Introductory Emails for Connecting with New Customers

Introductory Emails for Connecting with New Customers

Welcome emails are one of the 8 types of emails you must be sending your customers, but many brands only send one welcome email—if they send one at all! On average, sending a series of introductory emails yields around 51% more revenue than a single welcome email. People are at their peak interest level when they sign up to receive emails from your brand, and eight out of ten expect to receive a welcome email after they sign up for a mailing list. Capitalize on this new-subscriber momentum by creating a compelling series of introductory emails that convert these people into customers. Here’s how to do it.

Say Hello and Send an Introductory Offer

Your first email should be pretty short and sweet and obvious. Thank your new subscriber for signing up, and welcome them to your newsletter or offers/discounts emails. Tell them what to expect in a couple of sentences, how often they should expect emails, new products, great photos or subscriber-only deals. Ban.do is one example of a brand that sends colorful, visually exciting and engaging emails.

If you offered a discount upon signing up, now is the time to share it. Usually brands offer 10% or 15%, but it’s up to you! It’s never too early to start converting your subscribers to customers. Include a call to action to “Update Your Email Preferences” or “Update Your Information,” where your subscriber can click and be taken to a page to provide their demographics such as age, gender and location. This will help you segment your audience and you can then send more specific emails. It’s also advantageous for the subscriber, as they can get emails that are more tailored to them.

Introduce Your Brand

Most brands stop at the first welcome email—if they get there at all. Apparently only 39% of brands even send a welcome email at all. So you’re already ahead of the game if you’re at this point. Keep going! Create momentum with your new subscribers and build a relationship with them by sending a second email to properly introduce your brand and provide an interesting backstory.

This could include a photo of your brand’s founder and a short quote, to make the email more personal. It could also include a short story on the origins of your key products. Highway Robbery entices people to sign up with the chance to “win a free robe,” and then gives subscribers an interesting history of the brand in their welcome emails, by telling the story of the founders and how they got started. It’s clearly worked, as they get new subscribers every day.

Remind Subscribers About the Discount Code

Once you’ve got your subscribers, you need to put in the work to keep them engaged. That means sending more emails—personalized ones. Use those segmented audiences to send targeted, personalized emails that remind those subscribers who haven’t used their sign-up discount to do so. An appropriate time to send might be seven days after subscribing. Take this opportunity to include information about your loyalty program too, if you have one.

Showcase Your Best Products, With Social Proof

There’s a good chance that your best, most popular products are what encouraged your subscribers to sign up to your newsletters or offer emails in the first place. But in case it wasn’t, you need to make sure your subscribers are aware of your top sellers. This could mean sending a simple image-based email with a call to action driving readers to the popular item’s product page to explore it further and purchase. It could also include social proof in the form of customer reviews with short quotes and star ratings, social media posts featuring your products, or blog posts about your products.

Re-Engage With More Unique Offers

Remind your readers why they signed up to receive your emails to begin with and reinforce the benefits they bring. Your email newsletter is where you provide all of your exclusive offers and content, so be sure to live up to the promise you made in your first couple of emails. Highlight your special offer, whether it’s free shipping or unique items. Fashion retailer SSENSE includes prominent information on their “Price Protection Policy” in their welcome email, ensuring subscribers know about their price-matching and price-adjustment policies.

Conclusion

A series of well-timed welcome emails can do wonders for your brand, but of course it shouldn’t be the only way you stay in touch with people. Encourage subscribers to follow your brand on social media by demonstrating the value that that engagement will give them—for example, even more special deals, styling advice and interesting brand stories. Welcome emails are an excellent base from which to build strong engagement across all of your communication channels. They’re a crucial tool that deserve care and detail. For help solidifying and executing your welcome email strategy, reach out to us today.

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How to Optimize Your Apparel eCommerce’s Product Pages

How to Optimize Your Apparel eCommerce’s Product Pages

Your product pages hold all the relevant information about the garments you sell. Most product pages include the product description, cost, customer reviews, images and call to actions. While many consumers enjoy viewing high-quality pictures of the clothing, it is not enough to drive sales. Instead, you want the user experience on your product pages to persuade shoppers to add items to their cart that ultimately lead to a transaction. If your conversion rate could use that extra boost, here is a guide on the best ways to optimize your apparel webstore’s product pages.

Write Unique Product Descriptions

Product descriptions are where your apparel brand’s writer can get creative. Creative product descriptions add life and personality to a garment. This personality is a showcase of who your brand is. Showcasing your brand’s personality throughout all the elements on your website will help you gain credibility and trust from your shoppers. The Fawn Shoppe has fun product descriptions for their children’s clothing:

This section of your product page is where your brand will describe the piece of clothing — the material, the color, the design, the different elements and any other relevant information. Every description needs to answer obvious and frequently asked questions that shoppers may have about the product. Always remember to include enough details about each product, so the customer knows exactly what they are buying.  Product descriptions can also help with your SEO efforts. In general, your brand will rank higher in search engines if each product has a unique caption. No matter how tempting it is, do not copy and paste manufacturers’ descriptions or use description generators. Generic manufacturer description will actually drop your ranking due to the original caption already ranking for the first website. 

A company that InteractOne works with, Schuler Shoes, includes unique, structured product descriptions that not only provide details but more information and questions and answers sections:

Allow Customers to Write Reviews

Reviews can play a huge role in helping a customer decide if they buy the clothing you are selling. On average, companies that include customer reviews have converted 58% more customers, increased revenue by 62% and increased order value by 3% over other webstores. Simply put, social proof is more important than ever and many shoppers look for reviews to explain the quality, the sizing and FAQs around products. When it comes to apparel, consumers also like to see how the piece fits on another person similar to their body type. Reviews are important for every type of eCommerce; however, since you can get a real image to show how the apparel items look on an actual person, you have a higher chance of gaining more reviews and customers if you allow reviewers to post images along with their written opinion. Some brands also allow customers to choose the size they are commenting on and their location. 

