Ready to ramp up your online sales but not sure where to start? Rick Backus from CPC Strategy, a digitally advertising agency, joined us at MAGIC to share his top tips for increasing sales in a competitive digital market.
- Know if you’re selling to a price-first or premium customer. According to a study by Deloitte, the retailers that have been the most successful in the past ten years fell into one of two categories: price first or premium. Price-first retail performance went up 30%, while premium brand retail performance went up 60%. Brands that didn’t fit into either category saw a 10% decrease in performance so it’s important to know choose which audience you’re catering to and brand yourself accordingly. As Rick says, “If your brand message is appealing to everyone, you’re probably stuck in that balanced place.” And as the data shows, your sales are likely to suffer.
- Test your message and be willing to pivot. You can spend all the money in the world on a campaign that doesn’t work. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have sophisticated tools that help you find your audience and test your message. Analyze the data and feedback you’re getting on social media, ad campaigns, and in-house research to fine tune your message and speak more successfully to your audience. “Find the overlap between your story and your customer base. That’s your entire business model,” says Rick.
- Employ the Pareto Principle. In business, the Pareto Principle states that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. It’s common for retailers to overinvest in customers that aren’t bringing them income. Know your VIP customers, engage with them and start a loyalty program. While it’s great to seek new business, be sure to invest more time and money in the audience that’s investing in you.
- Decide if you’re going to use a social-first strategy or an Amazon-first strategy. There are two paths to selling direct to consumer and you need to assess what is the primary approach for your company: launching social media campaigns and driving people to your website to shop or going the Amazon route. While many in fashion are worried Amazon is taking all the market share, from CPC Strategy’s research, consumers shopped on retailers’ websites just as much as they shopped on Amazon. Rick cautions that social is a more direct to consumer relationship and Amazon is more of a wholesale relationship. As he says, “Amazon is there if you need it. It’s just an entirely different beast.”
Tips for taking the social-first strategy:
- Launch campaigns
- Find your audience
- Test your message
- Learn from the analytics
- Increase your ad sophistication
- Partner with influencers
- Invest aggressively
- Align your channels
Rick advises, “The ads on Facebook are extremely powerful. You have to be honest with yourself about whether you or someone on your team really has the ability to manage those ads properly. It’s easy to pretend you’re a Facebook expert.”
Tips for taking the Amazon-first strategy:
- Know what to source: You need to sell evergreen items that perform well on the platform
- Stay in stock. Going out of stock consistently hurts your growth on the platform
- Include a size chart about the fold so customers understand your sizing
- Put apparel on models, it converts better
- Try to have diverse models. Your customer base doesn’t all look the same
- Videos of models moving
- Be available on Amazon Prime. That’s what the Amazon customer is looking for
- Expect 30% returns
- Avoid selling luxury. It doesn’t sell as well on Amazon
- Use enhanced brand content like info graphics (available from 3rd party sellers) and A+ content (available from vendors that sell direct to Amazon) to increase conversations and reduce return rate
Rick advises that navigating Amazon is a completely different skillset from other platforms. “If you grow up in that Amazon world you understand that pace of change, but if you don’t and you treat it as a secondary channel its extremely difficult to keep up with that pace of change while you’re still trying to operate your existing business,” he says.
No matter what route you’re going, you may want to consider hiring an expert to execute your strategy successfully.