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The Australian E-Commerce Market Boom

July 28, 2014 | Filed under International Market Research

Australia E-commerce market | img via http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-62893777/stock-photo-blue-grunge-australia-word-cloud

Australia’s e-commerce market has grown in the last few years. According to the National Australia Bank, Australia’s total retail spend online reached $15.25 billion for the year to April 2014. With the current trends and continuing innovation it should continue to do so.

Largely contributing to Australia’s e-commerce growth is internet and smartphone adoption. More than three-quarters of internet users in Australia will buy items via online or mobile channels this year. Australian’s also tend to spend more per purchase on digitally purchased items than other countries. Smartphone penetration is currently at 54%, expected to reach 70% by 2017. Australians appear to be extremely comfortable with m-commerce. Mobile commerce sales reached $5.7 billion in 2012, accounting for almost one-third of online sales.

Though Australian’s are spending more time and money online, the large majority of their purchases are from Australian based companies. Domestic online retail spend continues to grow at a higher rate than international, making up 74 percent of all online sales. The rate is starting to slow down though, making room for new international retailers to stake their claim.

The Australian population is receptive to creative and unique shopping experiences. A plethora of big corporations have actively marketed to the Australian market these last few years, including Asos who most recently launched their Australian e-commerce branch. Australians are extremely active on Facebook, Youtube and Tumblr so focus your social media efforts on creating unique and engaging experiences on these main channels.

There are a few considerations to be made when marketing to Australians. They don’t feel comfortable paying with credit cards and prefer using e-wallets. Also, there are Internet bandwidth restrictions in their market. Most Australians have a daily cap on their mobile and Internet bandwidth usage. Having a robust hosting server and creating a site with optimized load time is ideal. Another consideration to be made prior to marketing to Australia is the shipping method and cost, which can get pricey.

Overall, the Australian e-commerce market is very strong and a very attractive destination. I recommend starting with engaging the audience on social media and doing your homework on the logistics of selling to Australia before diving in.

VD8: How To Build A Loyal Audience From Scratch

July 23, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

If you can’t see video above, click here: http://youtu.be/AOHc5peNB5Q

I took a short break from Manhattan’s hustle and bustle by heading to Miami, Florida. And as part of my Miami ritual, I went to my favorite Cuban restaurant, Versaille.  It’s the only place in the world where my French / Cuban background can collide, and I can appease my inner Marie-Antoinette. All jokes aside, it got me thinking about customer loyalty and the ingredients needed to grow your audience.

In this video, I will discuss: How to build a loyal audience from scratch

Building a loyal audience is key to growing your business.

Why, because constantly finding new customers is expensive and time consuming. Nurturing the already established customer relationships is easier. A loyal customer is like a best friend who will tell the entire world how amazing you are and bring you additional business.

So here are a few suggestions:

1) Create a lead magnet campaign:

Provide an offer in exchange for an email address. Create an Ad that will drive users to a landing page in which they will submit their email in exchange for a FREE goodie. The following can be done on Facebook or other platforms. Leadpages.net or Unbounce.com are tools that can help you set-up these different landing pages.

2) Provide valuable content via email

Form a relationship with your new contacts by emailing them. Email content that is valuable to them. Perhaps monthly inspirations quotes, weekly video tips, or a music playlist. Do not try to sale here. Focus on building the relationship first. Try softwares like Mailchimp, InfusionSoft or Aweber to set-up your newsletter.

3) Include Social Referral Options

Social referral is the practice of getting your existing customer to refer a friend in exchange for a promo code. Loyal customers are your best marketers. Let them help you spread the word. You can leverage tools like Friendbuy or Referral Candy.  These easily plug-in with Shopify, and other e-commerce platforms.

As a final note, remember to always review the results and optimize accordingly.

Thanks for watching, if you found this information useful, please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.

EP#10: Erik Harbison breaks down email marketing tactics

July 22, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

Erik Harbison, Aweber

You can also download this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

Email marketing is a great customer retention tool bringing repeat customers to most sites. It helps strengthen customer relationships and raise brand awareness. However, reaching your customers via email is increasingly challenging, as anti-spam algorithm are more sophisticated, and customers inboxes flooded. A healthy email list will have between thirty percent to ten percent open rate with an average of five percent click through rate. If your metrics are below these mentioned, you should consider tailoring your current email campaigns.

