Whether you’re experimenting with online sales or have already run businesses in the past, when you are first creating an ecommerce website you’ll want to keep a few tips in mind. These can help you use today’s technology to find and retain a steady client base.
1. Use Simple Web Design
With such a high degree of competition out there, even for the most obscure products, you’re going to have to put some time and effort into your website to make it stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to have any web design experience to do this if you use an ecommerce software program with templates. These can usually be customized in terms of logo, font, and colour themes. Aside from this assistance, you’ll want to use your imagination and think of a catchy name for your business as well as an easy-to-navigate site.
2. Organize your Product Catalogue Using Categories
A big part of making your online store easily navigable for customers lies in how you organize your products. It’s easier for customers when you arrange your products into logical categories or collections, so that they can find what they’re looking for more easily. Adding a “sale” category can help customers feel that they’ve stumbled onto a bargain, so think about running promotions and sale items as a separate collection altogether. Be sure to include high quality pictures of the products along with descriptions.
3. Make Payment Easy for Customers
Once your customers have located the items that they wish to purchase, some ecommerce business owners feel that they have already sealed the deal. In actuality, this is where it can all go wrong if you make it hard for a customer to pay you. You’ll want a smooth and easy checkout system that offers multiple methods of payment. One example of this would be a Shopify ecommerce website, which provides a shopping cart and integrated payment system. You’ll want to look for a platform of this nature to help encourage the final sale. If you’re selling products internationally, it’s also helpful to include a currency converter. Be sure to provide a telephone number or email address for customer support for added security.
4. Create a Blog
There are numerous ways to market your online store, including using social media and email newsletters, among others. Yet one of the most effective ways to get in touch with a wide net of potential customers is through creating your own blog. This is also a good way to showcase your brand and personality, thus creating a valuable first impression.
5. Use Analytics to Track Customers
Although many online business owners use analytics tools to track what visitors end up purchasing on their website, you can make use of these tracking tools for a host of other purposes. For example, with analytics you can find out how your customers found you, which URL’s are referring customers to your online store, and what search terms they’re using. With this information, you can more tightly hone your marketing efforts to reach a wider audience.
This post is a guest post from Shopify.
In a recent infographic the guys from Online Education are trying to draw a picture for a world without the Internet. And they are doing well…
What has the Internet done to the people? OK, we have to do some multitasking but just think about how many jobs the Internet has created. Not only has Facebook created some 450,000 jobs. For every job it “kills”, 2.6 new jobs are coming up. So, why do we have concerns conserning the Internet…?
When you imagine a world without the Internet how would it look like? We listen to your voices over I…nternet…
What happened on the 21st of May 2005? Right, YouTube was “internet-born”. Those days 8 Mio. videos got watched on the platform. Obviously, the platform used this date to celebarte it’s birthday number 7 now. YouTube produced a video to showcase the positive development that led them in a position which seems to be unique today.
What we all wanted to know is what traffic and engagement is happening on YouTube. The following video offers some little but important insights on the YouTube activities, and the users working with and watching it. The most important video stats are as follows…
- With over 4 billion videos, YouTube marks a unique position in views per day
- Some amazing 72 hours of video uploaded every day
- The Kony video got around 30 million views in one day
Surprisingly enough, we hear nothing about the Leanback opportunities which were launched quite a while ago. Nor do we see some intelligent videos series that showcases the portfolio of any HiFi retailer or a cloths company as a storytelling media that promotes products in a modern way.
Well, there is plenty of opportunities to grow for YouTube. It becomes clear why YouTube is pitching big way these days to get more professional content like web series on the platform, so the people might use it for their “leanback” times.
One statement in the video is a good take away for companies: “The power of simplifying the process as a solution!” is a statement some more companies should focus on when professionalizing their business…
The latest research from GetResponse shows the influence of social sharing on email effectiveness. The study which compared social sharing preferences of email marketers, analyzed Social Media sharing via Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn in over 2 billion email sent by customers of the email marketing provider.
The GetResponse study also found that 51.9% only use one social share icon, while 40.6% use two of those, 7.4% three, and only 0.1% four icons. Those companies that offered at least three social sharing opportunities succeeded with a 55% higher click-through rate (CTR). The findings state that the number of marketers who include social sharing buttons in their emails increased to 18.3%. This is an increase of 40% from last year.
