Tools You Could Be Using to Get Yourself Organized

CardConnect

I’m a person that loves lists. I would make lists for my lists if it were reasonable. For me (and maybe some of you also agree), there’s no other way. If I haven’t written something down that I need to accomplish, it will never get done because I’ll forget it altogether. There are too many moving parts in our days, personally and professionally, to try and remember everything in our mental agendas and calendars. We’re only human!

We’re busy these days, but we’re also lucky to have the technology available to us, to help organize our lives. The best part is, most of that technology is free to us.

Here are few tools that help me and my team get through our work days:

1) Asana. I mentioned my love for lists…and this might be the mother lode for list-makers. This is the primary tool my team uses at the office, to keep track of everyone’s ongoing tasks. You can organize by business channel, project, product type, strategy, or whatever serves your needs. Each tasks allows for descriptions and comments, and if you like to get really detailed, you can make sub-tasks for sub-task’s sub-tasks. Tasks can be assigned to team members with deadlines, attachments can be added and it’s easy to share the permalink of any task with other users.

2) Slack. At our office, we often refer to Slack as “Skype on steroids.” While the maker calls their tool a “messaging app for teams,” it seems like so much more. If it’s used company-wide, you can create public and private customized #channels based on different topics or parts of your business like #CustomerSupport, #Marketing or #ITSupport. If you want to have some fun with it, you can create conversations based on interests like #PetPhotos or #CoffeeSnobs. You can create and share notes, add attachments, easily share gifs with the /giphy feature (which we do often, maybe too often) and use the many integrated apps for voice and video calls.

3) Evernote. If you’ve ever used Google docs, you won’t have any trouble getting familiar with this application. It essentially allows for documents to be edited, saved and shared in realtime. You can stay organized by creating “Notebooks” where your Evernotes can live based on their content. Your Evernotes can include links, photos and even attachments. There’s a free version and a Premium version. To tell you the truth, I’ve always used the free version and have found it completely suitable for my needs. In fact, I’m writing this blog in an Evernote! For those looking for something a little fancier, the premium edition grants you offline access and the ability to turn emails into notes. You can also annotate PDFs, scan and save business cards and generate 10 GB of content. Just depends on what you need!

4) Any.Do. This is an app that I prefer to use for my personal life. At this point, you’re probably not surprised it’s another list management tool. What I love about this app is that lists can be shared with other users. So, say you and your roommate or partner share grocery shopping responsibilities. You can create a joint list of items needed in your home and as you or your roommate get the items, you can cross them off the list, which will be updated for the both of you in realtime. It also allows you to organize items by date or priority. If you’re OK with receiving notifications, it will nudge you when you have incomplete tasks, or if a deadline is approaching. If you hate notifications, you can turn these off.

While all of these tools are digitally-based, there’s never anything wrong with a good old pen and paper. That is still my favorite place to keep my lists. Good luck staying organized!

This was a guest blog post by Taylor Havlisch, Product Marketing Manager at CardConnect. CardConnect is a leader in payment processing technology and solutions (including 3dcart), helping more than 65,000 small businesses and enterprise clients process card payments, simply and securely. Learn more about how CardConnect works with 3dcart here.

3 Credit Card Pricing Models All Businesses Should Know

Persolvent Credit Card

You’ve been taking credit card payments for a long time now, and you think you have everything covered. But how do you know you’re getting the best prices and services?

Does your pricing model match your business model?

There are three types of pricing models in the credit card processing industry. Do you know which one your business is set up under or which one best suits your business’ needs?

No Monthly Fee Pricing Model – it sounds great, one less fee to worry about. It is wonderful for businesses just starting out. If you have been processing for a while and have built a good customer base, it isn’t always the best option., Once your customer base is built, your business could be paying more on a no monthly fee model than those traditional merchant accounts, even at a flat rate of 2.9% and $0.30.

Tiered Pricing Model – with this pricing model you get a general idea of what you are charged per transaction since the rate is based on card type. For example, personal credit/debit cards come through at the qualified rate, whereas corporate and international cards come in at the non-qualified rate.  You may want to take a look at your statements because there could be room for improvement, especially if you’re selling B2B.

Interchange Plus Pricing Model – otherwise known as cost plus pricing, is the persolvent-american-expressfee that processing banks are charged by Visa, MasterCard, and Discover to process credit card transactions. Interchange plus means you are getting charged the amount the processing banks are charged, plus a small percentage to help the processing bank cover overhead costs. Think of it like an employee discount without having to work for the processing bank. This pricing is as good as it gets and provides businesses the best rate. This pricing model is ideal for businesses processing high volumes, B2B businesses, and wholesale businesses.

What services are included in your business’s credit card processing fees?

Payment Gateway – The payment gateway is the tool that communicates the credit card transactions to the processing bank. With some merchant account providers, the gateway is included at no additional cost.

Advanced Fraud Tools –Advanced fraud tools are necessary to protect your business. Security in no longer a luxury for online business, but a necessity. You should check to see if your merchant account provides all of the necessary tools to protect your business at no additional cost.

PCI Compliance – All payment processors need to be PCI Compliant, and they expect your business to be as well. If your business has a security breach, your business is liable and additional fees will be incurred by your business if you aren’t PCI Compliant. So what does that PCI Compliance fee cover?

