Last week the news broke that Amazon and Shopify were going to enter into a partnership. Amazon is going to create an app in the Shopify ecosystem that will allow for a deeper integration between the two companies. As a Shopify Plus agency owner, I think this is huge news and a win for four different groups: Shopify merchants, Shopify customers, Shop Pay, and Amazon FBA.
Shopify merchants that already use Amazon fulfillment network (FBA) will be able to offer customers on their Shopify store a Buy with Prime button. Most importantly, Shopify merchants will be able to keep all of their customer data (email, contact info, etc). The bottom line here is that the Shopify merchant will be able to own their brand and customer information, which is critical for driving future sales.
Shopify customers can use their Amazon wallet to make payments through Shopify’s checkout. In addition, customers will get the free and ultra fast delivery through FBA that they have come to expect when making purchases on Amazon.
Shop Pay will process all the payments when customers select the Buy with Prime button during the Shopify checkout process. This is a big win for Shopify as they are able to maintain the payment processing volume and merchant gross merchandise value (GMV) on their platform.
Amazon FBA will now be an option for Shopify merchants. Most Shopify merchants currently use their own third party logistics company (3PL) to ship products. In the past, Shopify merchants could only use FBA if they sold directly on Amazon, but now FBA will become a viable alternative to using your own 3PL.
I think this news is really big for the entire Shopify ecosystem. Shopify gets to leverage Amazon’s excellence in fulfillment, while Shopify merchants continue to own their customer’s experience. If I’m a Shopify competitor (Magento, BigCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, etc.) I would be very worried about how close Amazon and Shopify just became. As a Shopify Plus agency owner, I’m excited to get out there and talk about this new partnership and the benefits for the merchants we serve.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending ChargeX Beyond in my old stomping grounds, Washington, DC. This conference was filled with new app releases, insightful thought-leadership, and a conglomerate of business solutions. Spending a few days surrounded by conversations on the wild west that was the beginnings of e-commerce, the zero and first party customer-focused present, and an AI-powered future, reminded me of the sheer need for adaptability in this industry.
“ChargeX Beyond is really a vision of where we think Recharge is going, where commerce is going, and how we need to all change in this new time.”
Recharge’s Product Roadmap and Insights on Customer Retention
The first full day of panels unveiled some incredible updates over at Recharge; game-changers for merchants and developers alike. New items that will be boosting subscriptions and the merchant-experience within the coming months:
Bundles: Curate or customize product bundles and soon will offer dynamic pricing
Memberships: Create paid membership programs to increase recurring customers
Rewards: A potent suite of options, including cash back and store credits, to build loyalty
Flows: Implement customized workflows that improve the customer experience and reduce churn
These new offerings are designed to provide merchants with an out-of-the-box functionality of Recharge. They will provide a powerful toolkit for us to further help merchants quickly grow their customer base, increase average order value (AOV) and lifetime value (LTV), as well as strategize even more customization. With Flows, for example, merchants can (or we can help them) implement proven CRO strategies directly into their customer journey; guiding shoppers through the purchasing process, making it easy and convenient to buy. By drilling down as granularly as possible within the customer journey, we’ll be able to create highly targeted and personalized experiences at scale, building long-lasting customer relationships.
Another update released during the event, and one of the more requested subscription enhancements, was the Affinity Customer Portal. This offers businesses a highly customizable, no-code customer portal where customers can easily manage their subscriptions from any device through Affinity’s modern and user-friendly interface.
Later that evening, I was treated to the choice of wine or whiskey, to which I ruminated on the other panels while enjoying delicious South African wine, guided by sommelier Tinashe Nyamudok.
A highlight of the panels that day was 10 Steps to building a retention program for your merchants with Brandon Amoroso, Founder of Electriq Marketing (a DRINKS company). The key takeaway from this talk for me is that customer segmentation and personalization are critical for merchants to deliver a 1 to 1 experience that meets the needs of their customers at scale. To do this, merchants will need to leverage customer data effectively, make reordering easy, and create loyalty programs that are tailored to their customers’ motivations, whether it’s free swag, badges, or tier programs. Quality customer service is crucial for building strong relationships, and merchants should go the extra mile to win back customers who have had negative experiences. Additionally, merchants should audit their tech stack to identify the best tools and techniques that will help them achieve a better ROI and consolidate their experience. By doing all of this, merchants can improve their bottom line and build long-lasting relationships with their customers.
