The Benefits of Custom Shipping Boxes

Branding, customizing shipping boxes and sending shipments on their way may seem like expenses that can be curbed to better bottom lines. But, the many long term benefits of custom shipping boxes definitely outweigh the small short term savings. 

In a world where more and more small and medium business owners are shipping their products globally, custom shipping boxes are rapidly gaining attention. They are no longer a part of the packaging materials and mere cardboard boxes, but are a part of the product itself. When done right, the benefits of custom shipping boxes are clear to see

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“When done right, the benefits of custom shipping boxes are clear to see.”

Brand building

In the digital world of trends, influencers and Instagram, businesses are constantly coming up with new ideas to increase their brand’s presence and visibility. With the number of eCommerce businesses rising, so too is the number of products being shipped across the globe. Using custom shipping boxes helps  increase a brand’s visibility irrespective of geographical boundaries. 

Customizing the shipping box in brand colors and printing the business logo with the tagline helps customers to recall the brand whenever and wherever they see it. In addition to this, colourful, pretty and unique boxes are highly likely to be re-used by customers, which further increases the chance of brand visibility.

Technical details

A custom shipping box lets businesses print different technical details about the product on it. For example, words like “fragile” and “handle with care” can be printed on boxes that are meant to ship delicate objects. 

It can also have manufacturing date, expiry date, bar codes, and other relevant details printed on it. The right details can make all the difference during storage and transportation. Many of the best suppliers of custom boxes, such as Arka, provide unbranded boxes - meaning you can make the packaging all about your brand and its message. 

Re-order information

Customer packaging allows businesses to print reorder information on their boxes. For example, your package can have all the contact details, website URL, customer service, number printed on it. 

You can also attach discount codes or coupons on boxes, prompting customers to reorder. The bottom line is that the more creative a business can be with their shipping boxes, the more the chance they’ve impressed a customer, which means there’s more chance of them turning into a loyal customer. 

Custom boxes as differentiators

Remember, shipping boxes don’t just land on a customer’s doorstep. It goes through many transits and couriers in between. As potential customers are everywhere, an attractive custom shipping box can quickly gain attention when it is being carried from one place to another. 

Colorful, attractive custom shipping boxes when kept in bulk in transit, are bound to get the attention of many potential buyers. 

Professional appearance

First impression matters, always! How the item arrives and how convenient it is to open plays a huge role in the customer experience. It will always remind the customer about the business. A beautifully crafted custom shipping box goes a long way in creating the perfect first - and lasting - impression.  

However, it is to be remembered that custom box and quality of packaging goes hand in hand, and neither one can be missed to create the perfect first impression.

Cost optimization

Sending a small product in an oversized box or stuffing a large product in a smaller box not only displease a customer but also affects packaging cost. By using a custom shipping box, businesses can always have the right sized box for any and every product and thus optimize on the shipping box cost.

Custom size

The biggest challenge with a standard shipping box is, it may or may not fit the product perfectly. Custom shipping boxes can be tailor-made according to the size and shape requirement of the product. This can ensure the product is shipped safely and reduce the number of return complaints. 

Personalized messages

Whether running a special promo campaign or wishing customers a happy holidays, businesses can strategically print messages on their shipping boxes. There are many opportunities that can be explored! 

As display boxes

Custom shipping boxes, when done right with the perfect amalgamation of color and design can be used as a display box too! 

Custom shipping boxes can help the business stand out when done creatively. It not only helps in brand recall or creates a pleasant experience for the end customers, but also helps the business to save cost and ship products safely.

Usually when it comes to custom packaging, it’s a trade-off between quality and cost effectiveness - this is where Arka makes all the difference.  Get 10% off when you place your order.

Choose from a range of Kraft boxes that are eco-friendly, durable and inexpensive. Or, If it’s white boxes you want, they are available in multi-color, clear print and with a high-quality finish. You can even custom design your own packaging on our website at prices that are simply too good to miss.

6 Website Metrics Every E-Commerce Business Owner Should Know

6 Website Metrics Every E-Commerce Business Owner Should Know

When a person owns a brick and mortar store, it’s essential that they keep track of certain things related to their store. Whether it’s utilities or tracking the number of visitors to the store, or tracking the number of sales, there are metrics that every store owner knows they must know to help their business stay profitable.

