How Shopify Launchpad Can Increase #BFCM Sales (Plus 4 More Sales-Boosting Features)

It’s the most wonderful–and lucrative–time of the year. The National Retail Federation says that many stores will earn 20%-30% of their annual revenue in the next few weeks. If you feel more stressed than energized by this, remember: we’re in it together.

The team at Shopify lives this camaraderie. They recently launched a toolbox of features to help retailers sell more during Black Friday/Cyber Monday (#BFCM) and beyond. Today we’re going to highlight several of them, including Shopify Launchpad, Shopify Flow, buying online via Shopify point of sale, the new eBay channel, and Shopify’s partnership with DHL Express international shipping.

Related: 8 Ways the 2017 Holidays Differ

Shopify Launchpad for Shopify Plus

What It Is: In Shopify’s words, “Launchpad is a scheduling tool that lives inside your Shopify admin allowing you to schedule product visibility, Shopify Scripts, themes, discounts, and more with a defined start and end time.”

Why It’s Cool: Launchpad is an excellent tool for high-energy holiday sales. It’s geared towards product releases, flash sales, and sales campaigns.

Until now, retailers have had to go through an intensive, manual process to prep and launch a sales campaign. It’s different for every merchant, but often the steps include preparing the inventory for a flash sale, creating a Shopify theme about the sale, and manually assigning discounts to each product. (For starters.)

Now retailers on Shopify Plus can plan these tasks in advance and automate them through Launchpad. For instance, it allows retailers to set the start and end dates for a sales campaign. Campaigns can last for one afternoon, or two weeks, or any time frame the merchant wants. Merchants can also specify if they want the sale to run in their retail store or their wholesale store. Perhaps they want the sale to run in their branded store, but not on their Amazon sales channel. Consider it done. With Launchpad, retailers control every step of their customized sales campaign.

How Shopify Launchpad Can Boost Sales

In addition to being able to control every aspect of product releases, flash sales, and the like, Launchpad allows store owners to monitor customer activity in real-time. This live information gives merchants newfound agility.

For example, if a sales campaign isn’t delivering the desired results, the merchant can pivot. Perhaps she can add a different set of products or change a collection of products for discount. No matter what, her decision will be based on immediate customer behavior in her store. We love thinking about the opportunities here.

AND, as of November 13th, 2017, you don’t have to be on Shopify Plus to get the benefits of Live View. Shopify just released it for all their merchants. Woo Hoo!

For a look under the hood at Shopify Launchpad, check out this demo.

Shopify Flow

What It Is: Like Launchpad, Shopify Flow is a tool to automate tasks and events for merchants on Shopify Plus. The difference is Flow addresses a retailer’s backend operations more broadly. Whereas Launchpad focuses on sales and time-specific campaigns, Flow can streamline any kind of operations process.

Why It’s Cool: Flow frees retailers from repetitive tasks. [Insert clouds parting, angels singing.] Furthermore, every store owner gets to decide on the tasks to automate for his business. Flow is based on a retailer’s workflow. It allows merchants to set up triggers to respond in specific ways to repetitive events.

For example, retailers can send a personalized thank you to any customer who spends $500 or more in their store. They can send a 10% off coupon to anyone who refers a new customer via Instagram. They could also set up a task to notify a supplier when inventory is running low. Or they could withhold sales from a particular email domain to bar fraudulent activity. The opportunities are as varied as retail businesses themselves.

How Shopify Flow Can Boost Sales

Flow is all about streamlining operations. The improved efficiency will strengthen a business’ bottom line. To continue with the examples above, personalized notes and referral rewards encourage loyalty and lead to repeat customers. Flow can help merchants avoid losing time and money on fraudulent purchases. And never running out of a beloved product means the retailer won’t disappoint customers. All of this contributes to greater sales.

This fall, Shopify published a demo on Flow. We’re excited about this feature for our clients on Plus because it can be customized to every business. This is the future of online retail.

