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Lessons from a bricks & mortar store. 5 tactics you can use to sell more on your online store

Lessons from a bricks & mortar store. 5 tactics you can use to sell more on your online store

When we live and breathe our products it’s so easy to forget that not everyone knows as much as we do about them.

It’s so easy to end up with messaging that’s not clear and a little bit diluted.

When someone hits your site you have a few seconds to make a good impression, and for them to take that next step – or to leave your site and potentially never come back.

Think about the experience people have when shopping at a bricks and mortar store.

The moment people enter a store they use their senses to experience the vibe of the store. They very quickly decide if they want to spend time looking around – or if they want to get out of there as quickly as possible.

There are 2 keywords here. Can you guess what they are?

The first keyword is senses. 

People use all senses available to them. They look around, they smell, they touch, they feel. Walking into a physical store is a sensory experience.

Do something for a moment. Close your eyes and imagine yourself going to your fridge. In the fridge, you see a bright yellow lemon. You grab the lemon out, take it over to your bench and cut it in half. You can instantly see and smell how juicy the lemon is. Now, you take one half of the lemon and you lick it.

What just happened to the sensory glands?

This is exactly what you want to do when setting up an online store. You want to evoke your potential customers’ senses.

The other keyword is experience.  

Every time someone visits a store they have an experience. That experience can be good, bad or indifferent.

The experiences people have in a store influences their assumptions about the products sold in that store. If they have a high-quality experience, they assume the products in the store are high quality too.

That’s why traditional retail stores spend so much money on the fitouts of their store.

Did you know that supermarkets play slow, relaxing music during their off-peak times so people take their time to browse, and they play fast, exciting music during peak times so that people make decisions faster. Do you know what a Subway does when they are quiet? They bake bread. Because the smell of freshly baked Subway bread makes people hungry for Subway!

Now, an online store is no different to a physical store — except people can only sense and experience what you give them through the computer screen.

That’s why the content you have on your website is soooo important. You need to evoke your customer’s senses and give them a good experience.

When it comes to an online store this is done in the following ways:

1. A clean and simple layout

If a store is cluttered, badly lit, dirty or cold, people have a very different experience to a store that has lovely displays, smells great and has good lighting. The same goes for an online store. You need to have a clean and simple layout that lets your products shine.

2. An easy to navigate menu

When you walk into a physical store the first thing you do is a quick scan. You may see that the store has dresses, tops, pants, a shoe section and an accessories cabinet. If you are looking for something in particular you will know where to find it. Or you’ll ask the shop attendant. Now, on an online store, there is no shop attendant, so you want to make it as easy as possible for people to navigate their way around your store.

Ashley from I Choose Me has done a great job of creating an easy to navigate menu:

3. High-Quality Product Images

Images are so important for your online store. When looking at an item in a physical store, customers can pick the item up, look at it from all angles, touch and feel it, and even try it on. They can’t do that when shopping online. So it’s your responsibility to replicate that experience as much as you possibly can. Images are the most powerful way to do that.

The human brain processes an image 60,000 times faster than text, not only that but 80% of people remember what they see, compared to 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they read. So images are everything.

eComm Ignitor student, Penny from Vault Country Clothing shows us all angles of these jeans, including front, back and sides, as well as a beautiful lifestyle image:

4. Evocative product descriptions

Some people need to absorb information by reading, so it’s important that you also provide evocative product descriptions. Imagine you were at a market stall and someone came and asked about your product. Use words that would answer any frequently asked questions your customers may have, and convey any important information about your products.

 

5. User-generated content

“I’ll have what she’s having”. Social proof is one of the most powerful marketing tactics when it comes to persuasion. Why do you think shop attendants wear clothes that are in season, on the rack and currently for sale? If you can show your customers that other people have purchased — and love — your products, you are giving them one more reason to trust they will be happy buying from you. User-generated content is basically images that your customers send you. They may tag you in their Instagram pics or add an image to their review.

eComm Ignitor student, Colleen from Ride Proud Clothing showcases user-generated content beautifully:

As does Gina from Kit Maii:

A final word 

When people are shopping online they can only know as much about your products as you let them. If you have an amazing product, it’s up to you to give your customers an amazing shopping experience.

