Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

Brisbane Times reveals 11 biggest ecommerce mistakes

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
Photo courtesy of Terrance Heath on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Terrance Heath on Flickr

The Brisbane Times has published a list of the 11 biggest mistakes e-commerce sites make. Heed these warnings:

1. Having Complex Functionality

The best sites should be structured so absolutely no thinking is necessary when navigating through, including minimal steps between product viewing and purchase.

2. Having Poor Site Appearance

A busy, confusing, or ad-strewn site poses functionality issues and isn’t a particularly professional front for a business expecting customers to leave sensitive credit card details. A beautiful website that makes for easy shopping and security will ensure customers are happy.

3. Not Having Compatibility with Mobile and Tablet

Digital retailers must accommodate a range of customers across diverse platforms and employ a website design that is fast loading for mobiles as well as desktop computers.

4. Having Unexpected Fees and Shipping Costs

The number one reason customers abandon their shopping cart is unexpected costs added to their purchase, such as GST, insurance and high shipping fees. Free delivery can be the defining feature that sets a site apart from direct competitors. While free shipping is undoubtedly a huge attraction, shoppers will generally concede to a shipping fee if they feel it is reflective of the product and level of service. A tracking number is also a plus.

5. Overly Long Product and Lack of Customer Reviews

Long-winded product descriptions can turn off shoppers. Pairing concise, keyword-rich descriptions with customer reviews, and even stats on how many times the item has been previously bought, is a good way to reassure customers. A unique product description, rather than that composed by the manufacturer, can also ensure a higher ranking on internet search engines.

6. Having Poor Search Capability

Faceted search — a function that allows users to apply a range of filters to explore information — enhances customer power and control by making it easier for them to home in on the products they are most interested in. Typo-sensitive search also increases the likelihood that a clumsy-fingered user will still see results that best match what they’re looking for.

7. Convoluted Checkout Procedures and Customer Accounts

Forcing a buyer to create an account and enter personal details at the checkout has obvious benefits for the retailer, but it is likely to cause frustration among shoppers who want an instant transaction. Features such as single sign-on, automated saving of a customer’s details, and the option for “guest checkout” transactions that don’t require the creation of a password quicken and enhance the shopping experience.

8. Lack of Social Media Integration

If you’re not posting, instagraming, pinning or tweeting, you’re just not competing. But more than posting a photo, social media should be used to generate positive dialogue among customers and aid the transaction process by facilitating direct contact between the company and consumer. All retailers should have an effective communications policy in place, especially for when customers turn to social media to complain.

9. Poor Quality Images and Zoom Function

Grainy photos or poor zoom function are easy ways to lose a sale, as customers can’t see the detail in the craftsmanship. Instead, use clear, high quality photos.

10. Believing the Transaction is Complete After the Order is Placed

Another golden rule of running an online business is realising that the shopping experience isn’t over when the customer clicks “buy”. Don’t neglect functions such as: recommended “buy next” options, live purchase stats (for instance, five people bought this in the last hour), or prompts for low stock in a “watched” item.

11. Having Ineffective Customer Service

One of the cornerstones of face-to-face retail is good customer service, and this still applies online. Ensuring the product over delivers, that delivery service is on time, and that phone, email and live chat service staff are friendly and helpful, will usually ensure a positive customer response even if something goes wrong.

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Australia social media company MOKO to list on the NASDAQ

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
Photo credit; Richard Patterson on Flickr

Photo credit; Richard Patterson on Flickr

Australian app development company MOKO Social Media will soon be listed on the NASDAQ.

The company’s public offering price is set to be between $US7.50-9.00 per American depositary shares (ADS), with each ADS representing 40 ordinary fully paid MOKO shares. That is equivalent to a price range of $A0.20- 0.24 per share.

MOKO’s flagship app REC*IT uses data provided by colleges through an exclusive agreement to help organise student recreational and sporting activities.

The free app is to be adopted across 700 colleges by the end of September, with a reach of 10 million possible users. This will allow advertisers to directly target a highly attractive and segmented audience.

Chairman Greg McCann said the possibilities of this audience are part of the reasoning behind the ASX-listed company’s decision to dual list.

“[The US] is a very big market, and it’s a very sophisticated market — We really wanted to give American investors the opportunity to invest, because they were probably more likely to put a truer value on the stocks that you would in Australia,” he said.

“There’s not a lot of technology stocks here, particularly doing what we’re doing,  which is really pushing the boundaries into a new area.”

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Aussie small business is missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution

Monday, June 30th, 2014
Photo credit; Pavel Medzyun on Flickr

Photo credit; Pavel Medzyun on Flickr

Many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are missing the opportunity to use online tools to run their core business better by: cutting costs, reaching customers and suppliers, innovating and getting more control over their business, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

Businesses with less than 200 employees employ two-thirds of private sector workers and contribute more than half of Australia’s private sector GDP and if advanced online technology becomes the norm among SMEs, the productivity gains would spread through the whole economy.

