E-commerce sales comprised 9.1% of all U. S. retail sales in the third quarter of 2017, according to the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce. Up from 8.2% in the same quarter of 2016. In the next three years e-commerce sales are expected to total $708 billion, according to Javelin Strategy & Research.
The big box retailers are consolidating and closing their brick and mortar stores in record numbers. They are putting their resources into their e-commerce sites to try and capture a market dominated by Amazon and primarily directed by Google. Will you follow their lead?
What can you do today to enhance your e-commerce site?
6 simple steps to boost and optimize your e-commerce site:
- Create a Mobile Friendly website. First and foremost even if you are not selling your products or services online, you need to be found online today and in a mobile friendly way. 77% of American’s have a smart phone and are looking for your product or service right now. Is your site mobile friendly? If not, stop everything you are doing and call someone who can help you create a mobile friendly e-commerce site today.
- Collect Customer Data. Make sure you collect as much data as you can through your Point of Sale (POS) or on your site. It’s never been easier to collect your customer’s email or phone number at the POS. There are so many systems to choose from today that do this with ease at the cashier or checkout level. With more and more people using smart phones and going green, you can email receipts, notify of upcoming sales, and simply market your service to them with this collected information.
- Use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) program to collect the basic data of your clients and prospects (company name, contact, address, email and phone number). It’s time to drill down to interests, birthdays, colleagues, spouses, children, education, how and why the customer started the business or anything you can discuss. In fact, every time you talk with your customer, note their file. People love to be remembered and this is your powerful insight into your customers needs and wants. Listening to these needs not only builds a strong loyal relationship, it saves everyone time and money by not discussing or pushing out topics that have little or no interest to them or their business.
- Develop a strategy to engage your customers. How do you get your message out to your valued customers. Email, blog post, mail, phone or social media? Quite frankly, you should use all of these to connect and on a regular basis. Use the same information on all platforms as it is unlikely your client will visit all. If they do, great because it takes 5-7 touches before you sell an item. Just begin with one and take baby steps. Remember…”A good plan … now is better than a perfect plan … next week” – General George C. Patton.
- Reward your Customers. Do you have a rewards program? If not start one today. If you have one in store, great. If it isn’t online then talk to someone who specializes in gift cards and rewards programs that will work with your e-commerce site. It doesn’t matter what type of business you own, there is something you can do to reward your clients. Even if it is just a cup of coffee, a $5 gift certificate or maybe a discount on a future purchase. Birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, are all great, but what about something more original like an anniversary with you or just to thank them for their business? Think out of the box and send an e-certificate. If they don’t use it, it’s no loss to you.
- Optimize your payment process. Accept Apple Pay and the many new digital wallets to speed up the check out process. Shopping abandonment is a constant battle for e-commerce clients. Make it easy and fast for your clients to buy. Check into the many credit card software systems that not only reach out to clients to pay, for example, Electronic Bill Presentment and Payments (EBPP) but give your customers the ability to finance their purchases.
All in all, e-commerce has evolved and will continue to do so in the coming years. Take advantage of the many tools available to grow your business.
What are you waiting for? Like Nike says “Just do it” and do it today!
What About Blog?
If you are a small to medium sized business owner, you may have a blog included in your current website. Everyone says blogging is great for my business and will drive traffic to my site! How does this work? What am I supposed to do? Writing a blog can appear to be complicated when you’re not sure exactly your supposed to be doing and what results you are looking to achieve. How much content needs to be there? What should it look like? How often should I blog?
Creating An SEO-Friendly Blog
Wait a minute! What is SEO? Simply put it’s an acronym for search engine optimization and is the process used to get natural or organic traffic from search engines like Google, Bing!, Yahoo and others. Terrific “editorial” content encourages people to click on your stories, in turn proving to the search engines that your content is engaging and authoritative. While some are good at throwing words on a page and ideas flow naturally, others need some guideline to help us wade through what seem to be complicated writing techniques. Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s look at some tips to create that blog post.
