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Hawke Media is an award-winning digital marketing consultancy and full-service agency.

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The Ecommerce Club is designed to mentor members and enable collaboration between all parties. Not just help on your ecommerce journey but help on your business journey.

Is Livestream Shopping The Future Of Ecommerce?

You may have heard Alibaba’s Own Zarina Kanji discussing how mass-streaming is set to shape the future hybrid world of retail. Recently, M&S announced a new Livestream shopping service called ‘M&S LIVE’ where customers can join a live broadcast to hear more about a product range and pose live questions to an M&S expert.

Live streaming and ecommerce

The beauty of live streaming is its ability to replicate an experience that we witness in physical stores. By having an expert walk a consumer base through a product line in real-time people are getting an experience that they could be missing when they browse an online store. For instance, a customer browsing handbags on a store page could want a more detailed look at the straps, pockets and buckles but are limited to the existing listing images. On a Livestream, the consumer would have a more detailed and personalised experience that could translate into a sale.

“The last few years have seen a rapid shift to social commerce, with our research showing TikTok alone saw a phenomenal 553% increase in shopping during the pandemic. This has been largely driven by younger consumers, with 43% of Gen Z, using social media to purchase products in 2021. Brands and retailers that have realised this opportunity have already seen success, as consumers are now more likely to see – and be influenced by – brand advertising, user generated content (UGC) and influencer posts on social media. Within this, live shopping has really taken off. A trend that is already well-established in Asia, we’ve recently seen TikTok, Instagram and Facebook each adopt and test live shopping features in the west, and the trend has already seen a huge growth in popularity amongst Gen Z shoppers. And it’s clear to see why – the interactive nature of live shopping helps brands and retailers bring consumers together with other consumers, in an experience which goes beyond just shopping”.

Ed Hill, SVP EMEA at Bazaarvoice

Social commerce is certainly something that brands should be looking to do if they can. TikTok and Instagram are a couple of platforms already facilitating the concept. I predict we will see more marketplaces also picking up on this Livestream shopping trend in the near future, allowing brands to stream to their audiences and capture more sales whilst promoting brand value and trust.

SWIRL Announces Live Shopping Integration With Shopify

Vadodara (Gujarat) [India], February 9 (ANI/PRNewswire): Swirl announces integration with Shopify to enable live commerce.

Shopify sellers can now create shoppable videos and use live streaming to boost engagement and increase sales.

With the integration between Swirl and Shopify, sellers will be able to access all the benefits of video commerce that come with the platform while retaining complete control of their database, their payment gateway, and the customer experience.

Swirl for Shopify sellers

Shopify sellers can create immersive short videos, share with customers with a single link, and build a collection of shoppable content and video catalogues on their own storefronts. They can also engage with customers Live and answer questions and collect first party customer data and personal information through their Lead Capture tool.

Sellers will also get moderation features, real-time analytics and business intelligence on the performance of their video content and on the customer behaviour. Sellers retain control of their payment gateways, but with shoppable Swirl videos, their path-to-purchase is reduced significantly.

This integration comes with the following functions baked in:

White label URL

Carousel-style shoppable videos on any webpage

In-Video Add-to-Cart & Checkout

RSVP and calendar sync with reminders

Lead capture with authentication

Moderator Account

UTM parameter integration

Facebook/Google pixel integration

Branded video player design

The future of livestream shopping is here

The graph for livestream shopping has been soaring in countries like China over the last few years. According to a Forbes report, the Chinese eCommerce market is at $305 billion in 2021. In the United States it is $25Bn and along with-it other countries like India, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam are showing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46.4%.

“Post pandemic, The world has shown a great affinity to video shopping and eCommerce and with the roll out of 5G globally, retail and D2C brands are realising the power of creating immersive phygital experiences on their own web assets that bridges the online-offline gap and reduces path-to-purchase” – Kaizad Hansotia, Founder & CEO SWIRL

Swirl and Shopify – a partnership built to last

With the integration of Swirl, Shopify merchants receive a full-stack live commerce solution that they can plug and play, with no need for tech investment or training. They can choose from one-to-many and one-to-one live shopping, and short shoppable videos.

