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Social Media’s Growing Impact On Ecommerce

Ecommerce is fast becoming the go-to portal for consumer shopping. And what better way to promote an ecommerce store then through the consumer-centric mediums of social media.

The Spanish postal service in coordination with Territoria Creativo, a social media communications specialist, conducted a study linking the purchase decisions of Spanish consumers to social media. The study suggests that social marketing is becoming an increasingly important in swaying consumer preference. Additionally, the study indicates that peer recommendations have an extremely heavy influence on consumer purchasing decisions.

So what just is social marketing? At its roots, social marketing is an effort to promote behavioral action of “social good.” However in today’s standard, the application of social marketing is directed to a more commercial aim. That is, social marketing seeks to influence consumer orientation, and thus, buying behaviors.

The Spanish study shows that online commercial trade is becoming a social activity. People all over the world are utilizing the Internet to meet their needs, and the Internet has become a powerful tool in facilitating consumer behavior. The Web’s influence is largely in part by product and store reviews, loyalty-promoters such as Foursquare, likes on Facebook as well as recommendations on other social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Google+.

The study also stresses the importance of tailoring marketing efforts towards the use of smart phones and mobile devices. With respect to social media’s impact on ecommerce, branded applications allow consumers to engage, learn about, and share products and services through social networking platforms.  And what further promotes this point, is the speed at which the social sharing can happen.

This trend in Spanish consumer behavior is parallel in the United States and other parts of the world. One satisfied consumer has the ability to influence the purchasing decisions of many others - and in a matter of minutes.

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Growing Need For Mobile-Friendly ECommerce Websites

As more consumers are utilizing the convenience of smartphones for shopping and researching products, ecommerce stores are presented with a new opportunity. In a recent survey focusing on the quality of mobile phone services of amongst a multi-industry roster of ecommerce store, one international pharmaceutical company scored the highest. The results from the study display signs of the growing need for businesses to start taking on mobile-friendly website to better suit their markets shopping behaviors.

The Need for Mobile-Friendliness

The implications derived from the study made by dotCommerce are clear. It is imperative for web marketers to develop web pages that are easily accessible from mobile devices. According to the study, only one third of businesses involved provided a dedicated mobile website for potential customers.

Ben Stavely, top honcho for dotCommerce sums it up quite nicely. He said, "growing consumer expectations and a fiercely competitive market make this an area where getting left behind is a big risk and yet, a very real possibility".

Areas of Concern

The mobile ecommerce study further revealed that navigation is critical factor in determining mobile rendering quality. The worst performing aspects were payment confirmations and checkout processes. With predictions for mobile shopping coming up positive, it is reasonable to assume that the holiday season will usher in tremendous opportunities for those who have prepared for this challenge ahead of time.

Many of the businesses involved in the study gave survey participants the impression that they lack understanding of what mobile shoppers demand. Confirming the arrival of mobile shopping as a way to boost sales, the challenge is on for ecommerce websites to provide solutions for this need. Referring to the results of the study, Stavely added that, "these findings paint a clear picture of the mobile challenge retailers must tackle today".

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iPad for Better Business

The iPad is a really cool device that's not only enjoyable and convenient for users, but pretty straight-forward for introducing aspect of marketing and business.

As more people become accustomed to using their devices to browse, shop, and learn about various things, the expectations for more interaction are growing. This can pose big challenges for businesses, especially for those that are not up to speed on the latest technologies.

The iPad is one device that business professional can hang their hat on. In other words, iPad technology is evolving into a great business tool for many different purposes.

Communication Facilitation

Whether between vendors, clients, and prospective customers, communication is key in any business relationship. The iPad can help remove proximity barriers by offering face-to-face interaction, and then some.

Not only can two individuals share a conversation with the iPad, but the device enables users to exchange information as if they were instant messaging or emailing each other.

An example of this in a business context could be a doctor interviewing a patient. In addition to their conversation, the patient can also fill our forms or other documents in a digital form that the doctor can see.

App Exploration

Not on the food menu, but on the iPad menu of applications. The iPad offers a wealth of apps to help streamline your operations.

There are apps to help you organize aspect of your company as well as manage your customers, their needs, and their communications. Take some time to find some solid iPad apps that will make your efforts more efficient.

Social Mobility

If you make use of social media, the iPad is great tool to use. Not only can you manage your accounts with the convenience of an iPad, but you can effortlessly share things with other people via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even just your basic e-mail.

