How to Boost the E-Commerce Side of Your Business When Your Stores Are Closed

If you are among the number of businesses affected by the recent global Coronavirus pandemic, boosting your e-commerce sales can be a great way to recover lost financial profits. Learning how to improve your online sales can have many benefits in times of normalcy as well, and allow you greater flexibility and profit by generating an additional revenue stream. If you are interested in improving the e-commerce side of your business, continue reading!

Improve Your Checkout Experience

The importance of a good checkout experience cannot be overstated. It might surprise you to learn that the checkout experience can make or break a customer’s business transaction. If a customer encounters difficulty checking out online, it is highly likely that they will give up and take their business elsewhere. Some simple ways to improve the checkout experience for your business include offering multiple payment methods, offering a guest checkout option, being clear about shipping and delivery, and providing an intuitive checkout form.

Social Media Marketing

Improving your social media presence is a highly effective way to market your products. There are many reasons why social media is a great way to sell your products. First, around 70% of Instagram users are 35 or under, so this platform can be ideal for targeting younger consumers. Social media can also improve your brand awareness, and help you reach your specific target market. It is also a very cost-effective marketing strategy that is relatively simple to use.

Build Trust

One of the most important ways you can improve your e-commerce is through striving to build more trust with your potential customers. You should try to cultivate the same elements of personality, friendliness, customer service, and trust in your online business that you normally use when operating your physical brick-and-mortar. You can build trust by utilizing technology effectively. For example, you could host a live-stream to interact directly with customers, or provide an available chat service to answer customer questions. Building trust will make your customers and clients more at ease throughout their online shopping experience.

Although there are many other ways to boost the e-commerce side of your business, improving your checkout experience, utilizing social media, and building trust are three of the important business strategies that can help you gain and retain customers, even when you are able to operate your physical store. These three tools are even more essential when your stores are closed. Utilizing them will boost the e-commerce side of your business during times of difficulty as well as times of business prosperity.

To make your customers’ shopping experience better, try Pollcart today!

How to Convince Customers to Pay More for Your Products

Believe it or not, customers are pretty good at correctly guessing the actual price of a commodity. That being said, what customers pay largely depends on how you convince them. Many profitable companies utilize this gap to create a foundation for profit. After all, commodity pricing is the major equation for any industry to succeed.

Being able to raise your commodity price and convincing your customers to pay for it without losing them to the competitor is an indication you have better price communication. What happens when customers start balking on your product pricing? Putting all fears and doubts aside, know that there are ways to convince your customers to pay more for your products.

Emphasize Quality

A fundamental aspect of successful price increase starts long before the dreaded conversation with your customers. Make every communication you have with prospective customers emphasize the quality of the product you are offering as well as how the customer will directly benefit from the product. During price communication, avoid mentioning the price of materials. Instead, emphasize product features and how product offering has evolved to help them further. Premium pricing can actually have advantages for your sales. When you invest in quality products, your customers will be more than ready to pay that premium price you set.

Emphasize Value

Every aspect of conversation with your customers should stress on the value of your products. Customers tend to side where they can see visible results. If you increase the number of available products to exceed that of your competitors, customers are more likely to buy yours over others. Even though all value is subjective, try to persuade your customers by showing them how they will get more quantity if they agree to pay high.

Give Installment Plans

An installment plan is a valid payment option that many customers prefer when available. They find it appealing to acquire the desired product at a small price with the flexibility of completing the payment. You can use the installment plan to make your products appear even more affordable.

For many customers, paying installments of a particular amount of money in a specified duration is more agreeable than paying the full amount upfront. So, if you can, offer the installment option.

By taking into consideration the need to emphasize quality and value, and opening up your mind to the possibility of installment plans, you can feel confident in setting a price that you feel is worth your products and that your customers will pay for without hesitation.

Here’s another article you might like: 4 Best Ways to Boost Ecommerce Sales Fast

How Your Point of Sale System Impacts the Rate of Cart Abandonment

Point-of-sale (POS) systems have changed the ways that businesses take their payments and, in some instances, make sales. However, this incredible technology that has saved countless companies also comes with its risks. This is most commonly seen within the e-commerce industry, where making the sale depends on a smooth checkout process. If you have been noticing an increase in cart abandonment, the following information is for you.

