Boxwood Bulletin: ECommerce Marketing News and Tips (March Edition)

Welcome to Boxwood’s monthly eCommerce news wrap-up! This industry moves at a fast pace anyway, but we have seen some big announcements and updates from major platforms in the past few months. So, we’ve curated a list of the most important eCommerce marketing news that you should know. In addition, we also give you context on how you can make use of the news to keep your eCommerce marketing plans updated.

Let’s dive in!

As the ECommerce Industry Grows, So Does the Cost of Customer Acquisition

Wise Marketer reported increased global eCommerce sales, which grew from 15% in 2019 to 21% in 2022. A Statista projection indicates the revenue generated by the U.S. eCommerce market is expected to surpass $1.7 trillion by 2027.

Why It’s Interesting

ECommerce market growth is always a positive development for business owners. Still, it’s crucial to acknowledge the market will become more crowded as more players enter the space. Consequently, customers will have more options to choose from. It’s worth noting many direct-to-consumer companies have identified increased customer acquisition costs as their primary obstacle.

What We Recommend

ECommerce business owners should reassess their marketing priorities to better balance the need to attract new customers with shopper growth and retention strategies. This can be accomplished by:

  1. Introducing loyalty programs that incentivize customers to stick with your brand.
  2. Prioritizing the collection of first-party data by investing in owned channels (read more on this in our ECommerce Digital Marketing in 2023 white paper). This can include creating lead-generating landing pages and investing in email marketing to better understand customer preferences.
  3. Incorporating chatbots on your site to assist customers with their queries.
  4. Ensuring your website’s design and content are optimized to help customers find exactly what they need.

Your most valuable shoppers are those who repeatedly purchase from your business. By implementing these strategies, you can provide exceptional service and encourage loyal customers to recommend your brand to others.

Free Shipping Top of Mind for Businesses and Customers

Regardless of your opinion of Amazon, it’s impossible to ignore the company’s influence on eCommerce. One of the most significant impacts has been the expectation of convenience the commercial juggernaut has instilled in customers, which includes easy navigation, streamlined purchasing processes, and hassle-free returns. However, the most influential expectation Amazon has fostered is free shipping.

According to a recent study by software firm Shippo, customers place more value on free shipping than any other discount or perk. The company polled 1,000 consumers and discovered 62% of individuals would not consider purchasing from a business that does not offer free shipping. Simultaneously, 41% of business owners who participated in the same survey identified rising shipping costs as one of their primary challenges.

Why It’s Interesting

If you don’t yet offer free shipping, this is a sign to start! With Amazon setting a precedent for hassle-free eCommerce experiences, it’s become essential for businesses to prioritize offering free shipping if they want to remain competitive. The Shippo study demonstrates that not offering free shipping can significantly impact your ability to attract and retain customers. Additionally, the finding that shipping costs are a major challenge for business owners underscores the importance of managing the desire to provide excellent customer service with the need to control costs effectively.

What We Recommend

To strike a balance between the challenge of rising shipping costs and meeting customer expectations, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Utilize the promise of free shipping to build customer loyalty programs, which can help you gather valuable first-party customer data.
  2. Use free shipping as an extension of your customer service to establish better customer communication, rapport, and trust.
  3. Take advantage of free shipping to bundle products, upsell, and cross-sell. This can help offset shipping costs and introduce more products to customers.
  4. Highlight free shipping as a distinctive advantage to your customers. Clearly displaying free shipping and its benefits on your website can encourage buys.

The Winter Edition of Shopify Promises Big Gains for Businesses

Shopify’s Winter 2023 Editions includes over 100 updates for business owners to take advantage of. Noteworthy changes are the introduction of a one-page checkout, the ability to customize checkout options, utilizing AI to enhance product descriptions, and the potential to expand business reach to a global audience.

Why It’s Interesting

Shopify’s Winter 2023 Editions updates have the potential to significantly impact eCommerce business owners by helping them address several key areas of concern. Introducing one-page checkout can simplify the purchasing process for customers and reduce cart abandonment rates. Additionally, customizing checkout options and using AI to enhance product descriptions can lead to better customer engagement and increased sales. Finally, the possibility of reaching a global audience can help eCommerce businesses expand their customer base and increase their market share. Read more simple tips on optimizing your online Shopify store on our blog post.

