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Four Ways to Maximize Your eCommerce Store for Mobile Users

Posted on February 16, 2012 by Josh Mc

Mobile ecommerce sales are growing extremely fast, if you run an ecommerce site it's becoming increasingly more important to provide a great user experience to all of your visitors, no matter how they visit your site. A better user experience improves your credibility, sales, and customer satisfaction. The challenge here is that many site owners do not know where to begin. Here are some tips on improving your store for mobile shoppers.

Make Your Site Mobile Friendly and Optimize Your Site Design
There are many businesses that can help convert your site into a mobile compatible one.
GoMo, Google’s own site is a good place to start with this. If your site is too complicated, you should opt for setting up a separate mobile friendly version of the site. You can use this mobile version of your site, and some code, to make it the default site that is displayed if a user visits from their phone. You should also take steps to optimize your site design. You can do this by checking your site for a few things; first you want to remove any images that take too long to load, second, make sure your navigation is clear and third, have an organized shopping cart installed. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to browse your site and make a purchase.

Make the Site Work for the User
As mentioned above, making sure the mobile site is automatically displayed to the user will make it easy for them to jump right in and start browsing your site. Also, since mobile phones aren't always dependable, you want to make sure to point the user back to where he or she was to help complete the transaction if there is an error. Some websites are collecting email addresses before the transaction so there can be a follow up in the case of an error. This is a great way to do it for the mobile user as well since you want to be able to help the user and provide them with the best experience on your site.

Make it Easy for Users to Move Forward
Don't try to force them to submit too much information before they can shop or add items to the shopping cart. Some sites are making users create an account in order to add items to the shopping cart. You want to minimize the interruptions as you can always collect the important information during the transaction.

Be Secure
Finally, you need to reassure buyers that your site is secure. Mobile shopping is still new to many people and they are nervous about submitting sensitive information from their phone. You want to state that your site is secure especially during the ordering process.

So those are some of the ways you can improve your eCommerce store for mobile shoppers. By implementing many of these tactics, you are also increasing conversion rates and purchase amounts. As an online business owner, you should always be on the lookout for more ways to improve your mobile site. Make sure to let us know if you have another suggestion for mobile implementation in the comments.

Five Product Page Optimization's for Traffic and Conversions

Posted on February 7, 2012 by Josh Mc

While it is natural for ecommerce sites to focus on optimizing the home page, individual product pages also deserve some attention, and can yeild great rewards if they are keep up to date and optimized. Every web page can be modified to send a clearer signal to search engines and provide greater opportunities for conversion and sales.

Keep in mind, there are two "audiences" that need to be addressed when optimizing product pages: the search engine spiders, which are constantly gathering data and ranking web pages for there informational value; and live human users, who are gathering information to make informed shopping decisions. A well-optimized product page will speak in perfect harmony to search engines and people alike. Here are a five easy tips for optimizing your product page for more traffic and more conversions.

1. Unique Content
Search engines, like Google, Ask, Bing and Yahoo!, will place great SEO value on unique content that appears nowhere else on the web. Rather than copying descriptions from product manuals word-for-word, write your own exclusive content that romances the product in new ways. Well-written product descriptions are a powerful search engine attractor as well as a helpful sales tool.

2. Keyword Usage
A lot is said about keywords in optimization, and there are a few cardinal rules to follow. The most important is to optimize only one keyword or phrase (precise string of keywords) per page. This means do not push multiple keywords on the same page as it becomes very easy for your message to get lost. Research the keyword you would like to target and optimize the page for it.

3. Product Page Titles
When naming your product page, write a strong title that prominently features your selected keyword. A long, descriptive page name will tend to dilute its effect, so give your product page a short and concise title and put your most important keyword near the front.

4. Page Layout
Make it easy for visitors to find what they are looking for with an on-site search box. Shoppers will favor the top part of a web page for conversion, and search engines also evaluate content from the top down, so keep your most important messages "above the fold." Also, you can help pages load faster by reducing excessively large graphic files to smaller sizes.

5. Link Directly to Product Pages
Back links are like SEO gold, but linked keywords don't always have to land on your home page. In fact, linking straight to product pages is one of the most effective optimization techniques known. Put your keyword to its best advantage by linking right to the exact page that inspired it. It is one of the most powerful tips for optimizing your product page.

These are just a couple tips for optimizing your product page. Let us know in the comments if you have any additional tips that you would recommend.

