Editor’s note: This post is the first installment of our ‘Beyond Email’ series — an extension of the Beyond Email Track at Klaviyo:BOS. Check out the slides from this session.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: consumer expectations are shifting and there’s no single type of funnel that’s going to convert everyone.
This has something to do with the current state of ecommerce. Every day, consumers are introduced to a plethora of new brands, with market newcomers like Warby Parker or Andie Swim or Wone disrupting and displacing the success of legacy brands. Additionally, the buyer’s journey is becoming more omnichannel — meaning that you have to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right experience in order to actually make a sale!
By combining an organic content strategy with your ecommerce sales strategy, you can cut through the noise by winning trust and visibility.
The secret to your success with these tactics? Building a trust funnel.
Help –– Not Sell to –– People
Think of content as the first touch a customer has with your brand. By providing legitimately valuable content, you can build trust before selling.
The key is to focus primarily on being educational, not transactional. Part of this has to do with the SEO advantage that comes with being known as a high-authority industry resource.
Additionally, educational content provides a much more effective way to connect with millennials and Gen Z. Neither likes the hard sell associated with traditional advertising. They’d rather build a relationship with the brands they want to buy from.
If this is your audience, look to Warby Parker as a great example of a brand who’s successfully built trust with Millennials and Gen Z. The brand encourages customers to share photos using Warby Parker products on company social channels. This user-generated content strategy helps prospective customers see products in use while also building social proof.
However you plan to deploy it, when coming up with a content strategy, think about how it can help you to build community around your brand. When attempting to measure your success, don’t get stuck on vanity metrics (like time on page, bounce rate, etc.): judge your success by actual sales.
For more ideas regarding how to leverage content in your ecommerce strategy, check out these brands doing it well: Uncrate, Gear Patrol (acquired by popular publisher Hearst), and Woolrich (specifically their collaboration with Lauryn Hill).
Provide A Great Customer Experience
Thanks to initiatives like Prime Now, Amazon has created a new standard for instant gratification in ecommerce.
Of course, not every business can keep up. The good news is that you don’t have to.
If it doesn’t make sense for your business to offer two-day shipping, then execute on your best version of instant gratification.
It starts with a focus on your brand’s unique offerings or story (or both!). In order to grab attention (and convert sales), your brand has to be memorable and make shopping convenient.
It’s important to realize that your sales and branding efforts don’t stop when the order is shipped. So, aim to impress people when they get your package. It’s the small things that will make them want to tell a friend about their experience shopping with you: things like handwritten notes and unique promo codes in the package they receive.
No matter the specifics of your logistics, know that honesty goes a long way. Be transparent about shipping and return policies. Then, deliver on your promises.
You’ve heard it before but it’s worth repeating again here: don’t over-promise; over-deliver instead.
Communication is key: including what you say on your website and any follow-up communications after an order is placed. On that note, customer service is important. According to Gartner, when it comes to making a purchase, 64% of customers find the customer experience to be more important than price.
In fact, US companies lose an average of $62 billion annually due to poor customer service. Just a moderate increase in customer service can yield an average $823 million increase over a 3 year period for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.
For inspiration on improving your customer experience, there’s a lot to learn from these brands:
- Dazadi: With items so large they can’t realistically offer express delivery, this brand makes up for slower logistics with high-effort when it comes to the actual delivery. Their “incognito Santa support” allows you to surprise someone with a ping pong table that includes in-home setup!
- Jeni’s Ice Cream: Jeni’s ships their imaginative ice cream flavors in a box with dry ice. Customers love their on-point branding and are willing to wait for longer ship times to receive their ice cream via mail.
- Packed Party: Items take a relatively long time to ship but the company makes it worthwhile by including extra freebies and samples in each package.
The First-Mover Advantage: Leveraging Smart Channels
Facebook, Google, Amazon are all racing to see who can gather the most useful data. Acting on this data helps build trust. But all of these platforms require your collaboration to gather this data: it’s a symbiotic relationship.
