Tag Archives: Online Retail

As discussed in the first part of this article, after the rise of eCommerce during the COVID-19 outbreak, the shift in online behaviours and customers’ expectations created a make-or-break moment for online retail. Most companies mainly focused on ensuring business survival and continuity in 2021. Some efforts included ramping up their digital commerce strategy to deliver great customer experiences.

According to a recent study on commerce and customer trends, “technology was the biggest hurdle to address across the e-commerce journey in the past year.” While brands recognize the importance of meeting digital experience expectations, they’re misaligned with how to prioritize their digital commerce investments.

Want expert guidance on how to grow your business and make better technology investments this year? This article contains 5 more tips on getting ready for a successful 2022.

1. Social Commerce

More and more people are turning to social media to browse for new products and brands and brands are responding by meeting shoppers where they are. Social commerce sales are projected to reach $79.6 billion in 2025, giving merchants another channel for sales and marketing.

As businesses plan to increase their social media budgets, you’ll want to build out your social strategy. Consider sharing user-generated content to engage followers, partnering with influencers to expand your reach, using livestream shopping to showcase products, and leveraging paid advertising and in-app shopping features to drive sales.

2. Sustainability

Sustainability is not just reserved for eco-friendly brands and products. As customers increasingly buy from purpose-driven brands, we’ll see more businesses incorporate sustainable practices. These practices will include things like making material changes to products and donating to sustainability-focused organizations.

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3. Selling Through Marketplaces and New Channels

Consumers are increasingly flocking to marketplaces, from big-box retailers like Amazon and Walmart to industry-specific, curated websites. This shows a shift in buying preferences toward more convenience and speed that can be offered by these giant marketplaces. Rather than focusing solely on one channel, we will see selling alongside Amazon—they will tap into the wide reach and efficient services of Amazon while maintaining the control and brand experience of your own website.

4. B2B E-commerce Trends

There has been a big shift in B2B selling: the days of paper catalogues and complicated phone orders are being replaced by fully digitalized self-service shopping experiences, streamlined back-end processes, and enhanced customer service. We’ll see B2B businesses upgrading their e-commerce technology and capitalizing on e-commerce trends in 2022.

To remain competitive, your B2B business will need to invest in creating online catalogues, offering B2C-like shopping experiences, and providing fast and efficient fulfillment. An effective B2B e-commerce strategy will lead to higher sales volume, increased average order values, and greater customer satisfaction.

5. Personalized Products and Marketing

The numbers don’t lie: studies show that 80 percent of consumers want more personalization from retailers. By providing a deeper level of personalization, businesses will be able to cater to shoppers based on where they are in the customer journey, giving each visitor individual attention that encourages them to move down the funnel.

Creating a personalized shopping experience is the key to satisfying customers. Shoppers often want help to find the right products and value a more personalized experience that caters to their needs. e-commerce sites that get on board with this trend are investing in technology to send personalized pop-ups, follow-up emails, and relevant marketing offers to deliver a better shopping experience and strengthen that bond with their customers.

Leveraging E-commerce Trends to Transform Your Business

In 2022, consumers will expect a seamless, convenient, and memorable shopping experience more than ever before. Investing in the right e-commerce trends will allow you to adapt to these fast-changing needs and preferences. To differentiate your business, you’ll want to determine which areas in e-commerce are growing and where you could invest in those areas to build better online experiences.

Looking to enhance your digital presence in 2022? Get in touch with the experts at Linkeo Ltd. to discover new ways to drive sales, differentiate your business, and create an outstanding online experience.

In 2021, businesses were focused on adapting to continued e-commerce growth and grappling with physical spaces “opening up”. While the year was all about digital transformation, 2022 is going to be more about differentiation and customer expectations. As global e-commerce sales surpass 1 trillion USD in 2022, businesses need to prioritize the customer experience to sustain their momentum and keep a competitive edge. In this article, we discuss 10 e-commerce trends for 2022.

1. Chatbots

As machine learning technology becomes more sophisticated, brands will begin to leverage AI and automation to enhance the customer experience. Chatbots are an example of this in action—software that can communicate with shoppers via a live chat interface. Chatbots provide instantaneous 24/7 customer service and can act as a resource to lead shoppers to the right pages and keep them coming back to your business.

2. Voice Shopping and Conversational Shopping

With voice e-commerce sales predicted to reach $19.4 billion in 2023, we will see businesses continue to incorporate voice shopping to make it even simpler for customers to buy products. Conversational shopping can help you interact with your customers in real-time. Consider experimenting with chat apps like Facebook Messenger and voice technology like Alexa and Siri to allow customers to engage with your business, get recommendations, and even make purchases.

