New Merchants Must Balance Form with Function

balanceStarting a new online store is a very exciting and hectic time for Merchants. Whether you are an eCommerce veteran or starting your very first website, 3dcart offers a platform that is robust and flexible.

3dcart’s Technical Support Team often speaks with new customers who are excited about the many features available to them, but may be struggling to quickly prepare their site to go live. Certainly new Merchants have quite a bit to do, and one of the most crucial decisions they face is deciding which areas are the most mission critical to their store’s success.

An area where we see a great amount of time and resources spent by new merchants is with the customization of their store’s look and design. It’s very easy to get caught up in the act of making small changes that can take up your precious time and resources. Focusing too much on design can actually cause Merchants to overlook  critical factors to their store’s success; namely functionality. Continue reading New Merchants Must Balance Form with Function

Choosing The Proper Payment Gateway For Your Online Business

Making a choice as to which payment gateway provider to use for your online business is not a trivial concern. This choice requires careful thought and

Depending on several factors, the choice can make your business profitable or have a negative effect on your success.

3dcart offers you many choices in this regard. In some cases, too many choices can be daunting, overwhelming and create confusion. However, a wide range of choices also gives you the ability to make a proper, informed decision when getting into a financial relationship with another entity like a payment gateway.

Here are some of the factors that should be considered when shopping for a Payment Gateway Continue reading Choosing The Proper Payment Gateway For Your Online Business

4 Major Ways eBooks Generate Leads for Your Business

When you see a book on the shelf or a friend gives you one as a gift, does it ever occur to you that this is some sort of marketing ploy? For most, if not all— hardly.

Well, it’s for this reason that a lot of online marketing experts agree that ebooks actually make wonderful promotional tools for ecommerce. After all, they’re basically designed to inform or entertain, not sell anything. This is why you ought to consider coming up with your own ebooks in order to market your business indirectly and generate leads for your online store.
So what’s in store for you with these lead-generating ebooks? Continue reading 4 Major Ways eBooks Generate Leads for Your Business

Opening Your Webstore Store for Business: 5 Steps to Get Launched

Open for BusinessAfter all the hard work that went into designing your website, coming up with stunning photos and descriptions for your products, and all that e-commerce jazz, you’re finally ready to get launched!

So how do you go about opening your store for business?

Follow these 5 steps to have an unforgettable online store opening: Continue reading Opening Your Webstore Store for Business: 5 Steps to Get Launched

Marketing Ideas By The Numbers: Holiday Ecommerce Statistics

holiday ecommerce

63% of US shoppers plan to do a majority of their Christmas shopping online this year, according to a new study by LivePerson.  And another study by eConsuatancy found eCommerce to be more popular than high street shopping.  But how can you ensure your store converts as many as these eager shoppers as possible?

Studies show there are factors that set merchants apart  and have proven success in converting more users.

Marketing Ideas By The Numbers: 

Offer Free Returns:

  • 60% of UK consumers will not even consider making a fashion purchase online unless they can return unwanted items without being charged.
  • 41% buy several sizes of the same piece of clothing online to check the fit, and then send the others back.
  • Other reasons given for returning items included item not fitting (43%), the feel of the material (25%) and style (15%).
  • 12% say they never buy online due to concerns about finding the right size, while 61% are often deterred for this reason.
  • 60% say they won’t consider buying online unless returns are free.
Offer Free Shipping
  • 55% of online shoppers expect free shipping on every order
  • 85% of ecommerce sites will offer free shipping promotions specific for the upcoming holiday season
  • 30% of retailers said they would offer free shipping earlier than they did during the 2011 holiday shopping season.
  • 20% of consumers say free shipping is the most important factor in where they shop online in 2012. 19% of consumers say they’ll pay full price, if retailers offer free shipping.

Use Social To Connect:

  • 70% of shoppers using Twitter to get product reviews
  • 75% turning to Facebook to look for discounts
  • 73% using Pinterest to research ideas.

Update Product Photos:

  • 67% of consumers saying that the quality of a product image is very important in selecting and purchasing a product
  • 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business that has an image show up in local search results
  • 53% of customers value the quality of a product image more than ratings or reviews

Use Email Marketing Strategically

  • Targeted subject lines improve open rates – 53% said they opened an email because of a showcased offer
  • Men over ag 55 are more likely than their younger counterparts to have made a purchase because of an email message
  • 87% of those receiving retailer emails open the messages
  • 80% of online shoppers and 71% of in-store shoppers say email offers influence them to buy

Make Checkout Easy

  • 84% of ecommerce sites support express checkout
  • 66% of ecommerce sites offer guest checkout (34% DON’T!)
  • Only 9% of checkouts are 3-step vs 54% 4-step and 33% 5-step




Increasing Your Online Sales for $5.00

img_7508_light_boxEver wonder how online retailers get their product images looking perfect?  You don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars in a digital camera and you do not need to have any photography experience to take professional photographs of your products. One of the biggest mistakes we see for those just starting out with an online store, is having poor product images. Amy has posted a great tutorial that takes only a few minutes, and costs less than $5.00 and will have your products looking like they’re ready to jump off of the page.

