While I love to teach long-term strategies that will serve your eCommerce business for years to come, sometimes we just need a quick win or a “hack” as the kids are saying these days.
If I'm being completely honest, I may have snuck a few long-term strategies in here as well, but everything I'm sharing is all about how you can make more money in your eCommerce store – so whether it's a quick fix or a more foundational concept there's something in this episode to help you reach whatever goal you're trying to reach right now.
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1. Know Your Numbers + Install Google Analytics
This one should come as no surprise to you as I talk about this a lot, but like I always tell you for your product-based business you have to repeat yourself, so that’s what I’m doing.
If you’re on a platform like Shopify or Big Commerce, you might already be looking at the analytics that the platform gives you, but in most cases, I find these are not nearly detailed enough to provide you with truly actionable insights into how to improve your KPIs.
Google Analytics on the other hand is going to allow you to go so much deeper into your shopper’s behavior and learn not only what KPIs you might need to focus on, but where exactly in the journey you need to focus.
In Google Analytics, you can see each step in the shopping process, identify which traffic sources have the worst conversion, and even get a full list of the products that you’re selling, which if memory serves you can’t see on the lowest Shopify plan.
And look, maybe you get completely overwhelmed when you look at Google Analytics. And maybe you have no desire or intention to make use of that data right now – that’s okay. You want to make sure you at least install it because it cannot track your data retroactively, which means it only starts working on the day you set it up.
If you are ready to finally start diving in, I did create a course that walks you through how to use it. It’s available on my website right now, I’ll put a link in the show notes for you.
2. Up Your Email Marketing Game
You knew I was gonna say this, right?! With an average ROI of 40:1, a good email marketing program is the key to long-term eCommerce success.
You already know that social media can disappear or change but email is forever!
Ultimately, if you don’t have a solid email marketing strategy you are 100% leaving money on the table. There are no iffs, ands, or buts about it.
I have a shit ton of episodes on email marketing on this podcast, so we’re not going to go deep on this one here. I’ll put links in the show notes vs. rattling them all off but I really encourage you to take this part of running an eCommerce business seriously.
And if you’re listening to this in real-time… we’re about to wrap up Q2. Which means, there are only a few more months until Q4 kicks off and Q3, July – September is a great time to focus on list growth if it’s something you’ve been slacking on for the last 6 months.
Get as many new potential customers on that email list so you have a bigger pool of people to sell to. Remember, eCommerce is often a numbers game, so the more potential customers you have, the easier it will be to hit your revenue goals.
Okay, before I get into these next two, I want you to think about what it’s like when you shop in a brick + mortar store. And it doesn’t matter what kind of store it is, clothing boutique, big-box store, even the grocery store.
What’s one thing every brick-and-mortar retailer has in common?
They all have impulse fixers at or near the cash wrap. And that is no mistake, my friend.
Have you ever shopped in a Forever 21, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, or Home Goods? Think about what happens when you get in line. How are they creating the pathway to the cashiers? With product fixtures full of low-price impulse purchases.
The mac daddy of this concept is Ikea. You have to go through the whole damn maze before you can checkout and what do you go through last… the marketplace. Full of a whole bunch of shit you probably don’t need but man it’s cheap and cute, and maybe you’ll use it someday.
So the question is, how do we recreate that experience on our websites. The next two hacks are the way.
3. Add a Cross-Sell App
Getting your customers to buy more when they’re ALREADY on your website is one of, if not the easiest way to generate more revenue in your eCommerce business.
And no, I don’t mean the passive recommended products at the bottom of your product page. I’m talking about something that interrupts their experience and forces them to pay attention. Ideally, it’s a pop-up that shows them other items they might like based on what they're already purchasing.
This can happen either right after they add a product to their cart, when they start checkout, or even after they complete their purchase.
The best placement is going to depend on your business and product assortment, but a really general rule of thumb is the more cross-sell opportunities you have, the earlier you’ll want it to be. If you only have one or two main things you can offer in a cross-sell, the later you can make it.
So for instance, if you’re a boutique and you want to show them a top when they buy jeans, and then a piece of jewelry when they buy a top, that works best after they add a product to the cart.
But let’s say you’re a one-product store and your only cross-sell opportunity is to get them to buy more of the same, or there’s one accessory that everyone should have, like a NO BRAINER offer, that will work really well even after they have already checked out.