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3. Diverse Payment Methods

Customers want the option to choose their preferred payment method during the checkout process. Businesses that diversify their payment technology are more likely to build trust, reduce cart abandonment, and encourage shoppers to spend more. Interest-free financing solutions like buy now pay later as well as seamless 1-click payment options will continue to grow in popularity and appeal to shoppers looking for more flexibility with their online shopping.

4. Video Marketing

As with other forms of content marketing, videos are an effective vehicle for marketing your products and attracting new customers. Consider creating and placing videos both on your social media and on key sections of your website like your homepage, about page, or product pages. Unboxing videos, tutorials, explainers, and user-generated content are examples of videos that can resonate with customers and help them make buying decisions.

5. Augmented Reality, New Tech, and Future of E-commerce

In 2022, businesses will continue to experiment with new technology to stand out from the competition. Features like product visualizers, product builders, 3D mapping, and augmented reality make it even easier for customers to visualize, explore, and “try out” your products online. This elevated product merchandising helps to recreate that offline retail experience that many shoppers crave while giving them an engaging and easy buying experience.

6. Subscriptions and Loyalty Programs

It goes without saying that e-commerce will only grow more competitive. For many businesses, customer retention is top of mind. We can expect subscription and loyalty programs to continue to grow, providing convenience, exclusivity, and savings to shoppers. This forges a relationship with customers and encourages them to become your brand advocates.

7. Multichannel Customer Experience

Today’s shoppers value convenience above all else. A multichannel approach provides that convenience by creating a seamless experience, whether customers are shopping on a desktop, browsing for items on a smartphone, or picking up items via click and collect services in a physical store. Businesses that invest in their multichannel strategy will be in a better position to maximize sales and spur customer loyalty.

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8. Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce sales are expected to double between now and 2025. To stay ahead, your business needs to create an easy and engaging experience for mobile shoppers. A solid mobile commerce experience will keep your customers coming back to your business and ensure your sales continue to grow in years to come. Consider including things like push notifications, SMS, mobile content, a mobile e-commerce app, and a mobile-optimized website.

9. Buyer Journey Optimization

E-commerce has become the primary customer purchase path for many businesses. As a result, it’s critical for sellers to look at and improve every customer touchpoint to remain competitive. To optimize your buyer paths, focus on improving your product search, creating a streamlined mobile experience, providing rich product merchandising, and nailing your fulfillment and return processes.

10. Conversion Rate Optimization

To thrive as a modern e-commerce business, you need to be able to capture the attention of customers from the get-go and remove any points of friction from the conversion path. Conversion rate optimization is one of many evergreen e-commerce trends that will help online sellers achieve both immediate and long-term results.

As you can see, 2022 also has some challenges in store for you. At the same time, the above trends also clearly show that there will be many opportunities this year to set yourself apart from the competition. Get in touch with the experts at Linkeo Ltd. today to take the first step.

A product catalogue is one of the most important tools used to sell your products, but it is also useful for telling your brand’s story and building relationships with your customers. You can also represent your brand in a way that your customers will remember. In this blog post, we will go through 7 key features to how you should structure it to get the most out of your digital product catalogue! Let’s five right in:

Make use of negative space

White space is often referred to as negative space. It’s the portion of a page left unmarked and arises from graphic design practice, where printing processes use white paper. White space doesn’t need to be white, it can be any color. What’s important about using negative space is that this ‘tool’ makes the page look balanced and easy-to-read. This is important for online catalogs as sitting in front of a computer screen is much more tiring than flicking through a printed brochure.

But, a huge benefit of going digital is that creating online additional pages doesn’t cost you extra. So you have no reason not to spread out your products and really harness the use of negative space. Even if you only have one picture and some text available, you can still create an incredibly attractive layout by using white space.

Use powerful product images

When it comes to online catalogs it’s critical to catch the user’s attention quickly. You can do this in different ways, but one of the best ways is to use images. As the shopper can’t pick up the product and see what it feels like, product images are key in selling online.

Powerful product photos should be your no. 1 priority if you want to retain visitors in your catalog or on your website. Especially since great product images can increase your eCommerce conversion rate by as much as 30%. Make sure your images are large, high-resolution and highlight the key features of the product.

High-quality pictures are not just relevant for physical products. When you sell a service, subscriptions or provide information to your audience, visuals are still very important, as we remember 80% of what we see. (And only 20% of what we read).

There are several ways to use images to market products. For instance, you can:

  • Show products from different angles and variants

  • Show products in a set

  • Show matching products

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Limit the number of products per page

You might get away with 20 products per page on your printed catalog. But not online. There are way too many distractions, so you need to keep the user focused and engaged. And, despite what you might think, pages overflowing with products will do exactly the opposite. Fewer products per page helps the user focus more. Without printing costs to consider there is no limit to spreading your products across additional pages!