The iPad is rapidly becoming a popular resource for savvy business people and those who do things on-the-go. The trick is choosing the right applications and implement the right functionality to better your business.

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An Evolving Thing Called M-Commerce

M-commerce, also known as mobile ecommerce, is conducting business through Internet enabled mobile devices, particularly for the promotion and sale of goods.

In essence, M-commerce facilitates business transactions over wireless mobile devices. M-commerce relates to the sale of goods and/or services, which is initiated by using smartphone technology such as mobile apps and interactive mobile shopping carts.

Consumers are using their mobile devices to carry out their shopping needs. And even more prominent than actually making transactions, people are using their smartphones to research and comparison shop. Overall the opportunities to funnel sales using M-commerce are plentiful.

The applications for mobile ecommerce are vast. Below are just a few examples of how M-commerce has been put to work:

  • Purchasing and downloading music, games, and other form of media
  • Pinpointing goods and services in a local area
  • Researching and trading of stocks
  • Booking travel tickets
  • Managing financial and banking accounts

Mobile ecommerce has gained huge success in many markets and is projected to be the next major wave of ecommerce.

Consumers are headed toward an increasingly fast-paced lifestyle, and demand more efficient means to go about their daily tasks. That is why M-commerce is destined to be a major player in how we do business.

How To Adopt to Mobile Ecommerce

Mobile devices and social media are transforming the way consumers interact with both businesses and each other. The keyword here is "Social," because for many, the sharing information is what's important. In addition, the sharing of information is what facilitates greater awareness and unbiased promotion of certain products and services.

To get a jump on M-commerce, businesses should increase their presence in social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Foursquare, since most consumers get connected to social media sites through their mobile devices.

Most mobile users are checking product prices, searching for store locations, and reading product reviews through their mobile devices. Therefore companies should design their websites so that customers are able browse their websites from their mobile browsers.

Furthermore, businesses should integrate their social media presence right along with their mobile-friendly optimization, because users are not only checking prices, but they are also "checking in" to tangible locations via smartphone apps like Foursquare.

M-Commerce is on the horizon to be the new front of how we handle business. Some speculate that the smartphone will soon replace the need for owning a wallet.

Entrepreneurs should start weaving mobile ecommerce in their strategic plans and start capitalizing on the mobile movement.

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Yahoo Focuses on Mobile First

Yahoo announced earlier via a blog post that they are going to implement changes that will enhance the personal digital experience of its users. Yahoo stated that their aim is to go "mobile first," in which the company will focus on areas that are ripe for innovation drawn from their existing services. 

In its effort to revolutionize its mobile presence, Yahoo had made some rather surprising sacrifices. The company has recently decided to shut down 10 of its existing mobile applications to give way to its mobile first ambitions. The list, which includes a mix of BlackBerry, Android, and iPhone apps, consists of those apps that are not performing as well as the company hoped.

The 10 apps for Android, Blackberry, and iOS that are being shut down are the following:

  • Yahoo Meme for iPad and iPhone
  • Yahoo Mim for iPad
  • Yahoo AppSpot for Android and iPhone
  • Yahoo Answers for Android
  • Yahoo Shopping for iPhone
  • Yahoo Deals for iPhone
  • Yahoo News for Android
  • Yahoo Finance for Blackberry
  • Yahoo Movies for Android
  • Yahoo Sketch-a-Search for iPad and iPhone

On the other hand, the company's mobile apps like Yahoo! Mail and Messenger, Sportacular, and Flickr, will not be affected by these changes. Yahoo's mobile team stated that people can expect more new Yahoo mobile services in 2012. Some of which includes a mobile TV companion called Livestand and an iPad magazine-style application called AppSpot.

Everyone is keeping their eyes close to the Internet giant as their new CEO Scott Thompson takes charge, it seems like the Yahoo is cleaning house with him. We'll see by the end of the year if the efforts and changes on Yahoo's business structure will result in it becoming more pop, or knock on wood, will make it flop. What do you think?

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The Foundation to Your 2013 Web Presence Management Framework

Web Presence Management FrameworkWeb presence management is an evolved approach of web marketing, and it encompasses much more than just organic SEO and PPC advertising. Web presence management focuses on a more strategic approach to building a powerful brand amongst an online audience.

With respect to the astonishing growth of social media (and its influence on both SEO and PPC via Google+) constructing a web presence management framework is a more cohesive strategy that encompasses a number of elements.

