Maximizing Google Adwords Through Ad Scheduling

If you run a physical brick and mortar retail location, you probably have certain hours of operation as well as an employee schedule. You probably know which are your busiest days of the week and even your peak periods within a day. Your e-commerce site probably has patterns as well. You may have noticed consistent periods of low or no conversions and perhaps even entire days when sales are almost non-existent. Yet, you probably continue to run your Google Adwords campaign, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Luckily, you can begin Maximizing Google Adwords campaigns by implementing Ad Scheduling and controlling when your ads should and should not run.

The concept is simple: Run a Google Adwords report which can show you performance metrics such as conversions or clicks for any time period you desire. For example, you can run a 24 hour report and see which hours of the day are profitable (and which are not). Or you may choose to run a similar report but on a day by day basis, and you could easily see which days perform well and which ones are not generating a ROI. Once you have that data, you can create an Ad Schedule within AdWords to control when your ads should and should not run.

To run the report, follow these simple steps:

  • Log into AdWords.
  • Select your campaign.
  • Select a time period to analyze (the more data you include, the better your analysis will be).
  • Click on the Dimensions tab.
  • Click on the View tab.
  • Select Time then Hour of the day

Analyze the data with care. Take into account your cost of acquisition. You may see periods of very few conversions but what if you have correspondingly low traffic volume? If so, perhaps your cost/acquisition is actually great during those slow periods and ads should continue to run.

Once you’re sure of the periods when you don’t want your ads to run, it’s easy to start Maximizing Google Adwords. To set up an Ad Schedule follow these steps:

  • Log into AdWords.
  • Select your campaign.
  • Click on the Settings tab.
  • Click on Ad Scheduling.
  • Click on the + Ad Schedule button.

Creating the schedule is very intuitive, you simply add each day of the week, with a schedule for the hours you want your ads to run.

What sort of results can you expect? Well your number of conversions should remain as before but your conversion rate will probably improve, since you are now leaving out a lot of non-converting traffic. Actually, most of your key performance indicators (KPIs) should improve, but best of all, by Maximizing Google Adwords, your campaign bill should see considerable savings at month’s end.

The staff at Able Commerce specializes in e-commerce solutions, including internet marketing. Feel free to contact us and one of our Adwords experts will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

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Optimizing Your Ecommerce Store to Attract Shoppers in the Millennial Generation

Building an ecommerce store is easy with Able Commerce. However, promoting a new store in the modern marketplace can bring challenges. This is especially true if you want to target the younger demographic. The old marketing rules just don’t apply anymore with Generation Y. In addition, shoppers from all generations enjoy shopping online; are generally web savvy and research products online before buying them. In fact, a recent consumer study across all demographics found that, “shoppers are 88% less likely to buy from companies that ignore,” consumer attempts at social media contact.

When it comes to Millennials, however, a love for social media is not the only thing that sets them apart. Millennials are very different than previous generations. Whereas with Generation X and previous generations, you could just follow national trends that were popular at the time and likely reach enough of them, Generation Y is so different that you should understand this difference before you attempt to market to them. Casting a big net might not catch any of them.

In a recent Huffington Post article, Ryan Donegan, (a Millennial himself), shares that there are 86 million Millennials and their expected spending power will be 2.45 trillion by 2015. He also shared marketing tips to appeal to his generation.

According to Donegan, with your marketing, you should not:

  • “Insult their intelligence
  • Make it hard to buy your product online
  • Ignore that quality and service matter again to this generation, or
  • Strive to create ads and videos that are viral, (instead make them socially conversational)”

In perhaps Donegan’s clearest display of how different Generation Y is to market to, he warns retailers not to, “disguise,” their marketing with emotion and other tactics. This is because Generation Y cares more about product features, product functionality, a business’ social and civic contribution and how a product can serve them.

He cites the, “Child of the 90s,” video, which many people in Generation Y loved and shared, yet it didn’t persuade them to turn away from Google Chrome.

In addition to Donegan’s suggestions, you should probably be completely transparent through all online channels as well to appeal to both Generation Y and the modern consumer in general.

