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Social Media and Content Marketing Case Study: Stylerunner

Social Media and Content Marketing Case Study: Stylerunner

Stylerunner is an Australian online business specialising in women’s activewear. In the past three years, it has seen sales figures skyrocket, growing by a whopping 1736%. This is supremely impressive considering Australia’s limited market, and even more so when you consider that Stylerunner was launched in October 2012, and was a two-person operation. In the five years since, they have become the #1 women’s sportswear store in Australia (Stylerunner now have 64.1% of all online activewear sales in Australia).

Immediately, what is most familiar to most visitors on Stylerunner is its unassuming, almost typical e-commerce store layout. This goes to show, simply, that having a fancy and unique design is often not necessary for success. Much of Stylerunner’s success has been attributed to their clever social media and content marketing strategies, over more “traditional” aspects of digital marketing. In this article, we’ll further explore this strategy Stylerunner employs.

A Strong Social Media Presence

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In a short amount of time, Stylerunner has amassed 549k followers on Instagram, and 47k likes on Facebook. This is a staggering social media following, but it also begs the question: how did they get there?

Unsurprisingly, founder Julie Stevanja asserts that Stylerunner’s success is largely attributed to a building a strong social media presence early. At this time of writing, their Instagram account has over 12,000 photos uploaded – for its five years that its been around, this would mean that they have uploaded an average of six pictures a day. This is no mean feat when you think about it: a quick glance through their Instagram reveals that each picture posted is high-quality and purposefully crafted for their target audience. This success from their Instagram marketing plan is apparent when you see that Stylerunner’s posts often enjoys a high level of engagement from their followers.

Indeed, Stylerunner’s Instagram feed functions like a “mood board” of sorts, where appealing pictures are curated from different products and brands. This meticulously created Instagram feed is a great way to entice their target market into purchases, and also establishes them as authorities in the women’s activewear market.

Building Relationships with Influencers

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Stylerunner is known to consistently maintain their relationship with influencers on Instagram by gifting them with free products or by reposting their fitness photos. This further solidifies Stylerunner’s position as a leading destination for women’s activewear, and also extends their reach with the support of influencers. In many cases, Stylerunner does not even pay for these “partnerships”. They simply repost pictures of their customers who use the hashtag #Stylerunner or have the official Stylerunner account tagged in their photos. This means promotion is essentially free – many Instagram users are more than happy to use hashtags if it gives them a chance to be “featured” on a popular social media feed.

As Daniel Wellington has showed, a solid influencer marketing strategy is essential in many markets today – with the help of influencers, their business grew to $220M in revenue in just a year. Influencer marketing is especially important when you are in niches such as, but not limited to: Fashion, Grooming & Beauty, Sports, and Hobbies. However, it would be wise to exercise a degree of caution when utilising influencer marketing, as guidelines for transparency are much more stringent today than they used to be.

A Dedicated Content Marketing Plan

Triple-White is Stylerunner’s online magazine, dedicated to fitness, fashion, health and beauty, and tech. Stylerunner has created an entirely different domain for their content marketing efforts. With the wide range of topics and substantial content on the website, it is easy to see the aggressive content marketing strategy at play. The site also serves as an effective sales funnel – articles on fitness and fashion frequently promote products sold on Stylerunner.

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In addition to these style and fitness topics, Triple-White also dedicates a fraction of their writers’ efforts on healthy recipes, tech gadgets and apps, celebrity interviews and their workout routines. Writing about these topics do not usually allow for promotion of their activewear products, but they do it nonetheless. The reasons for doing so are simple. Writing about a wide range of topics that appeal to your target demographic helps in many ways:

  • Generating organic search traffic from long-tail keywords, and consequently, traffic to Stylerunner (via sales funnels)
  • Establishing Stylerunner as an authority site for activewear, style and fitness, and health – in the same demographic
  • Generating traffic via social media shares and likes, with the potential for good content to go viral

If you do not already have one, a content marketing plan is absolutely essential for e-commerce, for the reasons listed above.

Conclusion

Often, it can be too easy to get caught up in SEO/SEM strategies, and on-page optimisation in order to generate traffic and revenue. While they should still be the bread and butter of any e-Commerce business, it could be worthwhile to implement a highly aggressive social media and content marketing strategy. One of the main benefits is that this could greatly boost your  brand name and recognition much more effectively than SEO-related plansm which tend to have you aiming for product or industry-related keywords. When you have a brand name as recognisable as Stylerunner, you no longer have to worry about being at the mercy of Google and their ever vacillating search algorithm.

Interested in implementing a digital marketing strategy for your e-Commerce business? Web Design Market has all you need to succeed in the ever-changing digital landscape. Contact us today for a free quote!

How Google’s AMP Project is Affecting Your Business Online

How Google’s AMP Project is Affecting Your Business Online

Needless to say, most of our online business comes from Google’s organic search results (SEO). With the ubiquity of online browsing on mobile devices, Google now wants to achieve a consistent standard to apply to web pages when delivering content to any mobile device and tablet, ensuring that pages load elegantly and instantaneously.