The making of a lightbox

Here are some things to keep in mind when taking pictures of your products:

  • Disable your camera’s built-in flash when taking a photo. The built-in flash produces a glare on the photo and makes your products look two-dimensional.
  • Use your camera’s “Macro Focus” feature to take close-ups of your product.
  • Use a tripod when taking pictures of your product. The tripod stabilizes your camera and eliminates blurry photos.
  • Photograph your products at an angle.
  • Take more than one photo of each item.
  • Understand how your camera works. Take a few test photographs and rearrange your lighting or the product if you have to. Read your user manual and find out how to customize the white balance feature on your camera, which will control the background. Also figure out how to set the ISO and start at 100 or 200. This controls the amount of light entering the lens.
  • NEVER rush on this part of your store design. you can have a stellar online store, and if your product pictures look like they were taken with a camera phone, you’ll see poor sales.

Related Links

Making a Home Made Lightbox

Adding The 3dcart Shopping Widget To Your Blog  is one of our favorite bloggers for ecommerce SEO and social optimization tips. The Wizard is a big fan of 3dcart and has some awesome tutorials worth checking out.
One of which is this awesome tutorial on how to add the 3dcart shopping widget to your blog like this:

Continue reading Adding The 3dcart Shopping Widget To Your Blog

Choosing Buyer Keywords

Customers search for products in different phases of the purchasing process. They be browsing, considering a purchase, comparison shopping or they could be ready to buy NOW!

Conversion Funnel

Unfortunately PPC doesn’t allow the “only show to purchase-ready searchers” option, so if you aren’t careful and strategic you can end up paying a lot for users without any purchase intent.

While you can’t know for certain a user’s position in the  purchase process, you can choose keywords that are indicative of their placement. Consumers’ searches follow a pretty standard pattern as they move down the conversion funnel.

You  have to find the keywords that accompany the purchase-ready stage or the buyer keywords.

For example:

  • Betty’s looking for a laptop.  She searches:” best laptops” or “laptop reviews”

Those keywords can be good, but for the most part users are just beginning their purchase journey. Lets say Betty went to those review sites and realized she she was probably more interested in a Macbook.

  • Armed with more specific inquiries, Betty has further moved down the conversion funnel – she knows exactly what she wants and shes ready to buy. She searches: “Buy Macbooks” “Buy Macbooks Cheap”  “Macbooks under $100″  “Budget Macbooks”

Without knowing Betty’s journey, you These keywords are indict

Matt Carter lists some great examples of buyer keywords on his blog.

  • buy
  • purchase
  • review
  • best
  • cheap
  • new
  • bargain
  • budget
  • economical
  • inexpensive
  • low cost
  • low priced
  • reduced
  • compare
  • model numbers
  • brand names

PageRank vs SERPS

Understanding PageRank

PageRank refers to Google’s algorithm for assessing the relevance and value of every webpage. of every webpage. Different pages within a particular website are given different pagerank evaluations which Google assigns a number  from 0-10.
Main factors that affect pagerank:

  • How long the page has existed
  • Internal inks
  • Site structure
  • Page load time
  • Quality and number of external links pointing the page

For tips on increasing your PageRank, click here.

Googles PageRank affects its search results or SERPs but it is not the only or the main factor.

Understanding SERPs

SERP’s refers to where your website appears on Google’s search results on any given keyword.

Google’s SERP are based on value of content, keywords ( SEO), and then on the pagerank. Google has done  a good job of ensuring fairness in SERPS so that a site doesn’t have to have tons of traffic and backlinks to rank well for a keyword.  SERPS are why on-page SEO  is so important.

Main factors that affect SERPS:

  • Optimized Key Phrases **Tip: Use keywords and internal links at the beginning of content
  • Title tags
  • Page URL
  • Meta Description (Page Description/Summary)
  • Anchor text
  • Tags
  • Page Length

PageRank vs SERPS

High pagerank is based mostly on quality and number of backlinks and SERPS are mostly affected by on-page and off-page SEO. SERP rankings can also help your pagerank but you don’t neccesarily have to have good SERPs for Google to rank you high.

Which one should I care about more?

Well, thats a complicated question. Since Google’s Panda update, experts are noticing that pagerank is starting to affect SERPS more than it had perviously. While it’s no one’s favorite answer,  you should care about both. Google’s althorgithm is always in flux and every now and then the search king throws a curveball like the Panda update so its best consider both.

Divide your focus between SERPS and PageRank – make sure your content is keyword optimized, uses anchor text but also work on gaining quality backlinks by guest blo
gging or forum commenting. The good news is, with two factors to consider your store wont live and die by pagerank. Just like all things worth working towards in life, SEO takes patience and focus but in the end is totally worth your time