Brands and retailers know the power of Instagram.

With the rise in popularity of the network, the demand for more advertising opportunities grows too. Data from DigiDay found Instagram ad spend has now eclipsed Facebook by as much as 23%, even though there are millions of more users on Facebook. The report also found both Instagram clicks (9%) and impressions (20%) outperformed Facebook.

And as brands find themselves spending more time on the network, it’s still challenging to know the exact Instagram sizes and ad dimensions for images and videos. Businesses are spending huge budgets on Instagram ads, so it might be worth your time to know what type of content will look the best.

We’re going to make it easy and break down all the Instagram sizes and ad formats by pixels, resolutions, aspect ratios and more to ensure you’re posting the highest quality content.

Jump ahead to any section to get the most up to date Instagram sizes for 2019:

Looking for all the Instagram sizes in one sortable place? Make a copy or bookmark our free up-to-date Google Doc that includes everything in this guide!

Role of visual content banner

Instagram Bio Images

Your bio is incredibly important on Instagram. This is how users link to your store or find more information about you.

That’s why we’re going to start things off with every Instagram size and dimension you’ll need to know in the bio section:

Instagram Profile Photo Size – Recommended 110 x 110 Pixels

With approximately 80% of Instagram users following at least one business account, it’s important to make sure your shoppers find and recognize your account. Whether customers search for you or see you on Instagram paid ads, your logo should be well positioned in the Instagram profile photo.

Instagram Profile Image Size

Instagram Profile Details:

  • Recommended Resolution: 110 x 110 pixels
  • Maximum Resolution: 180 x 180 pixels
  • Aspect Ratio: 1:1 and square photo (shows as a circle)

Instagram Thumbnail Image Size – Displays at 161 x 161 Pixels

When viewing a profile either on desktop or mobile, thumbnail images appear. Whether the post is a video or image, Instagram creates a thumbnail image in your profile. There’s no way to change the dimensions or ratio on the thumbnail images.

Instagram Bio Thumbnail Image Size

Instagram Thumbnail Details:

  • Displayed: 161 x 161 pixels (thumbnail images)
  • Aspect Ratio: Appears as 1:1

Instagram Stories Thumbnail Image Size

On the other hand, Instagram recently added image thumbnails for Instagram Stories. This content does not disappear after 24 hours like regular Instagram Stories, but instead, work as a curated image to link to specific video categories in your profile.

Instagram Stories Thumbnail Image Size

Instagram Stories Thumbnail Details:

  • Displayed: Approximately 86 x 86 pixels
  • Images Rendered: 150 x 150 pixels
  • Aspect Ratio: Appears as 1:1

Instagram Image Sizes

In this next section, we’ll cover the various Instagram sizes for published posts. This includes any non-ad image type you can publish to your feed.

Instagram Square Image Size – 1936 x 1936 Pixels

There are three different dimensions for Instagram photos once they are published: square, landscape and portrait. The first one we’ll cover is square, which as you probably guessed, appears as a square on a user’s feed.

Instagram Square Image Size

Instagram Square Image Details:

  • Minimum Resolution: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Max Resolution: 1936 x 1936 pixels
  • Minimum Aspect Ratio: 4:5 (for square, landscape and portrait)
  • Max Aspect Ratio: 1.91.1 (for square, landscape and portrait)
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1:1
  • Image Formats: JPG or PNG (for all image dimensions)
  • Max Image File Size: 30 MB (for all image dimensions)
  • Recommended File Size for PNG: Under 1 MB as larger may be pixelated (for all image dimensions)

Instagram Landscape (Horizontal) Image Size – 1200 x 628 Pixels

Often used for nature and outdoor images, the landscape option is another one of the publishable dimensions. Landscape appears with less image height in feeds, often allowing your caption to appear without scrolling further down.

Instagram Landscape Image Size

Instagram Landscape Image Details:

  • Minimum Resolution: 600 x 315 pixels
  • Recommended Resolution: 1200 x 628 pixels (or a minimum width of 600)
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1.91:1

Instagram Portrait (Vertical) Image Size – 1080 x 1350 pixels

Known as the portrait dimension, this shows content vertically in a user’s feed. This is one of the more common sizes because you have to choose the other two, while this works as the preset within Instagram. Additionally, this image format often takes up the majority of the screen–sometimes causing users to scroll down to read captions.

Instagram Portrait Image Size

Instagram Portrait Image Details:

  • Recommended Resolution: 1080 x 1350 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution: 600 x 750 pixels (or a minimum width of 600)
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 4:5

Instagram Stories Image Size – 1080 x 1920

With the addition of Instagram Stories, brands and retailers have another way to get content in front of users. The best part is this relatively new format works well for companies. In fact, a third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from business accounts.

Instagram Stories Image Size

Instagram Stories Image Details:

  • Recommended Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Minimum Resolution: 600 x 1067 pixels
  • Max Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Minimum Aspect Ratio: 16:9 to 4:5
  • Max Image File Size: 30 MB

Instagram Image Ads Sizes

You know it. Your shoppers know it too.

Instagram is a fast-growing ecommerce connection for businesses reaching their core audience. While this is just one of the benefits of Instagram, more brands look to Instagram ads to showcase their products.

Data shows that 72% of shoppers admit to purchasing a product they discovered on Instagram.  So make sure your ads are correctly sized and fitted for the visual app.

Instagram Square, Landscape & Portrait Ads Image Sizes

Businesses have the option to select square, landscape or portrait dimensions for Instagram ads. These ads are placed within users’ feeds, but there are some guidelines to know before you get started.

Instagram Square, Landscape and Portrait Image Ads Sizes

Instagram Ads Image Details:

  • Minimum Image Width: 500 pixels
  • Minimum Aspect Ratio: 4:5
  • Max Aspect Ratio: 1.91:1
  • Aspect Ratio Tolerance: 1%
  • Max File Size: 30 MB
  • Image Formats: JPG or PNG
  • Max Caption Length: Under 125 characters (2 lines of text will display)
  • Max Text Length: 2200 characters
  • Max Number of Hashtags: 30

Instagram Stories Ads Image Sizes

Just like the square, landscape and portrait image dimensions, Instagram Stories also allows photo ads. However, the details are a bit different because the image takes up the entire screen of the mobile device. These images have their own specific guidelines to follow.

Instagram Stories Image Ad Size

Instagram Stories Ads Image Details:

  • Minimum Image Width: 500 pixels
  • Minimum Aspect Ratio: 16:9 to 4:5
  • Max Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Max Image Ad Duration: 5 seconds (or until user swipes out)
  • Text to Image Ratio: 20% (more text may result limited delivery)
  • Recommended Limits: Leave roughly 250 pixels (14%) text- and logo-free at bottom and top of the image (i.e. if photo is 1080 x 1920 pixels, ensure text, CTAs and logos are within 1080 x 1420 pixels)

Instagram Carousel Ads Image Sizes

Instagram carousel ads allow users to scroll horizontally through additional images. This is ideal for brands promoting variants of the same product or a list of products that go well together. Carousel image ads can be square, landscape or portrait dimensions. They follow the same size guidelines as the non-ad formats, despite a few variations.

Instagram Carousel Image Ad Sizes

Instagram Carousel Ads Image Details:

  • Dimensions: Same as square, landscape and portrait
  • Aspect Ratio: Same as square, landscape and portrait
  • Image Formats: JPG or PNG
  • Ad Text Guidelines: Same as Image Ads
  • Max Number of Cards in Carousel Ads: 10 images

Instagram Video Sizes

Video content certainly appears to be one of the most valuable segments for brands and retailers. In fact, data from Tubular Insights found when consumers watch a branded social media video, 64% are more likely to make a purchase after viewing.

Statistics like this are the reason why so many businesses flock to Instagram. Video content is growing in popularity, but first–it’s time to learn the Instagram video specs:

Instagram Square, Landscape & Portrait Video Sizes

Much like the image dimensions, Instagram allows videos to follow the three main sizes we discussed earlier. Check out the specific guidelines before you upload your videos to the social media channel.

Instagram Square, Landscape and Portrait Video Sizes

Instagram Video Details:

  • Minimum Video Width: 500 pixels
  • Minimum Aspect Ratio: 4:5
  • Max Aspect Ratio: 1.91.1
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1:1 (square), 1.91:1 (landscape), 4:5 (portrait)
  • Video Formats: MP4 or MOV recommended (full list here)
  • Max Video File Size: 4 GB
  • Video Length: 1 to 120 seconds

Instagram Stories Video Sizes

Instagram Stories gives users the chance to quickly scroll through content and eventually, a slew of ads. The quick moving Instagram Stories are a challenging format for some brands and retailers, but it’s critical to get the appropriate sizes and formats down, so your content meets the requirements and looks fresh.

Instagram Stories Video Size

Instagram Stories Video Details:

  • Minimum Image Width: 500 pixels
  • Minimum Aspect Ratio: 16:9 to 4:5
  • Max Aspect Ratio: 9:16
  • Video Formats: MP4 or MOV recommended (full list here)
  • Max Video File Size: 4 GB

Instagram TV Video Sizes

One of the newest features to come to Instagram is IGTV or Instagram TV. Much like the explore option, this allows users to go through curated video content based on your interests to watch longer video content. Users can subscribe and get the video content as it’s uploaded.

Instagram TV Video Sizes

Instagram TV Video Details:

  • Aspect Ratio: 9:16 (no landscape)
  • Minimum Resolution: 720 pixels
  • Video Format: MP4
  • Video Duration: 15 seconds to 10 minutes (large or verified accounts have up to 60 minutes, but must upload videos via desktop)
  • Max Video File Size: 650 MB for up to 10 minutes and 3.6 GB for up to 60 minutes)
  • Frames Per Second: 30 FPS
  • Video Cover Photo Dimensions: 420 x 654 pixels
  • Video Cover Photo Aspect Ratio: 1:1.55

Instagram Video Ads Sizes

Instagram is an ecommerce opportunity for brands and retailers to get discovered. In fact, 60% of users discover new products on Instagram, which why you should be targeting your demographics here.

Instagram Square, Landscape & Portrait Video Ads Sizes

It should come to no surprise that Wordstream reported more than half of videos are watched on mobile devices. Luckily for advertisers, Instagram allows paid content to appear on all three video dimensions.

Instagram Square, Landscape and Portrait Video Ads Sizes

Instagram Video Ads Details:

  • Minimum Video Width: 500 pixels
  • Minimum Aspect Ratio: 4:5
  • Max Aspect Ratio: 1.91.1
  • Recommended Aspect Ratio: 1:1 (square), 1.91:1 (landscape), 4:5 (portrait)
  • Video Formats: MP4 or MOV recommended (full list here)
  • Max Video File Size: 4 GB
  • Video Length: 1 to 120 seconds
  • Aspect Ratio Tolerance: 1%
  • Max Caption Length: Under 125 characters (2 lines of text will display)
  • Max Text Length: 2200 characters
  • Text to Image Ratio: 20% (more text may result limited delivery)
  • Max Number of Hashtags: 30
  • Video Captions: Optional
  • Sound Required: No

Instagram Stories Ad Video Size

Instagram’s own data shows it currently has more than 2 million monthly advertisers, which makes the platform a must for brands and retailers. Additionally, half of businesses create at least one or more Instagram Stories a month. Get the right Stories video specs to publish clean and valuable content.

