Tag Archive | "Online Shopping"

Holiday Selling Tips for Affiliates – Part 2

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Holiday Selling Tips for Affiliates – Part 2


So you’re an affiliate and are promoting products that may be of interest to shoppers during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. If you do your campaigns the right way, you definitely stand to make some money from this popular holiday shopping event, as millions of shoppers go online to buy what they want instead of going to retail stores. Here are some final tips to help you run your affiliate campaigns:

Price is Important but So is Value

It is not enough for products to have a good price, they must also be valuable in the eyes of many shoppers. For this reason, you should try to put an emphasis on promoting online retailers that are known brand names and also emphasize products made by manufacturers which have a good reputation for quality. While it’s true that budget conscious customers may want to get the lowest price possible on a product that they want and won’t care whether it’s a “no name” brand, the majority of shoppers will be more comfortable with brands that they’ve seen before.

Know at What Times People Shop

Remember that online shoppers are human too and many of them will be working on Cyber Monday. Previous statistics show that traffic increases begin in the morning around 7 AM, then taper off at around 9 AM. Things start to pick up again after 5 PM when people return from work. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only be running your ads and promotions during these times. After all, there are many people who can do their shopping from work or who won’t be working on Cyber Monday. However, you should keep in mind that traffic will be the heaviest during this period and you should therefore take action in order to profit from it.

Black Friday Isn’t Just one Day

If you’ve been watching some online shopping sites, you will find that many online retailers now begin their Black Friday promotions at the start of November, then make even bigger promotions and discounts on Black Friday itself. Bigger discounts for customers and better payouts for affiliates are common during that 24 hour period. Again, if you want to maximize your profits, don’t focus exclusively on that 24 hour time frame. Shoppers will begin searching for items to buy before that day.

Ensure Backup Plans are In Place

In internet marketing, things can sometimes go wrong. Retailers may change promotions, products or affiliate deals for whatever reason. Affiliate networks, merchant websites or tracking systems could run into problems due to technical failures or deliberate sabotage by DDOS attacks. Same goes for advertising services. While you may think you have a good strategy in place, don’t put all your eggs in the same basket. You should have preferred offers to promote, as well as preferred advertising channels, but you should always have a backup plan in place. This would mean that if something goes wrong, you can still make money, even if it’s not as much as you may have originally planned.

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Getting Your Site Ready For Black Friday

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Getting Your Site Ready For Black Friday


For online merchants and affiliate marketers, the biggest online shopping weekend this year is getting closer and closer. Those who sell or promote products online are all getting ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and according to some reports, the online shopping event is expected to be even bigger this year. It is no secret that online sales are growing year after year, but this year is likely to be even more profitable for many. People everywhere are finding out that they can get better deals online, and also they don’t need to stand in line for hours to get what they want.

Do you want your Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions to be as successful as possible? Then there are a few tips that you should take into consideration. While you should already have figured out the bulk of your marketing strategy for this year by now, there is still time to make some adjustments and modifications to your campaigns so as to ensure maximum success.

Make Sure Your Sites are Ready

Before you go any further, you should ensure that everything on your website works properly and that it will be able to handle the increased traffic that comes with this holiday shopping event. It is true that those who go to physical retail stores are often willing to put up with long lineups and spend quite some time searching for the products they want in store, but this isn’t necessarily true for online shoppers. If your page doesn’t load properly or is having problems, then this could and probably will, result in a lot of lost sales for you. As we’ve stated many times before in articles related to e-commerce, unless your site offers an extremely rare or unique product that is practically impossible to find anywhere else, your shoppers will not have the patience needed to keep trying to make their purchase again and again while your site is having problems. They will probably go somewhere else and as there is no shortage of sites that offer deals and promotions for Black Friday, chances are they will find what they originally came from and won’t bother to come back to you.

The first thing to do is to test your site thoroughly to ensure that every link and every part of it works properly. Ensure you have the right type of hosting for the job. Running an e-commerce platform on a shared hosting account might work if you have just 4 or 5 people browsing your site at the same time, but if you have a few dozen, this will rapidly exceed the capacities of such a small hosting plan. If you haven’t already, invest in the proper VPS or dedicated hosting.

Also, be alert and monitor your site during the shopping period. This will allow you to rapidly detect any anomalies and correct the problem before it gets bigger. You want everything working at 100% efficiency here, so it’s important to keep an eye on things.

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Building Your Online Reputation: Which Channels to Use

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Building Your Online Reputation: Which Channels to Use


Your online reputation is essentially everything that can be found about your business online, whether it’s content that’s created by you or by other people. Obviously, if you want to build a solid online reputation, there are certain basic things that you need to do, right from the very beginning. If your business is brand new, it may seem to be a bit difficult to get started, but in reality you just need to take a few steps in the right direction. We will now present you some useful tips on how to make this all happen:

 

  • Have a Website With All the Necessary Information

 

Obviously, you know that if you want to be found in the online world, your business will need a website. But your site should also be complete, with detailed information about your products, as well as information on what they’re good for and how to use them. This will give more pages from your company in search results and will also help your site get found more easily.

