ActiveCampaign offers tons of automated features you can rely on, from email automation to live chat. It’s a wonderful all-in-one lead generation tool to improve your marketing and capture customers and consumers. Use it to build a landing page that entices an email sign up or simply use it as a live chat to answer questions and help consumers to feel confident about buying your product. Perfect for both sales and marketing, ActiveCampaign is perfect for startups who want to hit the ground running and need an all-encompassing lead generation tool. Luckily, it’s user-friendly too!
Getsitecontrol may not have a plethora of automation tools like ActiveCampaign, but they do have a variety of widgets like forms, popups and an extensive collection of templates to get you started. Create a targeted email opt-in popup to capture emails and customers. You can even create a split test popup to determine which is more effective for your consumer base. This lead generation tool is a very easy-to-use on-page lead generation tool that can begin to capture emails that lead to loyal customers and more.
Connect to your customers right on site with JivoChat, a live chat-based lead generation tool. JivoChat is a pretty handy tool for businesses that want to target existing traffic. You can use it to offer a way for customers to directly connect and chat with a representative and get the live support that they need. When a customer is hesitant or has questions about a product, warranty or more, a quick chat may be all they need to gain their trust and confidence and turn them into a long-term paying customer. Non-distracting and accessible, add a JivoChat chat window into the sidebar of a website just like that!
Hubspot Sales Hub
Hubspot is a fantastic all-around CRM software tool that offers a wide range of services from marketing, sales, and customer service. The Hubspot Sales Hub, in particular, provides lead generation tools that take advantage of the data, integrating it directly within the platform. The Hubspot Sales Hub allows companies to set up automated email sequences and sales processes to hunt down leads and close more deals. Lead scoring, conversion routing and sale forecasting tools are just some of the advanced features you can expect with this handy-dandy lead generation tool. While this fancy Hubspot tool is intended for teams, it’s also offered in a free CRM tool version for individual salespeople and smaller companies looking to bootstrap their business.
Albacross is a wonderful lead generation tool to help you analyze and hone in on your ideal buyers. This way, you can tailor marketing activities along the buyer journey, which leads to greater conversions. Albacross not only identifies potential leads in real-time and monitors their site navigation habits, but also gathers data on their demographic so you can create better messaging that attracts them. This powerful lead generation tool is fully GDPR compliant with global regulations and offers firmographic, behavioral, and technographic data points so you can target your audience to a tee.
If you are looking for attractive and useful landing page lead generation tools, Leadpages has tons to offer. Leadpages can help you design beautifully optimized landing pages with simple templates and a drag and drop builder. Landing pages aside, it also offers ways to integrate popups, alert bars and much, much more so that you can up the ante on your lead conversions. A/B testing helps you understand what landing page is working and an analytics dashboard guides you through the process with real-time conversion tips.
Last but not least, OptinMonster makes a great lead generation tool. After a quick user-friendly setup using one of their 97+ customizable templates from popups to floating bars and full screen overlays, you can bring A/B testing to eliminate the guesswork and hone in on your target audience. OptinMonster offers some proprietary software such as Exit Intent® technology, which can personalize campaigns based on visitor behavior and OnSite Retargeting® and personalization that tailors an offer to a specific audience like new or returning visitors. Enterprise-level page targeting is also another feature that can come in useful to segment leads.
Inflation is a topic on the mind of almost everyone, from consumers to merchants, government agencies to economists. Its impact on high-level macroeconomic markers is significant, and to families struggling to keep up with it while navigating toward a post-pandemic world, it can be a source of great stress.
For ecommerce merchants attempting to salvage a steady revenue stream, inflation is a bump in the road that seems to be worsening by the day. Finding that workable balance between meeting your obligations and realizing a decent profit, and avoid the Big Bleed that happens when skyrocketing cost-of-living issues hamper customer choice, can be daunting.
And it’s not in your imagination, nor is it a small point. From year to year March 2021 to March 2022, prices overall rose 10 percent globally. A gargantuan figure.
There are some workarounds you might try, and each is specific to a different industry, product mix, and business size. Candidly, the last thing most merchants want to do is raise prices. That may or may not be an option, but read on for some alternatives.