 

Five Optimizations to Keep Customers Coming Back in 2012

Posted on January 20, 2012 by Josh Mc

The start of a new year leads to all of the standard business evaluations. Normally the top of this list is how can I make more money in the upcoming year? Most businesses can get someone to buy a product or service from a website once, but the question is, will they do it again? Here are five tips you can use to optimize and hopefully help your website have a better 2012.

1. Improve your SEO - Search Engine Optimization is a complex order for most people, but here are a couple of things you can do right now to help your SEO. First, make sure you have a Google Webmaster Tools account and are checking it often for errors and new keywords you can be using. It is free, so there is no reason not to set one up.

Also, you want to do some keyword research. Dive into Google Analytics and look for keyword phrases that send traffic, but that you may have never targeted before. This not only has the possibility of bringing new customers, but return customers will often use the same terms.

Lastly, if you are new to SEO go through this checklist and see what parts you may have left out.

2. Offer something extra with every order -This doesn’t have to be a free product or something that is expensive, it could be as simple as an email that is personal and thanks your customer for ordering from you. However, if you wanted to give something away you could possibly use this example. Let's say you sell gardening supplies online. Offer a free bag of seeds with every order. This is a cheap addition that will get people to connect better with your brand. Bonus points if you have the seed packages customized with your company’s information. Doing something small like this can really help your customers to think about you when they need the same product again.

3. Evaluate your call to action - Make sure your call to action is precise and is helping the customer understand what they should do next. "Lose 50 Pounds in Three Weeks." "Clean Your House in Record Time." These are all call-to-action headlines that push the customer to want to find out more about how they can achieve what the headline says. Always remember that this is all about them, not you. How is your product going to help them? How can you make the order sweeter and help them to want to make the purchase?

4. Upgrade your shopping cart - If you're selling actual products on your site, the shopping cart helps to tally and keep track of everything the customer is buying. They can go to the cart page and back as often as they wish to check how much they've spent and to see what they still need to buy from you. Making the shopping cart bigger and easier to see can remind the customer that they have something in it and possibly help increase conversions on your site.

5. Provide a money-back guarantee and follow through quickly - This is often a hard thing to focus on if you are a small business, but taking steps to improve your returns process can help to make a big difference with your customers. If you can turn a refund around as quickly as you filled the order in the first place, rest assured the customer will want to come back. Nothing builds trust between a buyer and a seller than the confidence that both sides will come through in a pinch.

There are just a few tips that can help you grow your business in 2012, if you have others make sure to leave them in the comments.

How to Quit Your Job Without Burning Bridges

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Arianna

As we start a new year, many of us will be working on New Year resolutions. For some it will be the same “lose weight” resolution, for others it might be “go back to school”, or “get a better job.” Focusing on the last resolution, many of us want better jobs and fail to go after them. Here at Gordian Project, we rejoice with those whom have left us and embrace the new co-workers who will soon become a part of our work family. However, many of us struggle to understand why people decide to quit their current job, especially in the economy we currently face. This blog is simply a collection of tips that will help you when moving from one job to the next. So read on and leave a comment if you agree or disagree.

There are several reasons why someone chooses to move on. Some leave for personal reasons, others financial, while others still have life events that cause changes to happen.  Barbara Safani wrote about why people quit their jobs in a tough economy, and the reasons are pretty good reasons. People often postpone quitting their jobs because not only is it a delicate subject between the employee and employer but it is often seen as a negative or bad decision. Safani ends her article explaining, “If you are unemployed or dissatisfied in your current position, you too may benefit from the surge of vacancies left by others who voluntarily resign. A job that is not a good match for another person may be the perfect match for you.”

With this said, I wanted to focus on the quitting process. We understand why people quit, and we understand that quitting a job is a natural part of career progress; however we also need to understand how to quit without burning bridges.

First you need to realize that though it is not a negative decision, it is a delicate subject. Knowing when to inform your employer that you are leaving will help you confirm your decision. Often times when an employee tells their superior that they are quitting due to extra benefits or increased salaries, the employer will want to counter-offer and meet those extra benefits to try and convince the employee to stay. This is why it is important for you to inform your employer of the benefits you are being offered before saying “I’m quitting.” If the company can make you a good counter-offer, then you may want to stay with them, and if they cannot, then that can help to make your decision easier.

Second, use your communication skills to make sure your announcement is said and received in a positive manner. Instead of explaining how you hate your job, explain how you found a position where you can use your skills and which is closer to your passion. Talk about how good the change is for you and how much you will miss those around you. Don’t burn bridges. Maybe the company cannot counter-offer the benefits you are looking for, but at a later time they may be able to provide you with an even better position. If you don’t burn bridges you may get a future employment offer, but at the very least you will have a positive recommendation as you move forward in your work career.

