Shopify Marketing: 12+ Proven Strategies You Can Steal From Native
Shopify marketing can be tricky.
Seriously, convincing people to hand over their hard earned money is challenging, even at the best of times.
And if you’re not a digital marketer, knowing where to start can feel overwhelming. Indeed, trying to focus on too many things at once leads to spreading yourself too thin (not to mention burnout)
So, in this post we’re going to break down specific Shopify marketing strategies you can use to generate sales on your store.
We’ll study one of the most successful Shopify store’s Native Cosmetics. We’ll break down their approach to marketing, and figure out the strategies they used to go from a valuation of $0 to $100M in just 2.5 years.
But before we talk about specific strategies, let’s take a step back and talk about the first critical step in marketing your Shopify store: research.
Shopify Marketing Starts With Research
When it comes to Shopify marketing, there’s two factors that will make your life infinitely easier:
- Selling products that people want
- Figuring out the best way to reach the people who want your product
Now, this seems obvious, right? But you’d be amazed at the amount of people who come up with a product idea that has very low demand for it.
You’d be equally shocked at the number of entrepreneurs who have a good product idea, but don’t know how to reach the customers who want it.
So, creating a plan to sell a validated product, to a validated audience who wants it, will massively boost your chances of success. Because when you do that, the product will almost market itself.
See, lots of budding entrepreneurs think they need to reinvent the wheel. But in reality, to be a successful eCommerce merchant, you just need to be an effective middle man.
You don’t need to create a brand new product, and convince the world that they need it. I mean, you can, but it’s much more difficult. So, Instead, flip this approach on its head - simply look for market trends, then step-in to give the people what they want.
Again, this sounds simple. Almost too simple. But it’s essential to start from here. Because even the best Shopify marketer in the world will struggle to sell a product that nobody wants.
So, with this in mind, let’s quickly figure out how to find a product people want.
1. How to Find Products People Want
However, if you’re pressed for time, here’s quick 4 strategies you can use to find, and validate, demand for potential product ideas.
- Study what’s already popular: In the theme of not-reinventing the wheel, research what’s already popular on Amazon’s best-sellers list & eBay watchcount. We know that these products are already popular & selling well.
- Use search data to find trending topics: Hop over to google trends and search for various topics (and even products) to assess if they’re increasing or decreasing in popularity. For example, deodorant are steadily increasing in popularity over time.
- Spy on what other stores are selling: You can find out what others are selling successfully by researching ads on Meta and finding viral videos on TikTok. This is an especially useful strategy if you’re using dropshipping as your fulfillment method. Simply search on the platform using terms like ‘#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt’ or ‘30%/40%/50% Off’ and ‘Free Shipping’. Filter results by the last 6 months. Look for posts with high engagement.
- Sign-up for Trends.co newsletter: Trends.co send out a regular newsletter with trending topics in the market and cool product ideas.
2. How to Reach The People Who Want Your Products
Okay, once you’ve found several products that the market wants, it’s time to think about the other part of Shopify marketing; how you can get your goods in front of buyers. A.k.a to find your product-market fit.
Now, it’s important to not get bogged down here. Yes, you can spend thousands of dollars running focus groups, surveys and so forth to build a detailed picture of your potential customers.
But this is overkill for most budding Shopify marketers. Once you’re at scale, you can invest in more customer research, but for now, we just need an ‘mvp’ - minimum viable persona.
We recommend using a free tool like Hubspot’s persona generator to quickly build a representation of your ideal customer.
Basically you need to figure out things like:
- Your customer’s basic characteristics (Their age, their income, their problems etc)
- Where your audience hangs out (e.g. are they on TikTok, Facebook, Reddit etc)
- The language they use (Are they professionals or do they use gen-z slang?)
- The things they care about (e.g. sustainability, self-development, health etc)
When deciding on your messaging and marketing channels, it’s also important to consider your products. You need to find the right fit between products, audience and messaging.
For example, marketing commercial pizza ovens would require a very different approach than marketing fidget spinners, right?
Commercial pizza oven buyers most likely start their buyer’s journey via Google, a culinary trade show, or a professional magazine. The two audiences also need very different messaging.
To illustrate, imagine trying to sell fidget spinners in a professional magazine or at a culinary trade show.
Obviously, this is an extreme example. But the principle remains the same. When you deliver the right messaging, to the right customer, over the right channel, at the right time, making sales becomes easy.
