On Friday, May 24th at 4PM, 3dcart will be hosting an “on location” event, “Learn How to Grow Your Business With Facebook”.
Our event is open to the public, for those who live and work in South Florida. If you’re not from South Florida, don’t worry – we will be having an upcoming webinar on this topic. Stay tuned for more details.
If you’re from South Florida, or will be in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area on Friday, May 24, please feel free to sign up for our on location meetup at http://www.meetup.com/3dcart/events/111549932/
Joe Palko is the CMO of 3dcart. Prior to joining 3dcart in 2011, Joe was a true internet pioneer co-founding his first e-commerce website in 1994 which later sold to America's largest mail order pet supply retailer in 2007. Joe also co-founded Solid Cactus in 2001, which was later sold to the Web.com Group in 2009.
This week Facebook revealed ‘Graph Search‘, a new feature that lets users search the interests, location, and preferences of your friends. For instance, a Facebook user could search for “Clothing Stores my friends like” and receive a list of Facebook business pages of clothing storess, online and retail, that their friends either checked in, liked, or recommended.
As AllFacebook.com said, “Graph search takes the recommendation power of Yelp and combines it with Facebook’s tremendous social graph to make it more important for businesses to cater to their Facebook fans and brick-and-mortar customers.”
Up until now, social search was an ideal that Google and others have attempted to foster. While Google+ offers traditional SEO value for businesses, the limited user activity & cannot provide the data context needed for social search to work. Facebook, however, has over 1 billion users, 240 billion photos and more than a trillion connections.
Facebook Graph Search is rolling out slowly. But is safe to say that social search is here.
Now here is what merchants need to do to prepare:
1) Emphasize local – Right now graph search heavily favors local brick & mortar businesses , as it works more like a Yelp than Google. However, that does not mean your online store can’t rank. Add your physical location to your business page and ask your local friends and family to all like, recommend, and check-in to your store. You can promote your store’s location further by showing your city some love and offer special shipping rates for local orders.
2) Get Liked – As Social Media Today pointed out, that graph search could make page likes more important again, as results show what friends have liked each page. Now is the time to run social contest to increase likes and up engagement.
3) Add Facebook Connect – While individual Facebook posts and Open Graph actions (like when a user connects with your store to leave a comment, post a product, or share a deal) are not included - the company says they’re coming. 3dcart merchants can easily integrate Facebook Connect to your store.
4) Sponsor Results: Advertising is going to be very much a part of Graph Search. Or as Facebook says it, ”sponsored results allow you to promote results in the search bar and will appear whether or not users have Graph Search.”
At 3dcart, we’re always writing and sharing tips on how to effectively market your store, but sometimes the best way to learn is by example. In our new “Merchant Marketing Spotlights” blog series, we will be looking at fellow 3dcart merchants that successfully leveraging social media, and content marketing to grow their brand and land more sales.
Merchant Marketing Spotlight: CAROLEE Jewelry
WHO: CAROLEE offers premier jewelry collections that reflect a contemporary woman’s lifestyle and the finest in quality, prestige and sophistication. Carolee jewelry collections span from sleek and modern sterling silver, to classic and colorful pearls, to fashion-forward seasonal trends. CAROLEE is sold in major retailers like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor and Dillard’s.
With over 4,802 likes, CAROLEE actively engages their fans on Facebook with fun contests, relevant posts and fan-only discounts.
Here are a few tips we can take-away from their effective Facebook strategy:
TIP 1: Create an well-designed header image
TIP 2: Use timely events and news to create engaging posts:
TIP 3: Share behind-the-scenes pictures and updates
CAROLEE actively enages fans and followers on Twitter promoting their sales, along with fun brand-building tweets.
TIP: Don’t just push our sales messages. Send personable and fun tweets that users would want to RT
As a high-end jewelry brand, CAROLEE ‘s products lend themselves perfectly to the visual-sharing network Pinterest. CAROLEE takes advantage of Pinterest’s fashion-obsessed users with fun Pins and ‘Pin It To Win It” contests.
TIP: ‘ Pin It To Win It’ Contests are a great way to promote social sharing. But remember to Pin an image that explains the contest so users can easily find the rules and participate.
TIP: Pin more than just your products. Your pin’s should reflect you brand’s personality not just its inventory.
Happy Cyber Monday! Since its inception in 2005, Cyber Monday has been online retailers favorite and craziest day of the year. Experts predict that consumers will spend more online today than any other day of the year – an expected $1.42 Billion. As the below infographic shows, consumers are going to be scouring social media to find the best deals which means merchants need to leverage their social communities to share their virtual-door-buster deals.
Here are some last minute Cyber Monday promotion ideas:
Promote your deals with images & text - Post images on Facebook and Twitter of your products on sale today, but also test text-only messages to see what kind of message your audience responds to best
Post promotion images on Pinterest – Pin your most visual-appealing deals to Pinterest and make sure to mention the price!
