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Store of the Month: June 2017

15 Jun

Our store of the month for June is the very imaginative thebiggerpictureart.co.uk. We spoke to the store owner, Aimee, who told us how sibling rivalry drove her to excel in arts and crafts how traveling the world helped to inspire Aimee’s fantastic business!

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Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I graduated from University with a degree in Photography back in 2011. Having begun to collate a portfolio of work I decided to go traveling to expand on this further. Outside of my studies I’ve always had a passion for design and can recall many a weekend building and inventing things in my Granddad’s workshop as a child.

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My studio, The Bigger Picture, is a combination of these passions for art and design. I hope that my work conveys some of the inspirational things I’ve been lucky to see and explore. Combined with a bit of imagination, people can take home a product that is unique and brings some of the wider worlds right into their homes

What made you get into this line of work?

Both my sister and I grew up with a love of arts and crafts, and I think the competition element of sibling rivalry drove me to try and excel in this! We both have careers within the creative industry now which is great to bounce ideas off of one another.

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Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

Although I have years of experience with customers, retail, and design, I am relatively new to the world of business and would like to establish myself as an artist with an online presence before contemplating a store. Marketing is an ongoing process using social media.

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If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

I think Dawn French would be fantastic to work with, it’s essential to surround yourself with fun and vibrant people if you want to keep the creative juices flowing. Dawn is also really active on twitter so I could put her in charge of social media!

 

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Aimee thinks Dawn French would be fantastic to work with!

 

Do you have any advice for new store owners?

If you really want it, you will make it work.There will be days when you question is it worth it? Will I ever get there?

The main thing to remember is ‘don’t give up!!’ And if you do, it’s never too late to start again. Cultural trends are constantly changing, so what didn’t work the first time might work better on another occasion.

Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

Freewebstore has such a vast range of designs, and with the ability to make alterations you can have your website set up in a matter of days which is great when you want to show potential consumers the latest products available to them.

If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would like the ability to speak every language in the world fluently! Imagine being able to communicate with anyone and everyone, I bet you’d hear some amazing tales from around the globe. Of course, this would come handy if I go traveling again too.

And finally, tell us your best joke!

My dog used to chase people on a bike a lot. It got so bad, finally, I had to take his bike away.

 

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!

Guest Blog: Let’s Take a Closer Look at Discount Coupons

3 May

Hi, it’s Myu again (real identity Laura) the proud owner of Collect and Play. This time the subject will be discount coupons which are very helpful to all stores out there. Once again I hope this article will be helpful to beginners and experienced sellers alike. Now let’s get started!

Creating discount coupons with a theme

You probably have seen discount codes out there – numbers and letters etc. But do you see any creative ones or ones that suit/fit the store and it’s products? I myself rarely encounter those and that is why I did a little experiment. I used character and series names and noticed that some coupons were more popular than others. So in other words, customers appreciate coupon codes that are related to the products they like and that is something store owners should make good use of. After all, it can make shopping a little more fun and you will see which code gets used the most.

Keep them guessing or not?

When you have coupon codes like Pichu, Pikachu, and Raichu, you may notice Pikachu gets used the most out of the 3. That is great but as a store owner, you decide how much discount each code gives. Pichu could, for example, give 5% off while Pikachu gives 10% off but only a few customers may find out that Raichu gives 15% or 20% off. So the question is, should you keep the big discounts a mystery or should you add the % to the coupon name? It really depends on how you handle the coupon rules. Do customers have to pay a certain amount to unlock a code or are the codes usable on all total amounts? If you don’t put up amount restrictions then you can keep the codes as they are and make it a bit of a fun discovery for customers. But if you set Pichu to the minimum amount of 5 euro or any currency then it would be good to give customers a hint by adding the % to the name so it becomes Pichu5%. Of course, you can decide for yourself what you prefer to do but a little testing and experimenting won’t hurt a bit.

A short article this time around but I hope it helped a bit. Be sure to stay creative with your store and I will bring you a new article someday. Also, any feedback is welcome on my articles.