I go a lot deeper into using cross-sells and upsells on your eCommerce website in episode 49 of the podcast so check that out if you’re not sure how to best implement this in your business.
4. Raise Your Shipping Threshold
If your shipping threshold is already at or below your average order value, then you’re probably giving away too much free shipping.
Use your free shipping minimum as a way to increase your customer's average order value. You want to be a few dollars more than your current AOV. And it should always be that way, so you’ll want to continually revisit this and adjust as needed.
The trick here is you only want them to have to add one item to their cart to hit that threshold. It’s hard to get someone to double what they were planning to spend just to hit free shipping so you’ll have to crunch some numbers and look at your product assortment and pricing to find the sweet spot, but it’s a powerful way to increase your revenue.
5. Partner with Complementary Brands
As we’ve already mentioned today, eCommerce is often a numbers game, so the more eyeballs you can get on your business the better. And the easiest way to do this is to get in front of OTHER PEOPLE’S AUDIENCES.
How did you find me? Did you hear me on someone else’s podcast? Did I do a presentation in a community you’re a part of? Maybe you attended a summit that I spoke at, or maybe one of your biz friends told you about me.
Either way, these are all examples of how I have leveraged other people’s audiences to reach more eCommerce business owners like you!
It’s the same as when someone pitches to be on the eCommerce Badassery podcast. they know I have a niche group of listeners, eCommerce business owners. And if they have a product or service that helps eCommerce business owners, coming on this podcast puts them in front of their perfect customer.
And you can do the same with your product-based business.
The first step, is to find another brand with the same target audience as you, but sells a different product – it doesn’t really work if they’re a direct competitor.
One of the best examples of this, which I shared on Instagram a while ago, is when Poo-Pourri and a brand called super coffee did a collaboration. Step one: Coffee… Step Two: Poo. They called it the most obvious collab ever, and sold a gift set of vanilla-flavored coffee and vanilla-scented Poo-Pourri.
Check out some of their campaign images + see the entire landing page here.
So maybe your brand doesn’t allow for such a clever combination, but it’s a perfect example of how to really think outside the box, or inside the bowl as I said in my very witty Instagram post.
Here are a couple of more attainable ideas:
If you sell CBD and you market your brand as a way to get better sleep, you can partner with a brand that sells sleep masks, or someone who teaches meditation.
If you sell lactation cookies you can partner with someone who sells nursing bras.
If you sell art prints for baby rooms, you can partner with someone who sells crib sheets.
If you teach people how to grow the traffic, sales, and profit in their eCommerce business you can partner with someone who teaches and does paid social media ads.
You get the idea, right?
There is so much opportunity out there and other small businesses are also looking for more visibility, you are stronger together than you are apart. But someone has to make the first move and I recommend that be you!
I’ve definitely talked about this before on the podcast, but I think it’s only been in a round-up type episode like this so I’ll add this to my episode idea list, where I focus 100% on this and some ideas on how you can approach it.
If any of you listening have done a successful collaboration with other small businesses and you want to come on the podcast and share your story with our listeners, please do reach out on Instagram.
6. Add Recurring Revenue
Recurring revenue is one of the greatest things you can do for your business and you don’t have to launch a subscription box to do it. If you have a consumable product, simply adding a subscription option for your customers is a great way to guarantee revenue on a regular basis.
I subscribe mostly for convenience to things like cat food, litter, paper towels, and razors… but anything that is consumable can work as a subscription product.
Skincare, supplements, coffee, makeup, household cleaning products, anything that is a staple in someone’s life.
And you don’t even need to offer anything special for this. Sometimes it’s just the convenience of never running out that’s enough, but if you do want to encourage people to signup, a simple 5% savings is totally enough.
Recharge is the mac daddy of Subscriptions, but since Shopify has opened up the checkout API and let subscription apps integrate directly with their checkout system there are some new apps that are pretty awesome too like Native and Appstle.
If you don’t sell a consumable product, here’s a bonus hack for you.
Sell Digital Products or a Service
Digital products are not just for educators or service providers like me.
If you’re a boutique owner you could sell a styling guide, or offer styling consultations
If you sell fitness apparel, you could sell a PDF workout.
If you sell home decor you could sell a mini-course on home decor styling.
I have a client who sells yarn + she created some knitting patterns and courses that have sold like hot cakes.
In many cases, you can even create and sell a membership community. I worked with an artist who in addition to selling her work, sells courses and a membership where she teaches them how to paint like her.