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

5 accounting mistakes online store owners make and how to avoid them

5 accounting mistakes online store owners make and how to avoid them

If you’re like most entrepreneurs, you aren’t as organised as you’d like to be when it comes to the end of the financial year, so this is the perfect time to take stock of your accounting practices and make sure you’re on top of everything going into a new financial year.

We sat down with Wayne Richard from Bean Ninja’s to go over the 5 most common accounting mistakes eCommerce entrepreneurs make.

The 5 most common accounting mistakes online store owners make are:

 

1. Bank balance bookkeeping

Also known as “back of the napkin bookkeeping”, Wayne explains what this is and how to avoid this mistake.

 

2. No cash confidence

Lacking the ability to know (for certain!) how much cash is on-hand or where and when to deploy it is a big mistake. We talk about how to overcome this and we reveal the system that we use to always have enough cash to pay our bills, pay ourselves and turn a profit!

 

3. Scaling losses

When people start our eComm Ignitor program, one of the first things we teach them is about margins and almost every time people realise their prices are too low. So it’s no surprise that failure to measure and understand contribution margins or ratios is on the list.

 

4. Inventory control

Cash flow and inventory problems go hand in hand and can seize business operations. One of the most common issues with our Facebook Ads clients is that they run out of stock. This causes issues with unhappy customers as well as lost momentum with paid advertising.

 

5. Lack of understanding of sales tax responsibilities

Pleading ignorance is not a valid excuse when the taxman comes knocking. Understanding your tax obligations is an absolutely essential part of running an online store.

Watch the video to see the full chat. Grab a pen and paper because you’ll want to take lots of notes on this one!

Wayne has also offered two exclusive free gifts for Unstoppable eCommerce Entrepreneurs.

 

Free Bean Ninja’s eCommerce Toolkit

  • Step-by-step guide to getting your Xero file in order
  • Cashflow Forecast Template to help you plan for the ups and downs in your monthly cash flow
  • Bookkeeping timetable template to help you stay on top of your finances & get current reporting
  • Weekly newsletter sharing resources to help you create your freedom business.

Click here to access the free eCommerce Toolkit.

 

Free Complimentary Know Your Numbers Audit (value $249 USD)

  • Book a 30-min audit and you’ll get:
  • A clear picture of your goals and how to smash them
  • Your own customized financial strategy
  • Clarity on how much budget you have available for investing in growth
  • Guidance on optimizing your cashflow
  • BONUS Cashflow planning tool

Click here to book your free know your numbers audit with Wayne.

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

10 tips to manage your social media like a boss

10 tips to manage your social media like a boss

Social media is a big deal for online stores. A good social media strategy can attract new customers, encourage repeat purchases and can often mean the difference between an eCommerce store with no sales vs a thriving online store.

Social media not only attracts sales organically; it also amplifies the results that paid advertising campaigns can achieve. When we are evaluating potential Facebook ads clients one of the first things we look at is their organic social media. We know if they have good content and high engagement, that we have a good basis to work from.

To celebrate social media week here are 10 tips to manage your social media like a boss.

 

1. Use the content pillars to plan your content

When planning your social media use the 3 content pillars. These are the 3 pillars that we developed to create unique, engaging and magnetic content for our clients.

The 3 pillars are:

  1. Discover
  2. Dream
  3. Do

Discover content is used to inspire your audience to connect with you. This is brand-focused content such as behind the scenes, brand story, problem/solution or engaging questions.

Dream content is used to inspire your audience to imagine themselves with your product. This is product-focused content such as user-generated, lifestyle, product spotlights, feature highlights and before and afters.

 

Do content is used to inspire your audience to take action. This is promotion based content and includes a call to action. This can be used to promote free shipping, a money back guarantee, special offers, limited stock and new product announcements.

Watch our training on the 3 content pillars here.

 

2. Don’t spread yourself too thin

Your time, energy and resources are limited. Too often entrepreneurs try to do all the things. You start strong but then get distracted and social media is often the first to go. Think of your energy, time and resources like a spoon full of jam. You can make one really good sandwich or you can try to make a loaf full of pretty crappy ones. We recommend online store owners start with Instagram and Facebook. Once you get a rhythm going and you start to see what’s working, you can test other platforms but don’t try to do it all at once.

