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DTC Lessons from an Ecommerce growth expert

At Relo, we're all about helping DTC brands to grow and scale, but we don't confess to know it all. We're lucky enough to work with an incredible pool of agency and tech partners working on every Ecommerce specialism in the book and love to hear their tried and trusted insights.

One of those partners is Matt Abbott, Head of Growth at Swanky Agency. Matt has a wealth of experience in helping Ecommerce brands grow with Shopify strategies that cut through the noise and get results.

We caught up with Matt to find out how DTC brands should approach paid advertising in the current climate to survive and thrive. Over to Matt!

What's your role and what do you do on a daily basis?

I’m Head of Growth. I create growth strategies for our clients that cover the entire digital experience. 

It’s a tough year for Ecommerce. Which area should DTC brands be focusing their time and efforts towards?

There are two areas I would recommend brands focus their efforts towards this year.

The first is cultivating and nurturing customer relationships. Customers want to feel valued and part of a community, so with excellent customer support and a customer value proposition that is well executed, brands are more likely to benefit from loyalty and advocacy, which leads to a growth in extended customer lifetime value (which is the revenue earned per customer and the revenue earned from the referrals that customer has made).

The second area is for brands to make sure they’re optimising everything - you want your marketing spend to be performing as well as it can. I’d recommend starting with a strategic and scientific programme of conversion rate optimisation (CRO), and then filter this approach down to the tech they’ve already invested in. Brands will have a tech stack that is hardly used, but now is the time to get that tech working and driving revenue. 

Can you share a couple of recent DTC x Swanky success stories?

Loop Earplugs

We recently worked with Belgian brand Loop Earplugs on a data-led CRO programme. During a period of analysis (which involved customer surveys, heat mapping and data analysis), we observed that users were coming to the Loop site through a number of situational landing pages. These pages had below average conversion rates and didn’t meet the needs of the user in their discovery phase. There was a clear opportunity to help users find the best product for them more quickly and easily.

We optimised these landing pages to provide clarity and confidence to users, helping them understand the product and why it met their needs. This included moving product recommendations above the fold, making colour variants clear, and ensuring pricing information was responsive to users’ currency.

The test variant was deployed against the control version to a small percentage of the site’s users. It reduced the number of pages a user viewed prior to purchase, and significantly increased the volume of transactions. This resulted in a 6.4% uplift in transaction revenue, which if rolled out to 100% of the site traffic would produce additional revenue in excess of 17% of UK annual turnover.

This test was part of a series of experiments that created a €1M annual turnover growth opportunity for Loop Earplugs. Find out more here.

Pish Posh Baby

After replatforming and rebranding US baby boutique Pish Posh Baby, we devised a multi-channel digital marketing strategy to attract new customers to the brand, as well as drive repeat and upsell purchases from existing customers. The focus was on generating significant revenue growth.

The BFCM buying period presented an opportunity to reach both new and returning customers at a time when the propensity to purchase is higher than usual. The campaign was delivered across paid social, organic social, paid search and email marketing channels.

Our ultimate goal was to increase year-on-year ecommerce sales by 50%. Comparing November 2021 vs November 2020, total revenue increased by 85%, far exceeding the target. Email revenue soared in particular, increasing by 206% year-on-year. Revenue from paid ads saw similar success, with an increase of 128% compared to the previous November.

You can read more about the Pish Posh Baby campaign here.

You specialise in Ecommerce growth - what advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve in this area?

Be led by your data. There are a lot of questions at the moment about what’s happening in the economy; our advice to most brands is to not worry about others, focus on your business data and your customer insight, and act upon that. 

Driving profitable D2C growth requires a little bit of risk, as well as a mindset that accepts that you have to speculate to accumulate. It needs willingness to try new things, but as long as you’re being led by the data then you’re taking a calculated risk and ensuring you’re investing in the right areas. 

What are the biggest Ecommerce trends you’re seeing right now in your specialism?

Customer advocacy.
With rising acquisition costs brands need to look towards their existing customer base to turn them into ambassadors and therefore a marketing channel. 9 in 10 consumers recommend a brand without an incentive to do so, and it holds the power of social proof behind it. Brands need to work hard on nurturing customer relationships and turning those customers into referrers.

SMS marketing is a very effective way to do this. As a reasonably ‘noise’ free channel, it means more attention is paid to a well executed SMS strategy from a brand. 

If you could tell DTC brands to stop making one mistake, what would it be?

Stop ignoring CRO (conversion rate optimisation). It’s hard to understand why CRO doesn’t get prioritised as a workstream worthy of investment. When it’s data-led and strategic, it not only increases your online performance in terms of new customer acquisition, but it increases revenue through larger basket sizes.

CRO also improves the performance across all of your marketing channels and provides incredibly valuable insight into your customers. Any brand who wishes to combat rising acquisition costs needs to seriously consider CRO.  

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