Category Archives: Merchandising

The Latest on the Ever-Evolving Pinterest

By My Web Writers

Back in November 2012, Pinterest released, Business Pages, a new feature geared towards businesses and marketers. These Business Pages are not brand pages like what one would expect to find in other social networking sites. These pages actually look the same as the other pages. There are a couple features that set Business Pages apart from other Pinterest pages.

PinterestFirst, website authentication is now part of the sign up process.  Also, businesses are able to enter business names when signing up for their accounts instead of dealing with the hassles of entering individuals’ first names and last names. There are new terms of services for businesses (before this launch, Pinterest was strictly “non-commercial”).

Why should businesses be excited? The evolution indicates possibilities for the future. Pinterest is undoubtedly expanding their reach by adding more business and marketing related tools.  The added features could bring brands on board to further merchandise goods through business pages. Will Pinterest be the next Amazon?

Researcher Eric Gilbert from Georgia Tech and Loren Torveen from the University of Minnesota recently teamed up to use statistical data to answer the question of “What drives activity on Pinterest?” They used their data to …

  • help understand the motivations behind Pinterest activity,
  • determine what roles gender plays among users of Pinterest, and
  • investigate the factors that distinguish Pinterest from other social networking sites.

Gilbert and Torveen ultimately found that:

  • Female users have more repins, no matter what their location geographically.
  • Men tend to typically have more followers on Pinterest.
  • There are 4 verbs that set Pinterest apart from Twitter: “use,” “look,” “want,” and “need.”

Gilbert noted that “You can use the word ‘this’ after all of these verbs, reflecting the ‘things’ at the core of Pinterest. Many press articles have focused on Pinterest’s commercial potential, and here we see verbs that illustrate that consumption truly lies at the heart of the site.”

If you were thinking about using Pinterest for marketing, all systems are “go.” According the researchers, a recent market survey “showed that a higher proportion of Pinterest users click through to e-commerce sites — and when they go there, they spend… more money than people who come from sites such as Facebook or Twitter.”  In fact, Venture Beat reports that Sephora’s fans on Pinterest spend 15 times more through Pinterest than from Facebook. Additionally, shoppers on Pinterest average spending at $140-$180 each checkout, which is truly remarkable when compared with the $80 from Facebook and $60 on Twitter.

WorldSo, who should you be marketing to on Pinterest as Business Pages accelerate and features change on the site to appeal to businesses? Well, moms are 61% more likely to visit and spend time on Pinterest than the average American, according to a recent Nielson report. Internet Marketing reveals that for those U.S. Pinterest users, they are more likely to be pinning from the Midwest.

Oh, and that Georgia Tech and University of Minnesota research collaboration also gave us this takeaway:

“After conducting this research, if I had to choose where to put my money and marketing, Pinterest would probably be my first choice.”  ~Sara

Other Posts You Might Like:

Managing Social Media in a Crisis- Best Practices & Case Studies

Using Social Media to Help Brand Your Company

What is the Real Value of Pinterest to Your Business?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Business Strategy, Merchandising, Pinterest, Social Media

Is Your e-Store Prepared for Summer Shoppers?

My Web Writers

E-StoresAre you marketing and merchandising your website for this summer’s sales potential? According to Internet Retailer, the U.S. Commerce Department said that U.S. online sales totaled $225.5 billion in 2012, up 15.8% from $194.7 billion in 2011.  With the exception of sales in categories not commonly bought online—

Internet Retailer estimates that e-commerce accounted for 7.6% of total retail sales during the year, up from 6.8% a year earlier. Commerce Department estimates are based on a quarterly survey of more than 11,000 U.S. merchants.

It’s no wonder that such a large marketing emphasis is placed on preparing shopping web sites for each new season and sale.  Every effort counts.   As the weather finally heats up for the summer, many e-stores have rolled out their new merchandise and revamped their web sites. All businesses, regardless of size or industry, can learn from other creative and competitive websites. Let’s take a look at three examples of big name brands and how they’re poised to sell more this summer:

 

1.  Target.com

Target is known for its chic and trendy styles and its unique in-store shopping experience. Target pays special attention to creating this same vibe in its e-store. The web site design is simple, clean and incorporates the signature Target red color to promote brand recognition. Though this main design remains the same year-round, the homepage content is customized to the upcoming holidays and season. Going on right now is a sale on patio furniture and family swimwear.  Aside from the featured sales, Target has changed the photos to represent each of its main shopping categories to be summer-themed. For example the “Women’s” category shows a summery dress and the “Sports and Outdoors” category is represented with an above ground pool. These images, though subtle, entice shoppers to click and browse in areas they may have had no original interest in shopping.

What you can learn: The takeaway from Target’s summer-poised marketing is that images are powerful. If you are trying to sell seasonal items, then every image should be carefully chosen to remind shoppers of all the things they enjoy about that season. Even if they weren’t originally in the market for a pool, customers will be intrigued to click on images that pique their interests.

Target.com’s weakness is its lack of content.  It’s missing tips or suggestions to help customers visualize how to use its products.

Target.com is ready to go for the summer, though the "d" in "deals" should be capitalized.

