When Syndicate Sales approached the Springboard team with a desire to establish a direct-to-consumer model providing consumers with a complete line of trend forward, easy-to-use home décor and garden products that enhance everyday living spaces, we simply could not contain our joy. This is the kind of opportunity that aligns with the passions of our company, engages all of our talents and puts a smile on our faces every day.
As a longstanding manufacturer and wholesaler of floral products, such as vases, terrariums, and floral accessories, Syndicate Sales is using their knowledge of the industry to go directly to consumers and unlock profitable revenue growth through a new channel: 46 & Spruce. This is the ongoing story of how to build and grow a B2C ecommerce store. Let’s begin…
Building a Foundation On Good SEO
The team dove head-first into keyword research for the products and categories. Because the categorization of these products plays such a significant role in both how the website ranks in search engines as well as how consumers browse the products while on the website, this step is essential to the success of many decisions and efforts moving forward.
Hours upon hours in “spreadsheetville” and Google Adword’s keyword planner tool yielded a category structure that aligned with the products, captured what consumers are searching for, and provided a roadmap for a SEO content strategy. We implemented best practices with onsite SEOTopic models help to keep our efforts focused on target keywords that will yield an increase in rankings for terms that will drive sales.
Tools used for keyword research and search engine optimization:
- Google Adwords for search volume and trends
- Moz for search rankings and competitive analysis
- SEMrush for competitve research and rankings
- Excel spreadsheets for good old-fashioned data management
After just 3 months of aggressive SEO efforts, it is exciting to see that 46 & Spruce is on Page 1 for all branded terms, and ranking for 400 Keywords.
To achieve these positions we created and posted 4 infographics, 32 unique articles, and 2 videos within the first 3 months. All of which were promoted via Pinterest and Facebook, using both organic and paid tactics. Additionally, we assembled a list of outreach contacts to help with creating backlinks in order to build our site authority and credibility.
CRAFTING A SHOPPING EXPERIENCE FOR CONVERSION
Built on the Shopify platform, the website is supported by numerous tools and tactics that make it an ecommerce marketing and conversion machine. We’ve crafted the entire buyer journey, setting up steps at each conversion point that guide a consumer to purchase.
An automated global email communication system begins with an email capture to entice a browser, someone with little buying intent, to become a shopper. Abandoned cart marketing and entrance / exit offer popups work to persuade a shopper into a customer. And even after a purchase, the product upsell and customer winback strategies work to continue building a valuable customer relationship and encourage ongoing engagement.
Tools used to support the onsite experience:
- Shopify for the ecommerce platform
- JustUno for email capture entrance and exit popups
- Klaviyo for product promotion, welcome, abandonded cart, and customer winback emails
- One Click Upsell for post-purchase product upsell to increase average order value (AOV)
- Review App & Yotpo for customer review management and solicitation
- Helpscout for customer relationship management
Using a mixture of Shopify Apps and some custom code, the direct-to-consumer shopping experience is made more robust by covering all the bases. The ecommerce website ecosystem is complex and spans from the back office operations all the way to post purchase communications. 46 & Spruce has a unique situation in that they sell the individual products that their parent company manufactures and sells wholesale in bulk. This created a tricky inventory management dilemma. We ultimately decided to build an “island” that would allow 46 & Spruce to carry its own stock, thus allowing for easier management and reporting.
Tools used for the back office management of inventory and order fulfillment:
- Skubana for the inventory management and order fulfillment
- Shopify Payments for payment processing
- Pay with Amazon & Pay with Paypal for additional payment processing options
In just three months of being live, the website has already captured 1,600+ emails, processed 31 transactions and received a total of $1,657.82 in sales.
ACQUIRING CUSTOMERS WITH PAID ADVERTISING
You know the phrase “if you build it, they will come”? Yeah well, it doesn’t apply to an ecommerce website. In fact, with an ecommerce website, you need to build it and then you need to go out and aggressively acquire customers.
