Accelerate 2021: Part one

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ON TREND Ecommerce trends to take you to number one in 2021

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Welcome ON BOARD When I sat down to write this introduction, my head was filled with messages around “new year new you” and “the unprecedented year that was 2020”. But I think we’ve heard enough of that to last a lifetime. Don’t you? 2021 is about much more. It’s about keeping your foot on the gas as we build on the incredible ecommerce growth that we saw in 2020. It’s about continuing to tell the world about your amazing and unique brand story. And it’s about ensuring that your existing customers put you in pole position for the next twelve months. Customer loyalty was not a casualty of 2020. In fact,

68% of shoppers said they preferred to

return to the comfort of brands they knew and trusted. Plus over the BFCM weekend, many customers chose rewards over discounts, with

48% more rewards being redeemed than on a normal weekend.

From changes to Facebook and Instagram advertising to the continuing unknowns of COVID, I have no doubt that there will be bumps in the road in 2021. However, your existing customers will remain your constant. The following twelve trends will help you give those customers the best possible experiences. They also serve to remind us what an exciting world ecommerce is, and how much opportunity there is to grow and innovate. Let’s lean into the challenges, prepare ourselves for a pit stop or two but, most importantly, look forward to driving another year of accelerated ecommerce growth.

Fiona Stevens, Head of Marketing, LoyaltyLion


Contents Issue 1 LoyaltyLion – The inside story: owning your narrative

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Shopify Plus – How brands will leverage technology ecosystems

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Klaviyo – A balancing act between in-store and online shopping

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ReCharge – Non-traditional subscription models

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Issue 2 - coming soon Nosto – Personalization becomes communalization Zaius – The year to unlock growth by turning to predictions Skubana – Be direct-to-everywhere Justuno – You don’t have to manualize

Issue 3 - coming soon REVIEWS.io – It’s time for more authenticity Rewind.io – The Data Protection Boom 2021 Attentive – Prepare for the move to mcommerce Shoelace – Why creatives will define your advertising strategy

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Ecommerce trends brought to you in partnership with


ON YOUR TERMS The inside story: owning your narrative and keeping the customers that matter

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Let us tell you a story… Once upon a time, we thought we were living in a digital world. But we were kidding ourselves. In the past twelve months, we have found more inventive ways to use technology to connect with each other and bridge divides. Ecommerce has accelerated at a pace no one expected. It has experienced

ten years’ growth in

three months. And digital trends that were well underway have slipped into the fast lane and overtaken outdated ways of doing retail. The brands that have won in the past year are those that have put retention in the driver’s seat. This is because consumers re-evaluated the kinds of brands they were willing to commit to. Meanwhile, personal values snuck above low prices on the leaderboard.

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In the first half of 2020,

68% of shoppers preferred to return and shop

with brands they already knew and trusted ●

44% of consumers said they preferred to shop with brands that shared their values

These winners understood the importance of their existing customers and knew they had to connect with them in ways that mattered – particularly at a time when everything else was so off-balance.

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How did they do it? Through clear and purposeful brand storytelling With a clear narrative, they showed shoppers how they were aligned, why they should be a part of their daily lives and welcomed them into something bigger. This all points to more brand loyalty:

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For 54% of customers feeling part of a community of like-minded individuals is important in securing their loyalty 70% of shoppers say they would be loyal to a brand if they know it aligns with their values

These brands became magnetic. Existing customers stuck by them as they knew they got value for shopping with them. They also drew in new customers with the promise of being part of a brand’s community. The top-line result? Increased customer lifetime value, more advocacy, and a secure source of long-term revenue. In the rest of this chapter, we will explain how to tell and sell your story in 2021. All so you can foster your customer community and keep the shoppers that matter most next year. Ready to take your place in the pole position?

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Sharing is caring In 2021, show customers that the values they hold highly are part of your brand story. Maybe you’re a cruelty-free beauty brand. Consider supporting an animal care charity. Or, potentially, you import your products from crafters all around the world. Show you support every part of your supply chain with fair working conditions and wages. Whatever you’re doing, make sure you’re telling your customers. Why? Because 70% of shoppers say they would be loyal to a brand if they know it aligns with their values. Philanthropy increases brand loyalty and engagement when it is genuine and authentic. To ensure that every part of your Marketing – including your loyalty program – is telling your story, set up

custom rewards that reflect your brand values.

