Using AI to improve customer retention with Shanif Dhanani from Apteo

Using AI to improve customer retention with Shanif Dhanani from Apteo

Apteo is a platform which uses AI to automate and personalise marketing campaigns.  We talked to Shanif Dhanani from Apteo to get their tips on how to increase your customer retention and how AI can help.

5 Top things which eCommerce stores should be doing to increase customer retention

  1. Stay in touch with your customers.  Your customer will be lost if you do not stay in touch via email and ads.
  2. Personalise.  70-80% of customers only buy once.  Reaching out to them with relevant offers will increase the conversion rate whilst irrelevant offers will be ignored.
  3. Create a sense of urgency. If you are sending out constant offers, customers will just wait for the next offer to make a purchase.  By sending a limited time offer to targeted customers you will encourage people to appreciate your brand to make repeat purchases.  Free shipping works well with loyal customers.
  4. Tell your story.  To stand out, you should tell your story to give your brand personality.
  5. Cross-sell.  Use your data to create relevant offers cross channel. 

Using AI to help with retention marketing

Running targeted marketing campaigns is time-consuming.  AI tools such as Apteo can help segment your customer data, enabling you to save time and create more personalised campaigns.  Apteo is a Shopify app and integrates directly with the major email tools.  Example uses of AI created custom segments include:

  • Customised campaigns
  • Customer emails
  • Insert dynamic products into emails

Shanif talked to Trevor Ginn from vendlab.com, an eCommerce agency specialising in online marketplaces and e-commerce sales platforms.

How to Automate your Shopify Store with Kaus Manjita from getmason.io

In this week’s podcast, Trevor talked to Kaus from Mason, a Shopify app for automating eCommerce storefronts. We talked about the benefits of automating storefronts and

Benefits of automating a Shopify store?

Competition is fierce and it is hard to stand out and grow online. By automating processes on your online store, you can save time and stand out from the crowd. Areas for automation include

  • Email marketing/CRM
  • Customer loyalty
  • Shipping and fulfilment
  • Customer experience
  • Customer support
  • Order tracking
  • Merchandising

Avoiding the day-to-day processes necessary to run your site allows you to spend more time growing your business.

Automating your Shopify storefront

Whilst automation in email marketing and fulfilment are widely available, few retailers use automation to keep their storefront fresh. Areas which can be automated include:

  • Creating collections, e.g. best sellers, new products
  • Inventory updates
  • Sales and promotions
  • Product bundles, e.g. Creating high converting products into bundles.

Using a solution such as Mason, these processes can be automated, saving time and improving performance.

Example success automations

The Mason team have an off the shelf menu of successful automation which can be quickly implemented. Successful automations include:

  • Creating bespoke collections based on customer behaviour
  • Badges advertising sales and discounts
  • Running promotions and sales

Increasing Cross Border Sales with Andy Hooper from Global eCommerce Experts

International Ecommerce Opportunity

In this week’s episode of the eCommerce Odyssey Podcast, Trevor talked to Andy Hooper from Global eCommerce Experts about all things Cross Border Trade.

The Cross border Opportunity is as big as ever

Brexit and the general economic condition have made international trade more difficult.  However, merchants should not give up on international sales! The opportunity is still massive.

  • 500 million consumers in the EU
  • Many retailers have pulled out of the EU
  • EU and UK regulations are still very similar

Basic steps to selling internationally

Recommended steps for starting your international sales:

  1. Research your market.  Research if your product can be sold from a compliance point of view and if there is likely to be any demand
  2. Compliance.  Make sure your business and product are compliant with local rules and make any necessary changes.
  3. Marketplace strategy.  Choose the right route to market for your products

Logistics

The logistics solution you use is determined by the size of your business.  Bear the following in mind:

  • Shipping pallet into Amazon EU FBA is time-consuming
  • Sending items into a 3PL in the EU and then sending parcels into FBA s quicker and enables orders to be fulfilled directly

Best channels for expanding internationally

When expanding internationally, first look at where you are already successfully selling.  If you are on Amazon already expanding into their international sites is a great place to start.  That said, Amazon is not the biggest platform in many countries.  For example:

  • Bol.com is the biggest marketplace in the Netherlands
  • Cdiscount is a big player in France
  • Allegro is the biggest online retailer in Poland

Start with what you know and then look for other opportunities.

