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What You Can Learn From Successful eCommerce Retailers

With over 25 years of experience in the payments industry, Greg Constantine provides expert business leadership and marketing strategy development to SecureNet and its clientele as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer.  From Fortune 500 companies to successful startups, Constantine has an extensive background in entrepreneurial guidance, marketing, sales, product planning, client services and operations management.

ecommerce

Running a successful eCommerce shop can be highly profitable, but it takes some planning and research to get the venture started. Using ecommerce selling, you can take advantage of the Internet’s marketing potential and the cost-savings available to those who avoid the overhead expenditures of a physical store location.

When you’re starting out, it helps to mimic the qualities of successful eCommerce retailers that you see on the Web. There are some common qualities of successful eCommerce retailers that you can study and learn from as you strategize on your eCommerce venture. Analyze the following characteristics and determine how you can instill your eCommerce retail platform with these same traits.

#1 – Customer-driven– It’s important that you pay attention to any possible input from customers. Many successful ecommerce platforms give customers the opportunity to review products and include testimonials. Needless to say, customers like to have their voices heard, and they will feel more compelled to do business with you when they see that you make adjustments to accommodate their wishes. You can open up communication channels between your company and your clients in a variety of different ways, but on the Internet, social networks are perhaps the best tools when it comes to getting to know your clients and sending them information about your company’s offerings and objectives. As a company, you need to learn to pinpoint those prospects who might be interested in your products and convince potential clients that you offer what they need through savvy marketing and publicity efforts.

#2 – Think Simple– Your eCommerce store should exhibit an appealing simplicity that immediately gives customers the idea that transactions are quick, safe, and convenient, and that the desired item(s) can be located with just a few clicks. Look at your site from the customer’s perspective and anticipate any potential problems that might come up for site visitors. Many retailers make the mistake of developing overly complicated platforms that actually deter users from visiting and making purchases.

#3 – Attractive– Give some thought to design features and to aesthetics as you develop your eCommerce store. On a subconscious level, consumers will be enticed to spend more time on a site that they find pleasant to look at and navigate through, and it’s especially important to give your eCommerce store a professional look that is appropriate to your industry. To get a really great-looking site, you might have to invest in professional web design. It’s hard to get a site to look highly attractive and appealing if you don’t have advanced knowledge in this area.

#4 – Well-marketed– By now, you should be aware of the fact that good marketing can sell even mediocre products. Good or bad marketing inevitably makes or breaks new companies that are just starting out in a venture. Get the word out about your store and promote it using the tools that the Internet provides, including search engine optimization and inbound marketing tactics. If you already have a website, then you have something of an advantage. You can simply add to your online store and use your current site’s popularity and publicity. If you are starting from scratch, it may take some time to get your site developed, bring in traffic, and rank high in the search engine results.

#5 – Easy to use– Above all, your eCommerce store needs to be user friendly. User friendliness is perhaps one of the most important qualities of successful eCommerce retailers. Remember, your clients may or may not have a great deal of experience surfing the web and making purchases online. The process of making a purchase using your site should be self-explanatory and intuitive. It’s very common for those putting together an eCommerce store to overlook any potential user difficulties because they are so familiar with its operations. The entire process of shopping on your eCommerce platforms needs to be as easy as possible, from browsing for items to checking out.

Bottom Line

Incorporating all of these qualities of successful ecommerce retailers will set you on the right track to becoming a respected online retailer. It might take a lot of work to get your store up and running; however, once you’ve successfully worked all of these features into your eCommerce platform, you will see that word catches on quickly about a convenient online shopping platform that offers Internet users products and services that they want.

STUDY: Win With Text Ads And Product Listing Ads [Infographic]

Google published a study on the use of Text Ads combined with Product Listing Ads. The study shows how you can gain from utilizing both ad types.

From this study, we learned that PLAs can:

  • Increase brand recognition: People who see a brand’s PLAs and text ads are 75% more likely to search for that brand within 30 days than those who only saw text ads.
  • Drive more engagement with your store: People who see both text ads and PLAs are 90% more likely to visit the retailer’s website. They are also more likely to visit product pages, add items to their cart, and click on store locator buttons.
  • Drive more conversions: People who see both text ads and PLAs are 83% more likely to make a purchase than those who only saw text ads.

Check out the infographic below:
text-ads-and-product-listing-ads_products_01

Bing Ads Launches Ability To Edit Keywords Via Excel Web App

A few months back Google Adwords removed the ability to edit keywords via a web based spreadsheet editor. Today, Bing Ads announced the launch of a new feature allowing you to edit keywords via the Excel Web App.