Target.com is ready to go for the summer, though the “d” in “deals” should be capitalized and the exclamation point should be dropped. Oops. Can you spot the other capitalization errors?

2. Petsmart.com

Petsmart’s images are ready for summer.  The web site’s main sliding banner greets customers with various pictures of dogs running outside on sunny days. The other still images on the homepage are also of animals in outdoor settings. Moving beyond the homepage, the main items featured are geared toward use in the summer. For example, the dog section has leashes, harnesses and bike trailers aimed at outdoor lovers on the go.

What you can learn: While it’s only April, Petsmart has already positioned its web site with the most summer-related items first.   Like end-caps in physical stores, identify your store’s most desirable and in-demand products and place them at the forefront of the e-store.

Petsmart needs to add seasonal content.  Currently, its homepage bottom content is duplicated on several category pages, which isn’t great for search or for customers.  Petsmart.com could address pet owners’ most frequently asked questions about each category in those spaces.  It’s missing opportunities to educate new animal owners about the pros and cons of buying fencing, habitat accessories, and other pet supplies.

 

Petsmart.com was ready to take us outside for the summer, even though it was still snowing in the East and Midwest.

Even though it’s a cold spring in many parts of the United States, Petsmart.com helps consumers visualize summer outside with Fifi and Fido.

3. Gap.com

Gap is a brand that adapts to every new season. The colors and styles of their clothes act as decorations for the web site and can change the whole tone from summer to winter.  Clothing stores start advertising their new lines nearly a season in advance. Today, Gap.com is vibrant, bright and cheery with summer apparel.  Even the background graphic on the web site has been changed to read “Be Bright” in art-deco style lettering. From shorts and capri’s to sundresses and tank tops, one would think it’s already August at Gap.com.

Gap.com employs a clever trick with it's images. Notice the blue highlight of phrases that look like hyperlinks. You're encouraged to click the phrase, which leads to products.

Gap.com employs a clever trick with some images. Notice the blue highlight of “uniform shorts.” This phrase looks like a hyperlink. It’s not, but when clicked, the image is linked to the corresponding shorts store. Also, on this page, Gap transitions from spring to summer through use of a jacket with shorts and words that close out spring, while promoting summer.

What you can learn: Not all e-stores and web sites can be as adaptable to changing for each season as Gap, but if you are – utilize it! Tailor your font, graphics, background and colors to represent each season. Summer products seem to “pop” so much more when accompanied by other summer colors on the site and when your products look good, they sell.

However, the Gap is content light.  Sentences are placed over images like memes; but, there are very few words in text above or below page folds.  The Gap performs fairly well in search, but it’s likely that online conversions would improve with carefully-crafted content that adds value to the customers’ shopping experiences.

Overall, the common theme among these e-stores is to move your seasonal and most desirable products to the front. Incorporate the colors of the seasons, but stay true to your brand.  Place seasonal items on your homepage and tailor your images and content toward creating vibes that put shoppers in the mood for summer.

Don’t forget those whose experiences are enhanced beyond the layout, art, and images by the words they read.  Store content should educate the consumer, complement images, and describe the feel of the season.

Is your e-store prepared for summer shoppers?

~Stephanie & Jean

Other MWW Articles:

National Websites without Physical Stores Struggle to Rank

Guidelines for Writing E-Tail Category Content

Five Ways to Prepare Your E-Store for the Holidays

Nab These Call-to-Action Verbs

1 Comment

Filed under Business Strategy, Content, Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Favorite Websites, Local, Marketing, Merchandising, Mobile, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

by My Web Writerscall to action

“Click here!” “Buy today!” “Limited time only!” We’ve seen them all, and ignored most of them. Not all e-commerce call-to-action phrases are creative. Most of them are incredibly cliché and really don’t motivate the reader to do much of anything.

You want to be different. You want to stand out. In order to do this put on your thinking cap and let your creative juices flow. Don’t use the same words that everyone else uses. Turn to a thesaurus if you need to and make sure you’re thinking outside the box.

Try these 25 effective, call-to-action phrases in your ecommerce content:

  1. Just hit Reply and we’ll email you the details.
  2. Entice him with x, y, and z.
  3. Impress when you dress in x, y, and z.
  4. Think (insert topic here).
  5. Get the 411.
  6. Come hang with us.
  7. Write!
  8. Tell us you want it.
  9. Put it in my closet.
  10. Use it ASAP.
  11. Make my friends jealous.
  12. Explore the product.
  13. Book a table.
  14. Take a chance today.
  15. Achieve more now.
  16. Build my collection.
  17. Learn how to profit.
  18. Improve my life.
  19. Make me (look, smell, dress, etc.) better.
  20. Check it out.
  21. Some of our customer favorites are x, y, and z.
  22. Try popular styles like x, y, and z.
  23. Our top sellers, such as X and Y, receive outstanding reviews.
  24. Shop for other items like x including y and z.
  25. Our most linked to products are x, y, and z.

Remember that calls to action aren’t only about the words. Experiment with fonts, size, and placement on the page.  Feel free to be creative while enticing shoppers to buy more!