Top ten tips for selling internationally

  1. Understand your market and country.  Good tools include Jungle Scout and Helium 10.
  2. Make sure your product is compliant with the country you are selling into
  3. Make sure your business is compliant with the country you are selling into
  4. Identify the right marketplace to sell-through
  5. Find a local fulfilment partner (3PL) for delivering stock to Amazon (and other platforms) and dealing with returns
  6. Have a solid shipping and customs process
  7. Customer service. Ensure you can cope with customer service in local languages
  8. Think about how you will scale your sales and build a multi-channel approach

How to use Shipping Updates to Increase Repeat Purchases on Shopify

In this week’s eCommerce Odyssey Podcast I talked to Kiril Kirilov cofounder of rush.app about how they improve delivery communication on Shopify. Rush is an app that is deeply integrated with over 400 couriers with the aim of closing the loop between ordering and delivery. Not only do they help improve customer service, but they also enable merchants to use communications to drive customers back to a store and repeat purchases.

Kiril had the following advice for optimising shipping comms on Shopify

Communication with customers as often as possible

By sending out updates at every stage of the delivery process has major benefits for retailers:

  • Increase customer satisfaction by keeping them in the loop
  • Cut down on customer service queries

Use updates to drive repeat custom

Every time you send out a delivery update to a customer, the customer is encouraged to come back to the site where they can be upsold.

Wow consumers with great service

Get the basics right to impress with your delivery

  • Shipping speed.  Deliver items before people start to wonder where they are
  • Be in stock.  Ensure you have stock available for quick delivery

Shopify Usability with Adam Pearce from Blend Commerce

Adam Pearce works for the leading Shopify usability agency Blendcommerce.  Having just launched our own Shopify storefront, in this week’s eCommerce odyssey Podcast, Trevor took the opportunity to pick Adam’s brains on maximising the conversion rate of Shopify storefronts. Some key take aways are below:

Put all relevant information on product pages

Given that most people won’t read information pages (e.g. delivery, returns etc), all the relevant information should be on the product page.  Adam recommends reiterating the message under the buy button.

Blendcommerce client sites that do this well are the Aquarium Coop and Goat Milk Stuff.

  • Summary bullets (our previous UX person recommended these)
  • Messaging about button
  • Learn more about this product – link to blog posts
  • Loads of customer reviews

On Website page speed

How fast should a Shopify site be?  Adam’s recommendations are:

  • 2.7 seconds is the min standard
  • Track the performance of main pages e.g. homepage, product page, category pages
  • Use one tool consistently for measurements.  That way you will get a relative measure of performance
  • Remove any necessary apps as these slow down the system
  • Optimise images

Think about customer flow

Consider what messages customers will get during the purchasing process.  For example:

  • Emails What messages will they get during the order flow e.g. review emails
  • Delivery.  How can we better meet delivery promises – especially internationally
  • One site messaging – how can your direct customers to the right products

Offer multiple payment options

How many payment options should a store offer. Offering multiple payment options enables the customer to checkout in the way they like so the more the merrier (within reason).

Offering PayPal alongside card payment is recommended as online wallets give the customer a feeling of security.  This is particularly the case for international deliveries

How to optimise your eCommerce Pricing with Burc Tanir from Prisync

In this edition of the eCommerce Odyssey Podcast, we discuss dynamic pricing with Burc Tanir from Prisync. Prisync is a competitive price monitoring and repricing tool which enables customers to increase sales and profit by altering pricing in real-time based on market conditions.

Key takes aways:

Automate your Pricing

Tracking price manually is very time consuming and the market changes so quickly you will never keep up. By using an automated tracking solution, you will same time and be more competitive.

Treat channels separately

Each channel (e.g. Google Shopping, Amazon, eBay) has its own competitive landscape, so only compare prices within a channel. On channels that aggregate prices (e.g. google shopping), be careful not to compete against yourself if pricing automatically

Pricing is critical

Many surveys have shown that price is the most crucial factor when purchasing online. The way that results on Google, Amazon et al. are presented means a customer has to actively look for more expensive offers as the cheaps generally come top.

Repricing can make you more money

It is not a simple race to the bottom. On Pricsync, 60% of price changes are upwards. For many retailers, there is an opportunity to increase prices and make more money.

Don’t reprice against everyone

Find your sweet spot by choosing a small number of retailers to reprice against. 

Repricing helps with ROAS

Customers will check multiple retailers before purchasing. Being more price-competitive will improve conversion rate, reducing the sale cost on platforms such as Google shopping.

Be transparent on pricing

Being transparent on pricing increases the conversion rate. Free shipping is popular with customers.

Livestreaming & live Commerce with Nicholas Bailliache from eStreamly

Fascinating chat on the eCommerce Odyssey Podcast with Nicholas Bailliache from eStreamly, a provider in the nascent space of Live stream shopping. Live streaming is HUGE in China (20% of online sales) and so undoubtedly it is going to be big in the west before long too. Nicholas has some great insights into how to make a success of live streaming events for your business.

