29 May 2022 |

Sharma- 05/29/2022

By Nik Sharma

Happy Sunday!

Last Sunday I went to experience EDC for the first time, and it was crazy to see how large the entire festival and production really is. Myself and 2 friends (Jay Sean & Dimitry Mak) were able to get our hands on all-access passes and enjoyed every minute of it. If you ever get the opportunity to go, even just to see how big the production is, I highly recommend going.

After EDC, I flew to Arizona to join Shopify at an exclusive creator offsite with about 15 category-leading creators (YouTubers, filmers, TikTokers, etc). It was hands-down the best retreat I have ever been to, with the perfect balance of work and play. I was able to do a fireside chat with Colin and Samir and talk all about commerce, DTC, branding, and physical products, which was an honor. Shopify did an exceptional job putting this together.

One exercise we did was look at brands that each creator-owned to find “low-hanging fruit” opportunities. Some of the brands were journaling brands, some were condiment sauces, and some were courses. Regardless of what they were selling, there were a few common things that everyone could do to improve their sales. This timed perfectly as our Sharma Brands team has been working with one of the largest gaming companies in the world to work on a new brand launch of theirs, and we’ve been optimizing a brand that we just bought to re-launch. In all 3 instances (creators brands, clients, and our own brand), the biggest opportunity was increasing conversion.

One of the top 3 biggest levers to make more revenue, while everything else stays the same, is increasing your conversion rate. So the question becomes, how do you do that?

Here are the 8 (detailed) improvements I think the majority of sites can make today that would dramatically improve their website’s conversion rate and overall revenue, as a result.

I took a bunch of notes from our client slack channels, notes to our internal brand team, and what I remembered from the Shopify retreat and tried to organize them as best as I can. I’d love to put this up on my website soon, so if there’s something you think should be added to that list, reply to this email with it, along with how you want to be credited (a link to your Twitter, website or LinkedIn). Alright, let’s go!

Your homepage should be just as effective as a landing page. So what are the elements of a good landing page? Something that sells you on the brand first, then the problem, and then the solution. It iterates what you’re getting, why it benefits you, why THAT product is the best solution to the problem, and how you can get it. Your homepage is the storefront for your website. If you had a storefront on 5th Avenue in New York, you wouldn’t waste your window space.

If you’re unsure what should be living on your homepage, go into your Instagram DMs, and customer reviews, look at press reviews of your product and see what people love about your brand/product the most. Focus on highlighting that. A few of my favorite homepages are FeastablesJuneshineRitual, and Immi. You’ll notice they all could be a landing page themselves.

The homepage needs to focus on higher AOV. Ok, think about when someone walks into your store on 5th avenue — if a store associate sees them, they’re going to route them through the store in a way where they get the best introduction to the store. If you walk into Everlane, they’ll walk you through the jeans, the swimsuits, the tops, etc. In the same way, focus your homepage on pushing bundles or sets that really frame your brand the right way from the start.

At Hint, we focused the homepage on pushing a 3-pack bundle. It absolutely helped AOV, UPT (units per transaction), and ROAS numbers, but it was also a much better experience for a customer who was coming to the brand for the first time to get a variety of flavors to sample. They have a better opportunity to see what they like, in order to make their second purchase, and it led to higher subscriber conversion. This isn’t about tricking people either, they can always navigate to product pages, but this is about giving them a better onboarding experience to your brand.

Another easy low-hanging opportunity, especially with creator brands or brands focused on a younger (<30 years old) audience, is brand merchandise. Everyone wants to represent the brands they love, even UPS has its own brand merch! About 40-60% of Gen Z brands that offer merch, ship with merch in the orders. Merch is great margin and keeps the brand loyalty high.

You need social proof on your homepage. When you see Omsom telling you they have the best marinades, you’re probably thinking, “Umm, yeah no sh~t! Why would they say anything other than they’re great?!” Right! But when VOGUE, CNN, and VICE have quotes on the homepage, or you see customer reviews that also have the same sentiment, it’s much more encouraging to try the product. With DTC, especially in food and beverage, it’s all about driving trial. If your product is truly great, it gets a lot easier after you can successfully drive trial. One last tip here — add badges to your homepage. Whether it’s “Vegan” or “Cruelty-Free” or “Over 20,000 sold!” or “Best Seller”. These are all easy helpers.

The collections page should be merchandised like a landing page. Your best sellers should lead each category, and it should be easy enough that no one has to click into a PDP if they know what to buy. They should be able to see the product title, a star count from reviews, pricing, and an add-to-cart button. When we did this at Hint (see here), we increased revenue by 7-figures, just from this. It goes back to making the customer journey easier — it’s your job to have everything someone could need, to make a confident purchase, visible.

