Tools To Enhance Your eCommerce Store, Part 3 – Live Chat, Video & Others

Live Chat

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 Hosting

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.

You can use videos on your product pages, FAQ & Help pages and even privacy policy and shipping pages.

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.

Other technology to consider

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:

  • Referral software – make it easy to reward users for referring a friend
  • Exit intent – if someone’s about to leave your site why not offer them an incentive to hang around and complete their purchase?
  • Social promotions – encourage people to share your products and content to spread the word about your store
  • Heat map & session tracking – watch how people interact with your site. This can give valuable insights to help improve the user experience and get more people to buy from you.

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.

Summary

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.

Tools To Enhance Your eCommerce Store, Part 1 – Email Platforms

Tools To Enhance Your eCommerce Store, Part 2 – Help Desks

Tools To Enhance Your eCommerce Store, Part 2 – Help Desks

Tools To Enhance Your eCommerce Store, Part 2 – Help Desks

Another critically important part of managing your eCommerce store is being able to manage communications from your customers and potential customers.

Just getting them to send an email to your inbox isn’t going to cut it – it’s not professional, and it doesn’t allow you to track those communications or integrate it with your CRM. Think of this as your ‘customer service central’.

Let’s look at the aspects we want in a help desk software.

Email Ticketing

Each and every communication gets its own unique ticket and all replies and follow-ups are tracked within that ticket.  There’s a full thread showing every interaction you’ve had with the customer, vital where you have multiple people dealing with enquiries.

Templated Replies

Most questions keep cropping up again and again, and writing out the same response over and over is time consuming and tedious.  Having a help desk platform that lets you build a library of ‘FAQ’ replies is a must.  All you do is pull the appropriate template into the conversation, edit as necessary and send.

Notifications

You’ll want the ability to be able to get an email when certain things happen inside your help desk eg when a customer submits a new ticket, or responds to an existing one.  This helps keep your replies timely and your customers happy.

Tagging & Sorting

The ability to tag your help desk tickets has big benefits.  For example, you might tag refund requests or emails about a particular product.  The beauty of this is that later you can sort emails by a particular tag so you can collate important information about them.  This can be used to improve your products, service, or even your website, for example, if people are always asking for help with a certain task.

Internal Notes

This lets you make additional comments on the ticket that your customer cannot see.  Particularly useful if tickets are passing from one agent to another so each knows what the other has done.

Integrated Phone Support

Allows you to integrate a phone number so that when someone calls your support number a ticket it automatically created for the event.  Keeping all your communications in one place make it much easier to keep track of conversations.

Analytics & Reporting

Lets you track things like how often people contact you and how quickly you respond so you can measure the effectiveness of your customer service.

Satisfaction Surveys

Don’t only rely on the data from your reports to check how well you’re doing, ask your customers!  There’s no better way to improve what you do than to ask your customers what you can do better.

Event Automation

Set up actions for certain events. eg if automated emails come in regularly from payment processors you don’t what those to be bunched in with customer communications.  Event automations let you sort this kind of email and remove it from your inbox.

Social Integration & Apps

When someone sends you a Facebook message, tweets you a direct message or live chats you (to name a few) all of these can be handled directly inside your help desk.  Third party apps can also help streamline by integrating with other platforms or tools.  In this way, ALL your inbound communications can be dealt with in one place, making everyone’s lives easier.

Phone Tech Support

As always, access to a real human on the phone is essential should things go wrong and you need a quick reply.

The Options

There are plenty of choices when it comes to help desk software but here are a few to start you off:

  • Zendesk
  • Help Scout
  • Fresh Desk
  • Desk.com
  • Kayak
  • iSupport
  • Click Desk
  • Live Help Now

Our Recommendation

First Choice – Zendesk (https://www.zendesk.co.uk/)

Zendesk have been around a long time and have an excellent array of features that’s hard to beat. They really are great at what they do!  Starting at £5 per month.

Second Choice – Help Scout (https://www.helpscout.net/)

An excellent platform, easy to use, lacking some of the integrations in Zendesk but if you don’t need those it’s a worthy opponent.  Starting at $8 per month.

Read Part 1 on Email Platforms here

Read Part 2 on Live Chat, Video & Others here

Tools To Enhance Your eCommerce Store, Part 1 – Your Email Platform

Tools To Enhance Your eCommerce Store, Part 1 – Your Email Platform

Email forms a big part of running and managing an eCommerce business.  Effectively communicating with both existing and potential customers can make a big difference to the success of your online store. So what should eCommerce businesses be looking for in an email service provider?