Promote your posts on Facebook – Today would be a great day to pay $5 to Facebook for a post that reaches more of your fan’s wall
Hold a contest on Twitter – Retweet a tweet that mentions your Cyber Monday deals for $10 off your Cyber Monday purchase
Many online retailers know that Facebook pages are important for building brand awareness and customer loyalty. They also help to engage your customers and provide real-time feedback on what they like and want more of from your brand.
Here at ReferralCandy (a refer-a-friend app partner of 3dcart), we did a fun survey of who were the Top 10 Most Popular Online Retailers on Facebook. Here are some tried and tested rules we found for getting more Facebook likes.
1. Understand your Facebook Audience.
The best Facebook pages for B2C businesses understand their target demographic. Let your posts speak to the heart of your loyal Facebook friends, who will spread the word in turn. For example, the Converse Facebook page (with over 33m likes!) reaches out to their young and hip fans with cool content such as videos of sponsored bands and exclusive interviews with stylemakers.
2. Get Interactive through Polls and Contests
Many of the top Facebook pages use interactive activities to get the audience involved. For instance, Shoedazzle.com is a master of this with online polls and contests, with the winning items getting a discount on their store. Getting your Facebook community involved in commenting, voting and posting gives them a sense of ownership of the Facebook page, as well as your brand.
3. Post (Very) Often
Most of the top online retailers on Facebook post on a daily basis, some multiple times a day. Keeping things fresh with a joke or the latest product update helps keep your Facebook following coming back for more, and adds a sense of vibrance and activity to your page.
4. Create Quality Content
One of the great ways to actually draw in more likes is to create quality content that is exclusive to your store, to be posted on your blog, Facebook page and other social media. It doesn’t need to be fancy, but good quality content that is useful to your customers and Facebook users will keep them coming back for more. Superherostuff.com, an online store selling, well, superhero stuff, regularly posts great content such as this hilarious photo of Spiderman being threatened by a bronze statue.
5. Use Targeted Facebook Ads
Targeted Facebook ads are an often underlooked way to reach out to your audience. Create targeted ads by focusing on people in particular geographies and particular interests. For instance, if you are an online retailer of delicious pet goodies in the United Kingdom, you may wish to target those living in the UK above 25 who have an interest in pets. This way, you can draw the right demographic to your Facebook page and main store page.
After some digging around, we found a great example of 3dcart store with an awesome facebook page. Candy.com has over 91k likes on facebook, and engages their audience with interactive contests,cute pictures and other fun content. They post frequently, sometimes every day, and understand their Facebook audience’s love of droolworthy candy pictures. Thumbs up!
So consider giving your Facebook page a makeover with our 5 tips to get more likes on Facebook. You might be surprised by your popularity!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
63% of US shoppers plan to do a majority of their Christmas shopping online this year, according to a new study by LivePerson. And another study by eConsuatancy found eCommerce to be more popular than high street shopping. But how can you ensure your store converts as many as these eager shoppers as possible?
Studies show there are factors that set merchants apart and have proven success in converting more users.
Marketing Ideas By The Numbers:
Offer Free Returns:
- 60% of UK consumers will not even consider making a fashion purchase online unless they can return unwanted items without being charged.
- 41% buy several sizes of the same piece of clothing online to check the fit, and then send the others back.
- Other reasons given for returning items included item not fitting (43%), the feel of the material (25%) and style (15%).
- 12% say they never buy online due to concerns about finding the right size, while 61% are often deterred for this reason.
- 60% say they won’t consider buying online unless returns are free.
- 55% of online shoppers expect free shipping on every order
- 85% of ecommerce sites will offer free shipping promotions specific for the upcoming holiday season
- 30% of retailers said they would offer free shipping earlier than they did during the 2011 holiday shopping season.
- 20% of consumers say free shipping is the most important factor in where they shop online in 2012. 19% of consumers say they’ll pay full price, if retailers offer free shipping.
Use Social To Connect:
- 70% of shoppers using Twitter to get product reviews
- 75% turning to Facebook to look for discounts
- 73% using Pinterest to research ideas.
Update Product Photos:
- 67% of consumers saying that the quality of a product image is very important in selecting and purchasing a product
- 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business that has an image show up in local search results
- 53% of customers value the quality of a product image more than ratings or reviews
Use Email Marketing Strategically
- Targeted subject lines improve open rates – 53% said they opened an email because of a showcased offer
- Men over ag 55 are more likely than their younger counterparts to have made a purchase because of an email message
- 87% of those receiving retailer emails open the messages
- 80% of online shoppers and 71% of in-store shoppers say email offers influence them to buy
Make Checkout Easy
- 84% of ecommerce sites support express checkout
- 66% of ecommerce sites offer guest checkout (34% DON’T!)
- Only 9% of checkouts are 3-step vs 54% 4-step and 33% 5-step
Steve Jobs had a distinct vision for how he wanted Apple’s retail stores to look and feel. Wood floors, modern furniture and tall glass windows are the touch stones of Apple’s highly successful retail stores and it is this kind of customization that has helped Apple build its brand.