Instagram Stories Video Ad Sizes

Instagram Stories Ads Video Details:

  • Aspect Ratio: Same as non-ad Stories video
  • Video Formats: Same as non-ad Stories video
  • Max Video File Size: Same as non-ad Stories video
  • Max Video Ad Length: 15 seconds (then users can exit or select full duration)
  • Max Video Ad Duration: 60 seconds
  • Text to Image Ratio: 20% (more text may result limited delivery)
  • Ad Text Guidelines: Same as Stories Image Ads
  • Video Captions: Not available
  • Sound Required: No
  • URLs: Avoid URLs in ad text (not clickable)
  • Recommended Limits: Leave roughly 250 pixels (14%) text- and logo-free at bottom and top of the image (i.e. if photo is 1080 x 1920 pixels, ensure text, CTAs and logos are within 1080 x 1420 pixels)

Instagram Carousel Ad Video Sizes

Publishing more videos isn’t necessarily an overkill for customers. Invisia’s list of video statistics showed 90% of users say video plays an essential role in their path to purchase. That’s why Instagram provides carousel video ads, which shows your shoppers multiple videos in a single ad.

Instagram Carousel Video Ad Sizes

Instagram Carousel Ads Video Details:

  • Dimensions: Same as square, landscape and portrait videos
  • Aspect Ratio: Same as square, landscape and portrait videos
  • Video Formats: Same as square, landscape and portrait videos
  • Max Video File Size: 4 GB
  • Ad Text Guidelines: Same as Image Ad
  • Max Number of Cards in Carousel Ads: 10 videos
  • Max Video Duration: 120 seconds
  • Video Captions: Optional
  • Sound Required: No

Sources

To put this information together, we pulled the Instagram sizes from the following sources:

If you’re a business looking to connect Instagram to your product pages to take advantage of user-generated content, contact our team to learn more about the PowerReviews Visual and Social Suite!

Alex York

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Alex York is the Content and SEO Marketing Manager at PowerReviews. Catch him hunting down the perfect gin cocktail in Chicago or endlessly scrolling through Netflix. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjyork.

Reality check: selling on social media isn’t taboo.

Although brands and retailers once tiptoed around sales messages directed toward their followers, today consumers embrace social commerce with open arms.

Seriously.

New data from Avionos shows more than half of all consumers have already made purchases directly from social media. Meanwhile, product-related posts represent the most popular type of social content in terms of shares and engagement.

Social commerce isn’t as simple as hitting your followers with offer after offer. In fact, some of the most effective ways to encourage your followers to buy is by going beyond social media itself.

Listen–brands and retailers don’t score sales via social media by accident. You need a strategy.

To better navigate the world of social media and ecommerce, we’ve put together a five step social commerce playbook for brands and retailers wanting to drive more sales to modern buyers:

1. Empower Your Customers to Be Your Best Billboards to Drive More Sales

If you want to convert more social followers, look no further than your own customers.

User-generated content in the form of customer photos represents some of your best marketing firepower. There’s a reason why brands are curating and publishing UGC like crazy right now.

PwC Online Media Used Purchase Inspiration

After all, PwC found social media to be the No. 1  channel for inspiring purchases from consumers.

From product recommendations to customer photos that pop up in people’s social feeds, enabling your audience to advertise on your own behalf is a game changer.

And encouraging customers to boost your products is easier than you might think. For starters, social-savvy consumers absolutely love to talk up their latest purchases and will oftentimes tag the brands they support.

product mentions on instagram example

Maybe they want a shout-out themselves. Perhaps they just want to show you a bit of love.

Regardless, what better way to show off your products than through satisfied customers in the real world? This sort of authentic marketing and advertising is night-and-day versus a lifeless product photo.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

But again, this sort of promotion doesn’t happen by accident.

Branded hashtags are a huge piece of any social commerce strategy. Hashtags do double-duty of allowing brands to track their social mentions and reach while also giving customers a point to promote their product photos.

Skechers style hashtag on instagram

For example, here’s how TopShop promotes its #topshopstyle tag in their Instagram bio (and note how it was featured in the photo above).

Topshop instagram bio

And by publishing user-generated content, you can promote your products directly without coming off like a salesperson. It never hurts to specifically ask for styles and looks for apparel brands.

Other industries can use the same strategy by implementing a branded hashtag to get people talking and more importantly, sharing content. This is this type of brand loyalty you want.

Overtonecolor product showcase

User-generated content is a cornerstone of social commerce. That said, curating and publishing means that brands need a streamlined way to discover customer photos and get permissions for them.

Thankfully, tools features from PowerReviews like the Visual and Social Suite help brands manage, collect and display social content from their customers. Our native collection tools are hands down the best in the industry because we believe in making it easy for customers to provide authentic content.

vans visual collection example on powerreviews

Want to see how our tools do the legwork on behalf of brands and retailers? Schedule a demo to see how PowerReviews empowers businesses by collecting more reviews and social content to increase buyer confidence.

2. Use Social Presence to Increase Your Conversions

Customer photos are a brilliant way to encourage social commerce and more engagement on your brand accounts organically.

However, your social content is also valuable for paid campaigns as well.

How so? Check out how REVOLVE saw an insane lift in ad engagement and conversions through running paid ads on Facebook centered around their social photos.

Revolve Social Commerce on Facebook

As noted, not all elements of social commerce are restricted to social media. For example, brands like Steve Madden use their Instagram content as part of their email marketing campaigns.

Given the effort it takes to both create and acquire social content, double-dipping it across multiple channels flat out makes sense. This ultimately allows you to squeeze even more of an ROI from your social marketing.

Steve Madden Example

But arguably the best place to leverage your social content is on site. Many brands feature look books, which pull from their Instagram feeds to bring their products to life.

Here’s a great example from Skechers promoting this content across their site.

Share Your Style With Skechers

This again speaks to the importance of curating social content and how doing so can result in more sales. Applying this content to your website and product pages is a surefire way to increase your customer engagement strategy and build a sense of trust among your shoppers.

3. Reach New Audiences Through Influencer Marketing

For the sake of social commerce, brands are upping their influencer marketing budgets in 2019.

How much so?

Businesses are growing their influencer budgets by a staggering 65% in 2019. That’s up from the 39% influencer budget businesses reported just in 2018.

influencer marketing spending for 2019 mediakix

Considering how both millennial and Gen Z customers are turned off by traditional marketing messages, this trend makes perfect sense. Brands need to achieve a certain sense of authenticity among their customers if they want to nurture them and earn their business.

Influencer marketing represents sort of a spin on user-generated content, encouraging paid relationships between brands and users with relevant audiences to those same brands.

These audiences might mirror your target customer demographics or allow you to tap into a totally new market. No matter what industry you’re in, brands are taking advantage of influencer relationships.

Although influencers are most often associated with the fashion space, just about any type of business can get in on board. Kitchen Aid frequently highlights its influencers on social media.

Additionally, influencer marketing is fair game for brands and influencers of all sizes. Even household names like Levi, with millions of followers, regularly engage with smaller influencers.

This signals why micro-influencers are so valuable, given their highly engaged audiences and a sense of authenticity that comes with being “the little guy,” so to speak.

Of course, building these sorts of relationships takes a lot of research and vetting. That’s where PowerReviews again saves the day with its Influencer and Sampling Suite.

With access to a massive network of everyday influencers, brands and retailers are capable of engaging a slew of new audiences, while ramping up their user-generated content at the same time.

campaign progress influencer and sampling suite

Our product sampling offerings through BzzAgent allow businesses to generate reviews, visual content and new buyers with ease. This approach to influencer marketing is much less time-consuming and simpler for businesses to scale–versus reaching out to influencers one-by-one.

4. Adopt a Hybrid Social Commerce Strategy (Hint: Include Both Paid & Organic)

Let us say tell you this–there is no single “silver bullet” for social commerce.

Brands should be willing to experiment with different channels, including both paid and organic. Likewise, businesses have to understand their own strengths of each channel to make the most of their efforts.

We’ve talked quite a bit about Instagram and know it’s a hotbed for social selling between organic promotion, shoppable posts and influencer marketing. If nothing else, it’s a fantastic platform for keeping your followers up-to-date on your products.

However, it doesn’t have to be your only social network where you sell your products. Even though Facebook has seen a notably drastic fall in organic reach for brands, its ad platform remains unparalleled.

For brands looking to retarget site visitors or run offers for past customers, tools such as dynamic advertising and remarketing ads could be your bread and butter. It’s all about experimenting with what works with you–and obviously, your customers.

Truffle Facebook Ad Example

But don’t stop at Instagram and Facebook.

Pinterest has become a valuable–and oftentimes overlooked–avenue for both organic social commerce. The platform’s audience has a ton of buying power and is more than willing to spend.

According to Pinterest, 83% of weekly users have made a purchase based on pins from brands they follow. That’s a lot of buying and selling on the platform you might have been ignoring.

Lululemon Pinterest example

And although Twitter may not be known for its social selling power, it is an invaluable network for providing customer service and building relationships with customers. It’s so simple to go back-and-forth on Twitter.

You also have the chance to make meaningful touch points with followers along the way.

No matter social platforms are your go-to, your priority beyond social commerce should be listening to your customers. After all, not all of your social content is going to be purely promotion.

Simply having conversations with your customers can lead you to crucial insights for social selling.

And hey, that leads us to our last point!

5. Listen Carefully to Your Social Customers

Modern customers aren’t shy when it comes to sound off on social media.

Whether it’s a product that they’re in love with or something that disappointed them, brands should listen carefully to any and all customer feedback they receive.

This is especially true when it comes to products that customers might want to purchase in the future. Just a simple acknowledgement from Hot Topic, in this example on Twitter, can mean all the difference.

Listening to the wants and needs of your customers is a no-brainer, but is especially important in an era where consumer relationships are so transparent.

Valuable feedback from customers in any shape or form is another overlooked piece of social commerce. The ability to share the positive experiences of people who’ve purchased from you helps ease the minds of folks on the fence about doing the same.

Attention Brands: Listen to Customers on Your Retailer Sites

More often than not, brands are actually paying some attention to customers on social media and throughout their own websites. But what about retailer sites selling your products?

Say your brand is PING Golf, which sells an assortment of equipment and apparel across the web. And one of your biggest retailers, PGA Tour Superstore, sells your golf clubs.

ping PGA superstore product page

Luckily, the PGA Tour Superstore does a fantastic job of including questions and answers software, which provides answers to purchase-blocking questions by verified buyers or its own customer support team. But what if your buyers are still a little undecided?

That’s why we created Brand Engage, a platform for brands to connect to potential customers across their retailer sites on the PowerReviews Open Network. In this example, we can see the PGA Tour Superstore provides a great answer to consumer question.

Product Questions and Answers for PGA Tour Superstore But what if your brand could do this across more retailers?

Brands should address all forms of feedback and Brand Engage makes it easier.

Anything you can do to boost your brand reputation across product pages and social media is essential to effective social commerce.

q&a brand engage example on powerreviews

Want to learn more about Brand Engage? Join our network to connect to some of the leading global retailers in the PowerReviews Open Network! 

Is Your Brand on Board With Social Commerce?

Consumers today are more than happy to purchase products via social media. But as noted in this guide, you need a scalable strategy to make it happen.

Rather than settle with the occasional social sale, think about how you can take your follower count and translate them into consistent, loyal buyers. Translate your social presence into dollars and cents while building more meaningful connections with your customers along the way.

Have any recommendations to improve strategies? Hit us up on Twitter!

Brent Barnhart

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Brent Barnhart is a professional writer and content critic. When he’s not battling the latest buzzwords, you can often find him strumming the nearest guitar. Feel free to bug him on Twitter or check out his website brentwrites.com.

We understand the importance of our customers’ thoughts and ideas, but what does your brand do to effectively build a customer journey map?

In today’s hyper-competitive landscape, it’s all about learning from our customer interactions before, during and after the sale. The problem is we often make erroneous assumptions that don’t align with our customer’s reality.