Typically, the easiest way to acquire customers is through Pay Per Click advertising using Google Adwords. It’s usually a quick win strategy that gets customers to your site and buying products, almost instantaneously. Except when it’s not affordable. And unfortunately, that’s the case with 46 & Spruce. The competition in this space is too steep. With brands like West Elm, Terrain, and World Market outbidding for all the good keywords, this tactic is simply not profitable after paying for the acquisition, the shipping, and the product itself. There are, however, other ways to advertise with Google such as retargeting to increase brand exposure and build credibility with consumers.
Facebook has become a robust and useful channel for customer acquisition. Our approach for 46 & Spruce on this platform is threefold: 1) to drive sales, 2) to capture email addresses, and 3) to build brand recognition. To drive sales, we have implemented Facebook Collection Ads to promote products. To capture emails, we are promoting posts featuring Giveaway Contests for free products. And lastly, retargeting on Facebook helps build brand recognition to increase credibility with consumers.
We are leveraging Pinterest in a similar approach. The nature of this product is so visually engaging and aligns perfectly with the Pinterest audience. Pinterest Buyable Pins allow us to promote products with the price and description featured so that the user can purchase the look they are admiring. We’ve also implemented Pinterest Promoted Pins to promote the product giveaway contest. These link to a landing page where the individual signs up for the giveaway in exchange for their email address.
NURTURING CUSTOMERS THROUGH AUTOMATED EMAILS
Once captured, all email addresses are added to an automated Welcome Email Series flow that nurtures the individual from someone that simply wants to win free stuff into an interested shopper. From there, a visitor is added to an automated Browse Abandonment or Abandoned Checkout flow depending on their actions while on site.
RESEARCH & DEFINING THE AUDIENCE
Research is always at the forefront of any strategy developed at Springboard, and this engagement is no exception.
With little-to-no existing direct-to-consumer data to pull from, our team had to build a case for who the competition is, who the consumers are, and how to effectively position this new sales channel within this landscape.
We began by establishing our target audience and creating their personas using the following questions:
- What are their needs?
- What are their fears, concerns or motivations?
- What are their hobbies?
- What is their level of education?
- What is their socio-economic status?
- Where do they shop, socialize, and spend their time online?
- What information about these products do they seek?
- How did they prefer to consume information; videos, infographics, tutorials, photos, etc.?
ELEVATING THE BRAND
One of the important take-aways from our initial research revealed that the originally proposed name for the direct-to-consumer brand was not resonating with the target audience.
“Syndicate Home and Garden”, while tying into the parent brand, was not connecting with the consumer as expected and something needed to be done. So together, Springboard and Syndicate Home and Garden embarked on a naming exercise to rename and rebrand using the research and data we had collected. Our recommendations were confirmed through market research and focus groups, and we were all excited when 46th & Spruce won the hearts of the team as well as the consumers we polled.
Luckily, a logo and brand is a much simpler endeavor when the proper foundation has been established. 46 & Spruce is a reference to 1946 – the year Syndicate Sales began its business, nearly 70 years ago. This nod to the company’s roots helped the internal team rally behind the new brand, solidify the vision of this initiative, and support the forward-thinking strategy of a company taking a chance on big growth. Armed with market research, a defined audience, and a new name, the brand was created from the foundation of customer insight.
The logo created is a circle shape featuring a natural texture to give the impression of a stamp. This classic and timeless approach to a brand helps visually communicate the deeply rooted history of the company, giving it significance and credibility within the industry. The one-color treatment is simple, reflecting the contemporary products, while the typography is a mix between classic and modern.
After a few options and rounds of revisions, we had settled on a logo that reflected a classic and timeless style with a touch of modern trend. We then built out a Brand Foundation and Style Guide to define and protect the brand as it grows.
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP
With so much opportunity, constant evaluation and pivoting tactics, everyone remains energized with excitement and driven to continue improving. Each week we are measuring the effectiveness of our efforts and adjusting course as needed. Build. Measure. Learn. That’s the process we practice and what is necessary to achieve success.
By far, the most rewarding aspect of this engagement has been the close relationship built with our partner. The time spent consulting, implementing and brainstorming the many ways to make this all come together has proven to be time well spent.
Through it all though, we’ve been deliberate about balancing the importance of planning with the reality that getting to market quickly is what ultimately enables sales and informs calculated growth.
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