It seems that marketers understand the benefit of shirring for their marketing efforts: more reach, more traffic, more engagement, more sales. Email including social sharing buttons had a higher click-through-rate of up to 115%: Emails that included social sharing buttons had a 5.6% CTR which stands against 2.6% CTR for those that did not use social sharing buttons.
The infographic below shows the main results of the GetResponse’s study but also illustrates the importance of connecting all social efforts with traditional marketing to succeed.
In the digital tech space, we’re already seeing radical changes in television as it begins to converge more and more with the online world. Think about the massive transformation that TV has already gone through – starting with the humble video recorder to the range of connected satellite / cables boxes and gaming consoles – fundamental changes that TV is now more or less just a monitor. Not so very long ago, TV used to be considered the “lean back” medium and digital as “lean forward.” But, this no longer seems to apply as we increasingly use multiple connected devices to watch TV content and that large screen in the home is often hijacked by our game-playing teenagers. So, what’s going on? Is TV having an identity crisis or are we finally at a point of convergence or collision?
MediaMind recently held its annual Digital Experience Day (DED) 2011, a global summit series held in North America, Europe and Asia, that brought together leading industry leaders and experts to explore the consumer changes that are happening now. We explored the interactive and social experience that TV now provides. TV no longer offers a passive, social experience where one has to huddle around the same set and fight for the remote control. In fact, traditional ways of viewing television are now competing with the plethora of tablet devices on the market that keeps viewers entertained and occupied from just about anywhere they choose. But it’s not just about replacing the larger screen with smaller ones, we are increasingly bonded around quality content – from TV shows to interactive games – and utilizing Social Networks to fulfill those real-time experiences and discussions between multiple viewers scattered across numerous living spaces.
Recent research from Nielsen shows that the average US home with a cable subscription receives 130 channels and yet tunes in to only 18 channels. That means 86% of these channels are never watched, suggesting that channel surfing is dead; challenging costly cable subscription models. And yet, of the $500 billion in global advertising, TV advertising still takes the lion’s share. By 2015, it’s expected that 50% of Internet users will watch TV content through online connections.
But that’s not to say TV as we know it is dead; quite the opposite. TV has a quality and scale that digital has yet to achieve. We will always need linear video content, but we just won’t need to consume it in the same way that we used to. We are now in the beginning stages of the marriage between online and offline. And for this to work out successfully, TV planners need to understand how digital works and vice versa. We are already seeing agencies using an iGRP to buy reach across media channels to maximize cost-efficiencies. These agencies are hoping to have completely integrated media buying teams within 18 months.
It’s both a convergence and a collision. On one side, we have a chance to reset our thinking and talk about enhancing the branding mechanism by overlaying interactive experiences via a mobile device and measure TV content through real-time social discussions such as comments on Facebook and/or Twitter. Yet the danger is as we seek to measure TV in the way we do online, it runs the risk of squeezing TV advertising budgets to the likes of online DR forced to justify spend via call to action. There are interesting times ahead for the whole media community and it certainly was the hot topic of debate at DED as we debated through the challenges of moving towards app-driven Smart TVs.
This guest post was written by Dean Donaldson, Global Director of Media Innovation, MediaMind. Dean and I often meet at different international conferences and events to chat about the future of the web world. You can read my view on the DED2011 in the post The multiscreen world is evolving.
If marketers are looking to understand the profile of a social consumers, they need to have deep insights into their souls and needs. Beyond Digital has asked 3,000 US and UK consumers about the two products and services they had most recently researched online and which steps take them through the purchase process.
Apart from showing gender differences, sharing becomes the main element of strategy. The social consumer is a two-faced personality: First, they can either be categorized as a high or low sharer. A human being that utilizes differtent digital channels in a different manner, depending on whether he or she is researching and interacting with high or low involvement products. Those with a high sharer profile are the most valuable for brands. They recommend products 3x more often and influence others’ purchases…
more “Likes” and engagement on mobiles, another new study by Nielsen/McKinsey’s NM Incite shows what the real value of “Likes” is. Although many brand marketers are working on the ROI, most companies still try to find some more value in the social engagement of consumers.