In a nutshell, a web presence management framework is the culmination of a brand's digital marketing channels and online touch-points, and how these elements combine to generate greater brand awareness and visibility.

Ultimately, creating an optimal web presence hinges on creative planning, thorough research, a strong sense of consumer behavior, and dedicated execution. In a sense, web presence management is like real marketing. The only difference is how the context focuses more on digital marketing channels, such as the Internet and mobile devices.

Elements of a Web Presence Management Framework

Each framework for web presence management will be difference per brand. However in most situations, a brand will include at least two to three of the following elements.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is the glue that helps keep your brand tight with your community. It's a cost-efficient medium to create loyalty with your audience. Whether your business pursues Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, and/or Twitter, social media should be a must in its web presence management framework.

Organic Search Marketing

Organic search marketing (SEO) is one of the most popular sources for quality website traffic. Although organic search engine marketing is a long-term effort of getting your site ranked in the search engines, the benefits can be momentous for your business. Most frameworks for web presence management will include some keyword targets for organic search marketing, but not all brands will find this strategy necessary.

Paid Search Advertising

Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, or paid search advertising, is a great supplement to an organic search engine marketing strategy. Unlike organic search marketing (SEO) PPC advertising requires marketers to bid on select keywords. This offers a more immediate form of search engine exposure, but the quality of traffic may not be as good.

Mobile Marketing

There's usually always a way to include mobile in a business's web presence management framework. Whether via text message marketing, mobile search engine marketing (SEO or PPC,) QR code integration, or mobile app development, the growth of mobile must not go overlooked

Conversion Rate Optimization

We all understand the importance of solid website with a decent looking design. But one on-site element that must be address is conversion rate optimization (CRO). This is the diligent practice of testing and improving calls-to-action and other on-site elements that contribute to more conversions and sales. Like we mentioned above, each web presence optimization framework will be unique. These five elements will be integral for any successful strategy. To learn more about how develop a powerful web presence management framework, visit Web Presence Group. Their team of experts can provide a free audit to see where you stand.

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Optimizing your Ecommerce Website for your Mobile Consumers

mobile ecommerceThe hype of smart phones, tablets and ubiquitous computing made the mobile platform so powerful. Everyone now has quick and easy access to the internet and not through a PC or a laptop but through handheld devices. Ignoring mobile consumers is really a bad idea. Here are some tips to optimizing your e-commerce website for your mobile consumers.

1. Clear Call to Action

It is quite obvious that a website when viewed on a laptop is quite different when it is viewed using a mobile phone. First, the size is different. The smaller screen will definitely affect the look of the website. Also, there are some features of that website that would not be accessible through a smart phone. Often, popular websites will have a separate website for mobile phone users. Others will have a mobile app ready for download. This is because companies will be able to put in as much text or graphics or call to action buttons as they want with the unlimited space with a traditional website.

Rarely will you see consumers filling in application forms or the details of an order form using a smart phone. One will definitely go blind doing this. This is better done with a laptop. But with a mobile consumer, one must provide a clear call to action. If it is a service that one wants to provide, or the purchase of a product, make this obvious for your consumers. For mobile websites, make sure that the call to action button is obvious. Single it out, highlight it, emphasize it. Make it easy for your consumers to avail of your product. 

mobile website

2. Usability

Usually, customers who are using their mobile phones are just basically just looking for information on a particular product they would like to purchase. They are on their mobile phones and tablets because of convenience but will most definitely look more into the detail later on once they are on their laptops or PCs. Thus it is wise to place all the essential FAQs about your product or company in your mobile website. For usability, it is important that consumers can navigate your page easily, get as much information as they want and proceed to the call to action button.

3. Bandwidth

Of course, with a mobile website, one does not really have to back it up with the biggest memory to make your website load faster. One can invest in a bigger bandwidth for one's traditional website. For the mobile website, it is best to choose the bandwidth that will allow the consumers to view all the available information and text and proceed to the call to action button.

4. Test Your Site

The internet is just so smart. It has allowed traditional websites and mobile websites of the same company or product to be indexed as one. There are just bit programs guiding which website to log on according to one's choice of device. It is wise to test one's websites. Try loading your site on a laptop and on a tablet. Note the differences in the length of time it needs to load. Look for bugs in the call to action button. Does your mobile site stand up to your traditional site?

5. Make Use of Meta Titles, Title Tags and Headers

The name of the game is haste and you want to be able to draw in as much customers as possible with the use of these SEO basics. It will really go along way when a consumer types in a word and Google lists you as the top 5 websites.