Shopify Marketing Strategies: 12 Ideas You can Steal from Native
Now that you understand the fundamentals of finding your product-market fit, let’s jump into some specific Shopify marketing strategies that Native Cosmetics use to acquire customers.
1. Use a popup with a first order discount code
Pop-ups have taken a lot of flack over the years. Indeed, many marketers think of them as unnecessary. But despite the naysayers, the data is clear: eCommerce pop-ups with a discount convert 4.87% of visitors on average.
That means for every 1,000 visitors to your site, you can expect to get 48 new email subscribers. Now, this may not seem impressive at first. Until you consider that email marketing platform Privy reported that the average value of each email subscriber in their database is $33.
Based on these figures, it’s not outlandish to estimate that a pop-up on your site could generate $1,584 for every 1,000 visitors. Scale that up to 10,000 visits and we’re talking in the region of $15,000 in extra sales - not bad for a simple automation, right?
Of course, we’re talking in averages here. But the bottom line is that pop-ups do work. But how to make them work best? Here’s five steps to copy Native’s high-converting approach to pop-up design based on Wisepop’s data:
- Offer a 10-20% discount code to first-time shoppers.
- Include a product or lifestyle image
- Require only one field (email)
- Trigger your pop-up on a click (e.g. product page, or collection page)
- If using time-bound triggers, show your pop-up within the first 4 seconds
Once visitors sign-up, Native sends subscribers a time-bound discount code (i.e. one that expires in 48 hours). This cranks up the urgency and forces more folks to make a purchasing decision.
🔑Key Takeaway: Pop-ups are a powerful marketing automation tool in your Shopify marketing arsenal. Design a simple email or SMS automation to send sign-ups a time-bound discount off their first purchase.
2. Upsell Customers to a Bigger Basket
It’s getting more expensive to acquire customers. Tougher competition and privacy safeguards – including the phaseout of third-party cookies – are driving CAC up, especially for digital advertising.
To balance out these costs, it’s critical to focus on upselling and cross-selling strategies that boost average order value and profitability. For example, if Native needs to spend $30 in ads to acquire a new customer, they’re not going to make much profit off a $7 deodorant, right?
To counteract this scenario, Native have a powerful array of upsells and cross-sells that encourage shoppers to spend more money.
It’s worthwhile going to their store and pretending you’re a shopper to see their strategy in action. For example,
- When you add a product to cart, a pop-up promotes a similar product.
- In the cart drawer, you can add additional products with a single click
- On the cart page, you’re offered complimentary products based on cart contents
- A bundle of 3 products qualifies you for a 17% discount
- You also get up to 22% off if you upgrade to a recurring subscription
In addition, Native also has a free shipping threshold of $30, which encourages you to keep adding products to your cart to save money on delivery fees.
Now while Native’s upselling techniques are no doubt effective, it’s also hard not to feel like you're getting a bad deal if you order for less than $30 on the site. It can also feel quite overwhelming with so many offers and decisions to make.
So, while their strategy certainly encourages a bigger AOV, it also may discourage a portion of customers from making a purchase at a lower cart value.
If Native used a combination of pre-purchase and post-purchase upselling, it’s likely they could get more sales, and then upsell a greater volume of those customers with one-click upsells and thank you page offers, after they’ve already converted.
For example, ReConvert user Tushy shifted some of their upsells to the post-purchase phase and were able to generate $191,786/mo while creating a smoother conversion journey for front-end shoppers.
🔑Key Takeaway: For Shopify marketing, upselling is a must to offset rising acquisition costs. Use an app like ReConvert to quickly add a powerful upsell engine for your store that’ll maximize the value of every sale and beef up your bottom line.
3. Launch a Referral Program
It’s often said that your best customers are your best marketers.
A referral program gives your existing customer base an incentive to promote your brand to their peer groups. And the results can be impressive.
According to RefferalCandy, if you already have product-market fit, happy customers, and a steady stream of shoppers from your existing acquisition channels, a referral program can increase your sales by around 2% minimum.
In many cases though the results can be much more dramatic. For example, ReferralCandy user Branch Basics we’re able to drive a whopping 10% more sales via their referral program.
They key is here to design your programme in a shareable way. Native offers customers 20% off their next order. But they also give the referred customers 20% off.
