eCommerce Store: You’ve heard it all before.
Run Facebook ads! Improve your SEO! Use social media! Give discounts on sign-up!
While those are all great ways of growing your eCommerce store, sometimes the most effective strategies come from outside the box.
Sometimes all it takes is one well-placed, innovative idea to really get your business off the ground. In this post, we’re digging into 3 stores who have taken a big swing on an unconventional idea, and who are now reaping the rewards.
ShhhSilk A Great eCommerce Store
Shhh, Silk is an Australian luxury beauty label. With an enthusiastic global following, they produce 100% pure silk pillowcases and silk sleeping caps to be enjoyed the world over.
Known for its soft handle and delicate luster, silk been associated with luxury for centuries. Today is the ‘secret’ of many celebrities.
Sleeping with silk helps reduce ‘ironing in’ those wrinkles you get on your face, keeps skin from drying out, stops friction damage to hair and it keeps straightened or blow-dried hair tidy for longer. Just in case you want that fancy up-do to last a few more days 😉
Olivia, the owner of Shhh Silk, is full of big ideas, she really knows her audience, and she’s willing to put in the work to get her beautiful products into their hands. In the last year, she’s implemented not 1 but 3 unconventional ideas to grow her e-commerce store.
Pop-Up Store at Chadstone Shopping Complex, Melbourne
Uh, what? eCommerce in the real world?!
With such a tactile product, the chance to have potential customers actually see and touch the silk goods was just too good to pass up. Olivia timed this partnership perfectly – Chadstone is the second largest shopping complex in the Southern Hemisphere, and the pop-up was open the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.
Not only was the complex humming with shoppers anyway, it was the perfect reason for local fans to bring friends (and partners) along to pick up something special. The pop-up brought in lots of leads, new customers, and generated a lot of publicity and brand recognition. This has built their online presence as a result.
Golden Globes & A Hand Delivery to the Kardashian Clan
Sometimes the unconventional route just requires being willing to take a risk. In this case, jumping on a plane and going where the influencers are.
Having focused heavily on building the Shhh Silk social media audience when they launched, the products were starting to show up in front of people who were really interested in luxury products. As a result, Olivia was invited to contribute to the Golden Globes Gift Lounge.
She flew to the US, did the event, and now over 100 celebrities are using her products. She also knew that Kim Kardashian and her family were big fans of sleeping on silk. Olivia wrangled her connections to be able to hand-deliver a set of pillowcases to their LA home.
We’ve covered this Foursixty app here and here, but this is still very new territory for most e-commerce stores. If your products are visually appealing, or you can demonstrate how practical they are with images or videos, Instagram can be a powerful sales tool.
Shhh Silk realized just how much leverage a Shop Our Instagram feed would give them, and added it to their site as soon as they could. Now fans from all over the world can discover the site, see the pillowcases and sleeping caps actually being used, imagine themselves using them, and click straight through to a sales page.
Just like the silk itself, this has removed a lot of friction and wrinkles in bringing on new customers. Shhh Silk is going from strength to strength as a result.
Erstwilder Another Terrific eCommerce Store
We’ve featured Erstwilder before for their cool designs and innovative approach to an eCommerce Store. Their accessories and jewelry are really fun and kooky, which makes for a deeply loyal, highly targeted fan base.
Like Shhh Silk, they’re making great use of the Shoppable Instagram feed. They’re also doing a great job of really engaging their audience in the actual processes of the business.
Suggest A Design
The Erstwilder audience is a creative, fun group of young women who really take their style seriously. They watch what’s coming up on the Erstwilder site carefully. They can be the first to know when new accessories come along… and many of them have great ideas about what those accessories could be.
Erstwilder built an interactive form with Typeform, carefully styled to match their site, where customers can submit design ideas and images as inspiration. Not only does this help grow their email list, but it makes selling those products a done deal. The fan-designer buys their accessory for themselves, their friends and share it on their social media feeds too (which are, of course, shoppable).
Monthly VIP Giveaway Competitions
Erstwilder really knows how to keep their customers looking forward to hearing from them.
On their site, they invite you to sign up for their email list in order to go in the running to win a design of your choice each month. All you have to do is create an account. Every month, keep a lookout to find out if you’ve won. Of course, you’ll also get the inside scoop on sales and new arrivals if you’re not that month’s lucky winner.
Supplying minimalists everywhere with their favorite travel gear, the guys over at Minaal have absolutely crushed it the past couple of years by leveraging Kickstarter.
Their bags are lightweight, spacious, and specifically designed for carry-on travel. This has made them highly appealing to the growing number of eCommerce Store entrepreneurs who are becoming location independent with their online businesses (many of them eCommerce stores).
(You’ll notice that the second campaign only needed to raise $10,000 to be a success… they raised over $700,000. If you’re thinking about any kind of crowdfunding, these guys are the real deal.)
From Kickstarter to Shopify
When the first Kickstarter went live, the team was swamped with orders. They blew through their goals in days and didn’t want to lose the momentum their campaign was created just because they didn’t have any more of the Kickstarter product available.
We got together and built them a custom Shopify store that meant they were able to take pre-sales for bags that would be shipped after the campaign finished up.
The second time around, they were prepared. They needed to be able to process all the overflow without losing any potential customers, so we built a specific pre-sales capability into the site here. Unsurprisingly, the next campaign was an even bigger success, and the orders were astronomical. Once they hit their goals, they put up a banner on the Kickstarter page directing customers to their site so they could still place their orders.
Were so successful because it put their products in front of a much bigger audience than they could have initially reached on their own. It gave them a central, vetted space to send new customers to. That was easy and appealing for fans to share with their friends.
Once Minaal had proven the demand for the business, they were able to shift easily to a more traditional e-commerce model. They have been able to move back and forth seamlessly between the two platforms to create as much exposure for their products as possible.
There are so many ways you can grow your e-commerce store. You don’t have to get locked into the standard ways of doing things. Think about your audience, where they hang out, how they interact with the world, and what you can do to surprise and delight them. Doing something unconventional can create real momentum that can change the course of the business. It can open up more opportunities than you ever had before.
We encourage you to check out our services and other terrific blog articles on Going Global With Shopify Internationalization, 3 Ways To Increase Your Shopify Conversions, and Boost Your Sales With These Cool Tools. — We are Blackbelt Commerce, a TOP Shopify & BigCommerce developer.
Have you got unconventional ways of growing your e-commerce store? What are you doing to get your products in front of new customers and bigger audiences? Drop your tips in the comments!
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