If you’re a boutique you could create a membership where you release a monthly capsule wardrobe and outfit combinations based on the products that you’re bringing into your store.
There are so many ways you can diversify the revenue in your eCommerce business.
I do recommend you wait until you have the product part nailed down, especially if you want to start some sort of membership because that’s a lot easier to sell to an established audience vs. a cold one, but you’re not limited to just selling physical products. The sky is truly the limit.
I talk more about adding digital products to your eCommerce business in episode 30 of the podcast so take a listen to that if you think this is something you want to implement in your business.
7. Develop Systems + Processes
This one, while not sexy is probably one of the most important to implement if you really want to have a successful and scalable business. And truthfully, the earlier you do this, like before you even need it, is the best way to tackle it.
Flying by the seat of your pants is no way to find freedom as an entrepreneur. And even if you’re the one doing all the things right now, take the time to sit down and document everything from your daily operational tasks to how you handle common customer service inquiries.
It will reduce the stress overall and make the onboarding process for new team members much smoother and allow them to hit the ground running a lot faster. This way, they don’t have to ask you a bunch of questions all the time… you can just send them through all your onboarding documents and training checklists.
I touched on this at some point in the podcast, I think it was episode 9, How to Get More Done in Less Time. One of the things I talked about was how important it was to make sure you had focused time to do the things you need to do.
When I was still working the 9-5, there would be days when I was sick and couldn’t go in the office, but I had too many projects and things I was leading to really take a day off, so I would work from home.
I could do at home in 4 hours, more than I could accomplish in a day at the office because there were no interruptions. No one knocking on my door, no one calling me to ask me dumb questions that if they just took a minute to think through or look up they could figure out on their own.
All of those little interruptions take us out of focus and we lose so. much time. And it’s not that you’re not going to have to ever answer a question, or take time training people, that’s just part of the process, but the more you can document up front, the more systematic approaches you can have, the more software tools you can have to automate things for you, the clearer your expectations are of how to handle certain situations, I could keep listing these out but I think you get it…
Just don’t put this stuff off. Seriously.
And look, we all do it. Myself included some of which I’m up against right now. So don’t beat yourself up about it and stress out thinking shit I haven’t done any of this, I need to do it all right now…
If you can, great. But you don’t have to. Getting it done little by little is better than being in complete overwhelm and doing nothing at all.
And this is making me think I should create a dedicated episode to all the things you can automate in your business, or the systems and processes you should create. What do you think? If you want an episode like that – come on over to Instagram and let me know!
8. Save Time and Money Wasted on Lost Shipments
How many times have you had to deal with an angry customer or replace an item because a package got lost in the mail?
It’s a total time suck for your customer service team and can severely impact your company’s bottom line.
Route Shipping Insurance to the rescue! When you add Route Shipping Insurance to your store the customer can purchase the additional insurance for their package for just pennies.
Should a problem arise, the customer contacts Route directly and they’ll take it from there, replacing the cost of the product for the customer. The best part, it’s completely FREE to you as the merchant! You just collect the money from the consumer and then Route bills you monthly to collect it!
9. Invest in Long-Term Success with SEO
You’ve heard me talk about SEO a lot if you’ve been with me for a while and while it’s a quick fix by any means, it’s one of the best ways to build sustainable organic growth.
And it doesn’t have to be a scary word.
Sure, there are a lot of technical things that go into it as you get more advanced, but the basics will still have a solid impact on your business!
And yes, it’s 100% possible to compete with even the biggest websites out there when you make the effort. The best thing about SEO is that even though it takes a little time effort and energy to get started, it continues to support the growth of your business for the long term and builds your organic traffic which is FREE!
Before I send you off to some resources to learn this, I want to answer one of the most common questions that I get which is, when should I start focusing on SEO?
In theory, you would probably think sooner rather than later because it takes a while to work… sometimes six months to a year before you really see the impact.
But, at the same time… that means while you’re focusing on this SEO stuff, because you won’t see any impact for a while, is there something else you could be focusing on instead?
Ultimately, it’s going to depend a bit on where you’re at in your business journey, the products you sell, and what other marketing activities you have at your disposal.
But there are certain things SEO related that you should learn and understand from the moment you start your business like properly naming products, collections, and understanding alt text because these things are a bigger pain in the ass to update later.
So, what’s the answer?
Implement the basics.