This set-up gives both sides the incentive to take action. Customers refer their friends to get a discount. And the friends get a discount on their first order.
We don’t have exact figures on Native’s referral program, but you can bet your bottom dollar it’s working for them. So steal it and use it and use it to amplify your sales.
🔑Key Takeaway: A referral program is a great way to generate extra revenue acquire new customers far cheaper than paid channels. Offer Incentives for both the referrer and the referee for best results in your Shopify marketing strategy.
4. Create a Loyalty Programme
You’ve probably heard that it costs around seven times less to sell to existing customers, than it does to acquire new customers. So, why not create an incentive to encourage more sales from your existing customer base?
Loyalty programs are one of the most effective tactics for increasing revenue and inspiring customer loyalty. Seriously, data from Bain reported that 84% of shoppers say they’re more apt to stick with a brand that offers a loyalty program.
What we love about Native’s loyalty program is that they’ve designed it in a way that aligns with their conversion goals. For example, instead of simply offering points off for spending, Native gives you points for various goals, such as:
- 1 point for each $1 spent
- 10 points for creating an account
- 5 points for following their Instagram account
- 5 points for following their TikTok account
- 20 points for signing up for a subscription
- 10 points for reaching your 3rd delivery
What’s more, Native’s rewards program is cleverly structured in tiers. The more customers spend, the more rewards they can claim.
This creates a self-perpetuating upwards cycle that entices customers to keep spending. For example, if you’ve got free priority shipping, are you really going to switch to a competitor brand? Unlikely, right?
What we also love is how Native offer emotional perks alongside discounts. For example, birthday gifts and product testing cost the business very little. But research shows that these emotionally-based perks can actually be more effective at retaining customers than cash discounts.
🔑Key Takeaway: Design your loyalty or rewards program with your conversion goals in mind, offer a tiered system to reward super-spenders, and spice things up with emotional benefits that build a deep connection between your brand and your customer.
5. Use SMS Marketing for More Engagement
SMS marketing is a powerful tool in your arsenal. Not only do SMS messages get much higher open rates than emails, they also feel more personal too.
What’s more, your shoppers probably want SMS communications - data suggests that 91% of consumers are interested in signing up for texts. So SMS is a must-have in any Shopify marketing strategy.
You can use different types of SMS campaigns, such as:
- New product announcements
- Special offers (e.g. free shipping)
- Seasonal sales (e.g. Black Friday marketing campaigns)
- Loyalty programs sign-ups
- Product drop alerts
Like Native does, it’s essential to get consent from your customers before adding them to your SMS marketing list. Shopify has a nice built-in feature for this. Go to Settings -> Checkout, then scroll down to Marketing Consent.
Beyond collecting consent, there are 4 more best practices when it comes to SMS marketing, according to Shopify’s David Gaylord:
- Make it easy to opt out: trust is more important than the size of your list. Don’t annoy subscribers who don’t want SMS
- Don’t go overboard: SMS enhances the customer experience when used for transactional messages (e.g. shipping updates). It’s ok to send promotional messages, but not more than once per week.
- Make it conversational: SMS is a great channel to get conversational with your customers - get feedback on your products, ask questions and build a deeper relationship.
- Keep context in mind: Contextually relevant texts are much more likely to get a click-through, which can mean higher conversion rates. E.g. Send your weekend free shipping promotion on a Friday afternoon.
🔑Key Takeaway: SMS marketing is a powerful channel to engage customers and drive more sales. For best results, don’t send customers more than one promotional SMS per week.
6. Use Meta Ads to Get in Front of Customers
Meta ads (formerly Facebook Ads) are an awesome way to get sales on Shopify quickly. Facebook allows you to target specific audiences, like say, people interested in natural deodorant. Plus, Meta tracks many user actions, which allows them to more precisely serve your ads to users.
When it comes to Native’s paid social media strategy, they consistently highlight their USPs. Cleverly, they frequently incorporate a couple of elements (that you can copy) to power up their ads:
- Reviews from media outlets or individual customers (adds social proof)
- Their shipping and returns policy (removes risk)
- They use a mixture of UGC and professional content
Also, notice how visually appealing Native’s ads are. Seriously, pop over to the Native Meta Ad Library and study their creatives and copywriting. You’ll get a whole bunch of advertising ideas just from looking at their best-performing ads.
