Posts on topic: eCommerce

Tips, hints and ideas for success selling online by eCorner


eCorner blog

 

eCorner eCommerce Blog

 

Selling online is a great subject to write about as it is constantly changing and evolving. Each month new start-up businesses bring in new ideas. There are lots of opportunities to improve your online business for B2B or B2C. If you have any questions about eCommerce try our FAQs and Ideas Center or just send us a comment or email.

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Secure Your Website and Business Identity

ddos-attack-2015 It was coming up to our end of week team meeting on a quiet afternoon in August 2015. Discussions were about what the weekend would be like with everyone looking forward to winding down and how we would spend our family time. Somewhere thousands of kilometres away someone had a different idea (ominous music plays).

It all started as a blip on the radar with our incoming data charts starting to show excessive activity. That is not necessarily unusual as we often see spikes in activity. However before long we knew the prolonged and aggressive spikes meant a potential attack. Then the phone calls and emails from our customers started to roll in and the rest of the weekend went downhill fast…

What started as a Friday prelude to the week end was an attack that lasted (on and off) for over a week. It impacted most of our customers’ websites, it was a large attack that was relentless. It disrupted customers and cost a great deal in time and money before it was eventually beaten. No one asked for money, there was no vulnerability uncovered, it was done solely as a business disruption.

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Challenge Online Selling Myths

 

Starting an online store or business, or extending your bricks and mortar business online can be a real challenge for many people and is much more complex than most new business owners understand. There are lots of forums where the general feedback will tell you how easy it is to build you website and sell online. How often do you see: “Your products will sell because you have a great looking website! Customers will just turn up and buy from you! You can do it all for free!

Well sorry to tell you, but it is all basically rubbish!

 

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Retail under threat or just evolving again

australian_flag_amazonRight now there is a lot of speculation that retail in Australia will be impacted negatively by international eCommerce players like Amazon. The general view seems to be that retail is under threat and there is nothing that we can do!

We aren't convinced that this is true! Retail has undergone several evolutions in the last 50 years and if anything the market has always got bigger and better each time. The retailers who embraced the changes and accessed the new opportunities flourished, while those that resisted missed out (or went bust).

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Data security for online retail and eCommerce

eCornerAssist_news_header

 

Is your business vulnerable?

 

Each stolen record costs retailers USD$172 on average in the event of a data breach, according to the latest Cost of Data Breach Study, the gold-standard benchmark conducted by the Ponemon Institute – and this figure is on the rise. Cyber security should therefore be front-and-centre for any business operating on the Internet, and we are regularly asked to advise on how to manage and mitigate the risks of operating online.

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What is Jae listening to now? – Podcasts to fill all that “free time” (May 2017)

Read entire post: What is Jae listening to now? – Podcasts to fill all that “free time” (May 2017)

 

Wanted to share a few of the podcasts that I’m listening to/find interesting at the moment.

I’ve always loved the podcast format, as you can consume information, tips or stories in easily digestible chunks while leaving your hands free for other things. Whether it be your daily commute, an hour at the gym or your daily picking and packing time, I’ve always found a podcast to be a good way to add a layer of additional productivity to your "free" time.

Listed below are a few podcasts that contain interesting information, tips and tricks for online retailers, as well as a few random ones that I’m listening to at the moment in case you are looking for something else to fill some time.

All of these are available via iTunes if you search for the names below (as well as from their own sites as linked).

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What can I sell online?

ecs-selling-online-1000-1This is a question that we get asked regularly. Many people are striving for extra income or may have some extra time on their hands to give it a go. We also see people starting multiple businesses and expanding the products and services that they offer.

New customers may call in and ask "what do you suggest that I sell online?" This can be a difficult conversation as starting a business without a product probably means that there is no business plan and the likely outcome will not be good.

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Christmas is coming - are you ready to sell online

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Don't leave Christmas preparation to the last minute?

Every year we hear of stories about retailers who leave the preparations for the Holiday sales and Christmas to the last minute and then wonder why they don't do well. Christmas is the biggest retail sales time of the year for the vast majority of businesses. Sales increases related to holiday spending start around late September and peak late November to early December. There are heaps of issuses to think about so start early.

