As Jubilee-fever sweeps the nation are you doing your bit to make sure you capitalise on it this summer? Retail outlets are FULL of Union Jacks and little crown-shaped trinkets. There is a resurgence in teapot sales and macaroons are EVERYWHERE!
Whether or not you plan to wave a little flag of your own, there is definitely money to be made on the back of the Jubilee and for savvy business owners the opportunity is too good to miss. Here are our top tips:
- Run a Jubilee-inspired competition on your web site and spread the word using your Social Media links such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Turn your usual seasonal special offers into Jubilee special offers, decorating your site with red, white and blue to jolly it up.
- Give out Jubilee voucher codes at checkout to existing customers encouraging a return visit by offering a discount.
- If you’re in the market, stock a specific Jubilee range to entice buyers. Create packages or sell items on an individual basis.
- Get involved in community activities. Offer to sponsor a tea party in your local area and get the press involved.
However you choose to spend the Jubilee, don’t miss out on a chance to increase your sales opportunities. Boost British Business! Hoorah!
A recent post by Lloyd Shepherd on the Guardian books blog serves to highlight the step-up of importance in social media over the last few years. Lloyd’s book, The English Monster was released in March and his article compares the influence that both traditional sources (newspapers) and unofficial sources (such as reader reviews on Amazon) have had on the sales of his book.
It would seem that official reviews in newspapers are a hugely powerful tool in exposing your work and for a debut writer this is good news, whether the review is positive or negative. Online reviews are a different beast but the negative impact can be catastrophic with one writer citing a 70% drop in sales after a negative review. Social approval or disapproval is exerting a huge influence on book sales and the same can be said of other business sectors.
We have been advising our customers to get on board with social media for a while now, and it appears this will become increasingly important as Google adjusts its position yet again on the way it values web sites and ranks them. The key aspect of social media is that your web site, product or service is receiving an unbiased review from an impartial source. This is seen by Google as being more powerful than a self-endorsement and it follows that the more positive points you get from other people, the more Google will like your site.
It is worth speaking to your SEO provider about pushing your social media campaign forward if they haven’t already. eSterling offers competitively priced social media packages to suit all budgets. Your SEO team will discuss the best methods for you and get you started. You’ll get out what you put in, so be active and concentrate on making those customers happy.
Pinterest is without doubt the new hotness on the interwebs. Similar in concept to other social bookmarking sites like Delicious and Sumbleupon, Pinterest lets you to ‘pin’ images of ‘interest’ you’ve found and comment on the collections of others. Opening the site will give you an appreciation of the service as every space of the screen is filled with all manner of knick knacks and items people have discovered and covet.
What has turned heads is the rate of growth Pinterest is experiencing and the demographics using the site. Pinterest reached a userbase of 10 million unique visitors in the U.S. faster than any site in history. It is also driving more traffic to retail sites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. The site skews towards a female user base and the icing on that cake for savvy ecommerce site owners is that Pinterest generates conversion rates as high as 20%. If your product is pinned to someone’s board there’s a 1 in 5 chance they’ll be purchasing that item.
Pinterest encourages a browsing and discovery orientated approach rather than the specific product searches you’ll encounter throughout most of the web. This mirroring of real-world shopping behaviour is seen in the correlation of pining and offline purchasing which is even stronger than online conversions. If you are an ecommerce site owner then now is the time to get on-board the Pinterest bandwagon. The first item on your agenda should be the addition of a Pinterest button to your site to allow users to easily pin items to their boards. Now would also be an ideal time to get your product imagery in order. Conversion rates have always benefitted from good, large and clear images being used throughout the site but now that they serve as the focal point it is essential you have the best pictures you can.
The next step is establishing yourself on Pinterest. This shouldn’t just be pure self-promotion with all the pins being items from your ecommerce store. Pinterest is about sharing and engaging with the whole community, pinning items from other sources will ingrain a sense of trust in followers. You’ll want to test your site to make sure that items are pinned correctly. Pinterest works by scanning each page to select the image if there are issues you’ll need to get in touch with your sites developers and discuss your options. Also essential is tracking the traffic you are getting from Pinterest through Google Analytics.
