The entire e-commerce landscape has exploded in popularity in recent years, with the recent worldwide Covid-19 pandemic pushing everyone — even those that were once resistant — to online shopping.
While major players like Amazon solidified their position as e-commerce behemoths, many smaller direct-to-consumer brands have risen to the top, disrupting their industries and becoming category favorites among consumers.
One of my companies, Underlining Beauty, owns and operates D2C brands such as Tatbrow and Nailboo, with many generating eight-figures annually. There is more competition now than there ever has been in the e-commerce space — and it is only going to become more intense.
Here are valuable lessons that I’ve learned while building and scaling multiple eight-figure e-commerce brands. If you are considering entering the space — or want to scale your existing e-commerce brands — consider these tips.
Test to Identify Winning Channels (Don’t Assume)
There are several different ways to market and promote a brand from content marketing and distribution to organic search and paid media, like Facebook ads and website banner inventory. The only way you are going to know what works for your specific brand is to test and let the data do the talking.
You cannot assume something will work or won’t work. This approach can cripple a brand quickly, from allocating advertising money across the wrong channels to missing out on opportunities because you failed to test them.
Test every viable marketing option — even if it’s with a small budget. You want to identify winning channels using your concrete data and findings — then eliminate the ones that performed poorly and scale what works.
Understand How to Leverage Influencers
Influencer marketing has been red hot over the past few years. It quickly became a buzz word, and all brands tried to get in on the action, but the majority fall flat on their face when it comes to generating a return using influencers.
First, they are very expensive, and second, most influencer campaigns will not generate enough instant sales to produce an acceptable ROI. The trick is to understand how to leverage influencer marketing, and once you figure it out, you will see the results that are responsible for large brands allocating a large percentage of their budget towards influencer campaigns.
An influencer can drive a tremendous amount of traffic to your website in a very short period, and even if it doesn’t convert instantly, your brand can benefit greatly. Every person that hits your website can be added to a remarketing list via pixels. Every advertising platform these days — Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, etc. — uses pixel data.
An influencer campaign can drive brand awareness and allow you to collect data that can be used in perpetuity to place highly targeted ads in front of those that showed an interest in your brand. Over time this can drive more sales and revenue than what an instant one-time conversion would have.
Build Strong Relationships Through Engagement
The most successful D2C e-commerce brands create a strong relationship with their customers, leading to repeat purchasers and brand advocates. This type of customer is a huge asset, which is why it’s important to make relationship-building a major focus.
Too many brands focus solely on new customer acquisition and conversion that they leave a huge piece of the potential revenue pie on the table. There are simple little things you can implement that strengthen the brand-consumer relationship on autopilot. All it takes is prioritizing relationship building and understanding how important it is for long-term survival.
Something as simple as sending emails to your customers on their birthdays can make that relationship stronger, while also driving revenue — by including a special discount code. You don’t want to ask for their birthday during checkout because you want to keep that process as frictionless as possible.
But, there is an easy fix. You should be automatically emailing your customers asking for them to review your product, so drop a little note within that message, asking them to provide their birthday so you can be sure to reach out with a special gift on their special day.
Including this is the message asking for the review also increases the chance of them leaving a glowing review. Remember, you just told them you are going to send them a special gift on their birthday — their mind is filled with positive thoughts regarding your brand.
Social media also gives you a very simple engagement platform. Like comments, reply to comments, and follow your customers. These little things can be done by any social media manager — or intern, freelancer, etc. So many brands ignore the engagement aspect, which is a huge mistake. Take the time to engage, and you will create a loyal customer that won’t be inclined to seek out another brand because believe me, there are endless options with more popping up regularly.
Razvan Romanescu is a serial entrepreneur, whose roles include: Co-Founder and CEO of Gamelancer Inc, a platform designed to empower gamers to generate revenue by being compensated for playing with others; Co-Founder of Guff Media, which owns multiple media properties including Memes.com (@memes on all social platforms and the largest meme generator app in the App Store); Co-Founder and CEO of Underlining Beauty, which owns and operates brands such as Tatbrow and Nailboo; Co-Founder and CEO of 10 PM Curfew, a female-focused media network founded with actress Bella Thorne that includes @style and @girls on Instagram and TikTok.
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