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Last update: 2013-03-26

SLI Systems CEO on Google's Commerce Search

2013-03-26 :: Kerry Murdock

Ecommerce site search — including Google's announcement that it is dropping its Commerce Search platform — is our topic today. Dr. Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems, a leading site search provider, is our guest. He speaks with Practical Ecommerce's Kerry Murdock.

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SumAll CEO on Using Big Data

2013-03-22 :: Kerry Murdock

An ecommerce merchant deals with lots of data. There's revenue, profit, customers, traffic, order values, Likes, followers . . . lots of data. One company that helps merchants sort through this data and make decisions is SumAll. Its CEO and co-founder, Dane Atkinson, speaks with Practical Ecommerce's Kerry Murdock.

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Monetate CEO on Ecommerce Personalization

2013-03-07 :: Kerry Murdock

Retailers increasingly use data to personalize an online shopping experience. Geo location, shopping and browsing history, weather — all can impact how products are presented to online shoppers. Among the leaders in personalization technology is Monetate. Its co-founder and CEO, David Brussin, speaks with Practical eCommerce's Kerry Murdock.

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Make Publishing Routine

2012-12-27 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Consistent publishing takes discipline and time. One way to address time is to remain at least one post ahead. If you publish weekly, make sure next week’s post is written before you publish this week’s. This is more difficult if your posts draw on current news, but this is a good reason to have a variety of post types.

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Place Banner Ads on Niche Sites

2012-12-21 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Most markets have industry specific media sites that publish relevant articles. Invest in targeted banner or content ads on those sites to reach your target market without guessing at keywords. Your prospects are reading those sites. Make sure you have a presence.

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Create a Clear, Action-Based Subject Line

2012-12-17 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Transactional emails enjoy better open rates than other emails, in part, because customers are anticipating them and want to ensure that the order is moving along as expected. The email’s subject should clearly state what action a customer took to receive this email and who the email is from.

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Use AdWords Labels In Your Product Feed

2012-12-14 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

When you upload your data feed to Google, you can tag items with labels that enable you to fine-tune your campaigns within AdWords. A simple use of labels would be marking your high-margin products, so that you can bid more aggressively on those items.

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Provide Product Data Feeds

2012-12-13 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

To help affiliates with contextual links and product-focused sites, provide them with a product data feed. Characteristics can include product name, landing page, price, image and source URL. If you use shopping comparison sites, you likely have a data feed that you could adapt to affiliate network needs.

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Plan to Accommodate Change

2012-12-12 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

A good marketing plan should assume that some tactics will change during the course of execution and accommodate those likely changes. This does not mean that the planner should seek to figure out possible changes in advance or be unwilling to commit to some tactics. It suggests, instead, having some margin or room in the plan for change.

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Posting to Facebook

2012-12-11 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Post quality content and promote your posts to engage with fans. Send the latest news, exclusive content, and promotions to fans at least twice a week, or more often if possible. However, don't burn your fans out by posting too often, such as multiple times per day. "Less is more" is a good principle to follow when posting to Facebook.

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Friends of Fans

2012-12-10 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

If you want your fans to influence a broader set of their friends, you should provide them with high-quality content — videos and photos work well for this — which can be appreciated by most users. This will considerably increase the share of your fan's friends who will view and engage with your content.

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Reward Reviewers with Prestige

2012-12-07 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

It is not a good practice to offer discounts or rewards to encourage customers to write product reviews, but you can reward reviewers with prestige. People like knowing that their opinions matter. People also like being recognized by peers. Appeal to both of these “likes” by giving reviewers expert status and notoriety on site, in social media, and in email campaigns.

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Every Page Has a Keyword Purpose

2012-12-06 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

If five pages on your site are optimized for a juicy keyword phrase, each page is competing with the others for dominance for that phrase. In a well-designed site each page has a unique purpose. Because each page has a unique purpose it will also have a unique ability to rank for specific keyword phrases.

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Show Off Reviews

2012-12-05 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Making reviews an important part of every product category page and every product detail page on a retail site lets shoppers read honest peer opinions about the products available for sale and are the first step toward encouraging additional reviews. Shoppers who are persuaded to buy an item because of reading a review may be more likely to review that item themselves.

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Give Something Away

2012-12-04 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Contest marketing seeks to get potential customers to register or sign up in exchange for a chance to win a prize. In the context of attracting new customers, contest marketing is similar to email marketing, in that it is a gateway of sorts that introduces customers to a merchant and increases the chances of making a sale by increasing the amount of exposure.

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Engage Customers with Blogs

2012-12-03 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

A retail blog can be an effective way to engage customers, improve branding, and boost traffic. Blogs give retail sites content that may be linked to or shared across social networks, via email, or through search engines. Customers who find blog posts informative, entertaining, or helpful may be more likely to make purchases from the merchant responsible for those posts.

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Cross-sell, Up-sell, and Down-sell

2012-11-29 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

For cross-selling, complementary, often competitive, products are offered, giving the shopper the choice between similar products at a similar price point. Up-selling generally seeks to move a shopper to a premium product, potentially increasing the merchant's margin on the sale. Down-selling offers shoppers a similar but less expensive product, and is typically used to help retailers sell overstocked and slow moving items.

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Offer Sales Incentives

2012-11-27 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Structure your commission rates so that you have additional margin to offer sales incentives. For example, perhaps you are launching a new product line and you want affiliates to focus their marketing efforts on it. If you have room in your commission structure, you can offer a temporary increase — or perhaps sales bonuses — for hitting established revenue targets.

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Create a Holiday Promotions Calendar

2012-11-26 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Start your holiday promotions calendar by noting key days and milestones. Mark when your promotions for key holidays and high-sales days will begin, and which days promotional offers will begin and end. Planning your offers, expiration dates, coupon codes, and relevant landing pages ahead of time enables you to keep your PPC and website teams in sync.

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Email Cart and Checkout Abandoners

2012-11-23 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Many ecommerce platforms now offer the ability to email shoppers who abandon their carts during checkout or even during the shopping process, reminding them they have an open cart and offer to answer any questions they may have. Respond promptly to any customer requests.

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Don’t Fight Refunds

2012-11-21 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Make it incredibly simple to return unwanted items. This does not mean you have to pay return shipping, but don’t haggle over returns. Also, don’t dispute missing items. It just is not worth it. You are always just a chargeback away from both alienating a customer and losing money on your sale.

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Avoid Unnecessary Hype

2012-11-20 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Not all ecommerce merchants offer products that are suitable for gift giving or have products that otherwise sell during the holidays. If you simply don’t have a product or service that is in high demand this time of year, proceed with a "business as usual" approach. Otherwise, you could waste time and money promoting your products.

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Measure Social Presence

2012-11-19 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Social media generates large volumes of data because of the interactions between the different users. It is important to analyze this data, in near real time, to gauge the customer sentiment related to your company and the products. Large retailers have customer service teams proactively monitoring the social networks for customer complaints and questions.

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Know What Loads

2012-10-19 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

While it’s not on-going measurement or monitoring, simply getting familiar with all of the different components that load on your site is a good place to start. It is a good way to get an understanding of the individual elements of the pages on your site, as well as to uncover major errors with the site.

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Offer Halloween Bundles

2012-10-18 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Bundling products together is a great way to sell items during the Halloween shopping season and attract curious site visitors. The goal here is to put together a themed bundle that can be promoted on social media, via email, and as part of a press release.

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Keep Your Content Interesting

2012-10-17 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Connect with customers by offering content that will keep them interested in your company. Share helpful how-to tips, questions and polls, exclusive special offers and discounts, humorous videos, or attention-getting photos. Providing content that Fans and visitors will value and appreciate is the ticket to increased engagement through likes, comments and shares.

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Segment Your Mobile Customers

2012-10-16 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

You can create segments based on the type of mobile devices used by consumers. This can be combined with the location and the device's operating system to create additional segments. You can create different mobile apps for different devices to cater to different customer segments. This allows optimizing the app for each device by offering the best features, user experience, and performance.

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Outsource Transient Needs

2012-10-15 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

The biggest benefit of short term outsourcing is that you are able to bring in an expert for a defined period of time to perform a task without committing to them long term. Even if the hourly or project rate is higher than hiring an employee, you may save thousands of dollars by not committing to an annual salary and benefits.

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Plan for Successful Promotions

2012-10-12 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

A successful promotion should generate more activity, and may require a temporary ramp up of staff. Expect to receive more calls to customer service, increased production capacity, and heavier shipping activity. Think about the way you would prepare your business for busier seasons. The key to avoiding mishaps, when operations should be in peak performance mode, is preparation.

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Use a Social Media Management Application

2012-10-11 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

To save time, use tools that enable you to manage all of your social media activities from a single administrative dashboard. These applications enable you to oversee the entire social media engagement process. They serve as a single source for content creation and scheduling, automate the process of content syndication, and make it easy to manage social media channels and engagement activities.

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Track the Competition

2012-10-10 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Pick your top five competitors and review their stores at least weekly. You may find one offering a 50-percent off sale, or a 2-for-1 deal on your best selling products. You may not decide to match their offers, but you should at least be aware of it and be prepared to modify your promotions or featured items.

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Change Your Theme

2012-10-09 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

With modern shopping carts, it is easy to “reskin” your site with a different color theme or background. Give it try. It can change your store look without a lot of investment. Try a red and green theme at Christmas, and gold and brown one for the fall. Even putting some theme-oriented images throughout the store will add some freshness.

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Focus on Keyword Prominence

2012-10-08 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Keyword density is easy to understand but it isn’t as important to SEO as keyword prominence, which focuses on where the keywords are used on the page. For example, using a keyword phrase at the beginning of the title tag is more prominent to search engines than using it at the end of the body copy.

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Clean Up the Site Weekly

2012-10-05 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Assign someone to go through the home page, category pages, shopping cart, any other parts of your store where content might be changeable. Clear our old promotions and seasonal content. Make sure there are no missing images. Look at customer product reviews to make sure postings are appropriate. Make sure you don’t have featured products that are out of stock.

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Clean Your Email Database

2012-10-04 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Email databases tend to go stagnant over time. Before the holidays is the perfect time to clean your database. Verify older email addresses, process change of email addresses, and eliminate subscribers who haven't opened, clicked, or purchased from you in a reasonable time. Cutting valuable email addresses can be painful, but having a more responsive list will ultimately help with deliverability and reputation, and motivate you to seek new subscribers.