Collections pages should boast reviews and more content than just the products. You don’t have to end it with just products, in fact, that’s not a very SEO-friendly way to have a collections page, either. One thing I learned with JUDY was a lot of earned media (bloggers, press outlets, influencers, etc) would drive traffic to the collections page, so we had to add more to it. In JUDY’s case, we have emergency guides, reviews, and bundles on the collections page. For your own brand, think about what people would need to be educated on if they were dropped on the collections page.

The product page (PDP) should have benefits and add to cart (ATC) button above the fold for desktop AND mobile. Going back to my point earlier, it’s on you to make the purchase journey easy for a potential customer. Too many sites try to pack a ton of information before getting to the ATC button — don’t let someone think it doesn’t exist. If you believe your ATC button being down below still works, install Microsoft Clarity and watch some user recordings.

The product description up top should focus on benefits, not features. What’s an example of that?

Feature: SolaWave is an award-winning beauty tool used by A-list celebrities.

Benefit: Get tighter skin within 2 weeks with SolaWave.

Personify what you’re selling. This is a bit more particular to food and beverage products. The hardest thing is trying to convince someone that the taste is worth it! Use a blind taste-test video (genuinely a blind taste test, not a scripted/fake one) or bring customer-submitted UGC to the forefront. You need to exaggerate and amplify the face that someone makes when they try and love your product.

Change the name of your shipping. This will take you 13 seconds to complete, and will make your checkout a lot more fun for the customer. Don’t call it “Standard 5-7 Day Shipping” or “Express Shipping (1-2 days)”. That’s boring. Instead, change it to “VIP Shipping (1-2 days)” or something that feels more on brand.

What else would you add to this list? Reply with the tip and what I can link to credit you (social media, website, etc). I’ll put it up on my website by next Sunday and share the link!

If even one of these tips was something you realized you could implement on your own site, do me a huge favor and just tell someone you know who’s also building a brand to subscribe using this link below:

I love keeping everything transparent and open for everyone. My subscriber count going up is a metric that greatly benefits me and allows me to keep this content free and open. Thank you!

On to some fun stuff…

Vendor of the Week:

Tapcart — The drag and drop builder for iOS & Android apps

If you’ve got a Shopify store that is making 6-figures per month in revenue, then you should consider using Tapcart to make a mobile app for your store. Here’s why:

Push notifications. With Messenger, you can send “push notifications” but they’re still messages that come through messenger, and they cost money to send, even if you own the audience. With Tapcart, once someone opts in, you’ve got their permission to send push notifications to everyone for free. On average, Tapcart customers see a 90% open rate when push notifications are sent. IMO, push notifications TODAY are what emails were in the ’90s. In 20 years, everyone will wish they were using push notifications with 90% open rates.

You own this channel. With social media, you still have to pay to reach your own customers. An app is similar to email, as a channel, where you truly own the customer on the other side of the app.

Exclusive merchandising. Brands like Obvi and Chubbies have found their most loyal customers to be on the app, which means their app users get first dibs at new products, new styles, or even exclusive app-only launches.

Higher conversion rate. On average, merchants see a 40% increase in conversion rate from what they have online, versus when customers shop through the app.

Alright, this sounds like a sales pitch, but I am SERIOUS about how incredible Tapcart is. There’s a reason I partner with them and refuse the other 96% of companies that approach me. In 5 years, people will be kicking themselves for not owning their commerce and audience experience through a mobile app with Tapcart.

When I was at Hint and we wanted a mobile app, we were quoted $120,000 as a floor price. Today, you can sign up for a demo with Tapcart, tell them I sent you and get a free month. After that, it’s as low as $250/month, which, again if you’re making 6-figures, is nothing for incremental revenue.

Sign up for a demo and get a free month of Tapcart by clicking here!

Jobs of the Week:

I’ll feature your job here — just submit it on my jobs board!

Question of the Week:

What is the one thing you look at when you try a new food or beverage product? It can be on a store’s shelf, or online. Reviews? YouTube taste tests? Let me know!

The winner gets a $50 gift card to their favorite food brand (don’t forget to mention this in your reply!)

Brand of the Week:

Pulp Pantry — chips made from everything that normally gets tossed away.

On Friday night, I was catching up on all the Shark Tank episodes I’ve missed, and one of the brands I came across was Pulp Pantry!

Their founder, Kaitlin, took all of the pulp leftovers from juicing vegetables, made chips out of it, and then commercialized it into a business.

I just ordered a variety pack from their website. Choose your flavor and order a bag by clicking here.