Another strategy Native uses is retargeting campaigns. Retargeting campaigns focus on showing ads to prospects who visited the Native site or engaged with them on social media. Such campaigns typically offer the highest ROI of any Meta advertising campaign.
🔑Key Takeaway: Use UGC creatives (reviews, unboxings and testimonials) to reach new customers and convert them into customers. Set-up simple retargeting campaigns to bring interested shoppers back to checkout to get the best results from your Shopify marketing efforts.
7. Invest in SEO to Acquire Organic Traffic
SEO is an amazing way to attract visitors to your store from search engines. It's a long-game, but still deserves consideration when designing your Shopify marketing strategy.
For example, if you live in the US and google ‘plastic free deodorant’, Native’s product page comes up top. This page attracts an estimated 460 visitors per month.
While this isn’t a crazy amount of traffic, it’s valuable when you consider that purchase intent is very high. Plus, Native also ranks lots of other product pages and collection pages for various other related search terms. Also, consider that this traffic doesn't cost Native anything - so sales via this channel will likely have a much higher profit margin.
Now, SEO is a big topic that we can’t cover in-depth here. However, here’s a video from ReConvert’s co-founder Eric that’ll show you the basics.
8. Use Influencers to Promote Your Products & Reach New Audiences
Influencer marketing is a brilliant strategy that can generate a lot of sales quickly. However, you need to approach it the right way.
Native primarily uses a micro-influencer strategy, and as a new brand, you should too. When we say micro-influencers, I mean accounts with less than 10-30k followers.
Teaming up with micro-influencers is a good idea because:
- They’re typically way more affordable than accounts with giant followings
- Micro-influences tend to have a better relationship with their audience
- Very often, micro-influencers are open to long-term collaboration
You can work with influencers in several ways. Some examples are:
- Sending them a free product for review
- Paying them to shout out your product
- Offering them equity or a profit-share in your business
- Giving them an affiliate link
The last point is something that Native use. They have a great affiliate program that offers bloggers, social influencers, and media outlets commissions for referring customers to them.
There are several Shopify apps that can help you build an affiliate program in a matter of minutes. Just search them on the App store and pick the one that looks best.
9. Leverage Email Marketing (Especially Email Automation)
Email marketing is a game-changer for Shopify merchants. It's like having a direct hotline to your customers, boosting loyalty, and driving sales.
Native sends lots of emails. They use them to cut through the noise and reach customers directly free from battling algorithms or social media clutter.
Native also uses their campaigns to build relationships. They send valuable content, exclusive offers, and show your customers some love. By nurturing such connections, you turn buyers into repeat shoppers.
If you send no emails now, the biggest bang for your buck is an abandoned cart email. This encourages shoppers who almost purchased to come back and finish their order.
But you can also set up automated email sequences to nurture leads, rekindle inactive customers or delight your best customers. Automation saves time and sends timely messages like magic.
🔑Key Takeaway: Email marketing is all about giving value, personalizing, and being consistent. Use it wisely to boost traffic, supercharge sales, and build lasting customer connections on your Shopify store.
10. Add Reviews to Your Store
Customer reviews are a game-changer for your Shopify store. Reviews build credibility and trust, showing potential buyers that your products are worth it.
Reviews are also potent for influencing purchasing decisions: Positive reviews sway customers to choose your products over competitors. Plus, they also provode valuable feedback &offer insights to enhance your products and customer experience.
Native uses reviews in a variety of ways and locations that you can copy:
- Encourage Feedback: Native asks for reviews via email and offers incentives to motivate customers.
- Strategic Display: Native showcases reviews prominently with star ratings and visuals on their homepage, collection pages and product pages.
- Leverage User-Generated Content: Native encourages customers to share videos and images along with their reviews. You can use such reviews as creatives in your paid campaigns.
🔑Key Takeaway: Customer reviews are a powerful tool to build trust, influence decisions, and improve your Shopify store. Embrace feedback to create a reputable brand that drives conversions.
11. Use your Blog to Capture Free Traffic
Okay, disclaimer: Native’s blog isn’t the best when it comes to driving traffic. It’s not bad. But they haven't invested much resources (or used the right strategy) to create a sales-driving blog.
That said, they do have some articles ranking for topics that potential customers might search for. Case in point, their blog post on ‘Deodorant Detoxing’ ranks number one on Google and drives around 100-200 visitors per month to the site.