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Analyze Promotions From Last Year

2012-10-03 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Take time to analyze what worked last year. Go through old emails, offers, and messages and analyze sales and conversions. This a good starting point for what will work this year. Likewise, examine all of the emails you’ve sent this year. Rank their performance in terms of opens, clicks and sales. Moreover, identify the biggest failures of the year — to avoid this holiday season.

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Create Consistent Promotional Messaging

2012-10-02 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

When you’re running a holiday promotion, make sure you promote it throughout all of your paid search campaigns — i.e., search, display, remarketing, PLAs — in addition to your website, your social media pages, and in your email marketing campaigns.

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Change Your Email Offers

2012-10-01 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Offering something of value in each email message is crucial. Presenting a similar discount each week will become boring. Recipients will unsubscribe or stop opening your emails. Cycle through different types of promotions: Contests, free items, events, or sales. Adding a personal touch about your company can also make recipients feel a bit more connected, encouraging growth on social media channels as well.

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Keep Recipients Engaged

2012-09-28 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Keeping your database fresh is vital to the overall health and deliverability of your emails. Major Internet service providers don’t just look for spam trigger words. They see if recipients are opening or clicking on emails from you. To avoid the spam mail folder, you need to keep recipients opening emails frequently enough so that you are getting into their inbox every time.

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Offer Affiliates a Bonus

2012-09-27 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Affiliates who haven’t driven any traffic or sales may not have integrated your program onto their sites. A good way to get an affiliate initially engaged is to offer a first sale bonus, such as, “I’ll give you a $5 bonus to drive just one sale between now and the end of the month.” This could encourage your affiliates to at least get your banners up and running.

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TurnTo Founder on Using Past Customers for New Sales

2012-09-26 :: Kerry Murdock

Ecommerce merchants strive to answer questions from shoppers. Relevant, helpful answers presumably increase conversion rates. One company offers a solution that relies on past customers to answer questions from prospective ones. The company is TurnTo. Its founder and CEO, George Eberstadt, speaks with Practical eCommerce's Kerry Murdock.

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Maintain Some Margin

2012-09-26 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

A team that has margin in its work calendar can fit in an extra project like video editing, when an opportunity is presented. While one does not want to always use the margin, it can let marketers take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Remember, overworked employees cannot innovate.

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Explore all Potential Shipping Carriers and Services

2012-09-25 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Hybrid shipping options that combine United States Postal Service delivery for the "final mile" with FedEx, UPS or DHL Global Mail for the long haul can make a huge impact on a retailer’s bottom line. These services can eliminate very costly surcharges that can add up to 50 percent of the total cost on a traditional ground standard package, especially for residential deliveries.

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Design to Reduce Error

2012-09-24 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

The picking and packing of ecommerce orders can be repetitive, mistake-prone work. One of the most effective methods of eliminating errors involves designing workflows. This includes pictorial illustrations indicating the shelf location the product is likely to be on, and using product photography to aid identification.

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Responsive Design Saves Money

2012-09-21 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Instead of building separate sites to support each device — laptop, smartphone, tablet — a single site can be designed and developed to support the current and future devices. This not only reduces development costs but also the operational costs of maintaining multiple sites.

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Eliminate Double Shipping

2012-09-20 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

These days many retailers are sourcing products from overseas, especially Asia. Rather than importing to your distribution center, explore shipping directly from your overseas manufacturer to your customer. If you import goods to your warehouse, you’ll have to pay to re-ship them to the end customer.

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Monitor Your IP Address

2012-09-19 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Keep your newsletter-server IP address handy, and be sure to check it often. There are dozens of blacklists that list IP addresses and domain names that have suspicious mailing activity. If you frequently send to old email addresses that have not responded in a while, you risk hitting a spam trap and falling onto a blacklist.

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Consider Charging for Shipping

2012-09-18 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

In the era of free shipping, this is a different approach. But, give it a try. Charge for shipping on smaller orders. Charge a small handling fee on all orders. Shipping costs go up every year — usually two or three times per year. Why pay that on an ongoing basis? It’s reducing your profits.

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Spread Your Promotions

2012-09-17 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Target your email subscribers, Facebook fans, and Twitter followers with aggressive promotions on a limited number of items. Offer them deals only on the products you know they like and try to up-sell and cross sell other products with higher margins. People like a deal. Customers will often also spend money on other impulse buys at the same time.

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Be Quick with Customer Service

2012-09-14 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Speed is very important in customer service. When shoppers send an email, fire up a chat session, or make a phone call, they want immediate relief for some problem. Good customer service will address this need and do everything possible to solve the issue fast.

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Explore Usability Testing

2012-09-12 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Usability testing almost never fails to surprise site owners with what it uncovers. Full-scale usability testing is time-intensive and expensive, but even cheap, crude usability testing can yield surprisingly valuable information. All it takes is a little time and a bit of discipline. Using a video camera, observe a specific use case, and be sure to discuss things with the tester afterwards.

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Avoid Stock Product Descriptions

2012-09-11 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Using stock descriptions will not incur a direct penalty. However, search engines reward unique content. Nothing is less unique than a product description used by thousands of sites. Options include rewriting stock descriptions to be unique, or engaging customers to rate and review products to contribute their own unique content to the product pages.

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Seek Mobile Compatibility

2012-09-10 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

With the growing popularity of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones, it’s increasingly important for businesses to be “mobile-ready.” As your potential customers migrate from personal computers to tablets and other devices, they will begin to interact with your website differently. They will expect different levels of accessibility and functionality that complement newer technologies.

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Protect Yourself From Trolls

2012-03-15 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

"Patent trolls" lie in wait for someone to use their technology without realizing it is covered by the patent owners rights under their patent. Know what code you are using, and what licensing or restrictions you may fall under. If you transfer the patent infringement liability to your developer, it can lessen your possibility of an infringement lawsuit.

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Logistics Expert on Reducing Shipping Costs

2012-03-14 :: Kerry Murdock

Strategies and ideas to reduce shipping expense appeal to most every ecommerce merchant. Our guest today is a shipping and logistics expert, helping merchants reduce their shipping costs. He's John Haber, founder and CEO of Spend Management Experts, a shipping and logistics consulting firm.

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Increase Site Speed

2012-03-14 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Slow performance can deter customers from coming back to your site. If your site experiences performance issues, it is important that you improve it. This could require investments in bigger servers, and tweaking specific areas of the site that had performance problems. Consider the growth rate of your site while working on improving its performance and scalability.

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Increase Your Prices

2012-03-13 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

You should increase prices infrequently. However, even a minor increase — a few cents across your entire product catalog ­— can add up to a lot of additional revenue. If prices change frequently on your site or if you sell one-of-a-kind products, you can likely increase prices with little resistance from your customers.

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Expand Your Product Assortment

2012-03-12 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

There are several ways to enhance the product assortment offered on your site. You could add products similar to things that have sold well in the past. You could also introduce unique products that set your store apart from the competition. Consider surveying your customers to identify the new products that they want to purchase.

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Blogging Brings Authority

2012-03-09 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Being a leader — even in a small subject ­— is being considered the best, most authoritative, trusted source. It means being the ‘go to’ people, and it leads to increased sales and profits. Establishing yourself as a prime trusted expert in a field translates easily into being a primary trusted seller in that field as well.

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Dynamic Emails

2012-03-08 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Personalization, in its basic form, is really using any detail you may know about a person to append into the email body or subject line that is specific to that individual. With dynamically generated content, an email message may render in dozens of different ways depending on the rules you have specified, reflecting a customer’s location, demographics, past behavior, or other criteria.

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Track Your Competitors

2012-03-07 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

An accurate and current competitive analysis of rival merchants' strengths and weaknesses can provide a significant advantage and identify opportunities. An objective analysis can show you areas where you are lacking, highlight your strengths, and may show potential routes for expansion.

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CyberSource Exec on State of Credit Card Fraud

2012-03-07 :: Kerry Murdock

Most every ecommerce merchant has experienced credit card fraud in some manner. Credit card companies try to prevent payment fraud, of course, and one — CyberSource — publishes the details of fraud each year in its annual "Online Fraud Report." CyberSource's chief researcher for that report is Doug Schwegman, and he joins Practical eCommerce's Kerry Murdock to discuss this year's findings.

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Optimize Site Images

2012-03-06 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

In addition to using PNG and JPEG images to speed up your website, also consider using SVG graphics for special cases. Unlike traditional graphics, SVG images are in an infinitely-scalable vector form, and are easily machine-modifiable. This can allow you unique opportunities with varying or zooming images. However, be aware that some browsers do not fully support the SVG format.

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Consider Daily Deals

2012-03-05 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Daily deals are an expensive, but also potentially useful advertising tool. If you are looking to increase your business's visibility and are using daily deals as a source of advertising, then participation may make sense. But also consider the cost and whether the daily deal, with its fickle consumers, is the most cost effective method of advertising.

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Match Your Keywords and Pages

2012-03-02 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Sprinkling lots of keywords on the same page will not improve organic search rankings, nor will using the same keyword on lots of different pages. The key to content optimization for SEO is matching one keyword to one page in a methodical and disciplined manner. Try using a keyword tool to determine the most effective use and placement of keywords.

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Test Your Site with Real Users

2012-03-01 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Knowing how consumers interact with an ecommerce site can be greatly beneficial. Consider using real people, not just automated tools, to test your site. Watching people go through your site, you are going to discover where people are getting stuck and why. That will give you an idea of the things on your site that need to change first.

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Choose an SEO Agency Carefully

2012-02-29 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Search engine optimization requires time and effort that many small businesses can’t afford in-house. One obvious solution is to turn to an agency. However, never choose an agency based on price or reputation alone. Investigate the agencies to be as certain as possible that they can deliver what your site, company and the culture needs to make its SEO program successful.

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Crowd-source Simple Tasks

2012-02-28 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Consider the challenge of writing product descriptions. Product descriptions can often fuel site traffic and are very important for search engine optimization. But, at the same time, they can be very time-consuming. Crowdsourcing is a way of getting humans to perform common, repeatable tasks that computers have not yet mastered. Consider crowdsourcing for tasks you need completed quickly and inexpensively.

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Create a Promotional Calendar

2012-02-27 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Time is scarce. A promotional calendar will help you prioritize your most important action items based on the season. Another reason it is important is that it helps you synchronize the efforts of your entire team. You’ll get the best results when everyone on your team is aligned towards the same goals — even if all of those job titles belong to you alone.

