More than 3.4 billion people use Facebook every month to connect with friends and the brands they love. And as of 2021, Instagram has 1 billion users worldwide.
These digital platforms have grown exponentially and have become staple marketing channels and now shopping marketplaces for today’s merchants. The way consumers shop has drastically changed. Selling across multiple channels has become more of a necessity as omnichannel shopping is the “new normal” now.
Social commerce channels such as Facebook and Instagram should be part of your omnichannel strategy to promote your brand, showcase your products and reach a larger audience that uses these platforms every day.
Facebook for BigCommerce helps merchants access the tools they need to sell more across Facebook and Instagram. You can seamlessly integrate your BigCommerce store catalog to your Facebook and Instagram shops in just a few clicks.
In this guide, we dive into why Facebook for BigCommerce is right for your business, share merchant success stories and our top tips and best practices to help you succeed.
What is Facebook for BigCommerce?
Facebook for BigCommerce provides a broad suite of Facebook Business tools that help merchants grow and thrive with access to new sales channels, ads and measurement opportunities. It simplifies the process of setting up your shops on Facebook and Instagram, making end-to-end business management even easier.
Why Use Facebook for BigCommerce?
With 200 million businesses, Facebook and Instagram are proven partners to make online selling easy for merchants to reach people where they are. There are many opportunities to grow your customer base, optimize your posts and measure results.
- Find new customers: Harness the power of Facebook tools to connect with new audiences across Facebook and Instagram with targeted ads.
- Measure results: Conversions API works with your Facebook pixel to help improve the performance and measurement of your Facebook ad campaigns.
- Automatically sync your catalog to simplify inventory management, creating ads and tagging products.
The integration is quick and easy so you can start having an instant presence in those channels. You also will provide a holistic brand shopping experience across both Facebook and Instagram while proactively reaching the right audience for your business. And there are no fees until 2022!
Merchants who join Checkout on Instagram through BigCommerce will have their selling fees waived until June 20, 2022. See details here.
Note: Fees only occur when buyers purchase directly on Facebook or Instagram. This does not impact buyers who are checking out directly on the sellers website.
Merchant Success Stories
Based in Austin, TX, Pride Socks, an apparel company, wanted to drive conversions and also share their brand’s mission — spreading love, pride, respect and inclusion through their Instagram Shop.
Rachel Smith, founder of Pride Socks, saw an instant increase of views in their stories when tagging products and loved seeing the new engagement. Since January 2021, Pride Socks saw a 36% increase in sales that came directly from Instagram Checkout and the Facebook integration.
“When we started tagging our products, we saw a huge increase [in engagement] because [the response was], ‘Oh cute. I like that look. I want that for my niece, my grandma or brother.’ Then click… and people loved it because it took them immediately to where they wanted to go versus searching.”
— Rachel Smith, Founder of Pride Socks
Social media is also playing a significant role in Skullycandy’s overall digital success. Skullcandy, a headphone and earbud company, enabled the Facebook Shop integration to provide their customers with a seamless shopping experience on both Facebook and Instagram.
“We are really taking bets on social commerce, leveraging built-in BigCommerce integrations to serve product catalogs across social channels where orders start in the social channel, and seamlessly drop into BigCommerce’s control panel for streamlined fulfillment.”
— Kathryn Smith, Global Brand Director at SkullCandy
How to Get Started
Launching your shop on Facebook and Instagram is quick and easy.
Your BigCommerce store’s catalog will connect seamlessly to your shop on Facebook and Instagram so consumers can easily discover your products, share them with friends and checkout directly on Facebook/Instagram. Orders from Facebook and Instagram are managed from BigCommerce just like storefront orders.
Once you connect your BigCommerce store to Facebook via Channel Manager, you can start tagging your products from your catalog directly in your Instagram photos. Instagram users can discover more information about your products and can link directly to your store for purchase.
Stores based in the US can also apply for and enable checkout on Instagram, which allows shoppers to purchase the products they discover on Instagram without ever leaving the app. When enabled, new products you tag in posts will use the in-app checkout process instead of redirecting to BigCommerce for checkout.
Note: Checkout on Instagram is only available to US stores and shoppers using USD currency.
Once your store has met the requirements, Instagram will review your connected accounts. Then, over the next week, you’ll receive a notification in your Instagram account.
Merchants who have already been invited by Instagram may get notified sooner. If you haven’t already connected your BigCommerce store to Facebook, follow the steps below.
Once connected, you can link your Facebook and Instagram accounts, allowing you to tag products in your Facebook and Instagram posts.
Before You Begin
- Make sure your products are not prohibited under Facebook’s Commerce Policies.
- Make sure you are logged in to Facebook with the account you want to use with your store. This account should be an admin in the Facebook Business Manager you’ll connect to your store.
- If you haven’t already, create a Facebook Business Page.
- You will need your banking account information ready when setting up Payments.
Send Your Catalog to Facebook
1. Go to Channel Manager › Facebook and click Connect. If you haven’t already, Facebook will have you log in with the account you want to use with your store.
2. In the Facebook popup that appears, you’ll select your Facebook Business Page, Business Manager account and Ad Account. You’ll also set up your Ad Account and Facebook Pixel or create new ones. After setup on Facebook is complete, you’ll automatically be returned to BigCommerce to finish setting up.
3. Enter your shop details, including your business address and tax information. You’ll need to enter your state registration number for each state you collect taxes in (nexus). When you’re done, click Next. Learn more about how Facebook determines tax rates.
4. Set up your shipping options. This is how orders that come from Checkout on Instagram will be shipped. You must set up at least one option but may have up to three (standard, expedited and rush). Note that orders must be marked as “shipped” within 3 days of being placed and include tracking numbers. Learn more about shipping policies for orders made through Checkout on Facebook or Instagram.
5. Set up your Return Policy. You must allow at least 30 days (up to 90 days) for returns and provide an email address for customer service contacts. When you’re done, click Next. Learn more about accepting and closing returns for orders made through Checkout on Facebook or Instagram.
6. Click Accept Terms to agree to Facebook’s Commerce Product Merchant Agreement, then click Setup Payments. In the popup that appears, complete the requested business details and banking information. Learn more about accepting payments on Facebook and Instagram.
Note: If you run into issues setting up your payment information, contact Facebook Commerce support here.
7. For Category Mapping, set up your Default Category (this is a Facebook category). This will serve as a “catch-all” category for uncategorized products, so choose something that most closely fits your business or the category of products you sell most. Next, map your BigCommerce categories to the closest matching category on Facebook. You don’t have to complete all your categories now; you can move on and come back to finish later if you want. When you’re ready, click Next.
8. Click Export to send your BigCommerce catalog to Facebook. You can leave this page and the export will continue. Depending on the size of your catalog, this can take up to 2+ hours. Once the export is complete, you’ll get a report on which products were successfully exported. See our section on troubleshooting products that failed to export to Facebook for examples of why certain products fail, and how to fix it.
Connect Your Facebook and Instagram Accounts
You must have an Instagram business account to enable product product tagging on Instagram and allow customers to checkout directly within the app.
Follow the instructions here to connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts. Once approved, you’ll receive a notification from Instagram that you can start tagging products in your posts.
You’ll also see a notification in the app, so make sure you have the latest version installed on your device.
Enable Checkout on Instagram
1. Go to Channel Manager › Facebook and click the tab for Instagram.
2. Click Enable Channel. On the next few screens, you’ll select your Instagram handle and complete any other required setup steps.
3. Once completed, your store will be queued for review by Instagram. They will let you know your connected accounts are under review and you can return to this page later to check your approval status. Some stores that have already been notified by Instagram may be approved immediately.
Tools and Best Practices
With so much opportunity available through Facebook for BigCommerce, merchants need to be strategic about creating optimizable content that drives conversions.
Here are our top tips we’re seeing work for brands:
1. Use Product Tags Frequently
Every month, 130 million people tap on product tags to learn more about brands they see on Instagram. Product tags enable you to highlight products from your BigCommerce catalog and help customers learn more about what you’re selling.
Using product tags is essential for giving shoppers an easy way to find your brand, but also to make a convenient purchase. Product tags should be a part of your baseline Instagram strategy and you should leverage them whenever posting images of products.
Pro Tip: Facebook recommends posting images with product tags at least five times a month. In addition to tagging in your posts, you can also tag products in Instagram Reels and Stories, so don’t be afraid to get creative.
When shoppers tap a product tag on a post, they will redirect to a product detail page. A product detail page shows all relevant information about an item: pricing, descriptions and media (photos and videos).
Product detail pages pull in all media where the product is tagged. Here’s how to tag your products on Instagram:
- Enable product tagging. When creating a post, tap “Tag Products” to open the tagging menu. Here you’ll be able to turn on this feature.
- Tag your product. Tap the photo you’d like to add product tags to, and be sure to select your BigCommerce catalog. Make sure you don’t overcrowd your content with tags so that people can see the items clearly.
- Review before you publish. Review the product tags you’ve selected, then tap “Done” to return to the feed post creation page.
The most successful Shopping businesses use product tags frequently across different formats in feed, stories, Reels, IGTV, captions and Live because people spend time in different places on Instagram.
Using product tags consistently to create more shoppable posts can help you reach new shoppers and get the most out of your shop.
2. Keep Your Catalog Up to Date
You’ll need a product catalog to use product tags on Instagram, and having a robust one will help you be successful. Always consider the shoppers’ point of view: They see your post in their feed or discovery; they want to learn more and tap the image. They see the product tag and advance to the product detail page.
Important things to consider when updating your catalog:
- Inventory: Only products with inventory can be sold. To start selling products, update your catalog with accurate inventory counts (so you know when items sell out) and product category codes (for taxes).
- Product names: Keep product names concise and consistent with your website on Instagram, so shoppers can see how to utilize a product.
- Product descriptions: Include the item description, including length, materials, cut and size considerations. For non-US sizes, remember to include size conversions.
- Sizing: For products that need sizing consideration, make sure details are precise. If a product has multiple sizes, ensure you have inventory for each size.
- Pricing: Make sure the price is accurate and consistent with your website.
- Shipping Fees: You have the option to set different types of shipping fees, including free shipping minimums at various service levels. Put your shipping options in your Commerce Manager settings.
Pro Tip: Without more images or videos to swipe through on a product detail page, shoppers can easily churn. Provide at least two photos of the product.
3. Make Your Content Actionable
Consumers engage with shoppable posts and videos throughout the app. Regularly creating engaging and actionable posts about your products across posts, Reels and Stories can help amplify your reach while building shopping behaviors.
- Use clear calls to action to inform consumers how to shop for your products on Instagram.
- Update your Instagram profile to let shoppers know that they can buy from you directly on Instagram. For example, adding phrases like “Start shopping below” to your profile will help clarify that visitors, especially new customers, understand they can shop your product directly via Instagram.
4. Plan Your Posts Ahead
Identify what cultural moments matter to your brand and your audience, then create content relevant to those moments. This planning ahead will not only be beneficial for your upcoming product launches and announcements, but also helps establish an emotional connection with customers and build brand affinity.
5. Design Your Shop to Reflect Your Brand
When merchants enable shops on Facebook and Instagram, you get access to merchandising features to curate and customize the shopping experience for your customers.
Products can be organized with collections around seasonal moments, promotions and upcoming launches.
Visual merchandising can also provide a custom look and feel to highlight your brand. Remember to arrange the layout and order of your collections so that people see your new and featured collections first.
According to Facebook data, merchants that tag 5+ days per month on their feed, see on average:
- 278% increase in product page visits
- 231% increase in purchases
- 216% increase in sales
Is there any additional cost or extra fee for enabling Facebook Shop for my BigCommerce store?
Other than the Facebook Payments processing fee of 5% per transaction or $0.40 if the transaction is $8.00 or less, no, there are no additional costs or fees.
Merchants who join Checkout on Instagram through BigCommerce will have their selling fees waived until June 20, 2022. However, sales generated through Facebook Shop and other built-in BigCommerce integrations are counted in your store’s GMV/sales.
Increased sales/revenue could result in your store being automatically upgraded, depending on your current plan. See BigCommerce Pricing for more information.
Is my personal Facebook account shared?
