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04. Quick Wins for eCommerce Success

04. Quick Wins for eCommerce Success

Long-term goals are great, but sometimes we just need a quick boost to our business and a way to generate more revenue. In today’s episode, we're talking about the easiest and fastest ways you can make more money in your eCommerce business; 2 of which that can be implemented in the next 24 hours!


Three Ways to Make More Money in Your eCommerce Business

So when it comes to marketing your business and trying to make more revenue, there's really only three ways that you can do this. Granted, there are different strategies and tactics underneath each of those, but there's really only three ways. 

The first way is to acquire new customers. The second way is to bring your existing customers back more often and the third way is to get them to buy more when they're already shopping.

Let’s talk a little bit about this and where you should focus the majority of your time. 

It costs five times more to acquire a new customer then to keep an existing one. That being said, basically, that means acquiring new customers is the most expensive way and it takes the most amount of effort. 

While it's important and you want to keep filling the funnel with new people, it should not be your only focus. Bringing your existing customers back more often and getting them to buy more when they're already shopping is how you can bring in the most revenue, the most extra revenue, with the least amount of effort, time and money. 

Ways to Raise Your Average Order Value on Your eCommerce Website

Because this episode is about quick wins, we are going to start bottom up and focus on how to get your existing customers to spend more money, first. 

The goal here is to raise your average order value; the average amount someone spends when they're on your website. 

Just in case you've never heard this term before, or you don't really know exactly what it means, or how to calculate it, let’s talk about that.

How to Calculate Your Average Order Value

In order to calculate your average order value, you’re going to want to take your total revenue and, whatever time frame doesn’t matter. You can calculate this on a day week month a year. I usually have a running spreadsheet to track weekly and kind of see where I'm at. 

So you're going to take your total revenue and this is after any discounts you gave and before tax and shipping. So it's really the subtotal and divided by the total number of orders. 

So for example, if you did $2,000 in revenue and it took you 40 orders to get that $2,000, your aov is $50. $2000 / 40 = $50

Now what if you could just raise that five bucks per person over those 40 orders, you would make an additional $200 that's not a bad deal. Considering your product assortment and how much your items cost, maybe its $10 per order. 

But that's going to be the goal for these next two strategies. Both of these you can implement in the next 24 hours. When you finish listening to this podcast get your download so you have this all in front of you and then go set these things up. 

Setting Your Free Shipping Threshold to Raise Your AOV

So the first way to raise your AOV is to adjust your free shipping threshold. You should be using this as a tool to get your customers to spend more money. If your current free shipping threshold is at or below your current AOV you're missing out on revenue and you're probably spending too much on shipping because you're giving too much away. 

And tell me if you do this, but studies show that 60% of online shoppers will add additional items to their cart to qualify for free shipping! I know I definitely do this. 

You want to set your free shipping threshold a few dollars more than your AOV to encourage additional purchases. You want to be mindful of your product assortment and your pricing here, because if your average item is $20, right, you don't want your free shipping threshold to be $30 above your AOV because then people are going to have to add two items to their cart. That's kind of asking a lot. 

They should be able to get to that next step in one item ideally. What's cool about this is there are apps available on Shopify, and I'm pretty much always going to talk about Shopify because it's the platform I use and I know the most in-depth, but I'm sure all of them have some sort of way to execute this; is you can put a banner on your site that will actually calculate for the customer how much more they have to add to their car in order to qualify for free shipping.

This can either be in a banner across the top of your website or there are some that will even show in the cart. Like if you have a slide-out cart, one that comes out from the sides, called an Ajax cart, then it will calculate in there.

Having it calculate in the cart is a little bit harder to execute. So if you don't have a developer that you can work with, stick to just adding the banner at the top of your website that usually doesn't take any extra installation. This is super important because people don't like to do math. They just don't. So this will put it front and center and do it for them. 

Use Cross-Sells To Raise Your Average Order Value

So the other thing that you can do, you can also set this up really quick, is to add cross-sells to your website. Cross-sells are very often confused with upsells. So I want to clarify what those two things are right now.

The Difference Between Cross-Sells and Up-Sells

Cross-sells are a complimentary item to what they're already purchasing. So a good example of this is if you go into a store and buy a pair of jeans; they're going to try and sell you a top to complete the outfit; that is a cross-sell.If I buy a top then they're probably going to try and sell me an accessory, a piece of jewelry, a necklace something like that.

An up-sell is a bigger or more expensive version of the same item. So if you, I don't know why but protein powder is the first thing that's popping in my head here, if I go to a website and I’m trying to buy a 16 oz jar of protein powder, then the site could try and up-sell me to the 32 oz jar. It’s likely less expensive per ounce, so overall it's a better deal for me, but they are getting me to spend more money. So that would actually replace the item in my cart. 

That’s the difference between an up-sell and a cross-sell. 