Additionally, it’s easy to fall behind on meeting our constantly growing customer expectations and meeting them with a great and ever-changing customer experience.

Your customer journey map describes your customer’s path from the moment your brand enters their awareness through the in-store experience, purchase and post sale. Creating a customer journey map gives you a high-level overview of all of the touchpoints between  brand and customer.

Customer journey maps increasingly appear in omni-channel initiatives to ensure the customer experience is consistent across all channels. Mapping out these journeys are invaluable to marketing and customer experience efforts.

But all too often, brands and retailers attempt to understand customers and don’t learn true and valuable frustrations. It’s easy to make assumptions that don’t align with our customers’ reality.

Instead, we have a lot of data about our customers’ experience, but have no way to put the insights into action.

Addressing the Long-Term Customer Journey Map Solution

Retail is relatively stable over the short-term. Brick and mortar stores and the majority of customers aren’t going to disappear in the next year or two. The National Retail Federation even expects a rise of 4.1% in holiday retail spend compared to the previous year’s 3.5% growth.  Over time, it will become apparent which brands and retailers decided to tackle the hard questions.

customer buying data from NRF example

To understand how we can drive brand innovation through the adoption of up-to-date best practices, let’s investigate the process of modern customer experience design, starting with the customer journey map.

Planning Out the Customer Journey Map

To make this easier, we made up a fictional 500-store business called David’s Doors–a retailer selling commercial and residential doors–to plan our customer journey map. Its typical customers are building owners and contractors and we know they sell doors in stores and BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store).

This company also sells hardware for doors and door installation services. David’s Doors average daily revenue per store is $5,000 and concerned with stagnating sales, they’ve recently commissioned an internal project team to create a customer experience report.

As part of this report, the project team generated a customer journey map:

customer buying data from NRF example

The customer journey map details the customer’s experience beginning with their brand awareness, through the purchase process and post-sale. During the discovery process, the project team generated a list of key questions regarding the current customer’s experience.

As a result of these inquiries, the project team generated a list of recommendations for best practices moving forward, based on the project team’s research into innovators within the industry and industry leaders.

Best Practices for Retail Brands

From a marketing and customer experience perspective, the shift occurring for retail is best described as a sliding scale between driving procedural efficiency and driving customer acquisition and retention. In the traditional retail paradigm, marketing and customer experience campaigns are implemented on a region-by-region and store-by-store basis.

Additionally, these campaigns are based on segmented lists and past data. In the new retail paradigm, marketing and customer experience are implemented on a customer-to-customer basis and based on individual customer data.

Modern marketing is agile and testing is done on shorter cycles with immediate feedback. Highly targeted messages are delivered to individual customers based on their personal data history and through their preferred mode of communication.

Modern customer experience delivers highly personalized experiences and gives the customer the power to define their shopping experience. With online retail trying to outpace brick-and-mortar and customers’ increasing expectation to define their personal shopping experience, brick-and-mortar retailers face increasing pressure to elevate their brand equity and become and remain their target market’s preferred retailer.

The challenge large retailers face is how they can implement this data and the data from their customer maps at scale while also planning to meet their customers’ future needs.

To tackle this challenge, your implementation must be tested thoroughly. The best ways to test your implementation are through customer surveys and mystery shopping programs. Together, they deliver the required data needed to identify problems and ensure that you have captured the customer journey map as your customer experiences it.

At the heart of every search, there’s an intent to learn.

For those in ecommerce, search is one of the most critical stages to attract and persuade shoppers. People do research to understand a product or its value, which is why so many marketers focus on improving SEO for ecommerce.

Did you know that 35% of consumers begin their purchasing journey on a search engine?

PowerReviews Customer Journey Graphic

The biggest problem is when consumers search online, they get a wide variety of results. And if your products aren’t showing in search, you lose out on discovery and site traffic.

If you want to rank your product pages online, there are specific ecommerce SEO tactics to learn. While the world of SEO can seem intimidating, don’t panic: we’re going to take you through some of the basics of how to get product pages into search engine results.

Here are the four main areas of focus we’ll cover in this guide:

  1. Content and Keywords
  2. Technical SEO Strategies
  3. How to Get Backlinks
  4. SEO Analytics Tools to Use

Click the jump links to move ahead to each area of focus.

We’ll divide our top nine tips to improve SEO for ecommerce within each section. By the end of this guide, you’ll know the steps to drive serious traffic to your product pages.

Let’s get started:

Optimize Your Product Pages & Content Marketing

Search engines care a lot about content. From the words you use in your product descriptions to the articles you post on your blog, content is one of the most important factors in SEO for ecommerce.

Here are three ways to optimize your content for success:

1. Do Your Keyword Research Right

Each and every page on your website must be optimized with appropriate keywords and phrases.

These keywords are words most associated with your content. Again, think of a search as an inquiry to do research. What do you provide them with your content in their research efforts?

Keywords also help the actual search engines understand your page and direct the traffic to appropriate users to find it. No matter how many pages you have on your website, each one needs to be optimized.

If this seems like a daunting task, prioritize your most important pages by traffic, new users or purchases. You’ll be surprised to find a lot of your best performing organic pages are likely already ranking for some keywords.

google search console example

This makes it even easier to open Google Search Console (which is an absolute must to connect to your ecommerce site), open performance and search your queries for the keywords most associated with your landing pages by clicks and impressions. You can filter pages to break down each page.

Get Help With the Right Tools

Another way to research keywords correctly is through a great and low-cost tool like KWFinder by Mangools. This tool gives you a list of similar keywords, showing you how difficult it is to rank for each one and how many searches this keyword gets per month.

keywordfinder SEO tool example

You’ll also see a list of the pages currently ranking on search engines with this keyword and how difficult it is to beat them. A good keyword for a product page should have:

  • Low difficulty rating
  • Consistent search trends
  • A few hundred searches per month (not too much to avoid getting lost in the noise)
  • Match your product’s intent and be relevant to your shoppers

To go further on the idea of your searchers’ intent, you need to think about exactly what shoppers are trying to learn with that keyword. Are they looking for articles and informational pages? Or are they looking for products to buy? Does it make sense for you to appear in the search engine results page (SERP)?

social media challenges search example

Say your potential readers search the common pain points of social media marketing, the keyword social media challenges doesn’t fit your audience’s intent. Do some research on the keywords you like before you target them and make sure you’re talking to the right audience.

2. Include Long-Tail Keywords Wherever Possible

Long-tail keywords are phrases with four or five words. These keywords are more specific and narrow searchers down to a very specific intent or inquiry. For ecommerce brands, this is critical toward your products.

Again, moving away for a simple–yet competitive keyword such as cat toys to the long-tail keyword remote control cat toys increases the specificity. This helps your shoppers find your products in the weeds of all the results pages.

remote control cat toys google search

Remember: each product page should target its own unique keyword for optimization. It’s important your keywords are as specific as possible to each individual product or have the appropriate canonical set up  to tell search engines what the original product should appear.

This is necessary ecommerce SEO tactics for brands who might sell very similar products, but need product pages for each variant.

Where to Insert Keywords on Product Pages

Now that you have your keyword, where should you put it? Start with your page title and headers where it makes sense.

This is where your keyword needs to stand out. However, don’t add too many of the same keyword in all your H1, H2 and H3 as it might appear as keyword stuffing.

Next, make sure to include the keyword in these key places:

  • The page’s URL: Does the exact keyword appear as close to the domain or subfolder as possible?
  • Image alt text: Image alt text is typically used for readers with visual impairments, but keywords here still help SEO.
  • Product description text: This should be a no brainer, but you’d be surprised how many leave out the keyword in product descriptions.
  • Metadata: Your meta title and meta description should both contain the keyword.

Remember: don’t stuff keywords where they don’t belong. Check out how Knix does this with their short but snappy product page copy.

knix product page example

All of the copy reads naturally and also tells a great story. This product page is written for buyers, not for search engine bots. And while you want to rank and use prevalent keywords, there’s a natural order toward using them.

knix product description text example

Make sure your product pages read the same.

3. Create a Fantastic Blog

Now more than ever, creating a blog full of interesting content is essential to get seen in search engines.

In fact, HubSpot has notoriously examined the data and found B2C companies posting blog articles more than 11 times per month get more than four times as many leads than companies posting four or less. Additionally, those who post more frequently were found to have almost triple the web traffic.

monthly blog traffic graphic

So, it’s time to create a blog for your ecommerce website. Write about issues that affect your customers, how to use your products or feature happy customers. Use some of these posts to link back to your product pages to drive more traffic.

Vinebox is a company that offers subscriptions for wine-lovers to taste new wines. Their blog is perfectly crafted to appeal to their audience and draw in new traffic.

vinebox blog outline example

Take Care of the Technical Side

Technical SEO may not be the fun part of SEO for ecommerce. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely necessary. Here are two things you need to be doing in order to ensure your ecommerce website is healthy and operational:

4. If You Haven’t Switched to HTTPs, Do It Right Now

Site security is extremely important and this especially true for ecommerce websites. In order for people to trust you (and for search engines to trust you), you need to be using an SSL certificate on your website.

That means in the URL, you’ll see https://yourwebsite.com, instead of http://yourwebsite.com. An SSL certificate makes your website more secure, which is important since people will be entering payment information.

You can normally get an SSL certificate through your hosting provider, or through another certificate authority such as Let’s Encrypt.

5. Add Structured Data Markup to Your Product Pages

Structured data is the information you add to your website in a way that allows search engines to understand what your pages are all about. Essentially, your structured data works as a walkthrough for search engines to know what you’re doing.

And in turn, adding this code helps your products rank better since search engines know much more about your content. The problem is it will involve coding, so make sure you befriend your front-end developers.

This kind of structured data allows your product pages to show ratings, pricing and whether or not the product is in stock, all from the SERPs:

smartykat google search metadata

To take it even further, by partnering with a ratings and reviews provider like PowerReviews, we work specifically with Google to enter your product data appropriately to help appear in search. We understand how reviews and SEO work together by pulling more content from brands and retailers selling your products online.

visual and social suite SEO graphicBy using PowerReviews’ software, you limit the amount of Javascript with smarter script loads. This means you only use the code you need (or features you’re using), which reduces the risk of affecting your page load speeds with excess code.

Whether you’re working with PPC or search, your reviews content gets seen in search before shoppers even make it your product page.

Want more information on SEO for ecommerce benefits with a ratings and reviews provider? Contact our team today to schedule a demo!

Backlinks are links from other websites that point back to your pages. These are super important to search engines.

Not only are the essential to ecommerce pages, but they have a huge effect on whether or not your pages will be ranked. But how can you get backlinks to a product page? Here are two of the best ways:

6. Work With Influencers

By working with micro-influencers or everyday influencers, you create content. And when you start building all of this user-generated content, you also get the valuable backlinks from their blogs when they mention your brand.

While some influencers work solely on social media, many have thriving and authority-packed websites that can be goldmines for backlinks.

influencer and blogger instagram example

So, while working with influencers and doing product sampling, ask them to write a blog post about your product with a link back to your page. With a few of these valuable backlinks to your main products, you’ll have a good start toward healthy SEO for your ecommerce website.

7. Get Your Products on Resource Pages

People love to read listicles that cite the best products in a certain topic. How many articles do we see every day about the best acoustic guitars, the best waterproof smartphones or the best travel backpacks?

nomatic travel bookbag description

Another great way to build backlinks is to try and get your products on those kinds of resource pages.

First, find the right pages. By searching Best + [your product], you’ll find plenty of list articles to contact for a product feature. To make sure their backlinks will be valuable, run the site through an authority checker, like SiteProfiler.

site profiler search example

Metrics like Domain Authority and Trust Flow help you see if the website has enough SEO power to help you. Remember, getting links from lower domain authority ranking sites is good. However, getting links from pages that have higher domains than you is best.