The reason that these marketing strategies work best with Generation Y is because the Internet and the shocking world changes they’ve experienced have groomed them to be more socially aware, socially conscious, tech savvy, brand loyal and realistic than any other generation to date. Able Commerce has been around since 1993 and is a platform that has the uncanny ability to change with the online climate and provide retailers with the tools they need to compete.

In addition, to giving you a developer friendly ecommerce store that is easy to put up and manage, we also offer you:

  • The ability to create a mobile version of your store
  • The ability to engage in all social media, (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.) through your webstore, and
  • The freedom to work with developers whenever you want, to add more interactivity and incorporate video or other new platforms into your store; so that your site continues to appeal to the modern shopper

Contact us today.

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Increasing E-Commerce Conversion Ratios with Multiple Product Images

In our never ending e-commerce drive towards Increasing ecommerce conversion ratio’s most of us have focused our efforts on content (and rightly so) yet there is another component which may be just as important, and that is the product image. After all, when you are surfing very quickly through sites, looking for something, it is rarely the content that initially makes you pause and take notice, it is usually a photograph. Of course content has to be unique and relevant but a high quality, relevant photograph can grab a visitor and have him reading your content in under a minute.

Think of a customer in a regular brick and mortar retail location. He normally walks in, heads towards the section he is interested while glancing at products along the aisle. When he eventually gets to his destination he will begin to scan the area for the specific product he wants. When he finally finds a candidate what does he do? He picks it up, hefts it, turns it all around and views it from different angles and if it’s something he can wear, he’ll look around for a mirror to see how it looks on him. Once convinced, he makes a purchase.

In the e-commerce world it is impossible to have a visitor handle a product (unless it is software). Increasing ecommerce conversion ratio’s requires providing a site visitor with the next best thing which is plenty of unique content and lots of high quality product photos to help him completely visualize it in his hands. One photo, with one unique angle simply will not do. Your site must have as many photos as the product has angles, all but one in thumbnail format. A light box can be used to display the high resolution versions with all product details clearly visible. You want your visitor to feel he has seen everything there is to see about the product and can now make a purchasing decision.

Below are some tips to consider when choosing your supplementary product photos:

  • Check Your Shopping Cart Platform – Make sure it supports multiple images and ideally, has a built in light box or a zoom magnifier.
  • Use High Quality Images – Poorly lit, out of focus or improperly framed photos says a lot about the professionalism of your website and can lower instead of raise conversion rates.
  • Use Alt tags – These are the descriptions you see when you mouse over an image. The last thing you want to show is a simple file name. Make sure you use either a short description or at least some keywords associated with the image. This will also help your search engine rankings.
  • Use Human Models – Showing a pair of earrings on a flat white background is good, but seeing them being used is even better. Product images with humans tend to make the visitor imagine himself using the product, a critical pre-cursor to making a purchase.

Although the power of the written word is well documented, in e-commerce the power of multiple product images is under rated. Increasing ecommerce conversion ratio’s is as simple and inexpensive as adding more images, yet you may want to start slow and conduct a test. Choose a handful of your top selling products and run an A/B test with multiple images for a statistically significant period of time. The results will speak for themselves.

Adding multiple images to your entire catalog can be a daunting task, but Able Commerce makes it simpler with its built-in easy to use interface. Please contact us for additional information.

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Common Pitfalls and Ecommerce Mistakes

It was once believed that online stores would never be as popular as they are because they would not function properly and consumers would reject them. Some thought that only the personal touch of a salesperson would be able to convince customers to make their purchases. That has not turned out to be the case. Easy to use eCommerce solutions have quickly and effectively become a major player.

How To Avoid The Pitfalls

When something is still in its early stages as eCommerce really is, it is easy for people to fall into some of the pitfalls that would cause them to not perform well in relation to others in the space. This is why it is important to look at some of the mistakes that are made when it comes to designing an eCommerce site.

  • Not Optimizing Images

Customers want to look at the images that you provide for them on your eCommerce site, but that does not mean they want to look at images that are not of a high enough resolution that they can truly see them. If an image is of poor quality, consider using photoshop to sharpen it up a little so that viewers will get a better idea of what you are trying to show them.

