10 Tips for Amazon Retailers: How to Find the Right FBA Product

Most online retailers start their careers with a difficult but essential question: How do I find the right product?

Of course, there is no one secret recipe for the guaranteed success of an FBA product. Sometimes products are only popular for a short time, sometimes there is already too much competition on the market and sometimes a product simply flops.

Tip 1: Amazon’s bestseller list

To get an initial overview of products that sell well on Amazon, it is advisable to take a look at Amazon’s bestseller list .

The 100 most popular products with the highest sales figures in the respective Amazon product categories are shown here – at a glance you can see what is currently being bought the most in the respective category and where the demand is highest. These lists are updated every hour in order to always show the most accurate and current evaluation of the sales success possible. The bestseller ranking shows what is in demand and what is selling well.

If you use these lists as a guide, you should soon come across a suitable product yourself. You don’t always have to invent something new – knowing which product you can sell well and then outsourcing the production to only take care of the sale is not uncommon, especially at Amazon FBA.

There is often a lot of competition, but it is worthwhile for an initial overview, and if you penetrate further into the various subcategories, you can also ideally begin with an analysis. Of course, the number of competitors continues to decrease as the specification increases.

Tip 2: Amazon listings with few reviews

One of the keys to selling successfully on Amazon is to appear on the first page of search results. So when looking for a new product, focus on the listings there.

Now look at the listings that have less than 30 to 50 customer ratings. Amazon’s algorithm evaluates listings primarily on the basis of ratings. The fewer reviews a competing product has, the faster you can achieve higher rankings as a retailer – provided that sales and reviews are correct.

Of course, steps should be taken accordingly to encourage customers to rate the product. The possibilities for this are diverse and range from promotions to e-mail lists or product testers. Your own listing must of course then be optimized and given relevant keywords . Again, it’s worth taking a look at the successful competitors.

Tip 3: The preposition tactic in the search bar

The so-called preposition tactic is a nice trick to find possible new products for your product catalog.
Just enter – as in the picture – in the search bar in Amazon a product that you are already selling.

Add different prepositions like “for” or “with”. This way you can see the specifications with which your product is being searched for and can adapt or specify the offer accordingly.

Tip 4: Use social media to search

Social networks should also be considered when looking for new products. For example, there are some groups on Facebook with product testers that you can use to your advantage.

In this group, dealers and producers usually offer their products in order to collect reviews, to push product launches or in general to receive feedback. However, conclusions can also be drawn as to which products sell well and what is important to many customers for a particular product.
Other social media channels such as Instagram can also be quite helpful when searching for products. You can use hashtags to refine your search for specific products and see what’s trendy. In addition, conclusions can be drawn about popular shapes, colors, designs and so on.

Tip 5: tools, tools, tools

Since the product search is not a new “problem” and more or less all Amazon retailers have to deal with it, there are tools and freeware that should make the search easier for budding Amazon sellers. The best known in this context are Helium 10 and Jungle Scout .

With these tools, you can virtually filter the entire Amazon marketplace according to certain criteria. These criteria can be, for example, the number of reviews or the respective price range.

Tip 6: Get inspiration at trade fairs

Trade shows are a great place to talk to manufacturers and to see different products. In Europe, especially in German-speaking countries, there are countless trade fairs every year at which producers and retailers present and sell their products. This includes Gamescom , which is interesting for all gamers and game enthusiasts, or a visit to Viscom .

Thus Amazon traders not only of products, they can also potential producers to meet, convinced of the quality and establish important contacts in general.

Tip 7: what is the retail sector doing?

Even if online trading continues to enjoy increasing popularity, one can take a look at retail, especially when looking for a new product. All you have to do is stroll through the city, as usual, just change your perspective a little: look at the shops from the perspective of a retailer, not that of a consumer.

Again: Amazon FBA is not primarily about offering a world first. Finding out which products sell well when and where is sufficient.

Tip 8: think outside the box

The outside-the-box strategy is difficult to implement at first glance, but such concepts are increasingly worthwhile. Niches change, the online market is subject to constant change. With conventional methods and approaches one often rarely stands out from the competition, and more or less precisely the same resources and sources can be used.

