Results for 'ecommerce solution'

Asking For Trouble's Guide to Setting Up Shop Online

Shopify customer Asking For Trouble has written a great post on her blog about considerations for setting up…

Shopify customer Asking For Trouble has written a great post on her blog about considerations for setting up shop online. She explains, in plain english, what you’re going to encounter when you’re setting up shop with companies like eBay, PayPal, Etsy and of course Shopify.

“So, you’ve made your products and you want to get them out there for people to buy. What’s the best option for ecommerce? Well, as with most things online, it depends on a lot of different things. There are many different ecommerce options and each have their own pros and cons. Which one suits you best will depend on your range of items, your technical ability, your product prices and your pocket. There’s no ‘best’ solution, just the best solution for you.”

It’s an excellent overview for people just getting started with ecommerce and explains everything in uncomplicated terms. Great work!

Innovative Ecommerce: Brian's Online Garage Sale

Brian Scates is moving from Dallas to San Francisco at the end of July and doesn't want to…

Brian Scates is moving from Dallas to San Francisco at the end of July and doesn't want to lug everything he owns over 1,500 miles across the country. So instead of renting a moving truck he's decided to sell the lot (including his $26,500 Audi A6), and start with a blank slate. Since he doesn't have a garage, Brian decided to open an online store to sell everything he owns. Smart. 

Ecommerce Store
Brian's virtual garage sale is appropriately named "Empty My Apartment" and has already proven to be a success. In the couple of days his store has been open, his apartment is half empty. I spoke with Brian today to see what inspired him to build a temporary online store and here is his response:

"This is something I've been thinking about for a couple of months. I HATE selling things on craigslist. For everything you list, 10 people call you asking if it's available, if they can come look at it, ask you to hold it, tell you they're on their way, and then never show up. It's also hard to sell higher end things on craigslist if you are cash-only. So the idea of selling 40–50 things on craigslist made me want to kill myself."

Makes sense when you think about it. I jumped on craigslist this weekend to sell a used couch and an old IKEA bookcase and wasted my entire Saturday fussing around with phone calls and broken promises. Online classified ads undoubtedly have their purpose, but Brian's Empty My Apartment store is a creative solution for someone selling more than a handful of items. The barrier to entry in the world of ecommerce has never been so low, and Brian had his store up in less than an hour. 

"I had the store up and running within an hour of deciding to use Shopify. I spent maybe another hour or two customizing the template, then the whole weekend taking pictures and adding products."

After chatting with Brian, I checked out another one of his websites and thoroughly enjoyed his article on redesigning the user interface for the elevator buttons in his (soon to be former) apartment building. Brian currently owns gestalt labs, a design and marketing firm in Dallas, Texas. 

5 Strategies to Get Customers to Trust Your Ecommerce Store

All right. You’ve got the products. You’ve got an ecommerce website with a finely tuned checkout process. But…

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By Susan Ward

All right. You’ve got the products. You’ve got an ecommerce website with a finely tuned checkout process. But you don’t have the kind of conversion rate you would like and shopping cart abandonment is an ongoing problem. Maybe visitors to your site just don’t trust you.

While the cost of shipping and handling has long been the number one reason that people abandon shopping carts, fear also makes the list.

The increasing prevalence of phishing scams, malware, and just plain shoddy customer service makes consumers more wary with their clicks than ever before – which means that trust indicators on your website are more important than ever before. Here are five things you can do to soothe your potential customers’ fears and make them more likely to follow through and buy your products online.

1.Make it Personal

People don’t trust pages or websites. They trust people. So it’s crucial that your website has a human factor.  One way or another, you want to present your prospective customers with faces and names. Use  an about us page to present not just information about your company, but a message from your company’s Founder or President (with an accompanying photo, of course) or a Meet Our Team section (with photos and names)  - or both.

And if possible, add a personal twist to the information you provide on other sections of your website and in your marketing. Online bookseller Chapters Indigo features a Heather’s Picks section of items “specially chosen and loved” by CEO Heather Reisman. You might do a similar thing on your website or have a specific person present a deal of the day or best buy of the week. These, of course, could then be featured in your email marketing, newsletter etc.

