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Hey E-commerce Retailers – Your Catalog Product Descriptions are Costing You Customers!

We’d like to thank InBusiness, Inc., one of our preferred Online Marketing Partners, for submitting this blog post that’s full of great information for online merchants.

As an e-commerce retailer, you’re focused on driving traffic to your website, because more traffic equals more sales, right? Not always. Driving traffic to your website is actually a small part of the sales equation. In simplest terms, the timeline of an online purchase looks something like this:

We’ll use Joe as our example. Joe has a problem. Joe loves cycling, but Joe hates his cycling shorts. They’re cotton (never wear cotton when cycling) and they don’t even look cool. Joe hops online to search for a new pair of comfortable, cool cycling shorts. Joe has buyer intent. Joe is, in fact, the perfect online customer. He is about to purchase a new pair of cycling shorts. His credit card is sitting right next to his laptop. Will he buy them from your store?

That all depends on your catalog product descriptions.

Why Most Online Product Descriptions Fail Miserably

Depending on where Joe lands on your e-commerce site, he will either look for the correct category to find his cycling shorts or he may be taken directly to the proper product page. Of course, we want Joe to be able to find what he’s looking for in as few clicks as possible, but once he arrives, this is the moment of truth.

InBusiness_BicycleShorts

First, Joe will take a quick glance at the image. If he likes what he sees, he will read the price and then the product description. But wait, on this example, the product description is missing. Joe will actually have to scroll down the page to find information and features. Will he do that?

According to online marketing statistics that track bounce rate vs. conversions, all evidence points to no. The potential customer will not always scroll down to find more information.

Positioned for Success

The winning formula for an e-commerce catalog positions the product image, price, best product description, and ‘add to cart’ button all within close proximity to each other.

Your product description not only has to be positioned correctly on the page, but it needs to scream, “Buy me now! I am the answer to your problem!” How can we accomplish that with a product as simple as cycling shorts? By recognizing and solving the buyer’s initial problem.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why does a potential customer need this product?
  • What problem does this product solve?
  • How will this product make the buyer’s life better?

You are the expert. You are the one offering the product. With this in mind, your product description is essentially the “voice of your best salesperson.” Does it sound like the voice of your best salesperson?

In the above example, the first problem was the fact that the shopper has to scroll down to find the product description, but even if he does, the description is still weak. Here’s a before and after. Tell me which one you would purchase.

Cycling Shorts Description – Before

Product Summary

  • Ultralight Shorts are durable and lightweight with a ventilated Tech-mesh liner and MVT Elite Chamois. Available in Men’s and Women’s.
  • Modified 6-pannel design
  • Durable and lightweight Hyperlite outershell hydrophobic polyester
  • Gusseted design removes seams under MVT Elite Chamois
  • Tech-mesh ventilated inner short with elastic leg grippers
  • Two deep, zippered side pockets

The above description has a good start. It lists the different features of these cycling shorts, but if this was a live salesperson, he wouldn’t be your top producer. Why? Because anyone can rattle off an explanation. We call that a clerk. What a salesperson does is connect the dots, from the product to the buyer. The salesperson explains the benefits and provides an education as to WHY these benefits are necessary to the buyer. This creates value.

Side note: The main reason why stores (online or offline) have to constantly slash their prices and run sales is because they haven’t taken the time to create value in the mind of their customers. If you create value, your items will sell, regardless of the price point.

Below is a revised version of this product description. You be the judge. Which would you buy?

Cycling Shorts Description – After

Product Benefits

As a serious cyclist, you’re looking for hardcore performance from your shorts. Our Bellwether Ultralights are athlete tested and world champion approved. Shape, quality construction, and the right materials. We know you need the perfect blend, and we promise to deliver. Why would you settle for anything less?

  • Durable and lightweight with a ventilated Tech-mesh liner will keep you cool and comfortable during even the most grueling workouts.
  • MVT Elite Chamois combines welded channels in a 4-way stretch, gusseted one piece seamless construction. This allows the chamois to contour to your body for the ultimate in rider comfort and performance.
  • Modified 6-pannel design allows the fabric to move right along with your body.
  • Hyperlite outer shell and hydrophobic polyester material ensures the correct balance of breathability and moisture transfer.
  • Tech-mesh ventilated inner short with elastic leg grippers provides comfort while preventing chafing.
  • Two deep, zippered side pockets allow you to carry keys, phone, money or other small items without worry.
  • Available for both men and women.

If you’re ready to add value to your e-commerce retail store, the first place to look is your product descriptions. As you can see from the example above, we know how to turn a clerk into a top producer. Contact us today and you could be reaping the benefits tomorrow.

About the Author:

Robin Bright is the head of E-commerce Content for InBusiness, Inc. A preferred marketing vendor for AspDotNetStorefront. To learn more about effective content strategies for e-commerce, contact her through their website for a free consultation at InBusinessinc.com.