I was a sceptic but now I am a convert! I think that live streaming is an effective tool for connecting with audiences and making your business stand out. It also does not need to cost the earth – think of it more as a YouTube vlog.

Questions we talked about:

  • Tell me about eStreamly!
  • How did you get the idea?
  • What is live commerce all about?
  • Does it work?
  • It works in China, what about the west?
  • What kind of businesses do you work with?
  • What process should the merchant go through to run an event?
  • Where are the events published?
  • How kind of success do you see?
  • How should retailers run a successful event?
  • What has inspired you recently?

Using charitable giving to boost your eCommerce sales with Andrew Forman from Givz

Fascinating interview on the Ecommerce Odyssey Podcast with Andrew Forman, the founder of Givz. Givz enables any Shopify merchant to set up their own Amazon Smile style charitable donation service. Instead of opting for a discount, customer can donate their discount to a charity of their choice. I was unconvinced to begin with but in the end, I was sold on the idea!

Things we talked about

  • How did you get the idea for givz?
  • What problem does Givz solve?
  • Why is this better than discounts?
  • What is your pricing model?
  • Are consumers driven by factors other than price?
  • How are brands embracing social responsibility?
  • What success have you seen?
  • What has inspired you recently?

How to Launch an Amazon Business

Interested in starting an Amazon Business?  This post summarises the stages required to set up an Amazon business, with links for more information.

Stage 1: Account opening

While opening an Amazon account is not difficult, it can take a few days, getting started early is best. In addition, Amazon can reject a submission, so be careful to submit high-quality documentation. 

Stage 2: Product selection

Needless to say, before launching your business, you should research quality items for which you believe there will be a high demand.

A great tool for finding inventory opportunities on Amazon is Jungle Scout

Bear in mind that not everything can be sold on Amazon. Furthermore, some categories are also restricted, and a merchant will need to apply to sell. For more details, consult the Amazon website:

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/200301050

https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/external/201730840

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/external/200164330

https://sellercentral.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/external/201743940

Stage 3: Building a brand on Amazon

Amazon has become a significant way for brands to launch and reach new customers. Brand registry enables brands to register their brand on Amazon and control how their products are presented. Once registered brand can add rich content such as storefronts and A+ content.

If you are a product reseller, you will not need to register a brand on Amazon however, if you are selling your own branded products on Amazon, to list these, you will need to register your brand first.

Stage 4: Product creation

Once you have set up your account, you will need to create your product inventory. If you are a product reseller, you can create products by matching them against Amazon’s product catalogue. Any new products will need to be created from scratch.

Stage 5: Order Fulfilment

Fulfilled by Amazon or Fulfilled by Merchant

As a merchant, you need to decide how to fulfil your orders. The options are Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM). FBA is where your inventory is sent to the Amazon warehouse and they take things over from there. Fulfilled by Merchant is where the merchant ships items from their warehouse. Both have pros and cons.

Managing orders

If you are managing orders yourself, you will need to respond to any customer service queries along with any A-Z claims. If you opt for FBA, you can either do customer service yourself or let Amazon do it for you.

Managing stock levels

Managing stock is a major task for online retailers, but luckily Amazon has some tools to help with the process:

Section 6: Driving sales

Product listings’ natural search performance is based on the listing’s historical performance in terms of sales and reviews. Many sellers use Amazon sponsored ads to drive sales and traffic to build sales. Another option is to use promotions such as deals and vouchers to attract customers.

Section 7: International expansion

Amazon has sites in 17 different countries, so expanding internationally is a big opportunity for sellers. Amazon works in a very similar way across the world, and in Europe, a single account allows merchants to sell in the UK, DE, FR, IT, ES, NL, PO and SE.

Need help?

If you need help launching your Amazon business please contact us

How to use Amazon Sponsored Ads Reporting

Dashboard

The dashboard shows a snapshot of performance across all campaigns or portfolios of campaigns (if selected). In addition, the user can select up to five metrics to be displayed on the graph, which will show performance over time.

Downloadable Reports

Reports can be downloaded from the LHS menu (click the hamburger icon).

Sponsored product Ads reports

Campaign report

The campaign report summarizes your ads performance by campaign for a selected date range. You can use this report to understand each campaign’s performance.

Targeting report

The targeting report provides insights into sales and performance metrics for keywords, ASINs and categories in all campaigns that received at least one impression.

Use this report to see how targets are performing over time. This helps inform you when to adjust your bid and expand your keyword target list. You can also use this report to identify high- and low-performing targets.