The obvious first steps:
The less obvious next steps:
Other possibilities may yield a surprisingly exuberant response from clients, including addressing the inflation issue head on with frank yet humorous language making mention of current conditions. Remember that they affect virtually all merchants, so you won’t need to create a tailored mea culpa. As you educate your customers on world and national geopolitical factors, supply chain crises, and other elements of changing commerce, they may invest more trust in you than they previously showed.
Above all, be honest. Don’t promise a quick return to affordability, but resist an open-ended, gloomy forecast. Assure them that you are not capitalizing on a phenomenon and attempting to line your pockets. Tell them you hope to keep them in the buying family and will adjust your pricing as it becomes feasible.
Options for Installment Payments
The Pros and Cons of Using a BNPL Program
It’s easy to see why this convenient option works for so many, especially in times of financial difficulty. BNPL apps and programs allow consumers to purchase a product upfront, making it a more affordable option as they pay in monthly installments instead. But before you go using just any BNPL option, take a closer look at their advantages and what each has to offer.
Online installment payment plans have a few pros and cons to consider. Here are some things to think about.
Easy Interest-Free Installment Plans
Most BNPL services offer an installment plan (four payments, typically) that can be paid off without interest – so long as you pay on time! This makes it a great option when you need to spread out your finances.
Links to Debit and Credit Cards
Many BNPL apps link to your already-existing debit and credit cards. With a soft credit check, a BNPL loan doesn’t affect a credit score. Instead, it simply offers consumers like students and those still building their credit to learn how to budget and better manage their personal finances.
Increases Orders and Purchases
When consumers feel confident with an easy-to-use loan without interest, they’re more tempted to make larger purchases and to spend more in a shop. That means that having a BNPL option on your online shop is a major advantage to your business. Furthermore, it also keeps consumers coming back time and time again.
Minimum Spending Requirements
Installment payments have a purpose – to help stretch out payments for more significant purchases. In other words, many BNPL options have a minimum spending requirement. For example, Klarna is $35.
Late Payment Fees
Interest-free installment plans are great – if you remember to pay them! But if you don't, many BNPL programs charge late payment fees. Of course, at the end of the day,, you’ll be paying more for the product purchased.
Many Do Not Help Build Credit
While there are BNPL apps that do help build credit with a hard credit score, many simply do not. Take a closer look at the app details and whether they are required to report to the credit bureaus and you will have your answer. For example, Splitit and Sezzle have no impact – good or bad – on your credit score.
#5 Consumer Favorite Options for Installment PaymentsLet’s break down some popular BNPL installment payment options.
Affirm allows customers and buyers to make a purchase and skip the late fees. However, Affirm does charge interest, which it breaks down up front. Still, an underpayment or no payment at all can harm credit scores. All in all, this loan system makes Affirm a fantastic option for larger purchases, allowing up to a 12-month payment plan. Interest rates on loans range anywhere from 0 - 30% and are dependent on several variables like if you have prior payment history, the standing of your current Affirm account and more.
Afterpay offers payments split into four installments over six weeks. With a 0% interest rate, it’s a great BNPL option for those who are diligent and pay on time. Afterpay also allows late payments with a 10-day grace period. Beyond this time, a late fee is charged, based on the amount of the original purchase but never more than 25%.
Klarna’s terms, rates and fees tend to vary by merchant. However, customers can expect something like 4 installment plans spanning 6 weeks with no fees. Plus, Klarna allows users to pay 30 days after the purchase. Besides these limits, Klarna can charge up to a $35 late fee each month, but it’s relative to the item purchased, and $10 per month is the norm.
#4 PayPal ‘Pay in 4’
Many people use PayPal for online purchases, so they recently launched a new ‘Pay in 4’ program to meet the demand. The PayPal ‘Pay in 4’ allows consumers to make purchases without being charged interest, which is wonderful. However, they do charge a late payment fee. It’s also important to know that they run a soft credit check, which essentially means it doesn’t affect credit scores.
Once approved with a soft credit check, Sezzle requests 25% upfront and allows you to pay (with a linked debit or credit card) over four installments in six weeks without interest. Late payments are $10, but it can be waived easily if you catch it within 48 hours. Sezzle also offers long-term loan financing through Ally. However, this method does require a hard credit check.
It’s an exciting time in the ecommerce world - and it’s only getting better.
In just two short years – between 2019 and 2021 - online spending skyrocketed by 50.5%. Ecommerce sales now account for over 13 percent of total retail sales in the U.S., and this number is projected to grow to an impressive 22% by 2025.
