How to Future-Proof an E-Commerce Brand to Thrive
2023 has brought ongoing uncertainty for e-commerce businesses, given the challenging macroeconomic environment, a rapidly changing advertising industry, high inflation, and increasingly budget-conscious consumers. And with customer acquisition costs (CACs) rising 222 percent over the past eight years, many retailers and brands will be rethinking their marketing investments.
In today’s economic and consumer climate, e-commerce brands can be well served by focusing on retaining existing customers to maximize those relationships while also fine-tuning their online shopping experience to ensure it's highly relevant. By doing so, they can both unlock more revenue in the moment and give their customers more reason to return.
To future-proof their brand in today’s uncertain environment, we recommend that e-commerce companies take the following steps:
1. Maximize brand loyalty to encourage repeat purchases.
Retailers and brands have invested significantly to acquire and build goodwill with their customers; now is the time for them to focus on retention by enhancing the shopping experience to generate long-term customer value. Brands that provide the joyful experiences their loyal customers are seeking — e.g., promotions, relevant offers and streamlined shopping journeys — are the most likely to keep those customers coming back again and again, even when inflation is prompting them to trim their budgets elsewhere.
2. Create a relevant checkout experience to drive customer lifetime value.
Using machine learning to create a more relevant e-commerce checkout experience is key to driving profitability and customer lifetime value at a time when consumers are pulling back. Providing a fast and frictionless checkout experience is crucial for boosting e-commerce conversion rates. Brands that use first-party customer data and machine-learning technology to offer individual shoppers customized content and offers will be best able to engage their customers on a deeper level while driving conversion, repeat sales and long-term loyalty.
3. Leverage technology to turn what was once a cost center into a profit center.
E-commerce brands can also leverage technology to present highly relevant upsell and add-on offers to individual customers on their payments pages to drive incremental revenue. By presenting shoppers with relevant offers on the payments page and helping them navigate through the noise in payment choices, retailers create an additional monetization opportunity at a critical moment in the checkout process when consumers are highly engaged. This turns the checkout moment — typically seen as a cost center — into a profit center.
By leveraging their existing customers’ brand loyalty, putting relevancy at the center of the e-commerce experience and monetizing the payments page, businesses can increase the value of each transaction and help offset the high cost of customer acquisition, which will help them not only survive but thrive during challenging times.
Elizabeth Buchanan is chief commercial officer at Rokt, an e-commerce tech provider.
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As Chief Commercial Officer, Elizabeth Buchanan leads the strategy and execution for Rokt’s GTM function. Made up of marketing, customer success, business development and growth, it delivered over US$200m in revenue in 2021. Elizabeth was part of the founding Rokt team in 2012. She has more than 25 years of experience with major brands including Yahoo!, Uber and Omnicom, where she held the role of President of Global Transformation within Omnicom.
Elizabeth is a proven entrepreneur having founded (now named) whiteGREY in Australia in her twenties, which she built from a startup into the most revered digital full-service agency in the country. Elizabeth successfully exited the business when she sold it to STW Group (now WPP), and it continues to thrive today.
In addition to her role at Rokt, Elizabeth currently holds board positions with the NGO Vital Voices Global Partnership and S4 Capital (LON: SFOR).
Elizabeth lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and three of their five children (two have already flown the nest!). Not to forget the dog Izzy and pandemic cat Smokey.