Kabayare Fashion provides an excellent example of including customer reviews on their products:

Include a Clear Call to Action

An important element on your product pages that needs to be fully optimized is the call to action (CTA.) This is where users will click and add the item to their cart. On all your pages, you need to place your CTA front and center and not around any design or copy elements that would be distracting. Keep the copy inside the button simple and direct like Add to Cart, Buy Now or Reserve Now. If you are not sure if your CTA buttons are working, you can A/B test the design, placement and copy. You can spend hours A/B testing on your own, but a knowledgeable marketing firm can efficiently and quickly zero down onto the issue and fix it right away.

Use Unique, High-Quality Media

One of the first elements that customers will see once they enter your product page is its media. When we refer to media, we’re referring to any images, graphics or videos. All the media on your product pages need to be unique from each other and high-quality so shoppers can see everything. For product images, include different angles of the product, and for videos, show a 360 degree shot of the items. While working on your media, especially images, keep the dimensions and specifications as uniform as possible. This will help your user interaction and keep your brand looking professional. Customers, especially mobile users, prefer square photos and thumbnails. And, many companies like Amazon and Etsy use 1000X1000 pixels as their image requirement. Feel free to play around with image sizing on desktop and mobile before publishing the page live for shoppers to see. You can also add extra viewing tools like zoom controls so they can see even more details and embellishments up close.

Utilize SEO

As you already know, SEO is search engine optimization, which is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on search engines like Google. Just like every other page or element on your website, product pages are an SEO-rich area. Optimized SEO on your apparel eCommerce’s product pages will help your brand rank higher in search engines. To have a fully optimized SEO, you will need to include all the SEO basics like unique title tags, meta descriptions, long-tail keywords, internal links, etc. If you want to dive deeper, we have an SEO checklist to help drive sales. Once you have the basics down, you can then include advanced SEO measures for better-optimized product pages. Since there are many elements, steps and requirements that go with setting up the perfect SEO, many companies prefer to work with a marketing team like InteractOne to help your brand’s SEO reach its fullest potential.

Include Social Media Proof

To not confuse social media with reviews, reviews are the content generated by customers that stays on your site, while social media is content created by your customers, influencers or even yourself that lives on the social media platform it was posted on. Social media is not for every apparel company but it can help out your product pages if your brand does use it. Just like how reviews help potential customers understand how others like the product, social media will help as well. People prefer seeing how the garment fits on another person similar to their size. The more social proof on product pages, the more potential customers you can reach. Social media proof on product pages also adds credibility and trust to your brand and clothing items. To learn more about how your brand can best utilize social media, we created a guide on the best social media tactics to use to increase traffic.

Stay on Brand

All the content on your product pages, whether it is images, videos, graphics, social media or copy, needs to reflect your brand. New and old customers should be able to recognize your brand instantly with every product. To stay on brand, follow the guidelines that your company created. Having a brand guide is vital in creating and implementing any designs, copy, graphics, videos and any other content you want to use. Essentially, how can you stay o brand and on message if your brand isn’t defined? That’s where you create a brand guideline that determines who and what your brand is. Once you understand the who and what about your brand, you can take that personality to the digital world. These guidelines need to include your brand’s copy and design elements, as well as your target audience.

There are many more ways to optimize your product pages. We even have a guide on the keys to a successful product page. To learn how InteractOne can help you increase traffic on your product pages and throughout your apparel webstore, contact us today.

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How to Diagnose and Solve Bounce Rate Issues on Your Automotive Aftermarket Site

How to Diagnose and Solve Bounce Rate Issues on Your Automotive Aftermarket Site

Traditionally, bounce rates in the automotive aftermarket world may have referred to hydraulic suspension kits on low-rider cars, or the spring rate curves on a set of coil-overs. Nowadays, automotive web stores have a different bounce rate to consider: the rate at which users “bounce” off of your page immediately. 

Put simply, high bounce rates are bad: every bounced user is a potential customer that is lost back into cyberspace, likely to search engine page results (SERPs) that link to your biggest competitors. You also get hit with SEO penalties that lower your page ranking.

Use this guide to identify the issues causing your automotive web store to have a high bounce rate, fix the problems, and keep your traffic from flowing straight down the road of Google to your competitors’ sites. If you need more of a primer on bounce rates in general, check out our Bounce Rates 101 blog

 

Solving the Most Common Bounce Rate Issues in Automotive Ecommerce

Naturally, aftermarket automotive sites are subject to all of the usual bounce rate rules as discussed in our aforementioned 101 blog. However, there are also some common issues that tend to plague automotive shops specifically.

Incorrect Part Numbers

The Problem

Many shoppers find parts numbers on OEM and aftermarket manufacturer websites, then copy-paste those numbers into Google. (It’s way more convenient than trying to search by the name of the part and navigating a myriad of filter options.) If your product listing doesn’t match the part number anchoring your page, all of those users are going to click their “back” buttons immediately with a bad taste in their mouths.

The Solution

You’ll have to open up the hood of your website and get the correct part numbers posted. Double-check the parts numbers with the ones listed directly on the manufacturers’ sites. If you pull your product information automatically from a database, you should probably look into using a different database before inaccurate product info drags your site down in the SERPs even further.

Inaccurate Product Images

The Problem

An even more common issue is using inaccurate or generic product images. If a user is shopping for a cold-air intake and they see a picture of a catalytic converter pop up, they’re most likely going to bounce regardless of whether or not the rest of the product listing features accurate, quality information.

The Solution

It’s not feasible to post a specific image of every single aftermarket component you sell – that would practically be a full-time job just keeping up with a single make and model. Tiny, inexpensive components such as connectors, fasteners, and gaskets are bound to be given generic images.

However, that’s not the case with your big-ticket items. When a user is shopping for a $1,000 exhaust system or a $2,000 set of wheels, they definitely want to see multiple unique, high-quality images of the product before they make a purchase. They certainly don’t want to see a generic press image of their vehicle, much less an image of a completely different component.

Update the pictures with high-resolution images straight from the manufacturer’s website, or if you have the product on hand, snap a few unique photos of it yourself. That’ll go a long way to keeping users on the product page, as well as improving the overall quality and authority of your website. Carparts.com has a great example of this. 