2. Look Professional

Show that you’re a “real” company with all the things a real company would have, such as an easy way to contact the business (a fully developed contact page, not just an email form) and customer service (a fully developed customer service section on your website, including a returns policy and a FAQs section). This Future Shop Customer Support page is a great example of what a customer service section of an ecommerce website should be. I’m not saying that yours has to be this big but it does need to be as easy to navigate and present all the relevant information your customers might look for. Remember, the more complete your customer service FAQs, the more confident an online shopper will be buying one of your products.

3. Show that Others Trust You

"What others say about you and your product, service, or business is at least 1000 times more convincing than what you say, even if you are 2000 times more eloquent," says marketing guru Dan Kennedy of GKIC (Glazer-Kennedy Insider's Circle). So you want to make sure that you feature customer testimonials on your ecommerce website. Text testimonials are great but today, when YouTube reigns, video testimonials are even more powerful. Brian Tracy explains how to create video testimonials here.

Another way to “prove” that other people trust your company is by displaying the positive press about your products in an In the News section on your website. If your company has been lucky enough to be featured in some well-known media, build some immediate trustworthiness with your site visitors by displaying the logos of the media your products have been favorably mentioned in on your homepage as Shopify does. You’ll notice that the Shopify home page prominently displays customer testimonials, too, another great idea you should borrow.

4. Prove That Your Website is Secure

Today’s online shoppers are savvy people, trained to look for the additional “s” in their browser address bars, https rather than http, and padlock symbols that tells them that a website is secured – an absolute necessity for an ecommerce website.

Websites secure their servers by using secure sockets layer (SSL), a standard security protocol that encrypts data between a web server and a browser. To do this, the web server needs an SSL Certificate. Any full featured, worth-the-price ecommerce solution will provide the SSL certificate(s) you need so you can provide your customers with a secure checkout when they buy your products online. For your part, if your ecommerce solution doesn’t automatically display a notice to customers upon checkout that they are using a secure server as Shopify does, you’ll want to be sure you let your customers know your website is secure by displaying your SSL certificate symbol or a notice informing them of the fact.

5. Mitigate Customers’ Risks

Think about your ecommerce website from a potential customer’s point of view. What’s their biggest risk? That they won’t like your product – and be stuck with it and unable to get their money back. So increase the credibility of your site (and increase the chance that they’ll buy something from you) by addressing the concern up front, spelling out your shipping and returns policy. For instance, Darling Starling Gifts’ Shipping and Returns page informs customers that domestic shipping is free for orders over $50.00 and that items may be returned or exchanged within 30 days of ordering, and then goes on to explain the details of the procedure. Darling Starling also does a great job of addressing customers’ potential fears that they’re going to get slapped with high shipping charges in addition to the cost of the product(s) if they order anything. Their Shipping details state that orders $49.99 and under ship for a flat rate of $7.

And both Darling Starling’s $7.00 priority shipping and free shipping policies are visibly promoted on their home page, assuring customers of a low-risk buying experience as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line

When customers first encounter your ecommerce website, they do exactly the same thing they do when they walk into an unknown traditional storefront – look around, size up the place, and decide whether or not they trust the merchant enough to buy something from them. If you want them to buy something from your website, you need to do everything you can to make sure they find you trustworthy enough.

By Susan Ward, Writer at Small Business: Canada

Shopify Affiliate Program.. Blastoff!

The Shopify team is bursting with excitement. Shopify’s latest addition is finally ready for the world. We know…

The Shopify team is bursting with excitement. Shopify’s latest addition is finally ready for the world.

We know you work hard for your clients and we’re very grateful that you consider Shopify as their ecommerce solution. Now we’d like to say "thanks" to you for bringing clients to us. (Not to mention the fact that you've been banging down the door looking for this for months!) So, without further ado….

The Shopify Affiliate Program is now open for business!

The Shopify Affiliate System is a revenue share between you, the affiliate, and Jaded Pixel. The system allows you refer clients to Shopify and share 20% of Shopify’s revenue for as long as the store is in operation. Not bad, hey?

There’s an overview of the system right here – take a look. Got questions? We’ve tried to think of everything you could possibly want to ask and have compiled an FAQ to try and answer them. If you still have questions, you can email Shannon – your friendly neighbourhood affiliate chick – at affiliates [at] jadedpixel [dot] com.

