Weekly Recap of eCommerce News - W23

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June 15, 2021
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Weekly Recap

The internet is a great, yet overwhelming source of information. Every week, we read the articles published on eCommerce blogs, journals, and websites. We then curate and sum up what's hot and what’s not in eCommerce, and link to the information that matters to you. 

Here’s the lowdown on some of the hot topics in the industry last week:

  • Advertising & Marketing Trends: Google Ads Updates; how to create newsletters and emails customers actually read; a comparison of the best 10 email automation systems; Social Media video marketing strategy 
  • Plugins & Products: WordPress Plugins to sell digital downloads; AI-powered customer experiences
  • Design: UX tips to increase conversions
  • Headless Commerce: Harry Rosen’s new headless online store
  • Customer Service: best practices for customer service on social media
  • Things to listen to: Bloomreach CEO on the future of retail; James Wirth and Bill Sebald on link-building; Laura Palladino on the ICOSA framework for Social Media strategy; Berlin Brands’ Exec, Christian Salza on eCommerce acquisitions and technology; 
  • The eCommerce week in numbers: top 500 online retailers in the US; cross-border purchases in 2020

Marketing and Advertising

May is that time of the year when Google announces what they’ve got in store for us. Usually, their annual Marketing Livestream event focuses on Google Ads and 2021 was no different. Its Performance Max Campaigns - currently in beta - will become available to most advertisers to allow them to broaden automation. Customer Match comes as a response to the almost-obsolete third-party cookies, Expanded Product Feeds now allow for video campaigns and new Insight features will be added, including demand forecasts, consumer interest themes, audience info. Check out more details here

There is no marketer out there that has not had a meltdown over the open rates of their newsletter. We all subscribe to them and then ignore them. Margo Aaron updated her advice on how to create a newsletter that customers actually want to read. In this article, she goes through examples of newsletters that work and tries to answer the question “Why on Earth are these working?!”, while others don’t. 

For advice on building a successful email marketing strategy in general, Dana LaBate has put together a list of tips to help marketers get the right content, to the right audience, at the right time. Russ Henneberry from theCLICKK also shares his insights on how to increase open rates, decrease spam complaints, increase CTR, opt-ins, and viral sharing in this piece written for Smart Marketer last week.

If you’re a step behind and have yet to decide on an email marketing automation tool, Mike Belasco compared 10 of the best email automation systems here.

We all know images can make or break a brand, but what about videos? Pamela Bump made the case for video content marketing campaigns last week in, not one, but two pieces on building a video content marketing strategy. In this first article, she talks about what she found out from asking nearly 300 consumers why they commonly visit YouTube and summed up the conclusions to help marketers understand their audiences better. In the second article, she unpacks the data about the audience of different social media video platforms and offers some great tips for a successful video content strategy.

Plugins & Products 

After all this time, WordPress is still rocking the content management world, still offering one of the most reliable solutions out there. But WordPress can be more than that. Here is a list of plugins curated by Sig Ueland, longtime contributing editor for Practical eCommerce, meant to make selling digital downloads a lot easier. From download buttons to streamlined checkouts and various payment options, these plugins can cover everything you need to turn a portfolio website into a small online shop.  

AI has quickly crept into the eCommerce landscape as a replacement for the in-person customer experiences. There are ever-more uses for it in online stores and the solutions are increasingly easier to implement. You can read all about how you can revamp your online store with AI tools, here

Design

Sometimes it is just as easy as moving a button from here to there to increase conversion rates. But what if you’ve tried everything to no avail? This article sums up some key UX tips, explains why branding is an essential part of UX, how to set up your products for success and why a persistent cart will make the difference for indecisive customers. 

Headless Commerce

We’ve featured a lot of articles in the past few weeks explaining why headless might just be the future of eCommerce stores. Last week, news came out that the Canadian menswear stalwart, Harry Rosen, moved their online store to headless eCommerce platform commercetools. Read all about what motivated their decision to go headless and how it now allows the brand to offer more personalized experiences to their customers, here

Customer Service

Every online merchant is aware of the power that Social Media has given customers. But equally, social media is a great channel to offer speedy and personalized customer support that you will be remembered for. Hazel Raoult has summed up 11 of the best practices for top-notch customer support on social media. Check out this article to find out how many of the boxes you tick and how to use social media to improve customer satisfaction.  


Things to do and listen to

Oriental Trading Company, Inc., a discount party supply chain, announced last week its plans to launch an online marketplace. With more and more retailers now turning into online marketplaces, Bloomreach CEO and author “The Digital Seeker: A Guide for Digital Teams to Build Winning Experiences”, Raj de Datta made some previsions about the future of retail at a live event for CommerceCo by Practical Ecommerce. Read the conclusions of his talk here or watch the video.


James Wirth - senior director of strategy and growth marketing at Citation Labs and Bill Sebald - founder of Greenlane Search Marketing spoke to Armando Roggio of Practical eCommerce about the difficulty of doing link-building right and what to consider when doing it. The summary of their talk can be found here, or you can watch the video linked in the article.

ICOSA stands for “Ideation, Creation, Optimization, Syndication, Amplification”, the 5 steps towards a social media strategy that is proven to work. Laura Palladino - Marketing Director at BOOM!, used it and helped BOOM! generate over 355K Facebook fans and 700K email subscribers. In this podcast, she joins Molly Pittman to share her success story and discuss all steps from ideation to amplification. If you’ve been inspired by Laura and want to know more about her career and her learnings along the way, there is a second episode on exactly that.

If your calendar is not yet full, we have one more. Eric Bandholz of Practical eCommerce spoke to Christian Salza, managing director of the Berlin Brands Group - a company that owns and operates more than a dozen eCommerce businesses, with net revenue of roughly $360 million in 2020 about what makes their approach to acquisitions different. You can listen to the entire interview here 

The eCommerce week in numbers

Last week, Digital Commerce 360 published a list of the top 500 online retailers in the US, available here. After a slight dip in combined online sales in 2019, 2020 has seen a 45% increase with Amazon taking the lead, as expected. For those who want to get a sneak peek behind the paywall, this article has summed up the essential insights including the most popular product categories and a brief analysis of the current and future shape of online retail. 


Online retailers looking to offer international deliveries, get your hands on the cross-border purchases report for 2020, put together by Practical eCommerce and analyzing 8 different countries and their top-selling partners. 


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This article was brought to you by Ana-Maria Carabelea

Ana-Maria is a content creator, copywriter and brand storyteller with extensive experience in eCommerce and the creative industries.

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