How to use the COVID-19 slowdown to your business’s advantage

We all have to slow down for a while. Let’s use the time productively. If you do, you’ll be in a far better position once this passes.

Believe it or not, the time you have on your hands right now is a fantastic opportunity for your business. You’re able to take the time and focus on projects that will reap rewards far into the future.

Ann Handley, a pillar in the marketing field and the Chief Content Officer over at MarketingProfs, said it best:

The goal is to build a more solid foundation, a more sustainable and sane momentum.

Long-term thinking is hand sanitizer to Bad Marketing: It kills it on contact.

How can you apply this thinking into action?

Reassure and communicate with your existing customer base via email

Currently, online shoppers see uncertainty from panic buying at their local brick and mortar shops and through the media.

Sending messages via your email subscriber list will allow you to:

Practice Empathy with your community and acknowledge the situation

This is a time of uncertainty and chaos that stems from it. Be real with your customers and show them that you, and your employees, are people who are in the same climate. But you’ve got their backs if they need it.

Levi’s did an excellent job of this. They just said it:

Levi.com and the Levi’s app are always open, but we understand shopping for jeans is probably the last thing on your mind right now.

 

In fact, now is the perfect time to deepen relationships. Show up regularly, imperfections and all. Start with a regular newsletter. It will create a rapport with your audience and they will come to expect, and even look forward to, your messages.

Support your community

Especially in a time like this, isn’t all about money. It’s about getting through the situation together.

This is a fantastic opportunity to create an offer or promotion that helps relieve the strain everyone’s been living with. Consider taking a % of sales and donating to one of the organizations on the front lines, or adding an additional value to orders placed.

If your industry was hit hard by the implications of Covid-19, can you offer resources to your colleagues to help them through, or another means of support? Is there an opportunity for you to create some long-term goodwill in service?

Some NYC highend restaurants are shifting focus to become highend soup kitchens while a distillery converted from making alcohol to hand sanitizer during the pandemic.

And let your customers know the good you’re doing! It will go a long way to creating those warm fuzzy feelings we want our customers to feel when they think of our brands and instill that feel good feeling.

Discount, Discount, Discount

This situation is similar to Black Friday Cyber Monday, where users are expecting discounts. Again, Levi.com gives a great example of this with a “Stay At Home Sale” of 30% off $100 or more orders.

Cash is king, so it’s important to shift your inventory. If worse comes to worst, move to a break even point to keep the business going.

If inventory is an issue, sell to a wait list and capture emails

Having a list of active purchasers to deliver to once covid-19 subsides puts you in a better position than having to drum up new business weeks down the road.

Remind customers of subscription or repeat order capability

With the uncertainty of supply chains, some online customers may be concerned about the ability to actually get the products they need. Prime examples are baby products, pet food, and supplements.

While many users may already be purchasing by subscription, incentivizing subscription purchases and providing information to customer who don’t normally buy in this fashion can be a way to reassure your subscribers.

Invest in customer service

Customers are likely to have more questions than usual, especially concerning availability and delivery times. If you have a chat feature on your store, make sure the automated messages and actions are up to date to handle the demands. We highly recommend utilizing a customer service management tool to serve queries to appropriate team members.

Use your marketing dollars more wisely

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, you should always be spending 7-8% of your gross revenue on advertising and marketing. So for every $100k you bring in, you should have at least $7k set aside for marketing per year.

It is critical that you maintain at least this level of marketing investment throughout the covid-19 pandemic.

That being said, look at your marketing channels and shift to ones that don’t have high acquisition costs. A reallocation of budget can have an amazing impact if you’re getting a good cost per acquisition or margin.

This is a great time for “scaling” experiments

Because users are spending more time on their devices, this is an ideal time to test new online strategies. Take the time to play and see if that ROAS number can be improved.

Remember, Parkfield is here to support you during this time. Having a digital presence right now is imperative.

To further assist you and your digital footprint, my business partner has set aside the hours of 12p-2p just for digital strategy calls through April 3. If you’d like to schedule a strategy call, click this link to schedule a call on his calendar.

We’ll also post additional blogs with tasks that will benefit your business in the long run over the next couple of weeks. Keep an eye out!

9 Transactional Emails Your Brand Needs To Be Sending

Are you maxing out the power of your email marketing? If you’re not sending these 9 automated email campaigns, you’re leaving money on the table.

We use the email automation platform Klaviyo in conjunction with Shopify to send emails based on your customers’ activity and preferences. By creating targeted audience segments, we can send messages that customers actually want to receive, which leads to more opens, click-throughs, and ultimately, conversions.

