Internet, omnipresent - May 3, 2022. Clearly, a shift is happening in the world of eCommerce, we’ve all felt that shock. 2021, the year that has accelerated the entire industry by more than a decade. The profound impact has been permanently altering the way how entrepreneurships start, run and grow businesses both locally and global scope, as well as how consumers choose to browse, shop and pay. All of us, participants or observers, are on the brink of a new era of digital commerce.
eCommerce has been more than a transaction, it is an iteration of the dynamic rapport between businesses and consumers. This time, we pored over data from more than 360,000 global merchants on Shoplazza, and also sat down with Shoplazza CEO, Jeff Li, to understand his visions and insights into the future SaaS shopping cart industry.
Table of contents:
- eCommerce trends for the future.
- What makes Shoplazza apart amidst the rivalry?
- A glimpse into the future with Shoplazza CEO.
eCommerce trends of the future
Opportunities keep emerging at the new eCommerce landscape, on the other hand, competitions have driven the return on all aspects plummeting within this landscape, such as conversion rate of digital ads, longer break-even period for new merchants to achieve.
Meanwhile, customer demands and expectations rise - higher availability of the products and customer services, more transparent ordering process and handling, more authenticity of the brands’ integrity, and so on. Hence social commerce now is at the center of online shopping for customers from any corner of the globe to gain highly visualized informational export and quick-access to the available products and services offered, with more brands investing in video and live shopping. Direct-to-consumers (DTC) services are also looking into the online communities to improve the close rapport to better engage the customers, increase the retention rate, and also avoid the skyrocketing ads campaign expenses.
Rising ad costs pushing merchants to focus on long-term strategies for engaging with consumers
Indisputably, the barriers to starting an online business have been significantly lowered as SaaS technology develops so rapidly. Fewer entry barriers mean it is much easier for anyone to start a business of any size and shape. But it does result in a lot more competitions than ever. From our survey and platform data, merchants are spending more but earnings shrink. This trend became clearer after the privacy law went into effect which limited merchants’ autonomy to target potential consumers who now can easily block the ads interruptions.
Through the survey among our growing merchants, despite the emerging challenges, more than half of the brands still plan to increase the business spending in branding, paid and organic traffic, etc. Shoplazza collaborates closely with merchants to work out the solutions that may make every dollar count by targeting customers who are ready to purchase. We are together tackling the following challenges:.
- Audience growth is not as stable as many merchants think. It refers back to the accuracy of consumer profiling data.
- As digital advertising competition becomes so competitive in every aspect, cost-per-click, cost-per-lead, cost-per-action are all rising on both Google and Facebook platforms. Merchants have no choice but to enter this direct marketing battlefield by offering lower prices.
- With higher ad spending and more aggressive promotion strategies, these two elements may yield a short-term sales boom but with a more granular return. Creating a loyal customer base demands merchants to look back and rebuild brand awareness and confidence with customers who are yet ready to make a purchase.
Shoplazza’s solutions to the future eCommerce
In the cross-border digital commerce rally, last year alone, capitals began to look into shopping cart SaaS platforms and Direct-to-customers (DTC) brands. A common question is often raised to our ears, “What is the core for DTC brands? Products or supply chain?”
At Shoplazza, many of our merchant clients come to us not only for our highly merchant-friendly store-building product, but also for Shoplazza’s deep roots into the supply chain and our diversified digital sales channels to build and grow the DTC brands.
Shoplazza CEO Jeff Li
Per Shoplazza CEO Jeff Li,
“The core of the DTC brand going cross-border is not to talk about a certain product in general terms, but to know which consumer groups you are providing products for, and to quickly adjust your products through direct dialogue with consumers, and constantly use these direct needs to adjust your products. Even though both are popular with capital,” Jeff also pointed out that the independent stores and DTC brands present slightly different focuses in the eyes of capital. For individual online stores, capital is more interested in the capacity of up-scaling, sales channels, and operational efficiency of daily running, more specifically, the capacity of the fulfillment of each customer’s order.
The DTC business model and brands focus and pull more resources to customers’ repurchasing rate, the accuracy of customer profiling, and the constraints of the products in respective markets. Because even if some of the DTC brands still struggle in a state of non-profit, the continuous efforts and resources pulled into branding and repeat purchases will gradually dilute the digital ads expenditure.
Let’s take AlloyWorks as an example, one of our most loyal merchants, also a globally renowned auto parts producer. AlloyWorks specializes itself in "car radiator" accessories, and has successfully ranked first in the categories on both eBay and Amazon platforms. However, platform traffic and customer stickiness are not sufficient to support its branding. Shoplazza offered the services to expand and refine the user marketing through omni-media channels, and has incubated the brand and maintained daily store operations from scratch. From brand design, website design, marketing channels, down to user profiles, Shoplazza dedicated its DTC team by closely team-working with AlloyWorks, combining the brand's vision with our tools and resources. In terms of digital marketing, based on actual needs, a unique campaign strategy was formed with a combination of digital campaign delivery on Facebook and Google, along with trusted KOLs to consistently hit more reach, increase the social platform traffic, and redirection to the homepage. Gradually, the overall turnover rate of AlloyWorks inventory hit a record high, and was often out of stock. In the third month at that time, the revenue growth of AlloyWorks online store exceeded 100%, and achieved breakeven in the second quarter. In ten months from the first store creation, the annual revenue target was completed two months ahead of schedule. It is clear that no matter what type of business model merchants choose to run, or what product the cross-border online store merchants are offering, the overall success is essentially based on one core question, how to convert traffic into actual orders and the challenge of creating a highly local-market adopted online business.
A glimpse into the future with Shoplazza CEO
For the success of AlloyWorks, Jeff told us, “In addition to Twitter, Google, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, global traffic acquiring approaches are so diversified, not only limited to those giant social media platforms, but also local mediums, like local news portals, radio, TV advertising, and even some door-to-door coupons where you find them in parking lots and mailboxes. Merchants across different geographical markets are realizing that a hybrid model of sales marketing strategies adopting both online and offline approaches may be the next step for future eCommerce.”
In terms of niche market segments, an emerging growth trend is the binding force of video and eCommerce. Both TikTok entities showed the great potential of redirecting the referral traffic of short videos for cross-border eCommerce sellers. At present, Jeff believes that the most promising traffic growth driven may be by TikTok's short videos, it’s worth everyone to learn and invest as soon as possible.
In addition, YouTube is also open for eCommerce advertising positions, Google’s significant traffic redirecting capacity is more adopted by merchants gradually. Standing at the turning point of 2022, gazing through the opportunities for the development of the entire cross-border commerce, Jeff also expressed that there are so many opportunities in eCommerce rally, like logistics, warehousing, supply chain, and many other areas where more refined products and services can be developed and offered in future.
"In addition to SaaS service providers, some of the providers offer operational services. The level of offered services is diversified, and the capabilities of those service providers are simply unable to do a good job in cross-border services. This is absolutely impossible. A status quo for most cross-border service providers.”
In this regard, after the completion of the latest C1 round of financing, Jeff added that Shoplazza will continue to adhere to the core development concept of ‘Open to More’ and welcome global service partners and developers, so that more ecological partners can provide customers with diversified services. Increase profits and achieve a win-win situation for all engaging parties. At the same time, more AI technologies are poured into helping merchants and partners to facilitate more data-driven and efficient decisions.
Looking forward to 2022, Jeff confidently expressed that the core strategy of Shoplazza for the future is still to continue pouring resources for offering the best products and services to merchants, adopting new technologies, and accelerating the speed of global expansion.