Thursday, September 6, 2018

Is Your Ecommerce Site Ready For The Holiday Rush?

Labor Day is over, and you know what that means – it’s time to get ready for the holiday season. While your customers may not be thinking about shopping just yet, they will be in the next month. That means you only have one month to get your website ready for the busy season.

Back in July we discussed the shipping steps you should be taking for the holiday rush, but this time we’re going to focus on your website.

Let’s get started.

Figure Out Peak Shopping Periods

Before you start working on anything else, you need to dive into your website data to figure out when your busy season really begins. Look at data from the past few years and make notes on patterns. When do your sales usually spike? When does your website traffic usually spike? What was it that brought customers to your website during those specific times? Look at the browsing and buying patterns so you can make adjustments to your inventory as well as featured products, banner advertisements, and more.

Plan Sales Strategically

Now that you know the peak trends on your website, it’s time to use that information to create a sales and promotions schedule. Experiment with offering sales on historically busy days as well as slow ones. Sales can entice people to buy more, or just to buy when previously they were on the fence. You may also experiment with offering extra perks during certain peak times, such as free gift wrapping.

Start Marketing Early

You know that you have to increase your marketing during the holidays, but get an early start instead of waiting for Thanksgiving to roll around. Preview holiday promotions to your loyal customers. Create some free content, such as blog posts or how-to videos, to get customers coming to your website more often. Make sure you’re sharing product news and information relevant to the holiday shipping season. You want your customers to be thinking about shopping with you before the holidays get underway.

Upgrade Your Systems

What can you do now to make the busy holiday season easier? Now is the time to make upgrades to your systems for a smoother workflow during the holidays, and moving forward. What parts of your shipping process can be automated? Do you need to update product photos and descriptions? Maybe you want to have social media automation so you can focus on other things. Start working on these upgrades immediately so they’re ready in time for the holidays.

Test Mobile Performance

Is your website optimized for mobile? It needs to be. Not only are more and more people shopping using a mobile device, but Google is starting to prioritize mobile when it comes to search engines. If someone looks up your website while on their phone but the site is clunky on mobile, they may not bother to look again. There’s still time to make changes before the holidays.

Make it Easy For Your Customers

The holidays are a busy, hectic time for people. By making your website as easy to navigate as possible, you’re reducing stress and confusion for your customers. Make sure shop policies such as your return policy is crystal clear and easy to find. All shipping information should be readily available to customers before the checkout process. Your goal is to get your customer on your website and checked out as quickly as possible, and the easier you make your website to navigate, the more often that will happen.

Optimize Checkout

Reduce customer headaches by testing your checkout process and optimizing it. Test all of your coupon codes to make sure they ring up correctly. Analyze how many steps your customers must go through to actually make a purchase. Remember, the goal is for this to be as easy as possible for your customers, with as few website errors as possible.

Don’t Forget About Shipping Supplies!

Head to to stock up on shipping supplies for the holiday season so all your orders get shipped out on time!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Everything You Need To Know About Online Advertising

Advertising has been around for hundreds of years, but it is only in the past couple of decades that online advertising has really taken off. While online advertising may seem more complicated than putting an ad in the newspaper, it doesn’t have to be.

Whether you sell exclusively online or you offer brick-and-mortar services, it is important to consider if online advertising is right for you. If you have the budget to do some advertising online, it can be a huge boost to your profits.

Why Online?

Just about everyone is online nowadays, which means online advertising has huge potential for your business. Advertising platforms such as Google Ads make creating online advertisements relatively straightforward.

Online advertising allows your customers to take action immediately. A customer who hears your radio ad may forget your company name by the time they get to a computer, but someone who sees your advertisement online can click on it right away. That is truly what makes online advertising so remarkable.

But with so many options when it comes to online advertising, how do you decide where to put your money?

Paid Search

When people are in need of a product or service, they are likely to head to a search engine. This makes paid search advertising invaluable for your business.