Sold Out or Discontinued Parts

The Problem

Online shoppers are generally an impatient bunch. If they’re searching Google for a specific aftermarket car part, it’s probably because they’re ready to make a purchase. If the product in your listing is sold out or discontinued, those shoppers are likely going to bounce in frustration.

The Solution

There are a few things you can do if you can’t get a product stocked. One option is to update the listing to prominently feature related products from other brands that fit the same make and model – that will potentially keep the user shopping on your page and encourage them to look into other products.

If it’s a highly searched product that has a lot of traffic bouncing off your site, you can try addressing those users directly with a short written post at the top of the product page. Explain the reason for the out-of-stock status – put it in the manufacturer’s court by saying you’re actively working with them to get the product restocked.

For discontinued products, apologize to shoppers and explain when and why the product was discontinued – the idea is that you want them to realize the product will be unavailable to buy from your competitors before they click their “back” buttons. Then, put together a curated list of related products with images that link directly to the product pages. Napa Online has a great example of this. 

Putting a Damper on Bounce Rates

Chasing down the source of bounce rate issues can feel like a game of Whack-A-Mole – you resolve one page, get the traffic flowing, then out of nowhere another page is repelling search users like a trampoline.

If you want a more comprehensive and permanent solution, or you simply need help exorcising a particularly stubborn bounce rate demon, let the experts at InteractOne take a look under the hood of your website. We’ll resolve any issues and optimize your content along the way so your site has the horsepower advantage in the race against your competitors.

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How Apparel & Accessories Brands Can Build Better Online Customer Relationships

How Apparel & Accessories Brands Can Build Better Online Customer Relationships

It’s always been crucial for fashion brands to build strong relationships with their customers in order to foster a sense of connection and forge an ongoing commitment. Given the limited nature of physical retail right now, and the ease with which we can disengage from an online store, many are saying that now more than ever it’s important to cultivate strong customer relationships through your online platforms. Here are seven tips on how to do just that.

Write product copy with a natural, conversational tone

Product descriptions are often-underutilized spaces for telling stories and engaging customers. Instead of writing short captions that simply describe what the customer is seeing in the product photos, why not add some humor or an interesting, relevant anecdote? You could tell the story of the product’s origin or inspiration, or share what the product means to you and your brand. Remember, though, that while creativity here is great, shorter is always better when it comes to copy online. Brevity is the soul of wit, especially in this case. 

Have a detailed, friendly FAQ page

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) pages help people at various stages of the customer journey, whether they’ve placed an order with you or are still considering shopping with you. Make it easy for them regardless of where they’re at in the purchase path by providing as much information up front as possible. Your FAQ page should address basic information on topics like “where your brand is based?”, “what are shipping times and costs?”, as well as address product sizes and materials, and any ongoing promotions. It should also be written in the same natural, conversational tone as your product copy. If you’re attempting to manage this internally then the odds are high that you’ve had a number of employees ‘work’ on the site at one time or another, leaving your tone to be wildly inconsistent from page to page. This is one instance where we recommend you partner with an established marketing firm that knows how to write consistent copy specifically for an apparel and accessories eCommerce site. Fashonova has a great FAQ page. 

Be widely and easily contactable

As an online brand, customers expect you to be available to them in a multitude of ways. You should have several channels set up for them to contact you through, including email and social media and direct phone. You must also set realistic expectations on when and how you will respond to inquiries via these channels and platforms. Encourage shoppers to contact you with any questions or concerns regarding sizes, shipping, returns and any other product-related queries. We all know the value of good customer service, so do your best to be available and live up to expectations.

Get creative with your loyalty program

It’s easy to love a brand when you feel like you’re getting consistently good deals with them. There are many creative options out there that you can utilize to create value for your customers and create a sense of loyalty. “Points per purchase” and “points per referral” has been proven to work, as does offering free limited items or services when customers spend a certain amount. You can also share discounts with partner businesses or organizations, for example, “Earn a percentage off when you shop with or donate to our friends!” The North Face does a great job of this. 

Make it easy for customers to trust you and your products

With the proliferation of eCommerce around the world, many websites have sprung up with unclear origins, around both their brands and their products. As consumers increasingly prioritize transparency, you can gain an advantage by being upfront and honest about where and how your products are made, and by backing up any claims you make about them. Providing easy returns and refunds will also promote positive relationships with customers and help them trust you and your brand.

Be receptive to feedback

Brands are increasingly expected to share everything from their processes to their philosophies, all while accepting evaluations and criticisms of these along the way. Whether you like it or not, you will get feedback, both positive and negative; private and public, so you may as well accept it gracefully. Yelp, Google and Facebook have made this a certainty. Create more channels for communication and feedback by encouraging reviews and testimonials on your webstore and social media pages. You could also set up a dedicated email address for feedback. Wherever and whenever you respond (sooner is better than later), do so without getting defensive. Try your best not to take criticisms personally, it’s just business. And every interaction, good or bad, is a chance to turn someone into a loyal customer and provides you the opportunity to use any valuable customer insights to grow your company.

Show that your values align with theirs

Almost two-thirds of shoppers make buying decisions based on a brand’s position on social or political issues, according to a study by Edelman. This means it’s important to show your customers exactly where you stand, through actions as well as words. This could mean partnering with organizations or donating proceeds of sales (or the products themselves) to causes that you and your brand care about. According to that same study, 53% of us believe that brands can do more to solve social problems than governments. Show what yours is doing to create the kind of world that your customers want to live in.

Conclusion

Strong customer relationships are key for any eCommerce brand attempting to establish longevity. Pay attention to these factors and keep them in mind as you build your brand, and you’ll be well on your way to gaining (and growing) a loyal following. If you’d like help growing your customer relationships, feel free to reach out to us; we’d be happy to help.

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7 Ways to Improve Your Apparel & Accessories Conversion Rates

7 Ways to Improve Your Apparel & Accessories Conversion Rates

Monitoring the performance of your apparel and accessories store is crucial to understanding the most and least successful elements of your website. You need to track the micro conversions of every feature on your site including page scrolling, detail-to-cart ratios, checkout steps, and other various engagement actions across your website. The goal is to have high pre-purchase conversion rates that ultimately lead to a purchase. Achieving higher conversion rates takes time, research and testing. To help, here are seven ways to improve your apparel and accessories eCommerce conversion rates.

