Peruse the seemingly endless rows of tulips in a litany of colors, and buy bunches at the gift shops run by growers. And … then what? Well, pick a vase to show them off once you get home.
It’s not rocket science, but it seems like a décor guru’s dream to pair their fave flower with a receptacle that brings it to life. We’ve found a few that whet our whistle, and work for budgets from meager to extravagant.
three we love:
Be mindful of the sadly short seasonal life span of tulips. The premiere Skagit Valley variety stick around just a few weeks before growers harvest bulbs for future blooms. And maybe that’s a good thing. We appreciate them more when they make a timed appearance.
Photo Credit: Pam Headridge
Images belong to their respective owners, each linked above.
Ultimately your environment is personal; expressing your signature design statement may initiate with an “expert” idea, and drawing on that is inspiring.
Here’s what else these gurus of style have to say:
One reason newbies might let items sit in your virtual cart? Reluctance to sign up for an account. We all know building an identified account roster is a win-win for both sellers and consumers, with easy options for a quick checkout, and the ability to target promotions. But not everyone is eager to divulge tracked info including email address, phone number, or even a name, to a vendor that they don’t know well. The answer is to provide a seamless guest checkout system. Offer clear opt-in choices to be “remembered” by your site even in the absence of a formal sign-up. A subtle trick like that can work wonders for skeptical buyers.
Here are other ways to turn abandoned shopping carts into sales:
Photo by James Watson on Unsplash
So, what should ecommerce vendors (and their service providers) be looking at with respect to security? Much of it is out of your hands, but if you entrust a third party to handle payment transactions, you have the right and the obligation to observe best practices. Look at it this way: they are aware of their high burden, and your constant inquiries will keep them on their toes.
Smaller online merchants should build a rigid threshold of in-house and exterior policies and procedures, say cybersecurity experts. Irrespective of compromised customer or internal data, the more down time a small vendor experiences, the greater the hit they take.
So what exactly are the secrets to protecting your data to the best of your ability? How about tighter access control and data security software? Both will vest more confidence and safety in your business. Business News writer Jeremy Bender reminds merchants that the big kids such as top-tier credit reporting agencies have fallen victim to mass data breaches, but they aren’t alone. The idea is to limit who may have a path to reaching your data using UTM (Unified Threat Management). Here’s a useful read on steps to take to protect your treasured business.
Whether you go all in with a deep dive, or just take cursory steps to ensure your security, your first priority is to be prepared for a cyberattack, however unlikely that is. Ransomware – the pernicious method of a nefarious party blackmailing your very access to your own data in exchange for a payoff – is not common among small sellers, but never say never. Develop an incident response plan to be ready for whatever comes. That means keep whatever backup data you can on a separate server. Your customers will love you for this, and your business may experience less costly down time.
It's a New, Scary World.
Pantone’s 2023 Color of the Year “Viva Magenta” on the Red/Pink Carpet
Designers yearn for this time each year when the world’s most prolific color entity weighs in with its annual celebration of a particular shade. Pantone, the Mother of all Shade Experts, facilitates design-related colors for home décor, graphical arts, and so much more, and no one knows pigment like they do.
Viva Magenta has roots in nature, originating from the primary red family yet embellished with subtle undertones of pink and blue. But make no mistake: there is nothing subtle about this delicious hue. It serves bold notice as a dominating tone when, used carefully, transforms interior spaces.
Magenta itself is not a newbie. It was a mainstay in retro times, hinting at a renaissance motif. Typically it is used sparingly because of its richness. Pantone leaves that distinction up to the beholder, suggesting generous incorporation with gradient shading, or even coating walls it its romantic splendor.
Viva Magenta’s moniker is an indicator of intensity and festivity. “Viva” translates to “life” and “living,” celebratory terms that vest permission to go all out in making this scrumptious color part of everyday life.
Some suggestions on how to accomplish that:
- Walk the talk. These festive sneakers from Cariuma commemorate this year’s COY with some high-tops that will not go unnoticed.
- Emphasize the botanical aspect of Viva Magenta with this stylish throw pillow cover, a lush, texturized addition to highbrow living spaces made available by Wayfair.
