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Social Commerce and How It's Impacting eCommerce

 by brian on 09 Aug 2012 |
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What might have seemed unthinkable just a few years ago, the idea of selling goods or services directly from social sites such as Facebook has taken off in a big way. But while many e-commerce site owners are worried that this new phenomenon may cut into their profits, the opposite can actually be true.   The old saying, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" may just be the tonic that e-commerce site owners need to hear. Instead of trying to compete with the likes of Facebook, it is far better to join forces and mount a serious attack on their markets. Recent reports speculate that e-commerce done via Facebook could account to as much as 6.1% of the entire UK e-commerce market by 2015. This could represent a huge untapped market waiting to be exploited.   The additional online sales load is there for the taking for anyone who wants to make full use of Facebook as an adjunct to their existing e-commerce site. It's simply a case of getting in on the action before someone else comes along to take that slice of the business for themselves.   Setting up a social commerce page on Facebook is relatively simple to do and can make a big impact on sales, while also driving traffic to the core e-commerce website. Success depends to some extent on the nature of the business and the product or service being sold. In other words, what you sell and how you sell it can result in varying levels of success for your business.   The key to making a success of a social commerce page is by designing it for a different kind of traffic that you'd normally expect to land on your e-commerce site. Social pages attract social traffic and as long as your page is built to appeal to this kind of traffic, while looking and feeling different to your e-commerce site, there is a greater chance of driving more sales from one to the other.

Top 5 Simple and Effective Ways to Improve Your Site

 by brian on 30 Jul 2012 |
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One of the best ways to improve your site and the way customers will interact with it is to create a sense of trust. The best place to do that is in the most visible section of your homepage: the header section and the space immediately below it. This is the first place people look when they visit your site, so it's here that you should make the all-important first impression.   Casual visitors can be turned into serious customers when they trust a site. Here are some suggestions that will boost the trust factor of your site and put visitors at ease and more eager to buy.   Images go a long way to providing visitors with a reason to stay and look around. To create a personal touch that customers identify with, think about including a small image of the site owner and their name somewhere obvious, without impacing your professional design.   If the store owner actually uses the products they sell, add a line that tells customers. A store owner who uses their own products adds more trust and personalisation while giving the customer a good feeling about the store.   Include one or two icons in addition to the "shopping cart" such as a link to a "Shipping and Ordering Information" page and/or a "Questions and Comments" or "FAQ" page for example.    Do you provide offers like "Free Shipping", "Same Day Shipping" "Courier Delivery" etc? Then make sure your customers know about them by include banners with your offers clearly labelled right up there where they can see them.   If you have a free phone number available for taking orders, make it highly visible along with the hours you can take phone orders, right beneath the store name.  There are a lot of ways to increase sales by making small improvements to your site. Creating a trusting first impression is one of the more effective of them.

Top 7 tips for beginners to be successful in e-commerce

 by brian on 11 May 2012 |
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The term ‘success in business’ is an ambiguous one. Jack might be happy by simply making a profit, but Jill might only be satisfied with a few million in her pocket. Whatever your understanding is of success and however long it takes you to get there, you all start from the same place. As a beginner of selling online, you have a steep learning curve ahead. Follow these Seven tips as a base to future work and you’ll be well on your way to ecommerce success. Define a Marketing Budget, e.g. SEO, payperclick ads, magazine ads. Too many merchants only include set up costs and can’t afford to market their store once it’s ready to trade. Marketing is one of the highest expenses to a business; as a beginner, watch your conversion rate so you don’t blow all your money in the first month. Good Product Photography Sells Buying a product online can be impulsive for customers. Don’t waste a conversion opportunity with a poor quality, dark photo with a busy background. Your photos should showcase your product. Set them on a white background, well lit without shadows. Let them convey quality in every way. Cheapest Doesn’t Equal More Sales There are strategies to achieve selling without losing profit margins. If you’re in a highly competitive market, find something you can do better than anyone else. Service, speed of delivery and loyalty programs are all examples of what can set you apart from competitors. Push this difference to your customers and your prices won’t matter as much anymore. Unique and Detailed Product Descriptions Don’t feed your visitors generic, boring information. Wow them with helpful and fun to read content that also serves to inform them about your product. It’s good for sales and good for SEO. Avoid using exact data provided by manufacturers or you’ll end up being identical to your competitors, just ranked lower. Create a Customer Service Plan There are many service and sales tools out there that help to present your business as a caring, lively, service oriented one. Use a live chat and support ticketing software to connect with your visitors and respond to customers promptly and professionally. Make sure you extend any service procedures to your staff for continuity and branding. List your privacy policy and terms clearly on your site. Include Review Tools on your Products Real customer reviews are what sell your products. It’s human nature to believe a solid referral over what a sales person promises. If you list both positive and negative comments on your product pages, this will serve better than any product description can. Professional Design Equals Professional Store Professional looking sites that have obviously put some investment into it, build trust and branding. It’s memorable too, so customers are more likely to return in future. If your site appears to look old, tired or set up overnight, it’s more likely to have a high bounce rate. Selling online is competitive and sometimes cut-throat. Keep on learning and stay ahead of your competition using the latest strategies and focussing on niche markets.