Store of the Month: April 2017

11 Apr

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Our store of the month for April is the fantastic ‘Childrens Outdoor Toys‘. Andrew had a dream to become his own boss. He didn’t let poor health stop him from realizing his dream and, using skills and contacts built up over time, has built up a successful business.

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

Well, I’m Andrew originally from Shropshire in England, now living with my partner Sarah on the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire border with my 2 step son’s and our daughter who was 3 this week (the real cheeky monkey) and our little 11-month-old tea-cup chihuahua called Lucy.

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The real cheeky monkeys of the business!

I did spend 10 years in the army and after that, I worked in mental health. After 3 years I decided to be my own boss and started up a private medical company to cover children’s events and sporting events. Things went downhill with my health as I was treating a patient I could not get back up so I visited the doctors and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and severe arthritis and back problems. I thought it time to give up but found doing nothing was too boring.

2. What made you get into this line of work?

With all the contacts I picked up over a few years I decided to sell sports equipment and children’s outdoor toys. We decided to go for active toys and sports to get children away from the T.V and Game Station and get out in the garden and be active!

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I have played lots of sports in my time so the choice selection had to be around something I knew a lot about to help in making sales. Also, I set up at home at first as I cannot get out much then we hired an office address.

I love selling active toys and sporting equipment knowing that I am helping another person’s life to be more active than my own right now.

3. Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

At the minute we have an online store with a facebook store along with a pop-up store that my partner sets up either at fun days or a home shopping party. We are in talks to set up a retail unit but looking for the right location to be able to set up a good showroom.
At the minute I am enjoying taking the phone calls and processing the orders at home (if my partner is not in the office). I do a lot of blogging and Facebooking along with Twitter, just to help boost the sales.

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

It would be Alan Carr! He is soooo amazing, funny and he would be the best of people to jump around on our trampolines or play table tennis!
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Alan Carr would be Andrew’s perfect employee!

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Never give up (as you have read above with my health). Giving up does cross your mind many times if you want something in life just grab it and be determined. If you fail, try again and again. I did…..

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

I did purchase from a supplier when I was selling on facebook and saw the platform they used, freewebstore. I looked into it but saw another platform I went with. It turned out not to be what we were looking for – 7th place on Google was NOT what we wanted. Now we’re with freewebstore and we are 3rd with our keyword children’s outdoor toys and we’re looking at increasing this.

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

I would like to have the power of healing – so I can see my daughters first day at nursery.

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

I have given up on telling jokes! My little girl always says I am cheating when I tell her jokes. Oh and I won £2k for my last joke, would you believe it? Not really, I’m only joking… 😉

 

You can visit Sarah and Andrew’s shop just in time for summer by clicking here.

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Store of the Month: March

16 Mar

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Our store of the month for March is the delightful bellesheartsncrafts. Maxine, after learning from her father, has turned her passion and hobby into her very own creative business! We caught up with Maxine for a chat…

1. Please tell us a bit about yourself, your business and where it all started

I’m originally from England and before I moved to the USA I lived in a small village in North Lincolnshire with my 3 older children, dogs, cats, goats and chickens.

I met my American hubby in quite a bizarre way – playing a game called ‘Clash of Clans’ on my mobile phone. We traveled back and forth for a while, decided to get married and I moved over to Pennsylvania to live 4 years ago!

I was an English Language and Literature teacher in England, specializing in students with social and emotional barriers to learning.  To make any kind of difference, I had to be creative with teaching and learning – an anything goes kind of approach – learning through art, through building, making, drawing, painting – anything that interested my students and helped them to learn.

After I had my little boy, who is now 3, I wanted to combine being a stay at home mum with something to stimulate my mind and soul – bellesheartsncrafts was born.

2. What made you get into this line of work?

My father was an amazing artist, carpenter and all round DIY man, I spent hours as a young girl learning skills from him.  I love working with wood; in fact, I was the first girl ever in the history of my high school to take wood work and metal work as subjects rather than the only girl option of Home Economics.

