Selling on social media: how retailers can reach their customers on Facebook and Co.

First the customers stopped going to stores, now they disdain the online shops. That is why retailers want to reach them where they are anyway: on social media. An overview of the shopping opportunities on Facebook , Instagram and Pinterest.

Mobile shopping is becoming more and more natural, especially for the younger generation. Social channels such as Instagram and Pinterest are playing an increasingly important role as sales platforms. One in five online customers who shop on their mobile device does so via their social media channels.

This type of online sales is called social commerce. The big social media companies offer ever more extensive options to enable shopping on their platforms. Ideally, users no longer leave the platforms to shop because they are suggested the products that interest them via the product recommendations of their social media friends. Only payment via the channels is not yet possible. For Facebook, Pinterest and Co., the advantages are obvious: They keep users on their pages for as long as possible, so they can offer more advertising, collect data on buying behavior and skim off a sales commission.

For retailers, social commerce offers the opportunity to reach more customers. Products that sell particularly well through pictures – clothing, accessories or furniture – are particularly suitable for selling on social media. One possibility is to market the products through influencers. Many online shop operators have already recognized the potential.

She has now reached 85 percent of her customers via Instagram, says Marlena Wester from the decoration shop Wild Daisy. “The platform is extremely relevant for our business.” Above all, it relies on Instagram stories and their features: 45 percent of their customers reached their online shop via tags or swipe-ups.

Mail order company Otto is also convinced of social commerce and is testing the implementation of its product catalog with Pinterest, which is very extensive with over a million items. “Pinterest is a very exciting channel for us,” says Marc Opelt, Head of Marketing at Otto. “We are reaching our target group in a completely new environment. Where the user likes to be inspired and is open to new ideas. “

However, if you rely on sales via social media, you should also be aware of possible disadvantages: A lot of customer data goes to the platform instead of to your own shop. Online retailers lose the opportunities for brand marketing and also lose track of the traffic on their own website.

In an international comparison, Germans are still relatively skeptical of the large platform operators. But because younger users in particular willingly share their financial information via the channels, social commerce is a trade with a future that shop operators have to grapple with.

On the retailer pages on Facebook there is the option of creating a shop to which products can be added. As soon as the shop contains at least one product, it appears as a section of the page and can be accessed via the corresponding tab. The products can consist of pictures, videos and a product description as posts. The posts are always organic. With the button “Buy via the website”, interested parties are redirected to the product detail page in the provider’s external shop in order to complete the purchase there. The posts reach a higher reach if users like, comment, share or save them. Shop owners can organically promote individual products by sharing them on their own pages or in groups. In the so-called “collections” within the shops, categories such as “bestsellers”, “offers” or certain product types can be created. Collections that should get more attention can be placed first in the shop and also on the page.

Shop operators can either maintain their products on Facebook directly on their page or use the Facebook Business Manager for this. A tool that also takes on the administration of the shop page, i.e. manages the orders, contacts the customers or displays the shipping status.

On the Facebook shop pagesonly physical products may be sold. In addition, the offer must comply with Facebook’s trading guidelines, which for example prohibit the sale of tobacco, alcohol, weapons, prescription drugs and animals. Facebook says it checks the new products within 24 hours. And Facebook decides whether the offers can stay in the shop or not – sometimes apparently arbitrarily. For example, Facebook allows condoms to be sold, but not menstrual cups. Why, that is not made clear, and so the dealers can only speculate. A fish spice called “Pistol Fish Rub” is not allowed to be sold. Because of the word “pistol”? Another sauce that was rejected contains the word “pork”, Facebook probably suspects a live animal behind it.

Sell ​​on Instagram

The user can access the shop area via the shop tab on the Instagram page. Shopping posts are organic image or video posts in which up to five products and their prices can be indicated. People and products can also be marked in the same post. The user recognizes the shopping posts by a shopping bag symbol in the top right corner of the posting. A click on the product marking leads to the product in the shop area, where it can be presented with additional pictures. The “View on website” button takes you to the dealer’s external shop, where you can then complete your purchase. Product markings can also be added later.

Instagram is likely to offer paid shopping posts in addition to organic shopping posts later this year. Retailers can then mark their products not only on pictures but also in the stories. However, only one marking per story is possible here. Using the product launch stickers in the stories, users can set a reminder for products that interest them. You will then receive a push notification as soon as the announced product can be purchased.

Instagram shopping is only available for company accounts and only works with a link to a Facebook account. The products must already be created in a Facebook catalog for e-commerce items. This catalog is a kind of product shelf for the various Facebook applications: With it, retailers can, for example, place dynamic ads, expand sales on Instagram or set up a shop on the company page of Facebook. Like Facebook, trading on Instagram is subject to the company’s trading guidelines.

