Melbourne based Shopify superstars Buy Contacts Online and Honest Fox take us along the journey of building a highly successful ecommerce business on Shopify.
Travelling back in time using the Wayback Machine, the story of Buy Contacts Online began in 2009 the same way as many other online retailers begin, with a “Coming Soon” page. Fast forward to 2021, and Buy Contacts Online have grown and scaled into an incredible Shopify ecommerce success story.
Janine and Peter Merrett initially saw the idea as a way to make some passive income through on-hand contact lenses that were necessary for Peter’s optometry practice.
The website traded modestly and grew organically, thanks in large part to a winning top-level domain, “buycontactsonline.com.au”, the type of domain you wish you purchased ten years ago. But do not discount the importance of your domain name, not just for search engine optimisation, but also in brand building. When you visit “buycontactsonline.com.au”, it is extremely clear why you are visiting the site and what physical goods the site is offering.
In 2016, Janine and Peter saw the potential for growing their ecommerce business and took the time to reinvest in Buy Contacts Online. With a referral to a Melbourne-based trusted digital marketing agency partner for small businesses looking for ecommerce solutions, Honest Fox, Janine and Peter embraced the opportunity to redesign and re-platform their side hustle into a future-proofed engine on Shopify.
Honest Fox and Buy Contacts Online focussed the engagement around a few key principles that are applicable to every ecommerce business:
- Customer Experience (CX)
- Optimised Mobile Experience
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- SMS Marketing Automation
With a winning strategy and leveraging the above focus areas, the team achieved nothing short of remarkable results in 2016 and, most importantly, in the years that have followed.
The most successful partnerships are formed when you find a team you can trust. Digital marketing may move fast as an industry, but make no mistake, true digital marketing growth is very much a marathon.Dillon Bailey, CEO of Honest Fox
How SMS helped Buy Contacts Online
According to Dillon Bailey, when you send communications via your phone, it becomes a much more focused experience. When browsing the internet via a desktop or laptop, you might have multiple tabs open ready to distract you. Compare this to receiving an SMS message, from which studies have found 90% get read within 90 seconds.
Buying through digital channels like text also makes the purchasing journey much easier and more attractive for consumers. With new payment features such as Apple Pay now integrated straight into your phone, you can easily double-tap and score a purchase right away – instead of scrambling about for your credit card.
Dillon Bailey also believes that when you send SMS, you can catch consumers in between appointments or on the go. These are the times when you can connect with consumers who are least distracted but are also looking for distractions.
Given how fast businesses can set up and start to send texts, Dillon Bailey thought it was best especially for their ‘test and target’ approach. A good starting point for any Shopify business is to start with abandoned cart recovery, easily accessible in our Shopify SMS Marketing Automation app.
Buy Contacts Online were able to double their recovery rate, lifting it from 7% to 14% by simply adding abandoned cart text reminders to existing email marketing journeys. Janine Merrett believed it drove more fulfilled orders due to its immediacy compared to emails.
RELATED: Learn how Shopify retailer Simply for Strings added two-way text messaging to their abandoned cart recovery text reminders to drive 40% more fulfilled orders.
“[SMS] has also proven to be a real low-cost thing to invest in with a high return.”Janine Merrett, Co-founder, Buy Contacts Online
Once abandoned cart text recovery proved fruitful, Buy Contacts Online began to use SMS to send out specific online marketing campaigns as part of her marketing plan. While traditional marketing methods or newer marketing tactics such as social media marketing are still effective and useful, text messaging works best for specific purposes.
For example, if you prepared a marketing campaign for a certain time period, you should use SMS as customers open and act upon them quickly unlike other channels. Additionally, text messaging can also be very successful if you’re looking for reviews or requesting feedback for the same reasons.
RELATED: Learn how SMS helped leading online retailer Vinomofo drive a 21% uplift to their email re-engagement campaigns.
“SMS is a fairly conversational way to engage and you can gather a lot of very useful feedback that you can then use to grow your store.”Dillon Bailey, CEO, Honest Fox
The results for Buy Contacts Online
Leveraging the four principles above, here are some key stats:
- 13% on-site conversion rate
- 14% abandoned cart recovery (60% via SMS and 40% via Email)
- $0 Paid Ad Spend – the focus on SEO means we do not have to pay for new customer acquisition
- 2.5x average orders per customer and a 73% returning customer rate
- 100% revenue increase from 2017 to 2020
Top tips and takeaways for retailers
In our conversations with Honest Fox and Buy Contacts Online, here are the top tips and takeaways for ecommerce retailers using Shopify:
Become obsessive with your customer’s experience.
Framing your customer experience within a holistic customer journey is a great foundation for building an improved customer experience. Taking the time to empathise and understand your customer is not only appreciated but will lead to higher conversion rates and retention.
Progress over perfection – do not be afraid to test and trial ideas
Think about leveraging tactics like growth-driven design methodologies so your website is continuously optimised over time. Every day, whether you realise it or not, the amount of data you are collecting on your site grows and grows. Distilling this data into actionable insights on a monthly basis can lay the foundations for a high performing site and avoid the cost of an overhaul every few years.
Invest in long-term growth through tactics like search engine optimisation
“Just Google it”, search engine optimisation should always be a consideration for the growth of your ecommerce business. It is the complete opposite of a “quick win” but that is just why it’s recommended so highly — not everyone is willing to put in the time and effort it takes to build their inbound marketing strategy. Here’s a great guide from Honest Fox on learning how to develop keywords for SEO.
Meet customers where they are and drive better results through mobile and SMS
Not only are customers demanding more mobile-first experiences, but you will also increase sales fulfilment and customer satisfaction by leveraging the power of text messaging. From abandoned cart recovery to time-sensitive promotional campaigns, text messaging is rising to prominence as a medium to get to customer’s faster (and with greater cut-through) than any other communication tool. Start using our SMS Marketing Automation app and start driving similar results to Buy Contacts Online for your Shopify store today!
Last but not least, find a digital marketing partner you trust
Take the time to get to know your partners and ensure your vision and values align. Whether that’s a digital design shop like Honest Fox or engagement messaging specialist like MessageMedia, your partners should feel part of the team and invested in your success just as much as you are. There will be plenty of wins along the way, but there will also be failures. Anyone can deliver when things are going well, what you really want is a partner who is transparent and willing to own mistakes and turn them into valuable learnings to drive your business forward.
Ready for the Master Class? Let’s dive in!
We asked Janine Merrett, Co-Founder of Buy Contacts Online and Dillon Bailey, CEO of Honest Fox to share their insights with us. Lucky for us, they were more than happy to sit down and share a wealth of information on how you can plan, prioritise, strategise and execute a winning digital marketing strategy.
Watch the exclusive masterclass series
Honest Fox’s CEO Dillon Bailey will take you through how they helped contact lens provider Buy Contacts Online achieve a 60% uplift in abandoned cart recovery for their Shopify storeRegister free
Final thoughts, further reading
If you enjoyed this Master Class series and are interested in diving deeper into SMS and Shopify, make sure to also check out:
- Recover 40% more sales with abandoned cart SMS for Shopify plus a free E-Book
- How to use SMS marketing in Shopify with 5 proven use cases
- Our analysis on the best ecommerce platforms to use with SMS
- Download our post-holiday Shopify cheat sheet to get the most out of your SMS marketing