Ecwid | E-Commerce Shopping Cart https://www.ecwid.com Ecwid: shopping cart when and where you need it Wed, 23 May 2018 12:31:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 Off-Season Slump? Here Are 9 Ways to Stay Profitable Year Round https://www.ecwid.com/blog/off-season-slump-here-are-9-ways-to-stay-profitable-year-round.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/off-season-slump-here-are-9-ways-to-stay-profitable-year-round.html#respond Thu, 17 May 2018 13:33:16 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=21227

What should you do during the off-season? You can let it pass and wait for profitable times, or you can try to stimulate sales.

There is a strict seasonal prevalence in some niches when the difference in profits runs up to 100%. Stores that sell Christmas decorations, Valentine’s cards, and Easter sets earn mostly during the holiday seasons. These products don’t find a quick sale during the rest of the year. You can’t fight seasonal prevalence in this case because you won’t be able to increase sales by much anyway.

However, if the difference in revenue during the peak season and the off-season is about 30-40%, it does make sense to work for profits. Here is how you can stimulate your sales during the off-season slump.

1. Add Seasonal Products

Pause to think during your peak sales — what are you going to offer your customers later? How much time and money will the reorientation of your business take?

Say you make and sell summer sandals. Then you can offer a cozy collection of slippers for winter.

Instagram hashtag

Summer is the time for music festivals, and Sephora reacted with special make up lines

Read more about trending products you can sell this summer.

2. Wake Up Your Long-Time Customers

Your "old friends" can help you during the off-season. Make a base of customers who ordered something from you several months or even a year ago. Remind them of your store with a mailshot:

Reminder email

Blissworld reminds customers that they might need to replenish some products and offers a discount to that

Set strict time frames for any offers — for example, a week, a month, until the product is in stock, or only for the first 50 customers.

3. Add Related Products

It’s always possible to offer related products. A bag goes with a storage case, shoes, a bracelet. Offer shoes or accessories to a dress. A laptop goes with a mouse, and a smartphone — with a case or a holder.

Related products don’t have to be cheaper than the main one. Try different options: inexpensive knickknacks, same-price products, and even pricey ones.

Related products

Asos doesn’t just show related products but offers to buy the whole look

You can recommend products to your customers using the Ecwid Control Panel and the related products option. Or use dedicated apps: Smart Recommendations and New Products and Bestsellers.

4. Work With Abandoned Carts

Bring back customers that put products in carts but didn’t buy them. There are several ways to do that, and sending an email is one of them.

Abandoned cart email

An example of an abandoned cart email from Doggyloot

According to our statistics, abandoned cart recovery emails in Ecwid help to recover 15% of abandoned orders. Based on your average order value, calculate how much more you can earn with this feature.

Check out incomplete orders in the Ecwid Control Panel in My Sales → Abandoned Carts, and don’t forget to set automatic recovery emails (available on the Business plan and higher).

If you want to go further, use trigger emails or retargeting.

Read how to reduce cart abandonment in your store.

5. Give Discounts to Use Later

Give your customers a discount coupon with every purchase that they can use several months later. For example, if you sell sportswear, lower the price of winter clothes during the summer season. If people buy swimsuits now, they will return to buy ski socks later, because they already have a discount for that.

Discounts to use later

Beatport gives a discount to use later

Don’t make the off-season a survival time. Think of it as an opportunity: you can build a base of future customers who will come back later to make bigger purchases.

6. Bring In a New Product

The off-season is not a bad moment for bringing in new products. You have more time to prepare the promotional campaign than you would have during the peak season when all you can think about is how to ship orders faster.

You can shoot a nice promotional video for your new product, make your product photography better, and prepare an intriguing set of Instagram posts.

New arrival email

A new product with a special offer from Lipsy London

7. Master a New Sales Channel

Now that you have fewer orders, there’s more time for the things you didn’t get around to during the peak season. It’s easier to promote your store on social media with more spare time on hands. You don’t have to scramble between orders and platforms. Use the momentum to set up a Facebook shop or work on Facebook ads.

Instagram hashtag

Look how Zara Home combines its website address and branded hashtag in one post to promote both

Or maybe you always wanted to start a YouTube channel for your online store? Looks like it’s time to do that.

Also: 7 Ways to Use Instagram to Promote Your Store

8. Improve Your Delivery

Inconvenient or long delivery is a solid reason to give up on a purchase. So consider adding more options to your standard delivery:

  • Express delivery. 49% of shoppers are more likely to buy something if there’s same-day delivery. If you can deliver orders fast, your store is the one customers choose.
  • Courier delivery. Next-day delivery is the most preferable option for online shoppers. And it is possible only with the help of courier services. Moreover, this option is a win for those who live outside the city and can’t pick up orders in the store.
  • Order pickup. 57% of customers prefer to buy online and pick up their order in the store. Avoiding shipping fees is the top reason why they do that. Read how you can make in-store pickups work even if you don’t have a physical store.

Are you done with the improvements? Tell your customers about it: put a banner on the website, share a post on social media, send a newsletter.

9. Sell Emotions

Positive emotions make products even more desirable, so we recommend turning to storytelling and using its power on your website, in your blog, newsletters, and on social media. It gives your product the image that customers remember and associate with something pleasant. When they have to choose between the usual jewelry or a piece with a "face," be assured, they choose the latter.

Emotional ad example

River Island celebrated their 30th birthday with a campaign to show they believe labels are for clothes not people

Also, it is a satisfaction to know that some part of your money helps a good cause. If you support some charitable organizations, tell your customers about it, and better do it in numbers. For example: "This month our customers helped the animal shelter 'Good boys' to buy 10 bags of pet food. Ten well-fed dogs send you a huge 'Thanks!'"

***

What do you do to stimulate sales during the off-season? We are happy to hear your ideas in the comments.

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7 Steps to Attracting Shoppers to Your New Online Store https://www.ecwid.com/blog/7-steps-to-attracting-shoppers-to-your-new-online-store.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/7-steps-to-attracting-shoppers-to-your-new-online-store.html#respond Wed, 16 May 2018 13:48:42 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=21189

There are billions of websites on the internet. Unless you are Amazon or eBay, you are probably struggling to attract motivated shoppers to your e-commerce site.

Creating your website and social profiles is just the first step to increasing your visibility. What you do with these platforms will ultimately dictate how much traffic you are generating.

In this article, I will tell you the steps to take in order to drive more qualified traffic from your target audience.

1. Decide How Many Visitors You Need Daily

If you dive into any marketing strategy without a goal, it can be overwhelming and disorganized. So, first, you should set a goal of how many daily visitors you want to see on your site.

To decide on an attainable goal, let’s do some quick math.

Let’s say you are aiming to generate $100,000 in annual sales. Divide your total sales by the value of your average order, which we will say is $20.

The sum of that will tell you the number of annual orders you need to reach your sales goal. In this example, the number of sales you need is 5,000 (about 13 orders each day).

Let’s assume that you have a 2% conversion rate to attain 13 orders each day. That means you need about 650 daily visitors to reach 13 daily orders.

Now that you have a set goal in mind, you can shape your marketing strategy. Concrete numbers like this can help narrow your efforts to reach measurable goals.

Learn more: Online Store KPI: What It Is and How It Works

2. Start Your SEO

One of the main sources of your traffic comes from search engines, regardless of how well-established your site is. So, your SEO strategy should be high-priority.

To get started with your SEO, you need to audit your site. Choose an SEO audit tool that can help you review and optimize all of your pages and products. Make sure you choose a tool that allows for competitor analysis and keyword tracking to maximize your optimization efforts.

A few popular tools that fit this description include Moz, WooRank, SEMRush, and aHrefs. Moz and WooRank offer a free trial to test the tool before you commit to paying, as well.

With a keyword tool, you will be able to see the volume and rank for each keyword you are targeting and how you are doing against your competition for that keyword.

keyword tool

WooRank’s Keyword tool displays the average monthly search volume for a particular keyword

Free keyword research tools can help you choose keywords for your e-commerce site if you aren’t sure where to start. Here are a few free tools to get you started:

In order to rank for each product or page on your site, you need a solid keyword strategy. Every product page matters, so make sure you are optimizing each title, each meta description, and each keyword to make yourself more visible to your target audience.

If you need help with a keyword strategy, check out this helpful beginner’s guide.

Related: The E-Commerce Guide to SEO

3. Craft Your Content for Your Target Audience

Don’t think just because you are an e-commerce store you can slack on your content! Product images are great (and essential) — but adding product descriptions will add way more value to your site.

Your product descriptions are a natural way to incorporate the keywords you worked so hard to identify. You can also choose the keywords that you know are easy to rank for and that drive conversions.

Product titles

Urban Outfitters displays women’s jackets with product names

Product description copy

Urban Outfitters uses keywords in each product description

In order to craft your content to get seen by your target audience, follow these simple steps:

  1. Identify your target keywords using one of the keyword tools listed above.
  2. Write product descriptions that include your target keyword. For instance, if you are selling stain remover and you can rank highly for the keyword "stain remover for red wine," you should include this long tail keyword in the product description.
  3. Add product images, and don’t forget to include the alt text for each image you use. Remember to only use images that are representative of the actual product and not something from the internet that is different from your actual product.
  4. Publish product videos on YouTube, like an unboxing video, using your target keywords.
  5. Share your videos on social media so that you get more exposure and clicks!

Related: How to Promote Your Online Store With Content Marketing

4. Tap Into the Influencer Market

Instagram has roughly 25% more engagement than other social media platforms — and the percentage of online shoppers that are influenced by social media recommendations is almost the same (23%).

You can actually capitalize on this platform to find influencers that could feature your brand or products to their thousands of followers. Finding the influencer is easier said than done, though. There is a tool called WEBSTA that is, essentially, a catalog of popular Instagram accounts and trending hashtags that can help you in your quest.

Websta

Search bar on WEBSTA

With WEBSTA, all you do is type your keyword into the search bar. The results will show you accounts related to that keyword; check the account’s followers to see if it would be worth reaching out and requesting a product feature. Obviously, provide a link that redirects to your site or product page.

Also read: How to Use Micro-Influencers on Instagram to Boost E-Commerce Sales

5. Run a Contest

Let’s face it — people love a good freebie. Is there a gift you can offer that your customers would want to have? Share it on social media and on influencer sites — if people want it, they will share it.

To run a contest, you should:

  1. Define your contest goals. Whether that’s driving traffic, building your email list or increasing social engagement, make sure you know what you are aiming to achieve.
  2. Decide who your target audience is for this contest, which can be defined by things like demographics, geographic location or social media usage.
  3. Choose your contest type, details, and prize. It’s easiest to run a sweepstakes contest that will garner lots of entries. It’s up to you how valuable you want your prize to be and how many winners you will have. For some prize ideas, check out this blog post.
  4. Create your Contest. Choose a great headline, write out the rules, deadline and how to enter, and pick a corresponding image.
  5. Promote, promote, promote! Send an email blast, change your website banner and post (frequently) on your social channels.
  6. Track your success using Google Analytics.
  7. Choose a winner, notify them, and post the results on your social channels.

You can also use a third-party app like Gleam.io to take care of the previous steps.

While that is a good way to increase traffic to your e-commerce site, be careful. With this strategy, you will inevitably attract the customers that only want a freebie and will never actually convert to paying customers.

Learn more: 25 Proven Contest Ideas to Promote Your Online Business

6. Encourage Users to Leave Reviews

A recent study shows that 84% of shoppers trust reviews they read online. If you have users leave reviews (hopefully positive) you will rank higher in search results and users are more likely to click onto your site or social media page.

There are a few simple ways you can solicit reviews for your site without bombarding your customers.

  1. Ask! This might seem obvious, but ask your customers for feedback wherever it makes sense to do so. Don’t drown your site in CTAs, but if it is reasonable to ask for their feedback or opinion, don’t be shy!
  2. Email them — After a product has shipped and the customer has received their purchase is the best time to solicit a review. Ask them if they are enjoying their new iPhone case (for example) and make it easy for them to click onto your site and leave a quick review!
  3. Make reviews visible on your site — It’s important for users to know that they can leave a review without hunting for a place to do so.
  4. Publish the good and the bad — Your users need to feel reassured that their review will be published, no matter their opinion of the product. Censoring reviews will hurt your ability to earn new ones.
  5. Incentivize your customers — If you say that your product reviewers will be entered into a monthly draw or contest for a freebie, it will encourage them to participate.

User reviews can ensure your site has fresh and relevant content (a huge plus in Google’s eyes).

Related: Easy Tips for Using Product Reviews to Promote Your Store

7. Siphon Your Competitors’ Traffic

Your competitors probably aren’t going to send you their Google Analytics inside-information. Luckily, you don’t need their GA password to get some crucial information nuggets that will give you a competitive advantage.

Using a free tool like SimilarWeb will give you enough to get started. You can see their estimated traffic, places in the world that their traffic is coming from, their referral sites and more.

The referral sites are something you should focus on, since obviously there are motivated customers coming from those places. Try to get featured on those sites with an advertisement placement or reaching out for a backlink to your site.

Similar web

Similar Web shows the total visits, as well as other key stats

Similar web

Similar Web shows your top referring sites as well as the sites your users are visiting from your site

Learn more: How to Analyze Competitors? 12 Questions and 9 Services

Conclusion

As with everything in digital marketing, whether you are an e-commerce store or B2B, you can’t expect to see results without first establishing a clearly-defined strategy. You must know your traffic sources and optimize your brand on different platforms, especially on your website itself and on social media platforms.