If you are paying extra for your payment gateway, fraud tools, or PCI Compliance fees, you may not have the right solution. There are solutions out there that won’t charge you those additional fees. You can be very smart about who you use to process your payments or you can gain the smarts by using the wrong payment processing services.

This was a guest blog post by Persolvent. Persolvent is one of 3dcart’s preferred payment processors with 20+ years in the industry. Contact Persolvent today at [email protected] for a free statement analysis. If Persolvent can’t meet or beat your current rates – Persolvent will pay you $100!

January’s Partner of the Month: Nextopia

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3dcart is currently partnered with over 200 eCommerce companies. We’re constantly on the lookout for vibrant, innovative partners that can bring state-of-the-art solutions and services to our customers.

For the month of January, our Partner of the Month is Nextopia.  Our team interviewed Sanjay Arora, the CEO and Founder of Nextopia, to help 3dcart merchants get insight into their company and solution.

1. Please provide some general background and history on your company:

Since launching in 1998, Nextopia Software Corporation has become an internationally recognized site search solutions provider that helps internet retailers sell smarter. With over 1,700 happy customers, Nextopia was named as a 2016 leading vendor by Internet Retailer. In 2016, Nextopia also launched its social commerce solution Evocative, which allows brands to turn their Instagram into a shoppable gallery.

2. What’s the main service your company offers?

Nextopia provides retailers with the tools they need to turn their browsers into buyers. The main features are Enhanced Autocomplete, Navigation, Product Recommendations, Mobile Search, Product Finder, Evocative Social Commerce, On-Site Search, Geo-Merchandising, and Page Builder. While each solution is unique in its own way, cumulatively, they aid retailers increase conversions, average order value, and give shoppers the personalized experience they crave.

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3. Describe the integration and how long you’ve been a partner with 3dcart.

Nextopia has been a 3dcart partner for over five happy years. Nextopia provides a seamless integration with 3dcart via their API.

4. What are the benefits for 3dcart merchants that use your solution?

Nextopia improves 3dcart merchants on site search by providing the following:

  • Faceted filtering that can be used across their entire site
  • Fully customized Autocomplete
  • In-depth reporting and analytics
  • A learning search algorithm, continuously makes search more relevant as it is utilized by shoppers
  • Built-in fuzzy matching logic, sounds like, stemming tolerance
  • Extensive merchandising personalization tools to help retailers optimize their on-site search results further such a geo-targeting, synonyms, badging, promo banners

5. What are your solutions’ biggest strengths?

Nextopia’s solutions easily integrate with all platforms, provide fast, accurate and intelligent search results, is affordable, and can be done in a timely manner. Both Nextopia and Evocative use a powerful technology that streamlines sales and merchandising efforts, provides vital customer data through back-end analytics, and improves shoppers’ purchase experience.

6. How does your solution compare to similar solutions in the market?

While there are numerous site search solution and social commerce shopping providers available, what truly sets both Nextopia and Evocative apart is that their customers are provided with guidance, Nextopia’s in-house development team support and training and support from start to finish. From the sales representatives providing thorough product demonstrations to customer success readily available with any problems that arise, the Nextopia team truly cares about its customers.

7. What plans do you have for future development of your solution?

Machine learning, artificial intelligence and adaptive algorithm innovation is at the heart of our product strategy. We are incredibly excited to move the needle forward in the realm of search relevance, and are committed to doing so continuously through our in-house, world class, development team.

8. Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly e-commerce merchants?

Many retailers think that owning an online store is enough. But it’s really just a small aspect of the entire buyer’s journey. This is where a site search provider like Nextopia can step in and improve the online shopping experience and help retailers turn their browsers into buyers.

To celebrate the Partner of the Month feature, any 3D Cart merchant who signs up for Nextopia during January and February will receive an integration free of cost! Additionally, any 3D Cart merchant who signs up with our new social commerce platform, Evocative, will get to use the platform free of charge for 3 months. Learn more about this offer here.

Tips to Increase eCommerce Site Conversions with Search

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Providing shoppers with a seamless on-site search experience is one of the most important elements of running an eCommerce store.

Because regardless of what industry you’re in, if your customers can’t find the products they’re looking for they’re going to go elsewhere or to a competitor’s site. But on the other hand, if your products are easy to find and the search experience is painless, your customers will continue shopping with you in the future.

Considering that over 40% of online shoppers who purchase anything on an eCommerce site use the site search and that 80% of customers will abandon a site after a poor site search experience, you would think more online retailers would invest in site search.

As both online and mobile shopping continue to grow, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for a retailer to stand out of the eCommerce crowd.

But, by offering shoppers a dynamic and intuitive site search, you’ll not only be able to convert more browsers into buyers, you’ll also be able to increase conversions and sales.

To help you improve your site search, we’ve rounded up four powerful tips that will increase eCommerce site conversions…

Put More Focus on Search Box

The search box is an often overlooked yet incredibly powerful feature of any eCommerce store. The site search box is the pathway to improved sales, better user experience, and most importantly, higher conversion rates. Because remember, if your site visitors can’t quickly locate your search box they’ll head to a competitor’s site to complete their purchase, so having an easy to locate search box is key.