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Make a Website with Contrast

2012-02-24 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

When designing your website, select an appealing color scheme, but also a high-contrast one. Creating a color scheme with hues that all have the same value produces a very boring site design, while having both light and dark colors increases visual appeal and improves readability. So when creating color schemes, keep contrast in mind.

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Add Social Interaction Gradually

2012-02-23 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

The easier and more pervasive the social buttons are across the site, the more likely customers are to engage socially, but it doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. Try starting with a single page type and a single social network to get the feel for how the buttons interact with the platform and how consumers interact with the buttons.

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Try Offering Layaway Purchasing

2012-02-22 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Online layaway allows online merchants to reach customers who cannot pay with credit cards and cannot pay in one lump sum. For consumers, it provides an interest free purchase — spread out over several months — letting them make purchases they might otherwise be unable to afford.

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Competing on Price Possible for Small Merchants, Says BlackLocus CEO

2012-02-22 :: Kerry Murdock

Conventional wisdom is that smaller ecommerce merchants cannot compete against larger ones in terms of the prices of their respective products. But our guest today says that's not necessarily true. He says smaller merchants should maintain an overall pricing strategy, while understanding what their competitors are up to. He's Rodrigo Carvalho, founder and CEO of BlackLocus, a pricing-intelligence service. He speaks with Practical eCommerce's Kerry Murdock.

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Increase Conversions with Retargeting

2011-11-25
Length: 1m 0s

Retargeting is the practice of exposing potential customers to either a greater frequency of online ads or to more specific online ads after that shopper has already interacted with a store. Using retargeting could significantly boost sales conversions, w…

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Reach New Markets With Fulfillment

2011-11-23
Length: 1m 0s

Online retailers can also use fulfillment services to expand their businesses to new markets without having to invest in infrastructure or a lot of additional employees. With the help of a fulfillment service, the merchant can place inventory in another c…

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Expert Explains Email Blacklists, ISP Blocks

2011-11-23
Length: 20m 0s

Email marketing is critically important to many ecommerce merchants. But what happens if a merchant's email is blocked by an Internet service provider? Or, worse yet, what happens if the merchant's name or IP address lands on a blacklist? Email deliverabi…

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Understand Investment Consequences

2011-11-22
Length: 1m 0s

If you are looking for venture capital, understand that investors will want high returns. Investors are primarily interested in businesses that have very high profit margins and that can scale easily. If you're trying to raise money, you need a minimum o…

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Don’t Overdo SEO

2011-11-21
Length: 1m 0s

One of the most important, yet oft-ignored user experience factors when viewing a web page is its trustworthiness. Having links only for the sake of internal linking structure ruins trustworthiness. Even though one might attain more traffic, the conversio…

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StumbleUpon Promotes Relevancy

2011-11-18
Length: 1m 0s

Finding relevant content is the goal of search engines. Normally, however, that requires the searcher to filter through pages of results with no guarantee of helpful sources. StumbleUpon allows users to share a website with others in their social network.…

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Advertise With Social Word-of-Mouth

2011-11-17
Length: 1m 0s

If your site sells products that can benefit from word-of-mouth marketing, then Facebook is a great tool to use. You can put specials on Facebook to generate buzz. Posting pictures of your products can start conversations as your Fans start "Liking" your …

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Expand Your PPC Ads

2011-11-16
Length: 1m 0s

PPC ad extensions allow you to provide more relevant information in your ads and increase the space your ads take up. While individual extensions see relatively low click-thru rates, ads with extensions receive more clicks on the headline than those with…

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ICANN to Issue Custom Top-Level Domains, Expert Explains

2011-11-16
Length: 21m 40s

The range of possible domain names is about to greatly increase. That's because ICANN, the authoritative body over Internet domain names, is about to add new top-level domains — the portion to the right of the period — to include brand names and other cu…

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Cross-platform Marketing with SoLoMo

2011-11-15
Length: 1m 0s

The term "SoLoMo" signifies combining social, local, and mobile marketing to connect with potential customers. It seeks to participate with customers in the activities they enjoy most, and tends to work best when marketers simultaneously promote their pr…

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Give Your Affiliates Content

2011-11-14
Length: 1m 0s

After an affiliate is approved, it gets access to the retailer’s advertising inventory. This should include a variety of advertising banners, keyword lists, and advance notice on product launches. The goal is to ensure that there is relevant content for …

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Plan Beyond the Sale

2011-11-11
Length: 1m 0s

If you’re planning to sell your business, be sure to think about what you will do afterwards. You may need to work for the company that bought you out. Regardless, you will no longer be ‘the boss,’ and be prepared for a lifestyle change. Remember that …

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Navigation Helps SEO

2011-11-10
Length: 1m 0s

SEO is a war of a thousand small battles. Relevance and value, or quality, are the foundation of SEO. A site's navigation has the power to improve both. Any battle an ecommerce site can fight and scale across the entire site — like navigation optimization…

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Maxymiser President on Multivariant Ecommerce Testing

2011-11-09
Length: 25m 35s

Ecommerce merchants strive to increase the number of visitors to their sites that actually purchase products. Increasing those conversions frequently requires experimenting with new approaches. Merchants can test which of these experiments increase sales…

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Focus SEO on Conversion

2011-11-09
Length: 1m 0s

Search marketing's ultimate goal isn't usually to drive more traffic; it's to convert more sales. More traffic just creates more server load, which is worthless unless it’s converting. Improving conversion typically requires working with your teammates in…

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Target Your Email Subject Lines

2011-11-08
Length: 1m 0s

A well written email subject line can increase open rates and, potentially, increase conversions. An email with a poorly written subject will probably get deleted. The best performing emails typically have simple, matter of fact subject lines that describ…

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Find Legal Forms Online

2011-11-07
Length: 1m 0s

Hiring attorneys for issues such as incorporation, contracts, or business sales can be extremely expensive for small businesses. The Internet provides less expensive alternatives, with templates offered by a number of firms. Each state has unique business…

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Forget The Fold

2011-11-04
Length: 1m 0s

The Fold, or the top 600 pixels of your website, has traditionally been the focus of web design, because it was what customers could view without scrolling. The fold is becoming less significant due to increasing variation in screen sizes, both with large…

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Fulfill Email Expectations

2011-11-03
Length: 1m 0s

Consumers are very sensitive to what they are receiving in their inbox — emails are permission based, after all. For this reason, make sure that your emails always match what your customers signed up for. Relevant emails are both more likely to be opene…

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Include a Content Slider

2011-11-02
Length: 1m 0s

A content slider allows a retailer to show shoppers products, specials, or information in a visually appealing way. Sliders also make a page more dynamic, and give users something with which to interact. Consider using a content slider in areas where you…

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SEOmoz CEO on Aborted Venture Capital Process

2011-11-02
Length: 21m 45s

The process of raising venture capital funding is intense, and oftentimes frustrating. One CEO just went through that process and wrote an insightful blog post that described it all. He is Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, a leading search engine optimization…

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SEOmoz CEO on Aborted Venture Capital Process

2011-11-02
Length: 21m 45s

The process of raising venture capital funding is intense, and oftentimes frustrating. One CEO just went through that process and wrote an insightful blog post that described it all. He is Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz, a leading search engine optimization…

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Emphasize Site Search

2011-11-01
Length: 1m 0s

Search is perhaps the most important navigation feature on a retail website. Make sure that your search field is in an obvious spot on your page. It may not even be necessary to change the search field's position on site, but instead adjust its size, sha…

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Provide Sufficient Product Information

2011-10-31
Length: 1m 0s

The higher the price tag, the more information the customer expects. This is especially vital for products such as engagement rings and other expensive jewelry. Effective product presentation and options for multiple product views can deliver the comfort …

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Use SEO Affiliates For Marketing

2011-10-28
Length: 1m 0s

I you don’t have an internal search team you may be able to rely on affiliates to fulfill that function. And since it’s based on revenue share, that means they’re bearing the risk and they’re paying the cost per click and you’re only paying on a revenue s…

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Consider Dynamic Navigation

2011-10-27
Length: 1m 0s

A basic site-search may no longer be sufficient. You may want to consider a dynamic site-search that can return products similar to the search query, faceted navigation to search by product characteristics, or search with built-in analytics to allow you …

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Beware Credit-Card Processing Pricing

2011-10-26
Length: 1m 0s

The new Durbin Amendment and interchange-plus pricing do not automatically guarantee that your merchant account provider is giving you a good deal. Many account providers hide the cost in monthly, annual, and other fees. Make sure you know how the pricin…

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AmericanBridal.com Founder on Selling the Business

2011-10-26
Length: 26m 50s

Many merchants dream of building a successful ecommerce business, and then selling it. Our guest for this interview has done just that. She's here to describe the process — and the post-sale emotions of it all. She is Shirley Tan, the founder and former o…

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Be a ‘One Percenter’

2011-10-25
Length: 1m 0s

The 90-9-1 Principle states that 90 percent of web users rarely contribute, 9 percent contribute occasionally, and that there is one percent that participates heavily and produces most online content. Take advantage of this – if you become one of the one…

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Make Your Site Bot-Friendly

2011-10-24
Length: 1m 0s

When designing your site to be attractive to shoppers, be sure to make it friendly to search-engines as well. Try visiting your site with a text-only browser – this can help you make sure that your site is bot-navigable, as well as checking that the alt-…

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Prepare for Online Holiday Shopping

2011-10-21
Length: 1m 0s

Despite the poor economy, ecommerce sales have been growing steadily. However, many shoppers this year are resolved to spend less money than last year, and some are shopping only if they can get a coupon or discount. To aid sales, ecommerce sellers shoul…

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Prepare for an Influx of Smartphones

2011-10-20
Length: 1m 0s

Smartphone sales are expected to surpass PC sales by the end of this year, and could be triple PC sales by 2015. With this shift in computing devices, expect to see a matching shift in consumer web-browsing habits. It is increasingly necessary for merch…

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Third-Party Solutions

2011-10-19
Length: 1m 0s

Even if there is a functionality your company needs, you don’t necessarily have to implement it yourself. There are many third-party solutions that can provide services you need. These services allow you to focus on your business, while someone else imp…

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Yahoo! General Manager on Platform Status, Future Upgrades

2011-10-19
Length: 23m 40s

Yahoo! Small Business remains a leading, hosted platform for ecommerce businesses. But the company itself has experienced turmoil — the CEO was recently fired — and critics of the shopping cart platform say it's dated. The man in charge of that platform …

