What is your top tip for growing an eCommerce business in 2020? Our eCommerce Experts tell all (episode 257)

Chloe is joined by a host of eCommerce experts to answer the question What is your top tip for growing an eCommerce business in 2020? The answers are VERY wide ranging from delivery to international, lots of marketing tips, and much more.

The answers will help you work out your plans for 2020. Our experts include Chris Dawson from Tamebay; Ian Hammersley from Smartebusiness, Lucy Bloomfield of 10,000 Customers; Rachel Jacobs from eCommerce Partnerships, Ria Fiscina from Parkfield, Alex O’Byrne from WeMakeWebsites AND Rytis Lauris from Omnisend. There’s so much in this episode you’re going to listen more than once!

2020 eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series sponsored by Omnisend

This episode is part of our annual growth series – you can find out all about how it can help you grow your business and links to the rest of the episodes here.

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Full Episode Transcript:

top tip for eCommerce growth in 2020

Chloe Thomas:

Earlier in the series we covered what is the most important thing we learned in eCommerce in 2019?

And in this episode they’re answering one that looks to the future. They’reanswering, what is your top tip for growing an eCommerce business in 2020?

Let’s start in with the big picture of you and kind of where we left off in the first experts’ show a few weeks ago. Here’s Rytis Lauris from Omnisend to kick us off.

Rytis Lauris:

So I would see that there are going to be three major trends in 2020 which I would see. So first is really a consolidation of traditional retailers. So Amazon, Walmart, we’re going to get stronger. At the same time, there are going to be more and more space for you to see brands.

And we see this trend, we saw this trend already in 2019 and it’s going to just strengthen as a lot of strong old school companies will be selling more and more online, directly to consumers and a lot of independent players will erase and will survive as was not maybe the case in previous years in the past.

So really, this is good news for entrepreneurs who are just willing to launch their online businesses and considering that. So really, people will be buying and will have more personal relationship with their brands.

And out of that is coming the second trend, which is very good and very important. So owned media and owned media will become more and more important. It was important all the times. But basically now what has happened, the acquisition channels are being dominated by Facebook, Google and Amazon as a third largest player, even outside their marketplace, but as a customer acquisition channel.

So digital ad spends grow a lot and those independent brands, they sometimes find it challenging to really be able to compete with the largest players in the market. So a fear for owned media, which is mainly subscriber lists will become more and more important. So this is actually of a value you have.

And I would say transforming your understanding what are your subscriber is that this is an asset, this is of a value, you should be growing this list constantly. You should be cleaning it up. You should be really following the best practises of a GDPR or California Consumer Privacy Act, which just became effective by very beginning of 2020.

So those make an impact, but at the same time having good quality lists and really having this personal communication with your customers is very important.

And the importance will grow and the opportunities, which is direct communication, will be higher as well, will be better.

And the third trend, which is really following this one is… I mean, I’m a strong believer in owning channel in general and we see this trend and as a company and myself we see it as a trend. So really changing understanding or what your subscriber is.

So up until now, once we talk subscriber we think about email first. So a subscriber is really the one who give you permission to communicate via various channels, email, text messages, Facebook Messenger messages, WhatsApp, maybe web push notification. So all of those people who gave you a consent and permission to communicate with them, they are your subscribers.

And this is a value, this is the asset for the company, direct-to-consumer company has and should really valid.

So I would say changing the concept of what subscriber is and SMS as a channel will definitely continue growing as it has proved already that this is very efficient, customers are liking it.

And then it was just the beginning in the previous year and this year it’s definitely going to grow the usage and the effectiveness will remain the same. So I believe SMS will be used more and more.

And yeah, for that, integration of different communication channels definitely will become more and more important. And I remember ourselves launching like omnichannel approach and launching different channels. I mean Omnisend launching, like two years ago.

We were kind of pioneers in that. Currently, every marketing automation tool is going through omnichannel and all our competitors, they do have different channels combining different channels. But that’s definitely what sets the trend and what’s showed the trends because customers are willing to have all in one place.

Chloe Thomas:

Wow. A bumper answer there. Rytis always gives such good advice. Now, Rytis ended by talking about the power of omnichannel marketing, which I know often leads people to say, “But how do I know what’s working?” Well, let’s turn to Ian Hammersley from Smartebusiness for a little guidance on that as he talks about revenue per visitor.

