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20 Oct
Personalizing the eCommerce Shopping Experience for More Sales
Personalizing the eCommerce Shopping Experience for More Sales

We see it all the time…

eCommerce website owners try to appeal to every single site visitor that lands on their pages. They attempt to get visitors to subscribe to a newsletter, engage with written content, or make a purchase.

To the uninitiated, their decision to maximize traffic — any traffic — at all costs seems like a legit game plan. After all, with traffic comes leads and sales, right?

There is some truth to that, of course.

However, there’s an even better approach. And that is, focus on getting traffic from a specific group of people. Those that have a high probability of converting.

Not only that, but you also need to personalize your site so it resonates well with the specific target audience that you endeavored to bring over to your site — this is where website personalization comes in.

If you’re curious how you can personalize your customers’ shopping experience and want to know what the future of website personalization looks like, keep reading.

How to Personalize Your Website

96% of your site visitors aren’t ready to buy the first time they land on your eCommerce site. As such, it’s important for you to do everything you can to impress them then, and encourage them to come back.

And when they do come back, your best way to encourage a conversion is to offer a personalized experience.

This is especially true now that most customers expect you to personalize your website and content for them.

Email Segmentation

Avoid sending out email blasts to everyone that subscribes to your email list.

By using an email service provider like MailChimp, you can segment your subscribers according to demographics, purchasing behavior, when they subscribed, and so much more.

For instance, send out a welcome email to all new subscribers (that obviously won’t mean anything to long-standing subscribers).

Recommended Products

By tracking people’s behavior while on your website, you can show them a list of related items they might also be interested in.

56% of people say they’d return to an online shop that recommends products. Because of this, you might want to start doing this right away in your own eCommerce store.

You can track behavior such as shopping history, or even items viewed, bookmarked, wishlisted, or abandoned. These are all great things to display for the customer.

Predictive Search Results

In order to find exactly what they are seeking, shoppers love to use search bars on eCommerce sites.

They also like to use them to browse things they may not know they want yet.

By showing related products in search results as a drop-down menu, you will encourage people to check out many other items, providing them with a chance to spend more at your online store

Instill a Sense of Urgency

To get more sales form the start, offer limited time coupons and offers to all site visitors that land on your site.

Then, take it one step further. Offer first-time visitors, those exiting your website, and those that have been there before their own exclusive deals. The goal is to motivate them to finalize a purchase.

As you can see, there are many ways to personalize the user experience for visitors on your website.

By tracking customer behavior, you can give them what they need at the right time, and thereby generate many more sales.

Take Advantage of Social Media

We all know that social media is a powerful tool for driving traffic and increasing conversions and sales.

Did you that know you can tap into specific groups of followers and offer them just what they need, all in social media?

It takes time to build a strong social media following. This is especially true if the competition in your industry is really tough.

That said, here are some helpful tips for growing your Instagram following:

  • Join Instagram engagement groups related to your niche to get more followers that you can then target personally on Instagram and your website
  • Get followers involved by having them post real life pictures using what you offer (in other words, take advantage of social proof!)
  • Be consistent, create an image, and build brand recognition, so people will come straight to your online shop every time they need something you sell (as opposed to visiting your competitors)

Lastly, you can add your Instagram feed to your eCommerce site. Doing this will add an element of visual appeal that people love.

The Future of Website Personalization

As consumers continue to expect a completely personalized shopping experience online, it’s safe to say that plenty more ways to personalize your website will continue to emerge.

That said, here are some trends you might expect to capitalize on in the near future:

  • Personalization across all channels, not just eCommerce websites
  • Tailored shopping deals that personalize not just based on what people want to buy, but how much they’re willing to pay
  • AI advancements, such as mobile apps designed to give both online and brick and mortar shops an opportunity to personalize the online shopping experience
  • Chatbot technology that can anticipate people’s needs based on their navigation behavior
  • Personal shoppers that help consumers save time and effort buying what they need for them, so they don’t have to
  • Targeted content that’s easy to scan that also educates, informs, promotes, and entertains customers

eCommerce personalization is already in the works and has been for some time.

But we can all expect it to get bigger and better as marketers unlock more creative ways to target consumers on an individual basis.

Final Thoughts

eCommerce site personalization is not something to take lightly.