 

  • Allow User Reviews and Ratings of Your Products When Possible

 

When people shop online, they not only want to find the product that they’re looking for, but they also want to know if it’s good or not. One advantage of online shopping versus in-person shopping is that on the internet, you can quickly read some comments that were left by other users about a product. If what you offer is of good quality, then allowing users on your site to leave a rating or comment about the product will be beneficial for you, as an online shopper will instantly see that people were satisfied with their purchase.

 

  • Get Your Company in Business Directories

 

This serves several purposes. It helps people find your business, it provides useful backlinks for SEO purposes and it also helps you build your reputation in a few different ways. First, the more your company is “out there”, as in listed in several online business directories, the more it appears to be a stable and legitimate business. Furthermore, many online business directories have a feature that allows their users to leave reviews about businesses that they’ve used in the past. Another excellent way to get positive user comments to show up when someone Googles your company’s name.

 

  • Participate in Social Media

 

Again, this is great for marketing, but is also great for building your reputation online. All you need to do is to set up accounts on social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. People can now comment about your company and leave reviews of your products. You can also use your social media accounts to release important announcements related to happenings in your business.

 

There are also a few other channels that you can use to quickly build your online reputation. We’ll take a look at these tomorrow.

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Making Your Business Look Trustworthy Online

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Making Your Business Look Trustworthy Online


When shopping online, one of the things that makes many internet users hesitant at buying from a specific site is their perceived reliability and honesty of the business that they’re dealing with. Sure, you can offer the best quality products and offer your customers with top notch customer service, but you will need to convince them that this is something that you truly offer. There are quite a few methods that you can use to make your site appear more trustworthy in the eyes of online shoppers. It’s nothing too complicated, really. All that you have to do is to include certain elements on your website.

 

  • The main design

 

Your site should be neatly designed and load correctly in all browsers without errors. Every element should work, such as the links and graphics. Text on your site should be free of grammatical and spelling errors. It has been demonstrated time and time again, a site that looks “professional” will immediately get more trust from visitors than a website that looks like it was put together in 10 minutes.

 

  • Contact information

 

If something goes wrong, buyers will want to have the assurance that they will be able to contact you to resolve the issue. They also want a quick way to get in touch with you should they have questions about your products.

 

The contact information that you provide will depend on the type of products that you sell and the specific kind of business that you run. If you have a physical location, including your address prominently on your site will help reassure visitors that they’re dealing with a “real” business. But even if you only sell digital products, posting some contact information prominently on your site is still a necessity. Include a phone number and email address if possible. Make sure that the “Support” or “Contact Us” button is well visible on your site.

 

If visitors need to read through the fine print at the bottom of the page just to see your contact information, this gives the impression that the only purpose of your site is to sell things, but that you don’t really care too much as to what happens after the buyer completes the purchase.

 

  • Social media buttons

 

Linking to your company’s social media pages from your website will give the impression that you’re a more established company, rather than a fly by night website. Therefore, you should include some links on your website to your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages. Not only will this help with marketing, but it also reassures the visitor that they would have a way to contact you or post comments about a purchase that they’ve made from you.

 

While these are some of the top elements you can include on your website, they’re not the only ones. Tomorrow, we will take a look at a few other things that you can do which will help instill trust in the people who come across your website.

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Good Customer Service is Important for E-Commerce Websites

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Good Customer Service is Important for E-Commerce Websites


Previously, we’ve seen an example of how you can improve your online shopping site by ensuring that your site is fully functional and easy for your customers to navigate. There is however another thing that is important when running an online shopping site: providing good service and support to your customers, both before and after they make a purchase.

 

The service level provided by an online business could also determine whether a visitor will turn into a buyer and whether someone who has already bought an item from your website will come back to buy from it again. Here are some ways to make sure that you provide the best possible service to the visitors on your site:

 

Pay attention to their comments.

 

If you have a social media page, pay attention to what the people on your wall are posting. Also, take into consideration any comments that they send to you by email. This could give you some good opportunities to improve your site and business, such as by getting a product that many customers would be willing to buy, or improving an element of your site.

 

Respond to emails promptly

 

Try to respond to emails from your customers within a few hours if possible. The faster you answer one of your customers, the more likely it is that they would be satisfied with your business.

 

Provide different ways to contact you and make it easy for your visitors to do so

 

Your visitors shouldn’t have to spend 15 minutes combing through your site to find a way to get in touch with you if they need to have a question answered. For this reason, you need to ensure that your contact information is featured prominently on your website. There are many different methods that you can use to provide support.