Ian Hammersley:

So 2020, is almost, it’s 2019 but even worse in some respects, because we’re going into it with a reduced marketing spend. And what I mean by that is, there’s a lot of pressure on the margin and no one is dramatically increasing their marketing spend.

If anything’s happening, we’re reducing it. So the only way to still grow in 2020 with reducing the marketing spend, is to look at the KPIs and the actual numbers. So what happened is, if you don’t look at the metrics of the site and improve them, you’ll hit a glass ceiling.

You just won’t be able to grow. And the eCommerce businesses that will still grow in 2020, and there’s a lot growth there, will be the ones that actually focus on the KPIs.

So if you’re spending £10,000 a month and all of a sudden you’ve got to spend £7,000 a month, it doesn’t mean that you still can’t grow more revenue. So if you can increase the revenue per visitor by 25%, you’re able then to get more revenue out of the same marketing spend. If that makes sense.

Because you can increase your out-to-basket stats, you can increase your basket-to-order stat, which will increase your conversion rates. And things like the average order value have a dramatic effect. And you will win the race if you can get your average order value up from £50 pounds to £60 and your competitor has still got an average order value of £50, we will win it because you can then spend more to acquire that customer and still be profitable.

Chloe Thomas:

If you want to know more about that, then take a listen to the interview idea with Ian last year, it’s Episode 229, or he has a free video all about it. And we’ve linked both of those in the show notes for you.

So you can get all that at ecommercemasterplan.com/podcast. Okay, let’s stick with marketing and hear from Parkfield’s Ria Fiscina.

Ria Fiscina:

So the top tip for 2020 is to remind everybody that clarity and simplicity will win over complexity every time. And the best way that you’re going to be able to do that is to capture the intent of your users before they can ask the questions that they need to.

And the best way you’re going to do that is by using the tools that are available, using the AI to grow your recommended products and give intelligent upsells and things like that.

Users are slammed with so many choices and they really just want to go to brands that know them right off the bat. So the better you are at that, the better you’ll do next year.

Chloe Thomas:

A woman after my own heart. So keep it clear and simple and don’t get too complicated. And let’s get straight on with some more great marketing advice from a different angle this time. Here’s Lucy Bloomfield of 10,000 Customers.

Lucy Bloomfield:

For me, it’s definitely storytelling and I keep coming back to it. I know I spoke about it a bit on the episode that I was on, on your podcast. But the reason I keep coming back to it is because I’ve seen it transform businesses in so many different situations.

for example, in really great situations in businesses that have already been doing really well, storytelling can be the thing that takes it from 40 grand a month to 100 grand a month with the right paid advertising strategy.

And it’s also the thing that I’ve seen save a business from bankruptcy over a weekend, like generating tens of thousands of dollars of cash and skating them through to the next bit.

And when I talk about storytelling, what I’m really talking about is again, radical transparency as a strategy to collect sales. And I really think that the businesses that implement this on both an organic side of things and a paid advertising side of things have more chance of being successful in 2020 than any other business.

Chloe Thomas:

If you want to hear more about Lucy’s approach to fast growth eCommerce whilst thinking about the planet, and that’s not a contradiction, I assure you, then make sure you check out my recent interview with her. That’s Episode 253.

So we’ve talked marketing stats, the big trends we can capitalise on. Let’s go international.

Alex O’Byrne:

I think if international isn’t part of your eCommerce 2020 growth strategy, then it should be. Global eCommerce is no longer novel. It’s essential and it’s getting easier I think. So yeah, international markets are growing at a crazy pace. I saw a study the other day, had said, “A fifth of all worldwide eCommerce will be cross-border by 2022.”

And I can believe that. And I think if you’re a growing brand, it’s a really good time to expand that way, because like I say, it’s getting easier. Might seem a bit daunting, but there’s a lot of tech out there that makes it easy.

So payments, most payment providers now are making it really easy to go multicurrency. Some of them just let you switch it on and other ones, okay, there’s a bit more of a barrier, but it’s certainly way easier than it used to be.

