Apr 14, 2021
Hackers and digital security is something that every website owner fears. Data breaches have impacted the biggest brands in the world, like Adobe, Target, and eBay.
But there’s something even more common that could be impacting your store today: malicious third party code. Browser extensions like Honey, Capital One Shopping, and others promise savings to anyone who uses it. These extensions aggregate and share unauthorized coupons that impact the customer experience, and your profits.
In this discussion with Clean.io’s VP of Marketing, Kathleen Booth, we discuss what Digital Engagement Security is, and how it impacts eCommerce brands.
This is an important discussion to offer ways to protect the user experience, and profits, that you work so hard to build up. You don’t want malicious or untrusted browser extensions to insert themselves in the relationship between you and your customers.
Topics that we discuss:
• An overview of engagement security -- what it is, and how it impacts brands
• How you can prevent coupon extensions on your store
• The magnitude of the problem, in terms of impact on profits and how pervasive it actually is
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Apr 07, 2021
I have admired the work of Raaja Nemani for a while.
I had the good fortune of interning for him in 2011, right as he was launching Bucketfeet, an early DTC footwear brand.
We were both the same age. I was in between years at business school, and had this opportunity to work right alongside he and co-founder Aaron Firestein.
And I was literally right beside them — I’d take the bus every day to their home, in Ukranian Village in Chicago, which doubled as their office and inventory (all of the sneakers were stored in their 3rd floor attic).
Since launching, Raaja helped grow Bucketfeet into an ecommerce pioneer, opening up retail outlets, raising tens of millions of dollars in venture capital, and eventually exiting to Threadless in 2017.
Raaja has since gone on to co-found MarketerHire, a network of expert marketers on demand, with over 1000 customers within just a couple years.
I have learned a ton from Raaja over the years — he is thoughtful, strategic, and has the experience to lend credence to his talk.
The world of ecommerce marketing was very different in 2011 when Bucketfeet launched — paid social was in the nascent stages, much of the growth came from organic facebook posts and page likes.
A few of the things that we cover in this conversation:
Key To Success in eCommerce
Focus. Avoid what other are doing—understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. and execute on that. Don’t shift your strategy based on what you’re seeing the competition do. every company is different, capitalized differently, and understand why you’re making the decisions that you are.
The unsexy fundamentals - the importance of margin and unit economics. When you have solid margins, you are able to pour more into marketing and have more aggressive marekting campaigns. Surprisingly, a lot of companies don’t think about unit economics early on, which is a key to building a successful business. Brands in niches like watches, glasses, skincare, can have high margins. It is harder in footwear, where margins are less.
On Retail & DTC eCommerce
eCommerce is not fundamentally innovative. At the end of the day, it’s just another sales channel. In the same way that selling wholesale via Nordstrom or selling on Amazon is a sales channel.
If you are going to be a big brand, I think you need to be everywhere. THat includes in-person retail.
Your consumers are both online and in person. Some brands aim to generate profits on those in-person retail sales. But for some, especially if you’re based in like SoHo in New York, then you have to have a massive retail strategy. that store may not ever aim to be profitable, because the real estate and rent is too expensive. and those economics don’t work. These landmark properties obviously are trying to build a brand presence, which supports the rest of the business.
For us, I’m glad that we did it. It was mixed results, and ultimately it was a lot of testing. just like you’d test Facebook as an acquisistion strategy, you’re testing retail as an acquisition strategy.
So it’s why pop ups became so popular, because you could test it with a bit less financial risk with the short term leases that are month to month. so fur us, we thought about it fro a branding and marketing perspective.
what’s interesting though is that the conversion rate was through the roof! so some of those stores were operating at close to break even, if not a bit profitable over those time periods, because we could sell a lot of shoes.
and that’s one of the things that is hard with our brand, is that not everyone understands the product until they see it in person.
The Importance of Consistency in Storytelling and Brand
One of the big lessons that we learned was to create a simple value proposition. there should be no confusion of what the brnad is about. people should know exactly why they should care the second that they are on your site.
It’s hard to be concise and clear—whether that’s writing, creative, messaging, or whatever.
We started with a more complicated brand story, trying to stay true to how Aaron (my co-founder) and I first connected in the slums of Argentina. We wanted to be true to that story, but our message became overly complex and verbose. and people just didn’t understand the brand story.
We evolved into a more simple story, but I advise other brands to focus on being clear and focused.
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Mar 31, 2021
On average, a Facebook user spends 2.5 seconds on a piece of content, less for mobile users and less for younger consumers.
No one reads. it’s just scrolling and skimming….
Which is why it is critical to have a visually captivating product images.
Ian Bower, owner of design agency Graphic Rhythm, is an expert in visual communication for ecommerce brands.
Ian shares his step-by-step process of how he extracts the most important and differentiating parts of a brand, and positions it to trigger the needs of customers and impact conversions.
The first step involves understanding your customers’ journey: what do your customers love, hate, or have objections to? These are the biggest bottlenecks to moving a potential customer through to purchase.
Ian shares some ideas to gather this feedback: one simple hack is to study Amazon reviews.
Whether you look at your own product, or a direct competitor, you can see what language the customers use, what they love, and what needs improvement.
Ian covers other topics on customer discovery, visual communication, and creating visuals that convert:
The progression to walk customers through the purchase decision process in stages -- from bottom of the funnel.
How to create a full portfolio of images with just one single high-quality image
How to strike the right balance of product images and lifestyle images
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