52 Great Ecommerce Ideas

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52GreatEcommerceIdeasPractical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 1

IntroductionI recently overheard a conversation between two ecommerce merchants at a conference. They werediscussing options for shipping their products. Merchant A, I’ll call him, was doing most of the talking.Merchant B was listening, intently.A few minutes later the conversation ended. Merchant B approached me. He said, “That guy just saved me 10,000 a year in shipping costs.”Ideas are powerful.Surely there’s no better source of ecommerce ideas than the contributors to Practical Ecommerce. Ifthere’s such a thing as an ecommerce all-star team, they are all starters. They have provided the 52 ideasin this ebook.The ideas address the primary functions in running an ecommerce business — on-site conversion, searchengine optimization, shipping, marketing, advertising, management, finance, content, infrastructure,design, social, mobile, and, yes, Amazon.The names and bios of all contributors are in the back. The ideas themselves we’ve listed randomly,in no order.The priority of Practical Ecommerce, since 2005, is our readers — ecommerce merchants that grapplewith nonstop changes in algorithms, inventory sources, marketing methods, competitors, marketplaces,you name it.Readers like you are our purpose and our inspiration.All of us here at Practical Ecommerce thank you for signing up to our email list and downloading this ebook.KERRY MURDOCKPUBLISHER, EDITORSEPTEMBER 2019Practical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 2

Find Your WhyA key turning point for our company was when I bought the book ‘Find Your Why: A Practical Guide forDiscovering Purpose for You and Your Team.’ Determine the real reason you are in business. At FringeSport,for example, it is: ‘To help people improve lives through strength.’ Our staff and culture now align behind it.PETER KELLERFOUNDER AND CEO, FRINGESPORTInvest in Backend InfrastructureInvesting in backend infrastructure will pay off. In my ecommerce business, we invested heavily at ourmid-growth point of about four years in a customer-resource-management system and a scalable ecommerce platform. Both helped us be as efficient as possible in our supply chain and fulfillment operations.Through automation, it saved us a great deal of labor and allowed us to weather the storm when the 2009recession was at its peak.DALE TR A XLERVP COMMERCE SOLUTIONS, RIGHTPOINTFocus on Usability and NavigationTo convert visitors, focus on website usability and navigation. At fashion brand Ed Hardy, a former employer,we invested in an outside conversion firm for consulting, redesign, and testing. We doubled our conversionrates as a result. If your visitors have any issues with navigation, they will leave the site in a few seconds.VIK TORIA K ANEVSK YECOMMERCE AND DIGITAL MARKETING CONSULTANTUse Curiosity to Grow and ScaleGrowing and scaling is simply curiosity. You have a problem to solve, such as not enough sales. What are youdoing to solve that problem? My curiosity flow is (i) educate myself, (ii) test new things, (iii) analyze the data,and (iv) repeat what is successful and kill what’s not.ERIC BANDHOLZCO-FOUNDER, BEARDBR ANDPractical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 3

Focus on EfficiencyThink Crucial is a direct-to-consumer home appliance parts and accessories company. We started with asingle product. As the brand took off, we kept adding SKUs. Today we sell thousands of products. Sevenyears into our company, our little six-person ecommerce business was valued at 20 million. Our successis due to focusing on efficiency over revenue growth. Today, I manage the entire business on Skubana (anoperations platform that I founded) with one full-time employee and several virtual assistants.CHAD RUBINPRESIDENT, THINK CRUCIALAvoid 2 Common Mistakes with Google Display NetworkThe Google Display Network serves over 80 percent of worldwide internet users. It has the potential togenerate massive traffic. But GDN can cause powerful harm when mistakes occur. For success on GDN,avoid two common mistakes. First, use the ‘Content exclusions’ settings to ensure your ad does not appearon an inappropriate page. Second, apply ‘Frequency capping’ to avoid annoying readers, especially if youhave narrow targeting criteria.ROBERT BR ADYFOUNDER, RIGHTEOUS MARKETINGGet Small Wins Every DayMost startups expect to go from 0 to 60 very quickly. But that type of launch is the exception, not the rule.What I always focused on in my consumer startups is to get small wins every day, such as increasing salesby 5 percent. The percentage depends upon the sales base. The point is to focus on an obtainable increaseevery day or week. If you can do that, in a month or two, you’ll have a foundation to scale faster.PHIL MASIELLOFOUNDER AND CEO, CRUNCHGROW TH REVENUE ACCELER ATION AGENCYInvest in Quality ContentQuality, comprehensive content converts visitors. When you run an acquisition campaign, prospects thatarrive on your site need to understand immediately what you can do for them and how it’s better than thecompetition. Investing in content and continually tweaking and improving it will pay off.VIK TORIA K ANEVSK YECOMMERCE AND DIGITAL MARKETING CONSULTANTPractical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 4

