ADD CHAT TO YOUR WEBSITE AND INCREASE SALES

Importance of Chat Solutions in Driving Sales for e-commerce website

ADD CHAT TO YOUR WEBSITE AND INCREASE SALES

Pandemic has changed many things for the businesses including, but not limited to, customers changing their mode of doing it from offline to online. Businesses everywhere have adapted to this change and have become invested in maintaining their online presence. According to eMarketer, e-commerce sales have increased 32.4% year over year, reaching a level that was not expected until 2022. This growth is predicted to stay even after the pandemic ends. As the consumers have started preferring the online methods and have gone digital, Facebook Messenger is one of the ways to stay connected with them, drive sales and give out a personal touch that was expected at an offline level.

DRIVE SALES BY TURNING USERS’ CONSIDERATION INTO ACTIONS

Just imagine yourself being in a store where you are trying to find that perfect gift for your loved one. You’re not able to find anything and now you are on the brink of frustration. Then suddenly you meet a sales agent and he helps you out by directing you to the exact perfect gift that you’ve been looking for. Facebook’s Chat Plugin provides this exact kind of help. It connects you directly with the high-intent customers at critical moments in their purchase journey.

It’s proven that consumers who use web-chat are 2.8 times more likely to get converted than the ones who don't use it. People will mostly abandon their research and purchase if they can’t find a solution instantly. The bottom line is that you need to be more connected with your customers and their needs in order to drive sales.

PROVIDE SEAMLESS AND AFFORDABLE REAL-TIME CUSTOMER SUPPORT

Even after the sale is made, the chat solutions help you to answer the consumers’ questions. Messaging is one of the most convenient and affordable methods to communicate and 80% of people communicate through messages every day and this number is only increasing. It’s a hassle-free method for the consumers to communicate their queries without any need for phone numbers and being on hold for hours. It is an efficient and time-saving method as one employee can communicate with multiple customers at once.

BUILD LONG-LASTING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS WITH CHAT

Communication makes a business trustworthy. 66% of consumers have agreed that they find a business more trustworthy and confident about it when messaging is involved. Positive interactions can even make someone’s day. With Facebook Chat Plugin, that interactive experience will feel more efficient and personal. Messenger also allows you to continue the conversation if you want to through the Facebook Page Inbox even if one leaves the website.

Facebook Chat Plugin allows you to add Messenger to your website through WordPress Plugin Repository. Not only will it help you to increase your sales and make your business more beneficial, but you can also personalize everything to your own liking from appearance to voice.

To add Facebook’s Chat Plugin to your website:

  1. Log into your WordPress dashboard.
  2. Click Plugins → Add New.
  3. Search “Facebook Chat Plugin”
  4. Select the plugin authored by Facebook and click Install Now.
  5. Click Activate.
  6. You should now see a tab that says “Customer Chat” and you can connect your Facebook by going to Getting Started and clicking Edit Chat Plugin.

More than a billion people use Messenger every single day so no matter what kind of audience you want to reach, you'll easily be able to connect with them. Learn more about how to chat with customers using Messenger and set up an instant greeting for people who reach out.

Further Reading:

How to get the most from your ecommerce store’s About Us Page

 


Making the most out of online reviews

When we shop online, the first thing we check after choosing a product are the product reviews. There is an immense trust that we keep within these online reviews. Since we cannot have a physical experience of the product, online reviews play a very significant role in the same.

In the times of Yelp! And Facebook, the rapid increase in online reviews have started to decide the fate of online business and the way they are perceived.

Online reviews are important to maintain the authenticity of the online businesses and maintain positive results for e-commerce.

Who is Reading Online Reviews?

In today’s fast paced world, virtually everyone is reading the online reviews. According to data, 91% of people read them and 84% would trust them as they would a personal recommendation.

There is a good 31% more chance that an average customer will pick a product with excellent reviews.

Negative reviews weigh equally as the positive ones. 82% of people seek out negative reviews while online shopping. However, there are some benefits to it as well. Research indicates that the user spends five times longer on sites with negative reviews with 85% increase in conversion rate.

Customers like to see a lot of reviews. The more, the better. An average person sees 40 reviews before buying a product. Few reviews that are always better than no reviews.

With the level of trust people have in reviews, it’s safe to assume that literally everyone who is buying products online sees the online reviews, no matter the target demographic, industry or market.

Benefits of Online Reviews

There are numerous benefits of online reviews. In this fast paced world, the presence of online business is realised by its customer trust and which is built with positive reviews. A few positive words and you will find yourself among consumers that will stand by your product and business.

1. Drive Sales

The decisions and judgments of the people are very much dependent on the collective thought of people. So when there is a positive review from someone who made a similar purchase, the people trust that and thus it drives the sales of the product. It’s like a proof of authenticity that people demand from the business.

2. Build Trust

The global e-commerce market reached nearly $3.5 trillion in 2019. So with so many options in the market, it’s hard to decide which product or business to trust. While physically handling a product is the best way to decide that, online reviews are the next best choice for businesses that solely rely on their online presence. Reading positive reviews that indicate good quality helps in building the trust for the business.

3. Contribute to SEO Efforts

One of the main goals for the online businesses is them ranking high in SERPs. However, it is an extensive task requiring a lot of time and energy. Online reviews come in handy in this as well.

Most customers use keywords like the name of the product in their reviews which help in the page ranking adding more content for your page. So there are two benefits to it, your business name ranks high on the web page and along with that the positive reviews ranks high too.

4. Aid Customer Decision-Making

A customer put a lot of time and energy in evaluating a product before making a purchase. Reviews are key to the decision-making process guiding the consumers to get the best product. The doubts about the images and the actual product are also cleared through these online reviews.

5. Enable Problem-Solving

No business is flawless. There will be good reviews and bad reviews and that is absolutely okay. Bad reviews help in identifying the improvements. Sometimes a negative review is written by an angry customer but if there are 14-15 negative reviews, you might have a problem worth addressing.

Maximising the Benefits of Online Reviews

The benefits of online reviews are extensive but understanding them and knowing how to leverage them for the business are two very different things. The following tips are there to help you with that part.

1. Increase Brand Awareness

Because your brand will exist in as many places as possible, the consumers will know everything about it, your name and what you do. Reviews increase your presence organically. Stronger the reviews, the better chance of your brand coming on the top of the list among the companies of your industry.

