Running a Successful E-Commerce Business in 2018

This era seems to be one characterized by all things digital. It is no surprise seeing as the internet has become ubiquitous and most people can’t function without it. For this reason, there has been a rise in the number of businesses that are now operating online. In addition to this, people are becoming more comfortable with shopping online because of how easy, fast and convenient it can be. If you happen to have an e-commerce business, this article is going to explore a few characteristics that a successful e-commerce business should seek to possess in 2018.

Easier Checkout

One of the essential components of a successful e-commerce business is 2018 is easy checkout. Seeing as we’re living in a fast-paced world, people are always on the go and looking for ways to save time so ensuring the shopping experience is as quick as possible is key. Some payment options that are currently being utilized include Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Paypal amongst others. It has also been predicted that the traditional checkout form will gradually begin to be fade, and one-click purchasing will make online shopping faster as well as more convenient. If you want checkout to be as easy as possible, it’s also important that you optimize your site.

Investment in Social Ads

Seeing as e-commerce businesses operate online, it’s essential that a successful business invests in social ads. This is one of the only ways to ensure your brand and products are visible online, meaning you will be able to compete with the many other businesses out there. If you own a drop shipping business, for instance, some marketing you should focus on includes Facebook ads, retargeting ads, influencer marketing, and influencer marketing. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t still aim to get free media coverage, but the reality is that driving clicks is becoming more difficult, so you will have to invest a noticeable amount.

Mobile Shopping Apps

It is likely that you’ve noticed that some of your favorite E-commerce sites now have apps, and that’s because businesses understand the importance of them. These apps are an E-commerce trend that you’re likely to see becoming more pervasive as E-commerce sales have continued to accelerate, while in-store retail has seen much less growth. Mobile shopping apps have seen significant growth, at 54% year-on-year making it the fastest growing app category ahead of music, entertainment, as well as utility apps. It’s safe to say that a successful E-commerce business in 2018 should be looking towards having an app.

Running a successful e-commerce business means different things to different people. While for some it means making a significant amount of returns, to others it could mean successfully being able to dominate within their niche. As an e-commerce business owner, it is imperative that you’re able to keep up with the trends and ensure your business remains a few steps ahead. Doing so should ensure that your business has a better chance at success in 2018.

Beginning a Tech Startup: 3 Things to Consider

You need commitment to launch your tech startup, and that means commitment at a financial, technical, and emotional level. Nobody ever said that it was going to be easy. You can have the best startup idea in the world, but if you’re lackadaisical about putting your idea into practical terms, then you might as well stop now. The difference between startup success and failure usually comes down to commitment. However, there are some additional factors that your tech startup is going to need to consider if it’s going to launch well. It’s only by giving some thought to every potential danger your startup faces that you will be able to face adversity and start growing your business in the right way.

Who are your customers?

If you don’t know who your customers are likely to be, then your business will suffer as a result. After all, if you don’t know who your customers are then how are you going to satisfy their needs? That’s why you should always start your business plan off with some valuable market research. Your startup needs to be solving an issue, and by being aware of who is most likely to suffer from that issue, the better chance you’ll have of creating the right targeted advertising campaigns and marketing strategies. There are some very productive methods for getting the best market research results possible, so use a variety of platforms and question types in order to build up as accurate an idea of your average customer as possible.

Security concerns and considerations

For tech startups, the question of security is often solely focused on making sure that firewalls and antivirus software is up to date. Of course this is important, and your online security will need to be addressed on a regular basis. What most startups neglect to consider is their real-world security. This can become a very swift and damaging issue, especially if your business premises are broken into and valuable equipment or data is stolen. Never forget your offline security needs, and make use of alarm systems from Eurolinksecurity.co.uk that will protect your equipment, your data, and your company. Working in a more secure environment can work wonders on your productivity and your creativity as well, because the less time you spend worrying about locked doors and access points, the more time you have to focus on attracting more clients.

