Last Wednesday, we sought refuge from the grey skies of East London in the cosy, industrial space of Huckletree. Why? For the 20th London Shopify Meetup of course. Turns out, it was the biggest (and best) Shopify Meetup to date – and that’s no small feat.

The evening was full of cool conversation, networking and knowledge sharing all fuelled by a free bar – because there’s no better way to engage with other like-minded e-commerce brands. 

Merchants, both small and large, were treated to a live panel and Q&A session from e-commerce experts – Eva Pascoe, Director of e-commerce at Bluebella, Adam Clarke, General Manager of Reload Digital, and Tim Sumner, Solutions Engineer at Shopify Plus. The conversation was chaired by Tim Richardson, Head of Growth at We Make Websites. 

The big topic of the event was: “The e-commerce trends that actually convert”. All too often retailers find that they put all the measures in place, but their customers still fail to complete a purchase. This can be incredibly disheartening, almost as if there’s no secret formula. This meetup was all about busting that myth. Turns out, there are things you can do to get your one-off and loyal customers to convert.

As sponsors of the event, LoyaltyLion were privileged enough to open the meetup with a presentation all about the challenges retailers face today and how thinking about conversion slightly differently could help you meet those challenges head-on. Here’s what our Head of Marketing, Fiona Stevens, had to say:

E-commerce challenges

We’re operating in challenging times. Gone are the days of the little black book, where you could walk into a store and the shop assistant would not just recognise you, but also remember your name. In its place, a new digital storefront has emerged. Customers can shop from the comfort of their own home without laying eyes on another person – let alone a sales assistant. Retailers are faced with the challenge of how to replicate the personal experience online. 

It’s also getting harder to get in front of shoppers in the first place. Retailers are being drawn into costly acquisition strategies as they feel the need to keep up with the competition. But only 9% of digital ads are viewed for more than one second. With so much noise out there, all this ad spend can easily fall on deaf ears. 

If that isn’t enough, the competition is just getting fiercer. The e-commerce market is growing at a rate of 13% each year making it one of the fastest growing in the world. And not only is there competition in terms of price and logistics, but customers are expecting more when it comes to the customer experience. Yet, despite the abundance of data we have in our hands, 81% of customers still want brands to understand them better and 78% are dissatisfied with the level of personalisation they currently receive. 

This can make conversion a challenging nut to crack. But it’s not all doom and gloom. A positive future still beckons. 

A positive future beckons

There’s still an opportunity to win your customers out there. In fact, customers that receive a good customer experience are 86% more likely to return to your store and purchase again and 77% are more likely to recommend you to others. 

What does this mean for conversion?

Customer loyalty gives you a new perspective on what it means to convert a customer. 

This begins by realising that the opportunity to convert doesn’t just arise at the beginning of the customer journey. It pops up time and time again throughout the whole customer lifecycle. It doesn’t end after a customer has made their first purchase with your store. It continues through to their next purchase, when they become a loyal customer and ultimately until they become an advocate of your brand.

This is important because the lifetime value of a customer increases as they go through that journey. The chance of a customer returning to buy again after their first purchase is 27%. And, between the second and third purchase, that number almost doubles.

LoyaltyLion research shows that for stores of all sizes, over 53% of a store’s total revenue is generated by just the top 20% of their customer base. Customers who return and convert on more than one occasion are worth far more than those who are converting for the first time.

It’s also easy to think that once you’ve lost a customer to your competition that the opportunity to convert them has passed. But with a careful communication strategy, you can bring these customers back to the brink and reconvert them time and time again 

What counts as conversion?

Hopefully, you’re now thinking of conversion a little differently – it’s something that needs ongoing attention rather than it just being a one-off. But what actually counts as a conversion? 

Nielsen defines conversion as, “ the percentage of customers who take a desired action.” It’s not just about purchases. It’s also about the positive interactions a customer has with your store – even the small things. This could include people signing up to your newsletter, following you on Instagram, becoming a member of your loyalty program – and any valuable actions that make you more money long-term. 

Conversion could also translate to the social proof you collect. This could be a positive review left on your site – after all, reviews can increase your conversion rates by 270%. Or, maybe, a conversion counts as a referral. Research shows that people are 4x more likely to buy when referred by a friend and have a 16% higher lifetime value. 

Hopefully, this has made you think that there’s a lot more to conversion than meets the eye and it’s important to remember, with all the challenges out there, that it’s not just about the immediate monetary value associated with a sale. Start thinking about conversion with an open mind and you’ll be seeing a brighter future. If you want to learn more about LoyaltyLion head over to our website where you can book a chat with our team. 

Key takeaways from the expert panel.  

What campaigns drive conversion? 

Turns out, it’s a mixture of strategy and tactics. Yes, you need to align all your marketing activities to your overall business strategy, but you also have to be tactical with how you execute them. This begins by spotting the problem or gap in the market. Eva, from Bluebella, explained how they made Valentine’s Day – a classically lingerie orientated event – their own. To stand out from their competitors, Bluebella offered last-minute gift wrapping for all purchases made over the period. They recognised that a lot of spouses tend to leave shopping for Valentine’s gift to the last minute. As a result, Bluebella capitalised on the problem and made it their advantage.

Eva explained how any campaign you implement should always be driven by the external need – and if the need isn’t there, create it. 

How can I look at my data to see what’s converting?Well, the professionals said that Google Analytics is a good place to start. It can help you unpack more data that you can use to learn more about your customer base and see under the hood of your site. This helps you to optimise your buttons, banners and merchandising. 

Free tools, such as Hotjar, also give you qualitative data that exposes the online behaviour of your customers. You can see their customer journeys and what areas of your site gets the most clicks. This way it’s easy to optimise your store’s merchandising so your most-loved products get the clicks. 

How do I know if my campaign was worth the conversion?Unsurprisingly, questions turned to how to measure the results of a campaign. What should be your benchmark and how do you know whether to invest in the same activity again?

The panel agreed that you need to use your previous month as your benchmark – not last year. Seasons change and external factors to your store can have an adverse impact on shopper behaviour. You just need to ensure that you’re always building upon your previous successes.

How much does my overall branding contribute to conversion? Defining and telling your specific brand story is incredibly valuable for conversion. If a customer can align with who you are or trust your store as genuine, they’ll connect with your brand and keep returning to shop with you. 

Keep your brand story on track by being wary of “random” campaigns. There’s no point jumping on something just because your competitors are. Make sure it’s something authentic to you. 

What are some examples of conversion killers?Don’t annoy customers with your retargeting. People don’t want to feel like they’re being followed around the internet. Take a look at the data and serve up less, but more relevant, content to your customers. 

A checkout process that is long and disengaging. This is a recipe for cart abandonment. Make sure that you optimise your checkout process so customers can complete their purchases on the fly. With mobile shopping on the rise, if a customer can’t complete their purchase easily on their phone they’ll be more likely to forget about it. 

Don’t do arbitrary discounting. All customers are natural bargain seekers. If you offer a measly discount, they’re not going to remain loyal to you – they’ll go where the bigger bargains are. Instead, offer them something else that gives more value. 

A huge thank you

So there we have it. A quick digest of this week’s Shopify Meetup. We’d like to thank We Make Websites for inviting us to celebrate their 20th successful meetup – we can’t wait to attend more in the future. See you at the next one! 

Team LoyaltyLion


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