Sell ​​on Pinterest

On Pinterest, the organic product pins contain the image of the product, the price, a description and a link to the product page for payment in the external online shop. Because even with Pinterest it is not yet possible to pay directly on the platform. The product pins are among the so-called “rich pins”, which offer additional details about pins. The Product Pins are automatically created from external product catalogs and update with the websites they came from. They appear in the Shopping tab on the Pinterest page. They can also be used to create paid ads. Pinterest is currently testing the catalog function in Germany with selected partners such as Home24, Fossil and Otto. Via the shop-the-look pins,

So you can buy individual elements of an outfit or an interior. Merchants who want to offer products on Pinterest need a Pinterest business profile. In order to automatically generate product pins from the catalog pages of the external shop, you must insert the specified OpenGraph or Schema.org markings in the HTML code area on each page. With the rich pin validator provided by Pinterest, retailers can check whether the integration was successful.

Pinterest uses the Pinterest Lens search technology to perform a visual search for each pin to find similar objects or products. In this way, users can search for certain objects – be it a couch, a vase or a wardrobe – that they have photographed with their own camera. With the help of Pinterest Lens, this product will be found if it is available through the shop. The search can also be restricted to just one image section. According to Pinterest, the search engine is able to recognize more than 2.5 billion objects in the “Home” and “Fashion” categories. With the search technology, the company wants to make browsing and shopping as easy as possible for customers so that they can shop even more through the Pinterest shop.

Trends from China

For trends in social commerce, it is worth taking a look at China. There, all-purpose messengers like the Chinese Wechat dominate the market, which enable mobile communication, gaming, shopping and payment in a single app. The active 1.1 billion Wechat users no longer need an official fast food app to order their burger. The menu is called up via the app and then ordered directly. Users who have uploaded more than ten videos to Douyin, known in this country as Tiktok, can post shoppable posts. They are either linked to the Taobao marketplace or to their own store. On Pinduoduo, with its more than 340 million active users, users gather to buy together in order to benefit from group discounts.

Under the keyword “Retailtainment” (Retail + Entertainment), many Chinese platforms ensure that users are entertained as well as possible while shopping: With short videos, cute mascots, mini-games, the free play of vouchers and extensive functions for sharing the shopping experience with his social media contacts. Western social media platforms are now emulating the Chinese apps and trying to establish e-commerce and payment systems in order to make them palatable to consumers. What is successful in Asia could soon establish itself in Germany.

This is how you increase your sales on Amazon

There are other strategies in addition to Amazon SEO to increase sales on the Amazon online marketplace . Our guest author gives four tips.

With more than 240,000 sellers, the competitive situation on Amazon’s marketplace is getting to a head. This makes it all the more important to understand the algorithm behind product placements. In this way, a profitable positioning on Europe’s largest online marketplace can be achieved in the long term.

In addition to the pay-per-click campaigns, the so-called A9 algorithm also influences the organic ranking of the products. The aim is to increase satisfaction and sales per customer.

But which factors influence product placement? How can the ranking be improved? And what influence does the conversion rate have? The following four tips will help.

Choosing the right campaign type

Depending on the structure of the Pay-Per-Click campaigns, the profit can vary greatly. In addition to higher sales figures, you can use PPC campaigns to increase brand awareness and achieve your first customer contact.

In the past, the following types of campaigns have proven successful:

Main keyword campaign

The search terms with the highest relevance are defined in the main keyword campaign. These main keywords can be identified with the help of certain tools such as Helium 10 or Junglescout. The tools provide information about the respective search volumes of the keywords.

Many Amazon sellers make the mistake of combining all of the keywords in a single campaign. However, the combination of keywords with high and low search volume leads to a cannibalization
effect : Keywords with low search volume, which definitely have high sales relevance, are not played out by keywords with high search volume. This results in unrepresentative data that make campaign optimization difficult. It is therefore advisable to split the campaigns according to search volume with an adapted budget.

Tip: In general, long-tail keywords convert better than short-tail keywords. The reason for this is that long-tail keywords pursue a specific purchase intention and competition is lower than with short-tail keywords.

Auto campaign

The auto campaign does not require any keyword definition. The algorithm places the ad by product and budget.

After two to three months, the auto campaign achieves an ACOS (Average Cost of Sale) of 20 to 35 percent. In order to have maximum control over the campaigns, the keywords under which sales were achieved can be identified under the “Search terms” tab.

These search terms can be used to set up a manual campaign that takes the best converting keywords from the auto campaign. In this way, the seller can better coordinate his campaigns, especially the display, and reach the target ACOS more quickly.

Competition campaign

A competition campaign is ideal if your own product is cheaper and ideally of higher quality than a comparable competitor product. For this, all ASINs of the competitors must be defined as search terms. This means that your own product is displayed on product pages from other competitors. The click prices are usually cheaper in the competitive campaign and therefore also lower for the ACOS. Anyone who sells a cheaper product than their competition will be able to achieve amazing results with this type of campaign.

Improve the listing

Since Amazon is a product search engine, conversion rates of up to 45 percent are not uncommon. In order to achieve high conversion rates, the listing must be optimized.

The most important Amazon SEO factors include the product title and bullet points. In third place are the downstream keywords, which can be defined as “general keywords” in the backend. The product description is given low weighting.

In all four areas, sellers should include the main keywords that are most relevant. Keyword bashing is not suitable because the customer experience suffers.

