​​Are you strug​​gling to maintain social media shops on networks like Facebook or TikTok? Do you wish that your e-commerce platform is better equipped to support and amplify your marketing initiatives? And wouldn’t it be great if we could automate some of those activities to sync products across platforms that amplify our reach beyond our own social channels?

That’s what we’re covering in episode two of the MarTech Show, hosted by Mike Allton, head of Strategic Partnerships at Agorapulse. You can listen to the entire podcast:

Here’s an overview of the learnings from the episode.

Challenges in ecommerce marketing 

Wrangling search engine traffic, making sure product listings are synced with social network shops, even understanding what social shops are available, how they’re different, and how best to leverage them—these are the plates we have to keep spinning as marketers. It’d be great if there were tools and platforms that could help us.

That’s exactly what Jessica Williamson is going talk to us about. 

Jessica works strategically with agencies to help them understand and work with the big commerce team to help their merchants be as successful as possible on the platform and one of the leading Open SaaS ecommerce platforms out there for D2C, B2B, and high-risk merchants. She’s been with the company for years, working first in sales, then on the agency team, and now she’s here to help us power up our ecommerce marketing. 

Let’s start by reviewing what BigCommerce is and the kinds of brands that you typically work with?

Jessica: So BigCommerce, like Mike and I said, is where the leading Open SaaS ecommerce platform. So we work with mom-and-pop shops that are—I always like to say—that are selling paper clips out of their garage, all the way up to multi-billion dollar companies. Whether it’s direct to consumer or B2B merchants, BigCommerce is an ecommerce platform that can house it all for y’all.

Mike: Fantastic. Now I know a lot of agencies are actually using BigCommerce to support their clients’ ecommerce initiatives. How does BigCommerce exactly work with agencies? And what is that model?

Jessica: I always say that the agency world is a position that I never knew existed, and I’m so happy to be a part of.  

So with BigCommerce, we take a really hand-in-hand approach with our agency partners. As a channel account manager, I work in the southeast with agencies between the size of about eleven to fifty employees. My job is to actually help train them on the platform. You have a full team at BigCommerce when you are a partner of ours. You have me, you have a solutions engineer to help with technical questions, an enablement manager to help train you on the platform and help you understand how to work best with BigCommerce and a marketing manager that actually helps you put BigCommerce and your agency’s name out in the world together. 

And so we work very hand-in-hand. You have a client that as an agency, if you have a client that is wanting to come to big commerce, we act it like it is your baby, and we wanna make sure that we are providing the best solution for them. And ideally, it is BigCommerce or Feedonomics, and we can help you through that process to make sure from the first initial touch with BigCommerce all the way through implementation and onward into your success. We want to be with you every step of the way.

Mike: That’s fantastic because we’ve got a lot of agencies in our sphere of influence. We’ve got about three thousand or so that are actually customers and that sort of thing. We’re definitely gonna want to introduce them and help them understand. This is a really valuable platform that can be used to support their clients.

Attracting more traffic

I’m glad you mentioned economics. We want to get back to them in just a second. But when it comes to marketing, BigCommerce has this outsourced role to play. For all of our agencies, customers, and the merchants that are watching today starting with search. Can you talk about how BigCommerce actually helps attract traffic?

Jessica: So let’s go into a little bit about how BigCommerce is built. So open SaaS? Let’s break that down real quick.

What that means is that the SaaS back end, we still take care of what I like to call the “nitty gritty”. So BigCommerce takes care of hosting PCI compliance, security updates, all of that jazz, but our platform is actually still over 95% open for you to be able to customize the site the way that you want to. And so with that, we are an ecommerce platform and an ecommerce platform only. We partner with best of breed tech partners and solutions to be able to allow you to use what works best for your company.

We built in my mind an amazing platform that already has a lot of built-in, out-of-the-box functionality for search and other things of that nature, but we also have a ton of apps in our marketplace that allow you to amplify what BigCommerce already does for you.

Mike: Can you give me a couple of examples of what those apps might be?

Jessica: For example, Algolia or KlayBoo, those are great search and merch apps that we partner with and that are on our tech partnership side. We’ve done events with them. And if it’s in our app marketplace, it’s actually vetted. So we want to make sure that it’s in our app marketplace and we’re allowing our merchants to use it. It’s a good app and actually works well with our platform.

Mike: That’s a really good point because I’ve worked with other brands, not in a partnership, just like as a customer. Right? And they might have a big marketplace of apps that pretty much anybody who wants to can join their marketplace. They’re not vetted, which means there’s no quality control in terms of how they actually interact with this. 

And in this case, we’re talking about a platform in BigCommerce where you’ve got sensitive private customer data flowing, and it’s really important that you don’t allow just any old app to come in and have access to that information.

Keeping sensitive information private

Jessica: We take security very seriously at BigCommerce. So for some of those premiere-preferred app partnerships that we have, there is a channel account manager on that side to help make sure that the app is moving smoothly as well for our merchants.

Mike: Earlier you mentioned Feedonomics, and I don’t want to be a plug for them because I know that’s a different company, but at the same time, they do some really cool things. So I think our agency audience would understand and appreciate not only what they do, but how that connects with and and supports each other with BigCommerce.

Jessica: So the commerce actually acquired phenenomic at the end of twenty twenty one, I believe. (I feel like my perception of time is all over the place now after COVID.)

Feedonomics is one of the leading managed feed management systems. So what Feedonomics does and like I said, I work for BigCommerce. I work with Feedonomics but I’m not a spokesperson, so I’m going to make it super simple.

