Channeladvisor Lunch and Learn, Joint Injection and New Project!

It seems I am speeding up towards Christmas when I normally slow down! Next week Mathias and I will be at the Channeladvisor offices telling them all about the WIDshop eBay design product and how it has grown since it’s launch at the last lunch and learn which was back in January I believe!

New project! I always LOVE a new project as it keeps my life interesting. More info here as it goes live. It’s an eBay design plus webstore double combo made popular by createyourtemplate’s unified e-commerce design experience with

Joint injection…gah…I have tendinosis from a martial arts injury and need an injection. Hopefully just one!

As my freelance ways in the new year will take me more places (and I don’t really want to strain said arm) I will be getting myself a tablet. I am liking the samsung galaxy tabs/note as well as the google nexus. I am worried about the lack of 3/4G in the nexus though, even if I can access BT openzone wifi free, I have yet to come across a decent zone.

However, I also like the look of the new windows one. I will need a tablet to be able to run word/excel (or similar) and email so I can end invoices and co-ordinate work as well as develop for touch screen.

Hmmm…first world problems eh?

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eBay Education Specialist

I have decided to become and eBay education specialist, I do miss my ‘eBay meets Business’ training days and would like to train up and be certified by eBay so I can go and convert hordes of budding entrepreneurs to the eBay way. eBay is a great way to start and online business, the marketplace is fast, furious and you soon know if your product is going to sell with minimal investment.

I am currently on ‘Garden leave’ so I have plenty of time to train up before the end of the year.

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Different types of E-commerce Shopper

Not all online shoppers are created alike. They all have different goals and strategies for their online shopping which relate to different needs. When developing an online service or e-commerce store you need to try and cater for as many of these types of shopper as possible. You can use basic ‘shopper models’ to organize the products and information on your site.

You could find at least 6 different types of online shopper within your own set of friends and family. A small sized start-up online business may not be able to afford professional customer modelling, but these techniques are still important, even to the smaller player.

New to the Net:

These buyers are still getting used to the internet and the idea of e-commerce. They use the web for research purchases and start will smaller value items in safer environments. A common start off point for these shoppers is eBay, where all the sellers are rated and they can proceed with caution. At this early stage this shopper can either become addicted to the life of e-commerce or be put off by a bad or fraudulent purchase.

This buyer needs a simple interface, and a way to verify the e-commerce site. Make sure you have clear precise pictures, a simple stream line jargon free checkout and display your returns policy clearly outlining your responsibility as an online retailer. You can invest in an eBay type feedback system such as which is an independent customer feedback system and also feature customer testimonials. Make sure you use well known and simple payment processing for example Paypal, Lloyds Cardnet or HSBC.

Bargain Hunters

These shoppers rely heavily on marketplaces such as eBay and shopping comparison engines. They have no real brand loyalty and are just shopping for the lowest price. You need to convince these shoppers they are getting the best deal. Make sure you products are included in shopping comparison engines and have an RRP shown so they can see the great deal they are getting. Within this group you have the impulsive bargain hunter who wants to purchase now and a competitive bargain hunter willing to bid against other shoppers for the deal. EBay is a bargain hunter’s paradise; you can almost use eBay to cater primarily for these customers, letting them battle it out for bargains and also have fixed price items for your impulsive bargain hunters.

Precise Shoppers

These shoppers have a surgical approach to online shopping. They know exactly what they want and will research until they find the best fit to their criteria. These shoppers are hard to please as it is luck of the draw that you have the product they need. You need to make sure part numbers and the true name of your product is present in the product title to allow precise optimization. Product configuration tools like the ‘Build your Porsche’ cater for these types of shopper and are great for a multitude of shopper types.
These shoppers need customer opinions to make sure the product will fit it intended purpose and also great customer support so they can seek verification for the seller about the item.

Hobby Shoppers

Shopping for these buyers is a past time. I fall straight into this category myself. It’s an addiction and I almost need to find something to buy online if I have a penny to spare. I often have to quell the urge. These shoppers purchase frequently and enthusiastically. These are the most adventurous shoppers and you need to grab their attentions by offering engaging tools to view the merchandise as well as product recommendations and incorporating social media into their purchase. These shoppers love community applications such as forums, bulletin boards and social shopping sites.

Direct Shoppers

These shoppers buy out of necessity. They do not shop around or waste time. They want the information now and to find the product within the 3 click recommended navigation. Excellent navigation and product organization is needed to cater for these shoppers. These shoppers need all the information at their finger tips in close proximity to the items, as well as quick access to customer support. Live chat appeals to these kind of shoppers, as they want answers quickly. These shoppers respond well to expert and customers opinions and testimonials.

