Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Big Companies Use Neuromarketing to Influence Buyers. Can You?

Post image for Big Companies Use Neuromarketing to Influence Buyers. Can You?

As a website owner (and digital marketer), could you apply the principles of neuromarketing to your online efforts? Do you know what neuromarketing is? Do you know how to apply the principles of neuromarketing to your website design and how to create landing pages that will generate more conversions? Learn the answers to those questions by reading the excellent articles that I found for you in this week’s #FridayFinds.

What Is Neuromarketing?

Are you trying to sell products or services on your website? If you are, have you ever heard of neuromarketing principles? Before I link to a great article on how to apply neuromarketing to your website, let’s take a look at what it is:
  • Neuromarketing is a field of marketing that uses medical technologies such as fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and EEGs (electroencephalography) to study the brain’s responses to marketing stimuli.
  • By studying our brain’s responses to advertising and branding, marketers can adjust their messages to elicit better responses to their marketing efforts.
  • Neuromarketing is not cheap. According to Marketing-Schools.org, “an fMRI machine can cost as much as $5 million (and twice that to set up). Additionally, a single ad sample group of 20 people can cost in excess of $10,000″.
  • Remember the Pepsi Challenge? In 2004, neuroscientist Read Montague asked the question: “If people truly prefer Pepsi over Coke, why isn’t Pepsi dominating the market?” After publishing his findings, neuromarketing emerged.

How Does Neuromarketing Work?

While I always strive to include current blog posts in this series, I strongly believe that some articles are “evergreen” and stand the test of time. So, (for those of you interested in learning more about neuromarketing), I recommend reading Neurofocus Uses Neuromarketing to Hack Your Brain which is based on an article that was first  published in 2011 in FastCompany magazine.

In his article, Adam L. Penenberg introduces us to A.K. Padeep, the founder and CEO of NeuroFocus, a science based consumer research company. This is an interesting read because it starts out explaining how this company collected data (from paid participants who wore portable wireless scanners) to analyze their subconscious responses to commercials, products, brands and messages.
NeuroFocus collects the data, records it and analyzes billions of data points. While focus groups and surveys measure the conscious mind, neuroscience measures the subconscious mind. (One of the problems with focus groups is that participants can by influenced by the person conducting the research.)
Some of the companies that use neuromarketing include: Pepsico, Intel, CBS, California Olive Ranch, ESPN and eBay .

Neuromarketing Efforts of Big Companies
Image Credit: Illustration by Superexpresso on FastCompany.com

How Can You Apply Behavioral Psychology to Your Website Design?

The article that intrigued me this week (and the one that motivated me to research neuromarketing) is 6 Neuromarketing Principles For Designing More Persuasive Websites by Tim Ash on MarketingLand.com. This quick read shares six techniques that you can apply to your website to create pages that will persuade your visitors to buy right away.
As usual, I am not going to go into a lot of detail but instead I’ll leave you with these bullet points from Tim’s article and encourage you to read it for yourself. The screenshots that Tim includes illustrate how neuromarketing principles (based on using psychological behavior) are used by companies to create website pages that result in higher user engagement.
      1. Leverage scarcity to persuade visitors to buy now
      2. Use decoys to steer visitors to a specific product
      3. Anchor” visitors to justify a purchase
      4. Make your website visitors feel “indebted
      5. Offer items that you expect to be “rejected
      6. Employ the “hurt & rescue” technique.

Can NeuroScience Be Used to Increase Your Conversion Rates?

Are you unhappy with your conversion rates on your website? As I was researching this article, I searched to see what has been written lately on this topic and I came across Nick Kolenda’s guest post The Neuroscience of Conversion Optimization on NeuroScienceMarketing.com.
Nick’s post is written for digital marketers. In it, he shares three principles from neuroscience but he also cautions his readers that . . .
Sometimes principles—no matter how much they’re backed by credible scientific research—will produce odd results. It’s a matter of life. When you read these principles, you should follow the advice of conversion expert, Chris Goward, and, “You Should Test That!‘”
The three principles that Nick discusses (along with examples of companies where this has worked) are:
      1. Processing Fluency (processing information easily evokes positive feelings)
      2. Congruent Attitudes (actions can cause you to develop attitudes)
      3. Social Attitudes (being influenced by people who are similar to us)
Again, this is an article that you should read for yourself. Along with a deeper explanation of what each principle is, Nick also provides examples of companies that have implemented them successfully as well as examples of companies that haven’t. Additionally, Nick explains how we can apply these three principles to our websites
Note: You won’t want to miss Nick’s summary where he bullet points his own article. Personally, I’ve bookmarked this article to keep in mind when I redesign my site.