Here are two ways to improve your conversions with your search box:

  1. Bold Placement

The first step to having a high-performing search box is to place it in a noticeable and convenient location where site visitors can locate it within seconds.  The best spot is typically in the header of a web page, where it can be free from clutter and any distractions.

  1. Clean Design
    A search box with a clean design and clear instructions will entice users to perform a search. Take the time to ensure that all search fields (input field and ‘submit’ button) are clearly differentiated and easy to locate. Retailers should also include a recognizable search icon (a magnifying glass tends to work best) to help entice visitors to search.

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Include Autocomplete

Search enhancement tools like autocomplete are a great addition to an eCommerce site because it helps direct the customer to their desired product much faster. Autocomplete shows up suggested products as the customer types, even if a spelling mistake has been made.

Optimize the ‘No Results Found’ Page

When a customer searches for an item that either isn’t in stock or that you don’t carry, rather than directing them to a ‘no results found’ page send them to an optimized landing page that will prevent them from abandoning the site and potentially lead to a sale.

You can prevent this from happening by providing similar product recommendations that they might find interesting and relevant or links back to the homepage, category pages, or the contact us page. This will help eliminate your site visitors leaving to go search on a competitor’s site and in turn, potentially lead to an increase in conversions.

Feature Product Images in Search Bar Results

To further improve online site search, it’s important to include product images in the search results so site visitors can see products that are available without having to search through the product pages. Make sure that your product photos are clear in thumbnail form, and are flattering to your product. The chances of a customer buying increases when images are displayed along with a product description. Showing product images along with suggested search terms in your autocomplete will further help turn browsers into buyers.

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Remember, improving site search is only one of the few ways that a retailer can further increase their eCommerce site conversions. While this post only touches on four ways to increase conversions, you have been given some suggestions that you can integrate into your own eCommerce conversion strategy.

This article was written by Ainsley Smith, a marketing coordinator at Nextopia. Nextopia provides site search, navigation and merchandising solutions for internet retailers. Learn more about Nextopia in the 3dcart app store.

Online Store Sales Strategies: Convert More Visitors to Customers Using Urgency

usefomo

It’s no secret that offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals can help you drive online store sales like crazy.

In fact, research shows that 30% of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas.

Why is that the case?

Because the limited-time discounts around the holidays create urgency.

Shoppers get their wallets out, eager to pounce on the best deal they can find. They feel like they can’t wait around to take action. If they do wait around, they’ll miss out.

Now, think about this:

What if you could create that same sense of urgency year-round and consistently boost your online store sales more than ever?

Well, I’ve got some good news:

You can create urgency on your store website, no matter what time of year it is.

Let’s talk about a few ways to make it happen.

How to Boost Online Store Sales Using the Power of Urgency

Draw attention to deadlines.

In online marketing, deadlines create “FOMO” (a fear of missing out). When you share that an offer is only going to be available for a limited time, it makes shoppers want to take action so they don’t miss out on getting the best possible deal.

For example, take a look at this split test from ConversionXL:

split-test-from-conversionxl

You can see that Variation B includes a “Time Left to Download” notification with a bright red countdown timer.

It also shares the number of “bundles bought” and features a “status” box to create even more urgency and make the user feel like they’re going to miss out if they don’t act right away.

Can you guess the results of this split test?

If you guessed “Variation B boosted conversions like crazy,” you’re right.

More specifically, the conversion rate of Variation B was almost 3 times better than that of Variation A.

Groupon is well-known for using a similar approach in their sales strategy.

Just take a look at this product:

groupon-emoji-charm-bracelets

See the “Limited time only!” section on the right side?

Groupon has placed an eye-catching countdown timer there to let shoppers know that they’re going to miss out if they don’t act fast. The clock is literally ticking, and it makes shoppers feel like they better hit the “Buy!” button right away if they want to get this deal.

Learn from these examples, and make sure you’re showcasing deadlines on your store website any time you have a sale or limited-time offer.

Done right, this tactic can create so much urgency that on-the-fence customers won’t be able to resist hitting the “Buy” button.

Use words that create urgency.

We’ve already talked about showcasing deadlines to create urgency. When you do that, you can use phrases like:

  • Limited time only!
  • Offer ends MM/DD/YYYY!
  • Time left to get this deal: XX Mins XX Seconds

But what if you don’t need to advertise a deadline? Can you still create urgency in your copy?

Definitely.

For example, you can say “Buy now” or “Hurry!” on your website as opposed to just saying something like “Buy” or “Add to cart.”

Here’s how Galleon, an online eCommerce store, does it:

galleon-radio-flyer

You can see that they use copy that says “Buy Now!” on a brightly colored button – a great way to draw the shopper’s eye to the call to action while creating urgency.

If you want to try a similar strategy, you could also put some copy that says “Get it before it’s gone!” near the “Buy now!” button to draw attention to the fact that your product is scarce.

Just that small tweak to your copy could motivate lukewarm shoppers to take action.

And that brings us to the next point:

Share when your products are scarce.

When a customer walks into your physical store, they can literally see your products flying off the shelves. They know exactly when something is low in stock because the inventory is right in front of them.

But in your online store?

Not so much.

At least, not unless you share when inventory is low.

Here’s how Nordstrom Rack does it on their site:

nordstrom-rack-marketing

They’ve featured a purple bar that creates urgency by showing that only one dress is left in stock.

