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How To Start Selling On Amazon

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |Selling on Amazon|How To Start Selling On AmazonAmazon is the biggest retail company in the world. It’s no wonder that Jeff Bezos is the richest man alive when you consider how many people use Amazon. It offers all sorts of products and a convenient way for people to purchase goods in seconds.

Consequently, if you can sell things on Amazon, you tap into a massive market. Millions of people use this website every single day, so you could find loads of eager customers. Plus, you don’t have to worry about marketing as Amazon’s power already leads people to the website!

How do you get started? Selling things on Amazon is easy as soon as you have everything set up and ready for action. Here are the three critical steps to help you set your business up:

Create your Amazon Seller account

To start, you have to set up an account on Amazon that lets you sell products. You can do this by going to the Amazon Services page and clicking on the ‘ Start Selling’ button. From here, it’s a case of going through the different menus and filling in all the information. For a more detailed guide, you can check out the video here:

Get your supply chain sorted

Obviously, you have to think about how you will get your products to the customer. Ideally, you have a warehouse or garage that stores all of the products ready to be sent out. But how do you get the products to your premises? Basically, you need to find a shipping partner that can forward the products from their initial location to you. Generally, your best Amazon freight forwarder will have access to countries that provide cheap goods. Therefore, you can buy them for a low price, get them shipped to you, and sell for a profit. It’s business 101, and this is how most people make a profit as an Amazon seller.

Choose your products wisely

You can sell just about anything on Amazon, but be smart with your choices. If you sell a product that loads of other people/businesses are selling, it will be hard to gain a profit. Customers will choose whichever listing has the best reviews, the lowest price, and the quickest delivery! Instead, try to pick products that are quite rare on Amazon. This will be hard, but it’s not impossible. Food and clothing items are two great product categories to look into. It’s much easier to find products that are unique to Amazon in these domains. It doesn’t have to be 100% unique; you just need to pick things that aren’t too common.

These three steps will set you up with a plan to sell products on Amazon. The benefits of choosing this platform over, say, eBay is that it offers more profit potential. Amazon charges relatively low fees but provides a massive audience to tap into. You also don’t have to worry about things like building trust with customers or marketing your brand. The fact you sell on Amazon will make people trust you right away.

Comparing 10 Shopify Alternatives: What Are Their Main Strengths and Weaknesses?

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Shopify Alternatives|Comparing 10 Shopify Alternatives: What Are Their Main Strengths and Weaknesses?Shopify is the most popular e-commerce platform used for setting up and selling products through online stores. The Shopify Point-of-Sale (POS) software is also used for in-person sales. Shopify has been around for ten years and has been very successful.

There are many benefits to using Shopify, including ease of use, flexible designs, and solid support staff. However, there are also some issues, like increased transaction fees and higher charges for increased functionality.

Shopify is not the only e-commerce platform available. These ten alternatives are worth a look that might be more suitable for your online shop needs.

1. Volusion

Volusion is a cloud-based, e-commerce platform currently supporting over 200,000 small businesses and sole proprietors. Volusion charges no transaction fees and has a simplified, one-page checkout interface. Check out Sharp Commerce for additional details.

Strengths of Volusion include ease of use, extensive template library, no extra transaction fees, free themes, a decent mobile app, and numerous payment processors. Volusion has some drawbacks, though, such as limited features, monthly bandwidth limits, and the need for users to possess coding skills.

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2. Big Commerce

BigCommerce has been powering online stores for over eleven years and is very popular. It is flexible and easy-to-use, drag-and-drop-editor provides a user-friendly experience. BigCommerce can track inventory across Amazon, eBay, Facebook, and Pinterest so you never double-sell an item.

BigCommerce’s strengths include compatibility with most business models, outstanding theme designs, numerous features, no additional transaction fees, and a decent mobile app.

But, as with all of the e-commerce platforms, BigCommerce has its weaknesses as well. There are only seven free themes, and it can be a little slow at times. Also, if you exceed your limit of sales, BigCommerce will automatically upgrade your plan to a higher tier, resulting in a substantially higher monthly cost.

3. WooCommerce

WooCommerce is ideal for use with WordPress sites. It is free, open-source, and well thought of by users. There are advanced functions that can be purchased, but the basic platform can hold its own with the other, more-expensive tools.

