Always strive to be better....
This great video from 'JD' at Marketing 360 runs through 12 tips for better eCommerce success and I highly recommend you watch it - there's some very good advice here!
Tip #1 - Use a Good eCommerce Platform
While there are some great platforms out there, if you stick with one of the big boys you're going to find life much easier.
Not only is there a bigger community to help you out, there will be a wider choice of apps and integrations to improve the functionality of your store.
Tip #2 - Optimise Your Product Pages
JD points out the value of optimising your product titles and descriptions for SEO, but don't forget this will also help your Google Shopping campaigns. Google looks at titles/descriptions to decide what searches to show your product ads on.
Tip #3 - Use Schema Markup
The tool mentioned is here: Structured Data Testing Tool
Again, good markup will help your AdWords ads, as Google will pull review data through into your ads. Google Merchant Center also looks at product markup to check for price updates etc so well worth making sure you have it all set up properly.
Tip #4 - Optimising Your Product Feed
This goes hand in hand with Tip #2, but sometimes you can't get all the keywords you want into your product titles without making them look a bit naff!
Consider using a Feed Management Platform like Data Feed Watch or Go Datafeed to help the optimisation process
Tip #5 - Google Shopping Optimisations
A great tip - too many retailers set up shopping campaigns and let them run. JD mentions pausing poor performers and giving more budget to good performers - but don't forget you need to adjust bids according to the ROI you're getting too. Sometimes a product just needs a lower bid to be profitable, not to be paused completely.
Tip #6 - Dynamic Retargeting
If you're not doing this you're missing a big trick. Take it to the next level by segmenting your remarketing lists eg cart abondoners, product viewers and shop browsers. Each is likely to behave differently and so needs different bids and optimisations.
Tip #7 - Facebook & Instagram Ads
It may be your target market isn't on Instagram (if you sell hoover spares for example!) but it might be worth testing before dismissing completely. Make sure you have a strategy before you start, though, and avoid random post boosting in the hope it'll get results!
Tip #8 - Organic Social Media
There have been big changes in Facebook's algorithm since this video was made so it's arguable as to whether this is going to have a big impact these days. FB really is the 'pay to play' platform for businesses more so than it was before.
Tip #9 - Automated Email Marketing
I would hope most eCommerce business would have an abandoned cart email series at the very least. The importance of post purchase emails sequences can't be over-stressed though - make sure you have a plan and are keeping in touch with those customers!
Tip #10 - SMS Marketing
As a consumer I don't like SMS marketing. Text messages are personal, and I get annoyed by businesses texting me all the time. Consider Facebook Message marketing instead - this is huge at the moment and can work extremely well for both getting new customers and nurturing existing ones.
If you want to learn more about it check out this free training from ManyChat: http://course.manychat.com/
Tip #11 - Use a CRM
This may be over the top for small retailers, but the concept is certainly worth thinking about. Are there ways you can record info about customers such as birthdays & anniversaries to send them special offers to celebrate?
Tip #12 - Customer Care Package
I love this. You could also use this to partner with other retailers who target the same people - you send their leaflets in your package and they send yours in theirs. Win win!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on these 12 Killer Tips - do you have any of your own that aren't mentioned here? Drop them in the comments below.
Watch the video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HgGiCK33ow
Customers are a lot more impatient these days, and they expect to be able to communicate with you instantaneously and get the answers they’re looking for.
Live chat lets you do just this. But don’t worry if you don’t have the resources to cover live chat 24/7, even if you are only ‘live’ for certain hours of the day it’s well worth adding the option. Live chat platforms also let users leave you a message when you’re offline and you can follow up with them as soon as you’re available.
What are the options?
The two top options and most established are Olark and Intercom.io. There are lots of other options available, though, so make sure you do some research and find the best one for you. Here are some others you might like to consider: BoldChat, LiveChat, Website Alive, Live Person, Velaro & Hip Cha.
Video is so important these days for any eCommerce site. Users respond much better to video than to written text, and videos help you to get your message across in a much more personal and engaging way.
Of course, you’ll need to decide how to host the videos that you have on your site, and the main options are YouTube, Vimeo and Wistia.
Unlike YouTube and Vimeo, Wistia is a paid platform. What this gives you is clean interface, easy-to-use statistics and a large range of plugins for third party apps to allow you to track what’s happening when people engage with your videos. This means you can tailor your marketing to users according to how much of your video they consumed.
As you know, there’s a lot involved in running an efficient eCommerce store. Here are some other pieces of technology you might like to consider to make things run more smoothly.
Survey software – get valuable feedback from potential and existing customers to help improve both products and service.
Marketing & automation apps – there are lots of options when it comes to apps for marketing your store, as well as making things in the background run more smoothly. Here are some you might like to consider:
Project Management – keep track of tasks that need doing and make sure everyone knows who’s responsible for what, and by when
Accounting – sometimes the biggest headache for business owners! Make sure you have the necessary apps in place to keep your transactions integrated with your account platform.
Navigating your way around all the technology that’s available for your store can feel like a minefield. The important thing is to start with the customer in mind and think about what you can do to make their interaction with you easier. It’s important to remember that this can be looking at your efficiency in the background as well as what they directly see on your site.
To read the first two parts of this blog series click below.
So you have a great product and you want to start selling online? What are your options?
There are a few ways of doing it:
If you decide on this option you’ll need to set up a web hosting account and then install whichever eccommerce package you choose. This is only going to be an option if you’re comfortable with setting up and managing a web hosting account and have the confidence to deal with problems if they occur. It’s NOT an option for the novice as you are responsible for keeping the software up to date and ‘glitch’ free.
There are lots of open source shopping carts available – open source is free to use and is developed by the combined efforts of programmers and users that form a community around the project. They also have active support forums where you can go for help and advice for installing, settin up and managing your online store.
Thirdy party outlets are sites like Amazon, eBay and Etsy. You generally pay a monthly fee to list items and then pay a comission when a product sells.
The advantage of selling on sites like these is that you have instant access to their huge customer base and many of them have a faithful following. From a practical point of view there’s also the advantage that you don’t have to worry about things like payment processing and site security, which of course these days is of utmost importance.
The downside is that you are at the whim of such sites and it’s not unheard of for changes in their policies or site to affect your sales, making you rather vulnerable and lacking in control. Most of them are also very customer centric which of course is not a bad thing in itself but many customers can use this as a form of bribery, knowing that threatening a seller with a negative review can sometimes mean they take advantage and make unreasonable demands!
You also have to pay commisions which can be as high as 20% of the selling price so you have to make sure you take this into account with your pricing.
From the outside this looks just like the first option – you have your own website on your own web address but this is where the similarity ends. You don’t have to set up the hosting or install the shopping cart, that’s all done by the shopping cart themselves. All you have to do is create your account and you’re good to start setting up your shop.
There are plenty of shopping carts to choose from, each varying in functionality and price but my two favourites have to be Shopify and Bigcommerce. They’re both very easy to set up and have lost of great functionality like being able to have product options (sell a shirt in different colours and/or sizes in one product).
Both have some good looking free templates so when you’re starting out you don’t need to pay a designer a fortune to get your shop looking decent.
Not sure which to choose? Both offer a free trial so set one up and have a play!