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DISCOUNT DESIGNER BRANDS Online: STORE RATED 5 STARS Xander Shopping

ARTICLE found at: LINK HERE


The BEST DESIGNER DISCOUNT STORES Online in The WORLD RATED

REVIEW RATING:  5 STARS *****  XANDER SHOPPING

XanderShopping.com gets our 5 Star Rating -  Highly Recommended to ALL

SAVE up to 80% on Designer Labels from Europe - Made In ITALY.  SHOP and Save $100 Today or this Week

Dolce & Gabbana HANDBAGS & Wallets and Michael Kors Handbags & Wallets.  Fabulous Dolce & Gabbana SHOES and DRESSES

www.XanderShopping.com

Best European Designers like Dolce & Gabbana, FENDI, Karl Lagerfeld, Balmain, Chloe, GF Ferre, Prada, Armani, CHANEL, Karl Lagerfeld, Balmain, Chloe, GF Ferre, Prada plus MICHAEL KORS and Kate Spade with many more like KIM KARDASHIAN.

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HOLLYWOOD Fashion Style at Discount Prices.  Even better than Fashion Nova in our View for quality Designers and items from $8 to $80 right up to $8,000.

Free shipping always for this great shop online.  We love shopping online as much as the next person.  And yes they are named after a great Xander. You can Marvel at their prices and fashion items just like the Marvels.  If feeling risky check out Xander XXX. Sites that are unique often lead on the edge of XXX items while being elegant at the same time.  

Out of interest, some of the well known Xanders include: Xander Schauffele, Xander Bogaerts and Xander Ford.  Many in our fashion business support metoo as the #metoo movement has helped to empower woman around the globe especially in the USA. 

We support empowering women and Xander Shopping is a place to get empowered. 

They totally understand ecommerce and the power of a Shopify store. Shopify is a great venue for this online shopping store and a drop ship product.  

For those who understand social media marketing and social media SPREAD THE WORD on these great prices and fabulous quality of garments and accessories made by craftsmen in ITALY for these exclusive designer fashion items.  Both clothing and accessories from the world’s best designers. 

Look for their online marketing and their online store while shopping. Online shopping is obviously their speciality.  You can find them everywhere even at a pro shop environment they compete with all stores online in our view!

Google: Drop Shipping which is an amazing way to buy fashion apparel and accessories online using Amazon or eBay or at their Facebook Store. Buy these following designer brands:  Dolce & Gabbana are all available as are designs by Versace or buy here for Versace online plus these other great labels: Armani, Moschino, Cavalli, Missoni, Aquascutum, Balmain, Chloe, Galliano,Costume National, Ermanno Scervino, Karl Lagerfeld, GF Ferre, Ferre, Roccobarocco, House of Holland, Michael Kors, MSGM, co/te, Andrea Incontri, Nalaya, Vladimiro Gioia, Chanel or Kate Spade, all displaying Fabulous women clothing.  Coco Chanel is amazing.

Don’t forget to browse for handbags and wallets or just bags. Designer HandBags and Designer Wallets are a speciality at Xander Shopping.  Dolce & Gabbana handbags, Dolce & Gabbana wallet, Mchael Kors handbags, Michael Kors wallet Michael Kors handbag, Dolce & Gabbana handbag, Dolce and Gabbana purse, Michael Kors purse, Kate Spade, Kate Spade handbag, Kate Spade bag and Kate Spade wallets.

Go to Xander Shopping for: designer brands, designer labels, top designer, europe designer, europe fashion, fashion, fashion nova style products.  Online market places post their products including: Amazon, Bonanza, Facebook store, Facebook, eBay, Shopify or Shopify store. Forget about paying retail.  Get into this online retail alternative for discounts. Online retail shopping and getting an online discount, and great online deals also known as online shopping discount or an online shop deal.  This is the way to Save Big. So try our Xander shopping for an incredible online saving

This is a wonderful ecommerce store loaded with deals on fitness clothing and apparel.  Sometimes they feature: toys and games, electronics, camera and photo, video games, video game, clothing shoes jewelry, beauty personal care, beauty, personal care, handmade products, gift cards, sewing, arts, baby, health and household items.  Mens Fashion is sometimes made available

You may wish to Google Search:  jumpsuit, jeans for women, jumpsuits for women, handbag, purse, bag, romper, rompers, black jumpsuit, white jumpsuit, rompers for women, black romper, white romper, long sleeve jumpsuit, cute rompers, long sleeve romper, jumpsuits and rompers or evening jumpsuits


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ARTICLE END

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Xander Shopping

Is an online store specialising in Women’s Fashion.  They offer DISCOUNT DESIGNER LABELS Online plus offer over 5,000 affordably priced items ranging from $8 to $80 or more.  Their categories of fashion apparel and accessories include: Women’s dresses, shoes, handbags and wallets, jeans, jewelry plus many other featured products like sunglasses.  In combination they can offer over 10,000 designer products and affordable products in their catalogue.

Xander Shopping was launched in August 2019.  They offer their goods to many countries worldwide with free shipping.  They specialize in these markets: United States, Canada, Mexico (North America) and Europe with the United Kingdom being a major market.

They are built on the Shopify platform which ensures an orderly market and security for their transactions and customers.  In addition they use marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Bonanza and a Facebook Store to reach consumers and to provide secure customer purchasing.

The store is owned by a corporation registered in good standing in Australia while their management offices are located in Toronto, Canada.  The store representatives can be reached by email, telephone or via mail. Contact details are found on the company’s website: www.XanderShopping.com

Featured Brands are: European Designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, FENDI, Karl Lagerfeld, Balmain, Chloe, GF Ferre, Prada, Armani, CHANEL, GF Ferre, Prada plus MICHAEL KORS and Kate Spade with many more like KIM KARDASHIAN.

They feature: Dolce & Gabbana HANDBAGS & Wallets and Michael Kors Handbags & Wallets.  Fabulous Dolce & Gabbana SHOES and DRESSES.

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Article End

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Made in Italy

 

Made in Italy Brand

Made in Italy is a merchandise mark indicating that a product is all planned, manufactured and packed in Italy, especially concerning the design, fashion, food, manufacturing, craftsmanship, and engineering industries.

History of Made In ITALY

Made in Italy brand has been used since 1980 to indicate the international uniqueness of Italy in four traditional industries:

fashion, food, furniture and mechanical engineering (automobiles, industrial design, machineries and shipbuilding), in Italian also known as "Four A", Abbigliamento (clothes), Agroalimentare (food), Arredamento (furniture) and Automobili (automobiles).

Italian products have often been associated with quality, high specialization and differentiation, elegance, and strong links to experienced and famous Italian industrial districts often connected with the concept of luxury.[2] Since 1999, Made in Italy has begun to be protected by associations such as Istituto per la Tutela dei Produttori Italiani (Institute for the Protection of the Italian Manufacturers) and regulated by the Gucci company to the Italian government.

In recent times the merchandise mark Made in Italy:

has become decisive for Italian exports and so common worldwide to be often considered as a separate product category. In January 2014, Google Cultural Institute, in collaboration with the Italian government and the Italian Chamber of Commerce, launched an online project aimed to promote Made in Italy by using virtual showrooms about several famous Italian products.