Google Analytics Integration and Conversion Tracking

 by brian on 21 Feb 2012 |
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We all know how important it is to track and analyse your site traffic, but it's not always so easy to set it up.   This is where Ashop Commerce Google Analytics integration comes in. It's a few very simple steps to enable tracking from both your Ashop admin panel directly as well as more detail from your Analytics account login.    You can now draw data from your Google Analytics account to your Ashop admin in basic form, essentially it's to monitor your traffic flow at a glance. Follow the instructions here to set up your integration This will automatically replace the more basic data provided by Ashop.   The same setup will also allow Google to gather more information from your online store including site referrals, cross domain tracking, goal tracking/funneling and conversion reports. Now that the core integration is complete, Ashop will be allowing more data to be passed which will open up more detailed analysis through Google such as Ecommerce Conversion Tracking.     This is the Google Analytics settings page:        

The Laws of Persuasion in Action

 by brian on 21 Feb 2012 |
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Robert Cialdini's Laws of Persuasion in Action. Every business owner wants to know what their customers are thinking when looking at their store or products. Cialdini provides a nice summary of how customers think and what actions your business can take to react to these thoughts. Reciprocity Your giving to me makes me really want to give back to you - I feel indebted to you, and quite franklu it creates a little discomfort. I owe you now and I want to even things. Call it "closed-loop" karma if you wish. An unexpected "bonus" gift with your purchase. A free trial, a free whitepaper, free newsletter. Telling customers you've donated $15 to the charity of their choice before they've even completed the purchase. Scarecity People hate to miss out, sometimes even if it's something they don't like! We have an innate instinct to hoard - it's an evolution thing - and as a result we become extremely uncomfortable when we're made aware of opportunities that are limited in number or for a limited duration. The closing window: "last chance", only one week left!" "Act now while supplies last!" "Here today gone tomorrow - don't delay". "Limited edition" products; "collectors editions" - art prints, coins, stamps, Barbies, Star Wars figures. Likability We want to do nice things for people we like. We're also more likely to trust and listen to them. So whome do we tend to like? 1) People we have lots in common with. 2) Poeple who love to tell us how great and good looking we are! (We can't get enough Praise) Celebrity and athlete endoresments. "our product is for smart, attractive people, just like YOU!" Why car salespeople try to learn early on what you both have in common. The closer you feel to her, the more you like her and liable to trust her. Authority People wearing nice suits, Police officers, firefighters, Doctors. We become Zombies in the presence of such authority figures in their domains of expertise. "I'll do whatever you say..." Power of "Opinion Leaders" - featuring consumer reports, positive review of your product, including and endorsement from Seth Godin on the back of your book. Getting H&R Block to endorse your new tax software or Suze Orman to endorse your new no-load mutual fund. Social Proof They seem to nlike it, there must be something good about it. AKA, "The bandwagon effect", "Wisdom of the crowds". Testimonials (especially from people like yourself) Power of word-of-mouth, customer reviews Long lines outside a night club (even though the club is often half empty) Consistency / Commitment My current actions must align with my prior actions and commitments. Contradictory behaviour makes me very uneasy. "Foot-in-the-door" technique - getting someone to make small commitments to lead up to a much bigger commitment. Getting user to register for free newsletter or become a "fan" on Facebook before offering user fee-based offerings. Contrast We always evaluate our situation using some type type of reference point - whether we're evaluating the "goodness" of our incomes, spouses, children, education, etc. Marketers and salespeople often engineer reference points for you within certain purchase settings. E.g. when you're buying a new car, the salesperson wants you to think bout the $1k "option" to install heated tush warmers relative to the $40k you're already spending on the car and not the 3% inerest you'd earn by instead putting the $1k into your savings account. For only $19 you can get 6 more inches of legroom for your flight. The flight's already $450 - what's another $19 for 5 hours of comfort? "How about this nice $200 tie to go with your new $2k suit? You're already spending $2k, why not spend a mere 10% more and make the suit perfect!"