For our clients, email revenue consistently contributes between 20 and 25% of total monthly revenues. We’ve used the transactional emails below to grow our clients’ email-based revenue by as much as 1,500%.

Ready to earn more from your emails? Set up these 9 campaigns ASAP.

1. Non-Buyer Welcome

Not everyone who arrives on your website will become a customer. In fact, the vast majority of visitors will bounce without buying anything. But you don’t have to let them get away so easily.

The non-buyer welcome greets new subscribers you’ve captured with an on-site form. The form uses an offer to entice visitors to join your mailing list, like 10% off a future purchase.

This email sequence should consist of at least two messages: an initial message to welcome the subscriber to your list and deliver the offer you promised (i.e. a coupon code), and at least one more message to remind them to redeem their offer.

It’s a well established sales concept that most buyers need to have multiple touchpoints with your brand before converting into a customer. The non-buyer welcome series helps establish subsequent touchpoints after their initial visit and is a low-hanging fruit when it comes to winning more conversions. It’s not uncommon for our non-buyer welcome series to achieve conversion rates of 30% or more.

2. Browse Abandonment/Abandoned Cart

Anywhere between 60 and 80% of all online shopping carts are abandoned, with the average hovering around 67%. The abandoned cart/browse abandonment series is another high-performing transactional email that will edge your revenue upward. For this series, we create audience segments based on the products a user viewed and/or added to their cart, but did not buy.

Shortly after the visitor bounces from your site, we send an email that’s customized to remind them of the specific products they viewed and invite them to return to complete their purchase. If they fail to do so, a follow-up email a day or two later with a coupon code can help nudge them closer to converting.

3. Post Purchase Thank You/Cross Sell

The customer relationship doesn’t end once a visitor converts–far from it. It’s much easier to make a repeat sale to an existing customer than to win a new one, so encourage follow-up purchases with a thank you/cross-sell campaign.

Sent after the customer completes checkout, this campaign suggests products that are similar to or that complement the item the shopper just purchased.

4. Repeat Purchase Predictive Flow

AI presents an exciting opportunity to place a repeat purchase offer in front of your customers before they even have to come looking for it. If your product or service is one that lends itself to recurring purchases (like a beauty product or refillable houseware, for example), Klaviyo’s AI capabilities can determine the best time to send an email based on the expected date of the next order.

90% of consumers say they find marketing personalization like this ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ appealing. It’s the perfect example of sending the right email at the right time in a way that serves customers rather than just sells to them.

5. Win Back

Don’t let your hard-won customers become one-hit wonders. Re-engage shoppers that haven’t visited your store in a while with a win-back campaign.

We find that it works best to be straightforward with subscribers about the reason for your message, with language like ‘we’ve missed you’ or ‘here’s a discount to come back and shop again.’ If customers don’t respond to your win-back message, they’re good candidates for your sunset campaign (see number 9 on this list).

6. VIP Flow

Our analysis consistently shows that the top 20% of customers account for 80% of revenue. It stands to reason, then, that you should go out of your way to engage your most loyal customers.

Segment your customers by lifetime value and create content exclusively for the biggest spenders. High-value discounts, early access to new products and free gift with purchase offers are all great ways to reward your brand’s VIPs.

7. Back in Stock

Few things are more discouraging for an eCommerce customer than to find out the item you want is out of stock. Configure automatic alerts that let customers know as soon as items they’re interested in are replenished so that they can come back and complete their purchase.

To build on number 6, giving VIPs advance notice of restocks is one more way to reward your most loyal subscribers.

8. Birthday/Anniversary Discount

If you’re not already asking for a subscriber’s birthday when they sign up for your mailing list, consider adding it as a field. It’s one of the easiest and most effective transactional emails you can send to drive added revenue all year long.

Consumers don’t just love receiving birthday emails–they love clicking through and shopping from them. According to Experian, birthday emails achieve 481% higher transaction rates and result in 342% more revenue than ordinary marketing emails. And aside from being a powerful driver of sales, sending a warm birthday wish creates a meaningful brand interaction, which builds customer loyalty.

If you don’t collect subscriber birthdates, consider sending celebratory discounts to mark the annual anniversary of their first purchase. You can also create a campaign specifically aimed at gathering subscribers’ birthdays by hinting that they’ll receive a surprise on their special day.

