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Text Messages Are an Ecommerce Opportunity

Many ecommerce and omnichannel marketers treat text messaging as pared-down email campaigns. But text alone is a powerful way to drive sales. Nearly everyone, after all, grabs their mobile phone the moment a message arrives.

Text Opportunity

“The vision we’ve had is that text messaging could be so much more,” said Blu Atwood, CEO and co-founder of Textual, a shop-by-text platform.

“There is a lot left on the table with the mobile user, meaning if you can make text a more native mobile experience, you have something that makes more sense to the mobile user and more likely to engage them in a transaction,” said Atwood who was speaking during a live interview with the CommerceCo by Practical Ecommerce community on April 29, 2021.

Moreover, text messages may represent a low friction way to sell goods. Atwood pointed to Gary Vaynerchuk’s WineText, a daily text offer for discounted wine.

To start, a consumer signs up on the WineText website, providing payment information and a shipping address. Once registered, the shopper receives a daily wine offer.

On May 26, 2021, for example, the offer was a 2017 Zo Wines Dry Creek Zinfandel. This wine, according to WineText, normally sells for $38 per bottle but was available for one day at $17.95.

Screenshot of a WineText registration page.

WineText asks shoppers to register and provide all of the transactional information needed.

An interested shopper replies to the text message with the number of bottles she would like. That is it. Just reply with a number, and the transaction is complete.

Screenshot of a text message from WineText with a daily offer for a Zinfandel wine.

WineText’s daily offer includes a graphic, a relatively long text description, and an easy way to buy: Reply with the number of bottles you want to order.

By almost any definition, this is a low friction transaction.

Atwood noted that “through industry and SMS-commerce colleagues, I have come to find out that [Vaynerchuk] does very well with that, selling out almost all of his offers that he sends.”

Other Use Cases

WineText is a daily discount example of text message commerce, but, according to Atwood, there are other ways that SMS (only text) or MMS (text and other media, such as images) can be used to provide a native mobile, low-friction way to sell products.

Retailers could use text messaging to reduce overstock inventory, such as last season’s fashion or perishable items.

Brands that have traditionally sold wholesale via big-box retailers could use text messaging as a low-cost foray into the direct-to-consumer retail market.

Drop-shippers could sell everything from household goods to fast fashion without having an ecommerce website.

Combined Campaigns

Each of these examples — from WineText’s daily discounts to a retailer selling overstock or a brand going DTC — may be combined with other promotional channels, elevating overall sales.

“We crafted a program with a Fortune 500 company to sell overstock inventory,” said Atwood. “The company places QR codes on packaging and in stores [that] drive consumers to a sign-up page, where they join the exclusive offer club, receive the text-based product offer, and reply ‘yes’ to purchase.”

In this example, packaging and in-store campaigns are combined with low-friction text sales.

Another example might be to combine text shopping with email without duplicating the offer. WineText, for example, sends a secondary (and different) offer via email. This additional option may be related to the text message, such as a different variety from the same winemaker or a similar wine from a different vineyard. In each case, the message complements the text message rather than repeating it.

Screenshot of a WineText email offer.

WineText combines offers: text messages with secondary email.

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8 Little-Known eCommerce Marketing Techniques That Help You Rank Higher

Are you sending potential customers straight to your competitor's site?

Not intentionally, right?

The truth is: if you've neglected to stay on top of the latest eCommerce marketing trends, you probably have and are still doing so daily.

Many eCommerce store owners fall into the same trap while building their brands and online stores. You start with a perfect eCommerce marketing strategy, and it works beautifully.

Then sales flatline, and you don't understand what went wrong.

How do you reel in sales after Bailey Sarian name-dropped your organic lip gloss on her Youtube channel? Is celebrity endorsement enough to break through your $1million revenue barriers?

You’ll enjoy reading on if you’re asking yourself:

  • What more must I do to capitalize on my social media and online successes?
  • How do I advertise my eCommerce business better?
  • What is an eCommerce marketing strategy?

What is an eCommerce Marketing Strategy?

We all understand and follow the obvious steps in creating a marketing plan, email campaigns, and blogs that rock.

