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Four Technical Decisions To Make Before Launching An Ecommerce Store

When you start an ecommerce business, you don’t have to think about renting and decorating a space, and you don’t have to deal with the tangle of regulations that come with a physical storefront. But an online store does have technical prerequisites, platforms, and systems that must be in place before the store goes live.

The decisions a retailer makes before launch affect the store’s performance and the shopping experience, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right before the promotional push come launch day.

In what follows, I’m going to assume that you have chosen and sourced the products you intend to sell, have settled on an ecommerce application like Magento or WooCommerce, and are looking for advice about getting your ecommerce store online.

The technical components that support an ecommerce store are a domain name, DNS hosting, and a hosting platform, which means choosing both a type of hosting and a hosting provider.

Domain Name

A domain name appears in the address bar of a web browser when you visit a website. It looks like this: nexcess.net. A store’s domain name is a large part of its online identity. It is how shoppers navigate to the store and how they recognize it. Choosing a domain name is one of the most important decisions you will make.

What makes a good domain name? Devising a brand is beyond the scope of this article, but there are a few rules that you should keep in mind:

Go with .com if it’s available

The .com generic top-level domain (TLD) is familiar and trusted. You might not be able to get .com domain for your business’s name, but I’d suggest changing your brand before choosing a less-well-known TLD — they are often associated with spammers and shady operators in the minds of shoppers.

Pick a TLD that’s relevant to your business

If you are determined to use one of the newer TLDs (Top-Level Domains) like .shoes or .bike, pick one that is relevant to your business and consider that it may limit your flexibility if you want to introduce new product lines in the future.

Consider whether you need a country-code top-level domain

There is one exception to the .com rule. If your store will sell primarily to a specific geographic market — the UK or Germany, for example — you may want to use a country-code top-level domain (ccTLD) such as .co.uk or .ca. Search engines use ccTLDs as a signal to rank a domain’s pages within the relevant area. You can read more about ccTLDs on Moz.

DNS Hosting

Domain names are good for shoppers, but the internet doesn’t use them to move data around. It uses IP addresses, a unique number that identifies a server on the web. Every time a shopper visits an ecommerce store, their browser converts the domain name into an IP address with a service called the Domain Name System (DNS).

To be part of the Domain Name System, a domain name’s records are hosted on an authoritative DNS server. DNS hosting is often provided by the domain’s registrar or by your web hosting provider, but it can pay to switch to a faster DNS host.

DNS has an impact on the performance and availability of an ecommerce store. If you’ve ever clicked on a link and waited while the browser does nothing at all, you’ve seen what happens when DNS fails. Slow DNS can add seconds to a store’s load time.

To get the best performance, consider paying for a specialist DNS hosting provider or an ecommerce hosting provider that offers a redundant AnyCast DNS hosting platform with a service level agreement.

Web Hosting Provider

A web host provides an ecommerce store’s data storage, processing, and network connection. There are hundreds of web hosting providers of many different types, and it can be difficult to choose a cost-effective provider that offers the customer support and technical resources an ecommerce store relies on.

A few rules of thumb will help you to choose wisely.

Low-cost hosting is usually a false economy.

An ecommerce store needs more resources than a blog or business site. The cheapest shared hosting is cheap because the provider oversells space on their servers and cuts corners with essential services like customer support.

Managed hosting is a good idea

Managed hosting is a good idea if you aren’t a server administrator. Keeping an ecommerce store fast and available is a full-time job, and your time is better spent growing the business.

Specialized managed hosting

Managed hosting specialized for your preferred ecommerce application is the least risky option. A high-quality hosting provider will provide support for the underlying infrastructure and for the application.

For a new store, you needn’t opt for the most expensive enterprise hosting, which can cost thousands of dollars a month, but it is worth investing in a high-quality hosting platform with round-the-clock customer support.

Type Of Web Hosting

High-quality web hosting providers offer a variety of hosting types that can include shared hosting, dedicated servers, virtual private servers, and cloud hosting. Shared hosting from a reputable hosting provider (see above) can work well for smaller stores, but if you expect your store to grow over time, consider cloud hosting.

Unlike other types of hosting, cloud hosting can scale from tiny to gigantic without an expensive platform migration. Resources can be added on-the-fly so that a store doesn’t run into hard resource limits during periods of peak traffic. Stores can be deployed almost instantly. Cloud ecommerce hosting platforms often include multiple redundancy to make them resilient to hardware failure.

In 2019, cloud hosting is the best option for new stores, but some care should be taken when choosing a cloud host. “Cloud” is often used as a marketing term to refer to everything from shared hosting with a lick of paint to old-fashioned virtual private servers. A true cloud platform uses virtualization and orchestration technology to combine many physical servers into a pool of resources that can be allocated dynamically. Be wary if a “cloud” hosting provider’s platform doesn’t fit that description.