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Posted in Content, Design & Layout, Product Management, SEO, Uncategorized, User Experience | 2 Comments

MoreStore Contest Winner Announced

After nearly four months of talking about MoreStores and collecting entries from merchants who competed for “Best Use of a MoreStore,” we have come to a conclusion. Voting ended on August 11th and today we announced the winner of our $3,000 prize, sponsored by Amazon Payments. It was a pretty tight race and we saw some great examples of how many e-commerce entrepreneurs have successfully grown their online businesses with MoreStores. But one entry took the lead with the most votes and highest average rating.

AFantasyStoreWe’d like to congratulate the owner of By the Sword, Inc. (www.bytheswordinc.com) and A Fantasy Store (www.afantasystore.com), who voters determined made the best use of a MoreStore. This savvy merchant who sells costumes and accessories for re-living historical eras, actually has 7 online stores, all targeting different markets – and plans to add 14 more! Many of these stores are also using DotFeed to advertise their products on various shopping portals. This business owner clearly understands the power of keywords, store design, user experience and market segmentation when it comes to influencing shoppers. We couldn’t agree more that their business strategy is a great example of how to achieve e-commerce success!

We would also like to recognize Active Lightning, an approved development partner of AspDotNetStorefront, for designing and building the By the Sword and A Fantasy Store web stores. And we want to thank the four companies who sponsored our contest: Amazon, Morrison Consulting, Nalpac and Focal Tech.


Many thanks to our contest sponsors:

focaltech nalpac morrison
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Posted in MoreStores, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Google traffic – Is it free or ‘fee’?

If you’re still wondering where your free traffic went, look at the pink line…

If you’re still wondering where your free traffic went, look at the pink line…

We are all busy. We should all forgive ourselves for not fully noticing the dramatic change that has been happening in the world of e-commerce.

Still, though, 2013 results recently out (above, with thanks to www.cpcstrategy.com) show that there is really no going back. Those online merchants who still wake up each morning hoping that things are ‘returning to normal’ and that Google will once again send them shoppers, in volume, for free, are going to be disappointed and might be putting their businesses at risk.

How has the Google E-Commerce Landscape been changing?

It is really very clear and simple if we just look at what happened during the past 14 months since May 2012, when Google warned the world that it intended to withdraw free clicks in favor of ‘structured shopping’ (simply put: pay per click). Shoppers are driven with massive success to Google.com/shopping where they make the buying decision. They are well served with a line-up of products side by side that match their needs, look lovely and include information about price, shipping, and quality of vendor. It quickly becomes obvious that, faced with the choice between the old-world way of clicking a series of text links, hoping to find the right product at the right price, or the new-world way of lining up images and prices, Google is giving shoppers exactly what they need. And Google is being rewarded for this with a steady flow of dynamically growing traffic – that merchants need to pay for. You see the brilliance of this strategy?

Google shopping pillows Give shoppers what makes their purchase decision quick and easy, so they come back time and again to this one place instead of visiting multiple other sites, searching for just the right item and wasting lots of precious time clicking, looking, clicking, checking, clicking… What a psychological relief for consumers! So they happily come back. Who wouldn’t, for such an amazing deal – and it’s free! And as much as sellers are the ones who need to pay for every click generated by these happy shoppers, we found that those merchants who position their products right and know a few tricks of the trade about ‘feeding’ to shopping portals the smart way, are actually doing better than before. They pay happily for the clicks that are way more qualified than the free visits from anyone and everyone in a who-knows-what mindset and purchase stage (though those could be valuable clicks too for branding and awareness with conversion potential but generally farther from closing the sale). And these up-to-date sellers are seeing much higher ROI than before – when they didn’t have to pay for clicks. What a win-win situation for everyone involved: shoppers, sellers and Google! That’s the most amazing part!

The way forward for online success

So the take-away is that, even though it costs money for every click that originates from Google.com/shopping, and there is simply no more relying on ‘free’ traffic for any business to ensure survival, let alone prosperity, there is more business potential in the “new way” than one may think. Success today depends upon new skills – online merchants need to learn about budgeting click-spend, about optimizing products for shopping portals, and about making their products stand out in this paradigm.

Please know that we at Vortx are here to provide you with the tools for success: our growing range of software products that are specifically designed to help you out-perform your competitors when ‘feeding’ your products to the shopping portals.

Almost everyone who has invested in learning and implementing the new ways ends up selling substantially more.
Almost everyone who has invested in learning and implementing the new ways ends up selling substantially more.

Look again at the opening chart. If you are not yet getting your share of the vast quantity of orders that are coming out of Google’s paid shopping engine, then we urge you to reach out. We offer webinars, software tools, introductions to expert partners and various learning mechanisms. Plus this August you are invited to join our e-workshop and/or come along to Denver for our interactive bonanza.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Find a New Market for Your New Online Store

shoppersSo you want to grow your online business by branching out with a new store. Where do you begin? Since there’s no point in setting up a new store (i.e. adding a MoreStore to your MSx cart) just to sell the same things to the same people, you’ll need to start off by defining a new target market. That means you’ll need to find a new group of people to sell your products to. This new group could be a segment of your existing customer base and the products could be a subset of your existing products. That approach is probably a good strategy because it may require less work and have a better chance at success. Focusing on a smaller segment, or niche audience, also has the advantage of encountering less competition.