You must understand your demographic, provide valuable information and include clear call to actions. Heavy promotional, soulless emails will turn-off your potential customers if that’s all they receive from you.
Segmenting your email list based on the customer’s level of engagement is the first step in creating powerful emails. It allows you to personalize your email messaging to cater to your customers needs and interest. Additionally, A/B testing subject lines and email designs will help you better understand what works and what doesn’t for your specific demographic.

Email marketing if done right can provide tremendous growth opportunities for your business. Customers who land on your site from an email are more likely to purchase than anyone else. Cherish your mailing list as they are you most valuable customers.

I asked Erik Harbison, Chief Marketing Officer at Aweber, an email marketing service, to discuss email marketing do’s and don’t.
In this podcast, Erik shares latest marketing tactics used by retailing heavy weights to tips on how to build a healthier email list.

In this podcast you will learn:
- More about Aweber.com and how it differentiates itself from other email platforms
- How email marketing has changed these last few years
- Why is email targeting and A/B testing so important
- Recommendations on how to segment your audience
- Tips to drafting an engaging email
- Email automation / squeeze pages
- How to avoid that your email gets lost in the spam folder

If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to
@ErikHarbison and I highly encourage your check-out Aweber.com services.

How effective are you current emails? Share your stories with me.

Sign-up and join other #GlobalInfluencers for exclusive tips on creating an international business.

The Growing Mexican E-Commerce Market

July 21, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

Mexican-E-Commerce-Market | img via http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-3972014/stock-photo-mexico-on-mapIt seems like all eyes are on the Latin American market right now and one country starting to get some attention as an e-commerce destination is Mexico. E-commerce sales in Mexico are growing at a rapid rate and will continue to climb.

The thriving middle class and rapid growth of internet connectivity make the Mexican e-commerce market attractive. More internet users means more opportunities for e-commerce. The number of digital buyers in Mexico is expected to grow by 114% by 2018, a much higher growth rate than Brazil or Argentina. Smartphone adoption is also encouraging online spending. 57% of Mexican consumers own a smartphone and 20% have already made a purchase with their mobile device.

While e-commerce is thriving in Mexico, there are definitely some challenges that come with doing business in the region. For starters, Mexico is still largely a cash economy with only 13% of adults holding a credit or debit card. Even those with cards don’t feel comfortable giving out their information online and want to pay cash on delivery. This leads to restricted payment options for merchants.

Logistical challenges present a problem as well. Complicated tariff and tax structures, and expensive and unreliable shipping methods are just a few of the challenges merchants need to be aware of. Mexican consumers will abandon their shopping carts if the extra fees and shipping costs are unclear. Merchants need to be aware of this worry and make their policies as clear as possible on the website.

The Mexican e-commerce market is definitely one to watch with its growing affluent population and heavy online spenders. To be successful in the region merchants need to concentrate on providing reassurance to consumers as well as fast, reliable, and cost effective delivery methods. As we’ve seen, mobile purchase intent is high so a mobile friendly site should also be a high priority. By understanding that shopping behaviors of consumers will differ from region to region, and even within the region, merchants will have the best chance to take advantage of e-commerce growth in Latin America.

4 Tips for Boosting Loyalty and Customer Retention in E-Commerce

July 18, 2014 | Filed under Digital Marketing Tips, E-commerce tips

Strategies for customer retention | img via http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-23495684/stock-photo-woman-in-autumn-cityCongratulations, you just got yourself a sale! Your hard work has paid off and you can relax with a glass of wine tonight. What a great feeling! But wouldn’t it be nice to have that feeling again? How can you get this customer to come back for more? Start by following these four customer retention tips.