The same is true when you own an e-Commerce store. Metrics for your online store will help you keep track of where your business is coming from and what is helping make your store profitable. But there are a lot of statistics available to you. From Google Analytics to surveys, and even the number of visitors and the length of time they spend at your website, it’s easy to get lost in all the numbers. Your time is valuable, and you don’t have time chasing down everything. So to save you time and keep you focused on the big picture, here are the six website metrics every e-Commerce business owner should know.

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 Bounce and Exit Rate

Bounce and Exit Rate both tell you how your website’s visitors are leaving your store, but they track two entirely separate metrics. Each is extremely important for you to know so that you can increase all of your other metrics and increase your store’s profitability.

Bounce Rate is a metric that measures visitors that visit your site and immediately leave. This means that they don’t click on anything and they don’t spend a lot of time looking. You may also hear bounce rate called abandonment rate, but that’s a little different.

Bounce rate is important for you to know because it lets you know that something isn’t right. In some cases, your landing pages are driving people away. If you’re getting a lot of bounces on mobile, your pages might be loading slowly, or not optimized for mobile. There’s a general 3 second rule for mobile webpages where if your site doesn’t load in that time or less, people are more likely to bounce.

It could also be that you’re getting traffic from somewhere that isn’t very relevant. This is usually do to poor quality links. This can be either internal or external links. You want to be sure that when you have a link inbound, it connects to a page that is relevant and adds content to the source. That is, if you have a link inbound from a site about vacuum cleaners, it shouldn’t be linking to your amazing dehumidifier cleaning solution.

Your Exit metric will tell you how people who are browsing your site are leaving. This means you’ll see what pages they clicked out of and how long it took them to do so. Examining this metric will let you know if you have a multi-step process that you can perhaps streamline, or if your shopping cart checkout is turning them away somehow. An example of an exit metric that you should pay attention to is if people are abandoning shopping carts on later steps. That could mean that there’s a step there that people find onerous.

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Browsing Time and Interactions

Tying in with your Bounce and Exit rates is another metric that you should be taking a closer look at. The Browsing Time lets you know how long people are spending on the various pages of your site. This can be considered a great indicator of how visitors rate the quality of your site. In most cases, the longer the time spent on your site, the better. There is a breaking point, however, where visitors are spending too long on your site. When you combine this metric with your exit page metric, you’ll be able to pinpoint trouble spots where visitors might be stalling and leaving your site out of frustration, rather than their business being completed.

Another important metric that you should pay attention to that ties in closely with the time spent on your site is the number of interactions they are taking. These interactions range from browsing your selection of products to reading your blog to everything in between. By tracking their behavior, you can pinpoint what people are spending time on your site doing, and from there, you can figure out how to turn those interactions into meaningful conversions.


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Entrance Pages

This is an often-overlooked metric that can tell you a lot about where your traffic is coming from. People are going to land on nearly every page of your website at some point or another. When you examine this metric, you’re going to see what pages your customers are landing on.

Understanding this metric presents you with two unique opportunities. While every one of the pages on your site should be easy to navigate, if you have a set of pages that most of your customers are landing on, you should make sure that those pages are uniquely set up so that it’s easy to access the rest of your site. After all, while it’s only natural that your home page be the focus of your primary advertisements and sales, knowing that specific pages are likely to make your first impression means that you can place specific calls to action on those pages as well.

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Unique and Return Visits

You definitely want to know who’s visiting your site. When you see this metric, you may be dazzled by the number of visits you get in a month. However, you don’t want to look at your overall number of visits. There are three specific type of visit that you should be focusing on instead.

First, look at the number of unique visitors. That means the number of individual people who visited your website at any time during your metric period. This means that if your mom visits your site once per day, your overall visit number may be 30, but your unique visit number is only 1. This gives you a more accurate view of how much business your site is attracting. This will help you judge the efficacy of any marketing that is done where it cannot be tracked by the referral metric.

The second and third numbers you want to look at are the number of new visitors and the number of return visitors. The number of return visitors tells you how good your site is. If you have a huge number of new visitors but only a small number of return visitors, you’re going to want to look and see why they aren’t returning.

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Where are Your Visits Coming From?

This metric is usually called the Referral metric. It looks at how your e-Commerce store’s visitors arrive at your website. There are three primary ways that most visitors will get there.

The first group comes to you directly. They are the ones that type your website’s address into their browser and visit without any need for referral.

The second group are visitors that find out about your website through referral links. These find out about your products and website from other blogs or links that post to you. This will also track any links from social media sites as well.

