With a small shop just keeping track of inventory and stocking your web store can take up 90% of all the time you have available- considering taxonomy for your web store might sound like another task for the ‘to-do later’ list. However, managing and reviewing your web store taxonomy can help you develop content, optimize for SEO, develop a merchandising plan, and create natural cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.
So what is taxonomy? Taxonomy is a technical term that refers to classification of item or items. In a general web site this would be considered grouping content for your site map; for eCommerce it means identifying natural and store-specific groupings of products into categories.
- Sports Shoes
- Dress Shoes
- Casual Shoes
These categories would be further divided into sub-categories depending on your knowledge of your audience. One version could be:
- Dress Shoes
- Women’s Dress Shoes
- Men’s Dress Shoes
- Children’s Dress Shoes
Or maybe your web store only caters to women and you’d create your sub-categories like this:
- Dress Shoes
Or perhaps you want to start by materials – leather, suede, fabric; or by season – summer, fall, winter, spring. It all depends on your knowledge of your customers’ shopping preferences, which you can identify by previous sales data, search terms from your analytics software, or even surveying your shoppers.
Web store specific groupings of products might be taxonomies that you create to support a specific sale or customer group – such as “Summer Sandals”, “On Trend Basics”, or “Most Popular Styles for Wide Feet”. These are collections you’ll curate manually based on your product knowledge or actual sales data and customer buying patterns that you can pull from your web store platform.
Once you’ve created a logical taxonomy based on customer information you can begin to work optimize your category pages for organic SEO by identifying the top keyword terms for that group that should appear on the page. Use your keyword research to guide how you name the page, how you structure your url, and the content you’ll create for the page including copy, imagery and video.
As you create your categories and populate them with the appropriate products you will start to see the patterns of natural gaps or overstock in certain categories. Let this inform your merchandising plan – look for new products to fill out seasonal categories or popular categories and scale back on those that aren’t selling well, or move some items to a clearance section. If you struggle with managing cross-sells and up-sells, your organized taxonomy will make selecting the appropriate base products a snap. Until you have time to review your sales data to determine common sales patterns, you can use the product groups in your categories to fill in the blanks.
Have questions about the best php web store to make your own? Contact us, we’re happy to help.
Small online store owners are continually faced with the challenge of finding and developing new marketing tools for their products and services. Unfortunately, many fall into the trap of trying this idea or that idea, not having sufficient time to use these tools to full effect. One popular tool that falls into this category is social media. A lot of businesses try it, but fail to achieve the desired result.
While it’s great to have a Facebook fan page or a Twitter feed, or both; just having them is not enough. Like other inbound marketing tools, they require fresh content. The reason is simple. People who use social media do so to stay up to date on the lives and times of those they follow. That’s true whether they’re following friends and family, or some business’s fan page.
If you’ve gotten someone to “like” your Facebook fan page, or follow you on Twitter, that’s an important first step. But that alone won’t do you any good. Without frequent, fresh, and relevant content, you won’t show up on their Facebook News Feed or Twitter Timeline. And, if they don’t regularly see you, you be absent from their consciousness.
So a logical question is; how do you provide frequent, fresh, and relevant content when you already have more to do than there’s time for? The answer is leverage.
One of the nicest things about social media is you don’t have to provide original content, unlike blogs and theme-based content websites. To provide content on your social media pages, you can simply leverage content that already exists.
When you see an interesting article that relates in any way to your business, or the products and services you sell, you can post a link to that article on your social media pages. You can write a brief comment along with the link. Using mobile technology, this can easily be done in a matter of a minute or two.
Another way to leverage social media content is to simply “share” or “re-tweet” items that others have posted on your news feed or timeline, if it’s relevant to your business, products, or services.
Finally, if you do publish your own blog or theme-based website, you can leverage that content by copying a brief quote from your newest post or article, and pasting it into your social media with a link to the entire article.
Posting content on your social media pages on a regular basis keeps you and your business in front of existing and prospective customers continually. The fact that you can do so with minimal time and effort by leveraging existing content should place social media at or near the top of your “must do” list.
For expert help with your e-commerce business, contact us online, or call 800-506-0398.