Large Appliances is Amazon’s most lucrative category

Data from Amazon FBA business acquirer Thrasio has found that books, CDs and vinyl are still big business for Amazon sellers with businesses turning over an average of £230K per month, however large appliances top the revenue list.

Thrasio analysed data from SmartScout on over 18,000 sellers to reveal the makeup of the UK’s booming e-commerce sector. The data reveals surprising patterns about which categories are bringing in revenue for sellers and which see the biggest competition. 

Large appliances top the list for average seller revenues

Amazon sellers in the Large Appliances category had the highest average monthly seller revenue (total category value divided by number of sellers), at £364k. 

Surprisingly, Books (£227K) is still one of the most lucrative categories for sellers, as is CDs & Vinyl (£234k), suggesting that those looking to spring up profitable revenue streams on the platform don’t always need to seek out new product lines or high-value goods.

The data also shows high-value categories like Automotive (£222k), Computers & Accessories (£111k) and Watches (£45k), were beaten out by the likes of clothing (£250k), Sports & Outdoors (£239k) and Pet Supplies (£234k).

Grocery sellers face the most competition online 

As more people turn to selling online either as a side hustle or primary business, the data suggests that there are sustainable revenues to be made across the marketplace, though competition is high.

Of the 27 categories analysed, five had more than 1,400 active GB-based sellers competing for sales. Grocery topped the list, with over 2,275 active sellers, followed by Beauty (2,103) and Home & Kitchen (1,724). 

Of the 27 Amazon categories analysed, more than 17 have an average seller revenue of £100,000 per month. 

How To Start a Thriving Ecommerce Business

If you’re a skilled entrepreneur or craftsperson, you’ve probably dreamed of starting your own ecommerce store and building a business that gives you a sense of achievement and freedom.  Sadly, most people don’t follow through on starting an ecommerce business because they don’t know where to begin.  Ecommerce businesses, which is any business that buys...

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Trend Report: This is What Will Matter for Small Businesses in 2022

The last two years have seen unprecedented changes to how entrepreneurs start and run small businesses. If you’re feeling a little lost, or unsure of what to expect next, you’re hardly alone.

As a small business owner, the best tool you have is information, both about how other businesses are keeping the lights on and about how customers want to shop in this time of change.

Thankfully, we have data that can help you with both.

In our annual Future of Commerce report, we asked both business decision-makers and consumers what matters to them in this new era of commerce. With that information, we’ve identified seven key small business trends to pay attention to in the new year, including what customers are looking for, how to gain an edge in how you ship, and how businesses plan to invest in themselves.

These insights will help you future-proof your small business and remain resilient.

7 small business trends for 2022

We combed through the data to find the trends that will matter most to small business owners through 2022. Here’s where to invest your energy in the upcoming year.

1. Prioritise customer experience

As an entrepreneur, you already know that providing a memorable experience for customers is what builds loyalty to keep them coming back again and again. 

With that in mind, this is an area where businesses know they need to invest. According to a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Shopify, 27% of businesses said improving customer experience was their first or second-biggest priority for 2022.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, but customers also gave us insight into what they look for when shopping online.

When asked what they find “valuable” or “very valuable” when shopping online, accurate pictures were the top answer, with 77% saying so. This can be a challenge if you’re doing product photography yourself, but with good lighting, even a smartphone can be used to take excellent photos.

The next most important thing customers consider is the ability to easily find all product information, which 76% of customers said was “valuable” or “very valuable.” Writing product descriptions is an art unto itself, and you can look at this guide for tips on how to get them just right.

Localisation is also important. In the data, 74% said seeing their local language was “valuable” or “very valuable,” and 71% said the same about seeing their local currency. Shopify’s app store has dozens of options for ways to add this functionality to your shop.

