When carrying out conversion rate optimization pay special attention to the deals you offer. Conversion rates are falling because of a lack of creative thinking on the part of ecommerce providers. The same old, boring promotional products are being offered, – exchanging an email address and first name (or other data) for free content. Therefore you need to up your game to achieve the same results as last year. Nothing converts better than FREE promotional products. It is human nature to always want something for nothing but what else can be offered while keeping the cost down?
The best promotional products are digital products. This is because they are instantaneously available and cost little to produce, and most importantly, there is no need for stock. That being said, the problem with digital giveaways is that they are not perceived to be of much value by the potential customer, worthless even.
One reason for this devaluing of digital content is that ebooks are so easily available, and typcially they are NOT free, but rather traded on most websites for an email address and first name. Digital content is no longer much of an incentive for website owners looking to increase their conversion rate. Its a fact ecommerce conversion rates are falling.
But what can be done about it?
Physical promotional products are a great way to promote a brand, often provided as giveaways at tradeshows or as Christmas gifts, but are usually reserved for existing customers or partners due to the production cost and limited stock. Consequently, it makes more sense to retain the impact of surprise, helping the sales team to engage with tradeshow attendees rather than just giving physical promotional products to anybody.
What if the cost was not so great and if no stock was required?
What if you could provide free physical promotional products as an incentive? I’m theorizing here but perhaps conversion rates could be dramatically improved? Everyone loves a free physical gift after all, especially if it is useful and interesting. It also provides something to promote for the marketing team. Advertise it, not just to all your existing customers but also to your potential customers as an incentive to purchase
The rise of Print on Demand provides an opportunity for brands to extend their branded giveaway programs to every website visitor, or have a range of free gifts for different purposes, produced and despatched only when ordered. Keep reading to see how.
What is Print on Demand (currently)?
Ever so quietly, print on demand is revolutionizing the publishing industry. Writers can now sell eBooks by uploading them to Amazon and have them printed at the destination closest to the customer as physical paperback books, dramatically cutting the distribution cost. It is no longer necessary to retain stock to distribute. The Amazon service known as CreateSpace enables the author to create Headers, titles, page numbers, tables of content, indexes, front matter, back matter, all tasks previously achieved with tools such as Adobe InDesign. CreateSpace also provides a means to distribute DVDs and CDs (video).
Print on demand is not limited to books, DVDs and CDs, there are more and more providers that provide print on demand for literally anything that’s printable from shirts to hats, pens or bags. The list is huge and ever expanding. Amazon is once again leading the way with its “Merch” product / service offering. Currently, a by invitation only service (you can request an invitation) whereby brand designers can upload their non-book creations for Amazon to sell. Brands such as Marvel, Universal, and Disney all use Amazon Merch to distribute T-shirts and other merchandise.
How to Leverage Print on Demand for Ecommerce
There are many CRO techniques that could work with free print on demand products. Implementing campaign offers can be tricky, but if you use one of the Big ecommerce platforms such as Big Commerce, WooCommerce or Shopify then there are numerous ways to promote and bundle your products together. If your ecommerce theme does not have the desired feature then most platforms have extensive addons that can do what you require. Below is a list of ideas of how to leverage free products offers and make your OptiMonk CRO campaigns more interesting to increase engagement and increase sales. If you can think of others please let me know and I will add to the list.
1. Bundling products.
Package your free promotional product along with several others can be a powerful incentive to buy and as a way to upsell.
Buy product A + product B and get a free physical book.
Bundling products together increases their perceived value to the customer, it also increases order value, ARPU, and ROI. What products you choose to bundle together matters. Understanding your customers buying patterns is critical to bundling the right products together.
2. Expenditure over a specific cart value.
If the cart value exceeds 100 dollars for example then gift the promotional branded product. This strategy encourages customers to spend more in order to get the free promotional product.
3. Affiliate Advertising offer.
In order to provide an attractive affiliate marketing package to publishing partners, give them something to advertise to their customers, it will provide an extra incentive to promote your product, – besides the healthy commission. Provide a unique branded gift, only available through affiliate purchases. Help them to promote you!