Over To You:

What are your thoughts? Were you familiar with neuromarketing prior to reading this article? Do you think that you can implement some of the tactics that Tim Ash illustrated to create website pages that will convert your website visitors to buyers? Please share your thoughts and ideas with us. As I always say, we can all learn from each other.


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Increasing Web Traffic – The How To’s

Everyone who runs a website has the same thought going through their minds at some point every day – how do I generate more traffic to my site?? Especially when it comes to a small business with a tight SEO/marketing budget!

There are a few options that cost money – ie SEO, PPC and banner ads – however there are a few ways to generate traffic without spending any extra money. Let’s review those options! After all, why spend money when you don’t have to?
1 – Social Media
This is without a doubt the easiest way to generate traffic for free. By posting links to your site – with a great landing page of course! – those who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer, will be able to click right over directly to that page. Not only that, but you will be able to reach people who may be interested, but just didn’t know it yet! Along with posting links to your site on social media networks, you need to install a widget on your site that allows readers to quickly and easily share the page to their own social media networks. All it takes is one person sharing your page and your traffic will increase exponentially!

2 – Search Engine Optimization
By optimizing the sources of traffic you already have, you will be able to organically raise your ranking through search engines as well. By using keywords, negative keywords, and keyword rich content, you will be able to increase your traffic by simply keeping your content coming!

3 – Create Great Content
Along with SEO traffic increasing, it is necessary that your website/posts/pages are full of relevant, interesting information that a user will want to read in the first place! The truth is, when it comes to increasing traffic, you will only be able to increase traffic if people are searching for what you have to say. Your site must serve a purpose, solve a problem for a user, and fulfill some sort of objective that your users are searching for. By creating great – relevant, entertaining, interesting, and helpful – content, your readers will continue to come back to your site because they know it is full of reliable information.

By using the three tips we discussed above, your site will be able to not only generate more traffic, but it will be valuable traffic, and not just traffic that in essence becomes nothing but white noise. Keep in mind that increasing traffic is a slow process, and one that takes a lot of time and effort on your part. Be willing to put in that time, and you will be rewarded greatly! Also, keep in mind that large amounts of traffic mean nothing if they aren’t qualified readers – quality readers are sometimes much more valuable than just the quantity of readers. By following the three steps listed above, you will be able to increase both quality and quantity visits – and that’s what we are all looking for!


Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Single Or Multi-Page Checkout: Which One Is Right For Your Online Store?

Customer checkout—that last hurdle before the conversion is yours. You wouldn’t think it’d be such a sizable one.
A huge percentage of your shoppers may bounce before they finish the sale. They’ve already spent a lot of time browsing your site and choosing their purchase. What gives?


You’re not alone. The Baymard Institute recently looked at 19 cart abandonment studies over the last seven years, finding a 67.35% average documented online shopping cart abandonment rate. The most recent studies included are surprisingly high compared to those from past years. (In 2012 for instance, Rejoiner calculated an 80.3% abandonment rate. Yikes!)
“Price” and “shipping cost” are reasons shoppers may leave, but they’re typically factors out of your control. Your checkout page is the place to start cutting your cart abandonment rate.
Online merchants have two options for checkout: single- and multi-page. The difference between the two, however, is not so cut and dry. Which option works best for your business depends on a variety of factors. How do these two strategies compare?

Single-Page Checkout Strengths

It took some time for the eCommerce world to develop the single-page checkout. Since then, it’s become a mainstay tactic for plenty of online stores.
Single-page checkout includes billing and shipping forms on the same page. The strategy typically relies on AJAX to ensure fields are filled out correctly, notifying shoppers of mistakes on the fly.
It’s hard to deny the impact it’s had on many stores’ conversion rates. In fact, A/B testing has proven the efficacy of single-page checkout.
Of course, that proof is situational. In some cases, single-page checkout doesn’t fit the bill. In the cases it does, the store tends to favor three key advantages.

