Ecwid | E-Commerce Shopping CartEcwid | E-Commerce Shopping Cart https://www.ecwid.com Ecwid: shopping cart when and where you need it Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:43:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 16 Free E-Сommerce Cost Calculators https://www.ecwid.com/blog/16-free-e-%d1%81ommerce-cost-calculators.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/16-free-e-%d1%81ommerce-cost-calculators.html#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:14:20 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18432

Operating an e-commerce business means wearing a lot of hats. Sometimes you’re the chief marketing officer; other times you’re the warehouse manager. With so many different tasks involved in running your online store, you’ll take all the help you can get.

Everything from evaluating sales tax to the risk you run of being hacked — is purchasing cyber insurance worth it? — can stack up. The next time you find yourself performing the unenvious task of compiling a spreadsheet with lots of headache-inducing equations, try Googling "storage space calculator" or whatever it is you’re trying to figure out.

I’ve gone ahead and compiled a number of nifty free calculators that most e-commerce business owners could do with. If you’ve got a favorite that’s not on here, I’d love to know — please share it in the comments below!

16 Free E-Сommerce Cost Calculators at Hand

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DIM Weight Сalculator

If you handle order fulfillment yourself, your back probably isn’t the only thing that’s a pain.

Trying to figure out whether it’s cheaper to send your package to Marianne in Marietta, GA via FedEx or UPS involves calculating dimensional weight, or DIM weight if you want to be fancy.

The folks at Red Stag Fulfillment make it easier for you to determine the cheapest shipping rate with their easy to use and free DIM weight calculator. Just plug in the weight and dimensions of the package you’re shipping and the calculator does the rest.

DIM Weight calculator, RSF

DIM Weight calculator, RSF

Tip: Enable dimensional shipping rates in Ecwid to get more precise shipping costs for your products.

Sales Tax Сalculator

Wanda in Wilmington, Delaware just ordered a pair of your e-commerce site’s famous kitten mittens for her Maine coon, Molly. The FedEx guy just picked up the package when it hits you: you forgot to assess sales tax on Wanda’s purchase!

D’oh! If you had used TaxJar’s Sales Tax calculator, you wouldn’t have freaked out. That’s because their database of state, county, and local sales taxes turns up a flat 0% for Wanda’s ZIP code. Use this free calculator and save yourself the trouble of assessing sales tax nexus.

Sales Tax calculator, TaxJar

Sales Tax calculator, TaxJar

Related: 10 Things US Business Owners Don’t Know about Sales Tax

Packaging Cost Calculator

If you want to dive into the nitty-gritty of packaging costs, you’re going to love this free cost calculator from Expandos.

It lets you calculate the cost of packing a single box of products based on the sort of packaging you use, such as packing peanuts or that really annoying/super fun (depending on your point of view) plastic packing bubbles.

Packaging Cost calculator

Packaging Cost calculator, Expandos

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Packaging

Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator

Since Amazon accounts for almost half of US e-commerce sales, there’s a good chance your e-commerce business sells products through Amazon or Amazon Prime.

If you sell gourmet coffee makers online and just found a supplier for a fancy new pour over coffee setup, you can test out your split of revenue if you decide to list it on Amazon’s website.

Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue calculator, Amazon

Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue calculator, Amazon

Related: The Last Piece of the eCommerce Puzzle: Shipping and Fulfillment

Product Description Cost Calculator

For any business owner who’s suffered through the arduous head-meet-desk exercise otherwise known as writing product descriptions for their website, this nifty little calculator from OneSpace could be a lifesaver.

If your e-commerce business has thousands of SKUs that all need their own personalized product description but you don’t want to write them yourself, use this calculator to get an idea of how much it will cost to hire someone else to do it for you.

Product description cost calculator, OneSpace

Product description cost calculator, OneSpace

Learn more: How to Write Awesome Product Descriptions That Sell

Return Cost Calculator

Returns a normal part of doing business, but how much do they impact your bottom line? Knowing how much each return costs your business is helpful for deciding whether or not or by how much to raise prices on certain products. This calculator aggregates data such as your average return rate and applicable fees such as shipping rates paid per customer.

Return cost calculator

Return cost calculator, return-cost-calculator.com

Learn more: Top Reasons for Returns and How to Minimize Them in Your Online Store

Reorder Point Formula

Running out of stock because your web store sells the next big fad toy that every parent is buying for their kid’s birthday is a good problem to have.

The moment you lose a sale because your new inventory is still halfway across the country on a freight truck headed to your warehouse is when it becomes a bad problem.

This is the sort of problem you want to prevent from happening; the solution is to calculate the optimal reorder point. Tradegecko’s reorder point formula minimizes the possibility of delays while ensuring that you don’t order new inventory too soon and end up eating up resources because now you have to pay for extra storage space in the fulfillment warehouse.

Reorder point formula, Tradegecko

Reorder point formula, Tradegecko

More: Inventory Tracking in Ecwid

Cost of Lost Customers Calculator

Your friends might not be brave enough to tell you that your decision to undercut competitors by sacrificing on quality is a mistake.

But customers who plonk down the cash for your soon-to-be-trash product won’t be shy about sharing their opinions across Amazon, Google, and social media. That’s where this lost customers calculator could come in handy — maybe play around with it before you start using substandard materials.

Cost of lost customers calculator, Impact Masters

Cost of lost customers calculator, Impact Masters

Related: How to Build Customer Loyalty From Scratch

Cyber Attack Risk Diagnostic

When you accept credit cards online, you shoulder a lot of risk. A breach of the server you rent, an accidental click on a phishing email — there are a frightening number of possibilities for how a hacker can f**k with your life and the lives of your customers.

That’s why this free cyber risk diagnostic test from AON is so worth your time. Don’t be the next Yahoo; take the time to understand what vulnerabilities exist on your website and what you can do to protect yourself and your customers.

Tip: if you sell with Ecwid, your online store is HTTPS and PCI-DSS Level 1 certified (the golden security standard for e-commerce). No need to worry about your online store security. However, if you installed Ecwid on a HTTP website, we recommend you to switch to HTTPS. Learn more → 

Conversion Rate Calculator

There’s a bunch of KPIs that you should track if you want to optimize your store’s performance in search engines. A number of basic SEO metrics can be plugged into this free, easy to use conversion rate calculator.

Conversion rate calculator, Trafficplusconversion.com

Conversion rate calculator, Trafficplusconversion.com

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

Marketing Automation Calculator

If you’re in the B2B e-commerce sphere, you probably already use a CRM to more effectively manage your sales team and the leads that come through the funnel.

How much are you using automation to nurture those leads though? This free calculator from Pardot will estimate the multiplier effect you could see by using automation to do everything from email drip campaigns to sending whitepapers or case studies based on lead profiles.

Time is money, and this calculator could be the first step in saving a whole lot of time.

Marketing Automation calculator, Pardot

Marketing Automation calculator, Pardot

Related: 6 Popular Project Management Tools for Small Business (Pros and Cons)

Fulfillment Cost per Order Calculator

The fulfillment consulting agency F. Curtis Barry & Co are a good resource for your e-commerce business should you wish to evaluate your fulfillment spending habits.

The margins in e-commerce are a fluid thing, so knowing which metrics could result in a 5% cost savings makes a huge difference. Use their free calculator to determine how much you spend on labor, packaging, taxes, and more — then plan accordingly to see the cost savings you need to keep your business profitable.

Email Marketing ROI Calculator

Do you need to hire a creative copywriter to craft an engaging email drip campaign? This free calculator is just what the doctor ordered. If you currently handle email campaigns for your business and want to see if maybe it’s worth hiring a specialist to take care of this for you, this email campaign ROI calculator will point you in the right direction.

Email marketing ROI calculator, easycalculation.com

Email marketing ROI calculator, easycalculation.com

Online Checkout Conversion Calculator

Are you getting ten thousand visitors per day to your e-commerce and somehow only 20 walk away as customers?

You’re probably overdue for a diagnostic to figure out what in the name of Jeff Bezos is going on. An online checkout conversion calculator can determine if your servers have a high rate of kicking visitors off the site as they add items to their basket.

It might find that your decision to ask customers to create a profile with a username and complicated alphanumeric password has backfired. Whatever it is that’s holding you back — even if you think nothing is wrong with your website’s design and UX — you won’t know till you find out.

Also read: Is Your E-commerce Business Making One Of These 10 Design Mistakes?

PayPal and Stripe Fee Calculator

A question that has haunted philosophers, kings, and generals alike since the dark ages of the Internet is how to accept payments from customers?

There are two giants for doing it — PayPal and Stripe. This Fee Calculator gives you a quick n’ easy head-to-head comparison of PayPal and Stripe so you know exactly who’s giving you a better rate every time you make a sale.

PayPal and Stripe fee calculator, The Fee Calculator

PayPal and Stripe fee calculator, The Fee Calculator

Credit Card Fraud Cost Calculator

Speaking of credit card acceptance, if you do business on the internet it’s inevitable that you’re going to see an occasional chargeback.

When a fraudster tries to order one of your website’s fancy gadgets using someone else’s credit card and the victim inevitably cancels the order or charges it back after it’s gone through, you’re usually the one who fits the bill.

Yeah, it’s not even your fault, but that’s unfortunately how things go in the cyber payments industry. Besides implementing security measures such as asking for ZIP code verification and CVV numbers, you should price your products to allow for something in the range of 1% chargebacks.

This free calculator from Kount will help you determine how much fraud can cost your business and estimate your margins based on the cost.

Credit card fraud cost calculator, Kount

Credit card fraud cost calculator, Kount

Download the list

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7 of the Best E-Commerce Practices to Increase Conversions https://www.ecwid.com/blog/7-of-the-best-e-commerce-practices-to-increase-conversions.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/7-of-the-best-e-commerce-practices-to-increase-conversions.html#respond Fri, 17 Nov 2017 06:30:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18241

Every e-commerce business owner knows that increasing conversions is important.

But only 50% of e-commerce businesses track main conversion points. On top of that, 73% don’t track micro conversion goals — like newsletter sign-ups and account registrations.

And that’s a problem. After all, if you don’t track conversions and analyze user behavior on your site, you’ll have no way of knowing how to boost conversions.

Don’t leave your conversion rates up to guesswork. Because the truth is, you don’t need a massive marketing budget or tons of technical knowledge to improve your conversion rates. You just need a clear strategy and the right tools.

Let’s talk about exactly what you can do to increase conversions, starting with one of the most important methods.

1. Analyze Visitor Behavior

This is important because, once you understand how visitors behave on your site, you can tweak your site strategically based on those behaviors.And this doesn’t have to be a complicated process — you just need to use the right tool, for example, Hotjar.

heatmap

Hotjar heatmaps

Hotjar provides you with a heat map that lets you see exactly where your visitors click, move, and scroll to your website.

Imagine one of your e-commerce product pages isn’t converting as well as you’d like. You’ve tried thinking of ways to improve it, but you aren’t sure where to start.

Using a heat map, you could gain valuable insights on how users behave on the product page, like:

  • Which product photos visitors click the most
  • How far down people scroll on the page
  • Whether or not visitors notice important details, like free shipping offers, security badges, and "Buy" buttons.

Knowing this information, you’d be well-equipped to change your site in a way that would turn leads into customers.

2. Simplify the Choice

Large assortment can’t be a bad thing… Or can it?

A wide variety of options on the product page can be the reason for fewer conversions. People get distracted and overwhelmed by many choices they have to make.

Say you sell a dress in several color variations. There are at least two ways you can put them in your Ecwid storefront.

  • Using Product Options + Variations to enable the choice on the product page:

    Product options in Ecwid

    Product photography used in this example is by Usta k Ustam store

What is the drawback of this approach? Imagine a customer’s brain working: "I click on the black dress in the storefront because I like it. Then, I see three colors available, and, since I like the dress, I start to think about the other colors too. The more I switch between them, the harder it becomes to choose. Eventually, I decide to put off this decision."

There are only three dresses in our example; if you have more product options, it can be even harder for your customer to decide.

  • Another way — and that’s what Usta k Ustam did in their Ecwid store — is to create separate product pages for each variation.

    Usta k ustam

    Usta k ustam

First, it’s easier to decide on the dress if you see all of them in a row. Second, when a customer finds themselves on the product page of the dress they preferred, nothing stops them from adding it to bag.

That is not a universal truth. If you have a lot of products with numerous options, it makes sense to organize them on product pages. If your product options are about a simple choice (for example, a yes/no question, wrapping color), they’ll work fine.

The main idea is to browse your storefront in customer shoes and reveal every possible reason for hesitation. Sometimes it’s not the lack of something but, on the contrary, too much of everything.

Learn how Product Options can make checkout faster.

3. Learn What Customers Search for in Your Store

If you know what shoppers are looking for on your site, you can make sure it’s easy for them to find exactly what they want.

You can track search queries in your store:

  1. Connect Google Analytics to your Ecwid store.
  2. In your GA account, go to Site Content → All Pages.
  3. Set the time range.
    Time range in Google Analytics
  4. Type in "/search" in the search field and press Enter.Google Analytics
  5. You’ll get a list of links that contained a search term.Tracking search queries in Google Analytics

Once you do this, you’ll be able to see all of the keywords people are using when they search on your site.

Who knows — you might just find shoppers using keywords that are totally different from the ones you use to describe your products.

In that case, you could change your descriptions to match customer searches. And just like that, you’d get far more eyes on your products — and chances are, more sales too.

On the flipside, if you don’t use site search data to your advantage, you could miss out on a lot of sales.

Seriously, site search users can make up as much as 13.8% of your store’s revenue. So, make sure your store doesn’t fall into the 33% of websites that don’t track site search keywords!

Related: How to Build Killer Keywords Lists for AdWords

4. Use Social Proof Elements

According to Wikipedia, social proof is "a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation."

In other words, people are heavily influenced by the actions of others.

How is this relevant to your e-commerce business? Well, it means you can use social proof strategically to boost conversion rates. One of the best ways to do this is to use online reviews.

Research shows that 61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase.

On top of that, 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site with user reviews, and 50 or more product reviews can translate to a 4.6% conversion rate increase.

As you can see from this data, you need reviews if you want to maximize conversions. Preferably lots of reviews.

But how can you get a high quantity of solid reviews — even if you’re just starting out?

First, you’ll want to make sure the review-leaving process is obvious and clear on your site.

Clothing retailer Forever 21 includes a "Reviews & Ratings" section at the bottom of their product description, with a clear "Write" option.

customer review form on Forever 21

Customer review form on Forever 21

When the customer clicks the "Write" button, a box pops up so they can easily create and submit a review.

