In 2019, eCommerce merchants sold over 2.9 billion in inventory during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Specifically, online sellers raked in approximately $1 million in sales every minute during the Black Friday extravaganza. 

With such dizzying numbers, many online retailers are on the hunt for more major shopping day events. If you’re looking to net impressive sales numbers for your business — fast — and break into new markets, look no further than Southeast Asia and mega APAC shopping holidays. 

Here’s why you should focus on mega APAC campaigns 11.11, 12.12 and how to compete in these massive sales events. 

APAC shopping holidays: The 411

Asia-Pacific, or APAC for short, refers to countries located in or near the Western Pacific Ocean. These regions have their own special shopping holidays that offer eCommerce merchants unique sales opportunities. 

Unlike exclusively brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce brands are lucky. Their customer base isn’t limited to a specific geographical area, and they can reach global customers. With some research and planning, your eCommerce venture can capitalize on unique sales holidays any time of the year, anywhere in the world. 

In this article, we’ll focus on APAC mega shopping events 11.11 and 12.12, which are fast approaching. 

Let’s get started.

November 11th mega APAC shopping event

AKA Singles Day, 11.11 is the most significant shopping holiday in Southeast Asia. 

This event started in 2009 with the express purpose of promoting the Alibaba-backed Taobao marketplace. In just six years, the event generated approximately $14 billion in sales. 

In 2015, 11.11 broke the world record for most online sales made in a single day by one company. 

December 12th mega APAC shopping event

12.12 is fast becoming a major shopping holiday with APAC nations. 

Alipay promotes the holiday, focusing on small and mid-sized brands. Alipay’s goal is to help SMBs and mid-sized companies net larger sales numbers if they couldn’t capitalize on the 11.11 event. 

Typically, large companies have the biggest deals on 11.11. However, on 12.12, smaller brands have more opportunities. In addition, 12.12 gives new and smaller businesses a more level playing field to bump their sales numbers.

Top strategies to deploy if you want to participate in APAC mega shopping events

While these major sales events only last a day, you don’t want to treat them as such. Fully seizing these opportunities and boosting your revenue will require preparation in the weeks leading up to the events. 

We recommend the following strategies if you want to participate in APAC events 11.11 and 12.12. 

APAC sales strategy #1: Inventory management

Due to the pandemic, many retailers saw declining demand for some of their products. If you’ve experienced this, then you’re probably holding onto some inventory you’d rather not. 

Go for the low-hanging fruit. Instead of letting it collect dust and impacting your overhead, you can use APAC shopping events 11.11 or 12.12 to clear it out. 

So, take a look at your underperforming stock and start earmarking it for a flash sale and discounts on 11.11 or 12.12. Your customers will already be looking for major deals on these shopping holidays. They won’t raise any eyebrows to a significant discount of 70 or even 80 percent off. 

Plus, using 11.11 or 12.12 to clear your unsold inventory is an excellent way to increase online foot traffic to your store. 

When you’ve got a home-field advantage, you can easily upsell with product suggestion tools to get people to browse and buy more. 

Capture their email address, and you can contact and sell to that customer long after the sales events are over. Offer free shipping or an additional discount code if they provide you with their email address. 

Pro-tip: 

12.12 is the central event leading up to the holiday season and Christmas specifically. So first, think about what your target customers would want to buy for Christmas. Then, earmark your products for either 11.11 or 12.12 accordingly.

What to do if offering mega discounts is off-brand.

Mass-market brands can offer significant discounts and doorbuster deals. But what if you’ve got a premium brand? Offering major sales discounts could sully your reputation. 

But good news — you can still compete on 11.11 and 12.12 even if you’re upmarket. 

Here’s how you can add value to your customers, protect your reputation, and net more sales on these special days:

  • Bundling products
  • Offering a gift with purchase deal

Using data to manage inventory.

Use data tools to evaluate the competitive landscape and benchmark your top competitor SKUs. Access to cold, hard numbers will help you determine your promotions and pricing strategies well before D-day.

Once you’ve determined your SKUs and pricing, determine the amount of stock you need to meet the demand forecasted. Next, dig into your historical sales data. If you don’t have access to it, then use proxy data points such as offline sales. 

At a minimum, you want to forecast demand and have your inventory ready to go at least two weeks before the sales event. 

APAC strategy #2: Hype it up and engage current customers

It’s less expensive to sell to an existing customer than to find a new one. So we highly recommend that you go after the low-hanging fruit. 

In the weeks leading up to 11.11 and 12.12 events, engage your existing customer base. 

Your current customer already knows you, likes your brand and trusts your products. Start engaging them with email announcements drumming up the event. 

We suggest starting with the following:

  • Inform your customers about 11.11 and 12.12 and why they should mark the dates on their calendars. 
  • Announce dates and times for when the sales events start, and discounts begin. 
  • Remember to send a message several weeks out from D-day and reminders right before the clock strikes midnight.

Pro-tip:

For your email subscribers, give them exclusive discount codes in addition to your existing deals. Drop hints about the upcoming event on social media to get more email signups.

APAC sales strategy #3: Crowd control

If you play your cards right, you’ll see a surge in web traffic before, during, and shortly after the event. If you have the budget, you’ll want to invest in getting some extra hands on deck

  • Invest in live chat for the event
  • Hire someone to field questions on social
  • Get someone to handle updating your site for things like specific SKU promotion

If your website visitors think a coveted product is about to go out of stock, that perceived scarcity can be a significant driver of sales. Consider adding a countdown timer for deals or left-in-stock alerts on product pages. 

Despite your best efforts to hype up the event, not every website visitor will convert. But let’s turn that lemon into lemonade. 

Pro-tip:

Offer first-time website visitors a discount in exchange for their email addresses. With an effective email nurture sequence in place, you increase your chances of turning that casual visitor into a customer later. 

APAC sales strategy #4: Offer more payment options 

Offering additional payment options can help you capture more paying customers. Although online shopping is exploding with APAC consumers, many don’t have access to a bank account or financial products like credit cards. 

If possible, we recommend being more flexible with your payment options. For example, suppose you were to stick to PayPal or credit cards exclusively. In that case, you might miss out on a large chunk of motivated APAC consumers. 

Consider offering cash on delivery (COD). Recent statistics show COD accounts for the following percentage of online transactions:

  • Forty-seven percent in the Philippines
  • Forty-two percent in Vietnam
  • Twenty percent in Indonesia

In addition, many global shipping companies, including DHL, are supporting cross-border COD. For eCommerce businesses looking to cash in on major APAC shopping events, this is excellent news. 

APAC sales strategy #5: Retargeting

Since you’ll be seeing a massive increase in website visitors on 11.11 and 12.12. you’ll want to use these days to capture an existing audience for your brand with post-purchase and retargeting ads. 

Retargeting ads can be served to people who took a specific action on your site but didn’t necessarily buy anything. For example, they could have simply viewed a product or added something to a cart that was abandoned. You can use a retargeting campaign to encourage them to make a purchase or give their neglected cart some much-needed attention. 

Additionally, you can serve retargeting ads to existing customers and first-time buyers from 11.11 or 12.12. Retargeting is an excellent strategy for brands that sell items geared toward repeat purchases, like supplements or beauty products. 

Mega APAC shopping events: Punchline

Massive shopping holidays like Black Friday and Prime Day have shown us that these events can drum up significant sales numbers and help eCommerce merchants find new customers. 

Seize as many opportunities for your business as you can. Explore major shopping holidays in burgeoning markets like APAC to significantly increase your revenue and drive repeat purchases with retargeting strategies and email marketing. 
If you want to take advantage of the unique opportunities for your eCommerce venture, contact us today for a free consultation and let’s discuss.

Getting customers to buy from your eCommerce site is one thing, but getting them to stay or to return is a whole different story. When your online store has just launched, showcasing your brand and attracting as many customers as possible is your main priority. 

However, once your online store has taken off and steadily been growing, it is worth looking into customer retention since a 5% increase in customer retention translates to a 75% increase in profitability.

For a business to thrive and project its sales, a loyal customer base is essential. Customer loyalty is about turning a new customer into a return customer and then a repeat customer. For many people, return and repeat customers are interchangeable, but they are not the same. A return customer is someone who has previously placed an order from your eCommerce site and has returned once more. Meanwhile, a repeat customer is someone who has made several purchases from your eCommerce site and qualifies as a loyal consumer. 

Why are repeat customers essential for any eCommerce site?

  • It is easier to project sales.

As a business owner, you want to keep your books in order. You can do this by comparing your projected sales and revenue with your actual sales and revenue. That is only possible if you have data on your customers, visits, and leads. Compared to new customers, repeat customers are 300 percent more likely to buy from your store. It is easier to gauge how much money to expect and, ultimately, how much stock to order when you have regular buyers.

  • Repeat customers are a free form of marketing.

If someone regularly uses a product, or products, from a certain brand, their friends or family will automatically assume it is a great brand. Why? Because why would anyone keep going back to a store with low-quality products or lousy service.

