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Enform E-Commerce Integration

By | Announcements, Automotive, eBay, ecommerce, Google, Industry, Instagram, SEO, Social Media, tools, Web Store | No Comments

Enform Specialises in eCommerce

 

Enform enable Online Retailers to build and grow marketplaces, audiences and advertising reach. Utilising knowledge and experience we work with you to build a multi-channel, multi-market business that integrates with your systems to provide scalable options.

With each business utilising different systems to deliver pricing, inventory and rich content for their listings – virtually every integration is a bespoke development that needs proper planning and management to ensure economic and efficient delivery. Read More

Grow Your eCommerce and Digital Capability At a Fraction Of The Cost

By | Adwords, Blog, BPO, eBay, ecommerce, Outsourcing, SEO, Web Store | No Comments

                       Outsource 1

As more  companies plan to grow their capability in the eCommerce space to satisfy the insatiable demands of their customers for online research and purchase, many small to medium businesses are struggling with the skill-sets and costs required to hire new, or train existing staff, to manage this strategy extension.

In particular, auto parts and fitment stuff can be very tricky but we can help with any complex data sets Read More

Power Retail Talks to MotoParts About Auto Parts E-tailing

By | Automotive, Blog, ecommerce, Industry, Research, Web Design, Web Store | No Comments
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Selling automotive parts online has proved challenging for MotoParts, but developing a parts-centric approach has helped the company progress. Power Retail chats to MotoParts’ Scott Shillinglaw to find out more.

With a long history in the B2B commerce space supplying wholesale auto parts throughout NSW and Australia, MotoParts decided to launch into a completely new sales channel to leverage their existing business model. As one of the largest online marketplaces, eBay was the obvious choice for MotoParts to start their online presence and drive a whole new section of growth for the business.

This decision was prompted by the rapid growth of the Australian online automotive parts sales industry (estimated to be worth $380.3 million in 2014-2015 and growing annually at a compounded rate of 17 percent) centred on New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland – areas that have the highest number of kilometres driven.

Power Retail magazine caught up with Scott Shillinglaw, Online Director for MotoParts, to see how the transition came about and how they used PARts Australia for data and technology.

Read more about MotoParts’ Parts-Centric Approach using PARts.

MotoParts Dives into eBay with an E-commerce Solution

By | Automotive, Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Research, tools | No Comments

MotoParts on eBayRecognized as one of Australia’s top distributors of automotive parts and car accessories, MotoParts boasts of a colourful history in the B2B segment of the market, offering wholesale auto parts throughout NSW and Australia.

In an effort to leverage their current business model, the company decided to dive into a new sales channel, opening a new section of potential growth for the business. As one of the world’s largest marketplaces on the Internet, it made sense for the company to jumpstart their online presence on eBay, this according to MotoParts online director Scott Shillinglaw.

The Need for an E-commerce Solution

To launch a new online sales channel on eBay, MotoParts needed a comprehensive e-commerce solution capable of handling hundreds to thousands of product listings—a solution that could keep up with MotoParts surging online business.

According to Shillinglaw, MotoParts required a robust e-commerce solution that could help manage product feeds, with the additional feature of transforming product data and making it ready for eBay listing. Moreover, the solution had to mesh with the company’s ERP system, in particular, product, pricing, and inventory data, together with eBay and MotoParts’s e-commerce website.

The challenge with automotive parts suppliers is that the complexity and sheer volume of product parts information makes it difficult to find a working e-commerce solution—one that could withstand the impending massive increase in automobile models and corresponding parts within the next few years.

Shillinglaw said that MotoParts needed their e-commerce data to be in a coherent format, allowing their e-commerce managers to list products on eBay by part and vehicle compatibility, all in such a way that entices customers to make a purchase. If the product isn’t presented in a compelling manner, it won’t lead to sales, he adds.

A PARts Driven Solution

MotoParts turned to an e-commerce solution recommended by PARts, an online solution Enform is certified to provide.

With the new e-commerce solution, MotoParts was able to automate and integrate all their product data into one easy-to-access database, through a tool specifically designed for automotive parts content.

MotoParts can now manage and access their product data in one centralised solution, with orders placed on eBay extracted and standardized into a singular format—integrated with the company’s own ERP system. And you can read more about how MotoParts went online profitably with PARts.

MotoParts eBay Listing

Benefits

After just a few months of using the PARts-recommended e-commerce solution to open a new sales channel on eBay, MotoParts saw a surge in total revenue by at least 5 percent. The complete MotoParts e-commerce solution was also fully functional in just a few months. The company also saw a drastic reduction in resource time and IT expenditures.

