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In our second episode of ‘After the Show’ for ‘Rooted in Retail’, I am sharing insightful tips for increasing the success of your e-commerce stores, drawing from this week’s conversation with Josh Orr of Capital Commerce. We dive deeper into website design, brand messaging, product photography, and return policies.
Join the conversation in our Facebook Group ‘Rooted In Retail”
[00:00] Welcome to After the Show
[03:22] Grab the Transformational challenge before the end of January
[04:15] This week on Rooted in Retail
[05:31] Don’t shy away from photography (you have everything you need to make it great)
[06:36] How often are you changing up your website?
[08:30] Does your website copy talk about you or your customer?
[10:00] Does your website over-communicate and confuse the customer?
[11:46] Are you using story loops in your content?
[18:2]4 The most important piece of real estate on your website
[19:28] Does your return policy serve you or your customer?
[25:24] Book Recommendation: 10x is easier than 2x
[28:42] Coming up next week on Rooted in Retail
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Welcome to After the Show
Crystal Vilkaitis: Hello and welcome to after the show for Rooted in Retail. I’m hoping we’re live. I’m crystal Vilkitis and we are live streaming this into our Facebook group, but we are recording it. So it is, there is a chance that you’re listening to this recording on the podcast. When this episode goes live on Thursdays after the show, but what we do here is Tuesdays we go live at 5 p. m. Mountain Standard Time. And we talk about this week’s episode. We go deeper on the topic. It is not a recap of the episode. It is dissecting what was talked about and going further. And I’ve got some, some great things to talk about today as it relates to e-commerce, because our guest this week was Josh Orr with Capital Commerce. And we talked all about e-commerce.
So first up, just, I want to talk. I want to just give a very quick intro of what these after the shows are, since they’re so new, this is our second week of doing it.
And after the show is created to connect with you, the listener and are Rooted in Retail community by going live, if you could join me live, that’s awesome. You could participate. You can chat in, you can engage, you can ask your questions. But like I mentioned, we are recording this in case you can’t go live and you can catch the episode on Thursdays on Rooted in Retail.
Now we are filming this so you could watch it on YouTube or you could listen to the audio version.
But this is all about connection. You can find the live stream in our Facebook group. So if you just go to Facebook and search for Rooted in Retail, join the group. Last time we checked, we were at 799 members.
So we should be crossing over 800 here very soon. If you’re already in the group, welcome, welcome. Introduce yourself. You know that I’m in there pretty much every single day. So I’m excited to have a conversation. Today about e-commerce. And as I’m filming this, it’s five o’clock in, in, where am I? I was going to say California. I’m in Colorado.
And today I have some wine. I feel I’m feeling a little crystal uncorked. It has been a long, amazing day. I had a, I’m doing a transformation challenge that I’ll tell you about in a second. Cause you can access these replays and we’re getting really good feedback on these challenges. And that was in the morning.
Then we did a partner webinar in front of a whole new group of people that are consignment stores. So that was really fun.
Then we have a new partnership with ceramic stores that we launched. And, um, and then we had our company meeting and now we’re here and I’ve been waiting all day for after the show, because I love doing this. I heard from people from last week.
So it was our first week that loved it. Caroline reached out and said, I love that it’s later. I was making dinner, listening to after the show. And that’s really what I wanted to try to create here is that connection where it’s a little unplugged. It’s a little uncorked. And so cheers.
I’m going to take a sip of wine here.
I do have an announcement before we get into the discussion about e com today. And if you are here with me live, go ahead and chat in and say hello. If you’re watching the replay, just type in replay. I watch those.
I saw some of you writing replay from last week’s episode. I’m always paying attention to who is here and showing up. So, um, quick announcement.
Grab the Transformational Challenge before the end of January
Crystal Vilkaitis: I mentioned our transformation challenge last week and it’s happening right now, this week, day three is tomorrow. And that concludes it’s a three day transformation challenge. We’re doing this. It’s brand new content. People are loving it. I’ve been getting really great emails and hearing really great feedback about this.
I think we’ll do it again, but I’ve great news. You can listen to the replays.
So if you go to crystalmediaco.com/transform, and we’ll post that link in the group. You can register. And then right there, you’ll see day one and day two. And then tomorrow, day three, the replays are going to be in there until the end of January.
