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eCommerce Marketing this Holiday Season

22 Nov

As eCommerce sales are set to rise by 25% this holiday season (source: PwC), business owners selling online are preparing for what is set to be their most lucrative time of year. Have you planned your marketing strategy to optimize sales over the Holiday Season? If not, now is the time to do it.

Traditionally the Christmas buying season starts the day after Thanksgiving, but so many people have done their Christmas shopping by then. A quick and easy way to start your Christmas campaign is to by blogging about it. eCommerce platforms like freewebstore offer blog Add Ons, like StoreBlog which allows you to build up vital content on your web site. Put teasers for your upcoming sales on your blog or Facebook store to create awareness and don’t forget to respond to feedback or comments that your customers leave.

If you’re looking to promote discounts for those shoppers looking for a bargain, start to plan what coupons and sales you’re going to offer on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Money can be tight at Christmas and customers will be looking for a great deal. For more tips on getting your store ready for the Black Friday Sales click here.

Try to use every avenue available to drive traffic to your store.  Get your advertising in the right place. Define your best customer and seek out the right way to reach them.

Don’t have a big marketing budget? Utilize social media. More than two-thirds of US respondents to a recent survey said social media influences their online shopping behavior.

Time to Get Festive

pexels-photo-247835.jpeg

Get to the Christmas Markets with a pop up store – this is the best way to raise your profile and connect with your customers. See face to face what your customers are interested in. Wrap up warm, grab a coffee and have fun. Pick their brains about what they bought last year. What items make good gifts? What price ranges are they looking for? What is their average Christmas budget?

Have a plan

Calculate your projected sales figures and work hard to stick to them. Visit our 6 essential tips to increasing sales.

Get your staff involved!

The holidays are a great time to have fun. Why not get your staff excited about Christmas and this will reflect in their attitudes. Organize a competition among your staff to create a Christmas card to send out with your customer orders. A personal touch will help your customers to feel valued and connected to your brand. Your staff can make a big difference to the success of our business over Christmas. Why not treat them to a Christmas lunch to say thank you for all their hard work, especially if you need them to work on days that most people usually have off like Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.

And finally…Don’t forget January!

No doubt if your Christmas campaign has gone well, you’ll be exhausted! Plan ahead and get your January sales with discount codes and coupons. Getting ready early will help you to jump on your competition and bring in the shoppers. Marketing plans take time to plan and work if they are to be successful. Bring it on!

Spread some festive cheer

Your average customer will recruit three other customers during the time they do business with you. What makes customers talk about you? Usually the way they were treated. Add a personal touch. Offer a helping hand. Give them personal attention. This could be a handwritten note in their parcel. Point out new items to customers on your blog. Sales and relationships go hand in hand.

Happy selling this holiday season!

Article originally published: 21/09/16, Modified and Updated: 21/11/17

 

Getting your online store ready for Christmas

15 Nov

With Christmas just around the corner it’s important to get your online store ready for the holiday rush.

Internet shopping continues to rise year on year, so here are my top tips for getting your store ready for what could be your most lucrative quarter.

Check your store. Is it ready?

Start by looking at the products on your store. Optimize images and give your site a festive feel. Images will play a big part in capturing the attention and hearts of shoppers. If your product photos are low resolution or have poor lighting, maybe it’s time to re-shoot them ready for the holidays. You might not want to upload them yet, but careful planning will take the stress out of what is going to be a busy time.

Get festive

If you use an eCommerce website builder or platform, why not choose a festive store design to entice your customers.  Freewebstore has some great designs to choose from – and they’re all free. Best of all you can easily switch between your Christmas design and your January Sale design at the click of a button using the Saved Designs Feature. A word of warning though – if you have a high customer base, don’t make drastic changes to the navigation or layout right now. This can cause disruption to customers’ shopping flow. If the site has drastically changes from what customers are used to, it could cause confusion, frustration and lead to abandonment.

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Check what your users see

Check your website. Does it load well? Is your url or domain memorable? Are all the links working? Does your site work on all devices?  Make sure all your images load and check your stock levels. You don’t want any ‘out of stock’ products appearing on your store as it may look as though your store has been abandoned or out of date.

Are your product descriptions accurate and of a good length? If they aren’t, online shoppers may be wary of buying from you. Do you use custom urls for your categories? All of this careful planning helps build up your SEO which will boost your Google rankings making it easier for shoppers to find you.