As many of the attendees migrated to a beautiful evening at the LINE hotel in DC for food, drinks, and dancing, the conversations around optimizing the customer experience did not stop. Across brand categories, there are an incredible number of customized strategies for increasing current revenue and predicting future hurdles. On the horizon, we’re talking about everything from recession concerns, to GA4 transitions, and an AI-powered future. If I look at it through an objective lens, I’m incredibly fascinated by what’s next.
As Friday came, we were treated to a series of engaging presentations and discussions, as well as an insightful chat with Jonathan Van Ness about their personal journey and the success of JVN Hair. Throughout the discussion, Van Ness emphasized the importance of deeply understanding your audience, while also touching on the critical role of relationships and technology in supporting effective decision-making and strategy development. They highlighted the value of leveraging your passion for the industry to build community and engagement, as well as the need to stay true to your original vision and sense of self as a business owner.
“These are our babies…and the higher you go, the more razor’s edge that is, and the higher you can fall.”
– Johnathan Van Ness
Through being extremely clear on their personal mission statement, “spread self-acceptance by modeling joy and curiosity”, Johnathan has been able to fuel decisions toward fulfillment both as an individual and as a merchant. Sometimes, (most times) we can get so wrapped up in competition and optimization (although essential to success) that we can forget the baseline of good business: relationships and authentic storytelling. Overall, the discussion was expertly moderated by VP of Strategic Alliances at Recharge, Lindy Crea, and a valuable reminder of the key principles that underpin successful e-commerce ventures.
Rounding out the evening, the e-commerce energy was lush, and I am invigorated and re-ignited in Ambaum’s approach of moving merchants forward through our expertise and excellence. If you have thoughts on your business needs, and how we can help, check out our work, and drop us line today.
Zero-party data is data that is voluntarily provided by customers, and is collected directly from them. This type of data could be information such as a customer’s preferences, lifestyle, life stages, opinions, and values. It is different from other types of data, such as first-party data, where we’re indirectly learning about the customer through website analytics, social channels, and other sources.
Why Do We Need it?
We’ll tackle this question two fold:
Because third-party cookies and new privacy changes to iOS, retailers across the board are facing difficulties in data collection. Brands will need to draw from reliable data more in the face of stricter (and more consumer-aware) privacy rules, and this is most succinctly achieved through zero-party collection methods.
Ultimately, collecting zero-party data will be a requisite for success for all merchants across B2B and B2C because it provides companies with more direct and valuable insights into their consumers.
How to Collect Zero-Party Data
This all sounds well and good in a brick and mortar business, but how do you collect data directly from your customers in a digital environment? Here are a few methods of collection to get in touch with the customer on your site as an e-Commerce brand:
Whether it be through a subscription, membership, or loyalty program, allow customers to create an account through your site, saving their preferences while signing up. Customers who receive offers and recommendations that are customized to them are more inclined to purchase from brands, according to 91% of consumers.
Build a survey/questionnaire into your customer journey. Quizzes are such an engaging way to interact with your customers, and our brilliant partners over at Okendo have tackled this and more.
Create an email preference center where customers can specify the kind of content (and product categories) they would like to receive from you.
Conduct a drawing or contest using a landing page form, gathering more information with embedded forms on your website than just an email address.
The Power of Personalization
To a consumer, privacy is power, and it is ever slipping through the cracks in a digital world. With consent at the core of its concept, zero-party data is quickly becoming a hot topic among marketers and merchants alike, and for good reason. In the future, companies will need to create a balance between providing customers with personalized experiences while respecting their privacy. This means that companies will need to be more transparent about how they’re using their customers’ data, and provide customers with better control over their data.
If there’s improvement to be had with your business strategy, submit an inquiry today, and let’s talk. Our initial conversations are always free, and informal, so let’s sit down for a chat.
trend: /trend/ “a general direction in which something is developing or changing.”