~Natalie

16 Comments

Filed under Content Marketing, E-Tail Category Content, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, Words Which Sell

Five Ways to Prepare Your E-Store for the Holidays

Shindigz.com is an example of an e-tailer that grooms its e-stores for the holidays.

by My Web Writers

Prepare your e-store for the holidays.   Delight and encourage shoppers, while providing unique opportunities to increase your potential customers. It goes without saying that if your site is a landing destination, your customers are going to shop more and spread the word about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking media.

There’s no time like the holidays to make subtle, effective improvements to your e-store, all in the name of getting ready for the upcoming festivities.

Put up some decorations

It doesn’t take much these days to change a heading or personalize a background. If you don’t want to use your own pictures, search for public domain and free licensing ones to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer on your site. Include a few holiday specific articles, highlighting your best products with previous customer testimonials.

Make your e-store very user friendly

Keep your site stress free for your customers, providing easy access to product, ordering and shipping information. Update return policies and include all information pertaining to receiving items as gifts too. While you’re doing this, it’s undoubtedly a good idea to make sure your return policy is consumer friendly, as well.

Other important user friendly features on your e-store include navigation. Make products on your site easy to find and access. Product descriptions should be thorough and readily available, upon landing on each product page.  Refresh your product and category descriptions for SEO.  Eliminate unnecessary clutter. Minimize eyestrain by softening colors, and reducing glaring bling.

Give gifts and goodies to your customers

Free shipping is huge, but so are coupons. Perks are fun to find and receive when shopping. Provide ample opportunities for customers to save money, and receive special promotions and offers with minimal effort. This might include running a 3-Day sale, and posting a special coupon on Facebook for consumers to print. It could also be a “Refer a Friend” opportunity, where linking to your site sends your customer an extraordinary deal for their kindness.

Eliminate shipping worries

Flexibility is vital when it comes to shipping, especially for those last minute shoppers. As an e-store owner, you can make sure you’re able to deliver customer product in a timely manner; you can also extend the shipping time required by the customer. Give those frazzled shoppers a little breathing room, and make it easy to receive items in record time, even if they’ve been ordered a little later than expected.

Serve your customers well

Treat your customers like royalty. Make them feel wanted and special, by providing multiple ways to contact you. Set up a live chat or forum for their immediate questions and concerns. Make “Contact Information” easy to find and easier to use. Respond graciously and as soon as possible when you are contacted by a customer.

Preparing your E-store for the holidays is an opportunity to make your site stand out among the crowd. Take advantage of this opportunity, so you can drive traffic and increase sales opportunity well into 2013!

~MJ

2 Comments

Filed under Business Strategy, Customer Profile, E-Tail Category Content, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

Merchandising to Writing — Build Better E-Store Category Pages

By My Web Writers

Internet stores are open to anyone who wants to be a business owner, but not everyone knows how to effectively  merchandise products.

Consider these five merchandising tips to create a solid e-store with well-organized products and content.

  • Visit physical locations of retailers.  If you’re able to see and understand a space’s layout, you’ll have a better chance of organizing your e-store in a way that is appealing, informative, and in-sync with the physical space.  Also look at other e-stores.  Researching competitor pricing and product picks will help you to shrewdly build your e-store’s category pages.
  • When you begin the organization process, clarity is essential.  Keep your pages and categories clear and concise, not only for SEO purposes, but also so that site visitors are able to easily find specific items without relying on your site’s search tool.  How far you break down categories depends on the store’s range of products and which keywords you’re trying to capture.  If products are clothing-related, categorize them into men’s, women’s, juniors, toddlers, and babies.  Then, drill down into sub-categories such as tall, plus, petite, girls, boys, 12- 18 mos., 2T, newborn, and so on.
  • Organize each page’s display by size, price, color, or another common filter for your particular customers. Typically, if you organize by price, you’ll want to list products in order from most expensive to least expensive to promote bigger revenue items.  If you choose to organize by color, do so in the order of the rainbow or in the reverse order of the rainbow.  Many stores organize their pages with the best selling items up top, followed by the most expensive items, and then the least expensive, slow-moving items.

  • Replace out of stock items, dead inventory, and seasonal products with fresh products and top sellers.  By all means, move the best selling products to the top of your e-store and offer a deal of the day to move old inventory.  Continually monitor your store to keep it up-to-date.  Invite customers to write product reviews.  Attract new customers through the recommendations of your loyal customers.  Add product suggestions with help from IGoDigital.com.
  • Refresh product and category content on a regular basis for both search engine rankings and the interests of your repeat customers.  If you provide fresh content, customers will come back to read it and they’ll share it with others.  No one wants to read the same, corny phrase or click on out-dated links on their sixth visit to your site.  If writing was never your area of strength or if you lack time, office space, or human resources, outsource category and product content to content providers like My Web Writers.

If you’ve worked in a retail store, your foundation will help you organize an Internet store.  Detailed merchandising can be the difference between e-tail success and failure.

~Holly and Jean

Leave a comment

Filed under Content, E-Tail Category Content, Merchandising, Mobile, Product Descriptions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)