|Successful Web Strategy||Successful Web Solution|
|development | design | execution | marketing | conversion | success|
With e-commerce there is more going on than just what the website does; it includes supply chain management, warehouse operations, shipping and returns, client relationship management, and, in some cases, showrooms and brick and mortar purchases. These all need to mesh together, and so your site will be the face, business card, and an effective salesperson for your solutions. Sometimes we create a shopping cart-enabled site that is simple with little effort. For example, we sometimes simply make a donation site that has a donation button hooked to a PayPal account.
Usually there is a lot that goes into a successful e-commerce enabled site, be it small or large, just one product or thousands, certain pieces need to be set up and in order to make it all legitimate and profitable. In most cases, scalability with your master website and its e-commerce components is key, and we will quote you according to what you initially intend to do. However, we do want you to have the ability to grow and scale your offering upwards as your company grows. We are deeply committed to responsive and mobile-optimized shopping cart experiences since profitability from mobile sales continues to grow. You are unique and your e-commerce solution needs to reflect that. Successful works with you to create a coordinated, effective, profitable offering on your end, and a joyful experience for the customer.
We Believe That:
“The act of taking the first step is what separates the winners from the losers.”
– Brian Tracy
“The reason it seems that price is all your customers care about is that you haven’t given them anything else to care about.”
– Seth Godin
E-commerce Sales & Marketing Features
Product Presentation & Conversion
How your products are presented on the page gets to the heart of a classic web marketing argument. To innovate or not to innovate – that is the question. The answer lies in two distinct maxims (sometimes more); selling is the purpose of the site, and the site must reflect your style. There are times when style, edge, innovation and moxy trump ease of sales. There are times where you want to have a unique layout and experience like nowhere else and we love doing these types of experiences. Innovation is beauty – there’s no doubt about it. In most cases, we create a site aimed at efficient sales that reflects the best parts of the 500 – pound gorilla (Amazon) and other highly profitable sites.
This is not to say that we duplicate them, but we do take some of the best parts like product image on the left with the ability to zoom in, highlight content on the right with bullet points, and then tabs or blocks of more in-depth content below. We love to add video, customer testimonials, user reviews, stock levels, prices, discounts, and anything of use that will help your client understand and take positive action with your product. We’ve even had a couple of clients for whom we add instant messaging chat option on the product page, as well as a direct link option to Amazon so the Prime members can buy the product there. Successful does this because the majority of clients are used to making purchases on the big internet vendors, they know how to navigate that type of layout, they know what to expect, they feel secure and, most importantly, they are comfortable. We know how to create a profitable website for you- be it a standard sales based layout or an edgy customized experience or somewhere in between. A delighted customer means a prosperous owner.
You product catalog needs to be easy to build and effective in action. Building your products is simple – add images and video, add short and long description content, select the product category you want it to belong to, add inventory numbers if you are tracking that, and then there are a number of other variables we can add, such as variations (like pick a blue or red shirt, large or small) as well as custom features and builds. Success sets up your top- level categories with a quantity field, as well as a quick purchase and view option that allows them to purchase right within that page.
Do you want two- click check out? It’s there. Convenience and fewer clicks equal ease of purchase. We can also set you up with an excel file that you can import or export to edit and build your products that way. Once everything is in, it will sync and we will build out the page layout according to your brands style. Then you are off and selling.
Inventory is best managed in one of three ways, depending on the scale. The simplest is to put your inventory in the site and let the site manage that inventory itself. Then when you have additional inventory you enter it by hand. The second way is to import an excel file of all your products once or twice a day to the site and let that update the site. We have also worked with a number of external inventory management systems from small business solutions like Lettuce, or larger enterprise solutions such as Oracle or MAS. We have successfully found ways to sync with these. Contact us and let us know the system you need to connect to, and we will quote based on the price of outsourcing or in-house customization.
The third option is popular with one-of-a-kind products, as well as virtual, downloadable, and small-scale offerings that simply skip inventory completely. If you don’t need or want an inventory management system, you don’t have to have it. We can always remove any feature. Once we understand your inventory needs, Successful will set up an advantageous solution.
Downloadable Files | Virtual Products | Invoicing
Selling mp3s, video, e-books, or other downloadable material, as well as virtual products like concert tickets or service invoicing successfully is a cinch with our system. With the downloadable content, the customer gets a receipt after purchase that includes an encrypted link with an expiration time that you set (this is for security reason and to prevent theft). You can also set custom instructions on how to use the files as well as links to software they may need to play them. Really, you can do anything with downloadable material that you can think of, and just like real products, you can set variables and fully customize these products. Want to sell a VIP ticket to your seminar with the regular ones on the same page? This is easy to do.