This feature allows you to reward customers points when they complete purpose-driven actions (such as sending back packaging to be recycled).

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On the nose Pet brand,

Edgard & Cooper, have executed custom rewards well. They embrace their

customers’ caring attitude towards their pets and the planet. Through their program, customers exchange points (or “belly rubs”) to feed a shelter dog or to plant a tree. This matches their company-wide pledge to donate 1% of all sales to helping pets in need. Their latest offering was a Green Friday deal which gave 15% off to the customer and the pledge to plant a tree for every order.

The added benefit? If you give your loyal customers the tools to give back, they’ll want to tell your story to more like-minded shoppers. In time, they'll become the spokespeople for your brand and recommend you to others.

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Be a pillar of your own community With a clear and relatable narrative at the heart of your brand, you’ll unite your existing customers around a common cause. They’ll use your brand for self-expression and form a community of like-minded individuals. Communities created this way appeal to the human desire of wanting to be part of something bigger. And with this pull, more shoppers will return to your brand regularly, engaging and spending more along the way. ●. For 54% of customers, feeling that they are part of a community of

like-minded people is important in securing their loyalty 55% of customers say they’ll be loyal to a brand if they have an emotional connection to it (this is up 7% from when we asked the same question last year) In 2021, keep fuelling community growth by shining the light on your member network. Loyalty emails are a great help here. Alongside your monthly point update emails, include a story about a program member.

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On the same page Astrid and Miyu have used loyalty emails to tell the story of two customers who met through a shopping experience at their store. Putting customers at the heart of a story like this, shows their brand fans how important their community is to them. To enhance this feeling, offer your most valuable customers exclusive rewards. Annmarie Skincare gives members access to a private Facebook group where individuals swap tips, share advice, and unite on the brand's mission.

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Pass the mic According to one study, personal stories and gossip make up a staggering 65% of our conversations. We learn from each other through the tales we tell. The opportunity for you is that often these stories are brand-centric. Think about the last time someone complimented your outfit. Did you tell them more about the brand? Did you tell them to check the company out? Your customers are natural storytellers on your brand’s behalf. And a brand community amplifies that story as they tell others about you in an honest way. In 2021, set up a referral program to reward shoppers for telling your story and welcoming others into your community.

Customers acquired this way are between 16-24% more loyal.

They also spend 200% more than customers acquired through other channels. This is because they trust the recommendation has come from someone they know. You can also reward customers for creating user-generated content (UGC) on your behalf. This content is gold. Your existing customers get perks and points for sharing images of your products IRL. New shoppers see how your products work and who your community is. You can then reward new shoppers for reviews or for posting about you on social media. And so the cycle continues.

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On the gram

Never Fully Dressed encourages their community to amplify their brand story by giving them 50 points for an Instagram follow. On their feed, they share UGC of their shoppers and employees styling their products. Followers then comment on the posts and share the love between each other, amplifying the community that’s so important to the brand’s narrative.

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We are now more digital than ever With most businesses shifting to online sales only, it can be easy to get swallowed in the white noise of the internet. Which is why it’s so important that you harness the power of storytelling to get heard and grow. To build up a loyal following in 2021, you need to tell your story at every opportunity. Do this well and you’ll establish a community that amplifies your brand, spends more and becomes loyal, long-term.

About the author Mollie Woolnough-Rai Senior Content Marketing Executive, LoyaltyLion Mollie is a Senior Content Marketing Executive at LoyaltyLion. After graduating from UCL in 2016, she has worked both in-house and at marketing agencies providing expertise in content for both B2B and B2C clients. At LoyaltyLion, Mollie manages our content, making sure our readers get the best quality resources about customer loyalty and retention.

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About LoyaltyLion LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform that powers ecommerce growth. A loyalty program is about more than points and rewards. It is about unlocking real insights to increase customer lifetime value. With LoyaltyLion, you can build a better understanding of what drives longer-lasting customer relationships, and use those insights to connect and accelerate your existing marketing efforts. Proven to increase retention and spend, LoyaltyLion is trusted by thousands of fast-growth ecommerce merchants worldwide.