The final group is going to be the largest. These referrals come from search engines, letting you know how well you’re ranking on certain search terms.

Once you know this information, you can begin to drill down into everything that is helping people find you. Narrowing down effective keywords is only the beginning. You can also gauge the effectiveness of your paid ad campaigns and see how well your social media manager is at driving traffic to you.

Another key part of this metric is the ability to see what blogs or websites you should be forging a stronger relationship with. If you’re already getting traffic from a specific website, partnering with them will only strengthen the quality and rate of referrals you’re getting. Guest blog posts are a great way to do this; write something that your staff is strong on for their site and they write one for you. You can seed quality links in the article directing traffic back to you, and vice-versa.

This is perhaps one of the most important metrics to know, mainly because you can use this information to attract more visitors and increase the number of conversions. This of course translates into sheer profitability.

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Conversion Rates

Pretty much everyone agrees that the end goal of any e-Commerce website is to attract meaningful conversions. Conversions refer to whatever the end goal is for your particular website. This can be making a sale, creating an account, signing up for an e-mail list; whatever you want your visitor to do. Your site can have multiple conversion goals, of course, and this metric allows you to keep track of what those are and how successful you are at getting your visitors to convert.

Keeping track of your conversion metrics will also help you track how well your site is working. For example, if you are getting a great conversion rate for people signing up for your newsletter, and that drops precipitously one month, chances are that there’s something wrong with your sign-up widget. The same is true for any other conversion.

Additionally, you will be able to parse your conversion rate to find out what it is for both new customers and return visitors. This will help you find out what you did correctly the first time to bring a customer back. It will also help you streamline your conversion path so that you can guide new customers to your desired goal.

Website metrics are an important part of running your e-Commerce business. With careful attention and some good statistical analysis, you have the keys to your kingdom. It’s just up to you to decide how to make the best use of that knowledge.

This is a guest post by Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for e-commerce sellers. Seller’s Choice provides uniquely personalized marketing and managed services for digital marketplace sellers, e-commerce merchants, and brand builders worldwide. You can learn more by emailing or visiting here.

Feel free to contact Andrew on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with any questions.


Are Your Amazon Ads Prepared for Amazon Prime Day?

Are Your Amazon Ads Prepared for Amazon Prime Day?

Get Your Amazon Sponsored Campaigns Ready

As you plan for Prime Day, make sure to visit Campaign Manager and get your advertising ready too.

Advertise more of your listings.

Ensure that every listing you want to promote is included in a Sponsored Products campaign. Consider advertising all of your product catalog with automatic targeting to reach more shoppers.

Prime Day shoppers are ready to buy.

You may see an increase in the number of clicks that generate sales. You can increase your bids to be more competitive and still see your desired return.

Get your ads at the top of search with Bid+.

For your campaigns with manual targeting, you can turn on Bid+, and Amazon will automatically raise your bid to increase your opportunity to appear in the top of search results.

Don’t limit campaign changes to just Prime Day.

We expect for shoppers to start visiting Amazon in the days leading up to the big event. Adjust your bids and budgets now to be ready for the big day.

Don't Run out of Budget

The most important refinement you can make to your campaigns is to increase your campaign budgets. More traffic on Amazon means more impressions and clicks, which may use up your budget faster than normal. You risk running out of budget and making your ads ineligible to show on one of Amazon’s biggest days.

Create All Products Campaign

Running one Auto Targeted campaign for all of your products can be an effective way to make sure all of your products are eligible to show as a Sponsored Product.

Investors are Missing Why Etsy's Stock will Go UP - Competition

Investors are Missing Why Etsy's Stock will Go UP - Competition

I am by no means a stock analyst or claim to know anything about Etsy’s financial future.  However, my eCommerce marketing agency manages accounts for Etsy sellers, and we’ve seen a fundament shift Etsy over the past year…Competition! 

Over the past few years, many online retailers have shifted from thinking of Etsy as a marketplace for low volume seller to a marketplace where real money can be made.  The gold rush kicked into high gear when morning shows and big media outlets broke stories about Etsy sellers like Three Bird Nest and how they gross $70,000 to $80,000 per month.  After those stories, larger online retailers and eCommerce entrepreneurs began jumping onto Etsy.   

