Raise Your Average Order Value With Up Sells & Cross Sells

Product Recommendations

A great opportunity for revenue growth and an easy way to extract the highest return on ad spend is by increasing the value of each order by a small percentage. This can be accomplished by promoting cross sells and up sells during checkout.

There are a couple of ways to do this, you can either manually set up cross sells in your ecommerce system or you can outsource personalized recommendations to a company like MyBuys or Certona.

In-House/Manual Recommendations

Most shopping cart/ecommerce systems will allow you to add related items to each product. Promoting cross sells manually can also be great if you have the product knowledge and know exactly what to recommend. Although this is a manual process, it is great for offering recommendations for smaller ecommerce sites that can’t afford to outsource recommendations.

Third-Party Recommendations

If you have a large ecommerce site with thousands of SKUs, it is very hard to manually recommend related products on a per product basis. By using a third party partner to generate recommendations from your aggregate customer purchase history, you can make this process much easier and more intelligent.

Most third party recommendation providers work off of a percentage based commission model. You would pay a commission on all items purchased specifically from their recommendation engine.

How To Ensure Your Credit Card Processing Rates Are Not Ruining Your Business


Every couple of years you will want to make sure that your credit card processing rates are properly aligned with your business goals (i.e. to make a profit).

You can accomplish this by asking your merchant services provider to analyze a few months of customer payments and make sure you are getting the best discounts on the card types that you process the most of. If you feel that you are not getting the best deal that you should be getting, contact a few other merchant service providers and see who gives you the best quote based on your historical data. If you have a great relationship with your current provider and you’d like to keep working with them, just show them the other quotes and be honest with them. Tell them you want to switch for the better rates but that you like working them and you’d like them to match the other quotes that you received. Chances are they will want to keep your business and match pricing from other merchant service providers.

Ultimate Guide: E-Commerce By The Numbers

Google AdWord Fuzzy Math

Here is a guide to ecommerce by the numbers that can make it or break it.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

The first metric to look at us your average cost per click. You will want to optimize your different advertising channels to try and get as low of a CPC as possible. If you can lower your average CPC, you can purchase more clicks for the same budget. You can accomplish this by lowering bids on very generic search terms and adding many long tail keywords to your campaigns and Ad Groups. In addition you should try to use ad few Broad Match terms as you can get away with.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

Once you’ve lowered you average CPC, you should concentrate on getting the highest Click Through Rate possible. In order to boost your CTR, you can test different Ad Copies and see which ones perform better. You can also try Dynamic Keyword Insertion to help make your ad copy more compelling. Keep in mind that a higher CTR will help lower your average CPC because it will contribute to your overall Quality Score. If you have Broad Match terms, you will want to utilize the Search Query Performance report to fine tune keywords that will display your ad.

Conversion Rate (CR)

Note: If you don’t have Conversion Tracking set up, you won’t have a way to track this.

Once you have tracking set up properly you will be able to see how many visitors turn into customers. A good number to aim for is 2%, although it can vary a lot from industry to industry. Most analytics software does not track phone sales out of the box, so your conversion rate might be higher than what you see on your reports.

You can boost your conversion rate by optimizing your landing pages and checkout flow. The goal is to ensure a smooth passage from the landing page to the checkout confirmation. You can do this by highlighting your call to action (i.e. Add To Cart, Buy Now) and eliminating the possibility for the consumer to get lost by clicking on irrelevant links.

Average Order Value (AOV)

If you can raise your average order value by upselling each order with additional items an accessories, it can have a positive impact on your total sales volume. It’s simple, try to get more out of your existing customers before trying to get new ones.

Bottom Line:

Lower Cost-Per-Click + Higher Click-Through-Rate + Higher Conversion-Rate + Higher Average-Order-Value = Much More Revenue.

Display Search Term In Ad Creative With Dynamic Keyword Insertion

Google AdWords Dynamic Keyword Insertion

When building your ad creatives, aside for using multiple ad copies, it is a good idea to include the search term that the consumer is using in your ad copy. This can be done quite easily with Dynamic Keyword Insertion.

