5 Tips for Merchants to Create Effective Videos

Video has quickly come to the forefront as a key sales tool. With online shopping increasing by 45% in the U.S. this year, the need to add video to your sales strategy is becoming more and more apparent.

Are you ready to start leveraging video?

Here’s 5 tips to create effective video to drive sales and increase traffic:

rendrfx-5-tips-for-merchants

 

  1. Target Customers with Video

Before setting out to create your videos, ensure that you have a clear objective. Do you want to show how a product is used or ask your customers to sign up for your e-news program in exchange for a percentage off their next order?

Here are a few video ideas to target your customers:

  1. Create a Facebook video campaign featuring top selling products with a call to action of signing up for e-news to receive 25% off your next purchase.
  2. Create teaser videos on your website of an upcoming early bird sale showcasing top selling products. Have a call to action centered around the date of the event and any requirements to receive the early bird specials.
  3. Create a refer a friend video series and send out in your email marketing to target your current customer base. Ask them to refer a friend to receive 30% off their next purchase when their friend makes a purchase.
  1. Maximize Black Friday Sales (Holiday too!)

With almost 3 billion dollars in online sales alone in 2016 (according to Statistic Brain), Black Friday should definitely be part of your video marketing strategy.

Here’s a few ways to maximize on the biggest shopping day of the year:

  1. Get customers in the Holiday spending spirit by creating a video sweepstakes. Highlight sought-after Black Friday deals and direct customers to your website for enter to win opportunities!
  2. Use video to drive sales from your loyal customers to promote customer-only offers and sneak peaks. Leak these videos on your website, send in your newsletter blasts, and use to target your customer base on social media.
  3. Highlight your most popular items in a video. Show how the item is used or create a series of videos showcasing these items with their special sale prices. Generate some excitement!
  4. Engage would-be customers with videos promoting your exclusive Black Friday sales. Offer new customers an additional 15% off already discounted Black Friday sales when they sign up for your email list.
  5. After Black Friday, highlight your popular products in a video slideshow or create a mini series to showcase your products. Try something like a “12 Days of Christmas Product Spotlight”. Share it on social media and offer an incentive to create excitement and promote the need to purchase.
  1. Influence Customers with Product Videos

Explainer videos are becoming very popular. With the vast majority of online users watching videos, what better way to increase conversion rates and interest than actually showing how a product or service works!

A few ideas for Explainer videos:

  1. Show how a product is used. Show all the moving pieces, how it comes together, and actual use-case scenarios.
  2. Create videos to highlight related products. If you’re selling furniture, show someone how your chair looks with a certain area rug, pillow, blanket, or end table.
  3. Show how a product is put together. One of your most popular items might come with instructions, show your customers how-to put it together and include any frequently asked questions you might receive.
  4. Add your logo to the videos you are creating to build brand recognition and authority.

The greatest part of creating an explainer video is that they promote sharing on social media. Customers like to share information on how products are used or how to do anything!

  1. FAQ Videos

Video is a great way to answer frequently asked questions. Create a series of videos to answer these questions. Include the product in question in the video and answer common questions while demonstrating the products use. Or maybe you sell electronics and are frequently asked how to install an update, go ahead and create a video guide.

  1. YouTube Shopping

YouTube never sleeps, but sometimes you need to take a break to update inventory or take a vacation. Make sure you are actively posting your amazing new videos to your YouTube channel to increase awareness, drive sales, and improve SEO. Tag your videos with important keywords related to the topic, product, and your business. Make sure you’re filling in your video descriptions and adding a url link back to your website and/or product.

By adding video to your online sales strategy, you’re sure to create awareness and increase your sales conversion rates. Always remember to be professional, include clear call to actions, and always make sure your video titles and related content are full of relevant keywords.

This was a guest blog post from RendrFX, a plug and play motion graphics maker allowing for easy creation of motion graphics messaging. Learn more about RendrFX here.

Automate Processes with the Power of Webhooks

NewFeatures8

Webhooks have revolutionized the web, allowing information to be conveniently pushed to users instead of waiting for users to request information.  Today, businesses of every shape and size have come to rely on the magic of webhooks, and now 3dcart store owners can too.

What are Webhooks?

Webhooks are essentially user-defined HTTP callbacks, which are triggered when a specific event occurs at the source site. When the event occurs, the webhook collects the data and makes an HTTP request to the URL specified by you. The difference between webhooks and API is that the latter operates on request-based output mechanisms, while the former operates on event-based output mechanisms.