At midnight on December 12th, pop star Beyoncé posted a video on Instagram that featured a few pics of herself and the cover of her new album. The caption simply read, “Surprise!” Immediately following that, she posted her new album and its corresponding music videos on iTunes. Within 24 hours, her album sold 430,000 at $16 a pop.
As if the industry experts haven’t been saying it enough, Beyoncé had to sing it beautifully from the roof tops.
Social media is now a marketing priority.
In addition, this is not just because social media is trendy, or because social media sites run their own sleek marketing promotions either. The reason social media is so powerful is because social media is what the people want. In an interview for NPR, Jason King, a professor and musician at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music said:
“This is very much in line with what’s happening right now in marketing, which is this idea of marketing without marketing, or anti-marketing, where you appear to be just delivering your product directly to the consumer without any mediation…This seems like a direct gift from the celebrity to the consumer.”
Social Media works because people are important. Social media acknowledges the public before the star. What do your neighbors think? What did she wear to the party? Where will you celebrate Christmas? Was the book any good? It’s not just about one person. It’s about everybody.
Because of this, social media can be a powerful marketing tool if you use it right. The best way to use social media properly is to build your ecommerce site using shopping cart software that gives you the tools to build a community around your brand; integrating all the different social media sites.
This is because, social media allows you to:
- Tell your company story
- Be a real person, or a company of real people
- Take a grassroots, almost campaign-like approach to meeting new customers online, and
- Really listen to and get to know your customers
All of these things are crucial when you want to attract the type of customers that care about your brand and can’t see living without it in their lives. In fact, building a community around a brand is something that most wildly successful corporations naturally do, (like Harley Davidson, and Apple, for example). Heck, even Beyoncé goes on that list now.
To learn more about how to build and promote your own social media friendly store, contact us.
The ideal eCommerce marketing channel involves being found when your customers are searching for your product. This is the ‘inbound way’ – no interruption, just showcasing that you have what they’re looking for. Proven true over the years, pay per click (PPC) marketing holds a substantial advantage over other channels such as search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing. It can support company goals like generating revenue or profit, and keyword bidding can be fine-tuned to bring more qualified prospects to your site.
Advantages of PPC Over SEO
SEO is a start for generating web traffic, but it is not as commerce-friendly or as effective as a PPC campaign. It’s difficult to get editorial links to product pages and outrank retail giants such as Amazon, eBay, Overstock, and Walmart. In contrast, Google has a vested interest in the success of your PPC campaign, and has thus created a multitude of tools that exceed the current functionality of SEO. In fact you can’t even see what specific organic keywords send traffic to your site anymore, due to the ‘Not Provided’ update.
Googles’ AdWords platform allows you to determine high-traffic keywords, the level of competition, and how well those keywords convert. Optimistically, a PPC campaign can be used to hone your SEO strategy, trailblazing the way with what keywords you should target.
The Social Media Paradox
Social media marketing can be a powerful tool in its own rite, as it targets likely prospects based upon their browsing activity. However, although social media marketing can target users potentially interested in your product, it can still be considered interruption advertising, as it is interspersed in users’ news feeds.
Ask yourself this: When you’re scrolling through your Facebook news feed and an ad interferes, how likely are you to be interested in the product? Even if it’s a product you may buy in the future, you’re likely to simply ignore this interruption and go on about your business.
In contrast, paid search marketing draws in prospects actively seeking out your products and ready to make a purchase, rather than future consumers who are really more interested in Facebook-stalking their exes than buying your product when they encounter your ad.
PPC: Pinpointing Your Target Audience
PPC confers many advantages over traditional “interruption” marketing such as pop-ups or mass marketing emails, as it targets interested prospects only. You can tailor your ads, landing pages, and nurturing campaigns based on various customer profiles. The more specific you understand your customers and their needs, the more precise you can be with a solution.
PPC Done Right
If you’re looking to give PPC a try, you’re on the right track. However, PPC is only as effective as you make it. It’s all about the outcome. You could start tracking conversions by applying code to ‘thank-you’ or ‘check-out’ pages, but with so many different products, a ‘conversion’ does not have a set value for you. You need to take it a step further by tracking the revenue each keyword brings via value tracking with Google analytics.