If you know where your customers are coming from, and how many visits you need to get each day based on your conversion rate, you can start targeting them with specific keywords and well-crafted content. Refining and optimizing your strategy will not only help drive the organic traffic you want for your site, but it will get your e-commerce website out in front of the correct audience.

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13 Instagram Apps to Increase Your E-Commerce Sales https://www.ecwid.com/blog/7-instagram-apps-to-increase-ecommerce-sales.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/7-instagram-apps-to-increase-ecommerce-sales.html#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 19:33:50 +0000 http://www.ecwid.com/?p=5575

We have already explained why your online store needs an Instagram account. Today, we’re going to tell you how to automate the work, gain popularity, and convert followers into customers with the help of free or cheap services.

In this post, you will find:

  1. Apps for Content Creation
  2. Profile Management Apps
  3. Apps for Promotion
  4. Instagram Analytics Apps

1. Apps for Content Creation

Nothing can jumpstart your Instagram sales like breathtaking visuals. "Breathtaking" includes two ingredients: quality pictures and a clean, consistent feed.

VSCO

With hundreds of photo-editing apps for Instagram out there, it’s hard to stay chill. Filters, frames, effects, and stickers are so much fun. They can do magic, but if you go hard on them, your Instagram feed can look amateurish.

The VSCO app is a powerful Instagram app that stands out thanks to its smart cinematic filters. You can find a lot of filter presets on Pinterest based on the VSCO app settings. With them, you don’t have to learn a single thing about photo editing. Pick a becoming preset for your brand and stick to it at least until you learn more about Photoshop (which is not necessary with apps like VSCO).

VSCO filter preset

A "tropical" filter preset for VSCO found on Pinterest

The app works for both beginners and pros (the free version can be enough for both).

Get the VSCO app for iOS and Android.

Price: free with in-app purchases.

If you want to plan your grid and see how it would look before actually posting anything, use Later — it can do just that. We’ll have a closer look at it below.

Learn more here: How to Develop a Visual Theme for Your Instagram Business Profile

Word Swag

Do you want to design a fancy image for your giveaway? There are tools like Canva (desktop) to make stylish texts on your pictures, posters, flyers, or even YouTube thumbnails.

Word Swag ($4.99) is another app that has tons of cool fonts and layouts for your message to be noticed.

It even goes an extra mile and automatically turns any text you type into a fancy design. It’s a life-saver when you need to post something on the go.

The app is available for iOS.

Price: $4.99.

Unfold

Upgrade your Instagram Stories with creative layouts, photo, video, collages, effects, and more using Unfold. All in the name of the swipe-ups!

Check out this video tutorial to learn how to make a cool photo + video collage for your Stories.

The app is available for iOS and Android.

Price: free with in-app purchases.

Boomerang

There’s little chance that you don’t know about Boomerang, but are you using it for your Instagram business profile?

This is a very quick way to create engaging content. Just one tap — and you get a video made out of 10 photos. The video is looped, which creates a hypnotizing or funny effect.

Get Boomerang for iOS and Android.

Price: free.

Flipagram

Another type of engaging content is a slideshow video for Instagram, and Flipagram allows you to create just that.

You can show your new collection, explain how to use your product in a step-by-step format, or simply publish something funny/beautiful about your brand.

Harper Books uses Flipagram for sneak peeks into their new books.

A post shared by Harper Books (@harperbooks) on 

Get Flipagram for iOS and Android.

Price: free with in-app purchases.

MaskArt

Cinemagraph is probably the most underestimated genre of digital art, especially in e-commerce. Fortunately, it gives you the opportunity to be different and to stand out with fascinating live product photos.

MaskArt is a free iOS app for making cinemagraphs. For Android phones, try Cinemagraph.

Learn more about cinemagraphs and how they can become a twist of your Instagram Business profile in our post: How to Create Cinemagraphs for Product Pictures With Your Smartphone

2. Profile Management Apps

If you can automate a task, do it. Free your time and brain for strategically important questions. Spend half a day and plan Instagram posts for a month ahead rather than get distracted daily.

Latergramme screenshot desktop

Later

Later enables you to schedule up to 30 Instagram posts per month for nothing. It is a great way to stick to posting at regular intervals.

You can also preview and edit your profile grid to make sure it looks clean.

Later works on desktop, iOS, and Android devices.

Price: Free to sign up with paid plans starting at $9.50/month.

Ecwid Mobile

If you have launched an e-commerce store with Ecwid, you can post your products on Instagram in three clicks.

Download the mobile app and press the "share" button in the product info screen. The name, price, and description will convert to text in your web clipboard. From here, your picture will be published on Instagram automatically. Press "next," paste your text from the web clipboard, and press "ready."

Ecwid Mobile for posting products on Instagram

Bonus: having an Ecwid account enables you to run high-ROI ads (dynamic ads) on Facebook and Instagram. Learn more →

Get Ecwid Mobile for iOS and Android.

Price: included in all Ecwid paid plans, free trial.

3. Apps for Promotion

Every business owner wants more Instagram followers. The following apps will help you to do that.

Focalmark

Handpick a couple of relevant hashtags and Focalmark will generate a whole list of them, so you don’t need to search and type in hashtags manually.

Get it for Android and iOS.

Price: free plan with in-app purchases.

Repost

Why Instagram doesn’t add a built-in repost feature remains a mystery. What is clear is that you need to be able to repost content as an e-commerce merchant.

Your customers will feel appreciated and proud if you mention them in your profile. With the reviews of real customers, you’ll look trustworthy.

Get the Repost app for iOS and Android.

Price: free.

CrowdFire

Crowdfire works both on desktop and mobile. It recommends content that will likely perform well on your profile based on your Instagram profile data.

Content idea for beauty instagram

A content suggestion I got for the search terms "beauty," "blogging," and "fashion"

It also works for Twitter and Facebook, and allows scheduling content, creating RSS feeds, and more.

Get Crowdfire for iOS and Android.

Price: free and paid plans starting from $4.99 per month.

4. Instagram Analytics Apps

Is you Instagram profile successful or you could do more? The analytics apps will let you know.

Instagram Insights

Instagram analytics is free to use, but it doesn’t come with each profile. You need to convert your Instagram profile into a Business profile if you haven’t yet to access your Instagram insights.

Check out all the insights available in the Instagram Help Center. They are enough for most businesses.

Iconosquare

Iconosquare, an official Instagram analytics service, provides a clean interface to view and analyze your account’s performance. It repeats the native Instagram Insights in many ways, but Iconosquare allows a few more features like:

  • Viewing and sorting posts by likes, shares, and reactions;
  • Tracking hashtag performance (Instagram only);
  • Tracking competitors;
  • Data export.

Iconosquare will do the same for your Facebook page.

Iconosquare for Instagram

The tool works on desktop, iOS, and Android.

Price: starting from $9 per month with a free trial.

***

This is where our list of must-have Instragam apps for e-commerce merchants comes to an end. What apps do you use for Instagram promotion? Share your experience with us in the comments.

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Best New Ecwid Apps 04/18: Email Marketing, Fulfillment, More Security https://www.ecwid.com/blog/best-new-ecwid-apps-04-18-email-marketing-fulfillment-more-security.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/best-new-ecwid-apps-04-18-email-marketing-fulfillment-more-security.html#respond Fri, 04 May 2018 11:19:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=21011

Are you ready to plug in four new e-commerce apps to your Ecwid store? All of them are either free or come with a free trial, which is a nice opportunity for you to test their features.

Let’s see what these babies can do for your business.

Learn How Your Customers Found You

When you run an online store, it’s important to know what promotions and sales channels work the best.

The How Did You Find Us application adds a drop-down menu right at the checkout of your store so customers can easily pick between different options that you can set in the app settings.

How did you find us

The drop-down menu at checkout

Make this question optional or required, or hide it temporarily from the checkout process.

Check out this app for free.

Improve Customer Loyalty via Email Marketing

Rare.io is an email marketing platform designed to increase customer loyalty and repeat purchases for your store.

It downloads your orders and customer data so you can run automated or manual email campaigns to follow up on successful sales and offer other products and services.

Product-focused emails via Rare.io

Product-focused emails via Rare.io

The email templates are easy to build and your customers can be divided into different segments, which you can email to separately.

Check out Rare.io email marketing tools on a free plan.

Save Time With Outsourced Fulfillment

eFulfillment Service provides you with outsourced and automated order fulfillment operations. It is the trusted 3PL partner of hundreds of e-commerce sellers.

A dedicated account manager is assigned to help you integrate your store after you sign up for the app. Once integrated, eFulfillment Service will receive orders automatically and process them for you.

Orders from Ecwid being fulfilled in eFulfillment Service

Orders from Ecwid being fulfilled in eFulfillment Service

You are able to constantly monitor your orders and inventory through the web-based portal.

Get started with eFulfillment Service with a 30-day risk-free trial period.

Control and Monitor Site’s Traffic for More Security

Having a crowded online store comes with its own responsibilities: Should I direct international users to another website? What about the translations? What about restricting access to specific countries?

Secure Traffic can help you solve these problems. It analyzes your storefront visitors and presents the data in useful graphs.

Traffic monitoring in Secure Traffic

Traffic monitoring in Secure Traffic

You can see the IPs, browser, country, and other data. Decide what to do with the unwanted or confusing visitors:

Block the storefront to display a custom message, or
Redirect the visitor to a specific URL.

These actions are available based on location or the website where the visitor came from.

Check out Secure Traffic with a free trial.

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How to Get Better at Networking https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-get-better-at-networking.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-get-better-at-networking.html#respond Thu, 03 May 2018 14:52:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20995

You are probably familiar with the Six Degrees of Separation theory. It suggests that everyone is six or fewer steps away from any person in the world. This "friend of a friend" chain means that you literally "know" every person that might be helpful for, or interested in, your business.

The only thing left is to actually find them and build a connection with them.

Networking is the tool that makes it possible.

Business networking helps entrepreneurs to form professional relationships, to create and act upon business opportunities, and to share information and find potential partners. As promising as it sounds, it takes some effort.

What Is Networking?

The idea of networking is simple: it involves activities that help you to solve your problems by developing mutually beneficial, long-term relationships with others.

In business, it’s essential for attracting new clients or partners, looking for suppliers, employees, or investors. You can learn how to network at a conference or at business meetings. You can also do this in coworking spaces, at college reunions, during volunteering activities, when attending hobby clubs, as well as through social media.

Related: Unusual Partnerships: Who Online Retailers Should Be Friends With

Why Do You Need to Network?

… Because personal connections work miracles. The numbers speak for themselves: 97% of survey respondents said that small meetings are their favorite form of communication for business talks, gaining new skills, and obtaining important information.

Fair enough. We interpret people not only by the choice of their words but also through their body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice.

Experts believe 70-80% of job positions are filled through networking. That’s why so many people now learn how to network for a job. LinkedIn alone has 500 million users.

People understand the importance of networking. 41% of professionals wish they had more time for it. It’s understandable: business networking gives opportunities to expand your influence, make new connections, and build your reputation.

By networking actively, you remain aware of what’s happening in your industry. The better you understand your market, the more confident you become, and it also makes your business more visible to others.

Your introversion might be one of the reasons you are running an online store instead of a brick-and-mortar one. What if parties with friends are the only social events you are comfortable with?

People tend to believe they are being noticed more than they really are. This is called the spotlight effect. Remember it while networking at conferences or events. In reality, no one is pointing fingers at you for messing up the cards and handing out the wrong one. So don’t let some minor inconveniences or your nerves misguide you.

spotlight effect

The results of the study on the spotlight effect: predicted and actual percentage of observers able to identify the individual depicted on the target’s T-shirt

Taking the first steps of networking can feel awkward, but it doesn’t mean you should give up on your networking skills. Give it some time and practice, and the results of your business relationships are going to be so worth it.

Also read: How to Hire and Manage Staff for Your Growing Online Store

How to Network Effectively

So you are going to your first networking event, be it a conference or a hobby club meeting. What do you do?

1. Plan ahead what you want to get from the event

Always plan your visits ahead if you don’t want to find yourself lost at the coffee table trying to figure out your next move.

Think of how much time you want to spend at the meeting, how many people you want to make contact with, and most importantly — state your aim, for example, to draw new customers or to find a micro influencer you can collaborate with.

Popular reasons to network

Popular reasons to network from the infographic, based on a Populus survey of business professionals

Also, do some homework: learn who will be attending or speaking and even reach out to some people via email beforehand so that you have some common ground with them at the event.

Remember to diversify your network. It’s better to know a designer, an influencer, and a marketing expert than just three influencers. Your business is growing, and soon you’ll likely be in need of different experts.

Don’t try too hard at keeping up with everyone. There’s Dunbar’s Number, which suggests a limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. And it is only 150. So don’t exhaust yourself trying to keep up with every person you meet while networking. It’s always about quality, not quantity.

2. Introduce yourself

Small things like a handshake can make a big difference. Researchers say if you shake hands with somebody, it increases the positive impact. The way you do it also matters: a firm but friendly handshake is a win.

Mention your name as you offer your hand, and say what you do. Just don’t turn it into a "commercial," but keep it short and simple. A joke is not the best way to start a conversation here, especially if it’s more of a formal event.

First impression

First impressions depend on words less than we think (Image credit: CraftCv)

It’s okay to have prepared lines if you feel nervous. Just don’t try to plan everything you’re going to say. Scripts of any kind feel unnatural, and this way you risk to look phoney. Prepare phrases that describe what you do and what you’re looking for at this event. Your goal is to sound confident, not simulated.

Get creative with business cards. 88% of business cards will be thrown out in less than a week. Save some money and trees: make sure your card is a) memorable, and b) handed out to someone who is actually interested in getting in touch with you later.

