• Ecommerce Startup
  • What Is The Best Channel For Transactional Communication

    When I say transactional communication, the first thing that pops out is email. And why shouldn’t it? More than 90% of businesses use email as their defacto channel of communication. Be it sending shipping alerts, order status or just newsletters – Email works just fine. Though, what is unusual is that even heavily engaged mobile app users get emails.

    Doesn’t sound like the best of the experiences.

    Email is important and I am not trying to kill it here but not every single detail needs to be sent via Email. Product Managers are increasingly exploring better methods of communication. The underlying communication principle remains the same. As McKinsey consultants say:

    MECE – Mutually Exclusive. Collectively Exhaustive.

    Simply put, transactional communication takes place between a seller and a consumer. It occurs in commercial websites that offer users an opportunity to buy. The messages trigger to the targeted audience, who have taken an interest in a product or service and purchased it.

    Now that technology is leaving footprints everywhere, one can book cabs, order food and groceries in just a couple of clicks. But without proper communication, it all falls apart. It’s annoying to make multiple calls or keep visiting a website just to know where you cab is or by when your food will be delivered. Constant real time status updates play an important role in these kind of situations.

    Imagine your tummy is grumbling, and you are not sure when the food is going to arrive at your doorsteps. So you wonder if you should get a small snack to calm your stomach, or if you should keep waiting for the order to arrive. Updates like ‘Your food is being prepared, will be ready in a jiffy’ followed with ‘Your order is ready and out for delivery within 15 mins’, gives you assurance that food is on the way.

    Post transaction communication is critical for any business. Users demand instant gratification and want to know everything about their purchase & shipment. Businesses today not only track, but also share every single piece of information about the transaction with the user.

    For instance, Amazon offers the option to get updates every time their shipment moves. Result – users get dozens of notifications about where their order is, and when they can expect delivery.

    Here are some basic check points for product managers to tick as they decided what channel to use for communication (related to transactions)

    1. Swift Delivery Preferably to Device over Inbox: Always remember that you are interacting with people and not inboxes. This is why SMS works better compared to Email – because it is swift.

      But, again, lot of users find sharing mobile numbers intrusive. App Push Notifications and web notifications come in handy for such scenarios. They help you communicate easily with the user (device) without being intrusive.

    2. Easy Discovery List over search – One of the biggest challenges with email is that we receive 100’s of emails everyday. Email is overwhelming, compared to SMS or push notifications, which can be neatly stacked into a tab, simplifying the process of discovery for the user.
    3. Quickly Actionable Tap over Reply – Replying to an email or clicking a button. Which would you prefer to give your feedback? That pretty much answers the question.
    4. Accessibility Offline over Online – Order details are often handy, especially when it comes to tracking the status of your order. It helps in scheduling your day. You need not be online on the website or the app to keep a track of your order.
    5. Feedback Conversation over Communication – In some scenarios it is better to know exactly what the users liked or didn’t like, so you can work on it. Here is where email flourishes. But usually the users don’t have the time to write a full response. In these cases, other channels have a upper hand.

    Show of hands: people who have had overwhelming anxiety while performing an online transaction. I am pretty sure half the people reading this have their hands held up high. Even though the digital age was embraced with open arms, users have always had panic attacks while buying things online.

    In the beginning, people were hesitant and frightened to buy anything digitally. But now, users have evolved along with the whole online concept. Despite that, one skips a beat when one has no idea what is going on with the transaction.

    It happens more than often that your internet dies or your screen just freezes mid payment. You don’t know if the payment has been made, if the order is placed or if you have to go through the procedures all over again. Who tells you that? Waiting for seconds seem life eternity in situations like these. Some sort of communication is necessary to avoid frustrated customers.

    A clear mode of communication is necessary for effective communication. Lack of proper communication creates perplexed and unsatisfied customers.

    percent of users who abandoned transactions due to poor service

    Transactional communication comes in handy in numerous situation. Let’s say you have to buy new sunglasses, so you spend some time choosing the best (considering that you are choosy). Then you proceed with the payment. You are almost on your feet jumping for joy, but the ‘payment successful’ page doesn’t appear. You fall into a dilemma, wondering if your payment went through.

    There are scenarios when you need to order something, and just finished the transaction. The payment has been deducted from your account, but it has not redirected to the main page and the error page appears.

    Due to an absence of communication (or misleading communication) announcing if the order has been placed or not, you buy it again, ending up with double transactions sometimes. Though the money is refunded in a few days, the situation is disturbing.

    Now that you agree that a mode of communication is necessary to keep things intact (yes, even your heart), let’s see which transaction communication channel you should be looking at.

    Brad Tuttle quote about quality customer service

    Email and SMS is what most product managers depend on while communicating with end users. While these channels have existed for a while-given the options we have-the current user experience is limiting. Though they have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, let’s evaluate how the SMS, Web Push, Email and App push notifications fair on the identified metrics and how best the user experience can be improved.

    Delivery report and CTR

    Mobile device receiving push notification

    Delivery reports are essential for you to know that users receive the information. Transactional communication plays a critical role for the consumer. Hence the delivery report is necessary to run things smoothly. Click through Rate (CTR) shows if the user has interacted with your message.

    SMS – In SMS, one can check if the message has reached the users. The delivery report assures that the information reaches the user. As far as CTR’s are concerned, it is a cumbersome process to check whether the user has opened the message and if the they clicked a CTA.

    Web Push – One can check the delivery report and the CTRs with ease by checking out the dashboard to see if the user clicked the messages. The open rates can also be tracked.

    Email – It is possible to know if the email has landed in the inbox. There are many extensions out in the market (free ones too), to check if users have opened your mail or in other words, you can know who has read your email.

    App Push Notification – App push stands with a 6 – 15% CTR. As for delivery reports, the apps need to turn to another software. Its double the effort to find out if your notification is delivered. So, you can’t be sure if the user really received your information.

    Shelf life

    Hourglass on red background

    Some information needs to be accessed even after you are done with your payment. Let’s say you have made a purchase and your order details are sent to you. In that moment it might not make sense to track your order delivery, but you will need to in a few days. Here is where you need a medium with good shelf life, so that you can refer to it when the situation demands.

    SMS – With amazing shelf life capability, SMS makes it easier for users to go back and check the details of the purchase. If some problem occurs you can always refer to the order number and place a complaint.

    Web push – As web push is a quick way to inform users, it projects the needed information, and stays till you dismiss it. Let’s get this straight, it is not feasible to store web push notifications for future access.

    Email – The inbox stores emails and stays there till the user deletes it. One can find the email that you had sent, by just searching your company’s name. The only problem here is, you might have sent it to the user, but what if your email lands in their junk mail?

    App Push Notification – The notification prompts the user and gets stacked in the notification tray. App push is best to keep users informed about every minute detail about the transaction. If the user mistakenly dismisses everything in the notification tray, your information goes for a toss.

    User experience

    User receiving too many notifications depicting bad experience

    A user should have a good experience shopping with you, so that they would opt you again. Cramming their phones with numerous updates makes it exasperating for the users.

    SMS – SMS lands direct to your inbox and stays there until the user deletes it. Filling their inbox is not a good thing. It so happens that sometimes new messages do not get delivered due to insufficient space on the phone.

    Web Push – Web push doesn’t take any space of the user’s phone. It updates and just stays in the notification tray (until dismissed). Hence, providing more breathing space.

    Email – Once the inbox is full, it would stop accepting new emails. Here the feud between your email and space arises. But if the user has sufficient space in the inbox (might be risky to assume), every new email sent by you as a continuation to the previous mail does not cram the inbox and confuse the user.

    App Push Notification – Just like web push, it doesn’t consume any space. It can be dismissed easily. It gives a crisp information. One doesn’t have to read a large amount of text, just to get order confirmation.

    Multi channel

    Selling on multiple channels

    Imagine you are buying something on your laptop. You cant keep checking your phone just to get updates. For example, you have kept your phone for charge, and are making a purchase on your desktop. You need to go all the way to the phone to check if you have any transaction messages. This becomes inconvenient after a while.

    SMS – It is typically a mobile centric channel. One needs to be on the mobile to keep checking for updates.

    Web push – It functions across mobile, tablet, and desktop, making it easier for users to track no matter the medium. The need to hop from device to device does not occur.

    You might be booking a movie ticket from a tablet and can receive a notification on the tab itself. Hence the users receive notifications on desktop, mobile and tab, reaching them wherever, whenever.

    Email – Email can be accessed from desktop, mobile and tablet. There is no way that one can lose information because they were using particular device.

    If the users have set an alert for all the emails that they receive, they will be prompted. If not, no matter what device they are using, your email will only flash when the user opens the inbox.

    App Push Notification – As its name suggests, it is only possible to send notifications when the user has the app on the device, which excludes desktop from the list. The user can stay informed on their phone and tab.

    Cost

    Getting charged all over the place

    Finally it is all about the money. You need to analyse and prioritise where your spend money. There may be many outlets from which you are already draining your budget. Though it might seem meagre, it amounts to a large sum in the years to come. The idea is to spend less and get more.

    SMS – An sms can be sent for transactional communication to convey critical information. But it becomes costly when it comes to keeping users updated (with food delivery updates like I mentioned earlier). Consider minimum of 4 messages per person and then multiply it with total number to users per day. Yes, now you know.

    Web push – You can send unlimited notifications for free. You can notify users of every minute update or change that takes place, so that they are in the loop, invoking a feeling that you care about them.

    This freedom sometimes leads to liberation and often marketers send many notification to users, which after some point might seem annoying.

    Email – As of today, email costs up to 50 ps to 1 Rs. It is not cost effective. The number of emails that you need to send to keep the users informed, and the money you spend in the long run might make it seem as if some updates are unnecessary.

    App Push Notification – There are no charges to send out app push notifications. It is cost effective. You can send out many notifications to numerous people.

    Let me draw out a comparison table to make things clear:

    Infographic about different communication channels

    The channels have their own ups and downs. SMS is pesky, space consuming and irritating. Let’s be honest here, it’s old. If you want to make your mark in the present, then you need to move along (or ahead, as a matter of fact) to rise to your true potential. Almost everyone sends emails these days and it has become so ‘yesterday’. It’s time to pack your bags and move ahead of email. As far as web push and app push notification are concerned, there is no way that you can retrieve old notifications. Once you dismiss a message, it is gone forever.

    All said and done, each channel plays a role to notify users. It up to you to fish out the advantages and choose which channel works best for you. Maybe you could get the best of some channels.

    For example, you could send out major updates as emails and send constant updates as a web push message. You could mix and match, experiment and see what gives you better response, but keep an eye on your pocket as well.

    91% of dissatisfied customers will not do business with you again. Therefore, transactional communication should take place with utmost caution.

    The whole point of terrific communication is informing users before they even have time to ponder about it (more like a reflex action). When communication is seamless, giving users disruptive information, the user leaves happy. And we all know how happy customers can be good for you. Choosing the right mode of communication would make all the difference.

    I don’t know about other channels, but if you want to try out web push notifications, we are right here 🙂 Log on to www.izooto.com to start pushing out notifications for free!

    Author Bio

    Pravya author picture

    Pravya is a Product Marketer at iZooto. In love with animals more than humans, obsessed with amazing hair and educating the world about digital marketing. She secretly is mastering the art of stone balancing. Amidst all of this, she also squeezes out time to paint on canvas. Her dream is to go on a bike trip to the highest motorable road. She writes often on the iZooto blog.

    Twitter handle – @pavipravin

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • 9 High Impact eCommerce New Year’s Resolutions For You To Master

    We have prepared nine eCommerce new year’s resolutions ranging from easy to challenging and being proficient at any one will have significant impact on your ability to drive success to your eCommerce ventures.

    Nevertheless, as with any worthwhile endeavour, each will require persistence and consistency. Get cracking!

    1. Learn Re-Marketing    

    Save more abandoned shopping carts this year by developing a full cycle re-marketing system. Segment your shoppers into their respective groups based on their actions (or non-actions) and present each group with relevant messages that urges them to complete their transactions.

    Have you ever visited an online store and then for weeks after seen that brand appear on your social media feeds and all across your regular news and shopping sites? That’s re-targeting at work. It’s part of a full re-marketing strategy.

    simple image of remarketing process

    eCommerce presents the opportunity to offer a uniquely personalized experience to shoppers and is what sets us apart from brick and mortar stores. Test different tactics with each group and find what works best. New users who abandon their carts are likely to respond to promotions like first-time purchase discounts.

    There are also those that visit your store multiple times and check out several different products, without making a purchase. You’ll want to monitor such activity and have separate campaigns with different messages for each of these user segments.

    You also have the option of setting up automated re-marketing via services like Retai.ly which takes care of all the re-targting advertisements and helps you close sales from dropped users.

    2. Master a Social Media Channel    

    Think of your social network pages as a person, rather than online applications. Behave as though it is an actual human by interacting with people, making friends, and as with the offline world, don’t be afraid to make (a few) mistakes.

    Share your joys and hopes and apologize for your shortcomings when they do occur.

    Pick one social platform that you want. They each have their particular area of expertise with which to increase your skills.

    Master Facebook

    Image of facebook logo with the words Mastery underneath

    For example if you want to try social ads, Facebook is where its at. You can build very robust campaigns and bolster your marketing prowess through Facebook advertising.

    Facebook has a tonne of options besides paid advertising. Join groups and engage with the communities, or create your own. Have you created events on Facebook before?

    In fact, if you choose to be a master of Facebook, you’ll certainly have to take some time off your regular schedule to explore every nook and cranny on the platform. That way you’ll have a working idea of what sort of options you have available.

    Jon Loomer has without question the top resources for mastering Facebook. If you’re looking to master Facebook marketing, go learn from the best.

    Master Instagram

    Image of Instagram logo with the words mastery underneath

    Instagram is great for those who are visually adept to showcase aesthetically pleasing visuals. However, even if you are design impaired (like myself…), it’s a very forgiving platform to improve your eye for design. The platform comes with a myriad of filters and tools to help you craft appealing images.

    You can take your work to even greater heights with the help of third party online image editing software like Canva and Piktochart, which enable even untrained amateur designers to make stunning images that IG champions will appreciate.

    Master Twitter

    Twitter logo with mastery words underneath

    If you are a wordsmith then you will find Twitter to be your cup of tea. Twitter is all about honing your copy writing skills in 140 characters.

    You can pair each post with images as well to tell an even more compelling story, but the real challenge is being able to craft the perfect message with just those limited characters.

    That said, Twitter is no one trick pony platform. For example, you should create your own category lists like “Influencers”, “Ambassadors” or “Collaborators” and add relevant people to them. These lists can then be used for anything from content curation to content promotion, or any other creative ideas you might conceive.

    Master YouTube

    Youtube logo with the words mastery underneath

    This is the platform for you if video content is your thing. It really doesn’t take a lot of learning before you have your first video up.

    Video is where the bulk of audience engagement lies these days and YouTube is the place people go to search for videos.

    Product videos do very well when placed on your product pages, and it also helps drive traffic to your page since people searching for product videos on Youtube (and other video platforms) will be able to follow links back to your site.

    During the typical customer journey, people will search for reviews and tutorials of the products they are shopping for, so concentrate your efforts on those types for your product pages. However, don’t let that stop you from creating less promotional and more artistic videos to share with your audience, especially if they are relevant to your business.

    Should this be your chosen mastery it will prove worthwhile in the long run as mastering it means by the time you have several dozen videos created, you will likely also have learnt as many new video editing and directing techniques.

    All that on top of the numerous ways to promote your content and engage with your audience.

    3. Adopt a New Technology    

    Whether it’s a back-end software to make your life easier (and grow your business), or a front-end app for your customers benefit, pick one and get it working at its fullest potential.

    This can be anything from:

    These technologies can be implemented with minimal effort (and minimal results), but to reap entirely the rewards of your investment, you should take the time to grasp how it works, learn the best practices and test it out yourself.

    Wikipedia page being heatmap tracked

    For example, implementing an analytics suite for your eCommerce store may seem like it requires comprehensive technical knowledge, but highly visual Drag’N’Drop software such as Mixpanel make the tasks achievable for even those with minimal tech savvy. At the end of the day you’ll have a ton of data shwoing how shoppers experience your site and which areas you should take steps to optimize.

    Flash sale modules don’t even require much back end implementation, but learning best practices and how to implement them so both you and your shoppers enjoy the maximum benefit requires time and experimentation.

    Learning to track and analyze link clicks will help you optimize your social media performance by showing you which posts get the most clicks. Eventually you will graduate to site wide tagging with a tag manager(the sort used by big league eCommerce players), but you’ll surely have someone or a team to implement it properly.

    4. Blog Regularly   

    If you plan on only one undertaking throughout 2017 OR if the idea of expressing yourself by educating/entertaining people interests you, this should be it. Your blog content can be in any form, from a traditional written blog, to videos, image galleries, or even podcasts if can manage it.

    Blogging is part of the content calendar, but I like to plan it separate from other content since I’ve done enough of both to know how to integrate the two efficiently.

    Picture of someone blogging

    For example I always leave space in my social media post schedule for when I know I’ll be publishing blog content so I can promote that instead. Sometimes I decide that the promotion of blog content will not be part of normally scheduled social posts but will be in addition to it.

    The thing about blogging is that I spend most of my time promoting the content than creating it, so it reaches as many people as possible, thus driving more traffic to the site. So when I suggest blog regularly, I don’t mean to endlessly create content.

    Rather, the entire cycle of blogging starts from research, moves to creation, then to publishing it. But it doesn’t end there, as this is when you begin relentlessly promoting it.

    I use services like Epicbeat and Buzzsumo for finding types of content that people share a lot so I can figure out what I will create, as well as finding influencers I can reach out to on social media when I’m ready to promote to people who would find my content worth sharing.

    dashboard view of epicbeat search

    Keep in mind that although blogging and regular content updates have a significant impact on your search engine rankings, blogging for SEO is a long term goal that requires commitment and consistency to see results. Don’t jump in expecting to deliver an immediate surge of traffic to your site through blogging alone.

    Have a look at other popular blogs both within and outside your niche. Besides giving you ideas about content and styles, it will keep you motivated and inspired to continue throughout the year.

    5. Participate In Yearly Event Promotions   

    Companies that leverage social events like valentines, children’s/father’s/mother’s day, school holidays, and Halloween have the advantage of staying in topical conversations.

    I usually see F&B companies take the lead with topical promotions, but anyone can get in on it, even eCommerce merchants. February 5th is Super Bowl Sunday, consider creating a promotion that takes advantage of the amount of exposure the event receives, with a football theme or offering promotions related to the game.

    Earth Day on April 22nd is when you could show your support for our collective home by donating a percentage of profits to earth-friendly causes, and remind your readers that by shopping online they are also helping to reduce their carbon footprint.

    By planning and consistently running specific promotions centered around such events, you are building brand awareness by being in hot conversations. Planned correctly, you should also see increased seasonal spending with your brand.

    6. Add To Your Omnichannel Presence    

    Infographic of omnichannel marketing

    Take the time to grow your brand on previously untouched channels. If you’ve never sold on Amazon before, now is the time to think about being a merchant on their platform. Or if you’re in the arts and crafts market you could do well on Etsy.

    When the time is right you will even want to take your business to the physical dimension, but for now, just make sure your brand is visible everywhere on the internet.

    You should be being willing to sell anywhere and everywhere that there are customers willing to pay you for your products. The other benefit of having multiple sales channels is that you won’t be left in the lurch if it fails for any reason.

    7. Be Transparent    

    Next time you tend to non hush-hush business operations, consider documenting or even live streaming it as an event.

    Lady live streaming on her mobile phone

    In the past I worked at an IT hardware distribution company. Every time we got a new shipment of products in, it was cause for celebration because our target market would get really excited about new arrivals and updated stocks, especially if they had been waiting for new supplies.

    Our CEO would take photos of the delightful new goods and post it on our media pages himself because it was so effortless to engage in such an rewarding manner with our audience. It wasn’t a time where live streaming such events would have been a priority enough to go through the hassle of setting it up the tech for it, so photos sufficed.

    Now, technology has advanced to the point where all you need is your phone and you can live stream events that your audiences will enjoy: a behind the scenes look at what goes on with your business.