- Go fully modern with the geometric aesthetic of peel-and-stick wallpaper, a boon for kitchens and utility rooms.
- Words count! Simplicity is at work in a casual poster with the COY’s name in plain text here on Pinterest.
AI needs no further introduction for most. It’s Artificial Intelligence, for those who don’t know. And it’s becoming a staple in commerce of all types. You’ve seen it in grocery and departments stores that are increasingly replacing human beings with self-checkout machines. Whether it’s a positive or negative development in society is a topic for another day. Let’s see how it can work for you.
While major utilities and mega corporations are most likely to avail actual staffers for receiving chatbot requests, don’t immediately dismiss their ability to offer specialized help. A database of inventory can easily translate to a searchable body with which the chatbot suddenly becomes a personal shopper by responding to search criteria. If your customer asks whether you sell faux leather covered ottomans, your search string is fashioned for you, and programming follow-up questions (including style, color, etc.) refines the process.
Analysts estimate that the global chatbot market may reflect almost $4 billion in just over six years, so maybe it’s time to at least familiarize yourself. An engaged response policy may cement a sale in real time, but at very least, highlighting information in a setting that feels comfortable and customized to a shopper is a win-win. Intercom is a perfect place to start with respect to learning more about AI, and finding an appropriate service level in chatbot functionality. Zendesk is an AI provider already to help you explore the technology with a free trial.
The key to an effective chatbot system is to let potential buyers in on its limitations in advance. Make sure they know they may not be interacting with a real person as they type into that window. Tell them the bot is their second-tier personal shopper who can ease the search process.
But if you’re able to tap the real thing, there are also expectations among consumers that you should meet. Long timeouts, inaccurate information, and a failure to reconcile the shopper’s purpose for visiting will probably ensure no further usage. Like a lot of aspects of technology, it’s as good as its feasibility. But play it right and it could be a valuable addition to your team.
Exploring SEO Keywords
Are you attracting the right crowd?
In this guide, we start with the simplest of SEO keywords and work our way to the more advanced keyword types.
Keywords can be short and generic or long and detailed. A short-tail keyword is often two search keywords that cover a broad topic or product, such as “platform bed.”
However, a short-tail keyword is often not enough to help customers find the precise type of product or item. If you want to include an even longer description, a mid-tail keyword (3-4 words) such as “upholstered platform beds” hones in on the style.
But let’s say you really want customers to find the exact color or style of upholstered platform bed you are selling. Then you can create a long-tail keyword (5-8 words) using more descriptions such as “contemporary” and “black velvet.” Long-tail keywords can also be phrases or questions, such as “how to style a contemporary black platform bed” and so on.
As you might suspect, longer keywords are less competitive because they are a more narrowed down version of a broader, all-encompassing generic keyword or short-tail keyword. This means that your item or content will rank easier, allowing a greater domain authority and for customers to more readily find your products.
Keywords by Role
Let’s talk about keyword roles.
First, you have focus keywords that are essentially the primary keyword or phrase you wish to rank for. Extending on this primary focus keyword are secondary keywords, also known as supporting keywords. Think of secondary keywords like a subtopic related to the focus keyword, creating a phrase related to the main topic.
For example, if your focus keyword is “how to style a bedroom” your secondary keywords might be “how to style a guest bedroom.” Styling a guestroom is a more specific description than just any bedroom. Furthermore, you can create an article focused on styling a bedroom, with additional tips on styling a guest bedroom with an H2 or H3 heading and a paragraph or two.
Semantic keywords play another role in SEO. Like synonyms, semantic keywords can be two focus keywords that mean the same thing, if not at least closely related.
“How to Style a Master Bedroom” and “How to Style a Main Bedroom” are, basically, one in the same. Just different keystrokes for different folks. Some of us use different language to convey a search, so having semantic keywords in place is a good SEO strategy.
Search Intent Keywords
From informational keywords to transactional keywords, search intent plays a huge role in your SEO strategy. Let’s look at several types of search intent-related keywords.