In addition, the following performance factors should be taken into account, as they are highly relevant for Amazon SEO:

  • reviews
  • Product images (1,000 x 1,000 pixels)
  • questions and answers
  • Length of stay
  • Response time to customer inquiries (maximum 24 hours)

An improvement in the performance factors has a positive effect on the click-through rate (CTR) and thus on the number of potential sales.

But be careful! A high CTR does not always achieve a higher positioning. If this worsens the conversion rate, the ranking also suffers. Therefore, the sources of external traffic should be chosen carefully.

Amazon’s Choice

Amazon’s Choice branding increases both visibility and conversion rate, as it gives the customer a feeling of security. For Amazon’s Choice branding, Amazon takes the following criteria into account:

  • Low return rate (less than 30 percent)
  • Sufficient stock
  • competitive prices
  • Increase sales under search terms that are highly relevant
  • Above-average sales history

Activation of the conversion booster

The A-Plus content is displayed instead of the product description and acts as a kind of landing page. Although the function does not have a direct effect on the ranking, it increases the conversion rate significantly, as it ultimately convinces potential customers of the product. However, A-Plus content is only available for registered trademarks. Thanks to the modular system from Amazon, you can set up an extended product description without any coding knowledge.

Conclusion

Implementing the tips not only increases sales, it also increases visibility and branding. Ultimately, the optimization of the ranking factors and PPC campaigns lead to synergy effects, which at the same time also increase the chances of a “choice” or “bestseller” positioning.

This is how customers want to pay in online shops today

Which payment methods belong in the online shop and what is really important to customers when paying? Current studies provide answers.

Customers want to pay how they want. According to current studies and surveys, the leading payment methods include PayPal, invoice, direct debit and credit card. For most customers, it is important to have an easy-to-use payment method, but preferences vary. Some love PayPal, others hate it. It is important for retailers to know and be able to serve customer preferences.

Corona crisis: Purchase on account is used more

The payment service provider Paysafe asked 8,000 consumers in Germany, Austria, Italy, Great Britain, the USA, Canada and Bulgaria about their payment habits and referred to the corona crisis.

  • 32 percent of German customers bought on account last month, compared with 23 percent in the previous year.
  • 39 percent of Austrian customers bought on account last month, compared to 24 percent in the previous year.

The customers surveyed named several payment methods, so they did not only buy on account. A possible interpretation of this change would be a growing proportion of older, conservative cohorts who previously bought less or no online shopping.

Multiple payment options are a must

In its survey, Paysafe found that German customers consider shops that offer several payment options to be particularly customer-friendly and modern. That sounds nice and soft, but in practice it has consequent consequences for sales and conversion rate.

The study “Success Factor Payment 2020” by Ibi Research shows that 72 percent of customers have a preferred payment method. If it is not offered, it is a big problem, as Forrester found in a study in March 2020 in collaboration with Bloomreach: 32 percent of customers were bothered by the fact that the preferred payment method was not available at checkout.

Paying should be easy and convenient

Customers are comfortable; If the payment data from a previous purchase is securely stored in a shop, 67 percent of German consumers are more likely to buy there again, instead of in a shop in which the payment data has to be stored again. According to the study by Ibi Research, the two leading reasons for choosing a payment method are 35 percent guaranteed buyer protection and 25 percent the ease of use of the payment method.

Customers consider the following payment methods to be simple:

  • PayPal (81 percent)
  • Invoice (62 percent)
  • Direct debit (46 percent)
  • Credit card (46 percent)

By the way, these four payment methods also lead to the question of the safest payment method.

These payment methods must be offered by online retailers

The authors of the study by Ibi Research summarize the most important findings about the payment preferences of online customers in a paragraph.

The conclusion is quickly drawn: every online retailer should use at least the four most popular payment methods. Paypal stands out most clearly. It is preferred by the majority (57 percent) of customers with a fixed preference for a payment method.

The 4 main payment methods

  • Paypal
  • invoice
  • Credit card
  • Direct debit

The suffix that customers also prefer methods that are not used that often should lead to the conclusion that other payment methods definitely belong in a retailer’s payment mix. This prevents customers from dropping out. Because according to Ibi, 60 percent of customers categorically exclude certain payment methods. These customers need alternatives.

5 books to take your e-commerce forward

E-commerce beginners or professionals with further training requirements: These five books will broaden your horizons profitably.

We have filtered out worthwhile reading from the large volume of specialist literature on the subject of e-commerce, which provides both theoretical background knowledge and practical knowledge. The selected books are characterized by the fact that the authors have practical knowledge and that they convey this knowledge well in their books.

Amazon Marketplace: The manual for manufacturers and retailers

Trutz Fries and Stephan Bruns

A practical standard work for beginners in the marketplace trade on Amazon. Fries and Bruns take dealers by the hand and guide them from the first steps in registering an account, through the urgently needed process automation in online trading, to brand building on marketplaces.