They have a couple more posts ranking too, but overall they are not leveraging their blog to its full extent. In just 5 minutes, we found 20 on-brand topics, with decent search volume that they could rank number one for if they were serious about it.
Now, we’re not going to cover blogging here. We’ve already written a post on how to create a blog for your Shopify store. So if you’d like to learn how you can use your blog to get traffic and sales, read the step-by-step guide today.
12. Create Viral TikTok Content
Creating viral TikToks is a powerful way to promote your Shopify store and reach a wider audience. Native use TikTok's massive reach and algorithm to expose their videos to a large audience, and drive traffic to their store. Check out some of their content here.
Here’s some tips for going viral on TikTok:
- Stay on Trend: Participate in popular hashtags and challenges, adding your unique creative touch to increase visibility and engagement.
- Be Authentic: Share captivating stories about your brand, products, or customers that resonate with viewers on an emotional level.
- Engage and Build Community: Encourage audience interaction, respond to comments, and foster a loyal following on TikTok.
- Visual Appeal: Use eye-catching visuals, creative editing techniques, and compelling imagery to make your TikToks stand out.
- Clear Call-to-Action: Direct viewers to your Shopify store with a clear and concise message, guiding them to explore your products or special offers.
- Collaborate with Influencers: Collaborating with TikTok influencers who align with your brand can help expand your reach and expose your store to a broader audience.
🔑Key Takeaway: Harness the power of TikTok's viral potential to promote your Shopify store. Create authentic and captivating content, engage with your audience, and leverage trends to increase visibility and drive traffic to your Shopify store for increased sales and success.
13. Try Partnership Marketing
Forming strategic partnerships can be a powerful way to expand your product's reach and tap into new audiences. By collaborating with established brands, you gain exposure to a wealth of customers and boost your brand's visibility.
The key to successful partnerships lies in creating a mutually beneficial relationship. Both parties should stand to gain something from the collaboration. Native has successfully partnered with various brands over the years.
But how can you approach potential partners like Native did with Jungalo? Well, as an emerging business, it's best to start by forming partnerships with other small businesses.
For instance, if you sell yoga mats or athleisure products, consider reaching out to your local gym to discuss offering a special discount to their membership base. If you sell barware, you could host an event at the newest cocktail bar in your town and promote it to both of your target audiences.
When seeking partnerships, think creatively and collaborate with brands that have an audience likely to be interested in your product. By doing so, you can maximize your exposure and create mutually beneficial relationships that help your business grow.
🔑Key Takeaway: Strategic partnerships with established brands and local businesses can provide valuable exposure to new audiences, so it's essential to seek mutually beneficial collaborations and get creative in targeting audiences interested in your product.
Should You Hire a Shopify Marketer?
After reading this post, you may be thinking about hiring a Shopify marketer to help with your Shopify marketing. So is this a good move?
Well, it all comes down to your business goals, resources, and know-how. If you're looking to optimize your online store, boost traffic, increase conversions, and nail those marketing strategies, a Shopify marketer can be a game-changer.
They bring expertise and save you time. But hey, if you've got the skills and resources to handle marketing yourself, you might not need to hire anyone.
Take a look at your needs, budget, and what you're capable of to make the best call. It's all about making sure hiring a Shopify marketer lines up with your business objectives and sets you up for success.
Shopify Marketing: Go Forth & Make Sales!
Shopify marketing can be challenging, but by implementing proven strategies, you can generate sales for your store.
Research is the critical first step, focusing on selling products that people want and finding the best way to reach them. Popular products on platforms like Amazon and trending topics on Google Trends can provide insights. Spy on successful stores and sign up for newsletters like Trends.co for ideas.
Once you have identified products with demand, it's crucial to reach your target audience. Create a minimum viable persona using tools like Hubspot's persona generator to understand their characteristics, preferred platforms, language, and interests. Tailor your messaging and marketing channels accordingly.
Learn from Native Cosmetics, a successful Shopify store. They effectively use pop-ups with first-order discount codes, upsell strategies, referral programs, and loyalty programs to increase sales. Additionally, SMS marketing and Meta ads provide direct and personalized communication with customers.
By implementing these strategies, you can optimize your Shopify marketing efforts and boost your chances of success. Remember to adapt and refine your approach based on your specific audience and products.