Informational keywords are essentially what someone types in when searching for educational articles and content. Furniture and decor brands will find it fruitful to create articles with educational tips and tricks that build a certain level of trust with their consumer base. And tucked neatly away in these education-based articles are certain informational keywords with long-tail keywords, and so on, that create brand awareness. Think “how to” articles and “what is” searches.
Commercial intent keywords are an important piece of the puzzle too. Commercial intent keywords focus on brand and product reviews, with specific information to help steep consumers into a final purchasing decision. For example, keywords that compare two or more items feature a “vs” and/or “or” search. They might also search keywords like “reviews” and “best.”
Transactional keywords are in place for buyers who already know what they want. They’ve got their wallet out and are ready to hit that purchase button. Transactional keywords can come in the form of “buy” or “shop” and, if looking for a deal, “coupon” or “sale.” A branded keyword is necessary too (more on that below).
Other Targeted KeywordsThere are many more different types of SEO keywords you can target. Here are a few more you should be aware of when you create a content strategy or aim to attract certain buyers and customers.
Market-specific Keywords – These keywords are highly focused on a specific industry or niche. Instead of “bedroom furniture”, your brand might sell specific “Mid-Century Modern bedroom furniture.” Or, in place of “interior lighting” you can hone in on “energy-efficient lighting.”
Branded Keywords – A branded keyword is pretty much what you imagine. It’s the keyword plus the brand. For example, an “Uttermost floor lamp” is more direct and will pull more specific results that buyers are searching for.
Product-related Keywords – These keywords are closely related to branded keywords. They might be the name of a certain style of lamp, such as “torchiere floor lamp.” Yet, they can also be product or collection name specific like “Huxford floor lamp.”
Customer-defining Keywords – This defines who might use the product. For example, “lighting for eco-friendly homes” or “rugs for baby nurseries.” It focuses on the type of customer’s age, gender, job, and other important demographics the item is typically made for.
Location-specific Keywords – As implied, these keywords simply focus on the city, state, country or region. For example, “lighting retailers in Northern California” or “eco-friendly furniture brands in the USA”. Note: Location-specific keywords are not to be confused with navigational keywords, which are simply a website’s navigation and pages (think “Login” or “Contact”).
How to Find All These Different Types of SEO Keywords
Ready to get started on your keyword research?
If you’re interested in basic short-tail and long-tail keywords, simply begin typing in a few words into Google and see what it suggests as it autocompletes your search. You can also use the People Ask and Related searches section to find more topic ideas.
However, that’s a pretty basic method. It helps to also use a keyword research tool like SEMrush and KFinder that will offer more filter options such to help you discover long-tail keywords, low-competition keywords, and keywords based on search intent.
Ecommerce Marketing Mistakes
Struggling to reach your online sales goals? It might be due to weak marketing.
While there are many marketing tactics to help boost revenue, there are just as many that can be holding you back from success. From a bad website site design and foundation to neglecting social media outreach, businesses can sometimes turn a blind eye to strategic marketing.
Here are some of the ecommerce marketing mistakes your brand could be making (without even knowing it):
#1 An Inefficient Website With Bad Mobile Optimization
It’s more important than ever to ensure your website functions seamlessly. Otherwise, customers get distracted or frustrated and move on to the next thing. Having a beautifully designed, professional website that attracts and keeps customers is one of the best ecommerce marketing plans you can have.
When it comes to mobile shopping, this sentiment goes double! Be sure your website has proper mobile optimization.
The user experience of desktop and mobile shopping needs to be attractive, but also a well-oiled machine. From good SEO and product descriptions to excellent customer service, many of the ecommerce marketing mistakes listed below can help you achieve that. However, it starts with hiring the right website builders and integrating the right CMS platform for your business.
#2 Forgetting Lead Capturing
Potential customers might not always make an immediate purchase. That’s why it’s imperative to create a good lead capturing system. A pop-up for email signups (with a tempting discount) is one great way to turn those potential customers into first time buyers. You can also capture leads through chatbots and social media channels.
Leadpages, ActiveCampaign and Getsitecontrol are just some of the powerful lead capturing and lead generation tools you have to work with.