We’re very excited and we want to hear from you. Let us know what you think or, if you’re ready to sign up, just head on over. See you on the flip side!

Shannon and the Shopify Team

Practical Ecommerce Advice: Seat Belts and Airbags

When you're setting up your Shopify store, ask yourself if what you're working on is a seat belt…

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When you're setting up your Shopify store, ask yourself if what you're working on is a seat belt or an airbag solution. 

One of the things we love at Shopify, particularly in the Customer Success department, is data. We’re constantly experimenting with new ways to help our merchants sell more product faster. If we find that a certain approach to handling email means we can respond quicker, and then we find that responding quicker gives our shops the confidence and information they need to have more successful stores... we’ve got a new policy.

So what does this have to do with car crashes?

I was recently reading the book Superfreakonomics, and one anecdote from the book that leapt out at me was the relative impact of seat belts and airbags on road fatalities. Prior to the introduction of seat belts in the mid-1950s, road fatalities were considerably more frequent than they are today, but with the introduction of the seat belt, a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment, fatalities started dropping. The seat belt was wildly successful because it was cheap and effective; when you divide the reduction in fatalities by the total amount of money spent on seat belts, the cost per life saved is roughly $30,000.

Contrast that with airbags. There’s no disagreement that they save lives, and I’m not suggesting you get them removed from your car, but as a piece of equipment they’re considerably more complex. There’s accelerometers and pressure sensors and explosives and they all have to work together perfectly. This means that they’re considerably more expensive than seat belts, and beyond that, their impact on road fatalities was considerably less than that of seat belts. By running the same numbers we ran on seat belts, we find that the amount spent to save a life with airbags is $1.8 million. The original paper on the subject goes into much more detail.

I bring all this up because, especially in the early stages of setting up an online store, there’s a LOT of work to do. The list of things you can do to improve your site would easily run 3 times longer than this blog post. And in that list, there’s a whole lot of airbag solutions (moderate impact, significant time/energy expense) and a whole lot of seatbelt solutions (big impact, minimal time/energy expense). Particularly for stores that are being launched as a side project to other work you’re currently doing, finding ways to optimize the time you spend on the shop is critical to your success. 

Anytime you sit down to put a couple hours of work into your shop, ask yourself if what you’re doing is a seat belt or an airbag solution. The sooner your shop is up, running, and selling products, the sooner you’ll have the time and energy to start working on the incremental improvements that turn a successful store into a wildly successful store.

Inbound Marketing for Ecommerce

While some forms of marketing march up and place their room key on the bar, inbound marketing takes…

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While some forms of marketing march up and place their room key on the bar, inbound marketing takes the subtle approach. It takes you out for a nice dinner, strikes up a thought provoking conversation, and kisses you goodnight on the cheek. The result? A long-term, valuable relationship that will eventually lead to... sales.

In this article I'm going to define inbound and outbound marketing. I'll give you the reasons that outbound marketing is on the decline, and I'll also give you 6 reasons you should consider using inbound marketing techniques for your ecommerce store.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Simply put, inbound marketing is marketing that's focused on getting found by customers. It's the antithesis of the annoying telemarketer that calls you at precisely the worst possible moment. Inbound marketing doesn't aggressively steal your attention, it earns it by providing you with interesting and useful information. Inbound marketing waits for you to discover it, then it offers something valuable in exchange for a few moments of your time. Here are some examples of inbound marketing: 

  • Blogs
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • YouTube Videos
  • Webinars / Podcasts
  • White Papers
  • Infographics

What is Outbound Marketing?

Most people consider outbound marketing to be the more traditional and less technologically savvy way to acquire customers. It's where companies focus their marketing endeavors on actively finding customers. At times, it can be difficult to target properly, and oftentimes it's expensive. Here are some examples of outbound marketing:

  • Print Ads
  • Television / Radio Commercials
  • Telemarketing
  • E-mail Blasts
  • Trade Shows

The Problem With Outbound Marketing

Over the past few years there has been a steady decline in effectiveness of outbound marketing, especially when it comes to online companies. There has been a fundamental shift in consumer tolerance for "interruptive" advertising, and some consumers are starting to revolt. For example, according to a study by HubSpot, 84% of 25-34 year olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising. Here are some more reasons outbound marketing is becoming decreasingly relevant:

