Your browser (Internet Explorer 6) is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how to update your browser.

4 Major Ways eBooks Generate Leads for Your Business

When you see a book on the shelf or a friend gives you one as a gift, does it ever occur to you that this is some sort of marketing ploy? For most, if not all— hardly.

Well, it’s for this reason that a lot of online marketing experts agree that ebooks actually make wonderful promotional tools for ecommerce. After all, they’re basically designed to inform or entertain, not sell anything. This is why you ought to consider coming up with your own ebooks in order to market your business indirectly and generate leads for your online store.
So what’s in store for you with these lead-generating ebooks? More…

Bryan is a search marketing manager at 3dcart where he researches and implements marketing tactics for ecommerce.


Opening Your Webstore Store for Business: 5 Steps to Get Launched

Open for BusinessAfter all the hard work that went into designing your website, coming up with stunning photos and descriptions for your products, and all that e-commerce jazz, you’re finally ready to get launched!

So how do you go about opening your store for business?

Follow these 5 steps to have an unforgettable online store opening: More…


Marketplace Fairness Act: Why 3dcart Customers Shouldn’t Worry

A proposed Internet retail tax has online merchants scrambling. The new plan would require online stores to collect taxes that satisfy the buyer’s home state requirements. Read More!

COO and co-founder of 3dcart, developer of an e-commerce suite for businesses of all sizes. As an authority on e-commerce best practices, Jimmy combines more than 10 years as an ecommerce developer and web programmer with SEO, social marketing and business intelligence


Marketing Ideas By The Numbers: Holiday Ecommerce Statistics

holiday ecommerce

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.
Offer Free Shipping
  • 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





Increasing Your Online Sales for $5.00

img_7508_light_boxEver wonder how online retailers get their product images looking perfect?  You don’t need to invest hundreds of dollars in a digital camera and you do not need to have any photography experience to take professional photographs of your products. One of the biggest mistakes we see for those just starting out with an online store, is having poor product images. Amy has posted a great tutorial that takes only a few minutes, and costs less than $5.00 and will have your products looking like they’re ready to jump off of the page.

The making of a lightbox

Here are some things to keep in mind when taking pictures of your products:

  • Disable your camera’s built-in flash when taking a photo. The built-in flash produces a glare on the photo and makes your products look two-dimensional.
  • Use your camera’s “Macro Focus” feature to take close-ups of your product.
  • Use a tripod when taking pictures of your product. The tripod stabilizes your camera and eliminates blurry photos.
  • Photograph your products at an angle.
  • Take more than one photo of each item.
  • Understand how your camera works. Take a few test photographs and rearrange your lighting or the product if you have to. Read your user manual and find out how to customize the white balance feature on your camera, which will control the background. Also figure out how to set the ISO and start at 100 or 200. This controls the amount of light entering the lens.
  • NEVER rush on this part of your store design. you can have a stellar online store, and if your product pictures look like they were taken with a camera phone, you’ll see poor sales.

Related Links

Making a Home Made Lightbox


Adding The 3dcart Shopping Widget To Your Blog  is one of our favorite bloggers for ecommerce SEO and social optimization tips. The Wizard is a big fan of 3dcart and has some awesome tutorials worth checking out.
One of which is this awesome tutorial on how to add the 3dcart shopping widget to your blog like this:



Choosing Buyer Keywords

Customers search for products in different phases of the purchasing process. They be browsing, considering a purchase, comparison shopping or they could be ready to buy NOW!

Conversion Funnel

Unfortunately PPC doesn’t allow the “only show to purchase-ready searchers” option, so if you aren’t careful and strategic you can end up paying a lot for users without any purchase intent.

While you can’t know for certain a user’s position in the  purchase process, you can choose keywords that are indicative of their placement. Consumers’ searches follow a pretty standard pattern as they move down the conversion funnel.

You  have to find the keywords that accompany the purchase-ready stage or the buyer keywords.

For example:

  • Betty’s looking for a laptop.  She searches:” best laptops” or “laptop reviews”

Those keywords can be good, but for the most part users are just beginning their purchase journey. Lets say Betty went to those review sites and realized she she was probably more interested in a Macbook.

  • Armed with more specific inquiries, Betty has further moved down the conversion funnel – she knows exactly what she wants and shes ready to buy. She searches: “Buy Macbooks” “Buy Macbooks Cheap”  “Macbooks under $100″  “Budget Macbooks”

Without knowing Betty’s journey, you These keywords are indict

Matt Carter lists some great examples of buyer keywords on his blog.

