We believe that in these trying times it is best to focus on what you can do, instead of becoming overwhelmed. Small actions now could mean big results down the line, but more importantly, help to improve your current situation. When it comes to e-Commerce, small improvements can mean the difference between a positive cashflow and going bust. Retaining customers is of the utmost importance and it is far more cost-effective to retain and sell to a current customer than it is to convert a new one.
Communicate clearly to your customers if you are still able to ship or if there will be delays. Inform them of any safety-related information such as hygiene protocols for packing and shipping and highlight how you go the extra mile to keep them safe. Inform them of any problems you might have and be transparent and clear about the challenges faces by your team and how you are solving them.
Shipping Discounts & Decreased Spending Threshold
Offer free shipping or shipping discount codes to your customers to help them reduce costs and increase conversion. Decrease your spending threshold or offer contactless shipping.
Contactless deliveries/shipping is where courier companies limit the amount of contact between courier and customer. Both parties are encouraged to maintain safe social distance at all times
Pivot your Product Offering
If you are a restaurant that’s been forced to close its doors to walk-in customers, look to pivot your food offering to meals that can be delivered, freshly made frozen meals that can be stored, or immune-boosting recipes that help those worried about getting sick.
Include the ability for customers to send meals to those in need or close family members or activate the ability to send gift cards from your store to loves ones. Make it easy for customers to give during a crisis.
Innovate & Upskill
Look at ways your company can innovate with either a new product tailored for the current environment or for what will follow after. Don’t allow you and your team to be bogged down by fear. There is opportunity in every crisis and keeping your business strong and innovating is the best possible thing you can do for your community. We will need every business, large or small, once we are through this difficult time and getting your team through it successfully must be one of the properties. Study, learn, upskill your team as much as possible.
“If you don’t educate yourself, you’ll never get out of the starting block because you’ll spend all your money making foolish decisions.”
Update Your Return Policy for the Times
Returned goods must be handled with care. Protect your staff by quarantined goods for at least 10 days after being returned to make sure the goods are safe. Disinfect each item and make sure your staff have the proper gear to handle all goods carefully.
Automate & Optimize
Look at ways your company can cut costs and save time by automating repetitive tasks. Use smart email tools like AWeber to automate your communication with clients by sending newsletters based on their purchase history or behavior. Schedule social media & blog posts ahead of time by bulk uploading when you have time. Use Upsell/Cross-sell apps that you can set up to help improve your cart size.
Improve and Speed Up
Do an audit of your e-Commerce site and check site speed religiously. Many apps that you install/uninstall leave behind code that slows down your site without you even knowing. Run speed tests on your site pages but not just the homepage. Be sure to run speed tests on your product pages to spot any redundant code.
Use tools such as Searchanise Advanced Search to improve how your customers find products. It includes tools such as Zero results history, Terms that brought in the most sales, AutoCorrect when a customer spells something incorrectly and other powerful tools that help your customers find what they are looking for.
Increase content marketing and SEO
It is tough to keep the marketing budget going in difficult times. One might feel tempted to pause the Adwords account and sadly it is the time that your business needs it most. Focus instead of creating valuable content for your customers that you help you rank and help your customers find what they are looking for or help them solve a problem. Do an SEO audit to see where you are currently compared to your competitors and fix what is broken.
Research key trends in your region using Google Trends, compare the popularity for different search terms and use this data to optimize your content marketing strategy.
Find out about Government/Business Assistance in Your Region
Governments around the world are providing support for small businesses that are hit hardest by this epidemic. Find out as much as you can about what is available in your area and how to go about applying. There is no shame in asking for help during times like these. Ask your service providers of any discounts available or delayed payment options. Google for instance announced Adwords credits to all account holders to assist their customers during this time.
It is hard not to feel depressed about the current state of the world, the markets and business in general. Yet one has to remain focused on the long term picture whilst keeping everything running in the here and now. Remain focused, keep innovating and optimizing and keep your business strong. If we all do this then the recovery will be so much quicker.