Create compelling product descriptions

Now that you have more space in your catalog, take advantage of it by providing more value for your readers with product descriptions. Engaging product descriptions enhance corporate storytelling. They make you understand the meaning behind the product or brand and make you want to read more.

Next to the general product description, you can also showcase a size chart. When selling products where the correct size matters, such as clothing, shoes or bikes, it can make a huge difference to show what sizes to buy.

Enrich the catalog with product videos

You can’t ignore videos in your marketing efforts. Viewers are between 64-85% more likely to purchase from you when they’ve seen one of your product videos. So it’s a good idea to invest in videos. Make the videos personal by having someone showing and talking the potential customer through the product.

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Use well placed CTA’s

A well-placed call-to-action can make a huge effect on converting browsers into customers. They invoke a clear action for the readers and it gives them a logical next step. The colors and the contrast with the background can make a huge difference in making your readers aware of the option of buying and the way they can buy.

Luckily, this is quite easy to do. The first and most important thing you need to look for is the color contrast of the buttons with the background. Another thing you can do is make the buttons a bit bigger. But be careful not to irritate the customer if there are already too many products on the page.

Create links to your website

When making the leap from print to online catalogs, it’s also extremely important that you link the catalog to your website. One of the many perks of digital catalogs is that they are truly interactive publications and thereby improve the buyer’s journey.

One of the best ways to turn visitors into customers in your digital catalogs is by making it super easy to shop directly from the catalog. We are impatient online, and the more steps we have to take to buy, the less likely it is that we swing out our credit card.

Conclusion

Now it’s time for you to take the next step towards creating online catalogs. Use all the available tools to improve your digital catalogs and achieve your sales and marketing goals.

It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. Often even very small changes can help give your visitors that engaging experience that turns them into paying customers.

Start with the ones most relevant to your business. The experts at Linkeo Ltd. can always add on more features to make the digital experience in your catalog even more compelling and engaging.

There’s no doubting the importance of an Internet presence for retailers. Even if you have a brick-and-mortar site, having a virtual space allows you to keep selling even after-hours and generate high volumes of profit while avoiding massive inventory and capital costs. Nonetheless, the added competition from retailers around the world, all of whom only have to visit your website in order to scope out your prices, selection, quality and branding means that you need an effective marketing plan. In this article, we will look at steps you can implement to build your strategies.

1. Include Product Reviews

Consumers want to know what a product offers, but they also want to know that it lives up to the promise made in the product copy. You can talk up the product all you want, but the real measure of usefulness and quality comes from past buyers. Ask them to share their thoughts and opinions—even the bad ones—right on the product page. Studies have shown that reviews from past buyers will increase the chances of future sales of those products.

Encourage buyers to post their own reviews, and if this is a new feature on your site, consider offering rewards points or another incentive for sharing their opinions. However, don’t attempt to incentivize positive reviews—simply encourage them to share honest opinions.

2. Optimize Your Site

Although some online shoppers have favorite stores that they visit directly, most prefer to use search engines like Google to find specific products. With search engine optimization (SEO), you can help your pages rank higher in search results, and reach more of these shoppers as a result. If you’re not that tech-savvy, there are plenty of companies like Linkeo Ltd that can handle this side of things for you.

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3. Use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising

Depending on how competitive your industry is, it can be difficult to rank well organically for certain keywords—especially in the first few months of your strategy. However, you can use PPC platforms like Google AdWords to place advertisements beside or above the results for specific keywords.

Placing ads for these keywords can be a great way to reach customers while you build your SEO strategy, and even after you rank organically. You can also use AdWords to advertise on other sites within Google’s Display network.

4. Focus on Benefits, Not Features

While describing what a product can do is important, most people want to know what that product can do FOR THEM. When describing your products, focus less on the features and more on the benefits. For instance, what makes your winter coat better than any other coat that is designed to keep you warm in winter. It could be that the fabric is easier to clean, or that it can be worn to formal and casual events. Whatever it is, make that benefit a selling point in your copy.

5. Enable Mobile Shopping

More and more everyday activities are getting done using mobile devices, including shopping. According to one study, 40 percent of online sales are now made on mobile devices. This means that if your site isn’t already responsive to mobile shopping, now’s the time to change that. Responsive design ensures that your site displays and functions properly on all browsers and screen sizes.

In addition to that, you may also choose to run mobile-specific ads on certain platforms. Facebook, in particular, offers the option to only show ads to mobile users, which can be helpful in directing them to apps and product pages.

Want to Increase Your Online Retail Store’s Revenue?

Whether you’re an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar store with an online component, Internet marketing can be extremely effective in generating sales and revenue. If you’re ready to start using SEO, PPC, social media, and other strategies to grow your business, we can help with our Deliver by Linkeo platform.

Our experienced team of Internet marketers can use all of the above strategies and more to help your business reach more customers. Contact us today to speak with an expert!