As online sales continue to surge, opportunities for ecommerce business owners are at an all-time high. But as more and more consumers turn to their laptops and smart phones to make purchases, more and more businesses are responding to the trend by taking their offerings online – which means more competition for you.
In a crowded digital marketplace, traditional sales strategies like paid advertising and social media are no longer enough. These days, it’s all about creating value for customers with original content that educates, informs, or entertains.
Developing an ecommerce content marketing strategy may take time, but taking the time to get it right is well worth the effort. If you keep these ideas in mind as you create and promote your content, you’ll be on your way to building a loyal customer base and a powerful brand presence.
Are you smarter than a floor lamp? Probably, but digital technology has permeated home décor in ways we’d never have imagined. What once was considered showy and pretentious is quickly becoming a source of convenience, posing the inevitable question of “why not?”
SMART technology dates back to the late 1980s, when all tech was in a veritable explosion of growth and experimentation. Patented as DViT (Digital Vision Touch) technology, it represents “self-monitoring, analysis, and reporting technology.” So the term itself is self-fulfilling, with roots that are – like most nouveau concepts coming out of the Silicon Valley – acronym-driven.
Cell phones were early adapters, facilitating operations based on apps or voice instruction. Our shared friend Alexa, Amazon’s SMART tech contribution, stands ready to answer questions to the best of her ability. But how can SMART technology make your life easier? How about turning on lights in a dark room based on a voice command? Turning off your oven without being near the kitchen?
It seems futuristic, but it’s not exactly superfluous. Imagine entering a dark house and having to navigate around furnishings to manually turn on lights. That reality for many has transitioned into obsolescence in the era of SMART technology. In the vein of television remotes, SMART operations that kickstart lighting fixtures and a host of other essential living components are the wave of the future and an integral part of the present.
SMART lighting harnesses an LED concept to emit light through a process that may be TMI (too much information) for the lay reader. Let’s just say it’s a handshake between like-minded digital waves, and it accomplishes tasks such as turning on, dimming, and turning off lighting. It can make ultra-contemporary fixtures and lamps change lighting color, or adjust brightness based on the time of day. Versions are automated, while others kick in with voice commands or instructions given through a cell phone app.
The Ins and Outs
SMART technology ventures outdoors as well. Check out this sleek SMART garden wall light, an upscale addition to covered patios. Or make a splash with this high-end, artistic indoor SMART ceiling light. But though SMART technology conjures up visions of decadence, it’s also a mainstay in simpler, more traditional light sources such as this floor lamp.
The key is not in the external structural design, but rather the engine that drives lighting. This relatively inexpensive wall-plug SMART outlet serves a number of functions necessary for products using Apple products, Alexa-enabled devices, Siri voice commands, and even Google Assistant. For a more fancy model, try this SMART outlet USB-enabled wall plug Wi-Fi socket using voice control to effect wireless operation from distant locations.
Increasingly, furniture manufacturers and even appliance makers are finding ways to incorporate SMART technology within, for example, sectional sofas, allowing for device-charging, light control, and even media operation.
An important consideration is the age of your electrical wiring system, naturally. Older structures would need updating to be compatible. But if you’re contemplating a remodel, or building a new home or office building, you should put SMART technology at the top of your list of must-haves.
Moving merchandise through moving pictures
It’s no secret that supply chain disruption is rampant for many industries. According to the New York Times, the world is short on everything ranging from computer chips to coffee and copper. In a world where online shopping is up by 32% since 2019, how are ecommerce brands supposed to survive?
In this two-part guide, we’ll show you how to survive the supply chain disruption as an ecommerce brand.
WHAT'S CAUSING THE CURRENT SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION?
There are several reasons why the world is experiencing a supply chain disruption in 2021, and possibly into 2022. If you remember the panic toilet paper buying when the pandemic hit, in a way this became a trickle-down effect.
That’s because supplies began panic buying more materials than they needed to keep up with demand. This ranged from all kinds of items and materials, including plastics, wood, and even soybeans. No matter what industry you are in, you are likely observing some effect of supply chain disruption and product shortage.
Production in China slowed down during the height of the pandemic. Serving as the world’s factory for nearly all everyday items (and much more), availability for materials came to a screeching slow down.