Tax and dealing with the complexities there, again, most eCommerce platforms now will build in the basics there at least. Shipping, I feel like every year 3PLs and the tech behind that industry leaps forward and makes it easier.

And really, I think you’ll get left behind if you’re not selling internationally. So I think any promising brand that is looking for ways to grow should look to international.

Chloe Thomas:

That was Alex O’Byrne from We Make Websites. Now he may sound like a Northerner, but he’s now a New Yorker and he’s reminding us all to look beyond our own borders. Before we hear from our last two experts, let’s hear from our sponsors.

In the first of our Annual Experts Podcast, Episode 251 we heard a lot about the need to be on top of the technology and delivering a customer experience that leads to sales.

Rachel Jacobs from Ecommerce Partnership has a great take on how to make that a reality and use it as a way to create your growth in 2020.

Rachel Jacobs:

The biggest tip really, for me for 2020, it’s not necessarily anything that’s very new. However, I think in light of the findings from particularly over Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the huge shift towards mobile and the 50/50 split between online and offline purchases.

The big tip for me for 2020 is the fact that agencies need to be more proactive with their brands. For those who don’t know, I work as an agency adviser, I work with eCommerce agencies across Europe and across the world and, for me, brands should expect that their agencies are more proactive when it comes to making recommendations.

It’s on the agencies to look at all these findings from Black Friday or from 2019 and make data-driven recommendations that will ensure that brands are getting the best bang for their buck so to speak, optimising that customer experience and more than optimising it, personalising it according to buyer behaviour with particular focus on mobile checkouts.

The data showed that on Black Friday 2019, $900 million was spent through Shopify stores and 69% of that was through mobile. So brands need to pay particular attention to their mobile experience with their customers.

And also making sure if you are in-store and online that you’re syncing up those processes and it’s ready for the brands to push back and expect that of their agencies and be proactive and ask their agencies, “What are your recommendations? What are your findings from last year? And how are you going to use what you’ve learned with all the brands you’ve worked with,” and put that into my strategy and my gross for the year ahead.

Chloe Thomas:

And if you want to know a bit more about those stats she mentioned, then check out her answer in Episode 251. Okay, our last expert top tip on how to grow an eCommerce business in 2020 and we’re finishing at the end of the customer journey. Here’s Chris Dawson from Tamebay.

Chris Dawson:

But too many retailers rely on the couriers tracking side. When I buy something, I’ll just say, “Here’s a tracking link for my Hermes, or here’s a Royal Mail tracking number, or here’s the Yodel tracking number,” and it’s time the online retailers, especially those with their own website grasp the whole tracking experience and have an integrated tracking page on their website.

Basically, as a consumer, once I’ve bought from you, don’t send me to a couriers’ site, take me back to your site. And then at the same time while you’re delivering an item, you can start getting creative with, “Your item was delivered at three 15 today. Here’s a 10% off voucher if you’d like to buy an accessory,” or, “your new Blu-ray player was delivered today, would you like a voucher for some DVDs to go with your new Blue-ray player?”

But you can only do that if you’ve got a tracking on your own website. And more importantly, the consumer is going to be a lot more loyal to you and likely to shop with you again if they go to your website for the tracking rather than… Why would you send them off to DPD? They don’t care about DPD, they bought from you.

Keep them on your website and if you’ve not got it yet, get an integrated tracking page as a first step and then think about ways you can use that integrated tracking page for remarketing to your customers who are going to come to that page to find when their delivery’s going to arrive.

Chloe Thomas:

After listening to all that great advice, how could you fail to grow in 2020? Well, if all you do is listen, then you probably will. So you’ve got to take some action and to help you take action, we’ve summarised each tip and included links to all the guests and any tools they’ve mentioned in the show notes.

And you can get those by heading to ecommercemasterplan.com/podcast where you will find a link to this show.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview from our 2020 eCommerce MasterPlan Growth Series sponsored by Omnisend. This is the final episode in the series.

So for the first time I can say, right now, you can go and check out all the other eight. Yes, they’re all available for you right now, even if you’re listening to this on the day it goes live.

So go on, treat yourself to a podcast binge. Have a great week and keep optimising.

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Without the sponsors the podcast wouldn’t be possible – please do check them out:

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