It’s a wrap!
The eCommerce Growth Summit presented itself as a two-day gateway to business growth, hope, collaboration and knowledge, all wrapped up with a beautiful bow from the amazing team players from Omniconvert and 35 globally renowned speakers, each willing to give away their most precious insights for the benefit of all.
Now, more than ever, we need the advice of those who have sought growth during crises and succeeded. The effects of COVID-19 on our everyday lives are evident, and the eCommerce industry is no exception to this change. We are experiencing different buying patterns, different emotions are now driving purchases, and there are different needs and interests. The psychological patterns and triggers in customers’ decision-making processes have changed. For this reason, eCommerce managers must now come to terms with this new reality when it comes to crafting their strategy for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
What happened at the event?
The event agenda was full of some of the most diverse topics, all rooted in strategy, acquisition, conversion, and customer retention, in the eCommerce industry. We saw 35 great personalities live, such as Nir Eyal, Douglas Patfield, Karl Gilis, Brian Clifton, Greg Zakowicz, Burç Tanır, Dennis Yu, Ton Wesseling, and 27 more. A total of 4471 attendees (and still counting even after the event) and dozens of professionals from 139 countries all interacted with the speakers and formed quite a network of people ready to look past any difficulties and get ready to take their businesses to the next level.
In a nutshell, this is an account of what happened on March 26 and 27 at the online live event, eCommerce Growth Summit.
Let’s take a look at an overview of some of the most important topics. Enjoy the sessions in the videos!
Douglas Patfield spoke about “Pandemics and the eCommerce industry: How e-commerce can find its footing and grow in times of uncertainty”
For times of uncertainty, Douglas Patfield advises everybody to be prepared. Keep an eye on the logistics chains and on your stocks, and be aware of the lack of information. Always stay informed from trustworthy sources! Help your communities and build brand awareness during this period.
More and more people are moving online – “newbies”, as Douglas refers to them. What you should do next as a business is to expand online product sales, focus on your liquid assets and, of course, take your bricks-and-mortar business online.
Online communication with your customers is also crucial during this time. Keep your customers engaged via email, live chat, or even face-to-face video calls.
Douglas continues his session with five quick wins for implementing in your eCommerce business, in order to ensure stable growth:
- Email is the cheapest medium of communication
- Retention is important but now it’s time for acquisition
- Award extra loyalty points for programs
- Create special offers
- Set up workflows and segment your customers, based on critical data-points, so as to ensure the right kind of targeting
Last but not least, Douglas reminds everyone that we are all in this together!
Gerry McGovern spoke about “Environmentally Friendly eCommerce”
If we all lived like people do in the US, we would need five times the Earth’s resources.
We are cutting down 15 billion trees annually, but replacing only five billion of these.
Among the many other benefits of trees, a single tree can absorb about 10kg of CO2 per year.
By 2050, is estimated, there will be as much plastic in the sea as there are fish.
What do all of these have to do with eCommerce?
There is strong correlation between our online actions and the Environment.
- The email spam pollution worldwide can be offset by planting 1.6 billion trees
- eCommerce returns are also harmful: 200 million trees are cut down just for this alone
- Even Google searches are harming the planet – 16 million trees need to be planted in order to offset this effect
- An average web-page in 2005 weighed 400 kb, whereas today it weighs 4MB; this is without any significant user experience improvements, but with a high environmental impact. At 600,000 downloads, a 4MB page produces as much CO2 as a tree can absorb in a year.
Here, you can test your website’s impact on the planet:
- Fewer than 20% of all smartphones produced are recycled; they are deliberately designed not to be recycled
- Image waste: As we increase pixel density, we also increase file size, which leads to pollution and lazy loading
- Fewer than 60% of users understand unlabeled icons, which effectively makes such icons pointless
“1980 – 2080 will be called the plastic period“
What can we do to minimize the effects of eCommerce on the environment?
- Choose the standard delivery method – the slower one
- Choose reusable packaging
- Reduce web-page weight
- Use sustainable cloud storage
- Try to use fewer custom fonts
- Keep your images to 2x pixel density or less
- Use labeled icons
Our greedy digital behavior is affecting the environment. If you want to keep waste to a minimum, you might consider the following:
- Buy a laptop, not a desktop
- Buy best-energy ratings
- Don’t use large screens
- Shut down computers when not in use
- Shut down devices at night
- Remove any unused apps
- Dim the backlight on your screen
“Everything in digital is physical“
Kurt Elster spoke about “How Andy Bedell built a team and split-tested his way to seven figures with KeySmart”
KeySmart is a key organiser. The project started on kickstarter in 2012. Andy Badell began by setting up their facebook ads and helped scale it up to an eight-figure business on Shopify.
The average monthly budget for ads was between $400,000 and 500,000.
The pandemic has affected KeySmart in the sense that new products are four to eight weeks behind, and demand is slowly being affected, to the tune of about 50% of revenue. Products they already have are being repurposed (adaptation).
The KeySmart experience has shown that it is still acceptable to market during a pandemic as long as you are empathetic to what people are going through. Facebook ad costs are coming down, which is a good opportunity if your products still make sense, despite the times. Emails are still working well – they do not have to be coronavirus-related. Advertising channels that do not work as well should be cut and then scaled up. Video content and copy should be updated with relevant content (e.g. that you are still shipping).
Community engagement and one-to-one outreach are important. People are willing to talk to you if you show humanity. Reach out in person to customers who are still buying and thank them.