3dcart’s web stores put the same power of customization in your hands and allow you to create a shopping experience that is in line with your company’s brand. You can control every aspect of the buying process. While hardwood floors and glass windows might not be an option for a web store, 3dcart gives you more than 50 templates to choose from and each template is 100 percent customizable.
On the other side of the coin, stores like Pinterest, eBay, Amazon and Etsy put your products in front of millions of eyeballs but allow minimal control of the shopping experience. This valuable exposure should not be eschewed simply because of a lack of customization. Apple-o-philes might remember that while Jobs was a bit of an auteur as far as retail goes, he still allowed his products to be sold in Best Buy stores. Jobs understood the fundamental business truth that increased product visibility translates to increased sales.
If there is one truth to be gleaned from the Apple example, it’s that multichannel selling can be a great driver of sales. Selling through Pinterest, eBay, Amazon and Etsy can drive volume while also leaving the door to “your universe” open by maintaining a dedicated, customizable 3Dcart store.
But your selling strategy shouldn’t simply end with putting your products in multiple locations. Maintaining different web stores with different brands can help you attract different demographics. The customers who shop on eBay are not necessarily the same type of customers who shop on Etsy or Pinterest.
According to comScore, 68 percent of Pinterest’s users are women and the average user spends about 16 minutes on the site. Compare that with eBay, whose users are about 56 percent male and spend more than an hour on the site, on average.
Maintaining separate web stores with different experiences can help you please different types of customers who value different aspects of the shopping experience.
Selling in more places gets your products in front of more customers. Companies spend billions of dollars advertising just so that they can put their product in front of consumer’s eyes for a few seconds. Fortunately, 3dcart easily integrates with Pinterest and other web market places without charging billions of dollars.
Our guest post today is from Sangram Kadam, Co-Founder of Ordoro. Ordoro is a software platform that helps ecommerce merchants manage everything they need to do after an order is placed in their shopping cart. The Ordoro web-app is used by online merchants to manage orders and to keep stock levels in sync between their webstores and marketplaces.Ordoro also offers shipping label printing, dropshipping and inventory management.
Not necessarily. Having dozens of social sharing buttons looks cluttered and can be visually overwhelming to your readers and customers. Too many options can scare away or distract even social users. So how do you decide which ones to add?
You need to ask yourself three questions:
What social platforms generate the most traffic/sales?
Like everything else in online business, you need to measure your social efforts. From looking at your store or blog’s analytics, you should be able to tell what platforms are the most profitable for you by looking at the traffic generated from each platform. Make sure to also take in to account the time on site, pageviews and obviously conversions (if you have conversion funnels set up in your analytics).
Just as beneficial as knowing knowing the social platforms that work best, knowing what platforms don’t work is key to choosing the right social buttons. Focus your users attention on the sharing of valuable networks by eliminating the option to share on networks that won’t generate value for you.
Who are you customers?
While understanding what works now is an important element, it is not the whole picture. You may be just getting started and not have the history to work off or you know from studies and research that one social network is working for your industry, but you haven’t seen the benefit yet. Just as important as measuring existing social efforts, is knowing the platforms- who uses them and how.
For example, if you are selling fashion, you shouldn’t ignore Pinterest (even if you haven’t seen Pinterest traffic yet, there is great potential). If you write tons of great content on your company blog, don’t ignore Twitter – it’s an information sharing machine! Once you understand each platform, who uses it and how they use it, you will start to see the networks that are right for your company. The below infographic does a great job of giving the typical profile of each network.
Where am I?
Make sure that the buttons you choose are networks that your company can connect with them on. But don’t ignore a social network that meets the other two criteria just because you are not active on it. After measuring your efforts and researching the platforms, you need to consider amping up your engagement on the social networks that rose to the top.
Join 3dcart Thursday, May 24, 2012 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT for our webinar “Leveraging Facebook Connect In Ecommerce.” Every attendee will receive a $50 off coupon for 3dcart’s Facebook Connect plugin and will enter to win a FREE plugin! Space is limited to reserve your spot today by registering below or going to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/467761618 to register!
With the introduction of 3dcart’s Facebook Connect add on, we’ve written about how Facebook Connect can help your online store raise conversions and explained best practices of using social logins. So when we came across this great infographic from Monetate, we knew we had to share. Not only does their research reinforce how important it is for merchants to consider Facebook Connect, they share some interesting statistics on how customers PREFER social logins.
Here are few interesting take-aways from the below infographic.
40% of consumers PREFER to use social logins for creating accounts and 60% of shoppers say they use Facebook Connect most frequently! Consumers are getting more and more use to logging in with Facebook, making it seem even more laborious when they have to go through the process of filling out lengthy forms on other sites. Make it easy on your customers and you will see happier customers, and less abandoned carts.
50% or more of consumers say they use social networks to provide feedback. I think that if more stores used Facebook Connect, this number would be higher! When you make it easy for customers, they are happy to give you feedback on your products and company and when they do it on social networks, they share it with all of their friends ( see next stat!).
60% of consumers go to social networking sites to read product reviews. As a merchant using Facebook Connect to encourage social sharing, this is amazing!