So what Feedonomics does is it takes your product information from wherever it is housed, whether it’s an ERP, an IMS, an ecommerce platform, and it does not have to be a BigCommerce ecommerce platform. It can be Shopify or Magento or wherever your products are housed, and they clean it up, they optimize them, and they send them out to the ad channel in marketplaces that you want your products to be in. So obviously, if you’re selling, if you’re selling glasses, you might not want them in a sports and outdoors store, right? You get to choose where you want your products to go to where your clients are already shopping. So for me, I love anything pink, so I’m probably going to click on it. So if you’re selling pink pants, put it on Instagram because I will see that. Feedonomics can actually help you do that. Feedonomics doesn’t create the content, but what it does is it optimizes the content. So that way your products are showing up first or second when people are searching for it. Does that make sense?

What Feedonomics does to sell through the marketplace is so important because I feel like no one’s really searching the Internet anymore for what they’re shopping for. They’re searching through Pinterest through Instagram, through Facebook. I know I am. My generation is. And so the ads from the algorithm on my Instagram is just so dialed in that it is showing me such amazing products that I’m now getting introduced to new storefronts that I’ve never heard of before, but because they’re selling through ad channels or they are using Instagram as an ad channel or marketplace, I am now being introduced to them. So another way to attract more people to your site or to your brand is through those marketplaces and ad channels.

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Mike: We’re talking about BigCommerce and we’re talking about integrating it with Feedonomics, so that we’ve got really informed data. Coming in and allows us to better leverage those kinds of channels like Instagram because you’re a hundred percent right, Jessica. People are making purchases on these platforms. An Instagram shopping, a TikTok shop. They weren’t there with intent, and yet the dollars are there. The sales are happening. So great point.

Jessica: Absolutely. And I want to emphasize that you do not have to be on BigCommerce to utilize speed economics. That is a huge thing. We all want everyone to be able to no matter what platform they’re on or ERP they’re using, we want y’all to be able to sell through marketplaces because it’s imperative now. To be successful and to be able to grow your business, you need to be selling through marketplaces and ad channels to be able to get those new customers to your brand.

All types of marketplaces

I’d like you to share a little bit more about how BigCommerce helps support those. We’ve got them on Instagram shops, TikTok shops, that sort of thing. 

How does BigCommerce help us support those?

Jessica: BigCommerce does a really great job of being open. We do have native apps that can connect you to different marketplaces. We are also built on a rest API, so you’re able to connect those marketplaces through APIs if you’re savvy enough to do that as well.

We utilize Feedonomics a lot for this. They do a really great job of doing a feed audit of your merchants feeds and actually grades them on how great they’re doing out there gives you this information. We can also consult with you on which products would do absolutely incredible on Instagram or if someone’s doing Amazon, Walmart, and Target, but what about eBay, Instagram, and TikTok? Selling economics is gonna be a great product for you, but how can we really use the most from this platform to help you make more money? So BigCommerce is very open.

But with Feedonomics, you’re able to do more of a solution side of it and figure out the right places for your products to be, and they can actually push it for you.

Mike: Let me just make sure we underline this and make sure I understand it correctly: As an ecommerce shop, you’ve got all your products on BigCommerce, and we can push them out to a TikTok shop and that sort of thing. But you’re talking about general marketplaces like Target, Amazon, eBay. You’re saying that this one site’s gonna power all these marketplaces at the same time?

Jessica: Exactly. So with Feedonomics, each marketplace has different requirements for your products to be seen. So Feedonomics knows all of those rules. As an agency, you don’t have to worry about the rules in breaking them and making sure that it’s fully optimized. Feedonomics understands it’s gonna be different for Amazon, for Google Shopping, for Instagram. They understand that. You pick the marketplaces, or ad channels and or ad channels that you want your products to be in, you send your product data to Feedonomics They optimize it for each marketplace and each ad channel. So you don’t have to worry about it.

Mike: That’s fantastic because the folks listening, mostly social media managers and community managers are going to be tasked with promoting these products. If they’re on Facebook, they’re going to want to be able to tag the product that is in the Facebook shop. If not Instagram, they’re gonna be able to tag the product that’s in the Instagram Shop. 

Jessica: I think it’s incredible because as an agency, I work with a lot of agencies, and some of my agency partners are like, why is Feedonomics taking my job? Aren’t we the ones that are supposed to be pushing it? 

That’s not the case. Feedonomics takes the content that you create for the agency or the merchant or if you are doing it all on your own. You’re still creating the story and the content that you are wanting your clients and customers to see. What Feedonomics does is make sure it is fully optimized for each channel so your customers can see the beautiful story that you’ve created.

Mike: That’s such a great point because that’s exactly what we would want. If we want to create a campaign on TikTok, we need to be focused on what’s the story, what’s the point, who are we talking to, what are the creatives, etc. and not have to worry about making sure that the products are there, and all lined up in the top shelf so that they can tag them. They don’t have to worry about that. That’s being handled for them. You can focus on creating a great vertical video that is gonna speak to your target audience, and then you tag your products accordingly when you need to.

In conclusion

The real goal of this podcast is to help you. Whether you’re coming out of college or in a specific industry that you don’t want to be part of, or you want to learn more about the tech industry, The MarTech Show breaks down those barriers and gives you the tools to understand what’s out there and how to get into the tech industry.

How to Power Up Your Ecommerce and Retail Marketing [Podcast & Recap]