It is easier to build a successful online store if the technical fundamentals are in place right from the start. With the right domain name and DNS hosting and a reliable and scalable web hosting platform, you can focus on what really matters: building a customer base and growing your retail business.

Author Bio: Graeme Caldwell is a writer and content marketer at Nexcess, a global provider of hosting services, who has a knack for making tech-heavy topics interesting and engaging to all readers. Graeme’s articles have been featured on top publications across the net, TechCrunch to TemplateMonster. For more content, visit the Nexcess blog and give them a follow at @nexcess.

 

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4 Challenges Entrepreneurs Face With Their Ecommerce Store

Hardly a decade ago, the go-to way to get your hands on something you needed was to get out of the house, travel to the outlet that sold the thing you wanted, pay for it, and bring it back home. Simple. Though doing so required time and effort on the part of the consumer, it also meant that the person would get the benefit of first-hand witnessing the product they were paying for before the transaction occurred. Knowing what you were buying meant fewer chances of you having to return it, getting the exact thing that you ordered, and no shipping costs. All in all, the shopping experience was easy with minimal complications.

Today ecommerce dominates the shopping landscape, with millions of people across the world buying many of their goods online. This has led to a huge increase in digital entrepreneurs but it hasn’t come without challenges for ecommerce store owners. In this article, I first provide a bit of backstory before explaining the four main challenges entrepreneurs face with their ecommerce store.

Shopping trends are changing

The fast-paced lifestyle of today doesn’t gel well with the idea of going out and seeing what they like to buy. This factor and the advancement in information technology collaborated to a new trend of online shopping. The number one reason why people opted for online shopping is that they can shop at any time of the day! This allowed people to order, pay for, and have their products shipped to their doorstep, all at the expense of a few clicks on the keyboard. Life became much easier for the consumer.

The fiery growth of ecommerce

In 2017, 1.66 billion people shopped online at least once. By 2021, the number is expected to exceed 2.14 billion. The online shopping trend bloomed to such an extent that today, there are hundreds of new businesses being introduced every day. It does not matter how unusual or rare the product of your need is – in the massive world of ecommerce; you are sure to find at least a few different companies that sell what you need. These days if you have an internet connection, a device to access it, and the means to pay for the commodity you want, there is nothing that stands in the way of what you want. This is a direct result of the ease there is in setting up an online business today. Without investing a hefty capital, you can now set up a store online and start doing business in no time.

The numerous opportunities are accompanied with as many challenges

Though setting up the business became easier than ever, running an online store did not come without a plethora of challenges. As of today, 90% of new online startups fail before it has been 120 days since they started. Entrepreneurs enter the business thinking that now that they have accomplished setting up a store, the rest will be a joyride. However, the fact remains that the true challenges of owning a business start after its conception. Let us explore a few challenges that you should expect should you plan to start your own ecommerce store.

1st Challenge: Leaving the page with a full cart without making the purchase

This is something we all are guilty of. More often than we make a purchase, we surf online stores and pick out what we like just to close the tab without paying for it in the end. It usually happens when even though we are attracted to the commodities they offer, we have second thoughts about them or find that their policies are not up to our alley. However, if an ecommerce store is facing regular cart abandonment, it is wise that they review their checkout process. To maximize the number of purchases, a business should make the checkout process as easy and quick as possible, before the customer has time to rethink about his purchase.

2nd Challenge: The low number of visitors on your website

With the increase in the intensity of competition, many small and medium-sized businesses get pushed down and ignored because they lack the capital for adequate advertising. This substantially reduces the website traffic for these unfortunate entities and hence result in low revenues. Soon after, the business begins to generate insufficient profit to keep itself afloat and starts edging towards bankruptcy. It is not long that an ecommerce store will die out after being ignored by the consumers. To overcome this problem, it is important to invest in a marketing team that comes up with creative and inexpensive ways to get the word out about your website. This can be achieved with SEO, pay-per-click, or social media marketing.

3rd Challenge: Making personal connections with customers without face-to-face contact

The importance of a good customer-client relationship to succeed at your business is not hidden from anyone. Unsurprisingly, it is more difficult to build a relationship with your customer being an online entity than it is being a physical outlet. After all, how much of interaction can you have while being separated by a screen? However, this does not mean that you can ignore this aspect of running a business. In fact, good customer service can prove to be an excellent marketing technique.

For an online entity, a good relationship starts with being perfectly honest in your dealings. It is wise to put up accurate and real-life pictures of your product, with as little edition as possible. Accompany these pictures with an accurate description of the product to win the trust of your potential customers. Ensure that your policies are clearly mentioned on your website. Offering customizable goods can also bode well for business. For example, if you have an online leather jacket store, offering customized designs help your customers feel closer to you.

