You’re a smart e-commerce retailer with quality, stylish home decor items in a variety of design themes. From classic to trendy, you have the perfect solution to update any boring decor. The orders should be pouring in, right? But they’re not where you want them to be, for sure. Customers can’t buy if they can’t find you.
SEO is both more important and more complex than ever. Technology advances in AI and voice commands make older techniques obsolete. You need to rank high on search results to make more sales, but how? What if we told you some of the best tools to help you boost SEO (and sales!) were FREE? I’m serious, and promise, we don’t work for any of these companies. We just think some of these are likely to become your favorites, too.
Making the Grade
Hot tips for maximizing your sales and profits
A unique trait to e-commerce is certainly the need to embrace and adapt to changing technologies. Gone are the days when simple marketing and advertising efforts, or public interface at local events, can improve visibility and sales. We’re in a New Frontier, and it’s mind-numbing.
Learning to increase the odds that your online site is viewed by more potential customers is not a one-step process. There are multiple moving parts, and each can be critical in a different way. But adopting basics is a great start, and expanding into creative territories that intrigue you, or are pertinent to your product niche, will steer you in the proper direction.
By now you are intimately familiar with SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. It’s the honey driving bees to your store. It’s the strategy to zero in on consumer specifics, helping them locate what they need in a short amount of time. And while it’s not super simple, it’s not above your learning curve.
In what analysts and experts call “SEO growth hacking,” there are several ways to organize content and text on your site to gain new visitors. Improving your search rankings and increasing conversation rates are objectives for everyone, but the successful will follow best-practice guidelines. By way of example, a well-optimized site will generate conversion rates up to 15 times greater than conventional direct mailing. Be all in.
IRCE 2019: What’s on Tap
Chicago is gearing up to host the granddaddy of all national events aimed at ecommerce merchants, and if it’s not on your radar screen, it should be. The 15th annual Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, or IRCE, is set to kick off June 25 for a three-day extravaganza of experts, fellow merchants, strategists, and vendors.
In an industry known for isolation from networking opportunities, this flagship soiree gathers premiere figures and ecommerce merchants, large and small, to explore the possibilities in starting, growing, or maximizing your business.
Extending last year’s format, the event will encompass three separate and distinct shows that include GlobalShop and RFID Journal LIVE! Retail. The scope of these RetailX offerings is massive, and with each unfolding in a singular 400,000 square foot venue, it sweetens the pot on the decision to attend.
This year’s IRCE keynote speaker, Doug Stephens, is a world-renowned retail industry figure with futuristic vision and an exemplary resume. Founder and president of Retail Prophet, Stephens has counseled retail giants such as Walmart, Home Depot, Google, Disney, and Citibank, and is listed as one of the leading retail top global influencer by Vend.com.
Other featured speakers include Andy Dunn, Senior VP of Walmart, and Airbnb Strategic Advisor Chip Conley.
In addition to high-profile speakers, attendees may participate in targeted workshops and seminars, and peruse a hall with more than 1,200 exhibitors waiting to show off their latest products and services. This is your chance to learn hot tips on Best Practices, store design, and other critical elements that shape the success of ecommerce vendors.
Do your customers trust you? Do they feel comfortable purchasing from your site?
In the world of eCommerce, a trustworthy website is everything, and the gateway to this type of trust is excellent digital security.
In the wake of recent data breech scandals such as Facebook's Cambridge Analytica debacle and Marriott's passport hack, customers are protective of their data more than ever before. Here are some steps to implement into your own data security strategy in order to earn and keep your customers' trust.
Secure Your Site
For an ECommerce business, a secure website is the equivalent of a safe brick and mortar store. Customers demand safety for their data. Here's how you can ensure your customers' safety on your site:
· Implement SSL security throughout your site.
· Comply with PCI standards.
· Require two-factor authentication for the purchasing process.
· Ask customers to create strong passwords.
Those four steps alone can increase your site's security by more than 50 percent.
Obtaining a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate for your website is a straightforward yet crucial step. SSL grants your customers encrypted access to your site, ensuring that your site is trustworthy and not easy to hack.
To obtain your SSL certificate, you just have to fill out a simple form about your business and website. Once your certificate is authenticated, it will display on your site. Your URL will become an "https:" address, and a green padlock icon will appear next to the address to mark your authentication.
