Minimizing the carbon footprint is not just a concept for automakers and energy producers. For average individuals, it’s also not limited to conserving water, recycling, and buying energy-efficient light fixtures. Going green is a trending strategy among merchants, influencers, and anyone who spends a significant amount of time and energy creating online content.
Today’s consumers are savvy about eco-friendliness, and often they will expect it from those with whom they do business. That includes ecommerce entities, and the ways you can make that happen may surprise you.
Just as coal-based fuels, water, and quality soils are not infinite, the availability of digital resources are limited; they take a toll on bandwidth, compromise delivery speed, and overall are a commodity to conserve. If your customers—especially the younger set—reflect a general trend, they will be most comfortable patronizing green-centric companies. They want to know that your desire to fill their needs may also translate to saving their future.
How do you make that happen? There are a number of ways.
The cultural and environmental movement toward clean energy and conversation is underway, with average citizens embracing its benefits. If you can demonstrate a commitment to doing your part, you will become more attractive to an important class of consumers.
It’s not just the FTC, through. Attorneys General from 17 states have joined in the civil action, bringing cases that allege Amazon’s formidable presence represents an anti-competitive entity that is harmful to both competitors and consumers. Though Amazon strongly denies the charges, you’ll want to understand what’s behind this development.
Amazon.com is light years from its humble roots as an online bookseller. Founded nearly 30 years ago by Seattle’s Jeff Bezos, it garnered negative press along with disapproval from fans of brick-and-mortar book stores alike. In what turned out to be a fait accompli, Amazon essentially led the charge of a burgeoning presence of ecommerce vendors weaving their way into the new normal for shopping in the 21st century.
Only Amazon went much farther. Discovering the power of Internet commerce, the company grew in unfathomable scope and began selling a wide variety of products. Fast forward to 2023, when there are few items consumers can’t locate on Amazon, thanks to a complex strategy that has increasingly involved third-party sellers.
Bezos goes Prime Time
Billionaire Jeff Bezos is mostly mum on the government’s lawsuit. After success with the Amazon platform, he’s branched out (bought the Washington Post newspaper) and is a mere figurehead of the Seattle ecommerce entity.
Once the iconic Amazon Prime program launched, a star was born, and the ability for sellers to get goods faster (even same-day delivery in some markets) and to take advantage of other benefits (digital content, streaming, music, and discounts at the other Amazon-owned ingenue, Whole Foods). Prime has spurred its own headaches, but that’s another story. A lucrative contract with the US Postal Service and UPS haven’t kept up with demand, and now Amazon uses contracted delivery drivers to pick up the slack. The result is mixed; delivery reliability is suffering in many cases, and some customers cite a reduction in product quality and difficult return policies from third-party sellers.
In what the FTC and states are characterizing as a “self-reinforcing cycle of dominance and harm,” the business model of Amazon does raise eyebrows. It’s no secret that the big players tend to apply pressure to stay on top, Amazon is accused of luring both sellers and buyers to its kingdom with underhanded and monopolistic techniques. Once sellers hop aboard the Amazon train to tap into a vast universe of eager buyers, the governments allege, it locks in contractual stipulations that set and raise fees, even punishing sellers who offer their inventory in other venues for a lower price.
Again, Amazon vehemently defends itself against these claims. It believes it serves both consumers and merchants by allowing them to tap into a massive marketplace where nearly limitless goods are available for mostly free shipping and quick delivery, and ecommerce sellers enjoy an audience reach it could only dream of in the past.
As Amazon suggests that regulators seem to misunderstand the nature of retailing, plaintiffs stand strong, citing negative impacts on other giants such as Walmart, Target, and the iconic Internet star, eBay.
Yet to be determined is whether the FTC and states envision a breakup of Amazon, separating its currently bundled functions to relieve the monopolistic impact they believe is continuing to the detriment of practically everyone. The lawsuit sits in a Seattle Federal courthouse, awaiting the arduous trail of motions and responses – or perhaps a settlement. Stay tuned.
What may be a surprise to most is that content generation is only a fraction of AI functionality. It can be controversial if not managed properly. But the more technical aspects of Artificial Intelligence will peak your interest.
Do you want to increase sales? Are you aiming toward better understanding your customer base? Of course you are. So take some time to explore the possibilities afforded by Artificial Intelligence.
For online merchants, AI is particular useful in the following ways:
As time goes on, the full range of possibilities AI presents will avail themselves to those who are interested. Choosing to transact business online proves you’re already amenable to all of the options digital innovation has to offer. Harnessing those that best fit your business is as easy as a web search and a bit of time to better understand how AI will fit your commerce model. For more information on AI and its reach into ecommerce, hit up this tutorial from Hostinger.