Inbound Marketing for Ecommerce

Inbound marketing is an effective way to attract potential customers to your online store and massage them until they turn into customers. For an ecommerce store to effectively use inbound marketing it starts with good content that's optimized for search and tempting for people to share.
By investing resources into inbound marketing, ecommerce merchants will see the following 6 benefits:

 

1. Become a Thought Leader

By creating and publishing thought provoking content on a regular basis, you'll quickly get your name out there as a thought leader. Shopify store Wingset has a blog that compliments their online store perfectly. They sell organic health products, and their blog is an emporium of articles dedicated to helpful information about nutrition and wellness. Thousands of people go their ecommerce store for content: DIY projects, recipes, warnings, and even some myth busters. They have become an authority in the wellness industry and people go to them for information, help, and advice. Sales always follow. 

 

2. Save Some Money

Have you seen the prices of print ads? Or even a display booth at a major trade show? For the most part, outbound marketing is expensive! How much does good content backed by a strong social presence cost? Start small and it won't cost much at all. Give yourself a reasonable goal like publishing one valuable blog post per week. Spend a few hours writing something that people in your industry will find interesting, then spend a few hours promoting it through your social networks. Although inbound marketing takes more effort than simply buying a newspaper ad, its costs run an impressive 61% less per lead than traditional marketing.

 

3. Target Self-Qualified Customers    

Do you think buying a giant roadside billboard for a month would be an effective way to promote your online store? I'll give you a hint and save you some money - it's not. The net ia too big and the vast majority of people looking at the advertisement aren't qualified. Same goes for cold-calling, buying email lists, and other forms of outbound marketing... they're all poorly targeted. With inbound marketing, you only approach people who self-qualify themselves. They show an interest in your content, so it's quite likely that they will be interested in the product you're selling.  

 

4. Increase Organic Search

It's no secret that Google loves fresh content. When you publish search optimized content on a regular basis that gets a bit of social media attention, your ranking will increase. Good search engine rankings are essential for a successful ecommerce store. You want to get your store on page one for as many of your terms as possible, because studies show that the second page of a Google search only receives 0.85% of the traffic. Furthermore, 61% of consumers use search engines to read about products before making a purchase. 

 

5. Boost Social Presence

It's been proven that prospective customers who are linked to your social media platforms show increased loyalty. Studies show that 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook, 42% through Twitter, and 57% through their company blog.  When you're promoting good content through your social networks, you'll naturally gain a larger social following. When it comes to your social presence, make sure all your guns are firing: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, Pinterest, and all the others. 

 

6. Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts

Prospects sometimes abandon their shopping cart before a sale is closed. It can be for any number of reasons: high shipping prices, a long checkout process, or they simply get distracted by something else. With traditional marketing, you focus your efforts on acquiring people who have never been to your ecommerce store, or people who have already made a purchase - but that's leaving out a whole demographic of those who have almost made a purchase. With inbound marketing you can cultivate their interest over time by having an active blog, engaging social media sites, or by providing them with free resources via email marketing. You can also use a cart abandonment tool to identify those who have jumped ship and re-engage them. Shopify merchants can choose from Abandon AppElasso, or Jilt to recover lost sales.

Shipwire opens a new Canadian warehouse

At the beginning of this year we added support for Shipwire order fulfillment to Shopify. If you are…

At the beginning of this year we added support for Shipwire order fulfillment to Shopify. If you are still manually picking, packing, and shipping your orders then you definitely need to take another look at Shipwire. Even more so if you are expecting a big holiday surge of sales, and you don’t know if you can handle the volume. shipwire.com has also been given a fresh new look just in time for the holidays.

Better yet, is that Canadians can now get in on the pain-free fulfillment solution that Shipwire offers by sending goods to their new Canadian warehouse in Toronto, Ontario. Utilizing Shopify for your ecommerce software, coupled with our dead simple Shipwire order fulfillment integration really can help remove the stress from your holiday season.

Why the Top Ecommerce Brands Are Moving Into Physical Retail (And What You Can Learn From Them)

That’s right, the hottest and fastest growing ecommerce companies are all thinking past selling strictly online and are…

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That’s right, the hottest and fastest growing ecommerce companies are all thinking past selling strictly online and are all moving towards integrating some variation of physical retail.