Test Different Call to Action Variations

Call to action (CTA) buttons are crucial for a successful webstore. You can find CTAs throughout emails, social media, digital ads and the website. In most cases, the call to action is a simple button with written copy that describes an action like Buy Now or Add to Cart.  Testing these buttons are often overlooked, but they’re typically one of the first aspects to test in a new conversion optimization campaign because of the exponential results more engaging CTAs provide. These variations can include experimenting with design, copy and placement of CTA buttons. When it comes to design, don’t be afraid to test different colors, sizes and fonts. Customers do have a viewing preference when looking at the design of any element on your page. Your CTAs should stand out, be easy to read and display front and center. For example, the investment in changing the Add to Cart button in the example below paid for 6 months of CRO work in 2 weeks:

When changing the copy of your CTA, stick to verbiage that causes shoppers to complete an action like buy now, shop now, add to cart and reserve now. Creating a sense of urgency and having a clearly implied result of what will happen is better than catchy phrases trying to be unique.

Create a Sense of Urgency

A sense of urgency lets shoppers know they only have a limited amount of time to purchase whether the item is low in stock or if a sale is ending soon. By creating an action, you are allowing customers to complete it. Action verbs work well in CTAs, emails, advertisements, social media and discounts. Your copy should have a customer wanting the product or deal by using action verbs like buy now, shop now, reserve now and save now. Many apparel and accessories webstores also use countdown clocks for special discounts to encourage shoppers to purchase before the time runs out.

Upsell Other Products

For apparel and accessories webstores that want to see more conversions on product pages or even at check out, upselling and cross-selling your other merchandise is a great opportunity. Similar to that impulse buy that many brick-and-mortar retailers use at the ends of aisles and check out, upselling your other items can potentially keep shoppers engaged and possibly purchase more products. Many customers prefer to see products that fall under similar price ranges and style or combinations that complete the look. Instead of manually mapping related products within your catalog, there are search and personalization tools like Klevu and Nosto that add merchandising functionality to upsell and cross-sell products. Understanding and using tools like these can be complex and take loads of time, so it’s important to work with a knowledgeable marketing firm that can help keep your site merchandising running efficiently. Macy’s does a great job of this.

Offer Various Payment Options

The ultimate end goal of any eCommerce store is for the customer to make a purchase.  It is tremendously frustrating to succeed at all the tactics necessary to get customers to add products to the cart only to see them leave or abandon their carts. Every customer has their own reason for leaving, but in some cases, you can offer an easier path to purchase with different payment options.


The traditional payment gateways to pay with a credit card aren’t going anywhere any time soon, but there are more convenient options growing in popularity. Payment options like PayPal and Amazon Pay attract customers who prefer the 1-click type of payments since all their card information is already stored in one area, also making them more secure. Another rising payment option that popular stores use is payment installment apps or extensions like Klarna, AfterPay or Sezzle. These payment installment apps let customers pay for their purchases in equal parts over a specific period of time. Research has shown that 44% of users would have abandoned their cart if payment installments weren’t an option and 68% of shoppers increase their average order value if they can pay through installments. Adidas offers a wide range of payment options. 

Improve Your Page Load Speed

The more technology advances, the faster everyone wants websites to load. If your apparel and accessories site takes over a couple of seconds to load, you will be losing potential customers.  Increase the number of purchases and your conversion rate by improving your page’s load speed. Your company can accelerate your page’s loading time by reducing image sizes, eliminating unnecessary HTTP requests and using browser caching. Apparel sites are also very media heavy, so utilizing a CDN such as Fastly or Akamai has become standard practice to help with site performance. Newer options such as Magento’s PWA themes provide a lighter weight site for faster load times and also more mobile-friendly features to help increase customer lifetime value.

Optimize Your Mobile Site

If you don’t optimize your webstore to be mobile-friendly, not only will your conversions drop, but most likely your sales will as well. Mobile traffic now accounts for over 50% of traffic, so a site that renders great on mobile devices is vital. Responsive themes are the standard these days, but also consider additional mobile optimization, as Google now uses mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing means that Google uses the content from the mobile version of websites for indexing and ranking. Having an optimized mobile site will help you rank higher and reach a larger, more diverse audience. For tips on how to help format a mobile-friendly webstore, keep reading here. ASOS is a great example of how to optimize your mobile site. 

Utilize Google Analytics

Even though we recommend working with a knowledgeable marketing team when it comes to reading, understanding and improving your conversion rates, there are free analytics tools that can help you learn more about your webstore’s traffic. Google Analytics lets you analyze your website’s data to help you make steps closer to smarter business decisions. This analytics tool helps you understand your site and its users to help evaluate the website’s performance. Once it has evaluated your webstore’s performance, it provides and connects insights to help improve your site. Even though Google Analytics has many tools to read your website’s data, it doesn’t have everything you need to optimize your website to its fullest potential. Marketing firms will have additional tools like heat mapping utilities to help you better understand your conversion rates and how to improve them.

Conclusion

These are just seven ways to improve your webstore’s conversion rate. There are many other ways you can increase your conversion rates like including customer reviews and playing around with your content. A good marketing firm (like InteractOne) and analytical tools or extensions can help you better understand and learn different tips on how to improve your conversions. To better understand what your apparel and accessories eCommerce needs to improve its conversion rates, contact us today.

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UPDATED How Digital Fashion Brands Can Create a Sense of Urgency and Increase Sales

UPDATED How Digital Fashion Brands Can Create a Sense of Urgency and Increase Sales

Urgency can be a powerful tool when attempting to convert visitors to your fashion eCommerce store into customers. How many times have you talked yourself out of buying something? The longer a shopper spends mulling over a product, the more likely they are to abandon it. On the flipside, when there’s a sense of urgency, and a feeling that the deal is finite, the more likely the customer is to click “purchase.” 