Ideas for increasing engagement and conversions through Pinterest can range from having a sale on the most pinned items through to offering a voucher to traffic arriving from the site. You may also want to think about setting up boards that offer a collection of items that go together – think of something along the lines of IKEA display rooms – which serve as a super-sized related items page. Even adding the Pinterest button to your site and an encouragement to pin can help increase the amount of sales you are getting.
Please be aware that not everything is great on Pinterest. It is increasingly being used by scammers pinning items that link to malicious websites but this is activity that Pinterest says it is actively monitoring. Despite this inevitable spamming of the service there are still users coming up with all sorts of creative methods to pin items.
While big in America, start-up culture doesn’t seem to have quite as much traction in the UK. Sure Dragon’s Den gets the viewing figures but it is little more than reality TV panhandling and doesn’t offer any insights into how to get the next Facebook beater off the ground. Here then is a quick guide to how to build your empire from scratch.
First up. What is the problem you are trying to solve? What possible solutions are there? What key metrics do you need to measure to see if what you are doing is a success? What is your unique value proposition? What advantage do you have that cannot easily be replicated? Who are you targeting? What will it cost? How are you going to make money from it?
Solve genuine problems. Don’t just come up with a list of features and don’t just offer a workaround to common problems offer a complete solution. Interview potential customers and find out what their problems are? What would be your solution? Everyone has that one great idea but it’s execution that counts.
Minimize your total time in getting something in front of potential customers. Launch as quickly as possible in fact you need to be even quicker than that. Your first step is your Minimum viable product, MVP in start-up lingo. This is always less than you think. It could be just a one pager with a sign-up form or a blog outlining your big plans. But you need to get something, anything, out there in front of your potential customer base.
Waiting until something is perfect is a recipe for failure. Things will never be just right and you’ll tinker forever over things that are just not important at all. You ain’t gonna need it is a mantra programmers follow and you should too when cutting features from your product. That’s right, you should always be thinking about what to get rid of next rather than what your next great feature is. Less is more. Keep it simple stupid. You need to find the one feature that customers LOVE. You’ll know you’ve found it when they complain that you’ve taken it away.
Iterate rapidly. Launch your MVP. Measure the analytics. Test your assumptions and trust in the data. Make the changes you need, optimise your product and launch again. Rinse. Repeat.
Fail Fast. You need to know if your product is succeeding or failing. This is why it’s essential to iterate and not go with the big up front product that is perfect. If you do and it fails you’ve thrown away months of work. Get the MVP out there and measure. If it fails start over again with the data you’ve got in hand.
Don’t feel guilty about making your product pay to play. It can be a big mistake to offer up all your work for free in the hope that someone might pay for it down the road. By charging money you’re telling people you think it’s worth something. By giving it away you’re telling them it’s not worth anything yet. Maximise your user acquisition, make your current customers happy and they’ll work as your viral marketers. You also did remember to set up your Twitter and Facebook accounts right ?
Don’t let customers get away. If you’ve converted someone through a signup you have their details. Follow up. Send them a personal email asking why your product didn’t meet their needs, what problems they encountered. If it’s viable then consider it for the next iteration.
Once you have found a fit between your product and customers you need to transition to growth and riches! Possibly. If you do make it to be the next Mark Zuckerberg just remember who gave you the advice…
According to Experian Hitwise the busiest day for online retailers in 2010 wasn’t in the run up to Christmas – it was Boxing Day.
Online Retailers in the UK saw traffic levels rise 12% higher than pre-Christmas Traffic Peaks. The second busiest day was the day after – the 27th December. It seems that a lot of turkey-stuffed shoppers are beating the queues and shopping in online sales, rather than hitting the high street.
If you haven’t already thought about how to attract visitors to your website over the festive season, then it’s not too late for a pay-per-click campaign. Trying Google Adwords could be one the best ways to turn some of this festive traffic into conversions for your website. We still have some Google Adwords vouchers available if you want to give it a try, so call us today!
You don’t always need to get your web development company involved to make a difference to the conversion rates of your website. Here’s a small list of things you can do right now to improve your business.
Advertise your best stuff “above the fold”
Make sure you are displaying your very best products on the front page and category listing pages. First impressions count and as they say “Above the fold if you want it sold”. Eye level is buy level!
State any order limitations early in the process
If you don’t ship overseas make sure the customer knows. Extra shipping to the Outer Hebrides? Let the customer know.