Nervous Shoppers

My mother very much falls in this category, afraid to ‘put her credit card’ online or that she will be subject to fraud. Identity theft has risen to 1 in 4 in the UK so this is a valid concern. These shoppers start off by only using the internet to research products they mainly buy offline. To make these customers feel secure you need to clearly state your security /privacy policies and use a SSL certificate at checkout. These shoppers watch out for the little padlock at the bottom of the browser so make sure you have no non-secure items on your secure pages. Non-secure Google analytics tracking code is famous for this, they have a https version. You need to state that their information is secure and not sold or distributed. These customers also need customer support, with most of these shoppers wanting to hear from a human before they make their purchase. You need to make sure you include a phone number contact for these shoppers, and also an option that they can pay over the phone for their purchase. You might find these shoppers are only leads for your bricks and mortar or catalogue operations. These are still valid customers as most types of customers have a little bit of the nervous shopper in them.

You can not please or cater for every shopper that will land on your e-commerce site, but you do need to consider the information you need to give your customers and the shopping experience as a whole. Always consider your product type and match it with your typical customer profile. These are generalisations on shoppers, but as with the colour symbolism and psychology, every product type attracts a different set of customer profiles! You can even go as far as moulding your search engine optimisation to match what each shopper type is looking for. Intelligent search engines will deliver your products and message directly to these shopper types, Google personalised search will make this easier for you.

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Gearing up for Xmas 2007 – What to do in October…

Right, its getting close so what do you need to do? You haven’t started yet? Thought so. So lets get cracking and here’s a few things to get on with or you can use it as a basic guide. It’s generic as every business is different and every product type moves differently. This post leans more towards your advertising and a little about inventory and website functionality. I am going to start my Christmas shopping this month, and I buy EVERYTHING on-line, and about 50% on eBay.

Week 1

Gather Data – Make sure you have the necessary data from last year October to December including your pay per click campaign statistics from last year. This has to include your website statistics, ROI, traffic sources, best keywords Google Analytics’s can provide this basic data if installed correctly, including basically what made your revenue.

Review Product Launch Dates – Many companies schedule launch of products in time for the Christmas season, especially consumer electronics. Make sure you advertising picks up on these trends if your product is relevant.

Gather Competitive Intelligence – know your enemy in the battle for Christmas! What paid campaigns did they use last year? What keywords are they ‘buying’ now? Does your paid search campaign match up?

Prepare a calendar of events – make sure you and your advertising/website team know what’s going to happen and when.

Week 2

Prepare your website for the new season – evaluate the ease of navigation, can your item be found in 3 clicks? Is your shipping information clear and above the fold? (above the bottom of your browser window, on initial viewing of the page)

Determine your up-sell opportunities, you will have related products to your main Christmas sellers.

Have you tried setting up on eBay to increase your reach?

Test your seasonal landing pages.

Re organise your product inventory, make sure there is room for your seasonal items. Taking off your lower selling items during this period to squeeze in more popular items is OK. Most catalogue companies do this to make way for Christmas. Put keywords like ‘Christmas gifts’ and ‘gifts for her’ within the HTML and keywords of your site. Remember gifts is what its all about now.

Week 3

Prepare for launch! Once Halloween is over its time for Christmas so you need to make sure you can flick on your advertising methods, be it standard advertising, marketplaces or pay per click quickly. Test your campaigns intensively and monitor your competitors for change. Test your website, and remove any dead links or fix broken pages. Set budgets wisely. You supposed to be making more money at Christmas not loosing it on excessive advertising!
Week 4

Launch your campaign. You will need to make sure the search engines know what’s going on so have you updated your sitemaps? Once November hits is all about Christmas, you need to make sure your Christmas and gift keywords have been indexed. Once your campaign has been running for a week you will be able to fine tune it in the first week of November.

November Edition Posted

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Go Cubecart Go – E-commerce Software ROI

Well on Tuesday evening I completed my new CubeCart 4 store, and by Thursday evening it had made back its purchase price. I doubt there are many systems that I could say it takes less that three days to see return on investment. This includes the price of the security certificate too.

A small targeted adwords campaign (costing me £3 in clicks) made sure that I drove a bit of traffic to my new URLs ( ALL the site URLs have been changed to text URLs. I am still fearful of this as SEO efforts will be temporarily effected by this change)

Support was lightning fast. Being in customer support for the last 2 years, its nice to remember what it is like to be the other side of the fold.

I also created a new google sitemap pronto and changed all the links to individual products in the blog associated with the site. Its only a hobby site targeted at a niche market, but I feel absolved for investing the money into the site this week.

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Generating a Google Sitemap FREE

Google site mapping is a free service, and for those who do not like to deal with python script, generating said sitemap should also be free.

If you have a site under 500 links, try: Create your Google Sitemap Online – XML Sitemaps

but if you want more links, try: GSiteCrawler which is an application to download for windows. It is also free (you can kindly donate) and you can also export as a google base file for a product based site.

I have now practised what I preach, and changed the Hairfreax URL’s to text based URL’s and I am now writing individual HTML titles and meta for each category. It has been a long time coming, and will take a long time to do. Translation of the site will also take time!

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