“The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the way people perceive eCommerce. It is now their first choice when it comes to acquiring goods. As picky customers continue to browse through these online shops, the only platforms that offer the best customer experience will retain them and earn profit in the long haul. So, artificial intelligence will assume the role of their knight in a shining armour if they want to deliver a seamless shopping experience.”
More and more eCommerce and retail brands are starting to utilise artificial intelligence to improve their customer engagement. The goal of using artificial intelligence, is to shape an intuitive customer experience to prospects with different levels of technological experience.
In the near future, the eCommerce industry will be fuelled by positive user experiences. To ensure that they adapt to these new standards, businesses have to deliver unbeatable customer service, backed with new artificial intelligence.
Click One of the pillars of a successful e-commerce store is giving your customers what they are searching for. Many sites take this for granted. Store owners are so familiar with their own products, that they fail to see that a potential customer might be unfamiliar with what’s on offer.
Most of us accept that the standard search functionality, that comes with our e-commerce platform of choice, is good enough. We fail to realize the amount of lost sales that take place due to an ineffective search. We accept that it is working and that people searching our stores will find what they are looking for.
One way of keeping your customers happy, is an effective and powerful search function. This helps to satisfy their immediate need and in turn increases the chance of them come back for more. Thereby boosting your conversion rate and decreasing your cost per acquisition.
The 2nd sale is so much easier when a customer knows they can come to you for what they are looking for. It builds trust and goodwill towards your brand.
Look at your own experiences. What is more frustrating than searching for a specific product online but coming up empty? One has to look at it from the customer’s point of view and see the full experience.
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.“—so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.” —Alice in Wonderland
Site search makes up to 30% of total site sessions. If your stats are showing a lower number, then it might be time to relook your bog-standard search engine. Or you might want to make Search a more prominent feature on the site by not making your Search box hard to find.
Adding Site search has been shown to increase the conversion rate up to 4 times. On the flip side it has also been shown to frustrate users, if the results don’t match their search intent. Showing your customers the wrong products, or even worse zero results, can be even more detrimental to your bounce rate.
Searchanise places your store’s search on steroids. It allows you to choose which sections of your site to include. From Product names & descriptions, tags to collections, to your blog posts and static pages. Almost anything type of data can be included. Searchanise creates an index of your content offsite, on its own servers, which means your site isn’t bogged down by the extra load.
The basic search in Shopify only searches your product pages and ignores blog posts, which could be an important conversion opportunity. Research shows that your blog posts have a much higher chance of building trust and converting into a sale. According to optinmonster blogs are the 5th most trusted source that people use for information. It also helps to establish you, or your company, as a trusted source.
It might be a good idea then to include blog posts in search results, together with product data?
More Than Just Products
Searchanise assists by showing products together with blog, category/collection & page results. This helps to drive clickthroughs to informative articles and specials you want to highlight.
Imagine a customer is searching for the benefits of rooibos tea during pregnancy. With the basic search function they would only see the product page displayed. Searchanise will provide them with a complete picture of the information available.
It even allows search by substring which makes searching by parts of a field possible. For instance only search for parts of an SKU. A useful trick if you consider the complicity of Variant SKUs.
Instant search powers up your website by providing immediate results as the user types. You have total control over how much data is visible in search results. For instance a B2C/B2B store might want to hide product pricing, or decide to remove product reviews so as not to clutter the results page.
You are also able to provide suggestions for visitors if they have misspelled a word or came up with no results. This helps to improve the bounce rate. And over time your search suggestions become more efficient at plugging all the deadens. It will also provide you with useful insights into what your clients are actually searching for and give you product ideas for the future.
The bulk of visitors to your e-Commerce platform will visit it from a mobile device. Limited screen real-estate means showing them what they are looking for is more of challenge than on desktop.
Advanced search helps with this by laser focusing the user’s attention on exactly what they are looking for.