Additionally, people like to share their shopping experiences. If your products are great, and so is your service, a customer will spread the word – both digitally and amongst their analog social circles. By word-of-mouth, a regular customer helps you close sales.

  • They are easier to sell to.

New customers need a lot of convincing and pushing to get them through the funnel. Repeat customers have positive experiences with you: they are confident in the quality of your products or services. If you venture into a new niche, they are more likely to follow you and give you a chance than any new customer. When you have repeat customers, they often follow the development of your business. That creates a strong bond with them that you can utilize to introduce new products, more expensive products, and new features such as a blog or website. 

Building a loyal customer base is crucial. But customers will not become repeat customers automatically; nurture them with transparent communication, exceptional service, and a state of the art shopping experience on your website. Here are some useful tips to turn new customers into return customers.

1. Always be eager and available to help customers.
One thing that always turns customers off is late replies. There is usually a short window between a customer deciding to make an impulse buy and abandoning it. A five-minute delay in responding to a client reduces the chances of a customer placing an order by 300%.
A sales agent or customer care worker cannot be available around the clock. Invest in chatbots or live-chat if your store serves international clients in different time zones.
A live-chat service gives you the ability to answer customer queries and even initiate conversations promptly. As a result, a customer is more likely to return to a store that offers fast, polite, and professional communication.

2. Leave a lasting impression.
People make several purchases a day or week and think nothing of it. They may end up on your eCommerce site because a google search led them there. However, once they get to your site, impress and intrigue them.
From the layout of your website to the product descriptions, product images, a new customer should be enamored.
Every aspect of your online store should be consistent with your brand. Key areas to look into are your payment processes, shipping dates, and charges, as well as return and refund policies. These are areas where customers find the most frustration.
Cover all these bases for the best chances of turning a new customer into a repeat customer.

3. Treat customer feedback with the utmost importance.
There is always room for improved and your customers are the best people to present you with a different perspective. It will help if you set up channels where you can get feedback from clients. They can take a short survey after making a purchase or even when they are leaving your site.
It shows customers that you value their input and want to give them the best experience, and on the other hand, it allows you to improve your service delivery.
Act on the feedback and update clients about the changes you made after receiving their feedback. A customer is more likely to return to an eCommerce site that is proactive and puts customers first.

4. Create an email list
An email list is a great way to keep in touch with customers in a non-invasive way. However, emails can be very tricky. You have to strike a perfect balance between being engaging and nagging a client. The latter can turn off customers from your business because they perceive your efforts as spam mail.
If you are using emails as a sales tool, the key is to keep the emails relevant to every customer who receives them. That can be done by segmenting your customers and then personalizing the emails according to their purchasing frequency and purchasing history.
For instance, you can send out a specific email to customers who have been inactive for over a month or those with abandoned carts. Or, whenever you have new merch, you can send out updates to clients who bought similar or complementary products.

5. Personalize the shopping experience
Personalizing the customer’s experience goes hand in hand with the explanation above. For starters, address the customer by name. That creates a kind of bond with the customer and humanizes your brand.
Another great addition can be a ‘For you page.’ This makes shopping easier for the customer and tells them that you are keen to understand their taste and improve their shopping experience. This page can include items similar to those they liked or viewed, complementary products, or trending. Thus, they do not have to start from scratch whenever they open your site.

6. Create a seamless order placement process
Assuming you have got your potential customer to fill their cart and now they are ready to pay. If your payment process is complicated and takes longer to load, the chances are that a customer will take it as a sign not to spend that money.
To avoid cart abandonment, give customers the option to create an account and save their payment details. Easy payment has the benefit of turning an impulse buyer into a return customer.

7. Create loyalty programs
The purpose of a loyalty program is to make customers feel special, valued, and prioritized. You can do this by giving them early access to new products. People who are not a part of this exclusive community should feel like they are missing out on something huge, so they are coaxed into paying for a membership and gradually becoming return buyers because of the membership perks.

8. Lure customers with discounts and other incentives
Everybody loves a good bargain. Like a moth to a flame, you can turn potential buyers into loyal, return customers. First, you can offer additional reward points or free shipping for their first purchase, and then you can offer sizable discounts for their second purchase or if they get a friend to sign up. Additionally, you can award them points for every purchase or according to the total of their cart. Because they know the points are redeemable, they will purchase more.

9. Make your packaging unique and memorable.
Your packaging should not just be a means to secure your items and identify your brand. Instead, make the unboxing of your products an exciting process. Customers should be thrilled to receive your products because unboxing them is an experience worth repeating.

There are many other ways to get customers to come back to your online store. However, from the above pointers, an eCommerce site should always put the customer first, strive for uniqueness, relevance, and efficiency.

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Online shopping has been around for a while, but recently, its popularity has skyrocketed. Online stores are popping up everywhere, and while this means good news for shoppers who want to skip the long trip to the mall and the queues, it spells more competition for eCommerce site owners. Your role is to stand out from the hundreds of sites that sell the same or similar products as you if you want to boost sales and build a loyal customer base.

There are several tools available for your eCommerce site to attract more shoppers: one of them is the product detail page or PDP. A PDP is a web page on an eCommerce site that displays the in-depth description of a specific product with size, color, price, reviews, images, etc.

The PDP can make or break your chances to make a sale. Why? Because first impressions matter. Your PDP speaks for more than just your product. It also represents your brand image, whether your site is trustworthy, and whether you pay attention to detail.

The problem with the PDP on Ecommerce sites is that they are either too simple or too cluttered. The trick is to strike a balance between the two. Below, we will detail the best PDP practices that will attract a larger digital audience.

1. Use clear images

Product images are a straightforward way to attract potential customers to your site. Some customers might still be skeptical or hesitant to make a purchase online, but adding a sizable high-resolution picture to your PDP will help customers see what they are about to purchase and give them confidence

For example, if you are selling a wig, clear pictures from different angles, in different colors and of various lengths will make it easier for buyers to choose because they can picture how they will look.

Customers will view your site from both their phones and their laptops. To cater to both devices, ensure that the photo is not too small or too big. It would be an excellent option to allow the downloads of your product pictures. This trick will help with conversion because as a customer is browsing through their gallery, they can land on your product and consider buying.

Another tip is to include images of real people using or wearing your product. This humanizes your brand, and if you have people of, say, different sizes wearing your product, this will convince your customers even further.

2. Product name and summary

Your product name is your first selling point. The name you pick for your product can help you close a sale in a few words. For instance, if you own a beauty brand, and your product name is ‘Triple-Action Toner’ or ‘Three-In-One Cleanser,’ A potential buyer is already intrigued. A three-in-one means they have saved money on two other products because the one you are selling is multi-purpose.

When it comes to other product information such as price, features, benefits, make sure it appears on the first page. This can be very hard, especially if you want to give your buyers all available  information. Luckily, there are many tricks around it. One such example is iconography, bold fonts and colors.

You can highlight your product’s Unique Selling Point on product image with short phrases about the features and other relevant information, such as: ‘reliable and durable,’ ‘15% off,’ or ‘reusable.’ Not only that it intrigues customers to learn more about your product, but it also helps them to safe their time before looking at more detailed information of the product by scroll it down.

3. Write exceptional product descriptions

Product descriptions are a summary of everything a potential buyer needs to know about your product. It’s vital for your product. What, then, makes an optimal product description?

The secret is to put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. If you were buying this product, what would you hope to gain from it? What ingredients or features are you looking for specifically? Once you know the answer to this question, move to the next one: If you were given only forty-five seconds to sell this new product to my friend, what vital pieces of information would you relay? How would you entice them to buy this product? Now get to writing your short but sweet description.

Another way to be brief is to employ the use of bulleted points. They are informative and, literally, to the point. It helps if you aim for a short description because people’s attention span is short. Some people browse through eCommerce sites because they are bored. Grab their attention with something exciting and concise..

4. Include product ratings and reviews

It is no secret that online shopping can be very disappointing. Aside from the shipping costs and long waiting periods, when the product finally arrives, it can fail to meet your expectations. This is the number one reason people are skeptical about ordering online. The product can be a size too big or look completely different from how it was displayed on the PDP.

To build a potential buyer’s confidence, add product reviews and ratings to your PDP. Let previous buyers have the option to rate your product and leave comments and pictures of the purchases they made. A buyer has more confidence in a stranger’s opinion because they do not gain anything from leaving a false positive review.

5. Add videos of your products

Videos are an excellent way to put your potential buyer’s concerns to rest. With online shopping, buyers can’t touch or feel the product to check its quality. However, a video is the next best thing. Customers are 64% to 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a video because a video shows your buyers exactly how a product looks. If you decide to use a video, keep it short and ensure that the lighting allows for a clear image. If you can show how your product works or set it up, that would be a bonus.

Video is not only helpful in closing a sale. A video drives much traffic to your site because Google prioritizes pages with video content when someone searches up something in the engine. Additionally, a buyer watching your video reduces the bounce rate and increases the dwell time on your website. This is because videos are more engaging and attention grabbing than text for many users. 

6. Include a related products section on your PDP

Including a ‘related products’ page has several benefits to both the buyer and the business owner. For one, it shows the client that you have a great selection of items they can pick from.