9. Sunset Disengaged Subscribers

Quality comes before quantity with regards to the health of your mailing list. Hanging onto disengaged subscribers leads to lower open and click-through rates, which can hurt your deliverability.

Sunset disengaged subscribers on a regular basis with a breakup series. We do this by creating a segment for subscribers who’ve engaged with zero of the last three to five campaigns. They then receive an email series which attempts to re-engage them. If they don’t interact by the end of the series, they’re tagged as unengaged and cleaned from the list. Doing this quarterly is an appropriate schedule for most brands.

Removing disengaged subscribers not only helps with the metrics that contribute to deliverability, but ensures you’re only taking up the inbox space of people who actually want to hear from you.

Grow Your Email Revenue with Klaviyo and Parkfield

This list is a solid starting point of transactional emails that can help you accelerate sales, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what we can do. Let Parkfield help you transform your email strategy from an afterthought to a primary, powerful revenue channel. Get in touch to schedule your free consultation today.

5 New Shopify Merchant Features for Spring 2020

One of the things we love most about Shopify is that it’s always evolving. The platform is constantly making improvements and adding new features that make it easier for merchants like you to sell your products online.

Shopify just announced its latest round of updates set to take effect in the coming weeks. Among them are a tool that offers greater control over the design of your store, tweaks that help developers maintain clean code, a big change you need to know about if your site incorporates an Instagram feed, and more. Here are the most noteworthy new Shopify merchant features for spring 2020.

New store design capabilities

It will soon be even easier to customize the look and feel of your online store. Here are some of the new storefront design merchants will soon have access to:

The ability to add content sections to product pages via the online store editor

Content sections give you endless ways to make your pages more engaging, and now they’re available for individual product pages. You can use them to incorporate everything from photo galleries and videos to collections of related products that are designed to increase average order value.

The ability to edit product pages individually or globally

his gives merchants more control over the appearance of different product pages and will save lots of time when you want to make changes to one group of product pages without having to use custom code or change the look of your entire store.

Custom sets of headers and footers

Similarly, you’ll now be able to create distinct header and footer groups and apply them to specific pages of your store.

An easier way to integrate apps with your storefront

Integrating third-party apps can be a stumbling block for merchants, especially if you don’t have a developer in house. These new capabilities will make it easier to paste code snippets in the right place so that the Shopify apps you use display and function seamlessly.

An easier way to speed up your site

Faster stores make more sales. A delay as small as one second can lead to a 7% reduction in your conversion rate. Until now, though, finding the cause of slow loading pages has been largely left to trial and error. The new Shopify Theme Inspector for Chrome will change that.

This tool will do the heavy lifting when it comes to pinpointing speed issues. It’ll help front-end developers more easily debug code in the slowest-loading parts of your store to improve server response time and overall page load. This should ultimately help you achieve better conversion rates.

Deprecation of the Instagram API

If your online store incorporates an Instagram feed, it’s made possible through the Instagram API. As of March 31, however, that API will no longer be functional. In an effort to better protect the privacy of users, Instagram is switching to the Basic Display API.

For Shopify merchants, this means themes that feature an Instagram feed will need to be updated to function correctly. Alternatively, you’ll need to start using an app to incorporate your Instagram feed into your store.

Need a hand making sure your Instagram feed doesn’t stop working correctly or disappear altogether? We can recommend the right app to suit your needs or, if one isn’t available, build one for you.

More order editing capabilities for Plus merchants

Today’s eCommerce transactions aren’t as simple as they were ten years ago–and that’s a good thing. There are endless ways for merchants to earn more revenue and better serve customers through creative ordering options, and now it’s easier to accommodate those with order editing.

Merchants using Shopify Plus can now add items to orders, collect additional payment, and remove items within 60 days of the creation of an order. This opens new doors for upselling and cross-selling products, customizing orders and sending product recommendations.

So what does this look like in practice? You could use this new Shopify feature to automatically add gifts to an order under an offer like “free gift with $100 purchase!” Or, you could display a post-checkout landing page with suggested add-on items that a customer can tack onto to their order with just a click. These are just a few of the ways order editing expands your flexibility and creative options as a merchant.

Store-specific status pages

This feature will be useful for merchants who have multiple storefronts or multiple team members that access the same accounts.

Shopify is moving to a single-signon system where each account has a single email address and password used to log in (rather than each user having their own separate credentials). Now, there’s also a single status page to check the status of any store associated with the account. This is useful in situations that require quick access to status information, like when launching ads for your store or troubleshooting an app.

If you haven’t already migrated to a single-signon account, find instructions to do so here.

Learn What Shopify Can Do For Your Online Store

Discover how Shopify can facilitate growth and maximize revenue for your brand by setting up a consultation with our team of experts today. Whether you’re already on Shopify and want to do more with it or you’re on another platform and want to migrate, we can map out a strategy that will help you attract more traffic, capture more conversions and run your business more efficiently. We look forward to speaking with you.

Want to find out the most important thing we learned about in eCommerce during 2019?

Then check out Ria’s interview on the eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series!

 

One of the newest members to the Parkfield team, Ria Fiscina is an accomplished SEO Analyst. She’s been in the industry for 10 years and her background in copy development combined with her expertise in analytics data has enabled her to effectuate positive results for many business’ digital campaigns.

 

The episode Ria appears in is eCommerce MasterPlan’s latest instalment to their annual growth series, episode 251: What is the most important thing we learnt in eCommerce in 2019? Our eCommerce Experts discuss. The episode gets advice directly from the mouths of the digital marketing industry’s leading talent to help you with the coming year’s plans.

 

Give a listen:

 

The end of life for Magento 1 is approaching. Are you prepared?

In September of 2018, Magento announced June 2020 would mark the end of life for Magento 1, also known as the platform’s Enterprise Edition. What exactly does end of life mean and how does it impact you if your website currently employs Magento 1? We’ll cover what online retailers need to know here.

What does the end of life mean for Magento 1?

In the technology world, end of life (or EoL) means one or more of the following for a piece of software:

  • The software will no longer be available for sale
  • No new releases, bug fixes or security features will be issued
  • The company will no longer offer technical support for the platform
  • Support documentation, forums and articles referencing the platform may be archived
  • Third-party plugins or extensions may no longer work

Magento 1 has been in decline for several years as the publisher rolled out Magento 2. There have been no new updates to the Enterprise Edition since June of 2016. The publisher has confirmed that as of June 2020 no new quality fixes will be offered and software support will end.

 

What does that mean for me if my site is on Magento 1?

You may be wondering: does the EoL for Magento 1 mean my website will just stop working on June 1? There are good and bad news and that front.

The good news is that no, your website won’t simply cease to exist once Magento 1 reaches its EoL. The bad news, though, is that because of this, many brands will be tempted to continue using it after the sunset date. Using Magento 1 after its EoL can spell disaster for online merchants.

Security

Security is far and away from the biggest concern with using Magento 1 after its sunset date. With no new security patches and no software support, your website will be left highly vulnerable to attack.

Running an outdated CMS, theme or plugin is a major cause of security breaches. In a 2018 report, security experts said 83% of the infected Magento websites they were hired to clean up were running an outdated version of the platform.

The global average cost of a data breach is nearly $4 million — let that sink in. That’s not accounting for the post-breach damage to your brand and reputation, which may be irreparable. Upgrading your online store ahead of the June 2020 EoL date is a small investment to maintain the integrity of your website, customer database, and brand.

Legal Issues

If you choose to continue operating with the security vulnerabilities mentioned above, you open yourself to a further threat: lawsuits. If a customer’s personal data is leaked as a result of their activities on your website, you could be held liable. This, of course, further exacerbates the monetary and reputational damages you might face.

Incompatibility

What happens when you let a car go too long without an oil change? It might run okay for a month or two, but then, inevitably, things start to break. The same will happen if you continue operating on Magento 1 after its EoL cutoff.

Extensions that you’re using may stop working, leaving parts of your site non-functional. Integrations with other applications, like your order fulfillment platform or your email marketing software, may become obsolete, hindering your operations. Reputable developers will stop servicing the platform, leaving you with a broken website and no one to fix it. It’s a worst case scenario.

Essentially, the EoL for Magento 1 boils down to this: the longer you wait to discontinue use of the platform, the greater the prospective problems grow.

 

What steps should I take if I currently use Magento 1?

If you’re a Magento 1 user, look at this not as a doomsday scenario but an exciting opportunity for innovation. Even in its heyday, Magento 1 left a lot to be desired for online merchants. View its EoL as the chance to harness superior features, add enhanced website functionality and improve your operations.

As soon as possible, begin taking steps to migrate your online store to a new CMS. Parkfield specializes in Magento to Shopify migrations, helping brands like yours take advantage of Shopify’s agility, speed, customization and scalability. We’ve migrated more than a million products to the platform and can eliminate the headache that’s probably brewing right now as you think about a migration.