Inform the users about delivery times
Make sure you are giving potential customers a clear estimate of how long the expected delivery times will be. No one likes to wait.
Free shipping = lots of sales
Time after time surveys have shown that the number one barrier to sales is the cost of shipping. Give your customers free shipping and remove that barrier.
Use good quality product images
Customers want to see what they are buying. Provide clear good quality images of your products. Small pixelated images will prevent that sale.
A simple trick is to pick out items and make them “Limited Editions”. The less of something there is the more valuable it becomes to people.
Offer a price guarantee
Customers on the web like to shop around for the best deal. Keep them on your site by offering a price match guarantee.
While these ideas will get you started, remember that the best way to improve the performance of your site is to design and build for Conversions from the start. Call eSterling today for details on how to improve the effectiveness of your business.
They have now invented a term for it – m-Commerce
Studies show that consumers buying goods from their handsets is set to more than double by the year 2013 (Survey by Ovum and Verdict Research Company)
There is a current total of £123 million being spent via mobile, out of a total of £21bn online retail spend.
There is already a shift towards the mobile-web, so are we ready for what they reckon could be the next big step?
What type of products might one buy via a mobile device?
Am I a dinosaur for feeling it will be years before I take a chance on buying from a mobile? Although I might buy from a Tablet.
What do you think?
Currently one of the hottest buzz words in the web development space, Gamification, is beginning to supplant old favourites like social media in mindshare. Gamification, as its name implies, typically involves bringing the mechanics and innovations of game design into web design. The purpose of this is to improve the users’ experience and increase their engagement – to make a website have the enveloping effect of the latest gaming hit. Gamifying a website doesn’t necessarily mean to create a game but to apply the ideas games have of dynamics, mechanics and design in an appropriate way.
Seeds were planted for Gamification to become one of the next big things when social media websites like Facebook partnered with companies such as Zynga – famous for Farmville – who sought ways to increase the engagement of users with the use of points, levels, badges and more to capture interest. The benefit for Facebook was users kept coming back to the site for more, each looking for gratification by increasing their scores and piles of virtual goods. Other companies have boarded the bandwagon early and introduced their own game elements. Foursquare, for instance, challenges people to earn badges and status amongst their peers by ‘checking in’ at locations and events.
While a relatively new term the concepts behind Gamification have been around for a long time in the e-commerce space. Auctions websites such as eBay use a form of Gamification wherein goods are placed for sale and customers ‘compete’ to win the offer. Amazon has extended this thinking to ‘Black Friday’ deals whereby the first set number of customers will win the offer and gives hints and clues as to what the potential deal may be so you can be first in line.
The success of social gaming lies not with avatars or virtual goods and farms, but with the communication between users. This is where a positive feedback loop can be introduced. By personalising the site to the needs of the customer you can create relevance and interest. By giving your customers choices you can improve the chances of them taking positive action – adding items to their basket or purchasing those items – which leads to further collection of data to better improve the personalisation. By providing a great feedback loop you can improve the chances of successful interaction between the customer and website.
Of course it is clear that there has to be a reason for your customers to be playing, beyond just handing out an achievement badge or adding points for the sake of it. These are elements that cannot just be introduced because it is the hot new thing. It may well be that your customer base is not appropriate and more sober approaches should be taken.
In this case a more appropriate response may be the introduction of personalised elements to the site. The idea that the homepage and layout of the site should be the same for every visitor is archaic. If you think of Amazon you will note that when you return and are identified by the site you are directed to items that may be of interest to you rather than the standard ‘our selected items’ that are presented to each visitor.
In addition further recommendations and related products can be tailored to the behaviour of the customer. Why be showing samples of everything you stock when the customer only sticks to one particular category of item? The potential for improvement in conversion and user engagement by targeting customer behaviour is huge. In an increasingly crowded marketplace of e-commerce stores, the ideas Gamification brings to the table can help distinguish you from the competition and make your website hugely enjoyable for your customers.
Here are some simple ways to increase you ROI via conversion rate optimisation.