Blurb: No other marketplace is currently growing as fast as the Amazon Marketplace. In order to survive as a trader on this marketplace, you need a companion who will show you what is important right from the start. Learn which products are suitable for sale on Amazon, what characterizes a good product listing and how you can offer your products throughout Europe with Amazon’s “Fulfillment by Amazon” program. In order for your products to be found, you will learn how the Amazon algorithm works and how you can generate more sales with the help of advertisements, vouchers or lightning offers and thus make it to the top of the Amazon search. With our book you have the challenges of day-to-day business effortlessly at hand with specific tips on self-organization, process automation, brand management and success measurement. Incl.

From the content:

  • Set up seller account
  • Product selection criteria
  • Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), international expansion
  • Create perfect product listings
  • Get good reviews
  • Measures to increase sales
  • Sponsored products, coupons, discounts, lightning deals
  • Selling internationally
  • Success analysis
  • Brand building and maintenance
  • Process automation, ERP connection

Authors:  Trutz Fries is the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Revoic and the Amazon analysis tool Amalytix. Stephan Bruns has been a seller on Amazon since 2012 and advises dealers and vendors on listing optimization, marketing and other topics. He is a co-founder of Revoic.

Amazon Marketing: The practical book for more success at Amazon

Christian Otto Kelm

The ultimate practical guide to Amazon marketing. The practice book deserves its name and is a standard work that belongs on the desk or in the e-book reader of every online retailer. With the help of this guide, retailers develop their own, functioning Amazon marketing strategy.

  • Basics, content, optimization, strategies, tips and tricks
  • Optimize the findability and visibility of your own products
  • Amazon SEO, SEM, Coupons and Discounts, Lightning Deals

Blurb: Please don’t expect a simple 10-point plan that you just have to follow. Amazon is too complex and cannot be cracked with a simple set of rules. Get involved with Christian Kelm’s strategic and operational considerations, play them through yourself and apply them to your own requirements, true to the motto: helping people to help themselves. How to find the best solution for you to boost your own sales on Amazon and increase visibility.

From the content:

  • The right Amazon strategy
  • Increase discoverability
  • Content creation for the marketplace
  • Measure and increase performance
  • Advertise successfully with good content
  • Paid advertising
  • Sponsored Products
  • Product Display Ads
  • Amazon Advertising Platform

Author: Christian Kelm is the best-known Amazon expert in German-speaking countries – some of the most successful vendors and sellers rely on his knowledge of Amazon. He was a keynote speaker at over 100 specialist conferences and passed on his knowledge to the participants in numerous workshops.

The E-Commerce Book: Market Analysis – Business Models – Strategies

Alexander Graf and Holger Schneider

The e-commerce book is a strategic guide that helps you adapt or develop your own e-commerce business model. Lots of case studies illustrate the development of business models using different e-commerce companies. Required reading for everyone who is looking for background knowledge in addition to everyday practice.

Blurb: The e-commerce trade has written a success story that no market participant has long been able to escape. Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, but also specialized niche providers, are revolutionizing the industry almost every day. Innovative forms of marketing, sales channels and technical solutions represent significant challenges, but also open up great opportunities for trade and industry.
The e-commerce book, meanwhile a standard work in the industry, is now available in a completely revised and updated 3rd edition. As the anniversary edition, the book is presented in paperback. It provides professionals and beginners with basic knowledge across all retail sectors, a comprehensive market overview (with a detailed analysis of the Chinese market) and includes successful strategy approaches from the best in the industry as well as 50 current case studies with key facts and evaluations. Numerous illustrations, case studies and insider tips complete the presentation.

Authors: Alexander Graf is the founder and managing director of the leading e-commerce software company Spryker Systems in Berlin. He is also the editor of the popular e-commerce magazine Kassenzone.de.

Holger Schneider heads the E-Commerce Bachelor and Master courses at the Wedel University of Applied Sciences. His teaching activities include strategic and operational topics in e-commerce. In order to guarantee a practical training of his students, Schneider works together with numerous cooperation companies within the framework of practical projects.

The new online trade: business models, business systems and benchmarks in e-commerce

Gerrit Heinemann

A textbook in the best sense of the word that conveys all the important backgrounds and practical aspects. Here, too, a lot of strategic knowledge is conveyed, but in comparison to Graf and Schneider’s “Das E-Commerce-Buch” the book does not have a pure strategy focus and conveys a lot of necessary background knowledge about strategies.

Blurb: This book presents developments and future trends in e-commerce, which is shaped by the new digital communication and consumption patterns of customers. Gerrit Heinemann examines e-commerce business models, channel excellence and success factors such as digital time advantages and customer focus. He analyzes the digital challenges and shows the consequences and the opportunities associated with online trading. Recognized best practices illustrate how successful digital commerce works and what the lessons learned over the past few years have been.

The 11th edition describes what online retailers can do to reinvent themselves and survive against Amazon, and what founders should consider in order to get off to a successful start in online retail with innovative business models. All chapters have been revised and expanded to include current topics such as performance marketing, audience targeting, digital branding and shop design, as well as new findings from the ExO organization and frictionless business. In particular, numerous new legal requirements have been taken into account, such as two-factor authentication, the geoblocking regulation and of course GDPR and upload filters.

 

The content:

  • Meta targeting and business ideas in online trading
  • Business model of online trading
  • Forms of online trading
  • Business systems and benchmarks in e-commerce
  • Best practices and risks in online trading

Author:  Gerrit Heinemann is professor for business administration, management and trade as well as head of the eWeb Research Center at the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.