Here are some great ways to kick off the holiday shopping season:
The most notable way to increase actual space in a mini-unit is stacking. Layering. Keeping in mind that a second story accessible through stairs only might be physically challenging, you’ve likely accepted that before making the decision to downsize. Curved staircases and angled elements in lofts create an exceptional visual impact, such as this example in a tiny space dedicated website. This diminutive abode gives off a far more spacious look with its fresh, light palette, use of natural wood, and geometric accenting.
Other considerations for making a tiny space work for you are:
Whether you settle on a conventional tiny house, rehab a vintage school bus, or choose to permanently camp out in a recreational vehicle, you should think smart and visualize a livable space with the help of talented designers accustomed to tackling all sorts of challenges in massive or microscopic living areas. Start with a page like this for tips.
Image rights owned by Living in a Tiny, linked here and above.
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So here’s a way: set up a subscription service.
Increasingly, larger e-tailers have gone to a model that arranges automatic shipments of products commonly replenish, such as shampoo, vitamins, and food. The ability to build this into an ordering system is extraordinary; it mirrors the way non-profits solicit a reliable stream of donations by the month or quarter. Dropping the price at a level you choose offers incentive for dedicated shoppers, and may be a great offset to the fairly good potential of repeat business.
The big players in subscription services tend to be niche products. Home delivery entities such as Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, and Itsy are singularly focused on a single product line. But there is no reason it can’t apply to particular products in a larger inventory.
Aside from replenishment, the curation model is another way to land future business. Delivering a curated collection of items, usually within a specific product category, forms a perma-relationship by offering discounts on collection items that endure and increase as the customer stays on board.
These all sound tempting, especially as a way to garner loyalty. But are they feasible? Start with an understanding of which type or demographic of consumers use them. A recent study shows that the younger, wealthier among us are more keen on subscriptions. It makes sense; they can absorb the surprise of an auto-delivery deduction from their bank account or credit card.
There are ways to ease the pain of remorseful purchases, or short-term financial crunches. Sending out reminder emails of an upcoming shipment is one. Liberal policies allowing shoppers to choose the frequency of delivery is another.
Consider these stats when you ponder whether the subscription model is worth a try:
While the traditional subscription model is dedicated to a single product line, increasingly Amazon and other shopping portals provide a subscription option. Don’t be intimidated by that example; although you are far from reaching monumental growth and the status of a giant, there will be a progression of sub-models designed solely for the smaller seller.
The first order of business is to choose a platform that fits with your size, product category, and objective. It’s imperative to find one that allows customization, but is affordable and user-friendly. For a good start, see a list here.
Once this trendy subscription model takes hold, it may become old news for consumers, and a go-to method for them to save time through automatic re-ordering. Saying you were in early with your version might just be a point of pride.
ADVANTAGES AND PITFALLS TO AVOID
Social media can be a double edged sword. It can hone in on target audiences, passing under their noses every second of the day, but it can also be an ineffective time-waster and, on the rare occasion, do more harm than good. So, whether a brand uses micro-influencers or a dedicated social media marketing service, it pays to understand how to portray oneself on social media correctly and efficiently.
Below, we’ve put together a list of some of the greatest advantages and vital tips of promoting your brand through social media platforms and, just as importantly, a few common pitfalls to avoid.
The Advantages of Using Social Media
Social media outreach is an essential component of a marketing strategy for many brands. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and many others offer an accessible way for brands to reach their audience. What are some of the advantages of using social media? Let’s explore!
It’s a Direct Connection to a Wider Audience
Popular social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram have many Monthly Active Users (MAUs). Facebook alone has 2.9 billion MAUs, so it is usually the first social platform brands turn to. This can work to a brand’s advantage, getting as many eyes on your products and services as possible. Furthermore, it offers a direct connection that serves an audience’s curiosity and makes them more familiar with products and services.
Influencer Marketing and Paid Ads Are More Affordable
Influencer marketing and paid advertising offer brands a more economical approach to reaching said audience. You don’t need a big celebrity; a micro-influencer with a large following of your target audience will do the trick. It’s a great way for newer brands to make their name known. Not sure where to find an influencer relevant to your brand? Check out some of the top influencer marketing platforms like Upfluence, Grin and CreatorIQ and filter for your niche. Paid ads can also be tailored to slide into the social feeds and generate loyal followers who may eventually hit that “buy” button.
Social Media Points Increases Shop Page and Website Visitors
With a community of followers, a brand can alert them of promotions, sales and other offerings that lead them to a website and more importantly, a shop page! Whether the brand sells home decor or fine jewelry, a captivating image of the latest products can entice followers to pay a visit to a site, driving traffic and generating sales.
Pitfalls to AvoidWith all the advantages that social media has to offer to grow a brand, it’s still a good idea to know what kind of pitfalls to avoid. Here are a few snags and snafus that can trip up a well-meaning social media marketing plan.
