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Category: Native Commerce

5 Commerce Tips for Making the Most of This Holiday Season

5 Commerce Tips for Making the Most of This Holiday Season

The holiday season is approaching quickly, and having a strong digital commerce strategy is essential. At StackCommerce, we’ve helped hundreds of publisher-owned online shops flourish during the holiday season through our native commerce platform. From preparing unique and exciting inventory to organizing specialized gift shops, we’ve had our hands in it all. Check out our top 5 tips for generating more revenue all winter long, and spreading cheer while you’re at it.

Plan Ahead 

For most online shops, the holiday season is the busiest time of year. On days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, site traffic can quadruple, coupons and promotions can go viral, and inventory can deplete within seconds. It’s critical to plan ahead in order to set your company up for success. Below are three steps to prioritize:

    • Build out the promotional calendar as early as possible, even if that means starting to plan for the holidays in the spring or summer.
    • Review all inventory pricing, needs, and caps before your sales go live. Once you drop a price or issue a site-wide sale, you can’t go back.
    • Schedule promotions with proper cadence to ensure that you and your team are prepared to handle increased volume and heightened sales. Preparing for this influx will provide your customers with a positive experience.

Set Up a Gift Shop

One major shift occurs during the holiday season: consumers buy gifts for others, not themselves. Therefore, the tactics you use to convert consumers during the rest of the year may not be effective during the holiday season. Launching a gift shop, which functions differently than your normal store, allows customers to shop your existing inventory in a new way. Gift Shops also guide customers through a purchase decision that can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for launching a can’t-miss gift shop:

    • Showcase your catalogue with buckets and themes that relate to gifting. Some examples that have worked for us include:
      • Gifts Under $50
      • Gifts for the Trendsetter
      • Gifts for the Jetsetter
      • Gifts for the Techie
    • Don’t assume that customers think your products are giftable. Be sure to communicate the launch of your gift shop to existing customers and explain why the products within are great for gifting.

Call Out Shipping Times  

There’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up to a holiday celebration or party without a gift. So don’t put your customers in a position to fail! Be upfront with your shipping times and let the customers decide if your timeline makes sense for their purchase. Sometimes it’s okay if a gift ships after a holiday, sometimes it’s not.

Don’t Over-Discount

Discounting is a great way to entice customers, but often it’s overused. Consider the reasons why your products are special and communicate this to your customers. Don’t overlook the appeal of your own products! Ask yourself these questions to uncover why your products are unique:

    • Why do my products make for perfect gifts?
    • What features stand out about my products aside from their price points?
    • Are any products exclusive? What products can’t be found anywhere else on the web?

Review Past Holiday Seasons

We’ve all dealt with analysis paralysis, but a healthy amount of analysis can be incredibly effective. Take a good look at what happened last holiday season. What were your biggest sales? Which emails had the highest open rates? What deals sold out? Which promotions converted the most users? How can you replicate what worked and improve what didn’t?

One of the benefits of working with StackCommerce’s native commerce platform is that we deliver a full holiday marketing strategy to each publisher shop across our network! StackCommerce-powered shops will benefit from curated gift shops, full email marketing cycles and sales, and incredible logistics and customer service from Black Friday through the holiday season.

Inventory issues, shipping times, discounts, analysis – we consider it all and make sure our publisher partners’ branded storefronts are prepped for success. Whether you work with us or are implementing your own marketing strategy, we hope these tips will inspire success this holiday season!

 

StackCommerce Welcomes Jaromy Pittario, VP of Sales, to the Executive Team

StackCommerce Welcomes Jaromy Pittario, VP of Sales, to the Executive Team

At StackCommerce, we thrive on delivering unique products and amazing deals to our publisher audiences. We don’t just sell products, we introduce the right audience to the right product at the right time. This all starts with our sales team, and we searched high and low to find the perfect leader for this essential part our business.

