March 6, 2013 I 10:00 AM PST
Reach 100 Million Buyers on eBay
Accessing the world’s largest marketplace of buyers is not only easy; an eBay presence for your business can boost sales and growth. That’s the “why” for an eBay presence; in this webinar we’ll explore the “what’ and “how” including:
- Setting Up Your eBay Store (Minimizing Selling Fees)
- Selecting Formats and Categories
- Building Effective Descriptions with Photos That Sell
- Shipping & Tracking Solutions
- Meeting the eBay Standards for Seller Performance
Date: March 6, 2013 at 10:00 AM PST
Griff Griffith, Sr. Manager, Community & Development, Seller Strategy and CLV, eBay Marketplaces
Ashish Kumar, Sr. Product Manager, X.commerce
Rita Padilla, Marketing Manager, Magento
In this Facebook and Twitter dominated world, social media has become indispensable in helping eCommerce merchants create new and repeat business and build a loyal shopping community. Some consumers actually spend more time on their social media pages than on their email, sharing favorite products on Twitter and even doing their shopping on Facebook.
The social media landscape is large and vast and can initially be daunting. Although there are many social networking sites, eCommerce merchants usually begin with Facebook and Twitter and then expand to include other tools like blogging and Squidoo. We’ll cover these basic technics in our posts to help you start building your social media presences.
Facebook and Twitter
To have any presence on Facebook or Twitter, you first need to open an account. On Facebook, be sure to create a Page as opposed to an individual account. Pages are specifically designed with the intention of helping businesses build closer relationships with their customers. On Twitter, individuals and businesses have the same types of accounts. Either way, they’re easy to set up. You just input your name and contact information. Try to personalize your Twitter and Facebook pages by adding your store logo, screenshot of your homepage and/or product images, anything that helps followers get an understanding of who you are and what you sell. It’s also a great way to create awareness of your store brand.
Build Your Following
Build your Facebook and Twitter following. Include a “Like Us on Facebook” or “Follow Us on Twitterr” button on your homepage and other web store pages, customer emails, email newsletters, and any other communication tool you use for your store. Explore and investigate the many other social media icons that you can add to your site. Remember, it’s not the quantity but the appropriation of the social channels that are right for your business and audience so add wisely.
Embed a Facebook news feed on your homepage. Shoppers can immediately see your posts and it’s an easy way to keep your homepage updated.
Draw people in with a special offer or contest that they can only access if they Like your page or follow you on Twitter. Likewise, give your existing fans an incentive to get their friends to follow you. Wildfire, North Social and Offerpop offer apps that can help you organize these types of online crusades.
The 80/20 Rule
Create community through good content. Don’t just “sell” on your Facebook or Twitter accounts. The best way to engage readers is to inform them of news or information that is relevant to both them and your product. For instance, if you sell clothing, write about recent fashion trends. If you sell pet-related products, link to articles about cat care or dog events. If you sell kitchen gear, post your favorite recipes. Facebook and Twitter are both places where people share stories that they think are cool or significant.
Having said that, when you have interesting store news, post it. Introduce new products, for instance. Your most loyal customers love to see the latest trends and what exciting items you have in store for them.
A good guideline to follow is the 80/20 rule. In 80 percent of your updates and tweets, share news and information; in 20 percent market your own store.
Quality, Not Quantity
Keep your Facebook posts short. (It’s already a given on Twitter due to≥ the character limit.) People often scan their news feeds and stop on shorter posts, while long ones get skipped. You can always link a short post to a longer story on your blog.
In addition to updates, post photos and videos to make your Page or Twitter feed more engaging.
Interact with your Customers
Shoppers love to give their opinions and feel heard. Ask them what they think about a certain product you’re considering carrying. Garner feedback on your store and advice about what they’d like to see on your Facebook page or Twitter feed. Ask them to send in photos of themselves with your product. For example, one of our merchants who sells purses has her customers post pictures of themselves carrying her product in exotic locales or during funny situations.