The financial factor

Your tech startup is going to need some financial backing. It’s challenging enough starting a business, but without any money to fall back on it becomes nigh on impossible. For startups, there are a number of potential avenues for funding that are worth exploring. From loans to crowdfunding, the method for raising the capital that you need will be up to you and your credit score. However, one of the most popular methods for funding a startup in the digital age is the concept of bootstrapping. This is simply a business model where you use your own money to run and manage your business, and funnel any profits directly back into it. This creates a self-sufficient funding model that gives you far greater control of your budget, and forces you to become more creative with problems and solutions.

There are many challenges to starting your own business, and that is especially true if it’s a startup. Be aware of the challenges facing you, and you will be far better prepared to succeed.

3 Key Steps to Creating Your Own Successful E-Commerce Site

3 Key Steps to Creating Your Own Successful E-Commerce Site

The world is rapidly becoming more digital, and for somewhat obvious reasons. For one, it creates greater flexibility, convenience for people who are always on the go and can save you a lot of time in many instances. In light of this, many businesses are also finding that making their products and services available online may be a good idea. This is because an increasing number of people now have access to the internet as well as mobile phones which makes it easier for businesses to meet their target audiences where they are. If you’ve been thinking about creating an e-commerce site, then this article is going to outline three key steps you should consider.

Develop a Solid SEO Strategy

If you don’t want your site to drown in the deep oceans of the world wide web, it is advisable that you develop a solid SEO strategy when creating an e-commerce website. Search engine optimization is what can take your site from the 100th results page within Google right up to the first. It isn’t particularly an easy task, and it takes time, skill, as well as consistency to get there. You can, however, use a few SEO tricks to speed up the process and ensure your site is visible to the people you’re targeting. Some essential SEO strategies to consider for your e-commerce site include creating unique product descriptions, encouraging user reviews, linking between pages where possible, optimizing the website for mobile, including pictures and videos alongside product descriptions and regularly checking your page for errors. There are many other strategies that you should consider in order to ensure the end users experience is unforgettable and your site gains greater visibility.

Create the Right Design and Content

Another major step in creating a successful e-commerce website is to create the right design and ensure you have the right content. To begin with, you should choose a design that aligns with your products and services and appeals to your target audience. Some things to consider when choosing a design for your site includes how information is arranged on the site, the colors you choose, the background theme, as well as how easy it is to navigate around the site. When choosing a web designer for your e-commerce site, you should think about whether or not they have e-commerce expertise, their design style by looking at their portfolio beforehand, checking for reviews, as well as inquiring about whether they’ll assist with site maintenance. You should also get a reputable and reliable web developer to build your site as a well-functioning and responsive website. In terms of content, paying attention to the tone, ensuring it’s engaging, and making sure there are zero grammatical errors is important,

Take Measures to Make Sure Your Site is Secure

When running an e-commerce site, one of the most critical steps to take is ensuring your site is secure. You’ll be dealing with a lot of sensitive information, so customers need to feel safe and know their data is well-protected. One of the first things you can do in this light is invest in support and cloud solutions from theaccessgroup.com to ensure you have secure hosting. You can also try keeping your software updated, using fraud prevention geo-location software, creating a security manual, and using hacker protection software. Additionally, you’ll need to conform to the GDPR, which is coming into effect this May.

An e-commerce business is one that can be extremely lucrative if you take the right steps to make it work. Ideally, you should endeavor to create a site that provides products that make your customers’ lives easier and is easy to use. By following some of the steps mentioned in this article amongst others, you should see gradual growth in your e-commerce business.

Photo by Ana Tavares on Unsplash

How to Create G Suite Templates for Project Quotes

Having a Google account means that you have access to apps such as Google Docs and Google Sheets. These apps a free for any Google account user and come in handy as you can access them anytime you come online. However, If you signed up for GSuite you’re offered more services for you and your organization. One of the services provided by GSuite is the ability to create and upload your own templates.  

Coping and pasting information over and over can be time-consuming. In order to be more productive, it’s best to use a template that has the information already in place so you can finish your work faster. Google offers pre-made templates for you to use whenever you want, but if you wanted something more specific for your business you have the option of creating and uploading your own.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at how to set up a quote template using Google Sheets, how to style it, and then how to save and upload it to your Template Gallery to access it anytime you need it.