1. Speed

There’s no question that single-page checkout is quicker than multi-page. With single-page, your shopper doesn’t have to wait for a next page to load.
A quick and painless checkout process means less time for the shopper to get distracted or change his mind.

2. Interactivity

Because AJAX responds in real-time, fields are more interactive. They respond to the shopper’s activities, creating a more interactive checkout experience.

3. Navigation

Using single-page checkout simplifies navigation for the shopper by:
  • Organizing everything in one place
  • Showing a clear top-to-bottom path along the page
  • Giving the shopper fewer reasons to hit the back button
Simpler navigation encourages a user-friendly experience.

Multi-Page Checkout Strengths

Don’t exclude multi-page checkout from your strategy just yet. True, it can be less user-friendly in certain situations. But eCommerce software suites include multi-page functionality for a reason.
Multi-page checkouts should be as simple as you can make them. But sometimes more complex online business requires a more complex process.
You may want to use multi-page checkout if you value these three advantages more than those of single-page checkout.

1. Complex Orders

More complex orders may be easier for shoppers to place through multi-page checkout. Complex orders might include:
  • Gift orders with multiple shipping addresses
  • Bulk orders of multiple products
  • Special orders that may require special shipping or other extras

2. Customer Segmentation

Wholesale stores (or consumer stores with the option to buy wholesale) may need certain types of customer information before they can offer discounted pricing for bulk or special purchases. Shoppers may need to fill out a personal profile before they proceed.

3. Third-Party Processing

Multiple pages may be necessary when you’re working with partners for the checkout process. Third-party situations may include:
  • Using PayPal or another payment processor
  • Paying using an electronic layaway service
  • Including partner offers in the checkout process

Find Your Fit

Remember, there’s no single approach for creating the right checkout process. It depends on your business goals and your audience. Take these into account when choosing whether to go with single- or multi-page checkout.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Seven inspirational email marketing case studies from The Digitals

the digitals logo
One of the best ways of improving your digital marketing skills is to try and learn from the best.
That’s why awards season is always a fruitful time at Econsultancy, as we receive loads of entries detailing inspirational case studies from a massive range of companies.
Applications for The Digitals 2014 are currently rolling in, and to give you inspiration for your own entry I’ve rounded up some of the best email marketing case studies we received in 2013.

And to find out more anout how you can get involved, read my post on 10 tips for writing a stand out awards entry for The Digitals...


Marketing automation has been one of the most important digital trends of recent years, and this Digitals entry from LV= shows just how effective it can be.
The insurance brand set out to achieve the following objectives:
  • Improve ROI from email marketing.
  • Increase the number of new customers purchasing insurance online.
  • Improve branding and build customer rapport through email communication.
  • Support the LV= brand philosophy of caring for its customers.
To achieve these goals users were targeted based on the type of insurance they were interested in purchasing and their stage in the purchase journey.
Marketing automation software enabled LV= to create emails with dynamic content targeted to specific users.
For example, emails were sent 24 hours after the user abandoned the buying journey, then if a user did not return to the site and complete their purchase within three days a follow-up email (‘retrieve your quote’) was sent.

After purchase a ‘thank you’ email was dispatched that was also used as an effective cross-sell by dynamically generating other relevant insurance offers.
The results were very impressive. For all initial abandonment triggers (abandoned quote, unsaved quote, saved quote, abandoned purchase) across the three products (car, home, travel) the following results were achieved:
  • Average monthly open rate: 51.1% 
  • Average monthly clickthrough rate: 41.83% 
  • Average conversion rate direct from email: 10.77% 
  • Average monthly total customer conversion:18.82%
Overall LV= made £198.40 for every £1 that it spent on the new email strategy.