Not Researching Your Target Audience
Yes, one major advantage of social media is that a brand can reach a wider audience with multiple accounts. Still, you have to start somewhere. If you ignore data-driven details and metrics that help define your target audience, all your social media posts will fail to capture the attention of those that matter – your customers and clients! So, learn how to make your brand appeal to your audience from the get-go.
Being on Every Social Media Platform
New social media platforms are popping up practically every year: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and the latest Snapchat and TikTok, among a few. If it seems overwhelming, you’re not wrong. But there’s an easy solution. Instead of trying to blanket them all and stretching the marketing department too thin, focus on the social media platforms that your target audience uses most. For example, Pinterest offers interior designers and homeowners a way to pin furniture and decor. Also, remember to align the style and tone of voice to the platform. For example, LinkedIn readers will appreciate a more professional angle.
Becoming Over-Reliant on Automation
Once your brand markets itself to its target audience, don’t forget to connect with followers on a more personal level. Automation offers a modern convenience of posting consistently, but real engagement begins when a brand replies to comments and answers questions, even under an influencer’s social media post. So hop into the brand accounts – on a weekly basis at least – to get involved with your followers and build that trust factor.
Discover the Best Social Platform for Your Brand TodayTake advantage of everything social media has to offer. Join a social media platform – or two or three – and begin promoting your brand today. Research your target audience or simply learn more details on who that audience truly is. Just remember to avoid some of the common pitfalls mentioned above and align your message and tone to fit your brand.
Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash
Ecommerce Giant Amazon Launches New Social Media Tool
And taking the pulse of the younger generation of buyers has inspired Inspire – an Amazon quasi-social media app designed to mimic the popular TikTok. Not surprisingly, it’s an early hit.
Amazon Inspire began a rollout phase in early 2023, offering a downloadable app that in fact resembles the TikTok platform. TikTok is a video-centered app popular across a range of demographics, though it is mostly used by those under 40. That’s where the dollars are, say experts in ecommerce. And that’s where the Amazon future is headed.
This intriguing and nuanced app offers so much more than just a small photo on their main website. Amazon shoppers can log in to Inspire directly through their phone-based Amazon app by launching a light bulb icon. It promises personalized content (made possible by a collection of prior shopping choices and probably a bit of data collection from social media use).
Users may choose from more than 20 areas of interest such as gaming, beauty products, clothing, pet care, recreational pursuits, and beyond. Browsing the returns that pop up after you’ve chosen a sector, shoppers scroll through buttons to further customize a collection they may find interesting. The experience is similar to TikTok feeds, with engagement buttons and swiping actions that lead to promoted or favored items.
This customization feature is perhaps the key selling point of both selling and buying on Inspire. It doesn’t require typing text into a search window. Product categories appear in launchable buttons, and they are diverse. Amazon hopes they will lead you to what you’re shopping for.
What Amazon has not disclosed is how the app generates recommendations, except to say that it requires at least two recommendations before it appears as a promoted product.
Content creators may enroll in the program to upload media, including video and photos connecting to thumbnail photos of Amazon listings they fancy. These contributors may earn commissions, depending on volume. Customer reviews, always a key element in online sales, are welcomed.
Amazon Inspire is now available for use by all US consumers, and the jury is out on how this new, creative approach to a hybrid influencer/advertising function will play out. For now, it appears to be an ingenious method of following the lead in cultural and consumer trends as they develop on the internet.
Interested in buying or selling on Inspire? Get more info here.
The Who, What, Where’s, and Why’s of Business SmartS
That softens the blow of what we’re about to discuss. As long as you’re dealing with digits, start examining the core of your business by figuring out who buys what, and how often. In the trade, it’s referred to as “customer segmentation,” and it is a critical way to make your store thrive.
Customer segmentation works best when you pin down stats and demographic data from the top 20 percent of sales. Not of customers, of sales. If you have repeat customers, that’s great, but if their volume of purchases is not especially high, it’s not a helpful measure for future performance and growing a consumer base. We all know about customer conversion, or turning lookers into buyers. The conversion rate among all ecommerce sectors in 2022 was 3.65 percent.
Studying the shared attributes of those buying across your site will guide you toward marketing more prospective customers. And unlike other strategies for growth, it can happen quickly.
Targeted marketing in the 2020 decade is about as easy as it gets. Social media platforms are practically designed for this. Facebook (Meta), for example, provides an easy breakdown of the basics – age, location, ideology – but increasingly it allows businesses to gather data about their interests based on company sites and pages they have visited. With this knowledge in hand, your task is to match your product mix with those most likely to be intrigued.
Facebook Ad Analytics Guide is one tool to help you dive into the art and science of zeroing in on potential customers. Its data reach is admirable: available are customer-reported statistics such as income, buying habits, buying likelihood, and other measures useful in figuring out who may be receptive to outreach.
Kick off your segmentation efforts with these basics: