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What We Learned At Shopify Commerce+ 2021

BVA attended Shopify’s Commerce+ Conference earlier this month and we’d like to share our key takeaways as an eCommerce agency that has worked with hundreds of brands on Shopify.

With an ever-evolving market and technology space, direct-to-consumer merchants have to constantly reevaluate their tech stack, their optimization strategies, and their approach to customer experiences.

For these reasons, Shopify hosted Commerce+ as a way to gather industry experts and leaders to discuss the future of commerce. As a team of eCommerce experts deeply embedded in the Shopify ecosystem, BVA was excited to hear from Shopify and some of their most disruptive customers.

In this blog, we’re sharing our key learnings from the conference and how we think these can make an impact for eCommerce businesses.

How Brands Can Stand Out: Influencing and Connecting with the Next Wave of Customers

Traditional retail doesn’t allow you to tell your brand story in the way that direct-to-consumer selling does. As most eCommerce merchants know, curating a DTC presence allows for the opportunity to create a cohesive brand narrative via numerous digital channels. Leveraging tools like influencer marketing, social media, and an optimized online store, a DTC approach helps you grow a community and go directly to your consumer to tell your story.

As we’ve learned through 2020 and 2021, DTC merchants had an advantage during the COVID-19 pandemic because they already have an established direct relationship with their customers. Some of the key benefits we continue to see from this approach are:

  • Strong Brand Trust: Authentic messaging and relationship development via DTC channels allow merchants to build trust with their customers.
  • Customer Lifetime Value: Even with the supply chain issues businesses encountered during the pandemic, DTC brands have been able to retain customers and increase CLTV because they have an established relationship and these customers feel a connection to the brand.
  • Agility: DTC brands are able to lean into the first-party data they have about their community and different channels.

Social Commerce

Another trend Shopify merchants are leaning into is social commerce. Here are their key reasons for investing more in social channels:
  1. A lot of innovation is happening on social media platforms which goes beyond community interaction. TikTok and Shopify’s integration is a great example of how commerce is meeting social media.

  2. Live Shopping is coming down the line. Shopping will become easier, more convenient, and more integrated with the content consumption experience on social platforms.

  3. Allows you to spread tone of voice across the globe. With increasing opportunities to grow your business internationally, social media is a key channel to reach consumers that your brand might otherwise not have access to.

  4. Social is becoming more complex, and staying up to date with a strong social media strategy is important to ensure your business meets customer expectations and reaches your target audience.

With social commerce top of mind, Shopify’s TikTok Shopping Beta can be the next big tool in your eCommerce arsenal. Customer Acquisition Costs are skyrocketing, so brands have to get creative about relationship building, and TikTok is a great channel for innovative customer experiences.

There are 100M monthly active Tiktok users in the U.S., and 100M more in other countries. Via the Tiktok algorithm, content gets shared with the users most that will be most interested in it, and 25% of users purchase a product after watching a Tiktok showcasing it.

Every brand has a different approach to storytelling, social commerce, and community management, which goes to show there is no ‘silver bullet’ or one universal way to achieve success. However, this also means that the possibilities are endless and with emerging technologies, your brand can be as creative as you want it to be.

How to Break into An Industry: The Interview between Harley Finklestein and Pharrell Williams

During the Commerce+ Conference, Shopify’s Harley Finklestein interviewed celebrity entrepreneur, Pharrell Williams, who shared his wisdom about both entrepreneurship and breaking into an industry like the beauty and skincare sector with his brand, Humanrace.

The Entrepreneurial Journey (featuring Pharrell Willliams)

According to Pharrell Williams, entrepreneurship is a means to an end-- it’s either something that you can do (and enjoy) or something that you have to do (because you have to put food on the table). Whatever the motivation is, it’s important to make sure it’s strong enough to keep driving you and your business forward.

Furthermore, Pharrell believes the biggest lesson you can have as an entrepreneur is a failure. Use failure as a lesson to grow and get better. For new founders, vetting and surrounding your brand with people who are better than you at their job is essential. Finding employees that can handle the situation and their performance will lift your brand up. Not choosing the right people is what will put bumps in the road. Once you have found the right people, it’s important to make them feel valued and important.

How to break into a new industry

Prior to founding Humanrace, people asked Pharrell about his skincare routine, so it would have been simple to capitalize on that demand. However, the brand team felt like they needed to earn their stripes; they did their homework on ingredients, product regulations, and ultimately created a quality and disruptive product. They did everything they could to create something that was better than other products available in the market. With any new offering, it’s important to focus first and foremost on making it something your consumers will love.

Why Choose DTC to break into an industry?

  • Personal connection.Your brand has a more direct line of communication with your customer.
  • A DTC brand does not only provide products, but also experiences with content, advice, and thought leadership.
  • Consumers of DTC brands don’t just buy the good, they’re also buying into your brand story.

Going Global and Bold Growth

Expanding internationally and into new markets is the next step for many eCommerce merchants’ growth journies. As different parts of the world are unfamiliar with certain products, coupled with the opportunity that digital selling provides, many merchants can carve out their own space in new markets.

Here are some of Shopify’s up-and-coming solutions that will continue to fuel business growth in these areas:

  1. Shopify Markets: Shopify Markets provides a centralized hub for all the tools merchants need to go global. Entering the international market will have never been easier for DTC businesses.

  2. Shopify QL Notebooks: ShopifyQL Notebooks will give merchants more flexibility to explore, and visualize datasets from multiple sources in a single interface.

  3. Shopify Flow: Shopify Flow has the potential to automate your operations, take work off your Customer Service team, and optimize a personalized shopping experience for site visitors. Shopify has recently made more updates to the tool to help brands become even smarter.

Concluding Thoughts

Want to talk about how you can grow your business? Schedule time with our eCommerce and Shopify experts.