The Nielsen/McKinsey’s NM Incite global online consumers’ research states that the main reason for following or liking a brand or company on social networks is to receive discounts and special offers.
“While some may argue that consumers’ interest in discounts has faded, Nielsen data shows the desire for deals is still strong worldwide,” concluded NM Incite.
The results correspond with the study by ExactTarget and CoTweet from last year. The former study made clear that 40% of brand fans like a page predominantly for their doscounts and promotions.
The new NM Incite finds even higher figures. Almost 60% of US social media users visit social networks to receive coupons or promotions. And even more, 23% do this on a weekly basis. 45% of North American consumers had the strongest interest in using social media for deals, followed by consumers in Asia-Pacific (34%) and Latin America (33%).
Social deals hunters “Like” at home and at workplace
For most people it does not matter whether they are at home or at their workplace when using the benefits of the Social Web. A sample of ten major markets shows that nearly 40% of active Web users check coupons and rewards sites such as Groupon, Coupons.com and Living Social from home and work computers in September. However, there are respondents -under the age of 20 and 55- to-59-year-olds- who were less likely to follow brands for discounts. Here friends’ recommendations are the drivers for social engagement.
“Social deal hunters” are obviously also visitors of social networks and blogs. NM Incite found a strong overlap. In their test phase in September, 43% of visitors to social networks and blogs also visited a coupons or rewards site. And, 44% of Facebook’s audience and 63% of Twitter’s audience visited these deal sites. The study concludes that Facebook becomes a key source of traffic to Groupon and Living Social. Groupon’s and Living Social’s visitors came directly from Facebook. This also shows the link between deals and social networking sites, and how companies can motivate consumers to deals.
How often did we hear this question in the last three years? Marketers, sales(wo)men and many C-Level’s in the B2B space have asked the question many times in seminars. I am quite happy to have found a study that actually gives some insight in a quite complex business topic.
According to a Demandbase National Marketing and Sales Study in cooperation with Focus, the company corporate website is the top source of new sales leads for consumers. The corporate website still is the primary hub to harness customer interest driven by outbound online marketing activities. However, it is only second to personal connections and referrals. Nevertheless, more than seven times more effective than social media which speaks a clear language, right…? Well, what if referrals lead to websites via Social Media?
Executives see the website as the top online source of sales leads (23%), followed by email (14%), online advertising (7%), and finally… social media (3%). What sounds as a clear message, is more a blur. The most important factor for measuring website effectiveness is the quality of leads generated (34% vs. quantity 9%). However, nearly one-half of executives surveyed do not know where users are most likely to leave their website.
Another interesting thing is that study participants stated that the website still vastly underperforms in terms of lead generation. Although companies think they understand their sales prospects (over 60% respond knowing or understanding their prospects well), driving sales leads is still a big challenge for them. 80% of the respondents said the corporate website is not performing to its maximum lead generation.
Did you ever ask yourself how a consumer found your website? Can a website alone be enough to generate quality sales leads? What is the key to generating more leads from the web? Is it the website only? Well, once your website is ready to attract customers, it needs to get traction.
Often in the last weeks, we came across one of the main effort to get there: content generation. What makes search engines to drive (potential) customers back to your website? Content. And often marketers say: “We have tons of content! Why is no one coming back?” The answers is easy: Content needs some systematic approach, and that can best be achieved with inbound marketing. And that’s were Social Media comes into the game. So, the website alone is not the answer to lead generation.
“Social media may be heralded as the silver bullet to bring B2B marketing up to snuff but, despite its increasing influence, it’s important to keep in mind that no business sale is made without the buyer going to the corporate website first. Regardless of its origin–social media or e-mail, banners or search–traffic driven from online marketing initiatives always intersects at the website. And, while businesses are investing heavily in their sites, the study shows that they are then ignoring the very audience they worked so hard to attract.” Chris Golec, CEO, Demandbase
The study shows that there is a lack of understanding how to optimize and generate new sales leads and demand generation. Analyzing websites and drawing the right conclusions from site performance and the clients’ brand journey experience is what needs to be elaborated on. Obviously, many marketers still have “better things to do” or not the time to verify the back-end. Marketers need to understand that their web strategy should be focusing on connecting website experience and the brand journey towards it. This in the future will be mainly driven through inbound activities that could find a catalyst in referals. Companies just need to elaborate on the interconnection between website and Social Media. That’s where the answer to lead generation is hidden…
Don’t you agree…?