If you cannot easily pivot right now, start researching on future steps you can take so that you can recover faster.
Keep spending where it makes sense, but cut non-essential expenditure. Keep up activities that will count in the long run. Do all the tasks you normally hate doing or think you don’t have time to do.
PANEL: Mark Adams, Rytis Lauris and Valentin Radu discussed about “COVID-19 is impacting eCommerce merchants all over the world”
The one-hour panel with Valentin Radu, our CEO, Mark Adams, Head of Europe at BigCommerce, and Rytis Lauris, co-founder and CEO of Omnisend, has been an oasis of information and good advice for all companies that are struggling to fight through these difficult times. The subjects ranged from the current situation – with the entire world in lockdown – to the top tips on how to survive and thrive as a business, no matter how tough the situation seems. Here is the Q&A session brief:
- Is the lockdown a good solution for getting through the COVID crisis?
eCommerce has a pivotal role in saving retail. What the lockdown will accomplish is to flatten the infection curve so as to prevent more deaths, thereby avoid bottlenecks in the healthcare systems.
- Amazon is willing to hire 100,000 people. Will this have an even greater effect on small merchants?
A solution has to be found in order for small stores to start selling. One solution would be to give your software away for free.
Groups most likely to be affected are the drop shippers with direct supplies from Chinese warehouses. On the other hand, essentials (delivery services, groceries, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics) will enjoy huge benefits during this time, although nice-to-have groups will face some temporary challenges.
And, of course, bricks-&-mortar businesses will make the move to online.
- Will there be a downturn in revenue?
Business will do well in some cases, especially those who are either able to manufacture their own products or who have control over their supply chains and can get hold of products quickly and easily.
On the other hand, those who acquire their products from overseas will surely struggle.
- Advice for eCommerce SMBs already in the market?
- Check your supply chain
- Fulfill orders taken online
- Keep your eCommerce store stable, fast, and up-and-running
- Focus on what you can control, and invest wisely, i.e. only on what generates top-line revenue
- Engage the consumer with a unique digital experience
- Create loyalty using the right tools
- Is there a creative way to overcome the problem of stock shortages?
It is still too early in the cycle to be sure, but local merchants with control over their supply chain are doing very well.
- Continuous communication for the consumers or not?
Over-communication with everybody is key during these times, whether it is about your customers, partners, or supply chain, regardless of the type of company. This pandemic situation will likely speed-up digital commerce, so people will need to build new digital skills.
During the financial crisis in 2008, Mark Adams remembers, the company was slow to respond to the market; they kept spending, and then were left with a cash crunch where problems started to occur (e.g. salaries, customers, payment terms for overdrafts, difficulty winning projects). His advice for success this time is:
- React fast to what is going on
- See this as a threat, but as an opportunity too
- Conserve cash
- Focus on the things you can influence and change
Moreover, if you are a direct-to-consumer brand with loyal customers, at the very minimum, you should be in the market. More importantly, you should definitely continue producing useful content.
- We are all in this together! Few people understand this. Any thoughts on universal basic income and access to healthcare? An overview of the whole economic system?
In the UK, the government is paying 80% of private-sector employees’ wages, which has been extended to the self-employed. The universal healthcare system is free at the point of consumption. Also, even though some people have been laid off, income support has been implemented.
What businesses should do now is to reach out to merchants in an effort to understand what has happened to their business, and come up with solutions for helping them, such as contract extensions or paid holidays.
It is truly empowering to see that businesses are united, willing to help each other, and seeking mutual benefits in order to keep business alive: free plans for using software, cutting margins, and offering better prices.
Relying on existing customers seems to be a better tactic nowadays, since tracking new ones can be a challenge. In other words, customer retention is more beneficial than acquisition.
- Should companies stop spending money on marketing during this time?
It depends on the economy, but it is important to note that for SMBs, there is huge demand. On the other hand, conserving cash and spending on activities that generate high ROI is also important. It ultimately depends on the strength of your balance sheet, your level of confidence, and your industry.
Statistically speaking, Google and Facebook Ad spending has dropped by 20%, so people are becoming more conscious of their budgets. However, CPS rates have dropped on average about 30%. In a nutshell, if you have ready cash and not too many difficulties, you can increase the amount of your investment. Conversion rates have dropped for some businesses, but for others, they remain the same.
It is important to be able to tell the difference between having a stable brand as opposed to purely ‘selling stuff’. The latter has no value implied! Again, retention marketing is now the way to go.
- Is this global crisis a catalyst for migration to digital mediums through video and VR?
VR is not going to take over eCommerce that soon. It is also true to say, however, that the eCommerce industry will never quite be the same after this period, and consumer behavior has shifted to the online medium very fast.
Businesses with value and speed-to-market are the ones that will survive and thrive. Moreover, eCommerce might someday be merged with offline commerce and become as one. Looking further ahead, commerce will become more omnichannel than before.
Keep searching for opportunities, is the main advice from this session.
Valentin Radu spoke about “eCommerce Strategy during the COVID-19 downturn” – 1st episode
Our CEO, Valentin Radu, held a very substantial presentation on eCommerce strategies designed to help your business stand tall during the current COVID-19 downturn. Here are the most important factors to consider.
According to the Kübler-Ross grief cycle, or the curve of our emotional roller coaster, we tend to make decisions in the depression phase. The best advice here is to look at reality as it is!