  1. Be Honest – When a customer buys from your site they expect transparency and they want to know when their order will be shipped. Send shipment notification emails so they aren’t left wondering. And don’t be afraid to inject your brand’s personality into these emails, it will make the experience much more memorable.
  2. Have Stellar Customer Service – Great customer service is absolutely essential for a positive e-commerce experience. You or your customer service team should be able to answer any questions your customers have. Including an FAQ or help page is the most cost effective way to provide answers. Consider creating how-to videos or other content that will help your customer to enjoy their purchase once they receive it. This will help reinforce a sense of loyalty. If you can, add a live chat component. This option requires more resources but customers will really appreciate it.
  3. Create a Tribe and Personalize the Shopping Experience - Have you ever gone to a small store or deli and started having a conversation with the storeowner? He or She wasn’t particularly trying to sell you anything, they were just chatting away and being friendly. Chances are if you were there on vacation or living nearby you probably went back to the store. Why? Because you now had a connection with this person. With online shopping it can be harder to create a connection with your customers. But brands that are successful do just that. They are able to create a buzzing tribe who can’t seem to shut up about their product: think Warby Parker, Black Milk Clothing, Asos, Nasty Gal and more.E-commerce brands are able to create this connection by offering added value with their unique content. If you aren’t able to manage a blog think about other content you can provide your audience more sporadically. Perhaps create a lookbook or recommendations. Utilize Instagram to share style tips or customer submitted outfit of the day photos. Have fun with your content and consider the value it’s going to provide your audience.
  4. Incentivize – Give your customers a reason to come back for more by following up with email incentives. You can be quirky here and inject some personality – tell your customers how much you miss them, and that you can’t wait for them to come back. There are many ways to incentivize your customers, so think beyond just offering discounts! Perhaps create a loyalty or frequent shopper program that offers special bonus gifts. Incentify by points.com is an app on Shopify that you can leverage to help you keep track of loyalty program points. Make your emails worth opening. But remember not to send too many emails! Look at your open rate and determine the best frequency for your audience.

Attract, Convert, Retain Business Concept | img via http://www.bigstockphoto.com/image-61070846/stock-photo-attract%2C-convert%2C-retain-business-conceptThe most important thing to get return business is to make sure you capture email addresses at check-out and inform customers they are joining your newsletter. Inject lots of personality within your site and send regular communication to your customers – at least once a month. Make your customers remember why they came to your store the first time.

The 6 Keys To Building A Great Online Fashion Store

July 17, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce tips

online fashion

Online fashion stores are getting a lot of press lately with stories of major investments and incredible growth. Nasty Gal, which started as an e-bay store, just raised $40 million. Others such as ShoeDazzle, BeachMint, and Gilt Group received huge investments as well. Meanwhile, many online fashion stores are struggling to turn a profit. So the question is – how did they get there?

Let’s take a look at the 6 things that help to set apart the best online fashion stores.

    1. Define Your Product Niche – Many online fashion stores, and brands in general, make the mistake of not clearly defining and sticking to their niche market. They believe that casting the widest net possible will lead to more sales. This is a waste of your time and resources. Giant national retailers have the market for average stuff cornered. Build your brand around your niche audience and focus all of your efforts on them to turn them into raving fans. Take Black Milk Clothing, for example. They started by focusing on leggings and built a world-wide audience of people looking for unique, patterned leggings. Now they have expanded their offering but still stick to their roots.
    2. Refine Your Brand Persona – Branding is more than just your logo and color scheme. Branding is about emotion, and in e-commerce creating an emotional experience for your customers is becoming crucial. Determine what personality your brand has? Are you rebellious, caring, spiritual? An explorer, a jokester, a creator? Own it & be consistent – there’s nothing like a crazy, all over the place branding experience to turn your audience off – don’t you agree?
    3. Get A Makeover and Clean Up That Messy Website – If your website looks like someone threw up on it and it came out of the MySpace days, guess what? No one will buy from you. Invest in a professionally designed website. Branded content such as photos, videos, and stories should be used to create that emotional experience for customers and keep them on your page. Good navigation is absolutely crucial to turn those browsing customers into buyers. There are plenty of easy to use solutions out there for online fashion stores like Squarespace, Shopify, and BigCommerce.
    4. Be A Leader and Build A Community – I say be a leader because leaders attract other leaders – or as they’re commonly referred to in marketing, influencers. Influencers share their knowledge and interests with their peers, which can lead to new traffic to your site. Social media posts can go a long way in influencing purchase decisions. This is why it’s so important to connect with influencers.
    5. Earn Your Customers Trust – People want to make sure that others had a positive experience with a company before pressing that buy button. They also want to know that they can easily return a product in case it isn’t exactly what they wanted.To earn your customers trust you must provide:
      - convenient shipping and return policies
      - Secure check-out gateway
      - Plenty of customer reviews and testimonials