No. Even though you may use your personal Facebook account to create your business page, your personal account identity and information is not publicly shared or shown on the page.
Why is my Facebook page grayed out during setup?
The Facebook account you are currently logged in with may not have admin permission for that page, or the page may not be published.
What happens when a product’s stock reaches zero/runs out?
Out of stock products will continue to sync to Facebook as long as they are marked “visible”. The products will continue to show on Facebook but will not be purchasable.
Do hidden categories/products in hidden categories export/sync?
Products that are in hidden categories, and the hidden categories themselves are still “visible” in Facebook Shop and will export/sync. These categories/collections can be marked as “Unpublished” in your Facebook Shop settings.
Why is the product I want to tag in my Instagram post not appearing?
Every product in a catalog is reviewed for policy violation. If a product is not appearing, it may have been disapproved or is a duplicate product. Your BigCommerce store’s system error logs can provide insight to why certain products may have been not approved by Facebook or Instagram.
My product was not approved. Where can I fix this and what does it look like?
Facebook reviews all products to ensure they don’t violate any Advertising Policies before appearing in ads.
If your product violates Advertising Policies, it will not be able to be used in your Instagram shopping ads. Businesses can try to update the product in the catalog with a non-trivial change (e.g. new image), and it will trigger a new review process.
Facebook is working on implementing a manual review process for rejected products on Instagram Shopping, but don’t have timelines at this time.
You can contact the Facebook Commerce support team for Instagram Shopping questions issues through this support form.
Walmart has grown into a globally recognized brand and dramatically changed the retail landscape since opening its first store in 1962. In fact, because 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store, it has become the go-to retailer for in-store shopping.
Walmart launched its online marketplace in 2009 to create a trusted and transparent platform to ensure customer and brand loyalty. Its presence in ecommerce has made it the world’s largest omnichannel retailer and provided merchants the opportunity to sell their products on their marketplace in front of 120 million unique monthly visitors.
With more and more shoppers turning to digital channels to make purchases, it’s imperative to have the right mix of sales channels to expand your customer reach and increase brand recognition and revenue.
In order to grow, merchants need to revisit their omnichannel strategies and explore more digital marketplace opportunities beyond their ecommerce stores.
Forecasters expect multichannel sales to make up close to 46% of all ecommerce sales by 2023, up from 40.3% in 2019. Retailers selling through a single branded ecommerce site like BigCommerce saw a 58% revenue growth after adding a marketplace. Selling on a secondary marketplace can increase revenue by 106%.
“Omnichannel shopping is quickly becoming the baseline expectation for customers. Suppliers, sellers and retailers alike must embrace that if we’re going to succeed together.”
— Michael Mosser, GM of Entertainment, Toys and Seasonal, Walmart
Walmart Marketplace is a strategic channel merchants should consider in their omnichannel strategy. Third-party sellers get significantly more exposure on Walmart.com compared to Amazon.
As the world’s largest physical retailer, Walmart’s incredible infrastructure and the ability to provide shoppers the freedom to buy online and pickup/return in store (BOPIS and BORIS).
In this guide we’ll dive in on:
- Why Walmart Marketplace is right for your business.
- How to get started with Walmart Marketplace.
- Best practices and success strategies to drive sales.
What is Walmart Marketplace?
As a large-scale cross-category digital retail platform, Walmart Marketplace is the second largest marketplace after Amazon and offers over 35 product categories with products appearing directly in Walmart.com search results.
In order to ensure a positive experience for both vendors and shoppers, Walmart is selective of its sellers and has an extensive vetting process. This means that customers get better quality products and merchants have less competition. In fact, merchants see 13x more sales on Walmart Marketplace than Amazon.
Walmart Marketplace Audience
The average shopper on Walmart Marketplace is between the ages of 23 and 38, is married with children and owns a home. Like so many other consumers, Walmart shoppers are increasingly buying more online across a variety of channels.
Findings included the top five purchase categories: groceries, personal care, health, household cleaning products and beauty products. Customers also tried new digital tools (pickup & delivery, Walmart.com) to shop versus going in-store to make purchases.
Why Sell on Walmart Marketplace?
Walmart’s brand recognition allows merchants to reach new audiences and provides businesses with an impressive amount of exposure. Walmart Marketplace sellers receive roughly 27,000 monthly visitors compared to 2,100 on Amazon.
As a Marketplace seller, you’ll have control over your business, including inventory, retail pricing, fulfillment and customer care. Merchants who sell on Walmart Marketplace gain access to many benefits, including:
- Incremental revenue stream and ability to reach millions of shoppers.
- Options for fast shipping, easy returns and pickup, plus top-notch customer service with Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS).
- Self-serve advertising portal to target the right shoppers.
- Competitive pricing structure and transparent referral fees.
- Centralized management of Walmart and other sales channels.
Merchant Success Stories
VitaBox, an essential goods company, connected its entire product catalog of 8,500+ products to Walmart in as little as two days. Since becoming operational on Walmart Marketplace, Vitabox increased sales an additional 25%, with Walmart quickly becoming the company’s second-largest sales channel.
Stone Coat Countertops, a DIY remodeling supply company, wanted to increase their audience reach and get their brand in front of new customers, specifically Walmart in-store shoppers. They knew the application to sell on Walmart Marketplace can be a long process and looked to BigCommerce for help.
“We had been trying to get our products on Walmart since last Q4, but BigCommerce was able to escalate our application and get us on Walmart very quickly. We also know Walmart is making this big e-commerce play… [and] we’ve seen that some of those online brands whose products are most successful on Walmart Marketplace are also getting their products in stores, which exponentially increases sales volume.”
— Jeffrey Jensen, Site Leader, Stone Coat Countertops
How to Get Started
BigCommerce consultants are here to help with every step of the way with the application process and any questions regarding the integration. Merchants who apply to list on Walmart through BigCommerce are placed in a priority review queue.
The application process takes half the time to process compared to non-BigCommerce merchants (7 days instead of 14).
Here are the steps:
1. Create a channel in BigCommerce’s Channel Manager — Go to Channel Manager and click + Create Channel
2. Connect to Walmart — Under Marketplaces, click Connect to Walmart
3. Apply to sell with Walmart — On the next page, click Apply to sell to begin the application process.
4. Submit application with Walmart — After clicking Apply to sell, the seller will be redirected to Walmart Marketplace.
5. Choose a preferred integrator to connect BigCommerce to Walmart:
- CedCommerce (SB): Easily connect and automate your products and order management directly with Walmart from within BigCommerce. A great fit for small businesses who are also looking to integrate with various channels based in countries around the world.
- Codisto (SB/MM): Seamlessly create, manage and optimize your Walmart Marketplace listings, inventory and orders directly from within BigCommerce. Codisto will also enable you to sync your products with other global channels, including Amazon, eBay and Google.
- Feedonomics (MM/ENT): Intelligently optimize your product feeds on Walmart Marketplace to enhance your brand’s performance. BigCommerce will be the inventory/order hub for transactions completed on Walmart.
- Sellbrite (SB): Easily sync your product catalog with Walmart Marketplace and other global marketplace channels, like Amazon and eBay. This solution will serve as your hub for inventory and orders, and will also integrate with various 3PL options like Deliverr.
- SureDone (SB/MM): Sync, sell and ship your products on key online marketplaces like Walmart. This solution will serve as your hub for inventory and orders, and will enable you to export and repurpose your data across all of the channels and fulfillment services you integrate with.
- Zentail (MM): Centrally automate listings, inventory and orders from your marketplaces and BigCommerce store. This solution will act as the hub for your inventory and orders, making it a good fit for merchants with more complex operational workflows.
“Omnichannel doesn’t mean you apply the same practice in every channel, right? It’s a matter of being in all the channels. I think you need to leverage the data and tools that you have in each of those channels to be successful. As you look at Walmart Marketplace and your business going forward, it would be looking at things specifically like what inventory is currently selling on the platform and what are the prices that it’s selling at, again, making sure that you’re being competitively priced.”
— Michael Mosser, GM of Entertainment, Toys and Seasonal, Walmart
Walmart Marketplace has a variety of in-depth tools and omnichannel programs to attract more customers and drive sales. Sellers have access to view and manage their data, programs to increase product visibility, buy box wins and conversion rates.
Here are our top Walmart tools to help you succeed in selling more on Walmart Marketplace:
Today’s shoppers expect free and fast shipping. Luckily, Walmart Marketplace offers free delivery in two days on eligible listings. This is a great free program to use to show customers you can provide free delivery in two days.
The delivery program is available to all Walmart Marketplace sellers with two ways to opt-in, primarily based on how directly you manage fulfillment and what’s best for your business:
- Seller-Managed: You manage your fulfillment network, shipping items from your warehouse(s) and possibly additional fulfillment partners for some items. Performance criteria must be met to be eligible for this option.
- Third-Party-Managed: You can use a BigCommerce and Walmart’s joint partner such as Deliverr or Shipbob, to fulfill all orders on your behalf.
Pro Seller Badge
A Pro Seller badge optimizes your listings and lets customers know you consistently provide great shopping experiences with on-time delivery and free returns. No application is needed to get the Pro Seller Badge, and Walmart will automatically add the badge to a merchant’s catalog.
Walmart has the following criteria to be eligible for the Pro Seller Badge:
- Listing Quality Score : 70% of a seller’s trending catalog must be above 60%.
- Delivery defect rate: <10%.
- Cancellations: < 2%.
- Orders: More than 100 in the last 90 day.
Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS)
WFS offers merchants fast, low-cost fulfillment services to reach customers. Sellers are able to store inventory at Walmart fulfillment centers and access Walmart’s Free & Easy Returns program.
When a customer places an order, WFS picks, packs and ships the item to the customer on a seller’s behalf and handles customer support including returns. There are product requirements that apply:
- Products must ship to Walmart fulfillment centers within the United States.
- No perishable or regulated products.
- Maximum product weight is 30 lbs.
- Maximum product dimensions: 25” x 20” x 14”.
If interested to apply for WFS, fill out the application here.
Utilizing Walmart Sponsored Products increases your visibility by allowing you to reach and engage shoppers at every stage of their journey. Your ads appear on the first page of search results, category pages and item pages to drive traffic to your products.
Sponsored Products help consumers find and purchase products that you sell on Walmart. They’re cost-per-click ads, so you only pay when a shopper clicks on your ad.
Sponsored Products are selected based on a combination of relevance and bid:
- Products advertised must win the buy box.
- Products advertised must be in stock.
Once a merchant is live on Walmart, our partners such as Tinuiti and Teikametrics can amplify your listings and manage sponsored ads on Walmart.
- Tinuit’s comprehensive program helps your brand scale up on Walmart through effective advertising management, creating content and media designed for conversions, and refining your operations program.
- Teikametrics provides robust reporting options and additional data, giving a more holistic view of advertising and business performance.
Listing Quality Dashboard
The Listing Quality Dashboard is a free tool to optimize your listings to stand out. The dashboard provides a measurable quality score and a detailed breakdown of contributing factors to improve your listings.
The Listing Quality Score is calculated by what drove a customer to purchase similar items using an algorithm. Recommendations are also provided, including best practices on competitive pricing, detailed descriptions and your customer service rate.
Shoppers expect a consistent and easy experience regardless of whether an item is sold by Walmart or by a Marketplace seller. There are many ways to be successful on Walmart Marketplace and here are our top tips:
How to Optimize Your Listings
1. Make your product name count. The first thing people will see is your product name, so consider including words that are product-specific and unique. We recommended keeping your product name between 50-75 characters long.
Pro Tip: Use a descriptive title such as adding a color if it’s something your customer will most likely search for.
2. Keep your catalog up to date. This is extremely important to provide the best shopping experience for potential customers. Accurate pricing, correct images with robust descriptions of your product are a must. Don’t forget to include length, materials, size and any additional information relative to your product.
3. Choose clear and various images. All listings must have at least two images. They must also be in focus, professionally lit and photographed. Don’t show accessories that do not come with the item.
4. Pick the right categorization. Walmart lets you pick categories and subcategories for your listings, but finding the proper category isn’t always obvious. Refer to Walmart’s Categorization Guide for additional information.
Pro Tip: Avoid selecting “other” as the category unless necessary, as it may reduce the level of customer traffic to your product.
