Today we bring you a new podcast!
We take you behind the scenes of e-commerce, with an interview with the Affiliate Partner Manager of BigCommerce: Adam Enfroy.
With him, we talked about best marketing strategies, influencers, marketplaces and future of BigCommerce: challenges and trends. Discover his vision of the market in this new podcast format that we´ve inaugurated in ECN.
Alfredo: Hello everyone. Lovely to hear you again. Today we are with Adam Enfroy. Hello Adam
Adam: How are you day. Good. How are you?
Alfredo: Good. It’s a pleasure to have you today on our podcast for e-commerce nation. So yep today it’s the first time we get someone from BigCommerce joining our podcast our community. So we’re really happy to have you with us. And today will basically be talking about e-commerce social media best practices for e-commerce and anything that you can imagine. So Adam is affiliate partnerships manager at BigCommerce and he’s also SEO consultant. So I think the best to start will be that you Adam introduce yourself you introduce to all community a bill of BigCommerce and everything so all in your hands go for it.
Adam: Thank you very much I appreciate it. So yeah my name is Adam Enfroy. And right now I work for BigCommerce as the affiliate partnerships manager. So kind of you know kind of has to do with bringing in trials paying customers into BigCommerce. BigCommerce itself is a fast e-commerce platform similar to Shopify or Volusion but we’re kind of more known for our mid-market approach for growing businesses. Currently, we have about 60000 merchants using us, 50000 are small businesses two thousand mid-market and then about 30 plus Fortune 1000 and that includes like Ford, Toyota, some of the bigger brands. So you know BigCommerce in general it’s it’s more focused to give you a little bit more advanced functionality out of the box where some platforms have apps. We kind of build it into our systems and really focus on conversion rate, Optimization, SEO and site speed and things like that that are important. So I guess you know a little bit about me before I came to BigCommerce I actually worked for as an e-commerce manager managing six different national brands and we were actually using Magento at the time but I was doing everything from you know Facebook ads, Google PPC, SEO, content marketing even email marketing everything basically I was forced to do everything.
Adam: So I had a good experience doing that and I kind of found that I wanted to work for a fast company and move more towards kind of the partnership side of things. And then finally also you know learning a lot of these you know startup type of techniques especially when it comes to content and SEO I launched a blog just in December and kind of grew that out with an SEO strategy so we can kind of dive into that as well.
Alfredo: Yeah definitely. You’re on the basically on the day to day of e-commerce and you know what’s happening you know what. What’s coming you know best practice as you know best methodologies the best steps. So my first question would be like What trends do you think are setting the e-commerce in 2019. I’m not going to be key for this year.
Adam: Sure yeah. So there’s a ton. Some of the big ones you can’t ignore is Amazon. So we all know this. Amazon’s two-day shipping in prime is forcing e-commerce consumers to go up their game and also potentially be on their platform. So it’s kind of tough when even if you’re a larger brand let’s say you’re selling your furniture brand you’re selling your products and your store you almost need to add your products to Amazon in order to get on that marketplace. And at the same time, Amazon can make money and kind of poach some of your customers as well. So it’s kind of a catch 22 situation. But having an Omni stretched channel strategy is important. So that’s selling on Facebook Amazon Instagram Pinterest a grand project yeah across different channels. So that’s a big one I think omnichannel. Another one is that the blending of content and commerce. So when you think of you know an e-commerce platform or a site like historically with something like 3D cart or Shopify or Wix or BigCommerce even in the past you kind of think of a homepage category pages and some product pages. But you know customers and consumers are expecting more now you know they want to see you know branding I think is really important. So they want to see more content more interactive videos more long-form posts more buyers guides so kind of the push into the WordPress base with e-commerce is a big push as well. I think that some of the most successful brands like Warby Parker or others that you know started in the e-commerce analysis can move into retail like the branding is really important. Selling your brand story is important. You can do that through content matching that with WordPress rather than just using kind of a stock plat hammer platform.