But more importantly, the addition of a solid e-commerce solution into the company’s business foundation means they can now open as many online sales channels as they want, with very little work required.

You can read more about PARts and auto data opportunities here

Google Search – Is Your Website Mobilegeddon Ready?

By | Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Mobile, Research, SEO, tools | No Comments

Google Algorithm Update

Come 21st of April, Google will roll out its new “Mobile Friendly” algorithm update which will preference search results for web sites that are mobile friendly.

For your websites, this simply means you’ll get left out in mobile search results unless your website is deemed by Google bots to be mobile friendly.

But wait!

How should you know if my site is ready for mobilegeddon? Fortunately Google, being Google, has already foreseen the outcry of website owners if they opted to bring their algorithm guessing game to such an important update so they’ve actually rolled out more than enough tools to help you prepare for this big day.

Without further delay, here are the tools and information you’ll need to be able to do a self-diagnosis of your site in preparation for mobilegeddon:

  1. Mobile-Friendly Test – just simply put in your website URL and hit analyze and you’ll know within seconds if your site is up to speed. Hopefully you’ll get a result like so:Mobile-Friendly Test
  2. Google Webmaster Tools Mobile Usability Report – This is another tool that will help webmasters identify elements of your website that does not fit Google’s mobile friendly standards, because it could be that some NOT ALL your pages have problems. Errors here should be addressed if you want to keep up on mobile search results.Here’s an example result for good measure:Mobile Usability
  3. Mobile Friendly Guidelines – In the case you’ll find yourself in the undesirable side of this update, after using the previously mentioned tools, fret not as here’s all you need to be able to get back in the good light of Google mobile search results.

Remember, this is not just about penalties but also about rewards. A more mobile friendly web site will be rewarded as much as a non-mobile site is penalised.

And as always, if you need help in keeping up with all these changes, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us any time.

Questions To Answer When Designing Website Navigation

By | Blog, ecommerce, Mobile, Research, Web Design, Web Store | No Comments

Organising content for a website calls for designers to ask key questions on their planned Information Architecture (IA). Usability experts the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) broke down these problems, providing answers to the 3 most persistent questions many designers today struggle with when building sites.

How Many Categories do you Need?

The general rule of thumb is to have enough categories to show all the information offered on your site or app. However, what’s considered ‘enough’ will greatly depend on the content and intention of a site.

Most simple sites with a small range of content will usually do fine with a few categories. This minimalist approach helps users find the information they want as quickly as possible. Take for instance, Dyson’s website for their Airblade line of products (the Dyson Airblade is the company’s take on the quick hand dryer). The entire website has a solid IA scheme since all variations of the Airblade fit into 5 categories.

Dyson airblade homepage

Dyson Airblade Homepage

At the other end of the spectrum is RestroomDirect, a site that also sells hand dryers as well as a bunch of other fixtures for public bathrooms. Condensing all information on the site down to 5 categories makes it difficult for customers to find information on the company’s full range of products, which is why the site features 7 links in the top horizontal navigation, and 17 product categories in the vertical navigation. This combination allows users to easily access all relevant information on the site as efficiently as possible.

Restroom Direct

www.RestroomDirect.com

Both examples show the basic principle behind determining the appropriate number of categories in a website: go with what makes it easiest for users to access the information they need; don’t box yourself in by trying to hit a predetermined number.

Should you List Categories in Alphabetical Order?

Organising categories by a certain order is another issue frequently tackled by designers, many of whom feel that sorting categories alphabetically makes the most sense.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this problem, but what you can do is consider the following factors:

  1. What organising principle would be more meaningful than sorting alphabetically?
  2. Will visitors be familiar with the category names
  3. How many categories do you have?

More Meaningful Organising Principles

One approach that makes more sense than alphabetical organisation is frequency of use, which helps the majority of visitors on a site access the information they’re most likely looking for.

An example of this can be found on RightMove.co.uk, a property listing that has the categories For Sale and To Rent as the first two items in the navigation panel. This setup saves users a tremendous amount of time, since it makes sense to highlight content users are most likely to click on.

Rightmove

If you were to organise categories on this site alphabetically, you would get the unintuitive result below.

Rightmove labels

Standard Labels

However, there are instances when alphabetical organisation is more efficient. If you have categories under just one label (e.g. product names or brand names), users naturally look for information they know, like a particular word—alphabetical organisation is more helpful in this situation.

Do you Need Hover Menus with Touch Devices

With the advent of mobile devices that rely on touch interfaces, UX designers are wondering whether sites should still have hover nav menus.

