We created the Small Business Summer Series to bring together founders, leaders, and experts from retailers, marketing agencies, and financiers to assist small businesses in accelerating their success. Across 5 sessions we examined some of the most pressing issues companies face and provided actionable ways to take on those challenges and flourish.
How to build a stellar online shopping experience.
In session 1, the e-commerce managers of Maison Kitsuné, and Juiced Bikes, and Éva Goicochea, CEO of maude, shared how to build a genuinely stellar online shopping experience.
Maison Kitsune’s Tiffany Tibot emphasized how important it is to think through the post-purchase customer journey, pointing out how the lifetime value of a customer is too often not considered. When you do think the post-purchase journey entirely through, you create opportunities to turn shoppers into loud fans—and those fans will drive so many additional sales.
Juiced Bikes’ Christopher Scott added how valuable it is to create a simple, easy-to-navigate site for your customers. Often companies opt for bells-and-whistles in the design process when simplicity is the name of the game. Build something enabling customers to find and buy what they want; it’s not a scavenger hunt.
How to ignite sales through email marketing.
Staying connected to your customers is so important these days, and one of the most effective ways is through email. The second session featured Taylor Clark (growth success manager at Klaviyo) and Erica Liu Williams (Founder and CEO at gr8nola), tackling email marketing strategy challenges.
The biggest takeaway is to remember email marketing is a constantly iterative process—ensure you stay up on what’s happening by following your competitors and brands you like to see what tactics they’re taking and what makes sense for your brand from those actions. Also, be comfortable with how quickly email marketing changes. Test, evaluate, and test some more, everything from subject lines, times to send, or A/B testing content; give yourself room to experiment and keep things moving forward.
Making Instagram and Facebook ads that work.
With all the competition out there, it’s vital for businesses to use their advertising dollars effectively. Josh Henry-Hicks (VP paid social at MuteSix) shared tips for building Instagram and Facebook ads that work, driving increased sales and conversions in our third session.
Among the many valuable pieces of advice: He emphasized creating catchy three-second hooks to stop social media users in their scroll and get them to pay attention to your brand. To get people to stop scrolling, MuteSix also shared what kinds of videos perform the best for ads (product demonstrations are at the very top of the list) and advised on how to shoot videos even without filming budgets.
A big point of emphasis from Henry-Hicks was the landing page where your ad leads your potential customers. The ad is only part of the customer journey; build a landing page showcasing your products and brand in a unique, engaging way. When done well, this (often overlooked) key page turns curious shoppers who initially clicked your ad into converts who purchase.
How to access funding for marketing & inventory with Clearco.
Whether looking to expand products or markets, bring on investors, or just generally grow, acquiring financing becomes even more critical. For the 4th Summer Series session, Daniel Rodic (head of market development), and Mili Trapara (account executive team lead) from the lending firm Clearco, and Kevin Gould, founder of Kombo Ventures and multiple D2C brands joined Klarna to look at all things funding.
Gould highlighted how funding doesn’t have to exclusively come through VCs or banks, pointing to brands that use their customer base as a way to increase their COH. Simple actions like DMing your followers with direct sales pitches and deals can lead to increased sales (and re-purchases) and be a way for smaller businesses to grow and expand without giving anything up.
Before bringing in a new partner, Rodic identified how important it is to analyze the partner’s strategic value. All values aren’t measured equally. For instance, if your business needs to expand, a partnership with someone/another company already comfortable in the new market may be more effective than just whoever has the most money to offer you.
Finally, when it comes to two of the most critical things a business can do before it even considers new funding sources: Heed the unit costs, and start relationships early. For unit costs, ensuring you have a firm handle on those now and when you start scaling up will turn dividends down the road. And when it comes to the relationships, meeting your local bank and/or interacting with VCs and other funders before you need them will help protect you from only going to funding sources when you’re most in need. Don’t talk to them when you’re most vulnerable; reach out well before, and you’ll be able to operate from a more advantageous position.
How BNPL is transforming e-commerce.
For the final session, Klarna hosted Shashicka Tyre-Hill, CEO of Femme Detox, and Parisa Fowles-Pazdro, CEO of maxbone, to discuss their experiences using Klarna’s BNPL services and the impact that offering Klarna has had on their businesses.
Both founders discussed how flexible payments brought higher AOVs and more conversions to their companies and how the feedback they received from their customers was overwhelmingly positive. With Gen Z and Millennial shoppers largely eschewing traditional credit cards, the value of offering Klarna has never been higher. Additionally, the founders discussed how, amidst the pandemic, offering Klarna helped them maintain sales that otherwise might not have been possible.
Buy now pay later options like Klarna are crucial to helping businesses be successful. Klarna’s more than 19 million US users are highly engaged shoppers, doing it more often and with higher AOVs than non-Klarna users. Brands offering Klarna see increased AOVs, higher conversions, lower ad costs, and have the opportunity for unique co-marketing opportunities that effectively bring new customers to the store (both on- and offline).
For more on each individual Summer Series event, including watching the full videos of the sessions, click here.