Finally, 70% identified seeing customer ratings and reviews as valuable, which you can also find solutions for in the Shopify app store.

2. Focus on online revenue—including marketplaces

Even for those with a brick-and-mortar operation, small business trends show that online sales remain the key to growth.

In our data, 54% of businesses said their commerce team must focus on online revenue to achieve their 2022 priorities.

Digging into that, 49% of businesses said they plan to increase investment in their company-owned online store. One way to do that is to evaluate the design of your store. Is it visually appealing? Does it work well on mobile? Here’s a list of excellently designed shops to inspire you.

Businesses also noted the importance of online marketplaces, with 56% saying they plan to increase investment in e-commerce marketplaces. This is a smart strategy, as 55% of customers said they purchase from online marketplaces either weekly or monthly.

Amazon is the best-known marketplace to get started on, but there are many others that are worth looking at as you expand where you sell online.

The last place to look is social media platforms. Our data showed that 49% of businesses plan to increase investment in social commerce. We already talked about social shopping integration, but you can also think about fostering an online community and potentially working with influencers.

3. Optimise for uniqueness

One of the worries about expanding to online marketplaces is increased competition. It’s a common concern—40% of businesses said they expect increased competition to hinder their commerce team from achieving its goals.

But we also know how you can convince customers to choose your brand over another. In our data, customers told us what they consider a “significant” or “very significant” influence on their decision to purchase from a specific brand.

First up is a strong quality or satisfaction guarantee, with 61% of customers identifying this as important. This is something you can write into your product descriptions and features in your website copy as you consider what your brand’s unique selling proposition is.

Next is an excellent past service experience, with 60% saying this was a “significant” or “very significant” influence. That just goes to show that building customer loyalty begins before that first purchase is even made.

Finally, 58% of customers voted for the ability to reach customer service in the channel of their choosing. That means providing multiple avenues of contact, whether via email, social media, or live chat using a tool like Shopify Inbox.

4. Invest in solutions for supply chain issues

The pandemic has truly shown how kinks in the supply chain can impact even small businesses. 

Our data showed that 40% of consumers said global supply chain delays will somewhat impact orders, and 28% said they will strongly impact orders. The top concerns are additional shipping delays and costs, followed by manufacturing delays.

But rather than cutting costs to deal with these issues, a clear small business trend is emerging as founders invest in solving them. Forty-five percent plan to invest in manufacturing capacity, 44% plan to invest in improving collaboration with supply chain partners, and 44% plan to invest in increasing the speed of their supply chain.

5. Build trust with customers by making shipping faster and more transparent

It’s increasingly becoming the norm when shopping online to find free and fast shipping that gives a clear anticipated delivery day. Marketplaces like Amazon have made it so customers expect this transparency, but that can be a difficult bar for small businesses to meet.

Businesses identified three areas where they’d be investing in shipping for 2022: reducing shipping costs with free and flat-rate shipping, improving flexibility of shipping and return policies, and changing shipping strategies to reduce the impact of global shipping delays.

Free shipping is a proven method for increasing conversion and order values and some simple calculations can help you decide whether this is something worth offering your customers.

Customers also identified free shipping as an important factor in choosing where to shop. In our data, 76% said free shipping had a “very significant” or “significant” influence on their decision to buy a product online. A further 68% said the same about same-day or next-day shipping, and 56% said the same about being able to choose the time and date of their delivery.

Shipping transparency, which means being able to show clearly anticipated delivery times, is important to both businesses and customers. Forty-nine percent of businesses plan to invest in shipping transparency and 46% of customers said they look for this when shopping.

6. Make international shipping easier for customers

Online commerce has made it possible to shop the whole world, and staying competitive means being able to ship anywhere. In fact, for Black Friday Cyber Monday 2021, 15% of all purchases were cross-border.

Customers still have some hesitations, though. Forty-three percent don’t want to have to pay additional fees for international orders. They were also worried about paying increased shipping costs or that shipping would take longer.