    This sort of content gives life to your organization. The human touch will help you seamlessly engage with the public you want to reach because sharing your routines gives your audience a glimpse into the actual human beings behind the products and services you offer.

    8. Champion Lifestyle Product Images    

    Every product makes a promise to the buyer: to change their life for the better. Before buying, however, people want to see how -and in what context- a product is used. If you choose to improve your product image aesthetics, then start by adding lifestyle images to your product pages.

    Lifestyle product images sell a customer on a piece by helping them visualize it in context since they display your product features in real-time. The common white backdrop product image won’t tell a story.

    Image of a drone against a white backdrop

    The DJI Phantom 4 is shown clearly against the typical white backdrop. It’s a good quality image but without context it lacks the ability to evoke emotion, or convey any meaningful information.

    Holding a drone up to show scale

    In this case the Phantom 4 is displayed with context! Looking at the image you can clearly see the size of it, which I couldn’t from looking at just the first image.

    Imagine if this were a thermostat or desk and all you had was the first shot. You make the purchase but when it arrives it might not fit in your space. Having a lifestyle image would have given you the information you needed to decide perhaps it would be better suited elsewhere.

    This is information you can help customers to glean from product images. After all, eCommerce merchants need to make up for the lack of tactile fulfillment that physical retailers can offer.

    drone in action shot

    When you want to take it to a whole new level, these sort of lifestyle images -ones with the product in action- have the ability to inspire emotion and imagination in customers. Someone viewing it will start fantasizing about possibilities and envisioning scenarios of how they would use it if they had it themselves. Powerful indeed.

    Have a look around J!NX store. They do a fine job of:

    • Choosing product images (with large display size)
    • Inviting customers to share their own product images via gamification
    • Gamifying the entire eCommerce experience for their visitors.

    woman wearing a product

    If you’ve an abundance of energy, produce and add several lifestyle images, then go a step further and devise a plan to get your customers on board by hosting pictures of them with their purchases. You can entice customers to participate by gamifying the process or rewarding them for each post they make, but really, gamification is an entire topic of its own.

    Finally, our last new year’s resolution is pretty fun to plan, isn’t difficult to execute, and will have meaningful effect on your marketing and audience interaction…

    9. Plan Your Content Schedule    

    If you enjoy planning and keeping activities organised, there’s a good chance you already have a content schedule in place. If not, this could be your time to start, at least for keeping your social media organized.

    I limit each period(month or quarter) to a maximum of two general themes. For example if running a baby/motherhood website, I’d focus on mothers as well as families during the month of May (women’s day), and dedicate November for content focused on children (children’s day).

    As with a blogging content calendar, be topical but also try to stay relevant to your industry.

    I use a simple Google spreadsheet to plan and keep track of everything, but you can use Excel if you prefer. Personally I hardly do anything on local (being a digital marketer and all) so I use Google Sheets. I find it sufficient for these sort of tasks since it’s live, shareable instantly, and I can link between documents, sheets and presentations easily.

    Spreadsheet of social media content plan

    This is our yearly outline sheet. In it I include periodic themes and schedule the minimum amount of content to be produced. Since this is a new year resolution post, you may find it helpful and motivating to see your progress. To that end I’ve included two rows that show completion rates for each month as well as a yearly summary.

    Add whichever channels you produce content for and determine your posting schedule. If you’ve no idea how much you can take on, don’t worry. Start small and do what you can. If you are already pressed for time there’s no point planning for 10 posts a day if you’re not able to execute it.

    Instagram and Pinterest are not strong channels for us so eventhough InstanteStore does have official accounts on those platforms, I don’t plan for content promotion on those channels. I prioritize tasks to leverage where our strengths lie, and you should too. So if you find IG effective to reach your audience compared to Twitter then prioritize that and add it to your plan instead.

    Things like videos take more time and effort to make, so I schedule it more conservatively, perhaps once a quarter or even a year. A webinar could double as the video content so I schedule it for before the video content.

    detailed monthly plan sheet

    On the following sheets are the monthly views that go into detail about the daily activity for each month, with auto-updated counts for total of posts per month. Remember I said I can easily link between documents? This is where I do just that.

    It’s an immense quality of life perk that each item on the monthly view is linked to the my content creation slides (I just happen to use slides) for easy reference, and it takes me to a page like this one:

    Google Slides used for content planning

    This is the crafting bench, so to speak. I use Google Slides as a canvas to draft concepts and the content copy, as well as come up with ideas for the post visuals. The image above shows the final result of a fully drafted post. In this case the posts are the pre-emptive messages before the actual blog post, which is the one you are reading right now.

    With the entire year mapped out, it will free up the rest of your calendar for other priorities, or even leisure! You don’t have to create content for the entire year right away, but having a structured content plan in place will help you stay ahead of deadlines while keeping your mind clear and focused on your goals.

    These are merely examples of how we plan our content calendar. You’ll discover your own methods and preferences and tailor your content schedule to suit your own style once you find your groove   = )

    Once again, thanks for reading our eCommerce blog. We hope you’ve found it valuable. We’re looking forward to becoming the top eCommerce blog of 2017 (and beyond)!

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • eCommerce Payment Processing Comparison For Malaysia

    New merchants ask us all the time about choosing the right payment gateway to pair with their online eCommerce solutions, and the truth is there is no standard answer. We can usually help a merchant decide based on what their priorities are, such as cost, application time, or withdrawal time. So here is a eCommerce payment processing comparison to get you started.

    We’ve made this simple comparison between Paypal, Molpay, and iPay88 which will help you get an good overview of which you want to start with: Comparison table of 3 payment gateways in Malaysia

    We usually recommend Paypal to merchants who are just starting an online business. In our experience, new merchants want to see results before committing to a paid option like Molpay or iPay88. Paypal accepts local credit and debit cards for online transactions as well, although it doesn’t have access to online banking like CIMB Clicks or M2U. Paypal Merchant accounts are also able to be set up quickly and be ready for trading.

    Either ipay88 or Molpay will do for Malaysian merchants that only want to reach our local market, and already have large sales volume. This is because of the above-mentioned access to local online banking making transactions smoother for shoppers, which increases the potential for conversions.

    If you need further assistance don’t hesitate to contact us via Email, Facebook or Twitter!

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Social Psychology in eCommerce: The Gravity of Trust

    Andrea Peterson Trust Quote

    The Ultimate Value

    Trust is a vital concept when it comes to social psychology in eCommerce. Trust appears wherever risk, uncertainty and dependency exists, and is something online shops strive to earn from their shoppers. Consumers trusting an online retailer is important in establishing transactional behavior.

    It is a weighty concept that is often taken for granted because we believe we understand it, despite the range of definitions it carries. To consumers, doing business with an eCommerce merchant represents a step into the unknown thus creating positive trust-beliefs will help result in positive intentions (sales) from consumers.

    According to findings in “The Science of Shopping Cart Abandonment” by Charles Nicholls: 74.6% of new shoppers will not return after abandoning a shopping cart, and so persuading shoppers to complete a purchase on their very first visit is of utmost importance for long-term survival, and why nurturing initial trust is so crucial in this step of the journey.

    As Andrea Petersen stated in her Wall Street Journal piece:

     

    “It seems that trust equals revenue, even online.”

     
    Click Here To Find Out How InstanteStore Uses Features Like Abandon Cart Revovery To Help Our Merchants Sell More

    Understanding The Role Of Trusting Beliefs

    Each party of an eCommerce transaction looks to eliminate risk and uncertainty by finding ways to increase trust. We acomplish this by building beliefs about the beneficial characteristics of the vendor. These characteristics can be applied to beliefs about the competence, benevolence, integrity and predictability of an online store.

    1. Belief in competence is when a shopper believes that the merchant possesses the ability to deliver goods or services as promised, whether it is in terms of volume, delivery time, pricing or quality. Shoppers also want to know you are an expert who has the necessary skills to provide a convenient solution, and that you are dynamic– able to meet challenges that arise without excuses.

    We see this come up a lot in the world of eCommerce. Belief in your competence leads to a positive action towards your business, and that trust carries so much weight that when broken it leads to anger, frustration and reputation damage within the online community. On the flipside, if that belief is reinforced by actual competence, the goodwill generated has the potential to spread like wildfire, leading to more belief and further positive actions.

    2. Belief in benevolence is when a shopper believes the merchant is caring, morally conscious, responsive and is capable of goodwill towards him or her. A merchant that cultivates the belief of benevolence would not have the perception of taking advantage of the shopper by feeding their fears (eg. the fear of missing out), rather is one that acts in their best interest, that the service is not a scam, and is always willing to communicate matters with the client.

    3. Belief in integrity is when shoppers trust that a merchant is honest, credible and reliable in their dealings by being truthful and upfront about things like pricing and delivery times rather than forgoing the truth in order to make sales. Merchants that demonstrate integrity accept the responsibility of the good-faith placed upon them and is the standard bearer of fulfilling promises and ethical obligations, like keeping client information secure.

    4. Belief in predictability doesn’t actually have positive or negative values associated with it. It means that a shopper has the belief that your actions are consistent enough to the point that he/she can predict your behavior in a normal transactional situation, regardless of whether your actions are good or bad.

    A customer may have high belief in the predictability of Amazon to fulfill delivery of an order within 5 days. A high level of belief in predictability would also forecast that a confirmation email and invoice will be sent immediately after purchase. Having belief in the predictability of an online merchant also means that the merchant’s readiness to handle a client’s needs will never alter over time.

    These four beliefs complement each other and often one lead to another depending on the buying stage of a customer and what their current relationship is with your brand (fresh, has heard of you before or has conducted business with you before). The most important one is always the one that addresses the current fear of a customer and facilitates positive behaviors.

    If a customer fears being scammed, then their integrity belief is the most important. If the customer fears getting a bad deal like paying a higher markup price, then benevolence belief takes precedence. Fear that credit card details might be inadvertently stolen during the checkout process will rely on the competence belief that your technical ability to prevent such theft will address this issue.

    Belief in these characteristics leads to trusting intentions, which is when a customer shows the intention of relying on the merchant despite being unable to control the merchants actions. The amount of belief a shopper has will affect their readiness to perform trust related internet behaviors compared to traditional shopping instances, since online shoppers have less control over their experience such as handing over sensitive personal information, or not being able to immediately determine the quality of a product or service.

    These behaviors are actions like sharing sensitive information, adding products to cart or making a purchase by completing the checkout process, and are a natural consequence of their trust in or beliefs about the online store.

    Facilitating Trust

    Rather than allowing customers to bumble haphazardly through the trust-intention-action process, there are of course things merchants can do to guide them through it to assure them that their beliefs are in safe hands and their intentions will have positive results.

    Privacy Policy

    A privacy policy lets your customers know that you are ethical when it comes to collecting their personal information (integrity). As such they are more likely to be open to sharing their personal information with you (intention). When a customer is more willing to share information then they are naturally more likely to act on it (behavior).

    Not having a privacy policy in place on your online store can help you lose customers while being upfront about how you collect, store, and share personal data will allay the fear customers have about how their data is collected and used. They tend to be long walls of text filled with legalese that in a way discourage people from reading them.

    Twitter has a very clear and well formatted privacy policy laid out which you can find here. Making it easily accessible for the average user shows transparency, which is a concept closely related to being trustworthy.

    As the saying goes: those with nothing to hide hide nothing.

    Trust Seals

    Trust seals & SSL certificates suggest that a site provides technical security for payment forms to prevent middleman interventions or network eavesdropping.

    Koray Özpolat at the University of Rhode Island hypothesizes that the four factors surrounding the effectiveness of trusts seals are cart value, retailer’s sales volume, shopper experience and number of other trust seals displayed:

    Cart Value

    Trust seals are more effective towards the completion of higher value shopping carts.

    The value of a shopping cart simply means how much the total value of the products in the cart amounts to. Higher value purchases are more risky and thus entail a higher level of risk-aversion thus providing information pertinent to security and privacy helps reduce perceived risk.

    Retailer Size

    Online retailers with a smaller sales volume benefit more from the presence of the trust seal than larger online retailers.

    This is tied-in with an online store’s reputation. Someone who has never shopped on Amazon.com would have less concerns about the ability of the company to protect their information, becuase it is a well established marketplace that has served millions of customers worldwide. As such smaller eCommerce sites would be required to take even greater measures to address these concerns. Customers would naturally feel less comfortable shopping at your store if it is new or relatively unheard of.

    Past Experience

    The effect of trust seals diminish the more frequently a user shops at a particular online store.

    It means that trust is being developed over time, and with the benefit of having completed successful transactions before, the need to be convinced of trustworthiness is gradually eliminated as the customer updates his or her perception of the merchant.

    Varied Trust Seal

    The impact of trust seals on completing the checkout process has diminishing returns as the number of displayed trust seals increases.

    In other words, displaying all the trust seals you can get your hands on won’t do much to convince your customers to make a purchase past the first few unique or synergetic ones, such as a seal that addresses security together with seals the address identity and privacy. Having multiple seals that address the same concerns is pointless.

    In terms of shopping cart abandonment, the research found that the optimal number of seals to display is only 2 and that there is a reverse effect (u-turn) on trust with an increasing number of seals. Hence it is crucial to avoid information overload when displaying trust seals as it may cause confusion or skepticism.

    What’s interesting is a particular result from a study published by Christian Holst suggesting that the perception of security is more important to online shoppers than its actually technical security ability. The trust seals are often nothing more than certification of a site or company about its customer relations or business practices, whereas SSL seals are what suggest technical security on the site.

    Image: Baymard Study

    There are many places you might display your security certifications and credentials, on your front page, on a product page, or on the footer, but the most important location to build trust is at the checkout process, the page where a customer will enter their payment details. It is at this point that a person has the most alarm bells going off, so it is here that it becomes of utmost importance to build confidence in the ability to protect one’s privacy.

    Interaction with Customers

    It should be standard practice by now for an online business to be engaging with customers, both individually and as an community. From a trust perspective, it also manages to convey that you are a merchant possessing the positive belief characteristics mentioned above, that it is benevolent, competent, honest and predictable. These positive traits solidify customers trust which lead to positive trust behaviors.

    Interaction can occur through any channels your site has available, such as social media, email, phone, video calling, or even a support system on the site itself. It involves customer service, feedback, marketing and general socializing.

    A great example of customer-facing eCommerce is Dell’s built-to-order model, which was once a thing Alienware did. With this model they were able to build stronger and deeper relationships with their customers.

    This is interaction as well, since analyzing how your customers interact with your store (you) and understanding their shopping behavior and decisions can give you valuable data about how to better serve them. It can help you improve your design, user experience, content, and set pricing, which lead to increased shopping cart completion rates.

    Reputation Building

    By building a good reputation a merchant is able to bring about purchasing behaviors. Improving reputation will also improve beliefs because reputation is the anecdotal evidence/rumour that the merchant has positive characteristics, while trusting beliefs are first-hand, and as stated above, lead to intentions.

    The trend now is to prominently display customer testimonials as social proof about a good service rendered, and it is standard to have customer reviews on product pages, as these constitute a secondary reputation, that of the product you sell on your store.

    Brand recognition happens naturally, but should also happen through your own efforts with marketing campaigns. Consumers are also more likely to trust merchants that actively advertise their marketplace as it shows an investment in growth. It is unlikely that shoppers want to have business dealings with companies they think are in it for the short-term, as this will hamper an important part of transactions, which is after sales support.

    Linking to Other Sites

    Links to a reputable site can provide the extra push to assure customers that you run a reputable site. Quality outbound links suggests that you run a good company because you are good company, by way of transference.

    The initial trust a shopper has for an unknown store will be more strongly influenced by a better known domain when there is a connection (hyperlink) between the two. This transference of trust can be achieved in many ways, not just by linking to other domains, but also by connections to influential individuals within online communities such on social networking sites and forums.

    On online marketing forums such as the Warrior Forum, vendors and affiliates gain reputation by being active in the hyper-niche communities found within, creating trust and favourable reputations, allowing each other to cross promote their services, confident in the knowledge that each other are in high reputation standing among the public. After all, nobody wants to affiliated with shady dealers or those with a poor reputation – whether by perception or concrete.

    Reputation is also strengthened when there is a link between your online store and a physical location, which we cover in the next item.

    Contact Information

    Having a proper channel to receive inquiries and complaints goes a long way in creating trust. It shows your users that there is a real person running things, and that you are available to be contacted should the need arise.

    Some businesses choose not to disclose any contact details whatsoever, instead having a contact form to direct queries. Whether this might be a good practice for your business is something only you can determine by understanding your customer base. Others businesses are fully transparent, and it seems to work for them.

    The amount of information you are willing to share is totally up to you, however a Contact page should be the bare minimum, then adding social media links, email and then live chat support as the need arises. You may also want to add business hours and your address if it is applicable.

    Regular Content

    Being active in updating the content of your store instils a sense of comfort whereby a customer knows that he/she is not in a deadzone. Fear of being in an abandoned site will obviously lead to phenomenal bounce rates. Updating your inventory or updating the product information helps your store stay fresh and alive.

    Consider creating a content strategy for your products by mapping out time-periods for content updates. Several merchants I work with now choose to have a content cycle for individual products, which means not uploading all the content right away, but doing it over a period of time. For example uploading the product and details right away, then in week 2 adding a long-form product description or even a dedicated blog post about it, and in the third or fourth week uploading a video of the product as either a review, a tutorial, or the now very popular unboxing video format.

    Even if your store features products with slow development cycles, you can work around this by generating blog content and being active on social networks about your regular operations or by events, expos or roadshows you attend. These updates also have the benefit of conveying to your customer that you are a creator and community participant, not solely a profit maker- or: Benevolent.

    Depiction of internet security in relation to trust

    The social psychology of trust in eCommerce is about putting yourself in your customer’s seat, figuring out where your customers will have gaps in trust, then patching those gaps up. Empathizing with your consumers and their trust needs requires taking action on providing information to ease them into a trustworthy relationship with you.

    As you can see, understanding the fears and pain points of your eCommerce users is paramount in increasing conversions. Trust exists differently for different people at different stages of their buying journey.The tactics mentioned above will alleviate common fears most customers have when encountering a new online shopping store. They work in tandem by gradually reducing risk-aversion and increasing belief in not getting ripped off.

    The Bottom Line:

    Shoppers need to trust you to provide them with a reliable, safe and convenient service before they will ever conduct online business with you.

    If you found this post useful, please consider sharing our eCommerce blog with those who will also benefit from it. Do also comment with your thoughts/examples/horror tales below, or if you want a more private conversation you can reach me via Email. Thanks!

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • InstanteStore Project Merdeka 2016 Collaboration

    InstanteStore is proud to be part of Project Merdeka this year as our nation celebrates it’s 59th birthday.

    Project Merdeka is a collection of deals offered by local Malaysian startups to celebrate Merdeka which is Malaysia’s Independence Day or Hari Kebangsaan.

    So Why Are We Participating In Project Merdeka? 

    As a Malaysian startup, we’d like to celebrate Merdeka by giving Malaysians a wonderful chance to have their very own online store.

    Setting up a store is not difficult.

    Our recently launched InstanteStore v8 will show you how super easy, fast and simple it is to get your store up and running in no time.

    This is our way of giving back to the local community of which we’re part of in helping everyone to start their own online business.

    What’s Our Project Merdeka Offer?

    We’re offering all Malaysians a chance to have their very own online store FREE for 3 months.

    The online store is YOUR STORE and you can sell whatever you like (except illegal drugs, weapons and all those banned stuff that will get you into trouble with the authorities).

    What Do I Need To Do To Get 3 Months FREE?

    Simple. Just sign up for our 15 day free trial.

    Build your own store during the free trial period.

    As in, pick the template you like, add in your categories and products, select the payment gateway of your choice and set up shipping.

    If you ever get stuck along the way, DON’T PANIC. Help is just a Support Ticket away.

    Or you can give us a call.

    Once you’re store is all set and you’re ready to start selling, just sign up proper with the code MERDEKA and enjoy 3 months FREE.

    Note : This amazing offer is only for Malaysians and valid until 16 September 2016.

    But Why 3 Months Free?

    We believe that 3 months should be enough time for a business to get off the ground IF BUILT RIGHT.

    In case you’re unsure on how to build an online business, we’ll be more than happy to help guide you along the way after sign up.

    Which is why we’re not charging any amount for the first 3 months provided Malaysians sign up proper with the MERDEKA code.

