More Powerful Than Amazon AND Shopify Together

There is no time to waste your time – BFCM is two weeks away and you’re busy. But there is an important thing that you should ALWAYS keep in mind that can make you more powerful than Amazon, Shopify, Walmart, and Microsoft put together.

Here are this week’s top stories.

1. Why Mark Zuckerberg Is Having Nightmares

We wish that everyone could have a deep, restful night’s sleep and rise in the morning refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges of a new day in eCommerce-land. Well… everyone except Mark Zuckerberg. That guy gives me the creeps.

These days, if there is one thing that is keeping Emperor Mark Palpatine up at night it is the rise of TikTok as a social media platform. Just a few years in and it already has more than 500 million users and is the #1 app download. It’s kicking butt in the youngest demographics, which makes Facebook look old and stodgy. And they have launched in-app shopping integrations. Here’s what you need to know:

TikTok launches in-app shopping article on Pymnts.com.
Current TikTok stats as reported by Oberlo

2. Shopify Writes LONG Blog Posts, But Sometimes That’s OK

Those content folks at Shopify… they write some seriously LONG blog posts. They do it to maximize SEO, and it’s a good strategy. But there is a trade-off between SEO and actual usability/value and they cross that line all the time.

BUT … there are actually some good pointers in this post, “19 Way to Use Offers, Coupons, Discounts, and Deals to Generate More Sales." Specifically, we suggest you look at abandon cart promos, seasonal deals, first-time shopper, and email discounts.

Read the article on Shopify’s blog

3. The MOST Powerful Thing in eCommerce, Bar None

I want you to read this article… it’s important. This article is all about how Nike is taking down their online shop on Amazon. And that is cool enough in a “get a dig on Jeffy Baggy-pants Bezos” kind of way. But there is a FAR deeper story there. It is an undeniable truth about humanity and how we make markets.

Read the article on DigitalComerce360.

4. So, Why Is That Nike/Amazon Story So Freak’in Important?

So, what’s all the fuss about and why do Shopify merchant care? Here’s the deal – Brand is more valuable and important than anything else. Even in this digital age, Nike realized that Amazon is hurting their brand. And the damage to the brand is worse than the potential loss of tens of millions of dollars in short term sales. When it comes right down to it, if you do business online you ONLY OWN THREE THINGS: your brand, your email list, and your domain name. And even the domain name is dicey because you have to renew it with a bureaucracy. Just think about that for a bit.

Amazon knows it, Microsoft knows it, Walmart knows it, Apple knows it (at least they used to), and Shopify is learning it.

5. ‘Da Best eCommerce Christmas Ads of the Year … So Far

We can’t help ourselves. We LOVE clever advertising. It’s the sexy sister of marketing and we love to flirt with her. Anyway … Campaign magazine has compiled their list of the top Christmas video ads of the year so far and we watched them all… for research purposes, of course.

Watch the Christmas ads here.

Boom … that’s everything you need to know right now, so it’s time for you to go back and get your Shopify store ready for BFCM. But first, you need to share this email with others because … well, it’s important.

Happy Selling,
Zachary

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How to Make a Million Dollars on BFCM (literally)

I don’t mind telling you that I’m freak’in out a little bit. Thanksgiving is just two weeks away. All of us in eCommerce land have got to get our shizzle together fast … and who doesn’t want to make a million dollars on BFCM? So, let’s get to it, shall we?

Here are this week’s top stories.

1. Plan a Profitable Promotion (and other words that start with the letter “P”)

Are you putting your promos together for the perfect push of products? Hmmmm? Well Shopify has some ideas on the matter because holiday promos are great … holiday promos that are profitable are preferable.

Read it on the Shopify blog.

2. Same Day What?

OK … this is getting interesting.

Have you heard of Postmates? They are doing an “Uber for everything” business model. Basically, their drivers will pickup and/or deliver just about anything in selected cities. That’s SAME DAY delivery stuff right there. Well, they just launch a Shopify app integration. This could be a game-changer for some of y’all out there.

Read about the Postmates app.

3. So then … Is THAT What All the Fuss Was About?

Remember back in March when the news exploded that Shopify was no longer going to support MailChimp … or make the MailChimp integration available in the app store … and they were going to unfriend them on social media and stop returning their phone calls? Seriously. At the time it made no sense. MailChimp said that Shopify was all clingy on the data and they just couldn’t roll with that. The whole thing was like a bad breakup with a crazy stalker-spouse.