Popup review model

Popup review model

Learn from this example, and make sure your review-leaving process is intuitive — you don’t want willing users to drop out of the process just because it was too confusing.

A few Ecwid apps to get you started:

Another effective way to get reviews is to send a post-purchase review request email.

Here’s how online store Dropcatch does it:

Post-purchase email from Dropcatch that requests a review inline

Post-purchase email from Dropcatch that requests a review inline

This approach works especially well because of the 10% off incentive they’ve offered to customers who are willing to leave a review.

But reviews aren’t the only form of social proof you can benefit from; there’s another effective way e-commerce store owners can use social proof to boost conversions: use Fomo (starting at $19 /month) to turn your website into the equivalent of a busy store.

Fomo harnesses the power of social proof by notifying shoppers of key behaviors happening on your website, like email sign-ups and product purchases.

The notification shows up at the bottom of the screen as a small, non-intrusive pop-up box.

Fomo notification on a phone case store

Fomo notification on a phone case store

When shoppers see that your products are flying off the virtual shelves, they’ll be inspired to take action quickly.

Learn more: 4 Ways to Use Social Proof on Your Online Store

5. Install Live Chat

Imagine you’re shopping online for shoes. But you have a question that needs answering before you can make a purchase.

Would you be more likely to buy if you could get the answer to your question fast via a live chat feature?

Of course, you would. By talking to someone via live chat, you’d be able to get the information you needed to make a purchasing decision.

Your customers think the same way.

According to Forrester Research, 44% of customers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.

On top of that, visitors invited to chat are 6.3 times more likely to convert into customers than ones who don’t chat. If you’re interested in trying out live chat on your site, consider using Facebook Chat (free) or Tidio ($15+ /month).

If not, consider that the buying cycle is no longer a clean pyramid of "lead" to "qualified" to "closed." Live chat and other modern support tools complement the new buyer cycle:

Nonlinear buying cycle

Nonlinear buying cycle

Say you have a customer who leaves your site before purchasing an item they added to their cart.

Intercom can recognize such behavior and send the customer a targeted chat message to find out why they abandoned their cart.

And once you learn why shoppers are abandoning their cart, you can change your checkout process in a way that will improve conversion rates.

Related: The Art of Positive Communication in Customer Service

6. Use Popups

Have you ever come close to buying a product online, only to find yourself leaving the site empty-handed?

Maybe you even thought about going back later to buy it, but you never got around to it. This isn’t an uncommon situation for online e-сommerce store customers — in fact, average cart abandonment rates are at 65.23%.

So, what can you do to push those on-the-fence buyers to follow through with their first purchase on your site? Try using a pop-up to offer a discount to first-time buyers.

For example, you could offer shoppers 10% off their first purchase in exchange for joining your email list.

Here’s how DODOcase uses a similar pop-up strategy:

10% discount code offer after engaging with DODOcase

10% discount code offer after engaging with DODOcase

You can even gamify your incentive by using an interactive pop-up, like this one on the Pura Vida Bracelets website:

Variable reward offer popup

Variable reward offer popup

Another way to boost your conversions using pop-ups? Use an exit-intent pop-up, which is a pop-up that triggers when a customer is about to leave your site.

These pop-ups are perfect for turning lukewarm shoppers into loyal customers. In fact, data shows that 10 to 15 percent of lost visitors can be "saved" with exit-intent pop-ups.

Related: How to Use Targeted Popups to Grow Email List and Revenue

Try offering visitors an incentive to complete their order (like a percentage off their purchase or free shipping) in your exit-intent pop-up, and watch as cart abandonment decreases!

Now, you might be thinking: What about the customers who don’t convert immediately after claiming their discount? Don’t give up on them — you can convert them down the road using email marketing.

Have a plan in place for how to nurture your leads via email, and you’ll be well on your way to improving your sales.

Speaking of email marketing…

7. Test Behavioral Emails

If your idea of email marketing is sending out general newsletters every once in a while, you’re missing out on a major opportunity.

I’m talking about sending behavioral emails — in other words, emails that trigger based on certain user behaviors.

Because these emails are tailored to each user’s experience, the user is much more likely to respond positively. They’ll get something specifically relevant to them — not just a general offer that they may or may not be interested in.

Behavioral emails are especially effective in reducing cart abandonment. Take a look at this data from Ometria:

  • 44.1% of all cart abandonment emails are opened.
  • 11.6% of cart abandonment emails are clicked.
  • 29.9% of clicks lead to a recovered purchase on the site.

As you can see, cart abandonment emails are powerful. And when done right, they can have a huge effect on your sales.

When you send these emails, you can take a simple approach to remind customers of their cart. Take a look at this example from FiftyThree:

Verbose abandoned cart email

FiftyThree abandoned cart email

Or, if you want to make your emails extra effective, you can include an incentive.

Wolf and Badger does this by offering 10% off and free shipping to encourage shoppers to complete their purchase:

Free shipping offer for abandoned carts

Free shipping offer for abandoned carts

Want to use email marketing to upsell happy customers?

Enable abandoned carts recovery emails within your Ecwid dashboard to increase first-time sales, and consider a marketing automation app like Convead to further upsell customers "related products" with follow-up emails after they make a purchase.

This email lets customers know that you have even more products they’d love.

For instance, if you sell add-on items to enhance your existing products, you can encourage previous customers to check them out.

Here’s how Buy.com targeted their customers in a remarketing campaign:

Retargeting ads for camera add-ons

Retargeting ads for camera add-ons

This email does it all: it offers discounts, creates urgency, and displays a variety of add-ons and similar products to attract more purchases.

These email marketing methods are crucial for both the short and long term. So if you’re not using them already, now is the time to start.

Related: 3 Reasons You Need To Implement Behavior Tagging On Your Website

Boosting Conversions is All About Knowing Your Audience

All of the conversion-boosting methods in this post revolve around one main course of action: optimizing the customer experience based the way your audience thinks and acts.

But don’t feel like you have to implement every strategy at once. If you need to, start small and work your way up as you learn more about your shoppers’ behavior.

Then, as your budget and audience knowledge grows, you can invest more time and money into tailoring your website and marketing efforts.

Because even a small step forward could mean a major improvement in your sales.

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Opening Day Checklist: What To Do Before Launching Your E-Commerce Store https://www.ecwid.com/blog/what-to-do-before-launching-your-store.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/what-to-do-before-launching-your-store.html#respond Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:24:32 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=7956

There’s hardly a merchant who doesn’t remember their launch day. Unveiling your idea to the public is thrilling. But it’s also months of planning and preparation that make this day memorable.

The checklist below will help you to be ready for your moment of glory.

Have enough inventory in stock

In preparing a business plan, you should have calculated the estimated turnover of products. In order not to face an e-commerce version of a line around the block and nothing to sell, make sure to keep the necessary quantity of goods on hand.

If you are making things to order, purchase materials and think about who you can ask for help if your own powers are not enough.

Establish smooth operation with suppliers

By the time your store has opened, you should be developing warm relationships with suppliers. It will depend on them whether you will be able to meet customer expectations in time.

Even a small delay of one or two days can be enough for losing customers. Validate plans and get the necessary paperwork to make sure things continue smoothly. Doing so will save time, money, and nerves. (You’ll also want to read the article about how to find manufacturers for your product idea.)

Learn more: The Science of Contacting Suppliers When You’re Starting a Business

Deal with social media presence

Create your store’s social media accounts before the opening, not after. Social media is a good source of traffic and a good means of gauging how consumers interact with your product. Community members who are already interested in the product can easily find your site.

Pick social networks that commonly host your target audience, then create groups or pages there and start to promote them. Use social media to regularly publish news related to your company and the product, place the product images and announcing the coming opening.

For example, Trusbox (Ecwid store) created the relevant social network pages a month before the store’s opening and began taking pre-orders while publishing funny content. In three weeks, they had accumulated 500 potential buyers, half of which made a purchase as a result.

Trusbox powered by Ecwid

Throw a contest and give small prizes, enticing potential buyers to try out your products before your store’s opening.

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

Prepare newsletter

In addition to social network activity, it’s important to have a fleshed-out newsletter. There is no need to wince at the memory of the spam that you receive on a weekly basis. Newsletters can be useful and interesting (if you don’t believe it, subscribe to the Ecwid blog e-commerce newsletter 😊), but the burden is on you to make them so.

1. Choose an email tool

What to consider in your email list provider:

  • It must suit you in terms of price and tools.
  • You should be able to make your email look exactly the way you like.
  • It should have audience segmentation tools, you’ll need them in future.

2. Prepare email templates

Make a few templates ahead of time that are specifically devoted to telling people about the opening of your store and any notifications of discounts or promotions.

If you already have a database of customer e-mails, then use it to announce the opening of the store and offer your beloved database a special promotion for first-time buyers — offer a discount coupon, or perhaps a gift with purchase. You’ll also want to prepare a welcome email so that people who subscribe to your newsletter on your launch day could stay in touch.

3. Grow your subscriber list

Here are some methods for doing this:

  • Let people know that the first subscribers to your email list will get gifts or discounts from you. Ask for email addresses so that people can get in on the action.
  • If you have a blog, use it to broadcast an announcement about your store’s opening and add the subscription form to the post. Ask blogger friends to share your news, growing your subscriber base on your behalf.
  • Create a special plug on the store site. Read on below to find out how.

Learn more: 10 Smart Ways to Increase Email Signups on Your Store

5. Build an online store or add one to your existing site

This is what it’s all about. You can create a store from scratch, or add a store to an existing site, or turn your Facebook page into a store. Even if you don’t have experience with programming or design, this process will not take you very long at all.

Download: Onboarding Checklist With Everything You Need to Open Your Ecwid Store

6. Set up the "Coming soon" page

You’ll need a temporary "parked page" design as a placeholder until your store is up and running. This is simply a pretty page that informs visitors that a cool shop will soon open up here. It ensures that the address of your website gets indexed in search engines and that there’s content there for people to interact with until the main event.

But in getting to the page, a user should not see a 404 error — who wants to go back to a page that used to be a 404? Your parked page is like bait, enticing the viewer to return in the near future.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 16.31.17

Screenshot of Fabeona.com

You might place a subscription form there with an attention-grabbing enticement for people to sign up. Your task is to convince people to sign up to find out about the opening of the first and receive a gift for doing so.

7. Take product pictures

Fill your store with inventory, or more precisely, with beautiful pictures of your inventory. Read our the article on how to take great pictures without hiring a professional photographer or renting pro gear. With a well-taken photo, you can use those tips to bring the image to life in post-production.

Learn more: 10 Easy-to-Reproduce Product Photography Ideas

8. Think about the nuances of the delivery

The first thing a potential customer will look after the goods is delivery terms. If they are cumbersome or undesirable, the story of the order becomes meaningless. Think for yourself and come up with some answers to the following questions, and make sure they are plainly visible on your site:

  • How are you going to wrap the products?
  • What will be the cost of delivery?
  • Would it be possible to return the goods, and on what terms?
  • How will you deliver the goods — by mail or with a courier?

Learn more: How to Set Up Shipping Rates in Your Store Using Ecwid

9. Set Up Analytics

To understand the direction you are going, you need to constantly analyze the results being achieved in the present: the ratio of the number of visitors to sales, the presence of permanent customers, customer interest in your items. Such metrics help you paint a picture of understanding about your business, filling in holes where needed and informing you on best ways to proceed in the future.

In Ecwid, analytic tools are gathered in Control Panel → Reports.

There’s no need to collect statistics on absolutely everything; it’s possible to drown in a sea of information. Choose the metrics that are most important to you. In our article you will find tips for setting up and using Google Analytics.

10. Prepare a dazzling store opening

Do you remember how loud the opening of stores in the real world are? Multi-colored balls, bright displays, decorations, loud music, performances of stars of various sizes — a store’s first day in operation is nearly a holiday.

For an online store, there are also plenty of opportunities to lean on these tactics:

  • Broadcast the opening on the social networks and mailing lists.
  • Give gifts to your first customers.
  • Arrange a competition or a lottery of your own design, something to retain interest and attention.
  • Make a small offline presentation. Arrange an event somewhere in a city that your customers are likely to inhabit, or open a pop-up shop. Perhaps you’ll set things up so that your event coincides with the opening of a large conference or festival for the sake of courting people who otherwise might not have met you.

Do not stop

You’ll be tempted to relax after your grand opening, but it’s impossible to do so. Over the course of the first months of your store’s operation, your work pace will fluctuate for weeks before normalizing, allowing you to set the pace at which work.
But we are sure that you will not want to stop. Owning and operating a business is an exciting experience that can be educational, challenging, and profitable all at once!

We wish you a pleasant opening and many successful sales!

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Top Reasons for Returns and How to Minimize Them in Your Online Store https://www.ecwid.com/blog/top-reasons-for-returns-and-how-to-minimize-them-in-your-online-store.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/top-reasons-for-returns-and-how-to-minimize-them-in-your-online-store.html#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 13:51:02 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18373

Seeing someone making a purchase in your online store is breathtaking. But it doesn’t mean you can call it a day.

The thing is, on average, 30% of online purchases end up in returns (compared to 8% in physical stores). One of every three purchased items can potentially arrive back to you. Oops.

Return rate per industry

Return rate per industry

Why does it happen? First, customers lack physical contact with your products when they check out. They have to use their imagination, which can be pretty misleading. That results in a collision between the expectation and the reality.

Second, online shopping is way more impulsive than shopping in-store. Customers will keep ordering stuff they don’t need just because it’s so easy to buy with a couple of clicks, giving the brain an immediate dose of dopamine. And you probably can’t change that.

What you can do is examine the reasons for returns in your online store and minimize chances those reasons appear. If you are about to launch your business or have just started out, track this data from day one.

Also, make sure you’ve got a good return policy and make it easy to find in your online store. Ideally, you should have it linked at checkout. Ecwid merchants can set it up in Settings → General → Legal Pages.

Enable the mandatory checkbox for Terms and Conditions

Enable the mandatory checkbox for Terms and Conditions

Top Reasons for Returns in Online Stores

As you can guess, the reasons for returns vary widely. But we’ll divide them into two categories: legitimate and fraudulent returns.

Legitimate returns

Popular reasons for legitimate returns are:

  • Incorrect size or product
  • Product didn’t match the description
  • Product didn’t meet expectation
  • Holiday season returns
  • Product damaged.