Don’t hesitate to choose unusual forms and designs, and always update your info and contacts on it.

creative business card example

You don’t need to go too far with business cards to make them stand out. This one proves it

Also read: How to Pay Yourself When You Own a Business

3. Master the art of small talk

Love it or hate it, but small talk is a good conversation opener and space filler. To find common ground and keep the conversation flowing, try to stick to safe topics such as travel, weather, hobbies, literature, sports, films, holidays, pets, or art.

You can also try mirroring while you small-talk. That means copying the body language, gestures, and facial expressions of the person you’re talking to. It’s called the "chameleon effect."

Notice small things: what this person finds interesting about the event, what they think of some current news, and so on. People value personal connections, as it shows them they’re not just assets for your business growth.

4. Move to business talk

Before you both forget why you came here and start showing each other cute photos of your children and pets, move to the "big" talk.

Ask what brought them to the event or what they are hoping to get from it. Then elaborate a bit more on your business, but don’t sell to your companion. Try to be helpful: maybe you already know the person they are looking for, or you can offer some advice.

Also, be an active listener. That makes people feel appreciated.

  • Pay attention not just to the words, but also to the person’s body language (are they nervous, tired, bored?)
  • Smile, react with other facial expressions
  • Keep an open and interested posture
  • Make small verbal comments (“Yes,” "I see," "Right")
  • Ask open follow-up questions (“Did you?”, "Really?", "Is that what you meant earlier when you said…?")
  • Keep eye contact
  • Provide feedback that shows the person is understood (“Sounds like you are saying…”, "You mean …, right?").

5. End a conversation with tact

If you want to move from the current conversation, be honest and don’t lie about having to leave. It would be awkward to meet this person later in the line for the bathroom.

Just say that you enjoyed meeting and talking to them, but you hoped to talk to some other people too. Offer to exchange business cards or ask them if you can drop them an email later. Ask if you can introduce them to someone you already met at this event.

How to end a conversation

The chart shows how you can end a conversation without awkwardness

6. Follow up on time

Don’t take too long to follow up with people you made connections with, especially if you decided on some time frame. A call or an email will show you’re a reliable person, and they’re important to you. Make it clear you expect it to be a long-term network, beneficial for both of you.

Make sure you are providing value. If you found a blog post, a helpful YouTube video, or a specialist that the person might be interested in, don’t hesitate to share your knowledge.

It’s important to do that on a constant basis. Always share useful information with people in your network, not only at events, but also via email or on the phone. People should know you care for them even when you’re not working together at the present moment. It helps to maintain a connection and always keep in touch.

How to Network Online

81% of the US population has a social networking profile. Not only the user figures but also user engagement are growing. Users spend about 135 minutes a day on social media. It would be a mistake to ignore such an opportunity for online networking.

The number of social network users

The number of social network users worldwide will only grow and will reach more than 3 billion in 3 years

1. Choose platforms and be active

Think of the platforms your audience or potential partners tend to use, and try to be active on them. You can join discussions in forums or Facebook groups, tweet, leave comments on FB pages, make connections with people based on common grounds like going to the same university or attending a charity event.

If you have a blog, keep posting regularly. Don’t forget to respond to comments. Answers to online questions are great for showing your expertise and building trust.

If you want to get in touch with influencers, first make a list of people you’re interested in. Use services like FollowerWonk that can help to find bloggers on Twitter. Search for keywords of your industry + the words "blogger," "influencer," or "author." Then find the platform they use the most and become their active subscriber: comment on their pages, ask questions, tag them in your posts. Remember to stay value-oriented: don’t turn communication into emoji exchanges.

Related: How to Promote Your Online Store With Content Marketing

2. Go offline if needed

Say you made connections with people online, and now you want to collaborate or partner with them. When writing a message or an email, make your point clear: what do you want from them? If you want to meet them offline, don’t be vague but specify what you want to discuss.

pitch example

Be friendly, but stick to the point

Also, don’t give up on unanswered emails and messages. People get busy and forget things, so contact them again. You may get the answer when you no longer expect it.

What you’ve learned about effective networking:

  • Set measurable goals and plan your network activities.
  • Reach out to your potential partners before the event.
  • Practice small talk and master the etiquette.
  • Make your business card memorable.
  • Share your expertise on your blog or social profiles.
  • Share helpful and relevant content with partners to stay in touch.

I’m sure many of you have something to say about your networking experience. So don’t hesitate to share your tips on how to network in the comments!

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The GDPR: What Every E-Commerce Merchant Needs to Know Before May 25th https://www.ecwid.com/blog/the-gdpr-what-every-e-commerce-merchant-needs-to-know-before-may-25th.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/the-gdpr-what-every-e-commerce-merchant-needs-to-know-before-may-25th.html#respond Thu, 26 Apr 2018 07:10:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20973

The 25th of May 2018 is the enforcement date of the GDPR, a new European data protection law.

This law can affect you as an e-commerce merchant even if you are not located in the EU. If you offer products and services to EU citizens, then there is a requirement for you to comply with the GDPR. Otherwise, you can face a heavy fine.

In this post, we’ve outlined what you need to know about this data protection law to prepare for the change. You’ll get an understanding of how to act to comply with the GDPR. Note that the requirements may vary from business to business, so please don’t take this information as legal advice.

The GDPR: What It Is 

The General Data Protection Regulation is a new data privacy law in the European Union. It is aimed to strengthen EU citizens’ rights to control how companies use their personal data. The law unifies the requirements for personal data processing in cross-border data flows.

What is personal data under the GDPR?

Under the GDPR, personal data is any information that can be used to directly or indirectly identify a person.

If customers enter their names, email addresses, and dates of birth on your website, you are collecting personal data. What if you track IP addresses to segment your website visitors by country? Yes, everything that can help identify a person counts.

If you collect data relating to an individual, his or her private, professional, or public life, you should make sure you comply with the GDPR.

How will the GDPR affect my business?

Generally speaking, it’s now you who is entirely responsible for the personal data of EU residents that you collect and for providing them with the ability to control how their data is used.

  • You have to actively get consent for any customer data you collect for marketing, sales, accounting, etc.
  • You must provide an easy way for your customers to access, change, and erase the data they’ve shared with you.
  • You (or someone in your business) become responsible for the data you store and reporting data breaches and GDPR violations to the ICO.

Violating the GDPR can cost you a fortune (up to €20 million, or 4% of annual revenue). Unless you can be 100% sure that no EU citizen can browse your website or mobile application, you’d better develop a compliant way of collecting and processing personal data.

If you collect any personal data of EU customers, take the necessary steps to comply with the GDPR before May 25th, 2018.

How to Comply With the GDPR

Well, there’s a number of required changes to your business processes, so our first recommendation would be to act immediately. Below, we are sharing the bare minimum to comply with the GDPR, but don’t forget to consult a lawyer for your particular case.

Let your team know about the change. Share this blog post with your employees and  instruct everyone who is dealing with customer data in a meeting.

You may need to appoint a Data Protection Officer. A DPO keeps track of GDPR compliance. Appointing a DPO is a must if you process large-scale and systematic monitoring (such as behavioral tracking).

Carry out an information audit to map flows of data that you collect. You should record in detail how customer data flows into, around and out of your organization. Document:

  • What personal data you hold (e.g. names, emails)
  • In what formats it comes to you (e.g. digital or hard paper)
  • Where it comes from (e.g. phone, third-party services, social media)
  • How you store it (e.g. cloud service, third-party, your own office)
  • How you use it (e.g. how long it is held, who you share it with).

This process is needed to find out who is accountable for customer data at each stage. With your data audit in place, you’ll be able to identify any risks connected to the data flow.

Update your Privacy Policy. It’s officially required to have your Privacy Policy written in clear and concise language. You also have to provide easy access to it on your website.

What exactly do you write in your Privacy Policy to comply with the GDPR? Here’s the list of essentials (be very specific when writing that down):

  • What data you collect
  • Why you need it (on a legal basis, e.g. consent)
  • How you obtain it (phone, email, etc. — manually or automatically)
  • For how long you retain it (on a legal basis, e.g. due to product warranty duration)
  • Who you share it with (including any third-party services)
  • How users can access their data, change or delete it 
  • How they can opt out of your marketing messages.

If your organization does business in more than one EU member state, you will have to identify your data protection supervisory authority and document it within your Privacy Policy.

You must update your customers about every change to your Privacy Policy. Don’t forget to communicate the updated document to your team, too.

Read how to manage legal pages in Ecwid.

Opt-in consent for customer data to be stored and used in any way. Users should be able to give a separate clear opt-in consent for their data to be stored and used for each purpose.

 GDPR compliant checkbox

Catalystone displays a separate checkbox for the blog newsletter subscription in their sign-up form

Your checkbox copy must clearly state what the users are consenting to and who they are giving consent to — including any third parties. No more pre-filled checkboxes, consent below the fold, and confusing language, such as legalese and double negatives.

GDPR compliant checkbox

Standard wording for opting into consent recommended by the ICO

Read how to add a consent checkbox in Ecwid.

Develop a process to let customers easily access, correct, and erase their data. Under the GDPR, you must be able to provide customers with a readable and portable copy of their personal data. If you are requested to provide customer data, you can find it in your Ecwid Control panel. In case of further questions, Ecwid can give you the information that it stores.

You should be able to correct inaccurate customer data promptly and let customers update their data-sharing preferences. If a customer wants to unsubscribe from your marketing emails, it needs to be easy. Include the "Unsubscribe" link for every email you send. React to direct requests quickly: if a customer asks you to update their last name in your mailing base, you have to do it within 30 days.

EU customers can appeal to the Right to Be Forgotten. If there is "no overriding legitimate interest" for you to keep their data, they can use the right to erase it. You should have processes in place to enable that. Ecwid can help delete personal data that it stores on your behalf.

For each case mentioned above, you should also take into consideration any third-party services you use that may have access to your customers’ personal data.

Detect, report, and investigate data breaches. If you become aware of a personal data breach, notify your customers about it within 72 hours.

You should process personal data in a way that ensures appropriate security. Take a look at your personal data map and ask yourself — is there any potential risk?

Customer data that is stored in Ecwid is protected. You don’t have to worry about it. However, there are still precautions you need to take:

  1. Make sure not to share your Ecwid store login/password with others. If you need to give access to someone else, use Staff Accounts. Use only reliable passwords.
  2. If you’ve added Ecwid to your website, make sure it runs on HTTPS and uses end-to-end data encryption.
  3. Use only GDPR-compliant services and third-party apps.

What Did Ecwid Do to Comply?

Ecwid collects, stores, processes, and shares personal data based on the GDPR guidelines.
We comply with the GDPR requirements in the following ways:

  • We have assigned a Data Protection Officer who is in charge of the Ecwid Data Protection Policy.
  • We’ve started to deliver GDPR-focused training to our key teams and personnel.
  • We have implemented a detailed procedure to deal with all data subject access requests, deletion requests, and government access requests.
  • We work only with sub-processors who provide an adequate protection of the personal data through robust technical and organizational measures.
  • We have developed a reliable method to detect, report, and investigate a personal data breach.
  • We have established the necessary records of data-processing activities.
  • We are certified under the EU – U.S. and Swiss — U.S. Privacy Shield frameworks. This arrangement calls for certified organizations to guarantee a level of security in line with the EU data protection law regarding the transfer of personal data from the EEA and Switzerland to the U.S.

The transition to the GDPR is easier for companies that use trusted cloud services like Ecwid than for those who rely on in-house servers or custom-built software. We have made sure that Ecwid complies with the GDPR to help your business get ready for the change.

Helpful resources:

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New Ecwid Design Settings: Dozens of Customization Options, No Coding https://www.ecwid.com/blog/new-ecwid-design-settings-dozens-of-customization-options-no-coding.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/new-ecwid-design-settings-dozens-of-customization-options-no-coding.html#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2018 15:25:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20927

Design speaks volumes for an e-commerce store. If people can easily navigate your online storefront, you have a much better chance of converting them. A consistent, modern design can tell customers that you’re a trustworthy brand.

Ecwid helps any business — even a small and beginning one — to look and sell professionally on the web. You don’t have to pay an awful lot to top-tier web designers to get a mobile-friendly, clean, and beautiful e-commerce store.

We’ve added dozens of new storefront design functionalities to Ecwid, so that you can give your e-commerce store the look and feel that reflects your brand the most.

Setting up every little detail in your online store design is dead easy. Change image styles, product page layouts, and storefront elements without coding. You’ll see it for yourself in this post.

The new settings nest under Settings → Design in your Ecwid Control panel. To use them, make sure you’ve enabled all the storefront updates in Settings → What’s New.

What's new section in Ecwid control panel

Enable these updates in Settings → What’s New to see the new design settings page

What if I’m using the older version of Ecwid storefront?

Switching to the new storefront may change the look of your store completely. With the new design settings, you’ll get more customization options and a more compelling look for your store. However, be careful if you’re using a self-made CSS theme or other custom-developed storefront features — they may not be compatible with the new storefront. If you need help, our support team is there for you.

Design Your Online Storefront

You control the entire look of your product catalog, from product pictures to SKUs and buttons.

1. Сhoose the best image size to showcase your products

By default, product images are medium-sized, which is suitable for most stores.

Some products have important details that you might want to visualize (for example, if you sell jewelry or paintings). Select the large image size to let your customers admire your beautiful products and photography.

If you sell one product type in a large assortment (say, 200 leather belts in different colors), stick to smaller images. Your store will display a lot of products on the screen and your customers will be impressed by the choice.

