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DTC Lessons: Growth marketing for Shopify Plus with Velstar

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 Dan Sheard, CEO at Velstar. Velstar are a Shopify Plus agency specializing in growth marketing for DTC stores.

Take it away Dan...

Interview with Dan Sheard, Velstar

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

I run an eCommerce growth marketing agency called Velstar as Co-Founder and CEO.

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

More now than ever before, customers are going to be more discerning before making a purchase. To earn trust and be memorable enough to make a second purchase, customer experience needs to be the top priority. 

By this, I mean more than customer service. I mean auditing every customer touchpoint and ensuring it’s spot on. You need to stand out from competitors and the race to the bottom on price. E.g. Does your unboxing experience live up to the hype? Are you providing really easy setup instructions via video? Are you inspiring other use cases post-purchase? 

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

Castore has been a partner since early 2021 and they came to us wanting a Shopify Plus agency that would optimize site performance and help them scale rapidly via their Teamwear partnerships and also internationally. Since then, we’ve improved the front-end of the main Castore site and launched 14 stores, including a bespoke B2B portal. 

At the other end of the spectrum, Santo Remedio is a newly established US-based wellness brand. We launched the brand online building both their website and executing the marketing strategy. Since then, we have continued to partner to innovate on the site experience and lead the growth marketing strategy, including new brand launches. Collectively, we’ve achieved phenomenal success.

You specialize in eCommerce growth. What piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve conversion rates? 

AB testing. This can be manageable using a free tool like Google Optimize, combined with a tool like Hotjar. This approach will enable you to segment different users and tailor the optimum experience for them. We’ve achieved conversion rate increases of 52% by making small changes to PPC landing page titles and layouts. 

What are the biggest trends you’re seeing right now? Which of these should DTC brands jump on? 

A trend I recommend D2C brands try out is custom landing pages for new customer acquisition. Rather than taking a new customer to your website where there are numerous distractions, instead, direct new traffic to a custom landing page designed to craft the most compelling reason to purchase. Even better, AB test and iterate on this page. 

Another trend is subscriptions to drive up your LTV. This doesn’t have to apply only to replenishable items either, consider what a subscription membership akin to Amazon Prime could look like for your brand. 

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

Not regularly doing a secret shop. Many eCommerce teams are so into the weeds and detail that it’s been a long time since they purchased from the site and experienced what a customer does at every touchpoint, including post purchase. It’s something we do with every new client and it often throws up some quick wins. 

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

… have a customer experience that’s not just good but extraordinary and memorable. 

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

Nik Sharma and Moiz Ali's Limited Supply podcast for candid and topical DTC chat. 

Grace Beverley - CEO of Tala and Shreddy for how to launch and sustain a DTC brand but most importantly, a community. 

Dr Grace Kite and Magic Numbers for insightful marketing econometrics.

Thanks Dan! Where can we find our more about Velstar?

Visit our website to learn more about what we do and get in touch!

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