There are four big opportunities for SMEs to use online tools more effectively: mobile, social, data analytics, and the cloud. The paper says:

  • only 18% of Australian SMEs with an internet connection have developed mobile-optimised websites.
  • only a quarter of Australian SMEs with an internet connection say they use social networking for marketing purposes.
  • many SMEs haven’t realised the full potential of data analytics to understand their customer segments.
  • only 8% of Australian SME managers say they use the cloud. But 47% of SMEs with an internet connection use basic cloud computing services such as webmail or cloud data storage.

All four opportunities can help small firms win where before they would have lost to larger firms that could absorb the fixed costs of corporate IT.

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Suncorp appoints Edge agency to run online business insurance website

Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Photo credit; Laughlin Elkind on Flickr

Photo credit; Laughlin Elkind on Flickr

The Suncorp Group, including AAMI, GIO and Vero, has appointed content marketing agency Edge to spearhead their new joint venture, the Business Insurance Hub.

Edge will deliver a suite of content and tools, including a mix of opinion editorials, articles and social media updates meant to help small to medium businesses become more informed about business insurance.

“Producing regular content for the Business Insurance Hub is one way the Suncorp Group plans to support Australian businesses in their efforts to research business insurance online,” Edge’s Head of Strategy Richard Parker said.

“For an online resource to be relevant and engaging there must be a constant flow of current news and information about changes in the market, as well as tools that assist the decision making process, whichever channel they ultimately choose,” said Parker.

“Edge will be helping to breakdown the industry jargon to produce easy to understand content that makes sense. This content will underscore the long-term strategy for the website to be the premier resource for Australian business insurance information.”

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Facebook brings video ads to Australia

Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

Facebook is bringing its Premium Video Ads and Video Metrics to Australia, one of seven markets outside of the US where Facebook is rolling out the new services.

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) chief executive Alice Manners said recent estimates showed video advertising was growing at 55.7 per cent, representing 14.3 per cent of digital display dollars, for the quarter.

Facebook Australia and New Zealand managing director Will Easton said that Facebook Premium Video offers brands new ways to engage and connect with over 10 million Australians who access Facebook daily.

“In the coming months, we’ll be working closely with advertisers to deliver high-quality video campaigns that create the best possible advertising experience,” Mr Easton said.

The 15-second video ads appear in users’ newsfeeds and play automatically with the sound muted until they are clicked on.

Facebook began selling ads in the United States in March.

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Western Australia tourism business discovers power of social media just in time

Monday, December 16th, 2013
Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

A Western Australia tourism business on the brink of bankruptcy discovered just how powerful social media could be in the nick of time.

After spending tens of thousands of dollars on traditional advertising for his one-man Margaret River Discovery Company and getting nothing in return, Sean Blocksidge was five days away from packing it in for good when the social media gods smiled on him. A few couples who had partaken in tours with his company, which provides 4WD tours of the rocky coast and canoeing on Margaret River’s famous waterway, left positive reviews on TripAdvisor and opened the floodgates for Blocksidge.

“I didn’t understand the power of this thing,” said Blocksidge. “And the algorithms behind it suddenly spun me up into the number one thing to do in Margaret River. That was it. The next morning, everything turned around. The phone and email went nuts and I’ve never looked back. Chock-a-block every day.”

For two straight years, it was then listed as the number one tourist activity in Australia.

And every day, Blocksidge does his due diligence by spending 15 minutes taking and uploading a photo of the region to his Facebook page, which auto-links to Twitter, and he then re-posts it to Instagram.

If it’s picked up by TourismWA, his image is viewed by millions.

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Online wine retailer takes home the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 award for 2013

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013
Photo credit; Uncalno Tekno on Flickr

Photo credit; Uncalno Tekno on Flickr

Vinomofo, an online wine retailer with revenue growth of 1,723% over the past three years has taken home the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 award for 2013.

Co-founder and CEO Andre Eikmeier said the award is recognition of the “impact of a million decisions we’ve made, and the traction in the marketplace. Since we’ve grown profitably, rather than simply pumped capital into marketing dollars to ‘buy’ our growth, it’s something we’ve very proud of. For us, our customers and suppliers aren’t just transacting with us; they have to a large degree invested in our journey. They believe in us, and have championed us from start-up.”

Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 leader Joshua Tanchel said in a statement that Vinomofo’s innovative customer relationship model and its use of social media to enhance consumer engagement contributed to the business’s success.

“Vinomofo has disrupted and redefined the ultra-competitive online wine market since its launch three years ago. They have pioneered a content driven approach that has been a real hit for consumers, helping to break down barriers and open up new channels to market by working directly with wine producers.”

The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 Program ranks 50 of Australia’s fastest growing public and private technology companies, based on percentage revenue growth over three years (2011 to 2013).

Total revenue for this year’s Fast 50 winners was approximately $1.7 billion. Average three-year revenue growth for this year’s winners was 222%.

