Buyer Journey — how you turn shoppers into buyers. In eCommerce, potential customers don’t get to physically interact with your business or products before they buy them, but they do engage with your website and online channels. Your online store needs to convince shoppers to buy from your site and not somewhere else. So invest in your product images, product pages, cart and checkout. And offer the right installment methods for your customers — credit cards, mobile installment, pay over time, whatever they use.
As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create A Highly Successful E-Commerce Business”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Liat Karpel Gurwicz.
Liat has led Strategic Marketing for Wix.com since 2014, including marketing efforts for Wix’s creative, professional and business audiences. She currently leads Wix’s eCommerce marketing and business activities. A seasoned branding and marketing expert, Liat previously headed up marketing for tech companies including Como, Conduit and dbMotion.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Hi — I’m Liat and I lead eCommerce Marketing at Wix.
I joined the company in 2014 and have led various strategic marketing efforts for Wix.com since then, including growing Wix’s creative, professional and business audiences.
Prior to joining Wix, I previously led marketing for tech companies including Como, Conduit and dbMotion.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
I met Wix CMO Omer Shai one evening in late 2014 for an impromptu job interview over coffee.
While we were waiting for our order, Omer called his team to let them know that he had decided that Wix would be doing their first Super Bowl ad. I obviously overheard this conversation, and as a marketer immediately understood what an exciting opportunity that was for Wix and the team. Then Omer looked over at me, grinned and said “Well, are you coming or not?”
I was definitely coming! I started at Wix a few weeks later and was privileged to be part of the team that worked on our first Super Bowl campaign.
And I never looked back. Since then, I’ve led strategic marketing efforts for Wix’s creative, professional and business audiences. I’m dedicated to helping businesses grow and succeed online, and sometimes I’m still surprised that my passion for online shopping is also my job these days.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I think that hard times are unfortunately just part of life and part of growth.
I come from a long line of strong women, and something that both my Grandmother and my Mom instilled in my sister and me is that when it comes to the really hard things in life, you can either be a victim or a survivor.
I truly believe that your ability to grow as a person is directly related to the amount of discomfort you can handle.
So, in both my personal and professional life, it’s never been about giving up for me — it’s always about how I get through and come out on the other side.
So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
2020 has required us all to dig deep and be more resilient than ever before. I’ve always found success being surrounded by smart and resourceful teams. With a heavy dose of collaboration and willingness to build trust, me and my team are unstoppable due to our ability to learn from our mistakes and find the opportunity in those crucial moments. When someone falls down, if you’ve got a great team they’ll help each other stand up and get back on track.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
A couple of weeks after I started at my first online marketing job, our department VP (so my boss’s boss) asked me to create a landing page for a new product we were launching.
I had no idea what a landing page was, but I wasn’t about to say that to him. So I said sure, did some speedy research on Google and then proceeded to awkwardly guide an entire creative team in creating that LP.
That LP had 3 different CTAs, a pretty bizarre layout with lots of dead space at the bottom, and a very distracting background pattern. I had to create another version a week later because it was so bad.
But I’ve made killer landing pages since.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our primary point of differentiation is what we can offer small and medium-sized businesses. Our high-tier features come standard, from installment and analytics, to native integrations (FB) and automated text, to custom cart checkouts and currency conversions, among others. A few great examples of direct-to-consumer brands fully leveraging these Wix eCommerce features include Ruby Love, which designs female underwear, specialty spice purveyor The Spice Suite, and candlemaker Coal and Canary. Ruby Love has used Wix since the early days of developing the company’s web and eCommerce presence. With time, the brand further built out the site to make use of more features like tracking, label printing and shipping and has now grown into a 22 million dollars business with more than 40 employees and a standalone fulfillment center.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I think that being passionate about what you do is a big driver in avoiding burnout, and then just prioritizing life day by day.
I find that many people talk about work-life balance, but for me it’s always more of a juggle. So it’s about prioritizing what’s important today. As an executive, mom, wife, daughter, friend — every day is different. Some days family wins, some days work wins.