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I love working with my hands, with wood, painting, it soothes my soul; every single item I make at bellesheartsncrafts is made from my heart. I decided to have a ‘dabble’ with selling some things I had made – mainly photos transferred onto wood and wood burned Christmas ornaments, to begin with.  It soon evolved into wedding ring boxes, hand painted signs, ornaments, leather products to name but a few – all made by hand by me.  I just LOVE being able to make something special for someone to treasure;  to help people in times of grief with memorial ornaments; to capture precious moments and memories for people to hold on to;  knowing it was specially made just for them with my love poured into it.

3. Do you have a physical store as well as an online store? How do you market your product?

I currently don’t have a physical store, it’s something I’d like to do in a few years maybe, but I’m enjoying working at home at crazy hours to fit around spending time with my family.

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I’m just really starting out with looking at marketing; I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, my shop, word of mouth at the moment and am really excited to be expanding into building my own website as an additional place to show and sell my products.

4. If you could have ANYONE to come and work for you, who would it be and why?

Oooooo – this is a tough one! It would have to be my daughter who is 15 at the moment and is still living in England, she loves making things with me and we work really well together; but then I’d need my oldest son too who’s about to finish his Graphic Design degree – he’d be a great help! and my middle son too who has a great eye with aesthetics…what a team!

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Never, never, never give up – if it’s your dream and you love it – just keep on going; be determined,  open-minded, tolerant, accepting and willing to try and fail and try again.

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform?

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Fantastic display on Maxine’s freewebstore homepage

Actually it was a place I follow on Instagram called Oakley Dokely – they’ve recently started a website with you and I thought I’d take a look – it looked great; easy to build, FAB customer support (and incredibly patient with me when I’ve asked a phenomenal amount of questions!) I can’t wait to get all my products listed, set up newsletters, blogs… – so exciting!

7. If you could choose one magic power, what would you go for?

Oh my! – Does being a unicorn, a faery or a dragon count as magic powers? If not, then I would choose the power of healing.

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

According to my hubby,  I don’t have a ‘best’ joke – but one of my favorites (and I apologise in advance…)

Why was the sand wet?
Because the sea-weed…..

Store of the Month: February

20 Feb

Our store of the month for February is fantastically elegant Pearls with Hanna!  We managed to grab a few words with Paul, the store owner about his and wife Hanna’s pearl business!

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself your business and where it all started

We are Hanna and Paul. We’re both 31 and have three children aged 13, 9, and 3.  The idea of Pearls with Hanna was born in the spring of 2016 when Hanna found a live feed of a lady in America selling similar items in the same format. She got chatting with various people about how they went about starting up their businesses and it looked to be a non-starter as everyone doing it was in America and their suppliers either didn’t cover the UK or had an 8 week lead time.

Not one to be deterred Hanna continued to scour the internet for quality suppliers and eventually stumbled across a lady called Liz from Northern Ireland, who had established suppliers in Japan and China and had the vision to become a UK wholesaler for sterling silver jewellery and saltwater Akoya oysters, soon after her company Les Bel Amour Global was born.
Naturally, we jumped on the bandwagon, pushed in our investment and used our already established network marketing to launch in October 2016. Pearls with Hanna was born!

2. The pearl craze seems to have taken off in recent months, can you tell us a bit more about this? How did you get into this?

The pearl craze has been somewhat of a global phenomenon! It has taken off like a rocket in the online marketplace with many distributors, using different suppliers on multiple continents. It’s a thoroughly addictive watch on the live feeds, the anticipation of the next colour pearl and if there will be twins or even triplets!

3. What kind of marketing do you to attract visitors to your store?

Our marketing is primarily Facebook. We add our videos into selling sites and encourage people to like and share the page and the feeds.
Word of mouth from our customers to their friends and families plays a large part to.

screen-shot-2017-02-20-at-11-40-184. Do you have a physical store or do you operate solely online?

We are solely online at this pint in time but it is our overall aim to have our own shop!

 

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Pearls with Hanna – range of products

5. Do you have any advice for new store owners?

Try to make your store as user-friendly, informative, and as eye-catching as possible! Don’t be afraid to try something new or change something to a different style – you can always put it back afterward!