In 2009, the Italian law (Law 135, September 25th, 2009 - Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of Italy) stated that only products totally made in Italy (planning, manufacturing and packaging) are allowed to use the labels Made in Italy, 100% Made in Italy, 100% Italia, tutto italiano in every language, with or without the flag of Italy. Each abuse is punished by the Italian law.

Compared with "Made in Germany" ('all essential manufacturing steps') and "Made in the USA" ('all or virtually all'), Italian regulation is more restrictive ('totally') in determining what qualifies for the use of the "Made in Italy" label.

Brands 

 

Illy espresso machine..  Artemide Alistro Lamp designed by Ernesto Gismondi.   Ferrari F12 Berlinetta; Ferrari is one of the most well-known brands in the world closely linked to Made in Italy.  Nutella.is very popular.

Economists and business analysts have identified five companies in particular whose names are closely associated with Made in Italy:

  • Barilla - food company;
  • Benetton - global fashion brand;
  • Ferrero - manufacturer of chocolate and other confectionery products;
  • Indesit - home appliances;   Luxottica - the world's largest eyewear company.

Fashion

  • Agnona
  • A.Caraceni
  • Armani
  • Alberto Fermani
  • Bontoni  Bottega Veneta
  • Breil  Brioni  Brunello Cucinelli  Buccellati  Bulgari  Calzedonia  Canali
  • Cesare Attolini  Cesare Paciotti  Corneliani  Damiani  Diesel
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • E. Marinella  Emilio Pucci  Fendi
  • Fiorucci  Franklin & Marshall
  • Gas Jeans  Geox
  • Gucci

 

  • Harmont & Blaine  Intimissimi  Julie&Moth  Kiton
  • Le Village Sneakers
  • Liverano & Liverano
  • Loro Piana  Marzotto  Max Mara
  • Missoni
  • Miu Miu  Moncler
  • Moschino
  • Officine Panerai  Pal Zileri  Persol  Peg-Perego  Piquadro
  • Prada

 

  • Rifle  Roberto Botticelli
  • Roberto Cavalli
  • Rubinacci  Safilo
  • Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Tod's   Trussardi
  • Valentino
  • Versace
  • Zegna

Food and beverage

  • Acqua Minerale San Benedetto
  • Amedei
  • Auricchio
  • Autogrill
  • Averna   Balocco
  • Berlucchi
  • Buitoni   Caffarel
  • Campari
  • Carapelli  Loacker
  • Martini & Rossi
  • Massimo Zanetti

 

  • Parmacotto
  • Parmalat
  • Perfetti Van Melle
  • Perugina  Saclà Italia  San Carlo
  • San Pellegrino
  • Vicenzi  Voiello

Furniture and home appliances

  • Alessi
  • Alivar
  • Arketipo
  • Artemide
  • B&B Italia

 

  • Foscarini
  • Gallotti & Radice
  • Gentry Home
  • Indesit Company
  • Jacuzzi
  • Kartell
  • Kristalia
  • Lago
  • Linea Italia
  • Miniforms   Moroso   Natuzzi   Pedrali
  • Poltrona Frau
  • Prandina   Saba
  • Scavolini
  • Smeg
  • Tacchini  Tonelli  Tonin Casa  Zanussi  Valdama

Engineering

  • Abarth
  • Alfa Romeo
  • Aprilia
  • Atala
  • Axis Group Yacht Design
  • Azimut Yachts
  • Benelli Armi SpA
  • Benelli
  • Benetti  Bertone  Bianchi Bicycles
  • Bravo
  • Brembo  Campagnolo   Custom Line
  • Danieli  De Rosa
  • De Simon  De Tomaso  Dell'Orto  Di Blasi Industriale
  • Ducati  Fabio Perini S.p.A.
  • Ferrari
  • Ferretti Group
  • Fiat

  • Filippi Boats  Fioravanti
  • Franco Tosi Meccanica (FTM)
  • Ghia  Giannini Automobili
  • I.DE.A Institute
  • Italdesign Giugiaro
  • Leonardo
  • Lamborghini
  • Lancia
  • Maire Tecnimont
  • Maserati
  • MER MEC
  • Moto Guzzi
  • MV Agusta
  • Pirelli
  • Riva Yachts
  • Silca S.p.A.  Toscotec  VM Motori
  • OTHERS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The State of the Ecommerce Fashion Industry: Statistics, Trends & Strategy

Last year, more than 1,875 fashion retailers shut down. This year, projections reported by WWD place the number at just under 10,000, “up 53 percent from the number of doors that went dark amidst the Great Recession in 2008.” 

Digital innovation, rising globalization, and changes in consumer spending habits have catapulted the fashion industry into the midst of seismic shifts. To explore where we are and where we’re heading, this article takes a detailed look at … the statistics, trends, and strategies shaping the ecommerce fashion industry in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Industry-Wide Data
  2. Clothing and Apparel
  3. Shoes Segment
  4. Accessories and Bags
  5. Jewelry and Luxury
  6. Personalization
  7. Anywhere Ecommerce
  8. Flashes and Drops
  9. Going Global
  10. Technological Innovations

Ecommerce Fashion Industry: Statistics

1. Industry-Wide Data

Cumulative data compiled within The Fashion and Apparel Industry Report paints a bright portrait with worldwide revenue expected to rise from $481.2 billion in 2018 to $712.9 billion by 2022:

Ecommerce fashion industry worldwide revenue

Data via Statista and accessible in The Fashion and Apparel Industry Report

Driving this growth are four notable opportunities:

  • Expanding global markets outside the West
  • Increasing online access and smartphone penetration
  • Emerging worldwide middle-classes with disposable income
  • Innovating technologies to create experiential ecommerce

Fashion consumers will also have more buying power, as the number of potential customers is projected to grow to more than 1.2 billion by 2020. The good news for fashion is that the majority of these new consumers are within the 16 to 24 and 25 to 34 age groups.

The biggest threats to established brands include the:

  • Death of brand loyalty due to market fragmentation
  • Cost of combating online return rates as high as 50%
  • Fast fashion’s ability to create and release styles on-demand
  • Pressure from consumers to use ethically sourced and green manufacturing materials

We’ll get into strategies to combat these issues later. For now, let’s examine how these big numbers play out in industry sub-verticals.

2. Clothing and Apparel

Lower digital barriers to entry for all clothing merchants offer the opportunity to market, sell, and fulfill orders globally and automatically. As a result, worldwide revenue and revenue per user (ARPU) are both projected to grow:

Ecommerce clothing segment worldwide revenue

Data via Statista

Average revenue per user (ARPU) in ecommerce clothing

Data via Statista

However, while clothing’s absolute numbers are steadily climbing, worldwide revenue growth — as represented by compound annual growth rate (CAGR) — is slowing: down from 15.3% in 2018 to 7.6% by 2022. Western-market saturation is the most likely source of this trend. When growth rates are compared between the US, Europe, and China, that reality becomes even starker.