#3 Poor SEO and Product Descriptions
It’s important to have an attractive website. This much is true. However, it’s also critical to have good SEO that draws customers to the website in the first place. An SEO plan using targeted keywords, accurate product descriptions, and well-written copy will help customers find your items with a simple search and give them the unique details of the item.
You can hire someone internally to do so, but it’s more fruitful to hire an agency like Cennos that is already familiar with the proper use of long-tail keywords and in tune with more up-to-date trends and styles so your product descriptions are both search engine optimized, accurate, and appealing.
#4 Ignoring Reviews and Testimonials
With online shopping, having reviews and testimonials is more important than ever. Customers can’t touch and feel in person, so hearing or reading what previous buyers thought of the product is crucial. When building a website, be sure to make room for reviews and testimonials. Customers are more confident to purchase a product if they can read the social proof and what other customers think of it. It offers a level of transparency and boosts conversion rates.
Having social proof on your website is just the first step. It can come in other ways too. Influencers can post their reviews across social media. Remember: It’s about more than a single product review. It’s also about your brand image.
#5 Skipping on a Social Media Strategy
Speaking of using influencers for social proof, let’s discuss the importance of a social media strategy. Promoting items and your brand online is a must in today’s age. If you aren’t taking advantage of social media platforms to engage with customers, you’re really missing a huge piece of the puzzle.
However, it’s wise to come up with a social media strategy. For starters, it helps to know what social apps your target audience prefers. Then, you can create social media ads that show up in their algorithms. Again, this is where hiring a professional can help. Skilled social media strategists can ensure your ads are targeted correctly with the proper keywords, all while following each social platform's strict ad rules and regulations.
#6 Not Focusing on Your Target Audience
Another ecommerce marketing mistake that could be costing you? Not understanding your target audience. Or – and let’s say you do – simply not focusing on them. Driving traffic to your website through SEO and reviews helps, but it is also essential to hone in on your target audience directly. Sadly, many businesses cast a wider net with the intention of attracting a wider audience. But it pays to be as specific as possible!
Research your target audience by creating a buyer persona so you can better understand what they are searching for in a product or service.
Wishing you and yours the happiest of winter holiday celebrations
and a joyful start to 2023!
The colossal hurdle of attracting visual-oriented shoppers has haunted ecommerce merchants since online shopping began, and there is no shortage of well-meaning tips on how to adequately illustrate products. Yes, product information, descriptions, usage suggestions, and quality promises are integral, but for those who depend on seeing what they buy, nothing replaces a good photograph.
Improving image quality and placement on your ecommerce site may seem intimidating. It doesn’t have to be. Experts store up endless tips to share, and they share generously. Their most important hint is this: you don’t have to be an Ansel Adams, or anything close, to present pleasing images that are both flattering and accurate.
Making things more confusing are the product-specific difficulties in capturing clean images of goods like jewelry, clothing, and extra-large items. Consulting an online expert is your best bet.
Some basics to get you started:
- Good news! You don’t need a high-end camera. In fact, a decent SmartPhone camera function is not only suitable, but excellent for quick editing. Invest in add-ons for editing with more specific settings.
- Remember that highly saturated, high-resolution images are slower to load on many devices, which can make a prospective customer bail quickly.
- Use a white backdrop in almost every case. This highlights specific detailing, colors, and even scale and size ratios. White backgrounds reconcile white balance temps and reflect a level of lighting that our brains recognize as a staring point.
- A “photography sweep” works best, meaning a backdrop that offers a clean transition from a vertical to a horizontal surface. Make the “sweep” larger than the product, creating perfect balance.
- Shooting tables are ideal for smaller products, offering flexibility in placement. Purchase one on a well-known online platform, or be handy and make your own using scrap wood pieces nailed to the back of a small table, clamping the sweep into place. Reflective qualities in white wrapping paper adds a bonus.
- Always employ sufficient lighting levels. Your detail, palette, and color balance will improve immeasurably. The temperature of a light source can diffuse the impact and clarity of most goods.
- Displaying images in different angles is an exceptional substitute for video presentation – although if you have the bandwidth, you can also consider those.
- It’s critical to understand that every monitor or phone display is not equal, and what you see on your end may not reflect what others will experience. Try viewing your images on another household computer, or a friend’s device.
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