Set aside a budget, identify your target keywords, and start testing. Find out why so many online retailers choose to invest in paid search. In the next article of this series, we’ll explain why targeting profit instead of revenue brings the greatest ROI.
Brad Hintze leads marketing at Finch.com, PPC for eCommerce, and has extensive experience with demand generation for startups and online retailers.
You probably already know that Pinterest can be an excellent way to promote your brand, but may feel as though you do not have time to navigate it properly. The good news is that you can do Pinterest in 5 minutes a day or less, leaving you plenty of time to take care of all your other marketing tasks.
In order to streamline your efforts, you’ll need to have a pretty good idea as to what you would like to accomplish. Are you wanting to grow your followers or increase the number of repins you have? Having a clear focus will allow to you concentrate on achieving your goals rather than wasting time once you log into the site.
After logging into Pinterest, take one or two minutes to respond to any comments you may have received. If you have a significant number of comments, limit them to two or three at a time in order to avoid having your account flagged.
Once you have addressed your comments, take another minute or so to repin and like some interesting pins. You can also schedule your pins to be posted at times when they are more likely to be repinned by others. The best hours for repinning are between 2 pm and 4 pm and 8 pm and 1 am.
Share your pins on other social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. This should take you only another minute or so, after which time you will be done!
It may take you a little longer than five minutes to manage your Pinterest account at first. In time, you’ll find you can easily take care of managing this site in five minutes or less each day, and will also see your efforts become more productive as well. For more marketing tips for small business owners, contact us.
Electronic-mail (E-mail) marketing is one of the key elements of an online marketing program. E-mails create an instantaneous method of delivering content to both prospects and regular customers at the same time.
Responses to marketing e-mails can also be instantaneously tracked and responded to; this provides the business owner with information that can be used to refine further the marketing program for future use.
Email marketing has opened the door to many companies specialized in optimizing email market campaigns.
The following outlines 5 Email Marketing Tools You Can Use to energize your marketing campaign:
This company provides you with the tools to create an e-mail marketing campaign whether you know have no web-design experience or you have your own experienced design team.
2. Benchmark Email
This e-mail marketing service allows the creation of newsletters, surveys, event information and even coupons, quickly. Even include your company logo, specific color schemes and videos and/or still pictures.
3. Constant Contact
This service, itself, is highly marketed through traditional and internet sources. Constant Contact combines your e-mail campaign as well as social media into one place, making efforts easier to publish to multiple platforms at once. The addition of videos, blogs, images and surveys allows for quick and easy feedback from your customers.
This service contains many tracking features that allow your company to track the results and effectiveness of your e-mail marketing campaigns. The use of auto-responders, split testing and triggers assist you in presenting customers with messages that specifically match their needs and interests.
This service allows customization to e-mail contact lists. You can add custom fields to assist marketing and sales members quickly find ready customers as well as exclude people from receiving certain messages that do not specifically target them.
To find out more about email marketing tools, contact us.
No two businesses are exactly alike. When the time comes to select the right eCommerce software, your business needs to choose one that allows for easy management of your business activity.
While there are several options of eCommerce solutions for companies to choose from. Business owners need to choose the system that compliments the needs of your business. A few best practice for choosing the right solution for your company are discussed below.
Tip #1: Ensure That The E-Commerce Solution Is Compatible With Your Existing Resources
Getting a website set up for e-commerce is a large enough job all on its own, without needing to make big changes to your existing systems. Make sure the product you select is completely compatible with the operating system, web server software and existing hardware that you already have. Several operating systems are supported by most commerce servers. The most common ones are Windows NT and UNIX. However, some older products are only available for UNIX.
Tip #2: Make Sure the Product Will Allow You To Import Your Existing Data
You will need to be able to transfer any existing product databases you may have into the Web store’s database quickly and easily. Several different methods for importing data usually come with high end packages. However, entry-level packages are frequently lacking this feature, which means all data must be entered manually.
Tip #3: Ensure The Web Store Will Be Able To Accept A Wide Range of Different Payment Methods
Most payments made at Web stores are credit card transactions. However, you need to be able to accept as many different payment methods as possible to maximize sales. Make sure the solution you choose supports a broad range of traditional and electronic payment methods.