Fake websites

In response to Google’s decision to mark HTTP pages as unsafe starting October 2017, websites which do not have SSL encryption enabled will be marked as “Not secure” in Google Chrome. This could have a damaging effect on your sales if you don’t have an eCommerce website that is fully SSL secure.

Here’s an example of what your customers will see without you having an SSL enabled:

unprotected

This is an example of what your customers will see if your website is SSL protected.

secure

Freewebstore now offers ALL customers a free SSL. Find out more here.

Make checking out easy

Your customers are going to be busy leading up to Christmas. Don’t have them abandoning the checkout process out of frustration. After succeeding in the hard work of getting them there, losing conversions due to a complicated or lengthy form is far from ideal. Use a checkout that allows you to take payments directly on your store.

Monitor your stock carefully

christmas-atmosphere-santa-claus-advent-63598

Choosing the amount of stock you need over Christmas can often be difficult, especially if you are investing in seasonal products. On the one hand, you don’t want to miss out on a share of the market, but on the other you don’t want to be left with surplus stock in January that you can’t sell.  Look at what sold well last year. Finding a pattern could make ordering your stock each year much easier, so make sure you keep a note of everything…good luck!

Get started with freewebstore.com

Article originally published: 21/09/16, Modified and Updated: 14/11/17

Top 5 checks eCommerce Businesses must do today

12 Oct

As eCommerce sales are set to rise by 25% this holiday season (source: PwC), business owners selling online are preparing for what is set to be their most lucrative time of year.

Here is my top 5 tips that should be on your checklist for increasing sales this season:

1. Mobile ready

With smartphones accounting for nearly 70% of Thanksgiving Day traffic and 53% of all orders last year (source: thejibe) you really can’t afford for your website to look bad on a mobile device. Traditional websites designed for desktops are clunky and hard navigate on mobiles – reducing your chance of converting a sale. ECommerce platforms like freewebstore design web stores using the mobile first technique. Their checkouts ensure payment and shipping input fields are optimized for use on a mobile, that buttons reachable by thumb and that the correct keyboard appears when filling in forms (whether text, number or email). If you aren’t sure what your eCommerce website looks like on a mobile, now is the time to check.

2. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint

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It seems fewer consumers will shop on Black Friday than in previous years. Research from PwC suggests thirty-five percent of consumers who plan to shop during Thanksgiving week say they will do so on Black Friday, down from 51 percent last year. However, do not be fooled into thinking Black Friday promotions are on the decline. The Independent suggests it is highly likely that Amazon will slash the price of some of its own products – including the Echo and Echo Dot speakers, the Fire stick, Fire tablets and Kindle e-readers. Reductions on the Xbox One and the PS4 are also likely.

The key message to take home is – if you’re current, your customers will expect a Black Friday Event from you. Make the most of the publicity and plan your event over a longer period not just a one day event.

3. Omnichannel

Business Insider suggests creating a strong, cohesive, multi-channel operation can make or break your business. Their research concluded that shoppers who engage with retailers on multiple channels make purchases more often. Think social media, blogs, (if you don’t have a blog on your eCommerce webstite, StoreBlog is a great one to use and is available to freewebstore users), or perhaps up your game in-store. If you don’t have a bricks and mortar store, exhibit at a trade show, Christmas Market or a pop up store. Solutions that link online, offline and mobile shopping are set to shape the future of eCommerce.shopping.jpeg

4. Promote

Make sure your store and the products you sell are on everyone’s minds throughout the holiday season. Up your email marketing efforts. Send out an email to your mailing list (not forgetting a second email to remind them) or post it on social media. Go to where your potential customers are gathering. Try to think of creative ways to reach them there.

5. Planning

It goes without saying that you really should prepare to avoid disappointing your customers. Decide on your promotions and make sure you have the right stock levels. Don’t turn what could be a great earner, and great promotion into a bad PR exercise.

How to Write the Perfect Blog

28 Sep

How to write the perfect blog

Having a blog allows you to add crucial content to your store and boost your search engine rankings. It also allows you to add useful content for your shoppers that can keep them coming back for more. Here are tips on writing the perfect blog:

Informative, not ‘sales-y’

Blog posts should be all about providing information to your reader – not about trying to sell them something.  Capture your audience by allowing them behind the scenes. Share “a day in the life” and include photos your readers wouldn’t normally see. Why not blog about recent events or perhaps what it is that inspires you? Get into the mindset of your customers and write about topics that would interest and inspire them.