But, is it rocking the real players that determine your success?

A successful eCommerce marketing strategy gets your products sold online. It’s your roadmap to success for your online store. Your plan must remain in line with what Google and your customers want. As simple as that.

Our community of experienced 7-figure+ store owners at eCommerceFuel are always ready and willing to share advice for the best eCommerce marketing strategy that's proven to work.

Interacting with like-minded peers will help you stay on top of new frameworks, tactics, and ideas to rank high on Google while satisfying potential customer's searches.

How to Rank Higher on Google in 3 Steps?

Analytics text
Source: Pexels

Google is constantly changing their game.

And for a good reason.

The Web has more than enough meaningless and SEO-tired information. Google aims to deliver authoritative information on every search. You need to understand how it influences your rankings if you plan to stay ahead of the pack.

Optimize On-site SEO with Expert Tools

SEO audit
Source: Pixabay

Optimizing your website to satisfy Google's algorithms is not a guessing game. You'll find fantastic online tools that get the job done right in a few minutes.

Using SEO optimization tools is not a mere option anymore. If you want to stay ahead, use the right tools for the job. Great apps to consider includes:

Ensure your Content Matches Search Intent

Have you checked your FAQs and blogs lately? Are you answering your customer's questions or merely directing traffic to your site to sell products?

E-Commerce buyers, like Google, are wary of online fraud. Keep this in mind when you create marketing information for your store.

  • Be precise and answer the question searched
  • Avoid filler content
  • Use authority links that answers what it promises to

If you fill your pages with irrelevant information, the new generation eCommerce buyer will bounce off your site faster than they landed. No matter how good your intentions or products are.

Create Content That Matters

Black and red typewriter
Source: Pexels

Don't be afraid to allow controversial topics on your social media and eCommerce forums to encourage healthy discussion and interaction. If you don't have a social media forum, now's the time to create one. We'll discuss it in more detail a bit further down.

Google acronyms to shape your eCommerce marketing strategy and content with:

  • Google E-A-T: Google E-A-T checks if what you publish is accurate. If it's not, you'll drop down to the bottom of the search pile. Google wants Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness in your content.
  • YMYL: Your Money or Your Life refers to information that can affect your reader's happiness, health, or wealth. It walks hand in hand with E-A-T principles.

If you want to talk about medicine, back up your statements with high authority backlinks to prove your claims.

Get expert citations that the Google machines can fact-check for accuracy, or link to governmental sites to back up what you're saying.

It's about crafting well-researched and factual responses to what your eCommerce consumers are currently discussing. You want your customers to interact and participate on your platform.

The longer they stay on your site on every visit, the higher you rank.

How To Keep Customers on Your Site in 5 Steps?

Happy woman shopping online
Source: Pexels

Now that you've applied your eCommerce content strategy to impress Google, we can get to the people that matter most: your potential customers.

Much like Google, your eCommerce customers want tangible quality – even in a virtual world.

Adapt your Content Marketing Strategies

tiktok vs instagram infographic
Source: arthvessle.com

Are your marketing strategies still trendy? Are you still connecting to your target market with popular resources such as video marketing on TikTok?

“Videos are more engaging and more memorable than pictures or text. So, 8 out of 10 digital marketers praise video marketing. It helps to generate leads, increase the traffic of their websites, and directly increase sales. And the market and the demands are growing. Mobile video consumption is doubling every year. Almost all video marketers plan to keep their budget or increase it in 2020.” According to an article on GoGlobe.com.

According to mediakix, the popular influencer marketing site, Instagram was still the #1 social media leader in terms of active users up to 2020.

However, TikTok is growing by more than 49% year on year and toppled Instagram off the leaderboard recently when it reached 113 million downloads.

Revive Old Content

Guy in yellow shirt sitting
Source: Pexels

You should regularly update existing information on your website. As we said earlier: why re-invent the wheel if all it needs is a new tube?

If you have old blog posts that are still relevant, you can quickly give them a fresh appeal. You can do so by:

  • Updating article dates.
  • Updating backlinks and internal links to more recent industry news according to Google's latest SEO requirements.
  • Adding more original and trendy photos.
  • Replace old charts with current data.

