Growing Your B2C Business: How Nested Bean Increased Online Sales by 700 Percent
Nested Bean owner Manasi Gangan invented her Zen Swaddle® so she, her husband and her nocturnal newborn could get a good night’s rest. The Swaddle replicates human touch with lightly weighted pads on the chest and the sides, mimicking the feeling of being in a mother’s arms.
The product was based on scientific research and worked well, with most moms seeing the impact in just one to three days. The challenge was distribution.
“Although we originally started Nested Bean online, we knew we had a product that required education. So, we thought we needed a middle man,” Gangan explained. “We focused on growing our retail presence, and training retail sales associates so they could educate our customers for us.”
In 2015, after three years, Gangan determined that her initial strategy wasn’t going to work.
“There were too many variables. We didn’t have enough control, and there was a high degree of separation between my customers and me,” she said. “And that customer connection is everything.”
So, she decided to start telling her own story.
New Site. New Tools. A New Growth Trajectory.
“One of the first things we did was rebuild our website to drive sales,” Gangan said. “We needed to strategically walk our customers through the site, creating awareness to build trust.”
She also added tools that tracked user navigation, as well as a mechanism to track and reconnect with those who abandoned the experience before making a purchase.
“It’s important to walk in the shoes of your online customer, and tracking their journey helps you do just that,” Gangan said. “What don’t they know or understand? What do they want to see? If you just put up a product page, you won’t run a successful e-commerce business.”
She discovered that, for a product like hers, testimonials played a big part in conversion.
“Through our tracking tools, we’ve learned that our customers spend an extraordinary amount of time reading reviews and research,” Gangan said. “Once we became aware of that pattern, we were able to offer an incentive to sweeten the deal at that critical point in the customer journey, and create a conversion funnel.”
When choosing an e-commerce platform, Gangan recommends selecting the platform that integrates with the most applications, as well as supports data collection.
“Just changing our website’s approach alone quadrupled our online sales,” Gangan said. “Then, we put our efforts into driving traffic to the site so our sales would continue to grow.”
Paid Advertising Paid Off for this Entrepreneur
Gangan started a strategic online advertising campaign and, not long after, started realizing tangible results.
“It took two or three months to get the penetration we needed, but then we started seeing real traction,” she said. “By focusing on this channel, we increased our online sales by 700 percent. Online is 80 percent of our volume now, whereas it was 20 to 25 percent in the past.”
Initially, Gangan built her marketing strategy with a conversion focus, meaning she wanted to see every dollar of spend convert to sales.
“Now, we allocate part of our advertising budget to pure brand building,” she said. “While we are still emphasizing our online channel, we’re also placing our Nested Bean swaddles in a large national baby product retailer. We want people to know who we are and how our product works before they walk in the door.”
By re-engineering her website for selling and education, and using online marketing to create meaningful customer data, Gangan was able to turn that data into customer insights to help her drive sales. As a result, she’s looking forward to a record year.
“No matter what you sell or what kind of product you have created, it’s critical to connect with your customers; to tell your own story,” she said. “Even if you can’t afford online marketing right now, create a community on social media. Put yourself and your story out there. It makes a difference.”
Manasi Gangan’s Tips for E-Commerce Success
According to Nested Bean Owner Manasi Gangan, entrepreneurs often don’t realize that putting up a website is not the same thing as creating an effective, e-commerce-focused website that drives sales. Here are her tips for creating an effective e-commerce site that motivates people to buy:
- Choose an e-commerce platform that supports data collection and integrates with as many applications for tracking visitor behavior, who bought and who didn’t, and user navigation as possible.
- Use the collected data to better understand your prospective customers and the kind of data they want to see. Adjust your site accordingly.
- Make sure you “walk your customers through your site,” just like you would if the transaction was face to face.
- Walk in the shoes of your customers: identify what they want to see, not what you think they should see.
- Adding video means adding value, as it allows you to really “talk” to your customers, particularly if you have a product that requires a demonstration or explanation.
- Paid advertising will draw traffic to your website, but know that it takes two to three months to start seeing traction, so be patient.
- To get the most out of your online marketing, consider using an agency who is an expert in the space, if you can’t take the time to be an expert yourself.
- If you can’t afford an online agency, or online marketing, create a community on social networks.
- Encourage testimonials, reviews and case studies and display these prominently on your website.
Nested Bean was a winner in the 2015 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest. To see how other winners have succeeded and find out more about the contest, go to smallbusiness.fedex.com/success.