Moving further, psychographic segmentation is vital during this period because of changes in customer behavior. Valentin teaches us about several customer segments:
- ‘Slam on the brakes’
- ‘Pained but patient (which is the largest segment)’
- ‘Comfortably well-off’
- ‘Live for today’
What data should you use in order to understand your customers? The answer is RFM groups! Valentin adds a little shameless plug, here, where he mentions our newest addition: Reveal by Omniconvert, a customer-intelligence platform. This tool empowers your eCommerce team with unique insights into customer behavior and will deliver automated insights that can empower your eCommerce business. You will no longer need to spend time and resources digging into your own data because once installed, Reveal will provide the most important customer retention metrics: RFM segmentation, NPS score monitoring, buying behavior, and ongoing personalization.
In light of the current situation and the difficulties many SMBs out there are facing, Omniconvert is also giving a helping hand of five million euros in technology credits for all the eCommerce merchants vulnerable to COVID-19, so that they can use the platform for free and increase their website conversions with ease.
In conclusion, Valentin has also mentioned the existence of a newly-created Slack group, where everyone is welcome to join in and share their knowledge, ask questions, and spread the word about eCommerce in all its stages.
The best final advice: “Change your mindset: the game has new rules!”
Mark Adams spoke about “How to deliver eCommerce beyond limits”
Performance is critical, says Mark Adams. Look over your API, watch how the consumer behaves in the browser, keep servers up, and do a check-up both on the app itself and on the infrastructure. Also, make your website faster so as to improve conversion rates. Last but not least, get the right SEO tools in order to be able to merchandize the site properly.
Mark explains the difference between open source (customer, most flexible) and cloud-based (SaaS, restricted). This has been the eCommerce technology spectrum for the last 15 years. Now, the possibility of Open SaaS has appeared, something that BigCommerce already is.
Why is the market moving to SaaS? The importance of SaaS relies on four main factors:
- Access anywhere, anytime
- Easy integration
Traditional eCommerce platforms are dying, losing market share across the globe, and Mark stresses the differences between the monolithic platform and the modular solution. Also, statistically speaking, mobile sales are expected to make up 54% of all online sales by 2021.
Best-practice for a proper page load time is under three seconds; if it is not, the website will experience high bounce rates, which will lead to lower rankings in Google. The latest news is that Google will notify users when a site is slow with a specific badge, so page speed is no longer a thing to be taken lightly.
Brad Geddes spoke about “Managing your Google Ads queries so as to ensure a profitable PPC account”
In the past two and a half years, Google has changed every single match type, and is now matching keywords to other words that are deemed to have the same meaning. Words that don’t affect the intent of the query can be added or removed from a term. This is a subtle change that can make a big change when Google gets it wrong. Word order has a lot less meaning these days.
The common keyword matches today are
- Exact match (same intent as research term)
- Phrase match (same intent included, possibly with additional information)
- Modified broad (similar intent)
- Broad match (any intent that is loosely related to the search term)
The good news is that eCommerce, along with the travel and other industries with a lot of similar adjectives and nouns, seem to be doing fine. Based on product level options (if google is just showing similar terms), you might not see a conversion drop, just click-through drops.
By ignoring hierarchy, Google is causing duplicate search-term issues. It often steals impressions from your exact matched-ad groups and puts them elsewhere, which lowers clickthrough and conversion rates.
What this means for advertisers:
- No way to control poor matches by switching to phrase match
- There are so many exceptions to the ‘hierarchy’ policy that it’s not even worth learning, since it rarely works
- If you didn’t do much work, you now have more impressions (which is good)
- If you did the work and have great structure, Google is messing with your hierarchy
- There may be duplicate queries
- Poor intent matches can happen in many cases
Analyses and fixes:
- Examine the keyword changes – pivot tables
- Be wary of just using the date-range comparison
- Search term analysis: close variants
- Locate duplicate search terms
- Find duplicate search terms where there should be multiple campaigns with the term
- Carry out YOY keyword to search-term analysis
- When you have duplicate search terms, examine metrics by search term within each ad group, and add exact match negatives to the worst performing ad groups
- When you are adding queries, consider whether the keyword already exists. If it does, add the term as exact-match negative
- There might be some organizational changes you have to make: campaign level segmentation with negatives
Bram de Jonge spoke about “Measuring your marketing impact”
A question that comes up every time is, “What will companies do after the recession?” For sure, they have to keep communicating with the audience one way or another.
This does correlate with the idea of measuring the marketing impact – because the better you understand where you need to invest in order to grow your business and keep the revenue flowing, the better you can adapt to situations like this.
“Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted, the problem is, I don’t know which half.“John Wanamaker
The question remains, “To advertise or not to advertise? And how do you do it?” According to Bram, there are certain key elements that make your brand advertising successful:
- Brands are not build on ugly visuals – ads should be visually attractive
- Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it on video, compared to 10% when reading a text
- Despite the visible benefits, visuals don’t trigger direct actions – they have scarce interaction clicks, making attributing a challenge
- The customer journey used to be linear, whereas nowadays there are, on average, 56 touch points within the Customer Journey
- Although the Customer Journey has evolved a lot, there are still lots of marketers who use old fashioned marketing measurements
- Companies often still use tools based on technology from the click era, instead of focusing on a cross-channel attribution model
- Outdated measurement concepts need to be dropped
- For display ads, it does not make sense to use a last-click attribution model; it has been proved that there is no direct correlation between clicks and revenue
- The main barriers to better measurement are, usually, a lack of resources for acquiring the right technology, poor internal alignment, a lack of expertise, the wrong vendors, the company being locked into an old ecosystem, and the cost of setup tools
Theodore Moulos spoke about “Growing an eCommerce site”
Theodore Moulos begins by telling us that the biggest mistake that eCommerce companies make is repeatedly attracting traffic that does not convert. What, then, does that traffic do?
