Conventional wisdom says it’s often harder to settle on décor for a newborn’s nursery than a main living space, and given the heightened anticipation of a brand new life, it’s not surprising. That there are millions of configurations, styles, genres, and colors makes it that much more confusing. Welcome to parenting, where making choices is an endless obligation.
Design gurus at HGTV caution against bold, bright colors for infants, if that helps. They tap into psychology to explain that basic primary tones such as black, white, and gray are instantly absorbed by wee ones. Okay, we’ll bite. Let’s explore a gray base – topped off with a bit of soft color.
Gender-neutral is a trend we can go for, so here’s a compilation we like.
Let’s start with the most noticeable feature of a nursery or any room: wall coverings. Paint is fine, but why not create a narrative with a decorative swan theme? This gender-neutral, pale green wallpaper offers a soothing arrangement of regal swans, adding the inspiration of nature and wildlife.
Heeding the tone advice from HGTV, we’ll settle on gray for basic furnishings. This crib is not only crisp and stylish, but it’s convertible. It grows with your baby’s development and becomes a toddler bed, which is a definite plus. It’s also versatile and attractive, and available in a soft shade of gray. Paired with a gray changing table, and you’re well on your way.
Those 2 a.m. wakeup calls benefit from a comfy rocking chair, and this one caught our eye. Its classic stripe pattern incorporates gray with a soft cream to coordinate with your wallpaper in a totally trendy way.
You’ll need illumination to avoid bumping into nursery staples, and this elegant light – though not technically a swan element – weaves in a similar species with its gooseneck design, as well as saves surface space with its wall mount.
Got wood floors? Kick around the idea of a cheerful rug that ties in the palette we’ve assembled so far. The spotted and striped pattern of this festive hand-made nursery rug sparks an extra level of uplifting attitude.
Accessories count! The simple artistry of this theme-building swan mobile delivers a subtle yet charming look.
Finally, a storage basket is a must-have for nurseries, and we found one perfect for the occasion. This natural rattan basket continues the legendary swan theme as it infuses casual charm perfect for the ensemble we’ve created.
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.
You’ve built your email list to a point where it’s time to automate. But how do you do it?
The nuts and bolts of process and procedure are great, but you need to start with a strategy. Simply sending the same message to every customer, or potential customer, on your list isn’t enough.
As nice as one-size-fits-all is in theory, in practicality, it’s not very effective.
So what does work?
Define and Segment Your Audience
If you want to tailor your approach, you’re going to start by thinking about what separates those on your list. A customer that made a purchase last week is different than a customer that made a purchase last year is different from a potential customer who hasn’t made a purchase at all.
Once you’ve created a few segments, you can begin to tailor your outreach approach and to set up automated triggers for email outreach. For instance, if your segment is those who’ve made a purchase between 10 and 90 days ago, you might consider sending an offer for free shipping or a discount code.
Collect Data During Sign Up
They got on your list somehow. Presumably most had to fil out a form and give you their email address. But that’s not the only thing you can ask for. Here are other pieces of information that you might find useful:
A/B Testing and Analytics Are Your Friend
Dive into all that data that’s right at your fingertips and begin by texting different email strategies to see which get you the best open, click-thorough, and purchase stats. Don’t hesitate to test in parallel, either. Got a message going out? Create two versions to determine things like the best subject lines, whether emojis help or hurt, or whether it makes a difference if the email comes from a generic or personal email address. Once you’ve sent those parallel messages, take a look at the stats and use that to build and refine your strategy.
In a world that’s ever-changing, more and more quickly, this isn’t a one and done prospect. Revisit your assumptions and test again. Continually be building your strategy and pushing back against what you think you know. What worked in 2019 probably isn’t the same as what will work in 2022.
Create Automated Message Flows
Once you’ve got a good handle on what works on whom, it’s time to actually devise your email strategy. You can start by creating workflows – series of emails that push a customer to your desired outcome. What might that look like? For a new customer who’s just joined you list, it’s a welcome series of 2-3 emails that establish your brand/ mission and invite them along on your journey. For someone who’s abandoned a cart, it’s a series of email tempting them to return to finish their purchase.
Other ideas include a birthday series, an order and shipping series, purchase follow-up, and reactivation for customers who’ve gone quiet. And, of course, you should be tailoring these workflows to your specific business and audiences, and you should be testing various messages and strategies within your emails.