How did they achieve it?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source framework launched by Google in February 2016. This framework changes how Google evaluates our SEO rankings by placing a higher priority on mobile performance. While there has been a huge focus on adapting websites for the limitations on mobile (high data costs, slow loading times, and poor content rendering), mobile browsers have, until AMP, lacked the benefits of a dedicated framework.

In order to reach this goal, Google has developed a new web page format – which is basically a simplified version of HTML  dedicated for mobile devices. By allowing the most performant design patterns and imposing restrictions on resource-heavy Javascript, AMP pages are dramatically faster than the average HTML page found on the web today.

With their determination to further improve loading speeds, Google uses server-side rendering of AMP elements to cache page contents on Google servers. This will allow the content in pages to reach the browser as quickly as possible. This strategy appears to be coming into fashion, as there are currently over two billion AMP pages online, on over 900,0000 domains internationally.

If you think that AMP only focuses solely on smaller devices, you are wrong. AMP will load in any modern desktop browser as the project’s own website is coded solely in AMP. This is a leap forward for mobile optimisation and theme responsiveness, as there is now a provision for mobile experiences that uses a discrete code, removing content that is redundant on small screens.

AMP and E-Commerce

Since we’ve established that websites that implement AMP have an SEO advantage on Google’s organic SEO, you might be wondering— how else can your eCommerce store benefit from AMP?

The biggest advantage that AMP shares with both media channels and eCommerce is speed, since faster loading sites will simply gain better opportunities to generate sales.

In this context, you could dramatically lower your online store’s loading speed for mobile by adopting a streamlined framework, your competitors could be reaping huge rewards over your clients. Imagine if your online store is making $100,000 per day: a one second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5m in lost sales every year (Kissmetrics).

Moreover, it is also possible to create AMP versions of Shopify pages through the API. Some of the apps in the Shopify App Store have also successfully leveraged this technology to provide a conversion service for clients.

AMPing up for the future

Henceforth, it is likely that AMP will see growth worldwide, given that Google has announced during a recent developer conference (AMP Conf) , that AMP will be applied over the search engines of Baidu, Sogou, and Yahoo Japan.

The open-source framework continues to build its impetus, and more plans for improvements are on the way, including third-party log-in and support for eCommerce analytics.

If you are worried about lacking behind the competition, or would like to know more about this issue, Web Design Market can certainly help with your digital marketing strategies; we have proven results from a large variety of clients. Contact us today for a free quote!

Amazon is coming to Australia: Five tips to prepare your business

Amazon is coming to Australia: Five tips to prepare your business

With plans to begin operating in Australia by the end of 2018, Amazon’s arrival heralds a new era for Australian e-commerce and retail. Long established as an e-Commerce juggernaut, Amazon’s instantly recognisable brand name and their formidable logistics abilities are expected to pose a major threat to many retail stalwarts in Australia – household names such as Woolworths, Myer, Coles and Kmart are all gearing up for battle. It is clear that the majority of brick-and-mortar retailers in Australia will be feeling the brunt of Amazon’s arrival  – with retail sales projected to experience a significant decline in the coming years. However, what is less certain is how Amazon will affect the e-commerce landscape in Australia.

At Web Design Market, we are dedicated to helping our clients grow and expand their businesses on the online front. Amazon’s expansion Down Under will no doubt change our clients’ businesses in many ways. This article therefore serves to help business owners understand the impact of Amazon’s arrival, and also how they can prepare for a more competitive online retail landscape.

 

Understanding the Amazon Threat

AmazonThreat

Currently, many Australian businesses are either unaware, or unfazed by Amazon. In Commonwealth Bank’s recent Retail Insights report, it was found that only 70% of retailers were aware of Amazon’s plans for Australian expansion. Of this 70%, only 14% had a strategy ready for the challenge ahead of them; this means that less than 10% of retailers in Australia are adequately prepared!

This is very worrying when you consider the changes that are likely to come about as a result of Amazon’s arrival. To put the threat into perspective, let’s look at some facts and figures. Market research by Slice Intelligence has shown that Amazon is absolutely dominating the online retail market in the United States: In 2016, a whopping 43% of all online retail sales were done via Amazon –  total net sales of $136 billion in 2016.  And that’s just in the United States.

In Germany, Amazon’s second largest market, retailers such as Zalando and Otto are now far behind while Amazon holds 13.1% of the e-commerce share. German retailer Otto now comes in second, with just 3.8% of the e-commerce market share.

As a consultant for Amazon Australia was recently overheard saying, “[Amazon is] going to destroy the retail environment in Australia“. As brash as that statement sounds, how true is it? What, exactly, would happen to the Australian retail and e-commerce landscape when Amazon arrives? Analysts and experts can only predict the full extent of the impact, but here are some things we are certain of.

 

1. Prices will fall

Amazon’s arrival means that many products will become cheaper. We expect Amazon to undercut local retailers for their products – as they have been known to do so in the past. The online giant will no doubt be willing to post losses in exchange for gaining a foothold in market share, which will also likely lead to price cuts at other retailers as they try to stay competitive.