How recommended products are different than cross-sells

This is all so different from recommended products. So, on most websites on the product page, you'll see at the bottom additional items, you might like, recommend items, other people bought, right? 

That's a very passive way to try and get them to add more items. And I don't know, jury’s still out if it really works. But what I have seen work is if you interrupt the shopping experience with a pop-up, either after they add the item to the cart or when they go to check out.

How to choose the right cross-sell items for your eCommerce Website

You want to make sure that whatever item you are cross-selling them is no more than 20% of the retail price of the original item that they were buying. So, did you notice earlier when I gave the example if I buy jeans, they're going to cross-sell me a top. If I'm buying a top, they're going to cross-sell me an accessory.

Because you can't ask someone to double the amount of money that they were planning to spend. That's too high a barrier of entry. You want it to be more of a no-brainer type addition.

How to Get Started With Cross-Sells

When you're going to implement these there's a few ways you can go about it. Definitely start off with your best-sellers. You want to make sure that those have a cross-sell on them because people are adding those items to their cart every day. 

To make this a little simpler, you can also do it at the category level. This is really going to depend on your product, the assortment and all of that. So you have to figure out what works better for your business, but you could say hey all tops, when they go to buy a top we are going to try and sell them an accessory. 

So figure out what will work for you and keep the ratio of pricing in mind. There of course apps on Shopify that can do this and make it really really simple to set up. Some of them even have their own algorithm that will start to recommend products based on what people are already purchasing together. 

Okay, so that is raising your AOV. This is where I suggest you start and in order to make the right decisions you have to calculate your AOV first. So, if you haven't done that, go do that after you listen to this. 

Bring Your Customers Back More Often With Email Marketing

So, the next way to increase your eCommerce revenue is to bring your existing customers back more often. There's a few different ways you can do this. But for today, we're going to focus on email marketing because it's the best way, in my opinion.

To do this successfully, you’re going to need two things: a reason for your customers to come back and a way to tell them about it. 

So if you've been following me for any length of time, you know, that email is hands-down my favorite way to make money in eCommerce. It still has the highest return-on-investment of all the marketing activities you can do and I can spend a long time talking about it, but I want to focus on just a few key things today so that you can start implementing them right away.

If you haven't already listened to episodes 2 and 3 of the Commerce badassery Podcast , definitely go listen to those ‘cause we dive deeper into email marketing overall. 

What Types of Emails to Send to Your eCommerce Customers

Okay, let's talk about what types of emails to send really quick because I get this question a lot. So many people are not sending email or not sending enough email because they're not even sure what to put in them and they feel like if they don't have a sale or a promotion or something like that then they have nothing to say and that's not true. 

Of course sales and promotions are one thing, but you don't always have to have a sale or promo to get your customer to come back. Sometimes you just need something new or you need to present it in a different way, or even better is, you send them non-salesy content.

Some of the highest revenue-generating emails I've ever seen didn't pitch any product at all, which is pretty amazing. So here are some things that you can start talking about in your emails that aren't you pitching items, but keeps you top-of-mind to your customer and when you pop in their inbox, it's pretty likely they're going to be like, oh, hey, I wonder what's going on over here and click on through to your website, browse around, find something new, something they haven't seen or make a purchase. 

One of those things if you did want to include product is new arrivals, right? That's kind of a no-brainer. So definitely send that out. 

But aside from that you can also share lifestyle content and blog posts around your products. It's going to depend on what that product is. If it's activewear anything health and fitness related would be really great. If its beauty or skincare overall wellness would do really well. If you're a clothing boutique how-tos and style tips and even some pop culture would likely land very well. 

And how-tos, tips and tricks, that really works for every industry. So definitely work some of that into it and honestly even sometimes just a good old weekly newsletter about what's new and going on behind the scenes. So maybe that's things you have coming up and it's fun things you guys are doing while you're working from home right now. It would be a timely piece of content.

Connect, educate, inspire, build a relationship. That's all you're trying to do with email and the sales will follow. So if you're not already doing that definitely start now and see what happens. 

Understanding Your Email Open Rate Data

I also want to dig into the data real quick for this next one. So you've heard me say this before but the data doesn't lie. So if you're not already tracking these sort of metrics or paying attention, you definitely want to start doing that and when it comes to email marketing one of the things you're going to want to look at is your open rate. 

What is a Good Email Open Rate?

You want to always be aiming for at least a 20% open rate. This is what all the email service providers are judging you on, along with your click rate. But this quick tactic I’m going to give you is related to opens.

A quick note about that is when you see an open rate as reported in your email service platform if it says 20%, whatever percentage it says, it doesn't mean that 20% of the people you sent it to actually saw it because that's an aggregate number. If you sent an email to someone and they opened it 10 times, it is counting all 10 of those as an open! 