1. Be Relevant
Your ad text or meta description should always be relevant so the user will know what to expect when they arrive on your website. There is no point making wild claims that are not reflected on the site as this will just lead to poor bounce rates. Make sure that you use the keyword in your H1 title as this will help with both users and search engines. Perhaps one of the most vital points to consider in term of relevancy for the user is to use an accurate image. All to often I see generic images used on eCommerce sites, this will do nothing to improve sales. Always use your keywords in crawlable areas of the page as well utilising keywords in the domain if you can.
You must quickly and simply portray your business proposition to your customer, frame the product or service in your opening text, ensure you prioritise your key features and benefits, consider the best way to get your point across – text, image, Video? Next try to see it from your customers point of view, see if you can handle any objections or concerns they may have about purchasing from you. One final point to consider is not to overwhelm the the user, do not be tempted to bombard them with too much information – an alternative may be to include downloadable demo, white papers or fact sheets. Always use a call to action.
The more trust your site can instill in the user the more sales it will make. This statement is so true for on-line shops. This can be done by the site itself as well as in the promotion of your company brand and the product/service brand. Your main enemies here are scepticism brought about by lack of information, not including reputable 3rd party ratings/awards and badges, and not have an SSL or payment system from a good provider. Try to use trust inspiring text, for example point it out if you have secure check out system, include testimonials in either text or video format. In terms of the web design you need to have a clean and tidy looking site, it should look professional and not rushed or cheap.
4. Understand User Intent
Try to find out what your typical customer responds to, try varied approaches and stick with the one that works best. You could try a softer call to actions or a harder approach, you may wish to experiment with different web designs and ways of presenting data, perhaps you will convert better if you can engage with the customer in a phone call? The key with all the things you try to is to ensure that you have a tested it in a fair way and to measure your success. Once you have a good amount of data you can choose the best way to proceed in terms of your customers intent.
5. Remove Distractions
Remember that the more obstacles you put between the moment a user enters your site and the point of sale the more likley it is that the sale will not complete. Your sales process should be simple, linear and as easy as possible. Common issues are including global navigation on your PPC landing pages, not using technology’s like JQuery to stop users from leaving the sales funnel by utilising tabbed pages of JS overlays to keep users on the page, off topic text and distracting images, asking for too much information from the user just to make the sale.
To find out more about conversion rate optimisation, get in touch with us here at eSterling.
We’re all familiar with the term ‘e-commerce’ when it comes to selling products online. Now f-commerce (the ‘f’ stands for Facebook) is becoming more and more popular with brands and consumers alike.
If you’re an online retailer, it is essential that you understand the impact that social media is having on e-commerce. Unique selling opportunities now exist on Facebook and other social media platforms. These networking sites allow you to engage with your customer base – and in the ideal scenario have them promote your products to their network of friends.
At the simplest level, this can be done by the addition of Facebook’s ‘Like’ button to your website, which acts as a simple content sharing device. When someone clicks on the ‘Like’ button on your site, this information is posted to that person’s Facebook wall and this will be viewable by their friends. As the average Facebook user has over 100 friends, this simple action could have a snowball effect as more and more users ‘Like’ your brand.
This communication is not just one-way. A page on your website can pull information from Facebook to show the names and profile pictures of people who have ‘Liked’ your product. This way you can find out more about the customers that are interested in you.
The opportunity now exists to take further steps forward to integrate e-commerce with your Facebook page. This means not just engaging your customer through your social presence, but also inviting them to buy products (in part or in whole) over the Facebook platform.
To achieve this, the look of your Facebook page can be tailored to look less like the profile page familiar to most users and more like a standard web page. This also allows you to integrate e-commerce elements, either by pulling product information onto your page using an API, displaying your shop through an ‘Iframe’ or even creating an App to perform the whole process through Facebook.
A number of online retailers have already rushed to take advantage of this new opportunity. Brands like Max Factor, Heinz, Thorntons and JD Sports have all made the transition from promoting their brand to selling goods through their Facebook pages.
The time internet users spent on Facebook in 2010 surpassed the time people used both Google and Yahoo. It is therefore essential to use social media platforms to find a bigger audience for your goods. Large brands such as Coca-Cola get more than 10% of their traffic from their Facebook page and this figure is only growing.
The Facebook platform is currently completely free and businesses can take advantage of this to set up a page with no hosting charges, fees or percentages paid. Call eSterling today to find out the ideal social media and e-commerce strategies we can offer you so that you can make the most out of f-commerce.