3 Common Misconceptions About Conversion Rate Optimization That Are Wasting Your Time

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"We got a 300% lift in revenues because we switched 'add to cart' button from green to orange!"

I read stuff like this all the time. It's not only horribly mis-informed but it can be damaging for business owners who execute baseless split-tests that lead to little or no real insight.

For ecommerce entrepreneurs who pride themselves on making the most out of every visitor, it's infuriating to be sold on - and subsequently invest in - conversion optimization tools, only to find after your first split test there were no real lifts at all.

The problem is, there's a good deal of information that is misleads the reader into thinking "If I just swap a headline, or change a button color, or 'fix' my call to action, the revenue will start pouring in!"  

But that's far from true. 

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5 Promotional Campaign Ideas to Boost Sales This Holiday Season

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Whether you're preparing for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday, the weekend after Thanksgiving is the biggest shopping weekend of the year.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday sales to increase 4.1% (to $616.9 billion) this year, a full percentage higher from last year. With a huge opportunity for profit, large retailers are fighting tooth and nail for consumers to spend their holiday budgets on their businesses.

The Black Friday craze is so competitive that some of these retailers have started announcing their Black Friday deals the day after Halloween. That's not even enough time for consumers to digest their Halloween candy.

To take on larger retailers who are looking to win over shoppers with low prices and free shipping, as a small and medium-sized business, you can turn to more personalized and creative ways to promote your store on a budget.

Here are just a few ideas that have worked for retailers in the past, that you can apply to your own store this holiday season.

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The 10 Step Local SEO Audit That You Can Do On Your Own

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This is a guest post from Ashwin Ramesh, cofounder of Synup

When starting to do SEO for your physical retail business, it is important for you to be able to audit your website and campaign to see whether all of the important factors are in place.

Even if you have a consultant doing this for you, it makes sense to audit some of these things yourself just to be sure you have all your tracks covered.

In this article, we'll go over ten of the most important steps you should take when auditing your Local SEO campaign.

The actual audit by itself isn’t going to be easy to follow unless you keep yourself organized. Ideally, you should write down all of your steps in a Google Docs spreadsheet you can follow.

Your spreadsheet needs to have rows with the different pages / sections or sites you’re doing an audit on and columns with the ten important audit steps.

Alternatively, you can use an easily laid out checklist like the Local SEO Checklist.

Let's get started.

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How to Make Your First $1,000 With Reddit Ads

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My name is Ryan Luedecke and I’m the CEO of a subscription service for jerky lovers called Sumo Jerky. As sole proprietor of a small bootstrapped business, I’m constantly looking for affordable opportunities to grow sales. Therefore, I was pleasantly surprised to learn I could run ads on Reddit for as little as $5.

Reddit is a gigantic online forum with over 5 BILLION pageviews a month. It’s divided into smaller forums, called subreddits, where people with shared interests can post questions, vote on topics, submit cool pictures, etc.

I use Reddit, for example, to participate in the Entrepreneur forum, the Paleo forum, and the Austin forum because those are topics that are of interest to me.

To date I’ve run about 30 ads on Reddit, spending about $400 and making over $2,200 in sales. About 15% of my monthly subscriber base is from Reddit ads.

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Google Rolls Out Enhanced Ecommerce for Google Analytics

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Yesterday, Google announced Enhanced Ecommerce for Google Analytics, giving ecommerce store owners quick access to more data-driven insights about how customers are behaving on their sites. 

By enabling the new features, online stores oweners can gain insight into the entirety of the customers' journey from when they first arrive to when they make a purchase or end up abandoning their cart.

With greater insight into the "why" behind each touch point, Google hopes you'll be better equipped for a well thought-out remarketing or funnel optimization strategy to cash in on those lost opportunities. 

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The Insider's Guide to Running a Successful Retail Store [Video Series]

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What exactly does it take to conceptualize, open, run, and promote a successful retail store? Chances are if you've ever looked into it, you'll know that it's a pretty large undertaking, with very few shortcuts for those who've never done it before. 

There's also plenty of rookie mistakes that not only end up costing a fortune but could derail the entire operation.