6. Is there a specific reason you chose to use freewebstore as your eCommerce platform

We use Freewebstore as it is the preferred site of the lovely lady who set up our store for us to begin with.

7. Please, sum up your freewebstore experience

So easy to use and maintain, fast response to tickets and really helpful staff. Everything is there for you, so logically placed and easy to fiddle about with to get it how you want it!

8. And finally, tell us your best joke!

I dreamt of a beautiful walk on a sandy beach last night. I guess that explains the footprints in the cat litter this morning.

Take a look at the fantastic range of products at pearlswithhanna.co.uk

Let’s get social: Facebook

7 Feb

Digital media has massively changed the way businesses reach, inform and communicate with their audience, with social media being a ‘key player’ for businesses to engage with their audience. A massive 2.34bn people worldwide have a social media platform of some sort (Statista).

The first section of the ‘Let’s get social’ blog will briefly cover the benefits of having a general social media presence and will look more in-depth into one of the most popular social media platform, Facebook.

What are the benefits of social media?

I’m sure you’ll want to know the benefits of having a social media presence and how it may impact your business. Below are a few key benefits that social media can bring.

Increased Brand Awareness: Social media is a great way of increasing your presence in one single click. Getting a few shares on your post will share your brand to potentially thousands of new customers and allow you to easily monitor the engagement.

Real-time content vs pre-planned, scheduled content:  Unlike traditional marketing methods such as print, you can share and create real-time content and easily adapt your marketing efforts as and when you choose.

Learn about your users: You’ll be able to learn about your customer’s online habits and possibly find out new things about your main demographic. You can target specific demographics with new imaginative content that’s relevant to the right audience.

Feedback: Social media allows for instant dialogue with customers in real-time and helps promote customer service. Again, unlike traditional methods, you’re open to a two- way conversation and not just a one-way conversation.

A lil’ bit of spying: It’s more than likely that your major competitors will have a social media presence, this is a perfect way to monitor your competition and stay ahead of the game. You may notice something that your competition are doing well that may improve your own business or something that they’ve not done quite so well – something you can exploit. You can engage with your rivals audience through targeted ad campaigns to let them know that you’re the better choice!

Gather leads: Connect with your audience on social media and then move the conversation on. Gather email addresses by offering newsletters, contests etc. You can use the email addresses to lead your potential new customers to your website

This is just a snippet of the benefits that social media can offer your business, sounds great, right?!

Facebook

We start our ‘let’s get social’ series with Facebook. According to PEW research, 79% of online adults use Facebook (US) – a huge number! It’s a great platform to connect with new customers and help retain existing relationships.

What can I post on Facebook?

Build up brand loyalty by producing and sharing helpful and entertaining articles to help educate the user, the soft sell approach works best! If you’re seen as being active and engaging with users, you’ll increase your chances of getting custom over someone who has a limited/no presence.  You can also drive users to your web-store and increase your chances of another customer. Post content that has a link back to your site, such as:

  • Informative blog articles.
  • How-to guides.
  • New product launches (as seen below).
  • Entertaining and visual content.
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Your Facebook page is a great way to promote product launches to new and exisiting users.

However, it’s important to know that it’s not all about attracting new custom, retaining current customers is equally, if not more, important. Interact with your users, get involved in discussions and show them that you value their custom! A simple reply to a comment goes a long way to achieving this, as seen below:

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Actively engage with your users & show them that they’re valued.

Encourage users to share their experience on Facebook page by comments, reviews and photos and interact with the posts! 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over advertising, so this is important to consider. Encourage customers to leave positive reviews on your store:

  • Offer an incentive for users to leave their feedback on Facebook, money off for example. (this is a freewebstore premium feature).
  • Inform your customers that you’re active on social media.
  • Encourage previous customers to share their product pictures.

Paid Facebook adverts are becoming the norm with most successful businesses utilising this feature. Now I know you’re thinking ‘what’s the point of spending money when I can post for free?’. The truth is, only 2% of organic posts reach their intended audience (Rob Peterson). So be prepared to splash a little cash to reap the full benefits. However, the costs are much cheaper than traditional marketing channels, such as print or adverts.

