Get E-Commerce Tips from Wix’s Liat Karpel Gurwicz

by Jerome Knyszewski
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Liat Karpel Gurwicz, Head of E-Commerce Marketing at Wix

After working in branding and marketing positions for several companies such as Como, Conduit, and dbMotion, Liat Karpel Gurwicz joined Wix.com in 2014 to head its strategic marketing and e-commerce divisions. Currently, she takes the lead role on Wix’s marketing and business strategies in the e-commerce sector. She has also led Wix’s marketing efforts for its “creative, professional and business audiences.”

Regarding e-commerce, Liat Karpel Gurwicz believes that the industry isn’t “any different than the offline world.” At Wix, she believes that the company platform allows online sellers to go directly to their customers, offering their high-quality products, and create productive relationships with them, the same way offline businesses do. The company wants to give online sellers the same abilities and tools that larger brands use. While online sellers still have to do the work to grow the business, Wix will give them the tools to make their job easier.

Liat Karpel Gurwicz has also led Wix’s marketing efforts for Wix Music. She has also won the MAA Globe award for excellence in marketing communications. At Wix, she joins a company that offers over 80 million users across the world with a “powerful website building and hosting platform,” where they can choose from hundreds of customizable templates, design capabilities, e-commerce functionality, an app market, email solutions, and other online products intended for “specific business verticals.”

Check out more interviews with seasoned marketing strategists here.

Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: Our primary point of differentiation is what we can offer small and medium-sized businesses. Our high-tier features come standard, from payments and analytics, to native integrations (SEO, FB) and automated text, to custom cart checkouts and currency conversions, among others. A few great examples of direct-to-consumer brands fully leveraging these Wix eCommerce features include Ruby Love, which designs female underwear, specialty spice purveyor The Spice Suite, and candlemaker Coal and Canary. Ruby Love has used Wix since the early days of developing the company’s web and eCommerce presence. With time, the brand further built out the site to make use of more features like tracking, label printing and shipping and has now grown into a $22 million business with more than 40 employees and a standalone fulfillment center.

Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: I think that being passionate about what you do is a big driver in avoiding burnout, and then just prioritizing life day by day.

I find that many people talk about work-life balance, but for me it’s always more of a juggle. So it’s about prioritizing what’s important today. As an executive, mom, wife, daughter, friend — every day is different. Some days family wins, some days work wins.

Don’t get me wrong — I have plenty of hard, mixed-up days too. But I really love my family and my job. I feel privileged to be able to enjoy both aspects of life and I feel like there is so much more for me to experience and achieve.

In short, I’m not done yet, so burning out is not an option.

Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: Wow — there are so many people to be grateful for. I am definitely standing on strong shoulders.

My mom, for raising my sister and me on her own and making sure that we got a good education and instilling a strong life compass in us. My teachers and mentors, from school and university through my working career have shaped me in many ways and opened many worlds to me. My husband, for putting my dreams first and being such a great partner and father to our sons.

Someone who really stands out is Alli Avishai, one of the corporate leaders and VP at dbMotion when I worked there. From the moment I met her, I looked up to her as a woman in such a prominent role and always admired her strength and leadership. She was not only an amazing role model to me, but she also went out of her way to mentor me and open doors for me. I’ve tried to emulate her in many ways over the years. Something that I still carry with me today is the responsibility, as a female executive, to guide and empower other women starting their careers.

Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share a few examples of different ideas that eCommerce businesses are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: The impact of COVID-19 on businesses has been massive. Many retailers and brands saw incredibly high eCommerce demand in 2020, but were not prepared to offset that demand and scale with professional eCommerce and fulfillment solutions. Some businesses were forced to shut physical locations permanently, and many had to quickly start their online stores for the first time, and even those who already had eCommerce stores had to make significant adjustments to their online business to manage their inventory, logistics, shipping and more. Supply chains were also badly compromised during the pandemic, with many factories and suppliers having to close for weeks or even months.

As the pandemic continues to disrupt the world, many businesses continue to struggle and consumers continue to shift their shopping online. Businesses constantly need to adapt and reinvent themselves, and for most the key to survival lies in a strong eCommerce and fulfillment strategy.

Here are the key areas to address for eCommerce success during the pandemic:

• Diversify your suppliers: If some suppliers need to close or suffer delivery delays, you can always ramp up orders from another supplier to help cover the load. You should have a plan B and plan C, just in case.

• Plan and stock inventory: Review your sales data to identify which products are selling well since the start of the pandemic. Try to anticipate what your customers need by researching shopping trends and online search queries for your product categories during the pandemic. Use this information to plan and stock your inventory.

• Get creative on delivery: Increased online shopping means increased shipping demand and traditional shipping carriers and delivery services are at full capacity. Logistics are difficult for everyone (including big retailers), so be prepared to use non-traditional delivery options like crowdsourcing rideshare drivers.

• Make sure your website is ready: Including basics like shipping information, return/refund policies, and — highly suggested — live chat (which Wix offers).