 

2. Expectations for shipping and order fulfilment will change

Amazon is known for its Prime service – with free shipping on millions of items that can be as fast as two hours to certain locations. This will make a massive difference in the expectations of consumers in retail. Amazon’s supply chain management and level of automation in their logistic systems is unparalleled – smaller businesses in Australia may soon find it hard to compete with Amazon for Prime products that customers can receive on the same day, and with free shipping.

 

3. Organic search traffic will be ‘siphoned’ by Amazon

The Amazon domain name is one of the most trusted and authoritative on the internet. Amazon’s arrival means that smaller, newer e-Commerce retailers will suddenly have to compete with a website that dominates organic search results on Google. For local e-Commerce businesses, this can be very worrying, especially if they do not have a solid SEO/AdWords strategy in place. Many businesses may see a dip in organic traffic with Amazon dominating the front page of Google.

 

Five Tips to Help You Compete with Amazon

With the three points outlined above, it is not hard to see how many Australian businesses will struggle under Amazon’s enormous power. However, there are certainly effective strategies that business owners can put together at the moment that may allow them to maintain their competitiveness. These are five actionable strategies that we would recommend to all e-Commerce businesses in Australia. These five strategies will help you start preparing for Amazon’s inevitable arrival such that you won’t be severely affected when the time comes.

 

1. Create an Amazon Seller account

AmazonFBA

As the adage goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Amazon’s arrival is bound to create some tough competition, so why not start selling your products with them? Amazon’s Seller program makes logistics a breeze. The Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) program gives sellers the ability to ship their products to a fulfilment center, where Amazon will handle shipping, tracking, and returns. This may mean lower overheads for you, since Amazon will most likely be able to fulfil orders at much lower shipping rates. Products sold through the FBA program also have free Prime shipping, which is enticing to customers shopping on Amazon.

In addition, selling your products on Amazon means a much greater exposure to your target markets. Amazon’s global reach means that your product can easily be introduced to a global market.

 

2. Focus on building relationships with customer service

CustomerService

Amazon is a massive corporation, and its size and scale means that they are unable to provide personalised customer service. There is bound to be a more corporate, robotic feel to their customer support. What a smaller business can do, then, is strengthen their brand identity by creating meaningful customer relationships. There are many ways to do this, and some creativity may be required, but one actionable task that every business can start with is to improve communication via social media channels: respond quickly to customer enquiries, and keep your customer base in the loop with updates, promotions, and deals.

Businesses should now focus on going above and beyond in customer service – overdelivering on their promises. Stellar customer service and a strong brand identity are essential to creating an audience of loyal customers. Ultimately, this will help you stay competitive with Amazon more than anything else. Loyal customers purchase directly from you, and are also likely to spread positive word-of-mouth if they’ve had a good shopping experience. A smaller business with a reputation for fantastic customer support is likely to stick in consumers’ minds. The key here is to ensure that your customers feel like you care about them as a brand. A commonly-known fact is that customer retention is often much more profitable and cost-effective than customer acquisition, so keep this very important point in mind.

 

3. Create and market a customisable product

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Something as simple as engraving your customer’s name on your product could be enough to keep them from jumping over to Amazon. Allowing your customers to customise and personalise your products is a great way to differentiate yourself from other competitors in your niche. Introducing personalised products have proved to be an effective strategy for boosting sales, and your customers are much more likely to recommend your products to their friends and family because of the “uniqueness” that your brand offers. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to push your customers in the right direction – encourage them to share their customised products. You should also consider having “templates” set up for customisation, as it may be less daunting to a customer if they don’t have to create an entire design from scratch.

An under-looked benefit of introducing personalised items in your niche is that you can often glean valuable insights on consumer preferences – for example, if a particular colour combination for your customisable dress-shirts is doing especially well, you may consider introducing it as a mainstay in your product line.

 

4. Become an “authority” in your niche with content and email marketing

ContentMarketing

One thing that Amazon lacks is dominance over niche markets. Their strategy of dominating the entire online retail space means that they will never be considered a premier/specialised retailer for any specific type of product. This is where you can come in: users who tend to make more careful purchase decisions would prefer to buy from a specialised website with good product recommendations and a wide selection. Therefore, by focusing on your specific niche and providing relevant and valuable content, you can establish thought leadership that will pay dividends in the long run. Content marketing is especially effective in this regard; for example, you can provide value to your audience on your social media channels by sharing informative and relevant content. We would also suggest incorporating other tasks in your content marketing strategies, such as writing regular blog posts, creating infographics and editorials, and regular email newsletters packed with interesting and creative content. Remember to show off your expertise in your field/market, and your brand could potentially go viral with the right content.

By establishing yourself as an authority in your niche, you can build a loyal online following that will trust your product selection and recommendations, and also return to you for repeat purchases.  Here are some examples of successful content marketing campaigns that may give you some ideas.

 

5. Offer free shipping and attractive promotions

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This last tip is the most obvious, but should not be underestimated. Many argue that free shipping is essential to surviving in today’s online retail environment – if you do not offer free shipping on all or selected products on your e-commerce site, you may quickly find throngs of online customers moving on to a platform that does – case in point, Amazon.