Conversely, if you think unconventionally and perhaps want to react to certain expected trends, this path can definitely be worthwhile. That means “unusual” marketing measures, a new unique selling point or new strategies. Need an example? When master glazier Sven Sterz searched for trainees with a video on Facebook , his video went viral. The response was overwhelming and he could hardly save himself from applications.

Tip 9: ask the community

Contrary to the opinion that most Amazon retailers see themselves as competitors, it is rather a tight-knit community. Both on Facebook and in various forums , at events or wherever – there are many dealers who are ready to share their knowledge and help with questions.

It is therefore advisable to talk to other retailers about any planned steps to protect yourself or not to offer flopped products again.

Tip 10: Brochures and advertising supplements

Probably the most unpopular way to find new products: leafing through the advertising brochures in the mail. Although most people end up throwing these inserts straight into their waste paper, the big discounters also know what sells well at the moment. There are hardly any products that are listed there but that are currently not in high demand.
To cut a long story short: Don’t always throw away your brochures and advertising inserts, but let yourself be inspired by the offers there. It will be worth it!

E-Commerce: Every third shop has five or more weak points in the payment process

The payment platform Stripe has examined the checkout processes of the most important German online retailers. The result is surprising: more than two thirds have at least three errors in the payment process for credit cards.

Stripe carried out an analysis of the checkout processes of the most important e-commerce websites in Germany (based on the Alexa rankings ). In total, the payment service provider identified twelve unnecessary errors that make the credit card payment process more complex and thus lead to friction losses and a poorer conversion rate on the part of the merchant.

The investigation showed that a good two thirds of the 100 or more German e-commerce websites with the highest reach make three or more of these mistakes. After all, the value has improved compared to 2018. Back then it was over 90 percent – little consolation. Payment methods such as Apple Pay or Google Pay are still as good as not offered online in this country, although many customers use these payment methods offline.

An average of 3.81 errors in payment

Only five of the 100 or more websites examined had a truly error-free checkout process. 67.3 percent (2018: 92.7 percent) had three or more errors, 37.3 percent (2018: 57.3 percent) even five or more and still 14.5 percent (2018: 10.4 percent) seven or more errors in the twelve criteria tested. The online shops with the greatest reach in Germany had an average of 3.81 errors.

The detailed analysis shows that on 56 percent of the websites it was not possible to manually enter the expiry date of a credit card. Usually there was only a drop-down menu here, which slows down and complicates input. After all, the value has improved significantly compared to 2018 (74 percent). In 52 percent (2018: 67 percent) there was no real-time detection of invalid credit card numbers. An automatic display of the credit card type after entering the number did not take place with 44 percent (2018: 61 percent)

There were significant improvements compared to 2018 in terms of the use of the payment data stored in the browser (autofill function). 81 percent of the websites tested offer a very good user experience. However, there were also deteriorations – 27 percent (2018: 18 percent) of the checkout processes gave no indication of where the credit card’s verification number can be found. Whether this really poses major hurdles for many customers remains to be seen – but it is not necessary.

Apple Pay and Google Pay are hardly available

The analysis also examined for the first time the extent to which new types of payment methods are already being offered online in Germany. Only a good two percent of the largest websites in Germany offer Apple Pay, and Google Pay only a little over one percent. Both offer the decisive advantage of being SCA-compliant on their own, which should be an important point for all e-commerce companies in 2020, because at the end of the year the grace period of the new EU payment regulation, the strong customer authentication (SCA, Strong Customer Authentication) is coming to an end for banks and retailers.

In the analysis, it was gratifying that the checkout process is automatically adapted for mobile devices on almost all pages, or at least also works on the smartphone. However, only in 49 percent (2018: 40 percent) of the websites tested, the mobile keyboard automatically switched to numeric input if the input field is only intended for entering numbers (e.g. for the credit card number). These are actually usability issues that every developer could have on their screen by now.

So the bottom line is that the Stripe study shows numerous simple topics that online retailers could improve and that can pay off with reasonably little effort. Because those who make it as easy as possible for the customer to shop with him will be rewarded with a correspondingly high conversion in the digital checkout area. However, it is also clear that the study also serves to remind retailers of the SCA obligation, which actually already exists (keyword grace period). Anyone who is revising their shop in this context should tackle the other topics at the same time.