 

3. Humanise your brand

People relate to people. Humans buy from humans. In a world of highlight reels and shiny Instagram feeds, people are craving a real human connection.

Brands that have a human presence behind them – connect, align and convert. By giving your customers someone to connect to, your brand will be more memorable, more magnetic and more attractive.

Step out from behind your product, and let people get to know you.

 

4. Use user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is content your customers have created for you. They include real lifestyle images, before and after and sometimes people will even go to the effort of creating a flat lay for you.

User-generated content creates so much trust because they show your potential customers that other people have bought your product and love it. It’s the ultimate social proof.

People trust other customers far more than they trust brand-produced content. With UGC you are letting your customers tell your brand story for you.

By the nature of what it is, you can’t produce user-generated content so you need to encourage and collect this from your audience.

Customers may organically share pics of your products on Instagram. If they do, share it and be sure to tag and thank them.

Sometimes they need a little encouragement. You can do this by including something in your parcel and in your post-purchase communication.

 

5. Batch your content production

Batching content will save time, energy, and stress. When you batch your content you stay in control and out of last-minute reaction mode trying to bust out content… again. Learn how to batch content like a pro here.

 

6. Schedule your social media content

Once you’ve batched your content, schedule it out. While we wait for the bugs to be ironed out of Facebook’s creator studio, we use Later to schedule our Instagram posts. We like to schedule Facebook content directly within Facebook using the schedule feature.

7. Consistency is key

With social media, consistency is key. Don’t commit to a content schedule that’s not sustainable. Choose a posting schedule that you can maintain for the long haul. At the time of writing this, we recommend one post per day on Instagram and Facebook and at least one email per week.

 

8. Manage your social media or it will manage you

If you don’t manage your social media, it will manage you. Turn off the notifications on your desktop and phone. You don’t need to know every time someone likes or comments on one of your posts (no really, you don’t). Respond to comments and engage with your audience at a few preset times throughout the day.

 

9. Treat social media as an important business tool, because it is

Your social media is a serious business tool, so start treating it like one. Set aside high-productive, uninterrupted time to plan, batch and schedule your social media. Treat it like your business depends on it — because it does.

 

10. Progress over perfection

Perfection is the killer of progress. When creating content forget about perfection. Perfectionism is simply our protection mechanism and our excuse to avoid criticism. As Marie Forleo says “If you wait to get it perfect, you’ll never get it out there.” So don’t let the pursuit of perfectionism get in your way of progress.

 

So there you have it, 10 tips to managing your social media like a boss. If you have any tips to add or questions for us, be sure to comment.

Karyn & Megan X

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

We purchased from 30 online stores – here’s what we learned

We purchased from 30 online stores – here’s what we learned

In light of the current pandemic a lot of businesses are feeling unsure, overwhelmed and uncertain of what will happen to their business, income, etc..

Inspired by Denise Duffield-Thomas, Karyn and I decided we would commit to supporting online store owners in various ways, including by spending with them.

We asked people to share their products with us in a post in our group, then we went on a support shopping spree.

Why? 

  • We wanted to intentionally act from a place of support and abundance, not scarcity or fear
  • We knew that the little cha-ching sound of a purchase would spark confidence & optimism for online store owners
  • We hoped it would encourage people to pay it forward and to spread love and abundance by shopping with other small business owners.

We made a purchase from 30 online stores and while we were there we observed the following opportunities to improve: 

When someone asks for a recommendation, send them to the product page, not your home page

Heaps of people said they recommended a certain product but sent me to the home page. This is like asking a shop assistant where the soap is and they say “in the shop somewhere” as opposed to “isle 10 just past the tissues”.  Don’t make it hard for people to find what they are looking for and to give you money.

On that, if someone does happen to land on your home page, make it easy for them to find what they are looking for. Think of your menu like isles in a supermarket. Clearly categorise and communicate what you sell and where people need to go on your site to find it.

 

Limit distracting pop ups

Turn off pop-ups that distract your customers’ attention. For the most part, pop-ups are simply annoying and don’t increase your chances of making a sale. Just because you can have them, doesn’t mean you should.