However, we understand that this is not suited to all businesses. Perhaps you have products that are costly to ship. You can still adapt, however, by providing attractive discounts and deals, or by offering super-speedy shipping. The key here is to provide massive savings or value that you think would be enough to retain customers.

 

Conclusion

To the average business owner, it may be very daunting and scary knowing that Amazon’s arrival in Australia will bring about massive changes. However, we strongly believe that a solid marketing plan can overcome many of the challenges ahead. We hope that this article has helped you better understand the threats many businesses are about to face, and how they can adapt to it. This article was not intended to be the be-all-end-all of competing with Amazon, but rather, a quick primer on the many strategies that businesses can explore to strengthen their brand in the face of an e-commerce Goliath.

In this regard, Web Design Market can certainly help with your digital marketing strategies; we have proven results from a large variety of clients. Contact us today for a free quote!

 

AfterPay, zipPay, zipMoney, OpenPay, Sezzle: Choosing the Right “Buy Now, Pay Later” Program for Your Online Business

AfterPay, zipPay, zipMoney, OpenPay, Sezzle: Choosing the Right “Buy Now, Pay Later” Program for Your Online Business

With the recent introduction of “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) solutions in Australia, many businesses are now scrambling to integrate these programs with their online front. While these services can be very beneficial for increasing sales revenue, there are now enough options out there that merchants can be confused as to which would best integrate with their business. This article will analyse the different “buy now, pay later” programs that are currently operating in Australia, with a detailed breakdown of each service.

 

Why integrate “Buy Now, Pay Later” services? 

Layby payment options have existed for a long time in brick-and-mortar stores, but this often carries significant risk for the retailer. This is where BNPL services come in: companies such as ZipPay provide customers with an alternative payment option: they can decide to pay for their online purchases over a period of time. For example, with AfterPay, customers pay with fortnightly instalments. These services are usually integrated with your online store, with the option to use them at checkout.

The main benefit of such services is that they have the potential to substantially increase your sales revenue. As has been the case since the advent of e-Commerce, the more checkout options are available to the customer, the better your web conversion rates will be. Compounding on this simple reason is the fact that these new BNPL payment options can lead to a significant difference in a customer’s purchase decision – many merchants who have integrated AfterPay have seen an increase in their Average Order Value. At the same time, these service providers take on the risk for the timed payments, and charge the merchant a small fee for their trouble.

 

Afterpay vs zipPay vs zipMoney vs OpenPay vs Sezzle

With that in mind, now comes the tricky part for many merchants: deciding which service to use. Understanding the pros and cons of each service is crucial, as each service has differences that make the choice significant enough to affect your online business.

 At the moment, there are five companies offering Buy Now, Pay Later solutions in Australia:

Afterpay

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Afterpay gives customers the option to pay two weeks later, and in four fortnightly instalments – the first instalment payment is immediate for first-time users and for orders amounting to $500 or more. Instalments are charged directly to the customer’s credit/debit card, and Afterpay charges a $10 late fee for instalments unpaid.

 

Integration

Afterpay offers integration with many e-Commerce back-ends: Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, Neto, IslandPacific, Infinity, Futura4Retail, and Commerce Vision. Integrating Afterpay with these platforms is relatively easy. For example, integration with WooCommerce simply involves installing a plugin.

After integration, the option to pay with Afterpay appears on your product pages, like this:

 

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In addition, Afterpay has a technical support team of specialists who can easily assist you with integration and maintenance.

 

Costs

 Merchants

Afterpay charges 30 cents per transaction, plus 4-6% of the order value. This is higher than credit card companies and most other BNPL services.

 

Customers

On the other hand, customers do not pay any fees or interest for their purchases.

 

ZipPay and ZipMoney

zipPay-Logo-Grayscale

ZipMoney

ZipPay and ZipMoney are affiliated companies that offer very similar interest-free BNPL services, but with some basic differences.

For one, ZipPay functions like Afterpay, charging a small percentage of the total order value to the merchant. The difference here is that ZipPay is designed for smaller purchases (under $1000), while ZipMoney is targeted at merchants and retailers who sell more expensive products and services (such as educational courses, digital cameras, furniture etc). ZipMoney allows for purchases up to $10,000, which is significantly higher than with ZipPay. Therefore, the fee structure and procedure for these two services differ significantly.

ZipPay has no fixed instalment payment plan, which means a customer can choose to pay via weekly or monthly instalments. Customers are required to pay at least $40 a month for their purchases.

 

Integration

Both ZipPay and ZipMoney are easily integrated with e-Commerce platforms such as Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCartel, and more. In addition, as with most of these new BNPL startups, ZipPay & ZipMoney have a technical support team ready to assist retailers with integration.

Like Afterpay, the option for ZipPay/ZipMoney appears on your product page like so:

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ZipPay and ZipMoney: Note the price difference between these two items.

 

Costs

ZipPay:

Merchants

ZipPay charges 15 cents per transaction, plus a 2-4% commission fee to its merchant, which is noticeably lower than AfterPay.