Avoiding mistakes in e-commerce: merchants should pay attention to these 7 points

As an online retailer, you can make a lot of mistakes. Because, unlike in brick-and-mortar retail, in the worst case, the customer is with one click at the competitor. This is how you make the customer happier with little effort.

There are countless studies that are on the trail of customers in online retail. Studies that are supposed to detect how much you can take the customer by the hand and educate them to order, but which also show that many customers keep staying with their usual portals because they have got used to their workflows. Many bad habits and mistakes by shop operators could be avoided by making a few preliminary considerations when setting up the shop and by choosing the right tools. Here you can find out which mistakes you shouldn’t make as a shop operator if you want to make it as easy as possible for customers to shop with you.

1. Mistake: Bad product descriptions

The product description is the basis for the customer to decide whether he wants to buy the goods from you or not. So make sure that everything is right here – not only is the content correct, but the customer also finds what he needs right away. You can find that out over time with A / B testing. Make sure you do a good on-site search and remember that a good and meaningful product description will help you increase conversion. Also, keep in mind that an incomplete description that raises questions will help the customer get the missing information elsewhere. And if he does that on the website of a competitor, he will also perceive his website as trustworthy.

2. Error: comparing products inappropriately

Consistency in the product descriptions is especially important if you offer a tabular comparison on your site. Although many manufacturers now provide surprisingly good tabular data about their products, in many cases the entries are not uniform and even with individual manufacturers they are not consistent over the years or product series. With the help of appropriate automation options, you should ensure that your customer does not stumble upon contradicting things or that differences are displayed where none are. Therefore, make sure that your tabular data is consistent across all manufacturers and, ideally, develop a style guide or writing rules for this.

3. Error: confusing product pages

Evil tongues claim that a confusing shop is not as important as you can see on Amazon. There is indeed something to it – because the reference in terms of online trading is really not a good example when it comes to the confusing and jam-packed product pages. But you could also say that Amazon writes its good sales figures anyway and not because of its lack of clarity. As a “normal” shop owner, however, you should stick to the keep-it-simple rule. In many cases, your shop system helps you to create a clear website based on appropriate templates. But also avoid the 6th mistake …

4. Mistake: Confusing return rules

Two weeks return period, 30 days return option, but then at your own expense, even 100 days exchange option, but you have to pay immediately … There are a number of regulations that are intended to educate the customer, to induce him to buy frivolously first, partially but also just confuse. On the one hand, you should keep the rules of how a customer can pay and return goods in your shop as uncomplicated as possible, but on the other hand you should also be accommodating when things don’t work out. And when you start a return request, you should first clarify whether it is a support problem or a misunderstanding in operation. This topic also includes purchase on account: Many customers in online retail are now used to paying in some way right away, that this has increased the proportion of invoice buyers who do not pay straight away. The first payment reminder should therefore be made in a particularly friendly manner, possibly with a reference to your support hotline if the customer has problems.

5th mistake: weaknesses in the checkout area

Do you know what ideally you can learn from semi-silly sites on the Internet? Regardless of whether it is about eroticism, gambling or other topics: These sites are optimally optimized to accept customers’ money – an extensive selection of payment methods, optimal workflows in which every step counts and a UX design that is as little as possibly confused and works across languages ​​and cultures. As an online retailer, you should approach it in a similar way so that you lose as few customers as possible on the way to the checkout. Because the checkout area is still particularly tricky when it comes to abandonment rates.

6. Error: The online shop “off the shelf”

In the case of smaller shops in particular, operators often don’t bother to adapt a standard shop solution to the needs of their customers. This is noticeable on the one hand in the unsuitable or standardized structure of the respective detail pages, but also in the fact that the customer in a German-speaking shop through all countries from A to D for Germany (or even better G for Germany, because only the term was translated, the Entry but still listed under G for Germany) must scroll through. Mobile-optimized number entries that do not automatically just call up the numeric keypad or incorrectly read autofill data stored in the browser are also popular errors that could be avoided by customizing the shop system. It is also noteworthy that how many shop systems still have weaknesses in the mobile version of their pages. Keep in mind that the mobile device is still less comfortable to use than the desktop version despite the constantly growing screen diagonal (and the customer often does not have the peace and quiet of a notebook).

