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Archive for the ‘eCommerce’ Category

Making Ecommerce Decisions for Your Business

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

You were told you needed to sell online.  It’s not a choice!  You must do it!  So on a shoestring budget you had something built and attached it to your website.  You don’t remember the last time you were there, and you’ve never seriously marketed it.  So can it ever be profitable for your business?  Well that depends…  (I love that answer!)

Most people think of ecommerce as selling a “widget” and shipping it out to their customers.  But it doesn’t necessarily have to be.  You can think of ecommerce as giving your customers the ability to pay their bills online, buying tickets for events, even purchasing Service Level Agreements for your company.  One of the biggest goals we hear from service companies is they want more people to purchase service agreements, yet they don’t provide customers with the convenience of purchasing them online.  Remember, the easier you make it for people to do business with your company, the more your customers will like you!shopping-bag-button

In our busy world after putting the kids to bed, spending time with our significant others and watching our favorite DVR’d show, we’re often sitting on the computer at midnight taking care of the bills or researching things we want or need to buy.  Our customers are doing the exact same thing!  So the first step to thinking about how ecommerce can benefit your business is to think about how ecommerce could benefit your customers.

Once you have that figured out then it’s time to determine who you can hire that you can trust.  Just like handling credit card information in your storefront or office has risk associated with it (dishonest employees, someone hacking into your network, someone breaking into your office and stealing improperly stored credit card information) so does the web.  If you hire someone who doesn’t have much experience or doesn’t pay much attention to online security, you’re opening your business up to unnecessary risk.  We routinely have companies approach us who had someone build a WordPress website for them with an ecommerce module which ultimately led to their website getting hacked.  (Read my previous post WordPress is not a shopping cart.)  Or there are a multitude of Content Management Systems out there that offer ecommerce “modules”.  But the unfortunate truth is that many of them have limited functionality and security vulnerabilities. 

That’s why we only recommend real shopping carts for our clients.  Besides the fact that they offer more functionality than plugins for Content Management Systems, they are generally more secure.  (Open Source shopping carts should be viewed with a skeptical eye because you can be at the mercy of the people developing your cart, and they may not be experienced enough to build a solid solution.)  At the end of the day, any software on the web is “vulnerable” so why risk your company’s future by not doing it right?  If your customer data gets compromised it could mean many thousands of dollars in fines from the credit card companies.  So make sure you think about solutions that can help your customers and give them a safe, secure and convenient online experience.  That will help your business grow!

4 Tips for Using Pinterest for Your Online Store

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Pinterest has been stepping up their game, and based on eCommerce research consumers can be influenced by “pins” they find on the popular social media website.  Research shows Pinterest can drive as much traffic to an online store as some of the “old guard” such as Twitter.  Even better, some studies have shown up to 10% higher conversion rates from traffic coming from Pinterest in comparison to traffic from other social media websites!   It’s no wonder online stores have been taking notice what this social media website has been doing since their launch in March, 2010.

With over 70 million users and 2.5 billion pageviews, here are some things you should know about leveraging your Pinterest business account for your online store:

Pin It Buttons
If your products don’t have Pin It buttons on them, they should!  This allows your website visitors to save an image on Pinterest, which can give you exposure to their friends.  Any time you give people an easy way of sharing your message with their audience, it is a win-win!

Now-Trending Tool

This feature is only about a month old, and is a way for stores to show their most-pinned items.  This has been rolled out to a few limited partners (e..g, Zappos) but Pinterest plans on adding more features and rolling it out to the general public once they work out the kinks.  Stay Tuned!

Rich Pins
Released at the beginning of the summer, Rich Pins provide your shopping cart a way to feed information to your Pinterest account and “tag” your product posts with relevant information such as price and availability–and most importantly where people can buy it!  You will probably require assistance from a web development company to prepare your website, but the approval process by Pinterest is fairly seamless once your website is ready.  A recent study showed pins with prices generated 36% more Likes than those without.

Pinterest Analytics
You need a way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, right?  Back in the Spring of this year Pinterest released Web Analytics to help their users track things like how many people have pinned from your website, the number of views each pin has, etc.  Of course you should always compare this data with your own analytics data from your website, but this was a welcome addition for online marketers.  These metrics can help you test new images you put on your website, the popularity of certain products, and of course with eCommerce tracking in place on your website, which images are bringing you the most sales.

Taking advantage of Pinterest means you must have fabulous photos on your website that inspire people and make them want to share.  Remember the majority of Pinterest users are women, so if your product lines are geared toward men perhaps Pinterest isn’t the right avenue for you.   Top product categories that tend to do well on Pinterest are: Food and Drink, DIY and Crafts, Home Decor, Hair and Beauty, Women’s Fashion, Weddings, Kids, and Holidays/Events.   Pin away!