Between 2017 and 2022, CAGR is expected to settle in at …

  • 8.8% in the US
  • 8.7% in Europe
  • 14.1% in China

3. Shoes Segment

As a segment of ecommerce fashion, shoes display a similar pattern of shrinking revenue expansion year-over-year. From double digits in 2017-2019 — 13.6% and 10.8% respectively — footwear is expected to grow a mere 6.6% in 2022.

In absolute market size, the shoes segment will increase from $96 billion in 2018 to $135 billion in 2022.

Ecommerce shoes segment worldwide revenue

Data via Statista

4. Accessories and Bags

Not surprising, the bags and accessories segment — although still growing at a stronger rate — will likewise see its double-digit growth — 15.6% in 2018 — dip into the single digits by 2022: 8.7%

Those projections actually make bags and accessories the healthiest segment of ecommerce fashion, despite its absolute numbers being the smallest.

Ecommerce bags and accessories segment worldwide revenue

Data via Statista

5. Jewelry and Luxury

The global jewelry market is growing at 5-6% annually. China is the top spender on hobby (think Etsy) and luxury items, followed by the U.S. at $2.7 billion. Jewelry industry threats stem mainly from wholesalers selling direct-to-consumers, plus consumer pressure on jewelry manufacturers to be more transparent about pricing. Also, it is expected that by 2020, the jewelry market will be dominated by major global brands, stealing market share from local artisan shops.

While ecommerce currently comprises approximately 4-5% of total jewelry sales, that number will trend towards 10-15% by 2020. Research indicates that the best opportunity for mono-brand jewelry retailers is to use a multi-channel ecommerce strategy or an omni-channel retail approach.

Image via Omni-Channel vs Multi-Channel: What is the Difference and Why Does It Matter?

Multi-brand boutiques can win market share by curating collections for specific segments – a strategy that works well for apparel retailers as well.

Increasing affluence in Asia-Pacific and in the Middle East are driving up the average revenue per luxury good consumer to $313 USD by 2020. Despite luxury goods sales seeing sluggish growth at 3.4% annually, McKinsey forecasts indicate that ecommerce could triple in sales over the next decade:

The biggest threat is the affordable luxury market: Should the industry offer luxury goods at multiple price points to grow the market overall? Or, will affordable luxury dilute or erode the high-end luxury market – dampening consumer confidence that what they are buying is “true luxury?”

Ecommerce Fashion Industry: Trends and Strategies

The above data points offer a wealth of growth opportunities for fashion and apparel retailers. Below are some of the latest trends that you can work into your long-term ecommerce strategy.

6. Personalization

According to data presented by Nosto at a recent Growing Your Online Funnel Webinar, personalization is a leading factor in ecommerce at large:

  • 43% of purchases are influenced by personalized recommendations or promotions
  • 75% of consumers prefer brands to personalize messaging, offers, and experiences
  • 94% of companies see personalization as critical to current and future success

By tracking user behavior, either session-by-session or by account, fashion sellers can build Netflix-like personalization into the onsite experience. Although this may start with recommended products — if you watched or bought this, you might like to watch or buy that — true personalization extends to the very visuals that are used to present products themselves:

Netflix personalizes the images of programs based on a user’s past viewing behavior. Storefronts can be personalized to reflect either onsite behavior or buying history

Moving into the future, shoppers will begin to expect the same kind of personalization in the ecommerce fashion industry. For instance, visitors who have either browsed or bought women’s clothing should experience a homepage experience catered to that history:

While those who have browsed or bought men’s clothing should be given an onsite experience that correlates:

Situational targeting, based on user data points like location and weather, is being promoted by ecommerce experts as a solution to the erosion of cookie tracking. Still, nothing has yet to replace the identification and tracking power — not to mention the revenue possibilities — of an email address.

In regards to the leading threat to online fashion, learning more about your customers can help you identify people who are more or less likely to return an item.

First, ensuring your return policy and process are positive experiences can actually increase customer lifetime value. Second, personalization can be used to segment serial returners and thereby avoid offering discounts and promotions like free shipping to those that take advantage of such options. Third, offering virtual styling assistants to loyal customers as a value-add service (e.g. hiring real people to customize shoppers’ wardrobes online) has been proven to increase retention and margins.

7. Anywhere Ecommerce

It goes without saying that social media has been a driving force in the fashion market. Unfortunately, most brands are plagued by a single sin. Andy Crestodina describes the situation perfectly: “Most branded content is advertising under a thin layer of information or entertainment. Scratch the paint, find an ad. It’s the brand putting itself first.”

Thankfully, fashion and social media are a match made in ecommerce heaven. Even when it comes to explicitly “branded” content, and especially on Instagram:

Data via TrackMaven

Particularly powerful on this front is mixing product-centric content, mainstream influencer marketing, and micro-influencers. As a model (pun intended), Fashion Nova excels on all three fronts.

With 10 million followers on Instagram, partnerships with celebrity accounts like Sarcasm Only, Cardi B, and Kylie Jenner, plus an army of over 3,000 micro-influencers, Fashion Nova pairs social-media dominance with a unique approach to fast fashion. CEO Richard Saghian’s claim that Fashion Nova is “the fastest-growing women’s apparel company” is no exaggeration.

And yet, the real power for social comes from integrating multi-channel ecommerce to create anywhere commerce. Beyond simply sharing or advertising on social, multi-channel ecommerce integrates native selling off-site to build direct buying paths in the places your audience spends their time. Shopping on Instagram, Facebook Shops, Buyable Pins, and more all take advantage of this strategy.

Just remember the words of Kevin Dao, co-founder and CEO/CCO at ORO LA: “In everything we do, we’re helping the customer imagine. We want them to imagine being the man in every picture. To imagine us being their stylist. To imagine, ‘That could be me wearing those clothes.’ We’re not so much curating content as curating imagination.”

Fashion ecommerce brand ORO LA's Shopping on Instagram

8. Flashes and Drops

Flash sales are no longer a lowbrow method of unloading out-of-season or “leftover” inventory. Instead, they’re the stuff of ecommerce fashion royalty. As long as they’re combined with exclusivity and anticipation. Naturally, apparel, accessories, and shoes lead the way in the flashiest and most profitable shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Fashion ecommerce leads the way on Black Friday Cyber Monday

Data via Shopify

So, how do you maintain brand integrity and still leverage big sales? One of the ways to do this is by making flash sales members-only, “velvet rope” experiences. Talbots, Sephora, Evy’s Tree, and Kylie Cosmetics do this regularly through exclusive collections and early access to social media fans and loyalty program members.

Another way is to merge flash sales with product drops. Frankies Bikinis, for instance, regularly sells out new products in a matter of minutes. Even better, their product drops generate over six figures in sales within the first hour of launch. The downside is that monthly launches and regular flash sales are labor intensive.

Director of Marketing and Ecommerce Brittney Bowles and a co-worker used to be responsible for manually executing tasks like:

  • Unhiding products
  • Navigation changes
  • Landing page updates
  • Collection page alterations
  • Uploading hero images
  • Publishing new homepage layouts

Today, Frankies Bikinis uses Shopify’s ecommerce automation tool, Launchpad: “We schedule everything during normal business hours,” says Bowles, “and Launchpad does all of the work for us automatically. This is why Launchpad is our savior.”