If you’re the type of ecommerce marketer who still sends out email blasts to everyone and targets your entire audience as a whole, all while expecting to see significant business growth, it’s time to reevaluate your strategies.

Give your customers the best shopping experience possible. This should always be at the forefront of your marketing efforts.

And it just so happens that personalizing that experience is the best way to generate more traffic, conversions, and sales.


 

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15 Oct
What makes a good retail POS System?
What makes a good retail POS System?

Each system offers a unique set of seemingly useful features and more often than not, serves a specific vertical. Before diving into those, you’ll want to understand the big picture: how it works, how easy it is to implement, what it provides, and if it comes with good support. Below you’ll find a high-level approach to understanding what makes each POS system a good or bad choice for your business. As you search, these are the overarching points that you’ll to want to pay attention to.

Transaction Time

When you’re new to point of sale, most systems that you come across will feel like they operate fairly well and reasonably quickly. Coming from a cash register or not having previously owned a business at all, any POS software will feel like a solid choice at first. However, the speed of your transactions – or lack thereof – will have a huge impact on your business in more ways than one.

One thing that people surely don’t have much patience for at a small business is long lines. As a shopper, you come to expect it at large retailers but not at your local neighborhood shop. A fast and reliable POS system will help you fly through your busy periods throughout the day. Even a tiny stall in each transaction will add up and cost you money in the long run.

User-Friendly Interface

One of the biggest drawbacks of point of sale for many small business owners is the learning curve. Even though POS systems have become a lot more commercialized and common, there are still many small businesses that believe that they’re ‘keeping it simple’ by sticking with their old cash register. That may be true in some cases, but the right POS software is in fact, the real way of ‘keeping it simple’ at your store. Take RIST POS customer, Universal Food Stuff for example. they found that by switching to a POS system, they drastically reduced common errors made by employees on their cash register.

If your POS software isn’t simple and user-friendly, you will lose money by spending copious amounts of time training your staff and accounting for their mistakes along the way. A user-friendly system will drastically increase the transaction speed and save you money, and create a better experience for your customers.

Accurate and Timely Data

What’s the point of investing your hard-earned money on POS software if you can’t depend on the reports and the data that it provides? After all, that is the purpose of one, right? We’ve previously outlined the ways that you can use your POS software to better control your inventory, but if your reports don’t reflect the correct information or your system doesn’t provide the data in real-time, then it’s not very useful. Not to mention, with the advent of cloud technology now available to small businesses at affordable prices, if you can’t access your data where and when you want it, then it’s really not very beneficial.

Security

We’ve all seen the news stories and statistics regarding retail fraud, beginning at the point of sale system. Fraud is a major issue in GCC in particular, and it’s partly due to the lack of proper security measures built into many point of sale systems. Many POS companies are now developing better hardware and software features to address these concerns. You don’t have to be a security expert to choose a relatively secure POS solution if you just look for some key things. For starters, you should make sure that your system is PCI compliant, and that the card reader or terminal encrypts the data at the point of swipe. With new technologies like mobile wallets that use tokenization and NFC contactless payments, you should look for a system that provides the hardware to accept these types of secure transactions. 

Support

Whether you choose the simplest, most basic card reader or your traditional computer-style point of sale system with all of the bells and whistles, you will need customer support at some point. What most business owners fail to realize is that when your business is in full swing, you will be wearing way too many hats to dedicate time to troubleshooting POS issues. The worst thing is, because your business is dependent on taking sales, a POS problem is not one of those things that you can put off or even delegate to someone else most of the time. On the other hand, the great news is that with the internet and customer reviews sites everywhere, it isn’t very difficult to find out whether or not the company that you’re considering provides good service.

WHY RIST?

We check into all the boxes stated above and we have a dedicated team that ensure high quality customer satisfaction. The reason why RIST stands out in the market is due to its dedication towards its client by transpiring Security & Trust.

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09 Aug
Artificial intelligence can now help write Wikipedia pages
Artificial intelligence can now help write Wikipedia pages

Plenty of prominent scientists have Wikipedia pages. But while checking to see if someone specific has a Wikipedia page is a quick Google search away, figuring out who should be on Wikipedia but isn’t—and then writing an entry for him or her—is much trickier.

