Category Archives: Local Marketing

eCommerce Giants And Their Social Media Partners

This article below was written by our friends at 16best.net.

With the rise of social media, all consumers have been adapting to the social networking platforms. They have engaged in micro-blogging, promoting content, downloading applications for their electronic devices and, overall, trying to enhance their social lives.

But beyond just using social media platforms for updating their relationship status, watching and sharing funny cat videos with their friends and family, all of the users have also found that there is another possibility when it comes to using the social media networks.

This has been the focus on an individual level.

At the organizational level, many companies haven’t quite adapted to the latest trends of using social media to promote their products and their content and the nearly infinite options that arise when it comes to marketing. And it’s incredibly easy to create something and then spread it all over the world, thanks to social media.

Either way, nowadays, spending on social media only makes up a small fraction of the budget in any business marketing strategy. According to recent research, on average, only 9% of the total companies’ budget was spent on social media. However, this number is set to increase to around 22% in just the next five years.

It’s obvious that sellers have been recognizing the power of social media and their ability to connect with their audiences. Seeing how the various social media platforms are an essential part of our daily lives, the companies had to adapt. We use social media to quickly find new information, to communicate, and more recently and more increasingly, for shopping.

According to recent studies, people around the world spend a total of over 110 billion minutes per day on social media platforms. And the top platform here is Facebook, shortly followed by YouTube.

We see every day how much impact these web-based platforms have on the economy, and of course, on the digital economy. Needless to say, in these times of digital economy, trying to set up a store and waiting for the customers to arrive is not enough anymore. Instead, all these companies have been finding new and creative ways to engage with their customers, to build relationships and create big and small communities. And the main difference has been social commerce.

With social commerce, people have increasingly seen features like user recommendations, referrals, customer ratings and reviews, and, perhaps most importantly, social shopping tools. All of these features make for a safe environment where anyone can contribute thanks to referral and positive and negative feedback and testimonials.

This is something that the eCommerce giants also noticed, which is why they started getting integrated with social media platforms and crossing a bridge. Thanks to its massive reach, we’ve seen eBay discount codes and Amazon listings pop up on our Facebook feeds.

According to a poll from the late last year, around 47.7% of users made their most recent purchase from this social media giant, which is far more than any other platform. Instagram ranked a distant second, and then there was Pinterest and the rest of the platforms.

Right now, you can take your phone and shop through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and even Tumblr, YouTube and LinkedIn. Or if you’re on the other end of the spectrum, you can also use Amazon’s new social media platform Spark and promote your content there. You can connect to other users who share stories and ideas and grow your business even more.

If you’re interested in learning more about the crossover from eCommerce to social media and vice versa, feel free to take a look at the infographic below.

What You Need To Accept Credit Cards Checklist

The main appeal of credit and debit cards is their accessibility. Rather than having to carry a wad of cash that might not cover your purchases, a card allows you to carry a single piece of plastic — or numerous, depending on your shopping habits. Indeed, the number of people in the United States who primarily use cash for their everyday purchases has dropped to under 25 percent of the population, and that number continues to decline. Using a card to make purchases is simply more convenient for the consumer. Unfortunately, however, that comes at the merchant’s expense.

Retailers and other merchants need to know how to navigate the often-confusing ecosystem of accepting credit and debit cards. Otherwise, they stand to miss out on the business of customers who exclusively carry cards or have a small amount of cash on hand. At the same time, those merchants need to be aware of their security and legal requirements that are part and parcel of accepting card payments. As if all of that weren’t complicated enough, the advents of online and mobile payment options have their own individual requirements and infrastructures. Whether you’re a small business or a large one, accepting credit and debit card payments is nowhere near as simple as it is for a customer to make them.

Yet, accepting credit and debit card payments is a requirement for business of any type today. Businesses that don’t accept these types of payments run the risk of distancing customers who will feel inconvenienced. Any type of inconvenience has the potential to push consumers into finding other options, so there’s no excuse for businesses to avoid accepting credit and debit card payments. Even though the process of setting up the infrastructure necessary to accept these payments can be troublesome and complicated, some preparation can make all the difference.

Making processes simpler for your customers often means making things a little more difficult for yourself, but isn’t that what customer service is all about? By following the checklist from BluePay below, businesses can prepare themselves to accept credit and debit card payments if they don’t already. The advice covered in this guide can help businesses avoid many of the most common frustrations that come with establishing the framework needed to become part of the credit and debit card ecosystem.

Checklist Source: credit card processing company Bluepay

Stupid sales gimmicks

Do these balloons really make you want to come in and buy a car?

Why is it that when small business owners see a dip in sales, they reach for a gimmick? I’m talking about weather balloons flying 200 feet above car dealerships, people holding up signs on street corners, or the worst, and what I experienced twice this week, people in costumes.

Does the mattress store really think that a guy or girl in a mattress suit (exactly like it sounds!) standing on the edge of a busy highway is going to make cars stop, come in and buy a mattress? I saw this today on a 55-mph, 2-lanes in each direction, highway. The only thing we’re doing is swerving so we won’t end up with a queen-sized person on the hood of our cars.

And earlier in the week, I saw a young girl dressed like a sub sandwich waving at me from this same highway, only further up in the 40-mph zone. She looked cute, and I wondered how bad things were that she had to take on this type of job, when she could have been behind the counter, asking people to sign up for the shop’s mailing list, email list or whatever-list. I’ve been in the store before, and the only thing they ask is what type of sandwich they can build for you.

What really works for mattress stores and sandwich shops? Referrals for one. Weekly newsletters, samples, try-before-you buy demo’s and social media. And what about just talking to me, asking me what made me come in the store, or for my email address?

The only person who wins more business is the business who rents costumes, balloons and other oddities!

My advice to small business owners: give up the tricks, and become social sellers.

But wait! There’s more!

stop it

But wait! There's more!

As a business, the obvious overall goal is to make a sale.  We provide mouth watering deals and free services to draw our customers into our business.  We spend countless hours and money on developing an ecommerce website that makes purchasing an item as easy as 1-2-3.

Most companies (on and offline), after the effort to entice a sale, conclude with a “thank you” and escort them out of the store or website sometimes never to make a sale again.  Giving ourselves a pat on the back and a job well done head nod to our co-workers.

The reality is this is the perfect time to ask for follow up sale. Your customer is where you want them and in the “buying mode.”  Your customer is satisfied enough with your product selection to make a purchase.  They are accepting your business as worthy enough for their attention.  Once that customer walks out the door, they are now subject to be victim to other advertisements or enticing deals.

The job is not done at the conclusion of a sale, rather just beginning.  When a customer makes a purchase, they are saying to the business “your products or services are worthy of my time and money.”  This should be seen as more of an agreed upon business contract.

Let’s take a look at some enticing ideas to draw further sales from your present transaction.

Limited time coupon:  Instead of a coupon being valid for a month, make the time period much shorter.  Creating a limited time offer only a couple days will give the customer a large sense of urgency.  The customer begins to realize that in order to use this coupon, it would make most sense to use it immediately.

A list of related or complimentary items:  Obviously this customer is in the mood to purchase certain items, so why not showcase more items just like it? Or, give them items that can be accessorized along with their purchase that most customers enjoy purchasing together.

Surprise bonus: Daniel Pink states in his book “Drive” that people obtain more pleasure when they receive an unexpected reward rather than an expected one.  When you reward your customer for making a purchase with small but generous surprise gesture after the sale, you create motivation for that customer to make immediate repeat purchases.

Of course, what strategy you choose will depend on the type of business you’re in.  But there is always a chance to create an up sell.