Getting to know your customers

getting-to-Know-Your-CustomersWe love adding new stuff to Spiffy Stores, and we’re pleased to announce that we’ve just finished putting the final polish on a brand new feature.

When you manage your online store, there’s obviously lots to think about in terms of products, inventory, prices and shipping. But until now, there’s been an important part missing from this equation – your customers!

As ever, we’re anxious to make sure we’re providing you with the very best tools and support to help you run your ecommerce venture successfully and to make lots of money, so we’ve done something about this. From today, you’ll see a new tab in your Spiffy Stores Toolbox, right next to your ‘orders’, called ‘customers’.

Click on this and you’ll be taken to an overview list of all your customers and you’ll see options to sort and filter your customer list, so that you can easily see who’s ordered what, how much they’ve spent and where they are located. Add to this our fantastic new custom search filters that let you create and save your own searches, and you’ll soon see these as an indispensable part of your marketing armoury.

There’s much more detail about this new feature in our Knowledge Base at https://www.spiffystores.com.au/kb/Information_about_your_customers  so we recommend you have a quick look at the documentation to see how this can help you better understand your customers.

But wait, there’s more! This is just phase 1 in our rollout of our new customer-related features. Be on the lookout for some exciting new additions to your Spiffy Store in the coming months.

5 common mistakes online store owners make

5-mistakes-online-store-owners-makeThere’s a lot to learn about running your own ecommerce website and making money online. Make sure you’re not making some of these common mistakes!

Lack of quality customer service

Customer service is excellent ‘free’ marketing. Whether it’s a friendly voice, a helpful email or extra unexpected value, a great customer service experience can encourage visitors to buy from you above others. It can also promote your business when customers who have been impressed tell others how good it was!

If your business has a presence on social media like facebook and twitter, you are highly likely to get queries and complaints through those accounts. Respond quickly and appropriately, taking the conversation out of the public domain and on to email or the phone if you can.

Substandard product descriptions and images

This subject is key to selling online so I’ve already devoted posts to writing better product descriptions and taking quality product photos. You’re unlikely to sell much if your store visitors can’t see your products properly or are unimpressed with your lack-luster description. Take the time to make sure they don’t need to look elsewhere for inspiration.

Trying to compete only on price

Undercutting the competition through cost alone is a dubious tactic. You devalue your product and sooner or later, you are likely to be undercut too and the only way to go is down. Bang go your profits. It’s more effective to find your unique selling proposition and add value to your products or service. You’re more inclined to attract loyal customers too.

Not having a blog

A blog is another great selling tool that has become an important factor in search engine ranking recently. Yes, it can be hard to keep it up, but it’s worth the effort! It will help drive traffic to your online store, build trust in your brand and give your business a human voice. Use the blog built into every Spiffy Store, and create your own blog.

Lack of shipping information

This is a real turn off for a prospective customer. If I’m ready to buy right now, I don’t want to be hunting around, trying to figure out how much it will cost to get my purchase to me. Dedicate a page to your shipping policy, and link to it from your shopping cart page.  Use the built-in shipping calculators, as they will let people know how long they will need to wait to receive their goods. In your Spiffy Store, set up the shipping and handling section thoroughly.

Cover off these basics and you will be on your way to giving your customers a better experience in no time!

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E-commerce secrets: What are you really selling?

what-are-you-really-selling-blogWhat are you selling through your online store? Stationery? Clothing? Art?

Think again. In your customers’ eyes, you’re providing a solution to fill a need, and to feed an emotion.

You’re not selling sweaters, you’re providing warmth and comfort, style, and protection from the cold.

You’re not selling quality wallpaper, you’re bringing beauty to a boring wall, allowing someone to express themselves and helping them create a home.

The key to creating compelling and engaging copy is to understand the problems your product solves and to tap into the emotional connections to it.

When you develop your brand and write content for your online store, don’t think in terms of selling goods. Think about solutions to problems, that’s what you’re really selling.

Want to learn more? My next post is all about nailing those fiddly product descriptions.

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How to write a press release

newspaper-dress

Have you just set up an online store? Or do you have some great news about your business that just begs for a wider audience? Then how about sending out a press release!

Press releases were originally written for journalists, to get them to write about your news in the popular press. But since the advent of easy online PR distribution channels, the humble press release now has a wider audience and can drive traffic to your retail website.

It’s not difficult to write a press release, but they do have a specific layout, tone and written content, so here’s how to
go about it…

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A guide to email marketing for online stores

guide-to-email-marketing-for-online-storesRunning a successful e-commerce business requires more than fresh web traffic and a groovy online store. You need to start a relationship with your web visitors and customers so they will come back again!

