Ecommerce is convenient because it brings the shopping experience to the customers’ doorstep. However, shipping and delivery can be the trickiest part of ecommerce. Some customers want their products quickly, while others prefer a cheaper shipping option even if it takes longer. Either way, customers want to know how long they will have to wait before their order reaches them. This is why setting shipping and delivery expectations upfront is a good idea. Here are more reasons why.
Reduces Cart Abandonment: When you establish a shipping and delivery policy upfront and put it on your website where everyone can see, potential customers have access to it before checkout- which means they know what to expect. This reduces the chance of cart abandonment and having someone back out of an order because they do not agree with your shipping and delivery terms.
To Offer Greater Convenience: Your customers need to know when their package is going to arrive, so that they can be there to receive it or have someone receive it for them. When you state the delivery time, it makes it easier on the customer. Also, by offering more than one delivery option to your customers, they can choose a delivery mode and time frame that suits their level of urgency and budget.
To Reduce Complaints: When you are clear about your shipping policy and delivery times, your customers will be too. They will not hit the panic button and call your customer service department unnecessarily. Your customers will know how long they need to wait and what to do if they need to return a product.
To Build Trust: The key to a successful ecommerce business is to build trust with your customer. This will help you win their loyalty and also put you in a better position for recommendations by customers. When shopping online, customers do not have the convenience of physically viewing the product. The only way to build their trust is to provide them with the correct product and to deliver it on time. Delays and mix-ups will only make them wary of shopping with you again.
How do you handle your shipping and order fulfillment operations?
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Your ecommerce business is thriving, and orders are increasing by the hour. The last email marketing campaign must’ve really worked because now you can barely keep up.
But wait. Don’t hurry through the pick and pack process without thinking of one very crucial thing: your brand.
Are you doing everything you can to strengthen your brand? Are you consistent in your messaging and look? Are you taking the branding message and look all the way through the ecommerce order life cycle?
It’s important to remember that branding is a long-term investment. If you focus on your brand—stay true to it—you will have more credibility, more influence, and in turn more business.
Try these brand tips on for size:
- Focus on the packaging. Don’t opt for the plain brown box. Customize your packaging with your logo. Use your company colors if possible.
- Stuff it. Yes, that’s right. Stuff your package with marketing pieces. Coupons. Referral discounts. Anything you can think of to build business, create a happy customer and spread awareness of your brand.
- Stay true to your company beliefs. If your company claims to be environmentally-conscious, don’t use packaging that will end up in a landfill long after you’re gone. Practice what you preach.
- Work closely with your order fulfillment company. This is the final stop before your product hits the customer—take advantage of every possible way to increase ROI and drive home your marketing message.
Read more about how Fifth Gear’s order fulfillment services can help build your brand.
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So, let’s talk pixels. Resolution. Clipping paths.
If you have no idea what any of this means, you’re not alone. (But we’re not letting you off the hook. This is important.)
We’re talking about photography, and if you’re trying to build a successful business, you need to know at least a little about it.
It seems hard to image that after so much time and treasure has been devoted to building a business, some companies allow corners to be cut, details ignored. But it happens. And one instance that jumps out more often than it should is poor photography.
When building a successful ecommerce business, one key factor is showing off your products, sometimes from several angles. And if you’re trying to do this with poor (sometimes out-of-focus!) photography, you’re ignoring this very important detail.
But we’re here to help.
Where to begin? Well, working with a professional photographer to light your product, use live models or mannequins for clothing shots, and secure high-resolution artwork that can be used across several marketing channels (not only for your online site) is good business practice, and one that doesn’t have to break the bank.
And remember: Fifth Gear is your single-source partner for all things ecommerce—including studio photography.
Read more about Fifth Gear’s photography services and find out how you can start showing your product in a better light.
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Here’s a challenge: Go to your ecommerce site, peruse your company catalog, and take a long, hard look at the product descriptions. What do you see?
Are your descriptions inspiring? Fun? Accurate? Detailed? Up-to-date?
To show pride in your merchandise, you must describe it well for your prospective customers. You must know the product. You must offer every detail that will make the product desirable.