You have to make miracles yourself: How to turn the economy upside down

Sina Trinkwalder

Sina Trinkwalder’s own success story appeared in 2013, but more contemporary than ever in the aftermath of the corona pandemic. It shows that online retailers and brands can and must take responsibility in order to enable a more sustainable society. Your company Manomama has a pioneering position as an ecological and social company. At the beginning of the pandemic, Trinkwalder switched the production of her textile company to mouth-and-nose protection.

Blurb: It brings people out of unemployment. She manufactures in Germany. She pays high wages. Your collection is chic and ecological. Politicians and the media are scrambling for them. Her name is Sina Trinkwalder. This is their message.
Because, contrary to popular belief, anyone who is convinced that textiles can be manufactured in Germany at competitive prices must have a message. Sina Trinkwalder is not an entrepreneur who believes in increasing returns by relocating jobs to Asia – but in the fundamental importance of a self-earned livelihood for people who can proudly participate in society.
Sina Trinkwalder’s “Manomama” is the horror of the employers ‘association, the media topic, the politicians’ preferred dates – and Sina Trinkwalder is the favorite of her seamstresses.
Here is the story of this young woman and her impressive company.

The t3n Guide “Digitize Retail”

Jochen G. Fuchs

E-commerce novice or retailer looking for a way into digitization? For the perfect introduction to online retail, we give you tips so that you can quickly find your way around the world of digital retail. On 167 pages we clarify legal questions and show you which shop systems are most suitable for which case. For an optimal start in your digital business.

The guide at a glance

  • Tips for getting started with e-commerce
  • Overviews of different shop systems
  • Digital solutions for various industries
  • Guide for successful customer communication
  • Checklists for the most important things you need to do
  • Instructions for a legally secure online shop
  • Introduction to Ecommerce Marketing
  • As a practical PDF file for reading and printing

Author: Jochen Fuchs has been an editor for e-commerce at t3n for many years. The expert has spent over 20 years in the retail world, of which more than ten years have been active in various positions, from salesman and branch manager to analyst and e-commerce project manager

The German market is not enough for you? This is how your online shop takes off internationally

The world is your marketplace. At least it can be – if you dare to take the step into international business. You can read here why you should do this and what you need to consider on the way there.

“Made in Germany”: We rock!

Products from Germany enjoy great popularity all over the world. An elaborate study on the quality assessment by country of manufacture by Yougov in cooperation with the British Cambridge University showed in 2019 that German products are in first place worldwide. Only six percent of the survey participants attribute a negative image to German products, with over half of the respondents they are associated with a positive impression.

So why not sell German products internationally?

Granted, Germany is of course already exporting very successfully. It was not for nothing that Germany was the third largest export country in 2018 (after China and the USA). Internationally, you can not only sell classic export goods (in our case these are primarily cars, trucks, machines and electronics), but also all other goods. Preferably, of course, those that are already being sold online in Germany.

Many e-commerce retailers still shy away from entering foreign markets, because the decision to sell their own goods internationally comes with a number of challenges. But it’s worth it, because foreign markets offer huge potential – with a huge potential clientele.

This is especially true for German providers. While German online shoppers only obtained 32 percent of the goods bought online from abroad in 2018, the proportion is significantly higher for many European neighbors. 72 percent of the goods that Belgians bought online came from abroad, 81 percent for Austrians and as much as 84 percent for Irish. The best conditions for German e-commerce providers.

But what should you watch out for in e-commerce across national borders?

Other countries other manners!

What seems pretty obvious at first shouldn’t be underestimated. Not only is the language different, the (online shopping) mentality may also differ from country to country.

A translation of your shop page and product descriptions (possibly also machine-generated) is not enough. It is important to strike the right note and make overseas consumers feel that you are actually speaking their language.

This also includes an appropriate design of the shop and a structure of your shop page that corresponds to the country. While Europeans prefer more sober and structured online shops, for example, things can be more opulent in Asia, with a wide range of products right on the first page. The worlds of color and images also differ greatly from region to region. Working with professional translators, designers and people who know the new target group well is therefore essential.

You should also have (at least) a lawyer on board, because the legal situation also differs from country to country. We are talking about various tax rates and customs fees, certain delivery conditions and other terms and conditions, and data protection. Within the EU, this is at least uniformly regulated by the GDPR, but completely different provisions apply in other markets.

Shipping and the logistics behind it are also important issues, as is payment in different currencies and payment systems.

And all of this is only a fraction of what has to be considered when opening up international markets.

If the thought comes to you at this point: “Phew, maybe it’s not worth the effort”, let me tell you two things: First, it’s worth the effort! Second, with the right strategy, everything is half as wild!

Your strategy for getting started on foreign markets

Every journey begins with a first step

This also applies to your goods when they make their way to a foreign buyer. You don’t have to start your very own shop abroad. You might not even want to.

Instead, it can make sense to set up a brand shop on a marketplace established in the target country (e.g. Ebay, Amazon, Allegro in Poland and Bol.com in the Netherlands) and initially offer a few selected products there. If you achieve good results with this, the offer can then be expanded until you can finally set up your own shop in the target country.