2. Identify Keywords For Your Brand

Even if you have some particular keywords in your mind for your brand it’s not necessary that the consumers will use the same keywords while searching for the product. Through online reviews you can easily know which words are used the most for your brand and then you can use them for your SEO campaigns.

3. Highlight Positive Reviews with PR Campaigns

When you have great reviews, let them do the talking for you. Featuring your reviews on pages, press releases, marketing content and advertisements can help you give the publicity and reach that you want.

Tactics for Receiving Online Reviews

You can speed up the process of getting reviews in following ways.

1. Ask For Review

Sometimes all you need to do for getting the customers to leave a review is ask for them. Whether as a pop up on the checkout page or through an email after the product is delivered, simply asking for a review can make all the difference.

Emerly's sends follow-up emails asking customers what they think about their products. Some storefronts take this a step further by including QR codes, links to Yelp! pages, or fillable forms to eliminate all labor on the part of the consumer.

Sparrow's product review reminder email
With Sparrow you can configure and send out product review request reminders to your customers automatically

2. Make the Process Easy

If you make the customers go through a lot of clicks in order to get feedback, it’s very unlikely that you’ll get one. Make it as easy as you can. Include your links to Facebook, Google My Business in marketing emails and your webpages.

woocommerce product reviews widget plugin
Sparrow adds a Woocommerce product review widget on your product page letting your customers leave reviews easily

3. Incentivize Your Customers

Customers love discounts and offers, so offering them in exchange of reviews can prove to be helpful in this domain. The long term benefits can outweigh the cost. This can be done after a few days or weeks of the product delivery and you can give offers in the form of promo codes and free shipping.

4. Send Customer Surveys

Surveys can be very helpful when it comes to online reviews. Just send out a form after the product delivery and include questions around the checkout process, shipping speed, product quality etc.

5. Engage in Customer Surveys

Customers like to be heard and especially when they review products. Google also presents this evidence as you can actually increase local SEO efforts. Just a simple “Thanks!” can go a long way in making your consumers feel special. Not only it helps in amplifying the positive reviews, but a study shows that 32% of people entirely deleted their negative reviews after a business follow-up.

Earn Online Reviews on the Most Authoritative Sites

Some reviews are more valuable than others. The reviews that are present on the third party sites are more trusted than the ones present on the business site. Sites like Google, Yelp! And Facebook reviews are the most valuable to the customers.

1. Google Reviews

Google is seen as the most authoritative when it comes to the web, and that includes reviews. Google My Business offers a lot of valuable information like contact details, hours of operation, and the review section. Google reviews can prove to be the most meaningful and beneficial for your business as it easily eliminates confusion. Google takes reviews in account when it determines the search engine ranking in which they comprise around 9% of the total formula.

2. Yelp! Reviews

Yelp! Has been a significant player in the world of reviews for over 15 years. Even while surrounded by some controversies, it’s still one of the most trusted names in the game. Yelp! Is different from Google and Facebook reviews in the terms of its algorithm where it doesn’t show all the reviews. The reviews that are not of much use to anyone, will come under the heading “Reviews that aren’t currently recommended”. It filters out the useless reviews by itself.

Yelp! Reviews carry a lot of weight when it comes to the business industry. Even an increase of a single star means a boost of 9% of total revenue.

3. Facebook Reviews

Facebook’s long standing review program has seen some changes resulting in a shift from standard reviews to feedback integration. It speaks recommendations of the business’ strengths while a person reviews as usual. Two in three facebook users visit a local business page and one in three makes use of the reviews that are on the page. They provide a lot more information on how the businesses are perceived online giving an additional view to make better buying decisions.

4. Niche Online Reviews

Some local ecommerce operations may also find value in the online outlets. From Reddit to general blogs on web and social media, can function as sources of reviews also in some cases being far too valuable.

Soliciting online reviews on such sites can be a bit more challenging considering most people prefer the obvious platforms for it, but it is not impossible. Provide links to profiles on places like Reddit, or specialty forums to see the king of feedback that is meaningful for your business.

Conclusion

Online reviews can work wonders for an online business when used strategically. They make for a great word of mouth marketing providing different perspectives on the products and services. Understanding the importance of reviews and having the knowledge of using them to get ahead in the competitive ecommerce marketplace can prove beneficial to your business.


How to get the most from your ecommerce store's About Us Page

So you’re with someone who is constantly talking about this new online venture that they are going to invest in. They're trying to tell you what it does but even with your entire focus on this conversation, you still have no clue what it's about except it being  “innovative” and “out of the box”.

With this, we will now talk about the “About Us” page. Ever wondered what an About Us page actually does for a website? You stumble on a page/website and there it is. You read through it and in like five minutes you’ll know exactly what the entire website is about. No more need of decoding the meaning behind the words like “innovative”. In a matter of seconds, you’ll not only know what the website is about but how and why it is “out of the box”.

90% of ecommerce businesses use content marketing but a very few of them are using it successfully. If you actually want to stand out with your online marketing, the About Us page is your stepping stone, an everything-at-once kind of introduction to your online venture.

About Us Page - What is it?

In Layman’s terms, an About Us page is an introduction to what your online business is about. The what, why and how of your online venture. The first thing that people would want to see when they hear about you or if they want to simply learn about you.

You include the About Us page in order to have a personal touch with your consumers. Finding out why you are passionate about this project and more importantly, why they should be too, these are some of the answers that a consumer looks for when they click on your About Us page.

In order to understand it further and better, it's important to talk about the components of an About Us page.

Components of an About Us Page

Before making an About Us page, it's crucial to remember that you are not the first website that will be talking about themselves or offering a particular service and neither will you be last. Your consumers need to know why you're unique with what you're offering them.

  • Providing a background information about your products/ services and your team will give you that perfect balance of interpersonal and professional communication that will showcase the core values of your company.
  • Tell your story about the way you converted your ideas into a reality and the things or journey you witnessed that people can relate to.
  • In order to establish likeability and a sense of trust, provide information about your team, the actual people working behind the business which will give it credibility.
  • Your core values and institutions that your business is based on, deserves a lot of credit. It will show people how motivated you are about this venture and how it can fulfill the consumers demands in the best fashion possible.