 On the other hand, it is a way to make more than one sale through cross-selling and up-selling. For example, if a buyer adds a yoga mat to their cart, you can recommend dumbbells, workout outfits and water bottles. By showing them related products, you suggest  that they can buy all the other items they might need.

Alternatively, you can have a ‘buyers also viewed’ or ‘you may also like’ section to show potential buyers other popular items in the same range. People love trends and will be more inclined to buy an item because others are buying it: the bandwagon effect. You can take advantage of this mindset to close more than one sale.

7. Be clear about your shipping charges and dates

One point of frustration for online shoppers is the exorbitant shipping charges. A buyer will find a product they have been searching for weeks, in their exact make and price range and hurry to make a purchase. Then, they stumble over the total at the checkout menu when the shipping fee is added. In many scenarios, a disgruntled buyer will leave the site immediately.

If you want your eCommerce site to stand out, aim for transparency and honesty. Include the shipping charge next to the net price of the product. This allows the buyer to decide if they can afford the total cost or find something cheaper.

Another detail to include is the ETA for packages. Let buyers know how soon they will get their packages and how these dates are affected by holidays.

In business, being trusted by a customer goes a long way. Buyers would sooner purchase from a credible but slightly pricey store than a cheap but dubious one.

8. Make your call to action attractive and urgent

Now it’s time to close the sale. You can do this by reeling the buyer in using a discount for a first purchase, such as free shipping or even a freebie. In addition, you can make the purchase more urgent by showing a stopwatch indicating how many days or hours are left before a flash sale closes. This increases your chances of buying because everyone loves a good bargain.

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When it comes to promoting your brand and increasing sales, email marketing is one of the most effective and widely used tools. In fact, the average ROI for email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent

The influence of email marketing extends well beyond simply getting messages into recipients’ inboxes. Brands should focus on communicating messages with the target audience while offering relevant, tailored information.

Let’s take a look at a list of email marketing strategies that can be easily implemented by every eCommerce business:

1 – Plan ahead and identify the campaign goal

As with any digital marketing, planning ahead is an important part of the success factor in your email marketing strategy. 

First decide the desired outcome for each email campaign. Is it to promote a new product line? Follow up on an abandoned card? Or to share holiday deals?

Different email campaigns will have different outcomes. Planning ahead will allow you to not only align email campaigns with your business goals, but also allow you to decide which email lists you should target and which email lists to suppress accordingly.

2 – Include a clear call-to-action

Create a clear call-to-action (CTA) for your audience to take further action. Once your email has successfully landed into the inbox of a customer, be sure to include a clear message that will allow your audience to advance to the next step in the buyer’s journey.

Offer strategic discounts

  • Offer free-shipping: One of the main reasons consumers abandon their shopping carts is the high cost of shipping. Customers that received automated abandoned shopping cart emails are 2.4x more likely to complete a purchase. Retarget shoppers that abandoned cart with a promo code for free shipping. 
  • Subscriber discounts: Provide a discount to attract subscribers to return to their website and make their purchase. More than 50% of shoppers stated that the reason for joining email lists is to receive a discount.
  • Giveaways: Send out time-sensitive giveaways for new subscribers, which will allow businesses to quickly grow their audience through email marketing.

3 – Set up email automation

Use automated emails to create long-lasting relationships with your customers, sell your items more frequently, and expand your business. Studies indicate that automated emails generate 320% more revenue than non-automated emails.

For instance, a welcome email allows brands to make a good first impression. Compared to other mass promotional emails, welcome email gets four times the overall open rates and five times the click rates.

Keep track of responses to gain further insight

Each time you send an automated email, there is a chance to obtain important information from each consumer. You can find out whether or not the individual: opens the email, visits your website, makes use of an offer, purchases a recommended product, and more.

4 – Personalization is key

When sending emails to customers, it is important to remember that the person on the other end of the email is in fact, a real person. You can’t expect to write a simple sales message and call it a day. Tap into your customers’ emotions and focus on how you can assist them to share joy with the presents they may purchase from you. For instance, during the holiday season, sending a simple holiday greeting may go a long way towards establishing trust with your consumers. 

5 – Be mobile friendly

46% of emails are opened on mobile devices, leaving no choice but to build a mobile-friendly design. Consider the following guideline:

  • Minimalist design
  • Single column layout 
  • Clear CTA buttons
  • Compact images

6 – Maintain relationships through social media

Combine social media and email marketing for best results. When sending a welcome email, don’t forget to include a heartfelt thank you note and links to your social networks. 

Email marketing will not only provide sales but lead customers to your companies’ social media channels.

In the end, email marketing is all about building and maintaining relationships with your subscribers. Provide relevant, personalized information to your target audience and continue to optimize your email campaigns based on the data provided from your audience.

For any eCommerce business that plans to grow and sell to a global audience, social media presents a great opportunity to enhance digital marketing efforts. While there are numerous paths consumers can take from brand awareness to purchase, social media has a significant impact on the journey.

In 2021, Facebook is reported to be the largest social network online, with 2.85 billion monthly active users. Instagram is the most popular social network used in the United States and reported 1 billion monthly active users globally.

With large numbers of potential customers on social networks, building a meaningful presence on these platforms can be quite challenging. Social media platforms are always rolling out new innovations for how to interact with customers such as: stories, live streaming, voice tweets, fleets, etc., and businesses can struggle to keep up.

However, one constant that has remained valuable over time is the hashtag. Its ability to converge related information and spur engagement on a particular topic online is unprecedented.

Let’s explore a few hashtag best practices for growing an online presence and building global communities through social media:

1 – Categorize hashtags

Brand hashtags

There are two major approaches to think about when crafting hashtags for online shopping business. These are brand hashtags and campaign hashtags. The classification of the two hashtag categories is important to distinguish.

Brand hashtags are a vehicle that houses your overall value proposition. Brand hashtags usually consist of your brand slogan. This is the hashtag you use for regular communication about your business description, goals, location, address, official website and offers that do not change. It may also be used to talk about strategic partnerships or corporate social responsibility activities.

Campaign hashtags

Campaign hashtags are created purposely to convey a specific message about a new and usually temporary effort. This is the one you use to talk about seasonal discounts and introduce new features and services. It also means that you won’t just have one campaign hashtag. Campaign hashtags come and go, and oftentimes, you have many running concurrently.

It all depends on how many campaigns you come up with in any given period. Having your hashtags classified in this manner isn’t just about achieving organized communication. Running various digital marketing hashtags can help you conduct compartmentalized experiments.

For instance, you may want to find out whether free shipping is more effective than coupons in bringing in sales. You can develop separate campaigns and monitor the engagement metrics through analytic tools to see which one leads more traffic to your website. Also note that campaign hashtags should be used in conjunction with working with influencers and paid media advertising.

2 – Include a clear call to action

Good shopping hashtags try to invoke an action amongst the audience. An example can be sharing a selfie while donning your fashion brand’s products. Other examples can be to do a dance-off in your brand’s shoes or a workout with your brand’s athletic gear.

These activities bring out the spirit of sharing and competition amongst people and can also go a long way in showing that people actually buy and use your products proudly. Avoid narrowing down the challenges to a specific group. For instance, a challenge to “post a romantic picture with your partner” can also leave certain groups of people to feel left out. Unless your product is geared towards partners only, avoid limiting the activity to select groups.

These messages will also depend on your ultimate goal. Ideally, you want social media engagement to translate into sales. When running ecommerce hashtags, infuse a call to action that brings potential customers closer to purchasing. These include visiting your website to check out new collections, signing up to email lists and submitting queries to customer support teams. 

3 – Hold conversations

A good hashtag campaign goes beyond merely liking, retweeting and reposting content that has your hashtag in it. If a person crafts a very cheeky or good-looking post, try and respond with a compliment. Participants may also use your campaign’s hashtag as an opportunity to ask you questions.

Make sure you respond in a timely manner with helpful information. Not only does this make your brand more personable, it also increases engagement and helps you provide information that could have stayed unknown. It also helps you learn more about your audience, how they like to express themselves, and how they view your brand.

You can also take the initiative and ask the audience questions rather than waiting on them to start the conversation. This gives you a better chance to control the tone of the campaign and the narratives that standout. The questions can serve as icebreakers since not everyone is going to know how they want to participate in your campaign. They also help you to refine the way you speak to your audience.

4 – Reward your fanfluencers

Pick out a select few participants of hashtag campaigns that make very charismatic and captivating posts about your brand. Send them gifts, discounts, or coupons to make them feel special. This could also motivate other people to participate in your next hashtag campaigns in the hopes of getting rewards. These fanfluencers may even go on to talk about your brand way after the campaign is done and to make them even more loyal fans of your brand.

5 – Keep hashtags short

We all know how hard it can be to read and pronounce long and complex diction. “Quickly” and “expeditiously” can be used to mean the same thing, but one is definitely easier to use.  The same goes for hashtags. The longer it is, the more likely you are to find that people aren’t even wasting their time reading it.