Perhaps the most stunning example — combining social media, flash selling, and a product release — is Jordan Brand, Snapchat, and Shopify’s collaboration to drop the limited-edition Air Jordan III ‘Tinker.’

Snapcodes were displayed to fans during NBA All-Star 2018 weekend. The codes unlocked a live, in-app experience and most purchases were delivered the same day via fulfillment centers run by Darkstore.

9. Going Global

Much has been made of fashion’s new global landscape. Ecommerce, in general, has already moved beyond the West.

10 largest ecommerce markets worldwide

Fashion-related products (as reflected in rising purchase rates) are among the most in demand:

Data via Nielsen

The irony is that going global actually means getting local. Australian watchmakers, The 5TH, have established themselves as a truly borderless brand.

“We ship around the world from Melbourne, but we had to connect better with our international audiences,” says The 5TH co-founder Alex McBride. “Working with Shopify allowed us to do that so seamlessly and so easily. Everything was managed so effectively on the backend that now we have four Shopify stores for each of the regions in which we do the most business.”

The 5TH has been “global from day one.” For more on the opportunities, threats, and trends shaping international expansion, download The Enterprise Guide to Global Ecommerce.

10. Technological Innovation

Augmented reality, virtual reality, wearable tech, and connected fitting rooms are all making big waves in online fashion. Still, in the war on returns, two innovations stand out …

  1. Online sizing
  2. Onsite search

Smart fitting technologies like Virtusize enable online shoppers to buy the right size by either measuring the clothes in their closet or by comparing specific brands and styles to your own.

Rhone Apparel implemented Fits Me’ Fit Origin and, within the first month, raise their conversion rates among users from 3.7% to 9.8%. Those number held even after the solution had been in place for over a year and “analytics show that Fit Origin has delivered an impressive +20.4% in incremental revenue to Rhone’s website.”

Virtual fitting room apps go beyond smart fitting and let customers use their smartphones or virtual reality glasses to conduct 3D body or face scan — ensuring accuracy when customers try on cosmetics, jewelry or fashions online before making a purchase.

Perhaps the simplest — though most-useful — form of artificial intelligence and machine learning revolves around onsite search. Fashion Nova’s predictive autocomplete, for instance, not only saves shoppers time, it also front loads popular products:

As Paul Rogers points out in Ecommerce Site Search Best Practices: “If I’ve been interacting with men’s Nike products, the associated products would then be boosted for other queries."

“The use of machine learning adds a second layer of accuracy, prioritizing products based on their performance and also ensuring that results are improved over time, based on the ‘learning’ from user behavior (e.g., the products that are being clicked or purchased most frequently).”

Voice-powered AI search (think Alexa for fashion) can help make recommendations based on a user’s past purchase history and online behavior as well as enable voice-activated purchases within an app or augmented reality.

Beyond that, wearable fashions and accessories that are equipped with special sensors provide an opportunity to use situational targeting to influence purchase behavior. For example, a shoe manufacturer could identify whether a runner has an issue with their gate. The manufacturer could then use that data to recommend a better shoe for that individual.

Want More About the State of Ecommerce Fashion?

For an executive summary, download The Fashion and Apparel Industry Report.

Inside, you’ll get one-pagers detailing …

  • Data on the opportunities and threats
  • Business spotlights for growth
  • Tools for selecting the right fashion platform

Access the guide today

Photo of Aaron Orendorff

About the Author

Previously the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus, Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent, a strategic agency “saving the world from bad content.” Named by Forbes as one of the top 10 B2B content marketers, his work has appeared on Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fast Company, Inc., Success Magazine, The Next Web, Content Marketing Institute, and more.

 

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What Is the Future of Ecommerce? 10 Insights on the Evolution of an Industry

“No industry,” wrote Harvard Business Review at the close of 2018, “is failing faster than retail.” At risk of contradicting the Crimson: bullshit. Sweeping proclamations make for great sound bites and (scholarly) clickbait. But the truth? Not so much.

At the opposite extreme lay headlines trumpeting “voice-search buying,” “Instagram-worthy pop-ups,” and “VR-enabled O2O experiences.”

What the data shows — and what the leaders we spoke to from brands at the forefront said — isn’t that retail is failing nor that success is tied to innovation for innovation’s sake. Instead, it points to the now unignorable center of commerce: customer choice. What is the future of ecommerce for 2019 and beyond? 10 insights offer the answer:

  1. Ecommerce v Retail: The Dichotomy Ends
  2. DTC Emerges as Commerce’s Future
  3. More than “Digitally Native” Tactics
  4. Content Becomes the Holy Grail of Growth
  5. Physical and Digital Solidify Their Relationship
  6. Social Commerce Evolves or Limps to the Grave
  7. Channels Must Deliver on Their Promises
  8. Mobile Buying Is (Almost) the New Normal
  9. Micro-Moments Win or Lose Conversions
  10. International Ecommerce Expands to the East

1. Ecommerce v Retail: The Dichotomy Ends

For all its enduring hype — physical versus digital, offline versus on — the old war is over. In fact, it’s always been a lie. Choice, not location, is commerce’s greatest opportunity and its most-looming threat.

In defense of retail’s “apocalypse,” brick-and-mortar losses are mounting; the four-year bankruptcy count now sits at 57 once-landmark chains. Manufacturing market share and in-store sales for consumer packaged goods are flat or declining. Born-online “microbrands” have devoured the lion’s share of growth. And ecommerce’s gains continue to trounce retail as a whole.

Here’s the uncomfortable twist: brick-and-mortar still dominates online sales by over $20 trillion. And the gap will widen. After a quarter century, ecommerce’s spread is slowing, 80% of 2018’s gains belonged to Amazon, and (in the U.S.) the top five online retailers own 64.7% of sales:

Retail ecommerce sales growth worldwide and brick-and-mortar versus ecommerce share of retail (2021)

Data via Statista

“The brands that are winning,” says Fab Dolan, Head of Marketing at Google Canada, “are the ones that understand and own the fundamental interplay between experiential and transactional. If we were to believe that retail is dead, then we should be spending all of our money doing online ads and guiding people to our website. And yet, what we’re seeing time and time again is that building anticipation and an appreciation for the magic of our products happens in the real world even though most people buy online or through call centers.

“Will retail look fundamentally different and maybe unrecognizable in ten years? Yeah. But it’ll always depend on how you navigate the interplay between offline and online worlds, how you — the brand — interlock customers and products.”

The future belongs neither to legacy giants nor pure-play ecommerce. Instead, it belongs to direct-to-consumer (DTC) models, often referred to as digitally native vertical brands (DNVB). Just don’t let the name fool you.

2. DTC Emerges as Commerce’s Future

Vogue’s late 2018 feature, “These Are the 50 Digitally Native Brands You’ll See Everywhere in 2019,” blew the mainstream doors off what many in the industry already knew: the worlds of technology and commerce are undergoing a revolution. At the forefront are brands like Outdoor Voices, Warby Parker, Allbirds, Glossier, Hims, and home-goods companies like Casper, Brooklinen, Purple, and Leesa.

