Tag Archives: Small Business

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

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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:

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

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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

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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

Store of the Month: August

7 Aug

Freewebstore’s Store of the month for August is the very glamorous Madame Sole Protectors. Our team got in touch with Sophie, the store owner, to talk all things business (oh, and which superpower she’d choose, of course!)

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

It all started when I was living in Mumbai and I took a pair of new Louboutins out for a spin and when I returned home the beautiful, delicate not to mention expensive red soles had been scratched to smithereens. I’m not going to lie I was mortified so searched the internet for something that could potentially protect my soles and maybe cover the existing damage.

I couldn’t find anything suitable and although I could get them re-soled I wasn’t going to leave my precious Louboutins at a cobbler so just lived with the fact that this was the price I had to pay for gorgeous shoes.

Fast forward a couple of years I found myself living in Shanghai and was gifted a new pair of Louboutins, I was not going to make the same mistake this time, oh no, I was in the manufacturing capital of the world, if I couldn’t find the product I required I was jolly well going to find someone who could make it for me. After scouring Chinese manufacturing websites and with a little help from a translator I found a factory who produced all items associated with shoes and it went from there. The lady I was in touch with spoke ok English and we managed to develop the product I desired together!

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My first order was for 500 pairs as that was the minimum but I didn’t sell any until I moved back to the UK a few years later, I just used them to protect my growing personal Louboutin collection.

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

Since I was young I’d always had ideas for products and, although I never pursued it, it was in me!

I had been a trailing spouse for a number of years working to meet people in various companies, then I fell pregnant for a couple of years. Unfortunately, my husband and I split up and all of a sudden I was a single mother of a 6-month-old and 2-year-old living back in England thinking ‘what the hell am I going to do?!’

I didn’t feel I could do a 9-5 as I had two babies and couldn’t afford full-time nursery fees and remembered I had the 500 or so Sole Protectors upstairs & thought maybe I could sell them. So I did!

 

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Sophie and her family!

I started on an auction site and sold them all very quickly but this site was very expensive, so that plus the PayPal fees and it had so many rules on how you could market the product. I really wanted to make my own website and cut out that ‘middle man’ but I didn’t want to pay someone to do my website. I found freewebstore and it actually was completely free to set up the website using their existing templates and start selling!

I ditched the auction site and now only sell on my own website www.soleprotectors.co.uk

3. How do you market your product?

I mainly market my products on Facebook, I’ve got involved in many shoe appreciation groups and feel they love my product as much as I do and they love how the sole protectors can protect their beautiful soles from damage. We have great feedback using the rating feature on our freewebstore which I feel fills other customers with confidence when buying our product.  We now do clear sole Protectors as well as red sole protectors so are suitable for all types of designer shoes including jimmy choo, Valentino, and Irregular Choice as well as your everyday shoes for a little extra grip!

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

 

Michelle Mone

Baroness Michelle Mone would be Sophies ideal work partner

For sure it would be Michelle Mone of Ultimo! I heard her talk at a conference when I was 18 and I was in ore of what she had achieved; I really felt inspired.  She broke down doors to get to where she is today and I feel that someone like her would really help me get to where I would want to be in the future. She’s also fabulous so she’d fit in great. I just love her.

 

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

Advice to new store owners would be to ask for support from the freewebstore help desk if you need it, they are so knowledgeable and can save you so much time than trying to figure it out yourself. As they say ‘time is money’

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

My magic power would be to click my fingers and everything be tidy and clean or done for you. Example .. ‘Click, the toys are tidied away, ‘ click, the dinners made ‘ Click! The washing up’s done’ ‘click, my sole protector orders are packed’ Think Disneys Mary Poppins, a spoon full of sugar! (Haha, great!)

7. Why is eCommerce important for your business?

Although we do supply a few boutique stores the large majority of our business comes from our eCommerce store. It is so important as it allows Madame Sole Protectors to reach a much wider customer base, not only in the U.K but abroad too. My web store is my showroom and I can add and delete products and information at any time. When people are looking for a product these days the first place they look is the internet and my store gives my business the opportunity to be found and noticed. I am very grateful for this.

I work from home and live in a little village, in a bid to support my local community and keep our local post office open, instead of having a franking machine I send all my items Royal Mail through the local Post office.

8. And finally, do you have any celebrity customers?

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Sophie presented with her ‘best new product’ award by Caprice at the mumtrepreneur award ceremony.

Well I can’t imagine the likes of Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian scouring the internet for sole protectors personally, they have people for that, however we are well informed that our sole protectors have been used in fashion catwalk shows and on the soles of pop stars in concerts to help prevent them slipping over in their designer heels during their performances.  Not to mention the one and only Caprice who awarded us with the Mumtrepreneur award for best new product last year. (congrats!!)

If you would like to learn more about Sophie’s fantastic business or to purchase some sole protectors then visit her website at soleprotectors.co.uk.

If you feel like you deserve to be Store of the Month, contact us at info@freewebstore.com with the subject ‘Store of the Month’ or visit us at freewebstore.com.