    Ready to get started? Check out our 15 day FREE trial now.

    Try it Now

    Got questions or feedback? —-> Let Us Know What You Think

    That’s it folks.

    Here’s wishing all Malaysians Selamat Hari Merdeka from the InstanteStore team.

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • InstanteStore Merdeka Promotion 2016

    Merdeka. It means ‘independent’ in the Malay language. Boldly proclaimed 7 times by our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman on 31st August 1957 at the Merdeka Stadium signalling the end of British colonial rule over our land.

    Malaysia has since grown as a nation by leaps and bounds.

    A Humble Malaysian Startup Called InstanteStore

    As a Malaysian startup, InstanteStore started in 2001 with a very humble beginning offering ecommerce solutions to merchants who wish to sell their products online.

    Soon, more requests poured in from sellers who needed help setting up their own online store.

    They would ask for specific features which the InstanteStore team would build to help them grow their online business.

    Since then, we’ve continued to work hard building and improving our shopping cart software to cater to the needs of merchants while keeping cost low so as not to be a burden for them selling online.

    Helping Merchants Save And Grow

    Our affordable plans start from $19.97/month. Merchants who pay annually will get 2 months FREE saving them even more.

    All our merchants have FULL access to all the crucial and practical ecommerce features across all plans.

    We understand running an online store can be tough hence we do not charge any transaction fees believing that all your profits are yours.

    Right now, our ecommerce software powers the online stores of merchants from over 85 different countries around the world helping them in turn to power their own local economy.

    We’re still a humble startup who is passionate about helping people all over to start an online store to sell their own products online.

    InstanteStore Project Merdeka

    As an encouragement to those who’ve been wanting to sell online and to celebrate Malaysia’s Independence Day, we’re offering Malaysians the InstanteStore Merdeka Promo in which you get an online store 3 months FREE (normal price RM480) with promo code MERDEKA as part of the Project Merdeka collaboration.

    Don’t worry. There are NO hidden fees.

    Perfect for startups.

    Those who have an existing store with other providers but need help migrating to try out our solution can always contact us.

    This promotion is only for Malaysians as we’d like to encourage our fellow countrymen and women to start their own online store.

    So What Do You Need To Do?

    Just sign up for a free trial, build your online store and once you sign up proper with the code MERDEKA, you’ll enjoy 3 months absolutely FREE! Hurry!

    This offer is valid until 16 September 2016 which is Malaysia Day.

    Ready to get started? Check out our 15 day FREE trial now.

    Try it Now

    Got questions? —-> Let Us Know What You Think

  • Build Your Store
  • What’s NEW With The InstanteStore v8 Admin Panel

    After several months of hard work, the team at InstanteStore is proud to announce the launch of our NEW Admin Panel.

    For NEW Merchants

    The new admin panel has been re-designed to provide a step by step process in helping merchants setup their online store.

    InstanteStore New Admin Panel For Free Trial

     

    New merchants will be able to see their setup progress as they complete each step from selecting the template of their choice to uploading their store logo, products and choosing their payment gateway to configuring their shipping.

    The new admin panel will also remind them to download the InstanteStore app so they’ll be able to manage their online store wherever they are.

    The InstanteStore app makes it real easy for merchants to snap pictures of products they wish to sell and have them added to their online store. In case of any challenges, merchants can reach our friendly tech support team by taking a picture, recording a voice message, taking a video or explain the problem by text.

    The key is better and clearer communication for us to answer your questions and solve whatever problems you encounter  with your store.

    Once merchants add in their domain, they can share their new store via social media with their family and friends to start getting the word out about their new ecommerce store.

    The setup process ends when a merchant selects the subscription plan of their choice and signs up proper.

    For EXISTING Merchants

    DON’T WORRY if your store doesn’t have the new admin panel yet as our team is batch migrating all existing merchants to the new InstanteStore admin panel starting from today.

    We don’t want you to end up with a fright as some are still using previous versions of the old admin panel.

    Your new Admin panel will look like this once the team completes migrating your store :

    InstanteStore New Admin Panel

    So What’s NEW with the admin panel?

    Completely RESPONSIVE so you’ll be able to view it on desktop and tablet easily.

    Key indicators like New Orders, New Customers, Visitor Trends and Stock are shown clearly.

    You’ll have the freedom to re-arrange your entire dashboard to the way you want the sequence to look with our NEW Customize Panel feature.

    Just drag and drop to re-arrange it the way you like it.

    InstanteStore Customize Panel

    Important Features are all located on the dashboard – Admin, Products, Design and Marketing.

    Close the ones you don’t need and focus on those that you use often for your business.

    Click on the hamburger menu at the top to minimize the left hand control panel for better viewing.

    We’ve added a Search feature so you can easily search for functions. There’s even a search feature in your Order Listing page to help you search for specific orders.

    InstanteStore New Search Funtion

    Reach us easily by creating new tickets right on the Admin panel. See the latest replies for your Support Tickets the moment they are updated by our friendly tech support team.

    InstanteStore Support Ticket And View Store

    View your store in Admin mode (View Store) and Publish changes easily.

    The new Admin panel is smoother, faster, responsive and customizable which aims to help our merchants save time and gain faster access to features they normally use.

    We hope you’ll like the changes we’ve made as the team worked hard to create new features and improve the solution to help you grow your business.

    We want to simplify the process to help you save time as you focus on running your online store.

    Don’t have a store yet? Why not start one today with our 15 day free trial now?
    Try it Now

    Let us know what you think about the new admin panel —> We’d Love To Hear From You

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Ecommerce Tips To Retain And Grow Your Customer Base

    One of the biggest challenges faced by online sellers is sales conversion. With so much effort put in to build an online store, it needs to be worthwhile for your online business to take off.

    Here are some crucial and practical tips to retain and grow your customer base.

    Develop A Unique Core Differentiator (UCD)

    There’s tonnes of other people selling products that are similar to yours. Unless you make your own products, you need a UCD – Unique Core Differentiator.

    What makes your product or services DIFFERENT than others?

    Different

    Because in all honesty, if whatever you’re selling is no different than what others are offering out there, then why would people want to buy from you?

    Sure, if you have a good shipping strategy, that will help but what’s the core value of your company and the products or services that you offer.

    The market is competitive and unless your product pricing is irresistible or you’re in a niche market, you will need to give consumers a very good reason to buy your products or use your services.

    Offer value, great customer service, unique bundles, something that makes your business stand out from the rest of your competitors.

    Give Free Samples

    If you’re selling any food, health care or consumables, one of the best ways to engage new customers and to encourage them to try your products is to give out free samples.

    Starbucks

    This is usually done in events, road shows, conventions and places with high traffic like shopping malls and public places.

    People are usually hesitant when it comes to new products but once they try out a free sample, they’re more open to making a purchase.

    If you’re selling consumable health care products, prepare lots of small samplers as this is also a great way to help get the word out about your products and company when you sponsor them at huge events.

    If you’re marketing is done right, people get to :

    – try your products
    – discover your brand
    – discover your product benefits
    – receive an offer they can’t refuse to encourage them to make their first purchase

    Once they make their first purchase, give them an offer to share with more friends and reward them for their loyalty.

    While different businesses are selling different products, always have in mind to create a good shopping experience for your customers each step of the way.

    Create A Referral Program

    Give your customers a good experience and create a referral program that is easy and smooth enough for them to share with others.

    Uber does a good job of spreading the word around with their simple referral program which is a win-win for all parties.

    Uber

    Word of mouth and referral from friends and people you trust tend to spread faster. So think about making your referral easy for customers to share out.

    Give 20

    Uber prompts their customers with a unique discount code the moment they complete their ride as referrals from friends REALLY take off well.

    Tip : Consider giving a referral code to your customer in the order confirmation email with the same code included in the package to encourage them to share with friends.

    Partner With Other Businesses

    Partnering with other businesses whose products complement yours will create a win-win for both parties.

    Ropes

    For instance, if you’re selling health food, it would make sense to partner with health related businesses selling fitness gear, sports clothing, gyms, yoga classes, restaurants, cafes as it flows along the same lines of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Did I mention salad bars too?

    If you’re selling clothing or fashion related products, partner with businesses that consumers will buy from like those selling cosmetics, designer accessories, shoes, skin care, etc.

    It’s another way of introducing and giving your product range more exposure to places that are frequented by consumers.

    Tip : Package your product in a way that will attract attention and pique curiosity.

    Reward Your Customers Well

    Every customer counts. No matter how small the purchase order that was made, give them a good shopping experience and reward them.

    Thanks

    This could come in the form of :

    – a hand written thank you card to show genuine care and gratitude
    – free gift sample of one of your products or SURPRISE them
    – discount voucher which they could use for their next purchase
    – all of the above?

    I’m not asking you to bake them a cake (you could if you want) but think of ways to delight and wow them. Your customers will be happily sharing the experience with their family and friends. In fact, encourage them to post on social media if they’re over the moon about it and reward them for referring your business to others.

    Understand Your Best And Worst Customers’ Needs

    Feedback is always important because it’s a good reality check for any business.

    So don’t fret if you get any customer complains. It’s better to receive some feedback than none at all.

    Customer Service

    These 2 groups of customers are at the end of each spectrum.

    The best customers are those that are pleased with your products and service but they are also the ones who make specific requests. These could come in the form of specific product requirements, bundles, customization, etc.

    The benefits : They could be showing you what similar customers like them are looking for so that you can offer a business solution catered for similar customers like them.

    The worse customers are those that literally complain about every single thing. Yes, they can be a nightmare to deal with. But…

    Some of the main reasons that customers complain is because of :

    – not enough information about the product or instructions on how to use the product
    – don’t know where their stuff is if no shipping estimate duration time provided
    – item arrive not as described on your site
    – item arrive damaged, broken or wrong item!
    – not enough information about shipping, returns and refund policy

    The benefits : You can choose to turn things around and see it from a different perspective on how to improve your products, sales funnel process flow and customer experience because they could be showing you something about your business that needs improving.

    Offer Useful And Practical Advice To Consumers

    Most businesses bypass this because it takes time and effort to create relevant and helpful content. But if you’re going to do business online, you need to see things from a long term perspective of adding value to customers and improving your site’s SEO.

    Advice

    You can easily find questions related to your product or services on popular forums like Quora, Reddit, etc. These sites are not for you to sell your stuff there least you get banned.

    Use the search box and look for specific terms related to your business to offer useful and practical advice to people who have questions. The idea is to participate in the discussions by giving valuable advice, tips and encouragement.

    You can add a link back to your site for folks who want to know more about you or information on the write up that will help them.

    To do this, you need to have a blog on your own site where you blog about the benefits, value, tips, advice, how-to’s about topics related to your product. Share these on social media as well.

    Help Is Available

    If you’re at your wits end and really need help to evaluate your current business process or need advice on how to improve your business, let us know.

    Help is available. Contact us and let us know what you are struggling with or if you have better suggestions, comments and feedback on how we can help you sell more. We’ll definitely get back to you.

    If you don’t have a store yet but you’re unsure on how to start one, check out these practical ecommerce tips for first time sellers.

    Ready to start your online store? Get moving with our FREE 15 day trial now.

    Build Your Store Now

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  • Build Your Store
  • 20 Ecommerce Features To Help You Sell Online

    So you’ve finally gotten your online store all set up. It was quite a feat but your store has now been populated with products, you’ve tested it out and you’re happy with the overall look of your site (yay!).

    Now start using these 20 ecommerce features to help you sell online.

    Customize Abandoned Cart Feature

    Make sure you configure your abandoned cart first as your store will begin to receive traffic and exposure from all the SEO efforts and blogging that you’ve been doing.

    vitacost
    Image credit : Vitacost

    If you’re not sure about whether you’ve set up your store’s SEO properly, please check out these practical ecommerce tips for first time sellers which covers the overall work needed to get your store ready to sell online.

    Being able to reach customers who have made it all the way to your store’s checkout process is a priority.

    To find out the steps on how to set up your abandoned cart email, please view there’s a gold mine in your abandoned cart orders.

    Offer Discount Coupons

    Create some discount coupons as a way to reward first time buyers who sign up or register at your store to purchase something. It’s a great way to encourage them to complete their first purchase at your store.

    GemFive Discount Voucher
    Image credit : Gemfive

    You can offer different types of discount coupons ranging from percentage to dollar value or even free shipping with our ecommerce shopping cart.

    InstanteStore Discount CouponPut yourself in the shoes of your customers and decide which is the best that you can offer them to complete checkout.

    Offer Gift Certificates

    Look at the yearly calendar and mark down the different holiday seasons or special occasions where you can offer discounted gift certificates to customers who could purchase them to give away as gifts.

    Berber Trading Gift Certificate
    Image credit : BerberTrading.com

    Gift certs can be made available all year round but remember to set a reasonable validity time frame.

    Creating a digital gift certificate is easy with our ecommerce solution.

    InstanteStore Gift CertificateA reasonable validity time frame is a way to encourage customers to utilize them soon.

    Send Out Newsletters

    Collect all those emails of customers that have registered in your store as you’ll want to send them periodic newsletters of your latest products, promotions and blog posts (which contains useful advice that will teach and add value to your customers).

    Zalora Newsletter Offer
    Image credit : Zalora

    Make it worth sharing to their other friends by including some discount codes for first time signup and purchase.

    Creating newsletters is an easy process provided you’ve planned out your outline and have prepared all the relevant links and images.

    Our ecommerce software makes it easy for merchants to create and send out newsletters to their subscribers and registered customers.

    InstanteStore Create Newsletters

    You can have a test copy sent to your email to see what it looks like first before blasting it out to your subscribers and customers.

    Sell on eBay

    Select some of your products to sell on eBay. Post them easily from your store to your eBay account if you want your product to be available in the marketplace.

    eBay
    Image credit : eBay

    InstanteStore is integrated with eBay so all you need is an eBay account to link your store and start posting some of your products direct to eBay.

    InstanteStore eBay Web Integration

    You don’t have to post your entire store’s products on eBay. Only selected ones will do.

    Sell Wholesale

    Offer special wholesale pricing to customers who wish to purchase in bulk from you. We offer 3 different types of wholesale feature. Pick one that’s suitable for your online business.

    InstanteStore Wholesale Options

    If you have plenty of wholesale customers, our personal wholesale feature allows up to 9 different pricing tier per product.

    InstanteStore Personal Wholesale Pricing Example

    That way, you can allocate different pricing to different customers depending on the different quantities that they want to purchase from you. These tier prices are not available to normal buyers.

    Put Products On Sale

    Put your store’s products on sale. Customers love a good sale. Do your price comparison with competitors taking into account shipping and tax to see whether you can match their pricing or offer a better deal for customers.

    According to Nielsen, 41% global average of consumers will switch brand, retailer and service providers if there’s a better price offered. Makes sense as people are always looking for value.

    Loyalty-Image-from-Nielsen
    Image credit : Nielsen

    Besides, who wants to pay more when they can get a similar product or service at a lower price.

    All small business shopping cart software will enable you to put your products on sale.

    Ours will even allow you to put entire categories or your whole store on sale.

    InstanteStore On Sale

    You’ll have complete control and can even upload the On Sale image of your choice.

    Cross Sell Your Products

    Always add some similar or related products as cross sell.

    Skechers Cross Sell
    Image credit : Skechers

    That will serve as relevant suggestions to customers who are looking for the same type of products in case the initial product was not exactly what they were looking.

    Configure the cross sell feature and cross sell layout to match the look of your store.

    Being able to offer cross sell on both your product page and final checkout page will help to increase conversion.

    Switch To Mobile Friendly And Responsive Templates

    Google announced last year that mobile friendly sites will rank higher in search results.

    To find out whether your site meets Google’s mobile friendly criteria, just enter in your URL in the mobile friendly test.

    InstanteStore Mobile Friendly
    Image credit : Google Mobile Friendly Test

    It makes sense as your site should load fast and properly across all devices so that users will get to what they’re searching for fast.

    You’ll also want to make sure your site loads fast enough to meet Google’s Page Speed Insights :

    Google Page Speed Insights Test
    Image credit : Google PageSpeed Insights

    If you need help configuring your store’s site but don’t know how to get it done, please contact us and we’ll help you out.

    Switch On Ratings And Reviews

    Switch on ratings and reviews so that you can share your customers’ positive shopping experience on your store.

    Beats Review
    Image credit : BeatsByDre.com

    Having positive customer ratings and reviews is part of a good ecommerce solution onboarding process to convince customers of the quality of your products and shopping experience.

    Our small business ecommerce software allow merchants to set their own review settings.

    InstanteStore Review Settings

    Merchants can even upload a list of offensive or censor words as part of the filtering process.

    Sell On Facebook

    Pick some of your most popular products and sell on Facebook.

    Victoria's Secrets Facebook
    Image credit : Victoria’s Secret Facebook

    Just follow the setup Facebook Social Store steps to make your products available for purchase on Facebook. Customers get to complete the checkout within Facebook without being bumped around to other sites.

    Offer Reward Point System

    Give customers an incentive to redeem free products from your store via a reward point system.

    It needs to be attainable as a way of rewarding loyal customers.

    Marriott Rewards
    Image credit : Marriott.com

    Keep the conversions simple and intuitive as you want to give a very good first impression to customers that you’re rewarding them from the very start.

    Just activate the reward point system and decide which reward type you would like to set for your entire store.

    InstanteStore Reward Point System

    Setting up a reward point system is fast and easy. Just be sure to inform customers of your reward point conversion rates upfront.

    Offer Free Shipping

    Did you know that 77% of online shoppers say that free shipping remains the most important option during checkout??

    Free Shipping
    Image credit : BestBuy.com

    Customers are usually attracted to free shipping. It will encourage them to spend more to qualify for free shipping.

    Any shopping cart software for small business will allow merchants to configure and offer free shipping to their customers.

    You could increase your online sales just by changing your shipping strategy.

    Set Up Your Social Media

    Link your social media accounts to your store and turn on social media sharing so that customers can easily share what they like or what they’ve purchased from your store.

    Social recommendation by trusted friends will definitely go a long way to market your products for you.

    Offer Or Sell Downloadable Products

    If you’ve got some really awesome advice, tips or how-to instructions on a particular subject which you think your customers will find really helpful, you can offer that as a free or paid downloadable product.

    Featured Download
    Image credit : Hubspot.com

    It can be in the form of a pdf file or document which users can download from your site.

    Be creative as downloadable products are not just for those who are selling digital products, photography and software files.

    Unsplash
    Image credit : UnSplash.com

    Downloadable products could also be digital files, serial numbers and license keys.

    Our ecommerce shopping software allow merchants to upload their text file of serial numbers or license numbers easily.

    InstanteStore Downloadable Product

    When a buyer makes a purchase, the number will be marked as purchase automatically so there will be no duplicate purchase.

    Use The Content Slider

    You’ve got awesome products that you want to highlight and bring visitors’ attention to. Put them on your main page using a content slider.

    Nua Bikes
    Image credit : NuaBikes.com

    Customers who are interested in a particular product can go straight to the product page by clicking on the respective slide.

    Feature Certain Products

    Configure your store to show certain featured products which could well be your best sellers and products that you want to draw customers’ attention to.

    River Island
    Image credit : RiverIsland.com

    These featured products will normally appear on the main front page of your site.

    Add these featured products easily and arrange their sequence on your store.

    InstanteStore Featured Product

    You can configure them to appear on every single page of your site to keep the customers’ focus on the products that you wish to promote to them.

    Offer Affiliates

    If you need help getting the word out about your product or services, you can offer affiliates to influential sites or bloggers.

    It’s a win-win as you get to promote your site and product on their site and they get paid for successful referrals.

    Our affiliate feature is quite comprehensive so you could configure and specify how and when you want to pay your affiliates.

    InstanteStore Affiliates

    Create your own affiliate banners or our designers can come up with something creative and amazing for you.

    Create Auto Responder Campaigns

    You’ll need a few to cater to the different visitor response to your site.

    Auto Responder Campaigns
    Image credit : ZohoMail

    This will require you to customize your email messages that can be automatically sent out at specific time frame to different customer segments.

    Use Free Live Chat

    Being able to communicate with your customers directly to answer any question they may have about your product is important.

    You could also find out what are their needs and interest to recommend different types of products and suggestions to them.