7. Error: ERP that does not fit the shop

Another bad habit concerns the incorrect or delayed matching of the merchandise management system and online shop. It’s hard to believe, but especially in larger, established online shops, some of which generate enormous sales, the merchandise management system is not optimally harmonized with the shop solution and the payment service provider. The result: the shop is still happily taking orders while the warehouse is already empty. This is of course particularly noticeable in larger shops that, for example, offer goods cheaply due to an advertising campaign for a shopping event such as Black Friday and thus draw customers to the side on a large scale. It has been proven that a new customer who has ordered once and has not received any goods rarely buys there again,

E-commerce: 5 tips for online shops in times of the corona crisis

The needs of many customers in e-commerce have changed in the last few days. A reason for web shop operators to rethink and adapt their own shop.

The state of emergency that the corona crisis brings with it affects numerous online retailers in particular. But while the shops in the shopping streets have to close except for a few industries such as groceries or drugstore items, online retailers are still allowed to offer and sell their goods. That brings a kind of special boom if you as a retailer understand how to adapt your shop to the new circumstances.

The buying behavior of customers has changed accordingly: Shops that offer luxury items are currently struggling more than usual. An unprecedented reluctance to buy can be felt here. On the other hand, Amazon focuses on many everyday goods . But that is precisely what means opportunities for other retailers – namely, if they can place their range between these two extremes. Precisely because Amazon may have conveyed to you that you cannot currently bring your goods to the buyer via Fulfillment by Amazon , your own shop must be optimally coordinated so that you do not keep the goods in your own warehouse for too long.

In principle, it is primarily about usability, but at a higher level than usual: Johannes Altmann, managing director of the consulting company Shoplupe and expert for customer experience (UX) in retail, sums up the difference as follows: “Usability is suddenly no longer a hygiene factor , but the most important criterion: who has the goods, where can I order them most easily and who can deliver them quickly and reliably? “

E-commerce between reluctance to buy and increasing demand

The following five points can convey to you what is important in the current situation:

  1. Make your shop as simple as possible. For now, forget everything you’ve learned about upselling, conversion optimization with coupons, and shopping cart optimization. Your customer wants the goods – quickly and safely. As few steps as possible to checkout are the order of the day.
  2. Avoid the mandatory creation of customer accounts or the ordering of newsletters . Now it is possible to win satisfied new customers, but you shouldn’t insist on it. Generating additional business must be paramount.
  3. Make sure you invest in fast and safe shipping. The service provider who can guarantee you here (or from whom you accept it, because you will not get additional guarantees these days) that he will reliably bring the goods to the customer should receive your order. The customer will not thank you for anything else and will also give you a high return rate because they are forced to order elsewhere.
  4. Large shopping baskets and bundling offers are nice, but only work in the current situation if you can really deliver everything at the same time and from the same warehouse. Linked to this: The assurance of delivery dates (and of course compliance with them) should be even more important to you than usual.
  5. Make sure that your shop is performing well, especially when accessing it via mobile devices. It is better to do without tracking tools if you have to. The network is at times more busy than usual – and if you want to sell something to the customer, quick and reliable processing is even more important than usual. If you have performance problems due to a shop cloud, invest a little more in a better service provider, optionally in your network infrastructure.

Marketing in times of crisis: 6-step plan for online shops

55 percent of online retailers have seen a drop in sales due to the corona crisis. How online shops can now adapt their marketing in order to arm themselves in a structured manner and to emerge stronger from the crisis.

According to a dealer association survey, 82 percent of online retailers expect the situation to worsen. After the initial paralysis, it is now time to face the crisis courageously. The following six-stage master plan with three strategic stages, followed by three operational stages for marketing in times of crisis, provides a checklist for orientation. No magic formula, but full of food for thought for further action.

