Ecommerce Marketing

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Ecommerce Marketing has two primary goals

  • Getting visitors to come to your site
  • Converting visitors to customers

Ecommerce Search Marketing

  • Potential visitors enter search words or a phrase into a search engine and the results generated usually 10 per page
  • The majority of people using search engines visit listings from the first page of such a search.
  • Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) such as Google Adwords are the paid listings which appear highlighted at the top of the first page of such searches.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) using keywords increase search rankings with the goal of getting your listing at the top of the search page.

Ecommerce Marketing through Social Media

  • Monitor social sites to gain information on where potential customers can be reached.
  • Engage potential customers with information from your website, blogs, questions, discussions or polls.
  • Promote exclusive offers or market free shipping software with links to your website for download.

Ecommerce Marketing using Product Feeds , free feeds such as Google shopping display your products within organic search results.

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSE) which is paid marketing similar to PPC, you pay when a customer clicks on the product and is then taken to your ecommerce Store, ecommerce Affiliate programs such as Commission Junction and LinkShare. These allow you access to third party marketers who help to promote your products through email, advertising and online links in exchange for commission.

It is no good having great e-commerce marketing if the visitors don’t convert into customers……

Converting visitors into customers requires a well designed website with ecommerce shipping. Your site should be eye-catching, uncluttered, easy to navigate, readable and offer something for free. Make shopping online a pleasant enjoyable experience!

Get the design right and you can accommodate even the fussiest buyer!

Design your website with your target market in mind, bright and bold for youth age, something a little bit more mature for older customers and even more subdued for seniors.

Readable content means text should be easy to read so choose a good size readable font, and ensure font color and background are compatible!

Pages should be simple and inviting, easy to navigate and well organized.  You want customers to stay on the site, browse and buy!

Product information should include high quality images and a pertinent description such as functionality and intended use.

Encryption is a must for a fast secure checkout. Have an emailed invoice and tracking number and your buyers are likely to be back because you made it easy and convenient to deliver good customer service.

Encourage customers and visitors to sign up for Store Newsletters, which you can use to deliver tips , hints or useful reviews of products to keep your site’s name directly in front of potential buyers.

Promotional Campaigns – downloadable or emailed coupons, product samples, competitions and opt-ins can generate a potential ‘customer list’ from those browsing the site, which can be used for future marketing.

Listen to your customers, allow customers the option of giving feedback to review your products, and comment on their experience of your customer service.

Remember!

The Customer is Always Right even online!

E-commerce – Streamline Your Website Pages

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Squeezing the most efficient performance from your web pages is important. The benefits are universal, whether the site is personal or large and professional. Reducing page weight can speed up the browsing experience, especially if your visitors are using dial-up internet access. Though broadband access is the future, the present still contains a great deal of dial-up users. Many sites, ecommerce sites especially, cannot afford to ignore this large section of the market. Sites with a large amount of unique traffic may also save on their total monthly traffic by slimming down their web pages. This article will cover the basics of on-page optimization in both text/code and graphics.

Graphics

Graphics are the usual suspect on heavy pages. Either as a result of a highly graphic design, or a few poorly optimized images, graphics can significantly extend the load-time of a web page. The first step in graphics optimization is very basic. Decide if the graphics are absolutely necessary and simply eliminate or move the ones that aren’t. Removing large graphics from the homepage to a separate gallery will likely increase the number of visitors who “hang around” to let the homepage load. Separating larger photos or art to a gallery also provides the opportunity to provide fair warning to users clicking on the gallery that it may take longer to load. In the case of graphical buttons, consider the use of text based, CSS-styled buttons instead. Sites that use a highly graphic design, a common theme in website “templates”, need to optimize their graphics as best as possible.

Graphics optimization first involves selecting the appropriate file type for your image. Though this topic alone is fodder for far more in depth analysis, I will touch on it briefly. Images come in 2 basic varieties, those that are photographic in nature, and those that are graphic in nature. Photographs have a large array of colors all jumbled together in what’s referred to as continuous tone. Graphics, such as business logos, are generally smooth, crisp and have large areas of the same color. Photographs are best compressed into “JPEGs”. The “Joint Photographic Expert Group” format can successfully compress large photos down to very manageable sizes. It is usually applied on a sliding “quality” scale between 1-100, 1 being the most compressed and lowest quality, 100 the least and highest quality. JPEG is a “lossy” compression algorithm, meaning it “destroys” image information when applied, so always keep a copy of the original file. Graphics and logos generally work best in the “GIF”, or more recently, the “PNG” format. These formats are more efficient than JPEGs at reducing the size of images with large areas of similar color, such as logos or graphical text.