It’s pretty easy to use, just go to the keywords tab, select multiple keywords and click “Edit in Excel.”

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Why We Added Excel

Our ongoing goal is to make it easy for you to manage and optimize your campaigns in Bing Ads. A lot of customers prefer to manage their keywords in Excel and take advantage of Excel’s bulk editing capabilities.

Google AdWords Adds New Campaign Type: Search Network with Display Select

Google AdWords Search Network with Display SelectUntil now, you had the option of showing your AdWords ads on the Search Network, Display Network or both. Google announced a new option called Search Network with Display Select.

The new Search Network with Display Select will allow to show your ads mostly on the Search Network AND some highly targeted pages in the Display Network. According to Google, customer who have tested this campaign type have seen their CTR increase by 35% and their CPA decrease by 35%.

Normally I would caution against the use of the Display Network for eCommerce retailers. However, this sounds like it’s worth testing, but tread carefully… or you’ll waste your budget before you know it.

From Google’s Announcement:

How is this different from the old campaign type?

In addition to extending the reach of search campaigns, this new campaign type offers better results on the display network than the old Search & Display Networks campaign type.

Search Network with Display Select uses improved signals and methods of predicting when and where your ads are likely to perform best, and sets a higher bar for when to show them. That means your ads are more likely to be shown to a smaller number of prospective customers, who are more likely to be interested in your offerings. Compared to the old campaign type, initial tests show that advertisers, on average, could see a 35% higher click-through-rate, and a 35% lower cost-per-customer purchase on the display portion of their Search Network with Display Select campaigns.*

 

Why We Don’t Buy: Consumer Views On Shopping Cart Abandonment

why we dont buy
Magento and Bronto have release a white paper analyzing actual consumer data on what stops them from making a purchase.

Rather than depending on assumptions, in this study we go directly to consumers and ask them about their awareness of shopping cart technology, expectations for marketing when they abandon a cart, and if any of this helps. Marketers know that abandonment rates continue to increase. This report will:

  • Explain why consumers are abandoning more frequently and how this could be an opportunity for marketers
  • Analyze what the consumers want to happen when they abandon a cart and what will annoy them
  • Examine key components of the shopping cart and cart abandonment strategies

Download Whitepaper →

5 Ways to Make Your Mobile Commerce Site User Friendly

Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a leading provider of mobile payment processor. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.

biimobilecommercelasttry

A growing number of customers are using their smartphones to make online purchases, and the key to capturing these sales is to make sure your mobile website is easy to navigate. With this, simplicity is essential – smartphones cannot handle the same amount of data and complexity as PCs. Read on to learn 5 ways to make your mobile commerce site user friendly.

  1. Make sure it loads quickly. Customers expect to load websites on their cell phones just as quickly as on their PCs. Since cell phones don’t load data as quickly as computers, your mobile website should use less bandwidth and have less information, while still offering your full product selection. Also consider this factor if your website has paid advertising, which can slow down loading. Ensuring a quick load time retains users and is beneficial because many users have limited data plans.
  2. Your site should fit phone screens. Users become frustrated when they have to zoom and scroll to see your full webpage. This is another reason to cut down on the amount of text and the size of photos on your mobile site.
  3. Check out should be simple and secure. Customers often make mobile purchases in crowded areas such as coffee shops and public transportation, which can make entering credit card information risky. Use a third-party service to let your customers pay using just log-in information, or opt to have a professional design your mobile checkout so that repeat customers have to enter their information only once.
  4. Use site-wide navigation. This is one of the key design features of successful e-commerce sites. Each page should have a navigation menu, allowing users to go from page to page without returning to the homepage frequently.
  5. Take advantage of cell phone features. While mobile sites are in some ways limited compared to full websites, they also have some advantages of their own. You can make your phone number click-to-call and offer maps to your store (these will be compatible with the customer’s GPS). These features make it easier for customers to contact and find your brick-and-mortar store.

Customers quickly become frustrated with a page that loads too slowly or is difficult to read; on the other hand, a strong layout can keep customers coming back. Therefore, it’s important to use these 5 ways to make your mobile commerce site user-friendly.

Once you’ve designed your mobile site, the next step is to make sure it loads as intended on actual mobile devices. Find out how your website looks to mobile users by using your own smartphone or use GoMo, which lets you view your website as a mobile user would. Doing so also alerts you to how compatible with mobile devices your normal website layout is.

