Gamification and Ecommerce

Gamification

Whether you’re into video games or not, you cannot ignore the behemoth known as the video games industry. In last year alone, the gaming industry saw over $63 billion dollars in revenue, and trends suggest that there is nowhere to go but up for the future. Many non-gaming companies have already noticed the power of gaming and are using gaming experiences to build their brands. Hence, the term gamification was born. You don’t have to be a true video gamer to participate in gamification. There’s a good chance that you have played in a game constructed by one of the many brands you interact with.

To step back a bit, let’s define gamification. Gamification takes typical video game mechanics and applies them to user engagement. Theoretically, this strategy works because it plays towards human beings’ competitive drives and desire for rewards. Do you check in to restaurants and buildings on Foursquare to receive badges you can display across your social media channels? Do you rack up points at the local coffee shop in order to get a free latte? Do you submit posts to online forums for badges that come with hitting certain posting milestones? If you said yes to any of these things, gamification has touched your life. In a recent Gartner study, the firm projects that 40 percent of Global 1000 organizations will use gamification some way in their business operations by 2015. Gamification is here to stay, and here are some approaches to using gamification for your ecommerce store. Continue reading Gamification and Ecommerce

5 Common Mistakes Ecommerce Businesses Make with Social Media

Social Media

Ecommerce businesses have much to gain by integrating social media channels into their general web presence. We all know that Facebook and Twitter serve as general hangouts, but they also help build your brand, strengthen your community, and generate quality leads to your website. While social media is a great way to keep a constant conversation with your customers, it’s also a convenient venue for customers to rant about poor experiences. How your business responds to complaints on social media should be taken seriously. One wrong move can cost you. Below are five social media blunders that are commonly made by businesses and how to overcome them:

1) Making the conversation a one-way street

Facebook and Twitter are great channels to create dialogues between your brand and target consumers. However, you need to make sure that the conversation is a two-way street. In other words, you need listen to every bit of what your customers are saying. You need to speak to your customers’ concerns (and quickly!) and not just talk at them. This means closely monitoring your direct messages, comments, mentions, and wall posts. By doing that, you will gain a better understanding of what types of content will appeal to your customers and show them that you truly care. Continue reading 5 Common Mistakes Ecommerce Businesses Make with Social Media

How Excellent Customer Service Can Lead to More Sales

Customer service is the most crucial aspect of sales for any ecommerce business. No product can sell itself without friendly, efficient service. Customers want their problems fixed fast, and they want to know that you truly care, which is why building a loyal following means delivering excellent customer service.  So, how do you make the extra effort to stand out from the competition?

Take Zappos as an example. The company has been called “insane” and “fanatical” for the way it will go the extra few miles to please its customers. Zappos Founder Tony Hsieh even wrote a book on world-class customer service, “Delivering Happiness,” and the company has been distinguished the online retailer as a standout in customer support. And, the company is surely a standout and has created an extremely loyal customer base with its incredible customer service. Zappos’ customer care stories are legendary and are a key part of its brand: Continue reading How Excellent Customer Service Can Lead to More Sales

The Pitfalls of Free Open Source Ecommerce Systems

PitfallsWhen you’re in the initial planning phases of setting up an ecommerce site, selecting a platform is a daunting challenge. There are dozens of software solutions out there. Going through each one’s benefits and features is a timely, painstaking exercise. One key factor in choosing an ecommerce system is price. Package pricing is generally based around business size, and some platforms are designed to work specifically with enterprise companies. And then you have your free open source ecommerce solutions. If you’re in a small startup business, the word “FREE” is going to catch your attention. “I get to put my products on the web for free? What could possibly go wrong?” Actually, a lot can.

Support and Hosting

One of the main problems with choosing a free ecommerce platform is that you are mostly on your own when it comes to running and hosting it. Sure, a number of open source ecommerce systems boast having active communities full of development support. In most instances, however, these developers are not going to hold your hand as you go through all your problems. Say that you’re gearing up for the holiday season and something breaks. One of the few things you can do in this case is submit a post to the ecommerce system’s community forum, pray for the best, and hit F5 a bunch of times. It’s worth noting that some open source platforms offer support at a price. This may prove expensive in the long run since some lock you into contracts, while others charge a costly rate per each incident. Continue reading The Pitfalls of Free Open Source Ecommerce Systems

