Author: 08 May 2023minutes read
Running an ecommerce business in 2023 means dealing with endless complexities, unique challenges, and a shape-shifting landscape where nothing stands still. Each day, merchants are faced with forks in the road, key decisions they must make on the path to growth.
Do they take a leap and invest in that new order fulfillment method? Do they test out new packaging, a new website, a new omnichannel strategy? Every decision will impact a merchant’s bottom line.
At least one decision should be an easy one.
Buy with Prime recently partnered with BigCommerce to launch the Buy with Prime app for BigCommerce. The app empowers BigCommerce merchants to grow their ecommerce businesses by attracting engaged Amazon shoppers to their sites with relevant ads and the trust of Prime. Plus, they can convert more shoppers with fast, free delivery and a checkout experience that millions of shoppers love.
To better show how the Buy with Prime and BigCommerce partnership is a win for merchants, this interview brought together Doug Yeum, Head of GTM at Buy with Prime and Sharon Gee, SVP, GM Omnichannel at BigCommerce, to discuss the meaning of growth in ecommerce.
Sharon Gee: The paradigm shift for merchants with the Buy with Prime launch is game-changing. Most merchants think about Amazon in terms of either:
With Buy with Prime, merchants receive shopper order information, including email addresses for customer orders, which they can use to build direct relationships with shoppers.
Sharon: BigCommerce merchants want to grow their direct-to-consumer businesses enabled by BigCommerce’s “open commerce” platform philosophy, leveraging our best-in-breed partner integrations. They also want to grow customer lifetime value by nurturing ongoing relationships with those customers. The Buy with Prime program and BigCommerce’s Buy with Prime app for BigCommerce make it easier for BigCommerce merchants to do both.
Sharon: Prior to our release of the Buy with Prime for BigCommerce app, merchants who sought to deploy the Buy with Prime experience on their direct-to-consumer sites faced some key challenges, such as:
The new app solves all of these issues and for agencies, frees up time and agency fees to merchants. This helps everyone focus on maximizing the impact of the Buy with Prime deployment in areas like site design, construction of Buy with Prime category pages, and other more impactful efforts.
Sharon: Our merchants continue to look for the solutions to growth, versus just recommendations on different technologies to implement. Ultimately, commerce growth is driven not only by having a great direct-to-consumer site on BigCommerce, but to have a harmonized strategy to deliver on shoppers’ expectations, no matter where they are discovering or shopping for a product. The goal is to acquire new customers, exceed their experience expectations across channels, and increase customer lifetime value with repeat purchases and loyalty. This means our merchants have to have answers to hard questions: How are you marketing to your customers on an ongoing basis? How are you advertising via traditional and social channels to acquire new customers? How are you finding ways to decrease costs in your operations, be that through scaled fulfillment like Amazon multi-channel fulfillment or other 3PL capabilities? Have you defined a true omnichannel strategy based on your ideal customer profile? How are you managing your omnichannel 1st party customer data in order to garner insights that you can use to further drive growth for the business?
These are common questions we ask merchants that can help fuel and accelerate growth. And one thing we see time and time again is, answers to these questions aren’t owned by any single person or team within larger organizations, but require cross-functional alignment to show tangible impact.
Our goal at BigCommerce is to deliver solutions that help our merchants manage this enterprise complexity in a simplified, streamlined way.
Sharon: Automation is key to businesses of all sizes achieving rapid growth while not linearly increasing operating costs. It’s also important to not underestimate the amount of time that brand teams regain when they invest in solutions to simplify back-office operations. Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is a strong example of a solution that takes the hassle out of scaled fulfillment, while providing an industry-leading shipping experience to the end shopper – which is what we all want.
Similarly, when a brand scales and adds new ads or marketplace channels, they can introduce significant pressure to an operations tech stack that may not be able to support the new volume. However, investments in automation can enable strategic order routing, purchase order (PO) replenishment and more, which helps keep the brand in stock and actively selling for as long as possible.
Sharon Gee: I’m the most excited about new solutions and services that help make brands more efficient and drive profitability. Not to state the obvious, but in a macro-economic climate like this one, every single dollar counts more than ever before. And to that end, executing against an omnichannel strategy isn’t just an option – it’s an imperative – and by not investing in new solutions and services, brands simply won’t be set up for success. I think companies that are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to make their products more scalable is an obvious area of interest. Buy with Prime is another great example of one of those recent evolutions. If you’re a brand who’s got inventory in Amazon’s warehouses and are also trying to improve direct-to-consumer conversions, then you have to consider it for your business before your competition does for theirs.
Sharon Gee: Starting with a clear and defined omnichannel strategy based on your ideal customer and your growth goals is the first place to start. This grounded understanding of who your customer is, where they shop, how they shop, and where they are engaged will inform the investments you need to make in terms of the channels you invest in, spanning advertising, social, and marketplaces.
It can be easy to just say “omnichannel” means that I need to be everywhere and do all the things, but the reality is, if you’re a women’s fashion company, TikTok might be an ideal fit. Whereas if you're an auto parts manufacturer, Instagram might not be where your audience is. And for some verticals, TikTok and Instagram are exactly the right fit for combining the target customer audience with the ability to reach them.
So again, starting with a core understanding of your customer is key.
Sharon: I think what’s most exciting is the rate at which the ecommerce industry continues to evolve. There have never been more tools available for growing brands than right now. Think about that. If you’re a brand, there have never been more ways to optimize fulfillment, site conversion, ads strategies or any other part of the business. More channels, more fulfillment options, more first party data solutions, more alternate payment methods, more composability, more options with AI… all of which make the whole thing go really, really fast. As students of the industry, that’s the kind of stuff that keeps my team and I motivated to lean in and do even more for our clients.
Sharon: Over the next three years, I think we’ll continue to see optimization of the shopper experience on a scale that we’ve yet to see in this industry. Each year, shopper expectations around convenience continue to heighten – people expect to receive and return products faster, and expect better prices to be available to them. Buy with Prime sits at the intersection of all of that – Amazon already provides a globally-recognizable fulfillment promise, a truly simple and efficient path to returning items and has built its reputation on providing a wide array of products at competitive prices – and expanding this experience to merchants’ storefronts is a natural evolution of Amazon’s own services. Even better, it now also allows merchants to grow their lifetime value of each customer by nurturing that shopper. To that end, merchants who adopt this strategy early will likely have a first-mover advantage over the competition, given the focus both shoppers and merchants have on an easy checkout experience with a trusted delivery promise.
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