Consider Demographics When Selecting a New Target Market

You will want to select a new target market that is viable for your business. First you should understand your existing customers well so that you can accurately identify sub segments. To do this, you might consider how your audience breaks down along the lines of gender, age, ethnicity, geography, income, marital status, family size, occupation, lifestyle, education, etc. There might be some obvious divisions that quickly point to one or more new groups who will be interested in buying your products. If these groups have common needs and desire benefits which are similar, you can capitalize on your familiarity with your existing customers and simply hone in on a more focused marketing message.

You can also define a new target market by thinking about the various ways in which your products reach the consumer. For example, if you sell your products in a retail environment, you might think about selling them wholesale as well, or to distributors. You could also sell overstock or imperfect items in a discount store.

Your Sales Could Point You in the Right Direction

Another strategy for determining a viable new market might be to look at your sales. What items do you sell the most of? Is there a way you can branch out with a handful of popular items, just by attaching a new message to them? Do you have a few high-dollar items that could attract new kinds of customers? What about customer requests? Do you ever get requests for products you don’t carry and could you start selling those in a new store?

Whatever ideas you come up with, be sure to evaluate each new market segment in terms of its size, growth rate and sales potential. What kind of competition is out there and is there any brand loyalty you can take advantage of? Keep in mind that you must be able to attain some kind of market share in order to be successful. Determine how much you need to sell to cover costs and be realistic about your expectations for growth. And once you have your strategy in place, set up a MoreStore for each new target audience and then focus your message as narrowly as you can to ensure that you attract only those customers who are interested in what you are selling. If you do that well, your chances of converting shoppers into buyers will be much better.

MoreStore Contest

Remember, if you have a great strategy and you’ve already set up a MoreStore, then be sure to enter it into our MoreStore contest for a chance to win $3,000. We are accepting entries through August 7th and the winner will be announced on August 14th. You can find more details here.

 

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Posted in MoreStores | 1 Comment

Quick and Easy MoreStore Setup

A special thank you to Morrison Consulting, one of our trusted development partners and MoreStore Contest sponsors, for providing the instructions contained in this blog post.

By following the steps below, most AspDotNetStorefront users can set up their own basic MoreStore to start growing their online business.

Getting Started

Once you’ve purchased a MoreStore license for your AspDotNetStorefront cart (version 9.1.0.1 or higher), you will need to register the domain name that you plan to use for the new store and then point it to the existing IP address for your storefront. You will also need an SSL Certificate to secure your new store.

3 Simple Steps to Configure Your MoreStore

MSsetup_BlogSS11. Configure Internet Information Services (IIS):  First login to the server where your website is hosted and open the IIS Manager. Then expand the “Sites” directory and right click on the “Site name” for the main website that you’re adding a store onto. Click “Edit Bindings” and the “Site Bindings” window should pop up. Click the “Add…” Button and “Add Site Binding” will appear. Then enter the URL for the new storefront website in the “Host Name” field and click “OK”.

 

MSsetup_BlogSS22.  Set Up Project Files:  Set up the project files for your new store by opening “File Explorer” and locating the App_Templates folder in the storefront web directory to your website project files (e.g.  C:\host\storefront\Web\ App_Templates). Next, copy and paste the “Skin_1” folder in the App_Templates directory and rename copy of Skin_1 directory to “Skin_3” (Skin_2 is reserved for the mobile site). Now, locate the App_Themes folder in the storefront web directory to your website project files (e.g.  C:\host\storefront\Web\App_Themes). Copy and then paste the “Skin_1” folder in the App_Themes directory and rename copy of Skin_1 directory to “Skin_3”. (Note: It may be useful to change background color to main content section in the style sheet for the Skin_3 to be able to distinguish the difference between the original and the recently added website.)

MSsetup_BlogSS33. Add a New Store:
Login to the Storefront Admin panel and navigate to Configuration > Store Maintenance, then click on the “Domains” tab. Click the “Add New Store” button and the “Add New Store” window should pop up. Fill out the “Store Name” and “Description” with the appropriate content and enter the appropriate URL for “Production”, “Staging” and “Development” fields. Select “Skin_3” from the “Skin ID” dropdown and click “Save”. MSsetup_BlogSS4Then click “Reset Cache”. (Note: You should now be able to load your new store in a different browser and if you made changes to the Skin_3 styling you should see them now.)

Now that your MoreStore has been set up, you can use the admin panel to begin mapping your entities and products to the new site. Just click on the “Store Mapping” tab under Configuration > Store Maintenance and choose which store(s) you wish for them to be on. You can add new entities and products too. There are also a number of Global Config settings with a group name “MULTISTORE” that you may wish to modify. And if you are not a web designer, you might consider hiring somebody to design and skin your new store.

You may also refer to our manual for more information about adding a store.

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Posted in MoreStores | 9 Comments