So realistically with your unique open rate only 10 to 15% actually seeing your message which means 85% of the people didn't even see it, didn't even open it and read it or know what you had to say. This is where this next tactic comes in. 

How to Get More People to Open Your Emails

Resend your emails to the people who didn't open it the first time! Just make sure you change the subject line. 

You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time, you really don't and that will cut down on the energy and effort of creating new content or creating new emails. Reuse what you already have and if you have stuff that has worked really well in the past that wasn't a time-sensitive message, if you had something evergreen, not only should you be resending it to the people who didn't open it the first time, but a month or two down the road send that to your new subscribers that you've gained since you sent it the first time. If it's still relevant, there's no reason why you can't reuse that. 

I talk about this all the time. So you probably heard me say it before but I’m going to say it again – resend your unopened emails. They will generate more revenue for you. You will get more opens, more clicks and more eyeballs on your message. It works every time. 

If you have a time-sensitive offer, if you have a sale, you should also be doing this. You're going to want a time it depending on how long that sale is. But for instance, I ran a flash sale the other day and I sent one email in the morning and then I sent one in the evening to everyone who didn't make a purchase in that case. 

I did it whether they opened the email or not. But, if I had the sale for say, three days then I would kind of alternate. Send to everyone, resend to non-opens, send to everyone who didn't purchase as that last chance. 

The short story is, re-use your content and send email. 

So the ways to bring your customers back more often is through non-salesy content and resending emails that didn't get opened the first time. That's where I want you to focus. 

Acquiring New Customer for Without Paying for Ads

Let's get into customer acquisition. I want you to think beyond the ad of how to reach more of your target customers. Ads are okay. I’m not saying don't do ads. You have to make sure you're in the right place to do ads and there's so much that goes into that and whether or not it's right for your business. It’s not something that we can cover right now, but there are other ways to acquire new customers without spending money on ads. 

Let's talk about two of them that you can start doing. The thing about this is, even though these are not ads it's still going to take the most time, energy and effort on your part to make these happen. So do the other items first get that all into place, and then come to the customer acquisition piece.

Implementing a Refer-a-Friend Program

So the first thing is implementing a refer-a-friend program. Word-of-mouth advertising is still a thing and it's still extremely powerful. We're just doing it in a little bit of a different way now, mostly through digital channels. People are telling their friends and family on Facebook about a new shop that they found, or an item that they're using. They are posting about it on Instagram, things like that. 

With a refer-a-friend program, you can give them an incentive to actually do that, right? This is how you sort of invite and ask them to share about it for you and it's just a way to amplify word-of-mouth advertising.

There are apps that will generate special links for you that the customer uses and then shares with their friends. When the friend clicks on that link and then makes a purchase, that customer gets rewarded. You can offer promotions and discounts. So the friend gets a discount for their first purchase and then the person who referred them gets a little something as well and it's different from affiliate because in this case you're kind of giving them rewards to shop on your store versus just paying them out cash. 

And I don't want you to be afraid of using discounts here because they are a great way to get people comfortable with trying something new. I know for me if I haven't shopped at a particular store before or tried a particular product, if they're offering me a discount it takes some of the risk away. So I feel more comfortable taking that first plunge and I bet you're that way too.

I know most people are worried about training their customers to wait for discounts. But when you're talking about the first purchase, the hardest one to get that is not going to train them. What will train them is if you are sending them promotions every week.That will train them to wait for a discount. So don't be afraid of them here.

Promoting Your Refer-a-Friend Program

Make sure you actively promote your program. You need to put it everywhere! Talk about it everywhere, in your emails, on your social channels, and on your website. People don't pay attention most times and if it takes 7 to 15 touches for them to make a purchase it's going to take at least that for them to really grasp onto this refer-a-friend idea and you're going to want to keep talking about it. It can feel like you’re saying the same thing over and over again and to you, you are. But you always have new people who are listening to you, and people don't hear everything you have to say, so don't worry about saying it too much. If you are saying it to someone who already is part of the program or already heard it, it will either remind them to re-engage with it or they will just gloss over it and not hear it, so you don't have to worry about pissing people off or anything like that. 

Partner With Other Brands For More Visibility

Alright, the next one is to partner with complimentary brands. This is going to take the most time, energy, and effort of everything that we talked about today. So this should be the last thing on your list, but you can start. thinking about who would be the right fit or maybe you already have some ideas. 

You don't want these people to be in direct competition with you. You want them to be complementary. So it's a product that the customer would buy in addition to buying yours, kind of like a cross-sell.

You want to start thinking of creative ways that you can partner with these other brands to get in front of each other's audiences. So here's a few ways you can do that. 

Doing Giveaways With Other Brands

The first one, and I'm sure it’s what came to your mind initially, was giveaways. This is generally the most popular, but I urge you not to rely on them as they tend to attract a lot of people who just want free stuff. As a list building tactic, you could end up with a lot of unengaged people on your email list. So tread carefully here. 

