For brands like Michaels and Shutterstock, growing their customer bases takes a mix of art and science.
Michaels has invested in digital and in-store crafting classes. “For us, it really starts with inspiration, or if you don’t know how to do a project, it’s just education,” Heather Bennett, executive vice president of marketing and ecommerce at Michaels, said at last week’s eTail event in Boston.
Shutterstock believes understanding what your customer data says is key. “I have different metrics for SEO than [search engine marketing] or email marketing, but how do you bring all those together so they really complement each other well?” said Sara Resnick, global head of organic growth and SEO at Shutterstock.
This year, Michaels launched MakerPlace, an online marketplace meant to compete with Etsy. That comes as US retail marketplace ecommerce sales are expected to grow by 10.2% YoY in 2023, according to our March 2023 forecast.
Bennett emphasized that executive-level support played an important role in creating the marketplace.
“It’s really easy to abandon things … you have to have that perseverance to say, ‘We will get this done, we are going to invest in it,’” she said. Part of the investment was adding “talent that had experience, specifically in bringing startups and new businesses to life,” said Bennett. “We went from having around 200,000 SKUs online to adding another 1.3 million.”
Features that improve the CX are also helping Michaels grow:
Finally, Michaels relaunched its brand identity with a new tagline: “Everything to create anything.”
In addition to training the organization on SEO’s impact on growth, Resnick said it’s important to have a central source of truth showing key metrics. “Try to get a dashboard that will help tell that story,” she added, stressing the need for automation.
Some other data sets Shutterstock has been focusing on include:
While Bennett touted executive buy-in and appointing teams tasked with innovations, Resnick said it’s important to break down silos, even if it’s difficult.
“Once you make the case for it, make sure you have the data to prove it. Or if you don’t, say, This is why we’re doing this because of some very good reason that the competition is doing something,’” Resnick said.
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