5. Provide the right UPC. Walmart requires you to provide a Universal Product Code (UPC) for every listing. For more guidance, click here.
Does it cost anything to sell on Walmart Marketplace?
There are no setup, subscription or monthly fees. Walmart deducts a referral fee once a sale occurs on Walmart Marketplace.
What types of items can I sell on Walmart Marketplace?
Walmart allows an extensive range of products on their site. Sellers are required to follow Walmart’s policies, which include some limitations, so please review Walmart’s Prohibited Products Policy for more information.
What is Walmart Fulfillment Services?
Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) is a program that allows sellers to store their inventory at Walmart fulfillment centers. When a customer places an order on Walmart.com, WFS picks, packs and ships the item(s) to the customer on a seller’s behalf. WFS also handles all customer support and returns for these orders.
Products fulfilled by Walmart qualify for TwoDay delivery and Free & Easy Returns programs.
What are Walmart’s shipping requirements?
Walmart has five shipping methods available. You can select the carriers, shipping price and shipping method to set up your seller profile in Seller Center. Orders must be shipped in non-branded packaging and can’t include materials from any company other than Walmart.
What are Walmart’s returns and customer service policies?
Returns for Walmart Marketplace purchases are designed to offer customers a consistent experience across Walmart.com. You can view the full return policy on Seller Help. Your customer service information (including customer service email address, hours of operation and customer service phone number) will display with your item listings on Walmart.com.
What will my items look like online?
They will look like other items sold on Walmart.com but include your company information, such as shipping, return policy and contact information.
No matter who you are, or where you’re from, the holiday spirit is alive and well.
For many holiday shoppers, that means finding that perfect gift for your loved ones. For many retailers, however, that means gearing up for a wild ride.
To ecommerce business owners and marketers alike, it’s more than just a festive season.
It’s about creating holiday gift guides and giveaways. It’s about using SEO skills to optimize your landing pages. It’s about getting new subscribers to your email campaigns and bringing back loyal customers. It’s about building that perfect messaging. It’s about bringing those unique holiday marketing ideas to life.
Whether it’s Amazon, Walmart, a new online store or anything in between, the holiday shopping season is a great opportunity to drive business. It’s a lot of work and pressure, of course, but the potential reward can be a game changer.
A good marketing strategy can boost holiday sales and beat last year’s numbers. A great one can last a lifetime.
BigCommerce, along with our partner PayPal, researched the most iconic holiday marketing campaigns in history. Here’s a snapshot of the last 150 years of these memorable holiday retail marketing campaigns from some of the world’s most well-known brands:
Best Holiday Marketing Campaigns in History
Before the days of email marketing and social media hashtags, many brands used influencers and even their own mascots to create holiday ads that ran throughout the Christmas season. Those marketing efforts were impactful and laid the foundation for what we see and use today.
Did Coca-Cola create the modern day Santa Claus? Did a department store really invent Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Is Mr. Potato Head responsible for reshaping holiday TV advertising? How did a single advertising campaign raise over $40 million to fund children’s vaccines?
It’s time to find out:
- Macy’s Holiday Window Campaign
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Coca-Cola Invents the Father of Christmas
- Budweiser Celebrates the End to Prohibition
- Montgomery Ward Employee Invents Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Campbell’s Soup Speaks to the ’50s Housewife
- Mr. Potato Head Becomes First Toy Ever Televised
- NORAD Tracks Santa’s Journey Around the World
- Norelco Popularizes Stop-Motion Animation
- Kentucky for Christmas! Why You’ll Eat KFC in Japan
- Folgers Advertises the Intangible
- Hershey’s Holiday Bells Defy Ad Agency of Record
- Coca-Cola’s Sledding Polar Bears Humanize Global Warming
- Coca-Cola’s Christmas Fleet Brings Truckloads of Cheer
- M&M’s Stumble Upon Santa –– No One is Left Standing
- Starbucks Red Cups Spark Consumer Salivating (and Controversy)
- Target’s Black Friday Catalog Focuses on Price
- Pampers’ “Silent Night” Raises $40 Million
- Give a Garmin Hits on Travel, Humor and Holiday Stress
- John Lewis Focuses on Storytelling Over Brand
- Macy’s Believe Campaign Raises $10 Million, Involves Schools
- American Express Small Business Saturday Supports Local
- Apple Makes Technology and Family a Priority
- REI’s #OptOutside Campaign Bucks Tradition
- Amazon’s “Give a Little Bit” Campaign Gives a Lot
- Spotify’s “#2018Goals” Campaign Speaks Loudly
- Google Home’s Alone Again with Google Assistant Campaign is the Ultimate Nostalgia
No matter which channels you use, for many brands (and likely even you), the holiday season — from after Halloween to Thanksgiving to Black Friday and Cyber Monday — is a make or break time, especially during the pandemic.
Perhaps these memorable campaigns can provide some inspiration for your content marketing team this year.
Welcome to The Make it Big Podcast, a bi-weekly audio series about all things ecommerce by BigCommerce.
In 2021, digital marketing is marketing. Co-Founder of DigitalMarketer, Richard Lindner, joins Melissa Dixon, BigCommerce’s Director of Content Marketing, to discuss the current state of marketing and where it’s headed.
The past year has forced brands to get even more creative in order to stand out in a crowded digital space and connect with customers. But, the basics still remain true: It’s the marketer’s job to channel and direct customers’ desires, not create them.
All episodes of The Make it Big Podcast are now available on Spotify, Apple and Google.
Here are a few excerpts from Episode 1:
Melissa Dixon: Tell us a little bit about how you got started [in marketing] and also ultimately what led to you founding DigitalMarketer?
Richard Lindner: “Absolutely. I got started 100% by accident. I did not intend to go into marketing much less digital marketing.
“When I first started, I didn’t really understand the Internet and wasn’t all that tech savvy, but I [came across] a business mentor who was a serial entrepreneur and had just transitioned from the traditional brick and mortar into online. [I] was able to mentor and almost apprentice under him as he really went from offline to online and quickly grew up [a] $20 to $40 million business in a very short time, just leveraging the Internet in very, very early days…
“The thought of founding a company or co-founding a company that taught other people how to market effectively and efficiently online, I would’ve never imagined the path from that to where we are today.
“We maintain that serial entrepreneur bug and launched a ton of new businesses launched or acquired, leveraged the media that we own to stand up new properties and new businesses and saw a ton of growth. We started teaching what we were doing because different founders and principals were being asked to speak on different events and share what was working. And we started productizing some of that knowledge and charging for it, making courses in very early course days, but we always saw it as a way to sell the by-product of what we were doing to reinvest into our ‘real businesses.’
“We started an event called Traffic & Conversion Summit 11 years ago and had the first one in Austin, Texas. And the third year in a row, 1,000 people paid to come. That was before DigitalMarketer existed.
“It was then that we stood back a little bit in all and said, ‘I don’t think this is what the kids would call today a side hustle.’
“So I think we’ve engaged in audience and we need to serve that audience. So it was day two of Traffic & Conversion Summit 3, when we made a commitment to launch DigitalMarketer. And because we are the consummate planners, we announced it on day three of year three at Traffic & Conversion Summit.
“So there was something about that extreme ownership, extreme accountability, and just going all in. That’s where it accidentally started and how we ended up here with DigitalMarketer.”
MD: Let’s talk about the current state of marketing. I know it may sound like maybe an overly simplified question, but how would you describe marketing in 2021 and what does it mean to you?
RL: “Melissa, I’ll tell you, I love that you asked the question how would you describe marketing? Because most people say what’s the state of digital marketing? How would you describe digital marketing? Here’s the great news in 2021, all marketing is digital marketing.
“Digital marketing is marketing. It’s just marketing now, at some point, no matter where you’re marketing through a digital platform or not your marketing transitions over to digital, right?
“It’s either digital ad space or you’re going to the web at some point. So everything is becoming digital. Radio ads are driving to digital, TV ads are driving to digital, print ads are driving to digital. So the origin of marketing, the origin of how you engage or make your person aware of your marketing message.
“Maybe [there’s] one thing that may not always start digitally, but everything comes back to digital. So digital is mainstream…
“Digital marketing is now marketing, all marketing is digital. What we saw this year, this past year during the pandemic is we saw 10 years worth of growth in online sales. I mean, that’s crazy. So what the pandemic forced, it can never take away. There are new habits. We all form new habits.
“The first three months of COVID, 10 years of growth. There’s no signs of stopping. And even though the world may open back up and we may go back to some aspect of what used to be as we’re establishing our new normal, those buying trends are not going away.
“What we expect as consumers from even non-online businesses, those expectations will not be reduced back to pre pandemic days. All marketing is going to be digital. That is not industry specific, business model specific. That is world specific.”
MD: What is your perspective on how to really become an expert in empathetic marketing and how to truly understand your audience and build that connection? What are some of the ways they can do that?
RL: “I fully understand that a lot of marketers and a lot of ecommerce store businesses and any kind of digital marketer, there’s a high probability that they are potentially an introvert. I get that, I can suffer from that as well.
“I can play an extrovert on TV, but at the end of the day, I’m an introvert. And I preface this because I’m pre-apologizing and I’m telling the introverts out there, you can do it. It’s okay.
“The first step in figuring out how do you clearly articulate what your customers are saying or feeling. What’s the conversation that they’re already having, whether or not you’re participating or not? She got to talk to him, you have to talk to him. And I don’t mean through a phone, like 100 customer conversations. That should be your goal. When the headline on your website is just a tightened-up version of something your ideal customer has said to you 15 times or more, when their ideal customer that’s never heard of you hits it. It’ll resonate with them.
“The type of content you’re creating should just be content that would solve the problem or make the average day better of that customer you’ve already talked to. You need to have real conversations with your customers to understand that pain, to understand the desires and to kind of start to walk a mile in their shoes, for lack of a better term.”
MD: From your perspective, what do you view as some of the fundamentals of good copywriting and why you think they’re so important?
RL: “Copy is copy. [Copy] should be broken up and chunked out and copy chunks should be used to drive to two bigger copy chunks, but what I see all the time is someone pulls up Microsoft Word or a Google Doc. And instead of having a conversation like you and I are, it becomes very formal even today, even when you think, like, I don’t know.
“I remember this’ll date me that I remember having to learn how to in middle in high school, write a formal letter, write a business letter. I see marketers that just revert to this tone of formal, speak in marketing messages. And that is the best way to not form a connection.
“So the conversational tone is critical. I think the next step is knowing who you’re talking to. And again, if you understand that, I love what you said, that empathy or empathetic marketing. If you understand the hopes and dreams, the desires and the outcomes of your customer, and you understand the frustrations today, then that’s step one.
“Now we have to clearly articulate those. Here’s where you’re at and here’s where you want to be. And here is how whatever I’m offering you will expedite your journey there. So, so much of marketing is conversational. But it’s very clear and concise, it’s benefit-based, we start with the benefit. And I think I see in marketing people confuse features with benefits.”
MD: When it comes to graphic design and enhancing the brand experience, what do you think that brands should really focus on?
RL: “The physical manifestation of that brand. Or physical embodiment, the human embodiment of that brand. I think everything has to be in alignment. If you look at your copy, your message has to be there. And if you’re messaging empathy and understanding, then the voice in your podcast that has to be there. The design is just a little bit deeper in, but it has to all say the same thing, like images need to represent your customer’s core desire.
“Think of the average day of your customer, today and think of the desired average day. No matter what it is, if it’s a widget, if it’s clothing, if it’s coffee does not matter, what are you selling?
“Remember, what are you marketing? Are you marketing happiness? Are you marketing luxury and [its] status, elevation, but images need to represent the before and the after.
“So when you’re looking at your site, whether it’s a landing page or a product page, or a cart, your checkout, how are you reinforcing that message?”
For full episodes, stream The Make it Big Podcast on Spotify, Apple and Google.
Rapid growth in ecommerce sales and digital adoption across the globe opens up a world of opportunity for businesses looking to expand. The numbers alone make a compelling case: In 2021, ecommerce sales are expected to make up nearly 20% of total retail volume. By 2023, global ecommerce is projected to hit $6.2 trillion with the majority of retail ecommerce growth occurring in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and Africa.