Try to Win Google’s Answer BoxThe answer box — Google calls it ‘featured snippet’ — occupies prime real estate at the top of Google’sorganic search results. Only ads appear higher. To win the answer box, target answerable keywords, providehelpful info, be concise, arrange the content carefully (such as with bullets or tables), and use structureddata.JILL KOCHER BROWNDIRECTOR OF SEO, JUMPFLYUse HTML Caching to Increase Page SpeedHeavy traffic to a website can result in performance problems, slower page speed, and fewer conversions.One little-used way to speed up page loads is to cache not just images and scripts, but also the HTML content. After all, if the HTML takes too long to load, it will delay every other request.HAMLET BATISTAFOUNDER AND CEO, R ANKSENSE, INC.To Ship Like Amazon, Focus on 3 AreasAmazon spent more than 20 billion on shipping in 2018. We can be certain that it is spending millions toimprove and optimize its shipping processes. Here are three tips to fulfill like Amazon, even if you’re a fraction of the size. First, manage carrier contracts by the numbers. Negotiate better rates using data and analytics. Second, audit and analyze your own operations routinely to automatically deliver orders faster andcheaper. Third, offer shoppers more shipping choices. Increase conversions by giving customers options thatprovide greater certainty of delivery times.MANISH CHOWDHARYFOUNDER AND CEO, PULSE COMMERCEDon’t Outsource Graphic DesignEcommerce merchants require the help of designers to build promotional banners, landing pages,newsletters, and so forth. You need to have a consistent, in-house source for that work. Outsourcing is hitor miss. When you need it the most, an outsourced designer could be unavailable.DALE TR A XLERVP COMMERCE SOLUTIONS, RIGHTPOINTPractical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 5

Improve B2B Shipping with B2C TacticsB2B ecommerce merchants frequently offer poor shipping experiences to their buyers. B2B merchantsshould mimic the shipping expertise of B2C companies. Avoid common B2B glitches, such as limited shipping options, allowing only one shipping address per order, little to no in-transit visibility, not providing exactdelivery dates, complicated return processes, and not disclosing real-time inventory levels (which leads tocancelled orders for out-of-stocks).GAGAN MEHR AMANAGING DIRECTOR, DELOIT TE DIGITALFocus on Core CompetenciesA big decision for us early on was to bootstrap and stay lean. This forced us to outsource many services(including production) and focus on core competencies, which are product development, marketing, andcustomer experience. Have a vision for how you want to build and scale the business. By understandingwhere you want it to be, you can make early decisions to help with your journey.ERIC BANDHOLZCO-FOUNDER, BEARDBR ANDUse Google ShoppingAs a small online-only retailer, I wish I had joined Google Shopping much earlier to increase my site’s visibilityand sales. Imagery is the strength of Google Shopping. Consumers who search for a particular product are inbuying mode. They’ve done their research and know what they’re looking for. They recognize the item whenthey see it. After just 10 weeks, Google Shopping now accounts for 25 percent of my revenue.ELIZ ABETH HOLLINGSWORTHFOUNDER, MY EVENT DÉCORFor Success with Amazon Advertising, Focus on 4 KPIsAdvertising on Amazon is challenging for many sellers. The confusion often stems from sellers approachingAmazon ads the same way they would Google Ads. To get the most from advertising on Amazon, focuson four key performance indicators: (i) advertising cost of sales (ACoS Ad Spend Sales), (ii) search termimpressions, (iii) conversion rate, and (iv) order acquisition cost.PHIL MASIELLOFOUNDER AND CEO, CRUNCHGROW TH REVENUE ACCELER ATION AGENCYPractical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 6