  • A Slow Checkout Process

You may not have considered how important even a few seconds of time are to customers, but they are. This is why they are online shopping in the first place and not out in some store looking for what it is that they need. Keep this in mind if you want to keep customers around, and make sure the checkout process is as seamless as possible.

  • Not Including Product Descriptions

This one is a big no-no. While pictures can often speak a thousand words, there are sure to be some questions that remain. A product description included with the picture could help to answer some of these questions right away. Don’t overwhelm the customer service lines with questions about product descriptions by not providing them.

These three things are huge when it comes to pitfalls that are made on beginner level eCommerce sites. In order to make your own site easy to use and great for customers, avoid these pitfalls and others. Contact us with any questions you may have about mistakes that you can and should avoid.

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Increasing E-Commerce conversion ratios with Product Reviews

We are all consumers and at the very least understand our own shopping behavior and I think we can safely assume that most of us use product reviews to help us make on-line purchasing decisions. Almost every retailer today provides product reviews in an effort to help customers make their purchasing decision without leaving their site. Once a visitor leaves your site and goes in search of more information, the likelihood of them going back to your site is fairly slim. You must keep customers on your site in order to have conversions.

Take a look at your analytics data and you will most likely find that most of your conversions have a combination of high visit time combined with a high number of pages viewed. You will probably see a threshold, which once it’s crossed, virtually guarantees a conversion. Increasing ecommerce conversion ratios is not as difficult as it sounds. The key is to have sufficient relevant content to keep the visitor interested and to help him make a purchasing decision. Product reviews do just that.

Below are some of the benefits provided by product reviews:

  • Reviews create trust – Visitors feel safer knowing other people are buying from the same site.
  • Reviews provide objective information.
  • Reviews will reduce returns by helping customers choose the product that’s right for them.
  • Reviews provide fresh content on a regular basis – A must for ranking well in Google and Bing.

Above and beyond the benefits listed above, product reviews provide your site with authority, credibility and trust, key factors considered by consumers when deciding where to make an on-line purchase. It seems clear that to be competitive today, your shopping cart platform must support product reviews.

AbleCommerce shopping carts have built-in product review modules which you can enable or disable at will and you can even decide whether they should require approval before posting. We’ve also implemented a product review reminder service which automatically sends an e-mail to your customers asking for feedback on their purchases, turning a time intensive task into an automatic hands-off process.

Increasing ecommerce conversion ratios can be a daunting task, but in the area of product reviews AbleCommerce makes it easy with its built in product review support. Please contact us for additional information.

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Practicing Search Engine Friendly Ecommerce

Search engines are truly the lifeblood of any online operation at all. This is perhaps even more true when the operation in question is a business. Businesses obviously need to have as many individuals viewing their materials as possible in order to be successful. Working with the search engines to get this done is the only way to make sure that those businesses are able to acheive the kind of results that they truly want.

All commerce online needs to be search engine friendly ecommerce. Setting it up this way means that anyone looking for the products or services that you are offering via your ecommerce site will be able to find them. They just have to go to the search engines and type in the keyword for what they are looking for, and then they are taken to your site. It makes it simple for the customer, and it makes for more traffic on your part.

Setting up a search engine friendly site is merely a matter of making sure that the site has proper design and quality material. Keywords and the like are important as well, but the most important factor is having quality material that people will be happy to share the link to.When they are sharing your link frequently, this is when it really starts to get bumped up the search engine rankings.

What may be difficult in the beginning is resisting the desire to simply load up your website with all of the keywords that you possibly can. While this may seem like a good idea, it is no longer a practice that does any good with the major search engines. It is not what users of the search engines are looking for, and that means it is not what the search engines will reward.

If you have any questions about what you need to put into your website to make it more search engine friendly, we would like to hear from you. Contact us with any questions or concerns that you may have.

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Search Engine Friendly Ecommerce URLs

You’ve implemented keyword research, H1 tags, unique content and a myriad of other SEO techniques to rank your site higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), but what about SEO friendly URLs? Search engines as well as human visitors love them and they most certainly help your search engine friendly ecommerce efforts, but what exactly are they and how can you implement them?