Alfredo: You know my next question like after you’ve mentioned this is it’s going to a point where there’s been a boom of what people call content shock. There’s been this constant shock boom and just because like the Internet now is full of so much content. What would you what would be your first t tip in terms of like what to do to make sure that you can your content is not just one thing else on the Internet to stand out. What was your tip in order for any e-commerce to stand out?
Adam: Yeah I love that. I love that question because we are constantly bombarded with content. You know it said it was said like three years ago that two million blog new blog posts are published every day. I’m sure that number is like double that now but how do you stand out from the noise like I read so many articles that’s just copy and paste and things are written to rank and Google they’re written in a certain structure they’re not you know written to be interesting yeah. So step one I think is being vulnerable in your messaging a lot of this is true not even just for e-commerce but for building a personal brand or any website in general no one cares about all your accomplishments. They want to hear your story. They want to know how you failed where you went wrong and then how you overcame obstacles. So much like a traditional novel or book tells a story with a hero and a villain and the journey you can use those same tactics any commerce or any other platform. So generally that’s telling a story through a message and keeping it interesting and engaging. The second thing I think is if you’re writing just blog posts let’s say you’re you’re selling shoes so you’ve got all kinds of shoes maybe even some socks sneakers tennis shoes. How are you going to fill a blog pipeline with articles about shoes before everyone gets bored out of their minds. I think there’s only so much editorial calendar and keyword research that you can do. So I think that the use of infographics statistics imagery is really important.
Adam: Making things more interesting and appealing and engaging is important. And then also what I found finally on this content piece. The biggest thing that I learned and I teach this on my personal blog is you have to scale your content strategy. You have to take the content writing out of the equation. And what I mean by that is once you have a pillar set of blog posts say 5 to 10 that are really strong and a good length your efforts would be much better spent on building a relationship as a business owner which includes outreach link building networking guests posting and really treating it like a business and not just a writing hobby. So like the minute you take some of that writing out of it maybe outsource some of that writing and are able to focus strictly on outreach link building relationships with influencers. Getting your own brand out there you’re going to see huge increases in your domain authority. I typically for every one article I read on my blog I contribute about four guest articles. And what that does is just it’s not going to drive a ton of referrals traffic and sales off of that but it’s the quickest way to build your website’s authority yes especially.
Alfredo: There was one thing that well there were two things that you mentioned. The first thing was storytelling. It’s I think it’s like really really as well important on any kind of strategy that you do for your e-commerce for your or whatever block you have. It’s storytelling is basically one of the most important things people want to go one step further they want to know more about the company they want to especially like they want to know about the insights of the company as well. Partnerships they have things that are happening within the company and linked to this at the same time you also mentioned about collaborations with influencers. So my next influences are the kind of people that they do storytelling basically. So my next question is from your experience on storytelling and working with influences. What are good tips or good practices to work with influences especially when you have e-commerce.
Adam: Yeah I think that it depends on the stage of your growth. So if you’re new and you’re just starting out versus if you’re a small established you can do different things. What I find works best with influencers and to start that relationship is to provide value upfront so for example when I manage the affiliate program here at BigCommerce I’m not just outreaching to an influencer and saying hey promote BigCommerce you know we’re awesome like we are but we are.
Adam: So what I’ve found is again I can’t stress it enough. I think link building is the currency of the Internet. So if you have some domain authority or you can write guest posts and you can build links if you can provide value to influencers first that’s what you should do. So what are they looking for. Well they’re looking for more traffic more engagement more people in their own ecosystem more links to their site more mentions on any other site. So if you can provide anything like that if you can give them some value and then reach out to them to work with them that would be great. Additionally, you can find a number of different influencer kind of platforms to use. I back in my previous job at one of our social media managers used one I can’t remember the name of that offhand. I’ll try to try to think of it when I when we’re talking here but you can pretty much pay you know anywhere from 20 dollars to three hundred or a thousand dollars but it’s pretty cheap like you can pay some money to an influencer directly through the platform from 30 bucks for an Instagram mention they can you know include your product in their feed. Definitely make sure you know this is kind of top of the funnel marketing. It might not drive a ton of sales. It’s more for brand awareness but it’s definitely cool to be able to just pay a few bucks here and there and get influencers to promote you. Also finally make sure to you know if they do want to send them some free products as well.