Paid search is all about keywords, and your competition is using the same keywords you are. Paid search essentially acts as an auction, with the advertiser choosing maximum bids. It’s not as simple as the higher bidder gets the top search engine result, though. The quality of your ad is just as important as your maximum bid, so by crafting excellent ads you may still be able to rank well on Google.
So how do you make sure you receive an excellent ad quality score? When creating a new ad, consider these factors:

·        How relevant is the ad to the search?
·        How relevant is the ad to your ad group?
·        How relevant is the ad to the linked landing page?
·        How is the click-through-rate on the existing ad and ad group?
·        How well has your Google AdWords account done in the past?

For this reason, bidding on niche keywords can be a more effective strategy than bidding on highly competitive ones. If you are advertising for a brick-and-mortar business, you can also target audiences based on geographical data.

Paid Social

While it is still possible to generate leads organically using social media, it is getting increasingly difficult. Paid advertising on social media is a great way to get your message out there to a targeted audience. You can advertise on most of the big social media platforms, so it is important to choose the ones that are right for your audience.

That being said, each social media platform is different when it comes to advertising, which is something else you need to consider.


Facebook has the largest user base when it comes to social media platforms, which makes it an attractive option for advertisers. When you are thinking about advertising on Facebook, there are a few key factors you need to keep in mind.

·        What type of campaign are you running?
·        How aware are your customers of your brand?
·        How much customer data do you have for targeting purposes?
·        What is your budget?

Facebook has several campaign types as well as specific campaigns available within each campaign type, so it is important you choose the one that works best for your business. From there you can even choose your campaign objectives, making it easier to reach your target audience and your marketing goals.

The targeting tools Facebook offers is a huge benefit to advertising on the platform. You can target your ads based on all sorts of criteria including interests, age, website visitors, and much more.


Instagram is where you want to go if you’re targeting millennials and generation Z. Because Facebook owns Instagram, their advertising is fairly similar in terms of structure.

You can choose from a variety of ad formats, and as you can imagine, all of these formats are very visual. You can also make use of Facebook’s targeting assistance, as ads are integrated with Facebook Ad Manager. There’s even a guided creation option to help you set up your Instagram ads.

From there, creating an advertisement follows a similar formula to Facebook. The key difference is to make sure you are using hashtags.


Twitter isn’t as popular as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it as an advertising platform. With only two ad options to choose from, it is far simpler than working with Facebook or Instagram.

Automatic promoted tweets is very simple; it promotes the first 10 tweets you post a day. You can also create manual Twitter ads, in which you can be selective about the tweets you promote. When creating a manual campaign, you’ll need to set your objective and budget. From there you create an ad group and create ads. You can even choose where you want these ads to appear on Twitter.

While not as advanced as Facebook and Instagram, you still have a fair amount of targeting options to choose from on Twitter so your ads are reaching the right audience.

But Wait, There’s More

There are plenty of other types of advertisements available for you to look into. Display ads, Youtube ads, and native advertising are just three examples of the many advertising opportunities out there.
If you’re just getting started with online advertising though, paid search and paid social ads are likely what you will be working with, especially with a limited budget. Don’t be afraid to dig deeper into online advertising and experiment.

What’s your favorite platform for online advertising? Let us know!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Meeting Customer Shipping Expectations

Customers have high expectations when it comes to the shipping of their orders. Do you know what the biggest customer demands are? And are you meeting them? We’ve compiled a list of the leading customer demands when it comes to ecommerce and how you can be sure to deliver.

Expectation: Fast Delivery

Solution: At the bare minimum, you must make sure to meet the deadlines you’ve set for yourself on your website. If you state that products will arrive one week after an order has been placed, you need to be sure that the products will arrive within that one week timeframe.

But ideally, your products will be in your customer’s hands within several days of a product being ordered. Aim for faster delivery times, and aim to have your product arrive faster than a customer expects. They’ll be pleasantly surprised to get your product early.

Expectation: Easy Product Tracking

Solution: If most of your tracking systems are manual, now is the time to update your supply chain. Think about your shipping process and consider when during the process customers are able to track their order.