Here are some precautions that can help to minimize those issues.

Make your products fit. Categorizing your goods into small, medium, and large is not enough. Think of a detailed description of each size. It’s best to display the exact dimensions of your products.

In case you sell apparel that you don’t make yourself, make sure your size chart works for different items, and if not, add a separate size chart for each of them.

If your size chart is not comprehensive enough, customers can simply leave the store without a purchase, or, on the contrary, order several sizes to return those that didn’t fit.

Sometimes it’s not your size chart that is to blame. Customers may be wrong about what size they need. That often happens with shoes. The owner of Afour Custom Footwear claims that 90% of people don’t know their shoe size.

The thing is, cognitive biases stand in our way to be objective about ourselves. People sometimes want to believe they wear a certain size. Or their impression of the style they prefer can be very different to what they actually wear.

There is a trick to help people be more objective. Try to ask them to associate themselves not with an impersonal size chart, but with some real people.

Asos shows what size the model wears

Asos shows what size the model wears

Another great thing about Asos is their defile videos. They let you understand what an item looks like from every angle, together with other products, and in motion.

Videos are not only of great help for the clothing industry. Whatever you sell, a video will tell much more about the product. You can add videos to your product descriptions in Ecwid.

Show detailed descriptions and photos. When thinking of how detailed those should be, try to compensate for the lack of touch. Show textures, views from different angles, and describe materials, don’t just name them.

Archpole keeps textures in focus

Archpole keeps textures in focus

Some customers have never used your product before, so they might get confused. Savvy merchants say that sometimes a customer can claim, for example, that the zip is broken, and then the merchant finds out it was OK. The customer simply couldn’t figure out how to make it move. Keep that in mind, and explain it in your videos and product descriptions.

Check out how this video explains how to use the product and highlights its best qualities.

Be objective. It’s easy to go the extra mile with praising your product’s quality, but that can also be the reason for returns. Revise your product pages for any misleading information. Also, collect the feedback from customers who returned your product because it was not what they expected. You may find out that you need to adjust your messaging and marketing activities too.

Do surveys. Tools like SurveyMonkey are useful for asking your customers more about their preferences and reducing the expectation-reality gap.

Take care of packaging. If you sell fragile products, it’s not only necessary to pack them carefully but also to provide an easy way for a customer to pack them back so that the product isn’t broken on its way back. Consider adding guidelines of how to wrap your product for returns and make this a condition for accepting the return.

Make it easy to return. Here’s what you can do to provide a better service:

  • Include a return slip with instructions into packaging.
  • Offer an easily downloadable slip in case customers lose their printed version.
  • If you don’t offer free returns, give store credit, a gift, or compensate shipping expenses.
  • Enable quick refunds.

Holidays will be holidays. The downside of the gift season is getting gifts that you don’t need. If you take part in holiday sales, expect higher return rates than usual. United Parcel Service Inc. announced that returns jump up with 15% during holiday seasons. Some retailers state 50% return rates.

After the holiday season ends, managing those returns can become your #1 task. Make sure your team is trained and your return policy is clear. 21,3% of retailers enact tighter return policies during the holiday season.

Tip: use Staff Accounts to get extra help with managing your Ecwid store during this busy time.

Staff Accounts in Ecwid

Staff Accounts in Ecwid

The bottom line: your ultimate goal is to make customers happy, even if they returned their order. Not only will they come to buy again, but they will also spread the word about your services and attract more customers.

Fraudulent returns

It’s much easier to be a badass on the internet than in real life. Fraudulent returns make up 6% of all. Chances are some customer is trying to cheat you right now.

Here are the most common return fraud personas:

  • Swappers order a new product to replace one they own that is damaged or old.
  • Wardrobes purchase a product, use it temporarily, then return it for a full refund.
  • Friendly frauds claim they never made a purchase or that they never received their merchandise.
  • Deliberate frauds purchase items with counterfeit money or stolen credit or debit cards and return them for a refund, which they usually want in cash.

It’s hard to prevent fraudulent online returns at all. Your ultimate goal is to detect as many cheaters as possible and make returns uncomfortable for them. Take the following steps if you are seeing some disbalance in your operations.

Take notes of serial numbers and other individual marks to make sure the returned item comes from your store. This will make it harder for swappers to replace your product with an older one.

Take pictures when packaging to prove the item was fine. This only makes sense for small businesses with lower-volume sales.

Shorten the return period to 30 days, accept returns in original packaging and in original condition, train your employees to detect used items, keep your regulations consistent.

Require a receipt and a signature. If someone claims they never received their order, a signature can be your saver. If a customer tells you they never made an order, you should keep the order details at hand.

Refund on credit cards, not in cash. This helps to prevent you from deliberate fraud.

Double-check high-volume orders. In one of its studies, JP Morgan found that the average online sale sticks around $100, depending on the industry, while the median fraudulent transaction, on the other hand, is about $250.

Phone customers. The more personal you look to the customer, the harder it will be for them to cheat. Hearing your voice can make a customer change their mind about cheating you.

Remember that fraudulent customers can be very loud. If you refuse to accept the return (without violating your return policy, of course), and the customer is overreacting, this might be a bad sign too. Such customers can leave numerous angry messages on your social media profiles, on review websites, and everywhere else on the web. So always stay polite, even if you detect a cheater.

***

What are the weirdest, the funniest, or the hardest return experiences you’ve had in your online store? Share in the comments below!

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Ecwid + Convead: 9 Simple Ways of Using Visitor Segmentation to Grow Sales https://www.ecwid.com/blog/ecwid-convead-9-simple-ways-of-using-visitor-segmentation-to-grow-sales.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/ecwid-convead-9-simple-ways-of-using-visitor-segmentation-to-grow-sales.html#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 11:14:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18340

What is the value of visitor segmentation for e-commerce business? Segmentation allows you to take a deeper dive into visitor behavior by using analytics data. It helps e-commerce businesses to get a complete picture of their target audiences and use that information in their marketing activities to grow sales and customer loyalty.

Ecwid stores support integration with various analytics solutions that differ in their practical focus.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the Convead marketing platform that, in addition to providing general website analytics, keeps track of visitor behavior and allows you to segment them by various types of events and characteristics.

What kind of information is there?

For any segments of visitors, even the most specific ones, there are detailed statistics such as the number of orders, the average order value, and the total amount of purchases made within the group. You can also see where these people come from, when and how often they visit your store, and what products they are interested in.

Convead dashboard: here you can segment your audience and view metrics

Convead dashboard: here you can segment your audience and view metrics

Convead generates real-time reports for each segment of visitors, prospects, and customers. For example, you can easily determine what product categories are most viewed or purchased, in what regions, and from what platforms or devices.

Now, let’s see what you can do with all of this information to get more value for your online business.

1. Create segments to evaluate advertising campaigns

If you run advertising campaigns on popular platforms (such as Google, Facebook etc.), you can create segments for each of them and compare conversion rates, the average order value, the total income, and visitor behavior. In this case, the segment settings might look like this:

Sample settings for advertising and marketing campaigns

Sample settings for advertising and marketing campaigns

In addition to the metrics, Convead will also display a sales funnel. This is a visual representation of the buying process for the chosen segment, starting from the traffic sources and a ending with the purchase.

Visual representation of the buying process in Convead with analytics data

Visual representation of the buying process in Convead with analytics data

2. Segment visitors by their behavior

Depending on your marketing goals, you can create segments according to various types of visitor behavior (e.g. "bought N times", "viewed products but did not buy", "no visits for the last 3 months", etc.).

For example, if people were in your online store several times but didn’t purchase anything, we can assume that they could not make a decision and, perhaps, needed some help or additional incentive from you.

Sample settings for segmentation by visitor behavior

Sample settings for segmentation by visitor behavior

It is possible that they are studying products and are not yet fully confident in them, or the website content wasn’t helpful enough.

Think about publishing or sending out some tips on how to choose the right product or how to use it properly. You can, for example, ask visitors to provide their email address in exchange for an ebook, video guidelines or a free webinar.

3. Target visitors by location

This is one of the simplest things to do in Convead. You can single out your audience by their location to offer them, for example, special shipping conditions.

Sample settings for segmentation by location

Sample settings for segmentation by location

4. Identify most promising groups of customers

Those groups may include regular shoppers or those who recently made a major purchase, or just people spending a lot of time viewing your pages, etc. You can show them relevant messages with special offers, discounts, "secret" sales, or an invitation to join a loyalty program.

5. Collect emails

If you have a blog or a regular newsletter, you can invite new visitors to subscribe. You can identify people without email and show them a message with the invitation. Once the emails are gathered, you can create another segment, for those who subscribed, and send to them your blog updates or any other useful information.

Sample settings for the segment of Newsletter subscribers

Sample settings for the segment of Newsletter subscribers

6. Welcome new visitors

This is a simple and very nice way to let people know that they are important. You can create a segment for all the new visitors to your online store and prepare a greeting message — such as: "Welcome to our store! Here is a gift for your first purchase."

You can create an automated ‘Welcome’ message with Convead’s visual editor

You can create an automated "Welcome" message with Convead’s visual editor

7. Return customers and recover abandoned carts

You can track customers who abandoned their carts and manage unfinished sales directly in Ecwid, since this feature is available for all Ecwid stores on the Business plan and higher. With Convead’s segmentation tools, you can also divide these customers into more specific groups (by gender, location, viewed product categories, etc.) and prepare a relevant offer for each group.

8. Get more leads and prospects

Ask your visitors whether they want to be notified about the availability of a certain product in your stock. This will allow you to achieve two goals at once — get more emails and create a segment of good prospects.

9. Use segmentation for your loyalty programs

This is one of the most pleasant ways of using the power of segmentation. Ask for your customer’s date of birth upon registration and set up a triggered email campaign based on this data. People will be pleased to receive your greeting with gifts and special offers. It will definitely help you to win their loyalty and attention.

Setting up customer segment by the date of birth

Setting up customer segment by the date of birth

***

Segmentation is a handy tool that can be used for a variety of purposes. It will help you to develop a deeper understanding of your customers and to offer products at the right time and to the right person! If you do not yet have a Convead account, create it now to try out these marketing ideas or to implement your own. Convead analytics is free and marketing tools are available by subscription.

Further reading: How to Increase Your Revenue With Newsletter Segmentation

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How to Get Your Local Online Store to Rank Higher in Search Engines https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-get-your-local-online-store-rank-higher-in-search-engines.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-to-get-your-local-online-store-rank-higher-in-search-engines.html#respond Tue, 07 Nov 2017 13:27:10 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18308

As a local business owner, you obviously want more customers coming to your store. What better way to get these local customers than to get it for free?

That’s exactly what high local search engine rankings promise: free, targeted traffic coming in from relevant searches made on Google and Bing by prospective local customers.

Today, we’ll share a step-by-step process to rank your local store higher in search engines.

Note: This post is only relevant if you have a physical location. If you have an online-only business, refer to our E-Commerce Guide to SEO instead.

What is Local SEO?

Search Engine Optimization comes in two flavors: regular SEO and local SEO.

Regular SEO deals with search engine queries that don’t have any explicit locational component.
Think of searches like "Chinese food recipes" or "best history books". The results for these queries don’t depend on your location.

If you sell only online and deliver all across the country, you’d want to focus on regular SEO.

In Local SEO, however, you’re dealing with queries that have an explicit locational component. Think of searches like "best auto repair shop in Atlanta" or "defense attorneys in New York".

Queries like "Chinese restaurants" are local as well since Google infers you’re looking for restaurants in your city.

If your business has a local presence and uses its online store/website to complement the local business, you’d focus on local SEO.

How to Improve Local Search Rankings

A number of factors affect your website’s rankings. No one knows what these factors are exactly, except for Google and Bing. The best we can do is to estimate based on experience and data.

Data shows that local rankings are influenced by the following eight factors:

Factors that affect local SEO

This graph shows how different factors affect local search engine rankings

Some of these factors have a bigger impact on rankings than others. So which ones should you focus on first?

Easy: pick the "lowest hanging fruit" first. These are usually easy to follow tasks that require minimal effort and yield outsized results.

In case of local SEO, data shows that "Business Signals" and "On-Page Signals" have a big impact on rankings. Improving these is simply a matter of making some minor edits on your site.

"Linking Signals" also have a big ranking impact, but getting links to your store isn’t always easy. Thus, improving "Business" and "On-Page" signals would be your low-hanging fruit with local SEO.

When prioritizing what to fix when it comes to SEO, go by this order:

  1. Fix things on your own site.
  2. Fix things away from your site.

Let’s discuss how you can improve these, and more for your local online store below.

On-Page Signals

In SEO terminology, "on-page" signals refers to page-specific indicators of a website’s relevance.

If someone searches for "Chinese food recipes", any website that has these keywords in its title would have a higher chance of ranking than a page about "Car modifications and improvements".

Keywords in page titles

Including a keyword in a page’s title helps it show up in search results when people search for that keyword

It’s much easier to improve on-page signals since it simply involves editing your website to show accurate, updated information.

I’ll show you how to optimize your Ecwid store’s on-page signals for better local rankings below.

1. Optimize name & value proposition

Before you start the optimization exercise, have the following two things handy:

  • A recognizable name for your business. This is what people will search for when they look you up.
  • A clear value proposition that hits on your major keywords. This should be 2-3 sentences at most. You’ll use this as the base for your meta descriptions, business listings, etc.

If you search for "car dealers in Atlanta", you’ll see this result:

Brand name wirth relevant keywords

How to mix a brand name with relevant keywords for a local business

The website title has three things:

  • The name of the business (“Jim Ellis Chevrolet”)
  • The business’ location (“Atlanta”, plus exact locations)
  • The business’ target keywords (“new & used Chevy car dealer”)

The site’s description further highlights the business’ target keywords and value proposition.

Write these down for your own business before jumping to the next step.

2. Fill out SEO fields for products

The second thing you’ll want to do is to fill out all the relevant SEO details for your store and its products.

In Ecwid, you can find these details by going to Catalog → Products → Product edit page → SEO tab.

Here, you can change the product’s title and meta description.

Meta description in Ecwid

The "SEO" panel in Ecwid store settings lets you change title and meta description for each page

Besides the name of the product, you want both the title and meta description to contain your target keywords as well.

If you’re selling flowers for local weddings, you could use something like this:

Title: Rose Wedding Centerpieces for Weddings in Atlanta
Meta Description: Rose wedding centerpieces and rose floral arrangements for Atlanta weddings

Your goal should be to target all possible long-tail keyword (i.e. keywords with 3 or more words) combinations. If someone searches for "rose wedding floral arrangements in Atlanta", your site has a chance of showing up because you’ve used these keywords on your product page.