Only 3% of all people you contact (if targeted right) will buy something from you right now. Therefore, it is crucial to choose the right “markitecture“; namely, how to properly analyze the sales funnel.
Notice that CQL (Conversation Qualified Leads) is a rising new trend, which refers to leads open for discussion. And, as we all know, communication is vital during these times!
In short, it is important to remember one simple equation:
Funnels + progressive profiling + content marketing + automation + web development + hyper targeting = healthy growth of your eCommerce business
Here is the 5-step eCommerce success ladder:
Miroslav Varga spoke about “ROI = 32 times”
Miroslav Varga claims that we are living in Zeno Paradox times. This means we are chasing the consumer, but when we think we have made it, we have, in fact, come nowhere close to reaching them. In other words, what we learn from the data is what happened yesterday, but we are never ahead.
Among many interesting tools for checking our own websites, Miroslav presents us with a little interesting game for testing the contact forms we tend to create on our websites. He also mentions more tools for checking the sentiment of our content and for checking the math, because math can have pitfalls (he reminds us of the Simpson Paradox).
Rely on common sense as well, he adds. But, oh, even that can mislead us!
Avoid choice paralysis, Miroslav adds. Also, focus on added value! One way is to tell stories.
Lukasz Zelezny spoke about “SEO tactics to implement tonight”
For his session, Lukasz Zelezny has prepared five SEO tactics to take into consideration for the near future, for keeping your business website up-to-date, fast, and user-friendly. Each tactic has a set of steps to follow:
- Operate on keywords that already rank (use Search Console)
- Leverage quality traffic
- Play Google games (use Google as an advisor) to check on:
Piece of advice: you must know Excel inside-out! Also, it is more important to focus on URLs than on keywords for this tactic to work.
Lukasz proves the success of this single tactic through a graph that clearly shows the growth of organic traffic of a certain website in the three phases: acquisition – content marketing – snapshot.
- Keyword magic tools
SEMrush is a really useful tool for this tactic to work. Keywords can be searched using tools (such as this one) by intent, awareness, interest, consideration, conversion, retention, and advocate.
Start with the question, ‘How?’, then ‘What?’, and finally, ‘Why?’ in order to generate proper keywords.
- Links and social profiles
How many websites are potentially linked to the company’s social profiles? Many websites point to the social media pages of businesses instead of to their website! You should, therefore, and as soon as possible, switch the links so that they lead to your website.
- Page speed
- Remove any external scripts you do not need
- Remove ‘Share’ buttons
- Enable gzip
- Install Autoptimize suite, Shortpixel suite, Perfmatters.io, Lazyload, Speedkit (optional), Gonzales
Do not install all the plugins at the same time, however!
- Merge subdomains into a subfolder
Andy Crestodina spoke about “Data-driven Empathy: Seven hidden sources of your visitors’ hopes and fears”
Andy Crestodina begins his session by telling us why he ❤️ Analytics. He has to know what data works!
This is a session that’s all about numbers:
3 Tips for top content (All Pages report) in Google Analytics
3 Tips for almost-high-ranking-content
4 Tips from the Search Terms report
2 Questions to ask your Browser/OS reports
5 Questions to ask your Navigation Summary
2 Questions to ask your FAQ’s Previous Page Path
3 Tips from your FAQ page heatmap
3 Questions to ask your video play event reports
Andy ends with a PS: beware the HIPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) in your Monday meetings. Know your data, and you’re saved!
Jono Alderson spoke about “Schema, Google, and the future of the web”
Google and Amazon are obsessed with structured data, Jono Alderson begins. There is competitive advantage in search, in voice, and in their ambitions in the IoT (Internet of Things).
Google provides solutions rather than search results – in-situ answers that soon became rich experiences. Now, people find their answers from searches directly, which, of course, leads to a lower click rate for websites.
There are, however, limits to crawling and machine learning, and details are needed for solving problems in-situ. The content is not structured enough, so this has become a precision problem. The answer Jono provides is schema.org, a structured way of describing the properties of things.
With a modern format (JSON-LD), schema.org could potentially solve all problems. This, however, begs the first question: how can the creation of an automatic and interoperable graph of a website’s content, business and products be enabled?
There are limitations to schema.org, as presented by Jono:
- It cannot make connections between multiple entities
- Google’s rules are different
- Tools are inconsistent
- You need to find the primary topic of a page (the center of the relationships between the page elements)
- You have to describe the whole graph on each page, and not just do cross-linking
A potential solution comes from WordPress: the ability to write in blocks (inherently structured).
Finally, Jono presents a great solution from Yoast, in collaboration with WordPress, a high-level-of-depth schema. He could not disclose too much information, but he ended his session by claiming that “This discovery might create a world where Google has less power!”
“Web beyond just pages”, was Jono’s closing phrase.
Dennis Yu spoke about “What modern marketers need to know about Facebook’s algorithm in 2020”
Dennis’s recommendation is to first create a business page, which you then personalize with your name, so that it will look more like a public figure’s page rather than a business page.