Invoicing is similar – create an invoice, then have the site email it to the client, then the client clicks a link and can pay online on your site. More and more of our clients have offered products like this with great success and profit. We will make it easy and lucrative for you too
Customer loyalty can be the life- blood of a business, spread the brand, evangelize, and dynamically influence your position in the market. It can be hard to acquire as well. With our system, you know specifically which customers spend the most, buy the largest amount of varying products, and then you can reward them and encourage them to spread your truth. There are a few ways we can do this:
Rewarding purchases – reward your users with points they can spend on your store. It’s really effective in keeping your customers tied to your brand, as well as making them feel great about it.
Social shopping – make your customer feel like a king when he can give out discounts and freebies to peers and friends.
Reward social media – most online users have some kind of influence in their micro- community of friends. Encourage them to take part in your story, share your products, and reward them with freebies and discounts.
Keep it Elite – Offer invites to a select few customers with strong influence and make it a challenge and a badge of privilege to be invited to the club.
Issue exclusive membership cards and discounts – We set is up like a supermarket club. Their username automatically gets them discounts on your offerings. Segment them into an insider- only email campaign with first look and early adopter offerings.
There are a number of strategies we can implement with the main goal of keeping people coming back to you with the benefits of low to no cost advertising, return business, and a customer who feels important and valued. Look at the success of Amazon Prime – a well- known loyalty program. We encourage our partners to consider building in this aspect to their plans. With our help, your loyalty program can bring you great success and wow customers that adore and fight for you. Very valuable.
You have the option (not recommended for all) to allow users to post reviews and comment on your various pages and products. It functions and behaves similar to what you see on other sites and it includes the ability to edit, deny, remove, or promote a review or comment. There is power in reviews and testimonials- they can make or break a site. We also give you the ability to have a “manufacture’s response” to the negative one and see if you can change their minds. A fully functioning impressive review tool is there for us to bring to you.
Affiliate marketing is having others sell your product and then awarding them a commission. So if we recommend one of your products on our site, the user clicking that link on our site will get a custom URL with a cookie. When they purchase the recommended product, you will know that that sale came through us and then give us a commission for the sale.
Recently, affiliate marketing has gotten a bad reputation due to Google’s changes to link- building, however, a smart and well- managed affiliate program can be very powerful for your marketing and sales branches. Successful can set you up with an expansive affiliate marketing program that will track and award sales (in some cases you can choose to pay just for them to send traffic and not the conversion), allow affiliates to download and place banners and text ads on their sites as well as social media pages. It also allows flexible commission and custom commissions, as well as bonus bundle- based commissions, email communication, and announcements to affiliates, advanced sales reporting and summaries, reoccurring commissions, and analytics.
We will also put together an affiliate area that is customized for each affiliate and shows their own personal sales data and commission return. There are a lot more features we can go into here – just know that we have a very robust affiliate system waiting for you and your upcoming expansion.
Coupons | Offers | Gift Certificates | Store Credit
Every strong e-commerce solution has the ability to offer coupons and so do you. Be it a overall site discount, cart discount, product discount, bundle discount, free shipping or the ever popular (and sales increasing) buy product X get a discount or free product Y or the spend X get Y off order. We have the ability to restrict usage, exclude products, exclude items already on sale as well as product categories, usage limits both on how many times a coupon can be used and on how many times a particular user can use a coupon, we can even exclude users from using the coupon based on their email address.
You can also import coupons via excel and create massive custom coupon codes for your affiliate or loyalty program. Success also set you up with robust gift certificate and store credit options similar to coupons themselves. If you have a coupon set up in mind it can happen. These are some of the tools successful can build for you to increase your profits.
Analytics | A|B Testing | E-Commerce SEM
With everything we do here at Successful we are passionate about using analytics and A|B testing to validate results. The data is available and it would be a huge mistake to not use it. In fact, for every offering we have on this site we should add a closing line saying, “Analytics inform and power our actions.” It is so important and we bring this ability to your shopping cart. You need to see and understand which product is selling, which page is converting, and then be informed on how to optimize that page to get better results. This is our chance to answer who, what, when, where and why. Knowledge is half the battle – go Joe!
On product and conversion critical pages we recommend setting up A|B testing and we can customize endlessly how this works. The simplest example is when your customers are sent to a page in a search result, and half of them go to page A and half go to page B. We then find out which page performed the best, make it the main page, and then optimize and test it again. We just keep refining your key pages to make them better and better, always growing results. There have been instances where simply changing a button’s color has led to a ninety percent increase in sales. Throw in some e-commerce search engine marketing like Google or Bing ads to get some new customers sales potential and we have this marketing trinity.