 

First Step: Set Up The Template

The first thing you need to do is open a new document in the Google Sheets main page.

 

 

What we’re going to do next is create two sheets on the very bottom of this new document. Any formulas you write in the first sheet will then be applied to the second sheet. Following the images below, say you entered the telephone number for your company in the first sheet in cell B16. Now take a look at the formula used in cell 54 and see how the number showed up on the second sheet. You can write formulas in anywhere you want/need them.

Add two sheets on the bottom of the document

First Sheet (Settings): Enter Phone Number in cell B16

 

Second Sheet (Price Quote): Formulate the number to appear in cell 54

 

Second Sheet (Price Quote): Results

 

Once you have added the two documents on the bottom begin setting up the First Sheet with information on your company. Any contact information can be applied to this sheet and make sure you add in your formulas you want to be applied to the second sheet. You can style this sheet however you want. See image below for an example:

 

 

If you feel more comfortable adding placeholder text you can do so, that way you know where everything goes and how the template will look with information added. Once the company information is added you can work on the next sheet.

This sheet will be the actual layout for the quote that you can print anytime and send to your customers. Same as setting up the first sheet, add in any information you’d need for taking a quote. Arrange and style the layout however you want, you can add your company logo and change the colors of the sheet to represent your company colors. Having all this information on the template will make your work more productive since you don’t have to constantly create a new quote from scratch. See image below for an example:

 

 

Once you have all the information you need and you’re happy with the layout/style you’re done with the first step. Now all that’s left is adding the template to you’re Template Gallery.

 

Second Step: Add to Template Gallery

To submit the template to your Template Gallery you need to go back to the Google Sheets main page. Once there, click on Template Gallery. In your company section, there is a button that lets you submit a document that you want to be a template. Click the button to begin the process of uploading your document. See images for an example:

Hit the submit button

Select the sheet you just created (make sure it’s in a folder you can remember)

 

Pick a category the template falls under

 

You’re all finished!

 

Your document is now a template you can use anytime you need to make a quote, it’s fast and easy to access. Now that you know how to create and save templates, let us know what you think below!

The Number One Mistake Most WordPress Ecommerce Sites Are Making On Their Product Details Page

Credit: Pxhere

The main aim of any ecommerce website is, of course, to sell a product or service. So it’s no surprise that one of the most important pages on a website of this nature is the product details section.

In fact, around 47 percent of visitors will visit your products or services pages before anything else. Yet all too often, web designers make the same mistake on this critical page, hamstringing sales, and failing to convert.

This all-too-common blunder is to create product pages that fail to give sufficient information about the items they promote, or that fail to do so in a clear and comprehensible manner. Clarity is critical if you want people to stick around and make a purchase; they need to know exactly what they’re looking at, and why they should want to buy it.

Fortunately, while this mistake is a common one, it is also easy to avoid, and easy to remedy. Run through this checklist when composing your product details pages, and not only will you have boosted your sales potential, but you’ll also be one more step ahead of your competitors.

Recommended reading: 5 Tips For Helping Your Ecommerce Site Compete With The Big Boys

The Devil Is In The (Product) Details

A lot of the problem lies in failing to provide enough actual information about the product or service being sold. When a potential customer heads to your product details page, they’re hoping to learn more about your products, how they’re made, and what sets them apart.

However, if you’re familiar with the format of a typical WordPress ecommerce store, for example, you will already have seen how many of these websites provide no more than the item’s name and price. Many even fail to include a picture of the product.

A lot of this comes down to a lack of familiarity with basic web design. Aspiring entrepreneurs set up their stores, making the best they can of the tools available, and avoiding extensive modifications to store templates in case they impact functionality.

Unfortunately, while this may seem like the safe approach, it can severely damage your sales. Consider what your customers want to know about your product, and what you want to tell them.

  • Create a list of these key points, and work them into a concise, but informative product description.
  • Make sure your pricing structure is clear, or that there is a straightforward and obvious means of securing a quote.
  • Provide details of factors such as the materials used, where they are sourced, and whether there are any available variants on the same product.
  • If an item is out of stock, ensure this is clearly stated, and if possible provide details of when it may be available again.