Dynamic Keyword Insertion

With Dynamic Keyword Insertion you can use a placeholder text instead of an actual title or description which Google will then strip out and replace with the consumer’s search term. You can use it in a few different ways as well, here’s how:


This keyword placeholder which Google calls Dynamic Keyword Insertion, is broken into two parts. The first option, ‘KeyWord’, defines how you display the search query casing, capital first letter of each word, capital first letter of sentence or lower case.

{KeyWord:Default} – First Letter Upper Case Of Each Word

{Keyword:Default} – Only first letter of sentence upper case

{keyword:Default} – full text will be lower case

The second half, after the colon, is the default text that will be used when the consumers search query does not fit in the space requirements.

The Dynamic Keyword Insertion tool can be used in all fields of an ad copy: Title, Description 1 & 2, Display URL and Destination URL. Samples as follows:

Query microsoft zune 8gb ipod nano green leather skin
Ad Copy Buy {KeyWord:Zune}
8GB Micrsoft Zune. Buy Now.
Free Shipping On All Orders.
Buy {keyword:ipod accessories}
8GB iPod Nano Accessories.
Free Shipping On All Orders.
Output Buy Microsoft Zune
8GB Micrsoft Zune. Buy Now.
Free Shipping On All Orders.
Buy ipod accessories
8GB iPod Nano Accessories.
Free Shipping On All Orders.
Notes Capitalized First Letter Of Each Word Space Restriction: Default Search Term

4 Easy Plugins To Convert WordPress Into An E-Commerce Platform

WordPress is a very cool blogging platform. Most people know it can be used as a CMS, but do you know that it is really simple to use WordPress as a shopping cart? Here are 4 simple plugins that convert WordPress into an e-commerce platform.

1 – Shopp


Extension Page | Sample Site | Price: $55.00

2 – WP-eCommerce


Extension Page | Sample Site | Basic Version: $0.00 – Additional Modules Can Be Purchased

3 – eShop


Extension PageSample Site | Price: $0.00

4 – The Market Theme

The-Market-Theme WordPress Plugin

Extension Page | Demo | Price: $55.00

Integrate Your Shopping Cart With UPS/FedEx

FedEx UPS FedUp

Anyone who ships more than 20 boxes a day knows how annoying it is to keep copy and pasting the customers information for the shipping label. Therefore it is a great thing that both UPS and FedEx offer the ability to integrate your system into theirs. Unless you are doing a lot of business with your shipping carrier, they probably won’t mention the fact that the offer it. Your best bet is to ask your FedEx/UPS representative to point you in the right direction.

Both FedEx and UPS offer a few different ways to set up the integration. The best way to integrate your system varies from system to system, development manpower, and what you expect from it.

CSV Import/Export

The simplest way to get information back and forth betweens the two systems is by importing a Comma Separated Values (CSV) text file with all your shipment information into the shipping program. Once you process your shipments you can export another CSV file with the tracking numbers back into your system.

Direct ODBC Connection

This option is more advanced and will require a higher technical skill set, but offers a much better user experience and can be fully automated.

You will need to provide UPS/FedEx with a SELECT query to pull the order information from your database. The shipping user will be asked to input an order I’d number which will then run this query and import the shipment data into the shipping program. After it creates a shipping label, it will run an UPDATE/INSERT query which you will also need to provide so it can write the tracking number back into your system.

Now What?

Talk to your shipping carrier and let them help you decide what will work best for you. In some cases they may offer a completely different solution.

Image Credit: voon’s world

10 Great Magento Extensions For Your E-Commerce Store

Magento Commerce is a great open source platform. Here are some extensions that will help your store stick out from the crowd and add vital functionality to your business.

1 – Shop By Brand


This extension creates landing pages for each of your brands, which include information such as Brand Name, Logo, Description etc… The landing page will have an SEO link like this

Extension Page | Demo | Price: $99.99

2 – MouseOver Image Zoom

This extension replaces the default Magento image zooming feature. When you mouseover the image it will open a box to right where it will zoom into the image (sort of like


Extension Page | Price: $0.00

3 – Blog

A blog built from scratch for Magento. It’s not as extensive as WordPress or Movable Type, but it has all the basics. Should get you from point A to point B.