Spend most of your time in the middle of the funnel, where you are sharing knowledge; this is the “How” part of the funnel.
For achieving a Reach engagement on your social account, Yu makes a number of suggestions:
- Boost older posts that have already had some success, which are still relevant and target custom audiences
- Before promoting something, tell a story that is meaningful to you and your audience
- Go live with the public whenever you feel it would be beneficial
- Comment to people and respond to them in a kind way
- Use either one-minute videos or 15-minute videos
- Capture little stories: highlight good news, other folks’ experiences, etc
According to Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and other social media platforms, there are three steps in the funnel: Awareness (Why?) -> Consideration (How?) -> Conversion (What?); your audience groups fall into one or other of these.
Dennis Yu is known by his “$1 a day” strategy, which is a cost-effective way to do Facebook Ads: basically you can run multiple ads at the same time for each step in the funnel, each running on a dollar-a-day ad spend. The key is to use a custom audience for each one.
You can follow his tutorial here on Hubspot.
“A lot of people say boosted posts don’t work. They work super well, just make sure you are boosting to the right audiences.”
Ann Stanley spoke about “Creation and manipulation of audiences for eCommerce remarketing strategies”
Ann Stanley begins her session by saying, “Don’t make assumptions you cannot use a specific platform for B2B ads!”
She presents some advanced audience strategies:
- Audience Niches
- Audience Amplification
- Audience Reduction
- Audience Filtration (within-channel and cross-channel)
- Audience Priming
Also, as a small mention, the concept of ‘honeypots’ for cross-channel remarketing is absolutely brilliant for eCommerce.
Cornelia Cozmiuc spoke about “Unique techniques for securing #1 positions in Google in 2020”
Cornelia’s research a while back led her to the discovery that well-optimized content can and does influence rankings. She repeated that study in 2019 after the Google March Update, and the results were the same: the better optimized a piece of content is, the better the ranking.
This is Cornelia’s key methodology for making your content rank:
- Find trending topics in your niche; keep yourself notified on Google Trends or BrandMentions, and stay connected with your industry
- Do keyword research
- Analyze the keyword first, by doing a search-intent classification (how might people search for that keyword?): informational, navigational, and transactional
- Check volume and ranking difficulty
- See what keywords people are interested in that relate to your keyword
- Focus on one or two keywords per page
- Look at competitors’ details: the keywords they use, the length of their article, and so on
- Optimize existing content / Write well-optimized new content
- Identify the best keywords to use in your content
- Write articles keeping in mind the user-search intent
- Answer all the questions your readers might have
- Get inspiration from Google SERP, Keyword Tool & Content Assistant
After you finish your piece of content, you can verify it with online tools such as www.congnitiveSEO.com, which give you recommendations.
Adam Enfroy spoke about “How to grow your eCommerce brand with affiliate marketing”
Planning your affiliate marketing program is vital. Adam Enfroy clearly structures his session into seven key points:
- Join an Affiliate Network
- Find the right partners (“This is all a war on Google!” he boldly states.)
- Market and promote your offers
- Have a strong inbound strategy
- Increase influence through SEO
- Get your affiliates to act.
- Generate sales!
Although it sounds easy, affiliate marketing is a work of art. Right now is the best time to apply this knowledge to scale and distribute your content. After all, the affiliate marketing industry is increasing by over 10% annually. So, why waste time?
Candace Ohm spoke about “A-B testing for campaign success”
The first question that Candace Ohm had to answer when joining DOSH: An eCommerce company spends $100,000 on a Dosh campaign. What is the return on investment?
The answer? A/B testing!
Here are the steps to follow for creating proper A/B testing:
- Setting up the experiment
- Define control and treatment
- Select the experiment group
- Data collection
- Statistical Significance
- Return on investment
Candace ends her session with a special bonus: COVID-19 trends and online sales for DOSH.
Brian Clifton spoke about “Google Analytics, and how to avoid bad data”
Do you trust your data? This is the first question Brian Clifton asks the audience. The all-time issue has been that bad data looks just like good data. This lack of trust often happens for one or more of three main reasons:
- Data setup often being misunderstood
- Data collection being rarely verified and thus ‘smelling’ bad
- Poor data governance – particularly Google Analytics
Brian presents the Data Quality Study, the method that can show how to calculate the quality index of your data, with a study of 75 enterprise sites included.
He also adds a few more examples of data quality issues:
- One in five sites have Personal Identifiable Information (PII) issues
- Only one out of four eCommerce websites track transactions correctly
- Enhanced eCommerce issues can arise in Google Analytics
- Duplicate transactions are regarded as the most common problem
- You can also find discrepancies in front, as opposed to the backend
Brian ends his session by giving away five tips for getting on top of your data:
- Stop auditing manually
- Verify independently (if possible)
- Automate the heavy lifting
- Fix the priorities
- Monitor regularly
The “one-percent rule” he mentions is, if you have a $100 budget for “making smart decisions using data”, invest $1 in verifying it, and keep it verified.
Karl Gilis spoke about “How do you keep your business & customers happy in these changing times?”
Karl begins his session with a simple statement: “A lot of newbies are going online”. That now means the average customer. What happens next? Act now! The world is changing every single minute, he boldly states, and you should be there to ease the worries of your customers and conquer their hearts and minds.
Karl continues with a presentation of the UX pyramid of needs. Among the steps, we recognize the most important question customers ask themselves: ‘do they care about me?’ It is, therefore, vital that customers fully understand we have their best interests at heart.
