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Archive for September, 2011

30
Sep

5 Tips For Marketing Digital Products

Download

The digital revolution didn’t just revolution how you shop, it also revolutionized what you shop. Instead of physical goods, many merchants are selling bits & bytes in the form of e-books, mp3 music files, downloadable images, software, videos, & product keys. With a different form of product, comes a different method of marketing.

5 tips for selling digital merchandise

Focus on a niche

The key to selling digital downloads is focus. Focusing on a specific good , topic or service, allows you to better market your products, promote your products to a specialized target audience and build strong SEO on industry keywords.

Use standard file formats

I know it doesn’t sound like marketing, but  using standard file formats(PDF for ebooks, MP3 for audio files, etc.) ensures all users will be able to easily download and use your products. If you choose to use a format that is not standard, you cut you could cut your customer base in half.

Give Previews

Give your customers a little taste of the digital product before purchase. For example allowing your customer to read two chapters of your ebook, playing the first level of your gaming software, or listening to samples of your music  before downloading. Pick your previews wisely. You know your products – make sure the preview of your merchandise are as alluring as possible.  If your third chapter is really gripping include it in the preview. If your song has three chart toppers, allow those as previews.

Promote immediacy

A considerable upside for customers buying digital downloads rather than physical products is immediate access to the product. Promote the immediate accessibility to your customers by marketing your products as an “easy, no wait” solution.

Secure downloads with serial numbers or keys

If you are selling software, consider implementing serial numbers or keys validation. Adding a validation process protects your businesses from digital piracy. Serial numbers & keys also communicate to the buyer that a purchase is necessary i.e. they can”t find the product on an illegal downloading site.  3dcart allows you to upload a list of serial numbers and distribute each one of these as orders are received on your website. You can have just a preset number of keys and reuse them between customers—or, you can actually enter a unique serial number for each customer and eep track of who activates your software online.

25
Sep

4Tell Offers 3dcart Customer’s “Holidaze” Discount

3dcart partner 4-Tell  has written several posts for us about their  automated personalized, product recommendations and how a personalizing your customer’s shopping experience can grow your bottom-line.

And now, 4-Tell is giving 3dcart merchants an early “Holidaze” present by offering 50% off their subscription pricing untill the end of the year. Since installation which takes just a day or two, is FREE, the “Holidaze” pricing starts at less than $25/month.

For more information check out at www.4-Tell.com, or contact Seth, seth@4-Tell.com, 971-338-9835.

22
Sep

Growing a Lucrative Facebook Fan Following

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Below is a guest post by Dewey Halden, the Director of Sales at SearchSpring

Unfortunately, cultivating a large and lucrative Facebook fan following isn’t as easy as just installing an app. As with any long-term brand building or PR campaign, success takes a little planning and diligent execution.

Fortunately, it’s not rocket science either.

The name of the game is getting customers to consume and share content with their friend networks so retailers can virally market themselves, promoting repeat business form existing customers and attracting new customers. More…

21
Sep

3dcart Partner Program

Yesterday we launched our new partner program that offers developers, designers and marketing professionals 25% recurring commission on any of the 3dcart plans With the launch of the new reseller program, we hope to simplify the way web design and marketing businesses offer ecommerce to their customers. By partnering with 3dcart web designers can boost their services by leveraging 3dcart’s 24×7 support, a PCI-certified solution, nearly 15 years of experience in ecommerce, and features that include mobile and social commerce.

Marketing Media, a 3DCart Certified Platinum Designer, has successfully joined the new program.

“3DCart’s partner program allows us to offer powerful ecommerce tools to our clients while still having 100% control over the design aspect of the website,” said Christian Fillion, director of business development and cofounder of Marketing Media. The 25% recurring commission, combined with all the tools available in the partner portal, produces a great incentive for any design agency to refer customers to the award-winning 3DCart software suite.”

The new program is divided into three different partnerships

Technology partners or ” technology solutions partners”
If you are a software company that has a product that can better enhance our 3dcart shopping cart functionality, click here.

Business partners
If you are a company that primarily services customers, such as a design firm, consulting firm, or a service based company – you are best suited for our reseller program. To apply for this program, click here

On the other hand, if your are primarily in the business of driving traffic to your website, but you don’t actually provide a service to your customers, you are best suited for our affiliate program. To learn more about our affiliate program, click here.