When you use long hashtags, you also increase the chances of users misspelling them when typing posts. This can make the campaign less successful since some interesting posts may not make it into the hashtag’s collection of posts. One of the ways people fall into the long hashtag trap is by trying to make catchy phrases. “#DecemberDiscounts” is much simpler than “#HottestDecemberDiscounts” or “#DecemberDiscountsReloaded.”

6 – Less is more

Do not overcrowd your posts with multiple hashtags. The post in itself loses its aesthetic, and it becomes a little bit too much to take in for the reader. Try and keep it under three hashtags and if you use different ones in the same post, find a way to make one standout.

There’ll be people who won’t use all the different hashtags you have in a post. Set it up such that one is more of a sub-topic of the other, so people can still see most of the posts since they at least contain the main hashtag. Many platforms are also improving their algorithms to sniff out spam posts so repeating the same hashtag numerous times within a post isn’t ideal.

Leveraging hashtag practices could help you create meaningful interactions with your audience and to grow your online community. eCommerce businesses trying to launch international social media initiatives on a global scale may seem daunting at first, but follow these guidelines to harvest the power of hashtags to grow your online presence.

Lingble co-founders Mahoto Harada (CEO) and Alejandro Vargas (COO) with advisor David Lindsay presented the Future of Global E-Commerce at Social Innovation Week (SIW) 2020. SIW is Japan’s largest urban festival held in Shibuya, featuring future-oriented entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

As a global eCommerce service provider, Lingble supports customers in over 14 different languages while handling transactions of over 100 payment methods worldwide.

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, demand for Lingble’s services exploded. In part due to the feature in WWD Japan, but mainly because companies that previously relied on the traditional retail market have been hit hard.

For many of these companies, the consultancy service offered by Lingble, resonated with their needs, particularly when entering into the world of global eCommerce for the first time.

Lingble offers hands on support for reputable and highly acclaimed brands to seamlessly enter into the eCommerce space, helping to build a global eCommerce brand, risk-free.

Cross-border eCommerce vs. Global eCommerce

Lingble CEO, Mahoto Harada, distinguishes cross-border eCommerce as utilizing inventory that is currently available to increase sales. The objective of global eCommerce is to develop a system that can be used to continuously increase a company’s sales on a global scale.

Lingble’s long term eCommerce strategy

When Lingble is collaborating with partners, one of the first objectives is to develop a 3-to 5-year business strategy. This approach is also partly influenced by the cross-border eCommerce ceiling. At some point, cross-border operations experience friction with local corporations and wholesalers. They attempt to get you to stop selling in what they deem to be their territory.

eCommerce rivalry and division by country

Furthermore, there’s an influx of eCommerce divisions in each country. eCommerce eventually gets into a rivalry with other divisions of the same brand. An increase in eCommerce sales will come at the expense of fellow business associates who have to be pushed aside for better ranking in online searches. Subdivisions end up failing at raising general brand awareness as they focus on monopolizing a small trading area.

Additionally, with effective SEO, prices in the country of origin become more visible, which hurts sales in each country. As a result, businesses may have to deliberately suppress eCommerce in the country of origin. Such companies ultimately fall prey to the competition and are soon bankrupted.

Attracting and managing global customers

With global eCommerce, all product lines are visible on the same website serving as a kind of digital warehouse. Front and back-end products will have their respective subdomains. In case the division in one country is underperforming, the marketing efforts of another country’s division such as increased back-linking could boost the other division’s web traffic.

When such efforts happen on a global scale, they can attract a multitude of customers. Global eCommerce companies can also take a more ingenious approach to addressing price discrepancies. In cases such as out-of-stock prompts, a few customers manage to discover the prices in other countries through methods like Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

They proceed to make inquiries via the live chat options about these price differences. To ensure that customer trust isn’t eroded, the company can shift from customer support delivered by a single division to more harmonized global customer support. To thrive at global eCommerce, it is advisable not to over-compartmentalize eCommerce websites and other services.

Technology implications of global eCommerce

David Lindsay, an advisor at Lingble also offers valuable insight into how the pursuit of global eCommerce will impact a company’s technology stack.

While it is important to reduce compartmentalization of eCommerce websites and services, serving customers in disparate countries comes with a lot of unique nuances. Inventory varies, and so do other aspects such as: order processing, shipping, payment methods, website languages, pricing, etc. This means that companies need to serve customers differently while using centralized resources.

Global eCommerce companies should adopt a headless approach

Simply put, this is a mode of operation where the front and back end are split, allowing for a more personalized approach. The company can have customers in different regions interfacing with varying front ends that all draw from the same back end.

This approach is made possible by an Application Programming Interface (API) layer between the front and back end that governs how both ends interact with each other. Therefore, companies can be rest assured that every customer is viewing offers and getting a user experience that is tailored to their specific needs. Companies that neglect this approach will likely expose themselves to a lot of unnecessary risk and duplication of costs.

With very individualized ecosystems for each region and scattered data, the quality of customer care and overall service delivery will eventually be negatively impacted.

Legal implications of global eCommerce

Alejandro Vargas, COO of Lingble, explores the regulatory complexities that come with practicing global eCommerce in some of the major markets that clients focus on:

Adhering to the rules of China

One aspect that many companies downplay is the compliance standards that come with operating in different countries. For example, to properly establish a foothold in China and market your business through platforms like WeChat, you may have to fully register the business locally. The company has to adhere to a number of regulations around issues like data privacy, file tax returns, etc.

America’s Americans with Disabilities Act

In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has become a major point of contention. With many websites being deemed places of public accommodation, they are required to make their offerings more accessible to people with disabilities. This means that global eCommerce companies have to build their online presence while incorporating features that ensure that the blind, deaf and other disabled people are not sidelined.

EU’s Generated Data Protection Regulation

For companies intending to operate in markets within the EU, there are even more intricacies in how relevant laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are applied. A company selling to an EU citizen within a non-EU country may still be subject to GDPR laws. If they are found to be in violation, they can be subjected to crippling fines.

Lingble’s team of specialists to guide partners through global eCommerce

In conclusion, Lingble has specialists in a variety of fields oriented towards global eCommerce. More importantly, Lingble will provide first-hand information on the risks involved in penetrating certain markets and let clients know whether it’s worth the investment.

To learn more about Lingble’s services and expertise on global eCommerce, be sure to watch the full presentation!

Lingble Presents “The Future of eCommerce” at Social Innovation Week (SIW) 2020, held in Shibuya, Tokyo

You’ve heard of WeChat, right? 

Maybe you’ve heard people refer to it as “China’s Facebook.” Or maybe you use it yourself for messaging or making calls. 

At any rate, most people outside of China usually think, “Eh, WeChat is just another social media app.” 

If that’s the case, you’ve seriously underestimated WeChat’s power to grow your eCommerce business. This isn’t some lackluster messaging app; it’s not even an all-in-one social media app. 

At its core, WeChat is a huge digital ecosystem. It’s a platform for making calls, texts, micro-videos, online payments, groups, and much more. 

With over one billion active users, WeChat is the reigning social media platform in China. If you’ve been trying to gain a foothold in the Chinese market, you need to use WeChat for business.

But if you’re new to the world of WeChat, don’t worry. At Lingble, we work with international eCommerce professionals and frequently advise on moves into the Chinese market. Let’s dig into what WeChat is, its benefits for eCommerce businesses, and how you can set up a WeChat business account as a foreign entity.

What is WeChat, exactly? 

Tencent launched WeChat in 2011. In the years since, it’s become the most-used social media platform in China—and it’s a big deal. 
As of 2020, WeChat had 1.17 billion users, with 1 billion users based in China. That’s massive! It’s more than one out of seven people in the world, or more than three times the population of the United States. 

Like we mentioned earlier, it’s not appropriate to label WeChat as just a social media platform. It eclipses Facebook and Instagram in terms of features. Here’s just a small sampling of what you can do in the WeChat app: 

  • Messaging: Whether you want to send videos, take phone calls, or send text messages, you can do it through WeChat. It even includes voice messages and digital stickers. 
  • The Moments feed: This feed works similarly to the Facebook feed, where users can post updates and photos to their profile. 
  • Posts: WeChat users can read articles, tip authors, leave comments, and save posts from public accounts. This means users are already primed for interacting with businesses, marketers, social media influencers, and traditional news outlets on WeChat. 
  • Transfer money: That’s right. Users can shop digitally or around town and pay for goods instantly using WeChat Wallet. 
  • Customer service support: Users connect with WeChat business accounts within the app, using it largely to submit customer service requests. 
  • Third-party updates: WeChat integrates with online shopping, food delivery, and even the Didi ride service. It’s truly an all-in-one app that streamlines users’ lives in one digital space. 

Basically, WeChat is the ultimate app that lets users do just about anything. Although it’s the fifth most-used social networking app in the world, WeChat is a big deal in China. Users rely on it for news, payment, and socialization, so if your business wants to get in front of Chinese shoppers, you need a WeChat business account.

Reasons you need to use WeChat for business

By 2022, the Chinese consumer market will be valued at $8.4 trillion. As the most populous country in the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that WeChat’s popularity in the Chinese market is a boon for businesses. But if you aren’t familiar with WeChat at all, it might be difficult justifying an expansion to your eCommerce team. 

