Industry Insights with Lisa Jones

E-commerce Strategist & Coach at Lisa Jones + Co.

Lisa Jones is a mum to one and step mum to five, passionate ecommerce expert and builder of 3x multi-million dollar ecommerce brands. Lisa shares her uncomplicated approach to starting, growing and scaling up online brands through her high touch mentoring programs and retreats, as well as sharing her expertise on stages, inside her podcast and book, and all her social channels. 

What are the top 3 challenges you're hearing about right now?

Uncertainty around the future is a big one that keeps coming up. With the war in the Ukraine, simmering tensions with China and locally, a new party leading government - not to mention the lingering effects of the pandemic - many small business owners are facing uncertainty, not just for their business but personally as well.

Supply chain issues are also playing into this uncertainty. Increasing prices for raw materials and oil combined with continued blockages through the network thanks to covid have been playing havoc on the supply chain for businesses of all size.

On a more micro level, changes to iOS and how it effects the ability to target customers effectively through paid ad channels is continuing to reduce paid ad efficacy and businesses are having to learn how to continue to use these channels effectively as well as pivot towards other channels at the same time. 

What opportunities should businesses be embracing in the coming months and years?

Despite the challenges businesses are facing, there is still so much opportunity.

The trend toward more video content will allow brands in that space to continue to grow - whether that's via TikTok, Instagram reels or other channels, the appetite for video content is huge.

There are great opportunities for brands that are able to provide instructional, how-to content that provides value to their customers, but also opportunities to showcase the people behind the brand, allowing businesses to form stronger connections with their communities.

In terms of developing a more robust supply chain, there are great opportunities and advantages for using this time to research manufacturing and material sourcing outside of China - no one has a crystal ball to tell us exactly what's going to happen, but I have a feeling the situation in China is only going to get worse so now is the perfect opportunity to look at sourcing opportunities within Australia or further afield.

Looking for ways to become more sustainable as a business will continue to be an advantage for those businesses that choose to adopt those practices - customers are looking for options that leave a lighter footprint and the companies that ignore this will be left behind. 

What are your top three tips to ensure a profitable business?

Your website really needs to be top notch. With more customers than ever embracing online shopping, a sub-standard website will see them disappear to never return.

A website needs to be a constant work in process - it's not a one and done scenario. Keep monitoring your conversion rate and make constant tweaks to your site to ensure your site speed, imagery and content is up to par.

I also advise businesses to look at automating (or handing off) systems and processes that take a lot of time but don't yield much in terms of a result. This could mean finding an affordable bookkeeper, automating shipping processes, batching social media content so it's a fortnightly job and so on. This allows the business owner to spend time on marketing and product strategy, rather than being down in the trench's day after day.

To keep profit margins high, it's also a good idea to continually monitor and look for better deals in your supply chain. Push your suppliers for lower prices where possible, examine your freight costs and keep an eye on these - if they're rising you need to make sure this is reflected in your pricing to ensure your business remains profitable.

How can business owners reduce the feeling of overwhelm?

For most of us, the balance is uneven and we put ourselves at the bottom of the list. We get stuck, overwhelmed & guilty, and we forget why we are losing ourselves in building a business which has taken over our lives. And when we start to feel overwhelmed, we lose sight of the big picture - why we started our business to begin with.

My best tip is to only have 5 things on your to do-list at any time. This gives you focus, clarity, and motivation to tick things off your list. For all the other projects and ideas you have that will help grow your business, I suggest a hallway filled with butchers paper to capture these ideas, then a small to do list on your desk each week taken from that wall, with achievable items on it!

Aim to block out some time (even if it's just an hour or two a week) to work on your business, not in it. This might mean setting some goals and outlining your priorities for growth each week. 

What are the biggest mistakes you see e-commerce business owners making?

I work with a lot of businesses who, when I meet them, aren't differentiating their product enough from the competition.

Businesses in competitive categories such as skin care, beauty, kids & baby need to have a point of difference to make their brand stand out from the crowd - be really clear on who your competitors are, how you can be different from them and what additional value you can offer.

Another mistake is putting all your eggs in one marketing basket - only using Facebook ads, or only using social media, or only using email marketing. To succeed, brands need a truly multichannel approach utilising as many channels as possible. No one channel will work on its own, or if it currently does, there's no guarantee that that single channel will continue to work in the future.

Your top advice for retailers with online stores?

  1. Focus on conversion rate optimisation on your website - if you can double your conversion by being clever with your copy, hierarchy of order, trust factors and transforming the customers pain points with your solution, you will sell more without spending more on traffic generation.

  2. Know your numbers intimately - so many brands fly blind when it comes to knowing their own numbers, what they mean and then actively working to slowly and incrementally increase each number. Overall, this strategy will grow your sales through attention to the right metrics. 

  3. Think about creating raving fans by serving your customers, not just providing a transaction. Every time someone new lands on your website, that's an opportunity to serve them through your website, your communication during the shipping process, the unboxing of your product arriving and your follow up process post purchase. Don't blow it! Gain a customer for life and a raving fan who will tell others about your brand as well.

Identify which paid and organic channels you can start to utilise to get more eyes on your brand and try to add a new channel to your marketing approach:

  • Paid ads
  • Social media
  • Pinterest
  • Collaborations and partnerships
  • Social proof /user generated content
  • Email marketing

Another common mistake I see time and time again with brands is that their website simply doesn't look trustworthy enough. I like to use the example of a store in your local shopping centre - would you walk in (let alone buy) from a store that had dodgy lighting, no nice window display, no one in there to ask questions about the products and how they work? Your website needs to not only look beautiful and be engaging but look trustworthy - you need to make visitors to your online store feel confident about buying from your business. 

Hear from Lisa Jones on 25 Strategies to Double Your Website CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) on Monday 1st August at 11:15am - 11:55am & Monday 1st August at 12:30pm -1pm.