Don’t Outsource Customer Acquisition, MarketingWe never should have outsourced customer acquisition and marketing. It wasn’t catastrophic, but I am ahuge believer that you must become an expert at customer acquisition. As a side note, I also wish that wehad not listened to the echo chamber of ‘you must pay Google and Facebook to acquire customers.’ Certainlyyou can pay Google and Facebook (and Amazon) to acquire customers, but that is not the only path. Findyour own way, and prosper.PETER KELLERFOUNDER AND CEO, FRINGESPORTUse Server Logs to Uncover SEO ProblemsSometimes websites have search-engine-optimization problems that Google Search Console, GoogleAnalytics, and off-the-shelf SEO tools cannot locate. When this occurs, I often rely on an old-school method:web server logs. Server logs record every visit to a site, whether from humans or robots. Think of web serverlogs as automated journals of all the activity on your site. Server logs can identify Googlebot crawl errors,URL parameter mistakes, and much more.HAMLET BATISTAFOUNDER AND CEO, R ANKSENSE, INC.Emphasize 5 Areas to Improve Instagram PerformanceThirty-five percent of online adults are Instagram users. Optimizing Instagram performance should be apriority for companies, especially fashion and lifestyle brands. To attract and engage Instagram followersand ultimately generate traffic and sales to your ecommerce site, focus on five areas: (i) post consistently, (ii)create quality content, (iii) post when followers are online, (iv) encourage mutual engagement, and (v) use areverse hashtag strategy to find new followers.VIK TORIA K ANEVSK YECOMMERCE AND DIGITAL MARKETING CONSULTANTTo Improve Instagram Marketing, Study Successful BrandsStudying prominent brands on Instagram can help merchants generate ideas for their own marketingcampaigns. Ten prominent brands that excel at Instagram marketing, based on the number of followers, areNational Geographic, Nike, The Ellen Show, Real Madrid C.F., FC Barcelona, Victoria’s Secret, 9GAG, NASA,NBA, and Marvel Entertainment.SIG UEL ANDCONTRIBUTING EDITOR, PR ACTIC AL ECOMMERCEPractical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 7

All Products with Photos Should Use PinterestBack in 2013, I was one of the most followed men on Pinterest, with over 1.8 million followers. I pinned aboutmen’s style. Businesses in nearly all industries can use Pinterest to some degree. If your product can be photographed, grouped, or if it’s something that gets shared, then it likely has a place on Pinterest.MICHAEL STANCILGROW TH PRODUCT MANAGER, ZAPPOS FAMILY OF COMPANIESFacebook Groups Can Drive Relationships and SalesEcommerce businesses can use Facebook groups to help potential customers, build strong reciprocalrelationships, and encourage sales. Maintaining or contributing to a Facebook group is a form of both socialmedia marketing and content marketing. The goal is to listen to the conversations that take place in thegroup and contribute in a positive way — answering questions or providing helpful information with posts,links to articles, or similar.ARMANDO ROGGIOSENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, PR ACTIC AL ECOMMERCEUse Google Lighthouse to Monitor, Improve Site SpeedSite speed is a ranking signal for Google and a key factor in a visitor’s experience. Google’s Lighthouse, a freesite-auditing tool in Chrome’s Developer Tools menu, provides detailed suggestions for improving the technical quality and speed of a site. Best of all, each Lighthouse recommendation comes with a list of specificfiles to optimize and a ‘Learn more’ link to understand the basics.JILL KOCHER BROWNDIRECTOR OF SEO, JUMPFLYUse Facebook Messenger Chatbots to Support Live ChatLive chat is a proven way to close online sales and provide post-order support. But live chat has a fewobstacles that can prevent its implementation, such as the cost of the software and the need for additionalstaffing. Chatbots can help bridge the gap between live chat and self-help support pages. There are manyaffordable ways to integrate personal chatbot conversations. Facebook Messenger ranks near the top of thelist for both small and large businesses.PAMEL A HA ZELTONECOMMERCE AND BUSINESS CONSULTANTPractical Ecommerce 52 Great Ecommerce Ideas 8

Pop-up Stores Can Help Online-only SellersPhysical pop-up stores enable merchants to test new products and create in-person experiences forshoppers to try the merchandise and meet the staff. Pop-up shops are especially important for online-onlysellers, to engage customers and prospects. For best results, market a pop-up store before and during theevent. It will drive physical traffic and, also, encourage prospects to shop your entire online inventory.CHARLES NICHOLLSSENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, SAP UPSC ALE COMMERCEOutsource Warehousing and FulfillmentWhen I launched Crucial Vacuum, we had a warehouse with 17 employees who gave me