Seeing a path to better revenues, and being a better business
By now every growing e-commerce entity has figured out the critical role social media plays in their business. It’s become a household pastime; a venue for people from all demographics who are connecting with the world through computers and devices.
The opportunities for marketing and branding are rich. And increasingly, the picture has become much rosier. Research conducted in 2018 showed that social media users made their most recent purchase directly through Facebook and their eBay Daily Deals. Facebook ran away with the biggest share of the pie, with Instagram coming in a close second.
Yet there is a demographic often left in the dust; one thought to be unable – disabled, as it were – to use social media.
That has changed. With technological developments in connectivity have come celebrated advances in bringing the Internet to people with varying degrees and types of disabilities. There are nearly 60 million of them in the U.S., and that number will grow as they age. They are players. They are shoppers. And they can be your best customers if given the chance.
Seeing Progress and Profits: Instagram Adds Feature to Aid the Visually ImpaireD
Accessibility. It’s not just an accommodation. It’s an underrated boon for business.
Social media app Instagram is keenly aware, and on the job. With the introduction of new features that simplify their site for visually impaired users, they join other big players in social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, in expanding inclusivity.
How does this impact ecommerce merchants? The shopping public is reflective of overall demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), at least 3 percent of all Americans aged 16 to 75 experience some level of significant visual impairment. That’s more than 7 million people.
Wouldn’t you like to make sure your goods and services are available to as many potential buyers as possible? Instagram thinks so.
Here’s how it works: Programmers employ object recognition technology to produce descriptions of images for screen readers, making it possible to actually hear lists of items contained in photos as you scroll through them. The feature operates when Feed, Explore, and Profile pages are accessed.
Beginning next week, we’re rolling out a multi-part series focusing on accessibility in social media and ecommerce.
Before we dive into some platform-specific issues and ideas, let’s talk a little bit about what is legally required. On social media? There really isn’t a requirement that your content be accessible. (Though we think it ought to be.)
But there are some requirements and guidelines for your website. According to the ADA and subsequent court findings, your website is required to be accessible to those with disabilities. And it makes good business sense – the easier your site is to use, the more likely you are to make a sale.
While there are no comprehensive federal regulations in terms of website accessibility, there is a great guideline – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 – and we think it's where you should start. Chances are high that if the federal government does come out with legislation or regulation, it's going to look like this.
Here’s a life hack for ecommerce merchants, and a cool development you won’t want to miss.
No, not the standard app you’ve been playing around with for a while, deciding whether it’s of value to you as an online seller. After all, it’s so, so graphical. Maybe too graphical. And personal. Isn’t this what millennials use to share selfies?
Not anymore. With the lion’s share of social media apps hungry to gain attention from businesses, Instagram has been paying apt attention. The ever-popular feature Instagram Stories quietly morphed into a tool for ecommerce in the fall of 2017, allowing businesses to tag product photos through “stickers” on their posts. Those stickers are active links to your site.
And in June of 2018, Instagram took to the video platform with IGTV, an app designed to animate social and business parallels.
It’s gone so well that Instagram is reported to be launching an app tailored for you, the merchant. And experienced users will get the hang of it in no time flat.
Consider this: More than 25 million businesses have existing Instagram accounts. Of those, 2 million are advertisers. The foundation is set for sales, and they have been happening. If you feel like you’re missing a golden opportunity, you may be right.
The numbers are in, somewhat. A recent survey showed that brands have reported an increase in site traffic of more than 1400 percent and a whopping 20 percent gain in sales. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
To no one’s surprise, potential hasn’t escaped third-party app developers. Ecommerce site Ecwid rolled out a transition app on its own. It’s pretty interesting. But conventional wisdom says they anticipated Instagram would seize on the opportunity to rebrand their name, and it appears they will.
Optimizing for voice searches is a great new strategy
Let’s face it: Gen-Xers are masters at pounding out text, rapidly, on the tiniest of device keyboards. The rest of us stumble through frustrating errors, many of which launch hilarious misfires thanks to autocorrect. But there’s nothing silly about understanding that voice control will continue to permeate the computer use experience for all groups.
The mercurial rise of digital voice assistants on smartphones and—most recently, lovely Alexa from Amazon—is a good indicator that we’re moving into an era that is at least partly keystroke free. And why not? It’s quick, convenient, and increasingly accurate. What merchants are discovering is that it can also be profitable.