Once you find the right pages, it’s time to contact the site owners.

This will take time and patience, and a lot of email power. Using a tool like Mailchimp, you can send out multiple emails faster, but remember to personalize each message.

It should look something like this:

product backlink draft

Obviously, not everyone will respond. But, if you send out enough of these emails, you’ll get some great new backlinks for your product pages and likely a lot more sales.

Use the Right Tools to Monitor Your Progress

If you really want to succeed at SEO, you’ll need to use the right tools to monitor your website’s situation. Here are two things you’ll need to be keeping track of:

8. Track Your Rank With an SEO Tool

There are plenty of SEO tools that give you information about SEO health, page rankings and much more.

If you’re looking for just the basics, though, try a tool like SERPWatcher.

serpwatcher SEO tool overview

This rank tracking tool has a lower price, and allows you to keep track of how your pages are ranking for different keywords without all the added frills. You’ll also be alerted to any important changes.

For a more complete SEO tool, try Ahrefs or SEMRush. These tools gives you a more detailed view of what’s going on with your website and they both allows you to track your competition.

By keeping track of your rank, you’ll understand why your pages are ranking for certain keywords and where you can make improvements. This is important for tracking changes you make, for better or for worse.

9. Monitor Website Traffic With Google Analytics

Setting up Google Analytics on your website is also a must if you want to understand your audience and customers. Google Search Console and Google Analytics are probably a SEO’s two best friends, so make sure you fully implement both if you haven’t already.

As for Google Analytics, view under the Acquisition tab to see an overview of your website traffic and how people are arriving to your website.

Google Analytics Acquisition Overview Example

This gives you a great idea of how many people are coming in from organic search. Use this section to watch how many conversions come from those who found you in the search engine results page versus social or paid traffic results.

Using Analytics, you’ll see whether or not your SEO efforts are working and find the areas where you need to improve.

Get a Handle on SEO for Ecommerce & Boost Your Product Page Traffic

If you want to get more traffic to your product pages, you need to pay attention to SEO. Once you get the technical things out of the way, you’ll need to create attractive content and develop solid backlinks. And of course, always keep an eye on how your changes affect the SEO of your website by using the right tools.

These SEO tips are the groundwork for healthy product pages. The rest is up to you: put these methods into practice and you’ll see just how valuable SEO can be for your business.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Let’s start at the very beginning–Mystery Shopping 101.

If you’re hearing the term mystery shopping for the very first time in your life, you might picture a shadowy character darting around the aisles of a department store looking for a clue to some kind of important crime case.

Although a riveting idea, this is not mystery shopping. The mystery in this case doesn’t mean some type of unsolved problem, but rather the shopper themselves.

Mystery shopping, essentially, is just one of many ways a company typically involved in product-based commerce of some sort can get an idea for the kind of company they are from the customer’s perspective.

First, a dialog is established between the company interested in putting together a program and the mystery-shopping provider itself. After a plan is in place based on the goals of the client, a mystery shopper survey is constructed and given to experienced consumers who enter stores and evaluate the experience as a regular consumer.

The results are compiled, compared and then analyzed to create the starting point for an adjustment plan. Gathering data from this perspective gives companies a much more accurate picture of what’s working and what could use improvement.  When it comes to creating the best experience for customers, entering a store and interacting with both the products and the larger brand is critical.

Mystery Shopping 101: Why a Mystery Shopping Program?

A well-designed and executed mystery shopping program provides you with information a company representative could never gather themselves. It sheds light on what your business is to your customers in an unfiltered, (and most importantly) measurable way with the ultimate goal of adjustment to right any wrongs that surfaced during the assessment.

It’s very much a gift that keeps on giving. When designed correctly, mystery shopping will:

  • Increase sales and profitability via more engaged and comfortable customers
  • Provide a practical way to improve and optimize services
  • Motivate employees to better represent the brand and create an enjoyable atmosphere for customers
  • Generate enthusiasm among customers by meeting and then exceeding their expectations

Mystery shopping is all about valuable customer feedback. While email and in-store surveys on the backs of receipts can give your company a broad picture of customer satisfaction, mystery shopping goes further by providing unbiased information about the “feel” of your company at a deeper level.

Mystery Shopping 101: Where to Start

Once you’re on your way to creating a program for your own company, make sure you tailor the strategy to fit your company’s needs. However, you still still need a place to start.

Many professionals experienced in creating such programs agree it almost always begins with employee training. Don’t think for a second that a mystery shopping program lives on a colorful whiteboard on the wall of an executive boardroom.

Instead, success requires relationship building, idea implementation and investment plans that actually result in noticeable changes. In-store employees are the human link between your brand and your customers.

Have an effective team to represent your company through careful engagement, brand and product knowledge and effective communication skills. These are the foundation customer experience is built.

Companies whose employees provide consistent, complete and friendly service to customers of all kinds will find their brand growing in ways previously unachievable using other methods.

Find the Right Mystery Shopping Company & Get It Right the First Time

Of course, before you can start formulating the initial steps of a mystery shopping program, you need to find a provider who gives you what you need. Try to compare and contrast each provider based upon a standard set of questions so you narrow your list to the best mystery shopping company for you.

The following three questions are a great place to start:

  • How will this mystery shopping company conduct their program?
  • How will this mystery shopping company gather and analyze their data?
  • How will they present the data in a way that drives real results?

After fleshing out the broader aspects of a particular company, dive further to narrow your search. Start by comparing how their methodology relates to your specific objectives.

These questions can start along the lines of:

  • What will this program do for my business’ bottom line?
  • In what ways can you customize the program to align with my company specifically?

Mystery shopping is evolving quickly alongside constantly shifting trends in the retail world. As consumer expectations grow and shift to more complicated models through a number of new channels, accurately gauging the quality of customer experience is  a vital part of any company’s sustained success.

To learn about Journey IQ, contact our team today to get detailed information on our mystery shopping tools!

Endorsements from famous people don’t carry as much weight as they used to. We now live in an age where consumers value the opinions of real people over big-name celebrities or even influencers.

So, what does that mean for brand advocates?

As pointed out by Convince and Convert, 92% of consumers trust brand advocates while only 18% trust influencers.

And what does that data mean for your brand?

For starters, your customers want authentic interactions with your brand. One of the best ways to build trust in your brand is by involving people your target audience relates to.

Brand advocacy allows you to increase word of mouth around your company in an authentic way. When implemented correctly, a brand advocacy strategy enables you to build trust and grow your audience.

In this post, we’ll tackle the ins and outs of establishing a brand advocacy program for your business. You’ll also discover the right methods for identifying brand advocates and how to enable them to spread the word about your products.

What Are Brand Advocates?

Brand advocates are typically existing customers or employees who spread positive word of mouth about your products. These individuals know, like and trust your brand and they’re happy to talk you up to their friends, family and followers–usually for free.

What’s the Difference Between Brand Advocates & Influencers?

The difference between brand advocates and influencers is while both “spread the word” about your brand, influencers typically work transactionally, while advocates work more like your employees or biggest fans.

  • Influencer marketing is highly transactional. You pay or sponsor influencers or micro-influencer to post content about your products and it works much like a celebrity endorsement, but at a smaller scale.
  • Brand advocacy is all about harnessing the goodwill of people who are already familiar with your brand. While advocates can certainly be incentivized through product samples or free giveaways, their main motivation isn’t the perks— it’s the fact they genuinely feel connected to your brand.

Another distinction? Influencers talk to their “audience,” while advocates share their thoughts with their network of friends and relatives.

Visual and social suite banner

How to Successfully Identify Your Brand Advocates

Now that you’re all caught up with what brand advocates are (and what they aren’t), it’s time to figure out how to identify the right ones to work with. Below are the steps you can take when finding brand advocates.

Understand Your Target Market

The first step to identifying brand advocates is to get clear on who you’re trying to reach. Who’s your target audience? What’s their age group? What do they value? Answering these questions will help you figure out the right advocates to approach.

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Now that I have shared my @jennycraigofficial journey (check out my latest favorites video on YouTube for more information!) – I can finally share how I’ve been using my @erincondren meal planner! . On the left, I change it from meals to fruits, veggies, and dairy, which are the items I purchase and add to the Jenny meals! I usually only fill this out a few days in advance and make choices based on what my Jenny meals are. (For example, if I have a sweet breakfast, I usually have cottage cheese.) . Then on the left, I mark the food I’ve prepped – either by cutting it up (fruits), cooking it (vegetables), or portioning it out (yogurt/cottage cheese)! . I repurposed the bottom for the Trader Joe’s list since it’s a lot shorter than it used to be! (Some of the TJ items are for Sam.) . . . . . . #healthychoices #mealprep #mealplanning #healthyeating #healthyliving #weightloss #eatbetter #mealpreparation #mealplan #weeklymenu #foodprepping #mealplans #mealprepsundays #foodprep #fooddiary #mealplanner #eatinghealthy #mealprepping #healthylife #nutrition #healthylifestyle #mealprepideas #menu #jennycraig #losingweight #weightlossjourney #planwithlaken #erincondren

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Let’s say that you’ve decided to market to moms in their 30s who want to stay fit and work on meal prepping. You can do research on that audience and determine the types of people that they follow and listen to.

From there, you’ll have a better idea of the types of advocates to engage.

Look for People Who Are Already Talking About Your Brand

Once you have a profile of the types of advocates that you want to work with, run a social media search for people who are already mentioning your brand in their content. Here are six easy ways to do this:

1. Turn to Your Brand Mentions

Search your social networks for people who mentioned your brand name. Note that these mentions don’t necessarily have to be “official” tags (i.e., with an “@” sign). In many cases, you’ll find the most authentic brand mentions in these untagged posts.

Keep an eye out specifically for people who are responding to questions from other users. For example, in the Twitter conversation below, we see an authentic exchange between moms talking about infant car seats:

Coscto Twitter mention example

These are the types of posts to keep an eye out for. You can use social media listening tools to find and track conversations like this going on about your brand.

2. Look for People Who’ve Tagged You in Their Photos

If you want your brand advocacy program to be more visual, go through your photo tags to identify people who are talking about your brand.

gopro instagram tagged content

Once you find individuals who fit your advocate profile, put them on a list of users to reach out to.

3. Dig Into Your Product Reviews

The best brand advocates are the ones who are already buying from you. It’s smart to go through your existing customer base to identify advocates you can work with.

One of the easiest way to find previous shoppers who love your products is to look for people who are already sharing positive customer feedback about your products. Go through your ratings and review content on your product pages and identify those who left positive reviews.

ratings and reviews moderation and observations example

See what customers are posting visual content, leaving multiple reviews and certain keywords that pertain to your products. For some brands, this sounds like a lot of manual work.

We get it.

However, we built Product Pulse specifically for this reason. PowerReviews provides brands and retailers with a sentiment analysis tool to easily dig through review content and find helpful insights.

Intelligence Suite Product Insights

Want to see it in action? Request a demo today!

4. Review Your Sales Reports

Try to go through your sales reports to see your most active customers. If someone is buying from you repeatedly, chances are they’re a fan of your brand and they’ll happily advocate for you.

This is also a great opportunity to help form your target audience for brand advocates. Sales data let’s you segment your audience, develop messages and find new consumer insights.

It’s about how you connect these insights to your advocacy program!

5. Consider Your Employees’ Communities

Your employees are excellent brand advocates.

Think about it: they work for you, so they know all about your products. And since your staff are already familiar with your story, brand guidelines and rules of conduct, getting them on board your brand advocacy program will be an easy process.