About Us Page- Why Does it Matter?

We’ve already established the uses of an About Us page and covered the basics on what it actually does but what about an About Us page is so important that it changes the course of how people feel about your business? Let’s find out.

  • Being the first stop for the new customers, it’s the first impression of your website. 52% of respondents conveyed that the About Us page is the first thing they want to see when they land on your website to have an overview of what it offers. So it needs to have a strong story behind your products to have a strong first encounter.
  • When you want to stand out from your competitions, the About Us page is your go-to option. Answer the consumers' questions about why you’re unique and why should they choose you over the other businesses offering the same products and services.

About Us Page- Best Practices

It can be difficult at first to pour down everything about your business on one page but it becomes a little easy when you know you're the best person to do this task. Nobody else knows about the ins and outs of your business more than you do. You're the best person to tell your story and curate it with a perspective that only you can best showcase.

Tell a Story

In a study from Stanford, students were asked to give one minute speeches containing three statistics and a story. Only 5% of listeners remembered the statistics. 63% remembered the story. The point being, it doesn't matter what your brand origin story is, carrying on a family legacy or having a lightbulb moment with friends, this is your chance to tell it all.

Speak to Your Customers

It’s also important to talk to your customers. Tell them how your company is going to help them with their needs. Why should they choose YOUR product over everything else available in the market?

In order to cater to your customers’ needs, firstly, it's important you know them inside out. The correct way to go about it is preparing a record of your target group - the age, location, occupation and the other basics. For example, a fashion brand can easily infer that the customers need to know about the latest fashion styles, so creating a blog about styling a particular accessory is one way to go about it.

Show Your Design

94% of website credibility comes from web design which means along with the content, the overall visual appeal is equally important to make a website appear credible. It needs to have a layout which brings out the very best of your business in the most professional way.

The user experience is all that matters, so create a page that is smooth and easy to read. Use headings, subheadings and color schemes that appeal to the customers.

Show Off Your People

We already talked about how storytelling is important, but it's also important for people to know that there are actual people behind those screens working tirelessly to offer you the best services.

In order to do that, add some headshots of your team members with their short experience about working at the company. It's also recommended to talk about interests outside of work so people can warm up to your company.

Gain Your Customers’ Trust

When it comes to trust, it's important to note that the trust comes from the personal experiences. A person would dine in at a place recommended by a friend rather than a self promotion by the restaurant itself. So in order to gain that interest, add a few customer testimonials to your About Us page which would give the page the due credibility.

Have a Call To Action

There can be many actions that you would want people to take after they complete reading about you. A simple CTA can go a long way. If a “learn more” or “buy now” doesn't appeal to you, “get in touch” or “Talk to Us” can also be some logical CTAs.

Pay Attention to the Consistency

It's important that the color scheme and the layout you choose for your web page resonates with your brand colour. It shouldn't look different and the moment people see your page, they should be able to recognise your brand.

Integrate with Social Media

As we know the wonderful effects of social media in promoting a brand, you should take advantage of the same by plugging your social media profiles on the About Us page. You can simply add all the icons or choose to have a CTA of “Follow us on Instagram”. Let people know that they can easily engage with your brand on any of their preferred platforms.

Include a Method of Contact

51% of people consider contact information to be the most important element usually missing from the websites. The About Us page is the best place to put this information. It could be an email, a phone number or a mailing address, always leave a way for the customers to easily get in touch with you.

Make it Easy to Read

By adding headings and subheadings, it's easy to write your About Us page content in an organised way. The customer could easily scan through the whole thing and get the gist of it.

Read it Again and Again and Again

Keep your page updated by reading it once every month. Before you click on publish, make sure it has gone through different sets of eyes.

About Us Page- What Not to Include

Just like we talked about all the components that are necessary to be present in an About Us page, similarly there are some things that should not be included as well.

A Sales Pitch

Do not come on too strong by excessive self promotion and CTAs. Ofcourse the people would want to know about your accomplishments but try to strike the right balance when writing about it. Sometimes when it comes to a sales pitch, less is more. Adding the customer testimonials and team members accomplishments, will give you a greater and stronger credibility.

Fluff

Making your About Us page more wordy than necessary would not help you in any way. Given that only 28% of all the words on a web page is actually read, it's important to write the only things that matter in a way that it communicates to the consumer's needs. Delete everything that does not convey the central element of your business.

Too Much Pictures or Videos

Just like making a page too wordy is a bad thing, filling the page with pictures and videos is an equal of a disaster. Keep the minimum visual content like team photo, video office tour and nothing that could make it seem cluttered.

Conclusion

You can definitely take ideas and inspiration from the above examples but when it comes to your products and services, remember that you're unique and that's exactly what you need to communicate to your customers.

Whether you're creating customer testimonials, the team members' experience or simply a workplace anecdote for people to relate to, write your own story to show the people that you do have a wonderful one.


How to remove a bad Google review

How to remove a bad Google review

Genuine product reviews left by customers are a gold-mine for e-commerce businesses. But unfortunately, every now and then there will be people who will leave bad google reviews for your business. These could be a disgruntled old employee, customers who are just impossible to please or could be someone from your competition.

Though eventually, you will get some negative reviews. And you must learn from them. but there are times where you just wish you had a delete button!
Though eventually, you will get some negative reviews. And you must learn from them. but there are times where you just wish you had a delete button!

While Google does have spam filters in place to tackle fake reviews; unfortunately, it does not allow you to delete any negative reviews left on your business. But sometimes when you really want to get a review removed, you can do is flag it to Google. To do this, follow these steps:

Flag bad Google reviews

If you are 100% sure that the review violates the Google Review policies, you can notify Google to attempt to delete it by flagging it:

  1. Sign in to Google My Business.
  2. Choose your business location and click Reviews from the menu.
  3. Find the review you’d like to flag, click the 3-dot menu, then click Flag as inappropriate.
Remove Bad Google Reviews
How to Remove Bad Google Reviews

Now all you have to do is sit back and wait. We know it's not ideal, but that all you can do.

 

 


Ecommerce Marketing 101 – Creating and Executing an Ecommerce Marketing Plan

Ecommerce marketing, in simple terms, involves tapping a buyer in the first stage of their buying process, when they are still exploring their avenues, and converting them into your customers. There are many ways and approaches to do so.