Sony PlayStation

In the run up to Christmas 2012 Sony created an email campaign to cross and up-sell the PlayStation Vita to existing PlayStation Plus and Inside PlayStation Vita subscribers, and PS3 owners who belong to the PlayStation Network.
Email content was tailored to different customer segments and geographies. So for example, it focused on the additional space PlayStation Plus subscribers would gain to use with downloadable content, whereas with PS3 users it focused on the cross-play features of the PS Vita and PS3.
The local teams also negotiated deals with retailers for offer redemption.
So in the DACH region consumers were provided with an online Amazon voucher code, while in the rest of Europe and the Gulf states they received email vouchers for use in-store.
Each audience group received the offer by email once in the month before Christmas.
Email targeted at PS3 owners who subscribe to PlayStation Network (UK)

Overall the campaign touched an audience of 4.2m in 16 distinct markets.
Of the 1.1m people who opened or clicked the email, 9,236 subsequently connected a Vita console.
Given a relatively low investment of €5,000 the campaign achieved an ROI of 580x for each euro spent.

Argos’ abandoned basket emails

Argos worked with Planning-inc to implement new basket abandonment emails that retargeted customers with personalised messages.
The aim was to increase sales conversions and drive incremental value by contacting the maximum number of users.
As customers aren’t required to register before purchase, Argos used previous browsing data and email engagement to identify people. This same information was then used to tailor the email messages with up to six alternative products the customer might be interested in.
Rather than recommending popular items within the same category, recommendations are based on customers exhibiting similar behaviour as well as acknowledging price point, colour/material choices and demographic information to ensure the recommendations are truly relevant for the customer.

Click to enlarge

The campaign achieved high conversion and revenue figures, and delivered an impressive ROI.


Another example of a brand achieving impressive results from a basket abandonment campaign, this time from travel clothing company Craghoppers.
The retailer used Redeye’s dynamic tagging system to identify the details of items that shoppers had added to their basket before abandoning the purchase.
Two emails were then sent to customers 24 hours and three days after abandonment.

The campaign used multiple different designs based on previous customer behaviour and interaction with the website and emails. The content was also adapted if the user revisited the website at any point to update their basket.
Overall the campaign achieved an ROI of 711% and successfully re-engaged 56% of registered users abandoning a purchase, with 30% clicking on the emails. From all the emails delivered 10% resulted in a sale.


Clothing retailer Monsoon used abandonment emails to combat the fact that around two-thirds of its customers abandon their shopping carts.
Some of the notable features included:
  1. Subject line optimisation with product name placeholders to improve email relevancy.
  2. Dynamic email creative based on the type of products abandoned, with different variations depending on Monsoon or Accessorize products being abandoned.
  3. Animated GIF banner used to demonstrate both brand identities when both Monsoon and Accessorize products are abandoned.
  4. Behavioural segmentation to ensure a second email is sent 48 hours later if customers haven’t yet returned to purchase online.
  5. Product recommendations displayed in the email using a data algorithm based on every transaction on the Monsoon site.
  6. Internationalisaton of the programme to develop the campaign in the UK and five other regions accounting for language and law variants.
Based on a three-month period, the campaign achieved the following results:
  • Email open rate: 55% 
  • Email click rate: 22% 
  • Conversion from click: 38% 
  • Revenue per email: £4.93 
  • Overall uplift in sales: +4.3%


Energy company RWE used email marketing to encourage customers to subscribe to a free online account, achieving an overall conversion rate of 11%.
In the initial planning phase it was considered that a high conversion rate could not be attained from just a single email, so the campaign consisted of four phases and seven mailings overall.
The phases were fragmented by split-test of the subject lines, main dispatch, first reminder and second reminder.

Example of the reminder email

Recipients not opening the main dispatch were to be sent up to two reminder mailings with varying subject lines, both of which offered an incentive.
Recipients clicking on the offer but not successfully registering were to be sent a special reminder email prompting them to complete the process.
Just over one in ten recipients (11%) registered for the RWE ‘Online Customer Account’, far surpassing the original target of 3%.