For an in-depth look at the differences between Magento and Shopify, click here (link to Magento vs. Shopify post from a technical writer when available). To talk to one of our migration experts and schedule your migration, contact us now.

SMS for eCommerce: Everything You Need To Know

When you hear that unmistakable ding! that marks the arrival of a new text message, what do you do? If you’re like most of us, you reach straight for your phone and give it a glance. 

In a world of over-cluttered inboxes, text messaging still holds a unique power to get our attention. With open rates hovering near 100% and a healthy response rate of 45%, SMS handily beats engagement levels for email, which has average rates of 20% and 6% respectively. 

This isn’t to say email marketing is dead. In fact, we’re some of its biggest fans. Instead, we’re here to make a case for SMS marketing as one valuable part in your overall digital strategy. Here, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about SMS for eCommerce and how to use it effectively to drive sales and enhance your brand experience.

The case for SMS marketing

A lot of emails go unread. We’re talking millions. 

The average person receives 124 emails a day, and thanks to automatic filtering, many of them don’t even make it to the inbox. The number of texts people send and receive each day varies widely by age group, but most estimates place the average number somewhere between 50 and 65 texts a day. That’s roughly half the volume of email, and 90% of texts are read within three minutes. 

Simply put, text messages get attention. 

They’re also highly customizable. By using an application that integrates SMS messaging with your website, email marketing and other digital channels, you have an unsurpassed ability to personalize your message based on the individual’s behavior and preferences. You can take an experience that started in the web browser and continue it on email, then follow up with a text message. It enables your brand to build a truly integrated digital experience.

Text messaging for eCommerce presents a unique opportunity to have a continuous  conversation with your customers. Think about when a friend texts you. For a refresher on the last conversation you had with them, all you have to do is take a moment and scroll up the thread. For brands, this means the ability to create an uninterrupted interaction where one message leads seamlessly into the next (more on this in our section on how to use SMS for eCommerce below).

 

Respecting customers’ devices

There’s one big consideration when it comes to SMS for eCommerce that we as brands can’t lose sight of. It’s the awareness that what’s viewed by companies as an amazing personalized marketing opportunity can easily be viewed by customers as creepy. There’s a fine line between helpful and invasive, and if you cross that line you’ll lose the customer’s trust forever. 

Though the engagement level for text messaging is high, the tolerance level for spam is very low. This means we must approach it at all times from a position of utmost respect for the customer’s device, time and privacy. 

How can we do this? By acquiring proper consent and giving customers ample opportunity to opt out. Unless a customer has explicitly opted in to receive SMS messages from your brand, under no circumstances should you text them. Additionally, the first text you send should be a message confirming their opt-in status. An email opt-in does not equal a text messaging opt-in. 

While this may seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, it’s actually to your benefit. Acquiring clear consent and making it easy to opt out ensures that you’re only talking to people who want to be engaged with your brand. Think about it — they’ve made a conscious decision that they want to hear from you and they’ve entrusted you with something as precious as their phone number. They’ve self-identified as your brand loyalists. It’s hard to get a bigger buy-in than that. 

 

 

SMS compliance best practices

SMS marketing presents a bit of a challenge in terms of compliance because there’s no overarching piece of legislation that explicitly governs it the way GDPR does for consumer data. Instead, in the US we can take compliance guidance from two existing bodies of information: TCPA and CTIA. 

TCPA is the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. It was passed in 1991 and was originally meant to address invasive telemarketers, but we can apply its principles to SMS marketing. TCPA prohibits the “unsolicited advertisement” of any property, goods, or services without a person’s prior permission or invitation. Each violation of TCPA is subject to a fine of anywhere from $500 to $1,500.

CTIA is the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. It’s a watchdog organization that has laid out a set of best practices businesses should follow when sending text messages for marketing purposes. Though you can’t be fined for not following them, CTIA can report your organization to the big mobile carriers, who can suspend you from sending further SMS marketing messages. 

To conduct SMS for eCommerce effectively, you should familiarize yourself with both of these sets of guidelines.

 

How to use SMS for eCommerce

Once you’ve gotten a customer’s permission to contact them via text message, that’s where the exciting stuff begins. Here are just a few of the top ideas for using SMS messaging to drive revenue and create meaningful customer interactions. 

1. Share sales and promotions

This one’s a no brainer: use texts to inform customers about sales. The key is not to overdo it. Use promotional texts sparingly, like for your biggest sale of the season or when a product the customer was eyeing is about to go out of stock. 