The goal is to offer updated shipping information regularly. This may include emailing the customer, texting them, or creating landing pages where customers can easily track the status of their order. If nothing else, you’ll want to set up a process so that a customer is emailed when their item ships.

Expectation: Multiple Shipping Options

Solution: Your customers are busy people, and they won’t always be home to collect parcels that are being delivered. When it comes to more expensive parcels in particular, customers want the opportunity to have more control over the arrival times and days.

It’s easy enough to offer multiple shipping options, whether that is faster delivery times or delivery of parcels on specific days such as on weekends or after typical work hours. Get an idea of what your customers want so you can offer the options they’re looking for.

Expectation: Fair Return Policy

Solution: Customers are more likely to spend their money online when returns are easy to make and ideally, free. There are several things you can do about this to keep customers shopping and ultimately, buying. You want to make sure your return policy is clear and easy to find. You also want to make it as easy as possible for customers to return an item. Nothing frustrates a customer more than being unhappy with a product then having to jump through hoops to get their money back.

We wrote in depth about return practices HERE, so take a look for more details.

Expectation: Free Shipping

Solution: Customers love free shipping, and your brand loyalty will grow when you offer free shipping. It may seem expensive, but there are a few ways you can offer free shipping without losing money.

We did an entire blog post on this subject, which you can find HERE.

Expectation: Products Arrive Safely

Solution: Properly package your products before sending them to your customers. By properly packaging your items with the correct shipping supplies, you can be reasonably sure your products will arrive safely.

Shop for quality shipping products that will get your items safely to their destination, helping you to gain loyal customers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Easy Ways To Build Customer Trust

If you do most of your business online, or even all of it, gaining the trust of your customers takes a little bit of extra work. When it comes to ecommerce, every small detail either helps or hurts when it comes to building trust with your customers. Product descriptions, photos, reviews, and social media posts will all have an impact on if your customer sees you as a trustworthy brand or not.

It isn’t enough to know you are running a legitimate operation; you have to assure your customers that your business and your products can be trusted. The good news is that once you start using the following strategies, it’s not too hard!

Use Good Branding Techniques

Having a cohesive style across your company website, social media, and printed materials is one of the easiest and most effective ways to build trust with your customer base.

Consistent, strong branding shows customers that you have put a lot of work and thought into your company. It also shows that your company has a clear story to tell and value to add to people’s lives. The story of your brand should permeate every aspect of your shop, from your company logo to your product descriptions. Consistency here is key.

To learn more about how to create a successful branding strategy, read our Branding Guide.

Update Frequently

By updating frequently you show customers you’re here to stay. This doesn’t mean you have to redesign your entire website every few months, but it does mean you should be regularly updating banners, social media copy, and your product listings to keep content fresh.

If a customer is interested in your product and heads to Facebook to look at your profile, it doesn’t look good if there haven’t been any updates for over a month. This gives the appearance that you aren’t staying up-to-date on trends and that you aren’t concerned with providing your customers with updated information.

We’re constantly monitoring our website and have a daily deal that we post about on our Facebook page.

Showcase Positive Reviews

Inspire trust from potential customers by showcasing positive reviews from past customers. You worked hard to get those positive reviews, so make sure you use them to your advantage. When customers see that others have had a positive experience shopping with you, it gives them confidence in shopping from you as well.

We have an entire Customer Testimonials page on our website for this very reason!

Interact With Your Customers

If you get a question or comment from a customer, don’t ignore it or put off answering. Quick response times and interactions with customers is an easy way to show that you value customer concerns and opinions.

By interacting with customers regularly, you’re also showing that your business is active. Personal interactions are also more likely to build a loyal customer base. People like feeling as if they are special, so make them special!

Provide Clear, Informative Product Photos & Copy

Short, vague descriptions and blurry photos are easy ways to turn customers away from your website. It makes your business look scammy and lazy. That’s why it is so important that you take the time to make each product page as nice as you can.