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Focus on Core SEO

2011-10-18
Length: 1m 0s

Instead of building an additional section of your website designed solely to draw pagerank, focus on the core principles of SEO: crawlability, relevance, high quality and unique content, and quality links for the content that needs to rank. These approac…

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Shopping Cart Extensions

2011-10-17
Length: 1m 0s

Don’t assume that your shopping cart is limited to the functionality it has right now. Look for extensions available for your cart – many are quite powerful, and some are even free. There are extensions to enhance your cart’s functionality, promote your …

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Build a Promotional Calendar

2011-10-14
Length: 1m 0s

Review your revenue from the past year, and attempt to predict which days will be your biggest and smallest shopping days this year. Once you’ve prepared your calendar, map special promotions accordingly. By building your promotional calendar, you can ens…

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Have Impeccable Grammar and Spelling

2011-10-13
Length: 1m 0s

Style, spelling, and grammar are the building blocks of much of the digital world's content. How a business presents itself in words may affect how that business is perceived, and whether a customer is willing to make a purchase. The trust of the customer…

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Have a Single-Objective Landing Page

2011-10-12
Length: 1m 0s

A great landing page, whether it is a product detail page or an online form, should focus on one singular goal. In the case of a product detail page, that goal should be to convince the visitor to buy the product described. Registration pages seek to coll…

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Dydacomp CEO on Multichannel Selling Strategies

2011-10-12
Length: 25m 3s

The rush to sell products across multiple ecommerce channels is fine until a merchant starts to manage the back office complexities of updating inventory, prices, product descriptions, and then sales and shipments. Without automation that entire process …

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Try Free Shipping Memberships

2011-10-11
Length: 1m 0s

A growing trend is to offer free shipping to customers who join an "unlimited free shipping club," for an annual fee. As a small retailer, this might be a good option, versus creating your own free shipping membership program. The major benefit is it enc…

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Analyze Everything

2011-10-10
Length: 1m 0s

Web analytics tools seek to monitor and report on the interaction between Internet users and specific websites or marketing initiatives for the purpose of improving those interactions. More simply, analytics allow you to see and interpret the behavior of…

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Fold Shipping Cost Into Item Price

2011-10-07
Length: 1m 0s

If you sell unique or hard-to-find products, you can include your average shipping cost as part of the product price. Customers cannot compare prices when purchasing one-of-a-kind unique products, but the free-shipping offer can improve the conversion rat…

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Find a Community Leader

2011-10-06
Length: 1m 0s

Making a community part of your marketing efforts takes more effort than selecting the platform. It needs active management. Rather than spend all your resources on the technology platform, hire someone to provide community leadership, or recruit active m…

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Prepare for the Tablets

2011-10-05
Length: 1m 0s

Tablets are having a profound effect on how we view, manage, and use content.  Tablet sales are increasing rapidly, and shoppers using tablets are more likely to convert than either PC or smartphone shoppers.  Be prepared for tablet use to become even mor…

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SearchSpring Co-Founder on Improving Faceted-Category Navigation

2011-10-05
Length: 23m 15s

Sophisticated site search helps consumers find products on an ecommerce site, and therefore increases sales. But site search can also work with faceted category navigation to help consumers. The blending of site search with faceted category navigation is …

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Use A/B Testing

2011-10-04
Length: 1m 0s

A/B testing compares the performance of a single variation in some form of marketing content.  Split your customer base or email list, show one group your regular content, and show the other group that content with some thing changed.  The differing respo…

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Control Your Fonts

2011-10-03
Length: 1m 0s

Pay attention to typography on your ecommerce site.  Many designers fall into the trap of using too many fonts on a page. It’s okay to use multiple typefaces as long as they don’t interrupt site continuity, but too many fonts begin to compete with each ot…

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X.commerce to 'Inspire Developers,' says General Manager

2011-09-30
Length: 24m 12s

The notion of combining an online marketplace with a payment platform, a shopping cart and a robust backend is not new. But when the marketplace is eBay, the payment platform is PayPal, the cart is Magento and the backend is GSI Commerce, that is news. eB…

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Stock Transparency

2011-09-30
Length: 1m 0s

If you have a product that you expect to run out of, or that will be in high demand, be clear about availability.  You will get more respect if you are honest, even if your systems fail and you oversell.  Failing to be open about your inventory can actual…

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Make Personalized Recommendations

2011-09-29
Length: 1m 0s

Suggesting products that a shopper may like, based on their past purchase history, can be beneficial to both customer and business. From the customer's perspective, these personalized recommendations highlight new products they might have otherwise missed…

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Offer Freebies

2011-09-28
Length: 1m 0s

How much is a new customer worth? Do you have some product that costs less than that? If so, consider giving away freebies to draw in new customers. In addition to their initial visit, this practice will familiarize shoppers with your site, and will sta…

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Consider ‘Light-Blogging’

2011-09-27
Length: 1m 0s

Blogging is an excellent way to reach out to your customers. However, setting up a full blog can be time-consuming and unwieldy. Instead, consider using a light- or micro-blogging platform. There are a variety of sites that offer simple, easy, and cheap…

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Consistent Email

2011-09-26
Length: 1m 0s

Even with the variety of email options available, like customized triggered emails and fancy HTML layouts, it is sometimes better to stick to a simple regular email. A consistent email has a few advantages: customers know what to expect, a standardized e…

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Online Meeting Planners

2011-09-23
Length: 1m 0s

Next time you schedule a meeting, instead of chasing down everyone you need to meet with, try using an online meeting planner instead. Everyone enters the days that work for them, and the system sorts out the times that work for everyone. You no longer …

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Talk with Your Best Customers

2011-09-22
Length: 1m 0s

Focus on the primary strategies that work well, instead of dwelling on all that is wrong. In that spirit, identify your repeat customers, including those who ordered frequently in the past and have since lapsed. Ask them why they come back. Understand how…

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Utilize Unique Product Descriptions and Images

2011-09-21
Length: 1m 0s

Search engine optimization is still critical for the success of most ecommerce businesses. A common problem with ecommerce merchants is that their product descriptions or images are identical to scores of other websites. If twenty other websites have the …

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Build Your Business Around Customer Relationships

2011-09-20
Length: 1m 0s

With so many competitors vying for your customers' attention, you need to nourish your relationships with customers at every opportunity. Take an honest look at your customer communications: your order thank-you page, follow-up emails, and packaging mater…

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Create a Niche Community

2011-09-19
Length: 1m 0s

As an alternative to using a large social network, consider creating a niche community. A focused smaller community can be ideal for gathering feedback and building customer relationships. A niche community can also help keep your brand in the minds of …

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Focus on Profit

2011-09-16
Length: 1m 0s

Make sure you don’t confuse sales numbers for actual profit. While it is possible to increase sales by decreasing cost, dropping too low may hurt revenue or even loose you money. Do the math – it may be better for your business to sell fewer items at a …

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Podcast to Engage Shoppers

2011-09-15
Length: 1m 0s

Podcasting is a cheap and easy way to engage customers. Additionally, it can lead directly to sales: as many as 40 percent of loyal podcast listeners will make purchases. Try to make your podcast engaging to draw more customers.…

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ChannelAdvisor CEO on Shop.org

2011-09-14
Length: 13m 30s

Networking and exchanging ideas can help many online retailers. One organization that promotes this type of activity is Shop.org, the trade association for online merchants. Our guest today is the CEO of a leading ecommerce services firm, and he's just be…

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Set Google+ Snippets

2011-09-14
Length: 1m 0s

You can now control what text and images are displayed when a customer shares your site with the +1 button. This allows you to optimize the information shared by Google+, and provide more relevant data to the consumer. Try modifying the +Snippets to fur…

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Time Your Posts

2011-09-13
Length: 1m 0s

Just because you may be online during the workday does not mean that is the best time to post content to Facebook. Experiment with different time slots and see what happens. You may be surprised to find that content you tend to post during the midday woul…

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Be Patient with Pay Per Click

2011-09-12
Length: 1m 0s

Don’t freeze a new campaign after one week just because you don’t see any results. It can take up to six weeks for a campaign to show results, and it may take up to three months to generate consistent conversions. Check your ad performance every week or…

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Check Your Ad Budget

2011-09-09
Length: 1m 0s

One simple way to increase pay-per-click revenue is to check which of your campaigns are using up their allotted budget. If an already-profitable campaign has maxed out its budget, consider raising its limit. As long as your campaign is bringing in more…

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SLI Systems CEO on New Site-Search Developments

2011-09-09
Length: 23m 37s

The need for sophisticated site search is becoming increasingly important for ecommerce merchants, who are all serving increasingly sophisticated consumers. By almost any measure, high-level site search increases sales. To discuss trends in site search, …

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Integrate Email and Social Media

2011-09-08
Length: 1m 0s

Instead of splitting your attention, try making your email and social-marketing campaigns work together. Email can drive traffic to social content like blogs, while social platforms can share email content more widely. Social media builds customer loyal…

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Choose The Right Credit Card

2011-09-07
Length: 1m 0s

When choosing a business credit card, be sure to select the perks that meet your needs. If you don’t travel, you don’t need frequent-flyer miles, and instead might consider employee cards that let you track spending. Alternatively, you might want a card …

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Try Group Messaging

2011-09-06
Length: 1m 0s

There are several group-messaging mobile apps available. These tools can allow you to contact several people simultaneously, and allow group conversations or projects on the go. Many of these apps allow you to organize your contacts into groups for easi…

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Engage Your Customers

2011-09-05
Length: 1m 0s

It sounds painfully obvious, but try asking your customers to buy from you. A small change such as including the phrase “try now” can turn an otherwise passive email or product page into an engaging interaction with a consumer. This is especially effecti…

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Allow In-Store Pickup

2011-09-02
Length: 1m 0s

If you have both a physical and an online store, consider allowing in-store pickup of online purchases. This is convenient for shoppers who would be visiting your physical store anyway, and allows customers to save on shipping. Provide knowledgeable staf…

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Try an RSS feed

2011-09-01
Length: 1m 0s

An RSS feed is a tool that allows web users to track new content from one or several websites. This means that RSS feeds are a good way for merchants to syndicate regular content. Furthermore, RSS content can be aggregated to produce a simple and automat…

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Focus on Email

2011-08-31
Length: 1m 0s

While social media has become very popular, it may not be worth the effort you are putting into it. Check your analytics: retailers typically only drive 1% of their revenue via social, compared to 20-25% from email marketing. Given these numbers, it may…