User Experience

Having your own e-commerce business is one of the best routes to take when capital is an issue. It doesn’t take much to start one up and keep it running. However, you also take on the challenge of having customers who can leave for the competition in an instant. This is why it is so important to always make sure that the user experience in regards to your point of sale is a good one. According to Bold Commerce running into a confusing screen or one that makes them sign in within multiple windows can become a little frustrating for the customer, and when then happens you risk losing the sale. Always make sure that your checkout process is not only visually pleasing but also causes as little frustration as possible for customers.

Addressing Problems

Most issues regarding a company’s point of sale can be easily fixed. Therefore, often, the issue is not the system itself, but the talent you have looking over it. When business leaders begin to realize that their POS is the cause of most of their cart abandonment issues, the only logical step is to run through the process yourself to identify pain points. Celerant explains that POS software training and analysis can be used to identify user experience issues and how to fix them. Sometimes, they are as easy as simply downloading updates to your POS, or it could be something more serious. Nevertheless, training is crucial for finding the exact problem as fast as possible.

Feedback

Among the steps you can take to identify issues regarding your POS, only the customer can give you an exact and unbiased answer as to their experience. Therefore, business leaders should always seek feedback from their customers at the end of a transaction. This will provide you with valuable data regarding aspects of your POS system that are working or could be improved upon.

Point-of-sale systems are great tools for any retailer to have. This type of technology is often the most important part of a sale, and it must be understood and maintained continuously.

Would-be customers often rely on the feedback and reviews you get from already existing customers. Watch these videos to see how our app can also help you rescue carts before they are abandoned for good!

Get More Sales and Fewer Abandoned Carts by Optimizing Your Purchase Funnel

More than half of online shopping carts are abandoned before the completion of the purchase cycle of an e-commerce business. This translates to lost sales and uncommitted shoppers who were convinced not to go ahead with the purchase. It is essential that e-commerce businesses identify these leaks in the purchase funnel before they make a devastating impact on the business.

Identify the Leaks in Your Current Funnel

Leaks in your purchase funnel can be costly. Not only do they drain your sales and compromise your user experience, but they can also drastically slow your growth. Leaks in your current funnel need to be fixed right away. Some methods to identify them include flowcharts of both the shopping process and the company response procedure. Analytics can also be used to see where you are losing your leads at each shopping stage. It is important to determine the cause of these leaks and learn how to stop them from occurring.

Optimize Your Purchase Funnel

Once you identify the leaks in your current funnel, you can take steps to optimize your purchase funnel and improve your overall sales. These steps usually include optimizing your shopping cart, developing a mobile app, and making the shopping experience more interactive. Pay extra attention when designing your store and streamlining your online checkout process. Customers are highly likely to abandon their carts if completing the transaction lags, takes too many steps, or is confusing in any way. 

Apply the 5 S’s of Efficiency and Profitability

While you evaluate your site’s organization, you may find additional ways to improve its efficiency and profitability. The 5S methodology is a workplace tool to implement improvements and help you optimize your purchase funnel so that you can get more sales. This methodology originated from five Japanese words: Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shisuke. Translated, the 5 S’s of efficiency and profitability are: Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.

If you are trying to streamline your website’s customer experience or improve its performance, the 5S methodology is an efficient solution. By seiri (sort), you are getting rid of anything on your website that is not necessary. By seiton (set in order), you are organizing a place for everything. By seiso (shine), you are cleaning everything up. By seiketsu (standardize), you are incorporating your new improvements into your regular process. By shisuke (sustain), you are setting procedures to ensure your new changes are being implemented.

Abandoned shopping carts can keep you from optimizing your sales, and they can indicate gaps where your purchase funnel needs some work. By identifying the current leaks in your funnel, taking steps to optimize your process and then making sure that your new improvements are implemented, you can make continuous advances toward your long-term business goals.
PollCart gives undecided shoppers another chance to complete a sale before leaving, which encourages social commerce and drives sales. Start using Pollcart today to optimize your purchase funnel!