 

Customers

ZipPay is interest-free for customers; however, they will have to pay a “maintenance” fee of $5 if they have an outstanding balance at the end of each month.

 

ZipMoney:

Merchants

ZipMoney has comparatively stringent requirements for merchants – to be eligible, they are required to have had a revenue of at least $500,000 for the last financial year, and must be in operation for 12 months or more. In addition, ZipMoney fees vary based on the interest-free period chosen by merchants. For example: A merchant who chooses to integrate ZipMoney on their webstore with a 3 month interest-free payment plan is charged a 3% fee, and 6 months of interest-free payments would incur a 5% fee, and so on.

 

Customers

Unlike ZipPay, ZipMoney charges the customer an interest rate for purchases. Also, ZipMoney customers are subject to credit checks, while services like Afterpay do not require any.

 

OpenPay

openpay-ana-shared-mediaV2 

Openpay is a relatively new BNPL startup – at the time of writing, their service is offered on a small handful of online retailers. The service shares many similarities with AfterPay and ZipMoney/ZipPay, and can be thought of as having a combination of features of the two. OpenPay has a purchase limit of $10,000, and also allows for a longer financing term of up to 12 months.

 

Integration

Currently, OpenPay only supports integration with WooCommerce and Magento. Since the startup is relatively new, we can expect integration with more e-Commerce platforms in the near future. From what we’ve found, payment options with OpenPay appear only upon checkout:

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Costs

Merchants

Openpay does not reveal the fee structure for their service; at the moment, they determine rates based on the type and size of your business.

 

Customers

OpenPay offers interest-free payments for customers. However, late fees apply, and customers have to pay a nominal fee of $2-3 for long-term financing options.

 

Sezzle

 sezzle

Sezzle is a Minneapolis-based company founded in 2016, with their services currently used by around 700 online retailers. In November 2018, Sezzle lined up a $100 million line of credit from investment firm Bastion, so expect further growth from this startup.

Integration

Currently, Sezzle supports integration with Spotify, WooCommerce, Magento, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud, with plans to add Big Commerce and 3D cart to its list soon. At check-out, consumers who are first-time Sezzle users will fill out their details, after which Sezzle will determine their creditworthiness based on the bank account, cash flow, fees charged and so on.

 

Costs

Merchants

Sezzle charges 6% + 30cents per transaction. For each transaction, the merchant receives the full payment upfront, unless otherwise agreed. As Sezzle is a US-based company, transactions are processed in USD, and currency exchange rates will vary.

Customers

Sezzle offers interest-free payment plans with four instalments; the first payment is charged at checkout, with the remaining payments charged every 2 weeks. However, a $10 fee applies to failed payments, as well as a $5 fee for rescheduled payments.

 

The Breakdown

 

Service Provider

Payment Plans Merchant Fees e-Commerce Platforms

Credit Line

AfterPay

Fixed; four Fortnightly interest-free payments 30cents plus 4-6% of total order value WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Neto, IslandPacific, Infinity, Futura4Retail, Commerce Vision

Up to $1200

ZipPay

Flexible (weekly or monthly); interest-free payments, minimum $40 a month 15 cents plus 2-4% of total order value

WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Neto

Up to $1000

ZipMoney

Three-month guaranteed interest-free payments

Varies depending on interest-free period (e.g. 3% for 3 month interest-free)

WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Neto

Up to $10,000

OpenPay Interest-free payments, small fee for long-term payments (up to 12 months) Varies, by consultation WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento

Up to $10,000

Sezzle 4 interest-free payments spread over 6 weeks  6% + 30cents per transaction WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Big Commerce (Coming Soon), 3DCart (Coming Soon)

 

 

Conclusion

At the moment, ZipPay and Afterpay are the most commonly used BNPL services in Australia. While Afterpay charges a substantially higher fee on their services, they feature a wider range of integration options with e-Commerce platforms, and are now accepted at a wide variety of major retailers and webstores, such as Big W and Myer. OpenPay is currently heavily focused on offering their payment plans at physical stores, but this could change soon as they hope to expand their portfolio of online merchants. Sezzle is an emerging player in BNPL services; while mainly used by US-based retailers, Australian retailers could benefit if they are looking to capture North American customers.

With all that has been said, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for your e-Commerce business: this depends on several factors such as your product offering and target market/demographic. We hope this article serves its purpose as a quick primer on this new component of e-Commerce that is quickly becoming essential to improving sales. If you are interested in integrating a BNPL service with your online business, why not contact us today for a free quote and consultation?

 

 

8 Tips For Starting An Online Business

8 Tips For Starting An Online Business

8 Tips For Starting An Online Business

If you want to start an online business then you certainly have a lot to think about. You need to plan out your entire business; that includes investment, budgets, marketing plan, picking an online platform to name a few. Then you need to think about what areas to focus on, build your database, find leads and most importantly – work with the right people to help you along the way. This can be difficult when the market is flooded with so many options. Below we hope to set out 8 tips to starting an online business to make your life a whole lot easier!