    There are many different types of live chat software in the market. Some are free while others are chargeable.

    Tawk
    Image credit : Tawk.co

    Our InstanteStore Live Chat Software is absolutely FREE for anyone to download and use. And when you’re offline, customers can easily send you an email direct from the chat box.

    This is one of the ways to improve communication without having to speak over the phone.

    Start Selling Now

    Utilize all these features with our ecommerce solution software to help you sell online. Treat these features as your arsenal and implement them on your store.

    Some may work better than others but make the necessary changes and adjustments as you go along.

    Constantly work on promoting your site and products to your target customers and existing customers.

    The important thing is that you start selling now with all these features so that you can tweak them better to suit different shopping seasons and occasions.

    Don’t have a store yet? Start building your store with a free 15 day trial on InstanteStore.

    Try it Now

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Sell Online In Malaysia – 23 Popular eCommerce Products

    If you’re anything like me, you’re always wondering what the best new products to sell online in Malaysia are.

    Competition is intense. We have several leading online marketplaces featuring a wide range of product categories. It does seems as though eCommerce in Malaysia is full with no space left for new or smaller merchants to thrive.

    It’s not true though.

    eCommerce in Malaysia is still budding.

    If you want to learn the basics, check out this article by StartupBros. It details a step-by-step process of finding profitable products to sell online.

    Here is a list of 23 products that are currently trending in Malaysia to help with your store. I’ve also included sourcing information.

    These products are growing in demand, and I’ve ensured they don’t have high competition (yet).

    Get started by clinking on a link to go to that category, or just scroll through and see the entire list!

    Related: New to online selling? Check out these Practical Ecommerce Tips For First Time Sellers


    • PERSONAL ACCESSORIES
    • COSMETICS
    • SKIN CARE
    • HAIR CARE
    • PC HARDWARE
    • BABY PRODUCT
    • DRONES
    • BLUETOOTH SPEAKER

    • PERSONAL ACCESSORIES

      1. MEM Watches

      Counter-clockwise watches? Why not, say the innovators at MEM Watches, a company based in Seri Kembangan. Thus so we have the +CLOCKWISE products. The idea is fresh, and the public have taken a liking to the quirkiness of it all.

      I’ll refrain from suggesting any particular model to sell, as I am unable to find evidence for individual models. Suffice to say that the Ocean Pair for men & women & the Karlene for ladies are the most popular. Consider checking with them directly.

      As any smart watch company should, they have lines for both men & women, called Adam & Eve. They also have a range of wall mounted clocks called “Walltickers”. Walltickers! I’m liking this company.

      It is actually well established in Malaysia. Have a look at the huge list of regional distributors and contact detailshere.

      Do you want to sell or start your own personal accessories store? Start Now We will support you!


      COSMETICS

      2. Safi Rania Gold

      The three cleansers by Safi in the Rania Gold line are very popular right now. They cater to the mid-20’s market in the highly competitive anti-aging niche. Yet somehow, despite the impressive amount of interest, there is little online competition. That is always a good sign when looking for new products to feature in eCommerce stores.

      Safi does have a wide range of products you may want to check out, but purely from a statistical point of view, the Rania Gold line is your bet best to start with.

      Get in contact with distributor Wipro Unza to get supply information.

      Are you distributor or cosmetics company? Do you want to sell cosmetics online? Start Now We will support you!


      3. Duoya Mascara

      In the flood of Korean born cosmetics, Duoya mascara (also Korean) certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed by the local public. The brand itself is rather new & trendy in Malaysia, having been brought in mid/late 2015. It’s getting a lot of attention from popular beauty bloggers for it’s ease of use, and there is adequate support for eCommerce merchants by the distributor, who is even offering drop shipping.

      This is a product that is very new in Malaysia but the accessibility for merchants is really pushing the product to the fore, so much so that the brand name itself has already been identified as an advertising keyword on Google, albeit still a very, VERY cheap keyword. Even more good news is the low competition for a significant monthly search volume.

      Two options to reach the sole distributor, Norafurla: Facebook or Instagram

      ***I’ve been informed that there are counterfeit products around so order your supply from the channels listed to avoid problems***

      Are you distributor or cosmetics company? Do you want to sell cosmetics online? Start Now We will support you!


      4. Naked Eyeshadow – Urban Decay

      Naked – in case you didn’t already know – is a term the cosmetics company has given for a colour palette that is neutral. This has become incredibly popular and been copied by many other brands to help consumers create a look that seems natural. Consumers are enjoying the Naked line as it provides neutral palettes that are anything but boring, from the palest champagne to the grittiest gunmetal, it’s all there. It’s almost local customization, but not quite.

      I won’t suggest any particular model to target, as there is a wide range (Naked 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Naked Basics, Smoky, Flushes) of products in the Naked series, and we’re only covering the eyeshadow palette here, there is still the concealer, cream, balm and foundation, BUT I do know a trending product line when I see one, and this definitely fits the bill.

      Contact Loreal via email for supply detaisl: lormy.info@loreal.com

      Are you distributor or cosmetics company? Do you want to sell cosmetics online? Start Now We will support you!


      MISSHA

      5. Magic Cushion

      In case you’re just tuning in: compact cushions are a type of sponge that users dab onto skin with an applicator. The sponge is filled with goodies that contain anti-aging ingredients, UV protection, moisturizer, and skin-whitening. The MISSHA magic cushion is one of such compacts, and don’t mistake this for some in now-out-soon trend. Lancome validated this market by coming up with their own line, called the Miracle Cushion.

      They first launched a case in 2014 that was such a miss they had to put on the brakes, releasing an updated version almost a year later, which as you can see has worked wonders with the public.

      6. Line Friends

      This is the Line Friends variant of the Magic Cushion. As much as the Magic Cushion compacts are trending, the Line Friends versions are almost completely overshadowing them. They’re essentially the same product, just with impish designs celebrating the collaboration with Line Friends. Given that consumers can get the same thing with a special edition design, who wouldn’t want to, right?

      The Line Friends collaboration extends to beyond the cushion compact line, but the Line Friends cushion compact trend mirrors that of the generic Magic Cushion line so that’s a sure win!

      Click here for supply.

      Are you distributor or cosmetics company? Do you want to sell cosmetics online? Start Now We will support you!


      7. Innisfree Face Mask

      Originally from Korea, Innisfree was brought to Malaysian borders as recently as 2015, and it has been growing in popularity ever since. The brand is known for it’s green eco stand, and it leverages the social & community work it does as a way to get noticed by the public. That gives it an edge over millennials who are increasingly looking for worthy brands to be attach loyalty to, where there is visible community building and social conscience.

      The most popular product they have to offer Malaysians appears to be facial masks, specifically the Squeeze Mask series.

      Get your Innisfree products here or via email: cs@innisfree.com.my

      Are you distributor or cosmetics company? Do you want to sell cosmetics online? Start Now We will support you!


      8. Forencos 7 Days Mask

      What’s this? A sudden surge in public interest? Could this be the holy grail of getting the jump on a new product? I’d say so! That’s over 700 searches in its first month alone!

      I’ve gone through a dozen or so new Korean cosmetics and skin care offerings, and the 7 Days Mask is the only one that I’ve found that is this close to the beginning of a surge in demand. It’s so new in fact that the official page doesn’t even have English as a language option yet. Almost all the interest so far has come from Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, but only supply is bottlenecking interest from different parts of Malaysia.

      No one is advertising this product yet, probably because only one eCommerce merchant is actually offering this product in Malaysia, which is of course mainly due to the fact that this is such a new trend. It won’t be long before everyone else catches on though, so go ahead and get yours here.

      Are you distributor or cosmetics company? Do you want to sell cosmetics online? Start Now We will support you!


      SKIN CARE

      9. Hiruscar Post Acne

      Hiruscar is another product distributed and marketed by DKSH, of which I think they are doing a very good job, especially recently. The product is gaining a lot of traction thanks to on ground & digital marketing efforts, with roadshows and competitions bearing the brand name.

      You’ll notice the ad price being higher than others on this list, and the reason is simple. This is a product in the highly lucrative but also highly competitive EVERGREEN niche of acne solutions. Yet despite being so popular, there is barely any competition in the marketplace for this product specifically. That’s a grabbable opportunity if I ever saw one.

      No surprise that it is already being carried by popular stores like Guardian, Watsons & Lazada, although the game far from over. Use your smarts – advertise (paid or otherwise) the fact that you carry this product and corner the market on it. It isn’t hard to pull off considering barely anyone else is actively advertising it, banking instead on customers going to them for the product. It still isn’t an expensive investment, but given the niche it’s in, that’s certainly not going to be the case forever.

      Contact DKSH for supply.

      Interested in selling skin care online? Start Now We will support you!


      HAIR CARE

      Pomade

      *PRO TIP: Incredibly popular in southeast Asia! – esp Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah & Sarawak*

      Pomade has become a breakout trend since 2013, gaining massive worldwide popularity with the help of superstars like Zayn Malik to back up its use for styling hair. It doesn’t end there though! The industry picked up on its popularity immediately and has grown so huge there is even a pomade eyebrow styler (as far as I can tell!) available .

      Convinced yet? Then let’s move on to choosing a brand to represent this increasingly popular product. Despite having a range of options like Layrite, Upppercut & Imperial, I’ve narrowed the choice down to the best ONE, in terms of online trend, search volume and potential. The other brands do have volume and commercial intent for sure, and there can’t be very much harm in stocking a few different brands, but none have come close to the results I’ve gotten when I came across:

      10. Suavecito

      It’s become such that if you’re in Malaysia looking for pomade, you need look no further than Suavecito, who have become very popular thanks to the ability to market themselves and their competence in creating high quality products. Like quite a few other brands I’ve listed here, they are big on community & social work, and are very active in their local communities.

      This attitude has yet again shown to be very favourable to a new age of consumers who are increasingly attaching loyalty to brands that show initiative in engaging with communities, and are able to demonstrate social conscience. They consistently market themselves, getting themselves in front of people at events and roadshow, and this has helped consumers identify with the brand image and what it stands for.

      There is widespread demand for the brand in Malaysia as well as commercial intent, but as of 2016 still very low competition. They also have a newer line of products specifically for women like hairspray & hair clips, but I have not found enough evidence to support including any in this list, short of making a brief mention, which I’ve now done.

      You can get in touch with the sole distributor for Malaysia via
      email: Pixiedust Trading pixiedusttrade@gmail.com
      or phone: 010-8023236 / 0111-5400442

      Want to sell hair care products online? Start Now We will support you!


      11. Batiste Dry Shampoo

      That’s right: It’s DRY! Did you even know about dry shampoo before this? I’ll admit I only found out about it in 2015, but the very idea of washing my hair with a dry substance intrigued me and according to the charts, I’m definitely not alone.

      Dry shampoo is actually not a new thing, however as a trend it has only recently begun to gain traction. It is marketed as a product for the trendy working crowd who clearly have no time for standard liquid based shampoos and need a quick fix. As you can see, it hit a spike in popularity in June 2009 and has been gaining a steady following ever since.

      Batiste, the UK born dry shampoo company is quickly spreading its reach, with new distribution locations & marketing campaigns being created all the time in many new regions.

      Their ability to create mass appeal has made them something of an industry leader in this niche, contributing to spikes in brand interest as well as significantly higher average yearly increase in interest.

      There are a number of SKUs to choose from, but if I had to choose ONLY ONE I’d go with Blush, which is the most popular among consumers in other more established regions.

      DKSH is the local distributor for Batiste.

      Want to sell hair care products online? Start Now We will support you!


      PC Hardware – Mouse

      12. Deathadder Chroma

      deathadder chroma boxset

      Razer released the Chroma edition of their best-selling gaming mouse – the Deathadder – almost two years ago. Chroma is simply what they are calling the RGB features, which is illumination from over 16 million colour choices. In short it can light up like a photoshopped rainbow.

      While the Deathadder series were incredibly popular before, now that the full colour illumination is is standard, the series seems to have been adopted with renewed enthusiasm. Overall interest has yet to take a hit since launch, and considering the price point compared to other comparable options, I don’t see interest waning anytime soon.

      Get your supply from Ban Leong Technologies.

      Start your own online PC store! Get Started We will support you!


      13. SteelSeries Rival

      3 colour options for rival mouse

      Want to give your customers some options? Adding the Rival by Steelseries to your product list will do just that. It’s the rival to the Deathadder in every way, in terms of price, specs and size. Although it didn’t see a very promising beginning, interest in the model has been increasing and I don’t doubt it is here to stay.

      The bonus here is that they have a Dota 2 version of the Rival! Yes, you’ve no doubt heard about the most popular, most lucrative eSports game in the world. Everyone has – thanks to Valve hosting multi million dollar prize pool competitions.

      Dota 2 adwords results

      That’s the highest volume of searches of all the products featured on this list and mindbogglingly with such low commercial competition. Granted it isn’t a product you can buy – it’s a game – yet it entices its players to spend HUNDREDS of dollars on merchandising.

      Players & fans spends significant amounts of money on thing like plushies, jerseys and best of all, in game cosmetic items. It’s not hard to imagine someone looking for a gaming mouse would be interested in buying the Dota 2 variant, especially since the everlasting promotion is that it’s the same price as the regular model.

      #winning!

      Look to get supplied by local distributors Nation Tech.

      Start your own online PC store! Get Started We will support you!


      PC Hardware – Mechanical Keyboard

      Mechanical keyboards are sort of an anomaly. Most people who were around during the 80’s & the 90’s probably owned one at some point. They went out of fashion around the turn of the century as membrane keyboards were cheaper to manufacture and there was not a huge demand for the far superior mechanical types.

      However popular gaming has seen a resurgence of mechanical keyboards, with all the top brands having mechanical models. Their usage has extended beyond gaming and to office use as well as the range of usage types (typing, gaming, casual, office) have been marketed well. Though they don’t come cheap, people are also becoming aware of their lifespan and quality.

      Interest in mechanical keyboards is definitely increasing, thanks to great marketing, superior product quality, lifespan, as well as bragging-rights. Here are the best to target.


      Ducky Channel

      Ducky is one of the brands that only manufactures mechanical keyboards, high quality stylish ones at that. They have great yearly showings at CES & Computex in Taiwan – where they are based – and this has given them worldwide recognition in the world of keyboard manufacturing.

      Malaysians are not strangers to the scene, and there is significant demand for these types of keyboards as well as the whole range of Ducky products, especially this little fella which is popular for office & travel use. I recommend both the Mini as well as the Shine 5 to begin selling on your eCommerce stores.

      14. Ducky Shine 5

      Ducky Shine 5 image

      The Shine 5 is the latest in the line of Shine keyboard line, so there no debate here. There’s no point in going for the older models as they are out of production even if there may be lingering demand for those models.

      Shine 5 adwords results

      15. Ducky Mini

      Ducky Shine 5 image

      The Mini is definitely a niche product, a compact keyboard that can be easily used on the go. That said there is a wider demand for it than one would expect. I know several people who use it as their primary office keyboards, never letting them see the light of day, so it probably also serves a space saving need, doing it with style while also maintaining the functionality of a full keyboard.

      Mini adwords results

      You can contact the distributor here, and rejoice for they also offer drop-shipping!

      Start your own online PC store! Get Started We will support you!


      16. Blackwidow Chroma

      Blackwidow chroma image

      Following the popularity of the Deathadder Chroma mouse mentioned elsewhere in this post, Razer then went on to release their signature mechanical keyboard, updated with- you guessed it- Chroma lighting!

      Also an affordable and stylish design, the Blackwidow upgrade is enjoying similar popularity amongst PC users:

      There is a greater demand for the Blackwidow Chroma compared to the other keyboards featured here, and that is largely down to the Razer brand itself, which has a significant worldwide following.

      Blackwidow Chroma adwords results

      Get your supply from Ban Leong Technologies.

      Start your own online PC store! Get Started We will support you!


      PC HARDWARE – GRAPHICS CARD

      Zotac

      Zotac is an nVidia graphic processing unit (GPU) manufacturer based in Macau, recently coming into the spotlight with the most affordable mid range options, and VERY fancy high-tech high end models that have been receiving favourable reviews. The brand has been inching towards brand recognition in Malaysia to join the likes of Gigabyte, ASUS & MSI.

      Consider that PC video gamers are a huge market in Malaysia, that graphic cards power more than just video games (visual design, CAD, server farms) and this is a very safe bet, even more so since the distributor Cyntrix Tech also offers drop-shipping for online merchants!

      The models to market will be the GTX 970 & GTX 960 as these are the low-mid range options that cost from RM600 – RM1,500. Although with drop-shipping involved you can and probably should choose to sell the highest end models, just don’t expect daily demand for them since they cost anywhere from RM3,500 – RM5,000.

      17. GTX 960

      Zotac GTX 960 image

      The GTX 960 is by far the the more accessible of the two options due its is entry level pricing. You’ll notice that the search volumes per month are pretty consistent but it does have a higher commercial intent price tag than most, which is to be expected given the nature of computer hardware.

      Zotac GTX 960 adwords results

      Still, if you were to advertise according to these numbers, assuming only 2% conversion rate and 5% click-through rate, that’s an advertising cost <RM10 for two sales worth >RM1200! Time to get on it then.

      18. GTX 970

      Zotac GTX 970 image

      A step up from the previous GPU is the GTX 970, thus a logical product to include in your store.

      Zotac GTX 970 adwords results

      Conversely, the 970 has nearly double the search volume for a much lower advertising cost. This tells me that either A) the searches are more about information gathering rather than buying, but possibly B) there aren’t many other vendors ready to advertise the product. Once again with drop-shipping this isn’t an issue.

      *Keep in mind that all the information included here is brand specific – ZOTAC. A search conducted for merely GTX 960/GTX 970 would yield results where the volume would be in the thousands, without significant increase to cost. So we are presented with the opportunity of targeting shoppers who are not looking for any particular brand and offering them this option right off the bat.*

      The volume of average monthly volume is slightly lower than most of the other products featured in this list, but the upside is that getting the right message in front of the right people will ensure high conversion rates, and being on the bandwagon early on will eliminate the need to penetrate market saturation from the big name competitors mentioned above. There usually is no right time to market to the graphics card niche as there is consistent demand all year round.

      Get in touch with the folks at Cyntrix Tech for product sourcing.

      Start your own online PC store! Get Started We will support you!


      PC HARDWARE – CASING

      19. Phanteks Enthoo Pro

      Enthoo Pro Black Casing

      Designed in the Netherlands & manufactured in China, Phanteks is becoming rather well-known in the PC casing market for their quality products as well as stylish designs.

      The Enthoo Pro is not as cheap as other available options but it doesn’t aim to be. What it offers is style, customization and durability to sort of an exclusive club of PC users who want to splash the cash on something that will be more than just a workhorse.

      As you can see interest for the Enthoo Pro has grown very high, though I’m certain most physical retailers haven’t even caught on to this gem. It remains something of a secret, one I’m sure the brand wishes to change with all haste. Sell these and you’ll be riding a wave that for the time being is without any opposing force to speak of, there is no foreseeable push-back, and people are always going to NEED computer casings.

      Phanteks Enthoo Pro adwords results

      As the brand recognition grows, so will the demand. It’d be better to be on that wave rather than chasing it. Get your supply HERE.

      Start your own online PC store! Get Started We will support you!


      Bluetooth Speaker

      Gone are the days when Bluetooth was synonymous with clunky, awful-quality hands-free sets. Nowadays Bluetooth speakers are kind of the rage. Think about how many people enjoy good quality audio, but aren’t audiophiles per-se. Heck – even audiophiles would enjoy these speakers! They receive audio transmissions with the kind of clarity you’d expect from high end systems.

      Being a somewhat new niche product category, the majority of shoppers haven’t fixated on a particular brand or model just yet. This is great! Look at the interest over time and you’ve got a world of opportunity here. I’ve singled out the two most promising ones in terms of both interest, as well as the product specs themselves.

      20. Jabra Solemate Mini

      Solemate Mini image

      Comparatively the volume isn’t much to shout about, though this is a popular brand amongst those in the know, and the Solemate Mini is actually hugely popular in Europe and Australia.

      Luckily there is a big enough following of the brand here in Malaysia, and though consumers have yet to make the link from “Bluetooth speaker” to “Jabra Solemate” (or any other popular BT speaker product for that matter), it is happening and once it is in full swing this will be one of the go-to products.