Learn more: Manual Meta Tags: a Simple Way to a Better SEO Now In Your Store

3. Add a sitemap

A "sitemap" is a list of all the links on your website — a "map" of your site for search engine robots.

For example, here is  a piece of Ecwid’s sitemap:

Ecwid site map

An example of a sitemap used by Ecwid

Sitemaps make it easier for search engines to crawl and index your website. The easier the site is to crawl, the faster search engines can discover your pages and rank them.

Adding a sitemap to your Ecwid store is easy — just install the Sitemap Generator app to create the sitemap in minutes.

4. Add your site to Google Webmasters

Google Webmasters (or "Webmaster Console") is a tool for website owners to get better search visibility information about their sites.

While it won’t directly improve your site rankings, it can tell you what queries you’re ranking for, whether there are any crawling issues with your site, and what you can do to improve your search presence.

Follow the instructions to add your site to Webmasters.

Once you’ve generated your sitemap, you can also add it to the Webmaster Console. This will make it easier for Google to index your site.

5. Use SEO-friendly product names and descriptions

When you add any product to your store, make sure that the product name and description are SEO-friendly.

What do I mean when I say "SEO-friendly"?

Three things:

  • The product name/description should have relevant keywords.
  • The keywords must be placed at or near the beginning.
  • The content must be original.

Place yourself in a customer’s shoes. Think of how they might find a product online.

If you’re selling WiFi routers, customers might find your products through one of these means (via search engines):

  • Doing a search for a specific brand or product name (such as "Netgear wifi router" or "Netgear N600 dual band wifi router")
  • Doing a search for a product category (such as "Wifi router reviews" or "Best wifi router")
  • Doing a search for a general keyword which eventually brings them to your product page (such as "How to improve Wifi speed").

Ideally, your product name and description should cater to all these types of searches. You should have the exact product name and product category in the product title.

Your product description should include a few keywords related to the product and benefits and features that users might search for.

In the above case, a person looking to "improve WiFi speed" might be told to buy a new router.

Additionally, use original content where possible, including writing your own product descriptions and taking your own product pictures.

You can find tons of great examples of SEO-friendly product names and descriptions on Amazon:

Amazon product listings

Use Amazon’s product listings to get inspiration for SEO-friendly product descriptions

Just take care to not overload the description with keywords. Your primary focus should still be on appealing to real people, not search engine bots.

6. Have clean URLs

Hashes, exclamation marks, special characters — they all make your URLs difficult to read and index by search engine bots. Avoid using such characters in your URLs.

If you’re using Ecwid, you have the option to enable clean URLs for your site.

Doing this will take your URLs from "dirty"…

old url

…to clean:

clean url

7. Be mobile-friendly

Not running a mobile-friendly website is one of the worst things you can do for your website in terms of SEO. Google has told webmasters the same in no uncertain terms: mobile-friendliness impacts your rankings.

Fortunately, if you’re using Ecwid, this problem is taken care of for you. Your store has mobile-friendliness built-in.

If you’re using an Ecwid Starter Site, it will also be mobile-friendly by default.

8. Collect reviews from customers

Finally, make sure that you’re collecting reviews from customers. Not only do reviews help customers make decisions, they also improve your SEO by increasing the amount of relevant content on the page.

Further, reviews show up in search results, further improving click-through rates from search engines.

You can use a number of tools to capture and display reviews on your Ecwid store. Here’s a short list of some of these tools for collecting reviews.

This takes care of on-page SEO. In the next section, we’ll show you how to improve your business listing to improve local search engine rankings.

"My Business" Signals

Search engines care deeply about showing only the most relevant results to their users. If someone searches for "car dealers" in Atlanta, Google and Bing want to show them results near their location, not in Boston.

This is why it is crucial that you share relevant information with search engines. You need to tell Google and Bing exactly where you’re located, what you sell, and what time you’re open.

Together, these make "My Business" signals in local SEO.

1. Create a business page

Both Google and Bing make it easy for businesses to share relevant information about themselves. Google’s program is called "My Business", while Bing’s is called "Bing Places".

Register for both these programs by following the above URLs. Prioritize Google My Business (‘GMB’ for short) since Google dominates the search market.

You’ll be asked to fill in a number of details when you create this page, such as address, phone number, website, etc.

Google My Business

Make sure that you fill in all the details accurately

The name, address and phone number (‘NAP’ in SEO terminology) are crucial. You should use the same NAP on every website and directory such as Yelp, Yellow Pages, etc.

A high "NAP consistency" tells Google that your business is legitimate and thus, will rank higher.

A few other basic things to keep in mind when you’re creating the business page:

  • Make sure to fill in your address accurately. Also ensure that your map marker location is accurate. Google will send a mail to this address to verify it.
  • Add a link to your website. If you don’t have a website, use free Ecwid Starter Site.
  • Use a working phone number. People must be able to reach you at this number.
  • Add your working hours/store hours.
  • Add a business description.

If you fill in all this information, you’ll have a listing like this when someone searches for a relevant keyword on Google:

Google My Business card

Your listing will show up in search results

This covers the basics. Besides these, there are a few advanced tips we’ll cover below.

2. Use the right categories and attributes

On the main listing page, you have the option of adding categories for your business.

Google My business categories

You can add one primary and several additional categories that describe your online store

At the very least, you should have a single broad category that accurately describes your business.

You can add additional categories to help Google further understand your business and its products. However, make sure that these additional categories decompose down in specificity, not up.

For example, if you run a pizza place, your main category should be "pizza takeaway". Your additional category, however, shouldn’t be "Italian takeaway". Pizza, being Italian, is automatically covered under "Italian" food.
Instead, try adding additional services you offer. If you offer delivery and dine-in along with takeaway, add "pizza delivery" and "pizza restaurant".

Don’t go overboard with this. Limit yourself to 5 categories at most.

Besides categories, you can also tell Google about your business’ attributes. This is again accessible on the edit page and includes several options such as accessibility features, amenities, etc.

Attributes

Attributes show up in your local listing and help customers figure out what amenities you offer

Be honest here and choose only the most accurate attributes. Not doing so will just lead to disappointed customers.

3. Add relevant photos

Pictures are quickly becoming a big part of your business listings on Google. On your business page, there is even an entire section devoted to pictures of the business.

Photos in Google My Business

Add relevant pictures to give customers an idea of what kind of business you are

At the very least, you should have the basic identity pictures — a cover photo, logo, etc.

Beyond this, you can also include pictures of the business’ exterior, interior, products, and the people who work there. Basically, the more pictures you can have, the better.

4. Create Google posts

Google Posts is a new service where users can create content right on Google which will show up near the top of the page when someone searches for their name.

Google Posts aren’t meant to be blog posts. For one, they disappear within a week.

So instead of evergreen content, you’re encouraged to share timely and relevant information in Posts: new promotions, an event, etc.

Google Posts is still a new feature which didn’t become widely available until June 2017. Read this article to get a quick guide.

You can create Posts right from your GMB dashboard. Follow the instructions on this page to get started.

5. Encourage people to leave reviews

Reviews can make or break your listing on search results. Your overall rating (as determined by your reviews) shows up prominently when someone makes a local search.

Reviews on Google My Business

Ratings and total number of reviews show up prominently in local search results

When someone actually clicks on this "pack" of links (called a "Local Pack"), the reviews dominate the listing. Getting more reviews, therefore, is crucial for getting a better ranking.

There are several ways to encourage people to leave reviews:

  • Make it easy to leave reviews by including explicit instructions. Don’t assume that your customers know how to get their way around search engines.
  • Time the request right. Don’t send the request too soon after a purchase; it will seem too opportunist. Don’t delay it too long either; people are liable to forget about you. Time it such that your business is fresh in your customers’ minds.
  • Use the review request in your emails. If you’re capturing your customers’ emails, you should include the review request in your "welcome" email to new customers.

Never use fake reviews or write reviews yourself. Google is smart enough to sniff out fraud.

Don’t ask customers to leave reviews using your iPad when they’re shopping in your brick-and-mortar store either. Google can spot too many reviews from the same IP and might flag them.

Also, keep in mind that you can’t delete reviews from Google My Business. Be careful about who you ask for reviews.

People will sooner leave negative reviews if they are unhappy than positive ones if they are satisfied. To avoid unfairly low ratings, follow up your happy customers intensively — say, people who’ve shopped from you multiple times or have other positive experience signals (followed you on social media, shared your page, left a review in your online store etc.).

What link should you send to customers to get reviews on Google My Business?

My Business reviews

Google your business name, then click "Write a Review" to get a link

When you hit this button, the URL will change and you’ll see a pop-up box like this:

Use this URL to collect reviews

Use this URL to collect reviews

You can copy-paste this URL and send it to your customers to collect reviews.

Other Signals

As we saw earlier, there are a number of other off-site components that contribute to your local SEO success.
Briefly, this includes:

  • Adding your website to local business directories and websites such as Manta, Yelp, etc. Use the same address and phone numbers as your GMB listing. This is called building "citations".
  • Ask local bloggers, websites, newspapers, etc. to link to your site, especially in pages such as "best X in Y city".
  • Share your website link on social media.
  • Build backlinks to your site.
  • Create valuable content to attract customers.

For now, optimizing on-page SEO and "My Business" signals will go a long way towards improving your rankings.

Plus, since these are easy to do, tackling these first will be a lot less resource-intensive than embarking on an expensive SEO campaign.

Happy rankings!

More on the topic: 15 Practical Ideas for Promoting a Small Business Locally

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How One Passionate Home Decorator Got Her Entire Family into a Prosperous Business https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-one-passionate-home-decorator-got-her-entire-family-into-a-prosperous-business.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-one-passionate-home-decorator-got-her-entire-family-into-a-prosperous-business.html#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 10:48:59 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18274

Entrepreneurship can be infectious.

Jess, her parents, and her husband found themselves in Woodstock Rustic one by one. This home decor studio evolved from her garage part-time pastime into a fully equipped online business, with products featured in The Washington Post and HGTV Magazine.

We couldn’t help asking Jess to tell us about the metamorphosis. Let’s go behind the scenes to find out what worked and what didn’t for this family-first team on their way from zero to success.

Woodstock Rustic team

Woodstock Rustic team

What’s your background?

Both my husband Joe and I are graphic designers (my specialty is in surface design, and he’s from an advertising background), so art in one form or another has been a part of our everyday lives from the beginning.

After having our daughter seven years ago, I quit my corporate design job and began freelancing. In my spare time, I started making art pieces for our home, and a new business idea was born!

What were your first steps in business?

I decided to test the waters to see what kind of reaction I got with my art by participating in several local art shows. It was a big leap for me to go public, and scary for sure, but I almost sold out the very first show! So that gave me some real momentum to keep going.

Related: Reasons to Consider a Pop-Up Shop

How did you move from art shows to an online business?

After doing a couple more local shows, I decided to open an Etsy shop and give online sales a try. I listed 25 or 30 pieces and waited anxiously for the sales to flood in.

Woodstock Rustic on Etsy today

Woodstock Rustic on Etsy today

But the site sat there for six or seven months with only a couple of sales a month at best. Meanwhile, I continued to do local art shows and added to my product line, often as a result of customer requests.

I have found that customers are a great source of ideas and inspiration!

Also read: How To Evaluate Product Viability

What helped you to fine-tune your online sales?

I got serious about trying to make the online shop work. In addition to expanding my product line, I did some research and learned a little about social media marketing and SEO — particularly, the importance of keywords and titles.

At that point, I brought my mother on board to help with both product creation and our Etsy website management. She has a background in marketing and some experience in SEO, so it was a perfect fit. We then added social media sites on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, and sales finally started coming in!

Learn more: How To Open An Online Shop on Facebook

Woodstock Rustic on Instagram

Woodstock Rustic on Instagram

What made you move from your garage?

Space became the problem. I had set up our garage as our studio for my painting and for Joe’s carpentry — he was making the wood canvases that we use for most of our products on the weekends.

The garage served as our production space, product and material storage space, shipping area, and a little of everything else. With our increasing sales, the garage soon was overflowing!

Further, we worried about disturbing our neighbors with all the noise we made with our saws and hammers.

Almost like it was meant to be, my father, a retired home builder, found a three-acre property with a house that needed some renovations but had tons of potential and space, including a basement area that was perfect for our production studio and an upstairs area for the design studio.

The design studio

The design studio

The acreage provided the space we needed to spread out and make all the noise we wanted!

So we took a leap of faith, sold our house, and moved. With that, the business continued to grow, and a year ago Joe made the decision to quit his advertising job and come on board full time!

A long-time dream of having our own business was now a reality! My dad also joined forces with us, and we have now added our first employee outside of family members… a long-time friend from art school. We truly have a great team!

Related: Finding the Optimal Way to Store Your Products

So why create a standalone online store in addition to Etsy?

Given the competitiveness of online stores now, we felt it was important to expand our online presence and not be limited to one platform.

Having our own online store gives us more control and also helps build our brand.

Many people who buy products on Etsy think in terms of Etsy being the "store". In other words, they tend to say, "I bought it on Etsy," rather than "I bought it from Woodstock Rustic."

And that’s fine. Etsy has been a great platform for us — with over 4,000 sales in just under two years — and we plan on continuing with our site there indefinitely. But we think an important step in expanding our business is to establish our brand, and that’s hard to do on Etsy.

Furthermore, we want to offer products that complement our own original creations but that we don’t make ourselves. This actually stemmed from customers asking if we sell some of the props we use as part of our photo shoots.

Woodstock rustic photography

Etsy’s policies require that products either be handmade by the shop owner or vintage, and our props (for example, some of the wall decor pieces we use to create gallery wall displays) didn’t fit into either category. We realized we were missing an opportunity to sell products that didn’t fit the Etsy model.

We chose Wix because I had used it to create a portfolio site years ago, and I liked the easy set-up. For our new site, I tried out their e-commerce platform, but felt a little limited, especially in not being able to offer calculated shipping.

Our products are heavy and the shipping price varies, sometimes greatly, depending on where we are shipping to. We found a recommendation for Ecwid in a Wix forum and discovered that it was easily integrated with our Wix site.

Related: A Wix + Ecwid E-Commerce Website: the Benefits and 10 Beautiful Examples

Woodstock Rustic online store on Wix + Ecwid

Woodstock Rustic online store on Wix + Ecwid

Setting up the site was very straightforward, even for me — and I have very little experience with the tech side of website creation. In fact, adding products on the Ecwid platform is a breeze.