3dcart Webhooks

With our latest update, you can now take advantage of the tremendous power and flexibility of webhooks. With webhooks, you can create an enormously efficient, integrated workflow across numerous applications. They can notify you that an event has taken place, ensure that data is always in sync across all of your web applications, and help you easily automate processes between two connected applications.

Currently there are 3 events that can be used for Webhooks:

  • Customer New

New customer registers on your store

  • Order New

New order is created

  • Order Status Change

When an order’s status is updated

To learn more about webhooks and how you can start using them with your online store, visit the 3dcart Knowledgebase.

3dcart Offers Better, Faster Support with New Technical Account Managers

technicalaccountmanagers

3dcart’s Technical Support team is universally-praised for its friendly representatives, blazing fast response times, and unmatched customer satisfaction approval rate.

In 2015, we revamped our support center from the ground up, introducing continuous training, new levels of escalation, and an all-around friendlier team with the help of CoSupport, a consulting firm that provided company-wide coaching in email etiquette and phone rapport. Now, in this year’s third quarter, we’re excited to announce the implementation of yet another tier of technical support: Technical Account Managers.

Our new Technical Account Managers – Kathryn McDermott, Chris Brown, and Geronimo Hernandez – provide top-quality technical service for Enterprise and High Traffic merchants. In addition to overseeing accounts, our Technical Account Managers advise merchants on new products or services that can help them better manage and grow their businesses, provide expert technical assistance, offer customized solutions, and perform account monitoring to ensure timely solutions and improved service.

Access to our Technical Account Managers is included for free with every Enterprise and High Traffic plan.

If you’re an Eterprise or High Traffic merchant and would like to learn more about accessing our Technical Account Managers, please call 1.800.828.6650.

Google to Flag HTTP Pages as Non-Secure Starting January 2017

httpsIn an attempt to make the internet safer for users, Google announced this month on its Google Security Blog that users of its Chrome browser will be warned when accessing non-secure websites beginning in January 2017.

As part of Google’s long term plan to label all HTTP pages as non-secure, the move aims to protect sensitive information such as passwords and credit card details from being stolen. Historically, Chrome hasn’t explicitly warned users about HTTP connections; Chrome currently shows HTTP connections with a neutral indicator that doesn’t reflect the real security dangers of an HTTP connection. But beginning with Chrome 56 browser version, users will be alerted when visiting an address that doesn’t use an encrypted connection.

googlesecurityindiactor2

“Studies show that users do not perceive the lack of a ‘secure’ icon as a warning, but also that users become blind to warnings that occur too frequently,” said Chrome Security Team member Emily Schechter in the blog announcement. “Our plan to label HTTP sites more clearly and accurately as non-secure will take place in gradual steps, based on increasingly stringent criteria. Starting January 2017, Chrome 56 will label HTTP pages with password or credit card form fields as ‘not secure,’ given their particularly sensitive nature.”

According to Google, HTTPS is easier and cheaper than ever before, and offers better performance as well as powerful new features that HTTP can’t offer. The tech giant is recommending that businesses get started moving to HTTPS sooner rather than later as Google’s update is the first step toward labeling all HTTP pages with the alarming red triangle security indicator.

googlesecurityindicator

You can prevent your website from being labeled as non-secure by Google and losing potential sales by protecting your store with an SSL certificate. Visit 3dcart.com to get started.

Transform Your Ecommerce Website into a Mobile App with AppNotch

appnotch

Mobile commerce is gaining momentum as the number of consumers researching and buying on their mobile devices continues to grow. As of 2015, nearly one-third of all eCommerce sales stem from mobile, a trend driven by bigger screens, improved mobile search, and smoother buying experiences.

Many online retailers looking to take advantage of this rapid growth have wisely turned their attention and resources toward developing a mobile commerce strategy. But what many businesses fail to realize is that a complete mobile commerce strategy isn’t synonymous with responsive design alone; a mobile app should be a cornerstone of your mobile strategy, too.

Apps encourage brand loyalty and social sharing; makes the shopping experience faster and more secure; and can dramatically improve the overall user experience. They allow you to deliver a streamlined, personalized experience for each device, such as an iPhone or an Android tablet, and can help you drive user engagement and increase sales through push notifications.