  1. Do Your Research

Make sure that you do your research and understand your market and your competitors (if any). Learn from them and work harder to give your customers a better experience, better customer service, better pricing and better shipping options for example. Plan out your customer journey according to their needs. How will they shop on your site? What is the quickest method to converting your website traffic into buying customers? You also need to make sure that you don’t under price your products as well. This may be tempting because it is a great way to get in the market, but this could hinder you later on. Offer great value and customer service and you won’t have to lower your prices/rates.

  1. Make Your Website User Friendly

You need to make sure that your website is user friendly, beautiful and converts you’re audience into buyers. If your site is not user friendly than your users will leave and go to your competition. It’s that simple. Knowing what to add to your website, and what not to add can often be a challenge when starting out but working with User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) experts, can certainly make or break an online business in most cases.

  1. Understand Your Audience

Understanding your audience and offering them true value and giving them what they want will set you apart from your competition. So listen to your audience, ask them what they love and what they don’t love. This will help shape your business profoundly and hopefully make your business much more profitable along the way. Start by creating customer personas. Personas are your target audience, the people who will use your website the most. Start with 2 or 3 personas and start marketing to those types of customers.

  1. Sell International

If you plan to advertise your products to your international buyers, consider having multiple currencies for your customers to choose from so they can view your site easier. Use Translation Tools to translate your website copy to other languages. Create website pop-ups or banners that are specially designed and targeted to overseas IP addresses to welcome them and give them special offers to incentivise them to buy with your online store.

  1. Consider Shipping and Logistics

Shipping costs and logistics is often an overlooked area of online retailing, when starting out. Think … can you and your site handle large orders? Can it handle 100 orders a day or 1000 orders a day? Consider placing a product limitation on your site so you only advertise the stock you have available. Customers love free shipping. So calculate the costs to offer this service and create promotions to suit your business. For example – ‘Free Shipping On Orders Over $99’. This will often increase your average cart size and average order value!

  1. Offer The Right Payment Options

How are you going to let your customers pay? Card? PayPal? Cheque? BPay? Cash? Try to offer as many options as possible, if it suits your business but beware that there are some added costs, like special Payment Gateways. PayPal is definitely recommended and is an easy method to setup. If you’re shipping or trading internationally then look at other options, like the Chinese AliPay for example. Talk to us if you’re unsure of which method to choose.

  1. Find The Right Marketing Channels

Marketing your products or business is possibly the biggest challenge any small business will face when starting an online business or E-commerce store. Thankfully there are lots of options that you can choose from that won’t cost you a fortune. Start by focusing on Social Media, focus on two channels to begin with and work hard to build out your posts, feed, images and content. Find out what channels your customers are using, then simply get involved in their conversations, forums, comments sections and offer your input and create value. Try not to over sell, but simply give advice and share ideas. Be seen as a thought leader in your space. Creating a blog is always another great option, which will help with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This will help your business climb the Google Rankings and help your customers find you online.

  1. Choose An E-commerce Expert To Help You

Having the right team who can help to build your online business and e-commerce store is critical to your success. Pick a team who has experience and understands what it takes to succeed in the online space. There are many components to a successful E-commerce business, and often you can’t take on every single task yourself.

So there you have it, 8 tips to starting an online business! Your business may take some time to get going, but when you have these 8 tips in place, you will start to see great results!

It has never actually been easier to start an online store and Web Design Market can help you with anything to do with your online business. We have plenty of hassle free solutions available for you to choose from so give us a call today on 03 8400 4600 to discuss your next big project!

 

 

Sales BOOM: How E-commerce Is Transforming Small Businesses

Sales BOOM: How E-commerce Is Transforming Small Businesses

Sales BOOM!
Sales Boom: How E-commerce Is Transforming Small Businesses

A growing number of small businesses are cashing in on the popularity of online shopping by turning to the Internet to sell their products and services. With online spending in Australia increasing by 12 per cent to $16.2 billion last year, according to NAB figures, there’s never been a more opportune time. While a company website certainly helps attract more customers, embracing e-commerce widens the net even further, offering multiple advantages.

A major benefit is that it helps small businesses remain competitive, particularly against larger corporations. An impressive website can go a long way to attract customers, no matter how small your store is. In fact, many people prefer to purchase products from a ’boutique’ business, therefore whether your business has five or 500 employees is irrelevant.

Selling online also provides small businesses with extra revenue by generating sales 24/7. Customers can place orders at any time of day or night without you having to work extra hours. This is especially appealing to small business owners who are time-poor and want to achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Web Design Market - E-commerce Experts

Another bonus of e-commerce is the ability to sell unlimited products. A broad range of items draws a large variety of customers and those who browse for a specific item often end up buying more when something catches their eye. To expand on that, social media users can post images and details about new products with links to their website, encouraging even more sales.

When it comes to Internet marketing, it’s especially important for small businesses to remain prominent. An online store allows customers searching online to find your business by using the correct keywords. It also improves your company’s visibility in Google search listings, places it on online maps and provides a platform for online reviews.

Another incentive to sell online is the crucial market research it provides. Essentially, it allows business operators to understand what customers are thinking. You can determine which items are regularly viewed, which pages are popular and those that users leave most frequently. You can also accurately ascertain how many products are needed.