And it’s easy to see how this shift is occurring in real-time — new ecommerce customers are logging on every day. Take Europe, for example. In 2020, the digital adoption rate jumped from 81% to 95%. As people confronted new challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, similar acceleration occurred worldwide.
The projected growth of ecommerce markets makes expansion more attractive than ever, with opportunities for businesses to tap into a new customer base, establish new partnerships, increase revenue and become a global brand.
So, considering the tremendous opportunities for growth, why don’t more businesses go global? There are some real barriers that keep businesses from branching out. Some of the ones companies frequently cite:
Localization. Website translation, adapting payment options and lack of market expertise — these are just a few of the obstacles of fitting into a new market.
Compliance. Navigating the tax considerations and regulatory environment in different jurisdictions can be highly complex.
Shipping and customs. Managing duties, tariffs and return costs often keep businesses from selling cross-border.
Accepting payments. Launching local payment methods requires months of work teams across your organization, including legal, business development, engineering, product and finance.
Managing customer support. Meeting customer expectations, generating word of mouth and protecting your brand from a distance requires some careful preparation.
For many businesses, the task of addressing all of these issues is daunting and cost-prohibitive. And the reality is going global is a major undertaking. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. With the right partner and smart planning, you can successfully navigate these challenges.
3 Steps to Take for International Ecommerce Growth
There’s a lot to consider before you venture across borders. Following a basic strategy can help you take a careful, thorough approach. BigCommerce has partnered with Stripe, a global leader in payments infrastructure, because they enable businesses to accept payments in 195 countries and dozens of local payment methods when using Stripe on BigCommerce. Stripe recommends a three-step framework for going global that helps businesses think through their options and take smart steps toward international growth.
Step 1: Evaluate
As with any big adventure, a great tool to start with is a map. It might seem simplest to choose your closest neighboring countries or the most developed regions where ecommerce is already strong. But taking a broader sweep and evaluating markets around the world can help you identify your path to expansion.
Considering not only where the market stands today but where it’s headed can also help inform your decision. India, Brazil, Russia, and Argentina are projected to see 26% growth rates in ecommerce in 2021. Asia-Pacific alone will account for nearly 61% of all retail ecommerce sales worldwide compared to North America which will claim 20%. And as of 2021, 94% of the world’s internet users are outside the US. — so taking a careful look far and wide may lead you to greater growth potential.
Let’s look at some regions you might want to consider and the key numbers that will factor into your decision.
- $1.7 trillion GDP
- 37 million population
- $52 billion annual B2C ecommerce growing at 15% in 2020
- 83% credit card adoption, 86% smartphone adoption, with 33% of ecommerce flowing through mobile
Top countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa
- The UK
- $2.8 trillion GDP
- $233 billion annual B2C ecommerce, growing 11% annually
- 55% buy online via mobile
- $2.8 trillion GDP
- $106 billion annual B2C ecommerce, growing 13% annually
- 39% buy online via mobile
- $3.8 trillion GDP
- $108 billion annual B2C ecommerce
- 50% buy online via mobile
Top countries in Asia-Pacific
- $1.4 trillion GDP
- 13% ecommerce growth rate
- World leader in contactless payment adoption, with 4 out of 5 in-person payments
- New Zealand
- $205 billion GDP
- 10% ecommerce growth rate
- 91% internet adoption
- $2.7 trillion GDP
- 1.4 billion population
- 26% ecommerce annual growth rate
- 43% buy online via mobile
- $1 trillion GDP
- 269 million population
- 31% ecommerce annual growth rate
- Payments split: 35% cash, 42% bank transfer, 10% wallet, 5% credit card, 3% convenience store, 5% other
- $5.2 trillion GDP
- 126 million population
- $183 billion B2C ecommerce, growing 7.7% annually
- 85% credit card adoption, 79% smartphone adoption, 42% of ecommerce flowing through mobile
Top countries in Latin America
- $1.9 trillion GDP
- 210 population
- 89% mobile adoption
- $1.2 trillion GDP
- 126 million population
- 34% ecommerce annual growth rate
As you’re taking stock of different markets, you’ll want to also compare and consider the following:
- Market size. What’s the ecommerce GDP in that particular country or region? What are the growth projections for that market?
- Market attractiveness. In a given market, how many customers fall within your target demographic? Is that number likely to grow? What are the country’s digital adoption and smartphone penetration rates? What is the competitive landscape?
- Ease of entry. When it comes to the logistics and costs involved with doing business, not all markets are created equal. You’ll want to be familiar with the following areas and how simple or complex each one is in your chosen new market:
- Localization requirements
- Data regulations
- Shipping partners
- Tax considerations
- Cross-border regulatory environment
After a thorough evaluation, you’ll be ready to make a strategic choice and start selling in a new market.
Step 2: Launch
Once you’ve chosen your new cross-border market, it’s time to launch. When you start doing business in a new country, it’s critical to ensure not only that you’ve chosen the right market, but your company is ready for cross-border transactions. To set yourself up for success, you’ll want to do the following:
- Offer local payment methods that are familiar to your customers. Payments are personal. Understandably, customers want to use payment options they know and recognize. Up to 16% of shoppers abandon their cart if their preferred payment method isn’t available. Sales data from Stripe found that of more than 6,000 businesses who sold to buyers in Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Poland and Austria, on average saw a 40% lift in sales when they turned on European payment methods. If you’re working with BigCommerce and Stripe, you can easily turn these on with no additional work.
- Optimize your checkout flow. No matter where you’re doing business, friction chases customers away. And while your checkout may work without a hitch at home, it may be a trouble spot for customers in another country. Keep your checkout flow seamless with responsive forms that adapt to address formats across countries. And make sure your site offers dynamic, real-time confirmation of network acceptance across banking systems.
Some other crucial areas to pay attention to:
- Maintaining compliance with local regulations, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation and Strong Customer Authentication
- Managing taxes, especially Europe’s Value-Added Tax (VAT)
- Managing customer support
- Handling shipping and customs
Each of these issues can be highly complex for a business to navigate in a new region, but remember you don’t have to manage it all on your own.
Step 3: Optimize
After you’ve opened for business internationally, it’s time to refine your operations for optimal performance. Now you can focus on maximizing your revenue and minimizing costs.
Consider opening a local entity.
This option requires a big investment, but as your business expands, it’s something to think about. You can do a lot virtually, but having a physical location in the market you’re serving can help you further boost revenue and add local expertise to your team.
What’s the advantage to opening an on-the-ground local shop? First, there’s significant cost savings on transactions. Domestic card transactions have about 10% better authorization rates than cross-border transactions. And domestic transactions eliminate cross-border fees, which can save you more than 2% on a $100 transaction.
Another advantage is that by hiring regionally, you tap into local knowledge, experience and expertise, which can lead to better products and marketing. Ultimately, this can help your business establish deeper connections with customers and drive brand loyalty.
Taking your business global is exciting and introduces immense opportunities for growth. But the challenges to venturing beyond your own borders aren’t insignificant. In fact, they can be highly complex and difficult to untangle.
The good news: BigCommerce and Stripe together are a great fit for ambitious businesses looking to expand. With the right partners in your corner, you can tackle those big next steps with confidence. To learn more, about how Stripe and BigCommerce work together, start your free-trial today.
A holiday season wouldn’t be complete without some shopping.
Whether it’s on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or throughout the holiday shopping season, millions of customers rush to get their hands on gifts for friends and loved ones. That means retailers must be ready in advance.
For ecommerce business owners and marketers, a winning holiday SEO strategy is one way to stand out.
By investing early in seasonal optimization, you can ensure good positions in SERPs ahead of the competition in order to capture more traffic and convert more sales.
So let’s make the search engine optimization (not-so-) magic happen. Here’s how you too can optimize your holiday content and landing pages to rank higher and maximize organic traffic.
SEO is a long-term game. No matter what some “mythical” SEO tips suggest, you can’t double organic traffic volumes overnight. But the earlier you start — the faster you’d climb to the top of search results and the more keywords you’ll rank for.
If your brand is ready to optimize for holiday-specific traffic, here are the five main steps to take:
- Assess Your Site’s Current Load Times and Performance
- Study Last Year’s Trends
- Identify Relevant Keywords for the Holidays
- Create Landing Pages for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Offers
- Coordinate SEO with Your Other Marketing Efforts
Assess Your Site’s Current Load Times and Performance
At any time of the year, ecommerce sites need to load fast and function well. Slow page loading time, missing images, glitching forms and non-intuitive navigation spike bounce rates.
For Google, all of these are a strong indicator of a no-good website. The algorithms rank your online store lower than your competition, even if you are otherwise excelling in digital marketing.
So before you dive into anything else, focus on optimizing your website’s technical performance. In particular, audit for:
- Slow website loading speed on desktop and mobile devices
- Mobile-friendliness score
- Broken URLs and in-content links
- Incorrect or missing canonicals
- Website indexing issues
- Outdated and redundant website pages
- Duplicate content
- Inconsistencies or complexities in website architecture
- Orphaned pages
- Unsecured pages and page resources (no SSL certificate)
Also, look for other shortcomings in user experience. For more on how to improve performance, check out our guide on Google Core Web Vitals.
1. Best Tools for Assessing Site Performance.
You don’t have to be an SEO-pro to figure out where targeted re-optimization can make the biggest impact on site performance. You just need to use the right tools:
- Google’s PageSpeed Insights locates performance-busting issues within your website code. Analyze your homepage, along with other main product, category and content marketing pages. Then forward the recommendations to your development partner.
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool scores your mobile-friendliness and mobile website speed. You’re also told what code or design elements need to be re-optimized.
- WebPage Test is a free tool to measure your website load speed. You also get a score with suggestions for fixes. Again, test multiple pages.
- Siteliner analyzes your website for broken links, duplicate content and number of internal/external links per page and compares your results to others.
- The “Index Coverage” report on Google Search Console helps review any indexing errors.
- Screaming Frog is a more advanced freemium tool for technical SEO audits and helps uncover deeper-level issues.
Study Last Year’s Trends
To anticipate where your holiday traffic will come from in the new year, look back at last year’s Search Terms report in Google Search Console.
This is a great start point to work out:
- Which pages generated the most traffic last year during the pandemic (and likely to do so again)?
- Which queries did people use to discover your products and deals?
Next, analyze data from other Channels. In particular, look for your top referral sources — affiliates, social media websites, email campaigns. Determine which channels drove you the most conversions and prioritize them for this year’s strategy.
Lastly, both Google Analytics and Google Search Console are as helpful as they are complex. If you’re new to them, give yourself extra time to study different reports and metrics and before the holiday shopping madness kicks in.
1. Google Analytics Tips for Ecommerce.
Google Analytics allows you to view real-time information about your site. This includes how many people have visited your site, what regions your visitors live in, which of your holiday marketing tactics are driving the most traffic and much more.
You can also view which of your users converted into sales, your visitors’ behavior within your pages and which pages are getting the most traffic.
To drill down the most valuable insights, try this:
- Explore Reverse Goal Path report to determine which content attracted the most website visitors and triggered the highest number of conversions.
- Prepare a set of custom URLs for planned ad and referral marketing campaigns to help track on-site customer behavior after they landed on your site.
- Analyze data from last year’s conversion funnels and/or set up new ones for this year’s holiday SEO campaigns.
2. Tips for Using Google Search Console.
Unlike Google Analytics, Google Search Console is more tailored for providing you with technical website data. In short, this tool reports how search crawlers ‘see’ your website and interact with it to determine its value for users.
You’ll want to make use of the following features:
- Performance: Google Search Console lets you select a custom timeframe, where you can then compare total clicks, impressions, click-through rates and more.
- URL Inspection: Under this tab, Google Search Console allows you to check the performance of individual pages.
- Coverage: In this section, you’ll receive a breakdown of all the pages on your site and their current status (valid, valid with warnings, error or excluded). This can be especially helpful for quickly identifying broken pages, as well as which of your pages your robots.txt file block or appear as “noindex.”
You should familiarize yourself with Google Search Console to have the most up-to-date information possible regarding your site and its performance.