Stage 1: Create the basis – without sales there is no marketing

The order of the day is: don’t lapse into actionism. Freezing the budget could otherwise take revenge in the medium term as well as headless corona discount campaigns. First of all, it is important to create a basis for the continued functioning of the online shop.

Ability to deliver

First, online shops should guarantee their ability to deliver internally and externally. Internally, with employees working in multiple shifts and, as far as possible, from the home office. Externally, in that the supply is ensured by suppliers. A close exchange with suppliers helps to be informed about possible delivery delays and bottlenecks at an early stage.

Dispatchability

Second, it is important to ensure that it can be shipped. That means to be prepared if DHL suddenly stops picking up the orders. For example, if a DHL employee falls ill in the local distribution center, the location can be temporarily closed.

  • Online retailers should therefore contact their shipping service provider and clarify how the processes will change.
  • An emergency plan could provide for switching to other carriers, for example via a connection to shipping interfaces such as Shipcloud.

Sales potential

Thirdly, opportunities for sales potential should be examined in order to keep the overall slump as low as possible. A few ideas:

  • Price increases: Availability beats price – higher prices can increase sales and margins
  • Presence in shopping portals: sales on idealo.de, billiger.de, guenstiger.de can be realized in no time via data feed.
  • Platforms as a sales channel: additional sales can be generated via Ebay and Amazon.
  • International marketing: Online orders from Austria are currently increasing in many German shops due to the curfew imposed there – with campaigns via Google Shopping and dynamic search ads, you can participate.

Stage 2: analyze the status quo

Before targeted measures can be taken, online retailers should pay attention to the initial situation.

Situation assessment

Depending on the size of the company and sales development, the status quo varies from person to person. This has consequences for the further room for maneuver.

  • What is your own economic situation, what do the cost structure and reserves say?
  • How long can the ability to act be ensured despite a lack of sales?
  • What do you have control over and what not? The following applies: Concentration on one’s own sphere of activity, on what can be influenced.

Web analysis and inventory management

It is more important than ever to understand exactly what is going on in the online shop. New every day.

  • Which traffic sources are performing well? Can the percentage be increased by increasing budgets?
  • Where are sales missing? Can countermeasures be taken here?
  • What is currently being bought (increasingly) and what is not?
  • Which ranges and products are sold out now or soon?
  • How could the demand develop?
  • And how could customers react if a curfew is imposed?

Social media monitoring

Online retailers should develop a feeling for how their target group is reacting to the current situation. An analysis of the industry-typical hashtags as well as reactions to your own postings and comments from competitors can provide an insight.

  • With what focus does the target group discuss Corona?
  • How is the mood with the customers?
  • What are your questions, worries and needs?

Stage 3: Adjust marketing planning and strategy

The marketing plan for 2020 was ready? Now is the time to question the existing marketing strategy and adapt it to the changed crisis situation. This applies, for example, to promotions, image and seasonal campaigns, the marketing mix and media planning.

  • What was planned when, according to the plan, to what extent does it still make sense?
  • What are the chances of success of the planned measures?
  • Is it enough just to postpone the point in time or should the measure be canceled without replacement?

Campaigns that were planned for the next few weeks or months can be prepared. But then you should wait. There is no telling what will be in two months. If the situation is as chaotic as it is today, the advertising effect could fizzle out. The focus is too much on the daily news. This is especially true for cost-intensive measures that have to be refinanced through sales, for example print mailings to reactivate regular customers or advertisements in print media. Costs and benefits have to be weighed for each measure.

Especially when it comes to confronting the customer with something new – for example with a new logo or a shop relaunch – it is important to consider: At the moment, new impressions and tasks are falling on us every day. Our openness to new things has been exhausted. There is excessive demand and uncertainty. Taking away the familiar from regular customers creates avoidable confusion and could cost valuable sales.

Step 4: Check communication

The marketing messages should also be put to the test. Are the content and imagery appropriate given the current circumstances? Can customers (still) identify with it? One should be particularly sensitive with the choice of words. Those who respond emotionally to the customer’s situation and communicate closely and personally can only win.

In addition, the communication of benefits should be questioned: One chance could be to focus on other advantages because one’s own offer solves current problems.