Product pictures design in Ecwid

Small, medium, and large image size for product pictures

2. Optimize image aspect ratio to your product dimensions

Do you sell palms? Or maybe long-legged models showcase your designer coats? Both will look great in vertical pictures.

The horizontal ratio suits wide products — say, shoes, sofas, or nutrition bars.

For round objects (or, when in doubt), use square images, they always look great.

 Vertical, horizontal, and square product pictures

Vertical, horizontal, and square images

If you want to emphasize product images and make them stand out from the store background, select "Darken image background".

3. Choose what product info to show in the storefront

Similar to product photos, you can choose from many design options for other storefront elements: product names, titles, prices, SKUs, "Buy" buttons. Decide how to display each of them — under the product image or on mouse hover.

Design of product pictures in Ecwid

Display the elements under product pictures, on hover, or hide them

If you choose to place the info under the product pictures, it’s possible to set the layout. Align your content to the left, right, center, or justify it — you are free to create the look that you like the most.

Different layouts of the elements (product name and priceDifferent layouts of the elements

Different layouts of the elements (product name and price)

It’s also possible to hide elements. Hide all of them to make your storefront resemble a lookbook. By clicking any of the product pictures, your customers will go to the product page.

Choose to display an additional product image if you want to show more details. Ecwid will show the first image from the product photo gallery on mouse hover.

Additional product image on mouse hover

Additional product image on mouse hover

These new settings make for a great number of design variations for your storefront look.

4. Design your store categories

You’ll find options to set up the look of your categories. Whether you have photos, icons, or brand logos for your category pictures, Ecwid has design options to make them look stunning.

Design of product category pictures

Category names under pictures, on them, on hover, and hidden

Optimize Product Pages for Conversion

Now you can organize the information of your product pages in different ways, depending on what works best for your customers. Each design option is made according to the best e-commerce practices for increasing conversions.

1. Choose the product page layout

There are four new options for organizing content on your product pages.

Attract attention to your product pictures. Placing a high-quality product image on the left side of your product page will make it the first thing your customers will notice. Use the 2-column layout with the product description on the right if you sell visually appealing products and have short product descriptions.

Product page optimization

The 2-column layout with the product description on the right

Add detailed product descriptions. For products like electronics or pharmaceutical goods, product descriptions can be pretty long. Then select the two-column layout with the product description below the image. Even if you add a long manual for using your product, the page will look harmonious.

Product page optimization 2

The 2-column layout with the product description below the image

Emphasize product options and the "Checkout" button. If your customers don’t have to read long descriptions or scrutinize the gallery to buy your products, choose to show the product options with the checkout button on the left. Say, if you sell tiny aquarium fish.

Product page optimization 3

The "Add to bag" button in focus

Minimize scrolling and distraction. A three-column layout works if you want your product page to display maximum information without extra moves.

Product page optimization 4

The compact 3-column layout

You can also select the layout of your photo gallery. Help your customers get the feel of your product with a compelling photo gallery. Choose the layout for thumbnails of images in your gallery (vertical or horizontal) or show your hypnotizing images in full size. The more alternated and detailed views you show, the better.

Photo gallery layout options

Photo gallery layout options

3. Select the product info to display in the sidebar

A converting product page provides enough product information while keeping it simple. In Ecwid, you can hide the elements (like SKU, product options, share buttons) if you don’t need them, so that your customers don’t get distracted on their way to cart.

The best part is that you can drag each element and organize them in any order. Test lots of new ways to optimize your product pages for conversions.

Product page optimization 5

Flexible sidebar settings

Change Your Storefront Navigation & Colors

There are a few more storefront settings, which are enabled by default to help your customers navigate your store. You can turn any of them off whenever you like.

If you switch from the older storefront version, these settings will migrate to the new storefront as you had them before.

Color Adaptive Mode. If you install an Ecwid online store on your website, the store colors will automatically match your website theme. Your store will look like a natural part of your website.

The footer menu and breadcrumbs help customers to browse your store faster and prevent them from getting lost.

The sign-in link enables customers to sign in to their profile to view their orders and use the wishlist.

"Sort by" options allow your customers to sort your products by price, name, and other conditions.

Other Ways to Change Your Ecwid Store Design

The new design settings cover the most common use cases. If you would like to change your store in other ways:

  1. If you need a custom theme for your store without coding, try design apps from the Ecwid App Market (available on paid Ecwid plans, app prices apply).
  2. Create a custom CSS theme (a set of rules that determines the look of every element in the store, like the size, shape, or color). Creating a CSS theme requires certain tech knowledge. There is a guide to CSS themes in the Ecwid Knowledge Base that explains how to create your own CSS theme and instructions for changing specific elements. You can always ask the Ecwid customer care team for help, or order the custom development of your own CSS theme.
  3. For developers: Use the Ecwid Javascript API to extend Ecwid storefront features. You can build a new CSS theme or an app, and sell it on the Ecwid App Market. The Ecwid Javascript API allows you to change the storefront look completely, bringing changes as deep as you need. If you are ready to start, please register on our page for developers.

Get a One-Page Website for Your Online Store

Your Ecwid store looks great, but you don’t have a website to sell on?

Starter Site is a free one-page website that Ecwid provides when you create your Ecwid account. This is done to let you quickly start selling online on a neat web page and make profits right away to grow your business.

Speaking of design, Starter Site is built with ready-made blocks (the cover image, logo, online store, "About Us" section, customer feedback, and contacts) that you can enable, disable, and customize.

If you need to customize your Starter Site, who’re you gonna call? Well, no one! You can edit the entire website without special knowledge, using your desktop computer or even via the Ecwid Mobile store management app for iOS.

Build your free Starter Site today using our step-by-step guide.

We can’t wait to learn what you think of the new design settings — see you in the comments below.

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How to Choose Customer Service Channels for Your Business https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-choose-customer-service-channels-for-your-business.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-choose-customer-service-channels-for-your-business.html#respond Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:48:57 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20898

If you have a business to run, you probably know how important customer service is to make it successful. But do you know exactly how it helps to convert visitors into customers?

Research shows that by the year 2020, 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.

It means that if your service is not satisfying, customers will go somewhere else. Even if it comes with a higher price, customers are willing to pay just to get memorable experiences from a brand.

Knowing this, it’s safe to conclude that by improving customer service, you retain customers and increase your sales.

Let’s see how can you choose the right customer service channels for your business to satisfy your customers.

Related: The Art of Positive Communication in Customer Service

Choosing the Right Customer Service Channels

Choosing the right social media channels is related to the industry your business is in. Email, phone, live chat, or all kinds of social media channels? The choice is yours.

Customer service through social media

Social media is a fragile place: if something goes wrong there, you can be sure that the whole internet will know about it. Whether it’s a customer who complains about your service or an unfortunate tweet you published before your first coffee.

McDonalds tweet

Before you decide what social media channels to set up, you need to make absolutely sure you will be able to cover them. The basic rule of social media customer service is to react quickly. Customers expect immediate answers there, and you need to follow the standards.

For example, when you face a bug in your product, come forth and react before customers come to you with complaints. That’s what HP Support did:

Hp on twitter

HP Support Twitter. The perfect example of providing customer service through social media

At some point, you will face obstacles, but that shouldn’t stop you from being present on social media. So what channels should you choose?

Facebook is suitable for all businesses. Most people use it, and even if they don’t have an account, they can view your profile and read the reviews.

Twitter is best for technology businesses and all the companies that work online. If you can promote your business in short and informative posts, then it’s a good place for you.

If you’re an interior designer, there’s no need for you to set up a Twitter account for your company. For you, the perfect place would be Instagram. A place where all the beautiful things in the world are displayed in all their glory.

Watch out for the crisis, though — never fight with customers on social media (or anywhere else for that matter). When someone complains, try to understand their situation, be nice and find a solution.

Related: Designing and Executing Social Media Marketing Strategy That Works Best

Customer service through email

I believe email is necessary for every business. Even if you think there are better and quicker ways to communicate with customers, you still need to give them a chance to write to you and not expect the immediate response.

So let’s see what you can do to make communication better there.

Start by making sure you don’t send too many emails. Then make sure all of your email campaigns are personalized.

A long time ago we were sending emails from "LiveChat" without a specific sender and with a generalized title. After we changed it to "Olga from LiveChat," added my picture to it, and started emails with a subscriber’s name, we doubled our open rates. People were reacting to our emails, and I was able to help them more with their queries.

You can start your email like that:

"Hi Monica, Last time I wanted to teach you about customer experience, now let’s see what you can do to improve your customer support…

When you address a subscriber by name, they’re more likely to open emails and respond to them. This way you gather feedback, and have more information about how to improve your service or product.

Related: How To Write A Welcome Email That Sells

Customer service on the phone

Using the phone as a customer service channel is somewhat polar. Some people will prefer it to any other way to contact you; many others hate calling.

Phone calls are very personal and can help you prevent a negative customer experience. A polite, quick, and helpful phone call can turn an angry customer into a loyal one.

On the other hand, phone calls are very time-consuming. If you place your phone number on your website, you can easily drown in endless conversations.

Make sure your time spent on the phone is worth it. Customer service on the phone will help if:

  • You are a local business
  • It’s traditionally used in your industry and customers expect it (for example, if you sell food for pickup)
  • You have a very large assortment or customizable products and your customers often need assistance with making an order.

Ecwid Starter Site

If you sell with Ecwid’s Starter Site, you can highlight your phone number above the fold

You’d better not use the phone as the only customer service channel. Especially if you sell to millennials — they will very likely be reluctant to contact you.

Customer service through live chat

LiveChat works great as a first point of contact with customers on your website. Besides having a chat window on your main page, you can provide a personalized experience on each of your webpages.

It comes in handy in many situations users experience online. For example, in e-commerce stores, when they have trouble finishing their order, or when they have just one quick question about a product but it’s too much hassle to call a company (at least that’s how they feel). While chatting, users can easily start a conversation with an agent, who can dispel their doubts within seconds.

To engage customers to start a chat session, one of our customers — Exact Data — used an eye-catcher. It’s a small graphic above a chat window that makes the chat option more visible and increases the number of users starting conversations.

LiveChat’s eye-catcher

LiveChat’s eye-catcher on Exact Data website. It makes the chat more visible

Companies can also start a conversation with users. For example, on your pricing page, you can greet customers by saying:

Hello, do you need any help with choosing the right plan for you?

This kind of personalized experience is much more effective and increases customers" responses. That’s how you engage website visitors to chat with you.

But it’s not only about sales. LiveChat can be used in many industries, for example in Human Resources. The recruitment process for universities can be complicated sometimes. With LiveChat, an employee from the university can see that a user struggles with finishing their application. To help those users, they start a chat with them and guide them through the whole process.

There are many more examples of using LiveChat in LiveChat Case Studies.

Meet Customers Needs Whatever They Are

The more communication channels you can provide, the better. The needs of different customers vary widely and if you can meet them, that’s great for your business. But you can also focus on fewer customer service channels to make sure you deliver an outstanding support across all.

The choice is yours, just remember that:

  • On live chat, you need to learn how to encourage visitors to chat and handle many queries at the same time.
  • Over the phone, some people would probably want to close a deal — as they feel the need to hear you (that’s why you should have information about them beforehand).
  • Other customers hate calling and would rather write you emails.
  • If a customer wants to complain, he or she will likely use social media to do it.

When you understand the types of customers you have and their needs, you can focus on providing an outstanding customer experience on the channels you chose.

The smoother the service you offer, the more likely it is customers will stay with you. As a result, your sales will increase and that’s what I wish for you. Good luck!

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Infographic: Insights from Our E-Commerce Survey of 250+ Small Business Owners https://www.ecwid.com/blog/infographic-insights-from-our-e-commerce-survey-of-250-small-business-owners.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/infographic-insights-from-our-e-commerce-survey-of-250-small-business-owners.html#respond Wed, 18 Apr 2018 05:39:57 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20858

Back in February, we conducted an e-commerce survey in the Ecwid blog newsletter.

Over 250 business owners shared how they were doing business, what was going well, what difficulties they were facing, and what plans they had for 2018.

It revealed lots of insights, which are summed up in the infographic below. If you are a fellow small business owner or are going to become one, these insights will help you get an idea of what it’s like to run a small business in 2018.

Infographic: Insights from Ecwid E-Commerce Survey of 250+ Small Business Owners

Download file

Survey Findings

Team. 13% of recipients claimed they were planning to hire staff in 2018. Not hiring enough employees was a common regret among the participants.

Feeling like there’s not enough hours in a day too? It might be time to get help. If you can never get to the end of your routine list, or you tend to implement fewer new ideas, you are less likely to build a healthy business. Employees or freelancers can help you find the time that’s necessary for strategic planning.

Related: Staff Accounts: Give Your Team Administrator Access to Your Store

Education. Every second small business entrepreneur has graduated from college. The education process never stops for them, though. Running an e-commerce business is impossible without keeping up with the demand, technology, and trends.

If you are thirsty for knowledge and inspiration, take note of these articles:

Gender. Male entrepreneurs still prevail over female entrepreneurs, but the percentage of female business owners has increased by 2% since 2015.

The Ecwid community counts many remarkable female entrepreneurs. Get inspired by their stories:

Niches. According to our e-commerce survey, handmade soap is the top popular product to sell in 2018. Jewelry comes second. Do you want to take one of these routes too? Read these articles:

Promotion. 56% of the recipients shared that they didn’t do anything in particular to promote their products, which was quite surprising! If you are one of them, we are curious to learn why in the comments to this post.