 

This year it is expected that the latest that you will be able to order online and expect delivery before Christmas will be Tuesday 20th December for most Australian deliveries. Australia Post have already advised for the international sea-mail cutoff dates however they have yet to announce the Australian dates.

 

Our advice to make the most from the opportunity of great retail holiday sales is to plan and prepare now. How long does it take you to pick, pack and ship? That will determine the last date for selling online and delivering by Christmas. Remember there may be backlogs in delivery so check with your shipping agent. What are the peak number of orders that you can handle each day and still get the deliveries out? Maybe you need some temporary staff to help you get through the holiday rush.

 

Being prepared is as simple as asking a few simple questions about your business.
 

  • How much stock will you need on hand?
  • What content changes do you need for your web store?
  • Do you have photos and new stock information from suppliers?
  • What about pre-Christmas promotions and sales?
  • What about Christmas gift cards and gift wrapping materials?

 

Every year Christmas is the dominant retail sales period in Australia and New Zealand if not worldwide. Worldwide trends have been favourable for online shopping and the latest can provide some new confidence for online sellers. The trend is for more people to buy online being driven by many factors and this is unlikely to slow.

 

So what can you expect this year?
 

pokemongo

  • Christmas Day is on Sunday so you can expect last deliveries to be Friday 23rd December
  • More people will buy using their mobiles expected to be over 50%
  • Buyers will work to a budget there is not expected to be a change in buyer sentiment this year
  • Gift buyers will look for mobile tech novelties and quality
  • Comparison shopping will focus gift buying
  • Buyers will look for added value and special offers
  • Pokemon Go will be BIG

Unique Strategies for Christmas


It might be a good time to review your overall eCommerce strategy and to look at how you can develop a more successful online business. 

You can take some time to consider how you will deal with;

 

  • Content - have you updated the descriptions of your categories and products to promote holiday sales opportunities
  • Pricing - most gift buying is to a budget so make sure that you can present your products in price bands - i.e. $10 - $15 so your buyers can easily find the products that fit the budget.
  • Inventory - can you get enough stock and how long will it take to restock if you sell out
  • Logistics - you need to get the product to the customer at Christmas and there is a hard deadline. Make sure that you do not create a negative expectation for delivery.
  • Service & support - there will be consumers buying at strange hours so consider extending your support hours and look at services such as Live Chat.
  • Payments - taking payment on your online store is always important. If your products are expensive it might be an opportunity to offer term payments or even financing. Read more about this a little later.
  • Refund/returns - a lot of gifts get returned after Christmas, make sure your policies are clear
  • Marketing - plan your marketing campaigns to coincide with the higher levels of activity. Focus on gift buyers if you are in the consumer market.
  • Social media - start to offer gift buying advice. Social media drove a higher propotion of sales last Christmas and that is increasing.
  • Mobile - you need to check that you key content, products and messages present well on mobile devices. More than 50% of gift sales comes from mobiles.

 

Spending a little time developing your plan and strategy can deliver better short and long term sales results and higher margins. It might also be a good time to look at promotional micro-sites to target the Christmas traffic.

 

 

Issues and ideas to improve holiday sales


Buying online for Christmas starts as early as September but the real peak starts from late-November. This year we will expect to see a busy and a longer buying period. The after Christmas, New Years sales, will still be important to sell off overstocked items at bargain prices.

Simple strategies to improve sales and conversions:

  1. Is your online store ready?

    It is no use waiting until December to set up the store as you just won't make it in time. If you have an existing store then now is time to clean up old content and get rid of out of date product and stock information. Each year there are new fads, styles, colours and collections so be up to date and prepared to take advantage of the demand. Christmas is about gifts for others more than about personal purchases. This may mean that you can offer different categorisation for your store at Christmas. For example - "Gifts from Grandma for the 18 - 24 year olds".