What unites these verticals is a focus on “brand equity” and “brand purpose.” Both terms describe the value of a brand. Owning their customer relationships, DNVBs run on value — elevating people and products over price and place. The centrality of selling something worth buying isn’t replaced but augmented. As a microcosm in 2018, numerous DTC leaders offered either no holiday discounts, minimal discounts, or charity-based incentives:

DTC leaders offered either no holiday discounts, minimal discounts, or charity-based incentives

Does this mean price and optimization are things of the past? Hardly. DNVBs who did host holiday discounts delivered them in ways that drove conversion rates and average order value (AOV) without sacrificing brand value:

  • In-cart upsells for “Mystery” items or bundles
  • Sold-out merchandise fueled by influencer marketing
  • Tiered discounts via spending thresholds, without coupons
  • Installment plans for high-ticket purchases rather than “Pay now”
  • Countdown timers, customizable free gifts, and subscription incentives

All built seamlessly into the onsite and check-out experience. The question is: are those techniques enough?

3. More than “Digitally Native” Tactics

People have always bought with their hearts and justified with their heads. The difference now is that choice means brands can scale by profitably serving smaller niches than legacy competitors and expand from a mission-centric foundation.

There was perhaps no better signpost of the future than lingerie-incumbent Victoria’s Secret against Savage x Fenty and ThirdLove. Juxtaposed fashion shows set the stage. In Sept., Savage x Fenty — where women, in the words of founder Rihanna, were “celebrated in all forms and all body types and all races and all cultures.” In Nov., Victoria’s Secret — whose CMO, Ed Razek, answered the question of whether plus-size or transgender models would be included with, “No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.”

Though Razek apologized for his remarks, the drama culminated in Victoria’s Secret CEO resigning and an open letter by ThirdLove’s CEO Heidi Zak published in The New York Times:

Open letter by ThirdLove’s CEO Heidi Zak published in The New York Times

“It was a big decision to do the open letter,” Zak says. “In the past few years, we had remained really focused on building the ThirdLove product, brand, and customer base. But given the remarks Ed Razek made, and the specific call-out of ThirdLove, we believed it was the right move to get our opinion and mission out to the world.”

ThirdLove is far from alone. Sixty-two percent of global consumers want brands “to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues.” More than marketing, this demands putting money where a company’s mouth is: e.g., Bombas giving away over 10 million socks, Sudara’s fight to end human trafficking, Nike’s campaign with Colin Kaepernick, or Gillette’s “The Best Men Can Be.” People crave brands who connect with them beyond merchandise and advertising. And that means …

4. Content Becomes the Holy Grail of Growth

Often misunderstood, the power of content — what previous generations of marketers have called “mass desire,” the public spread of a private want — resides not in its direct ability to sell; although it can. Content’s true power comes from galvanizing an audience, entering its heart and mind through a consistent story well told — full of drama, with people at its core.

“In paid social, it doesn’t matter how good your strategies are,” says David Herrmann, Dir. Advertising at Social Outlier. “Your audience needs to connect with your content first. It’s the kindling. It’s what drives inspiration. I can’t make people money unless they keep feeding me content. If sales are down, if traffic is more expensive, blame content.”

Of course, not all content is created equal. Recent data shows that never before have so many companies produced so much content with so little attention to results.

State of B2C ecommerce content online

Data via Content Marketing Institute and Beackon

What makes the difference in connecting content and commerce? “Successful brands heavily use written, audio, visual, and experiential content to drive full-funnel marketing campaigns: awareness, interest, desire, and conversion,” says Nik Sharma, Head of DTC at VaynerMedia and 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30.

“There are three reasons this approach works. First, driving a paid click to a piece of branded content is only a few cents, compared to driving a click to a brand or landing page, which could be up to $5-6 per click. Second, with retargeting you’re able to immediately build qualified audiences. Third, great content doesn’t sell a product, it sells an opportunity to better an aspect of your life.”

Nike’s DTC social, THINX’s periodical blog, Glossier’s Into the Gloss, and Rothy’s earned media

Nike’s DTC social, Thinx’s periodical blog, Glossier’s Into the Gloss, and Rothy’s use of earned media all connect content and commerce

Interestingly, brands like Koala are breathing new life into “old” forms of content. Last year the mattress company turned billboards located near IKEA in Sydney, Australia — one of which read, “NÖFNIDEÅ? No tools, no worries.” — into press, sales, and social virality. The billboards weren’t a stunt; they were extensions of Koala’s ethos. Whether through humor or gravity: content creates audiences and, in a world flooded with choice, audiences are currency.

5. Physical and Digital Solidify Their Relationship

For online businesses flirting with offline retail, the time to commit has come; pop-up shop “experiences” staged for social media have worn out their welcome.

“I’ve been hearing more and more complaints about this trend,” says Paul Munford, CEO of Lean Luxe, “and I’m worried that some brands — those same brands who preach an obsession over knowing their customer, understanding how today’s shopper wants to shop, and of course owning that relationship — are losing their way a bit as they focus considerable time, energy, and money to launch ‘Instagram-worthy’ spaces.”

As an alternative, Munford points towards spaces that serve multiple functions, like Rapha’s Clubhouses where customers can get bikes fixed, buy gear, and do work. “They also double as Rapha-specific event spaces after hours,” he adds. “Think about what that does for your brand and your customer’s reliance on you versus anything an IG-worthy space would do.

“There are life and meaning to the former; shallowness and transience to the latter.”

 

Commitment isn’t about quantity, but quality. Allbirds, who rounded out 2018 with a reported $1.4 billion valuation, now operates three locations. “Though we launched exclusively online,” says Travis Boyce, Head of Global Retail Operations, “we always had ambitions to open physical stores. As a brand with a comfort-oriented product, retail has been and remains a key part of our growth strategy. We started experimenting with retail very early on, and quickly realized how important it was to get our products into the hands of curious shoppers so they can experience the comfort and design for themselves.”

Allbirds now operates three retail locations

“We elicit feedback as frequently as possible,” Boyce says, “and our on-the-ground retail teams are able to gain incredibly valuable insights from talking to consumers day in and day out.”

6. Social Commerce Evolves or Limps to the Grave

For years, digital pundits have preached the gospel of “going native”: selling directly within social networks without sending visitors onsite. By every big-picture metric, social media and ecommerce should be a match made in heaven. Worldwide penetration, active accounts, time spent, and ad spend are up across the board.

But, there’s a disconnect. In terms of sources that influence purchase decisions, social media lands last and was rated less than half as effective as reviews. More pointedly — despite the rollout of numerous “native” purchasing features — every major report reveals the same thing: social users aren’t buying.

Social ecommerce users aren’t buying (studies from 2017-2018)

Data via ViSenze, Avionos, SUMO Heavy, and eMarketer

Rumors continue to swirl around Instagram and Facebook developing its own ecommerce platform. However, after Amazon’s Q3 financials showed 122% year-over-year revenue growth in its advertising platform: even on marketplaces, the margins are in the ads, not the products.

Direct social commerce is at best a hypothesis. With low incentive to make it work, don’t expect salvation to come from the networks (not immediately nor outside a seismic acquisition). Wisdom resides in testing new features, but beware the hype-circle that inevitably accompanies them.