At the same time, social media marketing is the most popular channel (65%) for the small business owners who responded to our e-commerce survey. Little wonder that Ecwid’ new social selling tools were very well received.

Explore more marketing channels with these articles:

Skills. Networking is the hardest part of doing business for many entrepreneurs. Only 26% of the recipients consider themselves good at forming business relationships. If visiting a networking event ends up in nothing but a bunch of random business cards, CakeSafe’s story can shed the light on networking for you.

Struggles. The top three difficulties in the lives of small business entrepreneurs turned out to be lack of time (32%), lack of money (31%), and marketing and promotion (23%).

Lack of time can be cured by hiring more people to work for you; sometimes it’s not an option, so you might want to increase your own productivity instead.

As for lack of finances, you can save some money by testing free or cheap ways to promote your store. Finding the time-money balance can still be tough.

As for the marketing and promotion, it is only a matter of learning and trying. The Ecwid blog is always here to help.

Plans. This was the most curious question of the survey. What are fellow entrepreneurs going to do this year to make more money? Turns out, the majority (68%) are going to try new ways to market their products (which is kind of comforting after learning about today’s 56% of word-of-mouth marketers).

Second, many (53%) are going to launch new products. Need help figuring out what to sell online? Our collection of trending products to sell this summer can give you a head start.

If you are going to redesign your online store like 37% of the recipients of this e-commerce survey, read how to clean up your website without a huge redesign.

Finally, if you are among the 12% who are going to start a business, isn’t it a beautiful day to create your online store? It’s free and only takes five minutes.

Happy selling!

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We Asked Our Readers About Their Biggest Mistakes When Doing Business. Here's What We Learned https://www.ecwid.com/blog/we-asked-our-readers-about-their-biggest-mistakes-when-doing-business-heres-what-we-learned.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/we-asked-our-readers-about-their-biggest-mistakes-when-doing-business-heres-what-we-learned.html#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 08:47:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20788

As part of our blog readership survey (February 2018), we asked the participants about their wins and struggles. One question was:

"What is your biggest mistake in doing business?"

The response we received was so enthusiastic and insightful that it was worth a separate wrap-up. So, below are 20 common small business mistakes according to our readers. We added tips for solving them and can’t wait to hear your perspective in the comments.

1. Not Taking Enough Action

Not taking enough action is a common complaint, especially for first-time entrepreneurs. Self-doubt, lack of domain knowledge, and a desire for perfection can cause you to dawdle on decisions and put off work.

Not taking action

Here’s what you can do about it:

  • Focus on the "why" of your business to motivate yourself to take action.
  • Develop robust plans and commit to them instead of taking decisions on the fly.
  • Accept that you will make mistakes and that things don’t have to be perfect.
  • Surround yourself with a helpful community of fellow entrepreneurs.

A productive environment can help as well. If you’re working from home, read this article to create the perfect home office.

Also read: Productivity Hacks for Small Businesses

2. Not Being Able to Promote Your Products

Entrepreneurs who don’t come from a marketing background often struggle to put themselves out there.

If you don’t know whether a marketing tactic will work, you’ll be jumping from one marketing tactic to another. When you’re desperate for growth, any tactic that promises faster results can look more attractive.

Trying too hard to get noticed

The solution is to adopt a more measured approach to marketing. Start by:

  • Adopting a proven marketing plan and committing to it
  • Arming yourself with better marketing knowledge
  • Outsourcing marketing activities you’re not comfortable or experienced with.

Refer to this article on designing a social media strategy to get started. Also make sure that marketing is a core part of your business plan.

3. Not Defining the Market Early Enough

As any seasoned entrepreneur will tell you, the product-market fit is one of the keys to business success. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t sell it to the right people, you won’t make any sales.

Worse, you’ll lose marketing dollars (and time) pitching it to the wrong audience.

To define your target market, you need two things:

  • A deep understanding of your product and the problems it solves.
  • A deep understanding of your customers and the problems they face.

Product-market fit lies in finding the point where the customers’ problems and your product’s solution intersect.

Start by studying your product in-depth and test its viability. Make a list of all its features and who they would appeal to. Analyze your competitors and their customers.

Create e-commerce customer personas — it will help you in defining your target audience better.

4. Not Starting Sooner

There is an old Chinese proverb: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now."

Lots of businesses feel they should have started earlier. Some didn’t start because they didn’t have the time or money. Others hesitated because they didn’t have the expertise or the right tools.

If you’re still on the fence, know that you will eventually regret not starting sooner.

Not starting sooner

The good news is that starting an online business is easier and cheaper than ever. Refer to this guide to learn how to create an e-commerce business from scratch.

5. Not Buying Enough Stock

Inventory management is a critical but overlooked aspect of e-commerce. Carry too much stock and you risk losing money. Carry too little and you’ll struggle with order fulfillment.

To estimate inventory, calculate the best-case and worst-case scenario for the following:

  • Total organic traffic you can drive to the store
  • Total paid traffic you can buy with your budget
  • Estimated "spikes" in sales due to referrals (such as being featured in a website)
  • Conversion rates for stores in your niche, broken down by traffic source.

For example, stores in your niche might have 1% conversion rate for organic traffic. You estimate that your store can get 50,000 organic visitors/month. At a 2% conversion rate (best-case scenario), you’ll make 1,000 sales. At 0.5 conversion rate (worst-case scenario), you’ll make 250 sales.

Anything between 250-1,000 would be enough stock in this case.

Refer to this article on Maker’s Row to learn more about inventory management.

SmartInsights has a breakup of conversion rates by industry and audience.

Read this article to ensure inventory accuracy in Ecwid.

6. Not Being Visual Enough

Online retail is all about visuals. Since customers can’t see and feel the product, they rely on high-quality images and videos. In fact, 75% of shoppers say high-quality pictures is the most important factor in their shopping decision.

Making your store more visual involves several things:

Refer to our guide on visual merchandising to improve your store’s visuals.

7. Not Outsourcing Activities

First-time entrepreneurs often struggle with delegating work. They feel that others won’t be able to do as good a job.

Not outsourcing work

The problem is even more acute with outsourcing since you can’t actually see the worker.

Solve this business mistake by:

  • Outsourcing only non-critical work at first
  • Developing a robust communication plan to evaluate and instruct workers
  • Gradually scaling up outsourcing operations to more complex tasks.

Outsourcing doesn’t always work and you will run into some bad apples. The key is to push through initial failures until you find people you enjoy working with.

Neil Patel has an in-depth guide on outsourcing. Read this article to evaluate and manage remote workers. Use Upwork to outsource your work.

8. Not Approaching Big Investors

While there is certainly a virtue to be made out of bootstrapped success, good investors can unlock a lot of value. Approaching them, however, can be intimidating.

What if they don’t like your idea? Do you even have the metrics to get them interested?

Frustrated

The first thing to understand is that big investors want one thing above anything else: a positive ROI.

You don’t have to be from MIT or Harvard Business School to attract investment. If you have an idea, growth, and a path to profits, investors will listen.

Next, follow the advice in this article to create your business plan. Gather your metrics, team, and any credentials that will make you more attractive. Good bookkeeping practices can help here. Condense your idea, metrics, and market into a short pitch. Use Founders Institute’s "madlibs" approach to write it.

Make sure you approach investors when you’re on the top of your game (in sales). This can help you land a better deal.

9. Hiding Out of Stock Items

Sometimes, you want to sell a product but don’t have it in stock yet. Maybe its stuck in manufacturing. Or maybe you’re not ready to launch them in the market yet.

Removing these products altogether from the store means two things:

  • You won’t build any presence in search engines for them
  • You won’t have any way to estimate customer demand.

If you have a lot of such pages, your store will also look "empty". Instead of hiding those products, simply remove the "Add to Cart" button from the product page. This way, your store will act as a "product catalog". That will allow you to run promotions and gather customer data without actually putting the product for sale online.

Refer to this article to turn your store into a product catalog.

Read this to create a more flexible product catalog.

10. Not Investing in Customer Service

When you’re starting out, a single angry customer can ruin your business. If this customer is motivated enough, he can easily muster an online mob and leave your reputation in tatters.

There is no easy antidote to angry customers. You have to play the long-game of investing in customer service.

customer service

At the very least, make sure that you address common customer problems:

  • Keep customers in the loop about delays, quality issues, etc.
  • Practice transparency in pricing, shipping, returns, and manufacturing.
  • Adopt an honest, personal tone in all your communications.

Most customers will give young businesses a long rope. But if the product quality and customer service quality are both bad, they’ll turn on you quickly. At the very least, you should be honest and upfront about your issues. Don’t pretend to be bigger than you actually are. And don’t promise results you can’t deliver.

Read this article to learn how to deliver delightful customer experiences.

11. Not Making Detailed Plans

They say that failure to plan is to plan to fail.

failure to plan

Nowhere does this apply to more than e-commerce.

A detailed plan might seem like a waste of time when you’re starting out. Once you actually start, however, it will save you countless hours and bad decisions.

Start by making a business plan. Even if you don’t have any investors, it helps to organize all your ideas. See this article for an example
of a real-world business plan.

Besides a business plan, you should also have a detailed marketing plan. This should include SEO, social media, and paid channels.

Read this article to learn how to design a social media marketing strategy.

Read this article if you want to start selling globally.

12. Not Buying All Domains Associated With the Business Name

If you have the .com version of your name, you’re good to go, right?

Not exactly.

Competitors and domain squatters can easily buy the .net, .org, and country-code extensions of your domain to mislead customers.

competitors

You can try to sue them, but it will take way too much time and money that you could spend elsewhere. Keep yourself safe by buying all important versions of your domain name. At the very least, you should have the .com, .net, and .org. If you operate in a country other than the US, also buy your local country-code extension (.de, .in, .co.uk, .ru, etc.).

Here are some platforms to buy your domains from and tips for buying the perfect domain name for your store.

13. Not Investing in SEO

SEO is one of the best sources of long-term, targeted, and free traffic to your store. Not planning for SEO from the start can cost you later.

SEO should be a factor in every decision you make, especially the following:

  • Your product catalog must be logical and SEO friendly.
  • Your store design should be content focused and load fast.
  • Your product descriptions, content pages, blog posts, etc. must be keyword rich.

Investing in SEO will give you incremental returns over the life of your store. As you build backlinks and gain authority, you will drive more and more traffic from search.

Read this in-depth guide to e-commerce SEO to get started.

14. Not Using High-Quality Raw Materials

It doesn’t matter what you sell — clothes, shoes, furniture, food — the quality of your products is crucial. To get quality products, you need quality raw materials.

Start by deciding whether you want to make, manufacture, or wholesale your products. If you choose the "manufacture" route, use this guide to find a manufacturing partner. If you decide to make your own product, you’ll need to contact suppliers. Read this guide to understand the science of contacting suppliers.

The quality of your end product will depend on the quality of the ingredients that go into it. Make sure to try out several suppliers before deciding on one.

15. Not Watching Your Finances

It’s easy to lose track of boring details such as bookkeeping when you’re first starting a business. The thrill of building, promoting, and selling your own products often makes people forget that there is a business side to things.

wasting money

Make strong bookkeeping a priority for your business right from day one. Use accounting apps to keep track of every penny flowing in and out of the business. Set aside a fixed budget for all expenses. Make sure that it aligns with the estimated expenditure in your business plan.

Until you can hire an accountant, it’s also a good idea to learn small business accounting basics.

16. Not Setting Aside Enough Money for Marketing

A common business mistake is spending so much money on developing the product that you have none left for marketing it.

This often happens with first-time entrepreneurs who’ve never developed a product before. They might have a budget for development, but they end up going over it.

If you’ve ever encountered this situation, ask these questions:

  • What features does my product have? Which of these are "must have", "good to have", and "nice to have"?
  • How much does each feature cost to implement? Can you remove some "good to have" and "nice to have" features to cut costs?
  • What materials does the product use? Can you substitute some materials without compromising the quality substantially?
  • Can you find another supplier or manufacturer at a lower price?
  • Can you save time and money on shipping?

Your goal should be to get the most viable version of the product without overshooting the budget.

If possible, try raising additional funds by crowdfunding its development. Here’s a short guide on crowdfunding for online sellers.

17. Not Selling Worldwide from the Beginning

The internet allows you to sell to any corner of the world. Yet, many businesses delay international operations, costing them thousands in lost sales.

Selling globally can be intimidating. Customs, shipping, refunds, and payments become much more complicated across borders.

Thankfully, solutions like Ecwid have made this easier than ever. Ecwid integrates with a number of payment gateways, making it easy to accept payments from anywhere. It also works well with several international shipping and fulfillment services. You can even optimize your store for international customers.

For more information, read this article on selling globally.

18. Not Hiring Enough Employees

It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying "not yet" when it comes to hiring employees. After all, your finances are limited and employees are expensive. You also have to worry about finding, interviewing, onboarding, and training new recruits.

self five

Not having enough workers can take a toll on your time, motivation, and resources. You can get stuck doing mundane tasks (such as order fulfillment) when you could be doing something more transformative (such as developing a new product line).

The solution is obvious: hire people as soon as you need them. A good employee brings much needed energy, insight, skills, and enthusiasm to a growing business. The initial costs might be high, but the returns over time are worth it.

For more information, read this article on hiring workers for your online store. If you’d rather work with freelancers, see this guide on working with contractors.

19. Not Balancing Work and Life

As an entrepreneur, you have no fixed hours. Your work doesn’t stop after 6 pm. You’re thinking about your store 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. As a result, many entrepreneurs struggle to find work-life balance. It’s common to think that any time you don’t spend on your business is time wasted.