 

2. Send location-based messages

I’m opted in to text messages from one of my favorite apparel companies. I recently had a friend visiting and we were sightseeing in Manhattan. While we were out and about, I got a text: “Take 50% off clearance now in our Times Square store!”

If I hadn’t opted in, this may have felt intrusive. But because this is a brand I shop with all the time and gave permission to text me, it felt perfectly relevant, like a friend alerting me to a great deal. 

If you have brick-and-mortar locations in addition to your online store, location-based messaging can create an awesome bridge between the digital and the physical shopping experience. 

 

3. Remind about abandoned carts

By 2021, 53% of all retail eCommerce is expected to be generated via mobile shopping. Make it easier for customers to shop from their smartphones by sending personalized texts to remind them to complete their purchase. 

The message threading capabilities we mentioned earlier come in handy here. For example, you might send an abandoned cart message 48 hours after a customer fails to complete checkout. Two weeks later, when the item has limited stock left, you might send a ‘last chance!’ message. 

The possibilities are exciting, but once again, we return to the theme of respecting customers’ devices. You’ll want to send shopping-related text messages at a much lower frequency than you’d send marketing emails. Limiting SMS contacts to once or twice per month is ideal. 

 

4. Offer text-based customer service

This might be a long way off for small- to medium-sized businesses, but it’s something we predict will only grow in popularity in the coming years. Customers crave convenient ways to get in touch with companies when they have a problem, and SMS is just one more mode you can offer them to do that.Ready to explore SMS marketing for your online store? We have the knowledge and tools you need to do SMS for eCommerce the right way. Schedule a consultation with our team today and let’s chat about adding text messaging to your growth strategy.

5 Ways Lifestyle Brands Can Win With eCommerce During The Holidays

Cyber Monday 2018 was the biggest day of online sales in U.S. history, and 2019 promises to make a run for a new record. Known as Cyber Week, the stretch from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday is the most lucrative week of the year for online merchants like you.

Here are five key ways to position yourself for success during this all-important eCommerce season.

 

1. Offer strategic discounts that increase AOV

A blanket discount of 25% off across your entire site may attract customers, but the very best discounts are those that also work to increase your average order value. Think strategically about the discounts you’ll run during Cyber Week and how they contribute to your overall sales figures.

Some examples of promotions that entice customers while also boosting AOV are free shipping over a certain dollar amount, a free gift on orders of $100 or more, discounts when you buy two or more items, and bundle discounts on purchases of multiple products within a collection. 

To help execute your promotions seamlessly, use Shopify apps that are made for discounts and bundling. A few of our favorites are Bold Discounts and Bold Bundles for regular Shopify merchants and Flow and Launchpad for Shopify Plus customers. 

 

2. Optimize your online store for one thing: shopping

This might sound obvious, since your online store is clearly meant for shopping. But if you examine your website with a critical eye, you’ll likely find a lot that distracts from the holiday season’s top priority: converting the visitor into a customer.

As soon as a visitor hits your site, it should be easy and fast to find the gift or deal they’re looking for. Use your home page to spotlight your bestselling products and direct the customer to convenient gifting options. Add helpful menu items to your navigation, with products categorized by recipient (gifts for her, gifts for him, etc.) and by price.

Follow best practices to ensure your online store delivers an excellent experience not just on desktop, but mobile and tablet, as mobile browsing recently surpassed desktop traffic for the first time.

3. Use paid search to capture bottom-of-the-funnel buyers

Supplementing your traffic with paid search is essential to build brand awareness in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Customers start early when strategizing their Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases, which means you must start early, too.

Do a deep dive on keywords to strategize top-of-funnel search phrases to target early on (‘best area rugs for dogs’) and bottom-of-funnel phrases to target during Cyber Week (area rugs + Black Friday deals). The earlier you can begin running your paid search campaigns, the better, since costs spike sharply as Thanksgiving approaches. Plan for CPCs that are anywhere from 20% to 100% higher than the rest of the year.

4. Engage shoppers with holiday-specific social campaigns

While shoppers may be using Google to search for deals during the busy holiday season, they’re relying on social media to stay connected with friends and family. Meet them there and create an additional brand touchpoint with holiday-centric social media campaigns.

In the weeks before Thanksgiving, update your profile pictures with holiday-themed images and add copy to your bio about your upcoming sales. Use festive, high-quality lifestyle images to promote your top sellers, inspire gift-giving ideas and tease your upcoming promotions.