Extention Page | Price: $0.00

4 – Drop Shipping Management

If you do a lot of drop shipping you will definitely need help managing your orders. Magento is a great system, but it has no Drop Ship management features. This extension is pretty robust with a price tag to match.


Extension Page | Demo | Price $500.00

5 – Minimum Advertised Price

If you sell products that are protected by a manufacturer’s minimum advertised price policy (MAP), then this is for you. As always, rules are meanato to be broken. You can use this extension to work around the MAP policy withour ruining you vendor relationships.


Extension Page$149.00

6 – QuickBooks Integration

This is vital for survival. Accounting is key to the success of your business. This extension will synchronize your orders with QuickBooks. Definitely worth the price.

QuickBooks Integration THUB

Extension Page | Demo | $250.00

7 – Ticketing System

This extension will help you keep track of your customer service inquiries. It will help you save time by managing your workflow and will ensure that no emails fall through the cracks.


Extension Page$0.00

8 – Color Swatches

Selling something in multiple colors? T-Shirts, Faucets, iPods? This is for you. It will add the ability to put color swatches and change the image based on the color selected.


Extension Page | Demo$69.00

9 – Exploded Menu

Replaces the standard drop down menu with an exploded menu featuring multiple columns. Comes in handy when you have many categories.

Exploded Menu

Extension Page$0.00

10 – Useful Product Downloads

This is great if you want to give your customers the ability to download PDF specification files for products. Just upload any file type and you’re done. Easy. Easy.


Extension Page | Demo | $49.00

More From This Series: Magento Extensions

How To Test Google AdWords Keyword Positions In Analytics

Monopoly E-Commerce

Will your ad perform better on the top spot on the left or on the right? Sixth one up from the bottom?

When you link your Google AdWords and Google Analytics accounts, it will track performance of your ads with a lot of detail. One of the things it tracks, is performance by ad position.

Go to Traffic Sources » AdWords » Keyword Positions

In this report you can see all the familiar information such as impressions, clicks, CTR etc… The great thing about this report is the ability to segment by keyword and ad position. If you have Conversion Goals and E-Commerce Tracking set up you can see sales and revenue by ad position as well.

How Do I Know?

You will need to test your ad in a few positions for a couple of weeks each. Make sure you have enough representative data and then run the Ad Position report and see what has performed better.

Image Credit: danielbroche

Get A Higher CTR With Merchant Logos On Comparison Shopping Engines

Merchant Logos

Sometimes it’s hard to stick out on shopping comparison engines. Every little tweak can help. Adding your logo to your listings will definitely raise your click through rate (CTR). This may be fairly obvious to some merchants, but many merchants don’t include their logo with their listings.

Aside from laziness, there are other reasons not include your logo with your listings. The main reason is cost. Most CSEs charge extra for use of their mechant logo program. However, if you can afford it or if you still have a decent return on investment, you should include your logo.

If you are not sure if it’s worth it for you, run a test for two weeks or a month and see how you click through rate, and in effect your return on investment increases.

Image Credit:

How To Lower Costs On CSEs With An Inclusion Only Feed

Comparison shopping

When you have a large feed, there is usually a very long tail of products that send traffic to your site. Sometimes you can get one or two clicks on a thousand different products. You may not notice the cost of each click on it’s own, but it starts to add up. With a standard Kill Report it’s hard to get rid of the long tail because you don’t have enough metrics.

When & Where

In extreme cases where you cannot stomach the excessive costs of a specific shopping engine (CSE) and you are unable to lower the spend through other methods, it is recommended to send a feed with only the brands that have performed well historically. Keep in mind that by running an inclusion only feed, you are also getting rid of products that may perform well. So keep testing the feed by adding new products and monitor it for changes.

Bottom Line

You might stop a lot of quality traffic by sending an inclusion only feed. You might also save your business a ton of money. Keep your eyes open and watch the performance.