Such thinking is actually counter-productive. Entrepreneurial work isn’t linear. You can’t create 10x better marketing campaigns by spending 10x more time thinking about them.

Set aside time to relax. Not only will it make you happier; it will also make you a better entrepreneur.

20. Overthinking

Have you ever heard of "paralysis by analysis"?

Sometimes, you can overthink a decision so much that you’re unable to take any action.
First-time entrepreneurs often go through this problem. Since they have no prior experience, they overthink the decision and hesitate to make a choice.

The first thing when dealing with this problem is to forgive yourself. You’re not the only one who over-thinks issues. Countless entrepreneurs go through the same thing every day.

Next, arm yourself with knowledge. The more you understand a problem, the more confident you will be in making decisions. Go through the Ecwid blog and find topics related to your problem. Use this knowledge to stop thinking and start deciding.

Making mistakes is a part and parcel of running a business. The important thing is to analyze your mistakes and learn from them.

***

Have you recognized yourself in these mistakes? What other mistakes have you made in your business? Let’s chat in the comments below!

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How To Market A New Store On Facebook When You're Lacking Social Proof https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-market-a-new-store-on-facebook-when-youre-lacking-social-proof.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-market-a-new-store-on-facebook-when-youre-lacking-social-proof.html#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 12:32:11 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20762

Social proof is all about community. It’s a concept based on normative social influence: the idea that people will generally confirm in order to be liked or accepted.

How does it apply to e-commerce?

Well, if you’re visiting a website and you discover a testimonial from a satisfied customer or an industry expert, that’s social proof. It’s leveraging third-party influence to convince potential customers that you’re trustworthy.

So what if you’re a new brand who doesn’t have any social proof (yet)? How can you successfully market yourself on social media networks like Facebook? Here are some ideas.

Related reading: Ecwid’s New Social Selling Tools on Facebook

User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is one of the most effective methods of social media marketing — and also one of the cheapest. It fosters engagement among your customer base, while also driving referral traffic and brand awareness.

According to Crowdtap, consumers trust UGC 50% more than other forms of online media. It’s one of the best types of social proof there is.

dr martens on instagram

Dr. Martens’ hashtag campaign to generate UGC

It might seem counterintuitive, but your customers actually have the ability to market your business far better than you.

Ok, user-generated content is important. How do I get it?

Here are some ways you can start gathering UGC for your brand:

  • Create a unique UGC-focused hashtag that aligns your brand with relevant trends or seasons. For example, Starbucks’ #RedCupContest and Adobe’s #Adobe_InColor.
  • Devise a competition where you give users an opportunity to share their own ideas, photos and videos.
  • Work with social media influencers to have them create content for you as a way to kick things off — more on influencer marketing below.

Check out these user-generated content examples from brands on Facebook.

Micro Influencer Marketing

You’ve probably heard of influencer marketing, and you may also be aware that working with top influencers can cost an absolute fortune — with no guarantee of results.

The thing about macro influencers, as they are called, is that everyday people find it hard to relate to them. It’s hard to build an authentic celebrity-audience relationship.

The distinction between micro influencers and macro influencers comes down to subscriber count. Micro influencers usually fall in the region of 10,000-100,000 followers, compared to 100,000+ for macro influencers.

While micro influencers have a smaller audience, they’re more likely to have a close and loyal following who actually engage with what they have to say.

The price difference is significant too — a micro influencer might charge in the region of $250-$500 for a post, whereas the same from a macro influencer could set you back anything from $20,000 to $100,000. Again, with no guarantee of results and little assurance when it comes to terms and conditions.

Micro influencers stats

Source: Curalate

How can I find micro influencers in my niche?

Outreach tools like BuzzSumo, Ninja Outreach, and Buzzstream make it easy to contact influencers from any given niche, pulling in figures like social follower count and website authority.

Just ensure that you get good at negotiating, and don’t be afraid to walk away from something if it doesn’t feel right (speaking from experience here).

Learn more: How to Use Micro-Influencers on Instagram to Boost E-Commerce Sales

Quality Content that Stands Out

Here’s some advice that bears emphasizing: your Facebook marketing will only ever be as good as your content.

There’s certainly a time and a place for paid advertising, but it’s not the be all and end all when it comes to marketing a new store. At the core of successful online communication is one thing: great content that stands out.

If you do nothing else, invest your time in creative, valuable, useful content that’s tailored to your audience’s interests. It’s all about integration and making sure that an investment in one marketing channel pays off in others.

How do I stand out with content on a crowded social medium like Facebook?

Of course, it can be hard to stand out on a social media channel like Facebook. It’s noisy, crowded, and makes us easily distracted. Use the following tips to create content that has the best chance of engagement:

  • Stay updated on what’s happening in your industry — you need to be ready to jump on new trends as they develop.
  • Embrace quality over quantity. Poor content is pointless — only by sharing genuinely decent content will you start to amass likes and shares organically.
  • Don’t flog a dead horse — it doesn’t matter how much money you pour into advertising bad content; it’s not going to generate results if no one cares or wants to read it.
  • Be visual. It’s easy to enhance your content with beautiful imagery — even high-quality stock photos — and video/interactive content does well too. Remember, Facebook posts that feature images receive ~40% higher engagement rates.

Learn more: What to Post on Facebook: 20 Post Ideas for Your Facebook Business Page

Two-Way Engagement

Facebook isn’t a megaphone — it has to be a two-way conversation. If you’re lacking social proof at this early stage, you need to put even more effort into listening and interacting with new followers.

It’s ok to ask directly for the kind of engagement you’re looking for with a "tell us about" or a "like our page for more" in your posts. The key is this: if someone reaches out to your company on Facebook, be ready to respond as quickly as possible.

As consumers, we’re advertised to constantly, every day. So to be successful, your Facebook posts — and subsequent interactions — need a personal touch.

Naturally, your followers may want to hear news about your company and any offers or promotions you may be running, but they don’t want to hear a sales pitch 24 hours a day.

Instead, try posting fun and engaging questions for your followers to respond to – without them being tied to your sales objectives. Start conversions and contribute to them. In doing so, you can start to connect with your audience on a more human level.

Facebook Groups

The first thing many entrepreneurs think of when they start building up their business on social media is "oh, I must create a Facebook page!" — expecting that this will soon become a hub of engagement for their brand.

Without an advertising budget, creating a super engaged Facebook page — especially a business page — is really hard. However friendly and personable your tone of voice, people are still aware that on some level, it’s an advertisement.

This is why it’s worth creating a Facebook group for your business, in addition to the page. With a group, you’ll find it’s much easier to foster an engaged community of individuals having real conversions, which of course, you can dip in and out of. Before you know it, you have a tailored, attentive audience ready to hear what you have to say.

Why are Facebook groups so effective?

  • The group setting leads to more personal engagement — without the barrier of engaging with a business who might jump in and try to sell to you.
  • You can solicit feedback using polls. It can be an incredibly valuable way of getting to know your niche better and understanding what customers really want.
  • They foster trust, which, if you’re lacking social proof, is a key element for your business to focus on cultivating.
  • You can use them to selectively announce offers when the time is right. It’s important not to use Groups as a second sales channel. They should be reserved for very specific, targeted deals that the collective will find valuable.
  • You can pin a post to the top of the group that directs members to your site or invites them to sign up, so interested parties know where to go – without being pushy.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking to start Facebook social selling and you’re low on social proof:

  • Invite your customers to submit user-generated content that will add another perspective to your brand.
  • Find relevant micro influencers to collaborate with, allowing you to leverage their existing audience.
  • Create and post quality, relevant and visual content that gets shared organically.
  • Start a two-way conversation with your followers and reply in a timely manner to their comments.
  • Make use of Facebook Groups for sparking debates, getting to know your audience and generating authentic engagement.

Got questions for the author? Post them in the comments!

Learn more: 6 Facebook Marketing Mistakes That Are Holding You Back

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Best New Apps 3/18: Multi-Level Store Menu, Drop Shipping, Pricing Optimization https://www.ecwid.com/blog/best-new-apps-3-18-multi-level-store-menu-drop-shipping-pricing-optimization.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/best-new-apps-3-18-multi-level-store-menu-drop-shipping-pricing-optimization.html#respond Wed, 04 Apr 2018 16:25:55 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20705

Plugging a new functionality here and there in your online store when you need it — does that sound a bit too cool to be true? There are 147 e-commerce apps in the Ecwid App Market for you to do just that.

147 is a lot to choose from, so we decided to feature a spoonful of the hottest new applications monthly on the blog.

From store navigation to shipping, five new extensions for Ecwid stores were launched in March. Here they are, in no particular order.

Automatically Optimize Your Prices for Conversions

There are many possible reasons for a customer not to buy from a store, but the price remains the top one. How often do you evaluate the prices of your products and keep them competitive?

The Price Optimizer application aims to tell you exactly how your catalog prices are performing. It runs continuous A/B-testing of your prices (by slight modifications of your prices — up to 5% — for each unique visitor), analyzes conversion, and assigns the winning price (by CR) automatically.

Try out Price Optimizer for free for a limited time.

Dropship 2,000,000+ Products

Doba is a drop shipping marketplace where suppliers provide products you can resell on your Ecwid store for a commission.

Doba dropshipping for Ecwid

Doba marketplace offerings — add products and suppliers with ease

You can list and sell products without ever having to buy inventory up front or pack and ship orders.

Advanced search settings and filters make it simple to find relevant products. Discover trending products, manage product lists, and place and track all of your orders in one place.

Doba settings page in Ecwid

Doba integration settings

Get started with Doba drop shipping today!

Related: How to Start Your Drop Shipping Online Store

Add a Responsive Multi-Level Menu to Your Store

Some businesses specialize in selling parts or generally include a complicated category structure based on their business model. This could complicate the navigation for the end customer, not mentioning the ability to easily view all categories at once.

Multi-Level Menu is here to help! It gathers the most recent information about your store’s categories and provides a handy widget just above your storefront:

Multi-Level Illustrated Menu in action

Multi-Level Illustrated Menu in action

The widget is optimized for any device, so you can be sure that all your customers will have the best experience when accessing your storefront.

Check out Multi-Level Menu for free for a limited time.

Require Login to Access Your Storefront

You may be running a private store that is available to approved customers only. In this case, you can restrict access to your storefront for anyone that is not logged in or doesn’t meet the criteria.

To make managing this process easier, try the Required Login application. It requires customers to log in to your storefront in order to access any of the catalog or checkout pages:

Require login to see Ecwid storefront

Required Login blocks access to your storefront

The Required Login app is free to use, so don’t hesitate to try it now.

Manage Your Shipments With Ease

ShippingEasy is the ultimate shipping app for businesses of all sizes: sync, manage, process, and print shipping labels for your store orders (and everywhere else you sell online) in one place.

Order management in ShippingEasy

Order management in ShippingEasy

Get started with ShippingEasy with a free trial.

Also read: How to Set Up Shipping Rates in Your Store Using Ecwid

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What to Post on Facebook: 20 Post Ideas for Your Facebook Business Page https://www.ecwid.com/blog/what-to-post-on-facebook-20-post-ideas-for-your-facebook-business-page.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/what-to-post-on-facebook-20-post-ideas-for-your-facebook-business-page.html#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 13:08:34 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20651

If you’re reading this, you know that Facebook is important for growing your online store. You also know that the only way to build a following on social media is to regularly share engaging content.

When you run a small business, you never have enough time for your social media content plan. We’ve got you covered: here’s a backup list of 20 Facebook post ideas for your business page that will work for most stores.

Post contents:

  1. "Behind the scenes" posts
  2. Stylized product images
  3. People or models using your products
  4. Mood boards and product collections
  5. Pictures organized around a theme
  6. Customers using your products
  7. Live videos
  8. Content related to trending hashtags
  9. Teasers of an upcoming sale
  10. Pictures and videos of activities related to your brand
  11. Video previews of your products
  12. Quotes & memes
  13. Pictures of celebrity customers/influencers
  14. Product listings
  15. Upcoming events
  16. Questions and polls
  17. Contests and giveaways
  18. User-generated content curated around a hashtag
  19. Viral posts
  20. Content related to charities, causes, and important events

1. Share "Behind the Scenes" Pictures

"Behind the scenes" pictures and videos always work well. If you can’t think of new Facebook post ideas, take shots of your employees, partners, and stakeholders who run the business. Your customers will like the fact that there are "real" people running your store, and your business is not just a faceless corporation.

Behind the scenes post example

Behind the scenes images humanize your brand. Source: Nemis Clothing

2. Share Stylized Product Images

Product pictures will obviously be a staple of your social media content. Instead of the standard "product-against-white-background" shot, try sharing more stylized product images.

Taking a quality product picture requires some effort. At least, learn a couple of simple product photography tricks and how to change the background on your pictures without using Photoshop.

3. Share Fresh Shots of People Using Your Products

If you sell visual products, learn to have a reserve folder with product photography, and take new photos regularly — even if you’re not going to update your storefront photography right away. Get the habit of having one of your products on you all the time. This way, you’ll be able to take a picture using your phone if you spot a beautiful location or meet a perfect model (among your friends, for example).

For a consumer-facing retailer, particularly in the fashion segment, stylized pictures of models using their products will form a staple of any marketing campaign.

While professionally shot pictures of models do a great job of showing off your products, they can feel a bit distant and inorganic, especially on social media. Combine them with images of "real" people.

product photography idea

A candid image of the company’s founder modeling its clothes. Source: Brass Clothing

4. Post Mood Boards and Product Collections

The context in which customers see your products on Facebook will often impact how they perceive them.

If your product is placed in a collection next to top luxury brands, you are indirectly telling customers that your product is luxurious as well.