Identify Relevant Keywords for the Holidays
Keyword research is a huge part of a successful SEO strategy. Targeting irrelevant keywords or those with no purchase/product research intention translates to budget waste. Going after overly-competitive keywords that every other online store is after means low chances for success.
To create your holiday keyword plan, first look into historic data from last year. Did you see any interesting keywords that shoppers used to find you? Check the Queries report on Google Search Console from last year.
Then, you can paste some of those keywords into Google Keyword Planner for extra ideas. Ignore PPC metrics such as bid cost for now and focus on seasonal keyword volumes. Segment keyword suggestions by month to find trending keywords for the holiday season. The wrinkle is that GKP doesn’t give away exact search volumes (only a range), plus their competition score is for paid search, not organic results.
So it’s best if you have extra keyword research tools in your box such as:
All of them let you see the exact monthly search volume for a keyword, get more “related keywords” auto-suggestions, plus review which domains currently rank for your target keyword (and how hard it will be to bump them).
P.S. If you’re unfamiliar with keyword research, check this helpful guide first.
Steps for Finding the Perfect Holiday Keywords.
When it comes to holiday keyword research, you have to pick your battles carefully. During the holiday season, you’d need to rank fast. So don’t go after overly-competitive broach keywords such as “buy cosmetics online.”
Why? Because your business would be competing for shopper attention with carousel ad results, Amazon product listings and category pages from other national retailers.
A smarter SEO move is to go after an array of competition keywords with a purchase or product research intent.
Here are the steps to find such holiday keywords:
- Pick a general high-volume keyword such as “gift ideas” or even “christmas gift ideas.” That’s a top of the funnel query a lot of people will use when casually browsing for ideas. In most cases, they’ll bounce off your website without buying anything. (Unless they are on a therapeutic shopping spree).
- Zoom in one level deeper and think about your customers’ purchase intentions. Who are they shopping for this year? Create a spreadsheet column listing all the relevant “gift ideas for…”
- Next, think about relevant holiday gift types.
Prioritize keywords with high search volumes, low competition and high relevance to your niche.
Your main goal is to make a good list of long-tail keywords to fuel your evergreen content strategy.
1. What to Look for When Searching for Long-Tail Keywords.
Long-tail keywords are low search volume, highly-specific keywords that are likely to match exactly what the user is searching for.
They’re the actual goldmine for attracting relevant traffic with high chances of conversions on your product pages.
Since most of us are familiar with Google search, we rarely use those exact match keywords, unless we’re very into our product research. So people who want to say “buy a diamond ring online” are more likely to be shopping around and comparing prices among online stores, rather than those who are mid-way into their journey.
Such shoppers are more likely to be looking for more specific products such as “princess cut 1-carat diamond ring” or even something like “diamond rings that look good on short fingers.”
When they see a highly relevant result, they are more likely to click and perhaps even convert.
Questions are another great example of long-tail keywords. Such queries are more popular for top-to-mid-of-the-funnel shoppers seeking holiday deals. This makes them an excellent choice for content marketing resources — gift guides, video tutorials, product comparison blog posts or round-ups.
When you assess every long-tail keyword ask yourself this:
- What’s the user intention behind it — research, consideration or purchase?
- Is it relevant to my product range?
- Does the search volume justify the difficulty level (low-comp/high search volume is the best combo)?
To find some interesting long-tail keywords around your main product categories, you can also use free keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest, LSI Graph and Answer the Public.
2. Use Google Trends to Determine the Seasonality of Keywords.
Google Trends is another excellent (and free) tool for seasonal keyword research. Use it to review the latest changes in search trends and discover emerging search queries. Plus, the real-time search volume dynamics behind them.
Click around to explore related topics and queries to discover even more long-tail keyword ideas. Then assess them using the three criteria we mentioned in the previous point and add the strongest contenders to your plan.
Create Landing Pages for Black Friday and Cyber Monday Offers
To increase your chances of showing up on Black Friday and Cyber Monday-related search queries, it’s important to create pages that target relevant keywords. (That you’ve discovered during the previous step).
To find the best prices available, users will often search for keyword combinations with “[brand name] or deals, discounts, promos”.
You can research which options are trending in your product vertical using historical results from Google Trends. Depending on the industry your business is in, it may be beneficial to create a Black Friday or Cyber Monday page for each product you plan on offering at a discount.
Also, don’t wait until Thanksgiving to create pages and target relevant keywords. Use an alternative strategy.
Create the pages ahead of time, then use a 302 redirect — a temporary redirect, as opposed to a permanent 301 redirect — so that the pages remain hidden until needed. This will give you ample time to optimize the pages for holiday shoppers, as well as give website crawlers time to scan the site.
You could even create an entire “mini-site” of holiday-related pages that are not visible to visitors until it’s time to start ramping up for the holiday season.
Once you create the pages, you must add them to your XML sitemap as well as your site’s navigation. The goal of creating these new landing pages is to drive traffic from search queries that include holiday-related keywords.
However, you should still have a way for returning customers to access the new pages if they’d like to see your holiday deals. By adding the new pages to your sitemap, you’re providing a roadmap for crawlers to quickly find your pages and index them.
With these two simple steps, you’re making it easier for users and crawlers alike to view and access your new holiday landing pages.
Coordinate SEO with Your Other Marketing Efforts
All parts of your holiday marketing strategy need to be well-aligned with one another. This will provide users with a unified experience that shows them exactly what they’re looking for.
The best way to do so is to think from the top to the bottom of the funnel. Use social media to increase brand and product awareness. Leverage paid search in tandem with SEO to convert buyers in the middle of their customer journeys. Measure all your efforts carefully to understand which channels work best and prioritize them.
1. Paid Search and the Holidays.
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are only two days out of the year, it’s important to coordinate your paid search efforts with your SEO strategy. This way, you’ll have the most cohesive omnichannel experience for your users.
Similar to your SEO efforts, your paid search campaign quality should be based around a mix of historic ad performance data and new keyword findings.
Apart from that, here are a few things to remember when planning a holiday PPC campaign:
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday ad bidding can be brutal for your budgets. Be careful when selecting target keywords for search ads.
- As holiday shopping starts early this year, run paid promo campaigns before the big days when the competition is lower.
- For paid social media campaigns, match your campaign objectives to the right stage of the funnel.
- Leave some ad budgets for ad experiments. Try inventory Google Ads, LinkedIn sponsored posts (if you are in B2B space) or TikTok advertising tools (if you are in B2C).
2. Leverage Social Media to Drive More Traffic.
Like with SEO and paid search, you should begin planning your social media strategy for the holidays well ahead of time. First and foremost, you should determine the start and end dates of your social campaign, as well as which channels you plan on using.
From there, you should also study the social media tactics that your competition has used in the past and use the strategies that apply to your business.
For Facebook and Instagram, be sure to promote your brand and showcase your products, including the use of product tags and updating your catalog.
3. Measure Real-Time Success.
With site performance-optimized, keywords lined up, seasonal content live and paid promotions in full swing, you’re fully prepared for the holiday season. But how do you know if the grand sum of these efforts is successful?
Google Analytics and Google Search Console offer a variety of reports to help you identify your results. While every ecommerce business is different, there are several universal metrics worth monitoring:
- New vs returning shoppers (Audience > Behavior > New vs. Returning)
- Traffic channels report (Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels)
- Referral report (Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals)
- Search terms report (Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms)
- Ecommerce conversion reports (Conversion > Ecommerce > Overview > Shopping and Checkout Behavior)
These reports can break down your site’s traffic by total visitors, click-through rate and much more.
Other SEO Holiday Tactics to Try Out
If you’re still in the mood for a gourmet dessert after our big feast of holiday marketing tactics, shove your plate with this handful of holiday SEO tips. They are bite-sized, but won’t leave you traffic-hungry!
1. Update Product Descriptions for the Holidays.
You already know that ecommerce product descriptions impact conversion rates. Spruce up your copy with more emotional words for holidays. So that shoppers could picture how much joy your product could give them or their loved ones.
How do you make your copy joyful and persuasive? The Yale Attitude Change model suggests that people are more likely to respond to persuasive claims if they trust the ‘messenger’ and believe in the credibility of their words.
In that sense, all your marketing pitches need to focus on two things:
- Come from a source with the appropriate expertise/ethos, relevant to the product.
- Provide solid evidence as a backup.
2. Repurpose Last Year’s Pages.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday come and go. But the original URLs stay stashed in your admin panel. Instead of creating yet another duplicate page, re-use the ones from last year.
Doing so not only saves you design time but also carries some SEO benefits.
Instead of trying to rank a brand new page with less page authority and no backlinks, you’d be re-optimizing an already solid asset. The best part? You can repeat the trick next year to compound the benefits further.
If you plan to change the URL structure from /black-friday-2019/ to /black-friday/, set up a 301 redirect.
3. Don’t Forget About Local SEO.
With the rise of ecommerce, it’s easy to forget about the local crowd your brick-and-mortar location can serve, too. While most holiday shoppers plan to prioritize online channels, some will also shop in-store.
Convert local online traffic into online visits by:
- Updating and optimizing your Google My Business profile
- Creating local content marketing resources
- Acquiring press coverage from community publishers
- Advertising alternative delivery options — BOPIS, curbside pick-ups
- Regularly update your inventory levels to get included in the line-up of “nearby” filter results on Google Shopping
SEO is tricky for ecommerce websites, especially the smaller, local businesses.
To increase your odds of climbing to the top of SERPs, prioritize keyword research. Go after long-tail keywords that bigger competitors have missed. Capture top-of-the-funnel prospects with inspiring, educational and oh-so-jolly content that helps them make their best choices. Create Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing pages ahead of time and optimize them around a custom mix of keywords, sources from historical trends and new industry developments.
Keep your SEO efforts working in tandem with other marketing tactics and you’d be golden during this year’s holiday season.
Are you looking to start an ecommerce business without having to stock inventory yourself?
Or are you wanting to expand your existing ecommerce store by offering new products?
Finding a dropshipping service to sell products may be the way to go.
What is Dropshipping?
Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method that allows your business to partner with a supplier to display and sell their products in your online store. In other words, you can sell their goods and it does not require your business to keep the product in stock.
When you sell an item, the dropshipping business (the supplier) will send that purchased item straight to the customer.
The product itself never passes through your hands.
This online business model sounds too good to be true, right? Not exactly.
With the right approach, dropshipping can be a successful fulfillment method, including with trending, worldwide brand name items. That means taking the time to conduct market research and finding the right suppliers.
Of course, low profit margins, a highly competitive market and no control over the supply chain are potential hiccups along the way, but dropshipping products with various wholesalers can have its perks.
How to Find Dropshipping Suppliers
Finding the best dropshipping companies for your ecommerce platform is a key component. From California to New York in the United States and from Europe to China abroad, linking with the right dropshippers and inventory source is vital to success.
That’s easier said than done, however. Many dropshippers are smaller companies and can potentially be harder to find. There are also dropship scammers who might try to swindle you with a big upfront or monthly fee.
That’s why BigCommerce put together a dropship supplier directory:
Best Dropshipping Suppliers
If you’re looking for high-quality products to send to your customers without keeping the product in stock, dropshipping is one solution to several online stores.
Here’s a list of dropshipping companies listed in no particular order.
Spocket is a dropshipping marketplace that enables retailers to start and scale their online stores. Sprocket connects retailers to thousands of suppliers across USA and Europe.
2. AliExpress Dropshipping.
AliExpress is a wholesale and dropshipping platform that connects dropshippers to suppliers and products, including consumer electronics and apparel.
An official partner of AliExpress Dropshipping, Modalyst is an automated dropshipping app filled with trending brand names.
SaleHoo is a wholesale supplier directory that connects dropshippers to suppliers, including suppliers in a variety of different niches. It is a well-known dropshipping marketplace along with others such as Alibaba.
Doba is a marketplace that compiles manufacturers and suppliers into one place. With Doba, you can search through wholesale products in your industry and consolidate them into custom lists.
Wholesale2B is a supplier integration system that allows you to choose more than one million products and sell them on BigCommerce, Amazon and eBay.
7. Worldwide Brands.
Worldwide Brands is a comprehensive directory of dropshippers and bulk distributors. They continually update their list with new suppliers and certify that each is reputable and reliable.