Some may choose to use Search Engine Optimization as a tactic to attract traffic in an organic manner. While many others exploit platforms like Google and Facebook to publicize paid ads and drive targeted traffic. You can also opt for a combination of both to gauge which method works better for your needs.  

But it is important to understand that marketing strategies must be dynamic, and evolve with technology and other marketing tactics. Otherwise, there are high chances that your ROI on ads may not be satisfactory along with your return on other operating costs.    

Unfortunately, e-commerce marketing is a realm, wherein building your strategy and even implementation, to some extent, is just the beginning of your struggle. Due to the cut-throat competition and the dynamic nature of the field, your input of efforts must be continuous to maintain proportionality in the growth of your sales.   

This is the reason many businesses fail to meet their revenue targets. 

Like mentioned before, building a website with good user-interface and apt features, though is a gargantuan task, is still only the first step. 

Unless you go all out to popularize your website, the site will be devoid of any kind of traffic due to the lack of awareness. This defeats the point of having a website for you, the employees, and your potential customers.  

To ensure that an eCommerce business is performing and growing at an optimal rate, you must devise an e-commerce marketing strategy with an aim to popularize your brand name.

This is why we are here to help you with a framework that you can cross off your checklist. In this blog we will elaborately guide you through two major topics: Creating and Executing an Ecommerce Marketing Plan and Building a Marketing Team: In-House vs Agency.

This article will ensure that you are well-informed about the facets you must consider to build an effective eCommerce plan, to ensure that your business goals don’t just remain dreams.  

It is important to understand that marketing strategy does not have a one-glove-fits-all kind of a solution and there is no sure-shot way to improve your brand awareness. 

While what we will now discuss are good standard practices, do not restrict yourself to these principles, as marketing is all about letting your creative juices flow! So tweak our principles a little to suit your brand, so they can better serve your needs. 

Creating and Executing an Ecommerce Marketing Plan

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

A beautiful quote and is extremely relevant in our case. Obviously, you might have come across many articles, research papers, blogs, etc., on the topic of developing a marketing strategy. And most of them talk about very efficient tried and tested methods in the field. Nonetheless, e-commerce is growing at a pace that is almost unparalleled in the marketing sector. Therefore, it would be a grave mistake to set your ideas and principles in stone. Remember, a rolling stone never gathers moss.  

Like we have already mentioned, a well-devised, tactful plan will be your bible in achieving your goals. And to build such a plan, you must be completely aware of where the e-commerce marketing landscape stands right now along with where it is headed.

After thoroughly researching the field of marketing and understanding the principles of devising a good marketing plan, we present to you with these twelve steps with some pretty impressive cheat codes, to help you build a robust e-commerce website.  

Our plan will guide you to create an effective eCommerce plan from scratch, either singlehandedly or with your team, or with some help from an agency. So take out a pen and a book and start writing away from the tips we are doling out.     

1. Seek experts’ advice.

Taking experts’ advice is a very underrated, but an invaluable tip. Therefore, find companies who have gone through this before and built a successful, fool-proof online marketing mechanism. Ideally, find companies who have done so in your industry to increase the relatability quotient. Here are some questions you can ask them, to get you started:

  • What was their starting point?
  • What were the marketing tactics and methods that fetched them their highest ROI in the initial phase?
  • Did they seek help from any agency?
  • How did they track the performance of their system?

While this is just a skeletal framework, feel free to clarify any doubts you have. You can also find groups and forums on the web which can serve the purpose of getting your queries answered, like BigCommerce’s community group.  

2. Hire experts, if possible.

If it fits your budget, try to hire someone who has worked in the field of marketing, at least for a few years. An experienced marketer can impart relevant skills and knowledge and be a reliable guiding force during your marketing plan development phase.  

What’s more? It saves a lot of precious time and effort that you may have had to put in learning about digital marketing in the absence of an experienced marketer. In the case of a startup with budgetary constraints, the help of a freelancer or a gig worker can be sought to help you out with intricate aspects of online marketing like branding or website maintenance. Otherwise, you can hire a good agency to partake in your business facets.  

Their experience, skills, and knowledge will be an irreplaceable asset to your business. 

3. Be honest with yourself.

While marketing is a key player in helping your business grow, it cannot help you without quality products and a skilled team. Therefore, it is important that you do not set all your expectations on your marketing, without doing the appropriate amount of groundwork. 

You can always start small with your marketing but do set out proper goals for future growth.  

First Step to Build an Ecommerce Marketing Plan

While marketing, to a great extent, is all about doing big things and taking substantial steps, it is also necessary that you lay out some groundwork from which your marketing needs can be deciphered. 

Therefore, perform these exercises and note down your ideas, to have an overview of what your long-term growth plans are:

1. Executive summary.

After understanding the field of marketing with a little help from the experts, it is important to narrow down your focus to your business’s overview. 

An Executive Summary is a good first step in developing an impervious e-commerce marketing plan. 

2. Goals & objectives.

Your goals and objectives must be noted down. They must be specific and clear, without any gaps in your ideas.

You can always revisit and edit these goals later, even during the implementation phase, if they are either too easy or too far-fetched.  

Your goals must be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. You can also include long-term goals later so your team learns to dream big.  

But it is absolutely important that the goals are specific so you can measure your performance. For example:

  • Sell X number of products in one year.
  • Improve daily traffic by Y% by the end of Z months.

3. Mission statement & value proposition.

The mission and the vision of the company must be incorporated in the company policies. This must include the purpose of the company, the values it ascribes to, what it does and does not do. All of these pointers must be well-thought-out by the leadership so they can better formulate the organization's goals. 

4. Target customers.

Quoting “everyone” as your target customers mean you will have no customers. Therefore, segment the market and choose a specific segment that may be attracted to your products/services.

That segment becomes your target audience. Lack of knowledge about who you are targeting will cause major problems as your campaigning will not be streamlined to appeal to anyone in specific, thereby making it an inefficient process. Needless to say, it is a huge waste of money. While choosing your target audience, make sure that you have these characteristics properly defined:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Affordability

5. Situation analysis.

It is important to know where you stand at any point in time. Therefore, analyze the market scenario, the contemporary state of the company, its competitors, and the entire marketing plan.  