Since the start of the global pandemic over a year ago, grocery shoppers have taken a definite online turn and many still see the pandemic’s impact on store shelves, according to recent studies.

Forty-five percent of consumers report shopping online for groceries more now than before the pandemic, with around a third of those polled said they’re shopping less at grocery stores than pre-COVID. Of people making online grocery purchases, 46% indicated they use online delivery more now than before the crisis began, and 40% use online pickup more. Only 11% use delivery and 15% use pickup less than prior to the pandemic.

According to experts in the field, COVID-19 has significantly impacted consumer behavior and accelerated trends we were seeing prior to March 2020. While many believe we’re headed towards normalcy, it is highly likely that certain pandemic-related shopping habits — particularly consumers’ reliance on e-commerce — are here to stay.

What Does This Mean For Your Business?

When buying groceries online, 45% of shoppers said they receive their orders via home delivery. The same percentage use click-and-collect service, but more consumers opt for curbside pickup (28%) than in-store pickup (17%). Just 9% of online grocery purchasers pick up their orders from lockers. However, 20% belong to online subscription programs, which typically offer members free unlimited pickup and/or delivery based on transaction size and frequency, among other benefits.

Online memberships had a strong affinity with younger shoppers, with 40% saying they use these programs when purchasing groceries. Similarly, seniors led age groups in the use of home delivery (48%) and curbside pickup (32%). Two-thirds of those surveyed said they place online grocery orders via computer. Twenty-seven percent of respondents use smartphones when ordering groceries online. What this indicates is that shoppers have become accustomed to ordering groceries online or through subscription services, with contact-free pickup or delivery options. As we move into a new phase of the pandemic, these grocery shopping channels will remain significant, as will consumers’ increasing focus on product availability, low prices and promotions, whether they are shopping in-store or online.”

Surprisingly, grocery customers now exhibit more concern about key shopping elements — in-stock products, pricing and deals — than at the start of the year. Sixty-four percent of respondents in the July surveys said product availability will be most important in the post-pandemic period, compared with 60% in January. Likewise, 63% cited low prices as most important (52% in January) and 40% named availability of promotions and deals (33% in January).

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The roll-out of vaccines and grocers’ protection measures appear to have allayed much of shoppers’ COVID safety concerns. Now, just 27% of consumers rank safety as the most important post-pandemic, dropping from 42% in January. Customers also continue to exhibit a predilection for easier shopping methods, as 32% now rate convenience as most important versus 34% in January.

These findings underscore that out-of-stocks remain a big issue. Two-thirds of in-store grocery shoppers surveyed said they recurrently see out-of-stock products, with 14% encountering them often and 52% sometimes. Thirty-one percent reported rarely seeing out-of-stocks in stores. Among online customers, 51% continue to notice out-of-stocks, including 42% finding them sometimes and 9% encountering them frequently, compared with 39% saying they rarely see unavailable items.

Sizable percentages of consumers also perceive on-shelf shortfalls in a range of product categories, namely those that were in high demand early on the pandemic’s stockpiling phase. Thirty-four percent of shoppers said they now see fewer paper goods (e.g. paper towels, bathroom tissue) on shelves than pre-pandemic, while 28% say the same for laundry and cleaning products and 22% find this situation with fresh meat.

Other categories cited by customers as having reduced variety on shelves include canned goods (18%), frozen food (17%) and fresh produce (15%). At the same time, 10% of consumers named each of those three categories as have more on-shelf items, while 15% cited cleaning/laundry products and 14% paper goods as having increased variety.

The at-home status will remain an ongoing factor for grocery retailers and CPG marketers to consider as they gauge post-pandemic consumer behavior, Acosta’s research indicated. Overall, 48% of respondents worked from home during the pandemic, including 37% most or all of the time and 11% some of the time. And looking ahead, one in four shoppers expect to make this a permanent change. So to remain competitive in today’s retail market, it’s imperative that you have a robust online presence!

With the Deliver by Linkeo platform, your SME is guaranteed to have all the tools required to keep you competitive and thriving, easily adapting to the challenges of our current reality. Be sure to get in touch with the experts at Linkeo Ltd. today for more details.

Welcome back to our 2-part series on how to improve your promo code business strategy. In the previous section, we talked about what promo codes are and how they work. This article will cover 6 tips on how to maximize the potential of your promo codes. Used sensibly, promo codes are not only a way to acquire new customers but also a great way of showing gratitude to your existing customers.

1. Keep your Customers Guessing

Promo codes can be a great addition to cart abandonment emails and can play a key part in driving conversions. They essentially add an extra incentive to entice customers back to complete their purchase. To avoid falling into the trap whereby shoppers purposefully abandon their basket to receive a discount, promo code emails should be used over a short period of time. If promo codes are used sporadically, customers shouldn’t become accustomed to them and overall sales targets should not be too deeply affected.