We’re ecstatic to introduce Jaromy Pittario, our brand new VP of Sales. Jaromy joined us from Velocity App, the leading global payment app in the hospitality industry, and has previously provided incredible sales leadership at Gilt, AOL, and LivingSocial. Today, we’re picking his brain on everything from the evolution of flash sale sites to leadership tips to what the future has in store for StackCommerce’s publisher and vendor network.

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Liz: You have amazing experience in your field, and specifically working with the flash sale model. In what ways have you seen this model evolve and change?

Jaromy: In the luxury space in particular, I’ve watched brands become more and more accustomed to the benefits of the revenue share model, and therefore open to working with flash sale sites. When I started at LivingSocial in Los Angeles, no one was familiar with it. But by the time I led the team at Gilt City, luxury brands and luxury shoppers alike were becoming more and more attracted to this model.

The experience transformed beyond the instant gratification of bringing a deal to a customer to a fully-branded journey that breeds engaged lifetime customers.

Liz: As a new member of the team in a leadership position, what are your key priorities?

Jaromy: My number one priority is to motivate and cultivate a cohesive team culture. As a sales team, our culture should be invitational so that our success is shared, not compared in a competitive fashion. Being approachable, relational, and goal-oriented also helps us become more available to cross-organization collaboration.

 Liz: In what ways do you hope to influence the evolution of StackCommerce through sales and vendor relations?

Jaromy: I am working to grow and bolster StackCommerce’s lifestyle vertical, in part by bringing on national brand partnerships. Not only will these brands benefit from StackCommerce’s product distribution and marketing capabilities, but these noteworthy brands will work to elevate the customer experience across our publisher sites.

This symbiotic relationship is what makes StackCommerce a unique alternative to traditional affiliate advertising and publisher monetization solutions. I look forward to getting the StackCommerce name out to brands that I know would be a great fit.

Liz: You recently joined StackCommerce. What excited you about the opportunity?

Jaromy: During the interview process, I was fascinated by the rare blend of a startup environment and proven success and profitability at Stack. The interview process was so conversational that I felt I was able to really get to know the business and the people who make Stack a wonderful place to work.

Liz: What do you enjoy doing outside of Stack?

Jaromy: Cooking! I have an instagram account dedicated to teaching people how to make healthy meals in less than 30 minutes.

Liz: What’s your favorite saying?

Jaromy: Work hard, play hard.

Stack Without Borders: International Feature Update

Stack Without Borders: International Feature Update

One of the many benefits of working with StackCommerce is our ability to accommodate international markets. For vendors, this means getting your products in front of users located in hundreds of countries across the globe, creating valuable brand awareness. For publishers, this means we’re here to support commerce for your current or future international audience. We want to help you grow! With such a significant segment of our current audience outside the US, it’s crucial that we create the best possible shopping experience for users in any location.

Where do we start? A critical piece of the international experience lies within our checkout flow. Due to varying costs, product variations, and availability, shipping items internationally is complex by nature. In an effort to maximize conversion, we’ve updated our UI to collect the most important shipping detail first: country of origin. This accomplishes two important goals:

  1. Ensures shipping costs, which vary by country, are correctly applied to the order
  2. Ensures that the customer’s checkout flow is relevant to the shipping destination (i.e., collecting state, zip code, or phone number where necessary)

We’re excited to continue fine-tuning our commerce experience for all users. Be on the lookout for more new features in the near future!

Partner Request: Show me the money!

Partner Request: Show me the money!

Electronic payments, digital wallets, blockchains; Payment processing is a constantly evolving technology that makes mailing a check look like ancient history. With each new enhancement comes more opportunities to make payment systems more transparent and informative.

StackCommerce is committed to evolving our platform as well, and to surfacing as much relevant information to our partners as possible. By sourcing helpful bits of feedback we’ve learned that we can easily present answers to common payment questions, including but not limited to:

  • When will my payment be posted?
  • What is the amount of my payment?
  • How will my payment be transferred?

Our latest integration helps answer these questions by leveraging our payment partner’s iframe to display dates, amounts, deposit methods, and status for current and previous payments. Adding visibility to payments helps make our platform more transparent, but most importantly, gives partners immediate access to pertinent info 24/7. To explore, just navigate to the Earnings section of your dashboard and select Payment Status.