It can be tough to answer all of your customers’ questions from the word go, but you can always add further information at a later date, or engage with customers directly to respond to their queries.

A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words

Another aspect of providing clear and engaging information about your products is to include high quality pictures of the products themselves. Choose an angle that gives a clear view of the product and its key features. Depending on the complexity of the item, or the novelty of its features, you could even follow FitBit‘s example, and add a few labels to the image.

Credit: FitBit

Remember, it’s not just about how these images appear on your website, but the impression they give when they show up in searches, or are shared on social media. This means great photography is critical. Ensure that your subject is well-lit, and in focus, without any distracting elements in the background. Consider running your images through some post-processing software,  such as Lightroom, to give them that extra sparkle.

Naturally, video content can also give your product page a boost. However, this should not come at the expense of the other elements we have mentioned. You want customers to understand what you are selling at a glance. That being said, including an explainer video that gives a little more insight into the product’s features, conception, or manufacture can all help to engage your site visitors and boost the chance of making a sale.

Shore Up That SEO

Since you’ll be writing some carefully-worded copy to really convey your brand’s message, and provide a clear picture of what you’re selling, this is a great opportunity to up your ecommerce SEO game. After all, where better to target your niche keywords and key-phrases than on the page that promotes your niche?

Be careful not to over-stuff your page with keywords, or it will seem clunky, unprofessional, and potentially untrustworthy. Instead, use your target words and phrases where they feel natural. Work them into headings where possible, and only link to relevant, related material.

Not only will this make it easier for visitors to navigate your website, but it will also help to raise your authority with search engine crawlers, making it more likely that people will find your website in the future.

SEO tactics even encompass your page URLs, so make sure your website uses a consistent and intuitive format throughout. This is one of the areas where underpinning your store with a flexible ecommerce CMS can be particularly helpful. Many of these systems enable you to set a desired format for your URLs, and will automatically generate consistent, meaningful addresses for each of your web pages.

Keep It Clean and Simple

There may be dozens of things you want to say about your product, or features you want to showcase. However, as with most aspects of web design, less is more. While it is important to provide detailed information about your product, this information also needs to be concise and easy to digest.

The same applies to your use of images and video. While you may decide to include more than one photograph of a product, make sure that there is a clear main image, in a prominent position.

Avoid cluttering the page with extra elements, or too many pictures. The more visually confusing the page is, the less likely your customers are to stick around and sift through it. Take a look at this example from Best Made. They have a clean, minimalist aesthetic, including a clear item name, visual content, and some killer copy to back it all up.

Credit: Best Made Co.

It is worth remembering that cookie-cutter design choices, and a lack of clarity are damaging on any form of website. These errors are more prevalent on platforms such as WordPress, where it is all too tempting to simply pick a template, and change the bare minimum. However, great branding is all about standing out from the crowd. If your website looks generic, then visitors will expect your product to be generic as well.

So whether you are working with WordPress, or using an ecommerce CMS, take the time to streamline your aesthetic. Refine your brand’s voice, polish your SEO strategy, and of course, create some high quality product pages that inform, inspire, and ultimately sell.

Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she covers a range of topics in the world of ecommerce, offering tips on how brands can make the most of the content that they have on the website for their online business.

Effective, professional and vibrant design in 2018

Effective, professional and vibrant design in 2018 means:

1) Content First

Don’t tell; show. Long introductions, framing and slow reveals are a thing of the past: let visitors see your product in the best light right off the bat.

2) Simplicity & Boldness

Most books can be boiled down to an article; most articles, to a paragraph; most paragraphs, to a sentence.
Instead of populating the page with myriad competing elements and creating visual noise, show the essentials and leave the details under a link.

3) Interactivity

A website isn’t a PDF – modern designers have powerful tools to bring a site to life.
Scrolling effects, mouse-over rollovers, animations and color effects are excellent ways to punch up your offerings and engage your visitors.

4) Clarity

Today’s web user has to sift through a staggering amount of information quickly, and make snap decisions on the fly.
If a site is confusing to navigate and doesn’t get to the point right away, the user will leave and find one that does.

