective marketing that consumers will feel speaks to them on a much more personal level.
In our experience working with luxury resort business Omni Hotels & Resorts, for example, were aware that a big sector of the company’s target audience was always keen to get the very best price they could. By targeting a notification campaign specifically towards comparison shoppers, Omni Hotels & Resorts achieved a 39% conversion rate uplift.
3. Geographic segmentation: The where
By comparison, geographic segmentation is often one of the easiest to identify, grouping customers with regards to their physical location. This can be defined in any number of ways:
For example, it’s possible to group customers within a set radius of a certain location – an excellent option for marketers of live events looking to reach local audiences. Being aware of your customers’ location allows for all sorts of considerations when advertising to consumers.
Using Yieldify’s tools, an online shoe store could show different products depending on where the visiting customer was based: wellington boots for someone in the countryside, pavement-friendly trainers for a city-dweller, strappy sandals to resort visitors, and so on!
In large nations like the United States, customers could be presented with options that match with local weather patterns. Geographical identification is an important part of seasonal segmentation, which allows businesses to market season-appropriate products to customers.
Some recent examples of proper geographic segmentation came from the response by e-commerce businesses to the coronavirus pandemic. During lockdown stages, many businesses shifted their focus to local communities to highlight how their services could still be accessed online.
Conversely, as public spaces began to open up again purely e-commerce brands had to shift their marketing plans to maintain the levels of business they had seen over the lockdown period.
4. Behavioral segmentation: The how
Behavioral segmentation is possibly the most useful of all for e-commerce businesses. As with psychographic segmentation, it requires a little data to be truly effective – but much of this can be gathered via your website itself. Here we group customers with regards to their:
For example, we can distinguish between a first-time visitor and someone who’s already been on your site multiple times but haven’t purchased. Based on this behavioral data, we can tailor our messaging accordingly:
First time visitor: Hey, learn about our latest collection! Returning visitor: Join our loyalty program and start saving!
Working with online wine club Vinomofo, we used behavioral segmentation to target three distinct audiences: new visitors, returning visitors, and returning clients.
One of the best examples of this type of segmentation is showing new visitors a $15 incentive in exchange for joining the community. Returning visitors who had already subscribed but have not redeemed their coupon yet were reminded on their first order incentive. Whereas returning customers saw a campaign about Vinomofo’s premium services.
This targeted approach focused on purchasing habits reached a 34.02% conversion rate uplift with new and 29.24% CR uplift with returning visitors!
Other types of market segmentation with examples
Though the most common types of market segmentation are demographic, psychographic, geographic, and behavioral, there are other types that are also worth considering and can offer excellent opportunities in the right context.
Technographic segmentation identifies and groups customers with regards to the role technology plays in their lives. This might mean recognizing groups of early adopters when marketing new technologies. It might also be as simple as recognizing the device users access the site from and presenting deals differently.
With personalization, it’s easy to target adverts at specific groups like this. Consumers accessing an online phone store via the Safari internet browser might be more interested in Apple products – and can be shown these as a result.
Generational and life stage segmentation
Generational and life stage segmentation both expand on aspects of the demographic approach. Identifying customers by generation allows for broad but distinct approaches depending on age.
Life stage segmentation, however, works similarly whilst divorcing life experience from age itself. Instead, it groups customers by factors including marital status, home-ownership, and whether or not they have children (and more specific still by considering the ages of their children).
Bank of America, for example, has successfully used life stage segmentation in their digital marketing strategy. Medialogic details BoFA’s “Family Life Banking” program that invited customers to segment themselves by clicking on a relatable tab within and email. From there, the customer would land on a custom microsite designed specifically for their segment.
Transactional segmentation is based on previous interactions your customer has had with your brand. Whilst it can draw on behavioral elements, it also has a much wider scope – considering the initial source of their registration with your business, how long it has been since their last order, and how many orders they’ve made overall.
Yieldify worked with clothing retailer Turnbull & Asser to boost conversion rates on their online store. Offering free shipping to all their customers would have been too expensive, so Yieldify targeted a specific transactional segment of their userbase – offering free shipping to those with a set value of items already in their carts.
The shipping offer encouraged many of those targeted to make the extra purchases necessary to claim it, and drove over £22,000 of extra revenue for the brand.
Picking up on information like this is a particularly effective strategy across multiple industries, including top competitors to mass global retailers like Amazon, presenting e-commerce businesses with the best understanding of their customers, and encouraging return visits.
Whilst the above marketing segmentation strategies mainly focus on B2C organizations, Firmographic segmentation can be extremely useful to those in the B2B world.
Firmographic segmentation is the process of analyzing and classifying B2B customers based on shared company or organization attributes & characteristics.
This segmentation strategy allows B2B companies to better understand and target their audience and marketing campaigns. This process is very similar to the way B2C marketers would use demographic segmentation.
This type of market segmentation predominantly uses 7 factors to identify customer segments.
Number of employees
Sales Cycles Stage
This market segmentation process can help form an effective B2B marketing strategy by identifying target customers and tailoring marketing efforts to these specific customer segments.
10 Benefits of Market Segmentation
There are many benefits of market segmentation, our top 10 are below.
1. More effective marketing
This is the biggest and most obvious benefit to well-implemented market segmentation. By better recognizing the needs of your customers, you can identify more effective tactics for reaching them and improving their interactions and experience with your business.
2. More efficient spending
After all, your targeted marketing is going to allow for better returns on investment, and you’ll waste less money on marketing that reaches the wrong audience.
3. Higher quality leads
You’ll also notice that the more targeted more marketing is, the better your leads become. You’re reaching the right people, and they’re starting to notice you!
4. Identifying niche markets
Similarly, your research into segmentation may help you recognize areas of the market you’d not considered before and help you develop a market penetration strategy. This might even lead to the development of new products that are aimed specifically towards these markets.
The purpose of market segmentation is not only to help you reach your audience but also to allow your customers to see the true value of your brand via marketing that speaks to them – and in doing so puts you head and shoulders above your competitors.
7. More focus
Ultimately, thoughtful customer segmentation will allow your business to focus every element of its activity to better reach those that it serves. Your marketing becomes focused on your customers’ needs, your research and development may focus on meeting those needs, your spending will be focused on achieving these, and not wasted on mistargeted marketing and planning.
Everything becomes better suited to giving your customers what they need, and as a result, your business becomes exactly the sort of business they want to be buying from. This can greatly help with the return on investment of all your marketing activity.
So, as you can see there are different types of marketing segmentation you can choose from to find and define your target market to effectively promote your product or service.
Your customers’ every decision is judged on whether the result is what they want, or whether it is what they need. Market segmentation allows you to recognize these needs and market directly to them, without any wasted messaging.
Whether it’s telling new drivers about the best car insurance for them, or sharing offers on barbeques and sun-chairs to those living in the middle of a heatwave, market segmentation offers you thousands of ways to ensure your customers see you as exactly what they want, and exactly what they need.
Market Segmentation FAQs
What is meant by market segmentation?
Market segmentation builds a subset of a market. This can be based on demographics, needs, priorities, common interests, and other psychographic or behavioral criteria.
What are the 4 types of market segmentation?
The 4 basic types of market segmentation are: 1. Demographic 2. Psychographic 3. Geographic 4. Behavioral
What are the advantages of market segmentation?
By segmenting your market you’ll be able to understand your customer’s needs better and how you can fulfill these better than your competition.