I’m sure some of you thought that Etsy was just for handcrafted items.  You may have even thought that all sellers were handcrafting these items one by one in a little shop or basement.  That is not the case.  In fact, Etsy now allows sellers to “partner” with a manufacturer to produce the products.  Also, many sellers buy premade items, add a button, and now it is handmade.  In some cases, the manufactured items and premade items hurt small sellers, because the high volume sellers can sell items at lower price and/or higher margin, which allows for higher bids on Etsy’s promoted listings, which is Etsy’s name for their ads.  However, I would argue that it ultimately is good for consumers…items do not run out of stock, lower prices, potentially larger selection and in some cases higher quality.  

What does all this mean for Etsy long term?  I have no clue.  However, in the short term, there are more and more reports of Etsy sellers making serious money and an increasing number of large eCommerce companies getting on Etsy.  As new retailers get on Etsy, their first step is to run promoted listings.  The experienced sellers making money do not want to see sales go down, so they respond by increasing their bids.  This is what the stock market is missing…the rapid rise of competition within Etsy. 

We have two clients on Etsy that have successful eCommerce sites prior to starting on Etsy, and they both signed up about mid-summer to fall 2014 to “try it out and see what happens”.  After slow starts and slowly working up their ad budgets, one currently averaged $22,000 in sales per month and the other over $10,000 per month.    Over the past 90 days, the first seller has spent over $13,000 in ad cost and the second has spent over $5,600.  The 90 days previous to that period, they spend 60% to 80% less…they were just getting started.  A year ago, they were not on Etsy.  I assume there are many more sellers with a very similar story. 

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What does this competition mean to Etsy?  I believe it has led to a dramatic rise in minimum bids for promoted listings, which is likely their largest contributor to Seller Service revenue.  Here is an example…one product previously needed a bid of $0.75 to show up in one of the top three spots for a specific keyword, then competition over the past few months pushed bids up to $1.15, and now Etsy recommends bids around $2.22 to stay competitive.  Other sellers are seeing the same rise in recommended bids, and I’d expect bids to go even higher as black Friday approaches. This increase in bids only means more money for Etsy.  I think the stock analysts are missing this key fact, and we will see a strong holiday season for Etsy.  I’m a believer in Etsy, and I think the higher revenue will help Etsy innovate and build a stronger marketplace.  Happy Selling!  Tweet at @EastonDigital to share your thoughts.

3 Reasons Online Retailers Should Advertise on Bing Shopping

3 Reasons Online Retailers Should Advertise on Bing Shopping

The official start of the Holiday shopping season is about four weeks away, and online retailers should strongly consider starting or growing their advertising on Bing Shopping.  Maybe you haven’t had time to start a new advertising project?  Or, maybe you started a small Bing Shopping campaign of your best sellers?  However, now is the time to get serious about Bing Shopping.  Many online retailers are seeing higher than expected traffic and sales, and the resulting ROI is often much higher than Google Shopping.  Here are three reasons why you should start or grow your Bing Shopping campaigns.

Bing and Yahoo have 32.8% Market Share

Over the years, many have overlooked Bing, but the reality is that Bing is growing.  In fact, according to comScore, Bing has 20.1% and Yahoo has 12.7% market share respectively.  Which means the combined ad network of Bing and Yahoo, a.k.a. the Yahoo! Bing Network, has 32.8% market versus Googles 64.4% market share.  Market share is great, but the bigger question to ask your self is…”how do my target customers find my products and how do they buy?”  For many eCommerce site, customers browse and discover on mobile and then buy later on desktop.  In fact, according to Criteo’s Q2 Mobile Commerce Report, cross-device transactions account for 40 percent of all eCommerce transactions.   With Google no longer being the default search engine for iPhones and Firefox, this means that many more consumers are finding and browsing products on the Yahoo! Bing Network.

Higher ROI…thanks Bing Shopping!

Bing Product Ads came out of beta out of beta about 18 months ago.  Since then, Bing has been huge improvements for both the advertiser and consumer, including the launch of Bing Shopping in about six months ago.  In an effort to avoid confusing those that not familiar with Bing, Bing Shopping is essentially an easier way to manage Bing Product Ads.  Bing Shopping shows on both Bing and Yahoo search results page.  Within the announcement of Bing Shopping, we saw a rush of eCommerce companies wanting to launch Bing Shopping campaigns.  Since launching these campaigns, we are generally seeing higher than expected ROIs due to higher than expected conversion rates.  In some cases, ROIs are two to three times higher than Google Shopping campaigns.  To be fair, many of these campaigns started with best sellers and we are comparing them to relatively mature Google Shopping campaigns.  However, others seem to be observing similar results, including, which was quoted as saying they observed conversion rates ranging from 2% to 4% with higher ROI than Google Shopping. believes it is due to more real estate on the search engine results page and lower cost per clicks.  However, we believe it could be due to the fact that Bing and Yahoo do not have the “Shop for More” feature.  Google Shopping gives shoppers the ability to click on the Shopping or “Shop for More” links to open page with many, many products that show price for all retailers advertising that product.  Bing and Yahoo only show eight products…that is it.  See below images.  We believe this could lead to higher conversion rate, while can lead to higher ROI.