      Jabra Solemate mini adwords results

      Notice the increase in monthly search volume leading up to April 2016. It appears that the foundation has been laid, eCommerce merchants could be the ones to make it explode.

      Get hold of the local Malaysian distributor HERE

      Want to start your online audio store? Get Started We will support you!

      21. JBL Flip 3

      JBL Flip 3 image

      JBLs latest model Flip model – the 3 – is sure to be a consumer favourite. From a consumer perspective I think they’ve hit the nail on the head when designing it: compared to other JBL BT speakers, this one has more than two colour options, something consumers love (just ask PSVita, Lego, and rainbows).

      JBL Flip 3 adwords results

      JBL is actually widely supported in Malaysia, but being part of the upcoming niche, the BT speaker range hasn’t quite taken off yet. Still, there’s a killing waiting to be made here, so go ahead and contact the distributor for more information.

      Want to start your online audio store? Get Started We will support you!


      DRONE

      22. DJI Phantom 4

      Phantom 4 image

      These marvelous creatures don’t come cheap. Consumer-wise, probably only the highest level enthusiasts would shell out for one of these drones, but as a professional tool DJI (not to be confused with Dow Jones Index) manufactures the worlds best drones for a variety of industries, including filmmaking & photography, agriculture and conservation. Regardless, there is increasing interest in the Phantom 4, as well as the ever-important commercial intent.

      If we take into account the fact that people are still searching for DJI Phantom in general, there is actually a significant amount of traffic heading towards the Phantom 4, especially considering the Phantom itself is no longer in production, and the Phantom 4 is actively being marketed in it’s stead.

      DJI Phantom 4 adwords results

      You may obtain stock from March Equipment Store.

      Want to start selling drones online? Join Us We will support you!


      BABY PRODUCT

      23. Nuna Leaf

      Short of a “Children of Men” scenario, baby products are always going to be in demand as the human race continues to propagate its existence. The product that stands out among the crowd in the evergreen baby product niche is this little leaf shaped baby swayer.

      Nuna is a Dutch brand whose products are being imported to Malaysia, with emphasis on high safety standards. The price tag on their range of products – from carriers to push-carts strollers – is higher than the Malaysian market has been accustomed to. Yet in the digital age this is a trend that is changing, as more parents are looking for products for their children that conforms to rigorous safety standards.

      The Leaf is also quite unique in the local market, drawing quite a bit of attention from consumers. It is one of the few non-battery operated options available, and the marketing which focuses on this heavily, has shown to be on point.

      This presents an up-sell opportunity with the Leaf wind which is an electrical accessory for the Leaf to continuously automate the baby swaying process. It’s all brilliant!

      Leaf wind device

      Nuna Leaf adwords results

      You can see the demand is clearly there, so get on it by sourcing some Leafs for your store: Nuna Malaysia Distributor

      Wo start your own baby product store? Join Us We will support you!


      BONUS BRAND

      Catrice Cosmetics

      I’m including the brand itself because it has only recently been growing in popularity, so there isn’t much information to go on which the best products to stock are, or even where to source them.

      Catrice adwords results

      I know is that there is significant demand for the brand with low competition and cheap advertising costs.

      If you have information on where to get supply for their products in Malaysia do share it. I’m sure everyone will appreciate the help.


      I hope this list has provided you with a couple of new lucrative products to sell online this year. As always, thanks for reading our eCommerce blog.

      Do you have insights about eCommerce products? Share it with us in the comments section!

      If you found this post useful or know someone who might, consider sharing it!

      Free Trial Ad

  • Build Your Store
  • Practical Ecommerce Tips For First Time Sellers

    Starting an online business requires a good business strategy with a lot of planning. Knowing what needs to be prepared when setting up an online store and how to go about it is crucial to help you get your ecommerce business off the ground.

    My previous post covered how to setup an online store with InstanteStore which is pretty straightforward on how to complete the setting up process.

    This post will further explain what first time sellers need to do when creating an online store. Let’s begin.

    Decide Who Are Your Target Customers

    You may have in mind what you want to sell. But you also need to determine what kind of customers to target. These are the folks who are going to buy your products.

    It’s not about putting up a bunch of products online and hoping that the fish will bite. Different fish go for different baits. If you’re going to catch sharks, you won’t use worms as bait.

    Now back to your target customers. Who would they be?

    Parents? Mothers? Singles? Teenagers? Young working adults?

    Your site needs to cater to your target customer groups.

    What are they looking for? Why should they buy from you? What makes your product different or special compared to others? Is your site convincing enough?

    How are your customers going to find you? If it’s going to be via mobile, make sure that your site is mobile friendly and responsive so that it will look good on mobile and rank higher on search results. Google made it clear that mobile friendly sites will rank higher in search results.

    Compile Your Keyword List

    Look at your keyword list (yes, you must have a keyword list). It will give you an idea on who are the potential customers searching for your products in Google.

    If you’re not sure how to get a keyword list, just type in your general product name in Google. You’ll notice that Google will provide suggestions before you finish typing in the complete keywords in the search box. Note down those keywords.

    Google Search Suggestion

    Look at the search results that appear. It will give you an idea on who your competitors are and the keywords that they’re using which you should note down.

    Google Search Result

    Scroll to the bottom of the search results page and you’ll see related keyword searches. Note down those keywords as well.

    Google Related Searches

    You’ll end up with a list of keywords which you’ll sift through to see which are the ones that you’ll need to put on your main site, category pages, product pages, contact us, FAQ, etc.

    That keyword list will keep growing as you expand your search further.

    Create Your Site For Your Customers

    Once you’ve gotten a clearer picture on who your target group is, that will give you an idea on how to create your site with the look and content to appeal to your target group of customers.

    For instance, if you’re selling fashionable products, you would have more product images of your clothing, shoes, accessories with only information that is relevant to your target customer (ie. size, color, type, etc) displayed properly on your product pages. Pictures need to look amazing to sell.

    Threadless Product Page

    If you’re selling technical equipment, you would have more detailed content of the various components like length, electrical current, compatibility, safety features, etc.

    Bottom line, create your site for your target customers. Your site needs to answer their questions and meet their needs in order to be considered working well.

    You need to create an ecommerce solution onboarding process for customers with an amazing user experience.

    Start With A Simple Template

    Since you’re just starting out, you don’t need an elaborate template. Pick a simple template because the idea is you want to quickly build your online store to get it off the ground running.

    Threadless

    You can always change and customize the template later. As long as your products and the customer onboarding process (from the time they land on your site to checkout and product delivery) is smooth, you can work on tweaking the looks of your site as time goes by.

    No point spending a tonne of money on your template when you’re just starting out unless you have plenty of budget to burn.

    Pick A Good Domain Name

    One that is preferably SEO friendly and easy to remember. No point having a long and complicated domain name that no one can remember and have trouble spelling it out on mobile.

    When I say SEO friendly, it would be related to whatever you’re planning to sell on your store.

    Choose Your Products Well

    You may have a long list of products that you want to sell. Narrow it down.

    Start by populating your site with less than 100 products first. This will allow you time to focus on building your online store while you can add more products later.

    Do your research to see how well those products are selling and what kind of keywords are being used to find those products. Note down those keywords.

    Check Out Your Competitors

    Find out how much your competitors are selling those products including shipping charges and tax. See if you can offer a better price or better value to your customers.

    Perhaps free shipping for orders above $49 or $99? Shipping matters a lot when it comes to online shopping. You need a good shipping strategy to convince customers to complete their orders and cut abandoned cart rates.

    Please put your shipping upfront so customers don’t have to go all over the place trying to figure out how you charge shipping. Example : $5.99 shipping on all orders OR Free shipping over $29

    You can even put Free Shipping Over $xx in your homepage meta description so it will appear in search results.

    Your shipping policy page should be clear and easy to understand.

    Shipping Policy

    Titles And Descriptions Matter

    This is one of the places where sellers don’t really bother much on but it is extremely important. Your site will stand a chance of ranking better if you add in proper page titles, meta descriptions, product names, product and category descriptions matching keywords that are being used to find those specific products.

    As people tend to land on product pages when searching for products, you need to make sure that your page titles and descriptions contain specific keywords that people are searching for.

    Since InstanteStore simplified their Add Product page, you just need to click on Advanced Product Settings and select Product Meta Details for the field to appear in all the product pages so you can key in the relevant keywords.

    InstanteStore Advanced Product Settings

    Product Meta Details

    InstanteStore Product Meta Details

    Not sure how or what to put in your product meta description? Start by :

    [Product Name] is a [type of product] used for [reason].

    Add in the keywords related to your product and your page title as well.

    Important keywords should appear in your :

    – Page Titles
    – Meta Description
    – Category Description
    – Product Name
    – Product Description
    – Alternate tags for your Product Images

    Category And Product Pages Description

    Make sure your product pages don’t confuse visitors or turn them off. If you have quite a bit of content, consider showing them in point form so that it’ll be easier to read.

    The type of font you use matters. Choose fonts that are easy to read.

    Same goes for your category pages. You can add in banner images but make sure that they do not distract visitors. Add in some relevant content in your category page.

    Threadless Category Page

    Be consistent with your writing style and always put yourself in the shoes of your customers. How would they like to view your store’s products? Would they be comfortable reading what you’ve put up?

    Your Own Product Images

    Whatever you’re selling, it’s always good to upload your own product images. You don’t need to spend a lot of money having them taken by a professional photographer.

    Use any smartphone that comes with a good camera and add in a white background (white paper is fine) with proper lighting to take your own product images. Good product images will go a along way. Put in several product images showing different angles and your product in use.

    Name your product images properly. State whether it’s Side, Back, Front, Top or Bottom. See if you could include in some keywords as alternate tags for your images.

    New Balance Product Page

    If you really don’t have the time and need help with making your product images pop out, check out Pixc as we have a good partnership with them.

    Payment Methods

    Offer more than one payment method to cater to customers’ preference. Some may want to pay using offline methods like checks, bank transfer other than the standard credit or debit card processing.

    Include in logos of credit card and payment methods like MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, etc to make your site look more trustworthy.

    FAQ Pages

    If you don’t want a barrage of emails from customers asking you the same thing over and over again, please update all their questions and your answers in a proper FAQ page.

    Also put in answers for questions that people normally ask in Google that’s related to your products. You can add them in to the specific product or category pages.

    The idea is to answer questions that customers will normally ask by putting them clearly on your site to cut down unnecessary email correspondence.

    Your return policies and shipping policies need to be stated clearly on your site.

    Contact Us Page

    State your contact details clearly. Adding in a phone number and working hours will help for customers who prefer to speak over the phone instead of typing email.

    If you run a small brick and mortar store, do add in a Google Map.

    Google Maps Generator

    Sign up for Google My Business as it will help customers find you easily in search results.

    Start Working On SEO

    For first timers, you need to start working on your SEO the moment you start building your online store.

    Create a blog and add that to your site. Start adding relevant content to it by offering tips, advice, how-to articles with the relevant keywords that you’re targeting.

    Include in videos and images of your product being used.

    Share your content on social media but remember to add links back to your site or specific product pages.

    The thing about SEO is that it’s not a one time instant thing. It requires consistency to build by adding relevant content to your site, blog and social media using targeted keywords.

    That’s why it’s important that you start working on your SEO the moment you start building your online store where you place targeted keywords in your titles, descriptions, category and product pages.

    The Rundown

    Setting up an online store is more than just adding products, payment and shipping methods. It includes coming up with an onboarding process for your customers and building your online store with the relevant keywords and target customer group in mind.

    Having an overall view of what you need to work on and add into your store as you’re building it will help you get your online store off the ground when you’re ready to launch it.

    Knowing what your competitors are selling and being able to offer better value and a good user experience will help you win customer confidence in buying from you.

    It takes time to grow an online business but with the right foundation being built and consistent work put in to make your site better with more exposure, you’ll be heading in the right direction.

    If you’re a first time online seller or existing merchant who’s been selling online for some time, we hope some of these how to sell online ecommerce practical tips are useful to help you grow your business further.

    Don’t have an online store yet? What are you waiting for? Sign up for a 15 day free trial of InstanteStore now.

    Try it Now

    We welcome any feedback, questions or suggestions you may have on ways to improve the selling process and to make doing business better for you.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Create An Ecommerce Solution Onboarding Process For Customers

    Creating an online store is easy but have you given much thought on how to create an ecommerce solution onboarding process flow for customers?

    As in how to lead your customers to do what your site was built to do – get them to purchase your products or service.

    It all has to do with design and user experience.

    If the design is fantastic but the user experience to purchase from your store is a nightmare, you’ll end up with high abandoned cart rates.

    The other main reason for high abandoned cart rates would be shipping which you could improve by checking out the solutions here.

    So what do you need to do?

    Put Yourself In The Shoes Of A Customer

    What would captivate them when they land on your site?

    Mobile Surfing

    What’s the first thing that should capture their attention and be the WOW factor to keep them curious enough to browse further?

    Remember, first impression counts A LOT.

    Your online store exist to point customers to your products. Nothing else.

    All other elements should not compete for the customers’ attention as it will only distract them from making the purchase.

    Stuff like your shipping policy, About Us company write up and all those additional info about your business can be placed in other pages.

    They’re not suppose to fight for attention with your products.

    Build A Site That Will Captivate Them

    Your front page is your site’s main real estate. Make full use of it.

    If customers had a look at your front page, will they be interested to explore your site further?

    Or will they head for the hills??

    Display clear, high quality images.

    They can be in the form of a hero shot (big picture banner) or smaller shots of your product in use.

    saks

    Take into consideration the design of your site. Does it have an appealing offer upfront?

    Does Your Store Design Answer Customers’ Questions?

    Ever landed on a site where the store design did not jive with whatever they were trying to sell?

    The result? Visitors leave as they don’t have the confidence to proceed further.

    According to eMarketer, there’s currently more than 2 billion smartphone users worldwide with the breakdown according to countries.

    Smartphone Users Statistics

     

    Lots of smartphone users = lots of mobile shopping.

    And this number will continue to grow as mobile penetration increases year on year.

    And what do mobile users usually do? They prefer to scroll down to see more instead of clicking all over the place waiting for the page to load.

    Oh, and don’t forget that users these days comprise of this extra special group of people called millennials. They grew up with mobiles. Know what captivates them.

    Show your best products on your main page that’s clear enough for them to understand and quick enough for them to make the decision to buy.

    You can easily add products to your front page on InstanteStore.

    Admin menu > Discounts & Specials > Specials > Front Page.

    Just click Get Product and select those that you want to put on your front page.

    Arrange their sequence by considering how you want your customers to view them.

    InstanteStore Frontpage

    Make your front page look awesome and design your site with your customers in mind.

    It’s All About Your Products

    Your product pages should focus only on your product.

    kayak

    Good quality product images is a MUST.

    You need to have several product images from different angles and also show your product in use.

    This is so that customers can envision themselves using your product.

    If you’re going to add in a video, show how your product is being used that will make people happy.

    A little tug on the emotion can help tip the scales in your favor.

    You’ll notice that most sites use white background. This is so that their product images can stand out more clearly.

    Keep the customer’s focus on your product by making sure your product images are top notch.

    Take into consideration page loading time and your site needs to display correctly across all devices.

    Add In Reviews And Ratings

    Positive reviews and ratings go a long way to further convince customers about your product quality.

    Again, online shoppers these days spend more time doing research and comparing products.

    Convince them that you have a better quality product with proof.

    These will come in the form of reviews and ratings. Make sure your site has these features enabled.

    Approach customers who have purchased from you by asking them for a product review.

    You can then have these reviews added to your product page after you’ve screened them through.

    Admin > Products & Categories > Products > Product Review

    InstanteStore Product Review

    Make Checkout Smooth And Fast

    Pretend to be a customer shopping on your own site with a mobile device to see what the experience is like.

    If customers have to go through many steps just to buy from you and the experience isn’t pleasant, it increases the likelihood of abandoned carts.

    Our ecommerce software has a revamped checkout design which you could apply to your online store.

    We built it to make the checkout process fast as customers just need to fill up one form.

    InstanteStore Checkout

    More info about our revamped checkout design here.

    Contact our tech team if you need help or have questions about the revamped checkout design.

    Delight Them When The Product Arrives

    The user experience doesn’t end when they pay for the product.

    Keep your customers in the loop. Send them an email letting them know once their order has shipped out.

    Put in a Thank You note or include in a free gift as a way of appreciating your customers.

    Thank You

    Include in a discount coupon or gift cert to encourage them to share with their friends for the next purchase.

    If they’re elated when they receive their product, high chance they’ll share it on social media which is basically free marketing for you.

    Constantly Review Your Onboarding Process

    You need to constantly review your onboarding process to make your site look better, load faster with an amazing user experience.

    The key is to WOW customers and remove as much friction away so that they can buy from you seamlessly and share your site with others.

    Your site design needs to convince them that you’ve got an awesome product and the buying experience should not frustrate or hinder them.

    Reviews and ratings will convince them further on top of good quality images.

    Even if they didn’t complete the purchase, the emails that you send out should convince them that you value their visit and again, bring focus back to the product that they’ve added to the cart with one link to go back to complete the purchase.

    If you need help coming up with a custom designed email to reach your customers, let us know.

    We’ll be launching brand new design templates that are mobile friendly and responsive very soon.

    However, if you need help sprucing up your current store’s design, let us know by contacting our tech support team.

    These are important factors to take into account when you’re building your online store or looking for better ways to improve your current customer onboarding process.

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Change Your Shipping Strategy To Increase Online Sales

    If you’ve been getting a reasonable amount of traffic to your store but you have a high abandoned cart rate, chances are it’s your shipping that’s killing your sales.

    Because if buyers are adding products to the cart but they hit the brakes at checkout, it’s a clear signal that what they saw at checkout did not convince them to go ahead with the purchase.

    So you may want to consider changing your shipping strategy to increase online sales.

    Buyers Love Free Shipping

    According to comScore, 77% of online shoppers say that free shipping remains the most important option during checkout and 60% have added items to their cart to qualify for free shipping.

    Consumers are doing more research comparing and purchasing online across devices as they are influenced by social media while free shipping continues to drive purchasing decisions.

    So, here’s the issue.

    While free shipping will encourage shoppers to buy, it should not come at the expense of sellers suffering a loss for running an online business.

    What can sellers do?

    There are a few changes that you can implement on your store to help increase online sales.

    Recalculate Your Shipping

    Market trend and survey clearly shows that buyers favor free shipping.

    What you can do is to recalculate shipping on your end to try and lower the cost of shipping to your customers.

    Abacus

    Find the best value shipping rates by comparing several shipping providers’ rates.

    Some of them offer better rates using different services which you can make use of.

    You want to cut shipping cost to offer buyers value but don’t forget to let customers know the shipping time frame.

    Types Of Free Shipping

    If you’re going to offer free shipping, you can either :

    – offer based on total order value (Example : Free Shipping on orders above $49) OR
    – offer based on total items (Example : Free Shipping for 5 or more items)

    InstanteStore Free Shipping

    Free shipping usually means a longer delivery time.

    Consumers WANT free shipping because of the notion that they don’t have to pay for it and that it’s a form of savings for them.

    Sellers must remember to state clearly the estimate delivery time frame upfront according to the shipping provider.

    Customers have no problem waiting IF they know beforehand the estimated delivery time frame BEFORE they make the purchase.

    If not, they may end up cancelling their orders if they are left in the dark as to how long or where their stuff is before they can receive it.

    Offer Additional Shipping Methods

    If you can’t offer free shipping to customers, there are other alternative shipping methods that you can provide.

    InstanteStore Shipping

    Offer a flat rate per order (Example : $4.99 shipping per order) OR

    Offer flat fee per item with extra charge per additional item (Example : $4.99 shipping, $2 for each additional item)

    Our InstanteStore shipping module has quite a number of shipping options for sellers to make use of.

    If you prefer to charge shipping with your own rates, you can configure them based on either product weight, quantity OR price by selecting Configure Pairs.

    Whichever option you choose, please simplify it for your customers to understand.

    Need help configuring your shipping? Check out how to set up shipping in InstanteStore.

    But Customers Want Their Stuff Fast

    Some customers do not like to wait to receive their products.