Contact tagging

Tag people based on what they’ve done, where they came from, what they bought etc.  This allows you to customise your communications to them so you’re not treating everyone in exactly the same way.

Smart Automation

What smart automation allows you to do is to build campaigns based on certain events.  eg if a certain tag is added to a customer then you want them to be added to a specific email sequence.  If a customer performs some action (eg clicks on a link in an email) they can be added to a different sequence, and so on.

A/B Testing

When sending emails it’s very important to be able to test headlines to see which ones perform the best.  You might want to test different complete emails within the same sequence.  Constantly working to improve how well your emails do in getting your customers to respond is key to improving your conversion rates.

Template Editor

This allows you to design and build emails so they fit in with your brand and provide a consistent experience for your users.

Phone Support

While most platforms offer comprehensive FAQs or knowledgebases as well as an email ticketing support system, it’s also nice to be able to pick up the phone and talk to someone right away.

eCommerce Data Integration

This is a key element of your email tool.  Having effective data integration means you can pass information into your email platform such as what they bought, when they bought it, how much they spent, how often they buy from you etc.  Knowing this lets you communicate with them based on what kind of customer they are – are they a super-fan?  a one-off buyer?  do they usually place large orders?  what have they bought?

Help Desk Integration

We want to be able to see when a customer opens a ticket and how they’re interfacing with customer support.  Integrating your help desk with your email service provider lets you see all of this information inside your customer’s contact information.

Smart Send Options

What this does is allow you to specify when an email is sent.  More specifically, you can tell the system that the email should go at 9am in the customer’s time zone, or on a certain day of the week the follows an event like signing up or placing an order.  Being able to customise your email delivery for your customers’ locale is very valuable.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Whichever email service provider you choose, it needs to become the central contact record for each individual prospect or customer.  Everything they’ve ever done in relationship to your business should be there.  At any time, you should be able to open a contact record and see:

  • where they came from
  • who they are
  • what they’ve done
  • what they’ve bought
  • what questions they’ve asked
  • when they’ve called you
  • and more…

so that you can personalise your communications with them in a way that builds a better relationship.

The Options

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are some of the more popular and well-known platforms you can choose from:

  • Klaviyo
  • Constant Contact
  • Mailchimp
  • Infustionsoft
  • Active Campaign
  • Get Response
  • iContact
  • Aweber

Our Recommendation

First choice – Klaviyo (https://www.klaviyo.com/)

Built for eCommerce businesses with excellent integration with all the major eCommerce platforms.  There’s even a free plan for up to 250 contacts so a great option if you’re just starting out.

Second Choice – ActiveCampaign (https://www.activecampaign.com/)

Very powerful platform for any business, but with fewer integrations for eCommerce.  Starting at $15 per month for 500 contacts.

 

Part 2 talks about Help Desks here

Part 3 talks about Live Chat, Video & More here

Expanded Text Ads – What You Need To Know

The new text ad format has been around for a while now, but it’s surprising how many advertisers aren’t using them yet.

If you’re not familiar with them here’s a quick overview of how they compare:

Standard Text AdsExpanded Text Ads
Headline (25 characters)

Display URL (35 characters)

Description Line 1 (35 characters)

Description Line 2 (35 characters)

Final URL

 

Headline 1 (30 characters)

Headline 2 (30 characters)

Path 1 (15 characters)

Path 2 (15 characters)

Description (80 characters)

Final URL

Total characters available: 130Total characters available: 170

This great image from the Wordsream blog illustrates the differences between the standard and expanded text ads in the search results:

As you can see you get a noticeably bigger ad than before!

3 Great Reasons To Use Expanded Text Ads

#1  Get Ahead Of Your Competition

If they’re not using them you can get a step ahead and show bigger, better ads that are more likely to get clicked.  If they ARE using them then they’re taking up more ad real estate than you and those searchers are more likely to click on their ads instead of yours!

#2  Increased CTRs

Although not the case across the board, most advertisers are seeing higher click through rates with the expanded texts ads.  This will be even more noticeable if you’ve beaten your competitors to implementing them and your ETAs are up against standard text ads in the search results.

#3  Say More!

You have 40 more characters to get your message across with extended text ads – that’s 30{e06b1562e17c07ecc659e3cdbf138b61b3f5cbe825ef813d84966cd0661b5b38} more ad text available to persuade and convince prospects to click on your ad.

Don’t Ignore ETAs

From 26th October 2016 you’ll no longer be able to create new standard text ads or edit existing ones.  Ads already running in your account will continue to do so, but any new ads will automatically be created as extended text ads.