Acquiring new customers is most effective through low-cost engagement campaigns that lead with (1) entertainment or emotion, (2) user-generated content, or (3) influencers and micro-influencers. Front load paid social with content meant to be consumed on social or “branded” content that tells a story. Not only does it cost less to build an audience like this, but it’s also the reason people go on social in the first place.

For promotions, target qualified audiences who interacted with engagement campaigns or existing customers. Also, anchor campaigns in increasing AOV through bundles, discount tiers, and subscriptions. Axe Bat did this over Black Friday with its Facebook ads and achieved an 18% lift in AOV despite the sale and a ~400% increase in return on ad spend relative to their through-the-year average:

Axe Bat’s Black Friday Facebook ad to landing page

Retargeting should be sequential, personalized, and cross-platform: dynamic campaigns that widen (that is, serve different ads) from abandoned carts to products viewed to collections to the brand, depending on each visitor’s last interaction. Finally, bring social onsite: brands like MVMT, Kate Spade, Gymshark, lululemon, and Fashion Nova personify this through Instagram “shops” and by seeding social content — especially user-generated content — into product pages and checkouts.

MVMT uses an onsite Instagram “shop” and seeds social content, especially UGC, into product pages and checkouts

7. Channels Must Deliver on Their Promises

The rise of channels presents two dangers: one, obvious; the other, hidden. The first is fragmentation. Today’s path to purchase might start on Pinterest and end at a physical storefront or through an Instagram buy button embedded in an onsite feed. Along the way, shoppers may be spurred to purchase through organic search results, retargeting sequences, or by an article through paid-content distribution.

Multi-channel ecommerce (left), an omni-channel commerce (right)

In response, businesses scramble to adopt either a multi-channel (left) or an omni-channel (right) solution. The goal: be everywhere for everyone. The result: ending up nowhere for anybody. Let go of the expectation that customers want everything in one seamless and buzzword-driven experience.

“The way we think about the business,” says Nate Checketts, co-founder of Rhone, “is return on ad spend. At the end of the day is your overall marketing budget giving you a return on what you’ve spent? We focus on that more than we focus on a lot of the detailed terminology. Either our mix is wrong, meaning the channels that we’ve selected for marketing aren’t generating results or we’re doing something wrong in another way and we need to dig deeper and get a detailed analysis to understand how we improve it.”

Second, and far more destructive, is any approach to channels that puts marketing before backend. Attempting to unite channels without properly setting up and maintaining inventory and order management is futile. “Every retailer seems to have at least some form of an omnichannel strategy,” says Phil Granof, CMO of NewStore — which UNTUCKit uses to operate its retail locations. “But only a minority are approaching it from the ground up technologically, and even fewer demonstrate a holistic, experience-first mindset.

“Competitive advantage will not be had in the bits and pieces, but in delivering experiences of value across the customer journey.”

UNTUCKit uses NewStore to run its omni-channel stores

Leads might get turned off by an overly aggressive chatbot plus email plus retargeting sequence. Customers who don’t get what they ordered when they were told they would are unforgiving. Never forget: the most important moment in ecommerce doesn’t happen online. It happens when brands deliver.

8. Mobile Buying Is (Almost) the New Normal

Ever since mobile traffic surpassed desktop, the question haunting ecommerce has been, “How do we close the browser-to-buyer divide?” This challenge is acute in North America where just over half of shoppers who begin on smartphones complete their purchases there. Worldwide, mobile sales trail desktop by over one trillion dollars and mobile conversion rates are less than half those of desktop.

Mobile ecommerce is (almost) the new normal

To close this gap, mobile design and especially mobile-first buying have to be at the forefront. Fast and easy are everything; this includes:

  • Providing mobile-first payment options like purchase buttons via Amazon Pay, PayPal, etc. within product pages to bypass traditional checkouts

  • Enabling checkout entry through those same payment gateways first and then social profiles followed by email addresses in order of visual prominence (as a general rule, email works best on desktop and mobile for returning customers)

  • Designing mobile pages with tailored content; namely, separate visuals and videos based on device, single column layouts (opposed to grids), prominently placed “Buy Now” and “Add to Cart” buttons, as well as full-screen onsite search with product thumbnails and prices

  • Personalizing mobile experiences with page curl notifications for recommended products (instead of pop-ups) and slidable “drawers” (on the left or right of screens)

  • Placing status bars at the top of screens that automatically adjust to cart value based on spending threshold for shipping or tiered discounts: e.g., spend $50, save $10; spend $100, save $30

  • Optimizing for mobile and desktop separately — testing creative, offers, and onsite funnels by device (barring this separation, data will inevitably lead you astray)

To accomplish these goals, Rothy’s — who is creating a women’s shoe empire with recycled, single-use plastics — recently relaunched its mobile site as a progressive web app (PWA). PWAs are mobile websites that function like standalone apps: instant loading, push notifications, saved user data (for easier payments and better personalization), and offline modes when connectivity is poor.

Rothy’s recently relaunched its mobile site as a progressive web app (PWA)

“Our decision to go the PWA route,” says Gigi Teutli-Vadheim, Rothy’s Site Experience Manager, “has been driven largely by the importance of mobile conversions. Like many other brands, we see the majority of our traffic from mobile devices — a trend that spiked during the holiday season as consumers were away from their desktops.

“Our audience is incredibly mobile savvy, which made the decision to move to a progressive web app a no-brainer. In terms of the customer experience, we’re shifting our focus to be mobile-first in 2019, prioritizing speed to ensure users are satisfied.”

9. Micro-Moments Win or Lose Conversions

One-size-fits-all advertising messages are already obsolete, and companies’ competitive advantages increasingly reside in micro-moments. Such moments fall into two categories — pattern interrupts and effortless experiences. As a counter-intuitive example of the first:

Kurt Elster on the future of ecommerce in micro-moments

Why was it successful? “I suspect the reason this code worked,” Kurt Elster says, “is because it’s personalized. As our marketing tactics become more sophisticated, so do our customers. Presenting someone with what appears to be a dynamically-generated unique coupon code signals to them that the experience is personalized and that the urgency is real. The formatting of a coupon code may seem like a tiny mundane detail, but it’s a big signal to a sophisticated shopper.”

Elster’s illustration works not as a plug-and-play tactic, but instead as a principle. To do this, look for highly visible assets — e.g., most-sent emails, most-visited landing pages, most-engaging social content, subheadings and captions on product pages, etc. — to test the unexpected.

At the opposite end lay experiences where effortlessness shines: in-the-moment purchase decisions (impulse buying), discounted upsells that usefully bundle products, and lifecycle notifications.

Product lifecycle notifications via Facebook Messenger

This last micro-moment is particularly powerful for increasing lifetime value. Most products have a shelf life. Spare customers the onslaught of generic post-purchase offers and instead delight them with timely Messenger, SMS, or email notifications.

10. International Ecommerce Expands to the East

According to McKinsey, 1.4 billion people will join the global middle class by 2020 and 85% will be in the Asia Pacific region (APAC). Ecommerce as a whole has already shifted away from the West and will continue to do so:

Five-year growth rate of global ecommerce (map)

Data and sources within The Enterprise Guide to Global Ecommerce

Once known for sourcing and manufacturing, tapping into China and the larger APAC market is now a frontline strategy. Rothy’s, for instance, built a team in Shanghai to begin selling. Its entry point was WeChat. Everlane and Allbirds have also identified China as the “horizon for future expansion.”