#makeyourcustomershappy (as Karl mentions at one point)
What is vital to understand now is that consumer behavior is completely different from before. Karl advises businesses during these pandemic times to not panic. They should, he believes, stick to the process!
Be human! Show leadership!
Talia Wolf spoke about “How to create stores people love to convert to”
The first question I ask all of my clients is, “Why do people buy from you?” The answers are always similar, and have to do with the product itself (features, pricing, etc), which is incorrect. No big brand would have an ad explaining just the features of the product, because they understand a concept most other businesses don’t. Most of us tend to think people buy by making a logical decision. Big brands know, however, that every decision people make is based on some emotion, which is then rationalised much later.
No matter what you are selling, what people really care about isn’t the what, it’s the why – this is the bottom line of marketing.
We have a lot of data about our customers, but do we really know the people behind the screen and how they make decisions? People seem to think that conversion optimization is about changing elements on a page. CRO, however, is not about that, but about solving people’s problems.
This brings us to emotional targeting methodology: identifying the emotional triggers of our customers, and using this information to create a better customer experience overall.
Here are some core questions you should ask yourself about your customer:
- What pain does my customer feel before finding a solution?
- What are the emotional triggers that drive their decision-making?
- What are their reservations and concerns?
- How would he/she like to feel after finding a solution?
There are always multiple emotions driving people’s decisions. The three ways to identify your customers’ emotional triggers are
- Identify the stage of awareness. (unaware, pain aware, solution aware, product aware, most aware)
- Actually speak to your customers – keep asking why until there are no ‘whys’ left
- Listen to your prospects – do some review mining (go online where your audience is at and see what they are saying – forums, social media, competitor website reviews)
The bottom line: emotions affect decisions. Decisions affect conversion. Conversions affect revenue. Instead of asking what your goal is, ask what your customer’s goal is. Only when your customers achieve their goal, will you achieve yours.
TJ Gamble spoke about “The eCommerce funnel: The proper way to architect an eCommerce site”
We really want to try to incentivize our customer journey into being as linear as possible. However, when customers hit the website, there is a huge variation in the journey they can possibly take.
The standard steps for an eCommerce business would be: homepage -> Category page -> Filtered category -> Product Page -> Shopping cart -> Checkout page
Once a user is at a given stage, we want to incentivize them to move down into the funnel, and we want to make it easier for them to move sideways. We don’t, however, want them to move back up to the previous step. Although we don’t want to hide these elements on the page, we don’t wish to make them very obvious either.
You as a merchant can influence the users into performing an action by following a few important rules:
- Put things where they are easily found, and three scroll-pages down
- In terms of color, use bright and contrasting colored buttons that stand out, and avoid camouflaged buttons that fail to move people down the funnel
- Limit distraction, information overload, and clutter, through a clean visual design
“Just because something looks pleasing does not mean it will convert well“
We have a number of takeaways from this.
- Important banners should go at the top
- Create a visual hierarchy (emphasize first the top items that carry the user down the funnel)
- Get rid of elements that might move the user sideways
- The list of product categories in the left column should be organized into a small collection of top-level categories
- Popular products should appear first
- Move important filters up to the top-left
- Make your Add-to-cart button stand out among the other elements
- Don’t make users have to think too much
- Don’t add upselling products that have multiple options
- Deprioritize items that don’t move users down the funnel
- There should be just a simple branded header in the top of the page, not the whole menu
- Don’t force a Login page unless you have a reason to
- If something is optional (e.g. Login) make them click to do it
- Take advantage of Autocomplete
“If you are starting fresh, and you don’t have a lot of data, start with best practices“
Derric Haynie spoke about “How real-time, live chat conversations increase revenue by >13%”
There is revenue left on the table for companies that don’t respond to users in live chats. Through live-chat optimization, you can get a 13%-60% increase in AOV (Intercom), a 20% – 40% increase in Conversion Rates (eMarketer), and a 20% Increase in Customer Satisfaction (eConsultancy).
“93% of brands are doing live-chatting wrong“
In order to optimize your live chat, you can:
- Prioritize chats before everything else (emails, ‘Contact us’, etc)
- Optimize your response time: 90 seconds is the average
- Hire people who know how to answer certain questions
- Offer a related product when another product is not available
- If you offer a discount code in the chat, be sure that it is the highest discount code they can get on the site
- Conversation is king, so be emphatic and help them with the browsing experience
- Avoid negative words such as ‘hesitate’, ‘sorry’, ‘find’, ‘please’, or ‘online’
There is valuable output you can collect from live-chats that you can use for multiple purposes:
- Collect data and use it for Segmentation/Personalization
- Carry out customer development/research
- Turn Common Questions into content
- Engage, and keep the conversation going
Burç Tanır spoke about “Why eCommerce businesses cannot survive without price optimization”
Millennials tend to be more price sensitive due to many criteria, and are driven to spend more on education even if their income has not increased so much over time. Retailers and financial services are speeding up their digitalization.
However, there are other global transformations that we cannot control: consumers are getting price-conscious and new competitors keep popping up. As a consequence, businesses have to increase their productivity and build a price-optimization strategy.
Price optimization first means comparing your prices against those of your competitors. In the example given by Burc, this was done manually, which was inefficient because it was difficult to keep up with the fluctuating prices and the competitive market.