Filter options are where the real power of the app comes into play. It is possible to search and filter by an extensive list of options including
You have full control over which options are shown. This comes in handy when some of your data is not complete or if it is not applicable. I’ve often found errors in the data that I may have missed by being able to see the full picture in one handy screen
Upsell, Cross-Sell & Personalization
“Definition: Upselling is the practice of encouraging customers to purchase a comparable higher-end product than the one in question, while cross-selling invites customers to buy related or complementary items.”
One of the best features built into this app is the ability to do Upselling & Cross-selling. You are able to recommend popular products & new arrivals anywhere in your store. This allows you to show a widget to your customers throughout the site that displays the Top Products, Recently Bought items or You might also like items.
You can even choose for Searchanise to do this automatically. But you have the option to set up manual widgets and you have full control over the look and feel. This is a wonderful tool for any merchant and would usually cost extra through the use of dedicated upsell/cross-sell apps.
The Analytics section must my favorite part of the app. This is where you get down and dirty into the meat of the analytics and get a better insight into what your customers are searching for including. Top search queries, top search results that gave no results and my personal favorite, Most bought products.
Other tabs included are Instant SearchAll Searches, Zero results(NB), Suggestions, Products Clicked, Products Bought CSV Export
Customize the look at feel
Many apps make it difficult to customize the design of the results or widgets. Not so with Searchanise. You are in full control of the branding, from colors to fonts to what is visible or hidden. This is a great feature and helps to make integration with your site seamless and helps it blend in.
The dashboard is where you get to delve into all the nitty-gritty and explore all the options and features. Take your time and try and understand each section. There are some powerful features that will be a boon for your online store if you apply it correctly. The app works almost instantly without too much configuration but the dashboard is where you get to tweak and optimize it to your environment.
The following tabs are available:
This is where you are able to force reindexing if you’ve made changes to the product data that you need live asap. Otherwise the indexing updates every 10 minutes.
Analytics (Available on Pro plan)
Includes all the info you need to understand your customers search patterns and boost conversion
Instant search widget
Allows you to customize the search box. Available options are: Colors, Content, Sticky Widget, Translations, Product Labels, Custom HTML, Custom CSS
Search results widget
Here you are able to customize the actual search page including Colors, Content, Filters, Translations, Product Labels and Custom CSS
Available settings. Products, Product fields such as title, description and SKU, Categories, Pages & Usergroup Rules
Filters on Collections
Another excellent feature is the ability to place filters on Collection pages within Shopify. You have the option to have no navigation, Navigation through redirecting to Shopify links or navigation by embedded code in your template.
Upsell & Cross-sell
In this section you are able to add new widgets, edit exciting ones and check in on the performance to date.
Suggestions for search terms used by visitors to your site. You are able to approve suggestions or add manual ones
You are able to add synonyms for search terms which are then treated as the term itself. Useful for spelling in different regions or for example iPad vs tablet. You are also able to bulk import/export from here which will help save time and assist store migrations.
Stop words are ignored during search including words such as “a” “the” and prepositions. You are able to add your own from here.
Promote products in search through updating this section. Available options includes Products, Tags & Categories
Helps if you have special landing pages for products or if you are running a special and want a search term to redirect to that page. A handy feature that gives you even more control over what your customers see.
Compatibly e-Commerce Platforms
Further integration is also possible through API if your platform is not one of the above. Enterprise solutions are also available for stores that need something more advanced. For instance if your product range is between 50,000 and 500,000 and you need a more robust solution. This gives you access to the Searchanise API plus your own server and CDN.
Some of the brands that use Searchanise includes
For a few dollars a month you are able to provide the same level of advanced search functionality that many of the big brands above and the likes of Amazon give their customers.
Front End View
Please see below a short screen-recording of the front end. There is also a handy demo that you can play around on their website.
Searchanise Price Plans
This is the one part that I was pleasantly surprised. Many apps and plugins are expensive and out of reach for smaller merchants. Searchanise offers a nice pricing scale which makes this affordable for almost anyone. There is even a Free version for up to 25 products.
