What to Know About Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories

So, you’re just ramping up your ecommerce stores Facebook business page or your page is already well-established – what’s next in your ecommerce social marketing strategy? Facebook offers various options to drive more traffic to your Facebook page, and consequently, to your website. Two options that are common and many small businesses to large corporations use are Facebook ads and sponsored stories. Both are viable and inexpensive options if you are looking to drive traffic to your ecommerce store.

You’ve likely heard that “social ads” are the future of advertising, and they are certainly on the rise. With Facebook ads, you have the opportunity to approach exactly the target group you want. Because Facebook users fill in information about themselves, including their basic demographic information and interests, you can be specific when deciding which audience to buy Facebook ads for. Facebook also incorporates users’ search inquiries into ads. For example, if someone was searching for cabernet wine glasses on Google, related ads will be displayed in that person’s Facebook ads column. Continue reading What to Know About Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories

Three Ways to Use Surveys to Increase Ecommerce Sales

The survey is a staple in our society and dates all the way back to 1824, when it was first used to gauge the public’s interest for the upcoming presidential election. Since then, surveys have been used to perform research, measure the efficacy of certain people, and gauge levels of customer satisfaction. The last one there in particular is most relevant to ecommerce. Surveys provide key pieces of information that can reveal a lot about the customer experience with your store. As a result, you can incorporate feedback into your store’s operations and improve them, ultimately netting you a better brand and sales figures.

The Art of Survey Creation

The first thing you need to do before sending out customer surveys is choosing a platform that works best for you. There are a lot of options out there, so you have time to research and weigh in on each one. Try to find a survey system that can cater to your strengths and size. For instance, you don’t want to be stuck with a program designed for multi-national enterprises if you’re still in startup mode. You can also take a look at platforms’ design templates to see if their motifs and colors mesh with your brand. Continue reading Three Ways to Use Surveys to Increase Ecommerce Sales

5 Ways to Get Your Facebook Posts Noticed

You’ve just posted your ecommerce stores new product line to your Facebook page, but only a small fraction of your fans actually will see it. We all know that Facebook is the most influential social media site, and with its various options for engagement, it’s a great way to interact with your customers, learn about your fan base, and find new leads. However, because there are so many posts a user could want to see in their newsfeeds—posts from friends, businesses they’re fans of, etc—most people don’t have enough time to see all the posts. Additionally, 90% of the people who click on your Facebook Page often don’t come back to your Page. They are more likely to read your content in their own Facebook newsfeed. That is, IF you know how to make sure it shows up there.

As you may know, Facebook implemented a new algorithm that “listens” to user feedback, which essentially allows people to decide who and what to connect with. For example, when a user likes something, that tells Facebook newsfeed that they want to see more of that kind of content; when they hide something, that tells Facebook newsfeed to display less of that content in the future. With over 30 billion pieces of content shared on Facebook each month—it’s imperative for ecommerce stores that use social medial to make sure your content gets seen. Below are a few tips on getting your Facebook posts noticed by your fans: Continue reading 5 Ways to Get Your Facebook Posts Noticed

Male Shopping Habits Versus Female Shopping Habits

We all know that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Well, not literally, but males and females are very different types of people. Each gender has a different way of processing information, dealing with problems, and spending free time. You can even take this dichotomy and apply it to ecommerce since it turns out that men and women have different online shopping habits, as well. This factor is especially important if you run a store that sells products geared towards a specific gender. You can shape your store design and marketing strategy around gender habits and, in turn, see a larger response from your targeted audience. Here is how men and women are different when it comes to online shopping. Continue reading Male Shopping Habits Versus Female Shopping Habits

Why You Need a Retargeting System for Your Ecommerce Page

If you have done research on marketing for ecommerce, chances are that you have run into the term retargeting. Say that a person went to your website, browsed some products, and failed to make a complete checkout. If you don’t make any further efforts to win the customer back, that lead is probably gone for good. Retargeting exists to give you a chance to get that lead back and successfully convert him or her. In a study conducted earlier this year, Criteo found that using retargeted ads for your site can raise your conversion rate by nearly 70 percent. This marketing technique is also great at further exposing your product lines. Retargeting is pretty powerful stuff that can help your bottom line in the long run. Here’s how retargeting can boost your ecommerce presence.