Optimizing your e-commerce website for your mobile consumers is easy enough. With just a few intentional steps, one can generate a fairly great demand from both traditional laptop and PC users, and mobile consumers on smartphones and tablets.

About the Author @CelinaConner is a Yoga Instructor, an alumna of Information Technology and Web Design Development at Martin College Australia and a mother of a beautiful daughter, Krizia. She has a passion in cooking and formulating vegan recipes.

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Responsive Web Design: What it Means & How to Leverage it?

Mobile Web DesignResponsive Web Design (RWD) refers to an approach used by a web designer to create a web page that resizes itself depending on the device type the web page is being viewed on. This can be anything from a 4-inch smartphone screen to a 7-inch tablet, or a 10-inch tablet to a 17-inch laptop, or even an oversized desktop computer monitor.

Responsive web design became one of the hottest trends in 2013 – attributed (partly) to the rapid growth of smartphones and intelligent mobile devices. However, most people use smaller screen devices to browse through web pages.

The Importance of Responsive Web Design

The main objective of having responsive web design is to have a single website, but with varying elements that respond differently on different devices of varying sizes. For illustration, let us consider a traditional “fixed” site. When viewed on a PC, the site will show three columns.

However, when the same layout is viewed on a smaller tablet, you might be forced to scroll horizontally in order to view the whole page, which most users don’t like. Some elements may even be hidden from view, or look distorted. To make it worse, the impact is even made more complicated by the fact that most tablets can be viewed in both landscape and portrait orientation.

Only some professional web design companies are adapting to this trend. Yet, more than just a trend, it's a demand (and virtually a requirement in today's digital age.) For instance, Peoria web design company, OIC Group, Inc. has taken mobile-friendly responsive web design to the next level. Not only does this web design company in Peoria, IL provide responsive web design for its local clients in Peoria, but the website design company also offers custom mobile app development.

Keep it Mobile-friendly

A tiny smartphone screen poses even greater challenge when it comes to viewing web pages. Large images often “break” the layout. Heavy-graphics websites can be slow to load on smaller gadgets such as smartphones. However, with responsive web design, a site can auto-adjust on a tablet to display two columns only, making the content more readable and easy to navigate.

Note that on a smartphone, the same content might appear on a single column, most probably stacked vertically. It may also enable the user to swipe over in order to view other columns. Instead of distorting the original layout or being cut off all together, the images will resize. Ideally, responsive design is leveraged to automatically adjust the site based on the type or nature of device viewed on.

How to Leverage Responsive Web Design

Responsive websites use fluid grids, whereby all elements of a page are sized by proportion and not the traditional pixels. Therefore, with three columns, you won’t be able to tell exactly how wide each one of them should be, but would instead be able to tell how wide they need to be in relation to the remaining/other columns.

For instance, you may decide that column 1 should take up 30% of the page, column 2 to take up 50%, and column 3 to take up the remaining 20%. The major advantage of this is that media, including images, is resized relatively. So an image can remain within its relative design element or intended column.

Since many people are currently using mobile devices, small businesses should switch to responsive web design. If you check your traffic, you will be shocked at how many people – among the visitors to your site –use mobile devices. Use your Google Analytics to see the proportion of traffic that comprises mobile device users/ visitors. You may even drill down to view the devices that are sending the traffic.

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AdWords "Store Visits” Feature Measures Ad Influence on In-Store Traffic

If an individual buys clothing from Amazon.com then they can receive it as fast as the next day with overnight shipping. You might be surprised to learn though, that even in this age of smart phones and online shopping, in store transactions account for over 93% of all the retail sales in America. Shopping in the store will be around for quite some time.


Google Adwords

Because of this Google has launched a new metric as part of exploring marketing solutions linking AdWords back to in-store traffic. The way this works is through the sharing of smart phone location history combined with clicking of ads on the phone.

How it Works

A simple example would be you clicking on an ad for Macy’s on your smart phone. Then later you actually visited the store and allowed your phone to share its location with google. Of course there is so much more that goes in to these calculations and collection of data, but that is essentially how it works.

Of course, since Google has indeed been in trouble for privacy violations in the past, this brings up similar questions. Is this violating user privacy? The short answer to that is no. Not only is this feature carefully designed to maintain security of private data, but the smart phones submission of data will be sent in anonymously. This should be a sigh of relief for many who are insecure about their privacy being violated online, and we will see as time tells if Google is able to maintain this high security if controlled data.

