Archive for the ‘Twitter’ 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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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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AdRoll coming to Australia

Friday, March 21st, 2014
Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

Photo credit; Jason A. Howie on Flickr

AdRoll is coming to Australia and hopes to hire 20 people by the end of this year.

AdRoll, used by internet giants like Facebook and Twitter, is a retargeting company that presents ads to internet users based on their previous searches, which are meant to deliver more sales because they reflect a reader’s interests.

Digital advertising is the fasted-growing type of advertising in Australia, making up 18% of ad bookings by advertising buyers in February. And in the eight months to February it grew by 23.4% to $910 million, compared with 4% growth across all mediums, according to this week’s figures from the Standard Media Index.

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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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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.

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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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Brisbane businessman turns disaster into dollars

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Brisbane businessman Michael French turned the raging floods in that city in 2011 into a successful online business by filling a niche that so many people don’t know they need until it’s too late.

Photo credit; johndal on Flickr

Photo credit; johndal on Flickr

While he watched flood waters near his home, French worried about the state of his office, which held his digital marketing company only a few kilometres away. That’s when the idea for his Bizeo app hit him.

Essentially a dashboard app, Bizeo monitors all available data from servers to engines on key machinery, to temperature to exchange rates and social media for a business that is experiencing an emergency like a flood.

“Business owners spend a lot of their time running around checking on things, but this does it for them, and gives them a single indicator that everything is alright,” French says. “Bizeo monitors the status and data across your whole enterprise, and watches everything at once.”

As many Brisbane businesses struggled in the aftermath of the floods, French realized he could add even more functionality to the app.

“Our cashflow was struggling as our debtors blew out and our sales pipeline struggled as many Brisbane groups went under,” French says. “Bizeo now plugs into your CRM, accounting and social media systems.”

Bizeo received a $200,000 grant from Commercialisation Australia last year and French used those funds to hire a business development manager, and file for intellectual property protections such as trademarks and patents and is currently working with clients in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Mexico and London.

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The Australia Business Review shows you how to rebuild a damaged brand online

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Brands can be badmouthed, bullied, beaten up and bruised by anyone online but there are ways to fight back and repair the damage.

Photo credit; Joshin Yamada on Flickr

Photo credit; Joshin Yamada on Flickr

The Australia Business Review recommends that you:

Apologize if the problem has been caused by your actions or those of your staff and put it on your social networks, your website and anywhere else your customers can see it. Make it honest and straightforward.

Remove negative remarks if possible, even if that means having to hire a lawyer to help you remove them from other sites. Remove the ones that you have control over.

Drown the negativity with SEO by burying them with SEO campaigns until they don’t show up on Google’s search results until the 10th page (most people don’t dig this far back into search results).

Re-Direct attention away from the negativity by doing something positive and promoting it, like holding a contest or donating to charity.

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Set That sets itself up for success

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Set That has impressed some big players enough to land some lucrative online partnerships.

International retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Marks & Spencer, StrawberryNET and John Lewis, and Australian brands, including Styletread, zanui, Surfstitch and The Iconic have hopped on the Set That bandwagon.

Set That lets consumers explore “sets” of products that have been compiled and curated by other site users to find a suitable product to buy. The user’s profile and shopping preferences are drawn upon to create a customised shopping experience.

The most unique aspect of the website is the financial rewards offered for building and marketing sets through online social media. Set creators are able to earn up to 2% commission, either banked into their PayPal account or donated to charity, for an item that generated a sale as a result of their set.

More than 100 stores have already committed to the site and co-creators, Aussie mums Kim Westwood and Liz Tehan, are in early talks with investors in Australia and abroad.

Projections for Set That are to have 300 registered stores by the end of 2013 with that number increasing to more than 3000 by 2015.  The stores are anticipated to showcase 1.5 million products to 200,000 users this year and 15 million products to 2.5 million users by 2015.

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SEO out, social media in as ways to attract customers for online business

Monday, July 8th, 2013

SEO, the once all-powerful method of attracting online customers, has been demoted to co-star in the online marketing realm, as social media takes over the starring role.

According to Mark Gustowski, the global business development manager of Pyksis, SEO is just a small facet of online marketing now when trying to grow your customer base.

Much more effective is social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Tumblr and LinkedIn because they offer the opportunity for customer engagement.

Using Twitter as an example, Gustowski says companies can now actively look for potential customers using these social media tools. An online retailer of virus protection software, for example, could use the hashtag (#) search function in Twitter for finding people who have been hit with a virus (#computervirus or #virus) and then further narrow the search to a certain geographical region and then talk one-on-one with those potential customers via Twitter by tweeting to them.

The important thing to remember, Gustowski says, is that social media is all about engagement rather than the ‘hard sell’ and customers should be approached in a conversational manner.

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