While consistency is always important, being consistent also means incorporating change. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s new and useful toward your marketing efforts is key to growing your reach and your new converting customers. Let’s break it down to some pivotal elements for success.
1. A/B Web Testing with SEO
Trends wouldn’t be trends without testing – this is a way to truly understand your audience and their subtle changes. Although A/B testing is traditionally used as a tactic toward paid advertising, a brand can also utilize A/B testing for organic reach and search traffic to the site. A low-cost tactic; identify the blog post or page that drives the most traffic and run some A/B tests. Track conversion, duration, and bounce rates to optimize your site.
With a reported 8-second average attention span in 2021, grabbing a user’s focus quickly and efficiently is more important than ever. And, with fast moving apps like TikTok, the average attention span is sure to shrink even further. So, how do you compete in this high speed highway of content? Try motion graphics and video content. This can be as simple as switching out a .jpg with a .gif, or creating full-blown videos for social posts and ads as they are proven to be more effective. Leverage and strategize the effectiveness of channels such as TikTok and Instagram Reels. Try different approaches to stop-the-scroll within the first 5 seconds of your content. Of course, as in all things marketing, keep brand authenticity at the forefront.
Pro Tip: Make sure all video content includes captions. This promotes inclusive usability and allows the user to enjoy your content in spaces where having sound on is not possible or preferable. This can also increase conversion rates.
3. Mobile Optimization
With the marketing world becoming even more fast paced, on-the-go convenience will be vital to a brands success. In fact, we know that in 2020, about half of global website traffic came from mobile devices. Having the ability to purchase, navigate, and otherwise interact with your site is pivotal as millennials and Gen Z increase their buying power. Always check how the output of your content interacts on mobile devices, and with different mobile devices, ensuring the user’s journey is reflective of a more fast-paced and cross-channel user for the following key elements:
Ensure products are explained with the least amount of clicks. Include FAQs about the product, reviews, and images that can be zoomed in on a mobile device.
Consider additional customer service options. Be sure to give users many options if they have questions about your product or service – via email, phone, or live chat.
Make the payment process as easy as possible. This can be done by allowing the user to create an account and save their credit card information for easy check-out in the future, to allowing alternative payment options such as ApplePay or GooglePay. But, keep the fillable forms as short as possible so you do not lose the users interest or attention. In this independent study, creating payment options resulted in a 101% increase in conversions.
Pro Tip: Do a double-check on your email content, as well, to make sure it is optimized for mobile.
4. User-Generated Content (UGC)
Often overlooked, and with minimal effort on the brand’s part, is cultivating brand loyalty through UGC. This is a direct way for users to feel like they have a voice, are valued, and increases word-of-mouth awareness. User-generated content can incentivize influencer and partnership programs, as a clearer channel toward customer reviews and feedback. Incorporating UGC into your marketing channels is cost effective, and takes a bite of content-creation off your Social Media Manager’s plate. Shopify offers a UGC app to make this easier such as Cevoid or even Shoppable Instagram & UGC.
Another tactic here is to make sure you give back to the community, especially the users helping through UGC. This could be in the form of a promo code for them and to share with friends, free product for their review, or feature them in a sweepstakes to build followers mutually.
Featuring these users as Brand Ambassadors gives them a VIP feeling, and creates a partnership between them and your brand. But, don’t stop there. Reach out to your team, and empower employees to advocate for your brand. Word-of-mouth is statistically proven to be one of the most effective forms of lead-to-customer conversion, so take every opportunity to promote real-life interactions with your product.
Especially in times of bulk discounts or times where KPIs need to be met, personalizing your content output can get lost in the fray. A few ways to tighten the scope:
How can you create content without knowing who the audience is? See how granular you can make the buyer personas. Find stock images, write out what their hobbies are, if they consume content on a Mac, PC, or mobile (and, if so, what type of mobile?), what music they listen to, what they do after a long week, etc. Writing content toward a specific audience will evoke a more emotional response and keep them engaged.
Keeping a good email database is like keeping a carefully pruned bonsai. It takes careful attention and pruning to ensure that the overall channel is healthy and growing. Segmenting your email list by data points identified in your personas and customizing those emails and promotions toward the consumer increases open rates, click-through-rate (CTR), and ultimately conversions.