2. Don’t Make It Obvious

Making promo boxes less prominent on the checkout page ensures visitors without a promo code are less likely to feel like they are ‘missing out’ on a discount that everyone else could be getting. Instead of using a loud and colourful ‘Promo Box’, a subtle expandable link with less visibility throughout the checkout experience works a treat. A subtler promo box allows visitors to flow through the customer checkout without having any second thoughts on leaving the site in search for a code.

Synonyms of promo code such as ‘gift cards’ and ‘vouchers’ are also a great way to make the promo code call to action more understated. With good strategic placement, shoppers with a promo code should easily be able to locate the slightly more hidden promo box without too much difficulty, while shoppers who don’t have a code won’t be unnecessarily alerted of the potential for a discount.

3. Use Customer Behaviour Metrics to Set Targets

To prevent promo codes eating into your revenue, only authorize promo codes when customers reach a specified spending target. It acts as a little encouragement for customers to reach a certain value to benefit from that awesome deal. Consequently, those customers adding more items to their basket, will also be adding to your average order value (AOV). It’s a win-win. It’s important to know your customers in terms of how much they are willing to spend before they are disheartened by an unachievable target to benefit from a discount.

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4. Promo Codes For Existing Customers

Loyal customers are gold. If you can retain just 5% more of your existing customers, you could potentially increase a company’s profitability by 75% more revenue. It’s no secret that shoppers love special access and one way to keep your loyal customers coming back is to give them the VIP treatment. From a marketing standpoint, this is simply segmentation. But creating exclusive promo codes made just for your most loyal customers will instill a sense of loyalty that is unique, making them feel like they are receiving a meaningful advantage. For best results offer loyalty promo codes for a limited time to create urgency.

5. Make It Fun

Another great way to keep customers loyal and coming back for more is to make things fun. Gamifying the loyalty experience helps companies keep at the front of shoppers minds. Giving shoppers a reward (i.e. promo code) once they have purchased so many times is a great little way of saying thank you. It can often be the little push they need to go ahead and make that purchase they’ve been contemplating.

6. Personalise Codes for Client Special Days

Birthday and anniversary emails are increasingly popular as brands become more savvy in using their data. With open rates and redemptions 2.5 times higher than average across all email campaigns, these events really are something worth celebrating. Birthday emails provide the perfect opportunity to create a highly targeted and personalized email to show your customers just how much you care. Most importantly it can actually be used to spur customers on to spend their spare birthday cash when you include a special promo code. Exclusive promo codes are the perfect way to wish your customers a happy birthday. To make sure your birthday emails have a high conversion rate, give customers a reasonable amount of time to redeem their offer.

Though it may seem small, little celebrations like these reinforce positive vibes with the customer while also driving customer loyalty.

For more tips on how to improve customer loyalty for your business, be sure to keep reading our articles. Alternatively, be sure to contact Linkeo Ltd directly, here.

Promo codes are a mixture of letters and numbers that make up a specific code. This code can be entered into an e-commerce website to gain discount on a product or service like free shipping. It’s a marketing strategy that gives customers another reason to make a purchase.

Promo codes have long been used as a way of driving conversions and increasing revenue, so much so they have become part of the furniture of the online customer journey. Rarely now does a visitor complete the checkout without seeing the promo code box, and many will respond by opening up a separate tab to search for that elusive combination of letters and numbers, in the hope it will magically unlock savings. This 2-part article will look at six clever ways to overcome them and make promo codes a weapon to add to your conversion arsenal.

How Do Promo Codes Work As A Marketing Tool?

There are plenty of ways to use promo codes to highlight your key offers. You can either do this on-site on core pages or you can place promo codes in your email marketing campaigns, these provide incentives for your customers to make a purchase. As mentioned, promo codes can be served up in different areas of your marketing funnel. For example, during your user journey you can display them in header and footer banners or even in the side panels. According to Linkeo Ltd internal data, we understand that over 20% of cart abandonment happen due to the price of an item, so by offering a discount price using a promo code, you can influence customers to return to your site by mitigating one of the main reasons for their abandonment in the first place.

Why Do Promo Codes Work?

Promo codes are essentially allowing the customer to get the item they want for a cheaper price thus improving their overall shopping experience. They work very well with both new and returning customers because they can be used in many different ways.

For example, public codes can be used for customer acquisition. This means including banners and overlays on-site to capture the users’ attention. Or use codes in basket abandonment emails, which may entice customers to complete their purchase if the reason for abandonment was price. The importance of customer service can also be felt when using promotional codes because they feel as though they are getting a better service.