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ON YOUR MARKS How brands will leverage technology ecosystems to build high-performing commerce experiences in 2021

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At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, ten years of ecommerce growth happened in just 90 days A study by Shopify reports that

52% of buyers say they’ve shifted more of their spending to

online compared to earlier this year. This is driving record ecommerce competition, fueled by legacy wholesalers, for global retail brands as consumers buy from product categories that were not historically purchased online. This makes a more crowded space and drives up customer acquisition costs. Innovative retailers have accelerated their commerce offerings, enabling Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPIS), trialing augmented reality for pre-sale, launching payment installment plans and loyalty programs.

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Build compelling experiences with technology You need to compete in new ways, delivering immersive omnichannel experiences. A fast, flexible and powerful platform is a critical foundation. But you must also select, integrate and manage technology from partners in the commerce ecosystem.

“The most interesting dynamic we are seeing in the fastest-growing segment of ecommerce is really this mid-sized Shopify Plus merchant that is doing single-digit millions to a hundred million in revenue. But, it probably doesn’t have much of a team behind it — there might be maybe one, if any, dedicated engineers. The whole third-party partner ecosystem that exists within Shopify allows this segment to effectively outsource a lot of the work to apps or agencies. So everything around that I think is an investable opportunity.” Mike Duboe, general partner at venture capital firm, Greylock

The technology partners in Shopify’s ecosystem are helping brands like Gymshark, Allbirds, Lindt, Jack Rogers, Jenny Craig and more deliver unique experiences. So what are some key areas brands should focus on in 2021? Let’s take a look at the categories that help power unique experiences before, during and after a sale

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Optimize stores for personalization and conversion To better compete with marketplaces and retail giants, take inspiration from the brands that are investing in richer, more personalized experiences. This should take place through the buying journey, from discovery through consideration to decision. Providing information that is relevant, succinct, accessible and, of course, personalized helps customers feel confident in their buying decision. It also helps brands build a direct relationship.

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Case in point Pura Vida Bracelets used Technology Partner Justuno to implement pop-up messages and offers to site visitors. The experience presented customers with compelling offers that increased email capture rates by more than 15% and sales conversions increased over 23% within one month.


Case in point Skinnydip, a British seller of fun and quirky accessories, clothes and more, designed a fully-customized loyalty program with LoyaltyLion and named it “Skinnydip Airlines�. This helped their Shopify Plus powered store generate an 84% increase in member spend and a 69% increase in repeat purchases.


Turn first-time shoppers into loyal buyers With the impact of COVID re-shaping retail, this year we saw more people buying online for the first time. This provides an outstanding opportunity to turn a transactional experience into a loyal relationship as you head into 2021. Though reaching new customers is important, the rising competition for online attention has reinforced the value of keeping existing customers. Retention has overtaken acquisition and conversion as a top priority for many businesses. And

78% of consumers in the US say a loyalty program encourages them to buy more

from brands.

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Improve margins with trust and security technology A recent report highlighted that fraudulent attempts are up 55% since the COVID-19 pandemic began, with retailers spending as much as 10% of their annual budget on fraud prevention. Stopping bots and fraudsters is important, as there’s a risk of upsetting legitimate shoppers. As your store grows in 2021, you may need additional team members and external partners to help manage increasingly complex operations. But this can introduce the risk of over-writing work, making accidental changes or keeping access open after a team member has left.

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Case in point CurrentBody sells a range of beauty electronics, and as they expanded into new territories they found instances of false positives with fraud, with decline rates of 7%. Working with Signifyed, their order approval rate surged to over 98% and their chargeback rate fell from 0.5% to just 0.04%.


Case in point 100% Pure produces a range of beauty products and has a strong commitment to sustainability. Working with Returnly, 100% Pure developed a program where customers meeting a certain loyalty score, could keep unwanted items instead of needing to ship them back for an exchange. This reduced environmental impact and also saw a 30% return to repurchase conversion rate and a 75% conversion uplift on repurchase orders.