The paid plans start at $9/month up to 500 products and all the way up to $54/month for 50,000 products. Above 50,000 you will need to contact them for custom pricing.
Searchanise also offers a 14 day free trial for you to test it before buying and no credit card details are required. This is something I wish more service providers would offer.
I hope this guide is comprehensive enough to give you a better idea of the features and customisation possible with Searchanise. It is one of the apps that I most recommend to customers and almost the first one that I install in my own stores. It truly does beef up your shop and makes normal boring search into something you can be proud of.
It puts the customer first, which is something we as merchants should all strive for. And it helps in bringing your products front and center on any device. The all-inclusive search engine will give you more control, an increase in sales and hopefully many more satisfied customers. Just remember to keep checking your search stats and tweaking your settings. All the data in the world means nothing if the person at the helm remains oblivious.
“Much remains uncertain but what I can say for sure is that Shopify has entered a new box. The role we play in the world of commerce has become clearer: we help entrepreneurs become successful merchants. More merchants survived the pandemic than would have without us. Outside of our four walls (ha!) people now understand what Shopify does and what we care about. We are certainly less underestimated. But what’s also certain is that Shopify is more important than ever and in a better position than ever before. We are taking 2020 in stride and finding ways to thrive in the face of so much change. “
Some things profit from shocks, they excel and improved after being exposed to disorder. In spite of the ubiquity of this phenomenon, there is no word meaning the exact opposite of fragile. Nassim Nicholas Taleb coined this term as “Antifragile”.
Shopify has embraced all of the shocks that 2020 has thrown in their way thus far, applying Taleb’s concept and growing from the disruption.
The devastating economic consequences of the pandemic cannot be overstated, with millions of businesses being crippled or even closing their doors. However, out of the ashes of fallen retailers, Ecommerce rose and shined like a phoenix. The popularity of online marketplaces has grown monumentally over the last year, but what does the future have in store?
Imagine an online store where customers can see the products they desire in front of them — interested in a new carpet? Plop it down virtually in your current living room to see how it will look surrounded by your existing furniture.
This might sound far-fetched, but it’s real – and on the rise.
This technology is called Augmented reality (Often referred to as AR); it’s the most convenient and rapidly-growing immersive technology available to customers. AR has been around for ages, with the earliest examples being developed in the early 1990s by the US Airforce -yet, AR wasn’t ready for the mass consumer market — until now.
The biggest and most famous example of AR consumerism would be the mobile app Pokemon Go. Released in 2016, this mobile game made use of Augmented Reality to display collectible monsters in the real world, only visible through your phone’s camera lens. The app erupted in popularity, peaking at 45 MILLION daily users within its first two weeks of being live.
Since then, AR technology has flown under the radar, with no major releases emulating the success of Pokemon Go, but it seems that AR has recently found a new home – eCommerce. Moving holograms, interactive exhibits, and virtual 3D models are the perfect fit for online stores, especially since they allow you to emulate the physical retail experience that disappeared in 2020.
In this blog, we will be discussing what augmented reality means for eCommerce, and how we can use it to expand our business and increase sales.
How does AR benefit my store?
Using 3D tech like Augmented Reality can increase user engagement on your website up to 66 percent. Higher engagement means that customers spend more time on your store – translating directly into more sales. Even if the customer leaves without purchasing, this increase of development means that they have developed a positive idea of your website, making them much more likely to return and purchase in the future.
Higher conversion rates & reduced returns
While keeping customers glued to their screens longer, AR can help boost your sales too. Offering much more info than your run-of-the-mill images and text, the 3D view of the product allows users to see precisely what the product looks like – leading to easier sales.
Returns can be backbreaking for a business. eCommerce stores suffer up to five times more returns than physical retailers. Retailers have to get creative in reducing the number of returns; that’s where AR fits perfectly. Emulating the in-store experience, AR allows you to experience the reduced return rates that physical retailers have.