Alfredo: Yeah. When you when you starting you’ve created your own brand you want to start making people aware of the brand and everything brand awareness. Working with influencers showing your product out in the market so that people get to see it tested and know more about it. It’s it’s I think it’s key. How do. One thing that has been going on for the last couple of years and which is now pretty much establishing in the whole of Europe is stop shipping because many people it is true. You get people who have their own brands they’re giving their identity and everything and then you also get people who have decided to go for job shipping. Yes. So what is your opinion on job shipping point one and then how do you guys think comes to anything in particular to help people that are doing jobs shipping. Because for example, I know that you guys have lately launched a WordPress as well e-commerce plugin to make the BigCommerce experience easier. And that is one thing that definitely helps. So what was your opinion on job shipping and how are you hoping e-commerce and merchants doing jobs shipping to grow within e-commerce.
Adam: Sure. So I have a couple of thoughts on draft shipping I’ve gotten I think as well some of them aren’t all that good. Yeah exactly. I think it’s enticing right. It’s like it’s a very great way to you know I think it’s a great way to grow conversion rates versus e-commerce platforms. Not a great way to necessarily you know. Strategize with your merchant base and what I mean is it’s an easy dream right. It’s a great dream to have. I don’t have to ship anything I can just you know to connect the inventory and I’ve tried it before in the past. Yeah, it’s yeah it’s almost like an offshoot of affiliate marketing right. It’s almost like the next evolution of affiliate marketing whereas you’re not you’re still promoting other people’s products but you’re making that the return a little bit differently. So instead of getting you know 30 per cent commission, you might be getting a 40 per cent margin and you’re still it’ll have to ship. So it’s interesting it’s something interesting model actually tested out in the past using its pretty easy tools too. What I found is like so there’s a AliExpress and Alibaba and those sites and I was looking at both first but then it’s like I could ship this and then the person might get it in two months. Like that’s not very competitive compared to Amazon Maybe they forget that they ordered it and you know they won’t contact me but it sounds like a customer service nightmare. But there are a number of good you know local wholesalers that you can find based on where you’re located. Like I used a tool called inventory source before that one was good because it basically takes whatever platform you’re on whether it’s Shopify or BigCommerce. And then just automatically syncs your platform with a wholesaler so you can just you know choose the products you want and then it automatically syncs in and then updates the inventory as well. Because one issue I saw with drop shipping is there might be some really awesome products that you can promote for retail on your site. But then again the wholesaler might only have two or three of them in stock.
Adam: So if someone orders it and then you look at their site and there’s zero then you’re you’re doing work you’re sending in refunds and you’re not it’s not working out too well. So what I found for drop shipping might my strategy would be it’s hard. It’s a little bit harder to differentiate your brand because you’re using other people’s products. So for example, if you’re a camping supplies store and you’re selling tents and you know hiking poles and all kinds of things that you want to be the next area. Well, it’s difficult because all of these drop shipping products are primarily going to be sold at a lot of different areas like they could be sold at Wal-Mart. They could be sold at Target. They could be sold on Google Shopping. Like if you look at Google shopping for the drop shipping products you’re promoting. You may find 25 or 50 other people selling them the same product the exact same product and with map pricing and you know MSR P and trying to be competitive with someone like Wal-Mart. It’s very difficult. So the hard part of drop shipping is brand differentiation because you’re using other people’s brands. If you can find a drop shipper that would be able to allow you to do package inserts in each box and you can really focus on the content heavily like you said potentially with a WordPress site that can help for sure.
Adam: So it’s definitely a quicker way to get started. I think a lot of you know if you’re if you’re looking to just double or get your toes wet with e-commerce it’s a good way to test it out without any big risk upfront and then sometimes you know what you could do is if you’re testing products so let’s say you find a couple of good dropsshipping products you want them to have a pretty decent average order value so that you know you’re not only making ten dollars per sale that’s something more like 70 to 100 dollars per sale. If you test that out do a quick search on Google shopping to see if there’s like a lot of competition and who the retailers are. If you find one that’s not that competitive you could try it out. Focus on content and branding really drive it home and then potentially if you see some success you can get some good margins going. And then with that money you could even launch your own product or move into another kind of one step from drop shipping.
Alfredo: Mm-hmm. You know it’s true I’ve been having a look at the big e-commerce Website was where we were talking and some of the like multi-channel they talk about sending all marketplaces setting on social media selling in person. But this won’t one channel that I’m always quite fascinated about which is email marketing which for some people which already some e-commerce site already established they’ve called the customer database tends to work we do well. Do you have any tips they will have you in the past have you done any e-mail marketing strategies which you would be happy to share your thoughts or your ideas on. Best and worst practices to do especially e-mail marketing focus to in e-commerce because it’s not the same when you’ve got a service that when you’ve got a product. So in this aspect Chip do you guys have any tips from the BigCommerce side on email marketing campaign strategies.
Adam: Absolutely. As a matter of fact I do. It’s funny I don’t know. Yes. Yes. So basically you know some experience with BigCommerce and working with other platforms like Magento, Shopify and working for larger e-commerce brands email is super important. We all know it. And one of the reasons one of you know the best strategy is this because a lot of it’s automated. So I would first start with the automated e-mails and that would include including you know welcome e-mail series and you know users can opt-in either on your home page or in other areas of your site to get into that welcome series. So we’ve all seen it you know join our e-mail list. But usually you want to offer some type of incentive like 10 per cent off up to 20 per cent off if you want to get really aggressive but a discount on promotion. Yes. Yes. So with the e-mails you that’s one thing. So get people into the into your list with a quick discount and I have to do is in the first welcome email just send them the either the promo code or any other type of you know a discount code for their percentage off. So they’ll join the list. So one thing is an automated welcome series. We’ll get to that. The second one is the other automation would be like abandoned card emails. So when somebody visits a cart add something to their cart and then doesn’t convert. There are ways to trigger that as an Ah no please no reminder to check your card e-mail.
Adam: So those are a couple of the main ones you can also get into some crazier optimization with you know based on purchase history based on like actions that they perform on your site. But I think you know really we just want to get to a baseline where you have a well series that gives in three emails and then an abandoned cart series as well. So on the automation side like really it’s e-mail one in the welcome series is thank you for joining here’s your discount email 2 and 3 you can kind of make whatever you want. Usually it’s like here’s some of our top selling products to check out here’s a little bit more about us here’s our story on social media. All these things and then you can also cheer or ladder the abandoned card e-mail so that maybe email one in the abandoned cart sequence does not provide a discount email to is like I please here’s 10 percent off email 3 is like all right really. We really want you to buy his 20 30 percent off your order spirit that way. And then one other quick thing is just the outside of that he has the automated e-mails and then you know marketing e-mails in general. So these are one off emails where you’re talking to your audience one time.
Adam: Now these should really be focused on your promotional calendar. So what I found when I worked at some of the larger e-commerce brands is that they were data promotion running like one week out of the month. So typically 25 percent of the time there was a promotion that was going on and that could be usually not something too aggressive unless it was Black Friday or Cyber Monday. I think the average you know average Black Friday discount across the board is some like thirty nine percent off and that’s just expected now. But some of the other good ones are you know 20 percent off orders over 50. You could do a tiered one where it’s like Buy More Save More 20 percent over off over 50 30 percent off over 100. Kind of that that level of discount and then you’re marketing e-mails. So you’re building up your list your marketing e-mails can then specifically talk about the promotion provide you know some good graphics and imagery which works really well for e-commerce brands highlighting the products showing the discount and driving them to purchase. So I think that the one off marketing e-mails worked for promotions and then the automated welcome series and abandoned card e-mails just kind of work for you year round and can drive some some incremental revenue without much work. Once they’re setup
Alfredo:Mm hmm. Yeah. Different. Definitely.
Alfredo: And one thing that usually all community is always asking or demanding about is the international side of things because usually when you launch especially here in Europe when you launch e-commerce you’ll be thinking about going international spending on other countries. Here, for example, we’ve got like 20 in the whole of Europe we’ve got 26 or 27 languages accredited by the European Union. So it’s always much more complex that if you’re in the U.S. or if you’re in Australia I things like that I’ve seen you guys also you support multi multilingual side so you BigCommerce has the possibility to get the difference in this well translated. So just in case, anyone is interested in this as well and also I’ve seen that you guys support more than two hundred and fifty local currencies. So in terms of localized payments, it’s also one wouldn’t benefit for the whole. For anyone that’s thinking into starting or setting internationally.
Alfredo: My next question would be. Any future plans in BigCommerce new products you’re about to launch your new countries you’re about to enter. Anything that you can give us for all community. Share with us in terms of future plans for commerce.
Adam: Absolutely. So yeah it’s actually really exciting time of the commerce. Last year the middle of the year we launched UK office and we just launched our Singapore office. So we’re kind of growing into the APEC market as well. And then you know international expansion kind of like you mentioned really important to have local currencies local language can be a little bit different to the way people say things might not always be the same. So the first thing is to make sure that your e-commerce platform really can take care of a lot of that for you whether it’s switching out the currency based on the IP address or location of the user making sure that you’re international shipping rates are all taken care of and you know a lot of that stuff should be done for you. And then you double check the content to make sure that you’re talking you know in the local language that makes sense to everybody. So yeah I mean but in general you know for big Commerce some of our biggest initiatives this year are we just brand launched a brand new site redesign actually a BigCommerce dot com so the site looks got URL looking.
Alfredo: Yeah I appreciate that.
Adam: And then there’s some of their more recent updates that we did over the past as a couple of site speed updates. So Google AMP native functionality on product and category pages which increases mobile loads time. And then on the site speed as well we have an automatic image manager which compresses it compresses all the imagery. We also now have Instagram shopping directly on Instagram available to international all international accounts. And then you know we optimized our checkout so that you can customize every single pixel of the checkout experience. So a lot of people fail the checkout because either they don’t see transparent shipping rates and then they add to cart and they’re like well what does this owe her. Or it’s just too confusing. So that’s important. And then finally the biggest one I would say is kind of just moving into the WordPress space. So we launched our e-commerce for WordPress plugin which is it’s a very new topic and kind of one of those future trends we were discussing around headless commerce. So it’s not like we e-commerce where it’s just a WordPress plugin. You have a WordPress site you add your e-commerce to it.
Adam: It’s a little bit different. So how it works is you download the plugin and you have your content on the front end of WordPress. So you still have your WordPress site your blog your content but then you can manage your e-commerce component inside of BigCommerce. And it’s hooked up via an API. And what that does is it’s not using resources on your WordPress site. It’s using BigCommerce back and merchant and e-commerce resources. So what that allows for is like scalability and a stronger e-commerce engine than probably ever before because you know a lot of e-commerce and other plugins see the more plugins you have the more slower your WordPress site is usually. So being able to kind of disassemble the content from commerce is considered have less commerce and it’s a way to kind of combine the best of both worlds at the same time and not lose any resources. So it’s an interesting thing as a lot of brands move towards these shareable content experiences especially like what we were mentioning at the beginning of the podcast the importance of content for e-commerce nowadays. But with video written storytelling or whatever I’m WordPress and they suspect days prior I’d say one of the best platforms to host content.
Adam: Absolutely. Yep.
Alfredo: So Adam we’re running with time so what can I say. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you today here. Big times for BigCommerce in the next months and years hopefully. So yeah as well. If anyone’s got any questions or would like to contact them you can visit its website. It’s at the adamenfroy.com. I’m sure Adam will be happy to talk to you discuss further things like that as you say. BLOCK like a CEO, not a writer. I think that sir that’s as well. So yep thank you very much for your time. Anyone interested. Bit commerce I recommend it and yep see you on our next. Next week’s Pop cost. And thank you very much for your time.
Alfredo: Adam I keep on thinking it was a pleasure.
Adam: I appreciate it. And talk to you soon.