And then, when you’re ready to go deeper and really focus on it, reach out to me, join the Lounge, or keep your eyes peeled for an SEO 101 course releasing soon.
10. Ask for Help
Of everything we talked about today – this is probably the MOST powerful. Because in order to implement all the other things on the list, you’re probably going to need it.
As solopreneurs, or even those with tiny teams we often feel like we need to do everything ourselves, or like we can just figure it out. And you probably can, you’re scrappy after all!
I personally fall into this trap all the time. Seriously, I’m going through it right now though I have already booked some help for a few things and have a call soon for more potential support.
But sometimes we need to admit when we need help, and when we need support.
Maybe you need to invest in a mentor to help you figure out your best next steps, to clear some cobwebs, or just give you a shortcut. And it doesn’t have to be some high-priced coaching program. Sometimes it’s a membership or a one-off strategy call. (I do offer those by the way)
Or maybe you need a subject matter expert like a Facebook ads strategist, or a VA to help you manage your inbox and calendar, or a graphic designer to create graphics for your website and social.
Whatever that thing is that you spend too much time doing or that is honestly below your pay grade… it might be time to outsource it.
I’ve invested in a ton of my own education and development to run and grow eCommerce Badassery. Right now I’m more in a season of doing, but I owe a lot of my growth to those initial investments I made. And once I get through this season, I’ll start investing again to get to the next level of my biz.
When it comes to the outsourcing part… since I am in this season of checking off that to-do list, I’m hiring shit out because I can’t do it all. I mentioned earlier, I hired a designer to help me update some content. I’m paying for a VIP day and it’ll all get knocked out in just a few hours.
I’m also on the hunt for some other support staff members to help me with some one-time projects that have been building up on my to-do list and crowding my mental space.
If you also have a mile-long to-do list, here’s a little exercise to help you manage it all. This is the exact step I took not long ago that put me on the track to actually getting shit done.
Now, this isn’t my process. I’ve heard it multiple times before, but I finally sat down and did it. It’s similar to the Eisenhower matrix which I talked about in episode 9, how to get more done in less time but the prompts are just a little bit different. The Eisenhower Matrix is like one step earlier than this process, it helps you figure out the priority, while this method is more of an organizational exercise. I say try both and see which works for you.
The first step is to brain dump all the things you want to do. This is one of my favorite activities ever and in fact, I have a lot of brain dump sheets. Sometimes I forget to even title them, forget they exist, and then when I go to clean up my documents I find multiples with basically the same content on it. Don’t be like me.
Once you have the list, then you’re going to assign those tasks into 1 of 4 categories.
DO – Which means you’re going to do them
DELGATE – You’re going to give them to someone else to complete
DELAY – You’re going to put these off for right now because it doesn’t have to be done right now
DELETE – these are the things that once you see it on paper and you really think about the business you’re trying to create… you don’t really need to do this. This is often those things that you’ve been procrastinating on for a while because you THINK you should be doing it, or those things that make you feel productive but don’t actually move the needle of your business forward.
Then you can start taking action and I recommend the first thing you do is delegate what you can.
And here are a few examples from my recent exercise… though this is by no means an exhaustive list… send help!
Things in my DO list were to add a new resource to the tools & resources page on my website and finish migrating from one CRM to another. (I’m tackling that one myself because there’s a lot of sensitive info that I just don’t want anyone else to see)
In my delegate list was, redesigning the PDFs, moving some of my course content from one platform to another to bring everything together in one place, and moving some zaps from one account to another to separate the Lounge from the rest of my business for easier management.
For delay I have build out new email funnel for my digital courses, I have to create the rest of them first, which is also under the delegate section.
Not that I’m not the one creating the content, but I am planning to get someone to help get it all organized, uploaded, creating graphics, etc. I also have migrating my email marketing platform. The platform I use created a new version, but I’m waiting for them to release their migration tool to make it easier to execute, and then to also start using Pinterest to push traffic to my podcast episodes which are blog posts on my website.
In this exercise, I didn’t actually have any delete items – though some of my current delay items might make their way into the delete column later.
Honestly, even just going through this process can free up so much mental space because you don’t have to always be thinking about this to-do list. You know hey, I have to get these done and find someone to do this other shit. And that’s it. It’s a serious weight lifted off my shoulders and I’m sure it will be for you too.
Now, remember, like with everything I share, you don’t necessarily have to do all the things. Pick out a few that would be the most helpful to you right now, then come back to this episode when you’re ready to do more.