If you want to be efficient in price optimization, you need to follow certain steps:
- Automatically collect prices and products and crunch data in a single system
- Test prices and never stop; after you find out the average price, you should offer a below-average price and then test gradual increases in your price, in order to improve profit margins
- Analyse insights; you should be able to discover a pattern in your competitors’ price strategy and come up with a counter strategy
These are the key elements for pricing optimization:
- Integrity – you have to keep your price integrity
- Competitiveness – offer competitive prices
- Price testing – measure demand and test the prices continuously
- Analyse results and get insights from them
- Develop long-term strategies
Brian Massey spoke about “Injecting data into the design process”
Brian has offered six alternatives to hiring conversion scientists, because you probably don’t have the budget right now, especially in these hard times:
- Get yourself and/or your team the proper training
- Change your conversion focus: focus on list-building with free content to supercharge your recovery
- Show love for your existing customers
- Hire your own team
- Create great content: not only is it good for educating and entertaining people, but it is good for the CEO as well
- Get a lab coat: it puts you in a position of authority
Looking back, Brian believes that data is there to remind us that what we might think we like, may not be true for audiences. His recommendations are:
- When developing a website, follow the ‘Guaranteed’ style of design, based on user data and research, rather than the ‘Mad Men’ style, based on intuition
- Before using ideas, you should test them or research around them before actually implementing them
- Bear in mind that a landing page has two purposes: to keep the promise that was made in the ad/social post/email, and to bring the visitor to where he has to make a decision
- Keep an eye on the performance of ads and emails – you can learn a lot from these
- Images are powerful, but it can be a missed opportunity
- Use the 5-second test – find out what impression your website is making – you can try it here
Tim Kilroy spoke about “AAARRR – How to use the pirate funnel as your map to growth”
The Pirate Funnel that Tim Kilroy talks about stands for Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, and Referral. He immediately goes on to mention that there is only one metric that really matters for retail: customer-centricity.
There is a tendency to push more into the top of the funnel. “Remove the bottleneck!” is Tim’s advice. The point is to make every part of the engagement cycle bigger than it is right now, with just 5% changes. And, it is possible.
Tim prefers to talk about a journey circle, rather than a funnel. It looks like this:
“Funnels concentrate, but circles accelerate,” he explains.
Tim also gives the following advice:
- Start thinking relationally rather than metrically
- See people as going through an experience in time. Think, ‘What does this person need from me right now? What would I like from that person?’
There are two weak points in most marketing teams: the buyer becomes a customer, and the repeat-customer becomes an advocate. Think like the people you want to serve and use the tools in the most effective way possible. This comes at the cost of efficiency, though.
Brand, Tim continues, used to be a nice-to-have. Nowadays, we need to put head and heart together and think about our customer in a very human way. Ultimately, the one metric that really matters is that customers tell other people, who then further spread the word, and so on.
Tim’s closing statement is at the heart of the idea that it is not tools that create virality, but a focus on prospect, audience, shopper, consumer, and brand advocates, at a given moment in time: “You owe your customers love!”
Ton Wesseling spoke about “From one CRO team, to the whole company embracing CRO”
Ton Wesseling based his entire session on three shocking facts.
- Why our current CRO jobs will die:
“We are running at the wrong pace with the wrong mindset for growth”
- Why it actually might be a good idea to kill those CRO jobs:
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is becoming EBG (Evidence Based Growth).
Ton’s advice for us can be summed up as:
- Best practices: NO
- Usability principles: YES
- Think about OEC: Overall Evaluation Criterion
- How we can reach our end goal:
Optimization = Effectiveness
Ton advises us to be efficient and effective: “Create better stuff with the same resources.”
Enable evidence-based growth.
Ton ended his session with an interesting quote from Forbes: “Companies who adopt data-driven marketing are six times more likely to be profitable year-over-year.”
Roger Dooley spoke about “Neuro-loyalty: Convert once, keep forever”
Roger Dooley represents everything there is to know about friction science. He starts with the interesting statement that “friction changes behavior”.
He continues with the law of least effort, where laziness is built deep into our nature. In other words, if you want to encourage a certain activity, you have to make it easy!
Roger also mentions the Fogg Behavior Model, which promotes the idea that you should not focus motivation on doing X but, rather, focus on making X easier to do. In effect, lower friction means faster growth.
Moving further along, if acquisition leads to conversion and retention translates into loyalty, then it follows that less friction leads to more conversions. Having said that, adding friction can be good, of course, for qualifying leads. Broadly speaking, however, loyalty is driven by low-friction experiences.
Roger briefly mentions a few examples of frictionless shopping : one-click buying, frustration-free packaging, and Google minimizing effort through autocomplete tags.
Last but not least, it is important to keep an eye on behavior metrics: Click tracking, Eye tracking, Rage click/frustration, and Profanity detected.
Friction-free culture = customer experience + employee experience
Shanelle Mullin spoke about “How to optimize for eCommerce retention”
Do you know how much money retention marketing made you last year?
Acquiring new customers is 5-25 times more expensive than retaining existing customers. The Pareto Principle states that you get 80% of your revenue from 20% of your customers.
However, it is important to bear in mind that it takes just one or two bad experiences to lose a customer forever. An unhappy customer shares a negative experience with about 15 people, whereas a happy one shares a positive experience with only eleven. Customers trust each other more than they trust companies. Four fifths of customers trust recommendations from friends and family over business advice, while 65% of them don’t trust ads, and 71% don’t trust sponsored ads, particularly on social media .
In effect, the ROI of an existing customer is higher than the ROI of a new customer. A five percent increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25% increase in profit.