One example of a company that invests in employee brand advocacy is Macy’s. Last year, the retailer launched Macy’s Style Crew, a community of Macy’s employees who are actively posting beauty and fashion content featuring Macy’s products.

macys style crew example

Don’t be afraid to use the power of your employees’ communities, like on social media, to promote and communicate their love for your brand.

How to Enable Brand Advocates

Have you already identified people you want to work with? Great! The next step is to connect with brand advocates and encourage them to spread the word about your products to their network.

The following action steps can help you do that:

Be Authentic With Your Outreach

There are several ways to get in touch with brand advocates and the right approach depends on the channel they use. For some brand advocates—such as customers who’ve left reviews—email is the most efficient way to get in touch.

For others, social media comments or direct message are a better approach. Regardless of how you decide to get in touch with them, strive to be authentic and relatable with your approach.

Let your advocates know that you’re grateful for the business and the positive words they’re sharing. Specifically reference the products that they bought or the content they shared, so that they feel like you’re personally connecting with them.

The luggage brand Away, for example, sends personalized replies to customers who mention its brand on social media.

Away Twitter advocates example

Incentivize Them to Share

Offer up incentives such as discounts and rewards for people who share your products with their friends. To maximize efficiency, integrate this effort with your rewards or loyalty program, so members easily earn points for their referrals.

Buda Juice, a company that sells pressed juices, for instance, includes friend referrals and social sharing in its loyalty program. Members earn $50 points— equivalent to $5—for every friend they refer who makes a purchase. buda juice example

Another way to earn? Buda Juice gives customers 50 points for following the brand and sharing its content on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Offer Free Samples

Another way to encourage advocates to spread the word about your products? Give them merchandise to talk about. Implement a product sampling program, in which you send free samples to select customers.

If you select the right brand advocates (i.e., highly engaged individuals who fit your target market), then chances are good that they’ll review your products.

Case in point: Vornado, a brand that sells fans, heaters, air purifiers and humidifiers, ran a product sampling initiative to garner reviews for its new products as well as specific items in its catalog.

Vornado product page with reviews

The program saw a whopping 97% response rate from advocates who wrote a review after receiving product samples. What’s more, the reviews collected from the initiative were 44% longer, indicating that the users who wrote them were highly engaged.

Build Relationships, Not Just Campaigns

Brand advocacy works best when you build relationships, as opposed to one-and-done campaigns. If you’re going to establish a brand advocacy program, you should commit to constantly engaging with your advocates.

You need to do the following, consistently:

  • Follow your top brand advocates on social media
  • Monitor your social feed for mentions and tags
  • Share and reply to the posts of brand advocates

The key is to routinely do these things. You want to be known as a brand who consistently connects with its customers and advocates. In doing so, you’ll not only encourage brand advocates to keep spreading the word about your products, but you’ll also attract new ones.

The apparel retailer Showpo is a great example of a brand that does an excellent job with brand advocates. Their customer engagement strategy is on point as they quickly and regularly promote their buyers.

showpo chat example

The Showpo regularly “likes” posts from its customers. Its team also makes an effort to send direct messages to those who mention the brand on social media.

Additionally, Showpo regularly reposts customer content featuring its products. This is a great way to keep customers engaged.

showpo instagram example

  • Pro tip: If you’re looking to actively share and repost the content of your followers, manage all your efforts through a visual marketing and social content platform that enables you to stay on top of communications (e.g., outreach messages, permission requests for reposting, etc.) from one place.

Doing so will make your advocacy efforts more efficient, and you’ll easily track your shares and reposts with ease.

Tap into the Power of Communities

You can further strengthen your relationships with advocates by building a community around your brand. Make people feel that they are part of a group of like-minded individuals.

Doing so reinforces the connection that your customers have with your brand — and with each other. This boosts loyalty and keeps you top of mind which, in turn, leads to more word of mouth and referrals.

The fitness brand Peleton is a master at community building. Peleton was one of the first brands to leverage Facebook groups.

Peleton Facebook Group Example

It created the Official Peleton Member Page, a place where customers can share stories, ask questions and stay up-to-date with company updates.

The effort proved to be successful. Peleton’s Facebook group has more than 164,000 members and sees 200+ posts per day. The initiative even led to spin-offs, including the Official Peloton Mom Group, Official Peloton Power Zone Pack and Official Peloton UK Member Group.

See if you can adopt a similar approach. If you have an active base of customers and advocates, create a community where they can meet like-minded people and build a stronger relationship with your brand.

Brand Advocacy Is a Must in Marketing

As more consumers crave authenticity in their social and brand interactions, traditional advertising and endorsements just won’t cut it anymore. You need to start enabling the most active members of your customer base to advocate for your brand.

Doing so will lead to higher brand awareness, favorable word of mouth—and ultimately—more sales.

Francesca Nicasio

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Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

Consumers want products faster, cheaper and without the fluff. So what are brands doing?

An increasing amount are cutting the middle man (sorry retailers) and relying on their own brand manufacturing to sell directly to consumers. Even though the current ecommerce market is incredibly competitive, we’ve seen more brands take advantage of direct to consumer marketing and succeed.

A recent eMarketer report found almost half of internet users expect 40-100% of their purchases to be from direct to consumer brands over the next five years.

emarketer direct to consumer graphic

Connecting directly with your customers gives brands the upper hand to to be the one-stop shop for their target demographic. More importantly, it prevents customers from in-store shopping or even ordering certain products on online retailers.

That means there’s a lot less comparison shopping–especially when consumers get their everyday products cheaper, faster and often through a monthly subscription.

While that might sound like a win-win strategy for direct to consumer brands, hold that thought for a second.

Whether you create an amazing product launch strategy or increase social media ad spend, there’s still no easy and sure-fire way to get your direct-to-consumer brand to immediately sell. One of the biggest challenges for direct to consumer marketing is getting off the ground in the first place.

That’s because you rely less on foot traffic and more on marketing strategies to target small audiences who might be interested. Consumers already have their typical path to purchase–go online to shop major retailers or buy your everyday products in store.

Disrupting this path definitely worked for some brands, but certainly not everyone. That’s why we’re providing 10 ways to scale your direct to consumer marketing and win in the ultra-competitive ecommerce landscape.

1. Give Your Customers a Personalized Web Experience

Consumers crave an emotional connection. People want to be treated like people, not just numbers.

That’s why successful direct to consumer marketing strategies typically have something in common–personalization marketing. By creating customer experiences based off purchasing behaviors and what consumers truly want, direct to consumer brands build easy and effective buyer journeys.

In fact, a study by Salesforce found 84% of consumers said personalization is a very important aspect for businesses to win them over.

salesforce graphic on customer treatment

The same study also found 67% of customers will pay more for a great experience with a brand. This is why direct to consumer marketing works so well. Brands create better experiences when they personalize and act as the one-stop shop for their needs.

Trunk Club does this perfectly. The direct to consumer clothing company gets their shoppers to work directly with a stylist to help personalize the type of clothing that gets shipped.

While other direct to consumer brands offer a similar product, Trunk Club takes it a step further to provide more personalization. The company succeeds because customers know they’ll love what comes in their wardrobe box.

More Than Just Meeting the Needs of Consumers

Personalization is more than just meeting customer expectations–it’s all about exceeding them. Another Salesforce report on customer experience discovered 72% of consumers expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations.

The majority of respondents also added that this affects their brand loyalty. Research showed that consumers were twice as likely to pay attention to personalized offers as compared to general offers.

While retailers have the ability to promote and highlight its brands, direct to consumer marketing goes beyond by giving consumers exactly what they need.

Casper could’ve stopped at mattresses and bedding, but the brand understands there’s more to a good night sleep. They’re constantly working to provide more products to go above and beyond customer expectations.

2. Drive More Connection & Engagement Through Content

Much like personalization, great direct to consumer brands also connect and engage their audiences really well. These brands make better connections with their core customers through effective content strategies.

Brands need to bring a level of personality that allows shoppers to see them as personal and real. For example, Dollar Shave Club knows shopping for razors is not only expensive, but annoying.

The content pushed on social media and through various ad campaigns all try to build a better connection with the men who buy razors. In the example above, Dollar Shave Club connects with its consumer base by talking about one of the biggest questions people have about carry-on items–can you bring a razor?

The best way to build a relationship with a person is to talk with them and provide them information that actually helps. If it’s not product information, another way to connect through content is by being transparent.

Everlane is known as a fully-transparent clothing brand. And to ensure its customers know where their products come from and how they effect the environment, Everlane uses social media to speak out on issues.

Get Your Shoppers Involved

Again, content is a great way to connect to your customers and one way direct to consumer marketing works well is with user-generated content. Data from CrazyEgg shows that user-generated content gets viewed and watched 10 times more than brand content.

With so much trust in other shoppers’ opinions, why wouldn’t you create an easier path to showcase their content about you? Once again, transparency is key. However, showcasing your products through the eyes of your customers removes doubt in the purchasing decision.

Everlane does a great job of this as well by reposting images of real people using their products on social media. The point is to show your products working for everyday people.

With the help of PowerReviews’ Visual and Social Suite, direct to consumer brands can easily collect, authenticate and display user-generated content to their website or product pages.

Visual & Social Display Snippet

This gives shoppers the confidence to know your direct to consumer marketing is trustworthy and effective.

3. Make the Online Shopping Experience Better Than In Store

Innovation is key to building good customer relationships. It’s your job as the brand to discover ways to make the customer experience even better and drive loyalty to get shoppers to come back.

But for direct to consumer marketing, it’s about creating better online experiences than in store. The direct to consumer industry relies heavily on returning customers and continued subscriptions.

The challenge is winning over shoppers to return.

Data from a Temkin Group infographic found 87% of loyal customers will purchase again. Additionally, 79% will recommend your brand to friends or family.

tempkin group 2018 infographic on customer experience

Direct to consumer marketing allows you to build straightforward relationships, which leads to more loyalty. A good brands in the direct to consumer world not only keeps their shoppers loyal, they prevent them from needing an in-store experience.

One of the most popular avenues to win over customers and prevent the in store buy is through free shipping. But you could take it a step further, like Warby Parker, an reinvent the way you shop for a product.

The online eyewear brand solved a huge customer issue–people don’t like to buy glasses without seeing how they look on their face. Instead, they offer to send five pairs of glasses to your home to try on and send back for free.

But Warby Parker took it even further by providing a virtual try-on tool to sample all frames in the convenience of your home. So even if buyers want to try on more than five frames, they can and at home.

Now the brand has even developed an app that will check your eye prescription right from you mobile phone. This is the pinnacle of being the one-stop shop to a consumer need.

warby parker testing app

4. Develop More Influencer Relationships

Influencer marketing gets you directly in touch with real customers. This is why so many brands work with influencers to promote products to new customers through authentic recommendations.

By working with micro-influencers, direct to consumer brands have a great way to scale this marketing efforts with the voice of everyday people. These influencers have a more tightly-focused audience, and cost much less than bigger influencers and celebrities.

Best of all, they bring big results.

A study from Tomoson found that brands make an average of $6.50 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing. Plus, these efforts result in higher quality customers.

influencer and sampling suite graphic

By starting a product sampling campaign, direct to consumer brands get the word out of their products much faster and more effectively. Consider running free 1-month or 3-month trials for subscriptions and product sampling strategies for non-subscription items.

This will drive more user-generated content to collect and display on your pages. And more than likely, the process will be much more affordable than any major influencer campaign.

5. Generate Better Review Content

Another way successful direct to consumer brands step up their game is through ratings and reviews content. This content is what helps you show your potential customers you’re a trustworthy and beneficial brand to choose.