Third, be professional and provide a complete two week notice. Less and less people provide their employers with a notice, and the truth is that it can show how professional you are and how much you cared about your co-workers and the company by how much time you give them to prepare for your departure.  If you cannot provide a notice, provide your employer with a written letter explaining the circumstances and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience.

Lastly, throw a farewell party. Any reason is a good reason to throw a party!  Invite all your co-workers, your bosses and managers. By including all of your co-workers, you are making sure you end your current relationship on a positive note.

Remember, quitting is not a big deal when it’s done right. Let me know what you think in the comments and if you have other suggestions on how to quit without burning bridges.

The Top Posts from 2011 - eCommerce and Entreprenuership Blog

Posted on December 28, 2011 by Josh Mc

Every year we like to look back on what posts hit home the most for our readers, and this year is no exception. 2011 was a year of ups and downs, with Google’s Panda shift effecting SEO’s, big changes from established social networks and new companies trying to carve themselves a piece of the pie. Our top five blogs reflect many of these ups and downs as well as many other practical pieces of advice for eCommerce marketers. Check them out below and let us know some of the top things you learned this year in the comments.

5. Providing Exceptional Customer Service
Arianna starts off the top blogs list this year was a post she wrote only 2 months ago about providing excellent customer service. She provides four tips you can use as a customer service manager to hopefully spur your team on to providing better service to your customers.

4. Six Tips for Gaining Twitter Follower
Twitter became increasingly popular this year with millions more people and businesses joining the service, as well as a lot of traction from the media and celebrities. This post helped provide tips for gaining followers on Twitter and helped to build out your personal network.

3. Best Practices for Ecommerce Upselling
Another post from earlier in the year, Joelle wrote a whole bunch of great tips on how to increase your ecommerce sales team’s ability to upsell customers. This is especially relevant in today’s marketplace where almost every company is making the transition into the online world.

2. How Google Makes Their Money
Just a simple infographic, this post made its way around the social networks as it showed in design form how Google makes money from its keywords. It was extremely interesting to see that some keywords can cost up to 50 dollars per click. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.

1.    The Top Nine Social Media Sites for Website Traffic
The number one post this year was one that collected the many different social networks currently making a splash and broke down the nine best ones for traffic to your site. It was well received and started a lot of conversation on which were better and why.

So there you have it, another year gone by. Hope you enjoyed our posts here at the eCommerce and Entreprenuership blog, and we look forward to connecting with more of you next year as well. Make sure to leave a comment if there is a topic that you would like us to cover in more detail next year. Here’s to a great 2012!

Tips for Winning Over Angry Customers

Posted on December 21, 2011 by Arianna

Winning over angry customers has to be the single hardest problem customer service team’s face every day. Thankfully, in our field we do not deal with face to face interactions, so it can often be easier to handle angry customers then in person.  By far the best thing you can do to win over angry customers is to give your “5-star” attitude: Sit up straight, breathe, give your full attention, be extremely patient, and be efficient. When you need some extra tips though, here are a couple great ideas that should help you provide excellent service to rude customers.

Create a Personal Connection
Remember to make a personal connection with angry
customers.  When you begin to connect with the customer, they start realizing that you are also a human. Customers tend to calm down once they start to understand that you care about whom they are or what their issue is, rather than just being another call they had to take.

Find the Real Issue
 It is also really important for customer service representatives to dig deeper and find the real issues behind the ranting and raving. If giving the
customer their options, apologizing for the inconvenience and trying to resolve the customer's issues are not good enough for the customer and they start using foul language,  it is okay for representatives to say, “Customer, there is nothing more I would  rather do than resolve your issue. With the language you are using right now though, it is making it difficult for me to assist you. Can we bring down the tone please?” If they continue to scream and yell then finally say, “I’m sorry you feel this way…I can see you are really upset and so I recommend that we continue this conversation at another time. I will give you a call tomorrow at a designated time to continue our conversation then. Thank you.”

Connect and Motivate your Customer Service Team
Trying to provide a “5-star” attitude, making sure we connect with the
customers and also protecting our feelings, can help you stay positive with angry customers, while maybe even getting the customers to calm down a bit as well. But regardless of how much you try to stay positive, the feeling that you are left with after dealing with rude and angry customers is hard to explain. With all of my focus being on handling angry customers I decided to give each team member a goody bag. Each bag contained a pack of Q-tips, a mirror, a smile file, LaffyTaffys and thank you cards. Each item had a specific meaning.