Try to create collections where you combine products from different brands. Your goal is to get customers to associate your brand with certain styles, movements, audiences, or emotions.

product collection example

Curated product collections can get customers to associate your products with a favorable brand, esthetic, or movement. Source: Alternative Apparel

Related: 10 Ideas for Creative Product Presentation in Instagram Galleries

5. Post Pictures Organized Around a Theme

The next one on the list of Facebook post ideas is sharing pictures that follow the same theme, design, or style. By doing that, you can shape how customers see your brand and its aesthetic.

Aloye regularly shares images organized around a single color. By itself, each image might not look like much. When seen alongside others, however, it creates a distinct brand identity.

Thematic facebook post example

Think of how each image you share interacts with other images

It’s not too hard to craft such a collection by combining one of your product pictures with stock images. Use Google Search tools to find a matching picture:

google photo search

Set a color and select the "labeled for reuse" license to find images for your post

More: Where to Find Free Images on the Web: Stock Photos, Databases, and Newsletters

6. Post Pictures of Customers Wearing Your Products

One of the best ways to build social proof is to show real customers wearing your products. If you take this route, make sure you ask customers for permission before sharing their pictures. Most will not only grant you permission but will even tell their friends that they have been "featured" by a brand, bringing you additional traffic.

The clothing brand Monrow regularly shares pictures of its customers wearing its outfits. Mostly, these are reblogged from Instagram.

Tip: create your branded hashtag and promote it across social media to get a steady stream of user-generated posts.

7. Post Live Videos

Live video has been one of the biggest content trends in the last few years and it stands out from many other Facebook post ideas. Live videos boast all the engagement and presence of conventional video with the spontaneity and authenticity of a live "conversation."

Sharing live Facebook videos of your products, Q&A sessions, design sessions, etc. should be a big part of your customer engagement strategy.

Learn more: How to Live Stream Video in Your Online Storefront: A Two-Minute Guide

8. Post Content Related to Trending Hashtags

Align yourself with a trend and get additional traffic by posting something related to a popular hashtag. This tactic is particularly effective if the hashtag has values you want customers to associate with your brand.

Bonobos shared this short video to celebrate International Women’s Day. Not only does this help it get traffic from people searching for this hashtag, it also portrays Bonobos as a progressive brand.

facebook post ideas: bonobo

Find hashtags that align with your values and create content for them

Related: How to Use Video in E-Commerce Marketing

9. Tease Followers With Your Upcoming Sales

If you have any discounts, deals, and sales coming up, make sure to tell your Facebook audience about them in advance. You can even share sale previews or give followers additional discounts.

Joe’s Jeans regularly updates its followers about upcoming sales. It also uses a Facebook-only promo code to give its followers a "bonus" for their loyalty.

facebook-only deals

Alert followers to upcoming sales and Facebook-only deals

10. Share Pictures and Videos of Activities Related to Your Brand

In some niches, such as activewear and athletic gear, you want customers to associate your brand with certain activities and lifestyles. Sharing pictures and videos of people doing those activities can help in brand building.

Not only are such shots great to look at; they also help customers associate your brand with a certain lifestyle. When you lack Facebook post ideas, browse free photo stocks and Pinterest for inspiration.

Related: How to Promote Your Online Store With Content Marketing

11. Share Video Previews of Your Products

Do you have an upcoming product(s) that you want to build up customer interest for? Instead of sharing an image, create a short video preview telling customers about the product.

The fashion brand Costalmel shared a video showing off one of its limited edition products.

Facebook product video


Video previews can get more engagement than static images

Since videos are more visually interesting than static images, such previews will likely get more engagement than your regular updates. This can be an advantage in case you want to promote a particular product heavily.

Tip: A cinemagraph (“live” photo) can work equally great here. If you’re short for resources to make a video, create a cinemagraph and share it in a Facebook post.

12. Share Quotes, Memes, and Viral Images

Your Facebook page doesn’t have to be all about you and your products. Break up the monotony by sharing memes, quotes, and images unrelated to your business.

Mabel’s Labels, a mom-focused brand of kids’ products, also shares funny memes to engage its followers:

Facebook post ideas: meme


Use memes to draw your followers’ interest and direct them to additional content

Besides being funny, such quotes and memes can also be a way to show that you understand your target customers. In the above example, Mabel’s Labels’ meme evokes a feeling a lot of parents might have experienced at a chaotic birthday party. The meme effectively tells them: "We understand you and your problems."

13. Share Pictures of Celebrity Customers and Influencers

Do you have any well-known celebrities as your customers? Have they ever used your products while out in public?

Sharing pictures of such customers can be a goldmine of social proof. Lafayette 148 New York, an NYC-based luxury label, had the distinction of having Oprah Winfrey as one of its customers. So when Oprah made a public appearance wearing one of its clothes, Lafayette 148 wasted no time in telling its Facebook audience about it.

Facebook post ideas: celebrity

If a celebrity uses your products in public, make sure to tell customers about it

Well, if getting someone like Oprah to use your products sounds as realistic as meeting a unicorn, don’t get upset. You can reach out to local micro-influencers and offer them free samples of your products in exchange for a photo.

14. Share Product Listings

Did you know that you can build a store on Facebook and share product listings with your audience?

Instead of simply sharing static images, go dynamic by also giving customers an easy way to buy your products. All you need to do is create a Facebook store and list your products.

Johnny Cupcakes regularly shares professionally shot pictures of its products. Along with pictures, it also shares links to the listings to make purchases easier.

facebook shop

Tag products on your images to make buying easier

Tip: to tag a product on your picture, upload it on Facebook, click "tag products" and click the area where your product is shown. Then enter the product title or ID. Save the chages.

15. Update Customers About Upcoming Events

Do you have an upcoming pop-up shop in the city? Are you hosting a charity night to promote your brand?

"Experiential" marketing is another hot e-commerce trend. In crowded markets, giving customers a chance to see, feel, and interact with your brand can help you stand out.

Set up a regularly updated "events" page where you can notify your followers about upcoming events.

Everlane, a popular women’s fashion retailer, has a number of events organized around shopping and causes. Followers can see all of them on its Facebook page and decide which ones they want to attend.

facebook events

Use Facebook to notify people about upcoming events

16. Ask Questions and Host Polls

One of the problems with sharing videos and images is that they tend to be non-interactive — unless you ask a question. Solve this problem by turning your content into questions and polls. You can either host these polls in your Facebook posts or drive people off-site to your own self-hosted polls.

Tip: If your audience is a bit too shy to answer the questions, add a numbered list of answers to the post and ask them to post the number in comments. This way, they won’t have to think of their own comment.

17. Run Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a staple of social media marketing and for good reason. They are interactive, attract new customers, and have a tendency to go viral.

Once in a while, run a contest or a giveaway on your Facebook page. Choose a reward they’d actually want (usually something from your product catalog), and give them an incentive to share it with their friends.

18. Curate User-Generated Content Around a Hashtag

User-generated content (UGC) is a proven way to build up social proof. When others see real customers using and loving your products, they’re more likely to trust your offerings.

Try to curate all UGC by asking customers to share it using a custom hashtag. You can then search for this hashtag to find all customer-created content and share it on your page.

For example, Clarisonic asks customers to share their pictures using the #SonicLove hashtag. It then compiles their pictures into a single image to thank them while also building social proof.

social proof on facebook


Curate user-generated content around a custom hashtag, then share it with your followers

19. Combine UGC, Giveaways, and Trending Hashtags to Create Viral Posts

We’ve seen that UGC, giveaways, and content focused around trending hashtags make for great Facebook posts. However, you don’t have to use any of these in isolation. You can combine them as you see fit to create posts with viral potential.

Stella & Dot, a clothing label, used the #NationalPuppyDay hashtag to ask its followers to share pictures of their pets. A selected winner was then featured on the site and offered a gift voucher.

combination of different facebook post formats


Combine different post formats to create viral content

This is a perfect example of leveraging different content formats to create viral content. The #NationalPuppyDay hashtag was a great excuse to curate one of the most popular content types on social media — pictures of dogs. Throw in the contest element and you have a post that can easily go viral.

20. Share Content Related to Charities, Causes, and Important Events

Millennial customers have regularly shown that they prefer a brand that aligns itself strongly with a charity or a cause. Use this to your advantage by sharing content related to a cause or an important event.

If you’re going to use this tactic, make sure to be genuine and classy. Customers shouldn’t feel that you’re just using the charity as an excuse to make money.

Conclusion

Facebook is a vast and open-ended playground for businesses. From memes and product pictures to event updates and live videos, there are countless post-types you can share with your followers.

Whenever you’re feeling uninspired and need some fresh ideas, use this list as a guide when creating content for your Facebook business page.

What content works best for your business on Facebook? Share with us below!

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10 Trending Products to Sell This Summer https://www.ecwid.com/blog/10-trending-products-to-sell-this-summer.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/10-trending-products-to-sell-this-summer.html#respond Sun, 01 Apr 2018 13:44:43 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=15476

At the start of this year, we brought you a list of hot and inexpensive products to explore in 2018.

Now that summer is upon us, there’s a whole new range of trending products to sell — and a whole new market of hungry buyers — to explore and.

In this list, we’ll look at the hot new products you can sell this summer.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re completely new to the e-commerce game or revamping your store for the summer, these products will help you make the most of the coming few months.

1. Weight Loss and Diet Products

Come summer, come summer body goals.

Demand for health-related products, especially weight loss products, tends to spike right around January (thanks to New Year’s resolutions) and summers.

This is a broad category, of course, but it has some evergreen products. Some of these are:

Protein bars

trending product in 2018: protein bars

Protein bars are a go-to food supplement for fitness enthusiasts who want protein on the go. Demand goes up around summer as more people push for their "goal body".

For example, here’s Google Trends report for protein bars:

Google Trends for protein bars

Note how the demand spikes around summer, then dips right before winter? 😉

Juices

trending product in 2018: juices

Juices — fresh or packaged — are a big hit in hot summer months. Both because of their refreshing properties and health benefits.

Take a look at Google trends for juices. Notice how there are always two spikes — one around January, and another before summer?

A trending product to sell in summer 2018: juice

Protein Powder

trending product to sell in 2018: protein powder

Protein powder (often just "whey protein") is one of the most popular sources of protein for fitness enthusiasts. And just like protein bars, demand spikes up around January and summer.

Google trends for protein powder

2. Keto Diet

Keto is a dietary program that emphasizes proteins and fats and (almost) completely removes carbohydrates from the diet.

With celebs like Lebron James and Jessica Biel following it, Keto has quickly become one of the most searched-for diets in the world.

google trends for keto diet

Given the massive fat loss associated with keto, it’s a great product category to sell this summer.

Some keto-related products that do particularly well are:

Keto Bars

trending product to sell in 2018: keto bar

These are like protein bars, except that they have higher protein and fat content and negligible carbohydrates.

Google trends for keto bar

Keto Books

Books related to keto diet are going up in demand:

google trends for keto book

Keto Chips

hot summer product: keto chips

Another hot new product to sell is protein and fat-rich chips that adhere to the keto diet requirements. They help people on the diet snack easily.

Demand has been up and up:

google trends for keto chips

Keto Supplements

hot new products to sell: keto supplements

These are food supplements that supply additional protein and fat. They’re becoming increasingly popular among people struggling to meet their nutritional targets.

google trends for keto supplements

3. Waterproof Bluetooth Speakers

Bluetooth speakers have been around for a while, yet not everyone has them in 2018.

Trending product summer 2018 bluetooth speaker

The popularity spikes during the holiday season (electronic goods make good gifts), but summers show steady growth as well.

google trends for waterproof bluetooth speakers

4. Retro Sunglasses

Sunglasses are obviously a big hit around summer. The sun is out and people like to be outdoors. So of course, they’ll want to keep their eyes protected (and look cool).

But instead of simply selling "sunglasses", niche down.

One type of sunglasses that have been doing particularly well recently is 90’s sunglasses.

Remember Neo from Matrix and his skinny black sunglasses? Thanks to the 90’s nostalgia, they are back in fashion. Other trendy designs are cat-eye, rectangular sunglasses, and oversized models.

trending product 2018: retro sunglasses

5. Matcha

trending product 2018: matcha tea

Matcha what?

Matcha is a green tea powder that has climbed the popularity charts due to its health benefits. Essentially, this is a form of green tea that is dried, powdered and added to drinks.

Matcha is rich in caffeine and theanine — two energy-releasing chemicals (also found in energy drinks). At the same time, it gives the calmness associated with green tea. And since it is a powder, it can be added to water, milk and even food without altering its flavor profile much.

Little wonder that its Google Trends report looks like this:

Trending product 2018: matcha

Given the health benefits, it’s a fantastic product to add to your product line this summer.

6. Car Air Purifiers

With a healthy lifestyle trending more than ever, health gadgets have a strong presence among products that are in demand.

Car air purifiers come in a variety of forms, sizes, and designs. They are usually plugged into a car’s cigarette lighter. Such purifiers are supposed to reduce dust and other allergens in your car, as well as odors like tobacco or fast food.

car air purifiers are hot new products to sell

7. Selfie Ring Lights

Summer means it’s time to hit the outdoors. And when you’re outdoors, you’ll want to take some photographs.

Selfie ring lamps are portable LED babies that you can clip on your phone to take better selfies during night summer parties or elsewhere. You can buy some of them on AliExpress for under $5, so not only do they make a hot new product to sell, but also a perfect gift for your customers (everyone takes selfies!).

hot products to sell selfie ring light

8. Travel Bags

hot product to sell: travel bag

Here’s an evergreen product you can’t go wrong with in the summer: a travel bag.