Advantages to WooCommerce include no additional transaction fees, availability of free plans, and it’s easy to set up and use. It is great to use for all types of physical or digital sales.

WooCommerce has some drawbacks as well. It has no hosting feature, tends to be slow, and may require technical skills.

4. LemonStand

Another great and easily customizable ecommerce platform is LemonStand. It is particularly fitting for medium or large businesses as it offers customizable monthly subscriptions based on the number of orders.

The strengths of LemonStand are no additional transaction fees and that it can accept recurring orders from customers. The biggest weakness is that coding skills, or a web developer, are required. It is also somewhat limited in available templates and third-party apps.

5. 3dcart

3dcart is hosted in the cloud and offers features such as coupons, subscriptions, and Facebook sync. The cost is variable, depending on which features are required.

The positive aspects of 3dcart are support for multiple payment modes, fast load time and store speed, no additional transaction fee, and a multitude of features. But, for updated themes or strong service and support, 3dcart is not the best choice.

6. BigCartel

BigCartel is a good fit for small businesses or soles proprietors. Although the features are limited, it is reasonably priced and offers unlimited bandwidth and inventory tracking.

Other advantages of BigCartel are no extra transaction fee, it works well with PayPay, it’s easy to use and, if you sell five products or fewer, it is free.

Due to its limitations, BigCartel is not a useful tool for large companies. It also does not provide support or an inventory search feature.

7. Magento

Magento is a free, open-source e-commerce platform that is well-suited for medium to large-sized businesses or a smaller business with substantial growth potential. Although it does require coding skills or a staff web developer, Magento offers a vast number of features, flexibility, and adaptability.

Other positives about Magento include no monthly service charges, inventory management, multiple payment mode support, and advanced functionality. The only negative other than the need for a coder is that it does not provide hosting.

8. Wix

Wix is one of the premier, free ecommerce website builders that can also include a simple online store. Although limited in functionality and features, this tool is perfect for a beginner with minimal web development skills. Once the website is up and running, it is possible to migrate over to a more robust e-commerce platform, such as BigCommerce or Magento. Or, switch to Wix Editor and take advantage of the advanced features.

The biggest strength of Wix is that anyone can use it to create a nice website and a functional store. It also has over one hundred templates, works with many payment modes, and the price is right. Its weaknesses include limited bandwidth, traffic options, and apps.

9. Squarespace

Squarespace is another website builder that does not require much technical ability and offers an e-commerce option. Squarespace can compete with the higher-priced platforms in its advanced features and functionality. Other advantages of Squarespace include no additional transaction fees and a wide array of inspiring designs.

The disadvantages of Squarespace include limited compatibility, with only PayPal and Stripe included, and although Squarespace does not charge a transaction fee, both PayPal and Stripe do. Also, there is limited support and add-ons.

10. Prestashop

Prestashop is considered a free e-commerce platform. However, it is not attached to website development tools such as Wix and Squarespace so there will be costs for a domain and web hosting. Prestashop offers limited themes and templates but it will do fine for a start-up shop with limited funds.

The strengths of Prestashop include its cost (free), no additional transaction fees, and that it supports international sales in 25 languages and many currencies. The weaknesses are that it does require some technical skill and, as we said, it has limited themes, templates, and features.

Shopify is an excellent platform for e-commerce, but it just might not be the right fit for your business. If one of these other alternatives calls out to you, give it a try. Your e-commerce store will be up and running in no time.

Why Are Analytics Important for eCommerce?

StrategyDriven Organisational Performance Measures Article |why are analytics important |Why Are Analytics Important for eCommerce?It’s easier than ever to start an eCommerce store. Just sign up for a hosting account, and your store will be ready in a few minutes. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy to get customers.

You’re competing with at least 12 million other online stores on the internet. The good news is you can make use of website analytics to make better choices for your business.

The question is, why are analytics important for eCommerce websites? Keep reading to learn the answer to your question.

Uncover Your Traffic Sources

It isn’t too difficult to figure out where you’re getting traffic from if you only run advertising on one platform. It’s much more difficult if you’re getting search engine and social media traffic.

Analytics software will show you exactly where your traffic comes from. You’ll be able to gauge which websites are showing the best results from your efforts, so you know where to focus your energy.

Group Audience Segments

Not all customer demographics will respond to your products in the same way. People of different ages, sexes, and geographical locations will react differently to your content. Your tracking software can help you figure out which demographics take what action.