RS Components

RS Components found that a lack of relevant content was resulting in a 48% bounce rate from the email traffic that it achieved from sending around 3m messages per month.
To remedy this problem the company overhauled its email marketing in 2012 using different behavioural targeting techniques:
  • Segmenting its audience and tailoring content according to propensity to purchase. 
  • Increasing relevance by product or topic. 
  • Maximising volumes through automated campaign cycles.
In order to achieve its goals quickly and economically, RS Components needed to first improve its architecture, constructing and transmitting regular data update feeds from across the business to its email campaign delivery software.
Campaign automation was also essential, including a flexible process that is easily extendable to add in new triggers.
The most successful campaigns were the welcome emails:
  • Open rate: 47%
  • Click rate: 13%
And abandoned basket emails:
  • Open rate: 38%
  • Click rate: 19%.
The targets for these campaigns were 15% for the open rate and 3% for the click rate.


Friday, 19 September 2014

Should You Buy a New Top-Level Domain Name for Your Business?

If the .com website address of your choice isn’t available, a themed domain extension may seem like an attractive option — but is it worth building your online brand around it? Consider the following points.
cursor pointing at http www text in browser address bar
.Com Domains Still Dominate

There are more than 100 million registered .com domains, according to statistics from VeriSign [PDF], which far exceeds the use of any other domain extension. On a practical level, that means most people will default to including “.com” when typing in your URL unless you make a major branding effort to get customers to remember your custom domain.

What if You Can’t Find a .Com Domain That Suits Your Brand?

Domain names ending in .com are generally preferable, but what if your top choice — or even your tenth choice — isn’t available? That’s a common occurrence for small-business owners. In a study conducted by  Wakefield Research, 55 percent of respondents surveyed said they believe  they have lost business because of their domain names. If a suitable .com URL isn’t available, it may make sense to move to a themed top-level domain. For instance, if you own a business called Sunrise Coffee and can’t purchase sunrisecoffee.com or any suitable variants, consider purchasing sunrise.coffee instead.

You May Need to Buy More Than One Domain Name

Many businesses strive to protect their brand by purchasing numerous relevant domain names. But with the new business-themed domains, this can get quite expensive. If you own a chain of coffee shops, for instance, you may want to purchase a .com, a .biz, and now, even a .coffee domain name. ICANN has launched a trademark clearinghouse that allows brands to protect their trademarked names, with trademark registration available for between $95 and $150 per year. Keep in mind that this service sends a warning to those who purchase trademarked domain names, but it does not actually prevent anyone from buying them. To fully protect your brand, you’ll need to actually purchase the relevant domain names.

If you want to check on the costs and availability of brand-related domain names, a service like GoDaddy can help at no charge. If you haven’t even decided on a business name yet, try Panabee, which can help you come up with potential business names that have .com and other preferred domain extensions available.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

How to increase conversions by creating buyer urgency & fear of loss

sense of urgencyA sense of urgency and fear of loss are powerful sales drivers in ecommerce.
Undecided shoppers can be encouraged to make an impulse purchase if they think they’re in direct competition with other people for a product that has limited availability.
I recently rounded up 11 examples from ecommerce sites that use stock levels to create buyer urgency, but that’s by no means the only tactic available.
Here is a range of other techniques used by well known brands that can prove to be very effective in driving conversions.
And just to clarify, I've intentionally avoided group discount and flash sale sites (e.g. Groupon) that are built around scarcity and deadlines.


When you look at a hotel on Booking.com two messages briefly appear in the top right-hand corner.
These messages notify you of:
  • The most recent booking at this hotel.
  • How many people are currently viewing the hotel.
The aim is to let users know that this hotel is popular (someone made a booking only a few hours ago) so they’d better make a booking before those other seven people snap up the rooms.
Similar notifications also appear on the sidebar adverts promoting the ‘recently viewed’ hotels:

And Booking.com adds to the sense of urgency by notifying users of dwindling availability among the room options.
It all contributes to an atmosphere of competition and urgency that people towards the checkout.

Hotels.com uses similar methods. When you view a hotel on the site a message pops up saying how many people have viewed it in the past hour.
This is followed by another message that says how many times it has been booked in the past 24


Ebay has displayed the number of people watching an item for as long as I can remember, but recently it seems to have been adding more features aimed at creating a sense of urgency.
The ‘watchers’ information refers to the number of eBay users tracking the item, so it’s a way of increasing competition for items.
To add to this, eBay also briefly displays a graphic on the left of the screen which states how many people are viewing the item each hour.
It creates a sense of urgency by instilling a fear of loss, as items on eBay are typically scarce so shoppers don’t want to lose out to other users.