AppNotch, a mobile app creation platform, makes it easy, fast, and affordable for online retailers to create and maintain apps – no coding required. In just minutes, you can turn your website into a powerful app that can help you increase sales, boost your SEO ranking, and promote customer engagement.

AppNotch features include:

  • Put Your Store on Your Customer’s Phone – Your app on your customer’s phone makes it easier for them to business with you.
  • Be one tap away to order
  • Unlimited Push Notifications – Send timely notifications to your customers’ phones informing them of specials, alerts, or events.
  • Boost Your Brand – AppNotch will publish your app in Google Play and Apple iTunes
  • Synchronized Marketing – Your new app store will be synchronized with your website and web store. Anytime you update your website, your mobile app will be updated in real time.
  • With Google deep linking websites and apps in app stores, your app will offer SEO benefits.

You can use AppNotch to transform your website in your own app for only $19/month or $99/year subscription plus a one-time publishing fee for Google Play and Apple iTunes of $99. To learn more, visit the 3dcart App Store.

Speed up the Returns Process with 3dcart’s New RMA File Upload Feature

NewFeatures7

Almost every eCommerce business deals with product returns and exchanges, sometimes on a daily basis. While often burdensome and sometimes costly, they’re nonetheless a crucial aspect of running a successful online store.

Customers are looking to shop from stores that instill trust and security, and having a great return policy and system in place for handling it can mean the difference between losing a customer and persuading them to shop at your store.

3dcart’s Return Merchandise Authorize (RMA) feature makes it easy for you to process returns and exchanges for customers. Fully customizable, you can control every facet of your returns process, including which choices are available for returns (e.g. money back, exchange, another product), which reasons are available for returns (e.g. item broken, disliked), the content of your RMA emails, and how an RMA is initiated (customer or merchant).

To help streamline the returns process further, 3dcart has updated the RMA feature to support file uploads. Now, when customers submit an RMA, they can share with you images of the product they’re trying to return (to illustrate damage, a defect, etc.). As a store owner, you’ll also be able to upload files to the customer while processing the RMA.

Supported file types include:

  • .gif
  • .jpg
  • .png
  • .tif
  • .tga
  • .pdf
  • .doc
  • .txt
  • .zip

For instructions on how to upload a file to an RMA and retrieve an uploaded image, visit the 3dcart Knowledgebase.

Grow Your Business with 3dcart’s New DIY SEO Service

diyseo

Online merchants are always looking for new ways to drive increased traffic to their websites, but are often too intimidated by the complexities and seemingly impenetrableness of Search Engine Optimization to consider DIY SEO.

In a perfect world, every online merchant would have the marketing budget to hire the industry’s most universally-renowned SEO agency and focus on other aspects of their business. But if you’re a small business owner working with a shoestring budget, or are too much of a “do-it-yourself” kind of person to relinquish control of your business’s marketing plan, then DIY SEO is the most logical and effective solution to better search engine rankings and increased traffic.

To help such online merchants start and manage their own SEO campaigns, 3dcart is excited to announce our new DIY SEO service. The new service offers a comprehensive suite of tools and resources to ensure merchants of every SEO-skill level can find success with their SEO campaigns.

The DIY SEO service includes:

  • Google Analytics setup with Search Console and eCommerce tracking
  • Exclusive access to an SEO monthly newsletter with how-tos, tips, best practices, and action steps to improve their SEO
  • A monthly scheduled report for organic traffic with key metrics to track
  • A monthly broken links report
  • A monthly SEO site audit analysis that displays site speed, page errors, and metatag issues.

If you’re ready to start improving your website’s search engine rankings, drive more traffic to your online store, and increase sales, it’s time to invest in SEO. Get all the tools and resources you need with the DIY SEO service  for $49/month.

Prefer to let 3dcart’s in-house, Florida based SEO team manage your SEO? Check out our fully-managed SEO packages, led by industry experts with Google certifications in Search Advertising, Mobile Advertising, Video Ads, Display Advertising, and Shopping, for phenomenal, quantifiable results.

4 Ways to Write Blog Posts That Actually Get Noticed

ThinkstockPhotos-82557772

So you want to start a blog. From both a marketing and branding standpoint, that’s fantastic news! A blog is a resource you totally control and one you can use to express yourself, communicate with your audience, and promote whatever goods and services you have on deck.

The problem is this: with some 2 million blog posts written every day, how in the world are you going to stand out?

Lucky you, we’ve got 4 pretty good ideas.