Think it’s a longshot? Fasten your seatbelt. OC&C Strategy Consultants recorded a month of sales rates for 2,000 Amazon-posted products, and found that voice-powered devices and products totaled $1.8 billion in domestic retail revenues in the year 2017. They predict that number will increase to $40 billion by 2022.
Big players such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple have jumped ahead of the game to integrate voice searching on their platforms. The most searched brands are ranked at the top for voice searches. Maintaining a presence on these seller sites, in conjunction with optimized voice search strategies, will put you far ahead of the game.
It’s never too late to change, even if you’re looking for a fresh new start with a website. Ecommerce vendors will be evolving virtually on a constant basis as they go forward with adjusting to new technologies and the growth of their business.
By now you’ve either heard of or have been using WordPress as a content management system. Its transformation over the last decade has been astounding, becoming one of the most sophisticated, adaptable, and even user-friendly platforms. At $25 per month for a business site, it’s a phenomenal bargain.
What makes it even better? A boat load of extra options. Plug-ins for WordPress can increase its functionality and convenience to the point where your site is practically running itself. And they offer up handy features that you would otherwise have to search for and install separately.
If you’d like a primer on starting or upgrading your WordPress site, check out this guide.
By now you’ve at least explored the concept of creating a website that shows your brand at its best, and forms the foundation of conducting commerce through cyberspace. And since the ultimate goal is to make your site viewed and read by as many people as possible, you’ll need to learn how to crack the code of becoming search engine optimized. The balancing act of utilizing search-optimized syntax and offering readable, relatable, and compelling verbiage can be a challenge. Ultimately, though, it can make or break your success as an ecommerce merchant.
Do you feel as if you can’t keep up with current best practices and trends influencing site engagement? You’re not alone. It’s not a simple task, but it needn’t be prohibitive. Thanks to generous experts, the web is rife with outstanding resources on every aspect of SEO for operations of all sizes.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective customer and spend some time evaluating what it is about online merchants you’ve shopped in the past. What was great about their presence? Their interface? What made you shy away from navigating around a particular entity’s page? These basic first-hand experiences can help you set up a presence that works for you.
Leveraging User-Generated Content
Successful merchants hype the concept of “word-of-mouth advertising” It’s hard to dispute the value of satisfied customers singing your praises to other potential clients, and making it an element of an overall marketing strategy is a win-win. But in the digital era, there are greater opportunities to engender positive input from people who are giving a thumbs-up to people they don’t even know.
Through social media and review sites, happy clientele can boost your rankings in search engines and make your brand become known to millions. The mining of user-generated content is recognized as equally important to your outreach through advertising, website excellence, and devoting countless hours to employing search engine optimization’s best practices.
And it works.
An oft-used example is the now infamous Coca Cola Co’s clever bottle labels that featured common first names. Consumers went wild for the homey idea, snapping images of themselves imbibing with a personalized bottle. That viral campaign cost the corporation absolutely nothing, and generated a windfall of invaluable advertising.
If you’re not a Fortune 500 mega-corporation, you’re not alone. The rest of us need to expend more elbow grease into successfully employing user-generated content. Organic customer input doesn’t fall in your lap, but it’s not that difficult to find.
If you’ve been a copywriter for any length of time, you know the ongoing debate of what the ideal length of a sales letter should be. As long-time A-list copywriter Mark Ford notes, everyone purports to despise long copy, yet it has always consistently out-pulled and outsold short copy.
But what about social media posts? Is shorter copy is the ticket to higher sales?
Some say that copywriting has evolved—and social media is to thank (or blame) for it. But saying it has evolved is too broad a brush to paint this picture.
It’s more accurate to say that copywriting has expanded. Different media platforms may take center stage now, yet the same principles upon which advertising and marketing were built in the mid-20th century still apply.
So, in today’s social media-dominated world, how much is too much? Is it possible to optimize the length of a post to engage and convert readers? What’s the ideal length of a post to drive viral engagement that reaches as many people as possible?
As always, it’s up to you to find out what your unique audience wants and cares about. To know their pains and concerns so you can offer the best solution, service, or product for them.
Generally speaking, though, it depends on your forum. But to know for sure, you’re going to have to test and find out what works for you. Neither guessing nor being creative for the sake of it is going to cut it.
It’s 2018: we get a lot of e-mails. Most of them are just sent to spam or deleted without opening. How can you make sure that your e-mails stand out against all the noise?
E-mail copywriting takes time, effort, and creativity— and can often be a daunting task. Let’s simplify the process of designing an awesome e-mail.
It’s vital to keep in mind is what your customers will be seeing.