How Retargeting Works

Most standard retargeting systems work using Internet cookies, which are little pieces of data that store your online browsing habits, passwords, and other miscellaneous details. If you head to a site that employs retargeting, the retargeting program will put a cookie into your web browser folder and track what you do. So going back to the abandoned cart example, if you put some items into a cart and don’t make a proper checkout, the cookie will take note. Continue reading Why You Need a Retargeting System for Your Ecommerce Page

The Rise and Fall of Flash Sales

This past week, Fab.com made news once again after its co-founder Bradford Shellhammer stepped down. The departure is a bookend to the ecommerce store’s pivot away from flash sales and into the territory of standard online retail, a la Amazon. In its flash sale heyday, the company raised over $150 million in funding and was valued at around $1 billion dollars. Since the beginning of the year, Fab.com has been going through some rapid downscaling in an effort to be profitable. Flash sales used to be the next big thing in ecommerce, but somewhere along the line, the business model’s wheels started to fall off. Surprisingly enough, Zulily, an ecommerce flash sale store for apparel designed for kids and mothers, is trying to launch an IPO north of $200 million total value. This seems to be an outlier though, as there’s a lesson to be learned from the Groupons, Fab.coms, Totsys, and the others out there. How did the flash sale business model fall apart? Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Flash Sales

7 Creative Ways Ecommerce Stores Are Using Instagram

There are now more than 150 million users on Instagram, and it’s growing faster than ever. Instagram is a creative visual platform where people can capture, customize, and share photos and videos. The photos can be also posted on Twitter and Facebook, making it easy to integrate all your social media channels. Before we dive into how ecommerce businesses are leveraging Instagram, acquaint yourself with the basics of Instagram if you are just getting started in the platform.

Instagram allows businesses to share moments that capture the essence of their brands. Brands are constantly trying to find innovative ways to engage with customers on Instagram, and the platform makes it easy to do so. With the use of hashtags, you can track campaigns, host photo contests, market your brand with trends (i.e. #ThrowbackThursday, #WineWednesday), and inspire action.

When it comes to ecommerce businesses, Instagram is arguably the most complementary social media platform to have. People want to have a personal experience with the brands they’re engaging with, and Instagram allows your brand to do this in real time while giving customers a unique experience. There are various ways to use Instagram for ecommerce business, such as showing off a collection of products you offer, giving customers a glimpse into your company and employees, showing customers what goes on behind the scenes (i.e. photo shoots, etc), and more. Here are seven creative ways ecommerce businesses are using Instagram to engage their fans. Continue reading 7 Creative Ways Ecommerce Stores Are Using Instagram

The Marketplace Fairness Act and You

Marketplace Fairness Act

Back in early May 2013, the US Senate voted to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act, inching it closer to its implementation and enforcement. The bill aims to level the playing field between ecommerce fronts and brick and mortar stores by making purchases from both taxable. Brick and mortar stores already collect sales tax based on local tax code rates and pretty much just serve the immediate community around them. On the other hand, ecommerce sites work across the entire country and currently just collect tax for in-state customers (in-state defined as an ecommerce store having a physical address in the same state). If the act is passed, state governments should see over $10 billion in tax revenue from online sales. The bill is still technically up in the air, as the House of Representatives hasn’t voted on it and President Barrack Obama has yet to sign it into law, but he has shown strong support for it. Here’s what you need to know about this piece of legislation.

A Brief History of Taxation and Online Sales

Back in 1992, the Supreme Court case Quill Corp. v. North Dakota resulted in a ruling that required a business to have a physical presence in a state for the state to collect taxes from it. Quill Corporation, headquartered in Illinois, is an office supply retailer that offered North Dakota residents a service that allowed them to purchase items remotely from the Quill Corporation store. North Dakota wanted to tax all purchases made through this, but the Supreme Court sided with the business and struck down the state’s attempt. Continue reading The Marketplace Fairness Act and You

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