Understanding your current situation will lead to better decision-making and will clearly reflect on your results. 

6. Pricing & positioning strategy.

Your company’s pricing and positioning must appeal to your target audience. 

Gone are the sales-driven days where you force your products aggressively onto your customers. The market is more consumer-driven today, so if you try to sell overpriced products, they will move to other businesses that offer more reasonably priced goods. 

Though you can always revise your pricing strategy, it is a good practice to perform adequate research, so you get a good jumpstart.  

7. Future-oriented distribution plan.

Though your business is going to start on a small scale, you must have the foresight to estimate what the distribution channels and order requirements must be like once the business grows. 

No matter which method you choose to follow: taking care of the packaging and shipping yourself, assigning a small team to take care of it, or associating with a third-party to carry out the tasks, you must always analyze if the method will continue to meet your future evolving needs and demands of your consumers. 

Implementation of an Ecommerce Marketing Plan

The previous section must have informed you adequately of the intricacies that are involved in defining your business.

In the case of a small business, this is a good point to lay the groundwork, while a big business must focus on fast-tracking its growth.  

1. Identify sales & lead generation strategy.

This step requires you to step into a creative space as every business requires a unique, specific solution here. There are multiple possible ways to market your business.  

Without confusing you immensely with marketing jargon, we will highlight some strategies and tools which have proved to be successful very often, juxtaposing them with some contemporary tactics. 

To understand this step, we urge you to visualize the sales funnel graphic illustrating your customers in an AIDA model (their path following Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action, in that specific order).  

Each phase requires specific strategies to keep them interested in your business and take them to the next stage. 

At the beginning of the funnel, you will utilize your branding strategies, which only aim to seek their attention, but are not strong enough to convince them to convert into your customers- like posting organic social content.  

Right at the bottom of the funnel, in the Action phase, you can implement tactics involving social media advertising and direct email communication. 

When you are planning any campaign strategy, you must scrutinize your business and understand what the purpose of your campaign is and where it fits in the funnel.  

The strategies we define in the next section will definitely help you. 

2. Tracking Tools and Technology.

We live in a technologically-driven world that has seeped into the field of marketing. Therefore, before diving into implementing your marketing strategies, you must answer these questions:

  • Do I own the technology which can analyze the results of the marketing campaign/efforts?
  • Can it judge if my Key Performance Indicators are actually seeing any impact? 
  • Can our team efficiently judge the ROI of our marketing campaign?

If the answer to any of these questions a “no”, it is a cue to bring a change in your technology before implementing your new marketing strategies. 

Google Data Studio and LuckyOrange are two good tools that many companies swear by, for their marketing needs. 

Like we had mentioned before, with the unchecked rise is marketing media, you must equip yourself with adequate tools to gauge your performance.

Luckily for us, there are several goods, free tools available in the market.  

3. Convert First.

Ideally, before implementing your entire marketing campaign, you should set the ball rolling with some of the bottom-of-the-funnel strategies. 

Once there are enough conversions, your campaign will gain a positive momentum with an increase in sales. After the entire company tunes itself with the initial results, you can start implementing the rest of your ecommerce marketing strategy. 

4. Experiment.

While tried and tested methods are a good safety net, we just you to allocate some budget to try out new strategies. 

Experimenting is an important part of formulating a successful campaign for your specific business. 

Do not go overboard with this process. Spend the money judiciously and on smaller market sizes. If it works, you can smoothen out the transition process eventually. 

5. Revamp & expand your marketing strategy.

This is a very interesting part where you are trying to put force on your positive momentum. 

Ideally, by now you must know the inadequacies of your strategy, what is working, and the options available as other avenues. You will always have a multitude of options to choose from.  

This is the time to revamp and expand your strategy by scaling up to a larger level. 

Some strategies which may work for you include:

  • Partnerships: Partnering with another brand to create common content can popularize your brand in a new market or among a different segment of the audience. You can get very creative with such associations, from creating a common ad to partnering with multiple brands with a common goal. 
  • Increase Average Order Value: This tactic can be implemented by incentivizing costlier orders with either a discount or free shipping. 
  • Referrals: This is the easiest method in the book. Ask your customers to refer a friend to avail points which they can choose to spend while making an order. This way, you are using your customers as tools to spread brand awareness.  

Ecommerce Marketing Agency vs. Full-Time Employees

While strategizing about the company and its growth, it is important to wonder if they must hire an agency or build an in-house team. 

The answer varies based on different factors and parameters. 

Both an agency and an in-house team are capable of advancing your company’s growth.

What works better for your company, is dependent on several factors which we urge you to consider:

  • Your marketing needs and if an in-house employee is capable of handling them.
  • Budgetary constraints.
  • Can full-time employees match the skills of an agency? 

 Hiring an Agency- Pros & Cons

Hiring an agency can help solve many of the issues that a beginner may not be able to deal with. 

Many agencies offer a wide range of digital marketing services which are performed by professionals, which is advantageous to big companies as well. They are usually more cost-effective than hiring a full-time employee. 

Nonetheless, it is important that you are a good judge of an agency’s abilities. 

Pros

  • Skilled experts.
  • Diverse, holistic services.
  • Prior performances are available to evaluate.
  • Cost-effective without compromising on quality.
  • Will work on strict deadlines as specified in the contract.
  • Scaling up marketing efforts becomes easier for the company as special efforts need not be directed that way. 

Cons

  • Low level of brand loyalty.
  • Services are restricted to pre-determined scope of work.
  • Not very accessible as opposed to full-time employees.

In-House Team – Pros & Cons

The experience of hiring in-house employees and working as a team from scratch is enriching, to say the least. 

The efforts are focused in the same direction as all of you remain on the same page and are working towards the same vision. 

Nonetheless, hiring an in-house team with a similar skill set as an agency would be a very costly affair. 

Further, employee hiring, training, onboarding, etc., are extremely time-consuming processes.  

Pros

  • Better understanding of the company and its values.
  • Accessible for meetings at any time with short notice.
  • Can help build team-spirit.

Cons

  • Costlier than an agency.
  • Their skill set is not as diverse as the services an agency offers.
  • Time-consuming to replace an employee devoid of necessary skills.
  • They do not spend enough time and resources for continual improvement of the process as well as their skills. 