We’d love to hear your comments below!

– Stack Product Team

Announcing Our Expansion into the Lifestyle Vertical & Introducing Citizen Goods

Announcing Our Expansion into the Lifestyle Vertical & Introducing Citizen Goods

After four years of focusing exclusively on tech products and publishers, we are thrilled to share that StackCommerce will now be offering our native commerce solution to lifestyle publishers, launching with a stellar list of partners including AskMen, theCHIVE, Digg, Rant, The Awesomer, Everyday Carry, and over a dozen others. These new partnerships expand our reach to more than 200 million unique visitors per month, and open an entirely fresh commerce opportunity to current and future partners.

We would also like to officially introduce Citizen Goods, our brand new lifestyle marketplace featuring curated modern products across home, outdoor, grooming, everyday carry, and apparel categories. Citizen Goods is the destination site for our lifestyle-focused partners that prefer an affiliate solution rather than an integrated Shop. To support Citizen Goods, we’ve also launched amazing new product features that allow for further customization of Shops with adjustable homepage heros, content modules, fonts, and navigation. With more advancements in the pipeline, we will continue to deliver innovative ways for our partners to truly personalize the look and feel of their Shops.

Native commerce is clearly resonating with tech and lifestyle audiences, as our member community within our network of Shops grew by 250% to more than 2.5 million members over the past year alone. The overall effectiveness of Shops is also increasing, and we’re proud to see publishers averaging six-figures of gross sales annually, and top partners generating well into the seven figures. This demonstrates the proven success online media sites have found with native commerce as a new and incremental way to monetize their content.

We believe this expansion comes at an ideal time for lifestyle publishers given the rise of ad blockers and decreasing effectiveness of banner ads. The key factor is that truly native commerce works not only from a financial standpoint as an alternative to ads, but also adds brand value by turning readers into loyal buyers who appreciate access to exclusive commerce content. With native commerce, we also eliminate the need for publishers to manage operations, shipping, sourcing, and customer service so they can focus on creating impactful content for their readers. We will continue to expand further into new verticals in 2016, pursuing our mission to revolutionize content and commerce across all online media categories.

Native Commerce vs. Native Advertising: Which One is Better for Your Brand?

Native Commerce vs. Native Advertising: Which One is Better for Your Brand?

You may be wondering how Native Commerce compares to Native Advertising, or perhaps whether Native Commerce is a type of Native Advertising. Rest assured, the answer to the latter is “no” — Native Commerce is its own beast, and it comes down to one crucial difference: Native Advertising primarily benefits brands while Native Commerce focuses on content creators.

Let’s think about Native Advertising and what it, in the most basic form, actually does. Ad exchange service Sharethrough defines Native Advertising as “a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”

Essentially, Native Advertising allows brands or content creators (through services like Sharethrough) to more seamlessly integrate their marketing and / or products into your content, with the intention of driving prospective buyers or readers away from your site. Breaking that down:

  • Making brands more likely to want to advertise to your audience — great!
  • Blurring the lines between your own content and that of an outside brand — not so great.
  • Taking your users off your site — bad, bad, bad.

Even the first point isn’t a real selling point. Brands always want to advertise with publishers that cater to the same audience — Native Advertising just makes it easier on the advertiser’s end.

Now let’s compare this to Native Commerce. Native Commerce allows publishers to seamlessly and organically integrate relevant products into their own content, so they own the customer’s purchase cycle from start to finish — from discovery to desire to checkout. Breaking that down:

  • Selling products directly through the content you’re already producing — great!
  • Monetizing in a completely transparent way that gives users direct access to products when they want them most — wonderful!
  • Keeping users on your site to buy instead of sending them somewhere else — hooray!

If you’re trying to figure out new, innovative ways to generate revenue from your site, don’t always feel like you have to give someone else center stage. With Native Commerce, keep everything under your brand — and generate more revenue — in the most seamlessly integrated way possible.