    Customer service is a key factor in getting sales anytime but specially during the holiday sales period. So make sure that you provide an easy way for your customers to contact you. So make your contact details obvious. Maybe setup  a special holiday / Christmas sales contact form using the custom form capability in ePages. You can also add Live Chat easily to your website. If you can answer questions quickly for your customers you can increase conversion rates by up to 40%. Check out more information about live chat at Live Chat Inc our live chat partners.
     
  2. issues to improve online christmas salesCheck you website on your mobile

    Over 50% of your potential buyers will come via a mobile this year. That might mean you can get more sales and more profit if those visitors can find and buy a product on a mobile. Don't expect your website to look the same on a mobile as a laptop or tablet. Your website needs to be mobile friendly. eCorner websites are mobile friendly but if you have not checked and optimised your content for mobiles it might need some work.
     

  3. Do you have the products to sell?

    Silly question you say well not really. Getting the stock can be tricky the closer you get to Christmas so you need to know what you will need now. Buying stock early can have a negative cash flow affect on your business so look at the possibility of committment with deliveries later.
     
  4. When is my delivery cut off date for Christmas?

    It is no use selling to a customer who expects pre Christmas delivery if you cannot get the product delivered on time. So you need to tell your buyers what they can expect if they buy on the 24th December. Make sure that you provide specific advice regarding returns and refunds as you do not want to get stuck after Christmas.
     
  5. Time to check Payments & Security

    Do you have a safe payment process setup like PayPal Express or eWAY one of Australia’s leading payment providers? Consumers will be more careful this Christmas and look for security when buying online. But there are also interesting new services like Zipmoney that allow you to offer interest free terms to your online buyers and get the cash right away. Contact eCorner for more information.

    Add an SSL certificate to your webstore like a COMODO Instant SSL, these add to buyer confidence.Trust and security can help dramatically improve shopping basket conversions and reduce abandonment.
     
  6. Think about promotions?

    You can setup special Google AdWords Campaigns just for Christmas and help drive Christmas traffic to your store. You will be competing with lots of other businesses for customer attention but we know that most online purchases with start with a search and around 70% of those will be via Google. The use of a well prepared and funded online search engine marketing campaign leading up to Christmas can be a good investment.
     
  7. Use the Price Comparison portals like Google Shopping

    You can promote your products and special offers and drive qualified traffic to your webstore.What are your unique selling propositions (USP) for Christmas as these should be promoted. For example offer free shipping for purchases over a certain value. Offer free Christmas gift cards and gift wrapping. Discounts are less of a value proposition at Christmas for buyers. You can find out more at Google Merchant Centre. eCorner also supports other digital channels to enhance your online business checkout Marketing menu >> Portals from you administration.
     
  8. eBay Sales are Huge at Christmas

    Selling your products through multiple channels can dramatically increase your sales. eBay is a easy additional channel to add and we have support available as standard (and free) to connect your online store to eBay. By selling through eBay you get the advantage of the size and power of the eBay marketing machine to get new customers. All the orders are still managed via your online store administration.
     
  9. Add Christmas keywords?

    Make sure that you add the Christmas keywords to you Meta-keywords with plenty of time to get crawled by the search engines before Christmas. Also make sure that you add Christmas Gift category names and description text to match up with you keywords.
     
  10. Special Christmas Categories and Promotions

    Products are all important and you might think of price ranges for gifts so that you fit everyone’s budgets. People buying gifts want ideas so give them some. Set up special categories like "Gifts for him", Gifts for Mum", "Gifts for the dog", "Take a chance gifts" and so on. Be inventive as you need to stand out in a crowd.
     
  11. website-qualityCheck you SEO and Website Quality

    Make sure that your website content and keywords are ready as it might take weeks for search engines to crawl and index your new content so allow plenty of time and don't wait till the last minute. There is plenty of help that you can get using the built-in SEO tools in ePages. eCorner is also now offering a Website Quality Service to help you get better results than you key competitors.
     
  12. Gift buying, wrapping and gift cards

    Delivery options in ePages can be easily added in the shopping basket so you might want to think about offering free gift wrapping and free gift delivery.

    You can have multiple shipping addresses so your buyers can ship directly to an alternative address. Offer this service and make sure you get the gift there on time.
     