Free content, helping you plan 2024, helping you transform your business in life. A lot of great resources. So take advantage of that in there. I see Pauline. Hello, Pauline. Welcome to after the show. Um, okay.
This week on Rooted in Retail
Crystal Vilkaitis: So we are talking about e-commerce. Now, if you are live with me, or if you’re watching the replay, I want you to type in ecom if you do sell online, if you have an active e-commerce website, just to get a feel for who is, and I say active, like, and when I, let’s say that you’re selling at least one sale a week. Okay. That’s how we’ve, we’re going to measure our active e comm sites. Now in these, after the shows, we’re going deeper. A lot was discussed.
Josh is a dear friend of ours and he is one of our e comm people. He builds these beautiful, effective Shopify websites that convert. And he gave us a lot of great tips for our e-commerce website. And one of those things that we talked about was photography. And when I was, I was at the Dallas market center last week, Filming live Rooted in Retail episodes.
And one of my guests is Brianna Cannon and her business is briannacannon. com. Check her out on Instagram. Her show will be live most likely in about a month. Um, but she knows how to sell online. She knows how to use Instagram and a big part of it is photography and her and I talked about that in her episode.
Don’t shy away from photography
Crystal Vilkaitis: And both Brianna. And Josh said, you can, you have your iPhone. You can get what you need with your iPhone. Don’t feel like you need this professional camera. Don’t feel like, I feel like we can hold ourselves back from the tech or because of the tech. And I also. think a lot of us are hiding. A lot of us are not wanting to be in the photos.
We’re not wanting to wear the pieces or display the pieces, or we’re just not making time to create the photos and post them on our social and post them on our e-commerce website. This is where I do talk about having help. You know, the formula of what you need to succeed. One of those five pieces is getting help.
So if somebody is on your team. And you have an iPhone or an Android. Honestly, the Android camera is way better than the iPhone. Take those pictures every week. Get that content on your website. Josh talks about how you need to be changing out your website often. I’ll let you listen to how to hear how often, but it’s often, it’s probably more frequently than you are now.
How often are you changing up your website?
Crystal Vilkaitis: And I would love to know as well, if you are live with me, or if you’re watching the replay, how often do you change out photos and inventory and header screens on and banner images on your website. How often is it daily? Is it weekly? Is it monthly? Is it quarterly? Or is it more than quarterly chat in, even if you’re watching the replay chatted in, cause I’m going to go back and see what everybody is saying.
But Josh says it needs to be frequent. So don’t hold yourself back. If it’s fear, if it’s, I’m not making time for it. They, these photos for your social and your e comm is so important and you have everything you need if you’ve got a cell phone. So no excuses. You could do it.
Something else that Josh talked about.
This is a big one and I kind of want to go deep on this. He said, make it obvious what people should do on your website. And immediately I had Don Miller in my head saying, confuse, you lose. Donald Miller is one of my most favorite. Business consultants. I always say I have a business crush on him.
Dustin’s very aware of this and he’s speaking. He’s one of our keynote speakers at evolve. And one thing that he says is confuse you lose. And that’s in any of your marketing message on your website, in your social, in anything you print, you don’t want to confuse people. And that’s exactly what Josh is saying.
You don’t want people to have to think like, where do I need to go? How can I find this? When they’re using up that mental energy, they get tired. And then they’re like, Nope, this too hard. And they click off and they’re not buying.
So, um, I did a little, a little research and because Don’s got such great information about website marketing copy.
And I found this great article that I wanted to share the three key takeaways from him. So one is. There’s this, well, there’s this great article, three mistakes you’re making in your messaging.
Does your website copy talk about you or your customer?
Crystal Vilkaitis: The first is that you’re talking about yourself. So if you go to your website, is it about you or is it about your customer? Is it about how you, you could totally have your about page. You want to have that. You want to have pictures of you. So people know, but the, when they go, it’s gotta be all about them. What pain point are you solving? Are they desperately in need for very thoughtful gift for their mother in law? Do they need to wow their significant other for Valentine’s Day?