With more and more customers making purchases on the go, mobile purchasing is a key way to increase your online sales, and these 5 ways to make your mobile commerce site user-friendly will help maximize those sales.

Photo Credit: Business Insider

The Challenge Of Shopping Cart Abandonment [Infographic]

This infographic comes from SaleCycle. It addresses the challenge of shopping cart abandonment.

Cart abandonment rates fell in Q3 2013 with 1.6% fewer shoppers leaving their purchase at the till compared with the previous quarter. Taken from a consolidation of statistics from 200 global brands, our Quarterly Infographic looks at all the key cart abandonment stats in Q3 2013:

salecycle-abandonment

Does Google Rank PLAs Differently On Google Shopping & Standard SERPs?

Google Product Listing Ads

Recently, Hannah, a Google AdWords community manager posted the following question on the AdWords discussion forum:

Is the ranking of PLAs on Google search different to the ranking of products on Google shopping pages?

This question was answered by Kat, a Google employee:

In some circumstances, you may notice differences in how your products are serving or ranking on Google with PLAs versus Google Shopping. For example, you may see your items showing/ranking on the former but not showing/ranking on the latter. This behavior may happen, and could vary, based on several factors. Reasons why this may happen can include:

  • The available real estate is different between the two properties. On Google.com, there is less space to show PLAs while the Shopping property has more space.
  • The auction dynamics can be different between the two properties and, as such, the results may also be slightly different.
  • For some queries, Google Shopping may present results via a catalog (specific product page) instead of individual merchant listings while Google does not display these catalogs.

Improvements are continually being made to the system and, over time, these improvements can help further unify the results between the two properties but, on occasion, differences between results may be seen.

Read More →

Review: Curebit Social Referral Platform

curebitRefer a friend and save. It’s a simple but powerful way to get new customers for your store. Curebit makes the process of setting up a campaign like this very simple. They provide integrations for all the major eCommerce platforms.

What Does Curebit Do?

Curebit offer two kinds of campaigns: Post Purchase and Standalone campaigns. The idea is the same for both, share our store and get a discount on your next order or get cash back. It’s very appealing to consumers, and it helps you.

Post-Purchase Campaigns

After every customer places an order, they will see a pop-over with your campaign on order confirmation page after checkout. This page has high visibility and puts your campaign in front of a small audience, but engaged audience.

curebit-dodocase

Standalone Campaigns

A standalone campaign can be embedded on any page. You can call attention to this page any way you like; promote with a site wide banner or link, invite people to share on your social media profiles, etc… This can be pushed to all visitors on your site, however, the customers may not be as engaged.

curebit-standalone

What Should I Offer As A Kickback?

Curebit offers several ways to provide an incentives to your customers and the people they refer. Here’s a tip from their site “We generally find that the highest performing campaigns offer an equal incentive to both your customer and their friends.”

  1. a rebate on their purchase which can be paid via PayPal automatically or you can fulfill the rebates manually
  2. a coupon code for a discount on their next purchase, these can be percentage off or a fixed dollar amount discount
  3. any reward you wish, you can send additional info using their contact info
  4. or nothing! (don’t do this)

Curebit   Social Referral Platform

eCommerce Integrations

If you use one of the shopping carts listed below, you can use a supported extension to integrate Curebit. It’s often as easy as copying and pasting code, and we provide instructions. If you’re on another platform you can use the custom integration option.

  • 3D Cart
  • BigCommerce
  • CRE Loaded
  • Demandware
  • FastSpring
  • Magento
  • Magento Go
  • OpenCart
  • osCommerce
  • Shopify
  • Ubercart
  • Volusion
  • VP-ASP
  • X-Cart
  • Yahoo
  • Zen Cart

How Much Does It Cost?

Curebit offers two pricing tiers:

  1. Enterprise – Dynamic and managed programs for companies with annual sales over $5 million. Includes full service: Technology, Strategy, and Execution.
  2. Community – Community supported edition. No email or phone support. The first $20,000 per month you generate from referrals is 100% free.

Sign Up →

Competitors

Here are some of Curebit’s competitors that I have come across recently.

  • Extole – geared towards enterprise clients only
  • Owned It – free up to 250 transaction per month
  • Referral Candy – plans starting at $15/month
  • Social Rebate – no upfront costs, they charge a 15% commission of Social Rebates that are claimed by your customers

Do you offer referral rewards to your customers?