What’s clear is that international eCommerce businesses can’t afford to overlook the Chinese market. WeChat should be a critical part of any business’s expansion into the Chinese market for 4 reasons. 

1 – Built-in eCommerce ecosystem

While brands can’t sell directly on WeChat, it’s still a valuable eCommerce marketing tool. WeChat allows you to send customers messages, allowing them to check their latest balance and offering customer support where customers already are online.

Basically, from customer support to sales, WeChat is key for communicating with Chinese customers because they’re already primed to interact with WeChat business accounts on the platform. There’s no need to invest in a separate messaging, email, or billing system if you don’t want to, streamlining your technology stack considerably. 

2 – Customization and localization

Although brands can’t set up a proper eCommerce shop on WeChat through the official WeChat account, it does allow brands to customize everything on your account. While you’re free to brand yourself as you see fit, this is a great opportunity to localize your brand for a Chinese audience, too. 

But there are tons of brands on WeChat, which means you need to make a big effort for people to recognize you. 

Like most customers, Chinese shoppers gravitate to applications that they already know and love. But it’s still on you to localize for Chinese shoppers, like using their preferred language. Since 78% of shoppers say they’re more likely to buy from localized eCommerce shops, localizing gives you more opportunities when you use WeChat for business.

Another easy way to localize yourself on WeChat (and take over the Chinese market more quickly) is to collaborate. Find local Chinese brands you can work with. For example, UNIQLO does huge collaborations with local artists to build buzz

Search for Chinese brands that consumers already know and love. By collaborating with them, you can tap into the other brand’s trusted image as you promote your WeChat business account.

3 – Influencer partnerships

Influencers aren’t just a Western phenomenon; they’re a huge deal in China, and specifically on WeChat. While the Chinese market largely refers to influencers as “KOLs,” or key opinion leaders, 1.5% of their followers immediately make a purchase based on an influencer’s WeChat promotions. 

Because Chinese consumers already trust these influencers, you have the opportunity to tap into a ready-made audience who trusts you. However, keep in mind that your influencer should link to your WeChat business account in their promotions, not your website. Chinese consumers are used to learning about products via WeChat, and asking people to click through to your website can result in lower ROI. 

4 – Mini Programs

WeChat has plenty of other exciting features for both brands and users, including Mini Programs. Also known as mini-apps, these are applications that run within the WeChat app itself. Users don’t have to download mini-apps; they only need to find them on the WeChat app to use them. 

As a brand, you’ll want to use WeChat’s Mini Programs to give users the same freedom and independence they would experience on your brand website, but within WeChat’s convenient, diverse ecosystem—and massive user base. For example, Mini Programs give you full control of your design and which images you display. Instead of simply sharing a bland link to your product pages, Mini Programs allow you to natively share products in a visually appealing way on your WeChat business account. 

But why would you use WeChat when you could just invite Chinese shoppers to your brand website, anyway? It comes down to social sharing: because WeChat is a social platform, Chinese consumers are much more likely to share eCommerce promotions with their friends or family through the app. In other words, WeChat removes the barriers to word of mouth marketing, which can bring in 5X more sales than paid advertising efforts. 

WeChat Mini Programs are also accessible to users offline. If you’re targeting shoppers in remote areas with slower wifi, WeChat Mini Programs allow users to make payments without an internet connection. 

And if Mini Programs sounds too technical or complex, think again. Unlike actual apps, you don’t need to create Mini Programs for multiple operating systems. 

If you don’t have the resources to invest in a WeChat Mini Program, we suggest getting started with an official account. From there, you can apply for access to create a Mini Program because you’ll have a verified service account or subscription account. 

But you don’t have to do this by yourself. Lingble’s expert WeChat team is available to create your Mini Programs so you can reach Chinese shoppers even faster. 

Steps to set up a WeChat business account as a foreign entity

WeChat is a Chinese app, so if your business isn’t based in China, you might wonder if you’re even allowed on the platform. Rest assured, you’re welcome to join WeChat. There are a few extra hoops you’ll need to jump through to join the platform, but it’s nothing you can’t handle. 

When it’s time to get serious about WeChat, follow these 4 steps to join the platform as an eCommerce business. 

1 – Get the right WeChat account type

If you’re thinking about joining WeChat, the Lingble team recommends you familiarize yourself with WeChat’s account types first. 

Your first (and best) option is a service account. This is a better option if you want access to WeChat’s Public Platform features

With a service account, you get: 

  • 4 broadcast messages per month in the form of push notifications
  • Up to 8 articles can be published per broadcast
  • GPS notification to point to offline stores (on user approval)
  • Custom menus
  • WeChat Pay/Coupons
  • API integration for CRM, etc
  • External-link allowed

Your second option is a subscription account, which is better if you want to push more frequent content to your audience. With a subscription account, you get: 

  • 1 broadcast message per day
  • Broadcast messages displayed in a dedicated Subscriptions message folder
  • Up to 8 articles can be published per broadcast
  • No geo location to point to brick-and-mortar stores
  • No push notifications
  • No mobile payment support
  • No eCommerce facility
  • No API integration
  • No external-link allowed

Most businesses will probably go with the service account because a subscription account doesn’t support payments, but you do have the choice. 

2 – Prepare your documents

Because you’re a foreign entity, you can’t just join WeChat for business; it isn’t like Instagram or Facebook. Before you sign up for the platform, you’ll need several documents. We recommend gathering everything ahead of time to make your WeChat registration a breeze. 

Non-Chinese businesses will need this information: 

  • Email address
  • Business registration information, including your business formation number
  • Administrator’s information, including a copy of their passport or driver’s license
  • 3 months’ worth of phone bill statements for the person who will be the account administrator
  • Telephone number
  • Bank account details (it costs $99 USD per year to keep your WeChat account active)

You should expect it to take anywhere from 1-2 months to get your WeChat business account up and running, so be sure to give your team enough time for the red tape.

3 – Create your account

Here’s where the fun begins! It’s time to create your WeChat account. Go to WeChat’s official registration page and click “Register Now.”

Next, you’ll need to select your account type. Service Account is the default option for non-Chinese businesses, and that’s what we recommend you choose. 

WeChat will then prompt you to fill out your information, like your email address and password. 

Next, you’ll need to add your company and admin information. You need to provide this information to set up your account: 

  • Company name
  • Company registration number
  • Account manager’s name
  • Account manager’s mobile phone number
  • Driver’s license number or ID that verifies your account manager

 

WeChat will then process your information and let you know if it approves your account. However, you can’t start using the account once it’s approved; you have to verify your account to start using WeChat for business. 

4 – Verify your account

You have to verify your account within 30 days of it being accepted by the platform. Otherwise, WeChat will cancel your account. 

Fortunately, verification isn’t that difficult. You’ll need to fill in the following information: 

  • Legal company name
  • Legal representative
  • Company registration address
  • Office address
  • Office phone number
  • Scope of business (you can enter “none” if this isn’t on your business license)

 

But you’re not done yet! WeChat will need you to upload these documents to verify your account: 

  • Business license
  • Official application or verification letter
  • Your account contact’s mobile phone bills
  • Copies of their ID, passport, or driver’s license

Now you’ll need to create the name for your official WeChat account. If you have a trademarked name, you’ll need to provide your trademark license or registration certificate.

If you choose a Media name, you’ll need to provide a media license. 

Optional vocabulary gives you the freedom to choose a name that’s different from your official company name. Of course, the name needs to be available on WeChat, and you need to be able to support your case for choosing the name. For example, if your name is “Stacy’s Accessories,” you need to justify changing it to “Access-O-Rama” on WeChat for business. 

After that, you’ll confirm your account verification and pay the WeChat verification fee, which is $99 USD annually.

WeChat will be in touch with you within 5 business days to verify your account.

Create your WeChat business account now

No network is bigger in China than WeChat. This hybrid social network and eCommerce platform is a must for any eCommerce brand setting its sights on the lucrative Chinese market. WeChat is, by far, the most comprehensive platform for growing your eCommerce brand quickly. 

Rely on WeChat to build an eCommerce channel in China, localize your content, partner with influencers, and tap into the power of Mini Programs. Even as a foreign entity, you can set up your WeChat business account with 4 simple steps that will help you reap the benefits for years to come. 

If you’re targeting the Chinese market, don’t expand without expert help. Get in touch with Lingble to strategically enter the Chinese market and use WeChat as an important part of your eCommerce strategy. 

How is your eCommerce operation taking care of its customers? In between worrying over product shipments, managing your staff, and everything else that happens behind the scenes, your business also needs to invest in customer support. 

In fact, customer support is a critical part of the eCommerce puzzle. 84% of shoppers say that customer service determines whether they’ll buy from your company. That means your customer support practices can make or break your business. 

But we know it’s tough launching your customer support plan. What’s the best way to connect with your shoppers? How can you give customers what they want without emptying your bank account? 

Live chat is the answer. If you want to dominate the eCommerce game, you need a live chat tool to communicate with your shoppers in real-time. Lingble’s customer service team shares the 5 benefits of live chat and 6 essential best practices to kickstart your live chat journey. 