Agency working under your In-House Team

If you are not just staring your business, you can avail this particular option. 

This is a concept which allows you to exploit the pros of both the options if it is implemented well. 

As we have mentioned often, your company’s marketing needs will evolve with its growth. It will require skilled, experienced set of parties along with the right technology.  

Therefore, an in-house team with adequate brand knowledge and an agency with its skills and expertise can lead to a very potent combination. 

Pros

  • Is a combination of two complementing parties

Cons

  • Can be a pricey system.
  • Chances of conflicts if the teams do not work in solidarity. 

Conclusion

Though the idea of chalking out an ecommerce marketing plan may be scary, there are multiple resources and strategies available to assist you through the process. 

During the process, it is imperative to constantly revisit the purpose of the marketing strategy. 

Understanding of the brand, product, target, and demand is a must before you begin your implementation stage. 

Though the strategy options that are available are many, it is important to stay focused and organized to be successful.  

This article has hopefully helped clear some of your doubts and has made you ready to boost your company’s sales.  


eCommerce SEO Checklist: 7 Tips to Increase Traffic

Paid ads can drive heavy traffic to your eCommerce store. However, complementing this with search engine optimization (SEO) will have a multi-fold effect that can take your website’s reach.

To help with your eCommerce SEO efforts, we’ve created a short checklist. Continue reading to discover important elements of an eCommerce SEO strategy.

eCommerce SEO Checklist

1. Keyword Research

The first and most important step is to do proper keyword research. Keyword research is done to uncover top-searched keywords and terms.

Use this information to see which search queries and keywords you can use on your website. Properly done keyword research will drive more people to your store.

There are a lot of tools available for this. You can use Uber Suggest – It’s our favorite and is free!

2. Use Unique Title Tags eCommerce Website Page

No matter what website, or a blog you own, every page on your website must have a unique title. You should also add search queries and keywords in your title tag.

Example: your title tag should look like this:

Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword | Your Brand’s Name

Having relevant title tags will increase your website’s CTR in organic search results.

3. Include Keywords in Heading Tags

The H1 tag is the highest priority tag on any website. Be sure to optimize the H1 on each and every page of your website. Remember not to stuff H1 tags with keywords. Use them in moderation and use them contextually.

4. Reference Keywords in Your URLs

URL is the first thing Google, and oftentimes users, notice. An easy-to-read URL helps people and search engines understand a page’s context.

Adding keywords in your URL will help your eCommerce website rank higher in organic search results.

Again, remember – don’t overdo it!

5. Optimize Alt Text and Image File Names

Alt-text is one of the most often overlooked items from this list. It is the search engine’s way of understanding the context of the image. Bonus – screen readers help visually-impaired readers by reading this text to them.

6. Use Rich Snippets

The title tag, meta description, and URLs are displayed when your website shows up on a search engine. With rich snippets, search engines are able to display more information about the web page, including 0-5 star ratings, reviews, price, product availability and more.

Sparrow can help you with this. You can read more about how we can help here.

7. Moz Page Grader

Moz Page Grader provides instant analysis and reports to help improve your on-page SEO. You can check how your competitors are ranking. Which will allow you to improve on your own content. Give it a spin here.


Ecommerce SEO – The most important tip you must not ignore

Most people get the ecommerce SEO wrong! In theory, SEO of eCommerce sites is similar to any other website, but tactics and execution are a little different.

Whether you are an SEO pro or are just starting out as a manager in an ecommerce SEO agency, in this guide, we will tell you tips and tricks that will help you in getting your e-commerce store to the top in search engine results.

In 2011, Search Engine Watch reported that a research study by Optify discovered that “websites ranked number one received an average click-through rate (CTR) of 36.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5 percent; and number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent.”

So if you are looking to get more targeted traffic from search by improving SEO for your ecommerce site, this post if for you. So let’s sit back and dive right in!

Start by doing research for ecommerce SEO

Keyword research is step one and the foundation of all ecommerce SEO campaigns. If done wrong, you’ll start betting on keywords that have very high search volumes, but the competition will also be so tough that you’ll never outrank your competitors. For e.g., let’s say you want to rank for silver jewelry. A quick search on Google will tell you that there are about 1,39,00,00,000 results around that keyword.

Ecommerce SEO - Estimated monthly search volume for keyword
Estimated monthly search volume for keyword – “Silver Jewelry”, via – Ubersuggest.

If you look at the above results, you’ll be very tempted to want to rank for the keyword. We know, we’ll be. But if you look at the top results for this in Google, you’ll see that top results are filled with pages from Amazon, Tiffany, Flipkart. Sadly, w/o humongous budgets, it’s almost impossible to outrank them.

So now what?

That’s the beauty and simplicity of ecommerce SEO. You can focus on long-tail keywords from other categories that are less competitive. To do this, open up your favorite SEO tool. We are using Ubersuggesst for this post. It’s easy and free to use!

Now, in the keywords explorer type in the keyword, you want to rank for. After the results, look for related keywords. This would be the list that Google treats similar. And this is where the gold mine is. Under this list, look for keywords with least three words in it (these are called long-tail keywords).

Ecommerce SEO - "How to clean silver jewelry" generates 4400 searches a month and has a very low ecommerce SEO difficulty.
“How to clean silver jewelry” generates 4400 searches a month and has a very low ecommerce SEO difficulty.

If you notice, you’ll see that “how to clean silver jewelry” generates 4400 searches a month. And the suggested ranking difficulty is 8. Voila! You have found your keyword which you can rank for.

Step two, write content for SEO.

Now that you have found your keyword, its time to boost the SEO of your ecommerce site. Fortunately, this is the easiest step. All you have to do is pick the keyword, and write content around it. Make sure you write at least 500-600 words. Google loves long content.

Here are some great tips for ecommcerce SEO content

Think

Think before you write. spend some time before you start penning down the content. Asking questions like who is this article for? What’s the message I need to give?

Create a structure

Start by creating a clear structure for your article or post. Every post should have – a topic introduction; a body; and a conclusion

Use paragraphs

Make sure to keep the paragraphs short. Evenly distributed and contextual. Pro tip – each paragraph should have its own idea against a subject.