So, in addition to making more sales, you can also anticipate to hang on to more of that revenue.
The “WOW” factor
Another big factor that AR brings to the table, is simply the fact that it’ll blow your customers’ mind! Customers will be way more likely to pay higher prices for products presented in such a modern and unique way, seeing your products as premium.
How can I utilize AR in my online store?
Depending on what you’re selling, Augmented Reality can be used in an infinite amount of creative ways – let’s take a look at how top brands adopted it:
IKEA was a bold early adopter of AR, releasing their “Place” app back in 2017. This app allows users to choose any IKEA furniture piece and place it directly in their living room. Using only your phone’s camera, the app scans and analyzes the room, then places the furniture how it would fit with extreme accuracy.
The same idea can be used for any merchant selling large products that would be difficult to return if they don’t fit.
Nike’s app allows users to scan your feet using AR, allowing your feet to be paired with the perfect shoe-size. This implementation of AR uses your camera to perform a 3D scan on the user’s feet, calculating the dimensions, size, shape and volume of your foot; for the perfect fit.
This feature isn’t just some gimmick – Nike is so confident in the AR measurements, that it has also been implemented in physical stores, as the go-to method of calculating what size you should buy.
AR is extremely useful in this aspect, as when buying clothes online, you often sit with the headache of wrong sizes and tricky returns.
How can I add AR to my online store?
Implementing AR requires a relatively modest investment of time and money, but the end result is well worth it. Here’s you to add it to your online store:
Select AR software of your choice. There are different AR solutions available, depending on what your store needs. A quick google search should send you down the rabbit hole of finding the one that fits you best.
Gather required files. Your virtual representations have to built from something – that’s where CAD files fall into place. CAD is a 3D modeling software that allows you to transform your real-world products into a digital representation. There are other 3D modeling software solutions, but CAD is the most popular and widely accepted.
Start the setup proccess. Depending on which AR solution you decided on using, the setup proccess will be different – however, if you have the correct files, it should be quick and painless.
Finally being recognized, AR is a powerful tool for any online merchant. Emulating the engagement of physical stores without the covid-risk, is invaluable. Ready to launch your online store with AR capabilities?
“Successful ecommerce outcomes are shaped by understanding what consumers want and how they want it. The essence of frictionless shopping is making it easy for consumers to make a decision and check out.”
Are you making it easy for customers to purchase and return to your website? The key to successful online stores is making it easy to do. This concept isn’t mutually exclusive to only ecommerce websites, but it’s especially critical.
The goal of frictionless ecommerce is sales. Focus on removing obstacles that stop sales, your conversion rates will flourish..
How to empower your sales team to securely sell more, faster.
As a business owner, you always have one question on the tip of your tongue.
“How do I increase my sales revenue?”
Many salespeople spend a lifetime chasing down this goal and still ultimately failing.
What many salespeople fail to recognize is that right now, we are in the digital age. You cannot continue using sales strategies from the past while holding thumbs that it also applies to this new digital world.
You have to move where your customers are. Online.
Taking your business online is undoubtedly a bright marketing move.
Now you might be wondering, how do I sell my products online?
The answer is simple. Shopify
Shopify is an unbelievable online retail platform. Here are some ways that you can boost your sales sky-high by using it.
A delightful customer experience
Your website’s look is crucial, as depending on it, most users will stay or leave within the first few seconds of visiting. Out of the box, Shopify gives you access to a few default templates, which, to be honest – are lackluster.
Your best shot would be getting help from a web design company, ensuring that a gorgeous site greets your website visitors.
Locate sales weaknesses in your business using Shopify’s detailed analytics.
A big part of the sales-battle consists of is figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Taking a step back and then correcting these unsuccessful attempts is the key to sales success.
Luckily, Shopify provides users with extremely detailed analytics, focusing on improvement and optimization.
Providing you with these stats, you’ll be able to identify:
Sales by the hour, month, or week
Sales by location
Payment methods used
And countless other statistics.