What is live chat? 

Live chat is a type of customer messaging software that lets you communicate in real-time with shoppers on your eCommerce website. The software works within your web or app to initiate conversations with your visitors. Depending on your objectives, you can have live chats pop up: 

  • Right after a customer enters the site.
  • During the checkout process.
  • On a specific page.

While it’s a messaging tool at its core, live chat is about much more than exchanging information. At Lingble, we’ve seen the power of strategic live chat for eCommerce. You can use it as a tool to capture leads, reduce bounce rates, and even decrease cart abandonment. It’s that powerful!

Live chat versus chatbots

Before we explain how eCommerce brands benefit from website live chat tools, it’s important to distinguish live chat from chatbots. Some people use the terms interchangeably, but they’re very different. 

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation. In practice, a chatbot acts like a human agent, but in reality, it’s a piece of software that spits pre-determined answers out to your shoppers. If you’re using a well-made chatbot, sometimes customers can’t even tell they’re speaking to a machine. 

Live chat is different because a real human is behind every message your brand sends to shoppers. In a nutshell, live chat is different from a chatbot because chatbots: 

  • Aren’t as smart: Sorry. No matter how much AI is in your chatbot, it can’t rival a live human agent. Chatbots can only answer pre-programmed responses and questions. However, a live chat human agent can answer any questions and escalate the issue if necessary. 
  • Can’t empathize with shoppers: If your customers are upset about a product or service, the chatbot won’t be able to help them a lot. With a live chat human agent, you can empathize with the customer and ensure that their problem is resolved.
  • Don’t think outside the box: Every chatbot is programmed to generate answers for very specific situations. Sometimes they work, but if your shoppers have an unusual or unexpected question, the chatbot will give them a bad experience. Shoppers prefer live chat agents because the agents can answer their questions more quickly.

We don’t have anything against chatbots, though. In some situations, chatbots can be beneficial for sharing shoppers’ tracking information, your store hours, or other simple information that’s easily shared. But when customers approach you with an actual problem that requires dialogue, live chat is always the best choice.

Benefits of using live chat for eCommerce

If you’re using email tickets or social media messages to address shopper needs right now, you might wonder, “Why does my eCommerce shop need live chat?” 

When you install a live chat tool on your website or app, you’ll see results that other customer communication platforms just can’t match. At Lingble, we recommend our clients use website live chat to see 5 major benefits to their business. 

1 – Generate leads with personalized messages

23% of live chat users hate scripted replies without personalization. But with a little bit of data, your live chat agents can personalize every chat sent to your shoppers. Since 44% of shoppers will become repeat buyers after a personalized eCommerce shopping experience, you stand to retain more customers with a live chat option. 

With live chat, you can pair human interaction with a customer’s search history. Your human agents have more context because of this, which allows them to make tailor-made suggestions that improve customer satisfaction. 

2 – Live chat is more efficient than other options like phone support

While live chat is a much more efficient option than phone support, you won’t have to sacrifice the quality of customer service.

Live chat agents are able to juggle multiple users at one time. That’s much faster than phone support, which matches just one agent per customer at a time. 

3 – Keep customers on-site longer to boost revenue

The longer shoppers spend on your site, the more likely they are to see your products’ value and become a customer. Whether customers find you on your website or shopping app, a live chat function keeps people engaged so they don’t abandon their shopping carts. 

We’ve seen as much as a 10% increase in average order value from customers who engage in a live chat before checking out. That means that shoppers who chat with you spend 60% more per purchase than shoppers who don’t. 

Bottom line: if you’re having problems with customers adding items to their cart without checking out, adding live chat to your website can decrease abandonment. 

4 – Improve the customer experience by offering live chat

Although you’re in the business of selling products, you should also be in the business of making life easier for your shoppers. And the stats don’t lie: your customers want you to help them via website live chat. 

42% of customers prefer chatting with brands via live chat (just 23% prefer email) and they expect it to be available on your website or app. In fact, 77% of online shoppers won’t make a purchase if they notice you don’t offer live chat support.  

When you invest in live chat, you’re giving customers what they want. Since 79% of shoppers like website live chat because of its immediacy, your brand can’t afford to get by with email alone. Investing in a live chat solution helps you connect with customers when they expect you to be there, improving customer satisfaction and increasing conversions in the process. 

5 – Deliver on Millennial expectations

We know you’ve heard a lot about Millennials, but it’s important to understand just how valuable this demographic is for your eCommerce business. 

Millennials are people who were born between 1981 – 1996. They’re unique because they were the first generation to grow up with wifi, smartphones, and social media at their fingertips. 

We aren’t saying you should ignore your other customer demographics, but Millennials should be a big reason why you start doing live chat. As the largest living adult generation, they have a lot of buying power. This generation is also more likely to shop via eCommerce and 50% say that customer service is a big factor in brand loyalty.

While past generations might prefer contact methods like email or phone calls, Millennials overwhelmingly prefer live chat. 71% of Millennials say the most important thing your brand can do is value their time; instantaneous live chat does just that. 

All shoppers can benefit from live chat, but if you’re trying to target the next generation of consumers, offer live chat options that are fast and convenient to boost your sales. 

The downside of website live chat

At Lingble, we’ve learned that live chat is an affordable and effective way to connect with shoppers. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect!

The big downside to live chat is that you do need human support agents to accommodate your users’ needs. But if you’re still growing your business, you might not have the internal resources or staff to handle every customer chat. And if you want to sell in an international market, the need for multilingual support can get complicated. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to do live chat alone. Lingble’s multilingual live chat team is an asset for efficient, personalized live chat. You focus on your business and let your trained team handle the live chat. Every agent is trained on your brand so they can speak on your behalf, giving users help when they need it most. 

Lingble’s best practices for live chat

With Lingble, you can be sure that we will follow the best live chat practices to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. Here are our 6 tips for live chat:

1 – Watch your UI placement

Most live chat software allows you to customize where and how your live chat displays. But now isn’t the time to be creative: put your live chat in a place where customers can easily identify and use it. 

For most eCommerce shops, you’ll want to put your live chat icon in either the bottom left or right-hand corner of the screen. That’s where users have come to expect live chat, so don’t put it anywhere else. Be sure to test the live chat on both desktop and mobile to ensure a responsive experience. 

2 – You’re human, so act like it

You’ve invested in live chat with human agents. However, most brands have some kind of script their live chat agents follow. It’s your job to make this script as casual, helpful, and down-to-earth as possible. 

For example, instead of starting every conversation with “Greetings”, start with a simple “Hi” or “Hey there.” Be sure your team is typing the way that you speak. If you’re too stiff or formal, customers will assume they’re speaking to a chatbot. 

3 – Personalize whenever possible

Personalization can increase sales by 20%. Fortunately, live chat software gives you the power to personalize the shopper experience from start to finish. 

For example, if you require users to sign in to your site, you can drop their first name into the live chat prompt. Requiring your chat agents to use the customers’ names during the conversation also helps. 

Some chat software can even personalize based on a customers’ shopping history. You can send shoppers prompts like, “Ready to buy a makeup refill?” to personalize their experience and pull them through to converting more quickly. 

4 – Automate live chat with smart triggers

Although live chat is backed by real humans, your team doesn’t have to write everything from scratch. Live chat software allows you to plug in certain situations or prompts to encourage customer chats. 

These prompts are types of automations that are great for: 

  • Promoting events or new releases. 
  • Informing shoppers about store updates. 
  • Proactively helping customers with common issues, like sizing. 

Instead of asking your live chat agents to do everything manually, automation features ensure your users get a better experience instantly.

5 – Keep your wait times very short

Did you know that the average wait time for live chat is just 2 minutes? If you keep customers waiting longer than that, you risk losing their business forever. 

This is why it’s so important to have a team like Lingble on standby to help your customers. Instead of making people wait hours for a response, you can handle customer inquiries as they come in. 

If you can’t keep up with customer chats for some reason, your live chat can share a note explaining delayed wait times. 

6 – Accommodate international shoppers

Are you selling products internationally? If so, you can’t offer live chat support to only the shoppers in your country or time zone; you have to accommodate everyone. This means you need a 24/7 team to address customer queries at all hours of the day, no matter what. 

It’s also important to offer multilingual support to your users. While some chat software automatically translates for you, this can be a risky option if your translations aren’t correct. That’s why it’s best to hire native speakers, like Lingble’s team, to serve your shoppers. 

The bottom line

Today’s shoppers want immediate solutions to their problems. Live chat gives you the means to personalize the shopper experience, engage shoppers earlier in the buying cycle, and encourage more purchases. 

Remember to follow live chat best practices, though. Nothing kills a relationship quicker than spammy chatbots or slow response times. Done right, live chat is a strategic way to improve the customer experience and increase revenue. 

But we know that live chat can have its challenges. If your eCommerce brand is growing and can’t support a fleet of in-house live chat agents right now, partner with Lingble. Our multilingual CCT support team helps eCommerce brands dominate their chosen markets with timely, helpful support from real humans. 