5) The WOW Factor

The difference between a merely competent website that languishes, and a memorable one that gets the lead, can come down to one thing that makes the visitor go “Wow!”
Whether it’s a rarely-seen rollover effect, unique & beautiful artwork, or fun copy, a great site aims to deliver an unexpected delight to the visitor.

Customer Service on Social Media

The value of Social Media for businesses

Now and days almost everyone is on at least one social media platform. If your local corner store isn’t on social media they are missing out. The value of your business on social media can be priceless. Having a presence on social media can bring in new customers and keep old customers coming back.

Knowing your customers

Know which your target market and which platforms they are on! The popular three platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Then there are others like YouTube, Snapchat, Pinterest. Being on social media can make your customer service faster and more effective. According to this chart below Facebook and Twitter are 48% more accurate at delivering responses than email and 44% faster at delivering responses than email and 44% faster at delivering responses than email.

Source (https://websitebuilder.org.uk/blog/rise-social-media-customer-care/)

The next charts show the customer service stats on each of the major social media platforms.

Source (https://websitebuilder.org.uk/blog/rise-social-media-customer-care/)

Get on Social Media

If your business isn’t on social media or isn’t present it should. All the stats show that it is a great move to have your business on social media. If you want your business on social media and don’t know how to go about it contact us! The best social media partner you will ever have.

Why upgrading your website could be the boost your business needs

How Upgrading Your Website Could be the Boost Your Business Needs
Regardless of the size, product offering and nature of your business, if your website is letting you down, your sales will suffer. In today’s online-driven economy, a company website is a definite must-have to get your venture noticed. Yet, while most
organizations have a website, few are actively using them to their full potential to increase sales and revenue. Failure to use your company website efficiently not only means that your business is losing out in the long term, it can also impact any returns you were hoping to gain on your initial investment. So if you currently have a company site, and aren’t sure why it’s underperforming, check out these simple tips to give your website a much needed instant upgrade.

Varied content
The variety and types of content that you use on your website could be letting you down. Not only do consumers want engaging and interesting content that keeps them on your site, but a lack of variety could be affecting your site’s audience number and bounce rate. In today’s increasingly digital-minded age, it’s time to consider other types of content such as video. Did you know that the human brain processes visual imagery around 60,000 times faster than text? So if you aren’t using short and snappy video content on your site then now’s the time to start! Customers are more likely to spend longer on your site if their is video for them to engage with— not to mention, they are much more likely to return. Using videos of your products and customer testimonials, amongst others, will help boost your conversions.

Marketing mogul
Are your brand and marketing campaigns letting you down? Then now could be the time to review just how well positioned your brand and tone of voice is on your company website too. For certain products, such as e-cigarettes, international regulations and a shifting market can have a serious affect on your sales – no matter how up to date or efficient your site. Agencies such as eventige.com can help you to develop and grow your business potential. So, if you haven’t already given your site a thorough editorial review, now is a good time to start.

Responsive design
Offering your customers a consistent and easy-to-use experience will also ensure that they keep coming back. Responsive website design gives you the opportunity to follow any potential leads through, and will also make your back-end website management a lot easier to get to grips with. In today’s digital world, the rate and ways we consume information are changing – so make sure that your website isn’t getting left behind.

Add customer reviews
Customers love following the entire sales path through their purchase. Including a customer reviews section is a great way to boost interaction and ultimately drive new product sales. You could even consider using video content or a blog for your
consumers to exchange ideas and feedback.

Don’t be afraid to try out new and alternative methods for your website content.
Remember to keep your customer in mind and make a few small upgrades that will help improve your sales and profit in the long run.

How to Boost Your Ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages

SEO doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many tactics that can boost your rankings with ease, and won’t require too much time or effort. Read how to easily boost your ranking in the search engine results pages.

Google My Business
Local SEO is important for almost every online business, as up to 60% of searches now come from mobile devices. Not only that, but half of these stores will visit a store within a day after performing a local search.