Use crisp photography that showcases your product from a variety of angles. Your product descriptions should clearly state the product features, dimensions, and any other pertinent information that customers will be looking for.

Your photos and copy should be clean and professional across your entire website. That goes for banners, FAQ pages, About sections, and every other page on your website.

Now that you know how to build customer trust, don’t forget to deliver with high quality shipping supplies so your customer’s orders arrive undamaged!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Are You Spending Too Much On Shipping?

No matter how long you’ve been in business, there’s a good chance you’re spending more than you have to on shipping costs. Your shipping costs can have a huge impact on your bottom line. By reducing shipping expenses, your company will gain additional revenue, and it isn’t even that hard.

Here’s how to know if you’re spending too much on your shipping costs.

1. You Aren’t Consolidating

Sending large shipments can get expensive, but by consolidating your shipments you can save a lot of money. Work with a consolidating freight service to find the best way to do this. By doing this for larger, heavier orders, you can save a huge amount of money, and so can your customer!

2. You Aren’t Tracking Carrier Performance

By tracking the costs and services of your carrier, you can actually save a lot of money. Your carrier may be costing you more than you even realized. Late deliveries, damaged products, and unexpected fees can quickly add up to more than you expected.

When tracking carrier performance you’ll want to pay close attention to:

·        Is the carrier meeting pickup and delivery times?
·        Are you being charged non-essential fees?
·        How does the carrier respond to customer feedback?
·        What do your customers have to say about their deliveries?

3. You’re Not Negotiating For Discounts

Did you know that carriers will often provide discounts to customers who ship frequently and in high volumes? Browse a variety of carriers to see who can offer you the best price. From there, you can negotiate with your preferred carrier to see if they can match the rate or give you a discount. And don’t forget, you don’t need to stick to just one carrier. You can always branch out if a specific shipment will be cheaper through a different carrier.

4. You Aren’t Being Strategic With Your Shipping Supplies

The shipping supplies you’re using can either make or break you when it comes to shipping costs. As a rule of thumb, you should try to sue the smallest box you can to package your products to reduce costs. You also want to be sure to properly pack products with void fill and other cushioning items so your product won’t arrive damaged.

It’s also smart to buy your shipping supplies in bulk, which costs more upfront but gives you big discounts. offers bulk pricing on all products, so keep that in mind next time you’re looking for packaging products.

5. You Aren’t Buying Postage Online

You can get some nice discounts when you pay for your postage online rather than taking your packages directly to the USPS. Staffing a Post Office is expensive, so the USPS offers discounts as an incentive to buy postage online. If you use the USPS for a lot of your shipping, this is an important tip to keep in mind.

Don’t let these shipping mistakes happen to you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Start Preparing For Holiday Shipping This Summer

Don’t let yourself get complacent about the holidays just because it’s summer! The Christmas season may not yet be on your mind, but when it comes to your business, it should be. Four months from now you’ll be in the middle of the busiest time of the year.

By starting to prepare for the holidays now, you’ll save yourself a lot of stress down the line.
Here are the steps you can take now to be ready to ship products during the holidays.

1. Consider Your Inventory

Now is the time to place your orders so you have the products you need for the holidays in stock and ready to ship. Focus on stocking up on your best sellers. If they’re usually your best sellers, it is likely they will be your best sellers during the holidays. Make sure you have enough inventory!

2. Test Your Website

You have months to make changes to your website so it runs smoothly for your customers during the holiday rush. Websites that run poorly tend to cause customers to shop elsewhere.

Websites that load slowly are one of the biggest reasons why customers become frustrated by a website. Test website loading speeds using software tools to ensure everything is running smoothly. You also want to make sure your product images and copy are updated and that the website is easy to navigate.

3. Stock Up On Shipping Supplies

You need more than a healthy inventory of products; you also need plenty of shipping supplies. Make sure you have a decent stock of corrugated boxes, bubble & foam wrap, tape, poly bags, and everything else you need to properly pack and ship.   