More Google Shopping = More Organic Traffic

Getting strong ROI on paid traffic is great, but it is even better when you also see a 300%+ increase in organic traffic that leads to 135% to 175% increase in transactions.   While other clients experiences an increase in organic traffic, this clothing and shoe retailer had a higher than expected increase.  We launched their Bing Shopping campaign in April of this year.   The blow charts show the increase in sessions and transactions from Bing CPC traffic (Bing Shopping), Bing organic traffic, and Yahoo organic traffic.  

Bing Organic - pre vs post launch

Bing Organic - pre vs post launch

Yahoo Organic - pre vs post launch

Yahoo Organic - pre vs post launch

Now is the time to start or grow your Bing Shopping campaign.  The holiday shopping season will be here and gone before you know it, and Bing Shopping can help you make season a more profitable season.   If you have any questions or need help optimizing your Bing Shopping campaign, give us a call.  We are here to help.  Happy Holidays and Happy Advertising!  

How to Sell on Pinterest with Buyable Pins - Thanks Shopify!

How to Sell on Pinterest with Buyable Pins - Thanks Shopify!

If you follow the latest Pinterest news, you may have heard of Pinterest Buyable Pins, which is an exciting feature for online retailers with a large Pinterest following.  For those that haven't, Pinterest Buyable Pins make easy for Pinners to buy the product they are viewing on Pinterest.  Pinners will know a Pin is buyable when they see a blue price.   Buyable Pins work so seamlessly on mobile, they’ll help retailers capture the "impulse buy". 

Get Early Access to Buyable Pins with Shopify

If you are a Shopify user and have large Pinterest following, today is a great day for you.  Shopify and Pinterest have partnered to let customers buy your products without leaving the Pinterest app.  All products pinned from your Shopify store will automatically become Buyable Pins.   You can measure and track the number of Pins, repins, and orders using the Pinterest Channel Dashboard in your Shopify Admin.

This is the first time customers can checkout right on Pinterest.  After talking with some of our clients, we think Buyable Pins will increase sales for clients, particularly clients with impulse type products.  Tweet at us @EastonDigital to share your thoughts and any early sales insights.  Also, congrats to Shopify for continuing to be a leader in eCommerce...your customers thank you!

To read more on how to get started with Buyable Pins and Shopify check out the following articles:

Etsy Promoted Listings Drove $10,000 of Revenue in 7 months

Etsy Promoted Listings Drove $10,000 of Revenue in 7 months

For those that are unfamiliar with Etsy Promoted Listings, they are a relatively new way to advertise your products on Etsy.  Promoted listings replaced the familiar Etsy Search Ads in October 2014.  Promoted Listings show up as the top three listings on the search results page, see image to the right. 

At Easton Digital, we are responsible for managing paid search marketing campaigns for small and large online retailers.  We had previously assumed that the potential revenue and profit from advertising on Etsy were too small and relatively insignificant when compared to traditional pay per click channels.   However, to our surprise one of our clients successfully drove $9,652 in revenue on $2681 in cost in seven month.  We were shocked they achieve this level of success.  Due to the success and increasing number of products, they hired us to expand the promoted listings campaign and grow profitable sales.   Here are some of the lessons we learned from our initial analysis.

Important Considerations & Settings

It is important to understand how Etsy attributes revenue from promoted listings.  There are two components that make up revenue.  First is direct sales, which is when a shopper clicks on one of your ads and then buys that product within 30 days.  Second is indirect sales, which is when a shopper clicks on one of your ads and then buys other products from your shop within 24 hours.  If you have a lot of product variations with similar product listings and longer average time to purchase, your promoted listings may be driving more revenue than you think.
Etsy promotes your listings on Shopping Engine Ads, such as Google Shopping.  Etsy currently covers all fees charged by the shopping engines. Participation in the Shopping Engine Ads program is free for Etsy sellers.  This is great for sellers without an online store.
By default, Etsy automatically promotes any new listing.  You’ll want to turn this off if you only want to promote specific products.  