And this is just the product preview – when you click on the product to learn more, you can also see exactly which sizes are left.

nordstrom-rack-marketing-whats-left

Here, they show that only one dress is left, and it’s a size zero.

How would this make you feel if you wore a size zero and thought that this would be the perfect dress for an upcoming event?

You’d want to snatch it up before anyone else got the chance to – that’s for sure. All because Nordstrom Rack created urgency by telling you that there’s only one of these dresses left in your size.

Your online customers will feel the same way if you show that your products are flying off the virtual shelves. They’ll want to act fast so they don’t miss out on getting the product they want.

Now, you may be asking yourself:

What about boosting in-store sales with urgency?

Start by connecting your physical store inventory with your online store. Once you’ve done that, you can have your website update shoppers when products sell out at your physical store locations.

For example, you can use a tool like FOMO, that shows off real-time sales on your site, to say something like this:

“Just sold out of _______ at our ________ location!”

Put the name of the product and the store location in the blanks, and just like that, you’ll create urgency in a way that makes online shoppers feel compelled to buy.

One more thing:

Don’t be afraid to test different approaches until you figure out the best way to drive your target customers to take action.

Sure, certain tactics (like using countdown timers) have been proven to work well time and time again. But don’t just stop at adding an urgency-creating element to your site. Keep testing over time so you can see your conversions improve as you learn.

For example, you could test the location of your countdown timer by putting it closer to the “Buy now!” button.

Or, you could test different colors for your countdown timer to see if a certain color allows you to boost conversions.

Seriously – take the time to experiment. A seemingly minor change could end up positively affecting your online store sales in a big way!

Do you use urgency to drive more online store sales? Share your favorite tactics with us on twitter @3dCart and @useFomo!

This was a guest blog post by Fomo. Learn more about Fomo in the 3dcart app store.

Rediscovering Multichannel Marketing Opportunities in a Changing Ecommerce Landscape

Ecommerce is changing at break-neck speed and with it, the way shoppers discover and shop for products. And in our experience working with thousands of online retailers over the past decade, we’re seeing that not only has ecommerce gotten more crowded, but it has also become exponentially more diverse and intricately complex.

This presents retailers with a variety of new opportunities and challenges when it comes to marketing their products.

A quick look at the new ecommerce landscape tells us that multichannel marketing now means more than just pushing products onto a couple of marketplaces and shopping engines; it means expanding your products’ reach and leveraging each channel’s strengths to build relationships with highly targeted audiences.

Let’s explore the changing ecommerce landscape and uncover new paths to lead shoppers to your products.

The Engines of Product Search

While it’s true that organic search through Google and other search engines account for the highest percentage of ecommerce search, there’s another truth that should demystify the customer acquisition process for retailers hung up on achieving organic SEO success: More than half of U.S. shoppers start their search for products on Amazon.

According to the BloomReach study, 55% of people searching for products go to Amazon first, while only 28% begin with Google. That is, by far, the widest gap we’ve seen, but other surveys show that Amazon is beating Google to various degrees in product search.

Taken together, those are significant numbers. And they don’t even account for two other important factors:

  1. The percentage of people starting their search on other online marketplaces.
  2. The percentage of people clicking on an Amazon link that comes up in organic search results.

The latter answer, by the way, is a staggering 41%. Yes, you read that right. Even if someone searches for a product using Google or Bing, on four out of every 10 “organic” searches they’re still going to Amazon.

Your solution to this trend seems pretty simple, right? Just list your products on Amazon.

Well, that’s a good start. But what you really need to understand is why people go to Amazon first. Often cited reasons include its large selection, free shipping, low prices, lots of product reviews, “superior” search capabilities, a mobile friendly responsive site and a world-class mobile shopping app.

These things are important to note for two reasons.

First, because it tells you that pricing and shipping options are crucial to success on Amazon. In particular, offering Amazon Prime is a big way to boost your products’ visibility and conversion rates.

The second reason that knowing the “why” is important is because it also serves as a way of telling you where else you might want to list your products:

  • On other big marketplaces due to the large selection
  • On channels that offer the ability to review
  • On channels that let you offer free shipping
  • On channels with a mobile-friendly interface

Bottom line? The more places you list your products, the more likely they are to be found.

Window Shopping as Image Search

You know that high-quality product images are important in driving sales. You’ve probably read about how visual content makes people more engaged. You may have even heard that people who become visually engaged with a product are 70% more likely to purchase it.

But what you might not realize is that channels like Google and Pinterest are now making it possible for people to find products solely through image search. How?

Visual search is a tool that can recognize products in pictures. In the case of Pinterest, if you click on a particular image while using it, visual search will pull up images of similar products. Additionally, Pinterest has incorporated Buyable Pin buttons and shoppers can essentially make a purchase based on a picture alone.

What this means is that product image optimization is the new SEO. If you haven’t already been using alt tags and descriptive file names in images, and doing keyword research to match the search terms users and typing in when looking for images, start now.

Social Media Influence

A relatively small number of people actually buy things directly through social media channels. That being said, there are many ways that social networks can affect sales, customer engagement and brand loyalty.

