In 2020, will small ecommerce stores position their businesses for 10 years of growth? Or will they contract, go out of business, or slide back into side hustle territory?
Small businesses selling direct-to-consumer have been able to deliver both better products and experiences for profitable niches over the last 5 to 7 years, thanks to platforms that have made it easier to start online stores (e.g., Shopify) and easier to advertise (e.g., Facebook).
The success of companies like Dollar Shave Club and Bonobos has been a wakeup call for large enterprises, who are now investing heavily in DTC transition.
The small brands hoping to emulate the success of Dollar Shave Club and the like are facing a significant challenge to growing their businesses beyond a beachhead niche for two reasons.
- It’s getting more expensive to acquire customers, as social media advertising becomes more saturated.
- Retention marketing requires an endless supply of quality content to create relationships with customers when they don’t have purchase intent (which is 98% of the time).
At Matcha, our goal is to help small ecommerce stores grow by building a product that helps them source and deploy content affordably and intelligently. In this article, I’ll lay out how Matcha helps small ecommerce stores grow and nurture their communities through consistent content publishing for a fraction of the time/cost of typical content production.
At a high level, we strive to make it easier and more efficient to publish quality blog articles.
Once a small business has used Matcha to eliminate the barriers to building a healthy publishing habit, we strive to help our customers utilize their content to influence two measurable marketing outputs:
- Cost-efficient growth in high-quality email subscribers (emphasis on high-quality)
- Growth in email marketing performance across the board (e.g., send volume, open rate, conversion rate, and overall revenue)
The Matcha platform has 3 basic components.
- A large content library that integrates with WordPress and Shopify’s CMS (think Getty or Netflix for ecommerce blog articles)
- Analytics to track blog traffic, leads, and revenue influence (think Parse.ly for small ecommerce businesses)
- Conversion tools and integrations with Mailchimp and Klaviyo to make it easier for small ecomm stores to grow their email lists and send more interesting, content-rich emails to different segments (think Privvy, but with more data about a user’s content consumption)
How our ecommerce customers use Matcha
First, Matcha boasts the world’s largest library of premium, professionally written blog articles for SMB ecommerce businesses.
Our customers can search for content by categories, personas, article types, and more. They can curate articles based on their own calendars, different tags, and even seasonal marketing campaigns.
Second, Matcha makes it easy to publish articles to ecommerce blogs hosted on WordPress and Shopify’s CMS. Our customers can publish a month’s worth of blog articles in a few clicks, rather than investing painstakingly in dozens of hours and thousands of dollars in original content production.
Third, Matcha helps marketers direct blog readers to product pages and convert them into email subscribers. Our customers can embed products ads and product collections through their Shopify store. And they can use locked content and increase reader to email subscriber conversion, with typical conversion rates about 10-20% (vs. under 3% for standard popups).
Fourth, Matcha makes the impact of blog articles on traffic, subscriber growth, and revenue transparent. Our customers can evaluate the impact of individual blog articles against different objectives (e.g., traffic growth, email list growth, and revenue influence).
Email marketing fuel
Fifth, Matcha makes it easy for ecommerce stores to send more emails of higher quality by providing the content to add to promotional emails, by integrating with Klaviyo and Mailchimp, and by providing content consumption data about each subscriber to help companies increase the relevance of emails based on their customers’ content interests.
2020 ecommerce trends
We have a few ecommerce predictions in 2020 that are informing the product questions we’re considering most deeply.
First, the predictions.
The number of ecommerce stores will not continue to expand in 2020.
With the US-Chinese trade war, likely global market slow down, and too many small ecommerce stores focusing on unsustainable advertising tactics, I believe we’ll see contraction and consolidation in the number of ecommerce stores that employ at least 1 person full-time.
The best small ecommerce stores will grow, not by focusing most of their investments on acquiring more customers, but by substantially increasing repeat purchases.
Retention, repeat purchase, increased LTV… Whatever we want to call it, I believe that 2020 will be the year that ecommerce stores focus more than ever on customer retention. The businesses who succeed on this front will create foundations in 2020 that will see their businesses serving customers 10 years from now.
Marketers will differentiate, not by more creative marketing campaigns, but by marketing technology stacks that are tightly integrated.
The small ecommerce companies that most differentiate in 2020 will be those whose marketing technology stacks are best integrated. Creative campaigns will always matter, but the companies that understand how data flows between the core tools in their stacks will be the biggest winners.
The questions guiding Matcha’s roadmap
With these trends in mind, there are 3 questions that are driving our roadmap.
- How can Matcha make it easier for small ecommerce companies to better commercialize the blog articles they’ve invested in over the years? The content libraries that already exist at many companies are valuable and underleveraged.
- How can Matcha automatically publish personalized articles to email campaigns targeting discrete list segments? Sending good emails that thoughtfully weave promotion, product, and storytelling can still be time-consuming.
- How can Matcha help small ecommerce stores build unique customer journeys with quality content personalized to each customer? If stores have the necessary content, the customer journey can be programmed to be much more positive.
If you have feedback, questions, or ideas related to any of the above — and especially if you’re an ecommerce marketer — let me know on LinkedIn.
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