4th Challenge: The potential for internet fraud and identity theft

It goes without saying that with online transactions, comes the risk of financial scams. One of the most popular ways to cheat you out of your money is by hackers stealing another person’s identity and placing an order on their behalf. A quick way to reduce the chances of this happening is by asking your customer to provide a valid identity proof. Asking for a valid email address and sending out a verification email to ensure the person who placed the order is real works very well to minimize the occurrence of these situations.

Ecommerce is a trillion-dollar industry and one that has lots of entry points for entrepreneurs. While there are plenty of challenges faced by online business owners, if you can overcome them, and make improvements to your ecommerce site, you can create a profitable company with the potential for global appeal.

Author Bio: About Ashley Rosa: Ashley Rosa is a freelance writer and blogger. As writing is her passion that why she loves to write articles related to the latest trends in technology and sometimes on health-tech as well.  She is crazy about chocolates. You can find her on twitter: @ashrosa2.

 

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5 Techniques to Get Repeat Customers For Your Business

Repeat customers are the most profitable customers. They spend more per sale and offer the best ROI on advertising spend. However, the stats show a meagre 27% of initial sales develop into repeat customers.

Businesses need to focus on building brand loyalty.

Consumers remember the feelings they associate with a company, even if they forget the logo or brand name. Apart from the basics of providing a quality product, the right marketing and branding can help you develop a strong base of loyal customers for your business.

By following the 5 tips below, you can cut down on churn and turn casual buyers into loyal customers that connect with your brand and keep coming back for more.

1. Engage and Interact

Customers that feel listened to are happy customers happy customers are loyal customers.

Interacting with your customers is a great way to stay in their thinking and build a relationship. A good old fashioned thank you, holiday wishes, and birthday greetings can go a long way.

The problem for the majority of businesses when interacting with their customers? Poor customer service.

Improving customer service is one of the most critical areas for increasing customer retention, especially on social media. Despite 65% of Twitter users expecting a company to respond to them within 2 hours, 70% of people that reach out to a business on social media don’t receive any response at all.

Make sure your customer service is responsive and on point, particularly on social media.

2. Be Consistent

Your customers want your brand to feel the same to them throughout every interaction. Consistency is crucial in building brand loyalty.

Fast food chain McDonald’s is one of the most successful brands ever. This success has been built on consistency –  going to a McDonald’s in Kuala Lumpur feels the same as a McDonald’s in Kentucky.

Your brand should have a solid consistency too. Your logo, tone of voice, and design choices should be the same on all digital and social media platforms.

3. Make Your Business Easy to Identity

Pick the product or service you do best and promote that to your customers – what kind of company are you?

The more easily identifiable you are, the more likely people are to remember you and your product. Trying to please everyone and promoting a mass of products and services can leave you making little impression at all.

You need your customers to understand what you do and the problems you can solve for them. That means focusing in on the thing you do best. Nike produces a lot of different sportswear products and clothing. But when you hear the name Nike, you think of trainers. They’re the company that makes trainers. What does your company do?

4. Referral Programs

One of the most rewarding benefits of repeat customers is that they can become great word of mouth ambassadors for your company. While it’s fantastic when this happens without any of your input, you can encourage it by creating a referral program.

Uber has seen great success with their program that rewards original customers with credit for providing a referral and the new customer with a discount. Uber’s strategy encourages new customers, rewards loyal existing customers, and provides everyone an incentive to use their service. Reward your loyal customers and you’ll increase your chances of retaining them for as long as possible.

5. Give Away Freebies

Staying in the minds of your customers is crucial to gaining repeat business. That’s why it’s so important to be easily identifiable and also why companies invest so much in promotional materials that they give away to customers.

This can mean both a physical gift or through the free valuable content that you post on your blog or send in your newsletter. Providing content that is useful and interesting to your customers positions your company as knowledgeable and trustworthy, while also keeping you at the top of the mind of your customers. The note-taking App Evernote has seen great customer retention through posting blog content that is valuable to their customers and aligns with the product they sell.

Conclusion

While offering freebies can help keep you in the mind of customers and a referral program can actively encourage customers to promote your business, creating a loyal customer base doesn’t happen overnight. Engaging with your customers, being consistent with your branding, and being easily identifiable are the building blocks for creating a community of loyal customers around your business.

By applying the above tips, you’ll be on your way to gaining a loyal customer base that consistently chooses you over your competition.

Author bio: George Drennan is a writer on all things e-commerce and the founder of Eagle Content, a UK based copywriting company that helps brands and businesses connect with their clients.

