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It was as close to the shot heard around the world as it was in the e-commerce industry. Apple’s Summer 2021 iOS 14 update limited brands’ ability to target, remarketing, and track ads and email performance.
That, coupled with supply chain problems and a shaky economic environment, has changed what was once considered a thriving – and generally simple and profitable – business model: find a product and place ads on Facebook.
“The channels and the economics of what it meant to acquire and retain a customer had completely changed and continues to evolve. Brands that could rely on a primary channel to acquire customers saw performance decline rapidly and diversification became an absolute must,” said Structured Agency Partner, David Bozin, who works with many of the top ecommerce brands.
The new normal in e-commerce requires a shift in strategy and execution. Let’s take a look at some strategies and tactics that are sure to help your brand fight the new normal.
Related: What 3 Leading Ecommerce Companies Can Teach Us About Disruption?
1. Diversify your growth channels
At one point, a brand I won’t name by name was generating about $100,000 a month starting in their third month of business. Today, that brand generates a paltry $5,000 a month. The reason? This brand was whole dependent on Facebook ads. When the new tracking restrictions went into effect last year, revenues like the Titanic fell.
If there’s something that works for your brand, double and triple it for as long as you can. But before it’s too late, you want to invest some of that profit in other channels.
“Historical performance in digital marketing is not indicative of future results given possible changes in algorithms, consumer behavior or other macro events. We are testing different ways up and down the funnel to ensure we consistently have multiple revenue drivers,” said David Schoenfield, the founder of the e-commerce brand Ring Bear.
One of the key marketing buzzwords for 2022 is: omnichannel — and for good reason. Brands that thought the glory days would last forever are now paying the price. A company where customer acquisition is built on a single channel can go extinct at any time.
2. Build great experiences
Consumers today are more selective than at any time in recent years as inflation and other economic problems take away their disposable income. The first things to go are the products that have no apparent function, joy, or value. Try to build at least two out of three in your industry, and you’ll see a higher lifetime value per customer and more word of mouth.
Friends like to refer to products they love. Increasing marketing spend has diminishing returns without a product that naturally enjoys word of mouth through a great customer experience.
“People crave exceptional experiences. They want to believe not just in a product, but in a vision. Brands that create that for their customers will thrive regardless of the changes in algorithms or platforms,” said Wiz van Ecom, owner and manager of the Utopia. community of over 4,000 marketers adapting to the new normal.
Related: Lessons About Marketing Complacency I Had To Learn The Hard Way
3. Focus on your community
The recent focus on building community around a brand is largely due to advertising issues that brands face. Most of them fail. Bluntly, most brands don’t want to build community. They want the benefits of the community without the investment.
Deliberate relationships with customers are a major investment of time and money. It doesn’t often have a clear payback like advertising or SEO. It is the result of consistency, transparency and the desire to give more value to your customers than you expect in return.
In other words, it doesn’t seem super profitable until years later when your community is the first to give you transformative feedback about a new product or share real testimonials that you can use in your marketing.
“We use a strong feedback loop with our community to build anticipation of new releases and get their feedback on upcoming designs and product releases. Our customers tend to thank us when we ask for their opinions, and they appreciate that we actively asking for their feedback I think there are many opportunities for brands to grow through community and organic channels these days,” said Jelci founder Florence Kwok, who has built a Facebook community group with more than 40,000 loyal members.
One thing we know: the marketing landscape is: always change. But at the forefront of any successful brand are sustainable and diverse growth channels that will survive the demise of the platform and a less than encouraging economy.