With information gained from Google analytics, Facebook analytics you can see who interacts with your content the most – then target Facebook users who fall under this demographic. Build up an audience that’s relevant to your business and are likely to interact and engage with your posts.

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An example of the Facebook custom audience page.

You can create custom adverts via the ‘Adverts Manager’ tab. From there, it’s possible to create a custom audience (so that you know the posts are hitting your intended audience), select your objectives and set the budget you want to stick to.

If you need help on setting up the perfect Facebook business page, have a read of this helpful blog article here.

 A great opportunity

Social media is a great opportunity for businesses to interact online. I’m sure that the majority of you have a social media presence. However, of freewebstore 40,000+ active store’s – only 5.6% (!) have utilised the FREE feature and connected their store to social media platforms. It’s a big opportunity lost in terms of customer engagement. Head over to your freewebstore control panel > Marketing > Social Media and connect your store now and get social!

The next blog in the series will cover Twitter.

Guest Blog: Let’s Take a Closer Look at Stock Photos

30 Dec

Stock photos, not really a normal or common subject but more important than you think. Hi, I am Laura, also called Myu by people and I am the owner of the online store Collect and Play.  I hope this article will be helpful or at least contain useful tips for you to use for your own store. Now let’s get on with the main subject.

Stock photos

For those who don’t know, stock photos are the pictures you make of the products you sell so customers can see what they are buying. So, obviously, they are very important for your store. There are also two different types of stock photos. One is a very common used photo and is always used before the actual product becomes available or for folders but some stores stick to these standard photos as can be seen on sites like Amazon, eBay, Game Mania, Bart Smit and many others. The second type is the photo you make yourself once you received your new products. Now it should be noted that you should stick to the type that works best for your store and I highly recommend making your own because a product will stand out more in photos made by someone who can add a style to them. And so the next point is:

Experiment while making photos

Lighting and the background matter a lot. I recommend a white background but any neutral background works so if you have a table or anything to put your product on that’s neutral, you got one step covered. As for the lighting, that’s something you have to explore. I combine the room’s light with a standing table light to make sure the products are visible enough but also get highlighted enough. For example, I sell Pokémon and Yu-Gi-Oh! cards and just like any other TCG out there, they contain rare holofoil cards in their sets. That’s when regular lighting won’t do because such a card needs to sell itself to the viewer so the shinier they are in the photo, the better.

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If you aren’t sure about the lighting you can use and combine then make test photos and compare them to see which highlights your product the best. Then when you have the basic steps covered, you can decide whether or not you want to add personal touches to the photos to make your products stand out even more. In the end trying out and making test photos will lead to your store’s own unique stock photos. Next is:

Make your stock photos your own little assistants

Now I bet someone is going to say “hold on! how can a stock photo be an assistant” while also scratching their head? Just let me explain, as a seller, you seek popular products right? And what do popular products need? That’s right a stock quantity which means duplicates of a card, toy or any product you sell well. With all that stock, you have a little time-consuming job called counting. After all, we need to put in a stock number so we have to open our stock boxes and start counting all those products unless you use my nifty little trick and that’s where our little assisting stock photos come in. For example, I have 20 Pikachu cards that are the same so I put them all or just half of them together on the table and make the photo, voila! A stock photo that tells me exactly how many I have without having to open the box again to count.

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And customers also don’t mind these photos because then they see that they can take multiple and make their kids happy or complete their theme deck. Just like our trusty control panel makes work related to our stores easier so can stock photos. And you can make both a total amount stock photo and a detailed stock photo on which you show a single product so that you still have 1 highlighting photo.

That is all I can share for now so I really hope it was somewhat helpful. I hope to share more useful information soon.

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!

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6 Essential Tips to Improve Sales

26 Aug

“I’ve got my mind on my money & money on my mind” – we all know Snoop Dogg has money on his mind. Equally, for most of you when setting up an online store, the main motivator is making yourself some extra cash. We know it can be disheartening if your business is not doing as well as you expected – so we’ve compiled a few little tips for you to consider.