I especially appreciate the number of options that are available for each listing, such as size, color, customization text boxes — the list goes on!

We are limited to only two options on the Etsy platform, which is often not enough for the type of customized products we sell. So we end up having to email back and forth with customers to get all the necessary information. This has all but been eliminated in our Ecwid store.

Another great tool is Ecwid’s chat feature with their technical gurus. After we got the site set up, I wanted to tweak the design and the way the integration with Wix worked.

Even though I usually didn’t know the correct terminology for things, the Ecwid tech folks were able to understand me and help with whatever I was attempting to do.

We are always discovering new tools to help manage the site. For example, from a recent chat I discovered the Storefront Label Editor. With this free app, I was able to change a display setting from "tax shown for" to "GET SHIPPING COSTS".

Checkout customization with Storefront Label Editor

Checkout customization with Storefront Label Editor

Our customers now have a quick way to see the estimated shipping costs prior to checking out. This helps us be more transparent with costs prior to purchase, and we’ve actually seen an increase in sales since customizing this wording.


Open a free online store

How are you getting more eyes on your products?

We have been very lucky to have been featured by several major publications. Both The Washington Post and HGTV Magazine contacted us to let us know one of our products was being used in an article.

We were also included in a gift guide in Travel + Leisure Magazine online.

I wish I could tell you what we did to get discovered, but truthfully, we don’t know. Maybe just some good luck!

But we aren’t planning to rely on luck as our major marketing tool. In the coming year, we are ramping up our marketing efforts, especially for our Ecwid store.

To this end, we have started a blog in order to share a little about ourselves and to help promote products and specials.

Related: The Importance of a Blog and How to Start One for Your Store

The Woodstock Rustic blog features gift guides

The Woodstock Rustic blog features gift guides

We also try to stay active on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. And we are exploring the idea of starting a YouTube channel to feature videos on decorating ideas and the modern farmhouse style we sell.

It’s an ongoing and ever-changing process!

We are also making good use of Ecwid’s discount coupons. For example, we offer a 10% discount coupon code for signing up for our newsletter, which is another new marketing effort we are implementing. It’s a win-win… We get to add to our marketing lists, and our new customers get a deal!

Woodstock Rustic newsletter

Woodstock Rustic newsletter

Related: Ecwid Promo Toolkit to Power Your Black Friday Sale

Home is where you hang your hat — and wear many others

Jess shared that the biggest challenge they face is finding time to wear all the hats necessary to maintain the business, from creating new designs to production to managing inventory to shipping to doing photo shoots to maintaining the websites and social media.

But all that pays off: "I think you have to be really passionate about what you are doing, and we truly are!", Jess confirmed.

***

To sum up, here’s what home decor sellers can learn from Woodstock Rustic’s winning tactics:

  1. Test your products at art shows and fine-tune your product line.
  2. Test your assortment on Etsy. Don’t forget to take beautiful product pics!
  3. Think about the size of your workspace beforehand.
  4. Create a standalone online store to develop your brand.
  5. Break down your products into clear, understandable categories. This helps press easily discover them to feature on gift guides and product collections.
  6. Work on SEO-friendly product descriptions and titles.
  7. Set up accurate shipping costs if you sell large and heavy items.
  8. Add your products to social media.
  9. Start a blog.
  10. Offer discount coupons, e.g. for newsletter sign-ups.
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3 E-Commerce Trends You Should Follow to Stay Ahead in A Cluttered Marketplace https://www.ecwid.com/blog/3-e-commerce-trends-you-should-follow-to-stay-ahead-in-a-cluttered-marketplace.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/3-e-commerce-trends-you-should-follow-to-stay-ahead-in-a-cluttered-marketplace.html#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2017 12:12:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18184

No business objective can yield great results without a plan. Just like a chef goes through a preparation process before cooking, an e-commerce business needs a robust marketing strategy before disseminating the brand’s messaging to the audience.

As the owner of an e-commerce business, you may be overlooking various business functions, and delving deep into any one of them might be difficult.

However, making a list of all the methods and the media platforms you plan on using to reach out to your customers can help you keep track of different activities. This simple trick allows real-time analysis and modification of your marketing strategy.

The key to the smooth execution of a marketing strategy is to check on its progress every week or month, evaluating how the ideation and implementation process is proceeding.

Let’s discuss some of the leading marketing trends that e-commerce businesses should definitely consider.

Related: How to Create a Strong Unique Selling Proposition for Your Online Store

Highlight Value Addition

It’s not always about money or discounts. Of course, these do add value to the customer’s shopping experience, but there is more to increase the value of your product/service than just discounts.

You need to work on aspects like tackling a customer complaining of a bad experience. In such a situation, a discount on a future purchase may not be that well received, and an honest apology with a refund/replacement may pacify the customer.

For a better return on your marketing activities, you need to analyze the strength of the buying proposition for any customer. This will determine the brand’s value to the customer, and the higher the surplus value that the customer will enjoy, the greater will be your chances of making sales.

Who has got it right?

The fitness industry is one of the most competitive industries out there. As a result, the web is crawling with hundreds of fitness websites and blogs. But, how many of them offer fitness advice to nerds?

That’s why, Nerd Fitness, a small player in this industry, decided to cater specifically to nerds. The website increased its service value by making it exclusively limited to nerds who are often ignored by the fitness bigwigs in general.

Nerd Fitness

Nerd Fitness

Key takeaway: just like Nerd Fitness, you can also create a product or service exclusively designed for a particular segment of consumers.

India’s online jewelry retailer, BlueStone, is setting new trends in a traditional market like India, where buying jewelry is treated more like an auspicious occasion. The brand addresses the trust-related concerns that Indian buyers often express when buying jewelry such as rings, necklaces, and earrings online, especially when it comes to purchasing diamond jewelry or wedding jewelry.

Among its other offerings, the lifetime exchange option and the 30-day money back guarantee are certainly making this brand a game-changer in the online jewelry industry in India.

Blue Stone

Blue Stone

Key takeaway: If you are in an extremely competitive market, you need to find creative ways to offer add-on value to your customers. Find out their primary concerns related to your industry and try to address those by incorporating them into your marketing strategy directly.

Leading B2B e-commerce website, Grainger, pays close attention to the pricing patterns of competitors before determining its pricing. This retailer of maintenance, repair, and equipment supplies targets specific returns on investments, especially on products that can drive greater profit margins.

The company is providing optimized prices that are market driven to compete with the online sellers whose pricing is likely to tempt their target consumers. In this strategy, Grainger deflated prices overall by about 4% that helped increase total sales volume by 5%. Most increased volume came from new or expanded contracts with mid-sized companies.

Grainger

Grainger

Key takeaway: your product or services costs can be competitive but not low. As your prices are competitive (not low) you can keep your existing customers from going to your competitors without incurring losses. You can also try changing the product price according to the order size, location, customer age group and a bunch of other suitable criteria.

American footwear and apparel manufacturer, Under Armour, uses a different pricing strategy wherein it takes into account the "perceived value" of various product lines offered to its customers.

The company has been successful at establishing a high value of its products, ensuring that its customers will pay for the value they perceive they are obtaining from the purchase.

Their target group includes players and athletes who are more concerned about the functionality of the product rather than the price. So, Under Armour focuses more on the functionality aspect instead of design and price. The idea is, customers will pay a little extra if the product improves their performance and comfort.

Under Armor

Under Armor

Key takeaway: Sometimes, however, there is a little or no room to lower your manufacturing costs. In such case, you can focus on target customers who are willing to pay a little extra for the higher quality, durability, and performance of your product or service.

Adapt to the Age of Micro-video

As a wider section of the customer base is turning to mobile devices for viewing videos, their attention spans are reducing extensively. To ride this wave, marketers have turned their focus on generating video content that is snackable and easily consumed by the audience.

You need to include engaging content in the form micro-videos (under 60 seconds) for the target audience to watch anywhere at any time.

59 percent of consumers watch 60-second long videos every day, and not the long-form videos. These numbers reflect the strong acceptance of micro-videos and how powerful a marketing tool they can be.

Who has got it right?

Califia Farms, a natural beverage company located in Bakersfield California, has been hosting engaging short videos on Instagram for a while to generate brand awareness. The videos are spontaneous, playful, and entertaining. Thanks to the combination of those videos and photos, they have more than 75 thousand followers on Instagram today.

New York-based provider of pet-themed products and technology, Barkbox regularly posts funny animal videos on its Instagram account. Instead of broadcasting promotional content, the videos are purely created for entertainment purpose. However, the company does offer discounts and coupons to their followers. The above video received more than 80 thousand views.

CHICKEN DOG HAS RETURNED!! SOUND VERY IMPORTANT #hehasreturned #henevertrulyleft . @owenthegriff

A post shared by BarkBox (@barkbox) on 

In its latest campaign, Reebok highlights the importance of the days that people spend to achieve their goals. The video wants its audience to constantly honor hard work and push themselves to the limits. Through its #HonorYourDays campaign, it expresses the notion of striving for a healthier lifestyle without any spoken words.

The brand’s message is powerful: Make the most of the days you have by "honoring the body you’ve been given." Putting a sense of ownership to one’s fitness works as an impactful psychological motivator for Reebok’s audiences. The beauty of the campaign lies in the fact that the messaging is compelling as well as actionable.

Key takeaway: The key takeaway here is to offer your customers the content that doesn’t look promotional at all. Instead, it connects with them.

Do you think video is too expensive or difficult for you? Check out these posts:

Personalized Communication in the Age of Automation

With the Internet being used heavily as an advertising channel for brands, customers are often unhappy because of websites being flooded with advertisements. With the use of ad-blocking tools, a lot of relevant content does not reach users.

An increasing number of businesses are relying on automated media systems to communicate with their audience in a more personal and storytelling manner. Personalized communication with customers is the ideal way to engage with them. This technique allows you to automate repetitive tasks, reduce errors, manage multiple tasks and measure your efforts.

The first step to integrating automation with personalized brand communication is to use data on demographic and psychographic details about the target audience efficiently. It may sound surprising, but even a seemingly simple touch such as using their name or preference while delivering a message or reminder can take customer engagement to the next level.

Identify each audience group based on behavioral segmentation. This approach is often referred to as the "audience first" approach. For example, you can divide your audience into different groups based on their loyalty, buying patterns, benefits sought, and usage rates among others.

Second, gather information about audience preferences and set up campaigns based on the media receptivity for these insights. You can use various online tools such as Facebook insights, Twitter analytics, Google analytics, and consumer surveys to identify your target audience groups.

Build a strategy to reach out to each of these audience groups, and test the volume and categories of media platforms that are needed to get the desired results.

Third, go all in with your creativity and develop an engaging script that caters to the touch points for each audience without seeming promotional. With this, you can engage with a wider spectrum of your target audience with utmost efficiency.

Related: Customer Groups in Ecwid

Who has got it right?

Linguabot, a subscription-based mandarin (Chinese) learning site, decided to display its web pages according to the geographical location of the consumers.

The site used Google Analytics data to find out that a large portion of its customers comes from the Philippines and Hong Kong. So, the website started displaying prices in Hong Kong dollars and Philippine pesos.

As a result, the number of subscriptions from these two countries increased significantly. You can apply the same personalization technique to create suitable changes to your website.

Linguabot

Linguabot

Neutrogena has been applauded in the marketing biz for its use of programmatic storytelling to drive sales through custom, contextual recommendations for its target audience. The brand built its automated personalized communication on the insight that 75 percent of Neutrogena customers are loyal to only one product segment.

The brand rolled out a campaign to convince loyalists to buy one additional product with their usual choice through its communications strategy. To boost purchases, Neutrogena showcased two different offerings in the same visual. These "perfect pairings" were assembled based on the customer’s preference and previous purchases.

This added a personal touch to their automated marketing system. Even the promotional banners and video ads included details of customer forums on social media that enabled users to interact with the pairings and receive personalized information.

Key takeaway: Though your business offers a variety of products, not everyone is interested in all of them. Your target customers will always prefer to buy some of your products. Thus, you must provide them with personalized information if you want them to stay loyal to your brand. Though Neutrogena is a big brand, small businesses can also try this personalized promotion tactic to improve their sales.

Also read: How to Run Remarketing Ads to Your Store Visitors With Facebook Pixel and Ecwid

Among consumer brands, Nike’s NIKEiD and L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius have ventured into providing portable e-commerce experiences to customers. They have introduced mobile apps that act as in-store beacons and also invested heavily in digital out-of-home digital media networks.

This enables them to automate the process of customer interaction to provide an uninterrupted conversation with their shoppers even before and after the purchase. NIKEiD is a service offered by Nike that allows potential customers to design and customize their own Nike shoes. The mobile app enables the end consumers to design and purchase their shoes directly from their smartphones.

NIKEiD

NIKEiD

L’Oreal uses its app to provide customized beauty and makeup advice that may be valuable to the customers. This broadens the concept of personalized offerings during the point of sale.

L'Oreal

L’Oreal mobile app

Key takeaway: Though small, your business can also benefit from a mobile app that facilitates personalized communication with your consumers. A small bakery, for example, can enable its customers to order customized cakes and bakery products through a mobile app.

You can turn your Ecwid store in a mobile app too and provide an ideal mobile shopping experience for your customers.

Ecwid ShopApp

Ecwid ShopApp

Learn more: How to Launch and Promote Your E-Commerce Mobile App

Wrapping It Up

Inspire rather than market. This is what is going to pave the path ahead in the marketing world. Customers want to associate themselves with brands that don’t just tell their stories in advertisements but inspire them. Develop and act on powerful media insights to advise various spectrums of your target audience, and you’ll be able to balance the marketing strategy with ease.

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A Glimpse into Money 20/20 & Exciting News About Ecwid + Verifone https://www.ecwid.com/blog/a-glimpse-into-money-2020-and-exciting-news-about-ecwid-and-verifone.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/a-glimpse-into-money-2020-and-exciting-news-about-ecwid-and-verifone.html#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18164

We just got back from the largest payments and financial technology event, Money 20/20, hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many brilliant minds gathered together to connect and talk about the future of payments, while speakers from Mastercard, Stripe, Square, Apple, and others unveiled their current projects and their vision for the industry.

If you couldn’t make it out to Vegas, here’s a quick recap of what happened.