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How to Make Your Ecommerce Store Spring Ready

Spring is finally here! It’s that time of the year when the fragrance of cherry blossoms fills the air and people put on their tank tops and roam the streets. And it’s not just the street style that goes through a change — entire consumer patterns shift!

As the season gets warmer and vibrant, you need to adapt to such changes and transform your retail practices as well!

We all know that people barely go to stores now. Ever since the internet boomed, retailers have been relying on digital marketing and online trading to reach out to a client base and sell their products. This is why the need to improve your online presence, especially your website, is extremely important!

This spring, use these tips to upgrade your ecommerce store according to the season’s shenanigans to truly relate to your target audience!

1. Marketing Strategy

As the season changes, so should your marketing strategies. Since content marketing across the online forums is more or less the same, you need to review your SEO and see how your target audience is now searching for keywords.

Reviewing SEO

Keyword analysis will enable you to devise your fresh content marketing strategy. To review the keyword trends, ask questions like:

  • Is your niche audience still using the same keywords or different ones?
  • Are there any new trending phrases that could be used as keywords?
  • What should you change in your website’s keyword incorporation?

Search for Dead Links

A dead link is a non-existent link on a website that exists due to:

  • Improper URL entry
  • Removed web page
  • Deleted website
  • User access blocked because of a firewall or software
  • Owner access being hindered because of a firewall or software

This spring, your aim should be to boost your SEO ranking. No matter how spot-on your content marketing is, you won’t be able to achieve this goal if there are dead links on your website as it lowers your SEO ranking.

Content Analysis

To create effective content marketing this season, you need to look up the results of your previous ones. Ask yourself:

  • Which content performed well?
  • Which content failed to generate traffic?
  • Which content had the highest conversion rate?

Once you analyze the way your former content performed, you will be able to create effective content strategies for the coming spring season.

2. Creating Content

Whether you’re focusing on textual or visual content, it should grab the attention of your users.

Relevant Content

To prepare your ecommerce store for this spring season, you need to create relevant content. This means that the content should inform people about the latest spring trends relevant to your industry. Your purpose should be to create content that is delivered at the right time and in the right style.

Beautiful Content

Spring is all about fragrances, flowers, colors and beauty! Keep this in mind when creating your content so that you can aesthetically attract your target audience.

Community Content

The spirit of spring is all about happiness, kindness and sharing. As a result, your content strategy must incorporate the essence of this season by getting people involved. To make your content even more effective, make sure you instill it with a sense of belonging, which brings together people and allows them to appreciate your product in a much better way.

3. Sales Tactics

As a retailer, you’re already well-versed with sales tactics. Planning a ‘Spring Clearance’ sale or offering exclusive, special seasonal discounts will appeal to your audience that is already embracing the season’s bliss.

However, to prepare your ecommerce store for this season, start a limited-time offer or a seasonal-campaign using the following:

  • Discounts (according to % or up to $)
  • Sale on the season’s trendiest colors, designs, need-based items
  • Free shipping (limited-time offer)
  • Flash sales (celebrating the season)
  • Gifts that celebrate the season or represent it
  • Exclusive spring-themed designs

4. Follow a Theme

This season, be outrageously creative and show it to your target audience. Good news is, you can easily contact any WooCommerce development company to incorporate season-inspired themes, graphics, animations and layout on your website or even re-design it from scratch to specify your website for spring and make it look up-to-the-minute.

All you have to do is to come up with some exciting, intriguing and catchy ideas and your chosen developers will turn your vision into your virtual reality! Some of the spring-associated themes are mentioned below.

Flora and Fauna Prints

Are you trying to make your website spring ready? Then the easiest way you can catch the attention of your target audience is by playing with flora and fauna prints! Whether it is a rose-tulip-daffodil braided border or a zebra-tiger striped background, it will work like a charm on your audience. The key is to add visual beauty while staying relevant to the season as well as your product.

Sunshine

Spring is basically the pre-summer time. Illuminate your web design with sunshine’s radiance to bring your target audience out of the winter gloom and into the pre-summer happiness! What makes this theme exceptional is its ability to strike and spark attention.

Vibrant Colors

While the warm colors are fit for fall-inspired themes and neon colors for winter, rainbow colors are suitable for your spring-themed web layout and design. It adds a burst of life and visual freshness for your niche market and makes them interested in your product instantly. And that is the desired effect you need to aim for!

You have the ideas and creativity to make your website stand out and the professionals at Webby Monks can put your ideas into action and make your ecommerce store ready for the spring season.

Author Bio: Nick is the head of marketing at Webby Monks – An agency specialized in WordPress and WooCommerce Website development. Services helping business across the globe to grow their visibility online. When not writing for technology, he spends his time fishing, clicking awesome pictures and digging into the mankind history. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter & LinkedIn.

 

 

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