4. Promote Your Loyalty Program
Incentivize users to participate in your loyalty program with a free gift available after a specific lifetime purchase value. These milestones build loyalty with just one lucky annual winner getting a free holiday, to further incentivize additional activity.
5. Seasonal Promotions
A Christmas themed promotional product that is just too fun to resist. Branded Rudolf the Reindeer PJ’s or jumper for example.
The Future of Print on Demand
When I say print on demand is for “anything printed”, consider the impact of 3D printing. Currently, the biggest thing holding back 3D Print on demand is the lack of global providers (like Amazon) and the high cost of printers and the limitations of the technology (issues that will be resolved in time). Most print-on-demand suppliers produce and distribute from a single location, meaning that international shipping is still required. For ecommerce stores with a widely dispersed customer base, the international shipping cost is an issue. The only viable print on demand solution with global reach is Amazon and even they do not distribute everywhere. They also do not offer 3D printing – yet. That being said when dealing with a vast market like the US print on demand within that country is a viable option, because shipping within the borders of the United States is much cheaper than international shipping.
3D Print on Demand
Although we some years away from mass availability, 3D printing is already showing its potential. In 2018 a silicon valley startup produced a 3D printed carbon fibre bicycle for 300 dollars. A 3D printed house can be built within 24 hours for less than 10,000 dollars.
Amazon’s store creation strategy is clear. To increase the number of physical stores, already numbering more than a dozen stores selling books and toys. After purchasing Whole Foods Grocery with its 470 stores this is likely to increase greatly. Think 10 years down the line and the upscaling potential of printing, along with a retail chain to stock. Then consider that it won’t be just books, specifically the 3D printing products of every kind. Then consider Amazon’s Go Store, entirely self-serviced with only backroom staff, and on every high street globally. Then imagine a catalog of print on demand products available from these stores, ordered and despatched in every country from a printing facility.
You might be wondering if there will be a place for an independent Shopify retailers?
Amazon is the ultimate general store in the ecommerce world. Experienced ecommerce vendors, including drop shippers, often create a general store in order to test different ecommerce niches and then double down on the successful niches. The reason this will always work is that the buying decision is almost always an emotional decision. To be successful, the goal of a niche ecommerce website is to trigger an emotional response in the prospective buyer. The success of any niche webshop is highly dependent on the niche personalization designed to trigger the right mix of emotion to buy. For example, a webshop only selling products for puppies would be full of content to tug at the heartstrings of puppy lovers. Consequently, a targeted ecommerce website will always be better at eliciting an emotional response than an Amazon Go store since when they are topic specific.
Shopify users and users of other ecommerce platforms are already well placed to meet the challenge that Amazon poses in their local markets but not internationally. Successful ecommerce drop shippers are particularly well placed to benefit from print-on-demand as providers go global, with some services already in place (see below) and as the 3D printing technology advances. Amazon is not alone in the print on demand space, other well-established providers include:-
- Printify – supplies a range of 200+ items mainly targeting the US. Printify’s business model is based on its customers creating their own brand and then selling Printify’s products by branding Printify’s white label products. Printify’s services outside of the US seem to be rather limited and there are many complaints about delivery times and service on their Shopify App Reviews listing. This is despite the fact that they have been operating since the year 2000. Regardless of this, they remain a very popular service, enabling entrepreneurs to sell their own branded products without retaining any stock.
- Society6 – A print on demand service supplying artwork internationally. Its focus is art prints but also supplies apparel, gifts and furnishings. Their contributors are based all over the world but only seem to distribute from the United States.
- Sunfrog – A well-established Print on demand shirts and teeshirts service, select from a wide range of designs, but be aware that your order will be printed and distributed worldwide from the USA.
- Teespring – Order fulfillment from USA and EU
Have you come across other Print on Demand services? Let us know via the comments and we will add it to the list.
(Note: Have you heard of OptiMonk? It’s a powerful onsite messaging solution that helps you convert up to 15% of abandoning visitors to sales and leads. Give it a try – click here to create a free account now.)