How to Use Vine to Gain Social Media Exposure

Vine

If you are an avid social media user, chances are that you have noticed an explosion of Vine videos on your feeds at some point. For those of you who don’t know what Vine is, let’s step back a second. Purchased and owned by Twitter, Vine was initially released in January 2013 and is a video making app that is available for iOS, Android, and (unofficially) Windows Phone. All you need to do is go to the app store and download it for free. The program captures sound and video with its in-app camera, and a user is limited to six seconds (it doesn’t have to be a consecutive shot, however) when creating a video. Given its simplicity and ability to create content quickly, companies of all sizes have already started using Vine to jumpstart advertising campaigns. These are big name companies, too—General Electric, Gap, Calvin Klein, and the list goes on. If you haven’t already, now’s the time to sign up your ecommerce store for the Vine express! Here’s how you can use Vine to support your online store. Continue reading How to Use Vine to Gain Social Media Exposure

Maximizing Marketing Strategies for an Ecommerce Newsletter

Email Marketing

After reading our recent post, “Advanced Email Marketing Strategies for Your Ecommerce” perhaps you know that email newsletters are possibly the least effective of all email marketing strategies. But that certainly does not mean they have zero effect on conversions or bringing traffic to your website. After all, newsletters are ecommerces’ most utilized means of communication with consumers, so there is merit to it.

There is strategy to master to crafting and sending email newsletters and garnering click-throughs. A well-written e-newsletter can gather new leads for your company, offer an avenue of communication between you and your current customers, as well as give an impression of authority and expertise in your industry. Newsletters also nurture leads that may not have purchased from your online store before but may very well convert. E-newsletters serve as a direct open line of communication between the customer and your company. Continue reading Maximizing Marketing Strategies for an Ecommerce Newsletter

3 Methods to Increasing Your Ecommerce Store’s Conversions

Ecommerce Store Improvements

Now that you have your ecommerce store up and running, the next thing that should be on your mind is sales and conversions. Conversion happens when someone goes from just browsing to buying. When a customer commits and purchases from you, then a conversion has taken place. To calculate your store’s conversion rate, divide the number of purchases within a time frame, say for example the month of April, by the total number of visitors to your store within that time (so the number of people who went to your site in April)––that proportion is your rate of conversion. With any good retailer, you should always look to increase your conversion rate, and in this post, we’ll go over three methods to do just that. Continue reading 3 Methods to Increasing Your Ecommerce Store’s Conversions

Five Ways to Prepare Your Ecommerce Site for the Holidays

Holiday Shopping

The most wonderful time of the year is quickly approaching us. In fact, we are just two months away before the holiday season kicks into full gear. A single day of sales in November and December can easily bring in double or even triple the amount of revenue seen on a typical sales day. To show you just how much revenue potential is out there, 2012 saw $33.8 billion spent on online sites alone during the holidays, which was up from $30 billion in 2011 (a 13 percent increase!). It’s safe to say that there will be equal if not larger sales numbers for this year. Here are a number of ways you can prime your ecommerce site for the holidays. Continue reading Five Ways to Prepare Your Ecommerce Site for the Holidays

Instagram Marketing Strategies For Ecommerce Stores

1instagram

Getting Started with Instagram

Instagram, unlike the many other social media platforms widely available now, is primarily a mobile application, which creates a unique social marketing experience for ecommerces looking to tap into the picture-sharing platform. While it is most often navigated and viewed on cell phones, Instagram recently released a web-based interface, resembling Pinterest, accessible via the computer. (By the way, be sure to check out our 3 Strategies to get People Pinning Your Products on Pinterest to make sure you have all your social media marketing strategies covered for your online store.) Continue reading Instagram Marketing Strategies For Ecommerce Stores

How Etsy is Turning Your Hobby Into a Business

Art Fair Sausolito 1968

Have you heard about this site, called “Etsy”, and wondered what the heck an “Etsy” was? Also, why is this becoming a word known by most of your friends and family on Facebook? It’s no accident or mistake. Nope. The truth is that the word “Etsy” is not a word at all! It was made up! A designer word. Designed to be memorable – ala Google. And, the truth about this word – err, this business –  is that it is an efficiently pleasurable way to share your creations and vintage items with the world, and make some money while you’re at it! You’re probably wondering, however, “Hmmm, how does this Etsy work? And, how can I monetize my hobbies, be it through Etsy, or otherwise?” Continue reading How Etsy is Turning Your Hobby Into a Business