Create platform-specific content, especially video, to deliver a unique experience from platform to platform. Engage your followers by reposting user generated holiday content and running contests with an interactive element.  

As Cyber Week gets underway, use your social media channels not just to promote your products, but to act as a resource for your customers. Share updates as each promotion goes live and send reminders when time is running out or stock is running low. Set expectations on the best ways to reach your customer support staff (phone, email, live chat, etc.), especially if you have a smaller team that doesn’t monitor social inboxes around the clock.

5. Use automation to send targeted emails

If there’s one week of the year where you want to be on top of your email marketing game, Cyber Week is it. Use email to begin teasing your best deals throughout the week leading up to Thanksgiving, then send your followers an alert as each promotion goes live. Entice your subscribers with fresh deals each day between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in addition to any store-wide discounts you’re running for the duration of the week.

Take advantage of automation to send targeted emails to important revenue-boosting audience segments, like shoppers with abandoned carts, high lifetime value customers and customers who shopped with you last year during Cyber Week. Using email to target these groups costs next to nothing but can contribute to a dramatic bump in revenue.

Map Out Your Black Friday + Cyber Monday Strategy With The Parkfield Holiday Marketing Guide

The tactics we’ve covered here are a great starting point, but there’s much more you can do to make the 2019 holiday season your most profitable one yet. Take the next step in building your Black Friday-Cyber Monday marketing strategy by downloading Parkfield’s Holiday Marketing Survival Guide.

In this expansive free guide, you’ll learn specific ways to optimize your online store for more conversions during Cyber Week and create product pages that increase your average order value. We’ll show you how to strengthen your paid search campaigns with holiday-centric copy and reveal which discounts make shoppers the most likely to click. Plus, you’ll learn about shoppable social media posts and the app that helped our client increase email marketing revenue by 1500%.

 

Click here to download Parkfield’s free Holiday Marketing Survival Guide now. 

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Market Demand & Benefits of Ecommerce

With the rise of online businesses and purchasing, more businesses are opting for e-stores for their customers compared to a physical store. Similarly, people are also moving from brick and mortar stores to e-stores to get the products and services. Now about 60% of shoppers in the developed countries shop on the internet.

People find online shopping comfortable and very convenient as people can shop from the comfort of their homes and the things they need are delivered right to thier doorstep. Ecommerce is expanding tremendously now due to the variety of benefits it offers. Ecommerce has entirely revolutionized the way things were shopped. Consumers can buy anything, anywhere and anytime and this always open policy has allowed customers to shop without any limitations of time.

Here are the benefits of online shopping:

Quick Product Location:

You don’t have to go through the whole drill of getting a shopping cart and drag it to the correct aisle to get the product you need. At ecommerce site users can simply type what they need in the search bar or click through the navigation. For repeat purchase, ecommerce websites remember the shopping lists and customer preference.

Comparison Shopping:

Ecommerce allows you to compare and shop. There are numerous online services available that permit the customers to browse multiple ecommerce merchants to find the best price.

Reduces Cost and Travelling Time:

Usually, people live far away from stores and sometimes being stuck in traffic takes up half of your grocery shopping time. You can visit your store virtually with few mouse clicks saving you both fuel cost and traveling time.

Abundant Information:

Limited information can be displayed on physical stores due to restrictions. Ecommerce sites make lots of information available easily to the customers. Vendors make this information available that does not cost anything.

Targeted Information:

Ecommerce merchants can access lot of information from customers using the information given by customers in registration forms and cookies. This allows to create targeted information so timely announcements relevant to store can be made. This also helps in making a customer database for customers.

Market for Niche Products:

Both sellers and buyers of niche products have a hard time locating each other in the real world. Whereas in the cyber world, it is only a matter of searching product you need in the search engine. For example buying obsolete parts, rather than trashing older stuff for lack of spares, you can easily find parts online.

Online Presence:

It cannot be stressed enough how much online presence is needed for small businesses. The growth rate of the eCommerce market is astronomical. It does not matter if it’s a small set up you have to make yourself known in your services. In a recent survey conducted for reason of building website, 71% replied to creating an online presence.

Deals & Discounts:

With Ecommerce shopping, there are deals, bargains, group shopping and coupons which makes online shopping convenient and affordable. For example, if a customer has a discount coupon for turkey at one store and paper napkins at other, he cannot avail both discounts in case of physical stores but with ecommerce everything is just a few clicks away.