Which also means they’re rethinking the traditional divide between offline and online and venturing into omni-channel retail.

In fact, when you take things into consideration, despite the fact that ecommerce sales grew 5 percent to roughly $65 billion in 2013, it's still a sliver of total retail sales. Actually, we're talking less than a sliver, more like only 5.8 percent out of a $1,126.2 billion market just in the U.S. alone. So, isn't it time you started thinking about the world of offline selling?

This post will walk you through what Bonobos, Warby Parker and Indochino, three of the biggest ecommerce brands, have been attempting recently with physical retail - along with their future outlook on where commerce is going. So when the time comes to grow your online store through moving offline, you’ll know how the best did it and how you can start doing it too. 

Bonobos: Taking the Leap 

“There is a problem in being online-only, which is: it’s not a great service experience to not be able to try on clothes before you buy them, if that’s what you want to do.” - Andy Dunn, CEO, Bonobos

Started by two Stanford business grads in 2007 by selling what it dubbed simply a “perfect” pair of khakis, Bonobos has grown to become a ecommerce heavyweight with their hands in a number of men’s products lines. Despite the company's massive online success, CEO Andy Dunn wanted to experiment with physical retail spaces after repeated requests from customers who wanted to try on items before they buy them. So just what did he do? He posted two sales representatives in the lobby of their office showcasing their products and found them generating more than $250,000 in sales each.

After seeing those results, his solution to the "online vs. offline conundrum" was the Guide Shop, a place where prospective customers could make an appointment, try on their wares, place an order online, and have their purchased goods delivered the very next day. Today the company has more 10 locations across the U.S. where they deliver a seamless and vertically integrated shopping experience. 

But you don't need to splurge on a permanent retail location or expensive POS technology to give your customers the "Guide Shop" experience, consider these much more accessible locations and open a pop-up shop to start testing the waters with as as little as an iPad or your mobile phone.

Warby Parker: Going to Your Customers

 “The future of our business and the future of all retail will have some online component and offline component.”  - David Gilboa, Co-Founder, Warby Parker

Originally started as a online only eyewear business in 2010, Warby Parker has leveraged ecommerce to its fullest potential by designing everything in house and cutting out the middlemen to offer its high quality products at significantly lower prices. 

However, the company has never been afraid to experiment with pop-up stores and satisfying peoples desires to try and feel their glasses before making a purchase. True to its brand, the company’s latest retail adventure called “Class Trip” involved driving a big yellow bus across America and stopping in select cities to set up shop. Another avenue Warby Parker has attempted are kiosks in hotels it calls “The Readery” where it pairs its 1960’s look to its glasses with vintage books and periodicals from the era. It shows no sign of slowing down its retail experiments anytime soon. 

Inspired to take your business on the road? Check out some tips from our "50 Ways to Your First Sale" guide and you'll be well on your way to starting your engine to grow your business.

Indochino: Creating a Wicked Retail Experience

 “Pop-up retail is something we have committed to doing because it’s the best way to create a wicked retail experience.”  - Kyle Vucko, CEO, Indochino 

The seller of custom men’s suits has been blazing a trail for itself with its online shop since 2007 based out of Vancouver, Canada. However, even Indochino has had customers want to touch, feel, and see in order to feel comfortable with ordering a custom made suit. 

That demand resulted in the launch of its “Traveling Tailor” pop-up stores which pair expert stylists and tailors with customers who leave with their measurements, an Indochino account, and tips on how to pick the perfect pocket square and tie. The company has been hitting up major cities across North America and cites it as a perfect vehicle to respond to changing demands in the marketplace. It also understands that the word “fit” can have many different connotations, which is why it offers a $75 credit for having a suit tailored post-purchase. 

Regardless of how long you’ve been around, how big or how small you are, you can take a page from Indochino's book and give your customers a pop-up store experience they'll never forget. Think bigger than just selling offline, think of it more like creating the hottest party in town like these guys have and get people excited about what you have to offer. 

These are just a few examples that go to show just how online stores can reap big benefits from testing the physical retail waters. You could literally incur a fraction of the cost required compared with opening up an actual retail store to start off with. So, why not take the plunge and give offline selling a shot? Who knows, it could be the best thing that ever happened to your business. 

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