A few general notes on other media are appropriate. Other types of media such as Flash or sound files also slow down a page. The first rule is always the same, consider whether they are absolutely necessary. If you are choosing to build the site entirely in Flash, then make sure the individual sections and elements are as well compressed as possible. In the case of music, I will admit to personal bias here and paraphrase a brilliant old saying, “Websites should be seen and not heard.” Simply, music playing in the background will not “enhance” any browsing experience.

Text and Code

The most weight to be trimmed on a page will come from graphical and media elements, but it is possible to shed a few extra bytes by looking at the text and code of a web page. In terms of actual text content, there may not be much to do here. A page’s content is key not only to the user’s understanding but also search engine ranking. Removing or better organizing content is only necessary in extreme situations, where more than page weight is an issue. An example might be a long, text heavy web page requiring a lengthy vertical scrolling to finish. Such a page is common on “infomercial” sites, and violates basic design tenants beyond those related to page weight.

Code is a different story. A website’s code can be made more efficient in a variety of fashions. First, via the use of CSS, all style elements of a web page can now be called via an external file. This same file can be called on all a site’s pages, providing for a uniform look and feel. Not only is this more efficient; it is also the official recommendation from the W3C. The same may be said of XHTML and the abandonment of “table” based layout. Tables, though effective for layout, produce more code than equivalent XHTML layouts using “div” tags. Where a minimum of 3 tags are required to create a “box” with content in a table, only 1 is needed using divisions. Using XHTML and CSS in combination can significantly reduce the amount of “on page” code required by a web page. A final, relatively insignificant trick is the removal of all “white space” from your code. Browsers don’t require it; it is primarily so authors can readily read and interpret the code. The savings are minimal at best, but for sites that receive an extreme amount of traffic, even a few saved bytes will add up over time.

Conclusions

Target images and media files first when seeking to reduce the weight of a page. They are the largest components of overall page weight and simply removing them can significantly reduce total weight. The images that remain should be optimally compressed into a format appropriate for their type, photos or graphics. Avoid huge blocks of text that cause unnecessary vertical scrolling. Organize the site more efficiently to spread the information across multiple pages. Adopt XHTML and CSS to reduce the size of the on-page code, and call the CSS externally. These tips should help reduce the size of your pages and speed their delivery to your viewers.

E-commerce Websites

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If your business is selling products, you need shopping cart software! E-Commerce websites provide you with a platform for selling.

There are literally hundreds of websites available to make your own e-store such as Big Commerce, ekmPowershop, Magenta,CubeCart.

Most paid websites provide the hosting for the site, therefore problems are handled by the same people, giving you peace of mind!

The challenge!

Finding the right solution for your business demands!

All E-Commerce websites should provide at least the basics, Customer care, Inventory management, Marketing and Promotion.

We need to consider a few basic questions about what we want and how the E-Commerce Site can provide the solution to run our business.

  • Is the store easy to maintain?
    Does it have features that you will never need?
  • Will you be paying a premium for unwanted content?
  • Does it provide statistic evaluation of purchase trends which can be used to boost sales!
  • Good Technical Support?

E-Commerce Website Design

These points should be considered when implementing your own Website Design

  • Performance and usability, the site should load quickly, be user friendly with good quality images, readable text and easily navigated
  • The website design should be implemented with the target audience in mind
  • Shopping Experience, high quality images, text which gives an informative product description, including the basics like dimensions, number of items in a pack
  • Product Organisation, products should be categorised and sub categorided for ease of navigation
  • Result filtering is a good option such as by price, customer ratings, other peoples opinions can give buyers extra confidence in purchasing
  • Shopping cart should be secure, easy to use and have a variety of payment options
  • Transaction Process should be customer friendly and informative
  • Customer Service should be excellent from providing invoice and tracking information to dealing with queries promptly and effectively.

Remembering the old addage – The Customer is Always Right!

Evaluate customer service from E-Commerce websites to determine if its user friendly!

Happy customers come back!

  • Is the shopping experience for customers pleasant?
  • Is the website simple to navigate?
  • Specific product search is quick and easy to use?
  • Is the checkout procedure fast and simple?

Giving a variety of payment options

Is the Customer service good, email updates, tracked shipping information, queries answered promptly.

A few simple questions which can help determine if you have a decent website on which to present your E-Store to the World.