What’s hot and what’s not? That never-ending question drives buying decisions of vendors everywhere, including ecommerce players eager to cash in on upcoming trends. With a new year kicking in, we’ve centered in on an extravaganza sure to fill your mind with a dizzying array of considerations: the Las Vegas Market Winter 2020 event.
Scheduled for January 26-30, 2020, this annual marquee fiesta offers a glimpse into the hottest, best-selling, and promising product lines in home goods. A special presentation by Las Vegas Design Center, it draws attention to LVDC, the Southwest’s premiere home furnishings and design resource. Las Vegas’ state-of-the-art campus of the World Market Center will host, bringing buyers and shoppers to more than 30 designer showrooms with more than 4,300 brands and lines and 500 unique temporary exhibitors just minutes from the infamous Las Vegas Strip.
Assisting your difficult perusal through product lines will be experts in home fashioning and design offering top-notch tutoring in trends, methods, business advice, and everything related to interior décor.
Discover the best of the West with exhibitors eager to show off their wares in a tempting venue where you can develop merchandising plans, solicit tips on price and quality, and just explore through a vast wilderness of home products.
As another year slips by, marking the end of a decade, it’s time to wax nostalgic about the evolution we witnessed in the ‘10s, and prepare for an even more energizing landscape for ecommerce in the ‘20s.
These aren’t the Roaring Twenties romanticized in history books and pop culture, but rather a digital form geared toward harnessing the avalanche of opportunity available through Internet channels. It’s not likely that anyone in the Flapper days foresaw social media – although they would have loved it – but embracing the festive, carefree demeanor of that era is not a bad way to approach your business pursuits as we say goodbye to yet another year and decade.
So what trend-setting developments are we likely to see come January? What ingenious tactics and offerings will pose tempting ways of boosting your business?
Let’s start with customer engagement. If your patrons love you, put them to good use by involving them in social media campaigns. Hashtags go a long way on Twitter and Instagram, so why not come up with a catchy phrase involving a product you sell or your business name, and let it fly?
#AtlanticTradersHolidaySale – that hashtag generates a discussion of your personal shopping space. Sound fun? Try it!
If you’re not up to speed on how to execute hashtag campaigns or even use them effectively, GoDaddy has a great tutorial.
Another way to work customers’ and potential customers’ personal lives into your web is to entice them with personal touches. Social media “customer care” demonstrates your interest in serving them in a way that matters. Put simply, it’s not sufficient to set up Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and Instagram accounts. Reaching out to customers and being responsive to their input will get you places. Be sure to monitor and respond to ALL comments made to your Facebook posts. If someone has a complaint, apologize for their experience and offer to fix it. If someone gushes over your product or service, thank then back with equal enthusiasm.
It doesn’t take care of itself.
Approaching the second decade of the 21st Century, it may feel redundant to refer to “online marketing.” The bulk of commerce arguably has moved toward Internet transactions and advertising for some time, and it’s becoming rare to think of marketing as shaping up anywhere but in cyberspace. That makes it all the more urgent to tailor functions for the virtual platform; to consider the web your home space for growing a business.
Consider sectors once thought to be averse to Internet that have formed a presence online. Insurance used to observe stealth, cautious marketing and underwriting activities anywhere but in an agent’s office – or, in the early part of this century, over the phone. Now it’s possible to shop, ponder, and instantly bind coverage from an iPad.
Shopped for groceries lately? Increasingly, that’s taking place through online orders managed by third-party sites, as is food delivery. Booking travel, flagging down ride shares, and even applying for college is becoming a fully virtual experience. This has one lesson for ecommerce vendors: your business is an online entity, and must be treated accordingly.
Following are resources for fine-tuning your marketing and sales functions on the internet. Consider each carefully, assessing its value to your business in terms of affordability, comprehensive features, and ease of use.