 

The most simple one is email. Simply provide an e-mail address on your website where your visitors can contact you. If you run a relatively small operation, this could be sufficient for you to provide support. You could also integrate a form on your website that your customers could fill out with their inquiries.

 

A live chat option is also possible to set up easily and there are even free scripts available that are provided by web hosting companies which could allow you to do so. One of the other ways that you can provide customer service is by phone. It is possible to get a toll free number that you can redirect to another phone. No matter what methods you use, simply make sure that you remain accessible to your customers.

 

After you’ve sold a product, it’s always a good idea to send a follow up message with a survey asking for feedback about your products and your business. This is another way to show to your customers that you care about their opinions and are available to solve any problems that they might have.

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Make Your E-Commerce Site Easy to Navigate

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Make Your E-Commerce Site Easy to Navigate


Yesterday, we’ve seen that it’s important to take steps in order to improve the quality of your e-commerce site if you want to get more customers to purchase your products, in addition to encouraging your existing clients to come back.

 

According to many online shoppers, the accessibility and ease of use of a website are some of the elements to which they pay close attention to when shopping online. One of the main reasons that website visitors left an e-commerce site without buying anything isn’t because they didn’t like the products or their prices, but rather because the website in question made it difficult for them to have a good online shopping experience.

 

Improving your website’s look and navigation is not that difficult to do. First, you must consider how your website is organized. Your products should be neatly organized according to the category, as well as other attributes if they apply, such as brands, etc. You can also make navigating your product catalog easier by letting people sort the items in terms of price, from the lowest to the highest and highest to lowest. Many e-commerce plugins and shopping platforms support a search feature, which you should integrate in your site. This would make it easier for a visitor that knows exactly what product that they’re looking for.

 

The presentation of the text on your site should be easy to read. So for example, if you use a black background, using a “greyish” text color will make it hard to read. Make sure that the text is also of a large enough size to be easily legible.

 

Depending on what you’re selling, including detailed and high resolution photos of the items may be a good idea. Of course, this will largely depend on the type of items that you carry. Having a dozen photos from every angle of the item wouldn’t be too important if you’re selling boxes of vitamins or printer ink cartridges, but for a website that sells clothing, it would be recommended as the customer would want to closely examine the item that they’re going to buy since they don’t have the chance to examine it first.

 

Combine the photos of your item with a detailed description, which will of course depend on the category of items that you carry. By providing all the necessary information about your items to your buyers, you will reduce possible returns and dissatisfaction coming from buyers who weren’t given enough information to see if an item was suitable for their needs.

 

Also, making your site accessible on mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets is a tip that is given by many online marketing experts and has been said many times, but is always worth repeating. The amount of purchases made by users of mobile computing devices is growing. If your site doesn’t display correctly, the visitor will simply go find another one that does. There are many free tools available which can help you test the compatibility of your website with common mobile platforms or create an alternate mobile version of your main site, which carries the same products, but is optimized to be displayed on a mobile platform instead.

 

 

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Why People Leave Sites Without Buying

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Why People Leave Sites Without Buying


We all know about how to bring in quality traffic to an online shopping website is important, as well as having good site layout and content that is supposed to make your visitors convert into buyers. We’ve seen many things about the reasons why so many people shop online and buy products from good online retailers. But what about those that leave a site without buying anything? There has been a few online surveys and studies on this topic and here are some of the most common responses given by online shoppers. Also, you will see ways to prevent this from happening to your visitors as well.

Site was slow/not working properly/not loading

This is actually one of the most common reasons as to why people abandon a website and move onto the next one. Having a site that is loading slowly, or is giving database errors all the time, or using a payment processor that’s giving customers trouble when checking out are all reasons as to why some leave a site without buying anything. Obviously, there are ways to prevent this from happening. Use a reliable hosting solution and an appropriate hosting type for your website. If you get thousands of visitors to your site a day, using a shared hosting account may not be the best. Make sure that all elements of your website work and use diagnostic tools that scour your website to make sure everything is in order.

Deceptive advertising/unclear promotion terms

When you advertise something that’s on your site, try to make the advertisement as clear as possible to prevent confusion. For example, putting “50% Off” prominently in an add and then omitting the fact that it’s only for orders of $200 or more is likely to make some visitors turn away, feeling that you lied to them. All this does is wasting bandwidth as many of these people who clicked on your ad would not have seen your site otherwise if they knew the promotion was only for orders of “$200 or more”. So make sure that your ads don’t mislead people into visiting your site. Doing so only generates bad traffic anyways.