Ecwid and Verifone at Money2020

Sridhar Nagarajan (Ecwid), Abhishek Chugh (Verifone), Pravir Ramtekkar (Verifone), Jim O’Hara (Ecwid)

Breaking News

Ecwid teamed up with Verifone, a leader in payment solutions to enable online-offline omnichannel commerce. The new Verifone Carbon device integrates with third-party apps to create a fully connected payment ecosystem and help merchants grow.

At the conference, we provided a sneak peek of the powerful and unique Ecwid + Verifone solution, which allows merchants to accept online and offline payments and manage their store from the same device.

Ecwid on Verifone Carbon

The seamless Ecwid Control Panel and Verifone hardware integrated solution.

Ecwid and Verifone make it easy for merchants to manage orders, enable order pickup and sell everywhere: on websites, social media, mobile, marketplaces, in-person and on-the-go from any device.

Learn more about this partnership, and check out some of our other POS integrations:

Money 20/20 by the Numbers

If you think about the scale of this event, it can make your head spin (it certainly made ours).

Money2020 by the numbers

Watch Money20/20 highlights, featuring:

  • Steve Wozniak, Co-Founder at Apple: we shouldn’t fear the rise of AI and should treat robots like friends.
  • Jennifer Bailey, VP Internet Services & Apple Pay at Apple: Apple Pay is used for 90% of mobile transactions in the USA.
  • Nuno Sebastiao, Chairman, Founder and CEO at Feedzai: AI is our utility to enable safer transactions in e-commerce.
  • John Collison, President & Co-Founder at Stripe: our focus is on having a standard payments interface globally.
  • Chris Skinner, Founder of The Finanser: technology doesn’t just make banking faster, it transforms the industry globally.
  • Dan Wernikoff, EVP and GM, Consumer Tax Group at Intuit: machine learning is how banking and finances can become easier to understand for consumers.

And the Best Payment Method Is…

The Money 20/20 team had a fun contest to figure out the "best payment method". The Payments Race competition required each of the five participants to get from Toronto to Vegas in time for the conference while facing daily challenges. Each participant was given only one payment method to use to get there.

Payment Race

See what the participants have to say about their journey and which payment method was most handy:



Which of these methods are the most popular with your customers? Let’s continue the experiment right here!

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How Product Reviews Lure Customers to This One-of-a-Kind Business https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-product-reviews-lure-customers-to-this-one-of-a-kind-business.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/how-product-reviews-lure-customers-to-this-one-of-a-kind-business.html#respond Fri, 27 Oct 2017 12:06:49 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18145

We’ve all heard how important product reviews are to help make a business successful, but are they that important and do they drive sales?

This month we are talking to Mike LaTour, founder and CEO of Soundwave Art™. Soundwave Art offers a unique experience of converting any sound into artwork and jewelry.

Mike shares his experience with product reviews for his store soundwaveart.com and how they use the review app, HelpfulCrowd, to achieve their goals.

What do you do at Soundwave Art?

We create unique pieces of art. Anyone can be an artist by providing a recording or uploading an audio file or even a video onto their web-based platform. Our software then extracts the audio and turns it into a sound wave pattern.

Soundwave Art

Soundwave Art Canvas, one of Soundwave Arts most popular products

From there, you can style and design your sound wave from an endless array of colors. From a baby’s heartbeat to wedding vows or simply saying "I Love You." Every sound has a unique signature, so it would be accurate to say that every piece created at Soundwave Art™ is truly one-of-a-kind.

Our Ecwid store offers many finishings including Acrylic, Canvas, Prints, Metal and Solid Wood. Our jewelry line continues to expand with a wide range of rings and pendants.

Our newest and most exciting product is our Soundwave Media™ package. When adding this package to one of our many compatible artwork products, our mobile app will bring your art to life by playing the audio file, or a video on top of your art using augmented reality!

We’ve worked long and hard to bring this new technology to the art world, and we are very excited about it.

Why did you start collecting product reviews?

We launched our store in Q4 2012, interest in our products was slow in the beginning. Given the fact that we were a new company with a unique idea, we found some hesitation on the part of potential customers. We were confident that we had a great idea and just needed a way to give shoppers greater confidence.

If you have just launched your store and don’t have many orders, don’t make the mistake of thinking "I’ll install it when I start getting more orders."

We started testing some product review apps in 2014. There were some decent apps available, but we just didn’t see a big increase in reviews until we installed HelpfulCrowd.

HelpfulCrowd installed in a matter of minutes; shortly after that, we imported all reviews we had previously collected with other apps. We then personalized the review request emails automatically sent to customers after their order is delivered. The number of features, control, and triggers we found was unmatched in any other review app that we had used on a free plan.

Soundwave Art site customer reviews and testimonials

Soundwave Art site customer reviews and testimonials

The best part is that HelpfulCrowd listens to its users. We had some suggestions, and they didn’t just agree, they acted on it and the next thing we knew the feature was live in the app! We can suppress products, like gift certificates, from being included in the review requests and control when review requests are sent, and there are many other features options we are yet to utilize.

Do you really believe that product reviews helped your business be successful?

There is no doubt in our mind that product reviews have helped us grow more than any other activity. Sharing real customer stories to increase sales was only one benefit that reviews offered. The more reviews we received, the more we learned what was working and what could be improved. Reviews became a yardstick to measure how we were doing as a business.

The end game for us was not just sharing the reviews with other customers to drive more sales but understanding what our customers wanted us to start doing, stop doing and keep doing.

Other than direct communications, product reviews was an essential way for us to build credibility with our customers, showing we were a real business, with real customers, creating unique products.

Beautiful, unique art on almost any material imaginable

Beautiful, unique art on almost any material imaginable

Did it take long to collect many reviews?

It definitely didn’t happen overnight. Collecting reviews can be a difficult task for any business. In the beginning, we didn’t have many sales, so reviews were tough to come by. We expected the number of reviews collected to increase as our sales increased, but that wasn’t our experience with previous review apps we used.

We saw a change when we switched to HelpfulCrowd. Their review collection process was different to other apps, and it works with all email clients including Outlook. We saw an immediate increase in the number of reviews, especially customers who purchased more than one product on a single order.

One of the other things we love about HelpfulCrowd is how their app looks on our storefront. You can tell they have spent a lot of time to ensure that the styling and design integrate with our store design rather than looking like a 3rd party plugin. This is super important for being a store that sells art where design is everything.

Soundwave art customer reviews

Reviews build shoppers trust, confidence and commenting helps build lasting customer relationships

What advice would you have for other merchants when it comes to working with product reviews or selecting a review app?

We can only speak from our experience, but we believe that these are important considerations for any merchant when working with product reviews and choosing an app.

Start today. If you have just launched your store and don’t have many orders, don’t make the mistake of thinking "I’ll install it when I start getting more orders." The value of one review cannot be underestimated, and you never know which customer will write it.

It also provides invaluable insight of how you can improve your business. Many of the review apps offer free plans.  If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to choose an app that has lots of free features but also provides great value for the money and flexibility as your business grows.

Be realistic. Customers write product reviews for many different reasons. Whether they write one or not can be influenced by many factors beyond the actual product experience. They can have the best purchase and product experience but if the review process looks too complicated or too much hassle they simply will ignore it.

When we switched to HelpfulCrowd, we saw our conversion rates increase immediately. We think one of the key reasons is not only the way this app collects reviews, but also the ability to receive multiple reviews in a single email when multiple products are purchased.

HelpfulCrowd’s single review request for multiple product single orders

HelpfulCrowd’s single review request for multiple product single orders

Build relationships. The ability to directly communicate with your customers is essential, so commenting on reviews is paramount: a simple thank you goes a long way. While this is good business sense, you’d be surprised at the number of merchants who don’t prioritize this activity or have to pay for this simple feature.

Review comments show shoppers the type of business you run, how you handle complaints and also provide you with a unique opportunity to build a direct relationship with the customer. As a bonus, research shows that customers are also more likely to buy from you again if their effort taken to write the review is acknowledged. This has been our experience as well.

Answer questions. If you don’t already have a product Q&A service on your site, you should seriously consider it. One of the main reasons visitors don’t buy is because they can’t find an answer to a question they have or can’t ask a question. Q&A not only increases sales but reduces customer service costs through the building of a specific product FAQ references. If you don’t already have a product Q&A feature, you can get it free with HelpfulCrowd.

Also read: Why You Need an FAQ Page and How to Create It

Be visual. Shoppers love pictures and videos. Real pictures from real customers build even more confidence and trust, much more than just stock or catalog photos. HelpfulCrowd just launched media reviews which let customers upload up to five photos/videos that you can then share. You can trial this cool feature free when you sign up.

Socialise. You already know that social channels, like Facebook and Twitter, are super important. One way to create refreshing and unique social content is to publish customer reviews on these sites. It not only creates brand awareness, but you can create conversations by asking followers about their experience with the product.

Be transparent. Post the good, bad and ugly. As long as the review doesn’t violate guidelines, you should post it, and respond to it. One study shows that 68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad reviews while 30% suspect censorship or fake reviews when they don’t see any negative opinions.

Our experience has taught us that there is no magic bullet to success, only a good idea, great execution, hard work and a willingness to listen to your customers. Product reviews have been a critical part of our success, helping us improve and increase sales through the listening and sharing of real customer stories.

***

Sign up today to join HelpfulCrowd and start turning Shoppers into Customers.

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Pinterest Opens Search Ads to Businesses of All Sizes — Great Opportunity for Visual Products https://www.ecwid.com/blog/pinterest-opens-search-ads-to-businesses-of-all-sizes-great-opportunity-for-visual-products.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/pinterest-opens-search-ads-to-businesses-of-all-sizes-great-opportunity-for-visual-products.html#respond Wed, 25 Oct 2017 16:57:10 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18108

If you are not yet addicted to Pinterest and its various pinboards of any niche possible, you should do some "research". If your store sells products that make for great pictures and are visually appealing, Pinterest is a great place to get them in front of your customers.

On October 18, Pinterest opened their search ads tools to every business. Previously tested by big brands like eBay or Garnier, this feature has shown good results and was introduced to a larger audience. Now people like you and me can run ads based on broad, exact, or phrase-matched keywords, as well as get search term reports for optimizing the marketing strategy.

Earlier this fall, the Pinterest team made another announcement: the enchanted interest targeting based on the same technology that was previously used only for organic recommendations. Now there are 5,000+ interests to choose from for targeting your ads, and Pinterest can automatically supplement your keyword strategy by targeting relevant searches.

On this occasion, we want to tell you more about running ads on this visual medium.

How Pinterest Search Ads Work Now

People often want something without knowing what exactly.

Consider this scenario: you finally decided to start jogging, so you want a new pair of sneakers. But you don’t have an idea what people wear these days because the last time you wore sports shoes was way too long ago. This is where Pinterest comes in.

A Pinterest search leads people from an abstract desire to a concrete idea in the visual form of a Pin.

Pinterest feed

Pinterest search results for "home decor"

Many people go there to make better vacation plans, prepare for an important date, or just to get inspired for their living room redecoration. Every Pin has a link to some website it was pinned from, so it’s easy to click away and buy the stuff you’ve just discovered.

Your Pins can appear in front of people organically, and you can also promote your Pins to reach more of your target demographics.

Pinterest Ads are like a mix of Facebook Ads and AdWords. Here are the targeting options:

  • Goals: brand awareness, engagement, traffic to website, video views, and app installs.
  • Ad placement: search (shown when people search for ideas) and browse (shown when people browse, plus their homefeed, and related Pins)
  • Gender: male, female, unspecified
  • Interests: there’s a number to choose from, plus the ability to search more interests:

Pinterest targeting

  • Audiences: custom (website visitors, those who engaged with your pins, or an uploaded file) and act-alike audiences (people similar to those you already have)
  • Language
  • Devices: web, mobile, tablet
  • Locations
  • [New] Keywords: broad match, "phrase match", [exact match], negative keywords, up to 150 keywords in a promoted pin.

If you choose the Clicks to Website objective, you’ll conveniently pay for the clicks only, and the bid goes lower if your Pin gets a good organic reach.

The ads look native, as Pinterest’s #1 mission is to help people find relevant content, not just sell ads to marketers.

Another great thing about Pinterest is that people come there to find products, shaping a specific audience that is ready to buy.

Who Should Advertise on Pinterest

Though now Pinterest Ads are more advanced than they used to be, they are not a universal solution for every type of business. The content on Pinterest still serves a certain audience.

Here’s a quick test. Answer yes or no to the following questions:

  • Do you sell visually appealing niche products?
  • Are you proud of your product photography?
  • Are you already present on Pinterest and are your pins repinned often?

If all three answers are positive, then you should totally give it a try.

It’s best if your Pins fit any of these categories:

  • Home
  • Hair and beauty
  • Style
  • Food and drink
  • Educational e-goods
  • DIY products.

Some Ecwid merchants are into Pinterest and confirm they have good results:

"Pinterest accounts for 90 percent of my social media traffic." — Selena Robinson, founder of "Look! We’re Learning!", selling educational e-goods.

'Look! We're Learning!' on Pinterest

"Look! We’re Learning!" on Pinterest

"Pinterest is the second biggest channel that brings sales to my shop. I joined a lot of Pinterest Groups and post there regularly. I post mostly from my shop. Sometimes I share an article or a blog post, or some ideas and tutorials." — Elvira Threeyama, founder of the CHEZVIES blog and online store, selling handmade goods.

CHEZVIES on Pinterest

Chezvies Pins

How to Make a Great Promoted Pin

If you have a business profile on Pinterest, you can promote your most viral Pins. As we said, the bid gets lower when your organic reach is good.

If you don’t have any content to promote yet, read Pinterest’s guide "The Art of Pin" to understand what content the audience appreciates.

Your Pins should have a CTA, and it’s best to motivate people to discover more ideas than to "buy now".

Don’t forget to have a look at Pinterest’s Advertising Guidelines before launching your ads to avoid rejection.

Like with any other advertising platform, things may or may not work in your particular case. So the best tip is to test, test, test.

How Else Can I Use Pinterest?

Pinterest is a powerful website that business owners can use not only to run ads, but also to search trending product ideas, promote blog content, share digital freebies, and show how to use their products in real life.

Read these posts for more Pinterest tips:

By the way, Ecwid is on Pinterest too! Follow us for e-commerce tips, product suggestions, wrapping ideas, and to have a look at actual products from Ecwid stores!

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Meet the Ecwid Plugin for Kirby Websites https://www.ecwid.com/blog/meet-the-ecwid-plugin-for-kirby-websites.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/meet-the-ecwid-plugin-for-kirby-websites.html#respond Thu, 19 Oct 2017 15:54:52 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=18044

There’s only one step between being online and selling online — just add an Ecwid store to your existing website as a piece of HTML code, a widget, or a plugin.

The family of Ecwid plugins recently welcomed its newest member for Kirby websites. There’s now one more way to sell online with Ecwid.

Kirby is a content management system that is particularly popular among web studios, bloggers, and people with portfolio websites. Now all those websites can get an online store installed in minutes.

Other ways to sell with Ecwid → 

What is Kirby?

Kirby is a file-based CMS, which means it doesn’t require a database. All the content is stored in files and folders which are uploaded directly to the server. That is why file-based websites are very fast.

Kirby admin

Building a website on Kirby

Additional functionalities are installed as plugins. There is a number of beautiful themes for Kirby, priced between free and $45.

Konstruct

Click on the image to view more theme examples

Kirby is the perfect solution for small businesses that want a simple and permanent website structure (web studios, blogs, or local restaurants).

The bottom line is that a Kirby website will be great for you if:

  • Your website has a simple structure that you don’t need to change all the time
  • You need a handful of pages for showcasing your business
  • Seeing or touching code doesn’t scare you.

If all you need is a one-page website with an online store, check out the free Ecwid Starter Site.

Learn more:

Sell on Your Kirby Website

With Ecwid’s plugin, you add your products, set up payment and shipping settings, and Ecwid displays the catalog, cart, and checkout widgets on your site so that your customers can find and pay for your products.

Here’s just a small part of Ecwid’s features:

  • Ability to sell physical and digital products: a forever free plan allows to sell up to 10 items
  • 40+ payment options including Stripe, PayPal, Square, and AuthorizeNet
  •  Support of popular shipping carriers to calculate shipping rates at checkout (USPS, UPS, FedEx, CanadaPost, and others), plus an in-store pickup option
  • Promotional tools: discount coupons, wholesale discounts, membership-based discounts, abandoned carts management.

Ecwid demo store on Kirby

Ecwid demo store on Kirby

Take a tour around an Ecwid demo store → 

How to Install an Ecwid Online Store on Kirby

To add an online store to your Kirby website, you need to have a website first. Try Kirby or buy a license to create one. Then follow these steps:

  1. Create an Ecwid account if you haven’t yet. It’s free.
  2. Add the Ecwid plugin to your Kirby website. How to do it → 
  3. In the Ecwid widget in your Kirby Admin Panel, click the Connect button to connect your Ecwid account to your site.
  4. Connect Ecwid to Kirby

  5. Once your account is connected, the plugin will automatically try to create a new "Shop" page on your site. If a page is not created, you can create a Shop page yourself: just create a page and choose the “Ecwid” template in the page creation dialog.
  6. Ecwid shop page in Kirby

  7. To manage your store, click the "Dashboard" button in the Ecwid widget in your Kirby admin panel.

Ecwid Control Panel on Kirby dashboard

Ecwid Control Panel on Kirby dashboard

Helpful resources for running your store

The real fun begins when you have created your store and start selling. Bookmark these links to know how to use your Ecwid store’s potential:

***

What is the best way to build a website, in your opinion? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

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Holiday Email Marketing 101 for E-Commerce Stores https://www.ecwid.com/blog/holiday-email-marketing.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/holiday-email-marketing.html#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:10:16 +0000 http://www.ecwid.com/?p=5971

In a few weeks, your inbox will be filled with email offers from your favorite (and not-so-favorite) online stores. You’d think that with such a heavy volume, your customers might be getting a bit tired of email offers. Except all data shows that email marketing continues to remain one of the best performing marketing channels during the holiday season. Deals sent via email generated 27.3% of orders on Black Friday in 2016.

So how can your e-сommerce store take advantage of this massive sales opportunity this holiday season? This post will give you the answers, as well as seven surefire email types to include in your marketing plan.

The Foundation of a Successful Email Campaign

This is the part many e-сommerce storeowners get wrong: they dive headfirst into the campaign without first putting together a focused plan.

You’ll find that you can get way more out of your email marketing if you lay down a strong foundation first.

Study past campaigns

The best indicator of present success is past data. This is why your first step in the planning process should be to study past campaigns. Don’t spend too long doing this; your aim should be to see what ideas worked, what didn’t, and what segments responded the best to what offers.

At the very least, do the following:

  • Make a list of ideas you tried last year.
  • Gather data on audience response to those ideas.
  • Analyze your best performing customer segment and offer.

Once you’ve done this, you should have a list of ideas that worked last year. You get bonus points if you can dig through data over multiple years and find ideas that worked across those years; these are your guaranteed wins.

Email marketing trend 2017: modular templates. They help you save time on creating your emails and add to your brand consistency.

Analyze your competition

While digging through your own data can tell you a lot, you’ll learn even more by seeing what your competitors are doing.

Do the following to make this work:

  • Sign-up for at least 4-5 of your competitors’ email list.
  • Collect emails from them around the holiday season.
  • Make a list of their offers and the timing of those offers.

Once you have this data, check to see if there are any offers or ideas used by all competitors? Are there any ideas competitors repeat over several years?

If yes, these are your guaranteed wins.

Even if you don’t plan to model your campaign on your competitors’, it’s always a good idea to keep tabs on what your competitors are up to.

Stick to the holiday calendar

The days immediately before, after, and on the dates above will be critical for your email marketing campaign. For example, you might want to send an "early bird", or "pre-holiday" offer before a holiday date (say, Black Friday). You might then want to send a "post-holiday" offer for the "late birds" the day after the holiday.

Make sure that your marketing revolves around this structure.

Related: 10 Smart Ways to Increase Email Signups for Your Store

Creating a Holiday Email Marketing Plan

If you’ve gone through the three steps above, you should have a ton of valuable data to tailor your campaign.

Your next step should be to create a concrete plan for every email.

This plan should at least have the following:

  • A list of email subject lines, broken down by date + alternative subject lines for A/B testing
  • Delivery date for each email
  • The team member(s) responsible for writing and designing the email
  • The primary promotion in each email
  • Target customer segment for each email.

For example, here’s what your plan for each email should have:

email 1

You can use a shared spreadsheet, Google Calendar, or a project management tool such as Trello or Asana to create this plan. Once you’ve done all this spadework, you can start creating the actual emails in your campaign.

Tip: The most popular time to buy online is weekdays from 12-2pm and on Sunday evenings, so schedule your email campaigns around this time.

Learn more: 6 Popular Project Management Tools for Small Business (Pros and Cons)

7 Holiday Email Types that Work

Creating a great holiday email campaign is part art, part science.

The art part is leveraging great copywriting, design and subject lines to get people to open your emails.

Email marketing trend 2017: interactive content (lightweight GIFs, cinemagraphs, re-playing videos).

The science part is leveraging data to target the right customer segments with the right offers. Ecwid makes this easy by integrating directly with Mailchimp.

If you’re confused about what type of emails to send, here are seven email ideas that always work.

1. Help customers decide what to buy

Take a look at this:

Guide

That’s 3 million results for a single search term — "holiday gift guide". Remove the quotes (for a broad search), and you get 47.7 million results.

This illustrates a crucial problem your customers have around the holidays: they don’t know what to buy. If you can help them make a decision, you’ll not only boost sales, but also establish yourself as a helpful brand. (Pro tip: people trust "helpful" brands more).

Here are a couple of examples of brands creating "buying guides" to help customers pick gifts around the holidays:

Gift Guide

This is a super effective tactic and something your customers will love to see in their inboxes.

Email marketing trend 2017: responsive design. Keep your emails under 600px wide to make them look great on different devices.

2. Give customers a reason to buy

This will be the staple of your holiday email marketing campaign: discounts, offers, and deals. Your customers expect this; holidays, for them, are a time to get great deals on the products they like.

But not all promotions are equal; some get a better response than others. Refer to this chart from a study of over 100 retailers to see what kind of promotions customers like the most:

Promotions curomers enjoy the most

The creative brief for such promotions is straightforward: inform customers about the deal, then promote action by using scarcity or time-limited deals.

Take a look at some of these examples to get a better idea:
discount email

3. Turn hesitant buyers into customers with an incentive

How many times have you stumbled on a web store, added a product to the shopping cart, then abandoned the cart after seeing the shipping charges? This is a big problem for your customers as well. Many of them want to buy from you but need an incentive to overcome their hesitation.

In Ecwid, you can return customers who abandoned their carts with an automated or manual recovery email.

Learn more: Abandoned Cart Recovery for Ecwid Stores

Since shipping is the biggest reason for abandoned shopping carts, you can win back reluctant customers by offering free shipping deals for select holidays.

In fact, 92% of top 50 retailers in the US have free shipping policies, which helps them close a lot of abandoned carts. You don’t have to offer free shipping to all customers, of course. You can offer it only for orders above a certain value, or as a limited time promotion.

To give you an idea of what your competitors’ are doing, here’s a chart of the free shipping policies followed by retailers:

Free Shipping policies

Learn more: 6 Free Shipping Strategies and Their Alternatives

Apart from free shipping, you can also try flash sales to close reluctant customers. To help with shipping and order fulfilment, try the Shipwire app in the Ecwid store. If you run a physical store, you can also offer local pickup with the Ecwid in-store pickup feature.

Related: 7 Ways to Reduce Cart Abandonment in Your Online Store

4. Reward your most loyal customers

As with most things in business and life, the Pareto Principle (or the 80/20 rule) holds up for e-сommerce as well: 20% of your customers will bring in 80% of your revenues.

A better way to make sure these 20% customers stick around for the long-term is offering them steep loyalty deals right around the holidays?

Your best customers will appreciate this immensely. It tells them that they aren’t just another data point in your analytics tool, but actual people who love your brand and your products. It’ll also directly improve your bottom line: according to Experian, loyalty programs get 11% higher revenue per email than bulk email campaigns.

You can try out several different ideas to promote loyalty during the holidays, such as:

  • Give away free points in your reward program (if you have one)
  • Give away free low-cost items (such as accessories) with a big purchase
  • Offer additional discounts if customers reach a spending target (say, extra 10% off for spending over $200)fdes
  • Start a "loyal-customers only" sale with steep discounts.

Here’s an example of a brand offering reward points to loyal customers before the holidays:

Loyalty points

And here’s an example of Netflix offering loyal members a free DVD rental:

netflix

You can use the Loyal2 app in the Ecwid store to easily create loyalty programs.

Email marketing trend 2017: better segmentation and personalization. Read how to segment your subscribers to increase your revenue.

5. Win-back lost customers with steep discounts

Once you dig through your CRM, you’ll spot hundreds, if not thousands of customers who haven’t shopped from you in months or even years.

While some of these will likely never shop from you again, plenty can be lured back with the right kind of promotion. The holidays are the best time to do this since these customers are likely looking for gifts and will respond to the right offer around this time.

Here are some email ideas you can try to win-back these lost customers:

  • Remind customers who you are: If a customer hasn’t stopped by your site in a while, they’ve probably forgotten who you are. Re-register yourself on their radar by reminding them about their last purchase. You can then tell them about an offer on a similar product (such as "Hey, you loved X, so we’re offering you 50% off on Y").
  • Show that you’ve changed: Maybe the customer stopped shopping from you because of poor service. Or maybe they didn’t like your design. Whatever the reason, you can win them back by telling them how you’ve improved. Something like "Hey, we’ve changed — check out the new and improved store" works really well.
  • Give an incentive: The easiest way to win-back lost customers is to give them a steep discount or offer. This can be anything — 50% off, BOGO, $5 store credit, etc. Your intention should be to give so much value that customers feel no hesitation in coming back.Here’s an example of a "remember us" email:win-back

And here’s one that offers a discount to win back lost customers:
win-back

6. Use early-bird and last-minute deals

According to Google, 29% of customers will start their holiday shopping before Black Friday. The total number of early holiday shoppers in US alone is expected to be 32M.

On the other hand, more and more consumers are also holding off on holiday shopping to take advantage of last-minute deals. According to a survey by Future Foundation, 45% of consumers say that they shop at the last minute to take advantage of better deals.

So how can you win both these customer groups?

Simple: by giving away both early-bird and last-minute deals.

For example, you can have a "pre-Black Friday" sale where you offer steep discounts before Black Friday. You can follow this up with a "post-Black Friday" sale to get customers who might have missed your deals earlier.

Here’s an example of an early-bird email:

early-bird email

And here’s one example of a last-minute deal:

last minute email

7. Make better use of the "thank you" email

Your "thank you" email is the first thing that will hit your customers inbox after they’ve purchased something from you. At this point, the customers are "warm", i.e. they have a favourable impression of your store and your products.

You can boost your sales by making better use of this "thank you" email. Along with the note of thanks and the invoice, why not throw in an additional discount on some related products?

For example, if you’re a fashion retailer, you could offer offers on shoes to a customer who just purchased a pair of jeans. Something as simple as "since you loved our jeans, try these shoes to match — now at 50% off just for you" can add a few extra zeros to your bottom line.

Consider this thank-you email from HomeDepot that also upsells related products:

Thank you email

This is a very simple tactic that very few retailers utilize.

Email marketing trend 2017: combine email and social. Add share buttons to your emails and let customers know about your branded hashtags.

What You Can Learn From this Post

Wrapping up, here are some actionable tips you can apply from this post:

  • Study past emails as well as your competitors to see what works best.
  • Create a detailed plan before sending a single email. This should include the email subject, alternative subject lines, delivery date, offer type, and target customer segment.
  • Focus on discounts — your customers expect this.
  • Offer free shipping if possible.
  • Use loyalty discounts, last minute offers and early bird deals to capture every type of customer.

Also read: Ecwid Promo Toolkit to Power Your Black Friday Sale

***

What did and didn’t work for your email marketing in 2016? Let’s chat in the comments section below!

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The Enhanced Ecwid Mobile App: Take Your Online Store With You https://www.ecwid.com/blog/the-enhanced-ecwid-mobile-app-take-your-online-store-with-you.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/the-enhanced-ecwid-mobile-app-take-your-online-store-with-you.html#respond Fri, 13 Oct 2017 11:08:08 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=17971

Add a new product right after taking a product picture. Discover a new order and call the customer immediately to clarify the details. Run a promotion from the beach. All that can be real, when your store’s backend is in your smartphone.

We develop our apps non-stop and want you to stay tuned. The Ecwid Mobile Control Panel now has new essential features: a digital products view and editor, a coupon editor for discounts and free shipping, a product options editor, and more.