According to a survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers, people do a number of things on social media channels that affect their purchase decisions: read comments, reviews and feedback; receive promotional offerings; view ads; learn about current product and fashion trends; and associate with specific retailers and brands.

Let’s take a closer look at these:

Liking retailers and brands. About a fifth of people said they were influenced by “associating” with business on social media. When you like a page, you can choose to receive updates and notifications, which can serve as motivators to interact with a retailer or brand and convert.

Keeping up with fashion and product trends. Social media lets you see what’s popular with your friends. With celebrities. With specific influencers. Learning what’s “trendy” at the moment can push people to buy so they feel up-to-date with current fashions. Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said that learning about trends influenced their buying.

Seeing relevant ads. When someone sees an ad on social media, it can be a powerful thing, with 30% of respondents saying it influenced their decision to buy. This is at least in part due to the fact that social media channels tend to possess powerful segmentation tools that allow you to home in on your specific audience.

Getting free stuff. Promotional products are a proven way to increase brand awareness, goodwill, and loyalty – not to mention the fact that they basically act as free advertising. Well, social networks have proven to be an effective medium for organizing contests and other giveaways, and 44% of people say that getting a promotional product affects their shopping behavior.

What others say. The biggest and most important way that social media channels influence people is by providing a space that lends itself for shoppers to share their opinion. Sometimes this comes in the form of feedback or comments, and sometimes in the form of full reviews. All of which can find their way to shoppers at critical moments in the buying process. In fact, 45% of people surveyed admitted that “reading reviews, comments and feedback” most influenced their purchasing decision, narrowly edging out promotional products.

Other factors are involved. People are more likely to use social media when shopping for particular types of products, such as baby items, home furnishings and electronics. And, not surprisingly, millennials are far more likely to be influenced by social media than other groups, with almost half saying Facebook and other social networks affected their purchasing decisions.

There are a number of actionable things to take from this information.

First, think about whether or not your audience is likely to be searching for your type of products on social media. Selling pacifiers to new moms? You’re in! Selling high-fiber cereal bars? Um… maybe. As long as your message is tailored to fit the channel’s aesthetic style and tone of voice.

Second, solicit feedback and reviews, and cultivate relationships with influencers on social media. Eighty-eight percent of people trust online reviews – and many put as much stock in them as they do recommendations from people they know. Social media can combine the best of both these worlds by offering online reviews and recommendations from people shoppers know.

Third, if you aren’t already, run some promotional campaigns on social media channels. It’s an inexpensive way of connecting with your audience and earning their goodwill – and, as mentioned above, a really good way hyper-target shoppers using social’s ability to segment audiences. And compared to other types of channels, it’s relatively easy to create social ads.

Public Wishlists and the Collective Shopper Consciousness

Amazon’s lets shoppers add items from other websites to their Registries or Wish Lists. So, for example, a shopper could create a list of potential birthday or baby shower gifts on Amazon, and in it, include products that may not be available on Amazon’s platform.

This is a nice feature for shoppers, but for Amazon sellers it’s yet another way to get shoppers to be on – and buy on – Amazon.

Similarly, Pinterest lets shoppers pin products from around the Web on boards as a way to save and organize them. Retailers can then market products to shoppers with related interests via promoted pins.

Wanelo is a mobile app that lets shoppers search for products from a wide variety of big brands, tiny boutiques and even independent sellers, and encourages them to save the items they like into collections and wishlists.

Once they do this, shoppers can share their lists as texts or embed them on their personal blogs. Even more interesting, they will receive alerts when the items they’ve saved go on sale… but only if the brand or store selling that item has submitted its product data feed to Wanelo.

And that’s where things start to get interesting for retailers and brands.

Not only will users get sales alerts if you submit your product data feed, the app will prioritize your products and give them more visibility. Moreover, as a brand or retailer, you can create product collections to make them easier for potential customers to find, and even add the Wanelo button to product listings on your own site to let browsers on your site add your products to their lists.

Conclusion

The ecommerce landscape is growing. It’s becoming more segmented; more niche. Tapping into the methods of merchandising this growth creates – ensuring your products are present where shoppers search, optimizing images for SEO, and leveraging the reach of social and wishlist apps — will open new paths for shoppers to discover your site and give you more chances to convert them into buyers.

By diversifying and expanding your claim of the ecommerce playing field, you put your products in better position to reach millions of shoppers at every stage of the buying cycle.

This was a guest blog post by GoDataFeed. GoDataFeed is a product data feed solution that streamlines how you publish your 3dcart store catalog on Amazon, Google, Walmart and 200+ ecommerce channels, allowing you to optimize product data, automate feed submissions and boost performance quickly and effectively. For more information, visit the GoDataFeed 3dcart App.

These 5 eCommerce Marketing Methods Will Give You the Upper Hand

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What eCommerce marketing methods are being used to gain more conversions by online retailers? While there isn’t one standardized answer here – as most marketers have quite a few weapons in their digital arsenal – there are a few that stand out. There most certainly is a science to digital marketing. And while a certain approach may work like a charm for one retailer, it’s never assured that it works across the board for another.

The real trick is in finding your niche. These following six eCommerce marketing methods can help you stay ahead of Google’s constantly changing algorithms, while helping you grow your social channels, improve your online rankings, reduce cart abandonment and improve the customer relationship. Consider adding them to your personal arsenal so you can get a step ahead.