Automate Everything

With AI tech-driven tools, we have no excuse to treat our eCommerce customers like virtual strangers. Automation and personalization go hand in hand with modern technology.

It would help if you considered adding automation tools to your current digital marketing plan budget.

Here's a list of what you should automate to deliver consistency in your eCommerce marketing and communications strategy:

  • Social Media campaigns and chatbot responses
  • Email marketing campaigns and responses
  • Online store live chat responses
  • Updating your email list from customer interaction

Personalize your Brand

Woman smiling in front of green plants
Source: Pexels

The new generation of eCommerce customers embrace the virtual age and expect personalization at every level of interaction. Make sure you don't focus so much on your eCommerce products that you leave your customers behind.

Give your brand a face that they'll recognize and trust.

It can be your photo, your company mascot, or a slogan. Be consistent in your content marketing to incorporate your ‘face' or mascot. Whether you create a blog or post your product on TikTok: always add your signature emblem to it.

Let your content creators and authors add their real names. You should add their photo too. It adds a personal touch when interacting with your eCommerce audience.

Let Your Company Culture Shine Through

Come in we are awsome
Source: Pexels

You have a superb opportunity to create and showcase your unique company culture and attract the right buyers for your products when they land on your FAQs after entering questions into their search engine.

Dropbox homepage
Image courtesy

FAQ sections attract high traffic. Use it to show who you are and whom you cater to. Dropbox uses interesting cartoon characters on its FAQ page that immediately puts you in a good mood, knowing they’ll be happy to deal with your questions.

The Bottom Line

person holding pen
Source: Pexels

It's time to re-organize your eCommerce marketing toolbox. Throw out what doesn't work and apply new marketing tools that do.

To succeed in eCommerce trading is a playful game of adapt or die.

Face every new challenge when marketing eCommerce head-on with a smile (grin if you have to, but make the change needed.)

Guiding eCommerce customers to your site is only step one in sealing a deal. You have to engage with and immerse them into your brand and online store by being consistent with your eCommerce marketing strategies and product delivery.

There's no need to re-invent a perfectly designed wheel. The most exciting factor about eCommerce marketing is that you have everything you need to thrive available with the click of a button.

When using proven eCommerce marketing tricks-of-the-trade shared by our generous community members here at eCommerceFuel, you can quickly lift-off and bend that flatlined sales curve upwards again.

Photo by Pexels

The post 8 Little-Known eCommerce Marketing Techniques That Help You Rank Higher appeared first on eCommerceFuel.

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Yandex acquires KupiVIP

Yandex, also known as the Google of Russia, has agreed to buy online fashion retailer KupiVIP. With the acquisition, Yandex wants to enhance its ecommerce offering on Yandex.Market. The deal should be completed in the third quarter of this year.

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42% of Austrians shop online at least every week

Online shopping has become increasingly popular in Austria. The corona pandemic has, of course, intensified this trend. Currently, 85 percent of Austrian consumers shop online at least once a month, while 42 percent buy products online at least once a week.

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Question about banks

Hi there! I am 17 and use my moms identity to dropship with her permission. I make about $1000 a day for a every other day payout of about $2000 – $2500 which goes directly to my bank account.

Will my bank account be suspicious that a 17 year old is pulling around 10k a week? I promise I’m not a troll. My mom has no answer for me and I can’t find anything online so I’m asking Reddit.

Will I be questioned for making that much? I’ve literally have had payment processors shut me down because “I’m too successful too fast”

Any words would be greatly appreciated thank you

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Crazy customer who is stopping at nothing to ruin my brand’s reputation – need advice.

Hey guys,

So I run a kidswear ecomm store. I live in Australia and dropship from China currently. In the last few days I have had a run in with a customer who is really dedicated to tearing us down, it seems.