Melbourne-based online foreign exchange broker Pepperstone, which was founded in 2010, won the Rising Star Award, which recognises companies with strong growth potential that do not qualify for the Technology Fast 50 list, either because they don’t have revenue data for three years or they don’t meet the $8 million income threshold to take part in the Technology Fast 50 program.

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Huffington Post blogger shares insight into online business and why yours might be failing

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Photo credit; Dnikolos on Flickr

Photo credit; Dnikolos on Flickr

Huffington Post blogger Don Dodds shares these six reasons why your online enterprise might be a little underwhelming.

#1) You targeted the wrong niche — or you didn’t target a niche at all.

Prior to starting your business, you need to answer these questions:

  • Is there a demand for my idea?
  • How much competition is there for my product or service?
  • Who are my top competitors?
  • Do I stand a realistic chance of outranking them (particularly in the organic search results)?
  • Where is the industry headed?
  • Is my product or service gaining momentum or is it on a downward trend?

Dodds says after you’ve investigated these questions you might need to reevaluate your business idea.

#2) You don’t have a clear business model for your website.

While it seems like common sense to begin your business with a clear business model in mind, Dodd says many new online business owners start with a vague idea at best when it comes to monetizing their website, but they need to be much more focussed.

Aside from selling advertising through Google’s AdSense program, you could consider offering an informational product such as an e-book if you’re running an information site, or you could also charge a fee for premium subscribers to your content.

#3) You’re trying to do too many things at once.

Focus on one or two important tasks per day.

Next, combat distractions by eliminating information overload like excessive e-mail subscriptions. Dodd says not to fall into the trap of spending many hours of your day consuming blog posts, e-books, and emails about how to improve your online business, but, instead, to get out there and work on your business, one step at a time.

#4) You’re being a control freak.

Dodd says not to be afraid to outsource things like website design, logo creation, and content development if you’re unfamiliar with them to help save you time (to work on other areas of your business) and make sure your website looks professional.

#5) You’re not sure how to market your product or service.

As an online business owner, Dodd says, you have two options when it comes to marketing your business: Learn the tricks of the trade yourself, or hire an expert SEO or social media consultant to do the job for you. Just make sure it gets done properly, and remember time is your most valuable asset.

If you want to learn how to do it yourself, begin with a broad overview of the various advertising and marketing techniques that are specific to the Internet like pay-per-click, social media, press releases, blogging, and search engine optimization (SEO). Educate yourself on each of these and find out which strategies work best for your own business by testing. Get help with some vital factors for SEO planning.

Finally, know that simply having the pillars of a smart marketing strategy in place is not enough. You have to measure your progress and continue to make refinements. You can quickly get started on this task by signing up for an account with Google Analytics.

#6) You bought into the get-rich-quick dream.

The greatest barrier to online success is unrealistic expectations. Unfortunately, this has become an epidemic due to get-rich-quick schemes promoted by a handful of Internet marketing gurus. It’s tempting to get caught up in the hype, but don’t. The best defense against this kind of toxic thinking is to avoid any kind of system that promises easy riches. Instead, focus on the steady growth of your company.

To read more on this story, click here.

Learn the ins and outs of using Facebook and Twitter for your business

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The Australia Business Review has posted a short guide to Facebook and Twitter, the two social media behemoths.

Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

The guide notes that interaction on Facebook is more personal than on some social sites which is a great tool for engaging audiences.

Facebook allows you to post videos, long updates, run campaigns and events, plus pay for promotion. Advertising on the site is easy because all you need to do is plug in the amount of money you’d like to spend on ad placement per day and Facebook handles the rest.

People that like a business page can send messages with questions, or post on the timeline of the page and even negative comments can be addressed in a way that allows others to see you care about customers.

Using Twitter, on the other hand, is good for a business because thousands of people can share your message in an instant. Interaction is similar to instant messaging, only with a potential audience of thousands or more.

As with Facebook, Twitter can be a place where customer service is showcased, but it must be done within Twitter’s 140 character limit.

Using Twitter and Facebook together is often the best choice for business, the guide says.

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Napa Valley girls move to Sydney to start online fashion boutique

Monday, October 14th, 2013
Photo credit; Naomi King on Flickr

Photo credit; Naomi King on Flickr

In a reversal of sorts, two women who hail from Napa Valley in California made the move to Sydney to open an online fashion boutique.

While Silicon Valley might seem like the obvious choice for the women, Tessa Mini and Natalia Nowak, moved to Australia instead and were inspired by what they consider Australian women’s fashion consciousness to create Passionista Boutique, run out of their Sydney apartment.

“We package everything, we write all the slips, it’s our baby,” Mini said.

“At first we couldn’t afford a model,” she recalled, so Mini and Nowak modeled the clothing themselves. “I did the entire website myself,” Mini said, and “we do all digital marketing mainly from Instagram and Facebook.”

“We get a steady flow — about five orders a week,” Mini said. Their goal is to grow the business, selling closer to 20 items a week, she said.

Passionista sells a range of clothing including jackets, dresses, tops and accessories. Prices range from $25 to $65 in U.S. dollars. The business ships internationally.

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