Hover activated menus are unwieldy for touchscreen users. Even with menus adapted for use with a tap instead of a hover, touchscreens are just too small to display an entire menu. This can result in problems scrolling the menu without deactivating it by touch something else on the page.

However, just because a part of your audience can’t use this feature, doesn’t mean you should withhold it from everyone else. Hover activated menus are still easy to use on conventional desktop interfaces.

The key here is graceful degradation: ensure that customers who can’t use hover activation still have a means of accessing your content. A good example of this setup can be found on the Fedex website, which provides both hover and tap options for all their users, whether on traditional desktop interfaces or touchscreens.

Fedex

The full Fedex website has hover-activated menus

Fedex mobile version

The mobile version of the Fedex site automatically replaces hover menus with a simpler tap interface

As always good website design is about taking in to account your audience and how you can get them to the information they are looking for quickly and easily. It is worth spending time in the initial concept phase on these types of questions to avoid costly redesign and coding later on.  Need help with your site, want an objective review? Contact Enform today.

A Breakdown of What Exactly Happens During an ‘Unsubscribe’

By | Automailer, Blog, ecommerce, eDM, Research, Social Media | No Comments

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In your email marketing campaigns, each message you send should come with a facility allowing readers to unsubscribe from receiving any future emails. Even if you don’t add an unsubscribe link yourself (which is a bad idea), one will automatically be added.

However, have you ever wondered just how exactly that link works? And more importantly, what happens to people who have unsubscribed, and is there a way to get them back? If you have multiple lists, how do you ensure that they only get unsubscribed from a particular list and not every list in your account?

Enform’s Automailer naturally comes with this functionality (an unsubscribe tag) whether it’s in the HTML page, template, or plain text version. Upon sending your campaign to your subscribers, each reader receives a copy of your email, with the tag automatically replaced with a unique link for each subscriber.

Each link is unique to each person and each email marketing campaign, so it’s not just a matter of copying an old unsubscribe and pasting it into your next email.

A Look at What Happens When a Subscriber Clicks on the Unsubscribe Link

Upon clicking the unsubscribe link, the user is directed to our Automailer system, which records the click and automatically recognises the subscriber and his/her corresponding email list and campaign.

Enform’s Automailer instantly unsubscribes users from your email list, with no need for you to manually change any settings on the program. Your campaign report will now show that user as having unsubscribed from receiving future emails.

The Suppression List – Ways to Manage Multiple Lists and Not Lose Subscribers

The default unsubscribe setting on our Automailer automatically removes an address from all listings in the same account. This means that if the unsubscribed address were in your ‘customers’ list and ‘newsletter’ list, it would be removed from both. We’ve also made steps to ensure that you don’t accidentally import an unsubscribed email address back into your account. Addresses that have unsubscribed from your campaign are immediately added to your suppression list.

However a unique feature of Automailer allows you to change your unsubscribe setting for your lists; this is extremely useful if you want the unsubscribe link to only remove users from the specific list their emails came from but leave them on other lists in your account. A great feature that ensures you don’t lose subscribers by a blanket suppression across all lists.

Once Unsubscribed, is a User Blocked Forever?

Former subscribers can re-subscribe at any time through your subscribe forms; only you are prevented from reimporting an address once it’s in the suppression list.

How do you Keep Users from Unsubscribing from your Lists?

There’s no foolproof way of keeping your database of subscribers 100% intact, but what you can do is make a compelling case for subscribers to stay, right at the unsubscribe page.

Take for instance, the unsubscribe page of Lazada.com, a major e-commerce player in Asia. Upon clicking the unsubscribe link, you’re presented with different options to better control the mail you receive.

better control the mail you receive

The options above are particularly useful for several subscribers annoyed with the flood of emails they’re getting, so giving them some kind of control over their messages increases the likelihood of them staying.

Tips on Leveraging Social Proof to Get Subscribers & Customers

By | Blog, Research, Social Media | No Comments

social-proof

When was the last time you gave away your email address online? Was there any reluctance in handing it over?

Most internet users tend to protect their email addresses in fear of receiving too many promotional emails they’re not really interested in. Obviously, this is a problem for marketers who want to use email subscribers to grow their business.

But what if there was a way to beat this natural fear?

We believe the answer is social proof.

Social Proof in a Nutshell

Social proof is defined as a psychological phenomenon where people follow the actions of others in order to conform. In other words, it’s people doing things they see other people are doing.