We all know a URL is simply the string of characters that make up a website address (URL is an acronym for Uniform Resource Locator). From an SEO perspective URLs were not particularly relevant when the Internet got started, but as time has gone on, URL readability has become a big issue.

To illustrate the issue of URL readability, which of the following URLs would you rather have on your own search engine friendly ecommerce site?

www.mysite/livingroom/lamps.htm

Or

www.mysite.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=40&products_id=6

The answer is obvious from a human perspective, but it’s not only humans who prefer readable URLs, it turns out search engines prefer them as well. Google, Bing and Yahoo all prefer a readable URL because it helps the human searcher better understand search engine results. This preference is one more factor that can help your site rank even better and it can improve your Click-Thru Rate (CTR) as well, since it is easier to figure out the probable content of a page from a readable URL.

One other plus of an SEO friendly URL is keyword insertion. Your SEO efforts will go that much further if your page content also happens to have the keyword in the page title and in the URL. The question then becomes, why doesn’t every ecommerce site use SEO friendly URLs? The answer lies in your shopping cart platform.

A URL such as the first one in the example above is considered a static URL and is the result of a page being created and stored on a server. Unfortunately not too many e-commerce platforms today rely on this system since it has several inherent disadvantages. Instead, most e-commerce platforms today use dynamic URLs which are the type we consider unreadable.

While most SEO efforts simply require content re-write, SEO friendly URLs require support from your e-commerce platform. Either you have it, or you don’t. If your platform doesn’t support them, you’re out of luck or you need to switch e-commerce platforms.

Our award winning AbleCommerce shopping cart solutions are not only powerful but they are easy to use as well. They also provide you with a huge list of options, one of which is implementation of SEO friendly URLs. Feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free 30 day trial so you can see the benefits for yourself.

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Taxing the internet: one threat to easy-to-use ecommerce

The U.S. Senate earlier this month passed the bill making it easier for individual states to collect sales tax for items bought on line, by phone or through media ads. The bill, which has uncertain prospects in the Republican-dominated House, could squeeze more revenue out of sedentary shoppers, installing another barrier to easy to use ecommerce.

The bill’s supporters point to “lost revenue” from Internet sales of over $11 billion. They point out that it is simply not fair that local merchants must compete with online companies, who can cut their prices because they don’t have to charge sales tax.

The bottom line is that no matter where you shop on line or from where the merchandise is shipped, you pay your local tax at the time of purchase. The vendor must know the amount of sales tax your local government charges, and you pay it. If you live in a state that has no sales tax, you continue to pay nothing.

Arguments against this tax:

  • Taxes should support infrastructure and not just be predatory

Taxing someone who buys something, but does not travel to the location of the goods, defeats the purposes of sales tax. Think about it: You shop at the local Target or Walmart and pay the sales tax – state and local. That sales tax pays for the traffic control, police and fire protection and plugging the potholes in front of the store.  Sending sales tax money for something bought on line outside the state is collecting a fee for a service not rendered.

  • Hard to implement and difficult to administer

One convincing argument against the tax appeared on the editorial page of the “Wall Street Journal”:

For the first time, online merchants would be forced to collect sales taxes for all of America’s estimated 9,600 state and local taxing authorities.”

The Journal piece also points out other flaws in the “Marketplace Fairness Act,” which imposes requirements on Internet-based businesses that regular merchants do not have to follow:

  • Ecommerce merchants in states with no sales tax (New Hampshire, for example) will be forced to do the same collecting and accounting as states that have the tax.
  • The plan requires yet another bureaucratic structure – “a centralized tax collector for each state or for a group of states that would gather both state and local levies from online merchants.” Superimpose that requirement on about 9,600 tax authorities, and it becomes extremely complicated. (But, cynics say, it would be a new way to spend the additional revenue.)

The “big guys” are actually in favor of the tax!

Walmart and Amazon really like the idea of collecting the tax. They are, according to the Journal piece “drivers of this rush to tax.” Why? The irony is that being so large and spread out, the bigger stores already have the tax collection and payment mechanisms in place – and that means that, yet again, they get to put the squeeze on their smaller competitors, who aren’t so agile.