    In this day and age, who does? Fair enough.

    So if customers want their stuff fast, then they can choose to pay for faster shipping.

    Give them that option.

    Your online store could have a few shipping options for customers other than free shipping.

    You know how Amazon does it. Want your stuff fast, pay more.

    Offer International Shipping

    Don’t limit your products to only the domestic market.

    World Map

    Oversea buyers may be interested to purchase your products as you want to reach a wider target market group other than the domestic consumer.

    Again, check and compare with international shipping providers to see what’s the best value that you can offer international buyers.

    If you can offer affordable international shipping, you would have grown your target market audience and not be limited to only the domestic market.

    Don’t have a store with us yet? Try out our free 15 day trial now

    Try it Now

    Display Your Shipping Offer Clearly

    Buyers these days don’t have the time to rummage through your entire site looking for how you charge shipping.

    Especially if they’re shopping online with their mobile phones.

    They want to land on your site, find what they’re interested in and buy.

    Hence it’s important that your shipping offer and charges are displayed clearly on your main page.

    Whether you’re offering free shipping on everything :

    Free Shipping

    Or setting a minimum amount to qualify for free shipping :

    Levis

    Simplify it and display it clearly so customers understand and they can get on with their online shopping.

    You can have a separate shipping page to state down clearly all the other shipping charges and options which customers can refer to if they’re interested.

    In Summary

    Your products may be attractive but you’ll need to make sure shipping is reasonable and appealing enough for customers to proceed with the purchase.

    Knowing that free shipping is one of the main pulling factor for customers to complete their online purchase, offer that clearly on your site.

    It’s also a great way to encourage customers to spend more to get free shipping.

    Simplify and state clearly your shipping offer on your main page which customers can understand easily.

    Also make sure you state the rates and estimate delivery time clearly so customers can make an informed decision and not be left in the dark on how long they can expect to receive their products if they make a purchase.

    So change your shipping strategy to increase online sales by :

    – offering free shipping
    – simplifying shipping charges
    – showing your shipping offer clearly on the main page
    – ensuring shipping rates and estimated delivery times are stated clearly
    – offering affordable international shipping to grow target market
    – offer alternate shipping charges for customers who want fast shipping

    Try out these changes and measure your sales.

    Cut down your abandoned cart rates. If you need to set up abandoned cart emails, here are the steps.

    Give customers a good reason to complete their online orders with these shipping strategies.

    If you’re unsure on how to configure your shipping methods and shipping rates, please contact our tech support team or get an overview on shipping configuration.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • eCommerce Solutions: Drive Sales By Appealing To Different Shoppers

    How we shop


    Men & women shop very differently. Women browse more & compare products meticulously, whereas men are more likely to simply rush along single-mindedly hoping not to get distracted from the original purpose of having ventured into a marketplace. An eCommerce shop then, should cater to the differences that abound among shoppers.

    It is known that consumers connect with products they can touch and feel. Naturally, this not possible with digital stores, so the next best option is to have images linked to products at every possible turn. We’ve covered the importance of great product imagery in another post. This time it’s about bridging this gap between consumers viewing products online & finally holding it.

    For a start, our online store design should be able to display a section for browsing that is rational & prominent, while also having a predictive search tool available, preferably one that has product image integration. (Most eCommerce solutions should have this function)


    Image Search Bar


    In the example above, the search function at the top of the page not only auto completes keywords, it also provides an illustration along with the product title. This is a good feature to integrate with search bars for any eCommerce website as speed is key when the shopper is Product Focused.

    Browsers on the other hand need to see a large selection of items, but what is a display that is rational?

    Have a look at the example below, the categories are segmented in clear, distinctive sections, that are RATIONAL: it is alphabetized, and more importantly the sub-categories are in the right locations. There is also a sorting function available- surprising overlooked in many web stores, unnecessarily alienating Browsers.

    Rational Display


    Some shoppers are more inclined towards Social Proof. Social proof is a good way to convince online shoppers that they are on the right track. When we see that many others have purchased a product before us, it affirms our faith in it, and reduces fear of buying an unpopular product. This ties in closely to branding.

    Consumers trust brands that are popular, the simple reasoning being: if the brand produced terrible goods, it would certainly not be popular, would it? It’s that mentality that we are banking on when it comes to Sold Counters, as seen in the image below.

    Product Sold Counter


    Another way to appeal to Social Proof shoppers is to include product reviews. This isn’t a new concept when it comes to online businesses. Everybody does it:

    Business Social Proof


    The above is an example of a business page providing Social Proof in the form of a client testimonial. For online retail shops, ratings & reviews on specific products are the way to go:

    Rating System


    reviewsys


    The tricky part is actually getting customers to evaluate purchases. There are two ways to go about this: either irritate & anger customers, or please & delight us. I’m sure we’d all agree the latter is desirable. From the second customers enter our store, till the one they receive a purchase, the experience has to be a positive one. (Once again, shopping cart builders should rightly have these basic functions)

    Customers that have a positive shopping experience are likely to give your business a glowing review TOGETHER with the product review. There is no harm in requesting a review from customers either, most of us are happy to provide goodwill for nothing when we are pleased with an experience. A gentle pop-up is sufficient, even if it only results in a rating, which is better than nothing!

    Social Proof is useful for every kind of shopper out there, from the Product Focused, Browsers, One-Time Buyers, and even Bargain Hunters, hence it is important to get it right.

    Bargain Hunters are similar to Browsers, in that they are browsing online stores, only these customers are always looking for the best deal available. Ignoring this need will ensure a significant loss of potential sales. Every business has promotions to drive sales figures, we can take full advantage of this by having a dedicated section for promotional items, whether they are discounts, free items, promo codes, or referral bonuses.

    Bargain Hunter Promo


    Bargain Hunter Promo 2


    This online business selling wine, has great offers for Bargain Hunters:

    1. New Customer Discount
    2. Biggest Savings Section
    3. Clearance Sale Section

    By enticing Bargain Hunters with a sign up offer, we are ensuring such customers become part of the fold, and by catering so well to such needs, we further ensure the return to our stores. Here we see two sections catering fully to this segment, titled GREAT DEALS. The best bit is the ability to sort by savings!

    Every online store has to start somewhere, and not every business owner has the immediate resources to cater to each & every need. However these are the few most common needs that don’t take great effort to be met, and represent a large chunk of the consumer pie. Serving these segments well will ensure a larger user-base & greater sales figures. Neglecting them will ensure loss of potential profits.

    As always, we welcome comments & suggestions, help us all learn to better serve our markets by providing ideas or success stories/examples! Have a great day!

     

  • Build Your Store
  • 5 Ways To Save Money On Your Ecommerce Business

    No matter whether you’re a first time merchant who’s just starting an online store or a seasoned seller that’s currently running your own successful online business, saving money should be a priority.

    Here are 5 ways to save money on your ecommerce business that every seller should consider :

    Use FREE Email Accounts

    While many email providers offer free email accounts for personal use, it’s better to use a proper business email account to portray a more professional image when communicating with customers.

    Zohomail offers up to 25 FREE email accounts per domain which is plenty for your expanding ecommerce business. Here’s a look at their pricing :

    ZohoMail Pricing

    Google Apps used to be free when it was first launched by Google but if you’re planning to use them, here’s a look at their pricing :

    Google Apps Pricing

    At $5 per user per month, you’re looking at paying $60 per year per user if you go on a monthly basis.

    Now if you had 10 email accounts with Google Apps, that’s going to cost you $600 per year plus tax just for email accounts!

    My advice? Go for Zohomail first and once you’ve fully utilized your email account usage, you can consider going for their paid package. They’re ad-free too.

    Oh, when I say free email accounts, I meant those that are FREE without any other hidden conditions.

    Not free for the first 3, 6 or 12 months and then you have to pay for the following year. Certainly not those that come with a tonne of distracting ads.

    Create Your Own Logo And Customize Your Own Templates

    Every dollar counts for startups. You don’t have to spend hundreds or thousands on a logo design or custom template when you’re just starting out on a limited budget.

    Your site can still look good provided you have GOOD product images.

    All you need is a white background, good lighting and an exceptional camera (most mobile phones have a good camera).

    There are a few ways to create your own logo design :

    – create your logo as a text logo by using a font of your choice
    – sketch out your logo and use FREE image editing sites like Pixlr to create it

    Pixlr
    – utilize the style font that’s available on free templates by changing it to your brand name

    If you don’t have the time, creativity, patience or sanity for any of this, you could get a professional logo design created for only $69.97 with unlimited revisions and a money back guarantee from our partners at Logo-Design-Studio.com

    They’ll provide you with the digital files without any additional cost once your logo is confirmed and will even help you upload it to your site on InstanteStore if you need them to.

    Our free templates are completely customizable so you can make some changes on the color and layout of your store on your own.

    However, if you’re unsure on how to do it, you can describe what you need done and our friendly tech support team will be able to guide you on how to make the changes.

    Before you contact tech support, please have a clear idea on what you want and list it down as accurately as possible to avoid a waste of time answering questions back and forth.

    Our new InstanteStore App Support Ticket feature improves communication by allowing merchants to send our tech team images, video, voice recordings and text. Please make use of that.

    Cut Down On Transaction Costs

    Many payment gateways may charge setup fees on top of monthly fees and transaction fees for every order processed.

    If you’re only targeting domestic customers, consider accepting online bank transfer, checks, cash or ATM deposit as offline payment methods.

    If you’re just starting out, stick with the most popular payment gateways like PayPal as they’re internationally recognized and will only charge you when a transaction is received so you won’t be burdened by huge setup fees or monthly fees.

    PayPal

    If you already have a running store with frequent orders, then you can compare and check with some of the payment gateways to see if they can give you a better offer or change package to one that will give you a better bang for your buck.

    The idea is to minimize the amount of fees that you’ll have to pay.

    Fine Tune Your Shipping

    Customers don’t like to pay high shipping fees. Better still if they can get free shipping.

    But on your end, one of the ways that you can help your customers save money is by lowering the shipping cost for them.

    And you can do so by fine tuning your shipping calculations.

    This will require some preparation on your end as you’ll need to measure your product weight, dimensions and packaging details to calculate the postage cost as accurately as possible if you’re setting manual shipping rates.

    Our ecommerce solutions is integrated with USPS, UPS, Fedex and Australia Post, so you’ll also be able to offer real time carrier rates to your customers.

    Think of the best way to save cost for them.

    Being cost effective with your shipping will help you and your customers save money in the long run.

    Be careful that you don’t end up with a loss on shipping charges.

    Watch Out For Chargebacks

    Chargeback are a real pain as sellers will have to pay a fine if the buyer wins.

    It happens when a customer raises a dispute on a charge on their credit card.

    Credit Cards

    While some chargebacks are legitimate, others could be a result of unscrupulous buyers wanting to take advantage of sellers.

    The usual would claim that they did not receive the product or was mislead when they bought the product or service that was not as described on the site.

    One of the ways to prevent chargebacks is to accurately describe your products with proper product images, description, pricing and information on your site.

    You’ll also need to prove that you’ve sent out the products to your customers by using tracking and documenting everything from order confirmation to invoices to packing slips and delivery confirmation.

    If you’re offering a service, you’ll need to show proof that you’ve provided the service after payment was made to counter the dispute.

    In Short

    While these are just some of the ways for a new online business to save money, it will at least help to stretch your budget a bit further.

    And if you’re at a loss on how to get it done, you can always contact us as we want to help you save cost and grow your business.

    While we can’t offer you the whole farm for free, we can provide you with advice and guidance to help you along the way.

    Let us know if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback as we work on making our ecommerce software better to add value to your online business.

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  • Build Your Store
  • How To Setup An Online Store With InstanteStore

    To be honest, setting up an online store doesn’t really take much time.

    It’s the preparation BEFORE the setup process that you need to think through and work on which will ensure that everything gets built properly.

    Otherwise, a lot of people won’t be able to complete creating an online store.

    Here’s the important to-do list to help you get an idea on what needs to be prepared and how to setup your online store with InstanteStore which will save you time.

    Get Your Product Info Ready

    This will consist of your Product Name, Price, Description, Images, Product Weight (for shipping calculation), Product Options (for products that require options like color, size, etc), Stock Count (in case you keep inventory).

    If you’re planning on selling downloadable or digital products, you’ll need to get the files ready.

    Here’s a look at the Add Products page which you’ll need to fill up with your product details :

    InstanteStore Add Product Page

    Need a bit more info on how to Add Product Images and Advanced Product Setting? Please click here.

    If you have a lot of products, please group them into categories. This will prevent your online store from looking like a mess when you build it.

    Those who are planning on selling only a few products don’t need to create any categories if all your products can be displayed on the front page.

    When I say a few, I mean 20 products or less.

    To see what your store looks like in public, click View Store.

    To Add Product in View Store, just click New Product.

    To have a look at all the products you’ve added, go to Admin page, click Manage Products (top blue nav bar).

    If you’re planning on selling more than 100 products and would like to Bulk Upload instead of adding them one by one, please prepare a product file.

    You’ll need to get all your product images ready and have their names stated correctly in your product file.

    Don’t worry if you don’t know how to bulk upload your file. Our friendly tech support can provide you with a sample file format to follow and walk you through the process if you’re not sure how.

    Which Payment Method To Use?

    Which payment gateway do you want to use to accept payment from customers?

    Have you done your research to compare the different payment gateways along with the rates and transaction fees that they charge?

    These are some of the popular payment methods that merchants normally use :

    InstanteStore Add Payment Method

    Are you also planning on using offline methods like accepting checks, money order, Cash On Delivery, etc?

    Some of the Offline Payment Methods that you can consider :

    InstanteStore Offline Payment Methods

    Our ecommerce solution allow merchants to use BOTH online and offline payment methods to receive payment from customers.

    For online payment gateways, you’ll need to set up your account with them FIRST and then key in your account details in InstanteStore to link your account.

    For your info, InstanteStore does not charge any transaction fees. Whatever you make goes to you.

    To set up Payment, go to Admin Menu > Settings > Payment & Shipping > Payment.

    Our shopping cart software is integrated with more than 80 payment gateways to service merchants internationally. Here’s the list.

    Planning Your Shipping Method

    Are you planning to ship domestically or internationally?

    Will you be using real time shipping rates or charging postage based on weight or order value or number of products?

    Are you going to offer free shipping?

    Will you be shipping from one location only or from multiple locations? You’ll need to be clear about these options in order to setup shipping.

    Here’s how to configure shipping in InstanteStore which you can read here.

    To configure Shipping, go to Admin Menu > Settings > Payment & Shipping > Shipping.

    If you’re not sure how to set up your shipping, don’t panic. Contact our tech support and let them know so they can guide you on how to set it up.

    Decide Which Template To Use

    You can pick the template of your choice by going to Admin Menu > Design & Content > Templates > Customize Templates

    InstanteStore Template

    See a template you like? Click Use ONLY This Template.

    The other button called Add To Split Test is for the InstanteStore Template Split Test feature. More info on that here or you can click on the video button below the question mark to find out more about it.

    All the templates are free and customizable. If you need to make changes to the template, just use the Template Editor (View Store > Template).

    InstanteStore Edit Template

    Those who are more technical can access the CSS (top right corner) to make more changes to their store template.

    However, if you want a custom designed template, InstanteStore can accommodate that to help you with your business branding. Custom designed templates start from $797.

    Please let tech support know along with any other custom feature that you would like for your store so they can advise a competitive quote together.

    Do You Have A Store Logo?

    If you already have a company logo design, you can upload it to your store.

    During the free trial, just End Tour, click on View Store (on the top blue nav bar) > Template.

    In the Template Editor, right mouse click on your logo to upload it.

    InstanteStore Template Editor Logo

    Large logos will need to be re-sized so that it’s able to display properly in the template of your choice.

    Don’t worry if you don’t know how to get a logo re-sized. You can use Pixlr or contact tech support and send them your logo file.

    If you don’t have a logo but need help creating one, go to Logo-Design-Studio.com and they can have one created for you.

    Have You Thought About Your Domain?

    Rule of thumb when picking a domain is to keep it short and easy to remember.

    Think about keying in your domain name on a mobile and you’ll get what I mean. The longer and more complex the domain name, the harder it is for someone to remember much less type it out on their mobile.

    Have a list of domain names and narrow it down. You can easily purchase the domain from domain registrars or ask InstanteStore to purchase on your behalf if you require our services for online store setup services.

    You can only add in your domain to your store AFTER you sign up proper.

    This is usually the last step once your store has been set up, tested and is ready to go live.

    Setting Up Your Email Accounts

    While some may prefer to use their own personal email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc), those who want their email accounts to reflect their business can consider Google Apps (chargeable per month) or ZohoMail (free).

    Zohomail

    Email accounts can be set up once your domain is registered with a ready site.

    That’s because part of the email setup process requires domain verification by the email provider.

    Please decide how many email accounts you require and what are their details (account name, password, email account) if you require our tech support to help you set up either Google Apps or ZohoMail.

    If you prefer to use Google Apps, you’ll need to pay for the subscription with Google separately.

    Google Apps Pricing

    Again, don’t worry as InstanteStore can help you set up these email accounts unless you’re planning on using your own personal email accounts.

    The Setup Process

    Creating an online store with InstanteStore is easy.

    New merchants who sign up for the free trial don’t have to worry as they’ll be guided by a tour.

    And in case you really don’t know what to do at the tour stage, a popup window will appear asking if you need any help.

    That’s where you can reach our friendly tech support team and they’ll be in touch to guide you through the setup process.

    InstanteStore Pop Up Help

    The tour covers 4 main areas that needs to be completed :

    – Add Products, Add Payment Method, Configure Shipping Method and Signup.

    The entire setup process won’t take you long to complete PROVIDED you’ve got ALL your information ready.

    It’s then just a matter of adding your products, putting them in the right category, adding your payment method and configuring your shipping.

    Then you run a few tests on your online store by pretending to be a customer to make sure everything is correct.

    Once you’re satisfied with your online store, please purchase your domain and request your domain provider to point your domain to our DNS Servers :

    Primary DNS:    ns.esolved.com
    Secondary DNS:    ns2.esolved.com

    After you sign up proper with InstanteStore, just go to Admin Menu > Settings > Administrator > Manage Domains to key in your domain and have it verified.

    If you need us to help you set up email accounts with ZohoMail or Google Apps, please contact our tech support by providing them the email account details.

    You can reach tech support by clicking on Help (top blue nav bar) > Support Ticket.

    That’s how you setup an online store with InstanteStore.

    If you run into any problems or have questions, suggestions or feedback, please let us know and we’ll be more than happy to help you.

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  • Affiliate Marketing
  • InstanteStore Partnership With iPay88 Will Benefit Malaysian Merchants

    Malaysian merchants who are planning to start an online business will be pleased to know that InstanteStore is integrated with iPay88 which is one of South East Asia’s leading payment gateway.

    InstanteStore is able to help local merchants who are starting a new business with an online store setup.

    Depending on what merchants require, we can custom design the template to fit the look and branding of a business.

    This saves merchants’ time as some prefer to have our ecommerce web designers set up their site’s design for them.

    Those who wish to find out more on how to set up an online store or who have questions on what they need to prepare beforehand can drop us an email and we’ll be happy to walk them through the process.

    Now every online store will need to have a payment gateway to accept payment from customers.

    Our partnership with iPay88 will help local Malaysian merchants who are keen on starting an ecommerce business.