Maybe the last thing you envisioned spending a ton of time on when you decided to become an ecommerce seller was marketing. Sure, you recognize the word. You understand there is a basic need to connect with potential buyers. But is it really necessary to dedicate so much of your precious time and energy on an intangible?
In a word, yes.
In the absence of a physical presence that people drive by on the regular, your cyber business is virtually invisible. This is not a comforting thought, and it should wake you up to the pressing need to expand outreach. Marketing your e-business can become less painful—and, dare way say, even enjoyable—with the right attitude, the right goal, and the right strategy.
Storefront businesses endure Chamber of Commerce socials and mixers, talking up their offerings. Think of digital marketing as an expansion of those with a bigger payout. Direct outreach to consumers is mostly free when it’s conducted online. All you need to do is arm yourself with the best practices.
Here are some tried-and-true tips to employing ecommerce marketing in a way that offers a good return on investment:
When it comes to promoting your business, email continues to be one of the most important ways to reach customers and increase sales. Although it may seem that social media is catching up quickly, the numbers show that email marketing continues to be more effective for businesses to communicate with their customers.
A recent survey found that only 41 percent of people, and only 30 percent of Americans, trust social media. Four in ten people have deleted a social media account in the past year. Conversely, email use continues to grow, with a whopping 3.8 email users in 2018. That number is set to grow to 4.4 billion by 2023.
Let’s explore some of the reasons why your email list is still the most effective way to reach customers in 2019.
It’s Cost Effective
The average business owner reported a return on investment of $42 for every $1 spent on email marketing in 2019. That’s up from $38 for every $1 spent in 2018. If you focus on fine-tuning your message and determining what’s most effective for your audience, that number could increase exponentially.
It Requires Permission
Unlike Facebook, where people are bombarded with ads from companies they’ve never heard of, people who choose to receive your emails do so willingly. They’ve already expressed an interest in what your business has to offer. Requiring a double opt-in, or adding an extra step for customers to receive your emails, narrows it down even further. Research has shown that requiring a double opt-in can increase ROI by an average of 13%.
Who doesn’t remember the first purchase made from your ecommerce business? It was likely a high point, and not to be forgotten. No matter how many subsequent transactions you’ve processed, you’re always hoping for a way to hook in a stream of consistent repeaters. Right?
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.
Sustainability matters to people–particularly to Millennials. A Neilsen poll of over 30,000 people found that 66% of consumers– and 73% of Millennials– are willing to pay more to support companies who commit to sustainable, environmentally-friendly business practices. With Millennials set to overtake Boomers as the largest living generation in 2019, it’s crucial for businesses to pay attention to this growing trend.
In this day and age, it’s more important than ever for online stores to reduce their carbon footprint - not only to use as a selling point, but because it’s the right thing to do for our planet. And let’s face it. From gas-guzzling delivery trucks to layers of wasteful packaging, ecommerce isn’t exactly the most environmentally-friendly business model out there.
Going green may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve been in business for a while. The good news is that the more this trend catches on, the more opportunities there are for online stores to minimize their environmental impact. And this comes with the added bonus of gaining customers’ trust.
So, what are some easy steps your ecommerce business can take to become greener?
4 Live Chat Tips to Increase Customer Loyalty
Think back to your last live chat experience. Was it smooth and user-friendly, or did it leave you wanting to tear your hair out in frustration?
Mine, unfortunately, fell into the second category. I was trying to fund a checking account I’d just opened with a large banking and credit card company. Following the instructions didn’t seem to be working and I couldn’t find the answers I was looking for, so I clicked the live chat button in an attempt to get some help.
Though I didn’t quite get to the point of tearing my hair out, the whole experience had me scratching my head and wondering why on earth they even bothered to call it “live chat.” Each time I typed in my concern, it would link me to the same FAQ answers I’d already looked at. I couldn’t find the answer to my question anywhere, and there was no option to chat with a live person. So frustrating!