Strategic partner
Strategic partners are similar to a business partner, but they are much larger and need to open hundreds of accounts. These partners generally require more customized solutions. Examples of these partners are large banks, retail associations, or some groups which have thousands of members. If you’re a strategic partner, to get more information, click here

21
Sep

Partner Spotlight Webinar – SearchSpring

Shoppers who search convert 2x – 3x higher than users who browse. Its consistent across the ecommerce industry.  So, while only 20% of your users may use search, they can contribute nearly half of your site’s revenue!

And the results are in: Faceted navigation on your category pages is the best method for converting more shoppers who browse. The giants of the ecommerce industry have proven it (Amazon, Dell, Zappos, and many others).

In this webinar you will learn:

  • How to add conversion-boosting site search and faceted navigation to your 3dcart store

  • How to optimize results ranking in a number of ways

  • How to leverage historical shopper query trends and behavior

  • How to merchandise based on shoppers’ query terms and refinement clicks

  • Engage Facebook fans with your products

  • Maximize your mobile site’s revenue with search and navigation

  • Automate the SEO of your shoppers’ site search terms.

When: Wednesday, September 28th, 2011, 2PM Eastern, 11AM Pacific

To learn more about 3dcart & SearchSpring, click here:

http://www.searchspring.net

http://www.3dcart.com


15
Sep

Faceted Navigation Converts Higher

SearchSpring 3dcart ecommerce

Below is a guest post by Dewey Halden, the Director of Sales at SearchSpring.

The results are in: The giants of the E-Commerce industry: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Lowes.com, Dell.com..you name it, have all proven that attribute-driven, dynamic, faceted navigation is the best navigation method for maximizing conversion rates of users who browse.

SearchSpring Screenshot

Make it easy and intuitive to find the right product, and the shoppers will purchase more often.

Faceted navigation:

    Makes exploring intuitive It enables Shoppers to navigate whats important to them (price, color, brand, size, ratings anything) in the order that makes sense to the customer. One shopper may select price range first, then a rating, then a color and end up at the same products as another shopper who clicks the same refinements in the opposite order. Shoppers are completely free from constraints of the pre-determined paths.

    Enables a shopper to visualize their navigation path. Refinement choices update quickly after each click, making remaining choices crystal clear. The dreaded “No Results” literally never appears because faceted navigation never misleads the shopper into selecting an incorrect combination of attributes.

    Makes it easy to “back out” of refinement selections. With Faceted Navigation, a user can ‘back out’ without affecting previously selected refinements. Stores find that they receive more multi-item orders because shoppers have an easier time navigating to accessories after purchasing primary products.

    Allows for customization. Faced Navigation offers strategic placement of color paletes, pick grids, price sliders, and shopper-provided social navigation (ratings, pros, cons) extend faceted navigation’s effectiveness even further.

SearchSpring‘s faceted navigation can yield an astonishing 20% increase in conversion rates, A/B tests have shown, when compared to heirarchy style and pull-down refinement style navigation systems.
Faceted Navigation can be added to existing category pages without affecting SEO. Using AJAX to insert faceted navigation into a category page from a hosted service, shoppers benefit from improved navigation while spiders experience the same page, including all the same links to other pages on your site. Spiders largely ignore AJAX, and therefore generally don’t follow faceted navigation links.

SearchSpring 3dcart ecommerce

Dewey Halden is the Director of Sales at SearchSpring. SearchSpring offers advanced site search, faceted category navigation, Facebook product search, mobile site search, and automated SEO of site search terms for 3dcart stores.

12
Sep

Main Street Fairness—What Does It Mean To Me?

ecommerce taxes

Below is a guest post byt Susan McLain, marketing manager at Avalara.com.

Main Street Fairness and Internet sales tax issues are looming before Congress this fall. As our children return to school and business begins to creep back from the summer lull, e-commerce businesses have much to follow in this legislative session.

The Main Street Fairness Act hopes to legislate the implementation of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA) among the states. The SSUTA* is the result of years of work by the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board (SSTGB) to “…find solutions for the complexity in state sales tax systems that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court holding (Bellas Hess v. Illinois and Quill Corp. v. North Dakota) that a state may not require a seller that does not have a physical presence in the state to collect tax on sales into the state.