SEO and Listing Optimization is Critical

It is important to understand that Etsy uses titles, tags, and descriptions to choose products to show on their search results page and ads.  Based on feedback from other Etsy advertisers and our own informal data, SEO and Listing Optimization is very important to be successful with promoted listings.  First, good SEO and optimization will help show your product for more targeted keywords.  For example, if you sell personalized wood cutting boards, you’d rather show ads for the search term "personalized wood cutting board" as oppose to showing up for general search terms like "cutting board" or “wood cutting board".  The later will lead to sales, but the former will have a higher conversion rate.  Second, good SEO and optimization may help get more impressions and clicks for the ads.  There are only three ad spots.  When I do a search for “personalized wood cutting board”, they all three have personalized in their title.  If you sold personalized wood cutting board and did not have “personalized” in the title, you may miss sales.  

It is also important to realize that your Etsy store can show up on Google search results page.  Our client’s account had several blank field and irrelevant text the Shop Announcement field, which shows in Google search results page.  By adding important keywords to your page title, shop announcement field, and all other fields, you can improve your changes for traffic. 

Start Slow and Maximize Budget

When starting out with promoted listings, the maximum daily budget is set by Etsy.  According to Etsy, they calculate the maximum daily budget by taking the mount you spent on ads from the previous week and dividing it by 7. Depending on the current bill status and billing history, they increase the budget. The more you're able to spend on your campaign, and the more you pay your bill, the more your max budget will be.  Since you’ll be forced to a daily budget, start by promoting your best selling products.  Your daily budget may be limited to $10 and the cost per click could be $0.35 to $0.75.  A budget of $10 per day means you’ll only receive 7 to 28 clicks per day.  We recommend concentrating those clicks on a few product instead of spreading the clicks across many products.  This will allow you to see how a product performance and determine how many clicks are required to get a sale.  

It is important to realize that results will very greatly depending on competition, average order value, average CPC, conversion rate, etc.   For those of you who are curious, the client that drove $10,000 in revenue had a average order value of $250 to $275 and conversion rate of 1% to 3%.  Other clients with a lower average order value were limited due to max ad spend limitations set by Etsy.

Etsy promoted listings is an advertising opportunity you should not overlook.  By following best practices and closing watching your ad cost and revenue, you can use promoted listings to grow your Etsy store and potentially drive significant profit.  

We’d like to hear about your experience with Etsy Promoted Listings.  Tweet at us @EastonDigtal to share your experiences.



Why Small and Medium Brick and Mortar Retailers Need a Mobile Presence

ecommerce for brick and mortar stores

Everyone knows that mobile has changed eCommerce.  From conversion rates to responsive design, online retailers have been faced with new challenges and forced to adapt to a mobile first world.  However, a report out this month from Google gives us new data into how mobile has changed the brick and mortar stores.  

Google politely calls this trend "reshaping the purchase journey".  Today's consumers are constantly turning to their mobile phones to research products, review social proof, and make purchases.  Google argues that this trend has led to critical moments in the customers' purchase journey, and these moments are important opportunities for brick and mortar retailers and brands to connect with customers.  Google states that "93% of people who use a mobile device for research go on to make a purchase" and "82% of smartphone users turn to their devices to help them make a product decision".  They also say that "after reading something on a smartphone, nearly one in four shoppers has changed his or her mind about buying something while in the checkout line".  

Big retailers and brands are sinking big bucks into mobile apps and youtube videos.  However, small and medium brick and mortar retailers can avoid being left behind by improving their mobile experience.  First, make sure you have an accurate and complete Google My Business listing and encourage your customers to leave positive reviews.  To learn more about Google My Business click here: Google My Business  Next, do a google search of your store name to look for any negative reviews.  Respond to any negative reviews, and once resolved, ask the reviewer to update their review.  Next, update social media accounts, particularly ones that show in Google search results.  Next, start an eCommerce store.  An eCommerce store can be relatively low cost, and it allows mobile consumers to view products and "experience" your store from the comfort of their mobile phone.  Some brick and mortar retailers have products available for purchase directly on the site, while others simply show products as available in store.  Lastly, market your products on Google Shopping and optimize listings to your store location.  Google Shopping is critical for mobile customers, because it is usually the first listing on the Google Search results page and it consumes a significant amount of screen space on a mobile device.  