I communicate on my Shipping & Returns page that the packages come from China, and she didn't realise this when she purchaed. When she noticed in her tracking info that it was indeed coming from China, she got really pissed off exclaiming that she can't believe shes is 'supporting Chinese workers, not Australian' (despite the fact that I, the business owner, is Australian, lol). She recommended that I update the 'about us' page to say they come from China, because she said that mentioning australia on the page is 'misleading'. I told her thanks for the suggestion, and I'll update it. I reviewed my whole site, and decided not to put it on the about us, since its loud and clear on the shipping info page. She then came back days later, pointing out that I didn't update the page. I explained why I didn't. She then proceeded to call us scammers, liars, disgusting, etc etc. This is super annoying, because our stock will actually soon be in Australia (within 2 weeks).

She then threatened to 'expose' us on her socials. I then told her sorry she's upset, and if she wants a refund (order was over $100), I'm super happy to do so because she's clearly dissatisfied. She then claimed that this was blackmail.

She also pointed out that the fact that we dont have the review function activated on our socials is 'shaddy', scammy etc etc.

Anyway, I thought that was that, but she has now come back, commenting on our ads saying how they're from China, etc etc. All of these activities have been over many many days, mostly unprovoked, and I really don't see her stopping anytime soon. I want to block her, but I know that will make her furious, and she'll keep going somewhow (she even got a friend to comment negative stuff on our page yesterday.)

I'm usually pretty resillient when customers get mad, and when things go wrong in the business, but I find myself feeling super anxious about this. Given the nature of her behaviour, I guess I'm scared that she's going to go full crazy and reach out to my customers or something. I guess I don't have anything to hide, so it shouldn't be an issue.

I just feel really personally (even though I know I shouldn't) offended and upset by this. I so wish that there was a way to make her stop, and the fact that there isn't is making me anxious as hell.

I guess I'm just seeking advice and your opinion, as I'm sure many of you have been in a similar situation.

Thanks in advance!

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Managing customs at the airport

In the drop shipping ,for the products that come from China ,what Do we need to manage the customs at the airport ? How do you do it ?

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Shopify Privacy Policy Template – A Beginners Guide

When starting a new store, we all know the excitement of getting everything laid out how we like it. But when it comes to policies, most of us dont have a clue where to begin.

Thankfully Shopify has a nice generic template we can use…great! but is it really that great?

What newcomers need to understand is that it is only a template, not a finished, legally binding document. I would say at least 90% of new stores i see, have slapped the template on and called it a day. This is not how it works. Because Shopify thought they would make life easier for us by creating a template, and within that template, there are sections in brackets and nice big capital letters so its easy for us to see, telling us exactly what we need to add, or remove accordingly. they will look a little like [ADD/REMOVE AS NEEDED] or something like [DO/DO NOT ACCEPT RETURNS] or even sometimes it may say [ENTER YOUR EMAIL HERE]

Now these are fantastic for us to sweep through, change or add what they are telling us to, and we have an instant, legally binding document on our website that covers our arses should some undesirable try to sue us.

The problem however is this…..Too many people are not adding or changing their info in these brackets. They are putting the generic template up, without changing a single thing. The general public, and potential customers can see with their own eyes (Yes, those bracketed sections show up publically if not amended) that it is an unfinished document. Now this leads to 2 problems….

Problem 1 – If you cannot be bothered, or do not understand the importance of a privacy policy, why on earth should anybody visiting your site trust your business enough to part with their money? in their eyes, if your policy is unfinished, and showing as a basic template, what else is wrong with the business?

Problem 2 – You are opening yourself up to serious legal issues. I know this may sound absurd, but there are people out there that actively search out sites like these for an easy court victory and payout. You do not have a leg to stand on if your policies are not in order, and you run the risk of losing everything (not just your site, Im talking everything you posess)

So seriously, it takes quite literally 10 minutes max to change the required fields. 10 minutes to make your site compliant, look more professional, and cover your own backside if and when issues arise. Please, do yourself a favour and do it.

I strongly believe that Shopify should have a system that does not allow you to publish your site until the documents have been filled correctly (like when you fill in an online form and miss a mandatory section, it tells you and wont let you submit until its filled) This would stop people from throwing up these half baked sites, and help people understand the importance of these documents. As Shopify is the go to platform these days, I think they have a certain responsibility to their store owners. Maybe I will put this to them as a suggestion. But until that day arrives, it is Your responsibility to cover yourself.