Don’t get me wrong — I have plenty of hard, mixed-up days too. But I really love my family and my job. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy both aspects of life and I feel like there is so much more for me to experience and achieve.
In short, I’m not done yet, so burning out is not an option.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Wow — there are so many people to be grateful for. I am definitely standing on strong shoulders.
My mom, for raising my sister and me on her own and making sure that we got a good education and instilling a strong life compass in us. My teachers and mentors, from school and university through my working career have shaped me in many ways and opened many worlds to me. My husband, for putting my dreams first and being such a great partner and father to our sons.
Someone who really stands out is Alli Avishai, one of the corporate leaders and VP at dbMotion when I worked there. From the moment I met her, I looked up to her as a woman in such a prominent role and always admired her strength and leadership. She was not only an amazing role model to me, but she also went out of her way to mentor me and open doors for me. I’ve tried to emulate her in many ways over the years. Something that I still carry with me today is the responsibility, as a female executive, to guide and empower other women starting their careers.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?
The impact of COVID-19 on businesses has been massive. Many retailers and brands saw incredibly high eCommerce demand in 2020, but were not prepared to offset that demand and scale with professional eCommerce and fulfillment solutions. Some businesses were forced to shut physical locations permanently, and many had to quickly start their online stores for the first time, and even those who already had eCommerce stores had to make significant adjustments to their online business to manage their inventory, logistics, shipping and more. Supply chains were also badly compromised during the pandemic, with many factories and suppliers having to close for weeks or even months.
As the pandemic continues to disrupt the world, many businesses continue to struggle and consumers continue to shift their shopping online. Businesses constantly need to adapt and reinvent themselves, and for most the key to survival lies in a strong eCommerce and fulfillment strategy.
Here are the key areas to address for eCommerce success during the pandemic:
• Diversify your suppliers: If some suppliers need to close or suffer delivery delays, you can always ramp up orders from another supplier to help cover the load. You should have a plan B and plan C, just in case.
• Plan and stock inventory: Review your sales data to identify which products are selling well since the start of the pandemic. Try to anticipate what your customers need by researching shopping trends and online search queries for your product categories during the pandemic. Use this information to plan and stock your inventory.
• Get creative on delivery: Increased online shopping means increased shipping demand and traditional shipping carriers and delivery services are at full capacity. Logistics are difficult for everyone (including big retailers), so be prepared to use non-traditional delivery options like crowdsourcing rideshare drivers.
• Make sure your website is ready: Including basics like shipping information, return/refund policies, and — highly suggested — live chat (which Wix offers).
• Stagger holiday season marketing efforts: Plan and stagger your marketing efforts carefully so that you generate a good flow of ongoing sales instead of just a few big peaks. This will make it easier for you to manage and fulfill orders, and allow you to provide customers excellent service and timely delivery.
Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?
The good news is that even as a small business you can be very successful online. Wix aims to allow any business to have the same eCommerce tools and online store that any big brand does.
But as the business owner, you still have to do the hard work of making the business a success. You have to make great products, meet your customers wherever they are online, and invest in your customer relationships.
The key is to deliver value to your customers, whether it’s engaging them on the channels they prefer, or enhancing their shopping experience on your website with great customer service.
People will keep buying from brands that they feel valued by and get value from. So no matter how hard you work to get them to keep coming back, remember to always put your customers at the forefront of your strategy. Think about their needs first.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is to not clearly define your target audience or take the time to understand what makes your customers tick.
You can’t really expect the right people to just show up at your website simply because you have a product they might need or want. You need to let them know about your business and get them to notice your products. And to do that, you need to know who they are and how you can reach them.
Are they on Facebook? Do they shop on Instagram, Amazon or eBay? Do they read email newsletters? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, your products probably won’t ever be seen by relevant shoppers, no matter how cool they may be.
Without a clear idea of who your target audience is, you’re essentially going into every single marketing initiative completely blind. Knowing your audience will help you figure out which images to use for ads, which words to use in descriptions, which social channels to aggressively maintain, and more. The most important thing you can do is get hyper-invested on understanding your potential customers.