With these benefits and more, it’s not surprising to see why e-commerce has become an integral part of business today. Those interested in selling online should know that creating an e-commerce website can be both hassle-free and affordable with the right help. Web Design Market Melbourne are a team of digital experts who specialise in quality e-commerce development for small to medium businesses. They use Magento, BigCommerce, WordPress and WIX platforms just to name a few. For a free quote, call (03) 8400 4600.

27 Quick Online Tricks to Get More Customers

27 Quick Online Tricks to Get More Customers

Whether you are starting a business, company, or contracting work, you want to be found online. More than 90% of Australians online, this means 9 of 10 of your future customers will be looking for your website, Facebook Page or online business listing. Heck, they might be “Googling” you right now!

If you play the game right, you WILL find success in the online space.

We have been in the field for a while, so let us give you a few pointers.

Below is a collection of Quick Tips to Supercharge Your Online Marketing Efforts. These tips are easy to do, don’t take much time AND deliver big results.

Happy Marketing!

WDM Team

27 Quick Online Tricks to Get More Customers

1. Add a Call To Action (“Request a Quote”, “Call Now”, Call “03 12 34 567 Now”) at the top of every page of your website

2. Get feedback on your site design using Usability Hub: https://usabilityhub.com

3. Perform a squint test

You can either step back from your computer monitor while looking at your website and squint your eyes to partially distort your vision and then you will most likely only see basic blocks of your website design and sales copy.

4. Set Up Google Analytics (it’s free!) and see where your site visitors come from and what they are doing on your website (http://www.google.com.au/analytics/)

5. Display A Trust Badge. If you are selling online, trust in your brand is one of the biggest factors for customers when deciding to buy from you.

6.Install Google Web Master Tools. This ensures Google knows about your website and allow you to start appearing in Google quicker.

7.Add 2-3 customer testimonials to your website. Call your happy clients for a short blurb if you have to.

8.Offer a strong money-back or return guarantee. Get customers over the line by making them a promise. If you are offering your services in market, you should be delivering them anyway.

9.Use Pingler to let Search Engines know about your website. Takes 30 seconds, just plug in your website URL and categories you want to appear for, and Pingler will send alert major search engines. https://pingler.com

10. Add your website to your e-mail signature. Simple.

11. E-mail your clients/suppliers requesting they link to your website. Have a client/portfolio page so you can return the favour.

12. List Your Business on Google & Yellow Pages. You can post on hundreds of online directories, but most will refer to Google and YP anyway.

13.Use Topsy to find out what people are saying about your brand, product, or service on social media such as Twitter and Instagram, for free! http://topsy.com

14. Generate Content Title Ideas with this tool. For when you are stuck for ideas for writing articles that could be of interest to your customers. http://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker

15. Google Your Competitors. Are they doing anything successfully that you can do for yourself?

16. Google Yourself. What sites are linking to you? Are your competitors appearing?

17. Join Industry Associations. The Queensland Government site for businesses has a directory of associations by industry:
http://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/support-tools-grants/support/business-industry-associations/a-z-business-industry-associations

18. Add Social Share Buttons and Track their usage with Add This. See what content is popular with your customers. http://www.addthis.com

19.Run an online only promotion and post on Bargain sites (eg. Ozbargain)

20.Complete your social media account profiles and link to website.

21.Use the Google Keyword Tool to find out how many people are searching for your brand, product or service online. https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

22.Take a picture of your office and add to the contact page

23.Free to Use Images http://www.freeimages.com/

24.Get the most web un-savvy person you know to test your site.

25. Ask 3 customers/clients for feedback on your site.

26. Ask a question at the end of your blog post, to encourage comments.

27. Share/retweet your older but popular content again.

Reviving the PPC vs. SEO Debate: What Works Better for eCommerce?

Reviving the PPC vs. SEO Debate: What Works Better for eCommerce?

The PPC vs. SEO debate is an old one, but has become more interesting of late with the increasing complexity of Google’s search algorithms and the powerful targeting options of the evolving Adwords platform. Irrespective of which method you prefer, you cannot deny the importance of both online marketing channels in driving more leads and sales to businesses. According to a report by Jupiter Research, 81 percent of users find what they are looking for via a search engine.

Many believe that PPC is leading the way in this battle of search engine marketing, especially when it comes to eCommerce. It does in fact have an edge in terms of conversion rates as paid search results have a 1.5x higher chance to convert click-throughs from search engine result pages. However, there are 8.5x more chances for organic results to be clicked compared to paid search results.

THE ONGOING DEBATE

Both PPC and SEO are popular methods to drive traffic. So why this debate between them? While SEO brings in the organic traffic via organic search results, PPC allows you to place a highly targeted ad on Google using specific keywords. Users too don’t mind clicking these ads as Google ensures that these advertisements are predominantly relevant to what they are looking for (based on the keywords in the search term).