The use of a marketplace not only means less risk and less effort for you, but also a lot of linguistic, legal and logistical relief, as the operators deal with many matters (such as language and structure and the web shop, payment systems and clarification of complaints and Returns) yourself.

On the other hand, the use of already existing marketplaces is sometimes accompanied by restrictions, for example with regard to the product range or certain requirements for pricing and the delivery process.

ChannelAdvisor provides assistance

So marketplaces can be a complicated business, too, but you can get support. ChannelAdvisor has specialized in supporting e-commerce providers (with international sales) and offers a platform with which various marketplaces (including, of course, Amazon, Zalando, Otto and Co.) can be managed. The platform was honored with the E-Commerce Germany Award 2020 as Best Solution for International Expansion, combines all essential marketing, sales and fulfillment activities and can make your start in international markets much easier.

If you first want to deepen your knowledge of marketplace management or digital marketing specifically for e-commerce, you can do so with the free e-book from Channel Advisor . It explains step by step which challenges await you on the way to international sales and what you should consider as an online retailer.

I know where your money is: this is how online shops keep track of their finances

The calculation is simple: the more sales your online shop generates, the more numerous and also more confused the financial flows. It is all the more important to know what to look out for so that you always have an overview of all your demands.

The concept of classic trade is basically quite simple: goods (or services) for money. If customers order online, there is often the option of buying on account and thus postponing payment. Shop operators have to organize themselves particularly well in order to keep track of all outstanding claims at all times. Special cases such as discount campaigns, credits and cancellations add complexity – as does the growth of your shop. Because the more you sell, the more complex your financial flows become. So not only people know the well-known growth pain from their youth – but also your online shop.

But if you know what to look out for (and have the right tool at hand), your online shop will grow painlessly and without any problems. “ Cash , boom, bang” instead of “Crash, boom, bang”!

These things add complexity to e-commerce

  • The step into the international market 

Is your online shop established in your home country and it is time for the international market? Congratulations! The development of international markets holds a lot of potential – but also ensures a not inconsiderable complexity. Because not only are different currencies and other tax rates lurking here, but in some cases also completely different legal bases. So it pays to be particularly careful here so that your money arrives at you even if you sell abroad.

  • Different payment methods

A free choice of payment method is essential for a successful user experience and thus long-term customer loyalty. At the same time, the same applies here: the more payment methods you offer, the more complex the administration becomes for you. To keep an overview at all times, there are tools that can support you – you can read more about this below.

  • A lot of customers – a lot of data

Your online shop is going through the roof and thousands of new customers are buying from you? Hammer! You should pay attention to two things here: On the one hand, your shop system must be able to cope with the onslaught of customers on a technical level, and on the other hand, you should make sure that you treat your customers’ data with care. A CRM ( Customer Relationship Management ) system can help, organize your customers’ data and ensure that your accountants can do their job properly.

  • A lot of sales mean a lot of claims – and a lot of special cases

As the number of customers increases, so do your sales. That makes the cash register ring – but only if you really get the money. Special cases such as cancellations and returns make managing your financial flows even more complicated. So that you always have an overview when booking funds back and forth, you should deal with payment clearing.

And this is how you counteract these dangers: With payment clearing from nexnet

So growth makes business more complicated. Then the solution is to stop growing? Not at all, the solution is Payment Clearing from nexnet . With Payment Clearing, all money movements can be monitored and recorded at the individual transaction level.

These advantages are waiting for you:

  • With payment clearing from nexnet you will be informed about all financial flows, their due dates, completeness and correctness.
  • Payment Clearing is compatible with all common PSP (Payment Service Providern) or in German payment service providers such as Paypal, Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Klarna and many more.
  • And you always have an eye on what your PSP is up to. Because they never transfer the entire amount of an end customer’s purchase, but instead keep their commission on the one hand, and a kind of “security deposit” on the other, in order to be able to set up provisions for cancellations etc. After a certain time, for example after the return period has expired, the PSP will pay you this amount back – but not for each customer individually, but in a collective transfer with all orders from the current period. Without payment clearing, it is difficult to understand for which order the PSP has already paid the security deposit and for which it has not – with payment clearing you always have an overview.
  • Payment clearing also works internationally! All money movements are recorded with current exchange rates and posted directly with the appropriate tax rates.
  • nexnet creates a testable monthly statement for you. All necessary data is transferred directly to your general ledger; All common general ledger solutions such as SAP or Datev are also supported here. This relieves your accountants and ensures that you never have to fear the next audit again.
  • With the use of payment clearing you save time and money, because your team has more capacity for the core business and can drive your online shop even further – without any growing pains!

 

In 6 easy steps to the customer journey map

customer journey map is a valuable tool for identifying pitfalls along the customer journey. You can find out how to put it on using the following steps.