Using Long Tail SEO Keywords

Long tail keywords can get you ranked for your store’s products and listings quickly. They also are powerful traffic drivers that can help you attract more visitors each month. One of the most respected names in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Neil Patel, uses a long tail keyword strategy to rank websites time and time again, in particular, eCommerce websites.

So what are long tail keywords? They are two and three-word (or sometimes more) search terms that help attract website traffic because they can easily get ranked. For example, instead of using a short keyword that is more competitive to drive traffic to an HD TV, like “Sharp HDTV,” which would rarely ever rank, you can instead use something like, “Discount Sharp HDTV Cheap Shipping,” which will rank faster.

long-tail

With the proper research, you can easily find thousands of these traffic-driving keywords that you can pepper throughout well-written product descriptions to easily rank on the first pages of the search engine results. Doing so will result in more traffic and more conversions over time. Consistency and patience is the approach you want to take here.

The Power of Online Product Reviews

Online product reviews have been shown to be a powerful tool that can help you improve brand loyalty and customer retention as well as helping you attract new customers to your business. According to a Marketing Land report, “90% of customers say buying decisions are influenced by online reviews.”

As part of the study, a survey that was conducted by Zendesk, on behalf of Marketing Land, polled over 1,000 respondents. The findings revealed that a negative product review influenced 86% of buying decisions; a positive review influenced 90% of buying decisions; and having reviews in general affected 88% of all buying decisions.

Hosting verified product review on your site is also beneficial to SEO, too. Since the reviews add a steady stream of fresh, relevant content to your product pages, they also can help your pages rank higher than your competitors’ because they feature more content that’s constantly refreshed. Combined with the aforementioned statistics, they represent an easy way to help give your sales a strong boost.

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Creating Social Media Ambassadors

Amassing a loyal following on a social channel like Facebook or Twitter can help you attract more sales than you might imagine. Mashable advises that you assemble a team of “super users” on various social channels, and create campaigns that have clearly defined goals and incentives for all participants.

Most social media ambassador campaigns are reliant on a mixture of content, video and imagery. Usually, incentives to ambassadors include things like sending them products to review on their social channels, blogs or review sites in exchange for such reviews and social sharing. Getting this type of saturation can enable your brand to obtain exposure to thousands of prospective customers, and can result in a healthy and long term return on investment.

Cart Abandonment Emails & Retargeting

When a shopper visits your online store and adds an item to the cart, but then leaves your site before completing the checkout process, this is a term that’s called “cart abandonment.” According to the Baymard Institute, cart abandonment rates average at about 68% in eCommerce. Common reasons include: Pricing discrepancy, complicated checkout process and “everything else.”

cart-abandonment

A simple way to earn back the business of potential cart abandoners is by sending a cart abandonment email. A KissMetrics case study found that by sending such emails, the reconversion rate can be as high as 12%, making them an attractive option.

Additionally, look to get a retargeting system in place at your online store. Such a service helps you reconvert on abandoners and bounced users by displaying ads for you store at other sites they may visit during their web browsing. Most only charge by the click, so you’d only be paying for visitors that actually returned to your online store.

Cross Channel eCommerce CRM

One last marketing tool you should consider adding to the lineup is a cross-channel eCommerce CRM system. According to Forrester, cross-channel retail sales will surpass $1.8 trillion by the end of 2017. With an estimated 7% of all retail coming from e-commerce, it’s a smart idea to consider a way to view your cross-channel data and enhance the relationship with your customers.

Newer cross-channel eCommerce CRM solutions like ReadyCloud plug right into your 3dcart store. It uses the existing data to create detailed customer profiles with real-time sales, order, shipping and returns history. This helps you learn what your customers are doing at your 3dcart store and on marketplaces that you likely also have a presence on, such as Amazon and eBay.

By being able to evaluate your cross-channel sales data, you can better predict trends, customer behavior, shipping cost, returns volume and seasonal rushes. This gives you the ability to make small changes beforehand, so you can roll out revenue-producing campaigns that market the right products to the right people at the right time for maximum results.

This was a guest blog post by ReadyCloud. Learn more about the ReadyCloud app, ReadyReturns, in the 3dcart app store.

December’s Partner of the Month: ReadyCloud

 

ReadyCloud ReadyReturns

3dcart is currently partnered with over 200 eCommerce companies. We’re constantly on the lookout for vibrant, innovative partners that can bring state-of-the-art solutions and services to our customers.

For the month of December, our Partner of the Month is ReadyCloud.  Our team interviewed Michael Lazar, Executive Director of Marketing at ReadyCloud, to help 3dcart merchants get insight into their company and solution.

1. Please provide some general background and history on your company:

ReadyCloud E-Commerce CRM is the result of over a decade of industry-leading e-commerce software solutions that began with shipping software. Relentless improvement and the addition of cloud data storage led to a bigger idea of putting cross-channel e-commerce CRM, shipping and returns into one platform.

2. What’s the main service your company offers?

ReadyCloud Partner

ReadyCloud is CRM for your e-commerce world. It is a robust, cross-channel e-commerce CRM solution. It consolidates your order, shipping and product return information across all your sales channels, and delivers it in one easy-to-use and expandable interface. A growing number of apps, found the ReadyCloud App Store, add even more functionality—ranging from shipping to returns, order management, marketing, third-party fulfillment and more.