I eventually gave up, and a week later, I still haven’t funded my account. I’ll eventually get it taken care of with a simple phone call, but life’s been hectic and I haven’t found the time. (Sound familiar?)
Of course, it’s a little different for a huge bank with millions of customers who need their services to function in life. Frankly, there’s no reason for them to care about inconveniencing a customer from time to time. People don’t have much of a choice but to continue doing business with them.
But in a hypercompetitive market like e-commerce, any delay or inconvenience can be repellent to a customer and can cost you the sale and the relationship. Here are four tips to create a fast, friendly and efficient live chat experience so you can boost sales and form loyal customer relationships.
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but words are powerful, and changes that hit the Facebook platform may be painful.
So say analysts reviewing new policies freshly implemented by the behemoth of all social media, and it could be a gigantic headache for those who write ad copy.
This shift in ad sizes was announced at a recent F8 conference, but the company has been somewhat stealth with respect to public information. Ad revenue is their bread and butter, naturally. And with more than 2 billion worldwide users, they are sharply focused on building a venue for paid advertisers, often at the expense of user experience. Nonetheless, the company continues to tweak its advertising options.
Here’s what’s happening: Facebook feed ads viewed in mobile mode (and let’s face it, few are using full-size computers these days) are shrinking. These “creative restrictions” make the image size and the amount of text smaller, with images reduced to a 4:5 aspect ratio from the current 2:3. Along with that is a text reduction from seven sentences to three – a tremendous drop by any measure.
Prioritizing ad copy words
Though users will be able to access more lines by clicking a “see more” link, the game is now changed. As anyone who has written for limited space platforms knows, the visible text is critical for engagement, and if that text is cut in less than half, it will be more important than ever to employ an economy of words with the most benefit.
With mobile devices already small in scale, that means even a typical one-liner with an inducement – the bread and butter of marketing lead-ins – won’t fit. And that hurts.
Beyond the written word, you’ll be dealing with a shrinking graphical allotment. This will require image redesigns, along with the judgment call on how small to make your overlay text.
The good news is that Facebook prepped for this sea change, perhaps to quell the tide of resistance. Their Video Creation Kit tool allows for a semi-automated process to make it easier through scaled image resizing. The kit also offers more templates that ostensibly provide flexibility to accommodate this curtailed space issue.
Driving sales for underperforming products and services can be a tough task. These products and/or services need additional tactics to help it perform and this is where scarcity marketing. This technique helps move sales for these items based on their rarity. With things so readily available to consumers through online shopping, more and more consumers find value in things that feel more exclusive. So here are several useful tactics for scarcity marketing for your small online business.
Establish Product Availability
It is important to let your consumers know how many items are still available for purchase. The point of this tactic is to establish a sense of urgency to influence consumers to purchase this product or service as soon as possible. If there are only three items left in stock, set an alert on your webpage to let customers know.
Limited Edition & Seasonal Products
Another way to establish a sense of urgency for products is to create special collections. These are products with limited quantity and will not be replenish them once they are sold out. This makes the product feel rare and exclusive which entices potential customers. Seasonal collections are also effective that may only come out during a certain time of year.
Creating a pre-sale offer for exclusive products brings a sense of excitement for potential customers. It can also gauge the demand for your product and bring in sales before the launch. This is also an effective way to show other consumers the high demand for your business as well.
Out-of-Stock Alerts & Low Stock Notices
When your items are out of stock, let your customers set alerts to know when an item is available again. Also let your consumers know when you are products are low in stock so they are more enticed to make a purchase before the item becomes sold out. This keeps a relationship between the consumer to come back for either the same item or perhaps another.
Customers love discounts and they love exclusive ones even more. You can do this by rewarding loyal customers as a follow-up from a purchase, signing up for your newsletter, and following your business on social media. Flash sales are also a good tactic to use as an exclusive short-term sale to attract attention to products as well. If you have a physical storefront, you can hand out invites to in-store patrons who make a purchase.