4. Examine Shipping More Closely

Timing is everything during the holiday season, so ensuring that your packages arrive to their destination in a timely manner is extremely important.

Think about your shipping providers. Have they been reliable? Do you regularly get complaints? Could your shipping options and returns policy be updated to make your customers happier? If you’re thinking about making changes, now is the time to get started.

5. Start Hiring Extra Help

If you know your current staff can’t keep up with sales volume during the holidays it’s time to think about hiring temporary workers. We recommend hiring your temporary staff in October so you have time to train new employees before it gets busy.

How are you preparing for the holidays?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

How To Develop Your Brand In 5 Steps

Your brand identity is extremely important, whether you’re a large corporation or a small startup. A successful brand invokes positive feelings. Your brand is your company’s story, its values, and its products. Without a strong brand you can easily be lost in the shuffle.

Your brand is what draws in new customers and keeps current customers loyal. You want your branding to be consistent, from your social media presence to your photography. And we’re here to help you do that.

It may sound a bit overwhelming, but we’re making this easy for you with just 5 steps.

1.      Think About Your Products

Think about your products carefully. So much of your brand gets built simply because of the items you sell. There are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself to help you define your brand:
·        Why are you selling the products?
·        Why not something else instead?
·        How do your products help customers with their problems?
·        What makes your product unique?
·        What words would you use to describe your products?

By answering these questions, you’ve given yourself the framework you need to start building your brand.

2.      Consider Design Aesthetics

Your design needs to be consistent across all channels. The colors and fonts you use will build associations about your brand, so think about design carefully. Consider the style of your brand – is it more formal, or more casual? These types of questions will help you determine the design pallet you use for your brand.

What colors represent your brand’s personality? Your color pallet can have a huge influence on the way your brand is viewed. When working with typography, make sure you’re choosing fonts that are easy to read, but still represent the tone of your brand. Your photography should also reflect your brand’s color pallet.

You should use all of these elements when it comes to designing your company logo. This logo should be creative but easy to understand and memorable.

3.      Build A Brand Voice

Your brand voice will determine the tone of the copy you use on your website, social media accounts, and with customers.

By now you’ve already figured out the personality of your company, and that will dictate the tone of your brand. Your social media posts shouldn’t be written in a friendly, casual manner if all the content of your website is professional and technical. Once you choose a brand voice you need to stick with it across all channels.

Having a consistent brand voice is extremely important when it comes to connecting with your customers.

4.      Think About Brand Channels

How do you reach your audience? The platforms and physical locations where you reach consumers makes up your brand channels. You may have a physical storefront, conduct business exclusively online, or a mix of both. Your branding needs to be visible across all of these channels to help you create a consistent message.

Your branding aesthetics should be clear across your website banners, social media banners and posts, business cards, physical promotional materials, your storefront, and anywhere else your brand is visible.

Think about how different channels can share different aspects of your brand. Feature image galleries and blog posts on your website to give your audience an in-depth look at your company. Social media allows you to interact directly with customers and present your products in a way that makes the products about your customer, and not about your business. Advertising through social media and Google is another channel that needs to adhere to your brand standards. If you have a physical storefront, train your staff to interact with customers according to brand guidelines.

5.      Don’t Forget Packaging & Promotional Materials

Your branding doesn’t stop after a customer has purchased products from you. You also need to consider the packaging you choose. Do you want to promote eco-friendly values? You can do that with eco-friendly packaging. Do your customers want extra protection for products during shipping, or are they more minimalistic? These are the types of questions that should influence your package branding.

Easy ways you can personalize your packaging to reflect your brand includes:

·        Labels
·        Stickers
·        Fabric Labels
·        Tags
·        Flyers/Notes

You may also consider creating custom packaging, but that can get very expensive very quickly. Adding little touches inside your packaging materials is just as effective and less expensive.

In Conclusion

Building a brand can take a lot of hard work, but it’s easier to get started than you think. By starting with these 5 steps you’ll be well on your way to creating a memorable brand that your customers will love.