In the above screenshot you can also see the stock information, which reveals that four of these items have already been sold and only three are still available.
It’s another way of showing people that this product is popular and quickly selling out.
Finally, there are also more standard persuasive techniques, such as the offer of free postage and returns, and fast delivery.


Of course, the most effective way of creating a sense of urgency is to set a short deadline and display a ticking clock.
Ticketmaster gives you just three minutes to complete each page, so there’s no time to get distracted or head off and make a cup of tea.
And if the ticking clock isn’t enough to focus the mind, there’s also some text that advises users to ‘buy these tickets before time runs out’.
Click to enlarge

In fairness Ticketmaster does have a valid reason for using this method, as when tickets are in high demand you don’t want people adding them to their basket then spending several days deciding whether or not they really want them.
And it’s a tactic that might not work in other areas of ecommerce because shoppers don’t generally want to be rushed and given only a few minutes to complete a purchase.

Simply Hike

Simply Hike employs a different version of the ticking clock. It uses a time limit on the product page rather than in the checkout, telling customers that they have only a few hours to secure next day delivery.
This technique would only really work if the shopper is impatient or needs the products in a hurry, but it probably proves quite effective at securing a few extra sales.

This is actually a fairly common tactic among ecommerce sites, with Amazon being a prime example:

Ruby Lane

This excellent example comes from vintage marketplace Ruby Lane.
An otherwise unattractive brooch can be made more desirable by telling customers that:
16 other shoppers have this item in their cart or wish list. Don’t miss out!
It’s a slightly different take on eBay’s tactic of displaying the number of people watching an item, and is very effective at creating a sense of urgency.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Twitter Moves Ahead with its E-commerce Plans; Engages Stripe to Put Buy Button in Tweets

After a 7 months of discussion, Twitter and Stripe have finally decided to work together to put a ‘Buy’ button in tweets. Later this year, Twitter users can expect to find a ‘Buy’ Button in tweets to enter their billing and shipping information for purchasing products on Twitter, as per a report by Re/Code.

Also, in July, Twitter has acquired San-Francisco-based payment startup, CardSpring for an undisclosed amount, thus indicating that the social media company is pretty serious about enabling e-commerce for its users.

See Also: Twitter acquires payments infrastructure company CardSpring

Apart from this, Twitter has recently introduced new product experiences, launched new web profiles with a number of new advertiser tools and continues with the international expansion of its advertising products.

Till date, Twitter has made 40 acquisitions including 9 deals which closed this year such as Card Spring, Mitro, Tap Commerce, Namo India, Gnip, Cover Lockscreen, Mesagraph and Secondsync. It is consisting of 108 members in its team and having total capital of USD 1.2 billion.

About Stripe:

Stripe was launched in 2010, as a venture of Co-Founder John Collison and Co-Founder & CEO Patrick Collison. It is known for providing a way to accept payments online with an aims to expand internet commerce by making process transactions and manage an online business. The company claims to billions of dollars a year for thousands of businesses from newly launched start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

It had secured USD 80 million in five funding round and backed by four investors including Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Sequoia capital and Allen & Company. Last year, Stripe had acquired soccer magazine, Kickoff, which providing information on South African soccer.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

How does internationalisation work for online retailers?

If 95% of success is showing up then in online retail business the arrival of good platforms, cheap translation services and global banking means pretty much anyone can 'show up'.
The service can be transferred into the new market, the website translated, the new currency added and you’re ready to sell to the new region.
But the new region is not just an extension of your local market, they may well do things differently there.
It’s not that your products won’t sell, it’s that you may not have considered the cultural differences, tax implications, or the shipping and infrastructure difficulties.

It’s no use sales being up if you get hit with a huge tax bill or your goods get held up in customs. All the successes generated by launching in new countries and new markets can be rapidly jeopardised with a poor delivery and supply chain.
So how does an ecommerce company in rapid international scale-up mode embrace these business realities?
We’re going through the process of internationalisation this year. We are already active in 18 countries, operate in nine languages, and our customers can pay in eight currencies.
We also deliver to about 200 countries. And this year we are in the full roll out phase of our marketing, sales and operations strategy outside Europe and the USA. So we’ve developed this straight-forward approach.