Best Practices

Write one ETA that’s similar to your existing ad, to use as a control ad.

Put your most important messaging in the headlines

These are shown in larger font and highlighted in blue so make sure your most important ad copy goes here.

Remember that sometimes the headlines can be spit over two lines and you have no way of knowing where the line will break.  Google can even truncate your second headline so make sure not to have anything vital at the end of that line!

Don’t pause your old ads straight away

It’s not always the case that the extended ads have higher click through rates than the old ones, so keep your existing ones until you know the new ones are performing ok.  That way you can tweak and test until your happy with performance and then pause the old ones.

Write ads for all devices

You can’t create mobile preferred ads with expanded text ads so make sure your ads will work for desktop, mobile and tablets.

Put keywords in the path fields

You can add 2 15 char path fields to how in your display URL – this is a great way of reassuring searchers they’re going to a relevant site and that the ad relates to what they searched for.  It will also improve your quality score by making the ads more relevant and increasing CTRs.

Check your ad extensions

If you’ve added more information to your new ad make sure you’re not duplicating what’s already in your ad extensions.   Make sure you still have unique content in your extensions that will complement the text in your new ads.

Welcome To The All New Merchant Centre

OK, so it’s not ‘all new’, but rather it’s had a face lift and some new functionality.  This all happened last week.

If you’re running Google Shopping ads you’ll be familiar with Google Merchant Centre from when you got things set up and imported your first feeds.  Many retailers don’t need to visit Merchant Centre again once things are up and running, unless there’s a problem.  So the new look and feel won’t have been noticed by most people.

All New Navigation

(Image courtesy of Google.com)

The first thing you’ll notice is the new layout, navigation and colour scheme.  According to Google this is now “..aligned with the modern look and feel of the rest of Google’s products”.  Common tasks have now been grouped together in the navigation eg the new ‘products’ menu option contains data about product feeds and data quality.

Discover New Shopping Programs

One very cool feature is the ability to look at what new shopping programs are available to you and to enable them from within Merchant Centre.

If you click on the 3 vertical dots in the top right of the dashboard and select ‘Merchant Center programs’ you’ll see the screen below.

It’s important to note that the options shown here will vary depending on what programs you’re already using.

Feature Updates

Not only has the look and feel changed, they’ve made changes to the most frequently used features to make them quicker and easier to use.

There are improvements to feed rules, diagnostics and currency conversion – for a full explanation of the changes and updates read the Google blog here: http://adwords.googleblog.com/2016/08/introducing-new-google-merchant-center.html

All in all it seems like a change for the better with improved functionality, easier navigation and faster load times.  If you’re using Merchant Centre I’d love to know what you think of the changes.

Tablet Bid Adjustments Are Here!

People access your website in so many ways: on their desktop PC, smartphone or tablet.  Even with a mobile friendly website, however, you can get wildly differing results for your ads on these various devices.

For most people mobile and tablets don’t do as well, usually giving higher Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) figures.  Until now, the only way you could combat this was to use bid adjustments for mobile devices.  What this does in a nutshell is to lower your bids to anyone viewing your ad on a smartphone.  This usually results in lowering the CPA for mobile visitors.  Great!

But, what we usually find is that the worst performing device of all is tablets.  CPAs for tablets can often be double, triple or even more those of desktop CPAs!  This is probably down to a poor user experience on tablets even if your site is mobile friendly.  It’s not really a mobile and it’s not really a desktop…..

All that changed today however!  I’m very pleased to say that now you can also make bid adjustments for tablets and desktops.  My first job tomorrow will be to go and add them to a multitude of campaigns that I know perform dreadfully on tablets, and I suggest you do the same.

How do you check on the performance by device?

From the Campaigns tab click on ‘Segment’ and in the drop down box choose ‘Device’ (make sure you have the columns enabled to show your conversion data – Columns > Modify Columns).  You will then be shown the breakdown of performance by campaign and by device.  If you’ve never seen this before you might be in for a surprise!

When you spot a campaign that has either a very high or very low CPA on a particular device make a note – don’t forget you can add a bid adjustment up if a device is costing you less for conversions too.

To make the adjustments navigate to the campaign and click on the ‘Settings’ tab, then on the ‘Devices’ tab.  Each device will be listed along with the data for the campaign.  If you’ve never set bid adjustments before there’ll be a little dash under the ‘Bid adj’ column – simply click on that and enter your adjustment.  You can increase or decrease bids for each device: increase on devices that are giving low CPAs and decrease if they’re costing more than they should.

Don’t forget to check back regularly to keep track of how the campaign is performing and edit the bid adjustments as needed.