8. Sunrise Wholesale.
From home decor to jewelry and more, Sunrise Wholesale is a general wholesaler with more than 15,000 products.
MegaGoods is a distributor and dropshipper for wholesale products such as clocks, kitchen items, televisions and more.
10. Inventory Source.
Inventory Source is a dropship network that provides access to more than 180 suppliers and allows you to sync your inventory and auto-upload product data.
Whether you are looking for pet supplies on Wholesale Central, skincare and beauty products or other various product categories on National Dropshippers, the list of dropshipping stores goes on and on.
While the pricing, shipping costs and shipping times may vary, many of them can connect to Amazon, eBay, BigCommerce or Shopify stores. They may also link to other ecommerce platforms such as Oberlo, Wix and WooCommerce.
However, not all companies are legitimate.
How to Spot a Fake Dropshipping Supplier
When sourcing for a dropshipping supplier, beware of fake wholesalers. And especially since some resellers don’t always use best SEO practices and can be hard to find online in a simple Google search, ways to identify a fake wholesaler might include minimum order sizes, pre-order fees or on-going fees.
To avoid any hassle, be sure to check out our guide to the right approaches to dropshipping.
Looking to automate your dropshipping? That’s definitely possible.
Take Spark Shipping, for example. They specialize in automating the connection between your ecommerce platform (BigCommerce) and dropshippers.
If the dropshipper supports it, Shark Shipping automates inventory quantities, orders, and tracking data between BigCommerce and the dropshipper.
FAQs About Dropshipping Suppliers
What is the dropshipping supply chain?
The dropshipping supply chain is often long and tedious.
First, the product is produced at the manufacturing level — at which point the product is at its cheapest.
Then, the product is stocked by an initial wholesaler, who typically marks up the price before making it available for dropshipping.
At this point, the product is often transferred to an additional wholesaler, who may mark up the price even further or act if they have received it directly from the manufacturer.
The product is then purchased and stocked by you (the wholesaler) before reaching its final destination: the end consumer.
Note that the delivery time may vary depending on the dropshipping supplier. Some companies offer fast shipping.
Are there free dropshippers?
Yes. There are several free dropshippers in both general and niche categories.
Although some larger dropshippers charge yearly or monthly fees, most only ask that you pay the cost of the products you are shipping to the customer.
Some may charge additional shipping costs or fees.
Is dropshipping legal?
Yes, it is legal. It is also important to familiarize yourself with counterfeit and trademark regulations in your region to ensure that you and your dropshipping supplier avoid crossing any lines, including with various branded products.
Is dropshipping profitable?
Yes, dropshipping can be profitable to merchants. Dropshipping is a low-risk business model that allows you to sell products to your customers without incurring huge running costs like a wholesaler would have. Because of the low-cost, it could be easier to become profitable with dropshipping faster than other business models.
Can I pay dropshipping companies with a credit card?
Yes. In fact, suppliers might even require you to pay by credit card at first.
Can I dropship on Amazon?
Yes, you can dropship on Amazon. However, your business must follow Amazon’s dropshipping policy, which includes: being the seller of record for your products, identifying yourself as the seller of your products on all packing slips, invoices and external packing. You must also be responsible for accepting and processing customer returns of your products.
An alternative to using a dropshipping supplier is the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program.
Can I dropship on eBay?
Yes, you can also dropship on eBay. However, it is a very competitive space and it’s hard to make a big profit.
How do dropship suppliers handle returns?
To return an item, you will often need to get a return merchandise authorization (RMA) from your supplier, which aids the process of your customer shipping the product back to their address.
Make sure you also have all other item information on hand to help the customer support process go as smoothly as possible.
Once the item is shipped and received, the supplier will refund you and you refund the customer.
Beware of extra fees from your dropshipper, including a restocking fee.
Omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent… omnichannel.
Multiplication, multicellular, multivitamin… multichannel.
Based on word association alone, omnichannel retail sounds way cooler and more mysterious than multichannel retail. It’s also a little trendier these days. Everyone is talking about it. Or at least everyone who wants to get the most out of physical and online commerce should be talking about omnichannel versus multichannel retail.
But what is omnichannel retail? How is it different from multichannel retail? What do either look like in practice, and which one is better? The truth is that either strategy can work if executed properly. Both approaches have their merits, so it often boils down to how attainable, scalable and effective each strategy is for your particular business. We don’t have to declare one’s supremacy over the other, as long as we all agree that nobody is talking about single-channel selling anymore.
What is Omnichannel Retail?
Omnichannel retail is a form of integrated multichannel commerce that enables data synchronization between channels. Omnichannel retail typically refers to the practice of linking a store’s brick-and-mortar operations with its online business. It can be part of a larger commerce and marketing strategy that connects the various touchpoints of customer and brand interaction, and ensures that information is handed off between touchpoints.
An omnichannel strategy focuses on how multiple channels interact with each other and the customer. A successful omnichannel setup keeps customer data and product data synced across channels. The ultimate goal is to maximize convenience for the customer so that every interaction with a brand across different channels feels like it’s part of one seamless experience. Omnichannel retail is sometimes referred to as “seamless commerce” or “unified commerce.”
A complete omnichannel marketing strategy for a brand includes a two-way integration between online channels and a physical location, plus handoffs between online channels. A brick-and-mortar location should be able to share relevant and accurate data, such as available inventory, with an online channel. Likewise, an online channel should be able to pass important data to the brick-and-mortar location, like when a customer has placed an order for pickup.
Ideally, a customer can go from product discovery to purchase on any channel, including a physical store, online store, and even social media. There should also be additional opportunities for marketing and increased brand interaction whenever a customer takes action.
There’s more than one way of delivering an omnichannel experience, and the methods used are often different for every company based on the nature of the business and the clientele. Businesses have the opportunity to think outside the box and deliver an experience that a customer wouldn’t have while shopping on a single disconnected channel. New and improved options for customer engagement exist through the combined strengths of various channels.
Although “omni” means “all,” omnichannel retail is not necessarily about being everywhere all the time. An omnichannel strategy should center customers and meet them wherever they interact with the business, including physical locations and via desktop and mobile devices. Building a marketing strategy for a channel that customers don’t use would be ineffective.
Technology is often a limiting factor for executing an effective omnichannel strategy. Creating the proper integrations, collecting the right data and keeping it updated, and then building strategies around that data requires significant time and resources. Fortunately, there are more solutions today than ever before for providing a seamless commerce experience to customers, and businesses don’t have to build these solutions on their own.
In a study from Arlington Research, 49% of omnichannel merchants outsourced their omnichannel operations in some capacity during 2020, and more than 50% said that outsourcing their omnichannel operations was a priority for the future.
How Does Omnichannel Ecommerce Work?
Omnichannel retail encompasses numerous strategies and features, but in general, an omnichannel approach relies on data being collected and communicated across various channels so that customers’ experiences feel unified whenever and wherever they’re interacting with a brand. Sometimes, the integration between channels helps customers continue their journey where they left off, almost as if the brand “remembers” them.
Although omnichannel strategies have the potential to deliver a memorable experience, it’s also possible to create a negative impression for the customer with a solution that doesn’t work as intended. According to Microsoft, 58% of consumers state that they’ve stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience. To improve customer retention, it’s vital to make sure that each step along the customer journey is consistently positive.
These are the basic steps for omnichannel retail:
1. Identify customer touchpoints and opportunities for improved interaction with the brand.
Adopting a customer-centric view of your brand helps you identify opportunities to deliver a more convenient or personalized experience for consumers. The point of purchase is only one touchpoint along the customer journey. Brands can create a positive and lasting impression before and after the sale, and increase brand loyalty. It’s also possible to add more touchpoints to the customer journey or redirect customers to a better option for continuing behaviors they’re already exhibiting.
2. Build a strategy around the customer experience.
Identify which processes need to be executed to deliver a quality experience from a customer experience point of view. Where are the pitfalls and potential cracks in the system? What is the brand’s goal for each touchpoint along the customer journey? How many touchpoints can branch off into new or repeated engagements with the customer?
3. Connect systems and people to pass data back-and-forth.
Good data holds everything together, and it often requires the right tech stack to preserve high-quality data across different platforms. For example, a retailer that wants to use local inventory ads to show which products are currently available for curbside pickup needs to accurately track in-store inventory, send the inventory values in a product feed to the ad channel, and continue to update the inventory values as they change.
In this example, it’s also important to create a process that keeps the physical store associates informed of new orders, and have someone on hand who knows how to resolve any issues that may occur.
4. Execute the strategy.
This can be a multi-step process depending on what the goal is, and what part of the customer journey is being targeted. For example, an in-store purchase might present an opportunity for directing a customer to a loyalty program or creating an account to receive additional promotions. In an omnichannel approach, a customer profile is accessible in the store and on mobile and desktop devices, while customer service representatives on social media channels should also be able to help with account issues.
5. Collect and measure additional data.
In a completely unified omnichannel setup, every customer action triggers an additional action from the brand. Collecting data allows brands to identify where customers are in the customer journey, gauge interest, and decide which action to take next to nurture the relationship.
As networks like Google and tech companies like Apple respond to concerns about consumer privacy, the ways that consumer data is tracked are changing. The decline of third-party cookies means that first-party data is even more valuable. First-party data is typically collected when users choose to provide additional data about themselves.
Although it may take some creativity to entice potential customers to share more information, customers who do so are already interested in deepening their relationship with your brand, and are more valuable in the long term compared to consumers who aren’t really looking to engage further.
What is Multichannel Retail?
Multichannel retail is the practice of selling or listing products on more than one channel. The channels can be digital, physical or a combination of both. A business can sell products on its website, a brick-and-mortar location and through different platforms or marketplaces.
Multichannel selling enables a business to reach more customers on different channels with the same product catalog. It’s important to note that merchants can of course reserve specific inventory for different channels, and even customize and optimize different product titles, images and other product attributes for different channels. A multichannel retail model can be part of a multichannel marketing approach that utilizes email, social media, the company website, and other channels to reach customers.
Multichannel retail maximizes exposure for a brand and gives consumers more choices about where to purchase products, but it is not an integrated experience like an omnichannel model. All omnichannel retail must be multichannel by design, but not all multichannel retail is omnichannel. In multichannel retail, the customer’s experiences on any given channel are siloed, or happening in relative isolation from each other. Although each sales channel supports the main business, data synchronization across channels is minimal or nonexistent.
Some challenges in multichannel retail include keeping operations scalable, meeting requirements for expanding to additional channels and delivering a consistent experience across all channels. A multichannel approach is generally less complex than an omnichannel approach, but still requires diligence and the proper investment to make it manageable and keep customers happy.
For example, in a poorly-managed multichannel experience, a customer might get two different impressions of the brand on two different channels. In the worst case scenario, customer service, branding, promotions and even product availability is inconsistent or inaccurate depending on where the customer is shopping.
Automating as many manual processes as possible can help a business improve efficiency and reduce human error. Fortunately, many technology partners today assist businesses with product optimization and listing, order fulfillment and have experienced customer service and support teams that make it easy to expand to more channels.
In most cases, a successful multichannel retail model allows brands to increase their sales volume wherever possible, but does little in the way of creating a personalized customer experience. However, retailers who want to provide a solid omnichannel experience first need to streamline their multichannel approach, since omnichannel retail relies on the integration of multiple channels.
How Does Multichannel Retail Work?
Multichannel retail is all about making products available to shoppers. When we talk about multichannel, we’re usually referring to a mix of ecommerce sites or online shopping destinations that brands use to reach more customers. This includes ads on search engines, social media, direct sales on a marketplace, and a company’s own website. According to a report from Omnisend, a multichannel approach has a 90% higher customer retention rate than a single-channel approach.
A multichannel approach is built on a foundation of product data. Many companies choose to use ecommerce platforms for organizing their inventory and product data. Modern ecommerce platforms have many direct integrations, tools, and partnerships for helping a business solidify and streamline its online presence.
These are the basic steps for a multichannel retail approach:
1. Product data is housed on an ecommerce platform or a merchant’s website.
Before product data is syndicated anywhere, it needs to exist. Merchants can upload all the product data they have, including multiple images, descriptions, UPCs, variations like different colors and sizes, prices and stock availability. This product data repository is the source of truth for all the other places that the merchant plans to distribute their product data.