There are a few issues with SEO. For example, it involves a set of time-taking activities to get your website ranked higher on SERP (search engine result page). Secondly, there is no guarantee with SEO. That being said, positive ROI is likely with right optimisation efforts. In fact, if done properly SEO can outperform PPC in terms of ROI. But it takes a lot of time and practice apart from skills, resources, financing and a proper strategy to get it right. You will need at least 6 months to generate positive ROI with SEO.

PPC, in contrast, ensures that your brand shows up for specific keyword search right on top position of the SERPs. It’s quick to set up and even faster in generating results, although PPC is a little slower to optimize. In most cases, PPC campaigns help you receive instantaneous results. Besides, they are not affected by algorithm changes. On the downside PPC campaigns can be expensive as you need to pay for every click, whether or not they convert. This means you will end up losing a significant amount of money if your PPC campaign fails.

PPC FOR ECOMMERCE

There is no denying that eCommerce has always relied on PPC. And after the latest additions in AdWords in the form of aggregated Store Reviews (for Google Trusted Stores), Shopping Ads, and Ad Customisers (Sale Countdown), businesses are seeing an increasing return of investment from the effectiveness of these ads.

One PPC strategy for online stores is to bid for revenue, which means you could earn five dollars back for every dollar spent on AdWords. But to do so you need to bid for an expected revenue instead of bidding for clicks and conversions. Here is how selling with PPC works:

  • Bid on a competitive keyword
  • A user search with your keyword and AdWords displays an ad
  • The user clicks the ad and it takes him/her to your landing page
  • The user browses the site and may/may not purchase your product(s)
  • He/she checks out and you need to attribute the sub-total to the keyword

While you cannot control people’ purchase decision with your PPC campaigns, you can certainly influence their decisions. And the good news is that it almost always works for eCommerce sites as the AdWords reporting allows online retailers to identify the top performing products (i.e. keywords) to improve their sales. PPC therefore provides the knowledge, and provides insights which you need to approach SEO for your eCommerce site.

APPROACHING SEO FOR ECOMMERCE

Although eCommerce websites tend to rely on PPC, this alone cannot help you rank higher than your competitors on Google’s search engine result pages. According to a study by Gabe Donnini, “the share of impressions coming from the first position is almost double that for the second position, truly illustrating the value the first spot holds.”

Another study by Optify back in 2011 found that the average CTR (click-through rate) for websites ranking number one was 36.4 percent, whereas those in the second positions had 12.5 percent click-through rate and the third positioned had just 9.5 percent CTR.

Having a strong SEO strategy is therefore essential for your clicks and sales as well as for your brand impressions. To approach SEO for your eCommerce website, begin with in depth research, including both keyword and competitor research. When it comes to keyword research you need to focus on three primary areas:

  • Identify popular keywords for homepage and individual homepage and product pages
  • Find keywords for blog topics, including long-tail keywords
  • Avoid keyword cannibalisation i.e. trying to rank multiple pages of your website for the same keyword

In addition, conduct a thorough competitor research including identifying the keywords your competitors are using, the sources from where they are getting their links (especially for content marketing), and their site architecture. Study their SEO strategy and see what you can do differently to yield better results.

One thing you must remember that “content is key” in SEO; therefore, focus on your content. This has become even more important after Panda and Penguin updates. In addition, the Pigeon update, which was rolled out on July 24, requires you to give more importance to local search as it is now tied more closely to traditional Web ranking signals than ever.

Last but on the least, your SEO efforts should also consider the new mobile-friendly updateMobilegeddon to make your eCommerce website more mobile-friendly. After all, mobile commerce is one of the Big Bets of the eCommerce world at present. According to a 2015 comScore study, smartphones account for almost 20 percent of search activities whereas 9 percent online searchers use tablets from the same purpose.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

What you need is a cohesive strategy that combines the two distinct disciplines to help you achieve the best of both worlds. For example, by using both PPC and SEO together you can understand the new keyword opportunities, identify organic keywords with a few impressions but high CTR and vice versa and target them all for your SEO efforts. In other words, test your organic keywords through PPC campaigns and fine tune your strategy accordingly. Similarly, you can use site search data (which is a part of your SEO efforts) to discover better performing PPC keywords.

The benefits of such a cohesive strategy are many. One such benefit is that it helps you combat negative PR. eCommerce brands are often subjected to negative PR; someone out there always has something bad to say about you. It is often inevitable but combining PPC and SEO efforts is a great damage control. Since it helps you dominate both organic and paid search results, you can effectively guide the conversation by controlling the PPC and SEO results for a particular term.

One great example we have seen till date was during the Gulf oil spill. After some time of this unfortunate incident, BP conducted a PPC ad campaign, linked to the term “oil spill,” which took visitors to a page that discussed BP’s cleanup efforts in details. BP ensured that whenever a user searched about oil spill, their PPC ad topped the list to tell people their side of the story.

CONCLUSION

Is there a clear winner?

Perhaps no. Combining PPC and SEO efforts is rather the way to create a winning digital marketing strategy as they are rightly called a match made in heaven. By integrating your organic and paidsearch activity you create a synergy that generates better results in dominating the search space. The secret to do so, however, lies in how you are informing your SEO/PPC strategy based on data derived from the other channel.

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