In 2021 customers are more interested in personalized offers as opposed to blanket promotions available for everyone. This is a great tactic to promote customer loyalty and improve customer retention. This personalized approach allows businesses to leverage the data by offering offers and codes of value as opposed to generic offers, which may not apply. The results can increase email marketing open rates and CTR.

What Does the Future Hold for Promo Codes?

Over the past decade, promo codes have become a vital element of the customer journey.

For brands to get the most out of promo codes, they need them to be both profitable for them as well as being beneficial for their customers.

Based on customer’s behaviour and behavioural patterns, brands will be able to use promo codes to influence the right customer with the right discount at the right time within their individual customer journey. This way brands will be able to connect to customers at crucial touch points and display promo codes that are relevant to their previous actions, i.e. categories browsed, number of visits, basket value and much more etc.

By embracing a highly segmented promo code strategy, brands will be able to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, increase customer lifetime value and create a flowing customer journey.

With the right help from Linkeo Ltd, the days of cart abandonment when your customers hit the checkout page could be coming to an end. Check the second part of this article, where we cover 6 ways to maximise your promo code strategy.

It’s no real secret that working with online influencers to promote your brand can yield some great rewards. Finding influencers is becoming much easier to find thanks to marketplaces and search tools, but finding the RIGHT influencers is much more of a challenge. If you want your influencer marketing campaign to bring an impressive ROI, you need to recruit influencers with the creative skills and audience makeup that is the right fit for your brand.

We’ve teamed with the experts at Linkeo Ltd once more to bring you 7 simple steps you can take to ensure your influencers have what it takes to help drive your marketing goals.

Define Your Goals

No matter what marketing task you’re up to, goals always need to be the first step. Your goals will help you figure out what kind of influencer content you’ll need to create, which platforms you want your influencers to publish it on, and what kind of influencers are the best for your brand.

Say your goal is to make your influential consumers more loyal (a popular brand objective). In this case, finding the right influencers is easy. Engage in social listening and track your brand mentions across the web. Identify influential people who are already talking about your business or products, and then you can recruit these influencers to do so in an official capacity.

Pick Your Platform(s)

Valuable influencers exist on many platforms around the web – not just Instagram and YouTube. And many businesses are just starting to take advantage of these options. For example, several fairly large e-commerces and big businesses have recently started working with Snapchat influencers to help connect with the platform’s younger audience.

So before you start looking for influencers, you need to figure out which platforms your target audience engages on most. The platform you pick will depend on where you want to reach your audience and what kind of influencer content you want to create.

Say you want to make a 5-minute branded video with your influencer. You’ll want to consider all video platforms, and even think about a livestream video campaign. If you want a blogger to review your product, you might also consider having them write a blog post and share the post on their social media profiles.

Once you know what platforms you want your influencer content to appear on, you can narrow down your search for influencers immensely.

Micro or Macro?

Next you need to decide how “big” of an influencer you want to find. Say your brand sells natural skin care products. Do you want to team up with one of the biggest bloggers in the niche, or find a team of a few micro-influencers all with around 5,000 followers on Instagram?

Don’t underestimate the power of working with micro-influencers in this case. Micro-influencers tend to have a highly-engaged niche audience that values the influencer’s recommendations as a peer. If you work with micro-influencers, all you’ll need to do is build a team of them in order to scale your campaign.

 

Narrow down by Niche

Celebrity endorsements were a precursor to what we know as influencer marketing today. Get nearly any celebrity to say they like your products and you’re bound to see an increase in sales.

Let’s go back to the organic makeup brand example. They wouldn’t want to look for Instagram users who simply offer makeup tips to their audience. They need to find influencers who actually have a genuine interest in and use organic makeup products. The more relevant an influencer is to your brand’s niche, the more likely it is that their audience will respond to their recommendations. So unless a generalist has some other ability that makes them valuable to your influencer marketing campaign, look past them to find the best niche influencers for your brand.

Evaluate Engagement

Once you’ve found a few macro- or micro-influencers relevant to your business niche, take some time to look at how effective they are at engaging their audience. Take a scroll through their most recent posts:

  • Do they get a lot of likes/shares?

  • Do they get a lot of comments?

  • What is the sentiment of those comments?

  • Does the influencer encourage engagement by responding to comments?

  • If you’re working with a blogger or YouTuber, does their content get a lot of shares on other social sites?

If you’re using an influencer marketing platform to find leads, they may have some engagement metrics available to help you evaluate potential influencers. A good platform is one that uses engagement data sorted by platform to suggest how much brands should compensate an influencer for their services.

Brainstorm Content Together

Once you think you’ve found the right influencer to work with, ask them to work together to brainstorm and create content around your brand. Giving your influencers some creative freedom in this respect is a great way to evaluate whether they’re really a good fit to work with your brand. If an influencer can’t come up with a genuine positive comment about your product/brand, then they’re probably not a good person to work with in the first place.

