4 Mistakes Lowering Your E-Commerce Store’s Conversion Rate

You have an e-commerce store, but you’re finding that site analytics aren’t where they should be.  If your conversion rate isn’t up to par, you could be making some mistakes on your site that are costing you valuable sales and customers.  Let’s look at some e-commerce errors that you should avoid or fix on your website.

1.  Homepage Doesn’t Reflect Your Products

Look at your homepage for a few seconds and pretend to be a customer.  Then look away and ask yourself, “What does that website offer me?”  Honestly try to answer this question and if you’re having trouble telling what your site is about after a short glance, then your homepage isn’t doing its job.  People should be able to quickly eyeball your homepage and know what it is your site offers.  If people can’t tell what your site is about, they will leave.  First impressions are that important, so make your homepage targeted.

2. Call To Action Is Absent Or Unclear

Customers want quick and easy action.  They don’t want to waste time and expect businesses to tell them how to purchase things.  What is your call to action?  If your buy now button isn’t big and directly in view, then chances are it’s being missed by customers.  It’s essential to have a buy now button and ensure that it’s highlighted on your site.  If not, customers won’t know what to do and they’ll wander off your site.

3.  Prices Aren’t Listed

Don’t worry about listing your prices—this is a business and people are here for that reason.  Customers aren’t going to think anything of it if you list your prices clearly in view.  In fact, they will appreciate the upfront aspect of this because it makes things easier on them.  Trying to be discreet with your prices often just make customers wary and confused.  They start worrying that hidden fees will be tacked on later or that you’re trying to hide something.  So list prices where people can easily see them.

4. No Symbols Of Trust

Scams are common on the Internet and people are always watching out for them.  Sites that invoke trust are the ones that get business and conversions.  No one is going to hand out financial information to a site that looks unprofessional.  It’s important for your site to look legitimate, so list any symbols of trust on your store’s pages, like reviews and testimonials from previous customers.  You could also list awards your store has received, business licenses, or other appropriate symbols of merit.  And don’t hide these symbols of trust on your about or purchase pages—put them in plain sight on the homepage or sidebar.

Try to look at your site using a potential customer’s perspective.  Is your site clear and elegant in its design?  Fix any mistakes on your site and keep things as simple as possible for your visitors to find directly what they want.  If you need any help with your online store, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’d be happy to serve you!

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How Maximizing Google Adwords Can Change Your Fortunes

Marketing to the masses on the Internet sounds like a lot of fun to many involved in business. Before jumping right in though, it is important to understand that there are right ways and wrong ways to go about this. All Internet businesses should be using Google Adwords to target their ads for example, and it is important to look at maximizing Google Adwords.

Keep The Targeting Specific

When selecting keywords from Google Adwords, it is vital to put a lot of thought into it. Selecting specific keywords that are bound to generate a lot of traffic is the goal. Choosing the right keywords requires that you narrow your focus. Entrepreneur.com has this advice on what to do,

If you sell mens’ clothing, for example, don’t bid on the keywords for every single item you sell and then send people to your home page. Choose specific items you want to advertise, write ads for them, and send visitors straight to a webpage built for that specific item.

Create A Strong First Impression

When you have a customer arrive on your website, you want to offer them something that they can buy or sign up for right away. Giving customers the chance to make a purchase choice right away is a good idea because it leads to higher conversation rates of customers who are brought into your website turning around and purchasing something. That is how the real money is made.

Review Your Results

The best thing to do with the data coming in from your Google Adwords campaigns is to review how well various campaigns do for you. The more that you know about what does and does not work for your site, the better you can do in future marketing campaigns.

Contact us for more information on making your marketing campaign something you can be proud of.

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Shopping Cart Software: Using Auto Ship-Recurring Orders to Increase Sales

Running any business is a challenge, but running an E-commerce business is nice because you have beneficial tools at your disposal. For instance, shopping cart software can create a pleasant experience for your customers as they can breeze through the process. While this software may be impressive, being able to customize this software makes it even better, and this is because it means you can turn standard E-commerce websites into unique ones. It is important to consider the newest features regarding software, and in this case, auto ship is a feature worth looking at further.

Subscription Plans for Regularly Used Items

People, in general, use certain items on a regular basis. Some people purchase coffee, tea, coffee filters, hand soap, and health supplements multiple times over the course of weeks and months. It is incredible when you can turn your E-commerce website into a place where people can get their essentials, but without the need to go online, add the items to their shopping cart, and checkout all over again.

Make it Easier for Customers to Get What They Need

When you make things easier for your customers, you make them become loyal. It does not take much too entice certain customers, which means providing a few minutes of time savings may be more than enough to stick around for the long run. Gaining long-term customers can keep your business thriving, so this is definitely something to anticipate when you start using the auto ship feature.

Ability to Choose Different Intervals

Having the ability to choose different intervals puts the control in the hands of the customer. It is great when a customer can decide to get a few items every few weeks, and then utilize auto ship to receive a few more items every other month. This kind of customization leads to happy customers, which is exactly what you want in an E-commerce business.

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding the auto ship feature or shopping cart software, please contact us as we would be glad to help.

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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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