Tag Archive | "Shopping Online"

Should Coupons Be Part of Your E-Commerce Strategy?

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Should Coupons Be Part of Your E-Commerce Strategy?


Coupons are and have been for decades a popular method for retailers to draw more business by giving discounts to customers and also using the coupons themselves as advertising vehicles. Everyone knows what a coupon is and how it looks like. But how does this translate to the online world? Now that an ever increasing number of individuals are shopping online, e-commerce site owners need to find ways to get the maximum number of buyers for their products, by offering innovative promotions and discounts to their targeted audience. This has caused online coupons to become popular as well.

In the online world, coupons work a bit differently than with physical stores, as there is no face to face transaction going on. Online coupons can come in these formats:

A Discount or Promotion Link

Here the buyer clicks on a link, which can be a text link, video, banner or full page ad. They are redirected to a landing page that reflects the promotion that they’re supposed to get, such as a buy one get one free offer, a discount off the purchase price or free shipping.

A Coupon Code to Enter at Checkout

Here, the buyer would enter a discount code in a field during the checkout process. Coupon codes can be shared with the targeted audience through various means, such as email, social media, affiliate sites, etc. There are now thousands of sites whose only purpose is to list coupons for various merchants. People share coupon codes with offers, as well as give feedback to tell visitors whether the coupon is still valid.

Daily Deals or Time Limited Special Offers

Not really a coupon, per se, but works on a similar concept. An e-commerce site makes a special promotion that is only valid during a certain time period, usually a day or a few days. The promotion is mainly shared through the company’s own marketing efforts or through affiliate sites.

Discounts and Coupons Aimed at Specific Customers

Here, the promotion is not available to the public, but rather to select customers, usually those who have already purchased something from the site in the past. Sometimes, it is a rather large group of customers who gets the promotion, such as those who bought something in the past few months, or the customers could be hand selected by the merchant. This can be combined with loyalty programs.

Can coupons really help you as an e-commerce site owner? This is the question that many online retailers are asking. In reality, coupons can have many benefits to online merchants and help them drive more sales, even if it results in lower profits for some transactions, as the customer will essentially be paying less for their items. Tomorrow we will see some ways in which integrating coupons as part of your overall marketing strategy can help you get more sales and in the long run make more money from your e-commerce business.

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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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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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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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