Many companies ask themselves if social commerce ist he next big thing and what impact it might have on the buying process of consumers. Let me give you two examples to think about social commerce visions with two of the latest studies that I came across in the last two days.
An optimistic view…
The E-Tailing Group Inc., sponsored by PowerReviews, finds in a research that one in two respondents say they spend 75% of their overall shopping time researching for products (compared to 21% last year). Customer reviews have the biggest impact on the decision to buy: 90% respond reviews have an impact on their decision; 60% say they’re the most important factor.
The report The 2011 Social Shopping Study finds that 29% of shoppers are turning to social networks to research products. However, only 18% of retailers in The E-tailing Group’s annual mystery shopping survey in the fourth quarter of 2010 feature customer reviews on their Facebook pages.
“People are willing to take the time to do research,” she says. “They will do anything to find the right price. (…) Social is emerging as a significant way that some consumers research products (…) The real question will be whether social media is adopted by most younger consumers and become a standard way consumers research products.” Lauren Friedman, President, The E-tailing Group
Some essential findings for social commerce future consideration…
- 59% say they read customer reviews (if on social platforms or not is not quantified)
- 42% access question-and-answer features that allow a consumer to pose and respond a/to question(s) to/of other shoppers
- 26% converse in community forums
- 15% view user-generated videos or create their own video
- 13% access a retailer or manufacturer’s Facebook page
- 9% monitor, respond to, or post tweets on Twitter.
A pessimistic aspect…
A representative study conducted by Havas Media and Lightspeed Research of 1.007 UK social networkers finds that 89% of respondents not having bought anything on Facebook. Above that, 44% of people are not even interested in doing so.
However, if the provider or manufaturer offers some special discount and deals, 77% of respondents are more likely to buy via Facebook shops. And targeting then becomes key: 70% of the people said, they would buy things from Facebook tht were based on their interests and prevous shopping behaviour (so business intelligence and data mining are welcome with consumers it seems). Also Location-Based Advertising (LBA) gets some impact then: 55% would even „check-in“ to a venue or stire via Facebook Places or Foursquare promotions.
Exclusivity is a main factor for social commerce according to the study. One quarter (25%) responding they would purchase a product on Facebook if it wasn’t available anywhere else, 22% make trust in a brand they know dependable on their buyiong process, and 17% said, they would purchase if it was easier than shopping via ecommerce solutions. Even, 11% stating they would buy something that was only offered to ‘fans’ of a brand.
Brand advocates and brandvangelists are essential. The study shows the power of online recommendations and the influence of friends is essential for socail shopping. If friends recommend a brand, 53% of consumers were more likely to look up information about a brand. 17% were likely to buy from a brand if it was recommended by someone they knew.
And crowd shopping for discounts seems to become a trend. More than half of respondents were interested in getting together with friends to buy products in services in groups. 60% of males finding this opportunity compelling, compared with 48% of women. And women are generally speaking more “neutral” and “negative” when they see a brand on a social networking site (83%), according to the “Women & Brands Online: ‘The Digital Disconnect’ Emerges” study, from ad:tech Chicago and Q Interactive’s “Women Channel”. Those same female Internet users responded they were more likely to be affected by coupons and discounts (41.6%).
Social Commerce is evolving to play a bigger role in the purchase decision process. And like in earlier offline ages, it is the social graph (friends and influencers) that make the important difference in my eyes. You buy from those people you trust (if they are the middlemen and know about it, or not). The studies show a clear trend: People, especially men while women being more difficult to affect with social branding activities, buy when they are addressed with the ads of the poeple they know and trust in. Brandvangelists are an essential factor that companies and brands need to consider embracing in their customer acquisition tactics when thinking about the future of their web strategy.
When you are working in the UK, you want to get more information about the people who are your colleagues, especially from a social point of view. And I found an interesting study on how the inhabitants of a very much digital country is changing their habits. A recent study by eXpansys of 3,000 people in the UK states that Britain prefers Facebook over TV. Britains spend an average of two and a half hours going on Facebook every day. And TV only gets two hours of their attention…