Get your product to the consumer

Shipping is a vital component in the supply chain and it must be fast, reliable and priced right. This year we added delivery to over 150 new countries.
Within weeks, we had to delist 10 countries due to fraud and delivery problems. However, there were some nice surprises within the mix.
Some countries even with small populations, such as Bermuda, Guadeloupe and French Polynesia, are doing very well. Other countries had good sales, but have had to be paused until delivery issues are sorted out. Spend time getting this right.

Plan to get on the ground

Many of our key sellers build a fan base on global social platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, making demand for their products truly international.
We see huge traffic coming from countries like India and Brazil, meaning that eventually shipping will not be enough to satisfy consumer expectations. We’ve therefore just acquired a partner in Brazil and are looking at India, Turkey and other countries, to reduce the shipping time.

A demand-driven approach from traffic or shipped orders always governs our next steps.
Whether a customer is from one of your core regions or from a new market, you have to manage their delivery expectations and value. We intentionally locate production facilities in strategic locations to keep customers satisfied and meet their expectations and demands.
For example, in the USA, our Las Vegas facility reduces a day in delivery time to the west coast compared to shipping from our east coast site.
It is also ideally located for rapid and cost-effective distribution to Asia and Australia. Orders get to customers in Australia only two days after California for only $1 or $2 more.

Check on the local tax and business rules

This is where partnering can sometimes be a better bet than organic growth; you take on a business which already has all the right permits and understands how to do business in the region.
For example, in the USA there are tax variations between states, which need to be taken into account, along with the tax issues surrounding cross-border sales.
If a customised t-shirt is sold by a YouTuber in New York and shipped to Brazil, but the transaction happens in Berlin, where is the tax paid?

These are issues an international ecommerce company must be on top of. We are not only an online retailer, but we also provide a platform for other sellers, so this is especially key for us, it’s our job to make this a smooth and efficient process.
No-one wants to get bogged down in tax issues when they’re creating and selling their ideas.
The world is a great place to do business and in our experience more valuable orders were gained than lost due to problems. Glitches can be easily sorted out by switching off certain payment types, changing a shipping provider or turning off a whole country.

This approach is working so far: the addition of 150 new shipping countries puts us on par with retailers such as H&M and Zara and far ahead of most other custom apparel and accessory retailers.
The process of going truly global has been a positive move and the outlook for the rest of the year is extremely optimistic. Each week, several hundreds of additional orders are coming from our newly listed shipping countries.

We are no longer looking at a comparison with global retailers, as they are restricted by supply chains and stock holding. We need to take our inspiration from download platforms like iTunes, who can offer music and video for sale around the world.
Their life is easier because you cannot download a t-shirt, but you can print it locally.
Our long term vision is that, where ever you live in the world, you should be able to access all the cool ideas and merchandising from around the globe, and never be more than a few days away from receiving it (war zones and North Korea excepted).


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Facebook and Instagram Roll out Deeper Analytics for Advertisers

In order to improve support for windows developer along with refreshed content, Social media platform, Facebook rolling out analytics for App Links, in participation with  Mixpanel and Parse (acquired last year).

Its cross-platform, open-source initiative, mobile deep linking acquired company Instagram also launched a similar update to its analytics for future advertisers to provide marketers data in near real time on the social media network.

According to Business Review, ‘The program is currently being rolled out to several of Instagram’s ad partners, but the photo platform wants to roll out the analytics program to all interested advertisers in the coming months.”


App links is available to anyone and comes with open source reference SDKs, “to support sending events so that developers can measure the traffic associated with their app’s App Links integration. This will help developers understand how traffic is flowing to and from any App Links integrated mobile app,” mentioned in App Links Blog Post. Also, provide a way to developers to measure their App Links traffic.

App links is also helpful to show e-commerce and ads on mobile devices in Facebook’s news feed as well as it’s analytics tools support developers to see when they gets sent to another app or someone returns to their app from another app and when users has reached at their app from an app link.