Buying Online via Shopify Point of Sale

What It Is: “Buy Online” is a new feature for the Shopify point of sale system that allows sales personnel to email customers an invoice. It’s for sales pros to use when they are working with an in-person customer.

Why It’s Cool: In the era of omnichannel, customers often peruse an item in the physical store and then go home and buy it online (known as “showrooming”). Retailers’ ultimate frustration comes when customers buy the product online from a competitor. The Buy Online feature can intercept these sales from going elsewhere.

This feature needs an engaging sales person with an iPad to make it work. But in the right hands, it can bridge the divide between brick and mortar and online sales. It allows sales staff to generate an invoice for products as they work with customers in the store. They can also offer incentives, such as discounts, to customers in the invoice. So, instead of a customer walking away and buying elsewhere, she can receive an invoice from your store via email. When she gets home and wants to buy online, all she needs to do is click through the invoice.

How Buying Online via Point of Sale Can Boost Sales

Shopify describes these lost sales as “the equivalent of a real-life abandoned cart.” It’s true. By engaging customers in-store, getting their email, and sending them an invoice for the product they want, this process increases the chance of the sale for your store. We like how it can be tailored to a conversation with the customer, e.g. offering a discount if the buyer mentions he saw the product somewhere for less. This is also a great feature for online retailers who do pop-up shops. It’s a valuable way to build an email database, and most importantly, convert the sale.

For more details on this feature, see Shopify’s article from Nov. 1, 2017.

Shopify’s eBay App

What It Is: A new app, developed by eBay in tandem with Shopify, that integrates eBay as a sales channel for your store.

Why It’s Cool: Shopify knows how to make things easy. And we’re all for it. With this integration, any Shopify merchant can list and sell their inventory on eBay–without ever having to leave Shopify. (Note: it’s not only for Shopify Plus merchants. It’s for everybody on Shopify.) The app also updates product inventory by the minute, ensuring that retailers won’t face any surprises regarding product levels. Here’s the app page to learn more.

How the eBay Channel Can Boost Sales

This new integration puts Shopify merchants in front of eBay’s built-in audience of 171 million buyers. Say it with us slowly: one hundred and seventy-one million.

Shopify-DHL Express Partnership

What It Is: In October, Shopify announced their U.S.-based merchants will now have the option in Shopify Shipping to ship internationally with DHL Express. It’s available for all stores on Shopify–not just Shopify Plus.

As they explain it, “You can ship with the same premium carrier the big global retailers use, with guaranteed express service, negotiated shipping rates, and service to over 220 countries and territories.” NICE.

Why It’s Cool: Shopify used their negotiating power to secure this deal for retailers of any size on their platform. Also, store owners can schedule a free DHL Express pick up, regardless of the volume of boxes they are shipping. For anyone who thought only the megastores could take advantage of the international market, this feature proves differently.

How the Shopify-DHL Partnership Can Boost Sales

While the U.S. ecommerce market alone is strong, the international market is five times its size. Shopify has seamlessly folded this international option into its shipping admin dashboard. Also, DHL Express is a well-known and trusted carrier. According to Shopify, they can “deliver to most countries in just two days.”

Shopify is also sponsoring flat-rate international shipping to several places from now through December 31st, 2017. These include the U.K., Canada, Australia, and Hong Kong. With this kind of incentive, it’s clear that Shopify intends to help their merchants grow globally.

Take a look at how to set up international shipping in your Shopify store. As you scroll down, you’ll also find a list of example rates for shipping with DHL Express Worldwide.

Let’s Build This

The National Retail Federation predicts that 2017 holiday sales will grow by 3.6%-4% over last year. Over the past ten years, sales have averaged a 2.5% increase year-over-year, even when accounting for the recessional downturn.

In other words, retail keeps getting better. In saying this, we don’t want to simplify a complex industry. Things are ever-changing, including customer expectations. In response to the changes, we cheer on ecommerce–it keeps getting smarter and engaging more people. If you like what you read here, but have yet to grow your business into the new era of online retail, let’s talk. We’ll help you get there.

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