Are they completely making over their house or did they move into a new house? Do they need a very thoughtful anniversary gift? I said that weird anniversary gift. Um, do they need help for their dog? They’re switching pet food and because they’re sick all the time and they just need something new. How taught you need to be talking about these pain points that your customers have on your e-commerce website. And this is where Josh talks about swapping out that banner feature and those calls to action. It should be fresh almost every time I go to your site. And I mentioned on the show catbird, catbird. com does a really great job of this. Every time I go to their site, I’m seeing new content.
They change it out based on type of beer. So trends, seasonal holidays, and then any kind of promotion they’re sprinkling in. So I want you to think about that too. When people go to our website, are we talking about ourself or are we talking about them? It needs to be all about your customer.
Does your website over-communicate?
Crystal Vilkaitis: Then in this article by Don, he says, number two mistake is trying to communicate too much.
Oh, you could buy this by that. This is on sale. Go over here, do all this. Like we don’t want it to be too confusing. It needs to be very easy for how people are navigating. And again, I think Catbird does this really well where they break it down on who you’re shopping for, what price point, like it’s just makes it.
Easy, but you’re not giving too much information all at once. There’s not a million things in the navigation or I hover over your navigation and a ton of drop downs and then I click an arrow and then it’s more drop downs and then it’s more drop downs. That’s so much information. Now, this is where I wish I had Josh on here to ask me or to, to answer this question, because one question I have as it relates to e comm is, you know, in certain situations, like let’s say a lighting showroom, if they, they’re turning There’s very specifics in the products on as far as like the size, like I was buying all new lighting for a house that we were redoing.
And so I wanted mid century modern, I wanted black, I had a certain size, um, a certain, I wanted chandelier type, and so those categories were all on the websites I was searching for, and it was a lot of categories to filter. But I actually found that really helpful for what I was searching for. So in certain situations, if you need all those filters and those product requirements and sections to help the shopper shop, then that makes sense.
But what we don’t want to have is just too much information is too complicated. I feel overwhelmed. I just don’t even know where I’m supposed to go, especially on the website. There’s just too many calls to action on that, on the homepage.
Are you using story loops in your content?
Crystal Vilkaitis: And then the third mistake that Don Miller talks about is failing to open any loops. Okay, this is good. We’re getting juicy here. I really like this, this tip by Don. And so, what this means is loops open. It, you say something in your marketing, something happens, movies are great about this. They open up a storyline. And so that makes the brain think, Ooh, what’s going on here? What happens next?
How does this get solved? How do we close this? The brain is working for the information to close the loop. So when you open a loop in your marketing and on your website and in your messaging, That brain is more locked in. It’s more focused. And so, um, I want to read exactly what I wrote down here with my notes.
Um, I said, close, closer, pay closer attention to the things that aren’t closed or completed. So we’re searching for that. We want this completion. It feels good when we complete that story loop. So for example, this is something you could do so easily. You go to chat GPT. And you write, this is what I wrote, this is my prompt, using Don Miller’s, Donald Miller’s story brand.
And opening and closing loops in your messaging and on your website, what are three examples a jeweler could open a loop in their website copy? Okay, so if you’re listening to this replay, you’re going to want to rewind and probably write that down because you’re going to want to put that into chat GPT.
Immediately within seconds, it gives me feedback on three loops, a heritage story loop, a custom creation journey loop, and the exclusive reveal loop. I’m not going to read all these to you, but I’m going to share the exclusive reveal loop. I think a lot of retailers could do this, but this especially works well for a jeweler.
The opening loop is in two weeks. We unveil a piece so rare and exquisite. It defines elegance. Can you guess the gem at its heart? Ooh, isn’t that such a good social media post? Like people are like, Ooh, what is it? Then they’re, then they’re reading comments and they’re saying, what are other people saying?
Like, this is the type of stuff that goes viral on Tik TOK. I see it all day long. It’s opening the loop. And then. The purpose, this creates anticipation and excitement for an upcoming product launch or reveal. And the closure of the loop, the loop is closed with the actual reveal of the product, ideally through an engaging event on the website, such as a live stream, a special announcement page, or an interactive unveiling.
This could be done through a reel, a story, or you have to go to the site to see it live on our site. So I love that example where we’re warming people up. And we’re having them guess what it is. Then I asked this for, I said, thank you. Give me an example for a pet store. So for a pet store, the opening loop is every pet has a unique journey, but have you ever wondered how a once shy rescue dog named Bella came the happiest pup in town after visiting our store?