  • buy
  • purchase
  • review
  • best
  • cheap
  • new
  • bargain
  • budget
  • economical
  • inexpensive
  • low cost
  • low priced
  • reduced
  • compare
  • model numbers
  • brand names

PageRank vs SERPS

Funny Google

Understanding PageRank

PageRank refers to Google’s algorithm for assessing the relevance and value of every webpage. of every webpage. Different pages within a particular website are given different pagerank evaluations which Google assigns a number  from 0-10.
Main factors that affect pagerank:

  • How long the page has existed
  • Internal inks
  • Site structure
  • Page load time
  • Quality and number of external links pointing the page

For tips on increasing your PageRank, click here.

Googles PageRank affects its search results or SERPs but it is not the only or the main factor.

Understanding SERPs

SERP’s refers to where your website appears on Google’s search results on any given keyword.

Google’s SERP are based on value of content, keywords ( SEO), and then on the pagerank. Google has done  a good job of ensuring fairness in SERPS so that a site doesn’t have to have tons of traffic and backlinks to rank well for a keyword.  SERPS are why on-page SEO  is so important.

Main factors that affect SERPS:

  • Optimized Key Phrases **Tip: Use keywords and internal links at the beginning of content
  • Title tags
  • Page URL
  • Meta Description (Page Description/Summary)
  • Anchor text
  • Tags
  • Page Length

PageRank vs SERPS

High pagerank is based mostly on quality and number of backlinks and SERPS are mostly affected by on-page and off-page SEO. SERP rankings can also help your pagerank but you don’t neccesarily have to have good SERPs for Google to rank you high.

Which one should I care about more?

Well, thats a complicated question. Since Google’s Panda update, experts are noticing that pagerank is starting to affect SERPS more than it had perviously. While it’s no one’s favorite answer,  you should care about both. Google’s althorgithm is always in flux and every now and then the search king throws a curveball like the Panda update so its best consider both.

Divide your focus between SERPS and PageRank – make sure your content is keyword optimized, uses anchor text but also work on gaining quality backlinks by guest blo
gging or forum commenting. The good news is, with two factors to consider your store wont live and die by pagerank. Just like all things worth working towards in life, SEO takes patience and focus but in the end is totally worth your time


5 Tips For Marketing Digital Products


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.


Anyone with a Computer Can Start an Online Store

Five Reasons Why Anyone with a Computer Can Start an Online Store

Virtualization has turned ecommerce into one of the simplest ways to become an entrepreneur. Today’s technology has made it simple for anyone to start their own online store and manage it solo on a shoestring budget—and as an ecommerce provider, we’ve seen tons of proof.

Even if you have zero entrepreneurial experience, ecommerce software puts all of the tools and resources you need to start an online retail store at your fingertips. Below you’ll find five reasons why anyone with a computer can start an online store.

1. Getting started with a shopping cart software solution is dirt-cheap.

Remember when licensing software required thousands of dollars a year? Today, you can acquire your own shopping cart platform for less than $20 a month. That’s an insanely low barrier to entry that requires little overhead to get your store started. You may need a little cash up front to buy product, but that’ll be the bulk of your upfront investment.

3DCart’s business model only charges $19.95/month for our lowest package, a cost that covers hosting. There’s no setup fee and no per-sale fees.

2. You won’t need specialists when you have automated end-to-end features.

In the past, retail businesses would usually require hiring professionals in marketing, sales, accounting, logistics and more. Today, shopping cart software solutions include features that cover all of your bases. Want to integrate your online retail store with Quickbooks? No problem. Planning a social media campaign and access analytics directly from a central dashboard? Piece of cake! Need to collect and archive customer data in an easy-to-access database? We have built-in customer relationship managers for that.

You won’t need a staff—just a little business experience and an adventurous spirit.

3. Don’t have room to house your product? No problem.

Hold the phone—don’t rent out that storage facility just yet. If you’re getting started with a small amount of stock, you can hire a virtual warehouse and fulfillment manager to store everything. Instead of piling your stock in your living room, simply outsource your storage to a fulfillment service provider at low fees. When orders come through, the fulfillment center will automatically ship the product for you.

4. The right software solution means no programming. That’s right: zero development experience necessary.

It’s nice to have technical experience if you’re starting your first online store, but it isn’t required. Today’s proprietary ecommerce software solution makes using features, managing content and integrating third-party services a snap without requiring you to hire a developer to customize your store.

5. Everything is hosted in the cloud, so you can access your store anytime, anywhere.

Software used to live on your computer, but now you can access your software and data directly from your web browser from a secure login page. The personal data of your customers is safe, and you can manage your store from your desktop, laptop, tablet—even your mobile device.