Used properly, email marketing is a key tool in your marketing arsenal. Use it to keep connected to your audience and drive sales by occasionally sending them interesting information and special offers. Be mindful of the SPAM Act before you start though, and read about the requirements here.

There are five important elements to good email marketing:

  1. A permission-based email list
  2. Relevant and valuable content
  3. A professional email marketing service
  4. A well constructed HTML email
  5. A specific landing page

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Tips for online retailers: How to optimise your store for search engines (part one)

Like most people setting up an online store, you probably know you should be optimising for search engines to get more qualified traffic. The trouble is, you may not know where or how to start.

Never fear! we’ve put together this two-part blog post to get you up to speed in no time.

Let’s kick off with a quick refresher on why Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is so important.

SEO is not paid search marketing such as Google AdWords. We will look at that in a separate post. SEO is a bunch of techniques that you can apply to your web presence to help you get into Google search results without paying for advertising. It’s commonly called ‘organic’ search.

Search engines send out ‘robots’ to find your web content and index it so they can refer to it quickly during search queries. Once your content is indexed, the search engine can then list it in the organic search results for the relevant search query. The whole process is very complex and highly automated – it relies 100% on the information the robots can find.

Therefore the ‘trick’ to good SEO is for your content to be easy for the robots to find and highly relevant to the keywords your target audience will use to search.

Luckily for you, your Spiffy Store is already brilliantly formatted and coded to be search engine friendly, but you will still need to use your keywords in the right places, create interesting content, embrace social media and build links to your site to improve your search engine ranking.

We’ve broken four basic SEO principles down into manageable techniques that you can do yourself. In this post we will cover using keywords correctly and creating quality content. Using all four elements will make a real difference to your search engine rankings, pushing your pages further up the results listing towards that coveted first page position.

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Minimize Shipping Costs with the Spiffy Stores Advanced Packing Algorithm

“How do I save money by minimizing my shipping costs?”

That’s a question we hear all too often as our store owners stuggle with the problems of shipping their goods to customers.

Setting your shipping costs is one of the most important aspects to running an online ecommerce business. If you charge too little, then you may lose money on each order and if you charge too much, you may lose sales as customers go elsewhere.

Other Shopping Cart Software Fails to Deliver

As incredible as it sounds, the popular ecommerce software packages available today are of little help, with most offering no more than simple flat-rate shipping schemes. If you find a service offering real-time carrier calculated shipping rates, such as from Australia Post or New Zealand Post, then the chances are that if your customers order more than 20kg of items, they’re out of luck as that’s the maximum weight that you can send using these services.

This means that you could lose customers or risk going out of business because you’re not making enough profit. What’s worse is that you may be losing valuable orders where your customer wants to purchase a large number of items and your shopping cart software says: “Sorry! I don’t know how to handle that many items. It’s all too complicated for me. Please take your business elsewhere.”

Large shipping companies pay $100,000s for software to help them optimize their parcel packing because it saves them money. It’s expensive because it’s a very complicated problem and requires a lot of advanced mathematics to solve.

Spiffy Stores Advanced Packing Algorithm Software Solution

At Spiffy Stores, we’ve solved the packing problem and we’ve added our advanced parcel packing algorithm to all stores at no extra cost. Every Spiffy Stores plan includes real-time carrier calculated shipping rates, and all orders are processed by our advanced packing software.  This means that the cost of shipping every package is minimized, and that means you save money!

Our Advanced Packing Algorithm software is unique to Spiffy Stores and you won’t find it anywhere else. Our range of shipping options is unmatched by any other vendor, and every one of our shipping features is freely available to every store on every plan. Other providers charge extra for basic carrier shipping apps, plugins and add-ons that we provide for free!

There’s simply no competition. Have a look at what the others offer and you’ll see the advantage in choosing to build your business with Spiffy Stores.

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Google’s “Trusted Stores” E-Commerce Certification Program

Google recently announced a new e-commerce certification program called “Trusted Stores”, where stores that go through an approval process with Google will be allowed to add a “Google Trusted Store” badge to their online store.

Google intends for the trusted store badge to give consumers a boost of confidence when shopping online, and it comes with a $1,000 guarantee to cover the purchase… which should really help to increase sales in your online store when the program is up and running.

The way it works is when a visitor to your online store hovers their mouse over the trusted stores badge, a live “report card” type tooltip will pop up. Easy to understand grades like A+, A, B and C are awarded for quality of service features like customer service and fast or reliable shipping.

Right now it’s just a pilot program with a limited number of retailers, but all Spiffy Stores owners can apply to participate by filling out this form. There’s no guarantee that Google will accept your application… as it’s currently only in Beta, and you’ll need a great history of reliable shipping and great customer service for them to even consider your application.

Learn more by watching Google’s overview video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube.