In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, let's not focus on the negatives but focus on what we can do to take action. Shae Kennewell (Facebook Ads Specialist) and I have put together the following eCommerce tips for dealing with COVID-19 during this time.
Please note that these eCommerce tips for dealing with COVID-19 are a series of ideas. As we know, not all stores are equal so some tips might be better suited than others.
1. LET DATA DRIVE YOUR STRATEGIES AND DECISION MAKING.
Irrational design making is now, more than ever, a threat to your business. Take a deep breath and let data drive your strategies and decision making.
2. SIGNUP FOR UPDATES TO FACEBOOK'S 100 MILLION IN CASH GRANTS AND AD CREDIT.
Facebook has pledged 100 million in cash grants and ad credit for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grants will be available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries. You can sign up for updates here when more information is released.
3. CAPITALISE ON INTERNATIONAL STORES WHILE THE AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR IS DOWN
Across my clientele, I am seeing a decrease in Australian and New Zealand based sales and an increase in international orders predominantly in the United States. As the Australian dollar is at a record low, now is the time to focus efforts on capitalising on the exchange rate with international-based sales.
As Shopify is offering a 90-day free trial, you have 90 days to test selling your goods on a U.S. based Shopify store. To do so internally in a cost-effective way, you need to duplicate your current Shopify theme and upload it to a new Shopify account and set up a GEO IP Redirect to exclude international-based visitors from visiting your Australian store. So far in the stores that have tested this, we are seeing promising results.
You can read more on Shopify’s COVID-19 response and what they’re doing to help here.
This is the GEO IP Redirect I use here.
4. CREATE A BETTER OFFER FOR YOUR INTERNATIONAL STORES
With the prospect of new international customers comes the opportunity for creating a better offer to target at this group. Given our Australian dollar is sitting at .59 cents to the U.S. dollar today (March 24th, 2020) this means you could offer something more appealing on opt-in for first orders to international based customers to get them across the line.
For example, free shipping (depending on how big the items are you post and your current rates), a free gift with purchase (depending on how small the item is for shipping purposes) or a monetary incentive such as $10 off your first order.
You can use this gross profit margin calculator from Shopify for determining what offers you’ll give on your store in order to save money and increase your profit.
5. LOOK AT BOOKING A DEMO WITH AIRWALLEX
This leads me into my next tip, Airwallex (a company I personally use in my business) allows you to create local business accounts in the US, the UK, Europe and Australia in a few clicks. These accounts can then easily be linked to regional ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Amazon and eBay to allow collection in local currency, increasing the number of customers that you can service.
As I get paid for some work in USD, I use Airwallex to pay my USD based subscriptions to avoid being hit with further conversion fees by my regular business bank.
Airwallex has kindly offered my clients and readers your first $100,000 of foreign exchange free. That's 0% fees and 0% margin on your first $100,000 AUD in FX conversions (or equivalent). To get this offer, you can book a demo here.
*Please note, I personally am not receiving a kickback from recommending Airwallex, this is something I have set up with them to help my clients after setting up my own accounts with them.
6. INSTALL KLAVIYO'S BACK IN STOCK FLOW
If you are having trouble securing stock, now is not the time to be resorting to sales and discounting. In the event your stock levels are impacted, it is important to set up a back-in-stock flow through Klaviyo. You can find documentation here in Klaviyo’s Help Center on how to set this up.
7. CONDUCT A SUBSCRIPTION AUDIT AND CREATE A SUBSCRIPTION TRACKER
Conduct a subscription audit and create a subscription tracker. I did this back in January and already reduced my monthly costs significantly by just doing this exercise. I will do another review of mine this week to reduce costs even further.
Here’s what mine looks like at the moment:
8. SPEND YOUR MARKETING FUNDS MORE EFFICIENTLY
Spend your marketing funds more efficiently. To do this, audit your current store’s metrics per each region. This includes auditing the following metrics on a weekly, if not daily basis:
- Total sales
- Store conversion rates
- Average order value (AOV)
- Returning customer rate
- Frequency of repurchase
- Email opt-in rate on all signup forms within your store
- Your traffic sources and their individual conversion rates
- Your ESP’s $ per recipient amount
- Your blended cost per acquisition (CPA): to do this calculate all marketing costs and divide by the total amount of customers you have for the set period.
It is important during this period that you keep track of your numbers on a regular basis. A program I love that does this so well is OrderMetrics. It is a program that will help you monitor your profit and marketing performance so you can make better-informed decisions.
Remember this golden rule, let data drive your strategies and decision making.
9. USE THE DOWNTIME TO BUILD ON FURTHER STRATEGIES
Use this downtime to build strategies around converting the eight different types of customers coming to your store. I wrote this article last month and it is packed with ideas and strategies to get you started!
10. FOLLOW JASON ANDREW, AUTHOR OF STARK NAKED NUMBERS, ACCOUNTANT AND CO-FOUNDER AT SBO FINANCIAL ON LINKEDIN
Jason’s one of my favourite people to follow on LinkedIn at the moment - his posts and advice is OUTSTANDING! [Do yourself a favour and check him out!] He specialises in Operational Finance for digital-based businesses such as eCommerce stores, digital marketing agencies and online entrepreneurs.
I bought his book, Stark Naked Numbers only recently and the value he provides is phenomenal. The one thing I have learned working in the eCommerce industry is that you NEED an accountant that understands our industry completely!
You can download chapter one here of his book for free!
11. UPSKILL WITH THE FOLLOWING RECOMMENDED DIGITAL MARKETING COURSES
If you have some additional time on your hands and are wanting to upskill in a certain area of digital marketing, I would highly recommend checking out this recent article I wrote on recommended Digital Marketing Courses. During this time companies like The CXL Institute are offering free CXL Minidegree programs to people whose livelihoods are affected by COVID-19. You can read more here.
12. CHANGE YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE.
Now is the time to change your marketing message. Meet your customers with empathy and spread joy in your campaigns. Your customers will appreciate the honesty and hopefulness.
For example, if you are selling clothing you could do a working from home campaign with comfy ways to stay stylish!
13. KNOW YOUR NUMBERS
If you are advertising and unsure what your breakeven ROAS is, I can calculate this for you. This will ensure you know your position at all times. Send me an email to email@example.com
14. START LOOKING AT YOUR CONVERSION POINTS
These will most probably decrease with sales. Facebook requires 50 conversions a week to optimise a campaign. If sales are dropping consider changing the conversion event to add to cart or view content to increase the conversions numbers.
15. CONSIDER TRYING OPEN TARGETING
Give Facebook the freedom to find your customers and you may be very surprised. Try only gender and age restrictions and leave interests or lookalikes. This can work very well.
16. BOOK A FREE 1 HOUR CALL OR A FREE AD ACCOUNT AUDIT WITH SHAE KENNEWELL
Given the nature of what's happening around us right now, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a free 1-hour call or Facebook ad account audit to help you at this time. (Please note, this is limited to the first 20 people who book a call so get in quick!)
Please use the subject line '1-Hour Facebook Call' or give her a call on (P) 0415 166 297.
*Note from Bryn, I personally used Shae for paid traffic advertising in my families previous company Banaban and have worked with her on many projects in the past and present with other brands.
I'd love to hear how these tips have helped you! Leave a comment below or email me at email@example.com (I personally respond to all emails!)
*Shameless plug* If you like my eCommerce tips and advice and want to learn more from me you can sign up below to my course waitlist. You’ll receive tips and advice via email while you wait for the official launch date!