4 Best Ways to Boost Ecommerce Sales Fast

Have you been disappointed with the slow growth of your ecommerce site? There are four key things you might be missing that can make a difference in your results. Even if you already have a lot of sales, you can boost ecommerce sales fast by following the four methods below.

Email Marketing

Businesses that use email marketing earn $38 for every $1 spent. This can lead to an impressive ROI of 300% and above. Email marketing was found effective for both small and large businesses, so no matter what size your online store is, you should use email marketing. Ask customers if it’s okay to send them emails when they buy something from your store. You can include this as a checkable box in your form. Another way to get people on your list is to offer a free ebook or other relevant digital content in exchange for their email addresses. If your ecommerce store has products from many different niches, you could encourage people to sign up for your newsletter to receive exclusive offers. Just make sure you are professional in your commmunication. Things like a professional email address can improve your credibility with your customers.

Optimize Your Funnels for Mobile Users

Almost three-quarters of website traffic is now mobile, so it’s important to keep your website mobile-friendly down to the funnels. Many people use their smartphones to research purchases and complete their transactions. You don’t need to scrap your current funnel, but you should analyze where your strengths are for both mobile and desktop users. In general, you’ll be taking a minimalist approach to optimizing your funnels. Ideas for improving funnels are to shorten forms, use a mobile-friendly, responsive website design, and double check that CTA buttons are easy to view and click on mobile devices.

Show Your Website Is Secure

If you don’t have an SSL certificate, you’re losing out on sales. Many consumers don’t purchase from sites without SSL certificates because they’re worried about their sensitive information being stolen. Make your website as secure as possible, and display any security badges to help establish trust with online consumers. Examples of security badges are the “Paypal Verified” and “ScanAlert Hacker Safe” badges.

PollCart

Shopify users have access to PollCart, which is an application that speeds up the buying process. It enables your customers to poll their social network, including friends, family, and industry experts, about an item they’re thinking of buying. People have twenty-four hours to share their opinions on the item. If all goes well, then the customer will buy the product. PollCart reduces instances of abandoned shopping carts and returns.

You can boost ecommerce sales fast by optimizing your funnel for mobile users, making it clear your website is secure, using Pollcart, and utilizing email marketing. These effective strategies will lead to increased sales in no time when implemented correctly.

Check out our videos for more information on how PollCart works!

Brand, Product Sales, and You

Building a successful business does not happen overnight. Great products and marketing strategies are not the most important aspect of building a business, even if there is a serious need for what your company provides. Without proper branding, you run the risk of getting lost in the competition without the ability to make your business stand out from the crowd. Your brand needs to work for you as much as your advertising and marketing does in order to effectively reach your intended audience while motivating customers to make a purchase. Understanding the importance of good branding is key to truly making a mark in any industry, especially when building your business online.

What is Branding?

Branding is a way to represent your business through the use of a logo, color scheme, and overall visual aesthetic. Think of some top brands, such as Nike, Facebook, McDonald’s, and Starbucks. According to Seabrook, brand is the single most important element to a business or organisation. It is easy to immediately recall the logo and colors of companies that have proper branding. With the right branding, you can gain trust and loyalty from those who are interested in learning more about your business.

Risks of Not Branding Your Business Properly

According to Entrepreneur, one of the biggest mistakes your company can commit is not understanding the power of branding. Without proper branding, you run the risk of losing the interest of potential customers, leading to fewer sales and less generated revenue. When your business is not properly branded, it becomes increasingly difficult to garner followers, attention, and motivated shoppers. Before revamping your company’s branding, consider the following:

  • Do you have a set logo that represents your business and the products or services you provide? Does your logo convey the message you want to send to prospective customers?
  • Do you have colors that are utilized consistently on your official website, within your logo, and on your social media pages? Is your logo too busy or too dull? Spend time comparing competitive businesses for inspiration and ideas during a brand revamp.
  • Who do you want to reach? What interests do your users have? What styles of graphics and photography translate best with your followers and shoppers? What successful companies and brands does your audience follow and invest in?
  • Is your company name easy to spell and remember? Does your logo require text, or is it possible to share your message using iconography and simplistic imagery?
  • Are you using high-quality graphics and photography in your branding? Are your images outdated or not relevant to your user base?

