Brand partnerships are all the rage these days in the D2C world. While older retail brands have been teaming up for decades, it’s a relatively new phenomenon in the D2C industry. With customer acquisition becoming more challenging for Shopify stores, brands are teaming up to grow awareness by promoting each other’s brands.
While brand partnerships are a fantastic channel to leverage for growth, and you should use them, it’s also possible to mess up brand partnerships. In our work with over 30,000+ Shopify brands, we’ve seen what it takes to make a brand partnership successful.
Why are Shopify stores using brand partnerships?
Growing a Shopify store is hard - especially in 2022, due to increased competition, the return of in-person shopping, and privacy updates that make personalization harder to implement.
When two or more brands work together, it shows customers that the brand can be trusted. If the customer trusts the brand you work with, they’re likely to give your brand a chance.
When your brand forms a partnership that works well, it adds value to the products that each Shopify store already offers. Now that two or more companies are involved, and each brings something different to the table, consumers find that the product or service has more value.
When two well-known brands work together, there's usually a lot of talk about it. People are very interested in the product. Think about the Sriracha craze from a few years ago.
Did you ever think well-known brands would partner to create toothpaste based on a spicy condiment? It was weird, but the amount of buzz it created is something brands would have to pay millions of dollars in advertising money to get.
Drive new customer acquisition without relying on ads
We’re not saying you should stop advertising. But relying on ads as the primary channel to grow your business is no longer the guaranteed growth strategy it used to be. Privacy changes have made it more difficult to create personalized ads based on the customer journey, so brands need a more cost-effective way to drive awareness.
Improved brand awareness
At its core, brand partnerships focus on putting more eyeballs in front of your product. Your brand partner will promote your products through email, SMS, social media, and other channels to make customers more aware of your brand.
Better customer retention
You want to keep as many customers as you can. Sometimes, customers get bored with your product catalog. For example, if you’re running a clothing business, customers are more likely to stay as you introduce new products.
But for brands that sell a static product that rarely changes, some of your customers will shop from other brands due to “boredom.” So what do you do? You can spend lots of time and money developing new products or adding to your product catalog by leveraging brand partnerships.
If customers know your brand is constantly adding new products, they’re more likely to come back to see what’s new, and it’s a cost-effective way to increase retention. Personalization becomes easier as your product catalog expands because you can recommend the right products to each customer.
This has the bonus effect of increasing AOV as customers suddenly become interested in multiple products and are more likely to keep adding relevant products to their cart.
Think of it as creating a curated Amazon-like shopping experience for your customers. Except this time, they stay on your site and are much more likely to convert into a sale.
How to find the right brands to partner with
Finding brands to partner with might seem easy, but it can be complicated. Here’s what you should keep in mind when researching potential partner brands.
Look for brands selling complementary products
With brand partnerships, your goal is to find partners that sell products that are complementary to yours. For example, if you sell workout clothing, you should work with brands that sell products related to the health & wellness industry. So companies selling supplements, gym equipment, etc., perfectly match your brand.
Look for brands targeting the same audience
Similar to partnering with brands selling complementary products, you should partner with brands that target the same audience as you. If you sell shoes geared towards Gen Z, you probably shouldn’t partner with a brand that focuses on selling shoes for senior citizens.
It sounds obvious, but some brands are focused on getting as many brand partners as possible that don’t target the right audience.
Quality over quantity
While it might be tempting to partner with as many stores as possible to maximize the number of customers that are made aware of your brand, a few brand partnerships are better than dozens of low-quality partnerships.
You want to work with brands that focus on promoting your brand to their audience. While it might be great that you end up on a $100 million store’s directory, is it worth it if your products are hidden away where almost no one can find them?
Think of the delivery experience when ordering products through Amazon. You’re getting products delivered that are covered in Amazon’s branding.
Do you ever buy products directly from the brands on the Amazon Marketplace? No, you’re most likely going to Amazon again to make purchases. A high-quality brand partner will focus on promoting your brand as equally as theirs, so customers are more likely to visit your site and shop from you directly.
How Carro makes brand partnerships easy
If you’re looking to get the best out of brand partnerships for your Shopify store, Carro has you covered. Here’s how Carro makes it easy for you to leverage brand partnerships.
Automated brand partnerships
With Carro, we have a directory of the biggest brands for you to partner with. But if you can’t decide which brands are the best fit, we have a tailored recommendation service where we introduce you to brands so you can begin working together.
"Take my word for it, if you install Carro, you are going to see what I’ve seen. Which is a dramatic increase to average order value, especially on orders that contain Carro products, which for us is over 80% increase to AOV."
Ryan Pamplin, Founder & CEO of Blendjet
Virtual inventory makes fulfillment easy
Brand partnerships are not like wholesaling. With Carro, you don’t have to buy products from your partners. Instead, orders are automatically sent to your partner brands so they can handle fulfillment themselves.
“Before we joined Carro, we had put our company on the market. We thought we needed capital to expand our traditional wholesaling. Now, we’re able to meet our goals without having any cash come out of pocket. We’re tripling and quadrupling the numbers of units that we move because we have access to so much more inventory.”
Amy Richardson-Golia, June & January
Build an Amazon-like experience on your site
Perhaps the most exciting reason to leverage Carro is that it’s the best way to grow your Shopify store in the long run. By working collaboratively with other brands, your brand will set itself up for success. Your Shopify store will become THE destination for your niche.
One of the best reasons to shop on Amazon is convenience. Being able to buy everything you need in one place is a powerful motivator. Wouldn’t you love it if your Shopify store was the go-to place for your customers’ needs?
"In addition to a nice contribution to the bottom line, it was also one of the most highly-engaged social posts for the year."
David Krimper, Director of Ecommerce, Manduka
To sum it up, brand partnerships for Shopify stores are one of the most important growth channels you can leverage in 2022 and beyond. With ecommerce becoming much tougher due to increased competition and privacy changes, brand partnerships are a fantastic way to grow without breaking the bank on advertising.
To learn more about how Carro can help your Shopify store grow, check us out on the Shopify App Store.