This data will help you optimize your website and advertising campaigns. When you create messaging specifically for different demographics, you can speak more to what they want in a product.

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Split-Test Pages

You should never be satisfied with your website design. There’s always a test you can do to improve your conversion rate. Unfortunately, this is hard to do without any kind of tracking software.

A heatmap is a tracking script that informs you of what actions your visitors take on individual pages. You can see where they look and where they hover their mouse. Use this information to test small changes to your website to figure out which versions produce the best results.

Track Ad Campaigns

It isn’t enough to get click-throughs on your ads. If you have no method to track what visitors do on your website, you won’t be able to figure out what marketing campaigns are successful.

ECommerce analytics software provides you the ability to set up goal pages. Set a dollar amount for these pages, and you’ll be able to figure out how much money your ad campaigns generate while your campaigns are live.

Learn What Visitors Search For

Your search bar isn’t only there to give your visitors an easy way to find items. It’s also there to help you understand the type of products your visitors are searching for.

Using a tool like Knowi will help you gain insight into the search trends on your website. You’ll be able to see reports detailing search terms and use them to figure out what popular items are and what trends are happening in your industry.

Why Are Analytics Important? Now You Know

Now that you can answer the question, “why are analytics important to online stores?” you’re ready to get started. Sign up for an analytics software package today so you can start tracking the people on your website. The more information you have, the better business decisions you’re going to make.

Do you want more tips for running an eCommerce store? Read our latest articles to discover our newest tips.

The Ten Golden Rules of a Successful eCommerce Store

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |eCommerce Store|The Ten Golden Rules of a Successful eCommerce StoreThese days, starting up your own eCommerce store is as simple as clicking a couple of buttons. With the right services, you could essentially build a working website in as little as a few hours, complete with all of your custom-made products and a fantastic website theme. Unfortunately, the ease of making an eCommerce website has created a swarm of subpar stores that are clogging the market, creating an endless sea of competition.

In that sea, there aren’t many eCommerce stores that can actually survive. Unfortunately, the small investment needed to actually create a store means that people aren’t afraid to try and fail over and over again until they hit the jackpot with a lucky idea. So to help you establish a successful eCommerce store without the trial and error, we’ve put together what we believe are the 10 golden rules of a successful eCommerce store. These tips will help you stand out, build your brand and ultimately stand out in a huge sea of competition.

1. Have your own website and email domain

Do not, under any circumstances, use some kind of subdomain for your business such as www.webhost.com/yourbusiness. This is incredibly unprofessional and will scare off all of your potential customers. Furthermore, don’t use an email service like Gmail or Yahoo. Make sure you have your own email domain as well. Both of these tips will make you seem a lot more professional and will greatly improve your chances of success as an eCommerce store.

2. Market on multiple channels and platforms

Make sure you’re not sticking to a single channel or platform when it comes to growing your business and advertising your brand. You should be on many different channels, social media platforms and advertising services to help you spread out and reach a wider audience. To give you a hand, here are some eCommerce marketing tips that you should absolutely follow. As long as you remember to advertise on multiple platforms, you’ll have an incredibly easy time getting your name out there.

3. Hire a web developer

We know that templates can look really pretty and will have loads of customization options. Unfortunately, a template is a template and most shoppers will realize that you’re using some kind of default theme that took almost no effort to make. This doesn’t reflect well on your brand as a whole, hence why it’s vital that you hire a web developer to help you make a good website for your brand. This can be costly, but it’s also a fantastic investment in your brand.

4. Support different payment methods

If your website doesn’t support PayPal then you’re going to lose a lot of business. If you don’t accept cryptocurrency then that’s another chunk of customers gone. Accepting cards should be the absolute minimum nowadays. Make sure you look at the most popular eCommerce payment methods and ensure that you support them on your website.

5. Specialize before you diversify

One of the problems that a lot of amateur eCommerce stores face is over-diversification. They try to add too many products to their website because they’re using a simple dropshipping plug-in, and they try to appeal to too many different people at once. The goal is to minimize the number of products you offer and specialize your brand before you try to spread out and diversify.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article |eCommerce Store|The Ten Golden Rules of a Successful eCommerce Store6. Create genuinely helpful content

A lot of eCommerce sites tend to hire general copywriters and will request some incredibly simple articles that have very little relevance to their brand. This is usually a fairly poor way of approaching eCommerce marketing because the content doesn’t provide value to your users. Instead, what you want to aim for is evergreen content that will continue to provide your customers with something helpful to read. This could be a knowledge base of information for your products or even some explanations on how to use the items you’re selling.

