Technology makes it easier than ever for retailers to get the basics right and continues to raise customers’ expectations for frictionless commerce.
To stand out in this technological renaissance, companies can no longer deliver the basics moderately well. Retailers who do so are in danger of dying in the “wasteland of the middle,” as brands at the top and bottom of the market squeeze them out by standing out on selection, convenience or consumer connection.
Know your superpower
The companies that survive and thrive are clear about their superpower, that one capability they do better than anyone. Then they tune every operational and marketing touchpoint towards maximizing that superpower.
This strategy is driving success for the top U.S. ecommerce marketplaces. They are defining their target audiences and then aligning their businesses completely towards a superpower that meets those customers’ needs. Some brands may focus on the high-end customer who wants fast and free shipping and is willing to pay a membership fee. There are also companies like Wish, which has found success focusing on the customer who values low-cost items and who doesn’t need fast delivery. In all of these cases, the companies have built large, enduring businesses and clearly understand their customers and the superpower required to meet their needs.
Relatively new direct-to-consumer companies are proving that you don’t have to be established to succeed. These include subscription box services that make you feel like you have an on-demand personal shopper or that take the hassle out of replenishing necessities like shaving kits. They are becoming a significant growth driver for the ecommerce industry. In fact, a third of U.S. consumers expect to do at least 40% of their shopping with DTC companies over the next five years.
These superpower brands don’t just meet demand—they generate it. They don’t wait for customers to look for products and services they already love; these companies help customers discover what they will love. As technology gets better at being predictive, creating moments of serendipitous discovery is essential.
Maximize your superpower
With platforms where over 2.7 billion people around the world spend time every month, Facebook and its family of apps and services are where brands meet their customers. The most successful brands follow three top strategies to make the most of our scale and technological expertise and maximize their superpower’s impact.
1. Design a people-centered experience
Creative is the beginning of a customer’s relationship with you. With the variety of formats available, it’s easier than ever to use creative to deepen this connection. The fastest-growing advertisers on Facebook’s platforms create 11 times more creative assets than the average, and they continually test and learn what works. They also tailor the format to the customer journey. For example, they may use Stories and Video ads to tell an immersive story in the discovery phase, and Dynamic Ads when customers are closer to a decision point.
Once people land on your site, make sure that friction doesn’t damage the relationship you’ve nurtured. Friction comes at a huge cost: This year the revenue loss caused by slow checkouts and poor experiences is expected to reach $213 billion in the U.S.
Considering that more shopping is taking place on mobile, one way to remove friction is to have your employees only use your mobile site when they shop for your products and submit their feedback to a specified email address. You can also attend one of our “After The Click” programs to learn more.
Successful brands don’t stop with eliminating today’s friction points. They look around the corner and incubate next generation technologies to meet the rising standards for seamless shopping. For example, LEGO uses a Messenger bot to help consumers decide what toy to buy by asking them questions and offering personalized suggestions. Wayfair uses augmented and virtual reality to show customers how furniture would look in their homes.
2. Create flexible, simple campaigns that let machine learning do its work
As customer attention becomes more fragmented across platforms and devices, it becomes more difficult for marketers to optimize liquidity.
With its massive computational power, machine learning finds the optimal platforms where your ads will convert best. And it doesn’t just maximize conversions for the lowest cost, it generates the highest quality conversions and finds customers with the highest lifetime value.
In order to see the results you want, your campaigns must be flexible and simple. For example, when using Automatic Placements and Campaign Budget Optimization, allow Facebook to distribute your budgets between ad sets as we identify the best places to show your ad, according to your business objectives.
By selecting large, broadly defined audience groups, you’ll increase the volume of data that we can ingest and test. Finally, if you’re using Dynamic Creative Optimization, provide multiple headlines, body text, images and other creative elements to allow our system to test multiple permutations and find the highest performing combinations.
Once you’ve had success with these machine learning solutions, we’ll know enough about your business and customers to activate Value Optimization. We’ll find customers who are most likely to become your most loyal, and you can optimize your spend further with minimum ROAS bidding. After specifying the lowest return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) you’d prefer, our system will deliver a return of at least that value over the campaign’s duration.
3. Use incrementality, the gold standard for measurement
When pharmaceutical companies test whether a new drug works, they conduct randomized controlled trials (RCT), where a control group doesn’t receive the drug and a second group does. This scientifically proven approach isolates one variable—the intake of a drug—to control for any other factors that might impact a disease.
Successful Facebook advertisers apply this gold standard method to measure incremental marketing effectiveness. They know that RCT gives a complete picture of the demand generated and value captured by a campaign in ways that last-click or multi-touch attribution can’t.
Measuring incrementality is arguably the strongest indicator of your ROAS, telling you how much revenue or sales gain you receive when you run an ad campaign versus when you don’t. This measurement method is particularly useful when measuring the impact of a Video or Stories ad, where there are often no clicks or other interactions to track.
Ecommerce has come a long way, and your marketing efforts need to evolve too. By identifying what you uniquely do best, you can stand out in an increasingly crowded field. And by doing what the most successful marketers do on Facebook’s platforms, you can ensure that you’re attracting the customers most likely to appreciate your superpower and remain loyal to your brand.