  • Do all category images and headings fit? They have an impact on the conversion rate.
  • What about advertising materials such as ad texts and display motifs? They influence the click rate and image.
  • What do newsletter content, social media postings and guidelines for community management look like?

Step 5: Implement short-term measures – don’t burn your budget

The first tendency when sales collapse: reduce costs.

But be careful, you need a sure instinct here. The PPC channels in particular are torn between performance and sales. If countermeasures are taken too drastically, sales could completely dry up.

The following applies to PPC marketing in general:

  • Redefine goals: It is important to gain clarity about the maximum scope for costs and margins and, if necessary, to temporarily loosen the requirements for ROAS (return on ad spent) or KUR (cost-sales ratio).
  • Be careful with automatic bid strategies: In order for Smart Bidding and Co. to work reliably, the algorithms need empirical values ​​- there are none for the current situation. Everything is new and unpredictable. That’s why it is now time to look carefully. If in doubt, switch to manual bids and lower your CPC. Or the target for the automatic bid control is adjusted in order to set tighter guard rails for the algorithm.

Google Textads and Google Shopping

In order not to burn up a budget and to recognize potential in good time, SEA campaigns should currently be controlled on a granular (er) level. Specifically, this can mean:

  • Reallocate or reduce budgets at ad group and product group level if no conversions take place.
  • Downgrade non-performing ad and product groups
  • Pause product groups with delivery bottlenecks
  • Pushing product groups that are currently increasingly in demand

Online shops and the SEA agency should therefore be in close contact. Because shop operators know their product range, the delivery situation and their customers exactly, while SEA specialists can read and interpret the transactions in the account. Anyone who works with a love for detail now can take advantage of the situation.

Attention, risk of account blocking: The word ” Corona ” should not be used in the shop. It could result in the domain being blocked for a violation of Google Ads advertising policies due to the health context .

Retargeting and Display Network

Anyone who delivers dynamic product advertisements or general display ads via Google Display Network, Criteo and Co. should watch this very closely. Due to the increased news volume and the more intensive surfing behavior, more inventory is available for the delivery of advertising. At the same time, conversion rates are falling because the focus is on other topics. The algorithms want to take countermeasures and increase impressions. The costs rise, but the sales stay off. It makes sense to intensify the monitoring and then take countermeasures as described above.

Social media advertising

For online shops in particular, social networks are interesting for placing ads and especially as a performance channel. Here, too, more reach and impressions are currently available due to the increased activity of users. The CPM can decrease as a result and more users can be reached at lower costs. However, the conversion rate is often falling and the profitability of the campaigns decreases.

  • Depending on the individual (financial) situation and the range advertised, costs and benefits must now be weighed up.
  • The bottom line can be to pause top funnel and middle funnel campaigns that are designed to acquire new customers.
  • Bottom funnel campaigns such as dynamic product ads can continue to perform well.
  • In any case, it makes sense to increase the control frequency.

Social media (organic)

If you haven’t already done so, you should urgently review your editorial plans and stop automatically scheduled posts. Inappropriate postings like the question about the relaxed weekend could damage the brand and should at least be postponed.

For posts on current topics, sensitivity is required, as well as in dealing with humor, otherwise the shit storm is inevitable.

The dominance of negative topics and news creates a rather brand-damaging environment. At the same time, there is an opportunity in the increased user activity in social media. Everyone craves positive themes and distraction. Those who now purposefully radiate calm and, like Zalando, Aldi or DM, make the community idea tangible on Facebook can strengthen their image and customer loyalty.

Sending newsletters

In general, the same applies to sending newsletters as to social media: it is a tightrope walk between opportunity and risk. Risk because many online shops will feel a drop in performance (opening rates, click rates, conversion rates). Opportunity because it is currently the regular customers who are most likely to buy.

Just carry on normally? Depends on. Performance data should now be evaluated in detail. Instead of automatically scheduling the dispatch in advance, dispatch dates should be selected depending on the current daily news. If there is any new bad news, it is probably better to postpone the newsletter for a day so that the effect does not fizzle out completely.