The Growing Power of Reviews report found nearly 63% of online shoppers between 18 and 29 years old search for websites that have reviews before buying. That means the content you generate in your reviews is what potential customers want to see in search.

powerreviews percentage of shoppers looking for reviews graphic

With PowerReviews’ industry-leading ratings and reviews collection tools, you build up your review content across the web to provide your shoppers with more content. And for direct to consumer brands, it’s not easy collecting reviews for multiple products at once.

That’s why we offer the Review Your Purchases feature, which allows your brand to collect multiple product reviews in one window. We make it easier on your customers to leave helpful reviews and collect more content for your brand.

review your purchases example on powerreviews

At the same time, this doesn’t mean you should only work toward collecting positive reviews. Having a balance of positive and negative reviews actually does your brand more good.

In fact, the same PowerReviews report found 86% of shoppers under the age of 45 specifically look for negative reviews. Even when you’re launching new products, reviews are essential.

Beauty brand Measa teamed up with PowerReviews to do product sampling before launching new products. The results? Measa saw 986 authentic reviews generated through the campaign.

6. Listen to Consumer Feedback

Your customers are talking to you: are you listening?

Whether on social media or in their review comments, your customers are giving you valuable insights into their needs (and whether or not your products are fulfilling those needs).

For example, check out these reviews on one makeup brand’s website:

beauty product reviews example

These reviews are from happy and loyal customers, but include valuable tidbits and ideas that the brand can use to improve their products. Make sure to use a good review analytics tool in order to listen effectively to your customers.

Picking out key adjectives, product flaws and things that customers love could give you great insights into your next product development campaign.

7. Create Email Marketing Campaigns to Build Loyalty

Direct to consumer marketing is all about building customer loyalty to your brand. You want customers to buy your product and avoid the in-store experience.

So, your messaging has to be spectacular in every area of your marketing campaign. If you’ve built up an email list, you’ve got to provide that audience with content that will connect and keep interested shoppers’ attention.

By building loyalty means you have to reward your customers who truly connect to your brand. For example, Birchbox sends great email marketing content to their customer base to offer rewards when you get friends and family to join.

Birchbox email example

Another way to build loyalty in email marketing is by showing customers you understand their life and their needs. Direct to consumer marketing is all about addressing a problem with an item most people buy and making it easier.

Your content has to make this clear.

Hello Fresh makes its benefits easy to understand–no more boring meals. Additionally, they provide a ton of recipes to help its current and potential customers find meals they’ll actually look forward to.

hellofresh email campaign

Target your customers with hyper-relevant offers that show you understand their needs. And try to offer your shoppers exclusive discounts that show how much you appreciate them.

8. Retarget Customers & Web Visitors via Social Media Ads

Retargeted ads are nothing new for direct to consumer marketing. This means taking behavioral information from a customer’s web experience and showing the person targeted ads on social media and other places.

However, you need to make sure your retargeted ads are hyper-relevant to the individual user. Imperfect Produce will regularly run Instagram ads, like this organic post below, to showcase mission to reduce food waste and provide customers with an awesome solution.

By focusing on your true core product benefit, you cut out the unnecessary fluff of your product or service.

9. Capture the Emotion of the Purchase

People purchase for many different reasons. What are the emotions that play into the purchase for your customers?

For some, it may be the thought that they are purchasing products that are good for the environment. Some shoppers like to know part of the proceeds go toward a specific charity.

And for other shoppers out there, the simple excitement of a spontaneous purchase or package coming in the mail makes all the difference. Direct to consumer marketing is about capturing the joy of the product purchased and received.

There’s even a hashtag used on Instagram to collect user-generated content called #barkboxday. The branded hashtag works to simply highlight customers’ pets enjoying their new treats and toys.

By playing on the excitement of pet owners when unboxing their product, they’ve grown their direct to consumer brand to more than 600,000 monthly subscribers.

barkbox user-generated content example

Just look at how happy these cute pups are!

10. Track & Optimize the Right Direct to Consumer KPIs

In order to make a success of your direct to consumer marketing, you’ll need to stay up to date on important metrics for your brand.

For example, track metrics that help you see the entire customer journey. Where do your website visitors come from? How many people are clicking on your social media ads?

Then, find the KPIs that tell you the valuable of your customer base. Track repeat purchases, average order values, subscription counts and lifetime order value to see if you’re successfully building loyalty in your customers.

These metrics will help you see if your direct to consumer marketing efforts are working, and will show you areas where you need to improve.

The Future for Successful Ecommerce Brands

Using these direct to consumer marketing tactics, customers see your brand as authentic and personable. Don’t leave any room for doubt and always make sure tor prioritize the customer’s overall experience with your service.

Even in a hyper-competitive landscape, your direct to consumer brand can still succeed by going above and beyond with your customers’ needs.

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

Ecommerce is quickly becoming one of the biggest markets in the world and the amount of online shopping statistics show us why. Traditional in-store shopping is still a pillar for brands like health and beauty, which rely on consumers to physically inspect and try out products before buying.

However, the overall market changes for brands selling online have morphed. Brands are more efficient at targeting core audiences and getting products in customers’ hands faster.

But how else is the marketing shifting when it comes to online shopping? What are the biggest and newest challenges for online retailers today? What opportunities are on the horizon?

To paint a better picture of the market, we’ve broken down 41 online shopping statistics for 2019 that we think you need to bookmark:

Click on the jump links to skip ahead.

The State of Ecommerce Statistics

  1. In 2018, online sales worldwide hit an estimated $2.48 trillion, making up 8.8% of total retail sales. That means online sales have almost doubled in value since 2015. (Invespcro)
  2. The average value of online shopping orders in the U.S. is $128.38 on traditional devices, such as a desktop, and $85.05 on smartphones. (Statistica)

statista graphic showing data on devices

  1. The primary reason (43%) U.S. internet shoppers make a purchase online is for convenience. The second-most popular reason was pricing (19%). (Statistica)
  2. 64% of people make impulsive purchases online at least once a month. (Finder)

The Lesson

It’s no shock that ecommerce sales are on the rise. The world of online shopping is primed to continue its growth and across all devices.

People love shopping online because it’s convenient. This is a lesson to you: if your online store is going to succeed, the shopping experience needs to be as convenient as possible for your customers. That means including perks like free shipping and easy checkouts.

Mobile Shopping Statistics

  1. 90% of shoppers use their mobile device to help make purchase decisions while in store. (The Retail Revolution Report, PowerReviews)
  2. Of all mobile shoppers, 77% say they are more likely to purchase a product if the mobile website or app has product reviews. (The Growing Power of Reviews, PowerReviews)
  3. Mobile devices are used for 24% of all online spending. (Statistica)
  4. By 2021, mobile ecommerce is projected to make up 72.9% of total ecommerce sales. (Statistica)

mobile ecommerce graphic statista

The Lesson

The point for your ecommerce business is to make sure your website is 100% prepared for mobile. With more shoppers coming in on tablets and smartphones, you’ll need to do various tests to ensure your whole website is just as responsive on a mobile device as it is on a desktop.

Create an easy path to purchase with faster mobile checkouts, easy log ins and adjustable high-quality visuals of your products.

Email, Social & Ads for Ecommerce Statistics

  1. 86% of shoppers want to get promo emails every month, while 61% want to see these emails every week. However, 15% of shoppers want promo emails every day. (Marketing Sherpa)

marketingsherpa email frequency graphic

  1. When online shoppers are retargeted with display ads, they’re 70% more likely to convert. (Spiralytics)
  2. When customers have a positive experience with a brand on social media, 70% are likely to recommend that brand to others. (Ambassador)
  3. 55% of people say they made an online purchase after discovering a product on social media. (Axios)
  4. 80% of Instagram users admit to following at least one business (or even a few). (Instagram)
  5. Approximately a third of the most popular and watched Instagram Stories come from business accounts. (Instagram)

The Lesson

Email, social and paid ads should be at the top of the list for every ecommerce marketer in 2019.

Shoppers are interested in seeing promotional emails in their inbox, so make sure the content stands out. To get the right frequency, ask consumers how often they want to receive promotional emails and segment your email list accordingly.

Social is just as important for promotion as it is for customer service. So, get active where your audience is and respond to both positive and negative feedback.

Finally, use retargeting ads to get shoppers back to your website when they’ve been browsing without purchasing, or even when they abandoned their shopping cart.

Visual and social suite banner

Influencer Marketing Statistics

  1. Sponsored posts on Instagram got a total of 1 billion likes in 2017. (Emarketer)
  2. 84% of micro-influencers charge only $250 per sponsored post. (Bloglovin)
  3. Brands make an average of $6.50 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing. (Tomoson)
  4. 51% of brands that use influencer marketing get higher quality customers as a result. (Tomoson)
  5. 54% of shoppers between ages 18-29 think photos and videos from fellow consumers are more valuable than brand or retailer visuals. That number only drops to 50% for those between ages 30-44. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)
  6. 65% of shoppers trust products more when user-generated content, like photos and videos, are in reviews. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)

PowerReviews Snapshot for Ecommerce visual content graph

The Lesson

Influencers are everywhere. And whether they have a million followers or just a thousand, they can be extremely useful to your brand.

This is a marketing opportunity you can’t pass up. And the best part is that it doesn’t have to chew up a lot of your budget. PowerReviews offers affordable product sampling campaigns you can run to promote a new product launch or get more reviews on a low-rated product.

influencer and sampling suite syndication example

Of course, the ROI speaks for itself–influencer marketing has the opportunity to get you more than 6 times your money back. These strategies are relatively simple to implement and see results.

Conversion Rate Statistics

  1. The average conversion rate of online shoppers in the U.S. during 2018 was 2.58%. (Statistica)

average conversion rate statista graphic

  1. Ecommerce stores that use video on product pages saw a 134% boost in conversion. (Crazy Egg)
  2. A delay of just 1 second in page response can result in a 7% decrease in conversion rates. (Kissmetrics)
  3. On average, apparel products sold on the PowerReviews Open Network see a 14.48% increase in conversion rate once the items start generating ratings and reviews. (Importance of Reviews for Apparel, PowerReviews)
  4. Products with reviews see a 270% increase in conversion. (From Reviews to Revenue, PowerReviews & Northwestern University)

The Lesson

Looking at the benchmark, how does your ecommerce store match up?

How your website works plays a huge part in your conversion rate. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rates, try adding video content to product pages. If it’s user-generated content, even better!

Also, make sure that your page speed and response time is optimized. This will help reduce your bounce rate and increase conversions.

Online Customer Behavior Statistics

  1. 32% of customers are more likely to buy clothing online if a website features photos of real customers wearing the item. (Olapic)
  2. Of the U.S. consumers shopping through online marketplaces, 55% say the most important checkout option is free shipping. (UPS)

UPS top reasons for purchasing from retailers graphic

  1. Just 3% of shoppers say they never rely on visuals when purchasing online. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)
  2. On the other hand, 88% of online shoppers specifically look for user-generated content, like pictures or videos, before buying. (Snapshot for Ecommerce, PowerReviews)
  3. The ideal average star rating for purchase probability is 4.2-4.5 stars. Perfect 5-star reviews are considered too good to be true. (From Reviews to Revenue, PowerReviews & Northwestern University)
  4. 79% of shoppers say they are less likely to buy from a seller if their site is dissatisfactory or has poor performance. (Kissmetrics)

The Lesson

Basically, people want authenticity. By creating transparency into your products, whether it’s through ratings and reviews or website performance, consumers want trust before buying.

Allowing easy access to product photos and videos will build even more authenticity in your product. It’s essential to add this visual content to your product pages and allow potential customers to see how real people enjoy your products.