Ashop Commerce Partners with Ezidebit

 by brian on 20 Dec 2010 |
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On December 1st 2010, Ashop Commerce partnered with our new friends at Ezidebit payment processing services. Who is Ezidebit? Ezidebit is a Company that enables Australian Businesses to process online credit card payments. (US and UK partnerships are currently in development) Ezidebit has over 40 employees and is Australia’s leading provider of outsourced payment solutions.  Established in 1998, Ezidebit offered the first specialised automated Direct Debit and Credit Card transaction service in Australia.  Currently, Ezidebit processes in over half a million transactions per month on behalf of businesses from multiple industries including childcare, health & fitness, property management, tourism and finance.   What can Ezidebit do for you? To benefit Ashop Commerce merchants, Ezidebit has placed a 48 hour turn-around on application approvals. This means, once their 10 minute application form is faxed in, your may be able to start accepting credt card payments from your Ashop store in just over 48 hours. (A big difference from the banks 2-6 week wait) Another huge advantage are their fees at almost half of most banks and gateways. Please contact Ashop Commerces sales to request an application form and pricing. Click here to contact is officially LIVE!

 by brian on 12 Nov 2010 |
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If you're one of the thousands of current and potential customers who have been on our waiting list, now's your chance. The new Ashop Commerce [] website is now live and all new trial and signup accounts are running Version 2. This is literally day one of release, so if you have any questions of difficulties in registering for a new account, please let us know immediately via live help. It's been a long time coming, but considering the initial feedback, we hope you all enjoy the new platform and it brings your ebusiness to a new stage of growth. Many of the new features have already been implemented and there are loads more planned to take effect over the coming 3 months and beyond. The wishlist for the Version 2 platform is over 75 points long, ranging from postcode zoned custom shipping to Ebay integration. There are over 20 new innovations that you'll only find with Ashop in 2011 and we can't wait to present them to you. Keep an eye on our Facebook page, Twitter and this blog for release announcements. Any feedback on the new site and platform would be greatly appreciated, your comments and ideas are what drive Ashop.

Ashop Commerce reaches Facebook

 by brian on 03 Nov 2010 |
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.CenterSection {padding-top:0px;} .CustomPageBody {padding-top:37px;} As part of the release of Version 2 this month, Ashop Commerce has started to expand its marketing into Facebook with the new fan page Stage one was a simple goal of 25 fans in 25 hours, thankfully met with some excited fan's in the first 7 hours of opening. Being new to the platform, we felt like we were trying to run in thongs (Flip Flops for UK and US readers!), not knowing what to expect and just jumping in, praying that the community would want to be involved. Whilst 25 fans was a small goal and by no means impressive, all new marketing models need to start somewhere. Whether it be social networking or traditional advertising, it's important to touch your toes into new things and find what works best for your business. For some products, you might find a different medium works better purely based on the customer type you're trying to target e.g. B2B rather than B2C customers. Only time will tell if Facebook can expand our market and build a stronger community, but from our initial feedback, we're at least heading in the right direction. Social Networking Tip: Link all your social communication platforms together. i.e. If you have newsletters, blog, Twitter and Youtube. Make sure you feed posts and info between each platform to maximise exposure for each new update.

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