When people post comments, acknowledge that you read them. If they say something nice, “like” their comment or write a thank you comment. If someone has a complaint, address it and offer solutions on your wall for everyone to see. By being transparent, you encourage customers to trust you and feel comfortable doing business with you.
Interacting with shoppers keeps them interested in your store and helps you build more followers.
Offer promotions and discounts. Shoppers often “like” or “follow” stores so that they can receive special offers. People like to feel like VIP’s so give your loyal followers a percentage discount or the first shot at buying an exclusive new item.
Advertise on Facebook
Consider buying Facebook ads, especially if you cater to a niche market. Some merchants have found them more effective and less expensive than pay-per-click advertising and print ads. The ads are targeted and show up in the right margin of potential customer’s pages. They link directly to your Page or web store, so they help you build a following among shoppers who are social media savvy, interested in your type of product, and share their tastes with their friends.
The Global Market
Grow your international sales. If you sell abroad, take advantage of Facebook’s new Global Pages structure by localizing your Page for different markets. Get active on the global Facebook communities so that your brand awareness can reach outside your own country.
The Hashtag is Your Friend
On Twitter, it’s all about the hashtags, which are Twitter’s symbols for keyword tagging. Use popular and attention-grabbing Twitter keywords to attract followers. For example, if you sell jewelry, you may want to tweet about the jewelry at the Oscars (#Oscars) or hot items during holidays like Christmas (#Christmas and #gift). If people are interested in those hashtags and see your posts, they may start following you.
Some merchants also use Twitter to do research, follow buying trends, and inform their inventory. For instance, if you sell sunglasses, you can input the search term #sunglasses and brands like #Oakley or #RayBan to find out what people are talking about and what frames they like in particular.
Whether you choose Twitter or Facebook or both to build your social media profile, just remember to stay engaged with your audience once you launch these channels.
Helping shoppers search for products easily and efficiently is vital when creating your web store user experience. Time is a commodity, and if shoppers can’t find the items they’re looking for quickly, they’re more likely to switch to your competitor’s website. Smooth searching starts here:
- Position your search box in the same place on all your pages. Most people expect to see the site search near the top of each page.
- Use the most appropriate keywords for your product. You can often get ideas for keywords through Google in the following ways:
1. Do a search for your product, and check the “Searches related to” list at the bottom of your search results. For example, in a Google search for “playstation,” you’ll
see “playstation 4,” “playstation vita,” and “playstation 2.”
2. Use the autocomplete in Google’s search window to get ideas for keywords you should be using. For example, when you start typing in “iPad,” a list of alternate
searches come up, including “iPad mini,” iPad 4,” and “iPad accessories.”
3. Use Google’s Keyword Tool. You type in your
word, and Google lists dozens of keyword ideas.
- Not everyone can spell or type perfectly. Don’t forget to include common misspellings and synonyms in your keywords such that if shoppers input a word incorrectly, their search will still lead them to the product they want.
- Write a short product description to show up under the search results so that customers can easily find and select the right product. Put that alongside a product image, reviews, and information like price, availability and shipping details.
- Incorporate an autocomplete and suggestion extension into your site search field so that shoppers can select the right product keyword from a list as they type. It helps them find more relevant and accurate search results faster.
- Give shoppers options on how they want to search – by relevance, price, brand, color or size. Also allow them to control how many results they’d like displayed at a time, and give them the opportunity to compare different products.
- To make sure everything is working properly, it’s important that you run a product search yourself for a variety of products and see what results you get. Make adjustments to account for any omissions you find.
There are a multitude of facets to your web store’s customer experience, from design and navigation to branding. Keeping things simple and streamlined will encourage your customers to browse and buy more at your store.
A couple features that make a big difference in sales and conversion rates are gift cards and wish lists. In fact, in this eCommerce day and age, they’ve become a requirement for any successful web store.
The Easy Gift
Gift cards have become an indispensable part of the retail world, and the same holds true for eCommerce. E-Gift cards give you an easy additional revenue stream by offering customers a more complete shopping experience and a stress-free opportunity to buy last-minute gifts, especially during the holidays. You also acquire new customers when the recipients come to redeem their e-Gift Card.