Think of the consumer’s journey
From usability to personalization, keep trying to think of each personas experience as they navigate through the journey you’ve built for them. If a user converts from an email, how is their journey different from a user converting from word-of-mouth? From a social media post? From digital paid advertising? Even, from traditional physical advertising? Then, how does that user journey change over time after they are now a converting customer? Taking a look at the Human Design of each user’s path toward the main road of your core customer is key to maintaining and measuring a user’s customer lifetime value (CLV).
Listen to your audience, provide opportunities for them to express their feedback, and try for those subtle changes to your interface. Interested in talking more about how we can help you on optimizing your user experience? Drop us a line.
Dewey Crush is a Delaware-based brand with the tagline: We Canned Summer. Their initial three products were designed to take full advantage of the exploding ready-to-drink (RTD) canned cocktail segment of the alcohol and spirits category. Ready-to-drink cocktails are the fastest-growing alcohol product in the country right now, and beverage companies and industry experts are predicting even more growth in the future.
Ambaum was approached in 2021 to form a digital strategy that contemplated zero eCommerce initially but with a changing legal landscape in retail alcohol sales, something that could easily morph in the future to accommodate. So basically, build it on the platform they will eventually fully-leverage for eCommerce – Shopify.
Tactically the work involved setting a roadmap for digital growth and building out the eCommerce stack to accommodate all marketing and features they will be using in the future, but doing so without technically turning on product sales. So this involved building out flavor pages and turning off any sort of shopping functionality, rather pushing users to find their crush at local stores in the Mid-Atlanic. Beyond that relatively light merchandise sales were turned on to offer some level of shopping. But this was done more so as practice then it was for any level of revenue growth.
The activities for the Dewey Crush launched involved full digital strategy, design and build, app integration and marketing systems setup and growth services.
Ambaum has been supporting Seven Coffee Roasters since late summer in 2019. Sean Lee approached Ambaum looking for help with a number of services: Shopify site updates, strategy and consulting, design and online advertising help. David Stober, Ambaum’s COO met with Sean and mapped out an initial strategy to help him grow the revenue through his online Shopify store.
The first thing David and Sean discussed was getting a new look and feel for the Seven site. Sean started Seven Coffee Roasters in a small cafe/roastery in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle with the mission of bringing Hawaiian coffee to the mainland. Ambaum setup Seven with a new theme that brought together two brands under one main site and gave everything a smoother and more streamlined look.
A big focus for Sean was getting more customers signed up with a monthly subscription for his coffee. Seven was already leveraging Recharge’s Shopify app for managing subscriptions but they weren’t getting the most out of it. David and Sean spent many months designing and building out a new product detail page and the outcome was this:
This enhanced product detail page saw a large increase in customers that signed up for a subscription. Before Sean started working with Ambaum he had less than $500/month in subscription customers and within 6 months he was approaching $8,000/month in total subscription revenue.
Ambaum has been providing development support for Hanz de Fuko’s Shopify Plus site since 2017. Hanz was founded in 2009 and revolutionized men’s grooming with high-quality products that spoke to creative innovation and self-expression. Ambaum has helped with general bug fixes like fixing the check out button so that it works on all browsers and cleaning up a problem with customer accounts where existing customers were unable to login.
A major (and ongoing) project that we help Hanz out with is their Hair Quiz and styling the slides and layout. The quiz is currently powered by Typeform and we helped create the logic for the questions and then the landing pages where customers end up which are product detail pages. The quiz for Hanz drives a significant portion of their revenue and is a feature they are constantly tweaking to get the most value.
Hanz has custom discount code for different offers and they track them by mobile and desktop, we have helped create and track the discount codes for their team. This system allows Hanz to get valuable insight into the codes being used, the type of device they are used on as well as create new codes for different custom offers.
In addition to programming work, we have also provided Hanz Google Ad consulting services. Initial work was the optimization of their keywords, negative keywords, ad copy and more to drive their CPA’s down to a profitable level. Each month we have a marketing manager continually refine their campaigns to focus on new products, trends in the industry and make sure that with all the changes they remain profitable.