Not only is an SSL certificate the most reputable level of digital security, but it also makes you compliant with PCI DSS standards. this puts you on-par with financial transaction sites like PayPal.
A recent survey shows that people who do business online have an overwhelming tendency to use simple passwords. ECommerce shoppers are no exception. A simple password like "123" or "qwerty1" is effortless fodder for hackers.
Encourage your customers to choose passcodes that feature numbers, symbols, and letters. Do this by installing password parameters into your signup process, or simply display it as a reminder on your sign-in page.
Demanding strong passwords isn't always enough to keep your customers' data safe. Unless strict guidelines are put in place, customers create easy passwords for their own convenience.
Add an extra layer of protection to each account by implementing two-factor authentication. This will force your customer to supply a subset of data aside from their password. This extra layer of verification might be a security question, a code verification via text, or even a fingerprint ID. Initially, your visitors might find a two-factor authentication process to be excessive, but they'll get used to it. They'll be grateful that your business cares about their security.
Balance Automation With The Human Touch
How much of your customer experience is automated?
It's great to lower costs and favor a smooth process by offering customer service in the form of chat bots and self-checkout functions. However, research shows that customers like a balance of automation and human contact. Also, more automation means a greater risk for security loopholes.
Offer your customers a balanced approach. Automate your checkout and payment process, but let actual humans resolve customer issues. If you would rather not hire in-house customer service staff, you can always employ a small remote team to keep overhead at a minimum.
Don't Hoard Customer Data
As an eCommerce business, you have access to a lot of details about each customer. It's up to you whether to collect and archive this data, or to get rid of it until next time.
Though it's your prerogative how much info you have on file for your customers, don't get greedy with the data. Collect only what you need to complete the transaction, and
consider storing as little of that data as possible.
Every piece of data you store expands your risk and responsibility in the event of a security breach. If possible, opt against storing credit card or other payment info. You can bypass a lot of the responsibility by offering secure checkout via PayPal or a similar transaction site.
If you do have to store sensitive info, don't leave it archived on your server. Data stored online is the easiest for hackers to obtain. Archive your data offline instead. You can even choose paper archives over digital storage. But in that case, make sure to follow all appropriate confidentiality and data storage guidelines.
Whether your business is just a small eCommerce operation or a large corporate organization, a nightmarish data breach is more than a remote possibility. As long as you keep your customers' information safe by implementing the above tips, you will minimize the amount of damage a breach can create for your company.
It is important to go into every year with a better understanding of your business. Every business wants to increase their profits. When you ask a vendor for their advice on what you can do to improve in this area, the most common suggestions are to focus more on increasing sales and your profit margin. Unfortunately, while the answer is simple, the methods used to achieve these goals aren’t so cut and dry. To help you accomplishing your 2019 sales goals, here are some helpful tips on other ways to increase your profitability.
Cutting the Fat
It is always important to look over you expenses to see what you can reduce or even cut out completely. Advertising, for example, can fluctuate depending on your business. A vendor should 10% of your current advertising budget for last minute opportunities rather than spending on costly annual commitments. Utilities are also expenses that need to be reviewed often to see if you can lower you overhead based on your usage. Repairs and maintenance can also incur heavy costs. Instead of committing to a contract, it may be your best interest to pay for repairs needed
It is critical to set time in you calendar to do routine review of your policies and expenses to make sure you are not paying over. This also includes things such as insurance. Remember to ask your representative to review your policy and ask where can you save money. You also want to make sure you are not paying for anything that doesn’t apply to you. For example, if you are renting a space, do not pay for coverage because that is the landlord’s responsibility.
Reducing expenses isn’t the only way to improve sales in a business. Wages are often the expensive cost in any vendor’s operation can incur. It is crucial to review your sales history and analyze the flow of traffic. What are the highest peaks of activity during a normal week? This will be helpful when you have to revise your employees’ scheduling to see where you can reduce hours during slow periods.
Pick the Right Banking Institution
Leveraging your banking institution also plays a critical factor in optimizing profits. Look for a bank that gives you the most for your dollar. Ask your advisor where can you save money by banking with their company. Just like your shoppers take time to compare prices from competitors, don’t be afraid to do the same with banks.