Here is an example of why an eCommerce store and Google Shopping is an important strategy.  A local lacrosse retailer has an eCommerce website with products available for purchase, and they a good job with the other recommendations I mentioned.  However, I did a google search on my mobile phone for one of their featured products, and their website is not listed on the first page.  To the right you can see a screen shot of the top half of the search results page.  Google Shopping is first, and then there are a few organic listings from the manufacturer.  After the manufacturer's listings (off the screen shot) there are a series of images and youtube videos.  Then there are a few competitor listings, and the finally the local retailer shows on the second page.  This retailer could increase online and in-store sales by showing an ad within the Google Shopping listings to the right.  

With Google's latest report, they give us more evidence that mobile is reshaping online and offline retail.  Small and Medium retailers can improve their mobile experience and adapt to the increasing mobile first world, which can lead to increased online and in-store sales.  

Click here to check out Google's report titled I-Want-to-Buy Moments: How Mobile Has Reshaped the Purchase Journey

Tweet at us @EastonDigital to share your thoughts.


The Ultimate, Epic Guide to Create a Successful Online Business in 2015

Catalin Zorzini at eCommerce Platforms wrote a great guide on creating a successful eCommerce business in 2015.  Below is the infographic or check out the article here: Creating a Successful Online Business in 2015 .

However, Catalin failed to mention developing a strong pay-per-click strategy on Google AdWords and Bing Ads.  Most of our clients are driving 50%+ of their business from PPC channels.  Furthermore, PPC can deliver a predictable, scalable revenue stream. 

Google+ Guide for Retailers and eCommerce Sites

The search engine giant, Google announced last year in back June that Google+ is now home to over 343 million users, and an incredibly 60 percent of these users are active every single month. Those figures shouldn't be ignored by retailers and especially their marketers. But why have many companies and online retailers been avoiding Google+ ?

The most common response from many companies is, “But our company already has a business Twitter and Facebook account, so why do we need to make social media accounts?”

This is such a big misconception made by so many companies around the world that could be costing them thousands each month. Google+ can actually play an integral part of any company's online marketing strategy. When you finally have a chance to see all the essential SEO benefits that come with using Google+, you will immediately realize that it needs to be included into your online marketing strategy.

Google+ can improve your company’s search ranking.

One of the primary factors that ultimately sets Google+ far apart from both social media giants, Twitter and Facebook is that it can actually improve your company’s website to appear at the top of Google search results. Both Facebook and Twitter posts don’t appear on search results when using Google, however status updates from Google+ does.

Google’s search algorithms instantly prioritize any content that is submitted to Google+, this even includes anything you share to something as simple as your company’s description. It can certainly make things far easier for businesses in order for them to show up in search results.

Google+ Can can be Integrated with many other Google services and products.

With Google+ and its wide range of incredibly useful services and products that can be easily integrated into online marketing campaigns, simply makes Google incredibly popular among business owners and also their marketers. This includes popular services such as Google Maps, Youtube, Google Play, Chrome and even Gmail.

Google+ allows for digital marketers to effortlessly integrate, share and even manage content across all of Google’s online services, which can make company’s online marketing campaigns far more efficient. There is currently no other available social network that is capable of providing the same amount of resources.

Google+ Communities allows for far greater interaction with your target audience.

One of the primary features of Google+ and certainly a favorite with many retailers is the ability to interact and communicate with your targeted audience using the Google+ Communities. You can effortlessly create your own focus group that can be directly linked with whatever service, product or brand, that you are actively marketing.

Google+ Local allows you to promote your brand, services or products locally.

If your company receives a review regarding your service, products or even your establishment, comments and photos can be uploaded by your satisfied customers, which can be used to your full advantage when using Google+ Local. This feature is similar to the original Google Places where local companies could set up a business listing page where all their important information such as contact information could be displayed along with your gleaming customer ratings, photos and reviews.

Online and brick & mortar retailers would greatly benefit from a Google+ strategy and campaign.  Furthermore, there is an unknown cost of not having a Google+ campaign and allowing your competitors to dominate the Google+ channel.  To signup for Google+ and read more, check out Google+ here: Google+ for Brands.  You'll can read about success stories, facts, and steps to get started. 