7. Make your services work on mobile

Luckily, most modern web hosts and design services will include a mobile-friendly version of your site, meaning you don’t have to do much to support mobile users. However, what you can do to help is optimize images for faster loading, creating larger buttons and links for mobile users to press and potentially having a mobile app for your brand or store. This will open up your business to a huge audience of mobile-only users.

8. Communicate with your audience

It’s absolutely vital that you’re always communicating with your audience. Whether it’s on social media, on your website or even in reviews on a Google Business listing, you should always be happy to speak with your audience, receive their feedback and also discuss what your audience enjoys about your product. This is all valuable information that can be used to grow your project into a successful eCommerce store.

9. Don’t underestimate the power of influencers

Influencer marketing is starting to become one of the best ways for a small brand to spread its wings. It involves contacting influential people on social media platforms and working together with them to promote your brand to their viewers. Some influencers have a couple of thousand followers, while others will have over a million. It’s your job to find out which influencer could best represent or showcase your brand.

10. Maintain a blog on your website

Blogs are fantastic for improving your brand’s search engine optimization and it can also be a place to provide your customers with useful content and informative articles. It’s a great way to improve your brand’s trustworthiness and will provide a lot of value to your customers.

We hope that these ten golden rules have given you a different perspective on how you should run an eCommerce store. We know that creating a website to sell goods is incredibly easy nowadays, which means that you’re undoubtedly going to get a lot of competition. However, setting yourself apart from these no-effort stores is simply as long as you’re willing to invest some time into it.

Marketing Trends You Should Keep an Eye on in 2020

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Marketing Trends|Marketing Trends You Should Keep an Eye on in 2020Marketing is one of the most dynamic fields in the world, and one that changes every day. New technologies are constantly allowing us to reach audiences in new ways. It also allows you to gauge and understand the impact of campaigns, and make adjustments on the fly.

Techniques like email marketing, content marketing, and search have been around for years now, but we are still seeing some innovation in how they are implemented. Let’s take a look at some of the marketing trends that will dominate 2020 and beyond.

Shoppable Post

Chances are there isn’t a single person in your entourage that is not using social media in some sort of way. It has reached virtually all classes and demographics, and has been used as a marketing tool pretty much since its inception. What is not as clear, however, is how many people actually do their shopping through social media platforms.

This represents a huge untapped potential, as 72% of all Instagram users have performed at least one transaction via the app. In one study, it was found that 70% of the Pinterest users surveyed used the platform to make purchasing decisions.

Platforms have been taking note, and are trying to make it as easy as possible for your audience to shop. This is why they’ve introduced shoppable posts that allow viewers to make purchases directly on posts. This allows you to shorten your sales funnel, and prevent leaks. These types of posts are expected to become the norm in the near future.

Augmented and Virtual Reality

While we were in an experimental stage with AR and VR, we are now starting to realize their potential and moving to concrete applications. Both technologies are becoming more common in marketing, and major retailers have already started using it as part of their strategy.

Ikea, for instance, has an augmented reality app that allows shoppers to visualize how a certain piece of furniture will look in a desired space. This could revolutionize the world of online retail, and change the way people shop forever.

Facebook is also betting on AR, and announced last year that it will make AR ads available to advertisers site-wide. According to Facebook’s VP of product marketing, Ty Amhad-Taylor, the goal is to move audiences from product discovery to purchases faster. “Shoppers are now expecting a visually inspired and personalized experience wherever they shop,” he said. “And this is either on their mobile devices and in stores.”

AR allows advertisers to bring both experiences closer together, and allows marketers to drive sales as well. These ads look like any regular Facebook ads, with the exception of the “tap to try” button. Shoppers will then be able to “try” the item in real time.

A More Demanding Job Marketplace

Marketing in 2020 requires students to have a more well-rounded set of skills than ever. While a solid marketing formation is a prerequisite, here are some of the skills that will be expected of marketing professionals:

  • Brand storytelling
  • Social media management
  • Data analytics
  • Serving progressive customers
  • Soft interpersonal skills

According to this piece by Emerson College Online, the marketers of tomorrow will still need to have solid interpersonal skills like listening and communication, even with all the recent advances in technology. Emerson College also puts a lot of importance on progressive audiences, and according to them, marketers who understand how to speak to an increasingly progressive and diverse audience will have a leg up on the competition.