More and more customers are shopping online at a global level. In fact, international eCommerce alone grew by an astounding 21% last year

While customers may be shopping more online, it doesn’t automatically mean that fashion and accessory brands will become more profitable. Trends aside, you still have to create a strategy that differentiates your business from countless other competitors across the globe. 

At Lingble, we’ve helped countless fashion brands successfully market themselves and withstand global competition. We helped an outerwear company secure 400 pre-orders just 3 weeks ahead of its eCommerce product launch. Our team also collaborated with an accessory brand to not only create the brand itself, but also to prototype and pre-sell its products, too. 

Suffice it to say, we’ve seen what strategies help brands achieve eCommerce domination. It all comes down to one thing: planning ahead. That sounds simple enough, but premeditating your eCommerce product launch marketing plan is the best way to encourage purchases, stand out from the competition, and create a loyal customer base.

A Marketing Plan For Successful eCommerce Product Launch

Instead of trying to launch your entire product in seven days, plan your eCommerce product launch several months in advance. A dose of proper planning can mean the difference between eCommerce success and failure. Follow Lingble’s step-by-step guide to planning a powerful product launch for your fashion or accessory brand. 

1 – Know why people buy your products

As good as your bespoke shoes are, they aren’t selling themselves. Unlike must-have items like food or shampoo, consumers probably aren’t seeking out your fashion products on their own. They’re shopping for food so they don’t starve, but what makes them seek out nice-to-have products like fashion and accessories? 

Urges fuel human behavior, and as a brand, it’s your job to give shoppers the urge to do what they do best: shop! You know some baseline metrics about your customers, like the fact that they love cashmere sweaters, for example. 

That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are so many fashion and accessory brands out there selling to the same customers. Because every brand and every buyer is different, you have to dig deeper. Why do your shoppers choose you? What makes your handbag company better than everything else on the market? 

For a successful eCommerce product launch, you need to understand your audience. And really understand them—no more surface-level marketing research. You can get a true understanding of your customer (and why they buy from you) by:

  • Reading customer reviews: If you have existing reviews from past products, read through them. This will give you an idea of what really matters to customers, including the features they love and what needs improvement. 
  • Clarifying your buyer personas: Are you targeting just one type of shopper, or do you actually have three types of buyers? Always create buyer personas for your eCommerce product launches. 
  • Conducting customer interviews: Don’t just make assumptions about your shoppers. Take the time to speak with a handful of real shoppers. Compensate them for their time and ask them what they think about the brand, the problems they need to be solved, and what matters most to them. 

Every successful marketing campaign starts with a good understanding of your audience. Don’t proceed with an eCommerce product launch if you can’t prove it will get results with your target audience. 

2 – Focus your efforts

Once you know your audience, it might be tempting to dive into your campaign. But instead of charging ahead with a product launch, make a structured marketing plan first. It sounds strange, but focusing your efforts on a small handful of channels will get you better results than taking a generalized approach. 

Focus on one product at a time

Your brand probably sells more than one product, right? Well, for the duration of your product launch, you should act like you only sell this one product. If you’re pulling valuable resources away from the launch and putting them toward your established products, your new eCommerce product launch just won’t perform as well. 

Instead, concentrate all resources and time on the product you’re launching. You shouldn’t do this forever, but the goal is to dedicate all of your resources to the most critical spaces during the launch.

You can only do this with proper planning, though. Create your marketing strategy at least 3-6 months ahead of time to make the most of your resources. If you try to wing it, we guarantee your eCommerce product launch will be a flop. Plan ahead so you know where to allocate resources and when. 

Leverage your team

Speaking of focusing your resources, be sure to leverage your team. Launches are stressful, but when you maximize your team’s talents and time, everyone benefits. After all, there’s so much work involved in launching a brand that you can use all the help you can get. 

Don’t plan your marketing strategy alone. Always involve your team and treat this as a collaborative effort. Instead of you calling the shots as the boss, you get access to critical ideas and approaches from your team. That’s the key to a successful eCommerce product launch. 

3 – Get the basics right 

At this point, you know your audience and found your focus. Before you start firing off press releases and emailing influencers, you have to put the basics in place. 

That means:

  • Listing the product on your website: Never hype up a product if there isn’t a place where customers can get more details. Although you’re still probably in the pre-order phase right now, always create a product listing page. Add a pre-order button to the page or invite shoppers to join the waitlist. Whatever you do, you should still make it clear that the product isn’t available yet so shoppers aren’t confused. 
  • Sharing specs and measurements: While eCommerce is amazing, it has a big downside—shoppers can’t see your products in person. They can’t try on your designer jeans or see how your vintage-style hats look with their outfit. That’s why providing measurements, materials, and other specs are so important. Try localizing your product pages when possible so customers in the USA, Europe, and Asia view the specs in their preferred metrics. 
  • Adding high-resolution photos and videos: Photos and videos are a must for eCommerce, especially on a global scale. Are your photos crisp and high-quality? Do the visuals showcase all of the product’s features? Take a number of photos from different angles and with different backgrounds. Always feature the item against a white background and while it’s in use. If possible, it’s a good idea to photograph the item next to a ruler so your shoppers can get a better idea of its size. 

While these things sound basic, they’re necessary for a successful eCommerce product launch. Give your customers a quality online experience that rivals brick and mortar. By setting up a high-quality product listing page ahead of your actual product launch, you’ll answer customer questions more efficiently and reduce launch-day confusion.

4 – Tell an interesting story

Chances are, you aren’t the only brand in the market selling artisanal earrings or industrial-grade denim. The next step is to identify what makes your product special and promoting that differentiator. The sooner you realize what makes your products interesting and special, the sooner you can start planning for eCommerce world domination. 

Find your USP

Your unique selling proposition, or USP, is marketing gold. Your USP is an essential part of your product’s story. A USP will:

  • Clarify how your product is different. 
  • Explain why shoppers need your product. 
  • Show why your product is better than everything on the market. 

For example, when Lingble worked with a menswear brand, we focused on the artisanal nature of the product. The entire product is made by one artisan, which is incredible! 

Compared to off-the-rack menswear that shoppers can buy anywhere, our client stands out because every piece is lovingly crafted by one craftsman. That not only makes Lingble’s client stand out, but it even helped the brand increase its asking price. That’s the power of storytelling in action, and why every product needs a USP. 

Tell a brand story

Once you’ve defined your USP, you need to tell the stories behind your brand. These are the moments that seem unimportant, but that give shoppers a valuable behind-the-scenes look at who you really are. 

If you think storytelling is for kids, think again. Shoppers only retain 10% of raw information; but when you share information in a story, they remember 70%. You want shoppers to remember you when it’s time to launch your product, so be sure to tell a story. 

At Lingble, we worked with a jacket brand to emphasize the build quality. We knew the client’s jackets were built to last, but we couldn’t just tell that to our shoppers. So we told the true story about how the jackets were so heavy-duty that they were breaking the factory’s needles. The team had to retool the machines for heavier needles—and that story made the jackets special to shoppers.

Most brands tell generic, boring stories. Move away from the cliches and tell the real, raw stories behind your brand. In a world where all of your competitors are using the same rhetoric, set yourself apart by telling your story. It’s the one thing your competitors can’t copy.

Remember the human factor

Not sure how to make your story stand out? Focus on the people behind the brand. 

Who are the real craftsmen? What are their experiences? What’s their process behind making the product? Shoppers want a personal connection with the products they’re buying. 

Use social media to share these personal stories. If you make leather handbags, ask your leatherworkers to share how they got into the industry. This adds warmth to your story, highlighting the fact that you aren’t a faceless corporation, but a group of real humans making great products.

5 – Tap into FOMO

The final piece of your marketing strategy should be tapping into FOMO, or “fear of missing out.” As social creatures, humans hate feeling left out. We want to be one of the cool kids who knows when the latest and greatest products are coming out. 

As a brand, your job is to build buzz and hype by getting shoppers pumped to buy your product. You can tap into FOMO by:

  • Releasing teaser photos: A little mystery never hurt anyone. Start teasing photos of the product on your social media, hinting that something amazing is around the corner. Start teasing photos at least 3 weeks in advance of your actual product launch date. 
  • Partnering with influencers: There’s a reason that 25% of all sponsored Instagram posts are for fashion brands. Influencers can get the word out and build buzz with their followers much faster than brands can. Give influencers early access to your product and ask them to share it with their followers. You can formalize an influencer marketing relationship if you want influencers to be an ongoing part of your launch plans. This needs to happen at least 2 weeks before your launch.   
  • Participating in forums: Continue building buzz online. 2 weeks before launch, visit Reddit and other social media forums to mention the product on relevant threads. 
  • Doing a big reveal: As of now, you’ve teased the product, but you haven’t posted anything concrete. That changes today. One week before launch, announce your product release date and how shoppers can buy it. Remember to include those amazing photos from your product listing page!
  • Sharing discounts and promotions: Excitement is contagious, but it won’t always convince shoppers to buy right now. Since 59% of online shoppers look for discount codes before they buy, be sure to provide a discount code or promotion for your launch. That might mean giving a 10% off discount to pre-orders or to people on your email list. You could even include free products or bundles to get customers excited to buy right now. 
  • Source reviews: Did you know that sharing reviews can increase sales by 18%? After launching your product, start sourcing reviews immediately. As they roll in, share your 4- and 5-star reviews on your product page, emails, and social media. This proof of concept nudges customers to buy because it shows that other customers trust you, too.