The marketplace will adjust as it always has

Finally, if the tax becomes fact, the playing field won’t become more level; it will most likely result in shifting Internet businesses from U.S. to foreign locations.

In these days of growing government deficits at all levels, it is tempting to view any revenue enhancement as a necessary evil. If that enhancement, however, imposes unfair burdens and costs to business and generates even more government growth, the argument against the Internet use tax becomes strong indeed.

Americans oppose the tax

According to a recent piece in IVN, a big majority (61%) of U.S. voters oppose the Internet Sales Tax Bill. The piece makes the alarming observation that consumers “warn they’ll buy less” if the tax is imposed.

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Forrester: Online sales outpacing brick-and-mortar retailers—time to use a proven shopping cart software.

If you’ve been thinking about the right time to launch your eCommerce business, this may be your time to make history as the growth in online retail sales is expected to outpace the brick-and-mortar businesses over the next five years.

Last year, U.S. ecommerce racked up sales of over $230 billion, and is projected to increase by 13% to $262 billion in 2013, according to the market research firm, Forrester, as noted on the Mashable website.

So far, the growth accounts for almost 8% of total retail sales, and is expected to hit $370 billion by 2017; if so, it could well represent a “full tenth of all retail sales in the U.S.”

Isolating the two factors attributed to such growth shows reveals the ever-increasing time consumers spend online, particularly with the use of mobile devices, smartphones and tablets to search and tap social media advice; no surprise, but consumers are completing their transactions more often with these ubiquitous devices.

Also, the traditional retailer is beefing up its investments in their existing online sales sectors; more specifically, the larger stores allow sales associates to order out-of-stock merchandise for the customer real-time; this, while giving a nod to online shoppers who want to pick up their order at the store.

Surprisingly, most of the ecommerce growth is not coming from new shoppers per se, but from existing online shoppers “spending more time and money” with a wider array of product categories now available to them.

Make sure your ecommerce investment is on track to deliver a solid ROI by using our proven shopping cart software—and hosting options. Our shopping cart software is  tailored to accommodate the growth of your business.

Contact us for more information.

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Increasing ecommerce conversion ratio’s using Google Adwords Remarketing

If you’re like me, you are constantly examining your Google Analytics statistics and fretting over bounce rates, page views, average visit durations, etc. One of the most disheartening statistics, which might be a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for some of you, is the abandoned cart rate. This statistic of course lets you know what percentage of visitors actually placed items in their shopping cart, then left the site without completing the purchase. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow contact these potential customers and perhaps get them to convert? Well you can do exactly that using Google Remarketing.

Google Remarketing is really a combination of pre-existing tools, including Google Analytics, Google Adwords and the Google Display Network, which can help you track visitors to your site and then re-engage them with Google Display Network ads as they visit other relevant sites throughout the internet. Let’s take a look at an example:

Let’s say you sell motorcycle jackets and you have a shopping cart abandonment rate of 40%, which translates to an average of 20 lost sales per day. Part of the Google Remarketing strategy is to create a new Google Display Network campaign with ads specifically designed for your abandoned cart visitors. When these 20 visitors visit other relevant websites which are part of the Google Display Network, they will see your customized ads, specially targeted at them. You may for example create a campaign offering Free Shipping or perhaps a 15% discount. These visitors may recognize your site (since they already invested a lot of time previously in your site) an d at best, may be interested in that discount and visit your site again to finalize a purchase. At worst, your ads will create a brand awareness over time which may eventually result in a sale.

Remarketing allows businesses to reach those visitors who are more likely to convert. It can help you increase your conversion rate and other KPIs, and it will convert some of those abandoned carts into real sales. Of course, you don’t have to use it for abandoned carts only, you can target visitors who viewed a specific product, made specific purchases or visited your site for specific periods of time. Yes, there is an additional cost associated with the Google Display Network click, but it is generally much lower than the normal PPC campaign cost, with the added bonus of targeting customers who are VERY likely to convert.

Increasing ecommerce conversion ratio’s using Adwords is one of the less expensive ways to improve your bottom line. We can create an affordable Google remarketing campaign for your site to help you recover those lost sales. Simply contact us and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and after a quick analysis, provide a time frame to implement a solution for you.

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