Headings

Headings are very important for ecommerce SEO. Make sure you add your researched keyword at the beginning of the heading. Pro tip – Have multiple headings in an article. It not only is easier for your readers for will help in SEO as well.

Conclusion

The suggested idea in this article is guaranteed to work and improve your ecommcerce SEO. but it will only work if you dedicate some time out of your schedule every week. If you follow it, rinse and repeat it, we are confident you’ll see a boost in your traffic by many folds.

Further reading – Once you do this exercise, you may also want to learn how product reviews can help you generate more CTR from search results and ultimately increase your store sales.


Why are product reviews important

Let’s start with a fact about product reviews:

Nearly 95% of shoppers read online product reviews before making a purchase (Spiegel Research Center, 2017)

95% is a significant number! If you run an e-commerce store, then you should pay attention to this.

How many times have you asked your peers, friends, or family before buying something? The answer would be almost every time.

When your brother suggests that the new coffee house down the road serves the best cappuccino in the neighborhood, it carries a lot of weight. And chances are your next coffee order will be at this suggested coffee house.

We, humans, are naturally inclined towards asking opinions of others before we try something or make a purchase. You, as a business owner, should tap into this.

What are product reviews?

Product reviews are technically a part of social proof. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation (source).

We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.

So often in situations where we are uncertain of what to do, we turn to others assuming that they have more knowledge on the matter than us. Product reviews are one way that aids this. When we see product reviews, we trust them because we know that others have more experience than us about the product.

This is why its no wonder that the world’s most prominent e-commerce players like Amazon, Flipkart, BestBuy, etc. all invest heavily in product reviews.

Each product page on Amazon has a list of product reviews on it

Why should you use them?

You may think that its too much effort to invest in product reviews. Or maybe that you are anyways generating positive ROI on your store, so you do not need them.

I do not know about you, but if I can increase my conversion rates, and ultimately sales on my store using a channel, I would definitely invest in it.

And if statistics like – “Reviews produce an 18% uplift in sales (Revoo, as shared by Econsultancy)” are to go about, I would not want to lose on 18% revenue.

Although a boost in sales is a good enough motivator, there are plenty of other reasons which are hard to look away from.

SEO boost and increase in search engine ranking

Product reviews are a type of user-generated content (UGC). And Google and other search engines love UGC. They rank pages higher when there is a UGC present on it.

How? UGC provides more content and context to a page. And collecting product reviews is a lean way of generating unique and fresh content.

Google’s John Mueller also mentions that UGC is an excellent way of building more content for your page with context.

Higher CTR

Have you noticed star ratings in the search results when you search for something on Google? Do you feel more inclined to click on the link with more rating? I bet you do! That’s what social proof does!

Links with star ratings see a higher CTR in organic search results

ConversionXL did a study to find out of star ratings affect click-through rates (CTR) in search engine results. They found out that review stars in search engine results significantly improve click-through rates, by as much as 35% (source).

35% increase in CTR is not a bad deal considering how crowded Internet is with tons of content getting published every second. Star ratings on your product pages will definitely make you stand out from your competition with an additional benefit of higher CTR!

Builds brand trust

Imagine a website that you do not know about and with no consumer reviews on it. Now imagine a second website you do not know about, but this one has a lot of customer reviews on it. Which site would you be inclined to buy from?

When other customers leave reviews on a website, you get inclined to trust them. When you see 100 customer reviews on a website, you are more inclined to trust that brand and purchase a product from that website. This is how customer reviews help in building brand trust.

85% of buyers trust reviews as much as personal recommendations (BrightLocal, 2017)

Building trust takes time. Product reviews help in achieving this quicker. Moreover, you can automate this process by using a product review management platform.

Real feedback

Every marketer knows how vital feedback is. Genuine customer feedback enables a brand in improving its product or service offering. Without feedback, you are just shooting an arrow in the dark and assuming it’ll hit the target. Yes, it will hit the mark – but eventually! And at what cost?

Customer feedback in the form of product reviews gives you an opportunity to looking into your consumer’s mindset. It will help you in identifying problem areas. Which could be from as trivial as product packaging or as complex as delivery delays. Every insight gained from feedback is a goldmine.

What about negative reviews?

Negative reviews are an inevitability. You cannot escape them. But ignoring them will hurt your business more. As much as 5-8% (source). I would not like to take that risk.

Plus each negative review gives you a reasonable opportunity to improve your product or service. It enables you to speak to your customer directly to understand what went wrong.

How can Sparrow help you with this?

Now let’s see how Sparrow can help you with all this!

Sparrow is a product review automation tool that helps you by sending out review reminder emails to your customers who have placed an order. The product review reminder email is sent after a couple of days (we recommend 14 days). By this time, your customer has used the product. And it is in a better position to leave a review of your product.

You can set the number of days after which the review request email should go out in the settings screen.

Another aspect Sparrow helps in, is by adding the star rating to your single product page, category pages, and product blocks giving your customers a quick view about the quality of your products.

Sparrow inserts star rating on your product page giving a glimpse to your customer

Sparrow also inserts rich review snippets which search engines can pick up and add to the links in the search results, increasing the CTR.

Sparrow adds rich review snippets on your product page, which is shown in the search results as star ratings.

5 tips to boost sales of your store this holiday season

The holiday season is here! And as an e-commerce store owner, you want to increase traffic and boost sales of your store. This holiday season, if you are struggling to put together a marketing strategy for your store, then this article is for you.

We have listed down a few simple and proven marketing strategies for you to help you boost sales. Implementing these strategies will help you in lowering your e-commerce customer acquisition cost and increasing conversions.

Here we go!

Upsell your products

When you offer your customers a better or more expensive item on the checkout page or while adding to their cart, it’s called Upselling. It is also easier to upsell to existing customers than to new ones. Upselling also increases the lifetime value (LTV) of your customer.

For example, imaging your customer has just added a leather bag to their cart. Now if you show your customer a better leather bag and give them an option of purchasing this more expensive bag, its called upselling.

Notice how Dollar Shave club upsells to their customers by placing products side-by-side

Take a look at your inventory, and see what products you can club together for upselling. If you are using an e-commerce platform like Shopify or WordPress, there are a lot of plugins which can help to automate this for you.