Third-Party Shopify apps can help supercharge your sales team.
As countless businesses exist to fill a niche, many online stores possess unique requirements.
This is where apps come into the frame. Shopify’s built-in app store allows you to stretch your online reach even further by giving you access to applications that will easily extend and improve functionality.
Before this app, it wasn’t easy to receive the reps’ orders, calculate their commissions, grant them critical data from your Shopify store, etc.
Luckily, Repsorder exists to make this process a lot less tedious for Shopify store owners and their sales reps.
Admin can set the percentage commission they wish to offer so your sales reps can earn commissions from every order you place.
Commissions are automatically generated, so you don’t have to waste precious time going through each order. This way, there is clarity on both sides so that sales reps and store owners don’t have to wait until month’s end to see what they are owed.
This app is perfect for growing eCommerce businesses with sales reps, as it makes ordering, tracking analytics, and getting commissions easy!
Let’s run through a few of the key features Repsorder provides.
Setting commissions percentage
Commissions can be specified per individual product, collection or can be applied across the whole store. This makes it extremely easy to manage commissions, editing them with just a few clicks.
Commission groups can also be created, allowing you to assign various commissions to various sales reps.
Simple and easy ordering for sales reps.
Repsorder gives you access to super simple order forms, allowing a seamless experience between sending orders. Thanks to the app’s integration with Shopify, products’ inventory will always be kept up to date, allowing you to supply customers with accurate stock-keeping information consistently.
This app keeps track of all relevant sales information. This includes a detailed list of which rep is owed, showing you which reps are performing the best and worst, while also syncing all this data with Shopify’s already useful analytics.
Super helpful customer support
Have any questions regarding the app? Repsorder’s amazing support team leaves no questions unanswered, responding to emails within a few hours, sometimes even in a few minutes!
Repsorder: Reps Commissions App Pricing
The Repsorder app gives you the flexible choice of four subscription plans. The basic plan starts at a low $15 per month, allowing up to 3 sales reps while still giving you access to all the app features.
Going up the pricing ladder, the only thing that increases is the amount of sales reps allowed, capping out at 20 sales reps for $60 a month.
The basic plan’s low cost makes this app great for small businesses looking to simplify ordering, calculating commissions, and tracking analytics.
The app also gives users a free 14-day trial run, to test the waters and see if this app fits them.
Repsorder Customer Reviews
We can talk about features and functionalities all day, but let’s see how this app has affected real businesses.
Hayes Bicycle B2B
Rating: 5/5 Stars
“Our business uses this app to allow sales reps to place orders for our customers directly from our B2B (business to business) Shopify site. We have tried a multitude of different third-party apps, but this one was the only solution with all the features we needed. The software is snappy and responsive, easy for our sales reps to pick up quickly. Their support team is also amazing, responding extremely quickly and always thoroughly answering your queries.”
Green Sprouts Retailer
Rating: 5/5 Stars
“Great app with even better customer support! The app’s design is super easy to use and functional without any lengthy setup. It works as expected, allowing sales reps to place orders and track their commision all in one place. We even asked their support team for help with some small customizations, which they happily agreed to help with.”
Shopify has been proven the go-to eCommerce platform for sales teams. At its core, Shopify is already super useful to reps, and the abundance of third-party apps furthering sales-functionalities is just the cherry on top. Among these apps, Repsorder’s Commision app is the perfect addition to any Shopify store looking to avoid the headache that is sales commisions.
Starting your eCommerce journey is an exhilarating experience. Seeing your online store come together, with all your products ready to be sold to people all around the world, is truly exciting.
However, chances are that this excitement might quickly transform into disappointment, as you face issues such as low website traffic, minimal sales, and hosting issues. These problems (and many more) are extremely common for eCommerce-newcomers and are often the pitfalls that cause their great ideas to fail.
The climb to eCommerce success is a treacherous expedition, but with these tips and tricks, you will reach the top in no time.