      If you can, try to include free shipping – free shipping helps build trust as it enables customers to not fully commit.

    6. Provide Value – Your potential customers want value. Value is perceived and it means something different for your audience. Maybe your value is premium quality, uniqueness, or a different point of view or process. Overall, your product needs to differentiate itself and branding can help with your unique sales proposition. It’s important that you offer a specific, niched product, and you tout what makes you different from the competition. Whether you are selling organic beauty products or ethically manufactured tee shirts, let your customers know what makes you different. And keep your integrity – lying doesn’t work – keep true to what your brand really is

A #GLOBALInfluencer brand is an authentic, socially conscious brand that provides real value to its customers. People want brands with their best interests at heart regardless of their geographic location.

VD7: How To Grab Your Customers’ Attention

July 16, 2014 | Filed under Videos

If you can’t see video above, click here: http://youtu.be/oKmBgxr0D3A

Curiosity killed the cat, they say.

You have thirty seconds to make a good impression. So how can you peak your customers interest in such little time?

In this video, I will discuss how triggering strong emotions, being entertaining and understanding your brand’s personality will get your website the love it deserves.

- think Tom Ford and its powerful overtly sexual ads. Understand the emotions you want to communicate to your consumer – are you trying to create an escape? what type of escape? travel? lifestyle? Carefully tweak your website’s headlines and copy tone. Do not be afraid to be entertaining and daring, otherwise you are just another site in the interweb. Did you hear about the American College Student who traveled through Europe in a Bathrobe and Instagrammed the whole thing? His stunt got him noticed on Buzzfeed. Being audacious pays off! It will grab your customers attention. Finally, refresh your homepage often, at least once a week.

Overall, spice things up, be playful, and have some fun; you are guaranteed to grab your customers attention.

EP#9: Clint Miller on the art of fashion distribution

July 15, 2014 | Filed under Podcasts

arrowhead

It is no news that these days building a successful fashion brand is a delicate art requiring all the right branding, marketing and distribution ingredients. The democratization of e-commerce has saturated the fashion market making it increasingly difficult for brands to distinguish themselves.

Clint Miller, Managing Director of Arrowheads Brand Services, explains in this podcast that establishing a profitable fashion business is a balancing act between uniqueness and mass appeal. In Clint’s opinion, many emerging fashion brands make the mistake of either being too niche or too broad. Finding the “sweet spot” called in some circles “The Palladium Model” is the secret ingredient to thrive in today’s market. Brands must create an innovative product from which they can grow.
Palladium footwear launched their brand with a staple boot which yielded an extensive following. From their acquired reputation, they expanded their design offering accordingly. Another fashion brand who successfully used this model is Publish. Publish came out with a series of innovative Jogger designs which immediately grabbed consumers interested and grew from there.

E-commerce is revolutionizing the fashion industry, yet, Clint insists that face to face interaction is still key. Fashion brands looking to get additional exposure should not forget to interact with their potential customers whether at Tradeshows or Pop-up stores.

Now in this podcast, you will learn:
- How the fashion distribution channel has changed
- The importance of proper business foundations and financing
- How to set proper price points / profit and loss analysis
- Tradeshows do’s and don’ts
- Why you should use Wholesale platform Brand boom

Was this podcast useful? What are some of the challenges fashion distribution challenges your brand has faced?  Share your stories with me.

Sign-up and join other #GlobalInfluencers for exclusive tips on creating an international business.