3. Describe the integration and how long you’ve been a partner with 3dcart.

3dCart is a flagship ReadyCloud integration. It is available now through the ReadyCloud App Store for a free 14-day trial, no credit card or commitment required.

ReadyCloud has been a trusted 3dcart partner for the better part of a decade, through integrated products and services that include ReadyShipper shipping software and ReadyReturns ecommerce returns software.

4. What are the benefits for 3dcart merchants that use your solution?

This integration has been specially developed for use with your 3dcart Store. With ReadyCloud CRM your contacts are instantly imported, sorted and updated with repeat business.

  • Instantly adds CRM to your online store.
  • Cross-platform integration connects all your sales channels.
  • Automatically creates feature-rich customer profiles.
  • Delivers real-time sales, shipping and returns visibility.
  • Better forecast sales with on-demand, real-time reports.
  • Tackle your day with the color-coded calendar, customer-focused notes and more.
  • Easily connect the ReadyReturns plugin to add “amazon-like” returns to your 3dcart store. ReadyReturns enables your customers to create in-store, pay-on-use return labels with rules that match your product returns policy.
  • Get FREE users when you refer a user.

Starts at just $12/month per user – no contracts.

5. What are your solutions’ biggest strengths?

ReadyCloud’s strength is in numbers. Your numbers. From knowing what your customers’ habits are, to identifying trending sales across all your channels, it puts you in the driver’s seat to supercharge your customer outreach for stronger conversions and ROI.

ReadyCloud is instant CRM.  Connect your 3dcart store and within minutes see contact and order information synched and organized.  This is a “good bye” to manual entry.  Track packages, tag contacts, set notes and calendar events and more.

6. How does your solution compare to similar solutions in the market?

ReadyCloud brings an entirely new approach to CRM – one that’s focused solely on e-commerce, and one that connects all your sales channels, shipping, returns into a user-friendly platform for more productive and informed sales and support teams.

7. What plans do you have for future development of your solution?

We like to think big. Our growing team of developers is hard at work creating new integrations every day. We’re building apps and plugins that add all sorts of versatility and functionality to ReadyCloud, ranging from shipping, returns, order management, email marketing and so much more. The sky is the limit!

8. Any other thoughts for our readers, who are mainly e-commerce merchants?

Step up your e-commerce game… connect with your customers in new ways that help shape future sales. Learn the seasonal patterns of your target base, and use this data to drive more conversions while improving loyalty and retention. ReadyCloud will get you there. Don’t take our word for it. Test drive it today for 14-days with no credit card or commitment.

Getting to know your customers goes further than just providing a quality product or adequate service. ReadyCloud CRM helps you expand the relationship by creating instant customer profiles that deliver real-time order, shipping and returns history. With cross-channel integration, you’ll be able to find out what your customers are really doing. So the next time you craft a newsletter, marketing email or launch a sales campaign, you’re a step ahead.

To celebrate the Partner of the Month feature, any 3dcart merchant who signs up for ReadyReturns during January will get 1 additional user license with your premium license! Learn more about ReadyReturns here.

Offer valid 12/1/2016-12/31/2016

Shipping Insurance for eCommerce sellers: Is it right for your business?

shipping-easy

A popular question among eCommerce sellers is, “Why should I care about insurance?” Most businesses have encountered some kind of shipping issue and have discussed whether or not they need to insure higher value packages. How you handle damaged, lost or stolen packages can determine how your customer interacts with your brand and whether or not they make repeat purchases. One of the best ways to avoid customer dissatisfaction or monetary loss is by staying proactive with insurance. In this post we will discuss  three key questions:  Should I insure it? Can I insure it? And, what is the best insurance option?

Should I insure it?

It’s important to understand which items can and cannot be insured. If the insurance provider will not insure what you are shipping or the shipment destination, it might be wise to consider unbranded boxes that are well packaged to help prevent theft. Every carrier and insurance company has Terms of Use that clearly state their restrictions. This will help you avoid headaches that may come with denied claims for insuring packages that violate their policies.

Once you have read through your carrier’s Terms of Use policy, there are two things you should think about – the risk of your package being damaged, lost or stolen, and the item’s value. After evaluation, it should be clear whether or not you need to insure your packages.

Records of past shipments that were lost or damaged is another great way to assess the need for insurance. If you experience higher than normal issues with shipments, it’s wise to crunch the numbers and see if it is worth the cost for additional coverage.

Some companies opt to insure packages during peak shipping seasons or winter months. The probability of shipments getting lost or damaged during this time increases as carriers battle increased volume and inclement weather. Another factor to consider is shipping to destinations with higher than normal theft rates. Theft rates vary by location within the United States, and both theft and damage rates are generally higher when shipping internationally.

Shipment value

It’s a given that the higher the shipment’s value, the higher the need to insure. Some carriers include insurance up to a certain value, but once you pass that threshold, you’re on your own. Adding additional insurance to packages that surpass that limit can cover replacement costs.  

Declared value is the main focus of most carriers and insurers. If something goes wrong and you need to file a claim, the declared value is what you will be reimbursed. You will need to prove the item’s value so it is important to insure the package for the replacement cost to you, the seller, rather than the marked-up retail replacement cost.