Now, we don’t always recommend using ads on an A|B testing based page (unless your traffic is low to that page). What we do advise and assist you with is getting that refined and already- tested pumped page and then using SEM to drive the traffic to it. Voila sales, success – all for you.
Communication | Email Responders
You will have a custom email template styled according to your branding motif that will be sent out at many of the customer touch points. This goes through all steps of the engagement to let the consumer know you are there, and more importantly, develop the relationship, whether it be new order email, processing, completed, to the invoice and even email someone that has abandoned the cart maybe with a discount or some encouragement.
Today, communication with your customers is extremely important and we have this ready for you. Of course that goes both ways; the customer can contact you and the site itself will send you invoices and alert you when new orders come through. Through on page analytics you can also mine customer emails to send them a custom offer, though we do highly recommend that you use the opt-in field we provide to reach out to them without spamming. You can also segment and send their data into segmented lists with your email provider be it Constant Contact, Aweber, or even a custom email solution we can build right onto your site. We are with you all the way, and know as well as you do that touching and being right there for the customer is a top value towards your success.
Users or customers are your most important assets. Some would even say that is the reason your business exist. In your order admin, you will be able to see all the users tied to the orders they have made and be able to reach out to them directly through this. We have used it to get customer opinions as well as validate that they ordered a product and find out where something could have gone wrong. You’ll see their order number, how they paid, as well as their email, phone number, address, and even customer notes if they left one. This is more useful than you might think for someone who might run, for example, an engraving business. They will have crated an account, and if they gave a password they will be able to return and see their order history and interact with their profile or hit you up with a contact.
We recommend that you allow them to be registered on WordPress itself, and not just the shopping cart. This allows us to segment your customer even more. Say you have dealers or a loyalty program that shops on the site. You have three kinds: the gold, silver, and bronze levels. Then you can set the prices uniquely for each. They all see the same site, but according to their user level that you set, they see entirely different prices. We can ban or promote users, can allow them to participate and actually be part of your team, or we can set them up as professional reviewers, plus so much more. Your user is so important, and your ability to work with them will lead to such a lucrative business.
If you are not taking international orders you are seriously missing out. One of the reasons more people don’t is well due to its difficulty. How do you deal with international shipping, customs, taxes, dynamic currency values and all that? Honestly, we can’t do it all either – shipping got us. So we had to reach out and work with a couple key businesses that will deal with shipping internationally through drop ships or warehouse set- ups. Of course, we are looking for an internal based solution to this and expect one soon.
When dealing with the actual payment, we recommend using PayPal as your international payment gateway. They will handle processing all the payments, setting up VAT and dealing with all sorts of taxes. However, if you only want to ship to specific locations, we can set you up with payment gateways local to those countries for the full seamless experience. Success had a remarkable payment switcher that connects to the Forex exchange site and allows your users to switch currency in real time on site to see what they would pay natively. It is very cool and innovative. It’s must have if you are selling internationally.
International language selection is fully available and recommended on all sites – even those that are not selling internationally. We default to Google translate, though we do have a custom solution and we have worked with native speakers to translate important pages directly (computer based translations are very good, but may never be perfect). Successful maintains that your ability to court and convert international sales can be hugely important to your business and profitability. We can give you that ability.
Dealer Portal | Custom Levels for BtoC – BtoB
A number of our clients have worked closely in the business- to- business space. We offer the ability to customize the price different level dealers and consumers see. One of your dealers may be the one that makes the largest purchases and so you offer them a bigger discount then the other dealers. We’ll set them up with a unique username and password, and then assign them to that dealer level. They’ll login and see a completely different price than their counterpart.
We make it easy to upgrade multiple dealers by giving you the ability to upload them in an excel file and the same goes with different prices levels just upload it. Of course the easiest solution is often to give dealer A ten percent off and dealer B fifteen percent off, whereas the retail consumer sees full MSRP. This function is part of a full- blown dealer portal that, topped with the ability to hide and show products to different dealer levels, can really fashion a unique experience for your dealers. Also, consider the marketing option here. Keep in mind as well that you can also set something up similar for your consumers or loyalty group. This is serious customization we are offering you. Imagine the possibilities and imagine growth.
A Successful web strategy is one that is integrated. In today Techonomy an integrated digital marketing effort requires that all the pieces work together to reach and convert your businesses sales and marketing goal across all available channels and opportunities. The presence and ubiquity of your brand is key as is the components of the brand itself with authority and trust. All these circle like the spokes of a wheel to the hub itself – your master website where you communicate, grow and convert your traffic.