The result? Better ROI. Higher conversion rates mean more business and really, that’s the whole goal.
From committing to a labor-intensive ecommerce biz, to choosing a product niche, to putting your ducks in a row and making sure you’re set to offer quality merchandise in a consistent fashion, there’s a big consideration that often stumps even the most prepared online sellers – and you must have it settled before day one of formal operations.
What is your name?
The art and science of choosing a business name can be an arduous process. And it’s deceptively, well, not easy. This is arguably the most important decision you’ll make as an ecommerce merchant. The considerations seem endless: first, once you pick one, you’re stuck with it. Second, it embodies your entire business, becoming a brand identity.
If you’re fortunate enough, you could fall into an obvious win. The footwear retailer Shoebacca hit the jackpot with a moniker that’s clever, relevant, and just plain fun. Sales psychology is clear on the relationship between commerce and branding, so think carefully before you self-identify.
Want some help? Asking friends and potential customers is always a plus. But so is consulting with experts – though that can be mind-numblingly expensive. There’s another option out there, and it’s a cool way to get started. Sites like Businessnamemaker will auto-generate suggestions based on keywords entered into their search window. There’s no telling whether it will come up with something fabulous, but it’s worth a try. NameSnack offers the same service, and surely there are several others. It features not only a search bar, but a list of possibilities.
This cheeky site suggests a naming contest, possibly a great idea if you have access to a sufficient pool of participants who bridge the gap between niche obsession and creativity. Worthstart has already compiled a list of not-too-shabby business names, offering a headstart. Even if none pops out as a clear choice, merely reading the list may spark an idea of your own.
Photo Credit: Rawf8/IStockPhoto.com
It goes without saying that there are factors to consider when self-branding, and not the least of which is near-replication. If you inch too close to an existing business name, you risk a loss of sales due to confusion at best. At worst, you may receive a cease-and-desist letter from the entity with a similar name. Having to start from scratch carries a litany of problems.
Other considerations for selecting the perfect name include:
Nothing replaces quality merchandise and excellent service. Make that a priority. But your brand name, if it’s fitting and fun, will help you retain creative juices as you expand with marketing materials and tailored graphic imaging.
Choose wisely, and you just might become a household name.
Celebrity sells, and even with your best efforts at focusing on conventional strong points for growing an e-commerce business, it may be time to cash in on the notoriety of big names.
That’s the reality for a lot of merchants, but not all. Your store might realize a so-so benefit from investing in this trend. Let’s look at the pluses and the minuses.
Influencer marketing typically harnesses the high-profile status of well-known (and sometimes surprisingly not so well-known) “influencers,” meaning people with immense followings on social media. Endorsements, product mentions, personal stories – they all attract interest. Whether it’s a big name like Kardashian, or a Johnny-Come-Lately who has grown a big audience and mass presence through clever marketing, leveraging this type of sales strategy can be lucrative.
Influencer marketing is also a form of branded content; not a one-size-fits-all concept. It’s hard to deny the effect of social media on virtually all consumer demographics, making sites like Facebook (Meta), Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and various and sundry platforms a critical asset to market products you sell.
Experts estimate that U.S. marketers will engage in some form of influencer marketing to the tune of nearly 73 percent in 2022. Want more stats? An estimated 14 percent of 18-to-24 year olds and 11 percent of millennials made a purchase within the last six months, strictly driven by influencer marketing. The concept is anything but new, and dates back to celebrity TV ad endorsements from decades earlier.
In 2022, influencers might be successful bloggers who have grown a following over the years. Parenting blogs, fitness blogs, foodie blogs, and fashion blogs are common examples. Non-famous individuals have built large audiences with sheer creativity and relevance. And even better, people trust them.
How do you absorb the cost of influencer marketing? Particularly in light of an imperfect method to measure metrics for return-on-investment, it’s an important question. What once was “paid partnerships” has morphed into “sponsored posts.” And for the privilege of hopping on board, the unspoken industry standard is $100 per 10,000 followers. Deciding between quality and quantity is another consideration: are you seeking a broad reach, or does your product line(s) call for a more tailored approach?