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Build post-sales delight with shipping and returns Shopper expectations have never been higher. They want to receive their products quickly, securely, and for minimal cost. And, if there’s an issue, they want an easy way to get a replacement or a refund. In particular, first-time shoppers may have questions or want more assurance about how they can receive (and if necessary, return) their purchases. You need to find new ways to keep customers happy throughout the entire purchase cycle in 2021. Implementing cost-effective and customer-centric shipping practices, and providing flexibility and assurance over returns will help you unlock new markets, increase conversion, grow AOV, build customer loyalty and repeat purchases.

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Navigating the future of ecommerce technology The transformational changes to commerce in 2020 will accelerate in 2021 and beyond. As more retailers prioritize customer experience, you need to navigate the growing ecosystem of technologies to identify, select and implement the most meaningful tools for your specific needs.

“The Shopify Plus Certified Apps help businesses run more efficiently, adding functionality without having to develop or build anything custom.” David Wagoner, Co-Founder & CMO, P3 Media

Platforms can bring clarity by curating and showcasing how selected technologies are being applied successfully. Learn more about the Shopify Plus Certified App Program, and how these curated technology partners are helping Fast-Growing-DTC brands and Fortune 500 companies scale.

About the author Paul Gray Partner Marketing Lead, Shopify Plus Paul heads marketing efforts for Shopify Plus’ ecosystem of 250+ agency and technology partners, leading initiatives, resources, thought leadership and services to help high-volume and Fortune 500 merchants launch, grow and scale their businesses.

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About Shopify Plus Shopify Plus is the enterprise ecommerce platform chosen by high-volume businesses and Fortune 500s.


ON BALANCE A balancing act between in-store and online shopping

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A balancing act between in-store and online shopping It’s no secret that Covid-19 has accelerated the growth of online shopping. The market has matured faster than we ever could have predicted in 2020, reaching levels not previously expected until 2022, which means you have a much greater opportunity to attract new customers this year than ever before. And it won’t slow down any time soon. More and more consumers have gotten used to the ease and convenience of shopping from home and they now expect all brands to be online. “Couch Commerce” is very much here to stay.

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The pressure is on This means brick and mortar retailers must find new ways of delivering their products and creating memorable experiences to drive revenue, improve customer lifetime value (CLV), and keep up with their online counterparts. This pressure will continue to be felt throughout 2021 – and until all retailers have caught up (or fallen at the final hurdle). Take the retail empire, Arcadia, for example, which is an umbrella brand for popular British retailers like Topshop, Burton, and Dorothy Perkins.

Most experts agree that their downfall in

2020 was due to a lack of investment in ecommerce. But there are also more ecommerce businesses now too. Competition to attract new customers is fierce and you have to get it right to succeed. Yet this isn’t an obituary for retail or ecommerce businesses. Far from it. Keep reading for actionable tips and real-life examples to help you survive and thrive in 2021.

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The 2021 balancing act Perfecting the balance between offline and online sales has been touted as one of the most effective ways to propel retail growth for over a decade. And it’s especially vital for a postpandemic world. 2020 saw retailers such as

Home Depot offering services like “Click and Collect” and curbside

pickup to help mitigate delivery challenges while minimizing risks for their customers and staff. 2021 will be the year when these services truly become mainstream Just like the growth in online shopping, more customers have now had a flavor of the conveniences that services like these bring to their lives – and they’ll be hungry for it in 2021.

By offering your customers in-store or curbside pickup services, you can essentially turn part of your physical store into a fulfillment center to help you drive sales – beyond what’s possible if you had just the one channel.

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On the curbside Massachusetts-based clothing store

LIT Boutique was fast to hop on the

curbside pickup trend – even offering same-day pickup with a generous 2 pm cut-off window. The brand’s easy online ordering experience proved popular, prompting them to share client feedback on their Instagram Stories to drive even more hype. So while the “white gloves” might not be needed by the end of 2021 (hopefully!), their curbside pickup option could stay in place to drive sales from busy customers shopping via their phones on the way to work and picking up purchases on their way home. Before you offer a pickup service, make sure you can logistically fulfill these orders or this can easily backfire and damage your brand reputation.

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But don’t stop there! While the threat of store closures due to the pandemic might finally start to slow down in 2021, that doesn’t mean you should slow your efforts in driving sales across channels. Gain information from customers before they leave your store (if you can) – or you’re potentially leaving money on the table. Convince customers to sign up to your email list in-store and you might also persuade them to shop online or come back to your store – whether to pick up their online order or just to browse your wares. LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW, a Denmark-based luxury confectionery does exceptionally well with this. They’ve installed signs with a QR code on them within all their stores, which encourage customers to sign up for their email list. They’ve also added QR codes to their packaging and even incentivize their retail staff to help the brand grow their email list. This focus on growing their online community in-store led to LAKRIDS BY BÜLOW gaining an additional 40,000 email subscribers in 2019, which meant that in 2020 – despite temporary store closures – the brand could still drive sales and excitement for new products.

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Own your marketing Ecommerce businesses are

predicted to spend over $690 billion on media ads in 2021 – an

increase of 16.4% on global digital ad spend. But when only

2% of search engine traffic and less than 1% of social media traffic make a

purchase – compared with 4% of email marketing traffic – it probably makes sense to invest more in your

owned marketing channels this year, such as email, web, and SMS.

These channels enable you to gain control over your data, customer relationships, and ultimately, your business growth, so take the time to consider how they fit within your overall retail strategy.

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On the up Frankie Cooke, who works as a brand coordinator for

Grind – a chain of independent

London-based coffee shops and creators of the UK’s first completely compostable coffee pods – recently shared how leveraging owned marketing channels like email became

a lifeline for their

business when the pandemic threatened in-store sales. Despite only focusing more heavily on email marketing in February 2020, by the end of Q2, Grind was looking at a 675% increase in revenue since Q1 and a 3,142% revenue increase compared with Q2 2019. Businesses needed fast pivots and maneuvers just like this throughout 2020. But with the introduction of a new global vaccine, potential Brexit turbulence in the EU and UK, and yet more changes to consumer shopping habits on the horizon, 2021 might be a more positive year for us all – but strategy changes will still be needed. To keep up with the increased demand and competition that 2020 brought, consider seeking new ways of fulfilling customer orders and new business models to help you reach new customers while creating memorable and highly personalized marketing moments for them.

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But you need data Data enables you to build a profile of your customers and their buying behaviors and patterns, which you won’t get from using social media alone. Ultimately, to survive and thrive this year, albeit perhaps in a slightly different way from what your five-year plan probably predicted, you need to have control over your marketing. Are you ready to own your marketing in 2021? Sign up for a free Klaviyo account now and start taking back control over the customer experience and your growth.

About the author Louise Read

Marketing Lead EMEA, Klaviyo Louise brings with her over a decade of experience executing growth and retention marketing strategies for both enterprise and start-up businesses. Klaviyo is the world’s leading marketing automation platform known for accelerating revenue for online businesses.

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About Klaviyo Klaviyo is the leading owned marketing platform, aimed at helping online businesses grow faster. The only marketing platform that can help a brand launch and scale indefinitely until they are a multi-billion dollar leader of their space, Klaviyo is focused on the ecommerce business sector and used by over 50,000+ innovative companies such as Unilever, Kopari Beauty, and Huckberry.


ON YOUR MARKS Non-traditional subscription models: How to grow recurring revenue in the golden age of ecommerce

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Why subscriptions? Subscriptions have been one of the most important and paradigm-shifting business models of the 21st century. Many of the largest and most successful companies have been built on recurring revenue or shifted their legacy businesses to this model – including Microsoft and Adobe. Consumers have been well-conditioned to purchase subscriptions online thanks to early efforts by digital and media companies such as Netflix and Spotify. The data speaks for itself with nearly 50% of all online shoppers having purchased a subscription of some sort and

15% of those subscriptions being for physical goods.

These figures are set to grow in 2021: both in the absolute number of consumers and the share of total online purchases. At ReCharge, we define subscription models in three different ways that can be adapted to nearly any business: including replenishment, curation and access. We’ll focus on access as a trend we expect to see more of in 2021.