• Stagger holiday season marketing efforts: Plan and stagger your marketing efforts carefully so that you generate a good flow of ongoing sales instead of just a few big peaks. This will make it easier for you to manage and fulfill orders, and allow you to provide customers excellent service and timely delivery.

Jerome Knyszewski: Amazon, and even Walmart are going to exert pressure on all of retail for the foreseeable future. New Direct-To-Consumer companies based in China are emerging that offer prices that are much cheaper than US and European brands. What would you advise retail companies and eCommerce companies, for them to be successful in the face of such strong competition?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: The good news is that even as a small business you can be very successful online. Wix aims to allow any business to have the same eCommerce tools and online store that any big brand does.

But as the business owner, you still have to do the hard work of making the business a success. You have to make great products, meet your customers wherever they are online, and invest in your customer relationships.

The key is to deliver value to your customers, whether it’s engaging them on the channels they prefer, or enhancing their shopping experience on your website with great customer service.

People will keep buying from brands that they feel valued by and get value from. So no matter how hard you work to get them to keep coming back, remember to always put your customers at the forefront of your strategy. Think about their needs first.

Jerome Knyszewski: What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start an eCommerce business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can make is to not clearly define your target audience or take the time to understand what makes your customers tick.

You can’t really expect the right people to just show up at your website simply because you have a product they might need or want. You need to let them know about your business and get them to notice your products. And to do that, you need to know who they are and how you can reach them.

Are they on Facebook? Do they shop on Instagram, Amazon or eBay? Do they read email newsletters? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, your products probably won’t ever be seen by relevant shoppers, no matter how cool they may be.

Without a clear idea of who your target audience is, you’re essentially going into every single marketing initiative completely blind. Knowing your audience will help you figure out which images to use for ads, which words to use in descriptions, which social channels to aggressively maintain, and more. The most important thing you can do is get hyper-invested on understanding your potential customers.

Jerome Knyszewski: In your experience, which aspect of running an eCommerce brand tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: In eCommerce, potential customers don’t get to physically interact with your business or products before they buy them, but they do engage with your website and online channels. Your online store needs to convince shoppers to buy from your site and not somewhere else.

You really need to invest in your customer’s shopping experience, often referred to as the “buyer journey”. These are the most important things to do:

• Create great product pages that entice shoppers: Provide accurate and tempting product descriptions, including features, specifications and benefits. Display your products with high quality product photographs or videos. Include product reviews and testimonials which are major drivers in converting buyers, but make sure that reviews are valid and authentic. Optimize the SEO for your product pages and include all relevant keywords. Make sure that you’re not copy pasting manufacturer or supplier descriptions as duplicate content will cause your pages to be penalized by search engines.

• Simplify your Shopping Cart: If shoppers need to fumble through the checkout process, they are likely to get frustrated and give up before ever making a purchase. To increase conversions, make the checkout process as simple as possible and eliminate as many steps as possible from your shopping cart. Keep buttons big and text small, and remove any unnecessary fields. Think about ‘buy now’ options that go straight to the cart for single product purchases.

• Don’t surprise shoppers with unexpected fees: Making a purchase involves a degree of trust and you don’t want to give shoppers any reason to think that you’re not being upfront with them. Unexpected fees like taxes or shipping fees can drive away potential customers. This doesn’t mean that you should cover the cost of tax and shipping yourself; simply provide all of this information well before shoppers reach the checkout page.

• Give shoppers enough payment options: You don’t want to lose a customer because they can’t functionally pay you. There are dozens of online payment methods, from credit cards to digital wallets and mobile payment solutions. You don’t need to offer all of the options, but find out which payment methods your target customers prefer and focus on those.

Jerome Knyszewski: One of the main benefits of shopping online is the ability to read reviews. Consumers love it! While good reviews are of course positive for a brand, poor reviews can be very damaging. In your experience what are a few things a brand should do to properly and effectively respond to poor reviews? How about other unfair things said online about a brand?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: Poor reviews can be upsetting and you obviously don’t want to rack those up because by nature, people trust real people. That’s why social proof is such a powerful part of your marketing plan.

I would try to see a bad review as an opportunity to learn and improve some aspect of your business.

First, respond quickly to any customer complaints or reviews and try to correct the issue. Understand what went wrong and how you can compensate the customer. Mistakes will happen, so focus on helping your customer and improving their experience with your brand.

Next, accept that understanding your mistakes is essential to your business’s growth. If you understand that you made the mistake and fix it, not only will your business continue to grow and thrive, you’ll also create a following of happy, loyal customers that are excited to buy your products again and again.

Jerome Knyszewski: You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: Generally, I really believe in educating and empowering women. As a woman of some minor success and some privilege in life, I feel that it’s my duty to offer whatever support and opportunities I can to other women. So that’s how I try to bring about some good.

Specifically this year, I’d say that if 2020 taught us anything, it’s 1) wear a mask, and 2) shop online.

Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?

Liat Karpel Gurwicz: You can follow me at:

Twitter

LinkedIn

Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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