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Surprise Your Customers to Build Loyalty

Customers generally expect to get what they pay for. If you go beyond that to deliver something extra and unexpected, you can set your company apart from the competition. To that end, here are five ways to surprise customers and beat “the other guys.”

iStock_000007500607Small-300x227.jpg1. Get to know people personally. Do you reach out to customers soon after a purchase is made, just to see whether they’re satisfied? Think about the positive impression you’ll make on customers by doing so. Making contact can be as simple as inviting customers to take an online survey or as involved as making a phone call or sending a personalized email or a handwritten thank-you note. Longtime loyalty stems from gestures like these.

For example, salespeople at The Mitchells Family of Stores in Fairfield, Connecticut, contact customers by phone, email or handwritten note, “not trying to sell them anything, but letting them know we’re available to do alterations, or to come to their home and look at their closet to see what is still wearable,” says CEO Jack Mitchell.

2. Offer help even when you don’t benefit from doing so. Like every other business, you have a customer-service policy and need to maintain certain standards. But when a valued client makes a special request, it may make sense to deviate from the rules. For example, you could provide free shipping on an exceptionally large order. Or, if you can’t satisfy a customer’s particular need, you could make a referral to a business that can. Customers are often surprised by this level of attention, and they’ll remember a business that provides it.

“Be willing to refer customers, even to your competitors,” says Maria Korolov, editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. “Then, when the customer is in a market for whatever it is you’re selling, they’ll remember you and come back.”

3. Solicit feedback. Is there a place on your website where visitors can easily offer suggestions or voice a complaint? Making the process simple shows how much you value your customers’ opinions. When a problem occurs with your service or product, offering a candid admission of the error — as opposed to excuses — may help you retain a potentially alienated customer. Always follow up with anyone who complains to let the customer know the problem has been resolved.
“The right follow-up can often rescue a customer,” notes Richard White, founder and CEO of UserVoice.

4. Be generous with discounts. Customers expect markdowns on goods or services from time to time. What they may not expect is a surprise 5 percent discount on their next invoice with a note saying, “Thank you for being such a great customer.” Consider offering other special discounts or free samples as rewards to loyal customers. This tactic also can be useful for repairing your relationships with complaining customers (see #3).

5. Keep your top employees happy. In a bricks-and-mortar setting, customers put a lot of emphasis on how well they’re served by employees. Staff members who do an outstanding job of assisting customers are often a small business’s most valuable asset. Take care of these employees in order to keep turnover to a minimum.

Visitors to your website or your store won’t always make a purchase. But it’s still important to be gracious and attentive to their needs, no matter what. “The key is to always make your customer happy,” says Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, founder of Retail Minded. “If they remember a great experience in your store [or website] — even without a purchase — they are more likely to return again.”


Monday, 1 September 2014

Twitter introduces ‘Mute’ to help avoid over-tweets

In a Monday blog post, Twitter Product Manager, Paul Rosania, announced the addition of Mute feature to the user accounts. Since the start of this month, rumors have started circulating around the new addition. Currently, available for few, the team promises to roll it out soon for all.

Muting a user means that neither their tweets & retweets will be visible , nor any sms and push notifications from them. This  feature was already available on Twitter’s Tweetdeck product and the Tweetbot app.

With  over 250 million users worldwide, this feature will come as a blessing for people whose accounts get flooded with ‘over-tweets’, especially during the aftermath of an event attended by someone they follow. The conversations around that particular event and attendees may not hold interest to them at all, and this is where the ‘mute’ feature scores.

The feature will be  available on all platforms viz website as well as iOS/ Android phones via an app. To mute a user, simply  tap ‘more’ and then ‘mute @username’. To mute someone from their profile page, tap the ‘gear’ icon on the page and choose ‘mute @username’. The ‘muted’ user will not know that he has been ‘muted.’ The user has the option to unmute anytime.

“The new feature will give the user even more control over the content that they receive  by letting them remove a user’s content”, said Paul in a statement.

It is an effective way to temporarily block a user vis-a-vis ‘unfollowing’ them. People will still be able to see, “re-tweet,” or comment on Twitter posts of those who have muted them, but all this activity will not be visible to the user who has muted them. Unlike muted users, blocked users can’t follow the user, and they can always make their accounts private to keep others from reading their tweets.