Try running your business whenever and wherever you like with the new 14-day free trial of the Ecwid Mobile App for iOS and Android devices.

Connect the app to your Ecwid store automatically in Control Panel → Promotions → Mobile. Even if you don’t have an Ecwid account yet, you can create one right from the app.

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

You don’t have to enter your login/password each time you want to use the app. It stays connected to your store and automatically logs you in.

Connect Ecwid Mobile to online store

Connect the app on Control Panel → Promotions → Mobile

Try New Features

We have added new features to the application that are already available in the Ecwid Control Panel, as well as special functions for smartphones: a barcode scanner and additional protection with a passcode.

Create and edit coupons

Attract customers with discount and free shipping coupons — creating a coupon only requires a couple of taps in the app.

Coupon editor

Coupon editor

Define terms for your discounts:

  • Offer discounts in percent or absolute values.
  • Set up discounts for separate products, categories, or customers.
  • Set the minimum order subtotal for the discount to apply.
  • Limit the number of times your coupon can be applied.
  • Limit your promotion in time.

Offer in-demand free shipping on beneficial conditions:

  • Set minimum order subtotal for free shipping.
  • Limit your coupon to a single use for each customer.
  • Offer free shipping to everyone, your repeat customers, or specific people.

The mix of free shipping and a discount is a hit for holiday sales. You can create such coupons too, but be careful with your profits.

Running promotions from your mobile device has a unique benefit: you can launch and stop your coupons at any moment. Sharing your coupon with customers on social media or via email is also a breeze with the "Share" button in the right upper corner.

Also read: Discount Coupons

Track order statuses

How many orders have not been paid? How many shipments have not yet been sent? You will have actual data at any time.

Mobile dashboard

Mobile dashboard

You can view the order statuses and details, and keep the store under control.

Use the barcode scanner to find orders and products

You can navigate your smartphone camera to the barcode to find your product in the catalog and update the quantity in stock. This will help you track your inventory if you sell both in-store and online.

Barcode scanner

Barcode scanner

The barcode scanner can also help you track your shipments. Scan the tracking number to find an order and change its status to "Shipped".

Edit customer profiles

Now it’s possible to:

  • Edit customer names and emails
  • View their order history
  • Add them to customer groups.

Managing customers and customer groups

Managing customers and customer groups

Use additional protection

Your phone is not only with you during work hours. Going on a date, to a party, or staying home with the kids?

Your business is protected from curious eyes with a passcode or Touch ID.

Passcode protection

Passcode protection

Manage bulk discount prices

View, edit and add new bulk discount prices for each product.

Bulk discount prices

Bulk discount prices

Add and edit digital goods

Hurray, sellers of digital products can truly travel the world without a single worry. They are not only free from having to deal with stock and shipping, but it’s now also possible to add and edit digital products on the go.

No matter the product type, Ecwid Mobile merchants can now view file attachments in orders. For example, a photo that a customer wants you to print on a T-shirt.

Managing digital files

Managing digital files

Digital goods and files work on iOS and are coming soon on Android.

Upload several product pics at a time

The more product pics you display, the better your customers understand what exactly you sell.

It’s easy to add more pics. Upload up to five product pics at a time, using Dropbox, the iCloud Drive, or other cloud services.

Bulk photo upload

Bulk photo upload

This feature works on iOS and is coming soon on Android.

Also read: How to Take Great E-commerce Product Photos With Your Phone

Manage product options

Got your best-selling sweatshirt in a new color? The app has you covered. Add this option to your product, as well as other options:

  • Size
  • Holiday wrapping
  • Custom message
  • Custom print (via file attachments)
  • Shipping date

Product options

Product options

This works for iOS and is coming soon for Android.

Track sales in real time

The Ecwid Mobile dashboard displays sales, orders, low-stock products, abandoned orders, and more. It’s fascinating that you are still the boss while jogging or having a long evening bath.

Sales data via the iOS homescreen widgets

Sales data via the iOS homescreen widgets

Also read: Online Store Analytics: Managing Reports and Sales Stats in Ecwid

There’s So Much More to Try

Ecwid Mobile is a personal e-commerce assistant in your pocket. Discover more of its features:

Add and update products

Manage your assortment and keep an eye on the stock:

  • Add products in a couple of clicks, edit descriptions, options, and prices, and remove the sold items.
  • Add photos: download from a cloud storage or shoot right there on your smartphone.
  • Track and edit the left-over stock. Use a barcode scanner instead of browsing the goods manually.

Product editor

Product editor

Also read: How to Design Product Category Pictures That Your Customers Can’t Resist to Click

Accept orders and manage sales

The faster you react to a new order, process it, and ship it off, the more loyal your customers will be. The application helps you to do the job quickly.

  • Receive instant notifications of new orders on your smartphone screen.
  • Print invoices.
  • Search orders and products through Spotlight Search: on an iPhone or iPad, pull the screen down, type the required data (order number, customer name, product name) into the search field, and they will be found immediately.

Order notifications, printing invoices and Spotlight search

Order notifications, printing invoices and Spotlight search

Create new orders manually and accept payment in cash at fairs, street markets, or your brick-and-mortar locations.

If you want to accept credit cards with your phone or tablet, use the Sell on the Go app by Ecwid (for Apple devices) in addition to Ecwid Mobile. With Sell on the Go, you can accept credit cards via PayPal Here or with a Square card reader connected to your device.

Accepting credit cards via the Sell on the Go app

Accepting credit cards via the Sell on the Go app

Learn more: Sell on the Go: Create Orders on Mobile

Get help and e-commerce tips

The Ecwid Team is there to help: just open the chat in the app. You won’t have to sit and wait for the answer, but you will receive a notification. Available on the Business and Unlimited plans.

A chat with the Ecwid Customer Care team

A chat with the Ecwid Customer Care team

Every app user can find fresh e-commerce articles from the Ecwid blog with tips on sales and store management, Ecwid news, and inspiring success stories.

***

Our goal is to make the Ecwid mobile application perfect for you so that you do not have to use your computer when you need to change something in the store. The majority of important Ecwid functionalities are already available on the smartphone. See for yourselves.


Get app

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Ecwid Promo Toolkit to Power Your Black Friday Sale https://www.ecwid.com/blog/ecwid-promo-toolkit-to-power-your-black-friday-sale.html https://www.ecwid.com/blog/ecwid-promo-toolkit-to-power-your-black-friday-sale.html#respond Wed, 11 Oct 2017 14:03:14 +0000 https://www.ecwid.com/?p=17880

Oh my, it’s already October!

We are not here to panic, but you understand what it means for merchants. The holiday season. Sales. More sales than in the years before. So skipping the curtsey: let’s get ready.

You might know your Ecwid store well, or you might think you know it. Below is the list of Ecwid’s features for running promotions, from store settings to getting your deals as far out there as possible. Make sure you’re using your online store at full tilt.

Set Up Your Deals

You really can’t ignore discounts at this time of the year. Ecwid is flexible when it comes to setting up your deals. Let’s have a look around.

Show sale prices

Let customers notice how generous you are. Show them what the price used to be before the sale and how much they can save now. Go to Settings → General → Cart and set up the manner your "Compare to" price will be displayed.

Compare to price

To set up the discount for each product, take the Catalog → Products route. Navigate to your product, find the "Price" section and set up the "Compare to" price. Save the changes.

Learn more about sale prices in Ecwid → 

Offer discounts on order subtotal

This type of sale is based on the expectation that people will buy additional stuff to reach a certain threshold to get a discount.

Tip: To run this promo successfully, your assortment should either consist of various products to choose from (e.g. beauty products), or your customer base should have a good portion of repeat customers that already know your product and are open to ordering more of it.

Set up discounts on order subtotal in Promotions → Discounts.

How to set up discounts →

Set up bulk discount pricing

If you sell relatively inexpensive products that make sense as nominal gifts to colleagues or not-so-close relatives, give a hint to your customers that they can buy several gifts of the same type for good money.

bulk discount pricing

To do that, set up bulk discount pricing. Every next item will be cheaper and Ecwid will automatically calculate the total discount in percent for even more impressive deals.

Create discount coupons

Merchants love coupons for their flexibility. With their help, you can run a promo on many different terms:

  • Give a discount to repeat customers only
  • Give a discount depending on order subtotal
  • Offer free shipping on specific conditions and more.

It works like this: you set the rules when the coupon can be applied, Ecwid generates the coupon code (or you can create it yourself, for example, BLACKFRIDAY2017). Then you share the code on your website, on social media, personally via email, by chanting it in the streets, by dropping a bottle in the ocean — the distribution really is up to you, depending on who you want to reach.

Rockabilly bowling shirts sale

rockabilly-bowling-shirts.com

You can limit coupons in time (e.g. active for 24 hours only) to run flash sales and last-minute deals.

How to set up discount coupons →

Tip: It’s so handy to create, enable, and stop your discounts on the go with the Ecwid Mobile app.

Run BOGOs

There are many fans of the Buy-One-Get-One(-Free) type of sale. Ecwid makes it possible with the BOGO app from the Ecwid App Market. Get the app and set up the rules.

BOGO settings

BOGO settings

We’ve talked about BOGO sales in detail in another post: 5 Types of BOGO(F) Promotions You Can Run in Your Store

Offer free shipping

Free shipping is a bulletproof marketing strategy. You can set up free shipping for every order or for specific regions in Settings → Shipping & Pickup.

How to set up shipping in Ecwid → 

Or create a coupon code to apply free shipping based on the order subtotal, or to share it with certain customers only.

Learn more: 6 Free Shipping Strategies and Their Alternatives

Offer gift wrapping

For free or for sale, gift wrapping offered together with a product is a time-saver. You can sell it as a separate product, or include it in Product Options.

Wrapping in Product Options

Wrapping in Product Options

Learn more: 100+ Christmas Wrapping Ideas to Excite Your Customers

Tell Store Visitors About Your Deals

When you’re all set up, it’s time to let everyone know about your super exclusive one-of-a-kind deals. There are many tools to let every visitor in the game.

Add sale description to your homepage

Offering a great deal? Declare it immediately as someone comes to your online store.

Go to Catalog → Categories → Store Front Page → General and add your deal description. You can add a text, an image, or even a video.

Deal description on the homepage

Deal description on the homepage

Add special offers to categories

The same can be done for each separate category, if your discount applies to a certain group of products. Go to your Catalog → Categories, click on your desired category, and add a description.

Deal description on the category page

Deal description on the category page

Talk about your deals at checkout

Share offers and gift ideas at checkout with the Checkout Notices app. Use it also to notify customers about important shipping terms or holiday business hours.

Promotional copy at checkout

Promotional copy at checkout

Add free shipping icons to products

If you have decided to offer free shipping, it won’t hurt to remind your customers of it on each relevant product page. With the Free Shipping Icon app you can easily add a standard or custom free shipping icon to your product details section.

If you run a daily deal with free shipping to everything in your store, it’s possible to enable the free shipping icon for all products with one click. Or tick separate products on the list and apply the icon to them.

Free shipping icon

Free shipping icon

Display a promo bar

If you want to inform customers about your deals regardless of the store page, you can add a promo bar with a CTA.

The Promo Bar app is free to use and has numerous customization options, like colors, texts, fonts, and styles.

Promo bar

Promo bar

Highlight items for sale with labels

The Product Labels app is built to let you add and customize your labels the way you need. Use "Hot", "New", "Sale", "Sold Out", or other labels to draw your holiday shoppers’ attention.

Product labels

Product labels

Learn more: How to Boost Sales of Certain Products in Your Store with Product Labels

Promote and Sell More

Even if your storefront is shining with hot deals like a Christmas tree, you can generate more sales using the Ecwid features listed below.

Show related products

Showing related products on product pages or at checkout can increase the time customers spend in your store and result in a higher order value. If you sell supplementary products (e.g. razors and shaving cream), a ‘You May Also Like’ section is your sales machine.

Related products

Related products

Learn how to set it up: Related Products

Remind visitors of recently viewed products

The holiday sales frenzy can make customers distracted easily. There are so many deals out there, so many products to choose from. Follow them with the reminder of what products they just checked out as they are browsing your online store.

The Recently Viewed Products app is a free extension that helps you do just that. Choose where to show this section and the number of products you want to display.

Recently viewed products

Recently viewed products

Add popups and banners

Imagine a lot of salespeople would work for your online store during the holiday sales. They’d push your deals right when a customer needs it:

  • welcoming newcomers with a special offer
  • catching those who are about to leave without a purchase with a nice discount
  • navigating customers to your bestsellers.

It’s great that you don’t need staff to do this job in your online store. Set up pop-ups for different customer actions: exit intent, scroll, time spent in store, etc. The Easy Popup app will do the sales work for you.

Easy Popup

Easy Popup

Pop-ups can even hold an engaging contest. Launch the Scratch and Win pop-up to capture leads and grow fans in a fun way, or add the gamified wheel to let visitors win discounts, coupons, or free shipping.

Enable social tools

Use social media to spread the word and drum up more people. Go to Settings → Social Tools to:

  • Add like and share buttons to your products
  • Add the Facebook Comments widget to your product pages
  • Ask customers to share their purchase and follow you on Twitter
  • Let customers ask their friends for advice while shopping.

To quickly share your product pics on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, turn to Ecwid Mobile.

Create urgency and scarcity

There is a number of ways to cheer up your customers while they are browsing.

Add a countdown timer — because no one wants to miss a great deal. The Ecwid App Market has two timers:

  • Timer Plus: a countdown next to the "Add to Bag" button on the product details page
  • Countdown Timer Popup: display it immediately, after a set period of time, on a page’s scroll down or upon site exit.

To create additional scarcity, show customers how much (or not so much) you have left in stock. Go to Settings → Design and enable to show stock to customers in the "Appearance" section.

Last, choose not to hide products that are out of stock; seeing that some products are sold out creates additional Fear-Of-Missing-Out (FOMO). Add a "Sold Out" label to emphasize the feeling.

the pinkporcupine labels

thepinkporcupine.ca

Advertise

If your marketing budget allows you to run paid ads, here’re some tools to help you out:

Improve shopping experience

Lastly, there is a bunch of features in Ecwid that improve the shopping experience in general, which can’t do anything but good for holiday shoppers.

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Wow, what a list. Many more Ecwid features could fit here because all of them are developed to accelerate your online store sales, but all right — that’s enough for today.

You might be using something else in Ecwid for your holiday promotion. Why don’t you share it with us in the comments below?

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