There are some steps you can take to work on those concerns. Shopify has tools to help you optimise your shop for international shoppers, such as price adjustments for different global markets, localised taxes, and setting clear international shipping rates. It’s also a good idea to be upfront about any additional fees so there are no surprises (and abandoned carts!) for customers.

And of course, make sure you have all customs forms for international shipping in order to prevent issues on arrival.

7. Invest in sustainability

Both businesses and customers are increasingly aware and concerned about the impact commerce has on our planet.

Over the next 12 months, 46% of businesses plan to invest in enabling customers to easily recycle products, 39% want to improve the efficiency of their manufacturing process, and 39% plan to invest in using natural, renewable, or recycled materials.

Building sustainable business practices is a worthwhile process, and it can start with small steps, like educating customers, offsetting carbon emissions, using social media to promote messages about sustainability, and finding sustainable shipping partners.

Go forth and conquer 2022!

You know better than anyone that staying in business means constantly adapting, reevaluating, and fine-tuning. These small business trends for 2022 can help you determine where to focus and invest for the upcoming year.

Take this data, go forth, and make 2022 your best year ever.

Six ecommerce predictions for 2022

The ecommerce industry is one of the many sectors that had a turbulent year due to a combination of global Covid disruption, Brexit, and IOSS, which has brought new challenges and set of requirements for businesses that want to sell to international customers.

Against this backdrop, George Trantas, senior director, global marketplaces at Avalara, today sets out Six ecommerce predictions for 2022 as the ecommerce and retail sectors continue to grapple with the impact of the Omicron variant.

  • The tax compliance burden will take centre stage

Retailers that went online or expanded their ecommerce operations during the pandemic and those selling omnichannel will face a mounting tax compliance burden from tax authorities to refocus on enforcement of compliance as the economy, and consumer behaviour begins to adjust to the new normal.

  • Supply chain will continue to cause major disruptions

Retailers will have to prioritise and rethink how they manage their inventory and set expectations with customers to prevent poor experiences due to continued delivery delays.

  • Inflation will drive adjustments to pricing for retailers to remain competitive

Due to inflation, sellers will face higher costs across brick-and-mortar, ecommerce, and marketplaces and will have to adjust pricing in the buy box to convert and keep customers.

  • Supply chain issues and inflation will disproportionately impact small businesses

Supply chain challenges and inflation will create higher costs for retailers, but small businesses with smaller budgets and teams will be more heavily impacted.

  • Ecommerce growth will normalise; Omnichannel will soar

With the continued uptick in COVID-19 variants, we will continue to see the adoption and expansion of omnichannel commerce grow in 2022 as consumers seek convenient, hybrid shopping experiences across in-person and online channels

  • Ecommerce-first retailers will seek alternative channels for distribution

With the rise of omnichannel commerce and continued supply chain woes, ecommerce-only sellers will look to other channels with robust distribution networks to offset the impact.

What is Shopify? The basics

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Access All Areas at TEC

The Ecommerce Club is designed to mentor members and enable collaboration between all parties. Not just help on your ecommerce journey but help on your business journey.

What to sell and where to start selling: part 2

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Access All Areas at TEC

The Ecommerce Club is designed to mentor members and enable collaboration between all parties. Not just help on your ecommerce journey but help on your business journey.

How to use Alibaba – the basics

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Access All Areas at TEC

The Ecommerce Club is designed to mentor members and enable collaboration between all parties. Not just help on your ecommerce journey but help on your business journey.

Why do you need a website?

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Access All Areas at TEC

The Ecommerce Club is designed to mentor members and enable collaboration between all parties. Not just help on your ecommerce journey but help on your business journey.

What is Shopify?

You may have heard of Shopify or seen it on a shopping cart page of an ecommerce site. It is an ecommerce platform that you can use to set up an online store. Shopify is all inclusive and involves a monthly subscription. You can sign up for the 14 day free trial to get the...