The Argentinian e-Commerce: A Double Edged Sword

July 14, 2014 | Filed under International Market Research

argentinian e-commerce

The Argentinian e-commerce market is the third largest in Latin America with an estimated US$3.1 Billion in sales in 2013.

However, this January, the Argentinian government imposed control and increased taxes on goods bought online from foreign stores. Items purchased through international websites are subject to a 50% tax. Anyone buying abroad is now required to sign a declaration at the customs office where the package is to be collected. The Argentinian government worried about the devaluation of the Peso enforced this embargo to protect its currency.
(source: http://en.mercopress.com/2014/01/22/argentina-imposes-strict-controls-on-buying-on-line)

Interestingly, since the “foreign embargo” local e-commerce sites like DealExtreme and AliExpress have seen record sales growth. 40% of the Argentinian population is making daily online purchases. The Argentinian preferred online payment methods are credit cards and electronic fund transfers.  The Argentinian e-commerce market is clearly a market to watch.

Argentina is one of nine global “high-growth markets,” expected to account for 21.7% of global revenue in 2018. Additionally, the Millennia demographic is substantial in Argentina, with 65% of the population aged from 15 to 34 years old; providing huge opportunities for e-commerce sites specializing in fashion for the youth demographic. Lastly, social media usage is exponential in Argentina. Argentina is number three in the world for most hours spent on social media each month. They spend the majority of their time on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.

My recommendation is to closely watch the Argentinian e-commerce developments and engage with audience on social media.
Below are some fashion bloggers you might want to follow:

The Art of Social Commerce — Using Social Media as Currency

July 11, 2014 | Filed under E-commerce & Fashion Trends

social commerce
Just like many businesses have contests and giveaways in exchange for an email address, work phone number or a business card, social media has now become a new marketplace of sorts. But instead of trading for leads, social commerce actually trades merchandise, discounts and coupons for free exposure.

What is Social Commerce?

Social commerce is a simple concept—if a person shares an update, tags a photo, takes a picture in the store, uses a hashtag—whatever the brand decides is the qualifier—that person gets a specified reward. This reward can be a free product, a discount, a coupon—whatever the brand decides they are giving away.

Social commerce takes the idea of a contest or giveaway and marries it to the eCommerce trend, taking full advantage of the virality and free marketing aspect of social media. The idea here is to create brand awareness and get a buzz going around the product, company or service behind the social commerce campaign.

But Doesn’t Social Commerce Lose Money?

The real trick here is to create a reward that doesn’t cost so much that it upsets your balance sheets. Most businesses have something that they can giveaway or at least greatly discount, especially if you’re trying to move a certain product. Of course, the better the reward, the more response you are going to get, so creating layered rewards is an even better idea.

Marc Jacob’s Daisy line of products is probably the best example of social currency done right. Not only did they give away free gifts when people shared status updates and hashtagged #MJDaisyChain (thereby creating an instant trend which is great for publicity since everyone in marketing jumps on it, further boosting your buzz and reach), they also held traditional contests.

If you know anything about fashion then you know that a Marc Jacobs purse is worth way more than a Tweet. So instead of giving away purses, the marketing team gave away one per day to the best photo with the hashtag. So now everyone is entering, not only to get their free gift (which was pretty cheap to manufacture and giveaway since Marc Jacob’s margins are so large from high-end clothing sales), but people are also posting pics inside the store, creating viral sensations—all at the cost of one purse per day.

As the number of people the #MJDaisyChain hashtag reached the millions, you can imagine how many purses were sold online simply because people saw it was the “in” thing—the new hot item. Not everyone lives in NYC, but you can buy these purses online—that’s smart revenue from social commerce.

Smaller Brands Need to Be Smarter with Social Commerce

Of course, as a smaller brand, this is still an excellent tactic to use, especially if you need to raise brand awareness. Social commerce is extremely effective, you just have to be certain that:

• Your reward isn’t causing profit loss
• Your social ask (i.e. what you ask from people in order to obtain the reward) is naturalistic since it might seem like you are paying people to Tweet which reduces both yours and the person’s credibility

When done right, social commerce is the eCommerce trend that will take your business to the next level.

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