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Try Bitcoin

2011-08-30
Length: 1m 0s

Bitcoin is a new virtual currency, designed for use over the internet. It works with a free, open-source program, and is independent of any centralized banking system. It offers a free API for easy integration with your website, and has transaction fees…

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Consider a New Brand

2011-08-29
Length: 1m 0s

If you are expanding into a new online niche, consider creating a spin-off brand for those products. A new sub-brand can prevent dilution of your existing brand with unrelated products. Conversely, the separation of your new brand will allow it to hyper…

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Be Selectively Social

2011-08-26
Length: 1m 0s

Don’t join social networks just because they’re popular. Maintaining a social media presence requires constant time investment, and often does little to increase revenue growth. Instead, use brand-monitoring tools to determine what platforms your custom…

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Free Image Editing

2011-08-25
Length: 1m 0s

Put off by steep price or learning curve of Adobe Photoshop? There are several free alternatives available for download online. These programs can let you work on the product images or site design you need, and range in complexity from basic image retou…

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Try Cloud Storage

2011-08-24
Length: 1m 0s

Consider using a cloud storage site. These sites are useful for data backup or remote collaboration, and can be accessed from anywhere via the Internet. Additionally, most cloud storage services offer free trials, allowing you to determine if you like t…

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Demand Security

2011-08-23
Length: 1m 0s

It is easier than ever to find PCI-compliant shopping carts. Don’t accept excuses from your cart provider or payment processor. Instead, consider whether you are willing to accept unnecessary risk, and if it is worth the trouble of changing systems.…

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Offer a Wait List

2011-08-22
Length: 1m 0s

If a product is out of stock, don’t simply make it unavailable for purchase. Instead, give your customers the option to sign up for notification when the item becomes available again. This practice allows you to regain some shoppers that would have other…

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Email Subscribers: Do The Math

2011-08-19
Length: 1m 0s

Your email list can benefit from simple mathematical analysis. Divide your email-based revenue by your number of email subscribers to find the value of a subscriber. Then you can weigh this subscriber value against cost-per-subscriber of subscription ef…

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Make Your Consumers Producers

2011-08-18
Length: 1m 0s

If you have novelty-driven product sales, consider allowing your customers to create and submit content or designs. Consumer-generated content allows you access to a greater pool of talent, and provides an increased sense of community. Such consumer-prod…

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Try Limited-Lifespan Sites

2011-08-17
Length: 1m 0s

Consider creating short-term websites. If you have a one-time event, or unique or limited stock, you may only need a website for a limited time. Such a website can be set up quickly and cheaply, and provides a sense of urgency to the shopper, prompting …

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Promote Scheduled Reorders

2011-08-16
Length: 1m 0s

Try offering your customers the option to schedule reoccurring purchases of your products. Especially if you sell consumables, this will provide you with a steady trickle of income. Automated reorders can be more convenient to your customer, and provide …

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Offer Unsubscribe Alternatives

2011-08-15
Length: 1m 0s

Often when a customer unsubscribes from your email list, it is more a matter of reducing inbox clutter than dislike for your company. On your unsubscribe page, try offering the option to reduce the frequency of mailings, or to narrow down the categories …

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Listrak CEO on Innovative Email Marketing

2011-08-13
Length: 24m 50s

Email remains among the most popular marketing vehicles for ecommerce merchants. But the email business is changing, with new auto response tools and customer acquisition strategies. To discuss innovative uses of email for ecommerce merchants, we're joine…

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Offer Educational Content

2011-08-12
Length: 1m 0s

Educational content is an excellent way to attract both customers and incoming links. A steady trickle of content on your area of expertise can help you stand out from an ever-growing mass of competition. This can be especially useful if you sell specia…

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Try Audio Content

2011-08-11
Length: 1m 0s

When adding content to your website, consider audio features such as podcasts or audio product descriptions. Audio is simple to produce and has low bandwidth requirements, making it a manageable and cost-effective alternative to video, especially for sma…

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Localization Brings Legitimacy

2011-08-10
Length: 1m 0s

As your company grows, you may want to provide localized versions of your site for overseas buyers. Even the language differences the U.S. and Britain can provide a barrier to purchases, as American spelling will look like an unprofessional mistake. Add…

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Scale Your Ambition

2011-08-09
Length: 1m 0s

When selling through an online marketplace like Amazon, be aware of the tradeoffs you are making. You are essentially surrendering your brand identity to the larger market provider, and trading autonomy for access to their large customer base. If you ha…

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Know What You Need

2011-08-08
Length: 1m 0s

You may no longer need a powerful computer and specialized licensed software to do your job. Often, all you need is a computer capable of accessing the Internet, where you can find free cloud-based services for any task. Stop and consider the difference…

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Six Degrees of Separation

2011-08-05
Length: 1m 0s

Social advertising is gaining ground over traditional advertising. Consumers are more likely to visit a site or make a purchase if it is recommended by their friends. Use tools like Google+ and social analytics to analyze customer engagement, and get yo…

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PCI Council General Manager on Status of Security Standards

2011-08-05
Length: 17m 40s

The PCI Security Standards represent self-regulation on the part of the major credit card brands to protect the security of consumers' credit cards. The general manager of the PCI Security Standards Council is Bob Russo, and he joins Practical eCommerce's…

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Find Funding Online

2011-08-04
Length: 1m 0s

Instead of a traditional loan, consider searching for funding online. There are several online sites dedicated to pairing investors with promising investments. These sites offer greater exposure to a greater number of investors, and the capacity to focu…

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Know Your Customers

2011-08-03
Length: 1m 0s

Segment customers according to their interests, then use that segmentation for increases marketing effectiveness. You can easily get this data with a few questions when they register or purchase from your site, or later with a survey. Also consider segm…

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Know Your Ad Real-Estate

2011-08-02
Length: 1m 0s

Where your ad is displayed can have a large impact on click-through rates. For example, purchasing an ad at the top of a Google search result typically receives ten times the traffic of ads located off to the side. Focus on purchasing ad space in areas …

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Don’t Go It Alone

2011-08-01
Length: 1m 0s

Consider joining one or more entrepreneur-oriented social networks. These networks are a great way to get advice from peers, as well as providing an area to collaborate and search for partners or service providers. Additionally, many of these sites are …

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Take Advantage of YouTube

2011-07-29
Length: 1m 0s

While using embedded YouTube videos to serve video content is less elegant than some would prefer, it does have significant benefits: you are not hosting the video on your own site, which can lead to significant bandwidth savings, and the YouTube player i…

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Treat Video as a Value-Add

2011-07-29
Length: 1m 0s

When using video to help sell a product, let it compliment, not duplicate or replace, your text. Relying purely on video will alienate shoppers who are unable or unwilling to play it. Instead, a quick, simple video that demonstrates the appeal or utilit…

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Innovators: Subscriptions; One-time Use; Consumer Voting

2011-07-27
Length: 19m 0s

There are innovators and trendsetters in the ecommerce business. Our guest, Harley Finkelstein, looks for these innovations, and trends, and then shares some of them with us. In this month's installment of "Innovators and Trendsetters," Finkelstein — who…

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Be Productive, Un-tethered

2011-07-27
Length: 1m 0s

An increasing number of smartphone apps allow you to manage your work from outside your office. Whether for iPhone or Android, you can now find mobile apps to network, navigate, collaborate, translate, and track everything from shipments to flight status…

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Innovators: Subscriptions; One-time Use; Consumer Voting

2011-07-27
Length: 19m 0s

There are innovators and trendsetters in the ecommerce business. Our guest, Harley Finkelstein, looks for these innovations, and trends, and then shares some of them with us. In this month's installment of "Innovators and Trendsetters," Finkelstein — who…

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Shop Around for Your Ecommerce Platform

2011-07-25
Length: 1m 0s

When looking for software like a shopping cart platform, remember that most programs offer a free trial - take advantage of this to get a better feel for the software. Balance the cost of the platform against the features you need, and remember: complexi…

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Take Advantage of Free Online Services

2011-07-22
Length: 1m 0s

Don't assume that you have to spend money on expensive programs for tasks such as video editing. Increasingly, you can find free sites online that offer professional-level functionality, accessible through your web browser. Using these tools you avoid t…

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Poll Customers to Determine Upcoming 'Hot Items'

2011-07-21
Length: 1m 0s

Merchants can anticipate market trends by getting feedback from their customers. Try polling your customers every few months to determine what kinds of products they would like to see. Any common themes in their responses could indicate a upcoming trend…

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The Purchase Follow-up

2011-07-20
Length: 1m 0s

Merchants should have a transactional email program in place to communicate information about a purchase. Including a follow-up survey as part of that program is essential. Ask questions to help you improve your product, service or overall purchasing expe…

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Understanding 'Traffic Sources' in Google Analytics

2011-07-19
Length: 1m 0s

The Google Analytics Traffic Sources section monitors which sources are sending traffic to a site and — with a bit of interpretation — this data can be used to measure the quality of traffic being sent. Armed with this information, ecommerce marketers can…

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Feature Contact Information on Checkout Page

2011-07-18
Length: 1m 0s

Here's a tip from Randall Davison, lead project manager with Audio Transcription. “Make sure your company's customer service phone number is prominently listed on your checkout page. The last thing you want is a potential customer to leave your site right…

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Use Labels and Filters Together in Gmail

2011-07-15
Length: 1m 0s

Here's a tip to help you become a more effective Gmail user: Labels and Filters are two Gmail features that go very well together. Labels are a way of categorizing messages, visually alerting you to a message's content. Filters do email-related tasks auto…

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Writing Tools for Grammar, Style and Content

2011-07-14
Length: 1m 0s

Content is king. If you run a blog, most of your content is language. For an ecommerce site, you write promotional copy, product descriptions, policies, procedures, and more. You need tools to check your grammar, perfect your punctuation, and hone your cr…

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Miva Merchant President on eBay, Facebook, Mobile

2011-07-13
Length: 26m 40s

Our guest is the president of a leading ecommerce platform. But he's also a longtime observer of the ecommerce scene generally, and it's in that latter capacity that we've asked him to join us. He's Rick Wilson, president of Miva Merchant, and he's here …

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Consider How Non-Mobile Content Renders

2011-07-13
Length: 1m 0s

Increasingly, users are reading email on mobile devices. Savvy marketers want to be aware of this trend and tailor email campaigns to ensure that mobile users are receiving a good experience. If your email campaign links back to a video, blog post, or lan…