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Choosing a subscription type Generally, the type of products a merchant offers determines the subscription type that fits them best. ReCharge’s annual State of Physical Subscription Commerce report uncovered 87% of subscriptions fall into the replenishment and curation categories. Access makes up the remaining

13% of subscriptions and represents a wide variety of

businesses, from luxury apparel to food. This category is most commonly used to offer member-only products or discounted prices in the case of Netflix and Amazon Prime respectively. The access subscription type is not for all businesses. There are very clear indicators that suggest when this model may work well for particular ecommerce merchants. These include: stores with extremely loyal customers, brands with high repeat purchase rates, non-traditional subscription products or stores that do frequent new releases and sales

Do subscriptions sound like something your business could benefit from? Let’s dive into the benefits of the access subscription type

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Benefits of the membership model In a membership model, a subscriber pays a flat fee monthly or annually, similar to Amazon Prime. Merchants can then customize membership perks, including, but not limited to, benefits like:

Store credit Credit back for additional purchases Exclusive access or early access to member-only products or content Discounts on select products or the entire catalog Free or discounted shipping Special occasion benefits (birthdays, subscriber anniversary, etc.) Free trial or bonus/exclusive items with purchases

All features are optional and can be customized to a specific merchant’s needs. As a best practice, lean into things your subscriber base values to maximize the opportunity.

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Freshly Picked is a fashion brand with a flourishing membership model. They charge $10 to join and immediately credit your account for $10 and offer a 20% discount, free shipping, and early access to products. Within the first three months of launching, their program had grown to over 10,000 subscribers with an incredible 3% churn rate. Scaling a membership model in the access category requires a different set of KPIs compared to other models. The key levers merchants need to pull to maximize the customer experience for their customers is simplified to two: lifetime value and average order value. Because of the wide variety of subscription types and verticals, these levers may take some time to perfect. But, there are a few ways to make this easier and more streamlined.

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Increase lifetime value Lifetime value boils down to the dollar amount a customer will bring to the merchant throughout the lifetime of their subscription. Because membership models are an ongoing agreement with the merchant and subscriber, we’ve seen these types of models grow subscriber count by 12.5% month over month. But this relationship isn’t purely about revenue. Membership models are mutually beneficial because of the consistent benefits offered to the subscriber. Everyone wins.

Increase average order value Average order value is the average dollar amount subscribers spend month over month. Each of the benefits that can be offered in a membership model directly translate to subscribers purchasing more from your store, thus increasing AOV.

The most exciting part? ReCharge data shows subscribers spend 20% more than non-subscribers.

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Membership model sample store At ReCharge, we recognize that it’s difficult to blaze a new trail. While it’s exciting to create something from scratch, oftentimes something as simple as a demo to follow makes all the difference in a successful final product. To help you set up your own in 2021, we created a membership model sample store and

associated documentation.

Any visitors will be able to move from page to page to experience how a membership store looks and functions. Be sure to click the login button and compare the features when logged in versus logged out.

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Keep in mind that this build is not for all merchants. We highly recommend following along the step-by-step instructions and using a loyalty tool like LoyaltyLion in addition to an

agency partner for implementation.

The subscription movement has only shown signs of acceleration, even through the pandemic. ReCharge, and the subscription business model in general, has proven to be a stable and trustworthy solution for merchant growth now and into 2021.

About the author Chase Alderton,

Growth Marketing Manager, ReCharge With a background in psychology, Chase’s passion for Marketing is grounded in understanding behavior. His focus on agency and tech partnerships offers the ability to work closely with individuals who can impact growth in ecommerce.

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About ReCharge ReCharge is guided by the mission to connect and empower the world through payments. The Santa Monica-based company has created the leading subscriptions payments platform designed for merchants to set up and manage dynamic recurring billing across web and mobile. ReCharge is used by over 10,000 businesses and is trusted by brands including Native Deodorant, Hubble Contacts, Lola, Soylent and Billie.


This ebook was brought to you by LoyaltyLion LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement platform that powers ecommerce growth. Proven to increase retention and spend, LoyaltyLion is trusted by thousands of fast-growth ecommerce merchants worldwide. > Want to see how LoyaltyLion will accelerate your brand’s growth in 2021? Book a time to talk to a member of our team. Want a reminder of the trends shaping 2021? Access the on-demand recordings of the live Ask Me Anything sessions.