For example, you may or may not have heard of Christina Economos. She doesn’t have a Wikipedia page about her, although she’s a professor at Tufts University and the New Balance Chair in childhood nutrition. But while she lacks a Wikipedia page, she does have a very short stub describing who she is professionally on a website made by a company called Primer. That little blurb, which could one day grow into a full-blown Wiki entry, was created by an AI system dubbed Quicksilver.

The idea behind the project is to use AI as a jumping off point. Humans can use it to help them write Wikipedia pages for scientists who don’t have them, but deserve to. For example, on Economos’ Primer page, there’s a link to an article from CBS Boston that mentions her—a good potential source for a human Wikipedia editor who may want to write an entry for her.

Primer launched officially last year and uses AI to read information and generate reports; part of its focus is doing the kind of work an intelligence analyst might do. Their customers include Walmart and the U.S. government, by way of an organization called In-Q-Tel. Artificial intelligence generally needs data to learn from, and so for this project, Primer used around 30,000 existing scientist Wikipedia pages to train their machine learning systems.

Then they fed 200,000 names and related employment information into their AI system. Those names came from the listed authors of scientific papers focused on computer science and biomedical research provided to Primer from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.

“That was the input to Quicksilver—we just fed it in, and we went home, and it ran,” says John Bohannon, the director of science at Primer. “We generated 40,000 new people overnight.”

The system as a whole is more complicated than that, of course: one step is that the AI system needs to do disambiguation (a weird term you’ve probably seen on Wikipedia) that in this case mean making sure that the system isn’t mixing up two people who have the same name. It also reads a slew of news sources to learn more about each scientist: “It builds a model of the person,” he says.

It also does “event detection” when scanning the news for each name, which entails organizing news documents into clumps in which “each clump seems to be describing a real world event.” That “news event” could be when a scientist publishes a study that garners media attention and is thus something possibly worth including in a Wikipedia article.

Another aspect of the project is to make it easier for scientists who are women to get the representation they deserve on Wikipedia—to empower human editors “to close the gender gap in representation of women in science,” Bohannon says. One of the ways that can happen is if a group wants to create more Wikipedia pages with a focus on women scientists, they could use data from Quicksilver, which Bohannon points out is filternable by gender.

“Our goal is definitely not to have a ‘bot write Wikipedia,” Bohannon says. Instead, it’s a launchpad for people who do want to write new pages or update old ones. If you’re curious to see a sample of what Quicksilver’s output looks like, head on over to this page—it has 100 examples of AI-generated Wikipedia-style blurbs.

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09 Aug
7 eCommerce Myths that Stop Conversions in Their Tracks
7 eCommerce Myths that Stop Conversions in Their Tracks

You could have conversions within your grasp and not even know it. There are a lot of popular eCommerce myths out there concerning marketing, traffic and advertising that even established eCommerce stores are believing.

This week, we bring you 7 eCommerce myths that stop concessions in their tracks and what you should do instead.

1. Your Biggest Marketing Efforts Don’t Include Your Site

If you believe the myth that most of your marketing takes place off your website, you’re missing out on a lot of revenue opportunities. Compartmentalizing your marketing efforts into UX and promotion without any symmetry will make it hard for you to join the 7-figure eCommerce club. Some of the biggest eCommerce success stories we’ve featured are a testament to how vital on-site marketing is for your online store brand, as it not only moves potential shopper traffic into your sales funnel but helps you convert them.

While small lead-generating changes to your store can help increase your conversions, it’s also important to see your UX not just as a mechanism to sell your products but as a powerful marketing, trust-building and conversion tool. Here are the top ways you can use your site and store UX to convert more potential shoppers:

  • Entice new shoppers with good product images and descriptions.
  • Have a good, visible return and shipping policy to build trust.
  • Offer prompt customer service in real-time with online chat.
  • Provide good content that establishes you as an authority in your niche while driving traffic to your store.
  • Build product trust by showcasing customer product reviews.
  • Use coupon pop-ups to build marketing lists while converting sales, like this online boutique that made $40K in 10 days using Coupon Pop.
  • Implement on-site retargeting.
  • Catch potential shoppers before they leave with exit pops.

2. Going Viral is the #1 Goal for Social Media Marketing

This may surprise a lot of you, but if your number one goal for your social media marketing campaigns is to go viral, you’re missing the point. That is not to say that there aren’t eCommerce social media videos that go viral, like this store owner that got 8 million Facebook views with a smartphone video. Plus, as you can tell from this example, you don’t need to hire a fancy videographer to do it.