How to Develop Better Branding

Developing proper branding for a business requires a bit of research and testing. Gather inspiration by comparing competitive logos to determine which type of visuals work best for your audience and the demographics you are targeting. According to Oberlo, you should strive to be positive in your branding messages. Your business needs to use great photos, if you decide to go with that kind of visual. Use websites such as Pinterest and other online communities and technologies focused on marketing and design to learn new methods and techniques of creating visually appealing graphics and imagery to catch the eye of your followers and customers.

Ensure all of your social media pages use the same page name along with your website’s official URL. Use the same logo and color scheme on each of your social platforms along with your website’s layout and design. Avoid choosing usernames and page names that are difficult to remember or not relevant to your company’s name as this appears unprofessional and often leads to an inability to generate sales or gain the trust of users online.

Get Some Thoughts From Others

Ask for input from your followers and those who currently subscribe to your email newsletter, especially when you are just starting out with a new business. Gathering consumer input is extremely valuable and creates a sense of community with those who have a vested interest in seeing your business and brand grow. You can also ask any mentors you might have in the industry, as well, according to Under30CEO. They might have insights that you or your consumers might have never thought about.

Use AB testing with third-party ad hosts, such as Facebook ads, to see what works best for your business. Share different types of imagery, such as traditional photographs, illustrations, and graphics with varying aesthetics. Focus on reviewing and monitoring analytic reports that are available with each individual AB testing campaign you launch to discover what your users respond to most. Once you have an idea of the visual style your prospective customers prefer, it is much easier to solidify the brand tactics that guarantee success for your business.

Takeaways

Without proper branding, it is challenging to set your business apart from others, especially your greatest competition. Knowing how to effectively brand your business is key to generating sales while gaining followers who are genuinely interested in your products and services. Using the right methods and techniques (like polling your customers), you can create a brand for your business that your customers will find appealing, interesting, and unforgettable.

8 Software Packages Every Online Retailer Needs to Know

Millennials are now making 54% of their purchases online while non-millennials are doing it at 49%. If you are part of this growing industry or in case you have just seen its potential profits and you want to join, there are various software packages which can assist you to run your online business successfully.

Featured image credit: MLM Business Software Central

OpenCart

This basic package can be extended to meet your requirements. OpenCart requires little effort to install as long as you have a Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP (LAMP) stacked on a server. The setup is basic for the majority of web servers, and it is highly likely you are ready for the software package. In case you are unsure, confirm with your service provider. Clients can go to OpenCart’s marketplace to look for add-ons that add to its functionality. This includes free primary integrations like Facebook plugins or Square payments. You can find Microsoft Dynamics integration for up to $2,000 in the marketplace. Other tools offered by the marketplace include Excel tie-ins or SEO insights for product management.

PrestaShop

This software package applies the standard eCommerce solutions formula referred to as core-with-extensions. It comfortably fits into the majority of websites because it has been built on PHP which is a popular web development language. PrestaShop provides more than 1,500 templates. 500 of these are add-ons which allow integration with Amazon Marketplace, Google Merchant Center, and Stripe. The software package offers support to global stores and numerous stores within a single back-end. If you have separate storefronts in Canada and US, you can take care of all of them in one place. Prestashop has forecast ability, and Intelligent Merchant KPI features as reporting capabilities.

osCommerce

Being one of the earliest eCommerce software, osCommerce has numerous add-ons made for it. More than 7,000 integrations have been made for the program for free, and there is a big community offering support and working on it. Through its Apps Marketplace, osCommerce integrates with all kinds of third parties. It is possible to integrate Facebook and Sage Pay and present your website in numerous languages. It is not a sophisticated software, and in case you have some problems using it, you can consult the osCommerce Community. Hosted versions starting price is $8 per month.

Pollcart

This is an ecommerce plugin that seeks consensus from the inner circle of the buyer after checking out, before billing and shipping. It gives purchasers the confidence to shop, an incentive to maintain a product, and a reason for sharing. Pollcart assists to increase referrals and sales since the customers do the marketing for you.