Integrate Instagram Shopping

There is no doubt that Instagram is one of the most widely used social media channels among young users. With more than 500M daily active users, it is almost a sin to ignore this channel. Especially if you are a retail store. As visual marketing is one of the best strategies you can adopt.

They posting fresh, compelling and real-life photos on your Instagram account. Use correct hashtags and you’ll be able to build your following very quickly. Just remember to be consistent.

Another aspect, which people overlook with Instagram is the ability to tag your products directly in your Instagram posts. It’s called Instagram Shopping. You can enable it by going to your Instagram settings on the phone.

With Instagram Shopping, your customers will not have to navigate to your website to make a purchase.

If you have a large following on Instagram, you’ll be able to see amazing results by using Instagram Shopping. As it eliminates the need to checkout by going to your website. Also, direct checkout on Instagram inspires confidence in your customers.

Improve your email marketing

Every time your customer abandoned his cart, you lose money. E-commerce brands are losing almost 2 to 4 trillion per year.

Another statistic: for every dollar spent on email marketing, generates an ROI of $44!

Fortunately, email marketing is not that difficult to adopt now. With a lot of platforms like MailChimp, allows you to implement your marketing strategy with a simple few clicks process.

  • Start With a Welcome Email Series
  • Use Personalization to Target Different Segments
  • Offer Exclusive Discounts to Loyal Customers
  • Send Promotional Sales Emails for All Subscribers
  • Create Responsive, Well-Designed Emails
  • Send an Abandoned Cart Email Series
  • Ask Engaged Customers for Reviews
Taylor Stitch sends offer emails before the Holiday season to boost their sales

Using these some very simple yet effective techniques to increase your conversions, retention, and ultimately lower your customer acquisition cost using email marketing.

Engage online store visitors with live chat

Over the years, live chats, chatbots have become very popular. Nowadays, customers prefer having an instant way to be able to connect with your brand for questions and customer support. Having a live chat option on your eCommerce store instills confidence in your customers. What more, it helps you in interacting with your customers directly and gain instant feedback about your product or services.

53% of US online adults won’t complete a purchase on-site if they don’t find quick answers right away.

Emerly’s uses Facebook Messenger chat to allow their customers to get instant answers to their queries.

Generate more product reviews

As an entrepreneur, it becomes important for you to ease that journey and providing better information to help them make a purchase. We already know that email marketing tricks like abandoned cart emails help you recover 10% of all abandoned carts. Similarly, product reviews help in increasing conversion rates by more than 4%.

One established way to do this is by using customer reviews. It is proven by research that customer reviews play a vital role in the customer journey before they make a purchase. As customers are becoming informed, the decision of buying something lies with them now. Not with you!

Sparrow’s review dashboard, lets you manage all your product reviews in one place.

Using a product review management platform like sparrow allows you to automate the entire product review generation journey of your customer. It also helps you in Google SEO by adding rich snippets on your product pages which gives you a tremendous boost in CTR in google search or in ads. Give Sparrow a try. It’s free!

Do you have a tip you would like to share? Let us know in the comments!


How product reviews boosts your e-commerce store sales

It is a known fact that customer product reviews have been an instrumental asset in boosting online sales. Research and studies have also shown that over 71% of people read online product reviews before they visit your site or before they make a decision to buy a product or service online. Further data also showed that 63% of the people that read online reviews make their purchases based on the reviews they read online. Buyers trust reviews the same way they trust personal recommendations (source).

Forrester research showed that getting loyal customer costs 4-5 times less than acquiring a new one (source).

Allowing your customers to share their buying experience, read other customer reviews means you are showing them how important their satisfaction is to you.

Product reviews are one of the essential parts of the buying process, and this article will explain the way product reviews can be used to boost sales. Product reviews can give you an insight into what makes your clients happy and the best way to find a solution to any of their problems in case of negative reviews.

Make use of a platform

The first and most important step to using product reviews to boost sales is using a leading platform. Platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, and others increase the authenticity of your business. These platforms offer two benefits to your business: the first is that you are getting product reviews, and the second benefit is that you will also enjoy a good exposure. If the purchase funnel is optimised, your business will generate more sales. With product reviews, you can generate 200% more sales, and having reviews on a platform builds customers confidence (source).

Product reviews should be highlighted

Having a great review can boost your sales to almost 10%, and having 100 reviews can positively affect your conversion rate by 37% (source). This is why positive reviews should be in the forefront of your business. Aside from the reviews on your website, it is always good to have a review page on social media platforms like Facebook. Billions of people use Facebook, making use of the platform is a way to make the most out of the platform and also grow your online community/ presence.

Add Google customer product reviews

Getting rating on Google offers a massive advantage. SEO-rich snippets can be used by business to display the star rating. Google AdWords is also instrumental because it integrates the reviews in the campaigns. Aside from getting good reviews, it is crème for businesses to learn how to tackle negative reviews. Ensure you respond quickly to negative reviews and also offer the best solution in your products reviews.

Be it a positive or negative review; you can always use them to improve your product sales. Positive reviews highlight product success, and negative reviews help show the way you can offer your product better.

How to offer incentives

Have you drafted ideas on how to improve your product, then you will be thinking of what’s next? Take the extra step to respond to reviews and offer incentives that help the customer make future purchases with your brand.

Try things like:

  • Free promotion items for clients that will offer future reviews
  • Offer discounts on future purchases for honest reviews
  • Offer discounts on products that will compliment customers purchase

How to get your product reviews

At this point, the importance of product reviews cannot be underestimated, how to deal with negative reviews, how to offer incentives for honest reviews, and how feedbacks can be used to improve your product. The next step is to find out the right way to get reviews and how to get them up on your page to improve conversion rate.

Email your customers: Trigger an automated email to the customers after purchasing your product.
Ask influencers: Influencers are people that have a significant online presence, and if your product happens to be in their field, contact them, and ask them to review your product. After reviewing your product, some influencers will love it, and they can also promote it for free.

Offer reward program: you can offer reward programs to customers for taking actions after purchasing your products. You can offer rewards for writing an honest product review after purchasing your product.

In conclusion, reviews have been a proven way to impact the conversion rate. Channeling time and resources towards them is an excellent investment for your business.