The checkout process offers only a few payment options, information about the desired product can hardly be found online, the shop design is confusing or the delivery of the package leaves a lot to be desired. On the customer journey – from the moment a customer becomes aware of a product or service through to the actual purchase – there are countless pitfalls that can cause them to jump out prematurely. The tougher the competition in the respective segment and the more sophisticated the competition’s customer journey, the more relentless consumers are when it comes to a bad customer experience (CX) – after all, the next offer is just a click away. A tried and tested tool for identifying potholes and growth opportunities along the customer journey is the customer journey map. On it, the customer journey is analyzed step by step and graphically displayed so that you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes as precisely as possible. The following points are intended to provide guidance on which aspects should be considered when setting up a customer journey map. On it, the customer journey is analyzed step by step and graphically displayed so that you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes as precisely as possible. The following points are intended to provide guidance on which aspects should be considered when setting up a customer journey map. On it, the customer journey is analyzed step by step and graphically displayed so that you can put yourself in the customer’s shoes as precisely as possible. The following points are intended to provide guidance on which aspects should be considered when setting up a customer journey map.

This is how you set up a customer journey map

Step 1: Data analysis
At the beginning of every customer journey mapping, marketers should view and analyze their data balance. The more detailed the data basis and analysis, the more meaningful the customer journey map is. Data sources that can be particularly informative here are Google Analytics, for example to measure length of stay, bounce or conversion rate, collected customer feedback and reports from customer service.

Step 2: Define buyer personas
Based on the data collected and analyzed in the previous step, it is now necessary to develop one or more buyer personas for the customer journey map (s). Ideally, a separate customer journey map should be set up for each buyer persona, as the individual needs sometimes differ significantly. If there is no time or resources for this, you can start with just one buyer persona. Relevant dimensions that should be reflected in the buyer persona are, for example, demographic characteristics (age, gender, marital status), socio-economic criteria (occupation, education), but also psychographic aspects (lifestyle, set of values, possibly political attitudes, …) .

Step 3: Define customer steps
This step is about defining the individual stages that a customer goes through on their journey. Customer journey maps can take different forms; In our example it should be a linear map, so the individual steps are noted on a timeline. Important: “Step” here is not the same as “Touchpoint”, since there are also steps on the customer journey that do not involve contact with your own company. This is the case, for example, in the early phase of the customer journey, when the desire to buy a specific product or service is only just being awakened. When we speak of “touchpoint”, we mean the explicit contact between customer and company.

Step 4: Identify relevant channels
In order to identify potential for improvement in the marketing mix, it is important to question at every step of the customer which relevant channels are already being served or not yet being served. The crucial question here is: Do I cover all the necessary channels? In the buyer persona, media consumption was ideally taken into account – so I have a standardized picture of which channels my customers reach. Comparing different channels with one another can provide interesting insights. For example, if a channel has a significantly lower conversion rate than others, this can be a sign that the CX needs to be improved.

Step 5: Evaluate the customer’s emotional world
Since every step on the customer journey causes a different kind of emotional impulse in customers, it is also advisable to take into account the emotionality in customer journey mapping. In order to distinguish and visualize negative and positive feelings as well as their intensity, it is advisable to work with a plus-minus scale, emoticons or the like. Steps that are perceived as negative should ideally be completely removed or adjusted so that they no longer trigger negative sensations. In particular, the end of the customer journey, i.e. the purchase or repurchase of a product or service, should always be positively charged. This step is crucial, as regular customers become repeat buyers and ideally brand advocates.

Step 6: Prioritize customer steps
Finally, it is important to prioritize the previously defined customer steps according to relevance. Depending on the buyer persona, there can be strong deviations in terms of which steps are perceived as particularly important. The aim here should also be to compare the steps with the emotional involvement of the customer at the respective point. Particularly relevant steps on the customer journey should by no means trigger a negative connotation in the buyer persona. If so, companies should consider how they can manage to redirect the focus to positive emotions.

Once these steps have been taken, the first version of the customer journey map is available. Before it is rolled out, it should be put through its paces within the organization to test whether it can withstand reality. It is important to never consider the customer journey mapping as complete. It is an ongoing process that should be iterated regularly in order to depict the most realistic picture of the customer journey.

Many young adults find influencer marketing more believable than traditional advertising

The Influencer marketing has in 2020 continued to gain influence. According to a study, 21.6 percent of Germans bought a product because they saw it at an influencer.

Youtubers, Instagramers, bloggers and other influencers further expanded their influence on German consumers in 2020 . According to a study by the Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), more than a fifth of Germans (21.6 percent) bought a product because an influencer had advertised it. Last year, this value was 19 percent, after 16 percent in 2018.

Influencers are part of the marketing mix

“Influencers have established themselves as a tool in the marketing mix,” said BVDW Vice President Anke Herbener. Large advertising companies have been relying on influencers for years, and their influence on sales is now measurable. According to the study, more than a quarter (26.4 percent) of all respondents see an influencer on a digital channel at least once a day.

Young adults are naturally more open to influencer marketing, which takes place primarily online, than older ones. Among 16- to 24-year-olds, 52.6 percent stated that they had bought a product advertised by influencers. Also exciting: over half (51.2 percent) of young adults find influencer marketing more credible than traditional advertising on TV, radio or newspapers. At least 15 percent of 55-64 year olds are of this opinion. Overall, however, only 7.5 percent of Germans answered here with a clear yes.