Step 6: Medium and long-term measures – emerge stronger from the crisis

When the first chaos is over and the new circumstances of multi-shift operation and home office level off, the next steps can be organized.

Freed personnel capacities due to a lower order volume and fewer inquiries in customer service want to be used sensibly. Here are a few ideas for tasks that would otherwise fall by the wayside:

  • Optimize the PIM system (product information management): complete product data, revise product descriptions, create new products …
  • Clean up CRM: correct incorrect customer data, merge duplicates …
  • Content creation: collect FAQs from customer service, write purchase advisors for important product categories, create images, produce videos …
  • Build reporting dashboards: Merge all marketing-relevant data in Google Data Studio, create various reports and levels of detail.
  • Search engine optimization: Whether technical or content-related on-page optimization or off-page measures such as link building – the effect is delayed, but when everything returns to normal, you benefit from the greater upswing.

Customer loyalty

Acquiring new customers is expensive. At the moment, acquiring new customers is likely to be even more expensive, as attention is more restricted and other topics are more relevant. It therefore makes sense to concentrate on your existing customers and the performance channels discussed above in times of crisis.

If you have not dealt with customer loyalty before, you should do so now. Online shops generate three to seven times more sales per visit with repeat buyers and regular customers ( compare Adobe Digital Index ). The conversion rates are also significantly higher.

Brand building

Investing in your own brand also pays off in the long term. Now is a good time to devote yourself to branding strategy while the competition remains in a state of shock or focuses its energies on the struggle for survival.

Positioning is a good entry point. By comparing the target positioning with the actual positioning and then taking measures to correct the deviation. How is the shop perceived from the outside? What does the brand stand for from the customer’s point of view? Versus: How do you want to be perceived and differentiate yourself from the competition?
A distinctive storytelling can be developed based on the findings. What story does the brand tell? What added value does the shop offer customers? Why do you do what you do

outlook

Once the initial paralysis has been overcome, online retail is likely to benefit most from the current crisis. When customers spend a lot of time at home due to home office and curfew and cannot shop locally, it shifts to online business. Then it is important to be present.

Those who collect themselves now, roll up their sleeves and do their homework can really take off once the crisis is over.

Managing Risks, Getting Through Crises: How to Prepare

Risks are part of being an entrepreneur like drooling trousers are part of being a dog owner – you may not find it beautiful, but you have to be able to endure it. What can you do to still sleep soundly and be as prepared as possible?

Crises can affect any company, no one is immune from them. It is all the more important for managing directors and executives to recognize risks and develop mechanisms to counter them. You can find a few tips here!

1. Deal with potential risks instead of suppressing them

One thing is clear: not every company can pay its own risk management team that deals exclusively with the identification, analysis and quantification of risks on a daily basis. But that shouldn’t lead to ignoring the topic.

On the contrary: at least management and executives should regularly deal with the risks that could affect their own company. It helps to first break down which types of risks are fundamentally differentiated – for example, market, credit and valuation risks, operational risks, business risks and legal risks. As soon as you take a closer look at what this actually means, it often becomes clear very quickly where possible problems lie – from hacked CRM to total failure of the supply chain.

It is important not to simply leave identified risks as such, but to consider how one can and wants to deal with them: Can the realization of the risk be avoided, for example? And if so: is the effort adequate? Or can you protect yourself against the risk – for example by taking out appropriate insurance? Or can measures be taken that at least mitigate the effects? All of these considerations should be made and documented on a regular basis.

Of course, you can’t prepare for all eventualities, and in the end, sometimes the very things that you least expect will happen. But: Risk management is a continuous process that, in the best case scenario, does not start when your company is already in the middle of a major crisis. In this respect, the following applies: the more scenarios you think through, the better you are prepared for an emergency.

2. Work with clear and measurable goals

A risk is not an event. Rather, it is the effects of an event, a development or a circumstance that could endanger your company achieving its goals. In order to be able to assess whether a situation could become a risk for your company, you first have to be able to say what your company’s goals are. You need a clear vision that has been broken down into measurable, clear goals and thus can also serve as a strategic guideline for all your decisions – especially in the event of a crisis, when there is already enough chaos around you.