This isn’t to say internationalization is without challenges, but solutions exist. Where some beauty brands have forgone China due to mandatory animal testing, 100% Pure sells cruelty-free products directly to Chinese customers through Tmall Global and delivers them via a third-party logistics partner. Before Single’s Day in 2018 — which surpassed Black Friday Cyber Monday revenue by $16.7 billion — 100% Pure forecasted its sales would quadruple year-over-year.

Part of its strategy lay in Juhuasuan, a group-buying feature within Tmall for flash sales that also leverages live streams with Chinese influencers. “You don’t want to market in China the way you market in the U.S., so I needed local people to help,” says co-founder, Ric Kostick. “You have to do it the local way.”

Don’t back off from global opportunities. Instead, find creative workarounds and trusted partners. Double down on global ecommerce markets and make sure infrastructure — like global fulfillment partners and international warehouses — are up to the challenges.

The Future of Ecommerce Is Already Here

“Business as usual” is business no more: in retail and in ecommerce. It’s not location that matters. Nor futuristic jargon. Leaders are facing a world of opportunity to evolve or perish, with success coming from big and small steps alike.

The future will manifest itself in relationships. Choice isn’t tomorrow. It’s today. Direct and meaningful connections to customers that include but extend far beyond mere products. Are you ready?

Editorial note: this article was last updated Jan. 29, 2019
Photo of Aaron Orendorff

About the Author

Previously the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus, Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent, a strategic agency “saving the world from bad content.” Named by Forbes as one of the top 10 B2B content marketers, his work has appeared on Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fast Company, Inc., Success Magazine, The Next Web, Content Marketing Institute, and more.

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New (Old) Realities Shaping Ecommerce: Online Shopping Trends Today and Tomorrow

The future of ecommerce has arrived. And yet, many of the “new” realities are anything but. Old problems stalk the halls — where to sell, balancing acquisition with profitability, how to build an audience, and Amazon. Staying ahead of the curve is critical, but separating fact from fad isn’t easy.

As a guide, we spent the last few months sifting through new and old entrants alike to isolate the online shopping trends shaping today’s landscape.

Don’t Be Everywhere: Data Over “Ego”

The proliferation of channels — social, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar, etc. — is daunting, demanding, and deceptive. Instead of everywhere, ruthlessly select where (1) your customers already are, (2) you can add real value, and (3) return on ad spend (ROAS) is strongest. With each, data holds the key.

“Retail is filled with a very natural ego,” says Nate Checketts, co-founder of Rhone. “People love to tell you, ‘Oh, we’ve got a store in Tokyo, and Paris, and New York, and London, and LA.’ When you think about how DTC [direct-to-consumer] brands are now approaching retail, it’s much more data-driven. Every store that we open is not only building that customer in an offline channel, but it’s also building that customer in an online channel.”

Rhone’s New York retail location drive offline and online sales

Online, this means understanding where your visitors come from and what they do once they arrive: i.e., attribution. Prioritize profitability using a tool like Google Analytics — coupled with Google Data Studio — for ecommerce conversions, assisted conversions, and “Multi-Channel Funnels” or leverage “Sales by traffic referrer” reports.

Offline, it’s about tracking fulfillment patterns to identify regions, cities, and even neighborhoods where orders are being sent. Those represent the most fertile ground. Monitoring online sales during and after physical events (as well as for owned storefronts) is equally important to gauge their impact on local revenue.

In other words, rather than thinking of multi-channel, omni-channel, and online-to-offline as separate strategies — each demanding to be mastered at once — set your sights on the channels that provide the best customer experience as evidenced by the numbers.

Multi-channel ecommerce (left) and omni-channel retailing (right)

Multi-channel ecommerce (left) brings native buying options to where your customers spend their time; omni-channel retailing (right) harmonizes those touchpoints

As a pure-play ecommerce example, Pura Vida Bracelets chose to focus on micro-influencers and referrals, using email and Instagram as its primary channels. After revamping its referral program, the brand amassed an army of over 110,000 “reps.” This increased sales from referrals by ~300% year-over-year and lifted average order value by 11%. “It’s not about ‘all,’” wrote Steve Dennis in Forbes. “It’s about relevant and remarkable where it truly matters.”

Start at the End: Retention Comes First

The fight for customers isn’t new, but it is intensifying. David Perell and Nik Sharma summarize the impasse: “DNVBs [digitally native vertical brands] go to war for the same customers on the same platforms (such as Facebook and Google). Customer acquisition costs soar as they fight for limited advertising space. As companies grow, so do costs of acquiring each additional customer.”

While other causes may be at play, this war touches all paths to purchase. Chamath Palihapitiya — an early senior executive at Facebook and now CEO of Social Capital — estimates “40 cents of every VC [venture capital] dollar” is spent on acquisition. Over the last five years, Facebook’s average CPC has increased 612.5%. And, Facebook CPM for “product catalog sales” ads are now 645% more expensive than “store visits.” Simply put, buying a visitor who wants to buy from you is exponentially more expensive than buying a visitor.

2018 ad spend increases by online acquisition channels

Data via Statista and Merkle

As backward as it sounds, retention must precede acquisition. The only way to survive higher new-customer spend is through higher customer lifetime value.

Tactically, this means front-loading loyalty programs that are easy to use and offer meaningful rewards from the jump. Such programs cannot be merely transactional but also community-building by incentivizing engagement. Cater to ardent fans and equip them with opportunities to sell you — rather than sell yourself — through user-generated content (UGC), reviews, and referrals.

Subscriptions are another avenue of attack. Last year, Hubble grew its contact-lens service to over $30 million in sales and, in 2017, Native — a DTC natural deodorant built largely on subscriptions — was acquired by P&G for $100 million. As Wilson Hung explains, “Brands with products suitable for a recurring subscription, with high average order values and margins are the ones that are best suited to scale a paid media first strategy.” Subscriptions give companies the “luxury” of high acquisition costs.

Amidst the tactics, never ignore the centrality of every brand’s most valuable asset. Increasing lifetime value and lowering acquisition costs come from placing people (not products) at the heart of growth.

Then, Acquisition: Seek & They Shall Find Ye

Fully 85% of product searches begin either on Amazon or Google. No surprise there. What is surprising is how few online retailers — even large or enterprise organizations — have mastered acquisition via search. Setting aside Bezos’ beast, the cardinal sin of search engine marketing is casting the net too wide. ROAS comes alive in granularity; wastefulness, in breadth.

First, match search queries, ads, and landing pages as closely as possible to eliminate friction: shoppers should be given ad copy and landing pages with the exact keywords — or glaringly obvious synonyms — they first entered into the engine. Whether you use single keyword ad groups (one keyword that triggers one campaign or ad), or tightly knit groups of 5-15 keywords isn’t as important as the principle: customers should experience a throughline from start to finish.