1. Think about what you’re going to write!
Is there a purpose to your text? Is there a question you want to ask your readers to think about? How do you want your readers to respond? Should there be a specific call to action for what you are going to write about? Best practice is to write these questions down and answer them before sitting down to write, those answers will help you focus your content on your questions.
2. Create a consistent structure for every post.
- Determine how you will format the introduction to your topic. Will it be a headline or possibly a short paragraph that previews the upcoming article, maybe even a slideshow of photos with captions? You are the industry expert, and it’s up to you to understand what type of content your users will engage with best.
- The body or main content of the blog should stay on topic and focused. If you need to change focus start a new paragraph. For instance, I like to try and keep paragraphs to no more than 150-200 words.
- Summarize your important ideas and create a strong call to action asking your reader to perform a particular behavior after reading.
- Are you going to use photos? How many? What will they be?
Now that you’ve determined the structure, the fun starts! Get to writing!
Make sure when using paragraphs that your thoughts make sense and are complete. There’s no need to start a new line for the sake of vanity (making the page look nice), and new paragraphs should have a reason. Sticking to your paragraph’s topic or main idea will keep your writing flowing, and the reader should be able to grasp your main idea in one sentence. Need more sentences? Create additional paragraphs to explain further details in your content.
Headings have multiple uses but are critical in structuring your page. They make content easy to read and help with that dreaded SEO we spoke about earlier. These allow the search engines to grasp your main topics and serve results accordingly. Readers can also use headings and sub-headings to quickly scan your post looking for the sections that are most relevant to them. Make an attempt to sprinkle your keywords into some not all of those headings to boost SEO for those search terms.
5. Use transition words
Use of these types of words will help a reader quickly understand the main idea of your content. Here are some examples:
- You’re writing about the three main reasons someone should choose your product/service; In the first place, secondly, and finally
- Give your reader a clear signal of your expertise or superior product with terms like; definitely, surely, indeed
- Make a clear conclusion using; in summary, therefore, in closing
These transition words are important to giving your content structure and readers a clear, concise direction.
6. Get a proof-reader
Before publishing ask for some feedback from a trusted resource. Do they understand the main idea? Can they help you correct grammar errors, typos, and sentence formatting?
7. Just how long should my article be?
The general recommendation for article length is a minimum of 300 words. While there may always be bits of information that take a little more or a little less, the general rule I like to use is somewhere around 750-1200 words. Not too long and not too short. Longer content allows for the use of multiple keywords, where shorter content allows the post to be more focused on a single search term. My rule of thumb is to mention the keyword or search term 4-6 times per 300 words.
8. Using links
You’re website already sets you apart as an authority in your industry, be sure to link to that historical content within your blog posts. Linking within your site to older relevant content adds authority to your newly published content on the same subject. Be sure to use this to your advantage, as readers may be interested in learning more. In this situation, I like to use product pages in my call to action so the reader can find more information about what I have written.
Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it! If you’re posting multiple times a day, shorter content around that 300-word mark may be more appropriate as not to overwhelm your readers. I like a 2-3 time per week posting schedule that allows for some time to research new ideas and spend an appropriate amount of time writing and researching new content. Try to find a few categories and stick to those when you’re writing; it’s hard to be an expert on everything!
10. Use writing tools to become a better writer
No one can know everything about writing and hit the bullseye every time, that is why it’s important to find tools that work for you regarding ease of use and affordability. The two tools that I am extremely fond of are Yoast for SEO and Grammarly for correcting misspellings, incomplete sentences and proper word usage ( a personal proofreader). Both tools offer a free and paid version and are worth a test drive.
In closing, this formula should provide you a great head start to creating SEO friendly blog posts each and every time. Blogging may seem like a lot of work, although it gets easier and faster every time you create a new blog post. Great content is where it’s at and leads to more readers, social media likes, and shares. No matter what approach you choose be sure you are creating EPIC content for your audience and the SEO friendliness will soon become second nature.
If you need help with your web presence we have the tools and resources to help!
Income Generators for Businesses
Whether it is improving your e-mail marketing techniques, collecting analytics, offering gift and loyalty cards, or generating income with an on-site ATM, we have solutions to help your business grow.