Influencer marketing annoying for a quarter

Almost a quarter of the Germans surveyed (23.8 percent) find influencers annoying, which is almost two percentage points above the value of last year. A large majority of respondents, on the other hand, have no problem with advertising by influencers. According to the study , influencers should cope well with the economic crisis triggered by the corona pandemic . “As soon as the economy recovers, advertisers will also consider influencers in their marketing budget again, we’re sure of that,” says Anke Herbener.

Bad search results? Google points this out and gives tips for improvement

Your next Google search result could start by saying that the search engine does not think the results displayed are good. You will also receive tips on how the result could be improved.

The latest innovation, which Google has given its searchers according to a report by The Verge , sounds unnecessary at first glance. The search engine giant wants to give a hint on its results pages in the future if it does not consider a result listing to be optimal. How can that be possible when the company scours and indexes the network every day, you might ask. The answer lies primarily in the specific search query itself.

We don’t have a perfect match for you today

“It looks like there aren’t any great matches for your search” translates as “There doesn’t seem to be any perfect matches for your search”. At first glance, this sounds like a certain self-criticism on the part of the search engine operator, but on second glance it turns out to be primarily a hint to the searcher to formulate his query more precisely.

In fact, it seems inconceivable that Google cannot make a reasonable offer for a search phrase. However, especially with very generic terms, it is very common that the search result is just as generic. You have probably already started searches yourself where the results did not have much to do with your search intent. So the problem is not the quality of the search result, but the quality of the search query.

Google gives tips on how to improve search quality

Under the new note you will find tips on how to make your search more specific. Google draws your attention to useful parameters or suggests using combinations of terms that are highly likely to appear on the website you are looking for. In general, Google also links its help pages for searchers .

The new notice is primarily a service for all those who have never dealt with the further possibilities of specific search queries. It’s all still uncharted territory …

6 tips for successful digital marketing

Doesn’t digital matter? Yes, if it is implemented correctly! A little know-how about the possibilities of the digital marketing mix can’t hurt. Sarah Weingarten from Sendinblue gives you the six most important tips for your digital marketing.

Tip 1: Don’t forget your personas even on the Internet!

Personas are fictional representations of a company’s target groups. They are characterized with specific characteristics such as hobbies, job titles, interests, age or gender. Personas thus represent the basis of development strategies – also in marketing. Use your personas as a basis for digital advertising. Using the characteristics of the personas, you can define exactly on which pages and platforms you will find your target group. This limits your media platform selection and increases the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Tip 2: Assert yourself – good pictures, good texts, good banners!

Digital also means freedom. And freedom of design. You can implement your marketing in a variety of ways, animate campaigns and ads, add videos and sometimes even use sound. This enables a lot of new design freedom. However, it is important that the rules for good design are adhered to. After all, you assert yourself against a multitude of stimuli on the Internet. The recipients are also no longer so sensitive to advertising. With good pictures, powerful texts and a spark of creativity, however, you can really score digitally.

Tip 3: You can do more with retargeting!

Retargeting is a measure that aims to draw people’s attention to a brand or product several times. This usually works with your own website. Visitors are marked with a cookie; You carry this cookie with you and as soon as you visit other websites with the same advertising system, the product you have already researched will be displayed again. This ensures that interested parties do not get lost after browsing through websites, but continue to be confronted with the desire for the product or service. Retargeting works with Google, for example, but also with social networks such as Facebook.

Tip 4: Facebook is not a thing of the past – reach new customers on the social network!

A lot of digital activity takes place on social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn. With targeted communication in these networks, you can reach customers and interested parties. Post news from your company, interact with prospects, respond to comments and show that you are available. In addition to interactions, you can also use social networks to target your products with paid ads to exactly the right target groups. Facebook, for example, has so much information about its users that target groups can be defined very specifically according to interests, locations or other characteristics. This reduces the wastage of your ad and you only reach those people who are potentially really interested in your offer.

Digital marketing

Tip 5: Automation – a little AI, a little newsletter, a little future!

Automation is particularly in the focus in the area of ​​digital marketing, more precisely in email marketing. Marketing automation facilitates work processes, minimizes effort and makes it possible to address interested parties and potential customers at exactly the right time in their customer journey. Automation is mostly implemented using emails. For example, if a new user creates a customer account, he or she is automatically sent an email – or when he orders a product. Automation is also possible away from specific purchases. Triggers can also be other events – opening an email or clicking a link. With automated workflows, contacts can be made with customers, new customers can be turned into returning ones and dormant customers can be awakened.

Tip 6: Good software is the basis

Retargeting, automation, newsletters and the like – all of this can best be implemented with appropriate software. This saves you time, energy and resources and allows you to manage all of your marketing campaigns in one place. Sendinblue is one such digital marketing platform. Regardless of the industry, company size or objective: Sendinblue combines functions such as e-mail marketing , automation, SMS marketing, retargeting and CRM on one platform. So if you want to take your business to the next level, you should definitely opt for solid software. What are you waiting for? Full speed ahead in digital marketing.