Ratings and Reviews Statistics

  1. 70% of consumers are interested in accessing product ratings and reviews in store. (The Retail Revolution Report, PowerReviews)
  2. 45% of consumers are more likely to come back to a brand that responds to their negative review. (ReviewTrackers)

reviewtrackers negative review data

  1. 85% of shoppers specifically look for negative reviews while researching a product. For shoppers between 18 and 29, this number jumps to 91%. (The Growing Power of Reviews, PowerReviews)
  2. 44% of centennial shoppers lose trust in a product when there are no negative reviews. (Understanding the Centennial Shopper, PowerReviews)
  3. 66% of shoppers who go to a brand website specifically look for product information to research or verify their buying decision. (Forrester)
  4. Of the shoppers saying they don’t write reviews, 55% said they need an incentive or reward to do so. (The Growing Power of Reviews, PowerReviews)

The Lesson

Again–transparency is key.

Not only do people look for positive review content, they want to see negative reviews as well. Brands need to display both sides of the story to create more transparency into your products.

Display your product reviews clearly. Make the content easy to access, whether users are on a desktop or mobile device.

Returns & Cart Abandonment Statistics

  1. 67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase, and 79% want free return shipping. (Invespcro)

invespco returns page graphic

  1. While 72% of customers will abandon their shopping cart, only 8% will come back and finish their purchase. (Wishpond)
  2. 22% of people who abandon their carts do so because of surprise costs that only showed up while they were checking out. (SmallBizTrends)
  3. 92% of online shoppers will buy something again if product returns are easy. (Invespcro)

The Lesson

Making it easy to return your products may seem counterintuitive. However, doing so has obvious benefits for your business.

Not only will people be more likely to purchase, but those who do return often purchase something else. Ecommerce returns may be for something as simple as a sizing problem or a product being damaged in transit.

Additionally, abandoned carts should avoid hidden costs until the end. Be transparent about how much a product will cost from the get-go. Try to avoid posting taxes or shipping costs at the end of the checkout experience.

Online Shopping Keeps Growing: Are You Growing With It?

As we’ve seen from the online shopping statistics for 2019, the market is growing and the demands from consumers are too. If you’re using the right tactics, your ecommerce brand will continue to be ready for the various changes in the industry.

Use the statistics above to improve your ecommerce business and share your favorite stats with us on Twitter!

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis

Amy Copadis is a writer and blogger covering various topics including digital marketing, travel, natural health and ecommerce.

We can’t talk about the future of retail and ecommerce without bringing up online marketplaces. Digital marketplaces have grown rapidly, gaining the attention of brand considering selling on Walmart Marketplace and other new spaces like the recently announced Target Marketplace.

It’s no surprise why more brands and using these spaces as research by Newegg found that in 2017, the world’s largest online retail marketplaces sold over $1.5 trillion. What’s more even more telling, these marketplaces grew over 30% within that year—double the growth of ecommerce overall.

Businesses are still learning how to compete with Amazon and get their share of the ecommerce pie. While the ecommerce giant leads the overall growth in the U.S., new online marketplaces shouldn’t be overlooked–including the Walmart Marketplace.

The challenge for brands is knowing how to sell on Walmart Marketplace to begin with and what it takes to be successful in this space. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step walk through guide to selling on Walmart Marketplace.

You’ll discover what makes the platform work for brands, and you’ll learn the necessary steps you should take to become a seller on the site. Specifically, we’ll cover these main topics:

Click the jump links to skip ahead

If your brand has any questions at all, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn about our relationship with some of the top global retailers in our Open Network!

Why Sell on Walmart Marketplace?

Selling on Walmart Marketplace presents a major opportunity for brands to get its products in front of online shoppers by using the retailers name as a space to sell all sorts of products. Most consumers are familiar with the brands they can buy in store, but online marketplaces make it easy for any brand create an account and sell.

Before diving into specific tactics, here are some of the main reasons why brands should consider Walmart marketplace:

Get in Front of Millions Ready to Buy

Walmart’s website drives hundreds of millions of visitors per month. Even more impressive are Walmart’s numbers when it comes to visitor engagement. The average duration on the site is just above 4 minutes, and users view almost 5 pages per visit.

engagement on walmart marketplace graphic

The numbers show us that people don’t just flock to Walmart in droves; they spend quite a bit of time on the site. Winning just a tiny sliver of Walmart’s visitors can do wonders for your brand by creating a massive channel that goes directly to your product.

Walmart Marketplace Is Poised for Growth

Yes, Amazon is still No. 1 as far ecommerce goes, but Walmart is certainly holding its own. According to the company’s fiscal report for 2019, Walmart’s ecommerce sales grew 43% from the previous quarter. The retailer also recently launched new features on Walmart Marketplace, including free two-day shipping on millions of products, as well as the ability to return marketplace purchases in physical retail stores.

These features are making the platform more attractive to consumers, which means your brand should be paying attention to this type of growth.

Improved Brand Recognition

Selling on Walmart Marketplace puts your brand and products in front of more people. And while not everyone who comes across your company will buy from it, having that increased presence could boost brand recognition and ultimately lead to additional traffic and sales.

walmart marketplace home section

Some merchants have even reported seeing their website traffic increase after setting up a listing on Walmart Marketplace. This suggests a brand’s alignment with the retail giant increases awareness, credibility and potentially even sales.

There’s No Monthly or Setup Fees

Unlike Amazon and some other marketplaces, which charge seller subscription costs and other selling fees, Walmart simply charges a category-specific referral fee when you successfully complete a sale.

And this brings us to our next point…

How Much Are Walmart’s Fees?

Walmart’s referral fees range from 6 to 20%, depending on the product category. Below, we’ve broke down the list of the most recent referral fees for contract categories:

Walmart Referral Fee Percentages

Now that you know the advantages of selling on Walmart Marketplace, let’s look at the steps you should take to become a seller on the platform.

Step 1: Apply to Be a Walmart Marketplace Seller

The first thing you need to do is to apply for a Walmart Marketplace account. You can do this by heading to marketplace.walmart.com and clicking the Apply button on the top right. Or you can access the application form directly on marketplace-apply.walmart.com.

The application form takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete. You’ll kick it off by filling out your basic contact information.

walmart marketplace primary contact application

Then comes the fun part–you’ll need to supply other details about your business to legally comply with the marketplace. For example, your company needs to provide the legal company name, tax ID, annual sales revenue and other critical business information.

walmart marketplace business information application

From this point, you’ll need to tell Walmart about your product assortment. This part of the form requires you to enter details about your top categories and what you actually sell.

Additionally, you’ll need to disclose your revenue and SKUs for each category.

walmart marketplace product assortment application

If you have a web store, be ready to provide necessary information about where and how you sell your products. For example, you’ll be asked to specify the number of active SKUs you have on sale as well as the other marketplaces on which you’re selling, such as Amazon, eBay or soon-t-be Target.

walmart marketplace application ecommerce experience

Finally, you need to answer questions about your operations. Start by entering the percentage of SKUs you own versus the SKUs you dropship and fulfill with the FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon).

Then you will be asked about your shipping methods and customer return policy.

walmart marketplace application operations

Once you submit the form, the Walmart Marketplace team reviews your information and gets in contact with your business about the status of your application. Fingers crossed for you!

Step 2: Complete Your Registration

If your application is approved, you’ll receive an email from Walmart inviting you to complete your registration. Typically, the email will look something like this:

Walmart Marketplace Application Email

To make this part of the process easier, have the following information handy:

  • Your business address
  • Bank account details (for deposits from Walmart)
  • Business information required for IRS form W-9

At this point, it’s time to complete your registration with the following steps:

Registration Step 1: Create Your Account

The first step in the registration process is to create your account. Walmart will automatically generate your username based on the info you entered in the initial Marketplace application.

However, you’ll need to come up with a password that you’ll use to log in to up your account, add new products and check on sales.

Walmart marketplace acount creation

Registration Step 2: Company Registration

Here, you’ll enter your display name, which is the name people see when they shop on Walmart’s site. Additionally, you’ll have to enter your corporate address, which is only for Walmart’s internal use.

walmart marketplace company registration

Registration Step 3: W-9 Completion

In the next step, you must provide Walmart with a Form W-9. This allows Walmart to issue your business a 1099 at the end of the year.

Walmart marketplace account w9

Registration Step 4: Payment Details

Next up on your registration is setting up the payment details. Walmart has teamed up with Payoneer as its payment processor for Marketplace purchases. To receive payments from Walmart, you need to register for an account on the Payoneer website.

Once that’s done, you’ll be redirected to Walmart’s Seller Center.

walmart marketplace payoneer payment info

Note that your status in Walmart’s Seller Center will remain “INACTIVE” while your Payoneer registration is pending. This should take only take a few minutes, though. After your register of a Payoneer account, you’ll receive a confirmation email shortly.

Registration Step 5: Shipping Information

Once your payment confirmation is complete, you will want to set up your shipping details. This allows Walmart to charge the right fees. But to do this, you first have to decide between two pricing models:

  1. The Price of the Total Order: With this option, you will charge shipping based on the total price of order.
  2. The Number of Item(s) Weight: If you choose this option, you will charge shipping based on the weight of the products and/or how many items need to be shipped.

walmart marketplace shipping rates

After setting the pricing model, specify the shipping methods and regions you support. The four default shipping methods include:

  • Value
  • Standard
  • Next Day
  • Expedited

Then you want to select the shipping regions under each method.

walmart marketplace account shipping info

Walmart also lets you set transit time minimums and maximums for each method and region combinations. Take this into consideration with your current online sales and what works for you.

walmart marketplace shipping model options

After filling out your shipping details, you can review your settings and click submit.

Step 3: Complete Your Partner Profile

Now that you’ve successfully registered, you can log into Walmart’s Seller Center and complete your Partner Profile. The Partner Profile tells Walmart shoppers all about your company and your policies.

To help you along with this process, we’ll discuss the sections you need to complete to get your profile up and running.

Add Your Company Info

In this section, you’ll enter your seller display name, upload your brand logo and add a brief company description.

walmart marketplace partner profile

Set Your Customer Service Policies

Next up are the details about your customer service policies. You’ll need to add your customer service contact details for your new customers. This includes things like your customer service phone number, email and best ways to contact you for support.

Additionally, you want to include the customer service policy information you’d like shoppers to know.

Pick Shipping Options

In this section, you’ll provide your shipping rates, processing schedule and shipping policies.

walmart marketplace shipping pricing options

Decide Your Returns Policy

There’s also a section for returns, in which you specify your procedures, policies and fees associated with product returns. It’s smart to consider the amount of returns you typically see and how you plan to process items coming back to you both on Walmart and your own site.

walmart marketplace retuns options

Add Your Privacy Policy

Next is the Privacy Policy section. This gives you the opportunity to share how you keep shopper data secure.

walmart marketplace privacy policy content

Input Your Specific Sales Tax Information

Shoppers may be charged sales tax when purchasing your products. To ensure that customers are aware of their sales tax, you need to provide your tax policies and offer details on the jurisdictions in which you may have a sales tax obligation.

You’ll also need to specify tax codes for each supported shipping method you choose.

Walmart Marketplace shipping tax codes

Step 4: Add Your Products to the Walmart Marketplace

You’ve finished setting up your Seller Profile—great! Now it’s time to add your products you want to sell on Walmart Marketplace. You can set up your items through a number of integration methods. They include:

  • API: This is the best method if your team has programming knowledge and you’re setting up a large catalog on Walmart.
  • Bulk Upload: In this method, you create Excel spreadsheets containing your items to bulk upload to Walmart. This is a good option for sellers who have a limited catalog.
  • Single Item: With this method, you’ll enter your product details directly into the Seller Center user interface. This method is recommended if you’re setting your first few items and/or if you have very limited product assortment.
  • Solution Provider: There are a number of solution providers who can help you manage your listings on Walmart Marketplace. You can choose to work with one of Walmart’s approved solution providers to handle your listings for you.

walmart marketplace seller providers list

Make sure you do your homework before choosing a Walmart Marketplace solutions provider. There are some services that are tailored to specific products, which could be helpful for your brand.