Not Sure If You Need To Adjust Bids?

If you’re not sure if you should adjust your bids for tablets (or any other device for that matter) then why not book a FREE account audit and I’ll not only tell you about this but any other issues you may have in your account, along with how to find areas for growth.

Book A FREE Account Audit Here!

How To Use Custom Labels In Google Shopping

If you’re running shopping campaigns and you’re not using custom labels you’re missing a big trick.

What Are Custom Labels?

When you upload your feed to Google you have the option of defining multiple ‘custom label’ attributes.  These are fields you can add to your feed to record any data you like relating to your products.  This is not required and many merchants just don’t bother with them.

Why Would You Use Custom Labels?

The main reason you’d use custom labels in your product feed is to give you additional ways to organise your products in your AdWords campaigns.  More importantly, you can organise products in any way you choose, depending on what you have in your custom label fields.

With a ‘normal’ product feed, you can organise products in your campaign by Brand, Category, Product Type etc – not very inventive and not always the most helpful way when it comes to bidding.

With custom labels you can define other attributes by which to sort your products.  For example, you could define ‘custom label 0’ as price ranges: <£50, £50-£199, £200-£499, £500-£1,000.  Now it stands to reason you’d want to bid more on a product that’s £650 than you would for one that’s selling at £16.50 right?  By categorising your products by price range you can group them in your campaign and adjust your bids accordingly.

Another similar option would be to divid products with different profit margins.  Assign a custom label accordingly and then your bidding can be adjusted depending on how much money you make for those products.

There’s no limit as to how you can use this.  Another very popular method is to add a custom label to sale items or products on special promotion.    You might even want to exclude such items from your campaigns if the margins are very low.

What Does It Look Like In AdWords?

You can see below that we’ve already got our products sub-divided by brand.  To break them down further you’ll click the ‘+’ symbol on the right as usual.

This opens the dialogue box shown below, which I’m sure you’re familiar with from when you sub-divided your products by brand or product type and such.  You can see here I’ve selected ‘Custom label 1’.  In this example the feed has been categorised using ‘price buckets’, from low  to high and various options in between.  You can now add these by selecting the right arrows and you’ll then be able to bid and optimise according to the price range of your products.

I’m sure you can see the potential for using custom labels: it gives you much more control and flexibility within your Shopping campaigns.

Here are some other examples of great ways to use custom labels:

  • Best Sellers
  • Sale Items
  • Margin
  • Brand
  • Seasonal
  • Gender
  • Special Shipping
  • Push Label
  • Colour, Size, Weight

The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination but think of how you can use these to make a real difference to your Google Shopping Campaigns and ultimately to your company’s bottom line.

What Are Structured Snippet Extensions And Why You Should Use Them

There are lots of things you can do to improve your ads and one of the most important ones is by using ad extensions.

There are currently 7 ad extensions available, but the one I see being used most infrequently is the structured snippet extension. Maybe it’s because it just sounds to techy? In reality, though, it’s very easy to set up and can help give your ad that edge over the competition.

What Is A Structured Snippet Extension?

A structured snippet extension allows you to highlight a particular aspect of your product or service, such as brands, styles and types. The full list of categories you can use is below (Google calls them ‘headers’):

• Amenities
• Brands
• Courses
• Degree programs
• Destinations
• Featured hotels
• Insurance coverage
• Models
• Neighborhoods
• Service catalog
• Shows
• Styles
• Types

What Do They Look Like?

Ray-Ban are using two structured snippet extensions in this ad – types and styles. As you can see they can add considerable real estate to your ads and helps searchers to understand better what you do and how your products are relevant to them.

Who Can Use Them?

If any part of your product or service can be categorised into the pre-set headers above then you can use structured snipped extensions.
Probably the most common would be adding brands you stock or types of product/service you sell. If you have a retail store or venue you can use the ‘amenities’ header to let people know whether you have disabled access or on-site parking for example.

It’s easy to look at the list and think you don’t fit into any of them, but try and be creative: an accountant, for example, might not be the obvious type of advertiser to use these. But you could use the ‘service catalog’ header to list your services such as year-end accounts, personal tax returns, payroll and the like.

‘Types’ could also be used to show who you do this for: sole traders, limited companies, landlords etc.

Why Should You Use Them?

The issue of quality score is worthy of a separate blog post but suffice it to say that using ad extensions improves your quality score and so improves the chances of your ad showing up above those of your competitors.

Quality score aside here are a few more reasons you should be using them:

• They give your ad more space on the page (who doesn’t want a bigger ad for free?)
• They increase the chance of your ad being clicked by giving more information to searchers
• They make your ad more relevant – which again will improve your ad’s click through rate.

