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DTC Lessons: The state of play in eCommerce with Quickfire Digital

Each week, we're chatting to an expert in the eCommerce space to share their wisdom on building a resilient DTC brand in 2022 and beyond.

This week we're handing the mic to Nathan Lomax, Co-Founder at Quickfire Digital. Quickfire Digital is a Shopify Plus & bespoke development agency for eCommerce. 

Take it away Nathan...

Interview with Nathan Lomax - co-Founder of Quickfire Digital

Let us know your role and what you do day to day.

Owner/Co-Founder. I’m the agency’s front man, leading on sales, marketing and all things growth .

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

It’s been a tough year for everyone, not just eCommerce. We’ve seen some eCom brands slip into administration - but experts have said they went too hard, too fast in the belief that our behaviour during the pandemic was going to be ‘the new normal’ (a phrase that still makes me shudder), and have been hit by soaring costs and unreliable supply chains.

Remove the outlier of pandemic and lockdown times, and ONS data (below) shows that the online share of total retail sales is continuing the upward trend of the last 15 years. And while the volume of retail sales has been dropping since the middle of 2021, the value of sales has still been rising ever so steadily - so, if you take a step back, e-commerce remains on a steady growth trajectory.  

So what does all of this mean for DTC brands? Basically, if you’ve got your head screwed on and you didn’t get over excited during that unique period then continue what you’re doing; if you’re the type who have ploughed big investment into new warehouses, expensive tech and more, and now feel you went too big, too soon, then you might want to consider taking a more level-headed approach right now and perhaps even bring someone into the business who can help create that long-term strategy for you.

At Quickfire, you help leading brands to grow and scale. Can you give us 2 success stories with DTC brands.

Success story 1: With many hundreds of SKUs, one of our clothing company clients was struggling to tag its products to a level that their customers wanted, using only basic colours, sizes, and styles. 

We improved the filter system on a few select ranges as a proof of concept and that led to a significant conversion uplift from 2.7% to 3.2%. The entire product line is now tagged automatically after we implemented an AI system.

Success story 2: This Shopify Plus client had a high conversion rate but stagnant average order value and the standard product recommendation engines for upsells were not particularly effective. 

We replaced this with a more prominent upsell in the cart pop-out as well as one on the checkout page itself. We also used a more intelligent system for recommendations based on users’ previous purchases - reminding them to refill consumables - as well as typical next purchases for non account holders. This resulted in an increase of 15% in average order value. 

What piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve onsite development?

If you’ve got an idea for how to improve experience or functionality on your website, there’ll nearly always be a way to do it. Sometimes the answer might be adding an external app, but this can be overkill. Often, a clever piece of code can do what you need. Nothing is impossible!

What are the biggest trends you’re seeing right now in Shopify Plus? Which of these should DTC brands jump on, and which should they avoid?

More and more apps appear on Shopify almost every day, it seems. Some are great, some will slow your site down and hurt your conversion rate. It’s why we always talk to our clients by running regular app audits - you’d be surprised by how many rarely-used apps we see when pitching to potential new clients. They’ve been added, perhaps haven’t really worked as hoped, and then just left - they’re draining sales every day by adding load to your site.

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

Stop overloading your site with apps, looking for quick wins and the expense of long term success. Great, you have new functionality but at what cost, not just financially but speed, app conflicts etc. Each app needs a business case and on most Shopify stores many apps I see rarely get used to their full potential. You are literally spending money and leaving revenue on the table! 

Complete the sentence: DTC brands that survive and thrive in 2022 will ____.

Scale sensibly and sustainably. 

Who are 3 people in the eCommerce ecosystem you look up to and recommend everyone should follow?

Rachel Jacobs - vast experience in the e-commerce agency world.

Paul Rogers - MD of e-commerce consultancy Vervaunt.

Blend Commerce & Fountain Partnership - all their teams are posting great content right now! 

Thanks Nathan! Where can we hear more from yourself & Quickfire Digital?

You can find out more about Quickfire on our website, and you can follow me on Linkedin

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