Need help? Here are a few ways to add pizzazz to your product descriptions for your ecommerce business (and improve your SEO):
- Know what you’re talking about: Hold the product in your hands. Look at it carefully as you write the description. How does it feel? What is it made of? What colors does it come in? Sizes? What are the dimensions? Why would a customer want this?
- Don’t be afraid to be descriptive: Write everything down you think you need to share. You can always go back and edit your work. In fact, you definitely should.
- Write to your audience: If you’re trying to sell to teens, use language they use. If you don’t know what language they use, talk to a teenager. You should know what’s “epic” or “boss” at the moment. And if you don’t, they’ll fill you in.
- Have fun: Don’t be nervous to be fun, even silly, when appropriate. Being casual—while still upholding your company’s professionalism—allows you to reach the customer on a more personal level.
Fifth Gear offers an entire suite of ecommerce services designed to make the most of your online channel. Whether you’re looking for Web design and development, or a full-fledged online marketing campaign, our experts are ready to help.
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We are just past the first quarter of 2013. The major holiday season is a while away, but if last year’s season was anything to go by, retailers start gearing up for holiday sales earlier than they used to. Your ecommerce marketing should remain steady and consistent so that customers always have you on their mind when they are pondering a purchase. Use these 3 tips this year to stay on top of your game.
Site Speed: Site speed is still as important as it was in 2012. The slower your site is, the less conversions you will see. Even if your site takes a second too long to load, it could drive away a potential customer to a competitor’s website. Site speed, in fact, is now taken into account as part of Google’s algorithm. A faster site has the power to bring your more visitors. How does your retail technology platform measure up?
Relevant Content: Content, Content, Content. You should create and update content on your website on a regular basis to keep things fresh. Ideas range from a great blogpost to an infographic, tutorial article, how-to video or a newsletter packed with insights and entertaining and informative reads. Provide value to your customers and potential customers. Anthropologie does a great job of this with their magazine. Quality content puts you on the radar of a wider potential buyer audience, as well as increase social media links. Sharing that helps organically push up your search rankings. You can also generate more referral traffic.
Google Authorship: A great way to increase you search ranking is to use Google’s Authorship tool. Google Authorship provides your link in the search engine with a photograph of the author with their name listed alongside. Google Authorship elevates the look and feel of links from your website on the search results page. Links to blogposts, articles and reviews look more credible and professional. Studies have shown that Google Authorship improves click-through rates, even of your link is not at the very top of the page.
What are some of the marketing tactics you are employing this year? Have you incorporated any of these elements in to your marketing strategy?
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How many of us have checked the mail and slipped a catalog or two in our purse or bag, eager to sit down and peruse the offerings later in the day?
Odds are a lot of us have done just that.
According to the Direct Marketing Association, about 12.5 billion catalogs are mailed each year. That’s billion. With a b. That’s a lot of trees. In fact, an organization that reports on the global forest products industry says catalog mailings increased in 2012 by 2.2 percent in the second quarter and 0.7 percent in the third—compared with the previous year’s numbers.
So if you were under the impression print catalogs were a dying breed, think again. Catalogs are still a staple in the suite of marketing pieces. Let’s face it: customers still like to hold a catalog in their hands. Earmark or rip out the pages.
And catalogs not only offer customers a tangible marketing piece—they also drive online traffic and are a nice complement to email marketing, which can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
Some things to keep in mind about catalogs:
- Catalogs can reach a niche audience. Think about how to market directly to different audience segments. Personalize when you can.
- Catalogs should work well with your online retail technology. Transition between the two should be simple and quick.
- Some items are difficult to purchase through a catalog only, especially clothing. Size and color charts—both in print and online—may boost sales and ease a potential customer’s mind.
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How well do you know your customers?
I like to tell people this story about the time I stayed a second time at one of the leading hotel/resort chains—this time in Cancun, Mexico. Upon entering my room, it was immediately clear—the hotel management took the time not only to welcome me with chocolates on the bed, they welcomed me with one of my favorite chocolates. Curious, I took a quick look in the mini bar and wasn’t surprised: they knew all about me. What snacks I liked best and what drinks would be my first choice.
How, you ask?
Well, this was my second time staying with this hotel, and they did their homework. They paid close attention to my purchasing habits during my first stay and took a chance that my tastes hadn’t changed all that much. Now there were other options, of course, but there were plenty of the safe standbys on hand.
This is a perfect example of how correct data can drive customer satisfaction.
How’s your company doing with data collection and customer service?
Using data to make educated business decisions is clearly a better way to go than simply taking a stab in the dark. But knowing what to do with the data once you have it can be daunting. Here are a few tips on where to start making your data work for you:
- If you don’t have data analysts on staff, farm out the task of dissecting the data and making sense of it all. Having a little data is better than none, and will arm the analysts with a starting point … and give them tools to allow them to ask the right questions to gather even more.
- Keep the data in a nice package, preferably as part of a customer relationship management (CRM) system. Track purchase history and include demographic information with each customer.
- Arm your customer contact center representatives with this information and train them on how to use it.
- And remember: Updated, correct, thorough data also will allow you to target print and ecommerce marketing campaigns, yet another way to create positive customer relations.
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Remember the internet in the 90s? Remember all of those cute little pop-up ads for everything from screen savers and smileys to books and travel services? Remember how annoying they got? And now.. well, you just don’t deal with those as much as you used to. A couple of things happened: search got popular (thanks to Google) and users got search-savvy, then the ecommerce boom came around and the way consumers shopped and searched for products changed completely. In turn, online advertising and marketing has changed to match consumer preferences and demands – now, online retailers use retargeting as an effective tool to lure customers back to their websites and sell more.
With Do Not Track legislation a frequent hot button and the CAN-SPAM Act a constant fear for retailers, retargeting has to be executed flawlessly to avoid the same fate as the late 90s pop-up ad. But you can’t do it correctly if you don’t know what it is or where to start, so read on to learn about all things retargeting!
What is it, exactly?: You know how you go to Amazon, search for ‘summer dresses’, browse through a long results list but log off without making a purchase… then you see an ad for those dresses on a website when you log on the next day? That is an example of retargeting. Retargeting is the practice of showing ads based on a user’s previous browsing history or engagement. Site-based retargeting is one of the common forms of retargeting. Cookies are used to keep track of and store your browsing information. Search retargeting goes a little deeper by serving display ads to users browsing a site based on the keywords they previously entered during a search.
A few tips to keep in mind…
Don’t play the stalker: There’s a reason pop-up ads were so annoying: they were distracting and pushy. The same goes for retargeting. You might have experienced an ‘ad-ghost’ following you around on the internet after you left a site with an abandoned cart. Although it’s sometimes helpful, most consumers find that annoying or even creepy! To avoid losing the customer for good, set a time limit for those ads, and do not allow them to run beyond that limit.
Avoid multiple retargeting vendors: Some ecommerce companies use multiple retargeting vendors in an attempt to reach out to a wider audience. However, the problem arises when each of those vendors serve ads to your site visitors, which could lead to an overload for the customer. Choose a single vendor that has the reach, the experience, and the vision to manage a complete campaign for your brand.
Retarget the right targets: People could visit your site for any number of reasons – and some of those may not be to shop. Someone might be checking out your recent blog posts, searching for info about your executive team, or checking your careers page for job openings. Gather data that helps you sift the potential customers from curious visitors by selecting a certain cadence of events or page views before unleashing the retargeting beast.
Do you use retargeting as a tool? Have you had a positive experience? Has it had an impact on your ROI? Tell us what you’ve learned!
Posted in Ecommerce, Marketing, Retail
Ecommerce is constantly evolving and changing- in terms of technology, customer needs & preferences, as well as selling methodology. In order to understand these changes and to unlock new strategies to move forward, you need to get advice and learn from the experts who lead change. And what better way to do it than at IRCE, the world’s largest ecommerce event? The Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition is set to take place from June 4th to June 7th this year in Chicago.
- 120 conference sessions, with a focus on helping retailers uncover new strategies and tools to connect with their customers;
- 6 day-long workshops, each covering a different aspect of the ecommerce business, from mobile shopping to new technologies and how to raise funding;
- Special focus on B2B retailers, with 10 speakers addressing issues in wholesale merchandising.
Posted in Fifth Gear