Most insurance companies restrict sellers from using branded boxes as that increases the chance of theft. In most instances, it is best to use unbranded boxes when shipping items. If you are shipping items with higher values and still want to include some type of branding, there are other options. Think about branding the inside of the box or including a packing slip or branded postcard to add that extra something.

Can I insure it?

A carrier or insurance company’s Terms of Use is the best way to determine whether a package can or cannot be insured. The majority of eCommerce items are insurable, but there are exceptions that vary based on the carrier and insurer.

The most common items that can’t be insured are:

  • Currency and other financial instruments
  • Hazardous materials
  • Gemstones

High-value items such as artwork, antiques and electronics can have additional restrictions or limited coverage. Some providers may even require signature confirmations. If ever in doubt, it is important to reach out to your insurance provider for clarification.

Finally, if you’re offering international shipping, there are insurance restrictions based on certain destinations. Within your shipping solution, it may be beneficial to tag those orders so you can easily spot them from the Orders page. Whether you are automatically applying insurance to all or select packages, this is a great tool to identify those orders.

What’s the best insurance option?

Most carriers include insurance for items up to a certain value, so it’s important to read the fine print and make sure you are completely covered. If your package exceeds that limit, additional insurance can be purchased through a third party. Most shipping solutions partner with insurance companies to reduce extra steps and provide cost efficient coverage.

Building a business case

After analyzing your items’ value and the shipping risk factors, it should be easy to develop a business case for adding additional insurance. If your items are insurable, the amount you pay for insurance could help your business in the long run. One consideration is letting the customer decide if they want to purchase additional insurance. There is still a risk that customers who opt out will hold you accountable and negatively impact your customer or future customers’ experiences.

If you have stored data on lost, damaged or stolen orders, a simple analysis can determine whether you can take advantage of included insurance, or if you need to add supplemental insurance. Whether you choose to opt out of insurance if it doesn’t make sense for your company or decide to insure your packages, it is important to look at your business, look at the Terms of Use, and make a decision most beneficial for your company.

This was a guest blog post by ShippingEasyShippingEasy is a cloud-based shipping and inventory solution dedicated to simplifying shipping for eCommerce sellers. By offering the lowest USPS rates and access to your FedEx and UPS rates, sellers can remain competitive in the marketplace. Integrated selling platforms automate the shipping process allowing businesses to save time and money. For more information on eCommerce shipping insurance, download our eCommerce Sellers Guide to Shipping Insurance.

Here are 4 key reasons why a mobile app will work for your business.

Staying relevant to your consumer base is a tough task. Consumers globally are now using their mobiles significantly more than desktop; expand the potential of your website by converting it to a mobile app, and take advantage of the benefits that come with it.

mobile-use-chart
Source: Smart Insights http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are 4 key reasons why a mobile app will work for your business:

  1. Push Notifications

With an incredible 99% read rate, in comparison to a 22% open rate of a traditional email, push alerts bypass the inbox, and arrive right before the consumer’s eyes, immediately capturing the attention of the viewer.

Push notifications (when used correctly) are an efficient way to keep your business relevant, and increase the amount of users that return to the app.  A Localytics study has shown that when push alerts are enabled, it leads to an average of 88% more app launches than those who do not enable, highlighting the significant improvement in customer engagement that can be created.

push-notifications

  1. Accessibility at the Touch of their Fingers

With the majority of people all over the world now using mobiles more than a traditional desktop – the question is why the change? One reason – accessibility.

Converting your online store into an app means you no longer have to bother with URLs, meaning your loyal customers can reach you directly from their devices’ home screen.

Creating shortcuts for your customers to access your store has obvious benefits for your business, as the path to purchase is simplified. The secondary benefit is that your store’s ‘icon’ on your customers’ home screens serves as a clever marketing reminder for your customers to consider your store when making a purchase, and can work as a trigger to prompt greater sales activity.

  1. Make a Statement

Following on from the inherent marketing value of an app on your customers’ home screen is the message conveyed by your presence in the major app stores.

Have no doubt, innovation gets noticed. Show your customers that you’re committed to innovating ways for them to access your store, and providing the best user experience for them. Even if they continue to access your store in the traditional means, they will appreciate that you are considering them and providing more ways for easy interactions.

On top of that, presence in the major app stores will assist in your SEO too, as Google now takes app presence into consideration when providing their search results.

  1. It’s so easy!

Believe it or not, creating an app of your own is not a difficult task. In fact, with the introduction of My Mobile App to the 3dcart offering, it is now easier than ever before!

My Mobile App makes converting your store into an app easy by providing you with:

  • 3 step creation process. My Mobile App is The Easiest to Use App Builder in the World!
  • Automatically syncing your app with your website: any change you make to your site will be automatically reflected in your app.
  • No extra costs, no hidden charges, no set up fees, and no lock in contracts.
  • Your own personal Dashboard for easy management.

Mobile and apps are the way of the future, there’s no doubting that! Put yourself and your business ahead of the competition, and jump on board the mobile revolution.

Convert your site today to a mobile app with My Mobile App for only $15 per month.

This was a guest blog post by My Mobile App. Learn more about My Mobile App in our app store here.