Be a Disruptor

You’re a unique person with unique experiences and a unique voice, so it stands to reason that you should have something fairly unique to say to your readers. Say it. Be different. Approach tired subjects from a new angle or use a gimmick as a way to grab people’s attention (just make sure you have something of substance handy to help keep people interested once you have them looking your way).

  • Trying to figure out how to compete with all the how-to car mechanic videos on YouTube? Do you repairs dressed like a clown or with a bluegrass band playing live in the background.
  • Want to write about politics but fear the niche is saturated? Talk presidential debates or argue against the death penalty while baking cupcakes for the first every politically themed food blog.

Use Images

Did you know that including colored visuals increases your audience’s desire to read your blog by a whopping 80 percent? That’s a massive jump in readership, all because you made an effort to add pictures. It makes sense; would you rather sift through a blog about helicopter use in action flicks or simply snort back laughter while viewing an awesome graphic like this one:

1mage courtesy of http://DavidStilesBlog.com
1mage courtesy of http://DavidStilesBlog.com

Smart business owners know that people like the pretty pictures, too. Why else would nearly 75 percent of bloggers surveyed say that they already include some kind of image in their content?

Think Evergreen

You might be tempted to write about trending topics or current events in hopes that strategy will get you increased visibility, but there are major issues with that tactic.

  • When a topic is trending, it means that lots of people are writing about it, making it that much harder for you to rank and get noticed.
  • That topic might not even be in your niche, thereby weakening your brand (or at least not helping you grow it).
  • That blog will only be good right now and then it’s already outdated.

Evergreen content, on the other hand, is useful today, tomorrow, next year, and (hopefully) beyond. You can regularly repost your evergreen content on social media and breathe it back to life. Quite often, it’ll catch fire and start attracting traffic months after it was originally posted.

As digital guru Jeff Bullas wisely put it, “Evergreen is what sticks.” Evergreen content doesn’t go stale or become irrelevant. Write content that sticks and your blog will become a resource that really matters.

Solve Your Reader’s Problems

When I first started blogging, I looked at each blog as an opportunity to solve my own problems. My blog was going to help me get rich, become an authority in my field, get my name out there, boost traffic to my website… the self-serving list went on and on and on. All of those wants and desires are fine – after all, we’re not in business to fail, now are we? – but little did I know that I was going about achieving those goals in the worst way possible.

Focusing on yourself is a recipe for disaster. Very few people can carry off pure egotism with any kind of real success, and even those folks provide a service by being incredibly entertaining. And that’s the key – they’re solving their users’ problems by relieving their boredom. To write blogs that totally slay, you need to solve your readers’ problems, whatever those problems happen to be.

Are you ready to find success by problem solving using the power of the written word? As it turns out, winning may be just a blog post (or two) away.

This was a guest blog post from 3dcart partner, Trumpia.
Author Bio: 
Garret Henry – Garrett is a freelance writer, born and raised in the great state of Pennsylvania. He is passionate about all things marketing and SEO. You can find him on Twitter: @garrethenryllc1

Sources: http://www.onblastblog.com/, http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/visual-content-marketing-strategy#sm.00000u45lh2neod1hxdkvr0s8lzud, http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/27698/2-million-blog-posts-are-written-every-day-heres-how-you-can-stand-out, http://www.jeffbullas.com/2016/04/22/increase-authority-evergreen-content/, https://www.orbitmedia.com/blog/blogger-analysis/

3dcart Success Stories: JustPoppin.com

JustPoppin2

JustPoppin.com is the premier destination for gourmet and premium popcorn. A small, family owned business based in Venice, Florida, JustPoppin.com is a favorite among discriminating popcorn connoisseurs everywhere. Their renowned products, including hard to find varieties such as organic mushroom popcorn, heirloom kernels and hulless popcorn, are sought by home poppers, small businesses, organizations, and everyone in between.

Founded by husband and wife, Jennie and Buck Smolow, JustPoppin.com emerged onto the popcorn scene in 1998 with big goals and major expectations: to deliver their customers scrumptious tasting popcorn, blazing fast delivery times, and unparalleled customer service.

To help the business achieve their goals, JustPoppin.com sought the help of a few third party tools.

Ingredient #1: A Powerful eCommerce Platform

JustPoppin.com turned to 3dcart looking to provide their customers with the best online shopping experience possible. Equipped with 3dcart’s hundreds of built-in-features, tools, and expert Technical Support, JustPoppin.com was able to their once unheard of business into a world renowned popcorn empire. Their line of products, once consisting of only mushroom popcorn, rapidly expanded to include Flavacol and coconut popping oil, gourmet popcorn, popcorn seasoning, popcorn equipment, and popcorn supplies.