If you are interested in setting up an online business and need advice or suggestion, get in touch with us. Call us on +1 888 244 9905 or email us at experts@weareparkfield.com to get your queries answered.

2017 Canada eCommerce Market – Facts, Key Stats and Information

The ecommerce market of Canada displayed a thriving ecommerce industry along with a refined economy. The Canadian ecommerce industry is expected to grow to a staggering $40 billion by 2018.

The total population of Canada is 53.1 million and 41% of the population lies between the ages 25 and 54. 27% of the population uses smartphones and out of it over 17% Canadians use the internet to shop and online purchasing using their mobile devices more than once each week.

This means that 5.2 million use their smartphones to shop over the internet.

Some of the features of Canadian ecommerce industry are:

  • 93% of shoppers use credit cards as the top digital payment method.
  • Canada is expected to have about 20 million buyers by the year 2018.

As Canada as two official languages English and French, it tends to act as a hindrance for retailers. Both English and French is spoken by 56.9% and 21.3% of the population respectively. Canada has more than 200 languages within but English happens to be the most popular online language having 26.8% share.

Over 50% of the Canadian population buys things online but the market tends to be relatively small. But consumers in Canada exhibit some impressive habits and buying behavior towards cross-border activity. The main reason for doing so is that prices are lower and overseas websites provide a wide variety of products. Canadians are able to buy from US Amazon website sometimes with price tags of 50% lower or more! Even with the added taxes and duty, the price is favorable and quite affordable.

A substantial proportion of ecommerce spending in Canada goes to the non-Canadian websites. That amounts to 45% while one-third of the total is spent in the United States and rest in Asia and Europe.

Domestic E-Commerce B2C:

The Canadian ecommerce is not only growing in terms of purchase volume but also in the variety of goods and services that are being bought by Canadians. There is media merchandise, books, apps, music along with show tickets that top the list of foods the Canadian population is buying these days. These purchases are followed by apparel, footwear, electronics, household goods and flights and travel packages.

Amazon, Walmart.ca, Apple, Amazon.ca, Dell, Staples, Costco, Best Buy and Future shop are amongst the major online retailers.

Business to Business E-Commerce B2B:

All most all of Canadian small business owners report of shopping online. A vast number of business owners choose to purchase their travel packages and tickets online and are more likely to access office supplies and government services online too.

Shopify – Effective E-commerce Solution:

Shopify happens to be an amazing platform for building and boosting online retail business. It offers just the right features and benefits that are used by over 300,000 stores worldwide. Shopify provides its users with all the specific tools designed for offline retail.

Shopify has been named as one of the best ecommerce solutions available in the market right now by business owners and experts. It currently ranks #01 in shopping cart software category. Recently Shopify has closed a deal with the Export Development Canada to assist ensure merchants with cash advances offered by Shopify Capital.

Let’s talk Dropshipping for BigCommerce and Shopify

There is no one way to find the right suppliers but the Modalyst app enables eCommerce retailers to easily source products and add it to their storefront.

Say “goodbye” to hours spent reviewing google search results, hunting for finds at a busy tradeshow and researching current trends online and in print.

Modalyst helps to cut straight to the heart of it all, saving you time and giving you a unique supply of products.

By integrating platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and BigCommerce, these specialized tools connect you with buyers and manage all purchases in one place.

By bringing everything together into one shopping platform, you can simplify all the stages down to a single click.

It also enables the syncing of inventory automatically so you can take your mind off your stock levels.

That, and you can select a whole line of compelling suppliers that help build your retail brand – as all sources are verified by the tool beforehand, you don’t have to worry about scams.

How to get these brands switched to a dropshipping model?


Getting your legal affairs in order helps build a currency of trust with your potential suppliers and goes a long way with calming their concerns as you show them how switching over to a dropshipping model will help grow their business.

Confidence in your brand is infectious – make sure you know who you are and why you do what you do.

Opting for a platform linked to the Modalyst app creates a smooth transition process.

Everyone knows what a dropship means, so your job is to make sure your brand looks secure, professional and profitable. Your corporate values come first.

Knowledge is power, and knowing which e-commerce platforms work best for your brand, as well as a strategy for sourcing products from outside suppliers, brings you closer to launching your company into the convenient and secure world of dropshipping.

The Modalyst app enables one-click management tools and promotes an ease of communication between buyers so everything they need to know is already available with the click of a button.

If you have any questions about building your store for dropshipping on Shopify or BigCommerce, please get in touch with us.

RSVP for our 22nd June Dropshipping event (Event ended).