Step 5: Preview Your Items & Place Test Orders

After the item setup stage, preview what your content and pricing will look like to shoppers. This is a critical step toward understanding what your shoppers will see.

If you’ve set up your items using Bulk Item Setup or REST APIs, you’ll need to check the Feed Status of your items. Here you will want to ensure your products were entered into the system correctly. Once you’ve confirmed, click on the Complete Item & Order Testing link in the Launch Checklist.

walmart marketplace complete onboarding

How to Preview Your Items

To preview how your items will look on Walmart’s website, click the Preview Item link on the item grid. This will bring up the listing page as it would appear to shoppers.

If this is your first time with Walmart Marketplace, make sure you review these product pages closely and ensure the details are correctly displayed.

walmart marketplace preview example

How to Place Test Orders

To place a test order, update your price and inventory before publishing. Additionally, you will want to set the test item’s stock level to 1. This will prevent you from accidentally purchasing your product.

Walmart Marketplace Update Inventory

After publishing, click the Purchase Item link on the product grid. This will bring you to the live page where you can buy the item.

walmart marketplace purchase item example

At this stage, you can test three different order scenarios:

  • Order cancellation
  • Order shipping
  • Order adjustment

Once you’ve completed the tests for those scenarios, simply reset the prices and stock levels of your test items.

Walmart Marketplace item and order testing

This concludes the setup stage of the Walmart Marketplace. After completing these steps, the Walmart team will review your details. If all goes well, your profile and products will appear on the site!

How to beat amazon banner

How to Optimize Your Walmart Marketplace Listings & Drive Sales

Congratulations on getting your account up and running on Walmart Marketplace! Now that you’re an official Seller, it’s time to optimize your listings and maximize your views and sales.

It might seem like the hard part is over, but to truly drive sales through the Walmart Marketplace, you have to optimize your listings. By following these four tips, you will have a much better chance at getting products to appear in front shoppers more frequently and effectively:

1. Focus on Your SEO Efforts

To improve your listings’ chances of showing up on search results—both on Walmart’s site and search engines like Google—you need to understand the components of your Walmart listing that are tagged for search.

SEO is a critical aspect toward product listenings and adding items on the Walmart Marketplace is no different. For starters, focus on these product aspects that are tagged for search:

  • Product Name
  • Images
  • Key Features
  • Description
  • Attributes

To maximize your visibility, it’s important to optimize each of these components for SEO–here’s how:

Product Name

Your product name should succinctly describe the item you’re selling. Walmart recommends keeping your product names between 50 to 75 characters to promote readability and SEO results.

walmart marketplace title SEO

Walmart recommends following this format when entering your product name:

Brand + Clothing Size Group (if applicable) + Defining Quality + Item Name + Style (if applicable) + Pack Count

Images

Upload multiple images to showcase each item in multiple angles. If possible, use rich content formats such as videos which give shoppers a glimpse of the product in action.

Doing so lets customers see exactly what they’re getting. In turn, this gives customers confidence in their buying decision and the path to purchase.

Here’s an example from Gerber, whose product titles and images follow the above SEO best practices:

walmart marketplace images and description examples

Descriptions

Use your product descriptions to tell shoppers about the features and benefits of your products. For best results, write product descriptions that are at least 150 words.

To further optimize the text for SEO, make sure that the product name, brand and relevant keywords are present in the description, but don’t overdo it! The key is to integrate keywords in a natural and readable way.

Otherwise, you’ll be keyword stuffing product descriptions, which search engines like Google, highly frown upon.

Key Features

In the About This Item section, add 3 to 10 product highlights or key features. This will give shoppers an overview of the product.

Call out specific product details and put the most important features first. And just like with the detailed description, you’ll want to naturally include some keywords in this section.

walmart marketplace about this item content

Here is a great example of a page with an SEO-optimized product description. It also lists its key features appropriately.

Attributes

To ensure your items show up on the most relevant search results on Walmart.com, be sure to specify all the relevant attributes when setting up your products. To see which ones are relevant to your products, search for your items on Walmart.com, and check the left-hand panel for a list of attributes.

walmart marketplace product attributes

2. Win the Buy Box

In this next tip, it’s all about the buy box. If you’re products are also sold by others, Walmart will present those items one a single Item Page. This allows the customer to choose the seller when they buy.

While Walmart gives shoppers the option to view listings from other sellers, the item page will prominently display one seller’s listing in the Buy Box. And this is the section of the page that contains the Add to Cart button.

walmart buy box example

The seller that “wins” the Buy Box typically wins the sale because it’s featured more prominently on the page. For this reason, you should strive to own the Buy Box whenever possible.

Doing that involves two things:

  • Keep your prices competitive (including shipping): Walmart usually displays the cheapest listing in the Buy Box, so sellers with the most competitive prices win.
  • Have enough items in stock: Your item won’t appear on the Buy Box if you lack a healthy product stock. Monitor your inventory levels and keep them updated in the Seller Center.

To figure out if your products are winning the Buy Box, generate a Buy Box Report from the Seller Center. This report offers a bulk list of your items and shows which ones have won the Buy Box.

walmart marketplace export product info

The report is updated every half an hour, so it can offer a near real-time view of your Buy Box status.

Walmart Help Center Excel Example

3. Generate a Lot of Ratings & Reviews

Having ratings and reviews dramatically increases your search results. Here at PowerReviews, we’ve found traffic to a product increases 108% after moving from no reviews to more than one review.

Additionally, when a product moves from zero to more than one review, the conversion rate increases by 65%. Needless to say, gaining customer feedback leads to a lift in traffic and sales.

ratings and reviews SEO search graphic

In fact, we focus on using a minimal Javascript size to showcase your product reviews even faster on retailer sites and your own. PowerReviews follows Google’s best practices and leverages tags and rich snippets.

Doing so allows your user-generated content in ratings and reviews to be indexed and rendered with Javascript.  Ultimately, we increase page and loads speeds as HTML is no longer required.

To add even more good news, Walmart actively helps its sellers to get more product reviews. A few weeks after someone purchases a product, the retailer automatically sends the customer an email inviting them to rate and review their purchase.

walmart review collection process

Customers who choose to review their purchase are taken to their account, where they rate the item purchased, add comments and upload photos.

walmart mobile review process

That being said, take additional steps to gain even more ratings and reviews. Aside from relying on Walmart to collect feedback, you can implement review syndication through a platform like the PowerReviews Open Network.

Our completely open network syndicates your content to more than 150 of the world’s top retailers. Also, our AI-powered Product Knowledge graph and Content Operations Team matches and moderates your content to maximize your presence on retailer sites and shopping platforms.

To learn more, get in touch with our team today!

4. Run Promotions & Advertisements

SEO will boost traffic and sales, but to quickly drive visits, consider Walmart’s advertising options. To further increase your listing visibility and conversions, Walmart Marketplace offers you the ability to run promotions or paid ads on its site.

How to Implement Promotions

There are two types of promos on Walmart Marketplace:

  • Clearance: The best option to sell slow-moving stock. Choose this promo type to reduce the original listing price.
  • Reduced: For savings greater than 5% for items that cost $100 or for savings more than $5 for items that cost over $100, choose reduced.

To manage your promotions, complete the Price and Promo Spec on the Seller Center. The Price and Promo Spec is a downloadable Excel workbook that lets you enter all the details of your promotion (SKU, Price, Promo Status, Promo Price, Promo Type, etc.).

walmart help center promotion status example

How to Run Ads

Walmart lets a limited number of merchants participate in the Walmart Performance Ads Program (WPA). The feature is a self-service ad platform, which you can create paid campaigns on the Marketplace.

If you’re interested in WPA, request access by submitting the following company details to wpasales@walmart.com:

  • Business name
  • Contact details (name, phone, email)
  • Number of SKUs on the Marketplace
  • Product categories
  • Campaign goals
  • Target customers
  • Interest in annual plans and/or seasonal advertising
  • Estimated ad budget

Your approval will be determined by the Walmart Media Group, who will factor in certain performance criteria on Walmart’s website. If you’re approved, you’ll be invited to attend a training webinar.

Once that’s done, you can start setting up your campaigns on advertising.walmart.com.

Winning on Walmart Marketplace

It takes a lot to get your listings set up. The effort is worth it. We understand the challenges for brands selling on Walmart Marketplace too. That’s why we hope this guide sets you off on the right foot.

Follow these tips to create more opportunities to drive traffic, reviews and sales. All that effort is worth it, especially when you tap into Walmart’s user base.

Remember–timing is key.

The Walmart Marketplace may not be as massive as Amazon–yet. However, the company wants to increase its share of online commerce. Get in early and reap the benefits right now.

Have any tips on the Walmart Marketplace? Reach out on Twitter and let us know what works for your brand!

Francesca Nicasio

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Francesca Nicasio is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B content for companies in the retail, technology and SMB space.

With regions of the U.S. bound to some of the colder weather in winter months, many brands and retailers fight to ensure products are delivered on time. However, the Polar Vortex sometimes has something to say about that.

Recently some brands sent out shipping delay emails to its customers to warn about the weather and potential setbacks. Retailers like Newegg and Topshop properly set customer expectations by proactively notifying site visitors, either on customer support pages or product detail pages.

But despite the best efforts of retailers, if mother nature throws a wrench in shipping plans, there is little that can be done to control the last mile of the online shopping experience.

To help with these situations, here are some tips for customer service teams that need to communicate a delay in shipping to customers:

Emails Are Easy, Phone Calls Are High Touch

With ecommerce purchases, customers expect most communications from the retailer to be done in the same medium. Depending on the severity of the delay—number of customers affected, dollar value of the order, etc.—always consider calling customers about delivery issues in addition to an email.

Consider the speed with which an issue can be resolved for your customer when discussing solutions in real time.

Be Apologetic

This might seem obvious, but a sincere mea culpa will go a long way when accompanied by reasonable explanations for snafus. You can’t control the weather or if the Postal Service cannot access specific customers.

But don’t be afraid to be honest and open with your customers.

Be Transparent

Customers can often tell when they’re being given a vague reason for a problem, or worse, when they’re being lied to. Try to deliver explanations in real-world terms to help them relate to what went wrong and why.

Deliver Solutions With Options

In some cases, consider giving your customer choices on a platter and let them make the call on how to bring an unsatisfactory issue to a close.

“Would you like to wait until your shoes become available again and we’ll overnight them to you? Or, would you prefer to cancel the order and receive a 10% credit on your next order?”

Choices such as this can quickly change the customer’s mindset from being the victim to being in control.

Under-Promise, Over-Deliver

Make sure you keep any expectations for a quick resolution within reason. You’ve already disappointed the customer once, so don’t do it again by making promises you cannot keep.

On the flip side, a loyal customer knows that your estimated 20-day delivery is probably padded, so don’t go crazy with the under-promise, over-deliver strategy.

Over-Communicate

Keep your customer abreast of progress as you work toward resolving their issue. If goods have finally changed hands from a third-party vendor to your warehouse, tell them.

Treats Are Nice, But Should Be a Final Step

Sending goodies along such as a 15% off coupon code is nice. However, if they’re sent along without a proper apology and straightforward plan of how the issue will be resolved, your brand message might come across as a weak and phony way to keep the shopper spending on your site.

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