This doesn’t simply mean putting “buy now” banners on your fashion webstore or doing a social post promoting a sale. In this guide you’ll learn seven tactics for increasing your conversion rate by creating urgency in your customers.

Cart abandonment emails

Shoppers abandon their carts for many different reasons—often it’s unexpected shipping costs, a faulty discount code or a slow-loading page. While you should try to mitigate all of these things in an attempt to decrease your cart abandonment numbers, you should also always follow up with customers who do abandon their carts. Because more often than not, they are still interested in your product. A well-crafted cart abandonment email can be the difference between closing the sale and having that incomplete order remain. Convey urgency in a short and friendly email, with a subject line like “Get your favorite top before it’s gone!” or “<Name>, you forgot something!” Avoid anything that pushes too hard or is too vague, like “Limited time only” or “Last chance.” You can also instill some curiosity in your subject line and email copy—“I think you left something…” is a good example. Shorter is better, and a little personalization goes a long way to developing great relationships with your customers. Levi’s does an excellent job with their simple, clean reminder emails. 

Limited-time sales and discount codes

Why do you think your inbox is constantly flooded with limited-time sales and discount codes? Because they work! These time-sensitive initiatives are a no-brainer for creating a sense of urgency in your customers, and almost seem to create a ticking clock in their minds. If someone is interested in your product or service and sees an end date or expiration date for a discount code, it’s a trigger that compels them to make up their mind on whether or not to purchase. A deadline is a powerful incentive to action. Help your customers make up their minds by giving them a time limit.

Timers or countdown clocks for deals or carts

While on the topic of time limits, let’s discuss countdown clocks. Provide a striking visual element that ties in nicely with your limited-time sales and discount codes by adding a timer to carts, or countdown clocks on your product pages. This reinforces your deadline, and provides a strong prompt for action. As time ticks by the sense of urgency to buy is only going to increase. Your timers or countdown clocks don’t have to indicate end of sale times, either. They could also be used to indicate cut-off times for next-day delivery, or a more personalized offer. Amazon has an excellent example of a countdown clock. 

Tap into shoppers’ FOMO

People assign more value to things that they perceive to be in short supply. Shoppers can be enticed into acting fast if they think there’s a chance they’ll miss out. Tap into this FOMO, or Fear Of Missing Out, by creating a sense of scarcity. High fashion naturally does this by producing smaller runs at higher price points, creating a limited range and therefore competitive market for their product. But brands with larger runs or less-limited ranges can still create urgency by releasing smaller batches at a time. A message on a product page conveying the limited nature of stock available can be enough to drive more conversions, as the sense of urgency to buy is increased. “I better buy it now, while my size is still in stock!” they’ll say. No one wants to be the one who missed out on a coveted item because they took too long to make their mind up. The same can apply to a service, as well, if you communicate that you can only take on a certain number of clients at a time.

Ensure your offer is relevant

Urgency will only work if the product or service in question is one that people want. If your customers are expressing demand for particular styles, sizes or products, be sure to highlight these on your homepage. Trying to repeatedly push old products that haven’t moved well will only make your brand look tired and defeated. Give your customers what they want and remind them why they were interested in you in the first place! The same applies to special offers—pay attention to what customers are saying in your reviews and social media. If there are requests for cheaper or easier shipping or bundle deals, consider offering that as a way of increasing urgency. Shipping costs being too high was shown to cause 63% of cart abandonment in a study by Statista. So give your customers what they want, because after all, urgency is about amplifying existing feelings of wanting something, not creating them out of nowhere.

Make returns easy

One of the number-one concerns for online shoppers is that they’ll be stuck with something that doesn’t fit or isn’t exactly what they were expecting. While you can’t always make everyone happy all of the time, you can certainly try by being as upfront and honest about your products as possible, and by providing an easy way for items to be returned for a refund or for store credit. Whichever of those options you choose, it’s imperative for you to make this clear before your customer well in advance of the checkout page. Get your customer on your side and have them quickly clicking “purchase” by making returns easy. JC Penny has an excellent example of a clean and straightforward return policy page. 

Use warm colors

Green doesn’t always equal go. Sometimes you need to opt for a different color scheme, and those times are when you need to increase urgency. Red, yellow and orange have all been said to help in this instance. A study by Hubspot found that a red call-to-action button performed 21% better than a green button. Of course it pays to test this theory with your own website and audience, and not all audiences are created equal—perhaps Hubspot’s audience had a personal preference for red. It should also be mentioned that customized colors are key. Work with your brand’s existing color scheme, and if red doesn’t suit it, try something else similar.

Conclusion

Ultimately, urgency is a tactic to be used in moderation. Don’t employ every trick in the book all at once, or you’ll risk driving your customers away. Help them take you and your offers seriously by employing a measured approach. Through trial and error you will find the urgency tactic that works best for you and your customers. To learn more about how to improve your onsite promotions and messaging and other eCommerce marketing tactics, contact us today.

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A Primer for a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

A Primer for a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign

Whether you are a brick-and-mortar retail store or an eCommerce store — or have both, it is crucial to implement some form of a digital marketing campaign. As you know, a digital marketing campaign is an online marketing effort that companies use to increase engagement, conversions, traffic and revenue through one or more digital channels. Digital marketing campaigns usually tie in with the brand’s overarching goals and are extensions of and complementary to other more traditional marketing efforts. Given that eCommerce webstores indeed live on the internet, it is even more important to launch and optimize a successful digital marketing campaign to not only increase sales but to reach a larger, wider and more diverse audience. In this guide, we’ll provide several recommendations for you to get started with or add to a successful digital marketing campaign to increase sales for your apparel eCommerce store.

Engage in Email Marketing

Direct mail advertising decreases more and more every year with companies opting for the less expensive and fastest advertising route — email marketing. Email marketing is where your company sends emails of sales, information, and products to existing and potential customers. As an online brand, you are most likely to stick to digital advertising, so email marketing is one of the most effective ways to increase sales. By sending emails, you can efficiently inform your customers and prospects about your promotions, products, social media pages and any other relevant information. 

However, you want to be careful not to send too many emails. About 69% of users unsubscribe to companies that send what are considered to be too many emails. So how many emails are too many? Most companies send about two to eight emails a month. That’s a wide range — you’ll need to find out what works best for your business. But, as an apparel eCommerce store, you will most likely want to send about one or two emails a week to show customers a wide variety of products and promotions. Email marketing can be a long and tedious process. That’s why we recommend working with a marketing firm that understands the ins and outs of creating, sending and measuring the results of an ongoing email campaign. Finish Line is a great example of this. They have some great, bold, email designs. 

Post on Social Media

No need to limit your brand to just email marketing, you can also expand to social media marketing. On social media, you can promote current sales and products for customers to purchase. While utilizing social media, you are opening your brand to a potentially wider and more diverse audience. A few social media platforms to post your business on includes Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Posting on social media is not for every company, but we have a few social media tactics you can keep in mind if you do consider the notion of promoting on social media. To avoid the confusion of social media requirements and to make sure that you are posting the most appropriate type of content to each platform, we recommend partnering with an experienced marketing firm that is knowledgeable in social media rules and requirements.

Promote Sales & Deals

For most businesses to have a successful digital marketing campaign, there needs to be some type of promotion to tout; whether it is a sale, deal or event. Having one or more sales during your campaign can help gain customer traction and revenue. You can promote these sales or deals in emails, on your site’s homepage and on social media. These sales do not have to be huge, complicated or even happen every week. Many brands focus on a percentage off of a full purchase sale, a buy one get one (BOGO) event or a clearance event. Including sales and deals as components of your digital marketing campaign not only helps increase revenue but also helps you to understand and improve your webstore conversion rates. ACAIS does a great job of this:

Create Compelling & Memorable Content

In the digital marketing world, messaging is the main communication between the brand and potential customers. Since users only take a few seconds to lose interest and exit a website, it is critical to capture the user’s attention with compelling, memorable and efficient messaging. At first glance, you need to entice customers to stay on the page and continue shopping. This means you need to use messaging including pictures, videos and graphics that evoke emotion, creates a connection with your audience or encourages users to browse through the webstore. There are many ways to show a compelling story through incentives like free shipping, an additional percentage off purchase or short, memorable copy. And if that is not enough of a reason to focus on creating terrific content, here’s one more: Google and the other search engines reward sites with strong, meaningful, compelling content with higher search engine rankings.

Have a Cohesive Story

An aspect of digital marketing that many companies have a hard time achieving is keeping a cohesive story. You want all your creative and graphic assets including emails, verbal and photographic content, social media and ads to structurally and creatively coincide with each other. Whether it is your brand’s overall aesthetic or the specific campaign for the month, this effort to focus will help customers distinguish your brand from others. Creating assets that do not match your brand and the specific campaign can confuse users and cause you to lose potential sales. During your planning meetings, create the story or goal that you want your brand to achieve. For example, if it is a summer event include products, design, graphics and content whether it is video or written copy that customers can associate with summer while staying true to your brand guidelines.

Schuler Shoes provides an excellent example of keeping a cohesive story during their seasonal summer sale. All digital assets including graphic elements, written copy and images focus on giving the offering a summer feel:

Conclusion

As consumers transition more into online shopping, planning and implementing a digital marketing campaign is the best way to increase sales for your apparel eCommerce store. These are just a few tips on how to start and add to a successful digital marketing campaign. For more information on how InteractOne can help your brand create a successful digital marketing campaign, contact us today.

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Slipping Sales: Six Steps to Fix your Cart and Reduce Abandonment

Slipping Sales: Six Steps to Fix your Cart and Reduce Abandonment

All eCommerce websites suffer from cart abandonment (when customers leave a website before completing their purchase), but no market segment suffers as much as apparel and accessories eCommerce sites. Online clothing & accessories sellers find their carts abandoned at an average rate of 40%—more than the rate of home, tech, and the fitness industry combined. 

We covered how to master the art of the cart abandonment email in a previous blog, but it’s important to identify why customers are abandoning their carts in the first place. Start by analyzing your web store’s checkout process, and ask shoppers why they abandoned their cart via a survey. You should also look closely at your social media comments and online reviews for valuable feedback.

There are a number of things you can do to get your customers to complete their transactions the first time they visit your web store. In this blog, you’ll learn how to minimize cart abandonment on your fashion eCommerce website and increase sales.

Don’t Have Too Many Steps to Checkout

In a study by Statista, 21% of shoppers abandoned their carts because the process took too long. With that in mind, one of your first orders of business should be ensuring your checkout process is quick and easy. One-step checkout is standard these days, and unless your web store is members only, you should always allow guest checkout. Use address auto-suggest and auto-completion to make it faster and easier for customers to input their details. Your forms should have large fields to ensure they’re mobile-friendly and specify the input format so that the proper keyboard appears on mobile when users tap into a field. More than half of shoppers make purchases using mobile devices, so it’s crucial that your web store is mobile-friendly.

Minimize Surprise Costs

Fifty-six percent of consumers surveyed by Statista abandoned their carts due to extra costs such as shipping or taxes, so it’s important to do whatever you can to avoid surprising your customers with fees later in the checkout process. Be transparent about costs and make it clear whether shipping or taxes are included in the price on the product page. If you offer free shipping, this should be communicated on all pages of your website. If you don’t offer free shipping, consider adding a shipping calculator before checkout, to allow shoppers to estimate costs early on. If you sell internationally, you should also make a note early in the checkout process that the customer may be liable for import duties and taxes. You could link to your FAQ page to provide further information about that, if appropriate.

Be Unpredictable With Your Deals

Cart abandonment is such a big concern that most online retailers now send discounts via email afterwards, to try and win back the customer. But savvy shoppers have become so accustomed to getting these deals that they’ll often deliberately delay their purchase in order to wait for the discount to be sent to them. Be mindful of not offering your deals too soon, or too often. Switch up the timing and value of your cart abandonment email offers so that you don’t do yourself a disservice.

