We’re entering Q3 and Q4 at a very competitive time for ecommerce brands. As we ramp up for the holiday season, there are a few things that you can do to win big and without them your competitors will come out on top.
I’m going to take you through three proven trends we have been putting a focus on with our ecommerce clients this year and heading into the second half of the year that I would look to implement into any other ecomm brand I was running.
1) Mobile, Mobile and Mobile
The first focus is mobile. As Google has moved towards a mobile first index, lots of ecommerce brands are being rocked by this, while others are winning big as their competitors are suffering.
If your mobile experience isn’t where it needs to be, this should be your number one focus right away.
You should evaluate your site speed, usability, design, and overall user experience. These usability factors affect key ranking factors like bounce rate, which is why this needs to be a major focus.
If you’re concerned about your website, you should be having meetings and strategy sessions strictly around this to improve it before we reach the critical time of Q4. Many of the ecommerce brands we work with generate over 75% of their annual revenue in Q4 alone, which is why now is the time to fully optimize your mobile site speed and experience.
If you have no idea where to start, you can request a free site speed audit and we’ll tell you everything you need to do to take your mobile site from a D to an A.
2) Rise of the Funnel
Online funnels have been viewed in the past as more applicable to businesses selling digital products or lead gen businesses where you need micro-commitments before the big ask. Most ecommerce brands have worked in a more transactional fashion where the price isn’t so high that prospects can go directly for that sale without having to use micro-commitments along the way.
The issue now, is that getting that prospect has become almost impossible without a funnel because traffic is so expensive. As the price of bringing in traffic through paid channels like paid social and paid search has skyrocketed due to the competitive landscape and a huge amount of businesses running paid campaigns, bidding for the same keywords has only gone up in price.
You have to think of your audience in three tiers: top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.
Top of the funnel meaning this person has not visited your site, not converted, and is currently in more of a research phase. They may have arrived at your website through paid social, organic from SEO efforts, or blog content. You need to cater your messaging to this audience specifically with digestible value up-front and push towards the middle of the funnel, where you can further nurture through retargeting channels like paid social, email, and PPC. Finally, through this nurturing process, you can bring these prospects into the bottom of the funnel, where they have proven qualified with high intent to convert.
If you try to go right for the kill shot and cater your strategy to prospects without going through the funnel and nurturing process, they will not convert. The exception here would be if you have a very compelling sale offer or a very low price point that makes it less of a process to get someone to convert.
Envisioning your conversion pathway for prospects like a funnel will help you to better identify areas where you can refine your messaging and your offers. It will help you see where your funnel is running dry, and where you need to put an emphasis to get your sales pumping heading into Q4.
3) Reevaluate your Business Model – Recurring Revenue is King
This is not as crazy as it sounds. As an ecommerce brand, you should ask yourself: do we have recurring revenue built into our business model? Is there a way to create a subscription?
Your business will increase in revenue 5X if you move from non-recurring to recurring. There’s 5-10 ways to do this and many of these can be used for any ecommerce business.
We have helped implement recurring revenue strategies for many clients and the results have been incredible. This is especially true for businesses with low price point products, where the average order value is so low that it’s hard to run customer acquisition marketing channels and still see a strong ROI because you may be spending $50 to acquire a new customer who’s purchase is only worth $30.
The solution to this exact issue is to implement a recurring revenue or subscription strategy. When you have recurring revenue, these ecommerce businesses become incredibly profitable because it increases the overall lifetime value and opens business up to scale more from a customer acquisition point. You can then spend more on your marketing initiatives to acquire a new customer, while having a better sense and more stability in their lifetime value.
If you can get your mobile site dialed in as the number one priority this quarter, then you will see an increase in revenue right away. This is step one because if your site is not performing on mobile you will not convert your prospects as they will bounce from the site and you will lose to your competitors.
From there, consider the funnel process and make optimizations on your digital channels to reflect the buyer’s journey and path to conversion.
Finally, see if there is a way to create recurring revenue so you have more long-term stability in your business and can better scale customer acquisition channels.
The heat is on in Q3 as we move into the busiest holiday season, so now is the time to create an actionable plan with your top priorities to address right away.