Each partner may have different strengths and weakness as well as ways and formats that best fit their profile. All of it; the website itself, e-commerce aspects, print and traditional marketing, online marketing and content marketing as well as SEO / SEM / PPC / Mobile marketing, Social Networks and analytical evaluations work to create one integrated brand strategy. Working together to help a new product launch, customer retention, lead generation and the brand awareness get the company it conversions as well as the relationships it needs to thrive. After all the name of the game for most companies is the ability to grow and be profitable as well as have an effect.
Combining these elements is crucial to your and our Success. By doing so you maximize your online presence and visibility to the clients that coupled with a good analytics program to continually optimize your efforts is going to lead to higher conversions and growth. Everything and every part in sync is the way to go and for most having a good mix of all aspects is the answer. This is not to say start small and add in parts like paid advertising once you have Success and bring in profitability we all have to do that. Yet to look at the big picture and to project your 10 steps ahead lucrative company will is to have the cause and effect in mind that will bring you that. Almost like the law of attraction by realizing and planning for our Success we began to bring it to us. It is important then to take the time to do your yearly online marketing audits to make sure everything is working in concert. It is important to look at your master destination and make sure the structure, look and feel all lead to trust and authority. Trust and authority are the hot words in content marketing and online marketing in general these days and they remain true. Start with these basic goals with your master site and then add more and more of these other driving aspect to reach that optimized integration that is your true empowered Success.
Technical E-Commerce Considerations
Secure Payment Gateways | Checkout
A payment gateway is the company that processes your customer credit card information securely. They are necessary, with the most well known being PayPal. We support all the major gateways and will recommend one that we feel is best for your level of business, though we do recommend having PayPal on all sites since it is such a popular payment method. For the actual credit card processing, we recommend going with another company that fits you.
You have to choose a payment gateway no matter who you work with and it will be the piece that hooks into your bank account. We will work with you to set this up flawlessly. There are other methods of receiving payment that we support, though we do not always recommend them. They are: check payment, cash on delivery, and direct bank transfer. If you wish to enable one of these, we will fully support you. We can also hook you into brick and mortar or phone-attached credit cards swipes which are directly associated with your site. Success is hooked into your and your customer’s security, and we can help you get everything working harmoniously.
Successful shipping is crucial to any business, and like all our offerings we seek to find the perfect fit for you. Probably the most popular offering is the advanced flat rate option. This is good for international shipping and national shipping, since you choose what you want to charge for each destination even down to the county. This is best done with an excel file upload, as we have had clients with over two hundred different shipping flat rate options. Combine this with setting up shipping classes on your products based on weight or size, and you can use a flat rate method that is pretty darn accurate. Combine that with the ability to add handling fees and taxes, and there is the whole picture.
Is the flat rate what we recommend? It is the cheapest for sure, but we still appreciate a user that will go with USPS, UPS, and/ or FedX in the United States and their counterparts in international countries. Those are simply the most accurate ways to ship. However, all methods give you the ability to charge more and have options like next day air, two day, and so on. On the customer’s end, they will have a chance to select a drop down that will give them a shipping cost, as well as an estimator from the beginning. Other shipping options you can give your customer include local delivery (you deliver personally), local pickup, and free shipping. We will walk you through the options and help you select the most successful ones for your business.
First of all, if you want to live dangerously you can completely disable taxes – we won’t tell. Otherwise, the process is pretty simple. You can choose to have reduced rate or zero rate taxes, though the most common answer is to skip that entirely. Then consider where you do business or have employees and we will get the tax tables for them all the way to the individual counties and, through the wizardry of uploading to the database, get the taxes in and enabled.
We recommend re-uploading the tax tables a couple times a year to stay accurate and we can show you how to do this. As for the user, if they are being charged tax, they will see the cost and the call out of their location conveniently. For you, taxes are going to be a breeze when you are successful.
Security is a major concern for us, and the web community in general. A large amount of the security involved with running a shopping cart will be taken care of and handled by your payment gateways (this is why they are so important). Overall, we offer a security package and options that will lock down your site and secure it down to the individual user. See our non- shopping cart specific security section for more information.
Export / Import Data
You can export and import all sorts of data in our solution. You could even run the entire site through a series of excel files should you choose to. From page content, products, users, coupons, and sales figures- all of it can be grabbed and put into a business friendly excel presentation. We are also able to hook into most CRMs (SalesForce is the easiest) and inventory management solution to have an up and down sync flow. Contact us for more detail on these options.
Integrate and Optimize
To have a Successful web strategy solution today it is essential that you are integrated. Many of our services are part of the whole picture and combining these elements is crucial for your bottomline. Follow the links below to understand more fully what these are and how they / we can serve you.