Ingredient #2: A Cart Abandonment Tool

Looking to grow their business and increase sales, JustPoppin.com turned their efforts toward tackling cart abandonment. With the help of Cart Closer, a cart abandonment app, JustPoppin.com was able to dramatically reduce cart abandonment while protecting their margins. By using Cart Closer’s filter and offer login, the popcorn shop was able to create enticing tiered and free gift offers capable of winning over hesitant shoppers while maintaining profitability. JustPoppin.com used two campaign methods: one that offered a flat percentage off, and a free 12-pack of movie theater-style popcorn.

Today, Jennie and Buck’s popcorn shop continues to grow with each passing year, winning over popcorn fans one order at a time. So what’s their recommendation to new store owners?

“Keep your processes simple to allow you to systemize as much of your business as possible. Provide good, useful information on your website so customers know what they’re buying before they order.”

Visit 3dcart Success Stories to learn more about JustPoppin.com’s eCommerce journey.

We Made a Decision Tree of the Best Places to Sell Online. Here’s How We Did It.

One of the most important decisions you make when you start your eCommerce business is what marketplaces you’ll sell on. As we just learned with the quick acquisition of Jet.com by Walmart, the eCommerce landscape is frenetic. There are a lot of options and they change at a moment’s notice. It’s easy to get lost in all the commotion. Ecomdash works with business owners of every type, so we wanted to create a resource for them to better navigate the marketplace landscape, something like a roadmap. After a couple of late afternoons spent scouring seller restrictions, we created a decision tree that helps sellers know the best place to sell their items online. We even threw in a side-by-side comparison of listing fees. Scroll all the way down to see the full infographic.

The Process

Our goal in putting together this flowchart was to create an empowering document for eCommerce business owners. Originally, we conceived of this project as a direct comparison of the marketplaces. We believed we could use seller fees and restrictions to create an objective assessment of the “best value” for sellers. We quickly discovered as discussions went on that what we were trying to do was a fool’s errand. There were too many variables to consider. The best value for sellers depended more on the product than the marketplace.

For example, imagine a jewelry seller who makes rope bracelets by hand. Which is better for that seller: Amazon, eBay, or Etsy? We could try to put together an objective evaluation of seller fees, but we’d be left with a lot question marks. Is this a business owner or an individual seller? Have they purchased UPCs for their listings? How many listings is the seller posting? Does the seller have the time to apply for any special permissions for their marketplaces? Instead of viewing the questions as a detriment to our project, we decided to let them drive the project. Why let the marketplaces dictate the questions when we could let the questions dictate the marketplace?

The Questions

So, we had our concept. We then had to figure out what questions to ask to guide our research. The first and most important question we came up with was whether or not the product was pre-owned. Some marketplaces are designed to sell new merchandise. They gear their marketing efforts towards shoppers who value consistency and reliability over quirk and novelty. Generally, we found these marketplaces to be Jet.com, Rakuten, Sears, and Amazon. Other sites have audiences a little more willing to accept uniqueness in exchange for a better deal, or the thrill of a rare find. This applies to eBay, Etsy, and Newegg.

We went on to ask other important questions, such as how important “seller freedom” is. Amazon is a great site for consumers, which is why we recommend every ecommerce seller should be on the site, but their restrictions were by far the strictest of all the marketplaces we researched. Amazon’s strictness on sellers is what makes them so successful. Customers know they can trust Amazon purchases. If the freedom to price, photograph, and describe your products however you want is important to you as a seller, Amazon is likely to be a bit frustrating for you.

The Results

The result of this process was an infographic that’s uniquely seller-centered. Many artifacts that attempt to answer a similar question to ours focus mainly on the marketplaces. By focusing on the seller and the product, we hoped to provide a more actionable and more useful resource for business owners faced with difficult decisions.

best-places-to-sell-online ecomdash
You can read our full thoughts on our blog.

This was a guest blog post by Dion Beary at Ecomdash.

Dion from EcomdashDion Beary writes about eCommerce, television, and sci-fi movies. His passions are Twitter, casseroles, and 00’s rap. He uses his job as a content creator for ecomdash to prop up his addiction to Chuck Taylors and Vans.