We’ve all been living through the COVID-19 pandemic for well over a year and a half now, and for e-commerce businesses it has presented both challenges and opportunities.
On the positive side, people have flocked to online shopping as never before. Between lockdowns and social distancing, e-commerce has taken off in a big way. This presents a great opportunity in the market for online brands to expand, gain more customers, and increase loyalty and sales with existing customers.
The pandemic has also, of course, presented some difficult times for all businesses. As we continue to navigate COVID-19 and emerge into the “new normal” it is creating, Brand Yak founder Reese Queen offers three tips for e-commerce brands to use for success.
1. Shopify Gift Cards
If your store is built with Shopify, take advantage of the ability to sell gift cards. Previously, only certain Shopify merchant plans came with the gift card feature, but now this is available with all plans.
“It makes it really easy to go on and actually add a gift card,” Reese says. “You go into your Shopify dashboard and head over to products. Under products you’ll see collections, and then gift cards.”
You can then create gift cards in various denominations and choose an expiration date (or no expiration date). Reese suggests then creating a mock-up of what a physical gift card would look like, to use on the order page as an image.
Check out our YouTube video where he walks you through the process, step by step:
Gift cards can be a particularly powerful tool for retailers who have a physical location as well as an online shop. It can boost sales during a time when people might be more hesitant to shop in person, allowing them to shop at a later date, give the gift card to someone else as a present, or even be directed themselves to your website for shopping.
Don’t forget to promote your gift cards in your marketing efforts and on social media!
2. Test New Audiences
This is also the perfect time to expand your target audience and add new sales funnels.
“Facebook’s ad inventory has expanded dramatically, with more people scrolling on their phones and being at home when they’re usually at work or with people,” Reese says. “This is a great opportunity to go in there and actually try new audiences, try different look-alike audiences — and then following up with that and having really good re-targeting campaigns based on those.”
3. Contextualize your Abandoned Cart Email Sequences
Nobody likes an abandoned shopping cart. Now is the perfect time to take a look at your strategy for this, and make sure you have an effective email follow-up sequence for those visitors who put something in their cart, but leave your site before buying.
“This is something we talk about a lot at Brand Yak,” Reese says. “It’s one that brings in a lot of revenue, for the reason that when a customer comes to your site and they don’t complete check-out, they are a very high-intent customer. So it’s worth your energy to re-market to them via email.”
During the pandemic, it’s even more important to provide tremendous value to your customers. Imagine how the customer journey has changed during the last 18 months. Does your product help keep kids entertained at home or assist with virtual schooling? Does it help people stay in shape at home or work from home?
Basically, whatever products you offer that can demonstrate a benefit to people during this time, optimize your marketing around those benefits — especially when following up with folks who left an abandoned cart.
“You need to be reshaping your email sequences for your abandoned cart to show [those benefits],” Reese says. “Represent the value that your product has.”