Traveling the world is getting more and more popular, so the demand for travel bags has been increasing for a long time.

Hot products to sell: travel bags

Can you come up with a smart new design that will win the hearts of Instagram travel bloggers?

9. Enamel Pins

hot new products to sell: enamel pins

Enamel pins are colorful accessories that have become popular over the last couple of years. Often quirky and laden with pop-culture symbolism, these cheap accessories can add some character to any outfit, instantly.

If you sell clothes or accessories, consider adding these to your store. You might even want to design some of your own if you have a manufacturing partner.

Read this article to find a manufacturing partner for your product idea.

hot new products to sell in 2018: enamel pins

10. Merch

Wearing clothes with the name of your idol on them feels good. It also makes it easier to attract like-minded people. Plus, summer is a perfect time for selling bright tees and caps, isn’t it?

So take your chance and launch a new product line — especially since Google Trends shows the increasing demand for merch products.

Hot new products to sell: merch

Conclusion

Try to pack your store catalog with an equal distribution of evergreen and trending products. This way, you ensure a steady trickle of sales (from evergreen products) as well as regular sales spikes (from trending products).

For summer 2018, you can start off by picking from some of the products listed above.

If this list has inspired you to start an online business, check out this article to learn how to start your first e-commerce store.

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Ecwid Features Digest Winter 2017-18 https://www.ecwid.com/blog/ecwid-features-digest-winter-2017-18.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/ecwid-features-digest-winter-2017-18.html#respond Fri, 30 Mar 2018 17:08:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=20604

This digest arrives quarterly to inform you about all the Ecwid changes.

What’s inside:

  1. New Selling Tools for Facebook
  2. Sell on Amazon
  3. Sell on eBay
  4. More Streamlined PayPal Checkout
  5. Control Panel Updates
  6. New in Ecwid Mobile Сontrol Panel
  7. Add a Store to Your Website: Ecwid Plugins News
  8. Additional Security at Store Login
  9. New Payment Options for Latin America
  10. New Apps in the Ecwid App Market
  11. For Developers

New Selling Tools for Facebook

67% of respondents to our recent blog readership survey (thanks for participating, guys!) use social media to promote their stores, making it the most popular marketing activity for small businesses.

Now you can go beyond likes and shares on social media. "Sell on Facebook" is our new set of tools for you to:

  • Sell across devices with a new, mobile-friendly shop section on your FB business page.
  • Run automated dynamic ads and many other FB ad formats.
  • Retarget your store visitors on FB and optimize ads for conversions with the Facebook pixel integration.

Facebook shop

A Facebook shop section

Exporting your Ecwid product catalog to Facebook will take one click (literally). You can do it in Control Panel → Sell on Facebook.

As soon as you export your products to Facebook, you can use your Facebook Product Catalog to run dynamic ads. If you want to retarget your store visitors, install the Facebook Pixel by simply copy-pasting the Pixel ID into your control panel.

If you already sell on Facebook with our old Facebook Store app and want to switch to the new, mobile-friendly store that is integrated into many FB ad formats, enable the new integration in Control Panel → Settings → What’s New.

The new "Sell on Facebook" integration is available on all paid Ecwid plans.

Learn more → 

Sell on Amazon

Selling on Amazon is similar to renting a boutique in a large, popular mall — at a lower cost.

Amazon.com alone counts 300 million users. What makes this marketplace such a giant? Well, its polished interface, global reach, reliability, and great features like two-day shipping or rich customer reviews, to name a few reasons.

Selling products from your Ecwid store on Amazon is like having a celeb cousin. You get your piece of the fame pie by simply hanging out with them. Your Amazon products receive traffic, even if your brand name is not a buzzword. As long as you sell good products for reasonable prices, Amazon’s hungry audience will discover them.

Ecwid’s new integration with Amazon is powered by Codisto.LINQ, a company that professionally connects e-commerce platforms with marketplaces. It not only allows you to export your products to Amazon, but also to stay synced.

It means:

  • Protection from overselling: as soon as someone buys your product on Amazon, your Ecwid inventory is updated (and vice versa).
  • No manual work: your product catalog is automatically synced with Amazon, releasing you from spending hours on uploading your products.
  • Competitive deals on Amazon: set different prices for products on your Amazon listing to compete with other Amazon sellers.
  • Easily discovered products: customize your product titles and descriptions with keywords that work best on Amazon to help customers find your deals.

Codisto.LINQ interface

Codisto.LINQ page in Ecwid control panel

Start selling on Amazon in your Control Panel → All Sales Channels → Amazon. (Available on the Business plan and higher. See the Codisto.LINQ pricing).

Learn more →

Sell on eBay

eBay is one of the busiest marketplaces out there. It has very few barriers to entry, making it very easy to start selling. Popular among geeks and DIYers, eBay is a perfect home for handcrafted, unique, or rare products.

Our new eBay integration is also powered by a professional service, Codisto.LINQ. It allows selling on eBay directly from your Ecwid control panel. Keep your inventory synced and customize your products to make them more appealing to eBay shoppers: change prices, titles, descriptions, shipping and return policies, etc.

Start selling on eBay in Control Panel → All Sales Channels → eBay.

Hint: If you have lower volume sales or just want to test new products, there’s a free Amazon & eBay integration in Ecwid. Trimpo is an app in the Ecwid App Market that supports listing on those marketplaces (currently in a free beta version). The Ecwid App Market is available on all paid Ecwid plans.

Also read: How to Figure Out Where to Sell Your Products

More Streamlined PayPal Checkout

Ecwid’s integration with PayPal has now been updated to the latest version — all without extra actions on your side. This update brings in a new, convenient shopping experience to your customers.

Checkout within your website. The enhanced In-Context Checkout gives your customers a simplified checkout experience that keeps them local to your online store.

PayPal Checkout

Source: PayPal

Before, your customers were redirected to a full-screen page to authorize their payment with PayPal. Now, it happens in a small mobile-friendly pop-up window. It means less distraction for your customers and more completed purchases for you.

Faster checkout flow. Streamlining your checkout process is an essential part of conversion optimization. One Touch™ Checkout allows your customers to log into their PayPal accounts automatically, skipping the login process and entering their billing info.

It’s still the same secure PayPal services, so you don’t have to worry about your customer data.

Paypal checkout button in store

PayPal Checkout button on the cart page in Ecwid

Connect your PayPal account to Ecwid in Control Panel → Payment. It’s simple: you will need nothing more than your email address.

Control Panel Updates

We’ve completely overhauled the control panel so that the full update was worth another blog post (it explains our motives for each improvement). We’ll keep the long story there — below are the updates that happened afterward:

Learn more: Designing Your Free E-Commerce Website From Scratch to the First Sale

New in Ecwid Mobile Сontrol Panel

Your staff can use Ecwid Mobile to manage your store

Last year, we added the ability to give your employees, freelancers, or outsourcers administrative access to your store. They can log in to your control panel using their emails and help you to edit your product catalog, update inventory, tweak the design, chat with customers, etc. Your staff can’t access your billing info and invite or delete other team members.

Now your team can manage your store on the go using Ecwid Mobile. For example, your team members can sell your products on a street market, and you can stay in-house to run the business.

Learn how to let your staff manage your store via Ecwid Mobile: on iOS, on Android.

More Ecwid Mobile news

Mobile commerce is a hot e-commerce trend in 2018. So, we’ve retouched our mobile store management app for iOS (and are rolling out these updates to the Android version very soon). The apps functionality is expanding to make it an independent store management tool, so that you don’t need to stay next to your computer and could sell anywhere you want.

Ecwid mobile

Create and edit an e-commerce website from your smartphone. You don’t have to use your сomputer to create a selling website! Download the app, create an Ecwid account (if you haven’t got one yet), and go to Settings → Account → Edit Starter Site to open the editor. Start building a one-page e-commerce website from anywhere with internet access.

Edit your website (change contact details, business hours, cover image, and texts) whenever you want.

Ecwid mobile control panel

Faster login for Ecwid Mobile and Sell on the Go. Using the Ecwid Mobile Control panel and Sell on the Go apps together has become easier: now you don’t have to log in to each app separately. It’s enough to log in to one of them to be logged in to the other automatically.

If you sell in person (a brick-and-mortar store, pop-up store, craft show, art fair, etc.), the Sell on the Go application (for iOS only) will allow you to accept credit cards via PayPal Here or Square POS. You can also accept cash via Sell on the Go.

Open your Ecwid Mobile app, go to Settings → Download Sell on the Go.

Automatically identify your customers when they call you:

  • In your iPhone, go to Settings → Phone → Call Blocking & Identification.
  • Switch on providing Caller ID for Ecwid.
  • Go to your Ecwid Mobile → Settings → Force Data Synchronization. That will add customer names and phone numbers to your address book. When a customer calls you, you’ll see their name.

Get Ecwid Mobile App for iOS   Get Ecwid Mobile App on Google Play

Add a Store to Your Website: Ecwid Plugins News

Ecwid e-commerce plugin for RapidWeaver

RapidWeaver is a desktop site builder app for Mac. It’s perfect for building classic-structured websites. It has 50+ themes plus the support of third-party add-ons, including our new e-commerce plugin that adds an online store to a RapidWeaver website in seconds.

No need to call for developers — you won’t have to interact with code while using the plugin. The following video tutorial explains how to get started.

Get the plugin →

Learn more: Mac Users, Meet Our E-Commerce Plugin for RapidWeaver Websites

Ecwid e-commerce plugin for WordPress

Have you updated your plugin to the latest version (v. 5.8.2)? We regularly add new features to the plugin — here are some of the winter highlights:

  • Ecwid works more smoothly with more popular WordPress themes (Customizr, Abubize Business, Evolve Plus, Themify themes). Change the look of your website as often as you want — your Ecwid store will work just fine!
  • Better snippets of your store links (added page title, description, and image) that you share on social media. Rich product previews promise more clicks to your store.
  • SEO improvements, including compatibility with Yoast premium SEO plugin.

Additional Security at Store Login

If you (or someone else) tries to log in to your store from an unusual location (or a new browser), we’ll warn you by email.

An email notification about an unexpected store login

An email notification about an unexpected store login

This way, you’ll be able to reset your store password quickly (by clicking the link in the email) if you can’t recognize who has entered your control panel. It can give you additional protection from phishing attacks or other malicious attempts to steal your store data.

Learn more: Online Store Security: 8 Must-Complete Steps Against Web Threats

New Payment Options for Latin America

Ecwid is now integrated with two payment providers that support many payment options popular in Latin America:

  • Mercado Pago: accept credit cards, cash, wallets in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Uruguay. Get all the payments into your Market account and transfer them to your bank account.
  • PayU Latam: 20+ payment options for Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

Ecwid Payments for Everyone in the UK

If you sell in the US or the UK, accept credit cards quickly with minimal setup using Ecwid Payments:

  • Lightning-fast setup: connect your bank account without leaving your Ecwid Control panel.
  • Frictionless synchronization with your Ecwid product catalog.
  • Partial or full refunds right from your control panel: the faster your refunds, the happier your customers.

Stephanie Corn is using Ecwid Payments in her Ecwid store. Read here how Ecwid Payments contributed to 8X growth of her business.

More payment options

  • Mollie payments: accept iDeal, credit cards, PayPal, BitCoin, and more with a single setup.
  • Paytrail: e-payments to all Finnish banks, major credit, and debit card payments.
  • Datatrans payments (beta): credit and debit cards, SEPA, PayPal, E-banking, PaySafeCard, Skrill, and other payment methods for Switzerland.

New Apps in the Ecwid App Market

  • EU Cookie Banner: add a banner on your store giving consent compliance of the European Cookies Law.
  • Sales Booster: create up-sell and cross-sell offers that are displayed after your customer adds a product to their cart.
  • Receipt Print: allow customers to print their receipts from their store account.
  • Acutrack Fulfillment: automate the order fulfillment process.
  • GiftUp!: sell & redeem gift cards on your website with no monthly fee.
  • Social Login: let customers sign in to your store with their social account.
  • Free Shipping Bar: inform customers about your free shipping deals and motivate them to reach the threshold.
  • ShippingEasy: integrate your store with USPS, UPS, and FedEx, manage your shipments, print shipping labels.
  • Required Login: add a requirement for customers to sign in before they access any page in your storefront.

For Developers

If you are an IT guy or gal, we’d love to see your app in the Ecwid App Market. Here are the most notable improvements of the Ecwid API:

  • We have added coupon and discount values to order items and abandoned carts. Now you get the type and amount of a discount or a discount coupon amount applied to a specific item.
  • Know how much tax total was applied to a shipping charge, only if the tax is applied to both subtotal and shipping. This is done through the taxOnShipping field to orders, abandoned carts and calculation of order details endpoints in Ecwid REST API.
  • Now it’s possible to create custom logic when a certain payment or shipping is enabled or show the list of set up payments and shipping methods in an external system. You could also use it to display payment methods icons for a certain payment option when it’s enabled at checkout.
  • A new webhook event which fires when store information gets updated. For example, now you can get notified when a merchant updates their email or company address and you won’t have to check it manually.
  • Get the default storefront price of a product which includes taxes, options, or variations with the defaultDisplayedPrice field from /products endpoint of the Ecwid REST API. Now it’s easier to show the price from a merchant’s storefront in a custom storefront solution or in custom widgets for products.

What Do You Think?

We build new features with you in mind — and we want to hear from you! Should you have a question about these updates, or want to share an idea, we’ll be waiting for you in the comments section below.

More big news is coming soon — stay in touch.

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