Be mindful of your SEO

Content on your freewebstore eCommerce website is vital to increasing your Search Engine Optimization which is key to your business. Once you’ve drafted your blog, proofread it to make sure you’re using your keywords. Include tags to your products or previous blog articles you’ve written. The more blog posts you write, the more content and links you’ll build up over time.  For expert tips on SEO why not read our SEO 101 blog?

Post regularly

Keep your readers interested by posting regularly and consistently. If you only post once in a while, your blog will become stale and uninteresting. Get into the habit of setting time aside each week to write content and collect photos for your blog. It may seem like a daunting task at first but once you get into the swing of it you will find it a pleasurable way to reach out to your audience.

Get social

Include social media sharing buttons on each blog post so that your readers can promote your post to a wider audience. Be sure to have a link on your blog back to your website to build up traffic and prevent your reader from becoming lost.

Promote your blog content across social media and be sure to include #hashtags when applicable but be sure to make your social media posts consistent with your brand identity.

Get blogging about your eCommerce website today with our store blog feature. If you’ve not yet signed up for your freewebstore you can sign-up here.

 

Postage Rules

26 May

It may seem like a minefield when you start out with your eCommerce website, weighing your products, getting quotes from shipping providers and then deciding what to charge for postage and packaging.

Let me stop you right there.

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Here at freewebstore we recommend keeping it simple! Choose one price and stick to it. Better still, offer free postage and include your postage fees in the cost of the item on your eCommerce website. If your business model is to undercut your competitor then be sure to see what they are selling at though. Customers like pricing to be simple.

Your customers will thank you for it and you will thank me for increasing your sales!

On Location with one of our Store Owners, Ti-Springs.com

17 May

Visiting one of our store owners, Scout, on location this week it is clear to see why Ti-Springs.com are so successful. The World’s number one supplier for titanium springs for mountain bikes, Scout is passionate about what he does.

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Having been a rider from a young age, Scout has successfully turned his love of mountain biking into his career; forming numerous partnerships with international race teams and supplying springs to the World’s fastest riders.

So, it really wasn’t difficult to convince Scout to get out on the trails at Fly UP 417 Bike Park to show us how well his product performs on the trails…and show us a few tricks!

Being an enthusiast, Scout knows the circuit. He gets inside his customer’s heads – he knows what they’re looking for and where they will be. He makes sure he attends the right trade fairs and competitions for his niche market.

Ti-Springs has a strong brand. From the company vehicles to his own clothing and accessory line, the company stands out from the crowd. Along with a strong brand are the professional product images on his web store, produced by his partner Kayleigh who also runs her own successful business. She certainly delivers the goods when it comes to product images – a store owner’s absolute dream!

A real winning formula, I wish Ti-Springs.com every success in the future. I left feeling privileged to have met Scout and his partner Kayleigh this week. They certainly inspired me to do more of what I love and it felt great knowing that freewebstore, in part, has helped to realize someone else’s dream.

Have a watch of Scout’s story here.

Image by: kadams-photography.com

Business to business transactions made simpler with freewebstore’s new checkout

24 Nov

Did you know that EU businesses with a VAT number only pay VAT on purchases within their own country?

If an EU business makes a purchase from a different EU country, the business does not pay VAT on the transaction and instead delays VAT payment to their own tax filing, in their own country.

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With freewebstore’s latest checkout, VAT registered companies based in the EU can now provide their VAT number to remove the VAT from their order. All EU VAT details are checked in real-time prior to the transaction being completed, ensuring that you’re always given an accurate EU VAT number.

Accounting for EU transactions is also made simple. Store owners are given the VAT number once the transaction is complete and EU VAT numbers are now available on all invoices.

Log into your control panel to enable freewebstore’s latest side-by-side checkout now.

Get started with freewebstore.com.

How to get your online store ready for Christmas

21 Sep

With Christmas just around the corner it’s important to start thinking about getting your online store ready for the holiday rush.

Internet shopping continues to rise year on year, so here are my top tips for getting your store ready for what could be your most lucrative quarter.Retro tin toy santa robot holding christmas present

Is your store ready?

Start by looking at the products on your store. Optimize images and give your site a festive feel. Images will play a big part in capturing the attention and hearts of shoppers. If your product photos are low resolution or have poor lighting, maybe it’s time to re-shoot them ready for the holidays. You might not want to upload them yet, but careful planning will take the stress out of what is going to be a busy time.

Check your site. Does it load well? Is your web address memorable? Are all the links working? Does your site work on all devices? Are your stock levels right?  Make sure there isn’t any ‘out of stock’ products appearing on your store. Show that your site is secure with an SSL certificate.