Luckily for you, we've partnered with Mercedes Gonzalez, a seasoned industry expert with 20+ years of experience under her belt who's been consulting with retailers both small and large through her company Global Purchasing. 

Not only has she worked with some of the most important buying offices in the country, but she's helped open or restructure hundreds of retail stores in the US and internationally, including the inaugural Sears store in Panama. 

In this video series, she provides hard-hitting questions you need to ask yourself, concise advice on what you can expect from running a store, and insider tips and tricks that previously you'd only be able to get if you paid her a large retainer fee.

From understanding your own motivations, finding the right location, purchasing merchandise that will sell, and advice on everything from retail math to hiring, this video series will equip you with everything you need to know to get out there and open a successful retail store. 

Let's get started.

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Introducing Responsive Checkout

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At Shopify, our goal has always been to make it as easy as possible for your customers to buy from your online store. For years we’ve provided our merchants with a simple and secure online checkout that, to date, has processed over $5 billion in sales for hundreds of thousands of individual businesses.

But the web is constantly changing. So today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Responsive Checkout, a brand new ecommerce checkout experience for online stores.

Responsive Checkout is the result of mobile-first thinking and is designed to help you capture more sales – allowing you to spend more time running your business and less time chasing abandoned carts.

It’s a product born out of thousands of hours of usability research and millions of dollars in real transactions carried out by stores using our early release version.


Preview Responsive Checkout on your store

or check it out on the Shopify Crafted store.

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46 Remarkable Ecommerce Website Designs

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What’s the recipe for great ecommerce design that turns visitors into buyers? There are several ingredients: professional photography, clean navigation, visual hierarchy, the right text-to-image balance. Like any good baker knows, it’s all about the ratio of ingredients and testing the mix along the way.

At the beginning of this year, we posted a roundup of 30 stunning ecommerce sites built on Shopify. Since then, many other stores have cooked up some incredible new designs. Whether it’s an out-of-the-box free theme combined with beautiful photography, or a custom design by one of our experts, the variety of beautiful sites on Shopify is astounding.

Apparel, home, gourmet, and paper companies alike have created sites unique to their own brands. In our latest design roundup, we’ve whipped up an eclectic list of shops to inspire you. These 46 Shopify stores have discovered the secret sauce of ecommerce design.

Read to the end of this post for a chance to win $500 in design services for your new or established store from Shopify Expert, PixelSupply!

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8 Customer Service Quotes That Will Transform the Way You Run Your Business

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Customer service isn't just what your business does after the sale in the form of addressing a support call or doing an exchange or issuing a refund, it's the-end to-end experience a customer has with all the touch points of your business. 

Whether you sell online, in-store, or anywhere in-between, placing an emphasis on making exceptional customer service a core component or a foundational value for your business, will change your outlook on why it is you do what you do. 

It will remind you of your reasons for starting your business in the first place, how your business adds value to the lives of your target customers, and why when it comes to the overall customer experience, there's always room for improvement.

To help you gain further insight into the importance of customer service, I've assembled eight quotes from some of the most brilliant thinkers and doers so that you too can gauge the state of customers today and how it is you might be able to serve them better tomorrow. 

Enjoy! 

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Referral Marketing 101: 7 Tactics to Launch Your Own Referral Campaign

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Study after study has proven that referral marketing is one of the best forms of marketing when it comes to sales and conversions. Simply put, referral marketing, sometimes also called word-of-mouth marketing, is just people purchasing products based on someone else's opinion or influence. It's a powerful marketing channel because people trust the opinions of other people in their lives and people they respect, whether that be family, friends, social media influencers or big stars. 

It makes sense, we regularly get advice from our friends on which TV shows to watch, movies to rent, or restaurant to go to. And, as end consumers ourselves, we wan’t to share our stories, the products we buy and the brands we choose. This becomes magnified when the buying experience and products are exceptional.

In this post, we will show you the three fundamental reasons referral marketing is so powerful, some examples of extremely successful referral campaigns, and provide you with seven tactical steps to build a powerful referral marketing engine for your business.

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