Rothy’s delivers separate ads and landing pages to match shoppers’ searches

Rothy’s delivers separate ads and landing pages to match shoppers’ searches

Second, separate campaigns for more effective budgets and bidding: (1) high-purchase intent — “buy women’s purple flats” — from (2) informational intent — “most comfortable women’s flats for standing” — from (3) unknown intent — “women’s flats.” Separation is also important for branded (your company’s name and exact product titles) versus non-branded keywords.

Third, keep a close watch on negative keywords — words that prevent an ad from being triggered by terms associated with your keywords but not your product. For casual or dress flats, this would include athletic terms or dance terms so that someone looking for “ballet shoes” doesn’t get served an ad for “everyday flats.”

Failure to monitor negative keywords drags down ROAS, especially on Google Shopping where triggering is dependant on product feeds (the product title and descriptions from which Google draws normally linked directly to an ecommerce site’s backend). Lastly, experiment with competitive campaigns by targeting other company’s names or products, and — in everything — test, iterate, and follow the data.

Organic search remains the holy grail. Master SEO, giving particular care to how you format product descriptions. ThirdLove’s paid and organic efforts tie together these methods beautifully. For the phrase “try bras at home,” ThirdLove occupies the first ad result along with positions two and three organically:

Try Before Buying” reached conversion rates three times higher than ThirdLove’s normal offers and the campaign’s retention rate is ~70%

“Try Before Buying” reached conversion rates three times higher than ThirdLove’s normal offers and the campaign’s retention rate is ~70%

Content Then Commerce: “It’s the [Audience], Stupid”

Nobody likes to be sold to. Everybody likes to be entertained. More than that, we all love to belong. Humans are irreducibly relational and self-centered. That’s the genius of storytelling. Great content connects us simultaneously to something bigger than ourselves and a vision of who we can be. Great sales copy — particular copywriting formulas built on human emotions — does the same thing. Brands that deliver this sew themselves into the lives of their customers in a way that commerce can’t.

“We’ve noticed that if we have content that has real meaning,” says Chris Pfaff, founder of Young & Reckless, “People are more likely to click and go look at the actual product, as opposed to saying, ‘Hey, look how cool this photo is.’ If you get across your brand message and make people feel inspired or motivated, then they’ll go and buy your product.”

Originally a wholesale brand, four years ago Y&R turned its sights online. Today, digital isn’t just a marketing channel, it’s a factory for audience creation. Social accounts for half of all Y&R’s traffic and the company is “tripling down” on YouTube because “people go there to be engaged, whereas it’s more passive on Instagram and Facebook.”

Young & Reckless’ YouTube content connect with audiences and ecommerce sales

Or, consider The Hundreds: media first, products second. “We’re not a T-shirt brand,” Bobby Hundreds has said. “This is content and culture and community. The T-shirt is just merch.” Alina Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief of The Hundreds, puts it like this: “At the core of The Hundreds’ ethos is storytelling on a personal level. The story that exists on the undertow lays the foundation for everything our brand stands for, and every collaboration and project we do in the clothing sector.”

The Hundreds puts media first, products second

Other models exist. Morphe Brushes (though influencers) and Glossier (through micro-influencers) curate UGC onsite and off, layering videos, images, and reviews by customers into their site and social media. Temporary tattoo makers Inkbox invest in trend reports — promoted via Facebook Messenger — and regularly answer FAQs on YouTube. Chubbies and Purple have forgone influencers and centered themselves on videos, events, and written content that’s permeated by a unique voice.

Whatever form content takes, certainly optimize to drive product interest and sales, but never at the expense of serving, entertaining, and embodying your audience.

Beware of “Rented” Land (For the Right Reasons)

First, the facts: revenue from Amazon Marketplace is now double the company’s retail sales; half of all product searches start on Amazon; advertising is its fastest-growing arm; and Amazon is aggressively courting DTC brands. Conclusion: no business can ignore it. Except, maybe you should.

When it comes to Amazon, more valuable than following the money is intentionality — weighing carefully the choice to list or not to list; to partner with Amazon or not — mixed with a healthy dose of fear. Just not the fear most sellers have:

Sellers’ fears associated with Amazon

The real danger is a disconnect between business goals and how to get there — namely, selling products versus building a brand. Think carefully about any intermediary between you and your customers. Covet that connection and that data: email addresses, social profiles, buying preferences, and demographics (like age and location), all of which Amazon withholds from Marketplace sellers.

For some, the answer lies in symbiosis. “There’s a symbiotic relationship where Amazon advertising works great — more the manual stuff than the automatic,” says Nolan Walsh, co-founder of Thursday Boots Company. “We don’t put all of our products up on Amazon. It’s really more the best sellers where we’re not strapped for scarcity.” UNTUCKit uses Amazon to “offload older styles” and Buzzfeed mixes standalone sites featuring core products with an Amazon storefront for “merch.”

For intrepid sellers, Amazon can be a mix of distribution and acquisition. Fulfillment by merchant offers the most flexibility in creating a branded unboxing experience, but inserts driving customers onsite are against Amazon’s terms of service. “Our biggest driver,” says a Fulfillment by Amazon seller who asked to remain anonymous, “is chatbots.”

Because Amazon allows contacting for “order fulfillment and related customer service,” the seller — a high seven-figure brand that has operated on Amazon for three years — creates custom Facebook audiences using shipping information. “We are interpreting the rule liberally,” says the seller, “but many times people who have ignored our ‘how was your order’ email through Amazon end up having an issue that we can solve once we connect on Messenger, and they’re super happy about it.” It’s a murky line, but from those positive interactions, the move to direct customer is natural.

For others, like Paul Munford — CEO of Lean Luxe — the line is far more clear. “If you give up control of customer experience and that direct relationship with the customer, then what do you really have?” says Munford. “That’s the lifeblood of today’s best brands and it’s the future: healthy little fiefdoms with their own moats. Frankly, if I’m a brand on this path, I’m not even remotely worried about being on Amazon. It commodifies the brand. Nor am I really even looking to stock my stuff in non-Amazon third-party marketplaces either, because again that creates just another barrier between me and my customer. It depends on what your outcomes are as a company.”

And, as for many of the DTC brands Amazon is courting, it’s not a line, but a barricade. “Selling on Amazon doesn’t work for a customer-centric brand,” Melanie Travis, founder of Andie Swim, told Digiday. “They basically want to reduce us from a brand to a product. They’re all nice people, but they’re a monster platform.”

Online Shopping Trends That Matter

Naturally, much could be added. Personalized product recommendations and onsite search are increasingly powerful. For marketing, email reigns supreme, but chatbots are on the rise. Ecommerce automation is giving companies their time back while improving the bottom line. And the specter of global ecommerce looms large.

Amidst the noise and excitement, what matters is investing in the online shopping trends shaping ecommerce — new or old — and ignoring the rest.

Editorial note: this article was last updated Feb. 7, 2019

About the Author

Previously the Editor in Chief of Shopify Plus, Aaron Orendorff is the founder of iconiContent, a strategic agency “saving the world from bad content.” Named by Forbes as one of the top 10 B2B content marketers, his work has appeared on Mashable, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, Fast Company, Inc., Success Magazine, The Next Web, Content Marketing Institute, and more.

 

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