Keyword placement report

The keyword placement report breaks out keyword performance by ad placement (top of search, other placements).

You can use this report to get insights into performance across different placement types and identify keywords that perform better on certain placements.

Campaign placement report

The campaign placement report breaks out campaign performance by ad placement (top of search, other placements).

You can use this report to get insights into performance across different placement types and identify campaigns that could benefit from a placement-level bid adjustment.

Placement report

The placement report provides visibility into the performance of a campaign between placements (top of search, rest of search, product detail pages).

You can use this report to get insights into performance across different placement types and identify campaigns that could benefit from bid multipliers.

Search term report

The search term report provides visibility into the actual search terms entered by customers shopping on Amazon that resulted in a click on one of your ads. The report provides sales data for promoted ASINs and brand halo ASINs related to each sponsored ad term.

This report also helps you understand how the different match types you select for your keywords will cause your ad to appear for certain customer search terms.

Advertised/purchased product report

The advertised product report provides insights into sales and performance metrics for your advertised ASINs in all campaigns that received at least one impression. Using this report to see how your ads perform over time can help you determine whether you need to change your advertising strategy.

Download this report to see how your products within each campaign perform against each other. If you have particularly low-performing products, this could indicate you don’t have enough keywords or keywords that aren’t targeted enough. You also may not be bidding enough for popular keywords in your category.

Performance over time report

The performance over time report shows a summary of your clicks and spend, as well as your average cost per click over a specific period for all your campaigns.

You can use this report to keep track of your campaign status to see whether your campaigns are running, paused, ended, or terminated. For example, if you find an ended campaign that met all your business goals, you can copy it into a new campaign without an end date to ensure continuous coverage.

Sponsored Brands Ads Reports

Category benchmark report (CBR)

The category benchmark report (CBR) for Sponsored Brands shows your advertising performance with the median (50th percentile) lower performing quartile (Bottom 25%) and top-performing quartile (Top 25%) values achieved by your peers (by retail performance). The report breaks down the metrics by your account’s brands and shows the benchmarks within the specific categories your Sponsored brands campaign where displayed.

CBR insights are available for the previous 90 days.

Search term impression share report (SIS)

The search term impression share report for Sponsored Brands shows, for each search term, the numeric rank of your account-wide impression share relative to all the other advertisers generating impressions on the same term. You can also see the percentage of your share of the total impressions for each search term.

For example, suppose you have a Sponsored Brands ad-attributed impression share of 50% on the search term “mobile” on January 1st. In that case, it means that you won 50% of all the Sponsored Brands impressions the search term “mobile” got on that date, while other advertisers won the remaining 50%. Similarly, if you’re placed 5th in Sponsored Brands ad impressions for the search term “mobile” on January 1st, it means that 4 other advertisers received more Sponsored Brands impressions for the same search term on that date.

SIS insights are available for the previous 65 days.

New to Brand Metrics

Sponsored brand reports include new to brand metrics to enable brand owners to understand how their brand is performing on Amazon. New-to-brand metrics allow you to optimize your Sponsored Brands campaign to drive new customer acquisition for your brands. The metrics available are:

  • New-to-brand orders. The number of first-time orders for products within the brand over a one-year lookback window.
  • New-to-brand sales. The total sales (in local currency) of new-to-brand orders. You can add this metric to the campaign manager’s performance dashboard and data table.
  • % of orders new-to-brand. The percentage of total orders that are new-to-brand orders. You can add this metric to the campaign manager’s performance dashboard and data table.
  • % of sales new-to-brand. The total sales (in local currency) of new-to-brand purchases. You can add this metric to the campaign manager’s performance dashboard and data table. You can also view it in the Sponsored Brands downloadable reports.
  • New-to-brand units. The number of units from first-time orders for products within the brand over a one-year lookback window.
  • % of units new-to-brand. The percentage of total units that are units from new-to-brand orders.
  • New-to-brand order rate. The number of new-to-brand orders relative to the number of clicks. (New-to-brand order rate = New-to-brand orders / clicks).

While there are many ways to use these metrics, you can start learning how to optimize for customer acquisition by identifying or creating a Sponsored Brand campaign you would like to focus on customer acquisition. When the campaign has at least 14 days of data, review the campaign’s new-to-brand keyword metrics and filter your keywords by acceptable ROAS or ACOS values. For this set of keywords, identify those with the highest % of orders new-to-brand. These keywords are targeting candidates for driving new-to-brand orders.

You should also review the new-to-brand units and sales metrics to identify keywords that generate new-to-brand orders with higher price points and basket sizes. Finally, make sure to monitor the campaign’s new-to-brand performance over time using the performance dashboard and make changes where appropriate.