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

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

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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 to Use Google Plus for Ecommerce and Online Retail Marketing

Google Plus Marketing

Are you using Google Plus to promote your business? Google’s social network is a relative late-comer to the arena, making it ‘one social network too many’ for some online marketers and their customers, who are already overwhelmed with the amount of content coming their way via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the rest.

But let’s not forget that Google, as the biggest media company in the world, with $37.9 billion in revenues in 2011 alone, has enough firepower and resources to ensure that Plus remains relevant if they want it to.

They’ve already been on a mission to drive as many of their existing customers to it as possible, and make it the ‘social glue’ that joins all of their services together. Continue reading How to Use Google Plus for Ecommerce and Online Retail Marketing

Advanced Email Marketing Campaigns for Your Online Store

Email Marketing Tips

As a savvy ecommerce entrepreneur, perhaps you already know that it’s cheaper and more cost efficient for a company to remarket to an existing customer than win over a completely new one. According to SalesForce’s Desk.com blog, “a 5% increase in customer retention increases profits by up to 125%,” and “it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one.”

These numbers serve as steadfast proof that it pays for ecommerces to invest substantial time in strategizing an effective customer retention program and while Ecommerce Rules does have 3 Simple Strategies to Increase Customer Retention, we’re going to narrow in on one aspect of successful customer retention here and that’s through well-tailored and executed email marketing campaigns. Continue reading Advanced Email Marketing Campaigns for Your Online Store

How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Store

How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Store

Anyone who wants to start a successful Ecommerce business needs to have a presence on Twitter. It’s what your customers will expect, and it’s also a great way to drive traffic to your store, because the likelihood is that there’s a large number of potential customers already there.

A whole industry has evolved around social media with thousands of experts offering their advice. The truth is though, using Twitter isn’t rocket science. We’re not going to go into the basics of what an @reply or retweet is, because if you want to learn the basics of using it, sign up and have a go and you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.

As an ecommerce entrepreneur however, you will want to dig a little deeper and put a few strategies in place in order to maximize the potential of your Twitter profile. Continue reading How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Store

Quick SEO Tips Every Ecommerce Should Be Employing

SEO Tips for Ecommerce

For the uninitiated or tech novices, search engine optimization, or SEO as it’s widely known, can be thought of as the delicious candy house that tempted Hansel and Gretel in the popular German fairy tale that parents recount to children before bed.

Just as the sugary sweet abode drew the children to the witch’s home, SEO draws search engines and, as a result, consumers into your online store. Each brightly colored gum drop that adorns the witch’s rooftop is the equivalent to sweet SEO execution that entices search engines and lends itself to higher ranking within search results. The higher you ecommerce link appears on the search results page, the more likely people will click on it and enter. Continue reading Quick SEO Tips Every Ecommerce Should Be Employing

SEO Basics for Ecommerce Stores

SEO Basics for Ecommerce Stores

Setting up an ecommerce store requires multiple skills. Whether it’s good business acumen, in-depth knowledge of your product/market niche, or an understanding of web design, you will need to understand the bigger picture if you want to get your business off the ground.

Whilst some of those skills can be outsourced, it’s safe to say that marketing your online store is one of the most essential skills any ecommerce entrepreneur needs to have. And like it or not, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to promoting your store online.

Even if the very sight of that three-letter acronym usually makes you want to bury your head in the sand, or if you’re considering hiring an external SEO agency, it’s important to have an understanding of the basics.

After all, you don’t want to be blinded by buzzwords or have to pay out a lot of cash for something that isn’t getting results. Continue reading SEO Basics for Ecommerce Stores