Don’t overlook the importance of local SEO, as you could miss a considerable amount of leads and, as a result, sales. One easy local SEO tactic is optimizing your Google My Business account.

All you need to do is claim your listing (if you haven’t done so already), add or update your business details, and add different yet specific categories for your business. Play to your niche and avoid adding broad categories. Don’t forget to add high-quality images of the inside and outside of your business. Another effective Google My Business tactic is to encourage customers to leave reviews on your website.

Identify and Fix Crawl Errors
You will want Google to be able to crawl your website with ease, as this can boost your ranking in the search engine. However, crawl errors could be affecting your place in the SERPs. It is, therefore, important to both identify and fix any crawl errors, which could prevent Google from effectively crawling through your website.

This will allow you to identify the following errors quickly:

  • Server errors
  • 404 errors
  • URLs that point to a non-existent page

All you need to do is click on “Crawl” on your dashboard, then “Crawl Errors”. If there are no issues, then it will tell you that no errors have been detected within the last 90 days. If there are errors, you must strive to fix them immediately.

Quality Outbound Links
Every marketer knows that inbound links are a superb ranking factor for a website. Yet, outbound links are also just as important for a ranking signal. Outgoing links to relevant, authoritative websites can positively improve your ranking in the SERPs, as you are aiming to provide your visitors with value.

Link Building Tactics
You must, however, look beyond the links you incorporate on your website. It’s essential to ensure many authoritative websites are linking back to your landing pages, too. An effective link building tactic can shoot your website up the search engines in your niche, so you can drive additional traffic, boost brand awareness and increase your conversion rate. Consider a full-service digital marketing agency to implement a link building or SEO campaign to improve your rank in Google.

Conclusion
The right SEO tactics can make or break your company’s success online. It can help you organically drive traffic to your website, which can boost your sales and ensure you develop a broad and loyal customer base to grow from strength to strength.

Why You Need to Start Paying Attention to Your Email Design

For the past few years, user experience has been the primary focus of web design. Design and visual elements are no longer used just to make a website appear better or more professional. They can also deliver a better user experience to viewers. The kind of font a site uses or the colors added to
each page can greatly influence UX.

The same design elements used in websites can also be used in emails. In fact, businesses and internet marketers are starting to implement UX approaches to boost the effectiveness of their email messages. There are several reasons why you need to start paying attention to the design of your emails.

Consistent Branding
Similar to the way branding needs to be consistent on your main website and social media pages, adding branding elements to email messages is good for consistency. There are limitations to how much branding you can do in emails, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reinforce your key branding messages every time you send an email to clients or potential clients.

The key to successful branding in email messages is moderation. Instead of an elaborate header or a comprehensive set of branding elements, you can opt for a simple, carefully branded signature instead. A design change as simple as making the signature on employees’ emails consistent can produce a bigger impact than you may anticipate.

Consistent Content Delivery
Email utilize the same HTML and CSS combination to deliver content. This means you can also implement the content delivery approach you use on your site to create a better user experience with every email. You can, for example, deliver the email message using a specific font. As long as you stick to a web-safe font, the recipient will be able to see the email the way you design it to be displayed.

Some companies even go as far as using email verification tools such as The Email Finder and building different delivery themes for different recipient groups. The emails sent to customers are different in design and delivery than the emails sent to corporate clients, vendors, and even stakeholders.

Credibility
A well-designed email also inspires credibility. Recipients who are familiar with your email branding and consistent design will find it easier to trust the emails you send. At the same time, professional-looking emails also develop credibility in the eyes of potential clients and existing customers.

The design of your email can even affect the customers’ decision-making process. A promotional email with a bad design is less likely to generate interest and arouse engagement. Good design and a strong call to action, on the other hand, will produce a higher conversion.

The Mobile World
One last reason why the design of your email is important is, of course, the fact that the majority of recipients now read their emails on smartphones and mobile devices. The right email design will ensure a smooth user experience is maintained, even when the email is viewed on a relatively small screen.

Should you start paying closer attention to the design of your email? Based on the reasons we discussed in this article, the answer is a big YES. By ignoring the design aspect of your emails, you are missing out on a lot of benefits already.