Direct-to-Customer Commerce

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Strategic insights into the direct commerce industry, including ecommerce, direct marketing and related fields

Rationale v Emotion

You’ve probably read about the need to emphasize benefits rather than features in your advertising.

Another way of viewing that contrast is rationale v emotion.

Nearly everyone wants to think they make decisions rationally.  Just give me the facts.  I can assess them and come to the best decision for me, my family or my business.

The truth is not so black & white.

Sure everyone needs some facts.  But we look at those facts, so differently, from such different points of view, it’s almost impossible to predict, with accuracy, what the important facts are for every buyer.

You need to present enough facts so the prospective buyer can rationalize their decision.  But their decision is far more likely to be emotional — based upon perceptions, which you do not control.

So advertise using different themes to different markets.  Focus on different emotions.

You may even need to engage different members of your staff to lead these efforts, because even they are constrained by these different emotions and different perspectives.

Sometimes, marketers conclude they must select the single most effective strategy.

Maybe we need to select any, and every, marketing strategy that is profitable.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, Opinion, , , , ,

How to improve the ROI on your marketing expenditures

Try to eliminate marketing expenditures, which reach non-buyers.

A huge percentage of your marketing expenses reach people who will never buy your merchandise or services.  While you may be able to ignore that fact, if your profit margins are high enough, you’ll do better if you know how to avoid spending marketing dollars sending your message to people who are not interested or have rejected your products.

We read a lot in the trade press about how to identify prospective buyers.  Maybe we should spend some time thinking about identifying known non-buyers.

If you can eliminate non-buyers from your target audience, the ROI on your marketing expenditures will automatically improve.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, Opinion, , ,

6 Components of a Direct Response Fundraising Strategy

There are six components that result in an effective direct response fundraising strategy:

  • Donor Acquisition — inspiring someone to give the first time.
  • Donor Renewal — inspiring a donor to give a second time and then repetitively over an even longer period of time.
  • Donation Frequency — inspiring a donor to give multiple times each year
  • Donor Upgrading — stimulating donors to give larger amounts
  • Donor Longevity — encouraging donors to continue giving for years and years
  • Donor Recognition — saying thank you appropriately, to encourage continued giving

Filed under: Direct Response Fundraising, Ideas

Insights on Email Marketing

I don’t know anyone who does not feel like they get too much email.  So, if that’s true, how does it effect what you do in your email marketing.

I think it emphasizes three things:

  1. If and when possible, tie your emails to something happening in the news and put the link in the subject line.
  2. There should be a reason why your Call to Action is important right now.  Otherwise you email is just another of the hundreds of emails I get every day.
  3. If you cannot leverage one of the first two points, then inundate your customers, donors or prospects with your offer, repeatedly over some period of time — because all you can hope for is opportunistic matches between what your offering and your customers’ needs.

Just a little food for thought.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas,

More on Content Marketing

Content Marketing should prove that long copy sells.

It’s a myth that buyers don’t read long copy. In fact, buyers are the only people that read long copy — because they are interested. People who don’t read long copy are not interested in what you’re selling. So, don’t write for them. Write for the people who are interested in buying. They will self-select.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, Omni-Channel Commerce, , ,

5 Things to Put in the Shipping Box

Here’s a link to this post at Practical Ecommerce … click here

Armondo Roggio posted this late last month.  Of course, it’s not just about ecommerce, it’s really about anytime you’re shipping product to a buyer.

Here are his five things:

  • put coupons in the box
  • put free merchandise in the box
  • put a treat in the box
  • put a review request in the box
  • put a catalog in the box

Of course, I can make the case that for specific companies this list should change.  But Armondo makes the underlying point that the box you ship to your customers is very important.

For example … the treat or free merchandise may do more for your customer loyalty than a frequent buyer program

And the follow up question for Armondo is this:  how to you make sure your customer sees all of this material?  Do you put it on top of the purchased merchandise to make sure they see it?  Or, do you put it underneath … because the first thing they should see is what they bought?

And of course, it’s really easy to overthink this stuff, too.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, , , , , ,

You don’t have customer until the second purchase

When a customer buys from you the first time, it’s a test.  It’s a test of you and your business:

  • is the product what I expected?
  • was it easy to complete my purchase
  • did they treat me right?
  • did it arrive when and as expected?
  • if I have an issue, will they resolve it quickly and the way I want it resolved?

The answers to these questions will either increase or decrease the likelihood of a second purchase.  And if they do buy a second time, you probably really have a customer — good for you.

11 Personal Gestures to Turn Casual Buyers into Lifelong Customers  — this is a post from Practical Ecommerce that suggests additional things you can do to make a tentative Customer (that is, first-time buyer) into a Lifelong Customer.

Good points to consider for your business

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, Opinion, , , , , , ,

Low Cost Digital Marketing leads to Lazy Marketing

Digital Marketing … especially, email and social media … is leading to marketing the easy way.

Marketers are just buying keywords, or blasting emails to everyone on every promotion, disregarding whether any part of the target market is already a customer.

I’ve bought vitamins from the same company for over ten years.  They send them every 60 days.  Once or twice a year, I start seeing Ads by Google for this company, everywhere I go.  Why?

Lazy marketing.

There are two broad categories of lists:  compiled lists and response lists.  In the digital world, we haven’t figured out how to “purge” our existing customers from email campaigns or PPC campaigns, because we perceive that the cost to purge them exceeds the cost of including them.

But, we’re ignoring the cost of irritating our customer base.  Denny Hatch, writes in Target Marketing, this month about getting a promotion from Amazon for two books he’s already bought from them.  How long before Denny just marks Amazon promotional emails as “Spam” and never looks at them?

There is a sense in which the Golden Rule applies to marketing as well.  Your customers are likely annoyed by the same things you’re annoyed by … pay attention out there!

Filed under: Ideas, Opinion, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Pros and Cons of eCommerce Replatforming

I ran across this post in a LinkedIn discussion within the Ecommerce Solutions group:  Pros and Cons of eCommerce Replatforming:  Considerations for the C-Suite.  It was posted by Olivier Pepin, Senior Director, Technology at Optaros.

You could quickly conclude that Olivier is promoting Optaros solutions in his post, but look past that and you’ll find a well considered piece.
 
 
However, I also want to add to Olivier’s thoughts.
 
 
Especially for the C-Suite.
 
 
What differentiate’s your business from your competitors?  Products?  Price?  Customer Service?  Business Rules?  Inventory availability?  or, your web site?
 
 
It’s certainly possible that your web site is what differentiates your business; but I don’t think that’s true for most business.
 
 
The features and functionality of your web site need to comparable to that of your competitors.  Not too far ahead or behind.  Because your customers have expectations of how to do business with you on the web.  If you have new features that are so “gee whiz” you may end up spending more time explaining the features and not enough time selling product.
 
 
The fundamental of retailing have not changed.  We’s simply added a new channel, in which the proven principles now manifest themselves in new ways.
 
 
Don’t get carried away with the technology.

Filed under: Direct Commerce, Ideas, Opinion, , , , , , , , , ,

The Importance of Ecommerce Strategy

click here for a great post on this topic.

There is a persistent tension between deciding what to do and the actual doing of it.  That’s why companies have Chief Executive Officers and Chief Operating Officers.

This post reflects on how this applies even to a small-medium business.

The fact is, you have a strategy, whether you know it or not.  If you strategy is accidental or unintentional, then your business is not all it can be.

Filed under: Ideas, Opinion, , , , ,

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