    Malaysian merchants can consider the following plans that are being offered by iPay88 :

    SOHO Plan (Small Office Home Office)
    One Time Setup Cost : RM488 + 6% GST (WAIVED wef 19th July 2016)
    Yearly Maintenance Fee : None
    Able to accept local online banking and PayPal (Optional)
    Pay One Time Credit Card Processing Fee if wish to accept credit card payment
    One Time Credit Card Processing Fee (Optional) : RM900 + 6% GST
    Transaction Rate :
    Local Online Banking : 3.5% or minimum RM0.60 (whichever is higher) + 6% GST
    PayPal : 3.2% + 6% GST
    Credit Card : 3.5% + 6% GST

    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM517.28 for online banking & PayPal (WAIVED wef 19th July 2016) OR
    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM954 for online banking, PayPal & credit card processing

    SME Plan (Small Medium Enterprise)
    One Time Setup Cost : RM488 + 6% GST
    Yearly Maintenance Fee : RM500 + 6% GST
    Able to accept local online banking and PayPal (Optional)
    Pay One Time Credit Card Processing Fee if wish to accept credit card payment
    One Time Credit Card Processing Fee (Optional) : RM900 + 6% GST
    Transaction Rate :
    Local Online Banking : 2.9% or minimum RM0.60 (whichever is higher) + 6% GST
    PayPal : 3.2% + 6% GST
    Credit Card : 2.9% + 6% GST

    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM1047.28 for online banking & PayPal OR
    Pay Total One Time ONLY RM2001.28 for online banking, PayPal & credit card processing
    Pay YEARLY Maintenance Fee of RM500 + 6% GST

    Note :

    Merchants have the option to activate PayPal for both plans with no additional setup fee.
    Both plans offered by iPay88 are only for Malaysian merchants whose businesses are registered in Malaysia.
    Local online banking covers only Malaysian local banks with the exception of United Overseas Bank (UOB).
    Credit card processing covers all local and international credit cards that have a MasterCard or Visa logo.
    Merchants who wish to accept American Express must have a merchant ID with Maybank.

    Currently, SME Corp under the Malaysian government is encouraging local Malaysian merchants to set up ecommerce businesses.

    Hence they have an agreement with iPay88 to help subsidize the setup fee of RM488 for new Malaysian merchants who meet the following criteria :

    Terms and Conditions to qualify for SME Corp Promotion (subsidy waiver of setup cost RM488) :
    – Yearly turnover less than RM50 million
    – Number of employees less than 200 pax
    – Company paid up capital less than RM100,000
    – First time apply payment facility under SME Corp Promotion
    – Website must be up and running

    The SME Corp Promotion is applicable for both the SOHO and SME Plan.

    Merchant need to sign up for either plan first exclude setup fee payment of RM488.

    iPay88 will apply on behalf of merchant to SME Corp and will inform merchant whether their application has been approved or rejected by SME Corp.

    If the application is rejected by SME Corp, merchant will have to pay the setup cost of RM488 + 6% GST

    New iPay88 application by merchants will take around 3 – 5 working days to process.

    Once approved, merchants can start doing business.

    However, application for credit card processing for new merchants may take 1 – 2 months for approval.

    Don’t worry as iPay88 will offer assistance throughout the application process with the bank.

    Malaysian merchants who need help creating an online store and setting up an iPay88 payment account could contact us.

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  • Build Your Store
  • How To Arrange Your Payment Method Sequence In InstanteStore

    Hello everyone! We’ve been getting positive feedback for our new InstanteStore Revamped Checkout that the team recently rolled out. Many of you have requested for the Revamped Checkout to be activated for your store (woo-hoo!).

    Did you know that you could also arrange the sequence of your payment methods? For stores who have more than one payment method, arranging the sequence or order on how you want your payment methods to appear at the checkout page is really simple.

    Just go to Admin > Settings > Payment & Shipping Settings > Payment.

    InstanteStore Payment Gateway Sequence

    All you need to do is to hover your cursor over your payment method, drag and drop them  according to the sequence on how you would like them to appear in your checkout.

    InstanteStore Payment Gateway Sequence Order

    Once satisfied, just click Save Payment Method Order and remember to Publish your store.

    That’s it! The new payment method sequence will then appear in your checkout page.

    One Page Checkout Payment Method Sequence

    We welcome more feedback, suggestions and comments from your end on how we can help you improve your selling process and thank you for all the positive feedback that you’ve been giving to the team. Have a good one!

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • InstanteStore Partners With Retaily To Help Merchants Sell More

    InstanteStore has been helping merchants sell online for the past 14 years. Many of the shopping cart features that InstanteStore offer are to help complement their merchants’ online business.  They understand that there’s a need to help small and medium sized businesses sell more and have partnered with Retaily to do so.

    Retaily is a dynamic retargeting service that aims to help small and medium sized businesses reach visitors. Many online business realize that visitors who land on their site often leave without buying anything. These visitors are the ones that business owners should be targeting since they have shown interest in their products or services when visiting their site.

    If you had a choice, wouldn’t you rather reach someone who knows and have shown some form of interest in your brand, products and services?

    The statistics are quite bleak that with every 100 visitor that comes, 99 leave without buying anything. And these are considered lost prospects forever with no way to reach them if they did not leave any contact details behind.

    Retaily Tagline

    Retaily can change that. It’s able to measure the heat wave of visitors to determine their intention when they land on a site. Whether the customer was interested in a particular product or have added it to the cart without completing the purchase, Retaily is smart enough to show the right message back to that visitor once they leave the site. These come in the form of dynamic ads which will be shown when the visitor browse popular sites.

    InstanteStore merchants get to determine the type of discount or even offer free shipping to specific visitors. Compared to other retargeting service provider which normally shows generic ads to every visitor, Retaily is smart enough to determine whether the visitor was just browsing or have a genuine interest in the product based on the heat value that it detects.

    It will then offer the right ads based on that data to the right person at the right time with the right price.

    InstanteStore merchants can now use Retaily for FREE until 31st July 2015 by going to http://retai.ly/ as setting up takes just a few clicks. If you have any questions about Retaily, please send your email to questions@esolved.com

    Here’s a short video on how Retaily works :

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Smart Card Technology Heats Up Payments Industry

    There’s one thing that we really love about technology is the fact that it’s supposed to make things better, faster and easier for everyone to get things done. The payments industry is heating up with two new smart card technology players that are offering consumers the convenience of storing all their cards in one single device. Say goodbye to bulky wallets where one used to keep all their credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, gift cards and even access cards. That’s a lot of cards!

    The first was Coin when it launched its idea in late 2013 of a single card device that is able to store consumers’ credit cards allowing them to pick which card to use when paying by pressing on a button. Bear in mind that it can store only up to 8 cards on the device and does not support chip and pin technology yet. Here’s the video on how Coin works :

    It’s currently undergoing beta testing now before their full launch in 2015.

    Plastc.com

    The other smart card technology player is Plastc which functions the same way if not better allowing you to store up to 20 cards on your Plastc card. You can store unlimited cards on your Plastc Wallet which is an app that comes together with the card. Here’s a rundown on how Plastc works :

    Both are aiming to get some market share in the payments industry when they fully launch their products by 2015. Consumers should be well aware that both devices require the use of a smartphone as a security measure. The app will prompt you when you make a payment or if you accidentally leave your Coin or Plastc behind after paying.

    Smart but what if your smartphone runs out of juice? Hmm.. looks like they’ll have to keep working on their prototypes. Looks cool though and is a great idea to help cut down the cards that you carry in your wallet. But consumers may be a bit wary of paying $100 – $155  to own one of these devices. Did I mention that both devices need recharging? Well folks, check both of them out and see how they can simplify your life.

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • Add Value To Your Customers’ Online Shopping Experience

    Selling at times is quite an art. You need a combination of getting the ‘desire effect’ right. Look at how Apple did it. Their products are more expensive but whenever there’s any product launch (or even a hint of it), everyone goes a bit nuts. Then comes the sales.

    But let’s get down to reality here. Not all businesses are like Apple. Normal folks who are just setting up a small online store to sell products need to offer something more to their customers.

    Other than the usual buy 2 and get 1 free or free shipping thrown in, one of the best ways would be to add some value to your customers. Depending on what type of product that you are selling, your online store should not only be about your products. It should have a mixture of tips, advice and relevant information to help your customers. Or it could even be a good place for people to visit to get relevant, useful and informative tips and advice. This will help your store’s SEO if you get a lot of natural traffic coming in.

    Keep It Simple And Straight To The Point

    And to make sure that all those wonderful advice and information does not get too mundane or boring, please remember to keep it concise, easy to understand and throw in a few good images and short videos. For example, if you’re selling gym equipment, you’d offer good tips on how to work out with the relevant gym products that you are selling. Also throw in helpful tips on how to loose weight or build muscle mass along with the right way to go about training your body. Add in a training calendar or point to relevant helpful apps that are available.

    Add In Sizing And Measurement Tables

    If you happen to be selling clothing, have a measurement table or schedule for easy access so that international customers could quickly find their size equivalent. Offer them tips on how to care for their clothing or which type and color of clothing is best suited for which body shape. Your customers will appreciate your advice. You could also throw in some natural tips on how to care for your skin and body texture. (Tip : Soak away your stress with Epsom salt and enjoy smooth skin)

    Offer Wise Advice, Creative Tips And Problem-Solving Solutions

    Selling toys for children? No problem. Offer some wise parental advice for parents. Not only about how to play with their kids but on helping to engage their children to help them grow intellectually along with behavior management. Sounds quite a mouthful huh? Start a small forum where parents could come together to help discuss about some of the challenges that they face as parents and where they could get good and helpful advice.

    Electronic gadgets? Offer tips on prolonging the battery life or in taking care of the product.

    Selling shoes? How to avoid nasty corns and callouses. Tips to pamper your feet without costing you a bomb. The size of your feet should fit comfortably with which size to avoid buying the wrong size?

    Food stuff? Offer recipes and creative ways to cook. Come up with a creative dish. What would go well with your product?

    Bags, wallets, accessories. How to best care for your products. What kind of cleaning agent to use or not to use.

    The list and possibilities are endless. Be creative. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and think about what will actually add value to them when they come to have a look at your products.

    Don’t forget to put these up on your store’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. They make good content for your newsletters and flyers that you email out to your customers.

    Happy selling and sharing! And to all our customers out there who are looking forward to the Lunar New Year, enjoy this season celebrating with your family and friends.

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Offer Clear Communication And Proactive Solutions To Retain Customers

    Polar bearEver wondered what’s actually going through your customers’ mind when they visit your web store and decided to buy from you? Maybe as a seller, we tend to think we know what our customers want and have tried our level best to offer them what we think they are looking for. I never knew how frustrated I could get with online stores until I started buying online from some of them. Let me just relate some of my experiences to you. I won’t mention any store names here.

    Shipping Took Ages

    Bought a plastic product. Shipping was supposed to take only 2 weeks (maximum time frame). When did the actual product arrived? Nearly one and a half months later! It probably went for a tour around the continent. What got me frustrated was the fact that I did not know where my stuff was because the seller forgot to put any tracking on it (even after I had requested for tracking). Ever come across this situation? I hope that most of you who are selling products offer your customers the option to add tracking to their products (if you haven’t done so) and to show clearly how much tracking will cost. That will at least put them at peace so they will know where their items are.

    Wrong Item Sent

    Second scenario, bought a pair of shoes. Image and description clearly shows what the item was. Paid for it. Took a month to arrive (again, maximum time frame was only supposed to be 2 weeks). Reason for the delay? Seller took their own sweet time to approve the order. And even after approving the order, for some mysterious reason they again took their own sweet time to ship out the items. Emails went unanswered for several days. There was also no tracking provided even after I had requested for it in the initial stage. Did I receive the actual product as shown and described on their website. Nope. Different product. By then I was too frustrated to even bother contacting them any more about it.

    Don’t Want International Business?

    Here’s a third scenario. Wanted to buy some hardware products online from a reputable hardware company. Selected the items, placed the order and paid for the stuff. Automated email came back showing confirmation of order. Few days went by and was wondering when I would get my stuff. Contacted the company and guess what? The order was not processed as the payment was pending. Now why would the payment be pending? No one knew. A few more phone calls and finally someone in the customer service did some checking and came back saying that the order could not be processed because they could not accept payment from international credit cards. Mind you this was 3 days after I had made the purchase online. This got me thinking. For a huge reputable company that does not accept international credit cards and did nothing about it until the customer had to keep calling to find out where their stuff was is rather…appalling.

    Customer Service Needs Improving With Proactive Solutions

    Would I buy from these sellers again? The answer would be a definite ‘no’ if I can help it. Customer service was clearly not their priority. I hope that those of you who are selling make the time to engage your customers and find out what they like and dislike when it comes to buying stuff from your stores. Because it’s experiences like these that put customers off from wanting to buy from online businesses.

    The least these online businesses could have done would be to let customers know what was going on and be more proactive in engaging their clients. If you don’t accept international credit cards, just put it up clearly (it’s like saying you don’t want any international business). And being a little proactive to contact the customer and letting them know the status would have gone a long way rather than to have customers come chasing wondering where their purchases are only to be told that nothing was done. There was no proactive alternate suggestions to solve the problem which resulted in future loss business.

    Credit : econsultancy.com

    Remember to make it a point to proactively contact your customers and offer alternate solutions to help them do business with you. While InstanteStore has an abandoned cart feature which will show you a list of customers who did not complete the checkout transaction, it’s up to store owners to engage customers.

    Communicate clearly with your clients. Offer them alternate solutions. The market is huge. If you can meet what customers are looking for in terms of product and service, the sky’s the limit. Let me end on a positive note. I came across a few online sellers once who mention that they ship only within the States. A few short emails to them and they were more than happy to do international shipping and I got my products. Be open to what your customers are looking for. Service them well and they will definitely recommend you to their friends. Happy selling!

     

     

     

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • InstanteStore Partners With Payza, Award Winning International Online Payment Platform

    Payza Logo

    InstanteStore continues to grow its partner list of payment processors by integrating with Payza, an award winning international online payment platform. Payza has over 9 million members and services 197 countries in 21 different currencies. The company recently acquired AlertPay which was another payment provider that InstanteStore had integrated into their ecommerce solution.

    The partnership will benefit more merchants and customers internationally for both InstanteStore and Payza.

    Payza specializes in ecommerce processing, corporate disbursement and remittances for individuals and businesses around the world. Their e-wallet platform provides members around the world with the convenience and flexibility in both loading and withdrawal options in terms of localized bank transfers, sending global bank wires, credit and debit cards, checks and prepaid cards among others.

    On top of that, Payza also offers foreign exchange services, fraud screening services, email invoicing, mass and single remittances and business management tools. Under-serviced and emerging markets will be able to use the company’s affordable and convenient way to receive international payments and boost their local economies in the global market place.

    Payza is a wholly owned subsidiary of MH Pillars Ltd. of London, England. The company has regional offices in New York (USA), Mumbai (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Solna (Sweden). Their operational center is located in Montreal, Canada and the company has an office in Moscow (Russia) called Laleham Capital Ltd. Payza’s headquarters is located in London, England.

    Payza Global Online Payment Platform

     

     

     

     

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Build Your Own Online Store With Proper Planning

    Too Beautiful to Eat?Building your own online store may be easy for some people but for the majority who are not so techno-savy, they will need all the help they can get. Before you jump on the bandwagon to start your own online business, here are a few things that you will need to consider.

    Have You Listed Down Your Business Plan?

    Obviously starting an online store based on a few napkin scribbles isn’t going to cut it anymore. BASIC items that you need to consider in your business plan would include your online store’s name, type of products that you wish to sell, pricing, shipping costs and payment gateway providers to use. Are you going to sell only within your country or offer to international customers? I can tell you honestly, most people will fail for lack of proper planning and execution. So please take the time to plan things out properly. For those who have gotten your plan together, here’s how easy it is to set up or build your online store. Watch the video below :

    What About Market Research?

    Is there a demand for the type of products that you wish to sell? And if there is, what makes your products better than those offered by your competitors? Are you going to do your own branding? If you’re getting your products directly from a drop shipper or supplier, how would you be able to market your products differently to appeal to certain groups that you’re targeting? And of course, there’s the keyword research which many people do not know how to do when it comes to SEO. Make sure you make the time to learn up some SEO so that you could have your store’s site optimized correctly. Are you also targeting a niche market?

    Your Store Needs To Look Good

    Please select the template that will best match the type of products that you are selling. Don’t be in a rush to build your own online store without taking into consideration the customer experience. If customers do land on your site, will they stay long enough to look through your store? Your site will need to capture their ATTENTION and INTEREST long enough for them to browse through your stuff.

    Social Media Setup

    Every business should have a social media outreach. Make sure you create a Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest account and have these ready to link to your store. Many businesses use social media to get the word out quickly about product launches, sales and to interact with their customers. You could also sell on Facebook with InstanteStore’s Social Shop. Here’s a quick video on how to set up it up :

    Mobile Commerce

    More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to surf and make online purchases while on the go. Make sure that your online store is mobile optimized so that customers could shop online easily with their mobile gadgets. Not sure how to get that done? The video below shows how easy it is :

    Don’t be afraid to utilize our 30 days free trial to build your online store. If you have any questions on setting up your online store, we’re here to help. Drop us an email or send us a ticket.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Opening Ceremony Of The London 2012 Olympics And Your Online Business

    Olympic CupcakeThe Olympics is finally here! And what a fun opening ceremony it was with the ‘Queen’ parachuting down from a helicopter with ‘James Bond’ to a crowded stadium. The Brits sure knew how to have some creative fun when it comes to hosting an international event like the Olympics. For the next 2 weeks, all eyes will be on the various events to see which individual or team will capture the gold and glory for their respective countries. Not to mention the world records that will be smashed by a new generation of sportsmen and sportswomen who have trained hard for this moment in time.

    There’s something about sports transcending all barriers, culture and language that everyone understands. As long as you play by the rules and compete fairly, you won’t end up disgracing your team and country. Which actually made me ponder on the way we do business as well. While the athletes trained hard and put in tonnes of focused effort, those of us who are in business will also need to do our part.

    For instance, setting up your online store may be a piece of cake but maintaining a sustainable business is a whole new ball game. Just like the athletes have their own strategy to win, business owners will need to have a workable business plan to succeed. Now a plan will only remain a plan if you don’t put it into action. Don’t expect traffic to come flying to you if you did not spend the time to do research on keywords and work on your site’s content. You will also need to make sure you have an active social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc) along with video-sharing sites. If you need help on that, just drop us an email and we’ll try to help you.

    With the recent Google Panda shake up (Google put up yet another update –  3.9 – last week), many sites have been widely affected in terms of rankings. While some sites may have gone up in ranking, others totally went south. In more serious cases, some sites may have ended up being de-indexed by Google (what that means is that you could no longer locate that website or URL at all when searching for it). If your site got hit pretty bad by the recent Panda updates and you’re not sure whether it got de-indexed or not, just perform this simple test.

    Go to Google.com and type in your website name in the search box as shown below and hit enter :

    site:yourwebsite.com

    If your site got de-indexed, there will be no search results at all. If it’s still there, Google will display all the search results pertaining to your site (and you can breathe a sigh of relief!). Now if your site got penalized quite badly by Google, you may need to take a step back and have an overall look at what went horribly wrong so that you could stop doing it and start working on what Google is looking for to get your rankings back up.

    However, if you’re facing trouble getting any sales, you may need to see whether your business site is getting any traffic or not. Because if no one is visiting your site, then who is going to end up buying from you? If you’re getting traffic but not getting any sales, then you might want to have a look at why your site is not able to convert.

    In order to improve, you need to know where things have gone wrong in order to have it fixed. Just like how these Olympic athletes have coaches to help them to improve, we’re here to help you get on the right track to succeed.

    Drop us an email if  you have any questions pertaining to our ecommerce solution or if you just need some advice on how to get your business running. Till then, enjoy watching your favorite  Olympic events during this 2 weeks. Here’s a video I found that will encourage you on.

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Lessons We Can Learn from Roger Federer’s Wimbledon 2012 Win!

    This year has been a year full of sporting events especially in these summer months. It started with the French Open in late May, followed by Euro 2012 and then Wimbledon, Le Tour De France (happening now!) and the Olympics in London at the end of the month which everyone is looking forward to! If you’re a sports enthusiast like me, I guess you will practically be glued in front of the tube catching the events and cheering for your fellow countrymen.

    But what I really want to talk about is Roger Federer’s win at Wimbledon last Sunday. You may be wondering what has his win got anything to do with business or eCommerce for that matter? There is quite a few lessons that we can learn from the Swiss master’s win actually. As I was sitting there watching the match cheering RF on (sorry Brit fans!), all these thoughts just came to mind and I just wanted to share with all of you here.

    Lesson #1: It’s easier to go from 16 to 17 than from 0 to 1

    It definitely seems to be the case! Roger has already collected 16 Gram Slam titles making him one of tennis’s greatest player so far and he just added another trophy to his cabinet. All Andy Murray was hoping for was to win his FIRST ever Grand Slam title and yet he’s been denied once again. He’s been in 4 Grand Slam finals and he’s been denied all 4 times!