2. Product data is formatted and syndicated to external channels.
Because different channels have different data requirements, integrations and policies, the merchant’s product data cannot be exported as-is to any channel on the web. Having the right technology solutions makes this process considerably easier, especially for companies that have a high SKU count in their catalogs.
Product listing partners import the raw product data to a centralized platform, optimize the product listings to improve performance on every targeted channel and then create product feed exports to those channels using existing integrations. The product feed is continually refreshed with the most up-to-date information available about the products, such as availability, new products or price changes.
Companies can do all of this themselves, but they need to invest a significant amount of time and money for in-house development, channel expertise and continued maintenance of their data feeds.
3. Businesses that sell products on marketplaces need to manage incoming orders from multiple channels.
To fulfill orders from a marketplace, a business must receive the order, match the ordered item to the correct product, ship it and return tracking information to the marketplace so that the customer is notified. As more marketplace channels are added to the mix, fulfilling orders becomes time-consuming, so finding ways to automate the process allows a company to significantly streamline their multichannel operations.
Product listing partners take order data from a marketplace and insert it into a merchant’s ecommerce platform as if the order was placed from the merchant’s website. Once the order is processed and fulfilled by the merchant as usual, the listing partner reports the order tracking information back to the website.
Omnichannel vs Multichannel Differences
Although an omnichannel strategy is built on a multichannel foundation, there are key differences in the customer experience, goals and execution.
1. Omnichannel is more customer focused, and multichannel is more product focused.
An omnichannel strategy relies on identifying all of the touchpoints between a customer and a brand, and finding ways to capitalize on those moments to increase convenience for the customer or enhance the customer’s connection to the brand. In a multichannel strategy, businesses try to put products in front of as many valuable customers as possible, but the emphasis is primarily on increasing their online presence, not on deepening the customer experience.
2. Omnichannel retail links channels directly so that they work together, and multichannel does not integrate channels with each other.
Omnichannel retail typically refers to the way brick-and-mortar stores and a business’ online operations work in tandem. Multichannel retail refers to a business with physical storefronts and online stores, but the operations are siloed into separate channels of the overall business rather than integrated.
Multichannel marketing uses a variety of channels to send a customer the same content or unrelated content, while omnichannel marketing builds upon interactions on other channels in order to advance the customer journey at any touchpoint.
3. An omnichannel approach creates new customer experiences, while a multichannel approach limits the customer’s experience to the capabilities of individual channels.
Leveraging different channel capabilities together enables brands to create new and memorable customer experiences that consumers wouldn’t normally get through a single channel.
A multichannel approach helps customers find products they want and lets them make purchases on channels they’re already comfortable with—such as Amazon—but the customer’s brand exposure is limited to that site. The brand can employ additional marketing tactics to incorporate its Amazon business into a holistic omnichannel strategy.
Omnichannel vs Multichannel Examples
There are numerous ways to execute an omnichannel or multichannel retail strategy. Both are built on a foundation of well-organized product data, but an omnichannel approach includes marketing efforts that are more personalized, or require data synchronization that is more complex than a siloed multichannel setup.
Check out the following examples to see how businesses leverage these models.
1. Omnichannel: Online product data is displayed in a physical store.
Brick-and-mortar stores can use in-store kiosks to display online inventory that doesn’t fit on shelves, or isn’t currently available at their location, such as luxury models of a product. Retailers might also showcase a popular product as a floor model to help customers get a sense of the product and imagine it in their homes, but then choose to make the product available through an online order with in-store pickup or home delivery as fulfillment options.
Omnichannel retailers can also feature product reviews on the shelves or on display stands. Displaying reviews can be as simple as showing the star rating and the total number of reviews, or as detailed as showcasing a full write-up from a customer. By linking the review display to an online source, the information is kept current as new reviews are added.
This feature is effective because it delivers an experience that customers already seek out on their own, thus maximizing convenience for them. According to a study from RetailMeNot, more than two-thirds of in-store customers prefer to look up customer reviews for products or services on their smartphones before approaching a store associate. Accounting for this behavior allows the retailer to improve the customer experience while also reducing opportunities for the customer to get sidetracked on other websites.
2. Omnichannel: Click-and-collect options combine the ease of online shopping with in-store availability.
Click-and-collect refers to a customers’ ability to shop online and collect their purchased items from a local store. For example, buy-online-pickup-in-store, commonly referred to as BOPIS, enables customers to visit the website of a nearby brick-and-mortar location, see which products are in stock, make a purchase online, and pick up the order from the store within a few hours. BOPIS surged in popularity during the pandemic but should retain its popularity due to the increased convenience it provides.
Curbside pickup is another popular model of click-and-collect that allows customers to make purchases in the same manner as BOPIS. The only difference is instead of entering the store to collect the order, the customers wait in their vehicles and an associate brings the product to the parking lot or a space designated for curbside pickup.
Another model, buy-online-return-in-store, or BORIS, improves the online shopping experience because customers don’t have to worry about mailing a package back to the merchant if they need to return it. They can return their product to a brick-and-mortar location, receive a refund, and the store handles the return process from there. As an added benefit, customers may continue shopping once they’re in the store.
3. Multichannel: A brand sells products on its website, distributes them to retailers, advertises products on Google and Facebook, and lists additional products on Amazon.
This is a common multichannel approach that uses advertising, marketplaces, direct sales, and wholesale to reach as many customers as possible. Each of the channels are a different facet of the company’s business, with the main goal being sales on each platform.
For this model to succeed, it’s important to deliver a solid customer experience on each channel so that none of them become a liability to the business’ reputation.
Advertising can be expensive, so one challenge for the business is to optimize the product listing ads and campaigns in order to bring the most valuable customers to its website, where they become more familiar with the brand’s voice, look, and promotions. Another challenge is keeping the ads up-to-date so that customers can find what they’re looking for, and so that merchants can keep their advertising privileges. For example, merchants who create Google Shopping campaigns can have their Google Merchant Center accounts suspended if they violate Google’s policies.
Listing products on Amazon helps businesses reach customers who are already comfortable shopping on Amazon, but the challenges here are adhering to Amazon’s listing and fulfillment requirements, winning the buy box, paying commissions, and maintaining a positive seller rating to not lose selling privileges. The payoff is that Amazon has a massive audience of highly engaged online shoppers. Over 150 million people are Amazon Prime subscribers, and 20% of those Prime members shop on Amazon multiple times per week.
A business that has mastered multichannel retail is able to syndicate its product data on multiple advertising channels and marketplaces, streamline its order fulfillment process, and continue expanding in a scalable way.
When Should You Choose Omnichannel or Multichannel?
Retailers have proven success with omnichannel and multichannel strategies, so the key is choosing the right strategy and executing it effectively and consistently.
1. When should you choose omnichannel?
An omnichannel retail strategy relies on a strong multichannel backbone. If a business doesn’t have a streamlined and consistent approach to its multichannel operations, then customers will have a negative experience when they are the center of an omnichannel approach. For example, imagine a customer who purchases a product online, arrives at the store to pick it up, and is informed that the inventory displayed online was inaccurate and the order was cancelled (without notifying the customer). If the systems don’t work independently, they won’t work together.
Developing an omnichannel approach requires significant investment and continued maintenance. Businesses without sufficient in-house resources need to invest in the right tech solution. Because omnichannel seeks to create personalized customer experiences, the investment is higher than it would be for a multichannel setup, but the payoff is improved customer retention and brand loyalty due to increased customer engagement.
2. When should you choose multichannel?
Companies that want to reach more customers can find success listing products in more places. Before deciding which channels to advertise or sell on, it’s a good idea to do some research to determine if the products are accepted on the channel, if it would be profitable in light of different fees per channel, if there is a market for the products on a particular channel, and if the business is prepared to handle an increase in volume or operations without sacrificing quality.
Multichannel is a good option for businesses that don’t want to invest in a full omnichannel approach, but the right tech stack is still necessary to streamline their multichannel operations. Businesses that aren’t able to automate a significant portion of the work in a multichannel setup will become overwhelmed as they grow.
An omnichannel retail strategy links brick-and-mortar locations with online channels to deliver an integrated multichannel experience for customers. The goal is to increase customer convenience and personalize the customer journey to spur greater engagement and customer retention.
An omnichannel strategy centers the customer and ensures that each touchpoint provides an opportunity for consumers to purchase products, reach customer service, receive useful information, and save time. To achieve this, customer data and product data must be synced across channels, which requires an investment in the right technology.
Retailers have the ability to blend features of online and physical stores to deliver a convenient and memorable customer experience. Offers like BOPIS and in-store product reviews, as well as loyalty programs that are accessible on mobile, desktop, or in-store, can make the shopping experience feel seamless.
A multichannel retail strategy uses multiple channels to put a brand’s products in front of as many valuable shoppers as possible. There is minimal integration between channels, so the product data on each channel should be synced with the central data source to ensure that product listings are consistently up-to-date. This still requires an investment in the right technology to make expansion manageable and scalable, and ensure that the channels don’t become a liability to the brand’s overall reputation.
Both omnichannel and multichannel approaches offer the potential for increased customer satisfaction compared to the single channel approach, but they are more complex as well. With the proper planning and the right technology, moving beyond a single-channel model can be highly rewarding for a business.
No matter the size of your online store, product descriptions play a key role in your ecommerce business.
Effective product descriptions can possibly lure potential customers. Good product descriptions can potentially influence a purchase decision. Great product descriptions can ultimately help improve conversion rates and increase sales.
The technical details, including the use of power words and A/B tests, can be the difference between a potential buyer on your ecommerce website and those customers shopping at a competitor with similar products.
Business owners, marketers and copywriters all know the importance of writing product descriptions, but what’s the best way to help reach your target audience?
What are Product Descriptions?
A product description is a form of marketing copy used to describe and explain the benefits of your product. In other words, it provides all the information and details of your product on your ecommerce site.
These product details can be one sentence, a short paragraph or bulleted. They can be serious, funny or quirky. They can be located right next to or underneath product titles and product images. They can be scannable selling points or have strong readability.
There are multiple styles and ways to make product descriptions work for your ecommerce store, but there’s much more to them than simple copywriting.
Creating the Best Product Descriptions
There’s no doubt product descriptions can help take your business to the next level, but what should they say? How long should they be? Which format is best? How do you make the products rank high for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Here’s a product description template to follow:
1. Think about the who, what, when, where, why and how before writing.
This method is often used by journalists to provide facts in their stories and it is the first step in crafting a product description.
- Who is this product for? The target audience can be gender (i.e. male or female), an age group (i.e. college students or retirees), a lifestyle demographic (i.e. new mothers or car enthusiasts) or some other defined group of people.
- What are the product’s basic details? This includes attributes such as dimensions, materials, product features, cost and functions.
- When should someone use the product? Is it meant to be used during a certain time of day, seasonally or for a specific type of occasion? Just as important is pointing out if a product can or should be used every day or year-round. These details will help speak to the product’s long-term value.
- Where should someone use the product? Is it meant for indoor or outdoor use, for your car or your home?
- Why is this product useful or better than the competition? This can be anything from quality to value to features. Think about the product benefits to your customers and consider how images can complement your product copy.
- How does the product work? This may not be necessary for every product, but it’s a must-have feature if you are selling anything with moving parts or electronics.
Let’s now dive into ways to make your product pages and landing pages shine.
2. Determine the best format to describe your products.
When starting to craft your perfect product description, it’s important to determine the best format to use.
Since some online shoppers only scan text on websites, it might be helpful to use bullet points that cover the most important product details. Bullet points should generally be used for specs (like dimensions) or short phrases (like features) so they are quick and easy to read.
Unfortunately, bullet points aren’t always the best way to tell a product’s story and convince target customers that they are looking at a great deal. They can look cold and clinical on a page instead of engaging the shopper’s emotions or imagination.
To avoid those common mistakes and pain points, use prose instead.
By writing a paragraph (three or more sentences) or two about the product, retailers can set the scene and help the shopper realize why their life up to this point has been incomplete without it. It may seem daunting, but after some practice, it will become second nature and even (gasp!) fun.