Take A Few Influencers for a Test Run

If you followed steps 1-6, you’ve already gone a long way to ensure your influencers can effectively help promote your brand and meet your marketing goals. You should have enough confidence to put them through one last test — create and share your influencer content, and then monitor the results. Even if an influencer has an engaged audience, you won’t know how that audience will respond to your branded message specifically until you try it on them. Keep track of the performance of your individual influencers so you can evaluate which is the most effective at driving your marketing goals.

Do this repeatedly with each new influencer you find, and you’ll be able to build a team of powerful brand advocates to broaden reach, help you find new leads, drive sales, encourage retention, and more.

Remember these 7 steps when you conduct influencer research, and you’ll be well on your way to finding the best influencers for your brand’s needs. Are you already working with influencers? Share your views and experiences in the comments section below.

All E-commerce business owners know that for their brand to thrive they need sales. Crucially, they need sales from new customers, but those don’t always come easy. This leaves many trying to answer the essential question: “How do I generate potential E-commerce leads to my website?”

Creating a bullet-proof lead generation machine that fuels business growth by attracting high-value leads, or those consumers most likely to make purchases, comes down to building and executing an E-commerce strategy.

What Is Lead Generation in E-commerce?

A lead is simply a person who’s interested in your brand, products, or services and takes an action to demonstrate that interest. This could involve anything from clicking on your ad campaign to signing up for a free trial. Each lead is a potential customer. Every action a lead takes provides valuable data. You can use this data to convert a lead into a paying customer and inform your overall lead generation strategy.

Who Is Your Ideal Lead?

Having a deep understanding of your ideal lead is the first step in streamlining your marketing efforts and bringing more qualified leads. You may have a general idea about your target customers’ characteristics, behaviors and motivations, but you must develop buyer personas based on data, not assumptions. Start creating a buyer persona using qualitative data from your site analytics, industry reports, and competitor research. Combine this with quantitative research from customer interviews and online discussions around your brand and products.

Having a clear picture of your ideal lead helps you improve the targeting of your marketing campaigns, create more impactful blog content and provide irresistible offers or promotions. You might even discover that you should tweak your product inventory or services to better serve your customers’ needs. After all, if you sell each customer three items instead of one, you’re well on your way to skyrocketing profits without any additional lead gen expenses.

Now, let’s get into how you generate more traffic. Keep in mind that more traffic in and of itself doesn’t equal leads. The goal is to make sure your ideal leads fill your traffic.

Optimize for Search Engines (SEO)

Industry reports state that 75% of users never scroll beyond the first page of search results. Clinching one of those coveted ten spots is the holy grail. E-commerce brands have many digital assets. Optimize those assets with keywords and phrases and you increase your chances of landing on page one. A well-executed SEO strategy peppers search terms across product descriptions, blog content, and metadata, turning each one into a lead magnet.

Many businesses skip out on optimizing their image alt-tags. This is a mistake. Google found that 50% of online shoppers rely on images when deciding what to buy. Now that search results prioritize images, taking the extra time to optimize every product image can pay off with leads that are ready to buy.

Write Valuable Content

Content generates strong leads by piquing a user’s interest. The more content you have, the more likely it is that a consumer will encounter it. The general consensus is that 70% of people prefer to learn about a product from an article over an ad. A recent marketing survey also found that brands using content marketing have six times higher conversion rates than brands that don’t produce content.

Build Your Social Media Followers

According to several reports, there are almost 4.2 billion social media users, and they spend an average of 2 hours and 25 minutes per day on social platforms. This makes social media a goldmine for E-commerce lead generation. Put your efforts towards a few select channels where your buyers spend most of their time.

Use Email Marketing

Email marketing is a relatively inexpensive E-commerce lead-generation technique that delivers an ROI of up to 4400%, or $44 for every $1 spent on a campaign. Consumers have become more protective of their email addresses over the past few years, so they may need some encouragement to hand them over. Entice them with a discount sent straight to their inboxes. You’ll see leads convert to customers and sales roll in.

Optimize Conversion Rates (CRO)

If you’re bringing traffic to your site, but leads aren’t converting to sales, it’s time to revisit your analytics and determine the causes leading to customer drop-offs. You can optimize every element of your site. Once you identify an area for improvement, optimize it. Some changes can be cut and dry, while others need to be tested. Don’t make changes solely based on assumptions. Continue to test one element at a time and check your data before making final decisions.

Take Advantage of Cookies

Cookies collect and store information from a visitor’s session, including the items they clicked on or added to their cart, even if they didn’t check out. Use this cookie data to retarget past visitors and show them personalized ads featuring the products they viewed. You can launch your remarketing campaigns on social media channels or other sites using Google AdWords. To comply with all international laws, include a cookie policy on your website.