The purpose of this, the loop intrigues visitors transformative story involving a pet, a common interest of the store’s clientele. It creates curiosity. We all. About what the store offers that could have such a positive impact on the pet’s life. And then the closure, the loop can be closed on a different part of the website or through a followup content piece like a blog or video, which narrates Bella’s journey.
This could include her initial challenges, her visit to the store, the product or service that she used like a specialty toy training classes, a specific diet and her subsequent transformation into a joyful and sociable dog. Hey, that is great social content. It sells products. Then what you do. On your Instagram post or your tick tock, you’re tagging all those products.
People can buy them right there. Um, or you’re linking them over to the site. Here’s our whole page of all the products that help Bella. That helps sell things, right? So this is all about just selling more products through creating curiosity on opening loops. I love this. One last example for you for home decor store.
The room makeover challenge loop. Opening. Imagine transforming a dull, lifeless room into a vibrant space full of energy and comfort. How did the Johnson family achieve this in just one weekend with our products? This is also great social media content. You’ll see like bare room. There’s just music playing, bare room.
Boom. They snap. They have some furniture. Boom. They snap. Now the rug. Boom. They snap. Now there’s the pieces on the wall. And they’re adding the paint or they’re doing all the things they’re building this room, right? So, and that, that’s an opening and closing loop where you’re just starting with a blank space and you have some texts on, look how we transform this in a weekend.
That’s an opening loop. So the purpose, it sparks the curiosity about a dramatic home transformation using the store’s products. It appeals to potential customers desires to revitalize their own living space quickly and effectively. The closure you feature on another section of the website or through subsequent content like a detailed case study, blog posts before and after photo gallery.
This content would reveal the specific products used, the steps taken in the makeover process and the testimonial or quote from the Johnson family about their experience in satisfaction. And the results isn’t that great. Don’t we love the story loop opening? Um, imagine how much more powerful your website copy can convert when we have that type of content.
We’re seeing more blogs come back to life because of chap GPT. It’s making it a little bit easier to write these. And so you could do these open and close loops on your blog. And then all the products mentioned, you’re just linking right over to where they could buy it right on your website, creating more.
website transactions. So I love that. That was a great point by Josh of don’t make it confusing, make it easy to navigate and then add sprinkling in some Don who I love so much, who again, it’s going to be speaking at evolve on how to six steps to grow your small business. If you don’t have your ticket yet, what the heck are you waiting for?
We are over 60 percent sold out. 60 percent sold out. We still got over three months to go. We’re probably going to sell out of this conference. You could get your ticket at crystal media, co. com slash evolve. All right. I’m going to take a sip of my wine. Cheers.
And we’re moving right along to an Oh, one last thing that Don does the same. And I’ve heard this from other, um, e com consultants too. The top right corner of your website is prime real estate. How our eyes tend to go, they tend to go top left, they can go center down, they could go top right.
The most important real estate on your website
Crystal Vilkaitis: So it’s really important what you have in that top right corner.
Corner of your website, and I saw this recent website review that the top right corner of this dry cleaning business that also had some clothing apparel options to it too, where you could buy new clothes, you could get dry cleaning. They the top right side, COVID 19. That was what they had for their prime real estate.
Now that’s not at all what we want people to focus on. You know, they have their cleaning standards and their procedures. And often what happens is we add those things to our site and we forget to take them down. So make sure you go to your site and action item for you is to look at your site. What’s in the top right corner.
This is where for crystal media, we’ve got to work with us, but in that, you know, a button right there, that’s a different color. That is really, that’s a great call to action. What do you really want to focus on? Have that button. That’s prime real estate. And you could be changing that out to and testing different messaging there.
Does your return policy serve you or your customer?
Crystal Vilkaitis: Josh also said something that I picked up on. Um, Where he was talking about having your return policy, like have, have all the information right there on the product page, your shipping, shipping information, return policy. It makes it so easy for people to know because it creates trust where they can see, okay.
I’m thinking about buying this coat, but what if it doesn’t fit me? Okay. What is the return policy? Okay. Wait, I need this coat for a trip I’m going on. How soon is this going to come to me? How much is shipping? Do I have to spend a certain amount? This coat’s already over a hundred dollars. Do I get shipping for free right there?