As Instagram is considered the gold standard for influencer marketing, start there. Influencers usually offer a press kit with the details you need to make a decision. A typical Instagram sponsored photo post caption might set you back under $2,000 for an influencer with fewer than 100,000 followers. To get started, you should start slow and build up.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you’re pitching on Instagram:
Photo by Verena Yunita Yapi on Unsplash
It’s the Little Things That Make a Difference
The room I spend the most time in, and yet, the one that always seems last in line for decor I love: the master bedroom. Probably because so many of those hours are spent in the dark, asleep. If your bedroom is anything like mine, it’s become the catch-all spot for whatever might not have a dedicated space at that moment. It’s out of the way, guests don’t see it, and we just sort of live with the clutter. My master bedroom could use a little work.
- Get rid of the clutter!
- Add bedside lighting that matches and works for both of us.
- Brighten it up.
So, clutter. The biggest thing there is to stop tossing stuff into the master that doesn’t belong there. The next thing is clearing surfaces. Added a few shelves and bins in the closet (bigger in this house, yay!) and that made clearing dresser and chest tops easy. Rearranged to get phone and tablet charging off of our nightstands, which helped SO MUCH in terms of keeping the room looking clean and streamlined.
Bedside lighting – this is where it got fun. My husband likes bright light at the bedside, my eyes are super-sensitive and exposed bulbs or weak shades/diffusers are a big no-go for me. In service of cutting clutter, we decided plug-in wall sconces were going to be our solution here. We just had to agree on a style. He wanted simple and functional, I wanted stylish and eye-catching. His suggestion was something like this classic swing arm wall lamp. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s nothing I’m getting excited about. I countered with this cool floating orb style, but he hated it. Cue my sad tears. But I get it, he’s a simple guy and these would definitely stand out every time he walked into the bedroom.
A few long conversations later, he really wanted something adjustable for reading in bed. I really wanted a contemporary look and soft illumination. What’d we end up with? A pair of these:
He gets adjustable, I get a great diffuser (and added a dimmer!) and we both get the coordinated and composed look we were going for.
Our final task -- brightening up the bedroom -- took a little creativity because of the things we decided NOT to change. Namely the dark gray blackout curtains and medium gray quilt paired with black finish furniture. His suggestion was to add some white pillows to the bed. Sure, that’d help, but it’s boring. I ended up just coming home with throw pillows similar to these bright yellow, geometric beauties and trusting he wasn’t too invested in the pillows he tosses on the floor before crawling in bed at night. (Spoiler alert: He isn’t.)
The last major thing was a little more time consuming, but still fun. We created our own art with four fun frames, each with a different shade of yellow to create an ombre effect. We painted the frame and a panel to go inside in each of the four shades, and then hung them side by side to span the width of the bed. Simple, clean, modern, and definitely brightens up the bedroom!
Final verdict? Easy changes that didn’t require too much cash and I LOVE the results.
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.
we wish you a lovely holiday season
and a safe, healthy, and happy start to 2022!
2022’s Color of the Year reflects a colorful year
The results are in: Pantone® Color Institute, the iconic guru of All Things Color, has chosen “Very Peri” as its signature Color of the Year for 2022. This should move interior and exterior designers into inspired action, creating style palettes with the blue/pink/purple composite at their core.
Pantone® is the go-to color entity, a source of shade standards for more than 10 million designers and producers worldwide.
Referring to “Very Peri” as a “symbol of the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through,” Pantone® chose to make a topical statement. Not a bad idea for a profound point in history, and perhaps an intriguing way to reflect on interesting times by coloring our world with mood and vigor.
The true periwinkle traditionally features a violet-red undertone, which is not always obvious to the naked eye. As with any color, its appearance shifts depending on surrounding shades. This becomes important when planning interior design, from wall colors to furnishings, accent pieces to linens.
Interested in experimenting with the ingenue shade? Consult the Pantone® website for fabulous ways to work “Very Peri” into a design scheme, making the most of its multi-tone character. Its vibrant mix of shades invokes a spirited mood with plenty of options for assembling a truly pleasing space.
Pantone® has chosen some spectacular shades for past colors-of-the-year designations, including “Living Coral,” “Marsala,” “Sand Dollar,” “Tigerlily,” and most recently, the 2021 winner, a first-ever joint color of “Illuminating” and “Ultimate Gray.” Stay tuned for future picks that keep designers on their toes.
we hope everyone has a wonderful
Thanksgiving holiday this year!
Color Of The Year
Las Vegas Market
Social Media Marketing
Tips And Tricks