Magento vs Spree Commerce Review

The most important decision that an online retailer has to first make when starting out is to choose the online shopping platform which is going to serve as the base of their ecommerce store. The shopping platform you choose not only influences the layout and look of an ecommerce store, but it is also used for handling the various backend functions in the website. Some of the important functions that the shopping platform should be able to handle include management of inventory, delivery tracking and discount management among many others. Essentially, the platform helps in managing the operation of your store and thus choosing the right one, whether Spree Commerce or Magento is important.  This article highlights a few of the differences between Magento and Spree Commerce.

Magento is an open source platform owned by eBay.  It was founded in 2008 and acquired by eBay in 2011.  Magento is built on the Zend Framework, which is an open source, object-oriented web application framework implemented in PHP 5.  Spree Commerce is an open source platform built on Ruby on Rails.  It was created by Sean Schofield in 2007 and has since been further developed with the help of numerous contributors.  Both Magento and Spree are both open-sourced, self-hosted platforms, so if you are looking for a all-in-one hosting, security, support, and templates, check out Shopify and Big Commerce.

Magento is the most popular eCommerce platform currently online.  Out of the box, it is extremely powerful and filled with numerous features.  Furthermore, Magento has a many easy install extensions that can quickly add features and/or connect to other applications.  However, Magento does have a reputation with some of being overly complicated, bloated, and a resource hog.  Some of these “reviewers” may be comparing Magento to hosted platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, which may not be a fair comparison for medium to large eCommerce companies.  Nevertheless, it is able to perform complex functions like unique sales discounts and promotions, multiple currencies, and location support, as well as the capability of managing operations from bigger online stores.

Spree Commerce is regarded as the new alternative to Magento.  Like Magento it is free and open sources, but Spree is built using Ruby on Rails, which has earned a great reputation for producing fast, light, and elegant sites.  In fact, some say operations in Spree take 1/10th the code as Magento.  Spree Commerce does have a very community of contributors that are working to constantly improve and enhance Spree.  According a recent Spree Commerce review, the large number of developers for this platform are rapidly increasing and making some innovative changes to make sure that it can compete with Magento features, while still keeping it responsive and light.  Since Spree is the new kids on the block, it doesn’t yet have the vast library of extensions like Magento.  While there are some available on GitHub, you’ll likely need to budget to have custom extensions built.  Fortunately, the Spree team has create Wombat, which claims to be the “Operating System for eCommerce” by connecting your Spree storefront (and other eCommerce storefronts) to any service, such as Quickbooks, ShipStation, MailChimp, etc.  If you happened try Spree before reading this article, the first thing be blown away by is their admin panel.  The Spree admin panel is one of the most well designed, elegant admin panels out there.  It is extremely lean and efficient, but you will have be prepared to load features you’ll need, like a CMS.

Magento and Spree Commerce are similar in many ways.  Both are open-sourced, powerful, and fully customizable eCommerce platforms.  The differences between the two platforms stem from PHP vs Ruby on Rails and the collections of extensions, tools and themes.  If you have a set budget and need a more tied and tested platform, Magento may be the correct platform for you.  If you are seeking a leaner, fast, and more elegant platform and your budget afford additional development and customization, then Spree Commerce may be the correct platform for you.  

Are you putting all the efforts to drive traffic on your online store?

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Setting up of an online business is quite simple. However the challenging part is to market your business which drives more visitors on the website, thereby increasing the sales.

Along with increase in the number of online business the need for effective ecommerce marketing has also increased. Here are some basic techniques to help you to have a growing ecommerce store:

  • Getting links from the manufacturer will effectively get you increased traffic on the website. The manufacturers have a “Where to Buy” or “Retailers” section on their website and adding you on the list which can help you.
  • SEO optimization is one the most widely used techniques where you need to invest time to find the right keywords
  • Make sure to have the email IDs of your each and every customer to create and email marketing list for future
  • Answering questions on Q&A sites like Yahoo answers or industry forums, etc. will surely drive the traffic that can effectively increase sales. This is because the traffic on such sites will already be convinced while looking for an answer on the website
  • Social media presence is another powerful method to let the target customers be aware of your products.
  • Last but not the least, you must hire a professional ecommerce marketing services that will do all of the above things and much more in an effective and a professional way.

An experienced team of experts offering ecommerce marketing services will surely help you to save time and contribute towards growing ecommerce store therefore along with some basic ecommerce marketing techniques you must hire professional services.