For those who missed it, EcomSummit took place last week in Chicago drawing hundreds of Amazon and ecommerce sellers. The conference touted a star-studded lineup of successful sellers speaking on all the hottest topics in ecommerce, including everything from owning your audience to leveraging AI to optimizing your sales and profits. Unlike previous conferences, the speakers at EcomSummit were there to specifically mentor sellers, lead workshops, and foster growth amongst attendees.
Overall the event was a wealth of knowledge for sellers hoping to scale their ecommerce business to the next level. With speakers too good to miss, we’ve compiled a list of 10 takeaways from EcomSummit:
1. Ensure that you own your customers, not Amazon.
Many businesses on Amazon struggle with marketing and brand recognition because Amazon owns all their customer information. As a result, your customers remain loyal to Amazon rather than to your specific brand. Imagine the consequences of this if your seller account was suspended, even just for a couple of days. Your cash flow would come to a complete halt.
To avoid this, it’s critical that you lay the foundation to own your customer and maintain some sort of relationship with them outside of Amazon. One great way to do this is through inserts in packaging. If you provide your customers with value (such as a tutorial video for your product) gated behind an email, you can easily and efficiently compile a customer list for marketing and sales purposes. This information can also be used to drive customers to your website, especially with promotions or coupons to add value.
2. Partner with brands to be their Amazon exclusive retailers.
Want your products to dominate the marketplace? Stand out by being the only one to carry specific brands on Amazon. As the sole retailer of a certain brand on Amazon, you will not only be able to use brand recognition to capture their current customers on a new marketplace but also grow their audience and drive sales.
Isaiah Fritz demonstrated how Amazon sellers could provide value to these brands by expanding into the Amazon marketplace, without creating more work for the brand itself, to establish trust and lay the foundation for an exclusive deal. He also emphasized the symbiotic nature of how these partnerships between brands and Amazon sellers can benefit both parties through increased profits and recognition.
3. Check and recheck your item dimensions to ensure that they’re optimized for cost.
Most sellers who use FBA know that Amazon has a bad habit of resizing your products without your consent or knowledge. And they have an even worse habit of resizing in their favor–making your product’s packaging even more expensive and increasing their profits. This means that it’s critical for you to stay on top of the sizing for product packaging and to ask for resizing from Amazon when necessary to keep your cost as low as possible.
It’s also crucial to optimize your product sizing to save money on the fulfillment and storage process. Chelsea Cohen spoke on the various methods available to sellers, including many sizing optimization tools, which can suggest minuscule adjustments to size and weight that make a huge difference to your bottom line. Using a tool like this can not only help you optimize cost and improve your bottom line but often can also improve the efficiency of your products as well.
4. AI is your marketing best friend.
A common theme throughout the conference was the critical importance of embracing AI to improve your ecommerce business. While AI has a wide range of functions that can help to better optimize and run your business, one of its most exciting uses for sellers is its endless marketing possibilities.
A multitude of speakers at EcomSummit, including Rita Vana, Shawn Hart, Kevin King, and more all touched on the potential to use AI for expanding customer reach, improving your product listings, and generating value for customers post-purchase and beyond. With an ever-growing number of uses, AI is slated to take the ecommerce world by storm and sellers need to get ahead of the curve now if they hope to remain competitive in years to come.
5. Perception defines worth.
Customers aren’t looking for value solely in the product, they’re considering every aspect of their purchase from start to finish. This means everything from packaging to product quality helps your customer assess and define value. If customers see that the packaging of your product looks cheap, the product itself will appear that way too–regardless of its functionality.
Although packaging might seem like a perfect place to cut costs, it’s imperative that you’re aware of how it will be perceived by customers. Choosing higher quality packaging that costs slightly more often will allow you to set the price of your product higher and improve your bottom line, thanks to your customer’s willingness to pay more. While customers want value from the product, they also want to perceive value in the purchase as a whole and packaging is a big part of the perceived experience.
6. Connection with your customers, especially through humor, is priceless.
Even in ecommerce, customers continue to value human experience and emotion above all else. The more that you can find ways to connect with your customers in a meaningful way, the more likely they are to become a loyal audience to your brand. One of the best ways to do this is through humor and wit. If you can make your customers laugh, you’ll leave a lasting impression on them that they will remember the next time they go to make a purchase. Additionally, customers will have positive, happy associations with your brand and products–leaving them feeling good about their purchases.
7. You should be selling on multiple marketplaces to multiple different audiences.
Successful sellers know that the wider your audience, the greater the opportunity there is for profit and the higher your margins will be. Once you’ve established success with a customer base in one market or at one price point, it’s probably time to start exploring channels for expansion.
By selling on multiple platforms, targeting a wide audience, and listing variations of the same product at different price points, you’re increasing your potential sales and growing your business in a new direction. Vanessa Hung spoke at EcomSummit, specifically about targeting new racial and ethnic demographics to open your products up to an entirely new market, thus doubling your potential profit. Rather than delaying this variation until you’ve hit the ceiling on your current market, doing this early on can help your business increase cash flow to scale.
8. Consistent analysis is important for staying ahead in ecommerce.
Efficiency saves time and money, thus helping you achieve better profit margins. This is always true, but how do you maximize your efficiency in ecommerce sales? The answer is constantly evaluating your practices and analyzing up-to-date information to make data-driven decisions for your business. Ensure that your business is maximizing time, energy, and money by analyzing even seemingly insignificant practices to find places where you can improve, cut costs reasonably, and increase your bottom line.
9. Post-purchase marketing changes the game and takes sales to a whole new level.
Post-purchase marketing has changed the ecommerce game and is a great tactic for creating returning customers who are loyal to your brand. Post-purchase marketing includes everything from the product inserts that you work so hard on to additional content that you share online for customers to use. The key is for post-purchase marketing to simultaneously encourage customers to return and provide value that makes it worth their time.
As mentioned earlier, owning your customers’ information is critical when you’re an ecommerce seller. Post-purchase product inserts are one of the best ways to do that while also driving customers to your website instead of an Amazon store.
10. Overdeliver and surprise your customers to achieve a six-star experience.
As our good friend Tomer Rabinovich has shared before, the six-star experience takes your customer satisfaction to new heights. This was a big talking point at EcomSummit, because if you can go above and beyond a good product by delivering an exceptional experience to your customers, then you will create loyal customers who deliver the best reviews and free advertising through word of mouth.
The best way to overdeliver is by finding new ways to bring value to your customers, and inevitably delighting them with the effort and gesture. Bringing extra value doesn’t have to be expensive and it will vary based on your product, but some examples include surprise gifts with each purchase, coupons that come in product inserts for a related item, access to tutorials for a product, and more. The point is not to bribe your customers, but to show them that you valued their purchase and hope to interact with them again in the future.
Interested in joining Viably at a conference like Ecom Summit to learn more from the ecommerce pros? Make sure to keep up with our social channels for more opportunities as we go into Q4!