What We Recommend

Shopify’s recent updates are exciting news for eCommerce business owners. However, to make the most of these changes, it is important to focus on key features that can significantly impact your business. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Explore the one-page checkout feature to make it easier for customers to complete their purchases.
  2. Use Shopify Magic to write more effective product descriptions. While AI tools can save you time, working with an eCommerce marketing agency is essential to ensure your copy is compelling and relevant to your target audience.
  3. Consider upgrading to Shopify Plus to customize your checkout page with your branding. This can help you establish a more professional and trustworthy business image, leading to increased customer loyalty and sales.

Increasing Brand Trust is an Acquisition and Retention Strategy

2023 began with robust customer spending that surpassed initial expectations. However, CNN reported a decrease in consumer spending soon after. This is because of the growing economic uncertainty and tighter financial conditions, leading analysts to forecast weaker spending in the upcoming months. As per Retail Brew, even as consumers tighten their purse strings they continue to do business with brands that are reliable and affordable.

Why It’s Interesting

The recent decline in customer spending makes it clear consumers are re-evaluating their spending habits. Unfortunately, this could leave eCommerce businesses out in the cold if they aren’t ready to adapt. Instead of only competing on price, stay ahead of the curve, be flexible and adjust your marketing and sales strategies accordingly. By doing so, you can better appeal to your target audience and increase sales, even during challenging economic conditions.

What We Recommend

Here are some strategies for retaining customers in the face of shifting spending habits:

  1. Invest in creating valuable content that aligns with your values. Creating content that reflects what’s most important to your brand on your website and other platforms can signal to customers that your values align with theirs.
  2. Leverage user-generated content, which has proven to be a powerful tool for building credibility and engaging with shoppers. Let current customers help build your brand’s trustworthiness.
  3. Harness data to optimize the customer experience at every touchpoint. In today’s data-driven world, it’s important to use insights to provide customers with a seamless shopping experience. This includes improving your website’s user experience, refining onsite content, and optimizing your customer service team’s response time. Each customer interaction is an opportunity to build brand trust.

Product Packaging is a Brand-Building Opportunity

Product packaging is a customer touchpoint that extends beyond the point of sale and plays a crucial role in a shopper’s decision to purchase. Although packaging’s primary function is protecting and transporting products, it also significantly affects the customer experience. Apple is a prime example of how packaging can make an impact, with over 28% of its customers never throwing away their iPhone boxes. In addition, a study by Ipsos revealed that 66% of respondents consider materials used in packaging when deciding whether to buy a product.

Why It’s Interesting

This news highlights the importance of product packaging as a customer touchpoint and how it can influence their buying decisions. It is essential to consider packaging not only as a way to deliver products, but also as an opportunity to build brand loyalty and customer satisfaction.

What We Recommend

Although not all businesses can afford to invest in product packaging, there are still ways to make your brand and products stand out:

  1. Add a personalized note addressed to the customer. This is a simple but effective way to build a relationship with them.
  2. Explore ways to reduce waste in your packaging to appeal to buyers who prioritize sustainability; share this information with customers.
  3. Spark excitement among customers by encouraging them to share unboxing videos of your products. These videos can also give valuable insights into improving your packaging and enhancing your customers’ unboxing experience.

Stay Ahead in the ECommerce Game with Boxwood’s Monthly Industry Wrap-Up!

Whew! Lots of exciting developments are happening in the industry that never sleeps. Sign up for our newsletter on our website to receive more useful information and news directly in your inbox. Looking to optimize your eCommerce strategy with the help of experienced professionals? Schedule a consultation with us.

ABOUT O’BRIAN GUNN

O’Brian Gunn is a copywriter at Boxwood Digital Marketing. With an insatiable curiosity and a passion for the written word, he enjoys helping brands uncover and convey their unique story. When not creating content, O’Brian enjoys reading, watching movies, fiction writing, and eating all the popcorn.