The Wall Street Journal recently published a study aimed at understanding the effects of social proof in consumer behaviour. In it, researchers sought to find out whether social proof was a more powerful motivator than saving money or protecting the environment. They tested four different messages to convince respondents to use electric fans over air conditioning.

The first message told the customer they could save up to $54 a month on electricity.

The second message told the customer they could help save the environment by eliminating up to 262 pounds in greenhouse gases.

The third message tried to convince customers by reminding them saving energy was being social responsible.

The fourth message told customers that 77 percent of their neighbours were using fans to save energy.

As you may have guessed, the fourth message, the one that appealed to positive social proof, was most effective. In this instance, positive social proof proved to be more convincing than saving money, saving the environment, and being social responsible.

How do you use social proof in email marketing?

It’s doesn’t take much, to be honest; just use a simple reinterpretation of the examples by the study above.

1. Show proof of subscriber numbers

Showing the number of subscribers to your email list lets potential customers know that it’s common behaviour for other people to sign up, and more importantly, that it’s relatively safe. Simply adding a subscriber count mechanism to your opt-in forms allows you to tap into the desire of readers to do what others are doing, thus driving email subscribes.

You can also make your calls to action more relatable. Statements like, “Be part of a network of sales professionals 15,000 strong and growing receiving our weekly newsletter,” speaks to a reader’s impulse to join in on the action and see what he is missing out on.

2. Use testimonials from influential figures

If you’re lucky enough to have connections with influencers in your industry, then by all means, do everything you can to get a testimonial from them about your email list. These figures act as endorsers, reassuring readers that “Hey, you should sign up too!”

It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book. People want to look up to industry influencers because they want to achieve the same success.

How do you use social proof to increase email conversions?

With your email list already built thanks to social proof, you can then move to the next step: conversions. Fortunately, social proof can work here too, and again, all it takes is a little tweaking of the examples mentioned previously.

1. Show off your number of customers

Again, people want a sense of security knowing that other customers have already bought your product or paid for your service. When sending a product-related email encouraging people to purchase, include how many people have bought the same product or service and you’re bound to drive conversions.

The key here is to trigger a fear in missing out in an offer that others have signed up for or purchased. Part of it is curiosity, but a greater part of it is knowing that something, your product, must be worth paying for since many people have done so.

2. Highlight reviews

Reviews are perhaps the most influential factor in shaping a purchase decision, so you definitely want to leverage positive reviews of your products. Include positive, concise, but brief reviews of your products/services in newsletters, and you’re  guaranteed to see an increase in conversions sooner or later.

A Warning

Of course, all of these tips boil down to transparency. If you make things up just to leverage the advantages of social proof, you run the risk of things blowing up in your face, and your reputation forever tainted.

Amazon Outs Online Marketing Platform to Rival Google AdWords

By | Announcements, Blog, Comment, ecommerce, Research, Social Media | No Comments

Google-Amazon

Several reports claim that the company is aiming to give Google some competition in the highly lucrative online marketing landscape with their proprietary ad platform. Word is that Amazon’s advertising product will be similar to Google AdWords in how it works, and will replace its own online ads and compete for ad share.

If successful, Amazon could very well shrink Google’s monopoly on online share once they replace their ads with their own. And the market is tempting for any tech company out there, what with more than $50 billion in sales a year.

Amazon’s new project will be called Amazon Sponsored Links, with no confirmation yet on when publishers and advertisers can try the platform out.

Furthermore, Amazon is busy developing a bulk-buying program for advertisers, which would enable the online retail giant to place ads on third party sites more easily. Reports by the Wall Street Journal indicate that Amazon’s online marketing system will roll out to users before the year ends, with the company already pitching ideas to prospective clients.

Needless to say, Amazon has their work cut out for them, should they choose to push through with their own platform against Google. The search engine giant didn’t just dominate the online marketing space overnight. It built its way from the ground up, boasting of more than 14 years of experience and along the way, amassing millions of advertisers and publishers vying for the limited ad space available to their respective niches.

This level of competition has not surprisingly sent prices for ad space soaring, which also means publishers are likely to stick with Google over another online marketing firm.

Although Google has yet to see another online marketing platform capable of toppling them from the top spot, Amazon certainly has a chance of being the company to do it. With the company’s strong experience and leadership in the online retail industry, Amazon has firsthand knowledge about the purchasing habits and behaviour of online shoppers—it’s this area where Google is at a potential disadvantage.

Moreover, Amazon apparently already has more than 250 million users actively using their platform, potentially giving the company plenty of data they could use to push their online marketing platform and rival Googles AdWords program. If the company makes the right moves, we at Enform could see a new player entering the online marketing space.