NEXUS AND INTERNET BUSINESSES

Physical presence and nexus are interpreted to be the same. Nexus for a business originally meant a business with a warehouse, retail location, sales person or distribution center in a state. With expanded definitions being adopted by states and the growth of Internet retailing, this definition now includes:

  • Any associated business that shares the trademark or a substantially similar name (as is the case for Amazon’s distribution center in Texas);
  • Affiliates that run “click-through” sites on behalf of Internet retailers (if the affiliate lives in a particular state, then the sales taxes will need to be collected and remitted by the Internet retailer that received the click-through);
  • Repair and maintenance service locations (a relationship with a service center that repairs a product sold by an Internet retailer would denote nexus);
  • Shipping of returnable containers into a specific state.

With expanded definitions of nexus, you may now be required to collect and remit sales taxes for additional states. Additional nexus means additional complexity for many businesses. Additional complexity can mean increased audit risk. How do you reduce risk, regardless of what the laws are?

INTERNET BUSINESS IS ALL ABOUT AUTOMATION

Internet business is all about automating the sales process. Implementing a cloud-based solution that provides accurate sales tax calculation, proper management of exemption certificates for tax-exempt transactions and timely filing and remittance of sales tax returns can help you to reduce your risk and maintain compliance—automatically.

*Funded by the Streamlined Sales Tax Project

ecommerce taxes

Select the Best. Forget the Rest.

Avalara’s AvaTax product delivers end-to-end sales tax compliance for e-commerce shopping carts and the financial applications on the back end as well. Fully integrated into hundreds of financial applications and e-commerce shopping carts, Avalara’s AvaTax ensures accurate sales tax calculations “down to the rooftop,” easy collection and management of customer exemption certificates from within your e-commerce shopping cart—real-time, during the transaction—and timely, responsive filing and remittance of your sales tax liabilities.

Susan McLain is a marketing manager and content specialist with Avalara.com. She has been a technical and marketing writer and designer for over 15 years with experience in a variety of industries including medical devices, networking, satellite technologies and e-commerce. Learn more about AvaTax Today. Call 877.780.4848 (206.826.4900) or visit www.avalara.com.

08
Sep

How to Increase Conversions with Site Search

Below is a guest post by Dewey Halden, the Director of Sales at SearchSpring.

Many shoppers begin their online shopping session by typing into a site’s search box. The results they experience affect as much as half of the typical eCommerce company’s total sales. While shoppers who use site search comprise only 15-30% of visitors, site search users consistently convert 2x – 3x higher than shoppers who only browse. The higher conversion rates reflect the fact that site search users have a higher propensity to buy. This means shoppers who engage with the site search feature are closer to a purchase decision and use site search as the quickest path to the items on their shopping list. A poor site search experience undoubtedly sends them speedily along to the next online store on their Google list.Search Spring, 3dcart, search marketing,

So how do merchants ensure these ready-to-buy shoppers convert?

Here are six ways to increase conversion rates with site search:

1. Provide Faceted Navigation

Many shoppers use broad query terms that yield lots of results and few of them will wade through more than the first page of results. Search result refinement options, commonly referred to as “faceted navigation”, for sizes, colors, price ranges, and other attributes can greatly help shoppers narrow in on what they are looking for quickly and easily. Faceted navigation empowers shoppers to visualize their options and explore a store with ease. Here’s a bonus tip: Faceted navigation works well on category pages too, often boosting category conversion 15-20%.

2. Use Analytics to Identify Under-performing Query Terms

Google Analytics and similar solutions offer a wealth of insight into site search performance. For E-Commerce merchants, analytics tools correlate site search queries with sales so metrics like number of transactions, total revenue and conversion rate are available. This makes it easy to identify frequently searched queries that have low conversion. Queries that have weak engagement, like those with high bounce rates, are also prime candidates for review.

Studying the search terms customers use inside an online store offers a wealth of insight into product demand trends and keyword patterns. Demand trend insight helps merchants more effectively source and merchandise products, opening the door to new revenue opportunities. Customer keyword patterns can offer fresh ideas to improve paid search campaigns.

3. Master the basics: Use Synonyms and Site Search Merchandising

Understanding basic site search features helps merchants address problematic or under-performing queries and maximize revenue for popular searches that already do well. Synonyms offer a simple but powerful tool to map customer search keywords to keywords found in product names and descriptions. This simple feature can solve findability issues when customers use or frequently misspell keywords. Synonyms can even improve search results when brand name or product name searches match common words found in product descriptions.