Meanwhile, the current shortages are also causing price inflation. As the global economy works to recover from the pandemic, businesses and customers alike are feeling the crunch.
HOW IS THE DISRUPTION AFFECTING ECOMMERCE?
Product shortages are causing problems ranging from dissatisfied customers to having a plan for an economic downturn.
The disruption is forcing ecommerce brands to predict how customers and even your competitors may respond to economic downturns. It’s also making brands look into alternative suppliers and devise a plan of how to get what they need.
However, the effect of the disruption isn’t entirely negative. The disruption presents an opportunity for some or all the following:
- Rethinking your strategy of customer loyalty
- Devising a better plan for a new supply network
- Pick up market share
No matter the positive or negative effects of the disruption, here is how you can start handling shortages.
WHERE TO START WITH HANDING SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION
Ecommerce is incredibly competitive, and having a plan on how to handle disruptions can save your sales as well as your reputation. However, brands must face reality that this disruption is likely going to last for quite a while. Without a plan, you’re sailing on a sinking ship.
Consider Your Inventory
The first approach is looking at your current inventory. What do you currently have that you can ship to customers quickly and affordably?
This is the time to start stockpiling on items needed for inventory. Imagine what you would need if your supply chains were entirely unavailable to you. Even though there is likely going to be a wait, put your orders in as quickly as possible to build up inventory. This way, you won’t be caught unprepared or unable to supply customers with what they need.
Get a Backup Supplier
There’s no better time than now to consider a backup supplier. What other suppliers can you reach out to for fulfilling inventory needs? You might need to consider new suppliers from other corners of the globe to help bring in new inventory.
Partner with Logistics Professionals
When you’re having trouble determining the logistics of low (or no) inventory, it can pay to partner with the professionals. They can potentially help you find new sources of inventory that you may have otherwise overlooked.
Create an Emergency Plan
Consider what you will do if there is no inventory available to buy. This will be part of your plan of action to stockpile what you need. However, you’ll also need to consider how you will communicate emergency plans to customers.
Customer communication is a major aspect of surviving a supply chain disruption. In part II, we’ll show the best practices of customer communication during a supply chain disruption---a big key to surviving the uncertain.
Fast-forward to this point, more than halfway into 2021, and we are still here. After a brief period of “reopening” after a vaccination purported to liberate us from isolation, a resurgent Covid-19 wave has yet again imperiled virtually every aspect of our lives.
How did your store fare during the initial lengthy duration? Did you thrive or struggle? Whatever is your story, it’s about to again face challenges. But the shift toward online buying has paved the way for a potential continuation of opportunity.
Lockdowns hitting physical retail establishments last year bumped up the statistics for ecommerce merchants worldwide, but not by a significant margin – at first. Eventually, those numbers increased, reflecting comfort among consumers who grew familiar with and appreciative of the convenience of buying online.
Averages being averages, not everyone fared the same. The Latin American marketplace Mercado Libre doubled its daily sales between the second quarter of 2020 and the same period of 2019. Coronavirus, not a friend to anyone, did boost sales in the US for ecommerce merchants. Year-to-year sales increased just over 32 percent at the height of the lockdown. Perhaps Americans were more motivated than anyone to shift their shopping venues.
Not all good news
Though a general trend sent consumers to their computers and phones in record numbers, that did not translate to a universal benefit for all sellers. The reason will resonate as obvious: averages are driven by big players, and all in all, the existing ecommerce giants such as Amazon and Walmart saw the most gigantic hikes. In other words, either those who had experience with established online sellers were more likely to go to them for all or most purchases, or shoppers who were new to the game decided to trust the marquee merchants over smaller entities.
“Digital divides” played a role in this; online infrastructure was prepared to deliver, so to speak. Mid- to small-level sellers had a lot of catching up to do. And for some it never really materialized.
That said, this continued global struggle with a pathogen that doesn’t seem likely to go away presents a renewed opportunity to seize on what is already existing in everyone’s business model, provided they made early efforts to transition.
An important factor for sellers around the world is the role governments play in facilitating access and relaxing regulations. Convincing elected officials that economic fitness, including critical levels of tax revenues essential for day-to-day operations, is a primary goal, is paramount. Most understand but may lack the willingness to invest at a time when budgets are shrinking. Economists understand this is the opposite of good economic policy. An organized effort to convince them otherwise could make an extraordinary difference that benefits all.
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