Make Your Return Policy Clear

Online shopping is now the norm, but it can still feel risky to many. “Will it fit me?” “Will I like the fabric or color?” “What if it’s not what I’m expecting?” These are just some of the questions that come into shoppers’ heads. Give them peace of mind through your return policy. Communicate it clearly and often on your web store, and if you can, offer free returns. Whatever your return policy is, make sure it’s prominently displayed, easy to find and simple to understand and execute.

Have a Fast-loading Website

If your website is slow to load, shoppers may lose patience or lose trust that it’s stable and reliable. Either reaction could cost you the sale and see your shopper abandon their cart. Statista found that 17% of shoppers who abandoned their carts were concerned about security. Secure pages such as checkout pages are usually not cacheable, so try to ensure yours load quickly. Avoid third-party scripts and ensure shipping methods and payment forms load quickly. Also, add trust logos of all of your payment options and have a valid SSL certificate to increase faith that your website—and their data—is secure.

Provide a Variety of Delivery and Payment Options

Online shoppers have come to expect a range of options when it comes to delivery and payment. For some shoppers, when it comes to delivery, speed is more important than price, so offer a range of options to meet their needs. Your web store should also provide the option for express checkout using PayPal, Google Pay, or Apple Pay (along with standard credit card providers). A number of studies have found that younger shoppers don’t use credit cards, instead preferring “buy now, pay later” services such as Afterpay and Klarna. Enabling these options on your web store will open you up to a bigger audience and help you prevent cart abandonment.

Recover Lost Customers Via Facebook Remarketing

You can’t completely stop customers from leaving your website without making a purchase, but you can create special ads that target them and help you win them back. Facebook remarketing adds a tracking pixel to your website that allows you to capture visitor behavior and attach a cookie to each visitor. This information can be used to create custom Facebook ads that target visitors who leave your site without making a purchase. Highlight products that the individual viewed but didn’t buy, and consider offering a special discount to entice them to come back to your site and purchase.

Win Over Wary Shoppers With Social Proof

One of the most effective ways you can win over unsure shoppers is to show them proof of your other happy customers. This can come in the form of product reviews, testimonials, and third-party applications like Fomo, which alert shoppers when other people make a purchase on your website. Install capabilities on either your product pages or a dedicated reviews or testimonials page of your website so that your customers can share their thoughts, and be sure to ask them for feedback via email and social media.

These are just some of the ways you can avoid cart abandonment on your fashion eCommerce website. Talk to a member of our team to put these and more strategies in place on your web store.

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Dropshipping Primer and How Shopify and BigCommerce Perform

Dropshipping Primer and How Shopify and BigCommerce Perform

What Is Dropshipping?

Dropshipping is a method of order fulfillment that uses a third-party supplier to ship goods sold by a retailer. This means the retailer doesn’t keep the products in stock but instead transfers orders and their shipment details to either the manufacturer, a wholesaler, another retailer, or a fulfillment center/warehouse, which then ships the goods to the customer. 

Dropshipping is a great complement to a traditional eCommerce business as it allows the retailer to avoid the cost and effort associated with maintaining a warehouse and a brick-and-mortar storefront. It frees them up to focus on marketing, advertising, and managing their online presence.

How Does It Work

Dropshipping can work in the form of product reselling, where a company finds products from a variety of sources and makes them available for online purchase all in one place, on their eCommerce store. Additionally, dropshipping can be used to create an online business extension, product creation, or print on demand.

If you’re considering starting a dropshipping business or adding a dropshipping component to your existing store, it’s crucial that you first find your niche, and price your products correctly. You also need to ensure you have the technology in place for getting correct shipping estimates since you will likely be shipping from multiple locations. ShipperHQ is a popular solution that’s available across all the major platforms, but not all shipping apps are as widely supported. 

 There are a number of eCommerce platforms that you can run a dropshipping business on. Shopify and BigCommerce are two of the biggest and most popular SaaS platforms, so we’re going to focus on how they handle dropshipping. Both offer a number of plans which offer various features and services, which  are charged at different rates accordingly. 

Benefits of Dropshipping: With more automation, shipping and packaging are handled by manufactuers. 

How Does Shopify Handle Dropshipping?

Shopify has a partnership with Oberlo, which will help you find products from suppliers all over the world and add them to your own online store. If you’re currently dropshipping with AliExpress, you can connect your existing products to your Oberlo account. 

Shopify has a number of other similar and highly rated apps on their marketplace to enable drop shipping for specific niches, marketplaces, and regions. This includes apps that automatically check and update your prices, including PriceMole and Prisync so that you stay competitive. In addition to ShipperHQ, Shopify’s apps for estimating shipping costs include Shipping Rates Calculator Plus and Estimated Shipping Cost

 Shopify charges a transaction fee of 2%, 1%, or 0.5% for every purchase made on your store (depending on which plan you choose) unless you use Shopify Payments as your payment provider. This can add up quickly when you work with tight margins, as drop shippers often do.

Benefits of Dropshipping: Unlike traditional retailers, online dropshippers do not need to invest in an initial inventory stockpile. 

How Does BigCommerce Handle Dropshipping?

BigCommerce has an app marketplace, with a few great product-sourcing apps like Inventory Source, e-ProductPlug, and Modalyst, but none of them are as established and comprehensive as Oberlo.

Like Shopify, BigCommerce also has competitor price-monitoring and price-updating apps available, including Price2Spy and Repricer. As well as ShipperHQ, apps you can use with BigCommerce for estimating shipping include ShippingEasy and Advanced Shipping Manager.

BigCommerce doesn’t charge any transaction fees, no matter which of their “Essentials” plan you opt for. However, BigCommerce plans have sales caps of $50k, $150k, or $400k based on which plan you have. If you reach the sales cap on a lower plan, you’ll be automatically upgraded and billed for a higher plan from the following month, based on your sales growth. If you’re already on the top Essentials plan, you’ll be charged extra for each set amount you go over the limit, or asked to sign up for a custom solution for your needs.

Benefits of Dropshipping: Your financial risk is greatly reduced due to low initial investment and lack of excess inventory.

Conclusion

Which provider is the better option depends on your personal preferences and situation. While both platforms have apps that let you do everything from source products to set up shipping through your suppliers, many consider Shopify’s selection to have a consistently higher quality, and many prefer to use its partner Oberlo for dropshipping. 

Want to know more? For an in-depth and personalized approach to dropshipping solutions for your business, reach out to our team of experts. We’ll guide you through the best options based and provide a tailored solution for your business needs.

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eCommerce Web Design Trends We’re Noticing

eCommerce Web Design Trends We’re Noticing

To have a successful eCommerce website, your User Experience (UX) needs to be top of mind. UX is how a customer feels about a specific interaction on your website, be it your customer service, their checkout experience or simply scrolling through products.

Obviously, you want to be providing only positive experiences. New UX strategies and tactics are being pioneered every day, and it’s up to you to ensure that your brand is keeping up with the latest trends in UX and web design. Make sure that you’re aware of—and also utilizing—the best possible tools and web design trends for your business, and you’ll ensure your site has a great UX. 

With that in mind, here are 7 eCommerce user experience and web design trends we’re noticing.

Dark Mode

By any standard of measurement, everyone has seen an increase in their ‘screen time’, and with that has come the desire and need to lessen the strain on the user’s eyes. Therefore, it’s not surprising that dark mode (or night mode) is becoming an increasingly popular design trend. Dark mode is a display setting that uses light-colored text, icons, and graphical user interface elements on a dark background. Users often enjoy the aesthetic and the experience, regardless of whether they’re using their device during the day or at night. 

It’s worth mentioning that dark mode consumes as much as 90% less energy on a user’s phone than light mode, making it more battery-friendly as well. This makes dark mode a great way to meet your customers’ needs and improve your brand.

Chatbots

As opposed to live chat, which requires a human customer service person to respond to queries, chatbots are technology-driven tools for keeping your business’s lines of communication open. Now they are growing in popularity because they are proving extremely useful for meeting certain customer needs. 

From a business perspective, chatbots are great for taking care of simple tasks or answering queries during off-hours. From a customer perspective, chatbots are ideal for emergencies, with most people using them to get a quick answer or resolve a complaint or question. They’re especially popular with younger users—40% of millennials claim to use them on a daily basis, and 69% say they would rather engage with a chatbot than a person. If possible, it’s great to use both chatbots and live chat to ensure you have all your bases covered.

Voice Search

It’s been tipped as the next big thing for a few years now, but over the holidays we noticed that voice search is really on the rise. As of last year, at least 35% of all US households are now equipped with at least one smart speaker, and they’re being used to make all kinds of purchases, from food and household items to fashion.

The primary appeal of voice search, like with chatbots, is convenience, and if you can increase that, you will be sure to improve your site’s user experience. Gartner estimated that, by 2021, “brands that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.” Ultimately, the more avenues you make available to people to purchase your products, the greater your chances for increasing your conversion rate.

3D Modeling

Visuals are hugely important for ensuring a strong user experience, and so naturally, eCommerce stores are looking for ways to power up this aspect of their business. For an eye-catching, engaging way to showcase your products, 3D models are a great option to try. 

High-quality 3D visuals allow users to zoom, spin, and inspect products at every angle. This allows your customers to get a better look and feel for your products and greatly aids in their decision-making process. 3D visuals can also add dimension to the overall look and feel of your website, particularly if it has a more minimal layout. If you use Shopify, you can find an expert who can help you incorporate 3D modeling by visiting the 3D model category of the Shopify Experts Marketplace. If you use BigCommerce, the Zakeke Product Customizer app enables you to provide real-time 3D product previews like the one below, for a more immersive customer experience.

Augmented Reality

If you really want to step it up, you can enable users on mobile devices to view your 3D models in the world around them via augmented reality (AR). This allows shoppers to see what your products look like in their immediate physical environment, without having to physically engage with them. This can have a powerful effect—AR has been found to increase customer engagement by 66%. 

In recent years AR has gone from novel to increasingly viable, as brands and websites of all sizes look to engage users on a more meaningful level. Jeep is utilizing AR for its “Build & Price a Jeep” page, and fashion and accessories brands like Warby Parker are also offering virtual try-on via AR capabilities on their app. For a next-level, immersive experience, AR is the way to go.

Shopify has a whole suite of solutions for augmented reality on their platform, and BigCommerce recommends powerful AR technology provider Threekit for eCommerce on their platform. That said, all of this can be a little daunting to the uninitiated. If you’re stretched for time, reach out to our team at InteractOne for expertise and guidance, and we’ll help you find the right solution for your business.

Multimedia Content

The proliferation of faster internet speeds is enabling greater online shopping in the form of multimedia-rich websites. The best web stores nowadays combine text, images, audio, and video for an exciting, engaging user experience. 

 However, you don’t want to overwhelm your visitors, so you need to choose carefully what you implement, and where. Prioritize simplicity and combine elements where possible so that they’re not competing for your users’ attention and inadvertently making your UX worse!

It’s possible to combine a lot of multimedia elements at once without overwhelming your visitors—Redbull achieves this with their website’s clean design. On the other hand, the example on the right quite clearly shows you everything you shouldn’t do.

 

You’ll also want to ensure your website remains ADA compliant. A key to ADA compliance is keeping your multimedia elements accessible by including alt text on images, having closed captions on videos, and avoiding using autoplay on video or moving content.

Dynamic Visual CTAs

Your web store will surely already have calls to action (CTAs) encouraging people to at least “sign up,” “add to cart,” and “check out.” But there is a lot more you can do with CTAs than you might have initially thought. As we all know, an eye-catching CTA is essential for converting shoppers, but in order to do that, you need something that’s strong both verbally and visually. 

Like so much else with eCommerce websites, CTAs are becoming more dynamic and visual. Sliding CTAs are gaining popularity as a way to introduce movement and grab shoppers’ attention, and that’s just one way you can bring these important parts of your website to life. In order to find out what works best for your website, you’ll need to conduct A/B tests on your CTAs to determine exactly how big and bold to go with the copy and design.

Conclusion

If you’d like guidance on choosing and administering any of these or other UX and design trends into your eCommerce website, get in touch with us. Our team of specialists will be happy to assist you.

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