Sonar

Keyword research and SEO is important for any kind of sales, but Amazon doesn’t work the same as Google.  If you use Amazon to sell your products, you need to have Sonar to help you.  This keyword research tool is free and, unlike other tools, it only looks at Amazon data and actual customer searches, which allows you to tailor your Amazon SEO to be more accurate.

WooCommerce

This is a WordPress shopping cart plugin which is open source and is not a full eCommerce solution. WordPress is the most famous content management solution and is not to be confused with WordPress.com. Businesses using WordPress can use the plugin to convert their websites into a store. If you are accustomed to WordPress, adding WooCommerce is easy. It has all the functions and needs little customization. One of its most famous features is the one-page process of checkout, which lets users pay for the items on sale easily.

Volusion

Volusion’s monthly plans can help you in launching an online store. Volusion has customer support around the clock with video tutorials and thorough support pages. It has themes covering fashion, beverages, food, beauty, electronics, and more. The themes are customized to be usable on mobile devices. Hence, your customers will have a smooth shopping experience on any device they use. Volusion’s App Marketplace has over 60 apps that you can use to boost your store. Additionally, the software assists in integrating with eBay and Amazon, getting automatic tax rates, offering subscription billing, and adding products.

Podium

Podium can help online retailers by providing a way for potential customers to message the retailer with questions about the product, and more importantly, has a feature that makes leaving review very easy, increasing the likelihood that customers will leave reviews. Podium’s specialty is using texting to prompt customers to leave a review after purchasing your product.

If you are an online retailer, one or a combination of some of these eCommerce software packages will assist you to run your online business smoothly.

Why Your Dental Practice Should Start Selling Home Care Products Online

Image courtesy of South Temple Dentists

If you’re looking to expand your practice, consider selling dental home care products. There are many types of dental home care products available for your patients — there are probably several that you already encourage them to use. It makes sense to sell them through your practice rather than referring patients elsewhere when they might forget. With that in mind, here are four important benefits of selling dental home care products online.

Increase the Profitability of Your Dental Practice

It’s understandable to want to increase the profits that come from your dental practice. Considering that, you’ll definitely want to sell dental home care products online. Referring patients to another home care provider gives this company all of the profits. Instead of doing this, selling your own dental home care products helps to ensure your office obtain increased revenues.

Grow Trust Between Patients and Dentists

Many dentists know the importance of creating a trustworthy relationship with their patients. With that in mind, it can be hard to obtain this trust while referring patients to other companies. On the other hand, choosing to sell dental home care products increases this trust. Patients will be much more likely to order from a trusted dentist than an unfamiliar company.

Enhanced Patient Understanding

While it might seem wise to refer patients to another home care provider, this could end up damaging patient relationships. For instance, patients might falsely assume you’re trying to get rid of them. In addition, this could alienate patients who are wanting full explanations of dental home care products. However, selling these items online give patients an easy avenue for ordering the products they need.

Drive More Traffic to Your Dental Office’s Website

In the modern age of doing business, you’ll certainly want to have a website. That being said, having a website doesn’t mean much without receiving traffic. With that in mind, you’ll find that selling home care products online can increase the number of website visitors you receive. Having more visitors often helps to increase local search engine rankings.

 

To summarize, there are several benefits of selling home care dental products online. Selling these products works incredibly well for increasing the profitability of your practice. Providing products directly can also help increase the trust factor between a dentist and their patients. While these products might be purchased online, your workers can still ensure that patients easily know how to use these items. Lastly, selling your own dental care products works wonders for increasing your office’s online presence.

How To Address Negative Product Reviews

As a business, your reputation weighs heavily upon the reviews that you get. The way that customers share their experiences with your products and services can shape your future sales and memberships. Your goal should be to gain positive reviews always and turn the negative ones around as soon as you realize you have them. You don’t want to have a bare review history because that’s as bad as a negative one. Here’s some information about the fact that having no reviews is as bad as having negative reviews and how to solicit legitimate reviews without paying for them.

Why Reviews Are So Important

The reason that reviews are so direly important is the word of mouth factor. You see, people usually read consumer reviews before they make a buying decision, and they usually share that decision with their loved ones, family, and friends. That means that a prospect has the potential to share a positive or negative word that can hugely affect your productivity. For that reason, you have to stay on top of your reputation and take steps to correct it if something tarnishes it.