Brand storytelling that is inclusive of all experiences will be needed, and major brands are already pushing towards more diversity in their campaigns.

But one area where marketers of tomorrow will need to be especially proficient in is data analytics. Companies don’t only need to compile data, but they must be able to actually analyze it, and use it to generate results. Data can be used to check if a marketing campaign was successful, and spot trends. Online marketing has the advantage of being easily quantifiable, and knowing how to use data can make a big difference on outcomes, money spent, and return on investment.

Interactive Content

Today’s shoppers are looking for variety and new experiences when they go online, and one of the ways this can be done is through interactive content.

As a matter of fact, a recent Content Preferences Survey found that 91% of responders are looking for more interactive and visual content. Here are some of the reasons interactive content is so powerful:

  • Interactive content is new and different, which allows it to stand out
  • It allows you to keep visitors on your pages
  • It’s immensely shareable
  • It can help build brand awareness
  • It is more engaging

For all of these reasons, we can expect more brands to use interactive content in the future. We can also expect to see more tools and techniques that will make the production and implementation of virtual content easier.

Personalization

Personalization falls in line with interactive content, but focuses on providing highly relevant ads to customers. Shoppers have now become experts at phasing out adverts that have nothing to do with them or their interests, and this is one of the reasons why traditional advertising is losing some of its power. The only solution is to personalize ads as much as possible to build a connection.

In a study that was performed on 1000 people, 90% of them said that they viewed personalization as a positive. But more importantly, 80% of them said that they would be likely to buy if a company was able to offer a personalized experience.

What’s beautiful is that modern marketing methods, such as email marketing for instance, lend themselves very well to personalization. The rise of customer relationship management tools only makes it more powerful.

Lists can be precisely segmented and laser targeted to specific audience based on their prior purchase decisions, interactions, or the stage in the sales funnel. Used in conjunction with a cost-effective mass advertising tool such as email marketing, it allows businesses big and small to have the kind of reach that was only possible for major companies not too long ago.

Smart Bidding

People who are familiar with online marketing tend to also be familiar with automation. But new changes by Google are set to make automation and smart bidding the norm. Google Ads are now using machine learning to optimize your bids. This will allow you to:

  • Have more control over conversion action
  • Allow you to adjust bids automatically when sales stop or start
  • Optimize bids across multiple channels based on specific conversion actions
  • Maximize conversion
  • Avoid having to set a max CPC manually for each keyword

Old Methods Still Going Strong

While new online marketing methods are becoming increasingly popular, that doesn’t mean that old methods are becoming obsolete. Many of the tried and true techniques will still be going strong in 2020. Let’s look at some examples.

Content Marketing

Content will continue to be king in 2020, and continues to be one of the most effective ways to build a brand. Few methods allow you to establish your expertise and authority like quality content does. Content will also continue to drive search results, and play a central role in SEO efforts.

Video Marketing

Another method that isn’t going anywhere is video content. While interactive content will be getting a lot of attention, there is still a large need for traditional video content as well. Video content is not only being used to target customers, but is now being used as a recruitment tool as well.

Marketers who know how to use live video to their advantage will have a serious edge over their competitors. As a matter of fact, it was found that live videos on Instagram Live and Facebook Live were able to retain audiences at 3 times the rate of traditional videos. The average watch time on Facebook live content has quadrupled over the last year as well. People also interact with these videos a lot more. It was estimated that these videos produced 6 times as many interactions as regular videos.

SERP Position Zero

SEO is still going strong, but now, the objective is different. While the goal for many is still to get on the first page, many are trying to go a step beyond and get snippet mentions. These snippets offer additional information related to search queries, and feature a link to the page from which the information was pulled.
Local search will also continue to play an increasingly important role for businesses in 2020. This also means that business will do everything in their power to get more local mentions, and also work on improving their brand’s image with the public. This means more emphasis on reputation management, and concrete steps to improve their customers’ experience, which is great news for shoppers everywhere.

These are only some of the trends you should watch for in the world of marketing in 2020. Make sure that you’re always on top of the most recent changes, and find ways to incorporate them in your marketing strategy.