Access All Areas at TEC

The Ecommerce Club is designed to mentor members and enable collaboration between all parties. Not just help on your ecommerce journey but help on your business journey.

6 ways to stand out during Q4

After the huge growth of ecommerce during the pandemic, it is predicted that another substantial increase in online sales will occur during the approaching holiday months. Worldwide selling in Q4 will be more crucial than ever as Amazon has recently taken over two additional European markets, Poland and Sweden. 

Christine Lippmann, Ecommerce Marketing Specialist at InterCultural Elements, gives her recommendations for global selling in Q4. The 6 steps below represent how retailers can triumph global competition through the Q4 period. 

Global selling in Q4 

  1. Concentrate on your bestsellers and optimise listings

Analyse what you sell and the market you sell in cautiously. It is important to ask yourself, which items have sold the best on which market place? In order to rank as high as possible on the search result pages, focus on your bestsellers and spend time developing them to match the exact needs of the respective marketplace. Only use these optimised listings to new marketplaces, while also taking into account the target audience of the particular country in addition to the cultural differences. 

  1. Adapt your product descriptions to fit the local audience

Local sellers tend to be more favourable to customers, despite the huge range of products available on the market. A perfectly localised product description can have a great impact on a customer’s purchasing decision. Buyers want to know that if they face a problem, they are able to speak to someone in their own language. This is even more important in a new market or with an unfamiliar brand, customers can instantly trust a seller with a flawless translated listing. 

  1. Increase visibility with the right marketing campaigns and enhanced brand content

It is crucial that your customers can easily find your products. Your best selling products should be clearly emphasised with marketing campaigns and magnified brand content. A lot of customers will start buying presents earlier this year due to the delivery delays associated with supply shortages. Take advantage of this by investing in marketing campaigns ahead of Black Friday, while costs are lower. As a result, by the time the holiday sales begin, you will already have lots of positive customer feedback which leads to better product rankings. 

  1. Understand your customers 

A plain sailing customer service experience ensures your account doesn’t become prone to suspension. A well looked after FAQ section is great for common problems a customer may face. Ensure they are kept up to date and you’ll see a significantly reduced inflow of queries from customers. It is recommended that if you outsource any customer concerns if they are in a language you can’t comprehend. A pay-as-you-go service is a cost effective way of providing a multilingual customer service experience to your customers. However, make sure you contact them as soon as you can as capacity may be limited during the busy holiday season. 

  1. Keep your Amazon account healthy

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the occurrence of random account suspensions have become increasingly prevalent. Reasons have previously included: alleged multiple accounts, algorithm errors to hack attacks, sometimes the seller isn’t even at fault. Therefore, you should focus your efforts on things that you are able to control. For example, keep track of your performance figures, keep an eye on notifications or alerts and brush aside the importance of review ratings and delivery issues. Due to the fact that many sellers don’t value the importance of their account health, InterCultural Elements, a cross border trade service provider, has started offering a customised account health check service which involves regular checks every day. Their subscription plans even include account suspension appeals. 

  1. Get professional help in case of multilingual account suspension

An suspended account, especially during the busy selling period, can cause a lot of frustration as well as serious damage to your business. The only way you will be able to get back to selling your products online quickly is through a professional appeal written in the language the marketplace understands in line with Amazon’s specific guidelines and regulations. Don’t try complaints, pleas or threats as they will not work. It is worth your while investing in professional help from e-commerce experts who have experience in assisting in difficult appeals. They can help you get your account back quickly as every day that goes by without you selling costs you money, especially during the crucial holiday months. 

Intercultural Elements, an e-commerce expansion service, have been producing customisable international expansion strategies for retailers since 2007. The provider, based in Germany, recognises successful countries and marketplaces to target and offers multiple services such as multilingual customer service, translation, localisation and digital marketing. Not only this, but they also have an Amazon Suspension Appeal service and account health checks in multiple languages.