FOMO is powerful. Be sure to engineer your product launch to encourage excitement, create a little mystery, and get shoppers ready to buy the moment your product launches. 

The bottom line

The fashion and accessories industry is predicted to grow by over 12% every year through 2025. But a growing demand for your products won’t guarantee eCommerce success. Instead of throwing a launch together at the last minute, follow Lingble’s step-by-step guide to stake your claim in the market. Create a repeatable eCommerce product launch strategy that helps you not only find customers now, but create a loyal base of fans who continue buying your products for years to come. 

Social media: it’s a go-to branding strategy for any eCommerce business. But your social media accounts can be so much more than a dumping ground for your press releases and product announcements. 

Used right, an eCommerce social media strategy is a powerful tool for lead generation and even conversions. Problem is, few eCommerce marketers know how to use their social accounts to boost sales. 

57% of marketers want to improve customer engagement, but 53% say that’s a tall order. However, marketers who mastered social media engagement skyrocketed their lead quality by 59%. 

COVID-19 made life harder in so many ways, but it was a boon for social media. Now, users are on board with engaging with the eCommerce brands they love in a remote way—and social media gives you an immediate channel to chat with these shoppers. 

You want website traffic from social media, for sure. But this is about getting actual sales from your hard work. Getting customers to commit and buy something is a struggle during the best of times. How do you get more value out of flighty social media visitors on your site? 

Let’s dive into how you can justify an eCommerce social media strategy (because we’re sure your boss wants to know) and the 3 social media strategies Lingble recommends to boost your eCommerce conversion rate.

Why do I need a social media presence for eCommerce?

If you’re a marketer, you probably already know the value of social media. But you still need to justify the hours and money spent on social media to your boss, don’t you? 

eCommerce is online-first selling, which means customers can’t see you face-to-face. The best way to build rapport—which is critical for making a sale—is through social media. If you aren’t using social media right now, you need to invest in it for 4 important reasons.

1 – Social media gives shoppers much-needed social proof

eCommerce shoppers need some indication that your brand is legit. After all, the internet is a scary place: you could be a faceless con-man for all they know. 

Social media gives you the chance to share social proof. Social proof is content that backs up your claims through a trusted source, like another buyer or a friend. Social proof is the reason 92% of shoppers trust recommendations from people they know. 

Use your followers’:

  • Comments
  • Tagged posts
  • Hashtags
  • Videos or photos

… to increase clout with potential shoppers.

2 – Give customers what they want—answers!

Social media isn’t just a place for you to advertise your latest products. This is a lifeline to your customers, and it’s a prime chance for you to increase eCommerce conversion rates.

Shoppers want answers, and they want them now. 1 in 3 social media followers will switch to a competitor if you ignore them. Another 36% of shoppers will publicly shame you for not replying fast enough!

That’s bad PR, and you don’t need that in your life. 

Social media means you can:

  • Reply to questions and build shopper confidence. 
  • Support customers ASAP instead of routing them through a long-winded ticket system. 

The result is happier shoppers who trust you.

3 – Engage with your adoring fans

Don’t let the potential for customer complaints scare you. Social media is valuable because it means you get to engage with fans who love your stuff. 

59% of shoppers use social media to inspire their future purchases. How many times has a shopper saved your brand’s cute boots on her Pinterest board? Since 76% of shoppers buy products from a brand’s social media feed, you need to invest in social media, stat.

Get on social media so your loyal followers can:

  • Share your products with people in their network. 
  • Become a fanfluencer for your brand. 

Give loyal shoppers the chance to sell for you by greenlighting an aggressive social media presence. 

4 – Boost your paid advertising efforts

P.S. Did you know that organic social media posts can boost your paid efforts? 

It just makes sense: if you’re paying for social media PPC ads, shouldn’t you have a lot of great content in your feed first? 

Don’t pay for traffic and direct shoppers to a nearly-empty Instagram account. If you want to dive into paid social media ads, tap into Lingble’s internal PPC team: we help you get long-term PPC results without the hand-holding. 

Ways to boost your eCommerce conversion rate with social media

Once your entire team is on board, it’s time to increase your eCommerce conversion rate through social media. Use these 3 pro tips from the Lingble team to do eCommerce social media right. 

1 – Determine which social platforms you should target

It’s great that your brand is excited about social media, but that doesn’t mean you need every social platform under your belt. It’s better to choose fewer platforms and target the right audience. This way, you aren’t wasting your breath on a shopper that doesn’t want to buy. 

Should you really post about your newest sweater collection on LinkedIn? Nobody wants to look for products on this platform; it’s usually a waste of time for eCommerce, and that’s why you have to pick the right social networks. 

Where do your customers live online? This will differ by country. For example, you can find Chinese shoppers on WeChat, but shoppers in the US would be on Facebook. Every business is different, and that means you need to choose the platforms that work for your business. 

At Lingble, we’ve seen clients have the most success with these platforms: 

  • Facebook: With over 2 million active users, Facebook has one of the largest social media audiences. It’s better for targeting Millennial, Gen X, and Boomer audiences. It’s also better-suited to community-building because of its Groups feature. You can invite VIP shoppers to talk shop and share tips on Facebook. 
  • Pinterest: Pinterest is better for shoppers over the age of 40, but it’s an eCommerce powerhouse. B2C shoppers love saving products in the DIY, hobby, fashion, accessories, and furniture spaces. If you have a very visual brand, Pinterest will help you share more links to your product pages. 
  • Instagram: Instagram is the most engaging social media platform for brands. It’s tailored to the under-30 crowd, but it’s perfect for connecting with fanfluencers or new shoppers via hashtags. 

Pick no more than 3 social media platforms to start with. This ensures you’re focused on every platform, tailoring your content to an audience’s preferences (which increases your eCommerce conversion rate).

2 – Optimize your social media messaging

The right messaging on your social media account can make the difference between a buzzing eCommerce site and one that’s completely dead. 

That does not mean you need sales-laden content on your social media. In fact, your followers will revolt if you promote yourself too much. 

Social media is about sharing your products and fun content. If your entire feed reads like an advertisement, it’s going to turn potential customers away from your product. 

It sounds counterintuitive, but the best way to make sales is to offer entertaining, useful, valuable content that doesn’t include a big sales pitch. 

Why? Because users will go elsewhere. At Lingble, we’ve seen time and time again that overly self-promotional brands lose out to their competitors because of their social media content. If customers are leaving your social media account in droves, they’re certainly not spending money on your eCommerce store. 

So, how do you incentivize conversions with better social media content? Try:

  • Hosting a contest or sweepstakes. Everybody loves free stuff!
  • Offering the occasional discount code or sale just for your social media followers. 
  • Writing social media-exclusive content. You’re an expert, right? Interview other experts in your industry, film funny videos, or feature customer stories. Give people information that they just can’t find elsewhere. 

Writing content is an art, and that’s why Lingble helps our clients strategize for social media. We give promotion recommendations based on your target country’s marketing calendar, so you’re always relevant and top of mind for your shoppers. 

3 – Create user-friendly landing pages

You’ve chosen the right social media platform and shared awesome content with your followers. It’s time for the grand finale: optimizing your eCommerce site for social media users. 

What is the user experience like once a social media follower lands on your site? Is your website content consistent with what you posted on social media? Are there relevant landing pages? 

Too many eCommerce brands neglect the on-site experience for social media users. This is such an easy fix, but it can decimate your eCommerce conversion rates if you don’t pay attention. 

Always create a user-friendly landing page for your social media followers. That means:

  • Designing mobile-friendly pages: Hopefully you’re doing this already, but you should use responsive design on your website. Keep your forms simple and short, and make buttons large enough for smaller screens.
  • Optimizing your page speed: 47% of shoppers expect your site to load in under 2 seconds. But few eCommerce sites are that fast, so meet with your web development team if you want to increase speed and boost conversions.
  • Minimizing form fields: Nobody wants to answer 20 questions to download your discount code. If you want social media users to convert, keep all form fields very, very short. We’re talking 2 fields, tops. Ask for their name and email at most to minimize dropoffs.
  • Writing relevant content: Does your social media post promise your followers a discount code? But, when they click on the link, they don’t get the discount code? This happens all the time and frustrates your shoppers. Double-check that everything is firing correctly so you don’t make a bad impression on your shoppers. 

If landing pages aren’t your forte, don’t worry. Lingble’s UX experts can guide you on landing page content, layout, and more to help boost your eCommerce conversion rates. 

Social media strategy to help increase conversions in eCommerce

At Lingble, we know social media is affordable, gives you a direct line to the customer, and helps you build a loyal fanbase over time. Educate your team on the merits of social media and use these proven tips to help increase conversions.