  13. Free shipping at Christmas

    Buyers look for deals and free shipping can be a great motivator to buy at Christmas or anytime, can be a great incentive to buy online. If you are selling a product online you can structure an average shipping price into your costs. Then allow free shipping by Australia Post.
     
  14. Post Christmas Sales & Boxing Day

    People on vacation like to shop around for bargains. So don't think everything stops on December 25th. The smart store operators will be ready with the Boxing Day and New Years specials campaigns come December 26th. Remember you can create special procuts and product bundles that can automatically be made visible come December 26th.
     
  15. Give your store a modern theme

    It is easy to setup a new style and change the colours and banners for Christmas. You can even start doing that right now and make that the live style later in the year. Set up a count down to Christmas - it can be a easy as a little added text to your home page. eCorner is offering specials right now of new design and themes so check them out.

    Winter Specials from eCorner

 

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Website SEO You Can Control Yourself with ePages

 

Make Your Website Content Structured To Improve SEO

 

So what do we mean by structured content and how does it improve how your website or online store appear in search engines?

Search engines like Google look for clues in your content to the meaning of the page and the importance of content in the page. These can often be referred to as "snippets" and Google provide great advice on best practice.

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Online Store SEO Scams and Spam - Good, Bad and the Ugly

These are just some of the hundreds, or thousands, of messages that you will receive offering dodgy SEO services. Today was a record for spam emails offering SEO. They come in different styles and from different places but they are all SPAM and all SCAMS.

"Guaranteed 1st place on Google"

"Your website will rank higher than your competitors"

"1st place results for your top ten keywords"

"Affordable SEO proposal"

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More about: eCommerce, scam, seo, spam
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Gamification and Smart Promotions for Digital Marketing

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Digital Marketing can best be described as using online channels, social media and mobile devices to get your promotions and message to the internet based audience. Every business needs to market products, services and offers in order to get the message to the consumers and other businesses that will engage with them. Marketing has taken many forms and been around for a long time.

Lots of people see the world of marketing as exposed by ACM hit television series, Mad Men. A classic quote from that show was; 

 

"Make it simple, but significant.",

attributed to Don Draper aka Donald Francis

 

Marketing has expended its boundaries into the digital world and a whole new set of opportunities and pitfalls has resulted. The ability to understand and to utilise the vast array of digital properties and venues has become incredibly competitive and also expensive. So it is important to get the most out of the digital marketing budget. Just throwing money at a single channel without having a planned promotion may mean the costs are far greater than the returns.

Engaging your digital audience is essential if you want your digital promotions to succeed. Make it simple but significant!

 

Engagement & Knowledge using Games

 

Engagement using games has long been understood as a great learning tool. There have been 10,000's of pages written on the subject and I am sure that you remember learning games at school.

As early as kindergarten children are introduced to new subjects through games. It is a combination of engagement, opportunity, challenge, competition and reward that makes games work. There is a good article on this at Common Sense Media by Kathleen Costanza.

In recent years we have been hearing a lot about Gamification.

In Wikipedia it is described as:

The use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems and increase users' self contributions. 

Gamification can be applied to all types of areas where we want to get better user engagement. You can find a great case study about how Deloitte made learning a game in the Harvard Business Review.

 

Engagement in Digital Marketing

 

So how does all this apply to eCommerce and Digital Marketing?

 

In a recent report that was published in Europe it was found how promotions engage today’s consumers and how they can be used to best effect in marketing campaigns. It draws on the views of 2,000 consumers in the UK on what they look for in online retailer promotions, and compares what they say they respond to versus what they actually respond to.

Consumers expect and appreciate online promotions – interesting data points:

  • 50% will only make a purchase online when an offer or promotion is involved
  • 27% say they will purchase from a retailer they haven’t bought from before, simply as a result of a online promotion
  • 28% admit to spending more on a purchase when an online promotion is involved

From a customer perspective, one of the benefits of shopping online is that you can research to your heart’s desire, whenever you want to and wherever you happen to be. Whatever you are looking for, the internet offers a broad array of choice and an easy way to find the best deal out there.