This is your opportunity to be a little creative and establish a voice (personality and tone) for your brand. Just imagine you’re at a party, telling someone you’ve just met about the product. How would you describe it so that they would understand how great it truly is?
This brand voice permeates every aspect of your online marketing: social media, SEO, paid search — every customer touchpoint. Unique, compelling copy makes your products more relevant for search engines and other marketing mediums that value original content.
In fact, following this simple formula below is a great way to writing compelling product descriptions:
[Paragraph(s) of Prose] + [Bulleted List of Specs or Product Features] = [Engaging Product Description]
3. Choose goals and KPIs to measure success of your product descriptions.
You need goals to measure the success of product descriptions.
“But this is going to take a long time,” you might be thinking, especially if you rely on product descriptions from your distributors or manufacturers. And you’re right, this isn’t a quick process. However, if you can commit to writing product descriptions using the formula above, you can begin to see a variety of benefits:
- An increase in conversion rate.
- A decrease in cart abandonment.
- A lower return rate.
- Fewer calls from shoppers.
- Improved organic search rankings.
There are countless product description examples, including on platforms such as Amazon, BigCommerce and Shopify.
4. Make your product descriptions short and sweet.
Don’t overthink it. Use conversational paragraph-long descriptions to engage fans and ideal customers as well as quick bullet points with need-to-know specs to concisely convey the most important information for online shoppers.
5. Use storytelling to your advantage.
Does your product have a backstory that’s particularly special to you? Chances are it will be particularly special and endearing to your audience, too. Use that story in your product description to add more character to your item, engage your audience and win hearts and minds.
6. Don’t be afraid to boast.
Here’s how you take the product description formula above one step further. Is your product differentiated through a founder’s expertise? Is your product better because of years of testing? Is it hand-crafted? Does it get strong social proof with testimonials and product reviews?
Call that out!
Tell a better story in your short product description paragraph by including tidbits of detail that prove why your product is better than the rest. Don’t be afraid to name drop, either.
7. Get technical to win trust when needed.
If you have a more technical product, don’t be afraid to get in the weeds with your product description. Prove to your customer your brand’s expertise in the industry by providing all possible details they’d need to know before they ever even have to ask.
8. Know when to show and not tell.
Text isn’t always the best way to describe your product. If you are getting too wordy, think about how you can simplify.
Images carry weight and are better remembered by customers. If possible, show off your product in a visual that explains exactly what the product does.
9. Know when to show, tell and describe.
Other than graphics, videos can be an effective way to showcase how to use a product or why it is better than others. Many brands use videos, graphics and text to drive the point home.
10. Don’t be afraid to be unique.
While a short paragraph description on a product page is a best practice, know when that isn’t what your audience wants. Every industry and online business is unique. Do you know your customer well enough to know they won’t read that product description? Are all of your customers scanners?
Pull out the content that is most important to them and find engaging, visual ways to get all the relevant information to them without any headache. Your buyer personas should inform the overall form and approach toward your product descriptions, including the website design and white space on the page.
Go Big or Go Home
In all, it’s important to first know your audience in order to determine what kind of content will best speak to them to increase conversions.
The ecommerce product description formula works for most brands, but it’s only a starting point.
Think visually. Add graphics and optimize your product images. A/B test copy and get personal on those pages. Look at Google Search Console to identify popular terms and power words so you can improve SEO traffic to the product page.
Whether you’re selling t-shirts or strollers, shoppers like to buy from people they trust and building trust is different based on what you are selling.
From the moment you use a website builder and construct your site’s design, think about how images and descriptions can work in harmony to tell your story to customers. There are countless examples of product descriptions, but find the best fit for your business.
Know your audience. Know your product. And then, show and tell with your online shop descriptions.
The 2020 holiday season was — to borrow an overused but nevertheless true phrasing — unprecedented.
For months, ecommerce experts had been predicting record ecommerce sales. After all, the results of the COVID-19 pandemic kept many from seeing their loved ones in person or from shopping in physical stores. Many of those predictions came true.
In fact in 2020, U.S. consumers broke records holiday shopping during Cyber 5, with online sales rising 20.6% year-over-year.
Now as the 2021 holiday season approaches, many retail businesses are wondering what this year has in store.
We talked to ecommerce experts from around the industry to learn what they believe are the trends most driving the 2021 holiday season.
Here’s what they said.
Increased Online and Hybrid Shopping
“As we head into the 2021 holiday season, even as in-store shopping begins to reopen its doors once again in certain regions, online shopping is here to stay and will continue to grow. More consumers are continuing to shop on mobile devices and the digital realm is entering the walls of traditional stores. The future of retail is both online and offline.
Before ever stepping foot into a physical store, shoppers are encountering various digital touchpoints as they go through their decision-making process. They can research product details, find customer reviews and recommendations, as well as compare pricing. Pairing together offline strengths and online advantages is the key to enhancing interactions with customers whether they choose to buy online or in store this holiday season. Delivering an exceptional customer shopping experience is key.”
Mike Esposito – Content Producer, 1Digital Agency
…But Also Be Prepared for More Ways to Shop
“It’s tempting to assume the biggest trend that will impact the 2021 holiday season will be a greater influx of shoppers, based on the fact that ecommerce has grown explosively over the past year. However, we believe that unpredictability will be the greatest challenge for online businesses.
It’s hard to predict where the largest segment of shoppers will come from. No doubt, this online shopping season will be busy, but at the same time, shoppers from across the country have cabin fever. Many may be itching to get out and back into malls and outlets.
It’s hard to say whether more shoppers will stay hunkered down and continue to shop exclusively online, if most of them will be raring to get out and back into the traditional retail holiday experience, or if there’s going to be a healthy mix. Businesses with both online and brick-and-mortar locations had better be prepared for both scenarios.”
Connie Wong, Marketing Manager, Silk Software
“While many states and municipalities are reopening, the lessons of the COVID-19 era will shape retail for years to come and possibly forever.
Many merchants have felt the squeeze of supply chain limitations. It’s more essential than ever to have a diverse array of products, services and channels for fulfillment. Creating a comprehensive ecommerce strategy can ensure you have the functionality in place to further adapt when customers’ needs inevitably change again.”
Sarah Toth, VP Marketing & Partnerships, Guidance
Leverage Omnichannel Marketing
“The long-perceived norms of holiday shopping have been flipped on their head. And more so than ever before, we can expect a season full of surprises. They may not know to ask for it by name, but omnichannel marketing is precisely what our consumers need.
Consumers want to know that despite the channel for engagement, or whether they decide to step out and shop or do it from the comfort of their couch, they will receive the same exceptional experience.
Above all else, they want consistency, hyper-personalized messaging and convenience.”
Alita Harvey-Rodriguez, Managing Director, MI Academy
“Have a complete omnichannel nurture cycle! Merchants who do not have their dynamic email and retargeting campaigns set up will have a tough time reaching their optimal conversion rates and CPAs.”
Duran Inci, CEO, Optimum7.com
Give Shoppers What They Want: Convenient Options
“The biggest trend this holiday season will be “convenience.” Shoppers will be asking.
- Can I order online, when and how I want?
- Can I pick up in store when I want?
- Can I reserve in store and have the product waiting for me to try?
- Can I get immediate delivery?
- Can I return my purchase through a simple collection service, or return to the store and have replacement goods waiting for me?
Retailers that develop strategies based on these “5 C’s” of convenience will be in a great position for this holiday season.”
Alan Moore., Group Managing Director, RANDEMRETAIL
“Buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) will be important. The majority of the shopping process will happen online, but I also believe that more inventory will be allocated away from retail and made available for easy delivery nationally.”
Michael Payne, Director of Sales, Silk Software
Shopping on Mobile Is One to Watch
“Purchasing on mobile is the one to watch. Shopping on mobile devices is easy to do on-the-go for shoppers, especially for last-minute purchases. However, cart abandonment can be higher on mobile. This is a trend that online retailers should try to curb by providing a frictionless mobile shopping experience, and by remembering that people are more inclined to make a purchase from their mobile device if a discount is available.
Deliver discounts cleverly by offering a coupon code once a customer subscribes to your newsletter. That way you have their contact information and you can continue to nurture them by email, too. You can also display a very enticing offer on exit intent to keep customers on your site and incentivize them to complete their purchase.”
Emilie Murphy, Product Marketing Manager, POWR
Prepare for Shoppers Starting Early
“Consumers will start shopping early. Supply chain disruptions from the past year have left a lasting impact on perceptions. Last year, we heard that 70% of shoppers intended to shop early to avoid both crowds and items being out of stock. Similar trends are expected this year. To meet early demand, retailers should consider launching holiday plans and promotions earlier than usual.”
Erin Sagin, Product Marketing Manager, Google
Merchants Need to Prepare Inventory Early, Too
“Be aware of supply chain constraints. Typically, retailers need to order their items anywhere from 3-9 months ahead of time in order to be able to fulfill them on time for the holidays. Global supply chains are seeing major shortages as production capacity is tapped out and consumer demand is increasing. Will retailers be able to buy enough inventory? Will it come on time? Will shipping woes continue or will stores reopening spread out consumer demand and lighten the load on carriers?”
Jake Cohen, Head of Customer Marketing, Klaviyo, www.klaviyo.com
Social Media Will Grow in Importance
“More people than ever before will buy their holiday gifts on social media. This might not be anything new, but with the lasting effects of the pandemic, consumers are turning to more digital channels. What’s more, brand discovery now takes place — more often than not, and during the holidays for sure — on handheld devices. Social media is to thank for that as 45% of people who discovered something new online last season said it was a gift for someone. So, this holiday season, make sure your social strategy is in top form — as it could make you lots of sales.”
Chris Cano, Content Lead, dotdigital
Facebook for BigCommerce gives merchants the tools they need to thrive across Facebook and Instagram. Check out our guide on how to sell on Instagram to learn more about how it works, setting up product tags and more.
Online Experience as a Differentiator
“As more and more customers are shopping online, the demand for remarkable customer experiences is at an all-time high. During the holiday season, it can be hard for merchants to differentiate themselves exclusively on price. With a bit of creativity, minimal investment and a good dose of empathy, merchants can win over customers with a stellar customer experience from first touch through to post-purchase interactions.”
Francis Pilon, Head of Global Partnerships, LimeSpot
Reviews Will Play a Big Factor
“Reviews will play an increasingly more important role this year in the 2021 holiday season. In fact, the provision of reviews and social proof has been flagged as vital to success. It’s recommended that brands and retailers offer shoppers anything to help educate, encourage and increase the chance of conversion.
In fact, 70% of ANZ shoppers read at least one review prior to making an online purchase (source: BigCommerce report). Consumers want to be fully educated prior to purchase and are happy to do their research and retailers need to offer this, or risk losing sales.
Additionally, consumers will be looking for three things in the reviews — realness, recency and relationships. Consumers want to see a mix of both positive and negative reviews. Trust is therefore the number one factor when it comes to reviews and their impact on increasing conversion.”
Steph Gillies, Head of Marketing & Communications, Trustpilot
SMS Marketing Will Be A Must-Have Channel
“SMS is no longer a nice-to-have channel, but a must-have one — especially during the holidays.
Last year, Omnisend sent 378% more SMS messages than in 2019, with Q4 accounting for 68% of those sends. While SMS conversion rates increased more than 100% YoY, they were especially impactful during the holidays.
On Black Friday, SMS accounted for 2.5% of sales across all channels, and accounted for 19% of all November SMS orders. Expanding out, the Cyber Ten generated 72% of all November orders.
We expect this trend to accelerate. First, consumers are increasingly adopting SMS as a preferred communication channel. Second, with marketers unable to re-send marketing emails to non-openers due to the iOS update, we anticipate SMS will fill that void while breaking through seasonally-cluttered inboxes to drive promotional awareness.”
Whitney Blankenship, Senior Content Marketing Manager, Omnisend
Time will tell how the upcoming holiday season will go. Will shoppers be excited to return to stores or will they continue to enjoy the convenience of online for much of their holiday shopping? What channels will they flock to and what features will earn their business?
Our best advice is to prepare by covering your bases as much as possible. Prepare your site early. Serve customers everywhere they shop. And provide a seamless shopping experience. For more information on getting your website ready to deliver holiday magic, check out our guide.