In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
In eCommerce, potential customers don’t get to physically interact with your business or products before they buy them, but they do engage with your website and online channels. Your online store needs to convince shoppers to buy from your site and not somewhere else.
You really need to invest in your customer’s shopping experience, often referred to as the “buyer journey”. These are the most important things to do:
• Create great product pages that entice shoppers: Provide accurate and tempting product descriptions, including features, specifications and benefits. Display your products with high quality product photographs or videos. Include product reviews and testimonials which are major drivers in converting buyers, but make sure that reviews are valid and authentic. Optimize the for your product pages and include all relevant keywords. Make sure that you’re not copy pasting manufacturer or supplier descriptions as duplicate content will cause your pages to be penalized by search engines.
• Simplify your Shopping Cart: If shoppers need to fumble through the checkout process, they are likely to get frustrated and give up before ever making a purchase. To increase conversions, make the checkout process as simple as possible and eliminate as many steps as possible from your shopping cart. Keep buttons big and text small, and remove any unnecessary fields. Think about ‘buy now’ options that go straight to the cart for single product purchases.
• Don’t surprise shoppers with unexpected fees: Making a purchase involves a degree of trust and you don’t want to give shoppers any reason to think that you’re not being upfront with them. Unexpected fees like taxes or shipping fees can drive away potential customers. This doesn’t mean that you should cover the cost of tax and shipping yourself; simply provide all of this information well before shoppers reach the checkout page.
• Give shoppers enough installment options: You don’t want to lose a customer because they can’t functionally pay you. There are dozens of online installment methods, from credit cards to digital wallets and mobile installment solutions. You don’t need to offer all of the options, but find out which installment methods your target customers prefer and focus on those.
Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?
Make sure your site appears in potential shoppers’ search results when they are searching online.
• Optimize your product page titles and descriptions (meta tags). This will tell Google that these pages are part of an online store and give them the best chance of ranking in the search engine results page (SERP).
• Use patterns to instantly update your page titles and descriptions across all product pages.
Help customers browse and shop by making it easy for them to quickly find and buy the products they’re looking for on your site:
• Add a ‘Wishlist’ for shoppers to keep track of their favorite products before they buy.
• Add an ‘Add to Cart’ button to your product galleries to help increase the number of products that customers add to their carts.
• If you only sell one product, let customers skip the cart and go straight to checkout from the product page with a ‘Buy Now’ button.
• Add a search bar to your site for better product discovery.
• Add sorting and filtering options on your product gallery pages.
• Add a related products gallery to your product pages to show customers what other products you have to offer and help them browse the store in a more seamless and intuitive way.
• Add a product gallery to your cart page and populate it with low cost items so shoppers can instantly add them to the cart without leaving it.
• Add cross-sell recommendations to your checkout so shoppers can instantly add them to the cart without leaving it.
As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?
Conversion optimization is usually made up of many small tweaks that, over time, can have a big impact on your bottom line.
Bringing shoppers to your online store requires funding of both your time and budget. Turn potential shoppers into paying customers with remarketing:
• Recover abandoned carts by setting up automated abandoned cart emails to re-engage with shoppers and encourage them to complete their purchases. Wix sites with active automations, like abandoned cart emails, get 2.7 times more visitors and up to 29% higher sales.
• Make sure your Facebook Pixel is properly connected so you can remarket to your store visitors and shoppers who don’t complete checkout.
• Customize and add a form to your site to collect subscriber information, like names and email addresses, to communicate future sales and promotions to them.
• Create an automated Welcome Email series or any other drip campaign that will encourage the shopper to make an additional purchase.
Engage shoppers and provide real-time customer support with Live Chat:
• Connect with your customers while they shop and answer questions, helping to increase sales.
• See who’s browsing on your site, reach out and offer recommendations and send coupons via chat or email in real time.
• Wix sites that offer live chat get 8 to 12 times higher sales revenues, and those that recommend products to customers via chat generate 71% more sales.