Of course, we’ve seen many companies out there introduce their own online marketing platforms as an alternative to AdWords with varying degrees of success. All of them, however, have fallen short to knocking Google off their perch.

We’ll have to wait and see if Amazon has the goods to make a strong entry into the online marketing scene. Anything less than spectacular might only result in failure.

3 Tips on Getting Website Product Descriptions Right

By | Blog, ecommerce, Research, SEO, Web Design, Web Store | No Comments


product description matters

E-commerce solutions like PARts B2 provide detailed product descriptions and details from the supplier using a database 

The basic tenet of e-commerce: Help the customer find your product and get what they want. If a potential customer can’t find your product, you obviously won’t get a sale.

However, connecting with relevant product pages is just the initial phase of the purchase process. And while it’s true that many sites have made improvements to their navigation and information architectures, many product pages on e-commerce sites are still in need crucial improvements.

Enform’s clients already know that product pages should do more than just have a product image, a generic description, and an option to add to the cart. Instead, the page should sell the product, convincing users that the product on the page is exactly what they’re looking for.

Yet as simple as that sounds, many pages fail to do this.

Product pages are especially important since they fill the gap of the traditional shopping experience, where users are normally able to touch the product, examine its packaging, and test or fit it before the purchase. Online, users can only go by what they see on the product production.

Multiple e-commerce studies by web usability experts the Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g) show that as much 20% of all observed task failures, or times when users abandoned or failed to make a purchase, were caused by poorly written or incomplete product information.

NN/g recommends the following tips for website product pages.

 

  1. Pages Should Answer Customers’ Questions

NN/g’s research specifically indicates that many users simply couldn’t find enough information to make an informed purchase decision. Now, there’s no way to guarantee that your product pages will answer all questions by potential customers, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for the bare minimum either.

answer_question

The J. Peterman Company is a company known for using lengthy, verbose stories for product descriptions, in their print catalogs as well as online.  They also follow their more eloquent prose with standard facts about the item for sale, such as “pointed collar,” “shell buttons at center front,” “1-inch grosgrain ribbon (antique white) at neckline and left front placket,” and “adjustable cuffs.”

 

Besides the most obvious features of the product, shoppers also want to know the smaller details on products they’re eyeing, and that can be anything from accents on clothes; furniture dimensions; product care information; size of toys; storage recommendations for edibles, to whether or not a hotel has a heated outdoor pool working all year.

Where many sites get it wrong is in their focus on basic information, or sometimes even the wrong information.

 

  1. Go Straight to the Point

Just because we told you not to settle for basic information, doesn’t mean you should input long-winded descriptions of your products. There’s a difference between a complete product description, and a wordy one. Users want information that describes the product, not incessant please to buy. One or two calls to action will suffice, don’t go too overboard with the marketing messages.

to_the_point

Forever21’s brief description covered key details about the product, its construction, and how a customer could wear the item. This was followed by a bulleted list of product details, including fabric, measurements and care which is quite a good example of going straight to the point.

 

Users often skim through text when browsing and reading online, and are more likely to read at the beginning of the text than the end. Given the importance of the first few lines of your product description, don’t waste it on text that doesn’t help the user.

Another great way of conveying the specifics of a product is to use product photos. NN/g’s found out that large and detailed images are a tremendous help to users wanting to know more about a product. Unfortunately, many sites settle for small images that fail to show sufficient product details.

 

  1. Make Comparisons Easy

Several online shoppers view the ability to compare multiple products as a crucial factor in shaping their purchase decisions. It’s imperative that you offer a facility to help users decide which of several products is best for them in a smooth and easy manner.

make_comparisons

Pottery Barn listed information about dressers in a consistent and descriptive way. Two bedside-tables descriptions began with brief overviews, and then bulleted lists that provided comparable details about the products, listed in the same order for each. Each listed dimensions, followed by materials, features, finish information, and hardware details.

 

It also helps if you can reduce the need for comparisons by making your product line simple if your catalogue allows for it. For those that can’t, such as e-commerce sites that carry multiple vendors, some help with tools is needed.

Many e-commerce sites already have tools that enable shoppers to compare products side by side. Some of these are effective, others not so much. According to NN/g, the key here is to offer comparable information in an easy to compare manner between similar products. It also pays to be consistent in the volume of information featured for every product; customers don’t like seeing plenty of information on one product, and hardly any on another.

Overall, remember that many customers are actually looking for a reason or confirmation to buy your product or transact, try not to disappoint.