How Do You Add Them?

You’ll find them under the ‘Ad Extensions’ tab. Structured snippet extensions can be added at the account, campaign or ad group level so it’s worth giving some thought to how you might structure this before you start. Account level extensions will show on all ads in the account so if you want to be able to show different snippets for different campaigns or ad groups then you’ll want to set them up at this level instead.

Once you click on the big red ‘+extension’ button it’s pretty self-explanatory: you can either choose to add an existing extension to this campaign or ad group, or add a new one.

 

Simply choose your Header and then create values in the fields below. You can add as many as you need. Notice you can schedule your snippets, so if you have a promotion coming up they can be one ahead of time and set to run automatically.

What’s Next?

Head over to your AdWords account and start adding these extensions! As with all ad extensions they’re a quick win and can only improve your campaigns’ performance so why wouldn’t you?

How To Get Your Business On Google Maps

If you’re a business that serves local customers then the value of being in the ‘snack pack’ on Google’s search results is huge.    The snack pack, as illustrated below, shows the top 3 local listing for the search you entered, in this case ‘Plumber Cardiff’.  This shows up below the paid ads but above the #1 organic listing and as a result the click through rates are excellent.

 

But a question I get asked a lot is ‘How do I get my business on Google Maps?’.  This blog post will give you step by step instructions to do just that.

1. Make Sure You’re Not Already Listed

It’s not uncommon, however, for companies to have multiple listings on the map simply because they forgot they added it or can’t find their original listing.  The first step, then, is to check whether you’re already on Google maps.

You can do this by searching on Google maps directly (maps.google.com) or by going to Google My Business https://www.google.com/business/ and clicking the ‘Get on Google’ as shown below:

 

You will then be presented with the following screen:

It’s vital at this stage that you search for your business to ensure you’re not already listed – just because you haven’t added your company, it doesn’t mean it won’t be there.  It’s particularly important to search by any variation of your company name, address or phone number, especially if you’ve moved or changed details in the past, however long ago it might be.

If your business is already listed it will look like this:

And if it’s not it will look like this:

Don’t forget to try every possible option when searching, before continuing to add a new listing.  Multiple listings for the same business can get confusing, not to mention difficult to manage.

2. Add Your Listing

You will now click on the box where it says ‘Let me enter the full business details’ and you’ll be taken the this page:

Make sure you add the full address in the right format and double check your phone numbers too!  For the category, you can start typing and you will get suggestions – it’s worth searching Google for the terms you want to show up for and see what categories the top 3 results are using, then use the same one.   If you click on the top listing you’ll see this:

 

Click to continue to the next step.  If you checked the box to say that you deliver your services to customers at their location, you’ll see the following:

Enter the appropriate details so Google knows when to show you to relevant searchers in local areas.  When you continue you’ll be presented with the following screen:

Check the box to say you’re authorized to manage this business listing and click continue.

3.  Verify Your Listing

Now you have to verify your business, which is normally done by sending a postcard to the address that’s been registered.  The card contains a verification code which you will then enter into the admin area of your listing to verify.  In some cases you are given the option to verify by phone, in which case a code is sent by text or by voice call to the registered phone number.

By clicking on the ‘Mail’ button you will be sent the postcard, or you can click very later.  Whichever you choose you will then be taken to your Google My Business listing so you can edit the details.

4. Edit And Optimize Your Listing

At this stage you need to add as much information as possible as a fully filled out listing will have a much better chance of ranking in that snack pack.

Clicking on the red ‘edit’ button will take you to the page where you can add all your business details:

  • Business Name – your ACTUAL business name
  • Address – you can only enter one address per listing.  If you have multiple locations for your business you will need to add them separately and create separate listings.
  • Contact Info – you can add more additional phone numbers here, and more importantly a link to your website address.
  • Hours – make sure you add your working hours here.  This will show on your listing so if you offer a 24 hour call out be sure to add it here.
  • Introduction – It’s very important to enter a full introduction, which will tell customers (and Google) about your business.  300-500 words talking about what you do, being sure to include your keywords and similar terms too.

When you’re finished hit ‘done editing’.

Be sure to add your logo and other images – click on ‘manage photos’ and you’ll be taken to the area where you can add a profile and logo image, plus various other photos about your business.

Add as many as you can to make for a better profile.

5. Wait For Your Postcard

Your listing won’t show in Google until you’ve verified it – keep an eye out for your postcard and follow the instructions when it arrives.   It usually arrives within a few weeks.

And that’s it!