Lacking Statistical Relevancy?

A problem with this marketing relationship is that it only measures in store visits, not actual purchases. So if a company wants to see the correlation between their AdWords clicks and actual revenue from product, they’ll have to wait a while longer. Google is actually working on a separate test to see if they can measure the relationship between purchases and the retailer’s data. However, as of the moment no such thing is available on the market.


Store Visits Traffic

Currently Google is looking for additional data to sample so if you are running a big retail business; it might be worth it to check it out. Google is very open about letting companies in to their trials so contacting a local rep to get more information is definitely an option. The future of this program is unsure but if enough companies show interest, then it could expand beyond retail and become quite large.

Again, this program is a new metric testing the relationship between clicks on AdWords and actual in store visits as recorded by smartphones location tracker. If this program is successful then it could have a quite a large impact on modern marketing strategies and be a great asset for the retail industry to increase store visits.

We live in the digital age of instant gratification. If you are sitting at home and get the sudden desire to see that one movie you loved as a child, all you have to do is pop open the online streaming service of your choice and watch it. This works for video games and TV-shows as well. Almost anything can be received extremely fast now days.

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Advanced Ecommerce SEO Strategies for 2015

Ecommerce StrategyWith the influx of competition, basic ecommerce SEO marketing strategies no longer cut it. You’ll need to be ahead of the competition and introduce new ecommerce SEO and digital marketing techniques that will help your business stand out.

If you’re currently looking for ways to make your mark and progress the visibility of your ecommerce site, check out these advanced ecommerce SEO strategies for 2015.

Schema Markup

Schema Markup is essentially a microdata that makes it easier for search engines to understand what your content means. For example, the word “Sarah Collins” appears in the article – but for the search engine, this is just a random set of words with absolutely no meaning.

Schema Markup makes it possible for the search engine to identify Sarah Collins as the author of the article by placing the right microdata in the code. Now, whenever a search is made from the words “Sarah Collins”, it becomes easier for the search engine to crawl through your site and identify the important words.

Simply put, using Schema Markup helps increase your visibility online. It's far from being a "magical" fix on your ecommerce SEO strategy, but be aware that when combined with proper optimization techniques, schema can help you stand out from the crowd.

More on Schema can be found on Schema.org – and you’ll be glad to know that this project is actually collaboration between Yahoo, Google, and Bing.

Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the use of articles, videos, images, and even audio to reach out to your market. In the old day, the basic concept for content marketing is simply: to create something the market finds useful/entertaining.

Today though, content marketing strategy is the buzzword in the SEO community. This is simply a documented, step-by-step plan, on what you plan to say and how you plan to say it. Your strategy should contribute towards a common whole and should include the following components: (1) business plan for innovation, (2) content mapping, (3) persona development of the target market, (4) brand story, and (5) business plan for content marketing.

More great SEO-driven content marketing strategies can be found at the ContentMarketingInstitute.com.

Ironing the Technical and Creative Team

When it comes to content, the typical flow is that the creative team works on the job first and when they’re done, the technical team swoops in and optimizes the system. This is a fairly good process – but you have to understand that the two teams sometimes do not meet eye to eye.

So how do you solve this problem? It’s a good idea to find an overlap between the two – don’t divide the team but rather, help each one find a common ground in the process of their work. This makes it easier for each one to create and optimize content for SEO with a common goal kept top of mind.

If you outsource your technical ecommerce SEO services then you'll want to ensure that there is good communication between this party and the creative team.

Invest in Mobile

This seems pretty basic, but the fact is that businesses aren’t paying as much attention to mobile as they need to. Remember: there’s wireless internet now, and the number of mobile phones in use are marginally larger than computers.

If you haven't heard already, Google has plans to roll-out a mobile search ranking factor that will diminish the rankings of non-mobile-friendly websites. In short, this new mobile friendly ranking signal can have a tremendous impact on your ecommerce site's rankings in Google mobile search. As a result, one of your advanced SEO strategies for 2015 therefore should involve mobile site optimization – specifically, mobile SEO.

Share SEO Information

Lastly, give your internet marketing teams the chance to bond, swap information, and learn from each other. Remember: they’re aiming for the same goal so it makes sense that they’d share information and use each other’s data to achieve results. For example, there’s SEO and PPC. The two might approach marketing in a completely different way, but you’ll find that SEO can supply PPC with invaluable information and vice versa. Ultimately, good synergy between your team will results in successful ecommerce SEO marketing strategies that win in 2015.

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