Every time one of these data-rich platforms introduces new ecommerce features and integrations, make it your brand’s mission to get in early.
Are you taking advantage of these new selling channels?
- Facebook Marketplace
- Amazon Advertising
- Shoppable Instagram feed
- Internet of Things (IoT): Google Home and Amazon Echo makes it possible to buy stuff online without using a device with a screen.
While you’re considering the available options, take note from these brands doing it well:
- Spearmint LOVE: Initially born from a blog, Spearmint LOVE achieved exponential growth by using a combination of Facebook Ads, Facebook’s store functionality, and the shoppable Instagram feed. They are now on Facebook’s new advisory board — poised to take advantage of new Facebook features as they’re released, with an insider’s understanding of where they’re going.
- Beach RC: Achieved 171% year-over-year revenue growth by selling on Amazon. They found additional success after also selling on eBay to the tune of $17,000/month.
On a final note, if you aren’t selling your products on Amazon, someone else will — so beat them to it!
Build an Experience-Driven Website
One of the most effective paths to a sale is to make shoppers feel something.
The easiest way to achieve this? Building an experience-rich website with an enjoyable browsing experience. Part of this includes a focus on fast page speed.
Another aspect of an experience-driven website is personalization. You might opt to add personalization according to personas (like your most loyal customers), geographic location, or specific search queries. Localization is another form of personalization, with an increasing amount of searches containing the suffix “near me”.
There are many benefits that come with personalization:
- Can help increase a business’s profits by 15% on average.
- 75% of customers are most likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name and recommends products based on previous purchases.
- 93% of companies see a rise in conversion rates after implementing personalization.
These brands provide a great example of an experience-driven website strategy:
- SkullCandy: Employs personalization based on localization, with seven international website versions.
- Zenni Optical: Users can upload their photo to see how they look with this brand’s glasses.
- Bohemian Traders: Offers a VIP loyalty group where the brand alerts them first about new launches. In return, Bohemian Traders gets an idea of what items their customers like, using this information to decide if they should order more inventory.
Don’t Forget the Mobile Experience
People always talk about how important the mobile experience is and it’s more than just making sure your site is navigable:
- 44% of internet retail minutes were spent on a smartphone, compared to 11% on a tablet, and 45% on a desktop.
- 59% of ecommerce sales were made through mobile.
- Smartphones accounted for 37.6% of retail visits and 21% of revenue for Cyber Monday 2017 (when ecommerce had its first $2 billion day).
Furthermore, Google’s mobile-first index made mobile responsiveness a search ranking factor. The implications are clear: if you want to rank in relevant search, your website must scale nicely for mobile devices.
If you need help designing your ecommerce mobile experience, these brands can be a source of inspiration:
- Rollie Nation: Their hero images are actually videos. They’ve also simplified and reduced the clicks required to choose sizes and proceed to checkout. They provide a great example of creating a great mobile experience for brands with large product catalogs.
- Natomounts: The website is made up of just a few simple pages and the checkout process is simple and quick!
- Zyppah: This brand sells just one product — the homepage is also the product page.
Final Thoughts: How to Build Your Trust Funnel
Ecommerce is developing at a faster pace than anyone could have expected and is leveling the playing field. Whether you have an established business or are thinking of starting one, the best way to differentiate yourself isn’t through ads or crazy gimmicks. Consumers are smarter than that: you have to focus on building trust to find success with Millennials and Gen Z.
In a nutshell:
- Create helpful content and optimize it to appear organically in relevant search queries.
- Take your business to your customers: don’t wait for them to come to you. Sell on multiple channels and become a first mover when social platforms introduce a relevant new feature.
- Aim to overdeliver, especially when it comes to customer service.
- Create a good website experience in terms of navigation, page speed, checkout, and mobile.
Back to Blog Home
Does your website have an awesome trust funnel that others could learn from? Share your thoughts in the comments and together we can build more high-converting customer experiences!