Identify your best-selling items:
• Identify your best-selling items and work on making those pages the best they can be. (Conduct A/B testing so you don’t risk making negative changes!)
• Identify products that have many page views, but low conversions. These are products that your customers view often but don’t buy. Maybe your pricing is off and an adjustment or sale could help.
Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Building trust for your online store really matters because it will help you bring value to your customers, it will impact shoppers’ buying decisions, it will help build brand loyalty, and ultimately it will create brand advocates for your business.
We like to say that you should focus on the 3 R’s:
• Be Reliable: Provide quality goods and services. Deliver on your promises every time.
• Be Respectful: Put the customer first. Focus on bringing value. Always look for ways to improve the customer experience.
• Be Real: Speak to your customers in an authentic, human voice. Keep it conversational, in a way that feels personal and trustworthy.
You can build trust on your online store by making sure to:
• Clearly communicating seasonal offers and holiday deals on our site. Accurately describe the offer or discount and make coupon codes easily available.
• Invest in your product pages. Provide accurate and tempting product descriptions, including features, specifications and benefits, and display your products with high quality product photographs or videos.
• Be upfront about shipping fees and return policies. Don’t surprise shoppers with unexpected fees or shopping terms.
• Include reliable product reviews and testimonials. These can be great drivers in converting buyers, but make sure that they are valid and authentic.
• Create an FAQ page on your site to proactively respond to common customer queries.
• Include all relevant contact information to make it easy for customers to connect.
One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?
Poor reviews can be upsetting and you obviously don’t want to rack those up because by nature, people trust real people. That’s why social proof is such a powerful part of your marketing plan.
I would try to see a bad review as an opportunity to learn and improve some aspect of your business.
First, respond quickly to any customer complaints or reviews and try to correct the issue. Understand what went wrong and how you can compensate the customer. Mistakes will happen, so focus on helping your customer and improving their experience with your brand.
Next, accept that understanding your mistakes is essential to your business’s growth. If you understand that you made the mistake and fix it, not only will your business continue to grow and thrive, you’ll also create a following of happy, loyal customers that are excited to buy your products again and again.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.
For any business, whether they want to start selling online or up their eCom game — there are 5 key parts of eCommerce marketing and sales strategy:
• Audience & Channels — how you reach relevant shoppers and get them to your Online Store. You can’t expect the right people to just show up at your website because you have a product they might need or want. You need to let them know about your business and get them to notice your products. So the focus here is on defining target audience and selecting the best marketing and sales channels to reach them.
• Buyer Journey — how you turn shoppers into buyers. In eCommerce, potential customers don’t get to physically interact with your business or products before they buy them, but they do engage with your website and online channels. Your online store needs to convince shoppers to buy from your site and not somewhere else. So invest in your product images, product pages, cart and checkout. And offer the right installment methods for your customers — credit cards, mobile installment, pay over time, whatever they use.
• Fulfillment Cycle — whether that’s shipping, delivery or pickup. I’m going to skip past all the logistics here and say that on the marketing side, think about how you give the best experience on your website, like clearly communicating cost rates and timing. And then make a plan for how you update customers about their orders and preferably automate that process, from shipping and delivery emails and SMS updates, package tracking and so on.
• Customer Loyalty — so for any business I truly believe that your customer is your greatest asset. You invest in acquiring every new customer, both time and money, but the real reward is not just closing the sale. Instead, it’s your potential to continue earning from that customer for a lifetime. Some of the most effective ways to keep customers coming back include email marketing, retargeting ads and automations like abandoned cart recovery, customer service, loyalty programs and special offers.
• Analyzing & Optimizing: across all these areas, a healthy dose of testing, analyzing and optimizing. Selling online is an endless process of trial and error, testing and optimization.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Generally, I really believe in educating and empowering women. As a woman of some minor success and some privilege in life, I feel that it’s my duty to offer whatever support and opportunities I can to other women. So that’s how I try to bring about some good.
Specifically this year, I’d say that if 2020 taught us anything, it’s 1) wear a mask, and 2) shop online.
How can our readers further follow you online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!