Smile file and goody bag

The Q-tips were to remind each representative to Quit Taking It Personal – when an angry customer starts attacking their self-esteem they need to take a Q-tip out of the box and once the phone call is over throw away the Q-tip; hopefully the box still has some Q-tips at the end of the month. The mirror was so that the representatives can look at their attitudes while talking to angry customers. A customer can always sense a smile over the phone and it is important that we try to kill anger with kindness, and having a mirror in front of them can force them to smile. The smile file was so that at the end of the call, the representatives can go through and read the emails of other customers that were glad they talked to them and had a great experience. The LaffyTaffys, were so that in the end they can just laugh it off and move on. Lastly, the thank you cards were so that our representatives could send their individual customers personal thank you cards for ordering with our company.

The team loved the bags and the representatives have been using all of the items. I have seen a great impact in our overall attitudes and we have learned to love those angry customers that can make our job difficult!

What are some of the tips you and your team use to win over anger callers?

 

Google Zeitgeist 2011: A Year In Review

Posted on December 15, 2011 by Josh Mc

One of my favorite things about the end of the year is all of the lists that come up to remind us what has happened as we look back. As I posted last year, the Google Zeitgeist is one of my favorite of these recaps. It takes Google's products such as Search, Earth and Google+ to make a video that blends the top news and searches of 2011. Google has a lot of other lists as well that you can see here. Check it out below and leave us a comment to let us know what you think.

 

 

 

Five Considerations When Hiring IT Staff

Posted on December 6, 2011 by Josh Mc

Hiring an employee to handle IT (Information Technology) responsibilities can feel overwhelming, especially if a business is new and does not have much experience in having an IT department. Hiring a good IT person is a huge asset to the company, while hiring a bad one can actually hurt workplace moral. By keeping in mind the below considerations, you should be on your way to selecting a good IT person for your workplace.

1. Knowledge
In order to find the right IT guy, it is important to consider whether or not they truly understand the business. Do they really know what their responsibilities consist of and what they may be expected to do during certain times of the year? They need to be aware of what they are in for and what skills they will be expected to use at any given time. You will also want to test their knowledge of these skills so that you know you are hiring someone that can walk the talk.

2. Personality
The IT person that will work well with the business needs to have a positive and engaging personality. Other employees, for example, should not be nervous or afraid about approaching them; a negative work environment can only lead to unhappiness and widespread consequences. If the IT staff is full of friendly personalities, people will be more confident about their performance and role in the business. The IT person should be willing to work with others and contribute to the health of the business.

3. Willingness
Any good employee, no matter what their tasks may be or who they are working for, needs to be willing to try new things. If they are presented with a job they have never handled or been exposed to before, they cannot behave as though they are positive they are going to fail. The potential employee needs to be willing to do what they can to handle the new responsibility; not just for their own sake, but for the sake of the IT department and the success and growth of the business as a whole.

4. Flexibility
On top of a willingness to try, it is also important for an employer to consider a potential IT guy that is flexible. They should be able to handle whatever comes their way, be it a computer that simply will not turn on or a virus that has infected the data system in the office. Also, they should be able to change their hours to deal with fixing a computer when an employee has gone for the day or do some late night work if the website has gone down. Often, they will have to be flexible when it comes to helping customers deal with tech products issues, should such a thing apply. An employer needs an IT employee that can adjust what they are doing to handle different problems, especially when it comes to technology.

5. Professionalism
One of the most important considerations to remember is professionalism. No matter how social the IT person may be, or how willing they are to handle new responsibilities on a daily basis, it means little if they are not professional. If they do not appear to take their job seriously, or if they appear to be immature, they should not be hired for any positions.

Hiring an IT guy, for any business, can be seen as a stressful venture. However, by looking at the considerations above, an employer can hope to have a higher success rate. If you have other considerations that you use, make sure to leave them in the comments.

How Hard is Getting a Job at Google (Infographic)

Posted on November 29, 2011 by Josh Mc

I know this is two inforgraphics in a row, but this one is so interesting that I could not resist posting it. For all of the hiring managers and HR departments out there you will be interested in seeing what it takes to get a job at Google and then being able to contrast that with your own company. Check it out below and let me know what you think in the comments.

What it takes to get a job at Google

Infographic by Jobvine Recruitment Network

 

Infographic on the Future of Online Holiday Shopping

Posted on November 23, 2011 by Josh Mc

BlueKai created this great infographic that I thought I would share. It has data from 2010 trends and applies them to the new 2011 holiday season. Check it out below and let me know what you think in the comments.

Holiday shopping infographic

Original Source of this infograpic is here at BlueKai