 

Ask for people’s emails, but don’t send people away from your site

Capturing an email address is great because not everyone is going to purchase the first time they visit your site. By getting their email (and their permission to send them marketing communication) you can continue building up the relationship with them until they decide to purchase from you, or unsubscribe. If you are going to offer an incentive in exchange for someone’s email address:

  1. Make sure the incentive is good. “Subscribe for the latest updates” is not enticing.
  2. Don’t send people away from your website to get their code. A lot of sites said “thanks, check your inbox for your code”. What you’re doing here is basically sending people away from your website to a place filled with other brands’ offers and marketing communications.

Here are 2 websites that I thought offered particularly good incentives in exchange for my email: https://psimvegan.com.au/ and https://tribeskincare.com.au/

 

Don’t deter people with shipping

Free shipping is the best so if you can, offer free shipping. Or at least have a free shipping threshold where people have the option of qualifying for free shipping if they spend over a certain amount. We have an entire blog dedicated to shipping if you’re curious to learn more about the psychology of shipping and how it can impact your online stores’ conversion rate.

If you are going to charge shipping, communicate it early. There’s nothing worse than spending time browsing a site, picking out an item, adding to cart, initiating checkout then being hit with surprise shipping costs, especially if the cost of shipping is almost the same as the product you are buying. It’s just annoying. Clearly tell people what they can expect to pay for shipping upfront and all throughout your site.

A surprising number of sites had “local pickup – free shipping” selected as the default shipping rate. This doesn’t show until the final checkout so you think you’re getting free shipping until all of a sudden you aren’t. Super annoying and an unnecessary obstacle.

 

Keep it super simple

Remember not everyone knows as much about your product for the first time. When designing your product page try to step into the shoes of someone who has never seen your brand or product before. What do they need to see to be enticed to buy?

  • Don’t try to over complicate things. Communicate what you sell, who it’s for and why they should buy it in a clear, simple, easy-to-understand way.
  • The standard works. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel when you’re designing your site. Consumers are used to websites being laid out in a certain way. If you try to be too different people won’t know where to look. Be different in other ways, like your images and language, not the layout of your site.

Images are everything!

Images are one of THE most important elements of your online store. Include a mix of product-only and lifestyle images (images that show your products used in context). Make sure you show every angle of your product and if you sell clothes, tell us what size the model is wearing. Oh, and keep your images all the same size. You don’t want people noticing little discrepancies and taking their attention away from you and your products.

 

Make sure you have a Pixel properly installed on your website

A Facebook Pixel is a free little piece of code that you can install on your website and it allows you to retarget people like magic after they have been onto your website. 76% of websites we purchased from either didn’t have a pixel, or had that was not paired with a catalogue.

 

Make sure you have a privacy policy

Exactly 50% of sites we purchased from didn’t have a privacy policy. Your online store needs to have a privacy policy and in most countries is governed by law. Shopify has a free privacy policy generator that makes it easy to create a privacy policy for your website.

 

Aim to make your packaging instagramable

You want your packaging to be Instagramable. People love a good unboxing experience and when your packaging is a little bit special it makes the experience more engaging, memorable and sharable. Of course, you want to make the packaging, wrapping and materials that your product comes in beautiful and on brand, but by adding something a little extra goes a long way. https://bytaralouise.com.au/ popped in a lollypop which was super cute, memorable and put a big smile on my face.

Also, make sure your packaging aligns with your customers’ values. Consider environmentally friendlier packaging options.

 

Focus on repeat purchases

As well as acquiring new customers we also want to focus on repeat purchases and loyal customers. Selling to an existing customer is much easier, quicker and cheaper than acquiring a new customer.

Send follow-up communication. So often people put so much effort and energy into acquiring a new sale they forget that the purchase journey doesn’t end at the checkout. Don’t forget to continue on the communication with customers after the sale.

 

Share the love & keep moving forward

The more success you have the more positive impact you can have on your life, your family, your community and the world around you.

If you are feeling helpless at the moment, the best thing you can do is to support someone else. On the other hand, if your store is experiencing success, as a lot are at the moment as more people move to online shopping, share the love and support another business. It will literally make their day.

We hope this feedback will help inspire and motivate you to improve your online store. Comment and let me know if you’ve found this helpful and what areas you are going to focus on first.

PS: We have also created this eCommerce Thrive Guide. In this guide we illuminate proactive, positive actions you can take to strengthen your business now, and into the future. Click here to access the guide now. 