If it’s on the product page. I can see that information versus now I’m hunting for on your website, confuse you lose. I’m using too much mental power, energy. I get tired. I click away. I find something that’s easier. So he, he listed a resource, um, which I can get it real quick. I don’t have it written down right here, but it is tabs by station.
Tabs by station is a Shopify plugin that you can add. I definitely recommend that. Now, when Josh was talking about this in the episode, maybe you caught it too. He said, um, he said a lot of people will, Josh said not buying because of our return policy. Okay. He said a lot of people. It’s likely that a lot of people won’t buy because of your return policy.
So you want to have it there so they don’t have to go find it, but it’s likely they won’t buy because of your return policy. Um, and he might’ve meant something different. He, he can, there, this can mean several different things, but the curiosity I had. Was a lot of retailers have a really tough return policy and that can lose the sale.
And so Josh and I are talking about conversions. How do we get people to say yes and buy? And in an e comm perspective, you have to build more trust than if you’re in person because I feel comfortable that I could just take this coat back into the store. Right. I can return it. I know where you are.
There’s humans there. They can help me, but online, especially if I’m new shopping with you, maybe I found you on social and now I’m shopping with you. I don’t have as much trust. So if your return policy gives me seven to 10 days, or I can only get in store credit. Well, seven to 10 days, if I’m shipping that in, then that’s a tight turnaround.
If I’m only getting store credit. Well, if I’ve never shopped with you before, what if I don’t want to buy anything else with you? And it made me think of Nordstrom’s our dear friend, Bob Nagin with whiz bang training. Often he has a whole training about your return policy and how it should be in the customer’s benefit.
It should be all built for them. So I, out of my curiosity, I went to Nordstrom’s return policy and I’d like to read it to you. I think it is very good. And I would encourage you to adopt something similar. It says we handle returns on a case by case basis with the ultimate goal of making our customers happy.
We stand behind our goods and services and want customers to be satisfied with them. We’ll always do our best to take care of customers. Our philosophy is to deal with them. Fairly and reasonably. We have long believed that when we treat our customers fairly, they in turn are fair with us. We apply refunds to the tender with which returned items were purchased.
If we choose to, if we choose to provide a refund and no record of sale is available, we’ll ask for personal identification and a refund will be provided at the current price on a Nordstrom’s gift card. One of the famous Nordstrom return stories is that somebody actually returned a tire to Nordstrom’s even though they don’t sell them because they wanted to offer good support.
So am I saying that you’ve got to do that? No, but I think that I so agree when you treat the customer fairly, they’ll do the same to you. You have to have a strong return policy that’s helpful for the customer, especially from e com perspective. Amazon makes it so easy to return, get your money back. And I just think that independents have an opportunity to make it easy also.
What tends to happen is that now I have the trust. Oh, I like this return policy. Okay, I’m going to buy this item. Hopefully they love the item. Hopefully you’ve done a great job of talking about the item in your description, showcasing it in photos, really sharing what this is exactly what they’re buying.
Right? So we want to have the right product information and dimensions and description in there. So they really know what they’re buying to try to prevent any kind of returns that are happening. Returns are inevitable. It can happen. And so We can learn from that too. If we have a better return policy, we’ve got all the information.
Now we’re in our conversions increase on our website. Are you seeing an increase in returns? Also, why that’s. Data, that’s knowledge. There’s power in knowledge. You can learn so much from that. If you have these fears about people returning items. So I would love to hear from you if you’re watching this replay or if you’re live, what your return policy is, what are your thoughts about return policy?
I think that I might be opening a can of worms. I think that we have some very strong feelings about it. And the history that I’ve seen is the retailers have really strong feelings about it. Have had a bad situation, and we often can let that one situation ruin the whole experience. So if that is you, I really recommend you not put everything on that one experience.
There are certain situations and special circumstances I completely understand, but I would encourage you to analyze that return policy to help us increase our online conversions. Um, and then I would, let’s see, I asked that question. Awesome.
Book Reccomendation: 10x is easier than 2x
Crystal Vilkaitis: Final thing that I’ll say here is, um, in our resilience round, Josh’s book choice is a good one.
I recommend it as well. It is 10 X is easier than two X. And he was talking about how, when we think about 10 X ing our business, it’s a lot harder to think that way than to two X because we haven’t done it yet. There are things we don’t know we haven’t leveled up to the 10 X version of doing that kind of volume and having that kind of business.