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Build Your Brand with Q & A Section

2011-07-12
Length: 1m 0s

Here's a tip from Jamie Salvatori, Owner of Vat19.com. “If you’re an expert on the products you sell, start proving it with a question and answer section on your website. Solicit visitors to send you questions and post the answers online. It’s great for …

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Mobile Templates for Your Business

2011-07-11
Length: 1m 0s

Google has introduced six mobile templates for Google Sites, Google's portal to assist with the creation of websites. Businesses can now create mobile websites or landing pages in just minutes. Creating your new mobile site is easy. Choose the template y…

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Customers Don’t Care About Cool Graphics

2011-07-08
Length: 1m 0s

Tim Burns, owner of MinnesotaWorkWear, gives us the following advice: “Keep your site neat, clean and straightforward. Too many times site owners do things because they can or just because it looks cool, but have no benefit to the customer. Customers gen…

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Check Your Website's SEO Health

2011-07-07
Length: 1m 0s

Websites that are a number years old will likely have missing internal links and 404 “page not found” errors. Both of these could be harmful to SEO; but Google Webmaster Tools will find them so that site owners can correct. With Google Webmaster Tools and…

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Encouraging Email Subscriptions

2011-07-06
Length: 1m 0s

To encourage more email subscriptions on your standard email newsletter form or on campaign landing pages, consider (1) what motivates your potential subscribers; (2) decide what you want to communicate in light of those motives; (3) clearly and concisely…

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Credit Card Exec on Durbin Amendment, New Debit Card Rates

2011-07-06
Length: 16m 0s

The Durbin Amendment to the U.S. Dodd-Frank legislative package affects ecommerce merchants. That's because the Amendment greatly lowers the rate — called interchange — that Visa and MasterCard charge for the processing of debit cards. But, importantly,…

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Use Social Media and Video

2011-07-05
Length: 1m 0s

Shoppers are becoming accustomed to interacting with companies on websites and in social media. Email marketers can often gain loyal customers by engaging recipients with a social sharing opportunity or interactive content. According to a MarketingSherpa…

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Mobile Commerce Payments

2011-07-01
Length: 1m 0s

Ease of payment is extremely critical for the success of a mobile site or app. The most convenient option is to add the charge to the customer’s mobile phone bill and avoid the entry of payment information. Most customers also perceive this as relatively …

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Locating Social Communities

2011-06-30
Length: 1m 0s

There are a number of ways merchants can find communities that would be interested in their products. One way is to start by listening. The best place to start is by conducting an online monitoring campaign. Consumers are talking to each other and are us…

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Mobile Promotions

2011-06-29
Length: 1m 0s

One of the biggest benefits of mobile commerce is the ability to leverage the always-connected state of a mobile device to send real-time promotions. This has been further extended to offer location-based promotions. If your business has a brick-and-morta…

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Affiliate Marketing Exec Offers Alternative to Nexus Sales Tax Laws

2011-06-29
Length: 16m 5s

The migration to online retailing is putting U.S. states in a bind. Their reliance on sales tax from local brick and mortar retailers means that as local sales lessen, so does the sales tax revenue from those transactions. Some of these states are now at…

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Affiliate Marketing Exec Offers Alternative to Nexus Sales Tax Laws

2011-06-29
Length: 16m 5s

The migration to online retailing is putting U.S. states in a bind. Their reliance on sales tax from local brick and mortar retailers means that as local sales lessen, so does the sales tax revenue from those transactions. Some of these states are now at…

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Emphasize Landing Pages

2011-06-28
Length: 1m 0s

Landing pages may be the most critical element in converting email traffic of any kind. The flow-through from the email to the landing page is critical. Enforce the marketing message and make visitors feel like they are in the right place after clicking t…

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Growing Your Email List

2011-06-27
Length: 1m 0s

An email list always should be growing and improving. From a marketing perspective, list growth starts with excellent content. Getting an email from your ecommerce business cannot be mundane, rather it needs to add value. What's more, marketers should be …

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Increase Conversions with Alternate Payment Methods

2011-06-25
Length: 1m 0s

If you’re not offering several payment methods during checkout, you’re losing business. Aside from the standards – MasterCard and Visa – all retail online stores should accept the following: American Express, Discover, PayPal, and Amazon Checkout. Storeow…

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Increase Newsletter Sign Up

2011-06-23
Length: 1m 0s

Given the importance of email in converting traffic, it’s worth considering giving your newsletter sign up more prominence. On most ecommerce sites, it is buried well below the fold, often in the footer. Visitors give their email addresses willingly in ex…

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OverstockArt.com President on Mobile Strategy

2011-06-22
Length: 21m 20s

Most every ecommerce merchant is contemplating a mobile strategy. David Sasson, the president of OverstockArt.com, is in the process of executing his company's strategy. It involves a specialized mobile app and a mobile optimized site, among other develo…

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Offer Guest Checkout Option

2011-06-22
Length: 1m 0s

Many consumers will not purchase through a website if it requires them to register first. Be sure to offer the option to check out as a guest. Customers will utilize the guest checkout feature so they don't have to set up an account. And, by not requiring…

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Create Retargeting Campaigns

2011-06-21
Length: 1m 0s

Your opportunity to convert a shopper into a customer does not end when the shopper abandons your site. The shopper may return later when he or she is ready to buy. To increase those odds, try implementing retargeting campaigns with motivational messages.…

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Product Reviews Build Consumer Trust

2011-06-20
Length: 1m 0s

Product reviews can help your customers make good buying choices. A 2009 study from The Nielsen Company found that some 70 percent of respondents trusted consumer opinions posted online. With this in mind, it is imperative that your online shopping cart e…

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Product Images: Bigger Is Better

2011-06-17
Length: 1m 0s

Product images are among the most effective ways to communicate with customers on an ecommerce site. If the product is not impressive from the photo, customers aren’t going to buy. Although product images are essentially a standard feature on all shopping…

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Innovations with Seasonality, Special Events

2011-06-16
Length: 23m 50s

In the ecommerce business, there are innovators and trendsetters, those companies and individuals who think ahead and anticipate changes. We've asked an expert ecommerce observer to help us identify — in a monthly conversation — some of these innovators, …

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Deliver Consistent Messaging Across All Channels

2011-06-15
Length: 1m 0s

It is no longer good enough to just provide a standalone online store, and then have it operate in a silo alongside physical stores, telephone sales and print catalogs. To truly deliver "commerce anywhere," ensure all of your product details and materials…

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Video: An Inexpensive Way to Advertise

2011-06-10
Length: 1m 0s

Online merchant Dean Blakeslee recommends the use of video for paid advertising. “Video seems to be a great way to generate traffic,” he said. “Keywords are less expensive than on search engines Google and Bing. Plus the general public’s appetite for a qu…

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Cisco Exec on the Scope of Worldwide Ecommerce

2011-06-10
Length: 17m 30s

The ecommerce industry in the U.S. is robust. It's also robust in other industrialized countries, while other regions lag in ecommerce activity. The state of worldwide, online retailing is our topic today. And to help us understand it, we welcome Joanne …

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Find Your Company's Voice

2011-06-09
Length: 1m 0s

Distinguish yourself from thousands of website competitors by finding your voice. It is your company's unique spin on selling products. Focus on what you do well, and make sure you communicate this to your customers via your website's design, layout, word…

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Add Personality to Your Blog

2011-06-08
Length: 1m 0s

Personality is an essential ingredient to a successful blog. Have your bloggers introduce themselves through an “About” page, and have a photo and a little bio of each of your bloggers on the blog's homepage with a link to read more. This allows readers t…

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Incorporate a Blog Into Your Site

2011-06-07
Length: 1m 0s

In most cases, it's best to incorporate your blog into the main www subdomain of your primary domain name. Other people will link to your various blog posts, and having those links on the same subdomain as your ecommerce site gives you maximum benefit in …

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Establish Your Own Blog URL

2011-06-06
Length: 1m 0s

It’s very foolish not have your own domain name on your blog. For instance, if you have “mycompany.wordpress.com” or “mycompany.blogspot.com” or “mycompany.typepad.com” as your blog URL, it's basically like going with an AOL email address back in the 1990…

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Protect Your Site Against Fraud

2011-06-03
Length: 1m 0s

Be sure your website is taking the necessary precautions to protect against fraudulent charges. As ecommerce grows, so does the number of crooks trying to take advantage. Your customer is generally not on the hook for a stolen card, and the giant credit c…

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Use Your Blog to Engage and Inspire

2011-06-02
Length: 1m 0s

Blogs occupy a special place in the heart of search engines — Google in particular — where blog content gets additional rankings benefit over and above just a static, boring brochure or a website. Take advantage of this by inspiring people to comment on y…

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Speed Up Page Load Times

2011-06-01
Length: 1m 0s

In the spring of 2010, Google announced it would factor page speed more heavily into its search ranking algorithm. If your web pages take more than about 2 seconds to load, Google considers them slow, and you should take action. Slow load-times don't mean…

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Dijipop Founder on Ecommerce 'End-Caps'

2011-06-01
Length: 20m 45s

Physical, brick-and-mortar retailers market products with end-caps and special placements in an aisle, where retailers are typically paid for those promotions by wholesale suppliers. Ecommerce merchants can now do similar merchandising, and receive simil…

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Blog for Additional Visibility

2011-05-31
Length: 1m 0s

One benefit to blogging is you get additional visibility in Google blog search, and then Google blog search results oftentimes gets syndicated into the main web results of through Google’s universal search. Searchers can see news results, blog results, bo…

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Blogging for SEO Benefit

2011-05-30
Length: 1m 0s

If you're not blogging, you're missing a huge SEO opportunity. Search engines love blogs. Start by signing up with a free blogging service such as WordPress.com. Pay the $18 a year fee to get your own domain name associated with your blog. Start with a pe…

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Is Your Site Ready for Mobile Business?