Site search merchandising, another common feature, offers merchants the ability to display promotional messages to customers who search for specific keywords. This provides highly targeted, relevant in-store advertising for things like featured brands or higher-margin items. Merchandising features often allow merchants to customize results which is useful for top search queries. Merchants with a strong grasp of the basics can improve their site search performance dramatically.

Discovery is a big part of value that site search provides shoppers. As shoppers explore an online store’s merchandise they often find it useful to explore by searching. Providing relevant search suggestions as customers type helps guide them in the right direction. Search query autocomplete displays related search queries and sometimes even top product results, is useful to customers.

5. Make sure customers can find items by SKU

Comparison shopping customers and those in automotive or office supply markets frequently search for products using the MPN or similar universal product code. Merchants should ensure that customers can enter all or part of the product code to find the appropriate items.

6. Leverage Historical Search Trends in the Ranking Algorithm

Correlations between individual query terms and the products that are clicked on and purchased is valuable historical data for an E-

Commerce site search engine. These correlations can be automatically incorporated into ranking algorithms to promote relevant best sellers higher in the results list, minimizing the risk that shoppers will miss the product that they are most likely to purchase.

SearchSpring 3dcart ecommerce

Dewey Halden is the Director of Sales at SearchSpring. SearchSpring offers advanced site search, faceted category navigation, Facebook product search, mobile site search, and automated SEO of site search terms for 3dcart stores.

Click to learn more about SearchSpring’s integration with 3dcart.

07
Sep

Using Autoship to Increase your Sales

AutoShipping Image

turn shoppers into lifetime customers

Thanks so much to all who joined us today for our ‘Using Autoship to Increase your Sales’ Webinar!

It’s a great time to sign up for 3dcart’s autoship feature because for the rest of September, 3dcart is waiving the set-up fee! That means you’ll only be charged the $99 monthly service charge without having to pay the higher set up fee.

All you need to do is contact our sales team and mention today’s webinar and they’ll be sure to take care of it for you! 1-800-828-6650

Or if you want to can learn more about our autoship promotion click here.

If you didn’t get a chance to join, you can watch the presentation on YouTube or check out the slides on Slidedeck. And make sure to check out 6 Reasons to Use Autoship Recurring Delivery Program.


05
Sep

How Wishing Can Really Make A Sale Come True

eCommerce retailers wishlists

This is a guest post by Cameron Carter, WishPot’s Social Media Manager.

eCommerce retailers wishlists

Wish list offer retailers so many different ways of leading to a sale. Wish lists make it possible for people to come back to your site and find the products they want while also sending traffic through their friends and family who they share lists with.

In a nut shell here are three ways retailers can increase sales through wish lists.

Return Visits

Research published by University of Glasgow showed that 74 percent of online shoppers use shopping carts as an “online wish list.” By placing items in the shopping cart, and then abandoning, shoppers are relying on your ecommerce site to remember their order.  Wish lists store items for individual customers so that when they return to the site they can easily find them again. By allowing customers the opportunity to return to your site and find their items intact in a wish list it becomes more likely they will eventually purchase these products.

Gifting

It seems as though every month there is a need to buy a gift. But finding the right gift for that special someone isn’t easy. Luckily there’s gifting to help out. If a customer makes their wish list public then there is the potential for gifting, which is highly beneficial. Family and friends are unlikely to just stumble across a website if it is small so having them add items from your site to a universal wish list can help drive traffic. This leads to people purchasing products as gifts from your site who may never have found it otherwise. They may also turn into customers themselves after discovering your site.

Sharing

Customers may share their wish list with family and friends who will buy gifts off of it. Sharing creates traffic and sales outside of gifting. According to Mashable, a million links are shared every 20 minutes through Facebook. Wish lists can easily be shared as a link through social networks as well as through email. People who these links are shared with, discover your site and products and as a result, can become new customers.

Wish lists truly do lead to sales through return visits, gifting, and sharing. Retailers of all sizes should take advantage of the benefits of a wish list solution.

eCommerce wishlists

About WishPot:Launched in 2007 and awarded Best Social Shopping site in 2008, Seattle-based Wishpot is a free social shopping service that makes it easy to save and share interesting things users find from anywhere on the web. Learn more at Wishpot’s site.