Improved retention means lower acquisition costs. When you are not optimizing for retention, you are doing yourself a disservice at the top of the funnel on acquisition costs.
High retention rates can be very lucrative. 60% of loyal customers purchase more frequently from their preferred companies, and 50% of these will purchase more products from those preferred companies. Yet, most companies are focused on acquisition.
Emotions are a huge factor in all of this. Emotionally-invested customers will spend $700 with a company annually, while regular, satisfied customers will spend only about $275.
In marketing, the three growth multipliers are the number of customers, purchase frequency, and average order value. Unfortunately, we tend to focus mainly on the number of customers and to somewhat neglect the other two components.
Increasing average order value by creating a bundle can be lucrative. When a first-time customer makes a purchase, they receive an automatic email prompting a limited-time-only deep discount (urgency + deep discount). Focus on high-stock, high-margin products.
Increase purchase frequency, starting with your top two or three products. Are there any complementary products associated with your top-selling ones? Try discount ladders, where you offer discounts on complementary products.
You must test, test, test! Remember, it’s easy for a customer to end up in multiple experiments at the same time, so try to keep track of the experiments you are doing. Because experiment results degrade over time, you should rerun experiments in order to verify initial findings. Are you acknowledging the importance of incrementality and recording it in your experiment results? You need to understand the true value of your intervention.
Greg Zakowicz spoke about “Three ways to supercharge your email marketing program”
Greg Zakowicz states that one-for-all messaging no longer wins online shoppers’ hearts. In other words, online shoppers become lost in promotional noise. Moreover, eCommerce marketers are struggling to create and manage engaging messaging, thus affecting their bottom line.
His best advice is to personalize your customers’ online experience through omnichannel marketing automation, generating higher engagement and conversions.
You can supercharge your email program in three simple ways:
- Add SMS
- Personalize the Welcome message
- Convert abandoners
Greg ends his session with a little secret bonus: the post-purchase message and nurturing the customer relationship. Why should you care? Because, the way customers feel about your brand after their purchase determines whether they become repeat customers or remain as one-time shoppers.
Nir Eyal spoke about “Indistractable: How to cut through the noise, drive productivity, and push your product growth needle farther & faster than ever before”
This session was not about Nir Eyal’s book Indistractible as such. Rather, Nir spoke on the interesting topic of “How to improve yourself during a crisis”.
The main idea here is that the world has become distractible, with all the recent events surrounding the pandemic situation, businesses suddenly disappearing, and people being frightened and unsure of the future. However, Nir proudly claims that the scale of the century is the power to be indistractible. We couldn’t agree more.
The opposite of distraction, Nir explains, is traction, an action that pulls us to do anything we want to do. His best advice is “Make time for traction!” How do we do that? One trick could be to incorporate time blocks on your calendar, so as to ensure a time slot into which can be fitted the most important tasks of the day. You should also tell people you do not want to be distracted.
Nir makes a very interesting remark: “To-do lists are bullshit.” This is because to-do lists are a register of output, but we cannot have output without input. He calls this “the tyranny of the to-do lists”, and explains that if you do not finish everything on your to-do list, then you enforce a negative, toxic message to yourself.
Time blocks on your calendar have the opposite, beneficial effect. You do not have to finish every single task on your calendar, but you can work for as long as you say you would, without distraction. People who use this technique are more productive! Also, there would be less time communicating and more time concentrating.
So what are you waiting for? Become indistractible so you can concentrate on your future success, far from the current difficult situation, which will surely pass.
Tim Ash spoke about “Unleashing the Primal Brain: Tapping the unconscious to move people into action”
“Why do we need a brain?” Tim Ash asks the audience. Brains evolved for dealing with the challenges of moving through the environment. Moreover, people have three brains working together: reacting, feeling and reasoning. By default, people are lazy and impatient, and like simple choices. Our primitive brain cares only about the four Fs: fight, flight, feeding and fornication.
The mainstream idea of the left brain -v- right brain is actually not true!
Tim’s primary pieces of advice:
- Don’t sell the positive outcome first
- Focus on the pain and amplify it
- Start with the fully-loaded version & make people remove options
Pain avoidance is approximately twice as powerful as positive motivation. Furthermore, the default response of the brain is to do nothing & conserve energy. Therefore, you should:
- Make your most profitable option the default
- Add a subscription or auto-renew
We overvalue things that we own or have a chance to influence. You should, therefore:
- Let people test-drive your product or service
- Encourage customization and configuration
- Give people the illusion of control
Vision is not passive! People have 10 times more neurons going from the brain to the eyes than vice versa. There is also a visual hierarchy, with motion being the ‘nuclear option’ of last resort:
- Remove distracting motion
- Tone down powerful graphics
- Emphasize calls-to-action more
Interesting to observe is that ‘Free’ is much more powerful than ‘low price’. Therefore:
- Consider testing free versus low-cost trials
- Figure out what free stuff you can offer
Tim ends his session with a simple thought: “It’s NOT about the technology, it’s about the biology.”
The eCommerce Growth Summit was the culmination of four months of intense work, two full days with countless insights, many cups of coffee, tons of feedback, thousands of messages, and raw teamwork, all coupled with pure interest in eCommerce growth.
We are certain every speaker has helped you to improve your skills and expand your knowledge in all the best possible ways. And remember, we are all in this together!
Don’t hesitate to contact our team to take your eCommerce business to the next level!