2011-05-27
Length: 1m 0s

Developing a mobile site isn’t an expense that every website needs to incur. But a mobile site does open up opportunities to drive additional organic traffic, ensure that mobile visitors have a great experience, and sell products to users across desktop a…

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Respond to Negative Criticisms

2011-05-26
Length: 1m 0s

Make it a point to respond to legitimate criticisms. If the post seems serious and has merit, then thank the commenter for taking time to address the issue, and state your side of the argument. In some cases, that may involve apologizing for an error made…

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Even Negative Comments Have Positive Value

2011-05-25
Length: 1m 0s

In today's cultural climate, even negative comments can hold positive marketing value. People want what's real, and they tend to favor companies that share that mindset. A merchant’s willingness to allow critical comments sends a positive message about th…

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Prepare Ahead for Negative Facebook Comments

2011-05-24
Length: 1m 0s

From time-to-time negative comments may appear on your Facebook Fan Page and you should be prepared to deal with them prior to their occurrence. Start by creating a social media usage policy for Facebook Fans that includes guidelines on what constitutes a…

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Let Customers Help Drive More Sales

2011-05-23
Length: 1m 0s

Online consumers can help you drive more sales by leveraging mobile barcode technology through the use of social media. Urge customers to create their own viral, community-driven marketing programs by re-tweeting your sales offers with links to merchant-g…

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Keep in Contact with Customers

2011-05-20
Length: 1m 0s

Once you receive an online order try sending a hand-written thank-you note that acknowledges the customer for “choosing” your company. Then, as the order is being processed, set up an order status page or email the tracking number so customers can verify …

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Affiliate Marketer on Impact of Sales Tax Nexus Laws

2011-05-20
Length: 16m 45s

The efforts by state governments to collect online sales taxes is impacting affiliate marketers. That's because a group of states is attempting to expand the nexus definition to include affiliates in those states, and thereby force retailers with those a…

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Take Advantage of First Link Priority

2011-05-19
Length: 1m 0s

Not too many people know that Google gives a lot of weight to the first link it finds when crawling a web page. You can take advantage of that by making sure this URL is pointing to your chosen page, usually index.html, with keyword reputation. If you are…

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Holiday PPC Review

2010-11-23
Length: 1m 0s

Review your top pay-per-click keywords and include them in relevant shopping channel’s keyword fields, or sprinkle them in your descriptions. This is most important for your holiday-related products and best-sellers. Also, be sure to exclude any non-perfo…

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Anticipate Rate Card Increases

2010-11-22
Length: 1m 0s

Here is a timely holiday tip from marketing expert Lin Grosman, “Many shopping channels, like Shopping.com, Shopzilla, Nextag, Gifts.com and most of the PPC engines, increase their rate-cards up to 20 percent during the holidays. Anticipate rate card incr…

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Review and Optimize Product Feeds

2010-11-19
Length: 1m 0s

Now is a good time to review and optimize your product feeds. Are you maximizing all your product attributes? Each search engine categorizes and indexes your products according to their specific taxonomy. So, download your feeds for each engine, verify th…

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Track Catalog Sales

2010-11-18
Length: 1m 0s

The problem with printed catalogs is that they cost a lot to produce, and it’s hard to determine whether they pay their way. If you want to measure the impact of your catalog, consider changing your product codes printed in the catalog. A simple prefix to…

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Two Types of Redirects

2010-11-17
Length: 1m 0s

When we talk about redirects, we are referring to the numeric codes that a web server sends back to a user's browser. There are several, but the two main codes are: 301 and 302. Use a 301 redirect if you want the search engines, or site visitors, to be aw…

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The Difference Between 3G and 4G

2010-11-16
Length: 1m 0s

3G means “3rd Generation” of wireless connection standards. For mobile phone users, it means a higher speed connection that allows video calls and watching mobile television and video, in addition to services available in the previous standards. 4G refers…

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Is Flash Killing Your Conversion Rate?

2010-11-15
Length: 1m 0s

Today we present a conversion tip from Chris Goward, CEO of WiderFunnel Marketing Optimization. He suggests that merchants should replace the Flash rotating feature on their home pages with a static image or category tiles. According to Goward , “Flash i…

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Turn Your Best Customers Into Brand Advocates

2010-11-11
Length: 1m 0s

Identify and target your best customers, and turn them into brand advocates. Send them refer-a-friend discounts, ask them to submit reviews, find and respond to their posts in social media, send an occasional note just to say, “Thanks for being a loyal cu…

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SLI Systems CEO on Mobile Site Search

2010-11-10
Length: 14m 30s

Merchants contemplating mobile optimized ecommerce sites should also consider specialized mobile site search. SLI Systems is a leading provider of ecommerce site search solutions, and that company has just launched a mobile search option. Shaun Ryan is t…

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Synchronize Mobile and In-Store Promotions

2010-11-10
Length: 1m 0s

Often, the quick research conducted on a mobile device while in-store (be it a price comparison or product review search) is the final push a shopper needs to make the purchase. If you are able to facilitate that process through mobile shopping tools tha…

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Nick Jenkins of Moonpig.com

2010-11-10
Length: 1m 5s

Nick Jenkins is chairman and founder of Moonpig.com, an Internet greeting card company based in Australia, the U.K and the U.S. In this supplement to "Lessons Learned," Jenkins talks about how he got started in ecommerce, and his plans for the company's f…

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Keep Online Ads Fresh

2010-11-09
Length: 1m 0s

Figuring out which products to promote in your online display ads can take a huge amount of a marketer’s time. Make it easier by using dynamic, personalized ads that promote different products to each shopper based on the shopper’s past shopping behavior.…

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Place All Critical Information ‘Above the Fold’

2010-11-08
Length: 1m 0s

You have probably heard that critical information should appear “above the fold.” The upper 300 pixels at 800 X 600 resolution is considered “above the fold.” Design web pages assuming people won’t scroll deeper than that. Make sure all headlines and pict…

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Be Proactive with Live Chat

2010-11-05
Length: 1m 0s

Here is a customer service tip from Steve Castro-Miller, CEO and President of Bold Software. “If you are using live, reactive chat to communicate with your customers and prospects, consider leveraging proactive chat, particularly around the holidays. It w…

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Level the Playing Field with Customer Service

2010-11-04
Length: 1m 0s

Never skimp on excellent customer service. Make sure someone is always available to answer your toll-free number during regular business hours, and offer email support during non-business hours. A friendly and helpful customer service representative can l…

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Let Payment Provider Handle PCI Compliance

2010-11-03
Length: 1m 0s

If your website touches any part of the customers’ credit card information, it needs to conform to payment card industry (PCI) compliance standards. This requires audits and compliance. One solution is to seek a payment provider that offers payment pages …

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Who to Follow on Twitter

2010-11-02
Length: 1m 0s

If you are wondering which Twitter accounts you should be following, try to find people that it makes sense for you to follow. The focus should be on relevance, not amassing large numbers. These would include your current and past customers, those who fit…

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Mobile Commerce with CatholicCompany.com

2010-11-02
Length: 17m 20s

Ecommerce retailers who contemplate mobile commerce must ask several questions. One is whether to develop a mobile-optimized site or a mobile app. Another is whether to include specialized mobile search, or not. And there are more issues. One ecommerce…

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eBay Sellers: Avoid Partial Refunds

2010-11-01
Length: 1m 0s

Ebay sellers that issue partial refunds for shipping fees may be in danger of having their accounts suspended. Apparently, a partial refund on shipping causes the sale to be flagged, and sends the transaction into a dispute with eBay’s Resolution Center. …

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Give Your Site a Usability Once-over

2010-10-29
Length: 1m 0s

Usability refers to a site’s ease-of-use and navigation path. A site is said to have usability issues when shoppers must perform multiple clicks to make a purchase, or when they just can’t find what they are looking for. Take time now and then to perform …

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QR Code Campaigns

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Quick Response (QR) codes continue to gain momentum in mobile commerce. As the holidays approach, a number of companies have launched QR code campaigns to boost sales, as well as promote worthy causes. In addition to promoting mobile commerce, the cod…

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Offer a Mobile Version of Email Campaigns

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

For this holiday season, consumers will increasingly use mobile devices to read their emails. If you have a mostly image-based email, make sure you include a link for a mobile version. The objective of any mobile version is to quickly convey the value …

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Creative Subject Lines

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Subject lines can be the most crucial element of any email campaign. If a recipient is not interested enough to open an email, then the message and creative content becomes useless. For the holiday season, determine the most interesting and appealing s…

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Monsoon Commerce CEO, President on Stone Edge Acquisition

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

Stone Edge Technologies is a leading, pioneering ecommerce order management firm, having been founded over a decade ago by Barney Stone. He sold that company, however, to another firm earlier this year. The firm is Monsoon Commerce. Its CEO is Br…

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Out-of-Stock Email Campaigns

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Out-of-stock items damage your credibility and frustrate customers to no end. Make sure you’re not featuring out-of-stock products on your category or home pages, or that out-of-stock products are not featured in banners. On your product detail page,…

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Monthly Page Performance Reviews

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

If you are not already doing so, implement a process where you review top and bottom performing pages each month. Check for spelling errors, poor grammar or clunky copy, and check that all the links work and that the product images are crisp and downlo…

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Split Testing Made Easy

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Google Website Optimizer is a free service to conduct A/B tests. To utilize Website Optimizer for testing, you just need to insert three pieces of code on your site for each test. A/B testing is a state of mind. The items you can test are limited on…

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Preventing Cross-Border Domain-Name Disputes

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

Every ecommerce merchant has a domain name. For U.S. based merchants, it likely ends in a .com, or a .net, or both. But there are over 200 country-specific top-level domains — such as .cn for China, or .co.uk for the United Kingdom. Should a non-r…

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Watch for Return Fraud

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Return fraud, including wardrobing, returns of merchandise purchased with stolen cards, and cross-merchant no-receipt returns, can be a serious issue for online merchants. Return fraud undermines the bottom line and can damage a small business. Retaile…

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Take Advantage of Color Psychology

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Research has shown that certain colors come with associations — especially in the context of something else. You already subconsciously make connections between certain colors and emotions. In addition to emotional associations, colors can create new…

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Come Prepared for Venture Capital

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

It has become very inexpensive to launch an online business, especially an ecommerce business. You can try out a store relatively inexpensively, usually out of a spare bedroom. Inventory is the only cost. If you can demonstrate demand and merchandising…

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Try Multivariate Testing

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

While A/B split testing is simple and useful, these techniques reveal their full power when examining multiple variables at once. With multivariate testing, you get detail on which variables are controlled in uplift, which ones are most relevant, and h…

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Explore Social Bookmarking Sites

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Social bookmarking is a way for web users to organize, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online. Links can be discovered and shared by others, depending on the privacy settings of the user. This allows you to research and filter conte…

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Listrak CEO on Managing Dormant Email Lists

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

For many ecommerce merchants, email marketing is a principal source of revenue. A merchant's email list is critically important to the company's success. But what happens when a list becomes dormant, and subscribers stop opening or clicking on the e…