Well, Shopify just announced their new email service.

4. Brand Illusions

Do you drink Gin? Hendrick’s Gin is pretty good stuff. But they pulled some brand and marketing sleight of hand to make their new Gin brand look and feel like it had been around forever. And they did it so well, the we don’t know whether the results are brilliant or evil.

I’ll have to ponder that question over a martini whilst I read this article.

5. How to Make a Million Dollars on BFCM

Our friend Kurt Elster did a podcast with Ezra Firestone a few months back called, “How Ezra Firestone plans to make a million dollars on Black Friday.” And you know what? They guy pays out his specific marketing plan – including TONS of email blast (remember that you can get away with a lot more emails during the holidays). If you didn’t catch it, here’s your chance to give it a listen and apply some of what Ezra was laying down.

Listen to the Ezra Firestone podcast.

Wow … another week, another email. I hope you got something of value out of it. Now it’s time to share.

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Will Porsche Take PayPal for the Holidays?

Can you count to three? That’s how many weeks you have left before Black Friday / Cyber Monday explodes onto the scene. This we have some helpful advice about Shopify apps, new marketing tips, and a bunch of fun stuff for your reading pleasure.

Here are this week’s top stories.

1. Just In Time for the Holidays — Google Plays Hardball

Did you see that article we shared about two months ago where we noted that Amazon’s biggest revenue growth segment was advertising? Well, The Dark Lords at Alphabet-Google have decided to push back. They just revised and updated the Google Shopping experience in noticeable, meaningful ways. A lot of our customers advertise there, so check it out.

Read about the new Google Shopping.

Side note: remember that in this internet age of disruption, no one is safe from competition — not Google, not Amazon … nobody.

2. To Shop, Or Not to Shop … That Is the Question?

I almost second-guessed myself on including this article. But here’s the deal … We need to know about Black Friday deals for three reasons:

To understand competitive pricing on things we might sell.

To evaluate the text, images, and layout to learn about successful promotions.

Because in the end … we’re shoppers too and we want to know the deals.

Cnet has a list of the best deals so far. Apply as you see fit.

3. You Can't Say “Fundamentals” Without Saying Fun!

Most of the “eCommerce Marketing” advice articles out there are either pure crap or have copied content. But every once in a while we find someone that did a good job and we want to recognize it.

Read “Fundamentals of eCommerce Marketing for 2020” by PracticalEcommerce.

4. It’s Like They’re Reading My Mind — Top Shopify Apps for BFCM

We saw this blog post from the content folks at Shopify and when we took a deeper look it was like they were recommending our personal list. We’ve been recommending most of these for years — including Privy, Referral Candy, Bold Discounts, and Back In Stock lead their list as well as ours.

Read the entire app list on the Shopify Blog.

5. Would You Really Buy Your Porsche Online?

Porsche is rolling out a pilot program to allow customers – you know, average folks like you and me – to purchase their performance Porsche online. So, let’s see … if I take my PayPal balance, add in my frequent flyer miles, and apply for a loan I MIGHT be able to get a set of those nifty Porsche floor mats. But the point is that eCommerce is still devastating and disrupting.

Read about it on TechCrunch.

Well then … looks like I put another wonder-email of awesomeness in the “win” column.

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Sometimes “Free” Means Money

Attention eCommerce control … we are T-minus four weeks and counting until lift-off of the 2019 holiday season. We have info to encourage, inform, and entertain so let’s get to it.

Here are this week’s top stories.

1. When Free Actually Equals Profit

If you don’t like free pastries … well, I just don’t think we can be friends.

There is a husband and wife fledgling eCommerce business that sells French Macaroons online and they built their substantial email list by giving the cookies away. Their entire process of customer retention and incentivizing the email registration process is pretty slick. It is a success case study that you can actually do yourself.

Read about Pastreez.com.

2. Online Sales to Jump 13.5% This Holiday – But Do We Believe It?

Okay-dokie …. So here’s the deal. There is an online eCommerce news service called “Internet Retailer” which is a division of DigitalCommerce360. Their analysis suggests that online holiday sales are going to jump to >$138 billion, a whopping 13.5% of all holiday sales this year. That’s on top of the 15.2% market share increase last year. So … could be, right?

This site will make you register and then they will send you a bunch of emails, but here’s the link if you want it.