3. Know your numbers inside out!

You don’t know out of your head how high, for example, sales were in the last quarter, what costs (fixed and variable) you incur every month and how high your workload is right now? Then you should check it out urgently! You can only control what you know – that’s why you should always have an eye on the key figures that are particularly relevant for your company. If something is not going in the desired direction, you should also know where and from whom you can get more detailed insights.

4. Keep reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of your company

There are sure to be things your company is particularly good at – making customers happy, for example. On the other hand, chaos may break out regularly in accounting. Being aware of this has several advantages: On the one hand, you can better identify and assess risks. In the example mentioned, liquidity bottlenecks due to invoices being sent far too late would probably be a much more likely scenario than customers who suddenly move away in large numbers. On the other hand, it also gives you clues as to what you can build on if your company actually slips into a crisis. But don’t forget that your company is not a static structure, but is constantly developing.

5. Get to know the workflows and workloads of your employees and think about what is really business-critical

As with your figures, the following also applies here: What you don’t know, you can’t manage. Then you cannot prevent internal processes themselves from becoming a risk (for example because legal regulations are not adhered to). You do not know how external changes in the environment affect your company and its processes and therefore you may not recognize impending risks. And in an emergency, you cannot identify which processes and positions are business-critical and how you can keep them functioning by skillfully restructuring the existing structures. Therefore: take a look!

6. Be aware of addictions

No company can exist in isolation – you are always directly dependent on other actors. To your customers. On suppliers. To IT service providers. If necessary, on logisticians. The list can be expanded extensively in many cases. What does this mean for your risk management? That if you want to act with foresight, you also have to keep an eye on the environment of your partners and customers. What developments are there and can they then indirectly pose a risk for you?

Risk crises

Trust your employees and give them the opportunity to openly express concerns about possible risks. (Photo: Shutterstock / Wayhome studio)

7. Empower your employees and ensure an open communication culture

Encourage your employees to take personal responsibility and understand their work as an essential part of the company’s success. Of course, you should approach them with appreciation. Employees who are attentive and motivated, think along and act consistently in the interests of the company, will recognize internal risks much faster and better than those who stoically work through the tasks assigned to them. And if, against all efforts, your company does get into an awkward position, you will hopefully have a loyal, intrinsically motivated team that does not immediately throw its hat, but instead tries to pull the proverbial cart out of the mud. Trust in the expertise of your employees and create an atmosphere In which we speak openly and sometimes constructively and critically – regardless of hierarchies. Perhaps your employees see risks that you were not aware of or have good ideas on how to prevent or mitigate the realization of a risk.

8. Don’t forget your IT

If the keyword IT is used in the context of risk and crisis management, most people first think of IT and data security. Of course, nobody wants a hacker attack or a data protection breach due to faulty software configurations – after all, there is a risk of damage to the company’s image and legal consequences. But that’s not the only aspect you should take a closer look at your tech setup. Fail-safety and performance / scalability are also important. After all, you don’t want your website to collapse under every unexpected surge in traffic and miss out on valuable sales. You should also examine the flexibility of your tech setup at least as thoroughly. If you take the previous points to heart and evaluate various risks, you will probably come to the conclusion that that there are very many situations that could put your business under stress – with varying degrees of probability and varying effects. You will not be able to plan the perfect solution strategies in advance for all these situations. However, it helps if your IT setup is flexible and can be quickly adapted to new requirements – for example, if suddenly – like now during the corona crisis – more and more processes have to be digitally mapped. Microservice architectures usually offer you more options to react quickly than monolithic software. You will not be able to plan the perfect solution strategies in advance for all these situations. However, it helps if your IT setup is flexible and can be quickly adapted to new requirements – for example, if suddenly – like now during the corona crisis – more and more processes have to be digitally mapped. Microservice architectures usually offer you more options to react quickly than monolithic software. You will not be able to plan the perfect solution strategies in advance for all these situations. However, it helps if your IT setup is flexible and can be quickly adapted to new requirements – for example, if suddenly – like now during the corona crisis – more and more processes have to be digitally mapped. Microservice architectures usually offer you more options to react quickly than monolithic software.

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.

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.

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.