 

Power to convert visitors to buyers

 

What this means for retailers is that customers are increasingly accustomed to expecting to find some kind of offer when shopping. This is to the point where many will typically only make a purchase when an offer or promotion is involved. Research found this is the case for as many as 50% of consumers. In fact, this number rises to 60% for anyone under the age of 45, with those aged 25 to 34 being the most likely age group to look for an offer.

 

Digital Marketing Smart Promotions RapidCampaign eCorner

 

Gamification can enhance your Digital Marketing

 

So how can we engage more effectively with consumers using our digital marketing?

The answer might be "Gamification" or Smart Promotions from Rapid Campaign.

Rapid Campaign

eCorner has partnered with Rapid Campaign to bring Smart Promotions to eCorner's customers. Rapid Campaign began in 2010 and are leaders in the use of gamification in digtal marketing. They focus on creating engaging digital marketing campaigns quickly and easily. 

By enabling game theory and using it in your marketing you can get a greater engagement with consumers visiting your offers. This can be accomplished through competitions that challenge and reward the consumer and lead them to use the promotion that you offer. The promotion might be a unique coupon code or a special incentive as a prize. This approach has been referred to as Smart Promotions.

What we know is that games mean better engagement and faster adoption of offers and ideas.

There was a recent blog published on LemonStand that explored how Smart Promotions helped to improve conversion rates.

Do Promotions Really Increase Your eCommerce Conversion Rates? - by Rob Brooks (March 4th 2015).

 

His summary was simple.

 

Don’t think of promotions as a quick gimmick to garner attention around a specific product; they are so much more than that. Think of promotions as enticing and encouraging your customers all the way...

 

So what are Smart Promotions?

 

Smart Promotions are digital marketing offers that use a game to engage the audience. The game might vary depending on the type of promption for example a Digital Scratch Card promotion where the person receiving the promotion might win a prize or offer. But there are many others like Wheel of Fortune, Image Voting and Prize Draws to name a few.

scratch card promotion

 

Where do Smart Promotions appear?

 

Smart promotions are enabled on all types of devices and can be sent via email in a Newsletter or can be added to Facebook or as a mobile app. If you are running a website or an online store then you can embed Smart Promotions in to a page in the website.

Embeding Smart Promotions is done simply using an iFrame. This is a small snippet of code that is put into the HTML code in the page where you want the Smart Promotion to appear. You use the HTML edit mode in ePages to add the iFrame.

You can also add your Smart Promotions to your ePages Newsletter simply by embedding the iFrame in your newsletter code using HTML edit mode.

 

Webinar - Explore the possibilities of Gamification

 

eCorner will be hosting a Webinar at GoTo Webinar on Tuesday 28th April at 4:00 PM (AEST).

Laura Laamanen, CMO of RapidCampaign, is an expert in the use of gamification and smart promotions. She will show how gamification and smart promotions drive sales by reducing drop-offs in your purchase funnel and convert your visitors to customers. She will discuss some of the finding from the UK survey of over 2,000 consumers.

RapidCampaign have quickly become the market leaders in the development and use of smart promotions for digital marketing.

You can register online for the webinar - click here or get more information at the eCorner website - www.ecorner.com.au/rapid-campaign.

 

Get More Information About Smart Promotions

 

In a multi-channel world with a huge online retail marketplace, consumers are totally spoiled for choice.

Your best chance of reaching them is by:

  • knowing what they love,
  • what they want and;
  • what they are most likely to buy,
  • and then choosing the most appropriate channels to tell them about it.

Using smart promotions and gamification in your marketing campaigns will result in better consumer engagement and higher conversion rates.

 

Join the Webinar Tuesday 28th April 16:00 (AEST)

 

Are you ready to play - get started with our special offer valid until End of Financial Year 2015

Get a free coaching call to build highly impact promotions (value $399.00)

The special offer includes a one-to-one coaching call on smart promotion types, winning settings and best practices along with implementation support.

Register at - https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5877189083112952577

 

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