Are your product descriptions accurate and of a good length? If they aren’t, online shoppers may be wary of buying from you. All of this careful planning helps build up your SEO which will boost your Google rankings making it easier for shoppers to find you.

Make checking out easy

Your customers are going to be busy leading up to Christmas. According to a recent survey conducted by PwC, when it comes to online shopping, Americans value convenience above all else: 58% of survey respondents say convenience is the main reason they shop online, with price being a distant second at 32%. Don’t have your customers abandoning the checkout process out of frustration. After succeeding in the hard work of getting them there, losing conversions due to a complicated or lengthy form is far from ideal. Use a checkout that allows you to take payments directly on your store.

Have a plan

Calculate your projected sales figures and work hard to stick to them. Visit our 6 essential tips to increasing sales.

Build the hype. ..slowly!

Plan your marketing campaign but start subtle. Traditionally the Christmas buying season starts the day after Thanksgiving, but so many people have done their Christmas shopping by then. I’m not suggesting that you start customizing your store with Christmas trees and tinsel just yet! A great way to start your Christmas campaign is to start blogging about it. If you have enabled StoreBlog, you can blog about what you’re planning in the run up to the Holiday Season. Put teasers for your upcoming sales on your blog or Facebook store to create awareness. According to a recent report by Deloitte more so than ever, consumers plan to use the Internet to research holiday buys and 50% will use social media during their shopping process when it comes to holiday spending. Get your customers to leave feedback and reviews on your StoreBlog and Facebook store.

If you’re looking to promote discounts for those shoppers looking for a bargain, start to plan what coupons and sales you’re going to offer on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Money can be tight at Christmas and customers will be looking for a great deal.  

Use every avenue available to drive traffic to your store.  Get your advertising in the right place. Define your best customer and seek out the right way to reach them. During October and the early part of November, these won’t be Christmas related ads. You are planting shopping ideas and hints that will be harvested down the road.

Don’t have a big marketing budget? Utilize social media. A recent survey found that consumers have an appetite for social commerce, that fusion of online social communities with seamless purchasing capability. More than two-thirds of US respondents said social media influences their online shopping behavior.

Time to Get Festive

When you start to celebrate Christmas on your store is up to you but it’s essential that you aren’t the last store out there to start celebrating. Customize your store with some festive features to entice your customers. Winter Morning is a festive design for your store.  You can easily switch between your Christmas design and your January Sale design at the click of a button using the Saved Designs Feature. A word of warning though – if you have a high customer base, don’t make drastic changes to the navigation or layout right now. This can cause disruption to customers’ shopping flow. If the site has drastically changes from what customers are used to, it could cause confusion, frustration and lead to abandonment.

Get to the Christmas Markets – this is the best way to raise your profile and connect with your customers. See face to face what your customers are interested in. Wrap up warm, grab a coffee and have fun. Pick their brains about what they bought last year. What items make good gifts? What price ranges are they looking for? What is their average Christmas budget?

Monitor your stock carefully

Choosing the amount of stock you need over Christmas can often be difficult, especially if you are investing in seasonal products. On the one hand, you don’t want to miss out on a share of the market, but on the other you don’t want to be left with surplus stock in January that you can’t sell.  Look at what sold well last year. Finding a pattern could make ordering your stock each year much easier, so make sure you keep a note of everything.

Reach out to your customers about your most popular products – nervous customers will want reassuring that products will arrive on time.

Spread some festive cheer

Your average customer will recruit three other customers during the time they do business with you. What makes customers talk about you? Usually the way they were treated. Add a personal touch. Offer a helping hand. Give them personal attention. This could be a handwritten note in their parcel. Point out new items to customers on your blog. Sales and relationships go hand in hand.

Get your staff involved!

The holidays are a great time to have fun and a season of goodwill. Why not get your staff excited about Christmas and this will reflect in their attitudes. Organize a competition among your staff to create a Christmas card to send out with your customer orders. A personal touch will help your customers to feel valued and connected to your brand. Your staff can make a big difference to the success of our business over Christmas. Why not treat them to a Christmas lunch to say thank you for all their hard work, especially if you need them to work on days that most people usually have off like Boxing Day or New Year’s Day.

And finally…Don’t forget January!

No doubt if your Christmas campaign has gone well, you’ll be exhausted! Plan ahead and get your January sales with discount codes and coupons. Getting ready early will help you to jump on your competition and bring in the shoppers. Marketing plans take time to plan and work if they are to be successful. Bring it on!

Get started with freewebstore.com