So it’s sort of hard for us to see that 10 X, but of course that book is a great resource and addresses that. And um, and this is where we’re doing this transformation challenge in it’s the 2024 as I’m filming this. I really recommend that you get the replays because I addressed some of that. And I think that when we can ask better questions that we can vision, vision cast, there’s a life strategy exercise.
I take people through, um, it helps us kind of level up ourselves to then ask better questions to help us get to the bigger picture where we really want to go. And not everybody wants to 10 X, right? Like. Not everybody wants to maybe even 2x. Some people might be really happy with where they are now, but they just want more time.
They want a 10x the time that they have available right now. But it’s hard to think, how could I do that? If you don’t have that set up right now, the systems and the people. And the processes, and so this is an invitation for anybody that’s watching this before the beginning of February, because we have a, our opera or our oasis of opportunity retreat that is happening.
It’s in person. It’s only for 12 people. We only have eight tickets right now. What we’ll do at this retreat is we’ll have hot seats. We’ll work on your business and we’re going to help you see that 10 X if that is monetary, if it’s time, if it’s some other vision that you’re having a hard time seeing for yourself, we’re going to help see that for you and help break down how you can get there.
And I always say this, it’s so hard to see the picture when you’re in the frame. And so doing a retreat like this, experiencing something like that allows other people to look at your picture and help create those for you. Um, and so we want to, I would love to see you there with us. You can apply, you can learn more at crystalmediaco.
com slash oasis. If you’re doing that with us or somebody else, I think it’s so important. You might have a friend that is also not also an entrepreneur that can help think big and ask good questions to help you get to that vision that you want, that, that next level version of you, the you 2. 0. Um, or another networking group or a mastermind that you’re in, there’s a lot of resources out there.
The opportunity of a Oasis is one of them and Oasis of opportunity. And we would love to support you in that way. So lots of great stuff talked about. Be sure to, if you haven’t listened to Josh’s episode yet. Go listen to it. It’s going to help you sell more on your e-commerce website. Um, we also talk about some social media, like there’s just really great advice that Josh gives our retailers on this episode.
So check out Josh capital commerce. We linked to it on our Facebook group as well.
Coming up next week on Rooted in Retail
Crystal Vilkaitis: Next week, I’m talking to Nicole lineback of retail minded and the founder of the stimulate show. Nicole is so Rooted in Retail. I’m watching her. She’s been at the NRF right this past weekend. I’ve seen pictures of her with all these retail legends, Martha Stewart’s, one of them.
Um, she has deep roots in retail and in that, in that episode coming out next week, we’re talking about, um, expansion, expanding your product lines and untapped markets, how to find them, how to determine if they’re right for you. And then also some generational shopping information to appealing to multi generational being multi generational because we do need to talk to them different and there’s things that we can do.
Nicole is also speaking at Evolve. She is moderating the generational shopping panel. If you were at Evolve in 2023, you loved this panel. Everybody loved it. We had four generations last year. We’ll have five generations this year on. Their path to purchase, how they buy advice they have for retailers.
It’s really juicy. It’s so good. So I’m excited to bring Nicole back and you’re going to love her on Rooted in Retail. So be sure to tune in and, uh, leave a review. If you’re loving the show, I want to hear it. When Caroline DMD me last week saying I loved after the show and cooking dinner with you. And it was so great.
That meant the world to me to get that DM on Instagram. Um, DME personally right now, cause we’re locked out of our. Our business account. So crystal Vilkitis, be sure we’re connected there. DM me or write a review about the show. It means the world that you’re listening. And I will see you next week in the Facebook group.
We might have to push it to be a little later because I’m going to be in Florida. We’ll notify all I’ll share in the Facebook group. If we’re going to be filming later, there’s a chance that we’re going to be doing it at 6 PM mountain, or maybe even six 30 mountain. So just be on the lookout for that notification and I’ll see you in Florida.
Cheers. If you’re having any wine with me. Listen. So, for listening live. Thank you for being here. I just want to make sure I didn’t miss anything. We’ve got some great links there in the Facebook group for you to get to of what we referenced on this call. Have a great rest of your week. I am rooting for your success and I can’t wait to see you next week here on After The Show.