Written by Megan Winter

Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.

Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact. 

Quick, easy & free setup: everything you need to start an online store today

Quick, easy & free setup: everything you need to start an online store today

If you sell a product, having an online store is no longer a nice to have, it’s a must-have.

Does this sound familiar?

  • You know you have an amazing product, you just don’t know where to start with all this online stuff.
  • You’re selling on Etsy, at markets or even a physical store and you know you need to set-up your own online store to take your venture to the next level.
  • You’ve been putting off setting up your online store for ages as you just don’t know where to start and don’t want to waste time and money trying to figure it all out yourself AND you don’t have the capital to pay a web developer.

If you said YES to any of these, then you’re ready to take the leap and set up your online store.

Setting up an online store doesn’t need to cost thousands, or even hundreds, of dollars. In fact, you can get set up and selling… now… for free.

This is great news for you if you are asking:

  • Can I build an online store without paying an expensive web developer?
  • How can I start selling my products online quickly and easily?
  • How to set up a successful online store without going into debt or dipping into my savings?

Here are 5 free resources with everything you need to build your online store and start selling now – with zero out of pocket costs to you. And you don’t need to be techy at all.

1. eComm Foundations Course

Learn exactly how to set up your online store. Currently, the enrolment fee is 100% waived.

2. Shopify 

Set up your online store with a 90-day free trial. Click here to start your 90-day free trial.

3. Financial Foundations Course

Take control of your business finances while learning and implementing a Xero financial system in your existing business. Use code GIFT to access this for free. Valid until April 17.

4. Facebook

Drive traffic to your store using Facebook Ads. Facebook has announced $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to 30,000 eligible small businesses. At the moment all you can do is subscribe for updates and more details will be released later.  Make sure you subscribe here.

You can also learn how to make $10k+ a month on your online store using Facebook ads™ with this free Masterclass.

5. Guide to Thrive

This guide illuminates proactive, positive actions you can take to strengthen your business now, and into the future. Zero panic-talk or fear-based jargon, just simple, loving guidance, suggestions and tools to help you navigate a rough sea.

Assistance Available For Your Small Business Right Now

Assistance Available For Your Small Business Right Now

The events of the past few months have had a huge impact on businesses around the world. If your business income has been affected there are some new initiatives which may assist.

Below is some of the assistance available. These are links to external websites we do not control. Please ensure you do your own research and talk to your accountant about your eligibility.

Government Assistance

Business

The Australian government has announced $189 billion worth of economic responses to help keep the economy going.

Many of these are available to help small business and include payments for businesses who have employees, assistance for apprentice and trainee employer and increased instant asset write-off limits.

Find out more at https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses

ATO

If you have a debt with the tax office or are unable to meet your upcoming obligations with the tax office due to the effect Covid-19 has had on your business, you can request for payments to be deferred to September 14. Simply ring the tax office to discuss your individual circumstances. 

The wait is longer than usual, however, the automatic message said my wait would be over 30 minutes and I was talking to someone in around 10-15 minutes. 

Personal

The government has also increased assistance to Australians including income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation.

Find out more at https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households

Facebook 

Facebook has announced $100 million in cash grants and ad credits to 30,000 eligible small businesses. At the moment all you can do is subscribe for updates and more details will be released later. 

Make sure you subscribe at https://www.facebook.com/business/boost/grants

Shopify

Shopify has come to the party with a few assistance measures.

This includes the ability to sell gift cards on any Shopify plans, usually restricted to higher plans only. So if you are unable to trade right now, but want the ability for people to be able to buy gift cards to use in the future, you can now turn this on if you are using Shopify.

For those who are only now moving to online Shopify are offering extended 90-day free trials.

They are also offering $200 million in small business funding by way of loans, however, these are currently restricted to US only.

Find out more about how Shopify are helping at https://www.shopify.com.au/covid19

What Else Can You Do

  • Ensure to read our Thrive Guide on how you can put your best foot forward and thrive through uncertainty
  • Review your spending 
    • Cancel any unnecessary subscriptions
    • Reduce your Shopify plan if you need to 
    • Hold off on big purchases
  • Look after yourself first – your mental health is most important right now
  • Surround yourself with a positive community