Tip #4: Make Sure Detailed Reporting Is Included
This is a feature that entry-level packages often lack. However, it is vital to have detailed reports on customer activities inside your store. The reports will help you fine-tune your sales process and store so that you can maximize your sales.
Tip 5- Ensure The Product Offers Remote Administration
Once you have your store set up, it is important that you be able to easily administer it. Some e-commerce solutions provide you with the ability to do this using any web browser. Other features are incorporated into the product, like the ability to click on a product to change pricing and other properties.
To find out more about choosing the right eCommerce solution, contact us.
5 Tips To Keep in Mind When Looking To Improve Search Engine Optimization
One hears a lot of conflicting things about SEO, so you may not be sure what to believe. Is it just about using the same keywords over and over? Or is it about keeping up with changing search engine algorithms? Here is a short SEO guide for graphic designers to keep in mind when working on websites and other online content:
- Trends. SEO or search engine optimization has a lot to do with knowing what’s trending at the moment. Many people on the internet are looking for information one certain topics. For some reason, the Kardashian family is always trending. However, new movies, books and other topics of interest may also be trending. So if you’re working on pages which incorporate new trends, you could keep in mind that this would be a good way of boosting your SEO.
- Keywords. A lot has been said about the importance of keywords in SEO and some of it should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s never a good idea to stuff an article with the same keywords repeated every so often. At the same time, it doesn’t hurt to repeat a keyword 3-4 times in a 500 word article. This will give your SEO a little boost but given that search engines have wised up to overstuffing, it won’t be the only thing that boosts the number of hits your website gets.
- Diversifying. Another technique you could use to boost your ratings is using different keywords relating to the same thing. For example, if you’re writing about Twilight, “twilight” itself would be a keyword that has been used a lot on in the internet (although it may no longer be trending). However, “vampire,” “werewolf,” “Robert Pattinson” and “Kristen Stewart” are also popular keywords that can be incorporated into the article to boost its ratings.
- Photos and Videos. As a graphic designer, you probably know that the use of photos and videos can greatly increase the number of hits you get on your website or article. But also specifying in the title of your page that it contains photos and videos can help bring readers to you. For example, here is a possible article title: “Keira Knightly Weds Boyfriend James Righton in South of France [PHOTOS, VIDEO]”
- Quality Writing. Of course, keywords, photos and videos are all important but overall, the best way to make sure that you get readers is to use good quality writing with no mistakes. Additionally, the writing should also be meaty and not keep repeating the same points over and over. People also tend to prefer writing that imparts information to writing that’s overly salesy.
So if you’re a graphic designer, you’ll be working with a copywriter to make sure that the websites or pages you design have good SEO. Make sure you look out for the above things and you’ll definitely see a boost in the number of hits your website receives. Contact us for more information on search engine optimization.
We are extremely excited to be offering you the new release of our software. It is packed with new features that save you time and make you money! Can you really ask for anything more?
Below is a list of the features and improvements that fall into one of the categories above.
Saving you time!
Integration with Stamps.com
Fully integrated into the admin area of the store, our integration with Stamps.com allows merchants to purchase postage, print shipping labels and schedule a carrier pick-up right from the your computer. Many of you are still making the trip to the carrier every day to process shipping and drop off packages. I’m guessing this feature alone will save many of you up to an hour a day!
Integration with Paypal’s Bill Me Later
Much different than the standard payment processing options PayPal offers, Bill Me Later is a financing tool that can be responsible for up to a 20% increase in online sales. You can offer 6 months no interest, no payment financing on purchases. Our integration manages the ordering process and gives you the ability to promote the service on your site so your customers know about it as a payment option before they begin the checkout process.
Saving you time, money and a bottle of Advil!
Integration with Avalara & Exactor
If you’re cheap and don’t mind the headaches of managing taxes for our fine government, this isn’t for you. For the other 99% of small businesses this is an amazing integration with the two best players in the tax space. Both companies offer end-to-end solutions on everything taxrelated. It also includes VAT tax for international shipping. No more worrying about the taking care of the ever-changing and growing tax rates.
Please send us the leftover Advil once you have signed up with one of these amazing companies.
For more information about our new release, check it out – Pinnacle Cart Summer Release Notes
Please provide the following information and we will have one of our eCommerce Specialists call you.