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How to successfully test Facebook ads and find a winning ad set

I recently ran a poll asking people what they’re struggling with most when it comes to Facebook advertising, testing and finding a winning ad set was the answer.

The testing phase can be daunting, there are so many variables involved and 100 experts will tell you 100 different things. The truth is, there is no single right way to execute a successful testing phase.

The most important thing to remember is, do what the data says! You don’t decide what works best, Facebook does. It’s also important to be patient and test as much as your budget will allow. Too often, I see people asking how to scale their ‘winning’ ad set after spending $20 across two days and finding that one ad set is performing slightly better than the others.

Here are my top tips for testing and finding a winning audience:

  1. Initially target logical, well-researched audiences. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket

No matter what you’re selling, there are likely 100s of possible audiences, even when you think there’s not many. However, it is important to start with the audiences that make sense before you get creative, especially with lower budgets. Start with interests directly related to what you’re selling. For example, if you’re selling watches, target ‘watches’, ‘Rolex’, ‘horology’ etc. An often overlooked approach is targeting secondary interests. Back to the watch example, secondary interests may include ‘diving’, ‘cars’, ‘golf’ etc. It’s also important to target larger audiences and let Facebook do the work. This is why it’s important to do your research to understand your audience. However, don’t put all your eggs in one basket and understand that some of the most logical audiences may underperform while somewhat ‘random’ audiences perform well.

A larger budget will allow you to test more earlier but always start with the most logical audiences.

  1. Use ABO when testing

Opinions differ when it comes to CBO vs ABO for testing, but the general consensus is that ABO is better. This will allow you to ensure an equal budget is allocated to each ad set and accurate testing takes place. CBO can be used later for scaling.

  1. Let ad sets run for at least 5 days before killing them

Facebook takes a while to adjust and needs a few days to optimise. Ad sets can sometimes take up to 4-5 days before they perform well. Killing an ad set after a day or two of poor performance will hinder your testing phase and you may miss out on finding a winning audience. Further to this, I often see people ready to scale after running an ad set for 1-2 days. It’s essential that you let an ad set run for 5 days regardless of its performance.

  1. Test creatives

Audiences are becoming less and less important as Facebook’s AI is improving. Lots of people are reporting that broad audiences are currently working best. 2021 is the year of creatives. It’s essential that your creatives are high quality and that you test copy, creative, headlines, CTA’s etc. It’s also important that new creatives are often introduced so as not to fatigue your audience. This is another area where opinion differs quite a bit. Some experts prefer dynamic ads as it lets Facebook do the work, and others prefer to separate creatives in different ads. The latter is probably the more common opinion but I have seen some highly successful campaigns run with dynamic ads.

  1. Fewer ad sets with a higher budget are better than more ad sets at a lower budget

$5/day is not enough for an ad set to test effectively, especially not in one week. If you have $100/day set aside for testing, you are better off having 5 ad sets with $20/day rather than 10 with $10/day. It may even be better to have 3-4 ad sets instead of 5. This will allow you to test faster and at the end of one week, you will have a better understanding of the quality of an ad set having spent $20-$30/day as opposed to $5-$10/day.

  1. Watch the data closely and learn from it

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to analyse the data and let Facebook do the heavy lifting. Facebook offers a plethora of metrics, use these to your advantage and adjust accordingly.

As mentioned at the start, there is no one technique when it comes to testing. I hope these principles have been valuable and assist with your testing phase.

Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions, I’ll be sure to answer them!

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Looking for something that can display user-uploaded images in real-time onto product templates

Does anyone know of a way to allow front-end users of my website to see what their uploaded images would look like displayed onto pre-defined product templates?

Let's say a user has designed artwork for a restaurant menu, which has a front and a back side. They go to the website page, where there are two large empty rectangles with an upload button on each. Whatever image is uploaded is automatically stretched to fit the canvas (the large empty rectangle), displayed inside the canvas so the user can see what their end product will look like. User clicks a button that says "Submit," and the image they uploaded is saved to a folder on my website.

How difficult would it be to make this happen? Thanks in advance for your help!

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