Tips for Handling Bad Reviews

There are three steps to handling a bad review, and there are two rules. Rule number one is never to ignore a bad review. Rule number two is never to react negatively to a negative review. Prospects don’t just pay attention to the negative review itself. They pay attention to how you handle the negative review, too. There is a way that you can bounce back from even the worst of reviews and come out of the challenging situation looking like a complete and total hero. Here’s how:

Apologize Immediately

The first thing you need to do is to apologize for the customer’s poor experience no matter what the complaint is. This is something that you must do. It doesn’t matter whether the patron is right or wrong. Just apologize for it. That shows that you are empathetic, compassionate and understanding.

Tell the Customer You Appreciate Him or Her

Let the client know that you appreciate his or her business. Consumers like to see a business that acknowledges their customers. Therefore, you must thank the customer for choosing to deal with your company.

Ask How You Can Resolve the Matter

Finally, ask how you can resolve the problem that the customer had or has. Nine times out of 10, you will be able to turn things around. Even if you can’t, prospects will still see that you tried to resolve the matter. That means a lot.

How to Get Free Positive Reviews

You can get your clients to leave you positive reviews by just asking them when you know they’ve had a great experience. You could also use incentives such as discounts on products and services. Some customers enjoy leaving reviews and don’t need an incentive to do it. People tend to trust reviews that come from a third-party more than reviews provided by the company. In this review for ASEA, the reviewer makes it clear that they are not affiliated with the company. This lends greater credibility to the review itself. 

Don’t Buy Reviews!

Buying any reviews at all, whether it’s on Google or Yahoo or anywhere else, is a bad idea. It’s a strategy that will break the trust of customers and get you painfully punished by search engines. According to Podium, “While there are ways to get disingenuous and non-organic reviews, based off of google guidelines to remove inappropriate reviews, the practice is not appreciated by Google (or really any review site). Using fake reviews can result in getting your business blacklisted or worse, as some review sites are cracking down and taking legal action against egregious offenders.”

Make a habit out of asking each one of your customers to leave a review for you. Pretty soon, you’ll get enough of them accumulated to make a difference. If you consistently check your reviews and address the negative ones positively, you’ll build a wonderful company image that customers will value and trust.

Social Commerce Powerful Trends List

PollCart Thoughts on List of Powerful Social Commerce Trends: Article on Social Commerce Trends makes us wonder who has been bugging our meetings.

The PollCart Illuminati was sequestered deep in their underground bunker thinking about developments in Social Commerce (trademark pending by PollCart for your convenience).  They happened upon an article by a renounced B2B Content Marketer who identified the four most powerful social commerce trends.

A hush went over the room while they called in the black ops guys to check for bugs and listening devices.

It was like she was peering into the PollCart model for Social Commerce that drives customers to buy more and return less when they interact with their friends and family over online purchases.  That was a bit windy.  We’ll explain further.

Why Social Commerce is so Important

Shayla Price begins her examination with why Social Commerce is so important.  It is because shopping is an emotional activity.  This is true of the digital world as well as the bricks-and-mortar world.  How people feel about what they buy is an extremely important part of why they buy.

This is why PollCart is so effective for online merchants.  In the offline world, a group of people can see, feel, touch and discuss a product before purchasing.  In the online world, someone can create a wishlist, send a link or discuss an item on Facebook.  However, it is a cumbersome process with little interaction and several steps away from actual commerce.

“As online relationships become more personal and shoppers can connect more directly with brands, there’s a big opportunity for smart branding to play a big part in how customers feel about a brand. Whether purchasing physical or digital products, marketers need to realize that shopping is a highly emotional endeavor.”

An Emotional Connection to the Purchase

PollCart lets a consumer create a poll and puts the buying decision into the hands of friends and family who vote.  There is now an emotional connection to the purchase tied to the social interaction of the poll.  The abandoned shopping cart has itself been abandoned.  Returned products are less likely.

That is the power of Social Commerce.

Ms. Price’s article goes into more detail, and we will touch on additional points in a future blog post.  Stay tuned.  You know you want to.