Make a Wish
Like gift cards, wish lists have also become a staple of successful web stores. They allow shoppers to create a list of items they want from your web storefront and send it to their friends and family. They also let customers store information for the products they may want to purchase for themselves in the future, eliminating the time and frustration it would take them to search for the items again when returning to your store. They help generate repeat and new traffic and offer you more opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell to increase average order size.
Wish lists are especially helpful in households or offices where more than one person is purchasing. Customers can create a shared wish list so that others can add to it and the party responsible for payment can easily make the purchase. This ensures that customers are getting the specific items they need when more than one party is involved.
They’re also important during the holidays when shoppers comparison-shop and make multiple visits to storefronts. And they offer valuable information--by monitoring the wish lists of customers, you can identify your most popular products and promote them during the busy selling season.
To complement wish lists, it’s important to make sure you have a persistent shopping cart, since some customers also save items in their cart for later purchase. A study by the University of Glasgow showed that 74 percent of online shoppers use shopping carts as “wish lists.” With a persistent cart, those customers can easily return to your web store to find their items again. Magento Go makes it easy for you to enable a persistent shopping cart.
Like wish lists, persistent carts are particularly important over the holiday shopping season, when cart conversion rates drop significantly as consumers research potential gifts.
A great user experience can create a loyal following with shoppers but a bad experience could damage your business and reputation.
For small eCommerce merchants, your customer’s site experience doesn’t have to be fancy or elaborate; sometimes simple sites offer the best experience. It’s more important that your site be clear and streamlined. Craigslist is a great example. It has a no-frills look, but it’s so easy to use that it has become synonymous with online classifieds.
To make your web store experience user-friendly, you can start with our Customer Site Experience Checklist below. In subsequent posts, we’ll surface a few eCommerce tools that can take your user experience to the next level--gift cards, wish lists and your web store’s search function.
The Customer Site Experience Checklist
Give your customers the best user experience possible by creating a solid interface and then regularly maintaining and revamping it to ensure that things are running smoothly.
- First things first. Look at your web store through your customer’s eyes. Be your own shopper and complete a mock transaction to ensure that everything in your web store is working properly.
- Check your navigation. Make sure that all your links work. Add more categories and filters to create a more robust layered navigation. Use breadcrumbs so that shoppers can easily identify where they are on your web store.
- Make sure your branding, colors and logo are consistent across your web store, including blog, email marketing and customer communications.
- Cross-sell and upsell on your product pages and at checkout. Regularly update these complementary products. Make sure they’re relevant to your customers.
- Make sure all your prices and product descriptions are clearly written and include all necessary information, like sizes and colors. Many merchants don’t realize that shoppers spend most of their time on product pages as opposed to the homepage, so those sections need to be clear and intuitive.
- If you’re running a promotion, keep any terms associated with the promo easy to understand and clearly visible.
- Do a search for your web store on the major search engines. Is it coming up in searches for your top keywords? If not, do an SEO maintenance run. Optimize your keywords, title tags, meta-descriptions and page titles.
- Keep your product images, including any other photos you might be showcasing, up-to-date. Use good, clear, focused photos. Give shoppers several angles, through alternate views, zoom, different sizes and colors, and even videos.
- Incorporate customer feedback you’ve received through phone calls, emails, surveys, Facebook,Twitter or blog posts.
- Streamline your checkout process. The fewer steps the better. Enable one-page checkout and turn on PayPal Express Checkout. Make sure customers can easily find your checkout button.
- Make registration simple and optional. Many shoppers don’t like to register. In fact, it’s one of the biggest causes of abandoned shopping carts. With Magento, you can let customers checkout without registering. Give them the option to register at the end of checkout so that they can follow their account and save their information for future use.
- Search for products using your web store’s internal search field. Input various keywords to make sure the appropriate products appear. Add any keywords that may be missing, including common synonyms and misspellings.
- If a product is out of stock, clearly state it but don’t remove it. Capture contact information to secure future orders when product is available. No one likes empty promises so if you plan on capturing a customer’s contact information, be committed to informing the customer when product is in stock.