The trick is to create social media marketing campaigns that are aimed at your target audience, with a message that speaks directly to them to reach your marketing objective. The secret to doing just that is to create smaller campaigns that reach a highly segmented target audience, therefore increasing your chance of converting. And if your video does go viral, like these 2017 trending products, that is just the branding cherry on the top.

3. Email Marketing is Old News

If you believe the myth that your email marketing strategies should take a back seat, you’re missing out on a lot of revenue. Don’t take our word for it; this past January, Smart Insights reported that email is still the highest-converting channel.

 

Every million-dollar eCommerce store owner we’ve interviewed has a sound email marketing strategy that includes email capturing strategies, weekly newsletters, seasonal promotions, remarketing campaigns and automated emails to convert sales and build customer loyalty.

Unlike any other marketing platform, you own your email marketing lists and they give you one-on-one contact directly with your audience and if segmented well, you could increase your email revenue by over 700%.

 

4. Your Best Products Will Market Themselves

No matter how awesome your products are, they won’t market themselves. It is the myth to the contrary which leads so many online sellers to hold onto their advertising budget too tightly. No matter how bootstrapped you are, the old adage, “You need money to make money” is still true. You can’t rely solely on word-of-mouth or the organic power of the internet alone to drive awareness about your products; you need targeted marketing to break through the noise.

You can break through the noise by ensuring your marketing strategy is segmented, shows the product benefits, talks your target shoppers’ language, and catches potential customers when their buying intent is high. The best way to do that is to have a comprehensive marketing strategy that uses the power of social media and Google to drive awareness, promotional and remarketing campaigns to sell your products.

 

5. Social Media is Only for Lookie-Loos

There’s a common eCommerce myth that says social media content is good at driving awareness, but that these engagers are looking, not buying. If you believe this misconception, you could be missing out on those Facebook users who purchase after clicking. Some studies have shown that percentages can be as high as 20%.

Even if your social campaigns do have a lower on the average conversion rate that email or search, as shown in the conversion average graph from earlier, social media is far more than a conversion tool. There are hidden benefits of social media, all working together to drive significant traffic, which you can then market on your site and remarket with your email and PPC campaigns. Potential shoppers that you can nurture down your sales funnel to ultimately convert.

6. The Bigger Your Reach, The More Sales You Will Make

A widespread myth, especially with social media advertising, is that advertisers are looking for the highest number of impressions possible from their campaigns. But in truth, it is not the size of your impressions which you should be monitoring, but the results that reach brings.

We know a good marketing strategy is all about segmentation. You WANT campaigns targeting more segmented, smaller audiences to ensure your messages are reaching the potential shoppers who are more inclined to be interested in what you’re selling. It is one of the reasons why Facebook remarketing campaigns are considered expert Facebook strategies for expert eCommerce entrepreneurs.

Yes, the reach/impressions metric relationship is a good indicator of your ads’ performance but making that pool bigger doesn’t mean more people buy – which means your ROIs suffer.

Which brings us to the next point.

7. Profit and Revenue Are the Only Metrics You Should Care About

We obsess over the metrics and refresh our analytics over and over, looking for sales, revenue, profit. And why wouldn’t we; isn’t it revenue that matters? The problem with this is you need a holistic approach and not everything is about total revenue.

Say what?!

Yes, yes, you want sales. But you also have various sales funnel steps and you need campaigns that reach all your stages with your marketing. Add that to the fact that revenue and profit are not the only KPI (key performance indicator) that shows your store is winning, having tunnel vision could be costing you sales. Here are the must-watch ad, analytics and site metrics:

  • Lifetime asset value – how much revenue and profit each of your products bring.
  • Traffic per channel – to see where your traffic is coming from.
  • Bounce rate – to see how long that traffic sticks around once they get to your page. This will show you which landing pages are lacking, as well as point to areas you need to fix for SEO.
  • Session duration – to see how long potential shoppers are spending on your site.
  • Conversion rates – to see the percentage of that traffic that is converting.

Believing these eCommerce myths without testing them for yourself is literally like throwing money away. But don’t take our word for it – test, test, test!

The bottom line is that no matter what the experts are telling you, what the popular beliefs are or what other entrepreneurs swear by, you need to test and try everything to find the winning strategy for YOUR store.

 

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