Offer Discounts and Deals

You spent time and money bringing E-commerce leads to your site. The fastest way to convert leads into paying customers is to tempt them with deals or discounts. The incentive to buy needn’t be enormous; it can be as simple as 15% off or free shipping. You can also use discounts to increase your average order value with an offer such as, Get $15 off a purchase of $75 or more. It sounds counter-intuitive, but consumers will add extra items to their cart to take advantage of the deal, often exceeding the minimum purchase required.

Optimize for Mobile

A sure-fire way to increase lead generation for E-commerce sites is to provide users with a stellar mobile experience. Optimizing for mobile requires you to test your site on devices of all sizes. Ensure that buttons, menus, search bars, and forms are easy to use, content is the right size, and scrolling is a cinch. There are certain site building and hosting companies, like Linkeo Ltd and their Deliver by Linkeo platform, that build sites that are optimized for all devices as standard.

It’s a challenge to establish brands in the E-commerce industry as it’s a crowded market. To succeed, first you must have a deep understanding of who your ideal customer is. Then implement lead-generation strategies to fill your traffic with high-quality, targeted users. We hope the tips outlined in this article go some way to helping you achieve that goal. Share your views in the comments section below and be sure to check back for new content in the coming weeks.

As an e-commerce, it’s almost a given that the bulk of your clients will be making payments online. Ensuring you have a working knowledge of how the payment process works is therefore vital. In this article, we will therefore be looking at a few key topics, namely: how the online payment process works, which parties need to be involved, and how much it will cost to take online payments.

The Basics

In essence, online payments work in much the same way as face-to-face payments, with a few added steps. There are a minimum of six parties involved with all online payments. The first is obviously your customer, and the second is yourself.

The ‘middlemen’, as it were, include: A payment ‘gateway’, which is a piece of software that sits behind your online shop. The gateway handles the online transaction, and then securely sends your customer’s payment information to your payment processing company who, as the name implies, handles all payment processing on your behalf. In most cases this will be your bank, although there are numerous third-party that also offer this service. You will also need to deal with the payment network which the customer’s card is linked to, e.g. Visa or PayPal. This network acts as the go-between for the customer’s and your bank.

Let’s now look at a typical online payment journey:

  1. The customer enters their payment information (e.g. debit card or PayPal details) into an online checkout form, so they can pay for something.

  2. The payment gateway securely sends that data to the payment processing company.

  3. The payment processing company then sends that data to the card scheme.

  4. The card scheme checks with the customer’s bank to see if they have enough money to make the purchase, and that the card isn’t blocked.

  5. If the payment is accepted, the money is taken from the customer’s bank account and held by the merchant’s payment processing company.

  6. The payment gateway confirms the sale to both the customer and the merchant.

  7. At the end of each trading day, the payment processing company sends the money from all the merchant’s sales to their bank account.

  8. The money normally arrives in the merchant’s bank account within 2-3 working days.

  9. The payment processing company’s fees for each sale are added to the merchant statement and are billed at the end of the month. The merchant usually pays these fees by Direct Debit.

This last part leads us quite nicely to our next point:

What Charges are Involved in Online Payment Systems?

On top of costs for setting up your website (e.g. web development, web hosting, shopping cart software and plugins), you’ll also have fees for taking payments online. The cost of taking payments online depends on several factors, including: the volume of transactions, the kinds of transactions you’ll be processing, gateway fees, and the fees your payment processing company charges. The fees and considerations generally come under the following categories:

Contract length and type: The length and type of your contract can vary. Make sure you factor in both costs as well as contract length when you’re choosing a gateway supplier.

Set-up fees: Usually a flat, one-time fee to cover the costs of setting up a new merchant account.

Gateway fees: Usually a fixed, monthly fee; plus a per-transaction fee, which might be fixed or variable. These come from your gateway provider.

Transaction fees: Also known as ‘Merchant Service Charges’, these come from your payment processing company. Each time you take a payment, you get charged a small percentage of the payment’s value. These charges can vary depending on the type of transaction (e.g. debit cards generally cost less to process than credit cards) and the volumes of transactions (higher volumes can get you cheaper rates). Transaction fees normally cover the ‘interchange fee’ that an acquirer pays for using the payment scheme’s network. You’ll also be charged a transaction fee for each refund.

Other fees: May include fees for things like: disputed cardholder transactions (also known as a chargeback), security fees, or early cancellation fees and solution modules (such as extra fraud checkers)

We hope the information in this article has proven useful in helping you understand the basics of online payment processing and what it means for your business. Here at Linkeo Ltd, we can assist you with setting up robust and easy-to-navigate payment portals as part of our web-building and hosting services. Feel free to get in touch if you have any further queries. And if you have anything you’d like to share, feel free to leave us a comment below.

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