3. UPS is Cutting Deals and Taking Names

The shipping game is getting competitive, and that’s good for folks like us.

Just a few weeks ago we were talking about how FedEx was severing ties with Amazon and inching closer to Walmart – taking sides in the eCommerce shipping game. Well, now UPS is cutting deals with shipping aggregators like ShipStation – super popular in the Shopify ecosystem – to offer lower rates and deals to small and mid-sized retailers. The new rates are 55% below the standard rates and waive surcharges.

Again, this article is on DigitalCommerce360.

4. For About 12 Hours last Week, Old Baggy Pants Was #2

Jeff Bezos … some guys just tick me off, and he’s one of them. So, Jeffy “Baggy Pants” was the unrivaled master of the finance universe until he cheated on his wife and lost 25% of his empire in the divorce settlement – proving that even internet billionaires go middle-aged-crazy. Then, last week Amazon stock took a hit and he was no longer the richest man in the world.

I know, it seems shallow and the stock recovered a bit the next day. But that twelve hours made me smile.

Read about it on Forbes.

5. Microsoft Fights Back

Shopify sits in the Google Cloud. But that hasn’t always been the case. Just last year the entire Shopify infrastructure was on AWS – Amazon’s cloud hosting service. And given Amazon’s … ahem, shall we just say “questionable” competitive practices that became problematic in the whole “we don’t trust you as far as we can throw you” sense. Microsoft is picking up that vibe from a LOT of big eCommerce types and has launched a new suite of tools to lure customers like Walmart, Kroger, Walgreens, and more.

For us small business start-up entrepreneurial types it’s like watching two big bullies fight on the playground.

Read the article on CNBC.com.

Golly-Bob-Howdy Vern … this here’s another winner email. You’re welcome. And now it’s time to share.

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2019 = Shortest Holiday Shopping Season EVER

Folks, Christmas is just nine weeks out, and BFCM is only five weeks away. But that’s not even the least of it.

Here are this week’s top stories.

1. Time Is Short … No, I Mean Literally

As we approach the great Black Friday / Cyber Monday spend-pocalypse, we eCommerce entrepreneurs need to remember — this is going to be the SHORTEST holiday buying season in the history of EVER. That’s because November 1st is on a Friday and Thanksgiving is ALWAYS on the 4th Thursday, so Black Friday is nearly the last day of the month AND Cyber Monday is actually in December.

So, no link or clever article to read. Just look at your calendars people. The last “recommended” shipping day for USPS retail ground delivery by Christmas is December 14th — just twelve days after Cyber Monday. This holiday season will be super-compressed. Last-minute shoppers will be many and they will be crazed. Heads up.

2. Online BFCM Sales Still Forecast Strong

That said, various surveys and forecasts are saying that online sales will still be strong this year — even with less time. Some folks worry about the added tariffs and trade wars and such, but most of those are slated to kick in after the holidays.

These guys have something to say about it.

3. ‘Cuz I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

I’ve got to admit that I do get frustrated by eCommerce websites that do not have a decent search function. If you only have a handful of products, it’s not necessary of course. But I want to search by name, type, color … whatever is meaningful and relevant to that product type. This guy on PracticalEcommerce agrees with me.

Read the article on getting more conversions with search.

If you are looking to add search to your Shopify store, there are a ton of apps. You can find them here.

4. You Can Take That to the Banksy

In previous editions of this newsletter I have occasionally pointed out some of the strangest things for sale on the web. And there’s been some really weird stuff. But this is weird stuff that is also crazy-art-scene-cool.

Depending on who you ask, “Banksy” is a street artist, graffiti social commentator, or criminal. But he is probably the hottest creative-type guy on the art scene today, even with his rather bleak dystopian outlook. And he just opened an online store for charity … and it’s on Shopify.

Visit the Gross Domestic Product store.

5. Awwwww … SNAP!

We are definitely keeping a close eye on this.

SnapChat has remained stubbornly resistant to the forces of the Dark Empire of Insta-Facebook-Gram. Ever since Evan Spiegel – majority owner and CEO of Snap! – sent Mark Zuckerberg home with a polite handshake instead of an acquisition deal, things between the two have been all corporate-testy. And now, Snapchat is introducing a new ad unit for eCommerce advertisers.

Check it out on SearchEngineJournal.

Whew! That is some intense info right there. Good stuff.

Happy Selling,
Zachary

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