    So what exactly does that mean? In business sense, I am linking it up to how hard it is to make your FIRST sale on your eCommerce store. When you have made your 100th sale, it’s easy for you to add on to that number and go on to make your 110th sale etc because you already have an upper hand of making a sale before and have the confidence that you can make it! However if you’re just starting out and waiting for your first sale and somehow it just doesn’t seem to come, you will start to doubt yourself and wonder if you can make it work. It will happen but you will need to plan and strategize, which leads me to my next point.

    Lesson #2: Plan and Strategize To Get Where You Want To Be

    We all know that Roger Federer didn’t become one of greatest player of all time just playing his game the same way. He’s a very intelligent player on court and changes his strategy as the game progresses. It’s the same with our business, especially online business where we can very easily make a change and see the difference sometimes almost immediately! That’s the beauty about having an online business. You may have this grandeur idea before starting out your website – how you want the site to look, what you think your customers want and what kind of pricing they are looking at etc. However, the moment you launched your site, there are a lot more elements and circumstances that come into play. Tweak as you go along!

    You will need to study the website statistics to see if there are visitors to your store. If there are, are they putting anything to their cart? If yes, then why aren’t they checking out? What items are frequently being added to the cart and yet still no one is completing the check out? By asking yourself all those questions, you can then start to promote the product that is frequently added to cart more prominently, perhaps have some kind of deal (free shipping or voucher for your next purchase at your store?) for your customers to take that plunge and check out. Also with InstanteStore, we have a way for you to follow up with your customers who aborts their cart. You can view the list and send them a follow up email. It’s all automatically set up and you can just work to customize the email.

    Don’t just sit there and murmur and complain that you’re not getting a sale and yet you don’t work at the store at all! Don’ t wait for the miracle to happen, be a go-getter and make that miracle happen for yourself! Work on getting your store ranked for keywords, do research etc and you will get THERE!

    Lesson #3: Age Does Not Matter

    Both the winners of the Men and Women’s Singles at Wimbledon this year are above 30 years of age. Roger Federer will turn 31 next month. The last time he won a Grand Slam title was way back in 2010 when he won the Australian Open, again defeating Andy Murray (poor Murray!). Then he went on to lose his #1 spot to Nadal and then to Djokovic. Critics have started to say that perhaps RF is getting too old and losing his touch. Well I guess, this win proved to all the critics that he’s still got it in him to win another Grand Slam title!

    With an online business, it’s never too old to get started! Firstly, it takes way less capital to start up an online store and with sites like Doba, you can easily select and research what products you would like to sell and then just get started by having them dropship the items off for you. You do not even need to tie up your cash stocking up all the inventory. When you’ve already got a proven business model, then you can start to source for other alternatives to meet your demands. InstanteStore is fully integrated with Doba and you can very easily just select which products you want to sell and have it automatically added to your store. Online business creates a more level playing field and has a lower barrier to entry as compared to the usual brick and mortar ones. So if you still got in you, do something about achieving that dream, it’s never too old to get started!


     Lesson #4: Keep Believing In Yourself!

    This sounds really corny but it’s true! You can’t just give up at the first sign of adversity. You should do a research and plan out a good business plan with feasible products that you can sell, a good marketing strategy, the profit margin (you need this!) and be sure to stick to it and continue at it although you may need to tweak and readjust your plans as you go along the way. Before he became a tennis great, Roger Federer also did try his hands at football (soccer) and golf. However, he found his passion with tennis and stuck at it, trained really hard along with making lots of sacrifices along the way to get where he is today. This genius on the court doesn’t simply surface due to plain talent but it has to be coupled with lots sweat and hard work! He keeps believing in himself and doesn’t give up! “But I knew how close I was for the last few years, and some people didn’t quite see that maybe for different reasons. But I knew and I think the belief got me to victory.” – Roger Federer’s winning speech after winning his 7th Wimbledon title.

    Working with so many clients throughout the years, I do see many different characters. There are some that are very determined (but realistic!) and knows exactly what they want and gets there, some faster than others. Then there are those who has a rough plan and who discusses them with us and we provide them with our opinion and together we’re able to make it happen as well. And then there are still others who comes in with a grand plan and thinking that the moment they put up their domain name, visitors will come knocking and just start buying! When that does not happen, they simply just give up or start looking to sell other items instead. Treat your business like your baby – give it time to nurture. It will need to time to grow and you can’t expect a baby to start being independent at the ripe young age of 2 months! It’s the same when working on optimizing your store. You have to give it time for the search engine to index your store and get the keywords ranked and rank well.

    The key is to keep believing in yourself and don’t give up easily! Chances are, you’re closer to making that first sale than you think. But be sure to start off with a feasible business plan….

    I sure hope that this article and Roger Federer’s win will inspire more of you during these harder economic times. You can do it!

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Need Some Help With Twitter For Your Business?

    Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are a blessing in disguise for many online businesses. While some may enjoy posting updates every day, others may loathe it thinking that it takes up too much of their time.  However, if you’re still clueless on how to get things running, here’s a brief rundown on what you can do with your Twitter account for your business.

    Sign Up & Manage Different Twitter & Facebook accounts
    If you have multiple business websites, it would be wise to have a Twitter account for each business segment. Now before you moan and groan about the thought of having to maintain more than one Twitter or Facebook account, help is on the way in the form of this service called TweetDeck (www.TweetDeck.com) which will allow you to manage multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts as well as schedule tweets for posting. In short, you can see all your Twitter and Facebook accounts in one single interface so it’s easier for you to decide which accounts to post what and when.

    Customize Your Settings
    Now you wouldn’t want your Twitter account to look mundane and boring right? While there’s a range of Designs for you to choose from under Settings, it would be BETTER to have your own unique custom design created. Just like how your own business site has its own unique look and feel, so you may want to personalize your Twitter account the same way in terms of layout and design.

    Shorten & Track Your URL links With Bitly
    Just like an sms, Twitter allows limited character count in a tweet. So 140 characters per tweet is not much especially if you have a really long URL which chomps up precious character count. Bitly (www.Bitly.com) offers a free URL shortening service where you can paste any URL on their site to get a shortened version of it. Creating a free account with Bitly will enable you to track on who’s clicking your links, from which link they are coming from and the time they clicked on it. View these info easily by clicking on Stats once you’ve got your account set up and links added (they’re called Bitmarks). You could even post directly to your Twitter and Facebook account from there. By the way, the Bitly app is available for download from the App Store for FREE.

    Searching For People To Follow
    Choosing to follow the right people could result in more people following you back. Now you may be at a loss on who to follow since there are tonnes of people and businesses on Twitter. You could start by searching for people or businesses based on area (your city or nearby cities), topics and stuff that you’re interested in. If you need help looking for categories or the hottest news links to get started, you could go to www.Tweetmeme.com. Find something that is relevant to your business and what you think may interest your customers to re-tweet. Of course please add in a few personal tweets about your new products or upcoming sale with your URL. Rule of thumb – keep your tweets short, sweet and straight to the point with relevant and useful information as no one wants to receive spam tweets.

    Direct Message, Reply Or Re-tweets?
    In Twitter, you have the option of sending Direct Messages to people who are following you (like a private email). But when you hover over the tweets, replying or re-tweeting any of them is completely visible to everyone. When you re-tweet someone’s tweet, Twitter will also alert them.

    Link Your Twitter Feed
    Be sure to add a link to your Twitter page on your business website and email. Most people are familiar with Twitter’s logo so when they click on it on your site, they can instantly view your Twitter feed. For businesses that rely heavily on email communication, you could add a “Follow Me On Twitter” link at the bottom of your email.

    That’s about it. Try it out and get connected with more people and businesses out there. And to all our American friends, here’s wishing you a Happy Independence Day!

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • How’s Your Customer Service Experience?

    F18 Super Hornet with Vapor ConeEverybody wants things fast these days. We can’t seem to wait for the coffee to finish boiling. The microwave takes too long to heat up our food. We expect things to get done almost instantly. Those of us who run our own online business might really wish that customers would make their purchases quicker instead of browsing all over, finally picking the products they like … only to abandon their order right before paying! Exasperating, isn’t it? So what can you do about this?

    Besides checking your cart’s aborted orders section where you can go through the list of customers who did not complete their orders to follow up with them to try to get them to buy from your store (which we’ve covered in a previous article), professional and courteous customer service DOES go a long way towards converting customers.

    Perhaps your customer could not complete their purchase because the product they were looking for was out of stock? Maybe they couldn’t find what they were looking for at your store? Or they found another store with better pricing? Whatever the reason, sending your customers an email to get their feedback on their recent visit to your store could help you improve your business further. This applies to both customers that visited your store, but didn’t make orders, as well as customers that actually made purchases from your store. You can learn a lot about improving your store’s usability from both sets of visitors. One way to encourage feedback is to offer a discount coupon as an incentive.

    I recently made a purchase with eBags online as I needed a new bag. The old one was getting “holier” by the day and before everything I had inside came spilling out one day, I decided I’d better get a replacement bag quickly. Product pricing was REASONABLE. Service was FAST — my item arrived within a week. No FUSS on returns. How do I know that? Well, I accidentally purchased 2 bags instead of 1. Oops! So I had the extra bag returned.

    To my surprise, customer service was prompt (emails were answered within a few hours) and the company even paid for the extra bag to be returned via courier at no charge. I got a full refund on my card once the extra bag was returned. Not only that but the company offered a 20% discount on my next online purchase with them if I agreed to provide feedback on the product. Now that’s what I call service. I will definitely buy from them again because of the positive experience. I like the service and I got my stuff fast. Which is basically what every online customer out there is looking for when they choose to shop online.

    If running your online store happens to be something you do part time on top of your normal 9-to-5 job, you should either set your shopping cart to email you a notification (or use InstanteStore’s Order RSS notification if you’re more savvy) whenever an order is placed at your store. With mobile devices and wireless connections as prevalent as they are these days, you have access to these notifications anywhere, at anytime. This means that you can fulfill your customer orders almost in real-time. Orders could be packed and shipped out as soon as payment is confirmed. Remember to email each customer to inform them that their order has shipped, along with an estimated delivery date. It’s simple things like this that make the online shopping experience better.

    Remember, people want their orders delivered fast along with excellent customer service. And they also want to know where their shipment is along the way, so offering them shipment tracking will help put them at ease.

    On the lighter side, I came across this video showing how Puma managed to “speed up” their customers’ shopping experience at one of their flagship stores. The catch is simple : The faster you make your purchase, the more discounts you get on the items you are buying. Enjoy!

    (Video source : Creativity-online.com)

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Website Shopping Cart Skinny On Buying Pre-Owned Domains

    In today’s Website Shopping Cart Skinny, we look at some of the things to look out for when you are out shopping for a used domain.

    Purchasing used or pre-owned domains is slowly gaining popularity. There are certain advantages to purchasing a pre-owned domain (in addition to signing up with a secure ecommerce shopping cart) that could help you get a head start when it comes to ranking on major search engines.

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  • Secure Ecommerce Shopping Cart Product Selection Tips

    Christmas is just a few months away. It’s that time of year when people start deciding which secure ecommerce shopping cart to set up shop with. But choosing a shopping cart is just one of the many decisions that entrepreneurs have to make. Everyone wants to jump on the secure ecommerce shopping cart bandwagon but not many know what to do once they are on it.

    In previous posts, we have covered how having the services of a drop shipper can make life very easy for ecommerce newbies. But drop shippers have many diverse items in their inventories. So the question still remains, “Which product should I sell?”

    In this post we shall present a simple guide that will help you choose what products to sell. (more…)

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  • 3 Key Shopping Cart Features Not Found On Blogshops

    Blogshops have sprouted like mushrooms after the rain with more and more people seeking to make some extra cash on the side. However, for every person that buys something from a blogshop, dozens more give it a pass. Security, transition from product browsing to checkout and the general user-friendliness of a blogshop cannot compete with that of a proper shopping cart.

    In this article, we shall look at 3 key shopping cart features that are not found on blogshops that can help improve conversion rates. (more…)

  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Good Free Shopping Cart Software Trial To Do List

    There are many ecommerce solution providers out there who provide good free shopping cart software program trials. The free shopping cart software program trial duration varies from 15 to 30 days. Many, especially newbies, might find 15 days a tad too short to get the feel of a solution so if you need more time to try out all the bells and whistles, just ask for an extension; most good free shopping cart software trial providers would be more than happy to oblige.

    So now that you’ve signed up for a 30-day good free shopping cart software trial, what do you need to do? Well, try the easiest stuff first. Here are 5 things you can do in just a matter of minutes with your free shopping cart store software 30-day trial.

    (more…)

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  • Shopping Cart Software Review Of Popular Features

    As you may well know, the InstanteStore solution is packed with some really nifty features. In this article, we will do a quick shopping cart software review of some of the features that prospective merchants usually look out for before making a decision as to which shopping cart to sign up with.

    When shopping for anything, it is common practice to always try to get the best deal around. When it comes to shopping carts, the question of what is the best shopping cart software around would definitely arise. Also common is screening through shopping cart software reviews and visiting a couple of ecommerce forums along the way.

    However, some of you may have noticed that one shopping cart software review may differ drastically from another in terms of rating criteria for reasons we are not too sure of. When it comes to forums, it seems no shopping cart provider is spared from having at least one bad comment against it. But that is to be expected as no software solution is perfect (though we try!) and choosing the right ecommerce shopping cart solution is also a matter of personal preference and matching business needs to what’s provided.

    If you’ve gone through this important process yourself but are still coming up blank, why not just compare a few key features of competing software providers before making up your mind. Here are some of the usual key features…

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  • Web Hosting Shopping Cart Merchant Account Approval Tips

    If you want to run a web store then you will need a web hosting shopping cart solution and you will need a merchant account to receive credit card payments. Unfortunately for some, this may not be as easy as signing up for a web hosting shopping cart solution, due to certain reasons. In this article, we shall look briefly at the issues some people face while trying to open a merchant account and we will also see how best to overcome them.

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  • Shopping Cart Options – Let Us Help You Decide

    While browsing ecommerce forums, we’ve come across many questions from those who are interested in running their own web stores but just cannot choose a suitable solution from the multitude of available shopping cart options. Many of the “solutions” put forth by forum regulars only seem to further confuse those in need of help.

    In this post we will take a look at 3 of the most common shopping cart options that stump those who are interested in starting their own web stores.

    (more…)

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  • Thinking Of Starting Your Own Business In The UK?

    Are you thinking of starting your own business in the UK? Well, according to the numbers, now may be a good time to do so.

    In 2008, UK consumers were already spending 17% per retail pound online. Some experts predict that online shopping could make up as much as 40% of retail sales by 2020.

    Verdict, a company specializing in retail research, made a forecast that British online retail spending would more than triple to £67 billion pounds in 2020 from £21 billion in 2009. That’s quite a fair bit of money and certainly an incentive for those of you who are thinking of starting your own business in the UK.

    (more…)

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  • Start An Online Store Business Tip – Test Your Site

    Why do some online stores have higher conversion rates than others even though they don’t seem very attractive?

    One thing you have to remember if you want to start an online store business is that consumer behavior at online stores is vastly differently than at traditional offline stores. At offline stores, a consumer is already there and would have to travel elsewhere to purchase the same product at a different store, unless of course there’s another store nearby that also sells the item they are interested in. The situation differs drastically at online stores. Shoppers know that alternative stores are just a search result away. Switching stores can be a spur-of-the-moment, near-instantaneous decision.

    (more…)

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  • Start A Profitable Online Business Now

    The forecasts for ecommerce in 2010 look good. Projections indicate that ecommerce will continue to grow even if the economy hasn’t yet fully recovered from the downturn. This can be attributed to many factors but all of which point to the same conclusion: this is a good time to start a profitable online business. If you’ve got an income opportunity home based business idea, don’t just sit on it – start a profitable online business now.

    We’ve presented quite a few viable home based business ideas in previous posts. This time around, we will take a look at what we can do to take full advantage of the expected growth in ecommerce.

    (more…)

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  • The Best Shopping Cart Tips – Sourcing For Suppliers

    Most web stores do not sell their own goods. They rely on wholesalers or manufacturers for their inventory. Needless to say, some suppliers are better than others. So one of the best shopping cart tips we can give you is do your homework before choosing your supplier(s).

    There are many B2B manufacturer and supplier listing sites on the net like Alibaba.com and Tradekey.com. However, these sites only provide lists of suppliers – it is up to the buyer to carry out adequate research before any financial transactions take place.

    If you have visited these supplier listing sites, you’ll have noticed that they have suppliers that supply everything from Kevlar to cranes. The trick is to find the ones that are reliable and credible.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Cheap Shopping Cart Software vs Free Shopping Cart Store Software

    Business people are always looking to get stuff at good value. In terms of shopping carts, they prefer affordable and cheap shopping cart software, especially those who are just starting out in ecommerce. Free shopping cart store software would be even better … or would it?

    A business is an investment, and sometimes we need to spend just a little to make sure that our business is secure. We can never guarantee how our business will pan out but we need to do everything we can to make sure it has a chance of doing well. One of the ways of doing that is to sign up for a reliable as well as cheap shopping cart software solution from a reputable ecommerce solutions company (us, of course) that is feature-rich and established.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • What Online Business To Start?

    So you’ve saved up a couple thousand dollars and you’ve worked out a timetable so you have a couple of hours after work to spend time on your very own web store. Now there’s just one thing left to do – figure out what online business to start.

    Truth be told, most people usually have an idea what online business to start way before they begin saving up and getting their schedules prepared. Whatever the case though, all online merchants have to start somewhere.

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  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Starting Online Business Book Review Site

    Starting online business book review site is a good way to build a following before you start an online bookstore. Books are one of those items that sell universally, although sometimes only after a movie based on a book is released.

    But the bottom line is that books are good products to sell because of their global appeal. No matter if you are taking advantage of a UK online business opportunity or in Wisconsin starting your own business – starting online business book review site is possible from anywhere.

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  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Start Your Own Business Online Catalog Site

    So you want to start a web business but you don’t want to spend too much. Why not start your own business online catalog site? It isn’t very difficult to start your own business online catalog site and it’s also very affordable.

    If you want to start your own online business for free, this is as close to it as you can get as start up costs for a service business are very low. You basically only need to spend some cash on a domain name and hosting for your site.

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  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Best New Online Business Opportunity Out There

    The best new online business opportunity tag seems to change every week. Last week it was probably selling ebooks online and next week it could be promoting space tourism but as the best new online business opportunity this week, what we’ll be looking at is online music lessons.

    Online music lessons have been like a godsend to aspiring musicians who want to further improve their skills. In the past, if you wanted to get the help of a maestro, you’d probably have to register to attend a master class in a large city or perhaps even in another country. But with the advent of the Internet and faster broadband speeds, being tutored by accomplished musicians is now very possible.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Start Online Travel Business Today

    Economic crisis? What economic crisis? With the amount of traveling that people look to be doing, it seems like the worst is over. If you want to start online travel business, this may just be the time to do it.

    People travel for many reasons, though mainly for holidays and business. With the advent of international budget airlines, travelers are finding it more affordable to fly to destinations they found difficult to afford before. Herein lies a very lucrative opportunity for online business entrepreneurs. Which is why this could be a good time to start online travel business today.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Starting A Web Based Craft Business? Consider These Few Points

    If you want to start your own Internet business, one particular market that’s really interesting is crafts. Starting a web based craft business isn’t difficult but you must first be able to source unique craft that people are willing to purchase.

    People are always on the lookout for unique items for various purposes. Unique items like craft make great gifts as well as wonderful home decor. For these reasons, starting a web based craft business could be a very profitable venture.

    In this post we will take a look at a few types of craft that are currently popular, their markets and other aspects that merchants should be aware of.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • How To Start Your Own Clothing Line Web Store

    Apparel continues to be among the hot items to sell on the Internet, amounting to 36% of online sales. Merchants of clothing stores who have marketed their stores well are seeing some serious cash flowing in. We have posted articles about a few clothing niches before, consignment shops for example, but we do still get visitors asking about how to start your own clothing line web store. Well, it’s easier than you think. We also get tougher questions like how to start your own hair salon online or how to start your own restaurant online. We’ll save those for another day.

    So if you’re thinking of starting a clothing store, read on.

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