First up…

1. Plan and Set Realistic Targets

Before you start building your web-store, it is important to devise a strategy and set yourself REALISTIC targets.

Set yourself a long-term objective (500 sales by the end of the year). Break these down into manageable daily, weekly and monthly targets (10 sales by the end of the week). This can help to monitor the success and provides you with a clear direction for your business.

2. Attach an appropriate domain to your site

This seems like a given, right?! There are stores who haven’t and it’s been proven to affect sales. 92% of freewebstore sales come from those with a domain name attached. Attaching a domain name adds credibility to your online store and increases the trust of the visitor. Additionally, it’s important that you choose a suitable domain name, that’s not too wordy or inappropriate, however unintentional it may have been.

You can set up a domain name directly from your control panel > marketing > domain name.

3.Your web-store needs to be visually appealing and easy to navigate 

93% of consumers judge the website aesthetics above anything else.

First impressions count! If your web-store is unappealing to your audience and difficult to navigate, then it’s likely to increase the bounce rate – that’s one less consumer who may have been willing to spend! So…

  • Keep categories clear and use a different color for your background!
  • Use logical navigation layouts – don’t have your links the same color as your background color.
  • Blurry, oversized images make your website look unprofessional. Use the correct dimensions. If possible, use unique images.
  • Keep your content fresh. Returning customers  may think you’re not offering anything different if you have the same rolling image after 40 days. Add a blog and update weekly!

shite website edited

Although I’m pretty sure this is ‘intentionally bad’ – it’s still a big no, no. Don’t install too many widgets, don’t have too many contrasting colours, don’t make it too cluttered and make the navigation tabs clear and easy to read – it’s painful on the eyes!

4. Don’t give up after a few days! SEO can take a while to kick in

You’ve got a plan in place, made a cool looking website, however, you’ve not made as many sales as you’d expected. Fear not, as Jean-Jacques Rousseau once stated, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”.

93% of all online experiences start with a search engine. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a cost effective way of getting new customers to visit your store. However, the lucrative rewards from SEO (branding, an increase in website traffic etc.) can take a while to come forth. The Google spiders (don’t worry, you can’t see them :p) have become more sophisticated, with Google favouring websites that deliver what people actually want to see; natural wording and not keyword after keyword.

Freewebstore does plenty of automatic SEO to help all of their businesses (such as mobile-optimized sites). Here are some tips for you to improve your SEO ranking:

  • Content – make sure your content is filled with relevant information about your products. Longer, interesting articles seem to perform better by increasing dwell time. It’s important to do this in a manner that is easy to read for the user – small sentences, bullet points etc. Meta Tags are also important, although not as influential as they once were.
  • Use your own images – Unique pictures will help your website stand out.
  • Fix those broken links!! This not only improves your SEO ranking but also reduces the amount of hair your customers pull out after clicking on a dead link!

If you’re interested in learning more about SEO then check out this helpful video.

5. Get to know your audience through analytics

Visitors will leave a trail of information behind every time they access your site. Use it to your advantage. Get to know your audience through analytics.

google analytics

 Some of the key benefits of analytics are:

  • Help measure and track the progress of your business.
  • Provides you with information on where your visitors are located, so you can focus your marketing on those areas.
  • Understand the demographics: Which age range of your users have the higher conversion rates? Target those users with appropriate content.
  •  View the pages with the highest, bounce rates. These pages spell trouble – it’s likely that changes are needed!

Last but not least…

6. Interact with your customers

Let your customers know you’re there, that you exist. Answer their Facebook messages, tweet them, and respond to their e-mails and blog comments. You can respond with a personalised message. This helps with customer retention and shows that the customer is valued and important. Fantastic customer service and a great product = success.

Remember that customer retention is as important as customer acquisition, if not more so. It’s easier to convert sales from current customers than it is new customers – so don’t forget about existing customers! 

Hopefully, this has helped you out a little bit and allows you to get the most out of your freewebstore hosted web-store – and set you on the path to entrepreneurial success! Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint! Happy selling   🙂