I would say if you collect a big list of email entries, send them a couple emails alone. Like just add that group first and see how they engage and then get rid of anyone who's not interested in what else you have to say. Otherwise, it's just going to drag down your open and click rates and all that stuff. Right? So They're just like dead emails that are probably not going to buy from you. So don't get too emotionally attached to them. 

Trading Shout Outs With Other Brands 

The other thing you could do is shout outs which can be as simple as mentioning each other on social channels or even more powerful is to feature each other in your emails. You can either create a dedicated email for them or it can just sort of be a secondary message and, you need to work with them to kind of figure out what that's going to look like. A one-off mention is not going to be super powerful. You want to maybe pepper it in over a month, over three months. Maybe you agree that, you know, you'll mention each other three times, kind of figure out what that's going to look like. 

Do Virtual Events With Complimentary Brands

Another thing you could do, and this is really timely right now, is do some sort of virtual live sale or a workshop that's related to your products. Hop on a live together, show people your product, how they can work together, teach them something, entertain them somehow and then you guys can both obviously invite your audiences to this one live broadcast. 

Picking the Right Brands to Partner With

All right. Now, you're probably wondering. Okay. Well, how do I find these people and how do I approach them and start the conversation? The first thing is I want you to focus on quality over quantity. This is really important and it's just like with you know, collecting email subscribers for a giveaway, you want those quality people that are actually going to be the right partner for you, that have the right audience ‘cause if you're getting in front of the wrong people or they're not super engaged with the idea and amped up about it, it’s just not going to work. So focus on quality. 

I want you to start with just researching and brainstorming to figure out what are the best types of products that would make sense for you and then start looking for people with those products. If you already have some people in mind, definitely jot those down. I also want you to stick to brands that are at the same level or just one or two steps above you. If you try and partner with someone that's much bigger than you, that has, you know, 10 times the audience that you do, they're not going to see the value in it and then you'll end up wasting your time trying to reach out to them and they're not going to be interested and it's going to be weird and awkward when you could have just been focused on someone else that would be so happy to partner with you.

How to Reach Out to Other Brands to Partner With

When you're reaching out, don't lead with your ask. Don't just hit them up in the DMs and say “hey, want to partner together,” if they have no idea who you are. That's just like not cool at all. Nobody wants that. 

Start by building a relationship with them and engage with their posts. Send them a DM to say hi,  respond to their Instagram stories. Just be a human and start talking to them and have conversations with them like you would if you were in person with them. 

The last thing to remember is before you start reaching out to these people. Make sure you have your shit together, okay. Make sure you have a nice brand presentation. Make sure you have your ideal customer dialed in. You know, who you're trying to talk to. 

Whoever you reach out to they are going to look at all of these things are going to look at your business. They're going to look at, are you are consistent on social media? Are you showing up in the way that they show up? Are you someone that they want to be associated with? This is all really important that you are projecting your best self and your brands’ best self so that these other companies want to be associated with you. 

Quick Wins For eCommerce Success Recap

Alright, let's recap these quick wins for eCommerce success. Like I mentioned in the beginning there are only three ways to make more money in your business. To acquire new customers, to bring your existing customers back more often, and to get them to buy more when they're already shopping. 

I want you to start bottom up and focus on getting your existing customers to spend more money, and to raise your average order value before you do anything else. The easiest ways to do that is to adjust your free shipping threshold to a few dollars above your current AOV and Implement cross-sells on your website. 

Remember to stick to 20-ish percent of the price of the product. They were already buying, so if they're buying something for $100 sell them something for $20 in addition to that. 

The next way that I want you to focus on is bringing your existing customers back more often and do this through email marketing. You can send them how-tos, tips and tricks, lifestyle content around your products. Your goal here is to connect, educate Inspire and build a relationship with them, and stay top-of-mind. Lastly with email, is resend your emails to people who didn't open them the first time with a new subject line and take some of your older high-performing emails and send them to your new subscribers. 

The last thing is acquiring new customers. So once you've gotten all of that other stuff in place and it’s working for you, then you can focus on acquiring new customers, but I want you to think outside of advertising to do this. Start with a refer-a-friend program. Get an app that can calculate everything for you automatically. So you don't have to do any manual work. It will give them a portal login to and copy their link so that they can share it on social etc.

And then the last thing is to find brands that you can partner with and get in front of each other's audiences. Try to focus on things that don't necessarily just attract people looking for free shit like giveaways. I really love the email shoutouts or virtual sales or virtual training things like that better. I think that has much more value not only to the customer but ultimately to you. 

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Hey, I'm Jessica

I support scrappy female entrepreneurs with actionable steps & strategies to grow and scale the traffic, sales & profit in their eCommerce businesses. 

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