Prices too high

This is a popular reason given by people especially those who are more conscious of their shopping budgets. To prevent this from happening, there are some simple steps that you can take. Look around the web and check out your competitors websites. See what products they have and what their prices are. This is a tactic used by many retail establishments as well as online commerce sites as well. If you see that a competitor offers better value, see if there’s something that you can do to beat what they’re offering.

Unclear product descriptions

If you’re selling physical items such as clothes, make sure you include high resolution, detailed pictures on your site. Also, for any product you sell, give all the details that are relevant, like sizes, technical specifications, uses and advantages of the product, etc. Visitors are more likely to buy a product if they have some information about it.

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What Draws People to Online Shopping: Part 2

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What Draws People to Online Shopping: Part 2


Yesterday, we’ve seen some examples of what draws people to shop online during the holidays, as well as what you can do to ensure that you profit from these advantages. There are a few more reasons that would make holiday shoppers want to do their shopping online. Here are some more of these advantages of buying online for consumers:

  • Better availability of products

It is a well known fact that the internet is a global marketplace. And it is not called that for no reason. You can purchase any product that you want, even if it would be difficult to get in stores in your area. While international commerce has existed for decades now, ordering something that’s not available in the stores of your area would be quite a hassle before the internet. Now, all that’s required is for the visitor to find what they’re looking for online. To profit from this, a good business model would be selling merchandise that is unique and not too easy to find in stores.

  • Lower prices

One of the big advantages that online businesses have over physical ones is the lower overhead. Running a chain of stores would often require millions of dollars of investment and then a considerable monthly outlay just to keep things running. A store also needs to provide good customer service to their visitors, have their shelves neatly stocked, etc. But to run an e-commerce site, all you need is a location where you’ll be shipping your items out of. If your business is relatively small, this could be run from your home or from a “warehouse” located in your attic or garage. Price conscious consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping during the holidays, mainly because of an abundance of great deals that can be found on a wide range of merchandise on the internet. By making sure that your merchandise is priced lower than what retail stores charge, you will attract those that want to save some money on their holiday shopping.

  • More shipping and delivery options

Again, before the internet, when you ordered something from a catalog or by phone, the only shipping option available was regular shipping, meaning that you had to wait several weeks for your merchandise to arrive. Holiday shoppers obviously don’t have that much time to wait until they receive their order. But with the increased popularity of online shopping came faster shipping options at very affordable prices. Many online shopping websites now offer free standard shipping that takes 3 to 5 days to arrive at the customers door. Expedited shipping options, such as overnight are available as well to anyone who wants to get their order faster. The important thing here is that you give your buyers a good range of shipping options, which would allow them to choose the one that’s right for them. Some people need their order fast and will be willing to pay extra for it, while others can wait a few more days without problems.

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Promotional Offer Ideas for the Holidays

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Promotional Offer Ideas for the Holidays


During the holiday shopping season, it is important that you make some additional promotions on your online merchandise for your website visitors. When shopping during the holidays, everyone wants to save money, so retailers often respond to that by giving discounts on some or all of their merchandise for sale. This applies both to e-commerce sites and brick and mortar businesses. But in addition to lowering the price of your items for sale, there are many other things that you can do to make your online shopping site more attractive to visitors during this upcoming holiday shopping season. Remember that creativity is always a good thing in the online world and if you have many competitors in your niche, making your site and your holiday promotions stand out from the rest will definitely put you at a strong advantage. Here are some examples of things you may offer to your buyers:

  • Free Gift Wrapping

Many people who buy holiday gifts online have them shipped directly to the recipient. This is definitely a good idea if that recipient doesn’t live in the same area. Offering to gift wrap the items for free is a good service that you can give to the buyers on your website.

  • Free Shipping

One of the things that turns people off from shopping online for the holidays is the shipping fees. But some e-commerce sites have responded to this by offering free shipping on some or all of their items. To do this, you would just need to calculate the cost of shipping certain items to see if it would be still profitable for you to sell the item and offer free shipping. Consider offering free shipping on certain orders, such as those over $100. Take a look at the rates offered by shipping carriers to see if you can get cheaper shipping rates based on the volume of packages that you send out every day.

  • Loyalty Offers for Existing Customers

If a buyer purchases something from you, consider sending them a discount code in their email which is valid for a certain percentage off their next order. While this is more complicated to integrate into a site, you could also set up a points based rewards program, where shoppers could earn points and exchange them for discounts on your merchandise.

  • Deeper Discounts for the First Buyers

You could offer an even better discount offer than what you currently have for, say, the first 10 buyers of an item. This can help you sell one of your items that is not too popular. If the price is low enough, it can also serve as promoting an impulse buy, especially if it is something small and relatively inexpensive.

These are all some great examples of offers that you can make for your website visitors during the busy shopping season. But of course, the key element is creativity. If you believe that something else will work well with your audience, then don’t hesitate to try it on your website!

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