Generate more sales and turn your business into a destination.
Make funds accessible to potential buyers.
Increase customer traffic:
Customers who need cash will look for an ATM sign and come into your business, generating additional foot traffic, leading to impulse sales.
Earn income on each and every transaction through a “surcharge” fee.
Retain customers and create repeat sales:
The convenience of an ATM for your customers will ensure they don’t have to leave to find cash and they stop in more frequently.
Reduce credit card fees:
Installing an ATM increases cash sales, saving you on processing fees. Most merchants reduce their monthly fees by an average of 30%.
See an immediate improvement in your email marketing with our secure payment tools.
• Use your existing email marketing system
• Keep your current website
• Empower mobile customers with 2Clicks
• Set up in less than an hour
“It has been a great donation vehicle and implementation has been easy. We’ve received a large number of repeat donations (close to 50%) and many supporters donated numerous times. With the ease of 2Clicks for donations, our supporters donate more frequently, which results in greater revenue over time.”
T. Fleming – Albuquerque Rescue Mission
Let us show you new ways to increase sales by capturing customers email and text numbers at the point of sale. Who better to market to than your existing customers?
Why move into the digital age with our 2Click Invoicing?
- Customers pay faster
- Easy to manage
- Enter the mobile space to collect by texting invoices
- Automate your QuickBooks
Gift Cards will once again be the #1 seller and the hottest product this year.
Consumers do not have time to shop, they now order from their mobile devices.
Are you capturing this market?
- Gift cards outsell paper certificates 10 to 1
- Builds brand awareness
- 51% of customers spend more than the card’s initial value
- Customers are less price sensitive
- Boosts customer shopping frequency
- Use the same card for both Gift and Loyalty programs
Do you want to market to your customers via their cell phone? We have options to help you roll out a text message marketing campaign so that you can be with your customers wherever they go. Go Mobile!
Go Green, and Go Virtual and sell up to 50% more with gift cards, and save on the plastic.
Instantly deliver a gift card virtually through your website. Virtual cards can be printed or viewed directly from a mobile device making it easy for customers to buy gift cards and use them.
Let us help today with a FREE setup on FaceBook and your website.
Sell Gift Cards:
- online from your website
- on Facebook
- through e-mail
Send Gift Cards:
- by email
- by text message
- by mail
Easy to Order
- Fee-free until the card is sold
- Free personalization
- Design online
- No shopping cart needed
- Physical cards also available
Fill out the Form to Get
Free Virtual Gift Cards Today
Selling gift cards using the technology available will catapult your business today!
The TRUTH About Gift Cards
If you have ever thought about getting gift cards for your business, there has never been a better time now! The Holidays are just around the corner and will be here before you know it. The deadline for ordering those gift cards is NOW if you want to reap the rewards this season. Fortunately, you have another option. You can deploy gift cards “virtually” through your website, in a requested email link or on your social media site today. Here’s another great way to market to your last minute customers.
The reason I say there has never been a better time is that, of all the changes that have taken place in the gift card arena. Not only has the cost come down considerably on plastic cards but there is a whole new approach to accepting gift cards in your business. Online sales which will become break sales records again this season. There are so many wonderful things gift cards can do to build your business.
- Statistics show that people spend approximately 61% more when using a gift card (Consider your own spending patterns when using a gift card)
- Gift cards are the #1 gift given during the Holidays
- Gift cards build brand awareness
- Gift cards increase cash flow by collecting money upfront for future delivery.
- Gift cards reduce fraud experienced with paper gift certificates
- Gift cards can create a great marketing strategy to get someone in your store that normally wouldn’t shop there
- Gift cards can design a loyalty program for your business, getting your customers to come back time and time again for those perks you offer (Investing in your existing customers is much more cost effective than reaching out for new ones)
- Sell and send gift cards from your store, mail, text, your website, email or even your Facebook page. It’s never been easier
Now the disadvantages:
Don’t let this opportunity to increase your sales this Holiday Season pass you by. Invest in your business’s future today!