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Use Social Buttons

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

If your product pages don’t include share buttons for the big three — Facebook, Twitter and Google+ — you’re ignoring one of the most cost-effective methods to bring in real traffic. Word of mouth can trump almost any other type of marketing. E…

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Drop Shipping Saves Time

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

In a drop shipping arrangement, the retailer does not receive, stack, store, pull, pack, or ship products. In a startup ecommerce business where the store owner may also be the box packer, this additional time will be available to actually sell product…

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Self-host Videos for SEO

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Everyone who clicks to watch your self-hosted video will land on your website. If you are hosting your video tutorials on YouTube, only a small percentage of the people who watch your video will ever click-thru to visit your website. As a result, ass…

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Increase Speed to Increase Conversions

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Site speed affects conversion rates. A one second delay in page load time decreases conversions by 7 percent. Graphics compression tools reduce the size of images to speed load time, tools like Tagman work on JavaScript tag acceleration and management…

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Focus Email on the Individual

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

The most important thing about email delivery is remembering that there's actually a human on the other end of that mail client. You're talking to someone who has their own wants and needs and schedules and priorities and budgets. When you mail to them…

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Cat5 Commerce CEO Recaps 2011

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

A review of ecommerce sales for 2011 is the topic of our interview today. We are joined by an ecommerce entrepreneur and pioneer who will share his company's experience. He's Chad Weinman, CEO of Cat5 Commerce, which operates 10 separate ecommerce st…

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Get Realistic About Open Rates

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

You may have seen a decline in email open rates. Remember, an "open" only registers with an image load. With more people viewing on mobile, images are often not loaded. The reality is that more people view an email than is actually stated on an open r…

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Design Simply

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Heavy graphics are not functional for consumers who want to just fill their shopping carts and check out. A website that conveys information and is easy to use is the most important goal. Web and email design is trending back to the original basics. B…

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Differentiate Your Email Identification

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Never repeat what is in the From line again in the subject line. The recipient knows the email is from you; there's no need to repeat it. If you have transactional emails related to an actual order the customer placed, the From line should reflect that…

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Focus on Your ‘From:’ Line

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Many ecommerce merchants agonize over the subject lines as being the most important element. However, when viewing on a mobile device, it is the "From:" line that gets the most attention. Making sure the From line is a basic representation of your comp…

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Reactivation Emails Bring Repeat Sales

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

The majority of new customers will not return to your site. A reactivation campaign can pick up from where your transaction confirmation left off with a sequence of focused emails. Keep the emails as relevant as you can, basing the content on their bro…

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Balancing Usability with SEO; Expert Explains

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

Traffic from search engines remains crucial to most ecommerce merchants — in spite of the prominence of social media. But focusing too much on search engine optimization, to the detriment of shoppers, can actually harm a merchant's business. Bala…

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Making Sites Smartphone Friendly

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

The simplest way to take advantage of mobile-search crawlers is to detect smartphone browsers on every page and serve them a smartphone version of that page. It’s good for search, and it’s also best practice for smartphone users coming to your site…

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Use Mistakes as Opportunities

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What happens when the inevitable mistake email goes out to the masses? An 'oops' email declares to consumers that you’ve made a mistake, you’re sorry, and you’re prepared to make it right. Offering an atoning deal with your correction can make up…

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Lure Viewers With Infographics

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

An etailer needs a creative angle to develop interesting, valuable, sharable content that remains relevant to its core product set. Infographics lure the eyes in with its seemingly easy-to-digest information and interesting sequential information flow.…

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Social Targets Female Shoppers

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

If you are targeting females, offer an online chat feature, discussion forums, high-quality visuals, customer reviews, and video. Also include a list of recently viewed products and make it easy to return to those products. Since females do more browsi…

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Vat19.com Owner on 2011 Growth, Profits

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

We've recently asked ecommerce merchants to share their 2011 experiences — good or bad — with us. For this installment, we are joined by Jamie Salvatori. He the founder and owner of Vat19, an established ecommerce business that sells unique gif…

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Improve Your Bottom Line with Competitive Analysis

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With competitive analysis, you can obtain information that you can use to improve your business's position relative to your competition. For small and mid-sized online retailers, a basic competitive analysis should include a regular, qualitative revie…

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Be Prepared For a DDoS Attack

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

DDoS attacks against online retailers are often intended to cost the victim profits that might have otherwise been realized. Retailers that use some form of shared hosting plan, are vulnerable to DDoS attacks. Merchants that host sites in-house will h…

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Join Industry Related Social Groups

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Groups can serve as a place to build your network, participate in a community of like-minded individuals and share information about your industry, your company and its products and services. You should refrain from overt promotions, however, as that m…

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Streamline Sales for Holidays

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

2011 holiday sales revenues were better than last year, as sales increased through different channels. Shoppers are increasingly doing their shopping from work. Make sure that you have adequate bandwidth and that the purchase can be completed efficient…

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Know Your Top Affiliates

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It is important to track your top 10 affiliates. However, don’t just focus on who they are. Focus on what percentage of revenue they bring to you. If you are over-dependent on your top 10 affiliates, and your competitor lures them away from you wi…

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UserTesting.com Exec on Improving Site Conversions

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

Knowing how consumers interact with an ecommerce site can be greatly beneficial. There's a company that provides real-time user tests, where humans navigate through a site and record their experiences. The results can identify potential problems, wh…

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Create Product Interest on a Pin Board

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Pinterest is a visually-oriented social sharing site that is gaining a lot of traction. Merchants that want to connect with this very engaged audience should join Pinterest and begin creating boards to sincerely contribute to the community. It will als…

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Increase Sales During Slow Months

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For many online retailers, the month of January is a slow one. One way that merchants can still cash in on a slow month is to offer volume discounts. For items consumers might buy in multiples, offer tier-level discounts. This can prompt shoppers to b…

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The Importance of Title Tags

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Search engine optimization professionals universally agree that title tags are the most influential on-page element. SEOmoz recently confirmed the importance of title tags in a report that strongly correlated title tag optimization to higher rankings. …

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Subscriptions Bring Stable Income

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Online retailers should seek to sell subscription services when and where it makes sense. The subscription model means that merchants can better forecast revenues, expect recurring sales, and better manage inventory, since it has a very good idea how …

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Video is an Attractive Medium

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Video — both promoting products and offering entertainment — makes good content, potentially attracting new customers. It gives shoppers more, and often better, product information. When used regularly to entertain and engage, it can build relation…

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EquaShip CEO on Low-Volume Shipping Discounts

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

The cost of shipping is material to most every ecommerce business. There's a company that offers smaller merchants discounted shipping rates that are typically available only to high volume sellers. The company is EquaShip. Its CEO, Ron Wiener, spe…

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Referring Consumers to Your Competition

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Referring consumers to direct competitors for items you do not carry applies to ecommerce merchants who value customer service. It works for many reasons. Consumers seeking honesty tend to remain loyal to brands and companies they like, even if prices…

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Expedite Shopping with Quick Views

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One of the main goals of an ecommerce site is to decrease the time it takes consumers to add products to their cart. By utilizing a "quick view" feature, a site can remove many obstacles and help shoppers initiate their ordering with relative ease and …

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Let Your Customers Help You with SEO

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A marketing team can only share so much content on its own, and that content tends to sound like, well, marketing. But empowering consumers to share content in their languages with their enthusiasm goes a lot farther both in terms of the sheer numbers …

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Email Segmenting for Mobile Users

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Given that one in ten email recipients are reading emails on a mobile device, marketers need to find a way to segment email lists so that they can accurately identify those subscribers. This form of email segmentation may actually be similar to when ma…

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Get Personal with Email Campaigns

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Personalization is a tool within the email marketer's toolbox that creates relevancy. In its basic form, personalization is really using any detail you may know about a person to append into the email body or subject line that is specific to that indiv…

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Alibaba V.P. on Opportunities for U.S. Ecommerce Merchants

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

There's no bigger name in the ecommerce industry than Alibaba. It was launched in 1999 in China, but it now services millions of businesses and consumers, offering wholesale and retail products worldwide. Its vice president of global sales and serv…

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Optimize Mobile Merchandising

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

There are more than 90 million smartphone users and 24 million tablet users in the United States. Even if you have already "optimized" your sites for mobile devices, you may still lack the on-site merchandising common on full-version websites. Try to …

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Support PayPal Payments

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

PayPal has become a basic payment for ecommerce sites. Almost every large retailer supports it. Since PayPal launched its guest checkout functionality a couple of years back, consumers can check out using PayPal without creating an account on the retai…

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Optimize Title Tags

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Title tags are the primary text that defines a web page. They are required for all HTML documents, and search engine bots use them to help identify the content of a page. Begin the tag with the most valuable and relevant keyword phrase, use the exact k…

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Build Your Niche

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Focusing on one brand or a handful of brands and making them as successful as you can as an entrepreneur is the right path forward to build customer loyalty, to build brand recognition and brand equity, to invest in your specific niche. Doing it better…

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Prepare for Mobile Payments

0000-00-00 :: Ecommerce Developer Staff

More people have mobile phones than credit cards. So it is no wonder that paying using a mobile phone is growing quickly. Much innovation is occurring at physical retailers to enable mobile wallets and near field communication payments. You need to rev…

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PowerReviews CEO on 'Fake' Product Reviews

0000-00-00 :: Kerry Murdock

Consumer product reviews, by most any measure, drive sales. But what happens if a review has been paid for? Or posted by a competitor, or by a company insider? Are those reviews fake? Questionable product reviews is our topic today. To help us un…

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Sell on eBay

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Despite additional fees, millions of consumers will shop on eBay to redeem gift certificates and to find good prices on accessories. A decent percentage of these shoppers will not navigate elsewhere, nor will they rely on search engines to locate desir…

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Use Social Signals to Gain SEO

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Social "signals" increasingly influence search results in both Google and Bing. The search engines are beginning to consider social signals as more indicative of how searchers value a page than traditional link signals. In addition, the engines conside…

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Attend an Affiliate Marketing Event

0000-00-00 :: Practical eCommerce Staff

Are you looking to launch your own affiliate marketing program? There are many good events that can help you get started. You’ll be able to meet affiliates and vendors in person, and find out what tools are needed to run a successful affiliate prog…

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Practical eCommerce Podcasts

Practical eCommerce provides podcast episodes featuring tips and tricks for online business owners and ecommerce developers, as well as interviews with prominent personalities in the ecommerce community.

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