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4 Steps to Create a First-Rate eCommerce Website

Back in the day, any kind of trade had fewer opportunities to expand sales among new customers. No, I don’t want to mislead you saying that the trade was on a low level. If you “drip for a while” in the history of trade, you will discover that this ancient craft has always been one of the most powerful sources of income around the world.

The problem of getting new customers and building new business connections was due to the necessity of exploring new horizons that took lots of time and efforts. Corsairs, storms, and, of course, huge distances were the barriers traders had to overcome.

Lots of famous traders still pique interest to their past commerce. And it is not surprising. Our modern society has improved its general level of trade facilitation thanks to a selling practice that our ancestors had contributed before.

Thanks to the age of the internet the process of a trade creation has become much easier to do. Yes, with the help of eCommerce web platforms, every trader can sell products without leaving the office at all. Nevertheless, if you want to see any progress in your eCommerce sales, you should take care of your web resource properly. You should adjust your content marketing to various audience types to combine that strategy with a few more basic tactics.

In this guide, I am going to show you four steps that will help you create a first-rate eCommerce website and attract customers you deserve.

 

1. Make sure you know how to identify and attract your target audience

I won’t claim that it is hard to identify the niche you believe your service or production belongs. The only thing you will have to do is to think wisely what kind of help you are able to offer your potential clients. You can ask yourself a few standard questions like:

 

What products do I sell?

It could be whatever you want, starts with some material goods (music instruments, automobiles, audio/video tech etc.) and ends with various personal services (tutorials, courses, lessons, etc.).

 

Who are the main competitors in your niche?

Every industry has its leading authorities and these names are familiar to everybody. Let say, the leaders in the world of music instruments are such brands as Ibanez, Fender, Warwick etc. If we consider sportswear, then these brands are Adidas, Nike, Puma and so on. The same happens with your niche. Just make some research and you’ll find out the competitors you should stick to.

Once you find the answers to these two questions, you can be sure your niche. Afterwards, you will have to dive deeper into developing a strategy on how to make your eCommerce website attractive to your customers.

Frankly speaking, perhaps, every marketer wants to have fewer competitors than he or she has in the niche. To be honest with you, I would, , say that we all want to be the leaders in our business, and that’s why we claim not to have so many competitors.

Do you remember the statement “every cloud has a silver lining”? Try to think that you should respect your competitors and try to work them to the benefit.

How could you do this? Discover your competitors’ blogs and attract their clients for yourself. Let me show you how to do it.

Let’s presume that your eCommerce website sells sportswear and you have lots of competitors in this niche. There is no sense in spying for customers against such brands as Nike, Puma and others similar. I am quite sure, you won’t impress these clients with your unpopular production. Instead, you ask Google something like “buy sportswear online” and check out what it suggests for you:

 

first rate ecommerce website

 

As you can see there is a bunch of websites related to your niche. They look good in terms of the domain rating they have, the organic traffic they get, and, of course, the number of backlinks. Let’s have a look the example:

 

ecommerce website techniques

 

Furthermore, it is obvious that content marketing involves running a blog with high-quality content. Thus, it is preferable for you to find blogs in your niche that take the highest positions in Google search. It will allow you to check out what kind of content these blogs publish, what their readers say in comments, what they like and dislike. By analyzing these aspects of competitors’ blogs, you will be able to turn your own blog into the desirable place for your potential clients.

The next position you shouldn’t forget is to try to find out your customers’ needs. As I’ve mentioned above, examination of comments on competitors’ blogs is one of the best ways to understand customer needs. If you want to go further, I recommend you work a bit with Quora.

No doubts you are familiar with Quora and you know that it is a platform where people ask questions and get answers. What an ideal place for seeing what people need. It works simply – just put an inquiry and you’ll get related questions to your inquiry and all possible replies:

 

how to build a first rate ecommerce website

 

I don’t say you will be armed with all points with the information you will get from comments on Quora, but the general needs of the clients you will understand.

 

2. Adjust your ecommerce website to various types of content

I won’t give you the explanations why content is important for your eCommerce business. There are many factors that prove one good statement “content is king”. If you are still an outsider in content marketing, here are a few reasons you should know about content:

  • It adds value to your production (and brand in general)
  • It generates new leads and sales
  • It works great as a tool for engagement your target audience
  • It increases traffic

Search engines love high-quality and long-form content.

Don’t be under the delusion that content is just a rough text. No. Firstly, content is any sort of information you want to share with your audience. Please, pay your attention to the nuance that I said “audience” but not “readers”. In this very way, I want to underline that you can present the information in a few different ways.

 

Video content

In contrast to written content, video one has a higher level of user engagement. You just imagine, using videos you will be able to introduce your production from different angles. You can check out YouTube and see what your competitors upload on their brand channels. For instance, you want to introduce your users a new collection of indoor running shoes but you have no idea what the video should look like. Thus, back to leaders in your niche and make a detailed research of their video material. Here is how Nike advertised their collection of Air Max 1 running shoes:

 

how to build a first rate ecommerce website

 

You could adjust your own video content strategy to the same way and, even, add something more interesting for your customers. How about “how-to” videos? I liked the example on how to lace running shoes from eCommerce web platform runningwarehouse.com:

 

how to build a first-rate ecommerce website

 

The more images you create, the more (happy) clients you’ll have

However, if you tend to “old-school” text type content, I highly recommend you create content based on images. Plus, you should remember that your customers want to see the production your eCommerce website offers. Let me provide you with a few examples of using images in content. For instance, sportsshoes.com offers a wide range of sports shoes for the customers attaching images of all shoe models they have:

 

how to build a first-rate ecommerce website

 

You might ask me “But where is the example of text content with images?” Very fair question. At first, I want to underline that customers don’t want to read long-form content where you describe apparel. Instead, you should focus on pitching your customers with images of your production adding a brief text description of it. The great examples of this strategy are by using Instagram and Pinterest:

 

how to create a first-rate ecommerce website

 

Pinterest allows you to add more-or-less proper description of the product with all necessary details. Instagram is more designed for high-quality images. Yeah, you can add a few descriptive words for the image in contrast to Pinterest. However, you can add as many as 30 hashtags:

 

how to build a great ecommerce website

 

If you still are curious about text content with images that is related to some sort of product customers can purchase on an eCommerce website, you should check out the next example. Because I would like to consider various types of production (not only sportswear), here is a wonderful example of eCommerce blog that contains different articles on furniture, decorations, and decor:

 

one kings lane ecommerce website

 

It is just a part of the article from this eCommerce website’s blog called One Kings Lane. As you can see, the owner of this web resource can use content marketing strategy in the right direction. You can take your cut from this example and do the same.

Nevertheless, content marketing is only a part of the whole strategy for boosting your eCommerce online shop. You should keep an eye on building close connection with your customers. And I am going to give you a few insights on it.

 

3. Don’t forget to build connection with customers

I am quite sure that if a business owner has tight business relationships with customers, he or she will succeed. But how to build this connection with a target audience? No worries, I would like to introduce you a few tricks on how to do it. Before I start, I would like to explain you a bit why it is so important for every businessman who wants to be ahead of the competitors.

During building connections with your customers, you should not only get the information you need for your own business but share something useful with the customers as well. You must listen to their needs, problems and, as the result, give some pieces of advice. If you are interested only in promoting your brand, your customers will realize that the only thing you are focused on is money. As for me, being a customer of whatever I use, I don’t like selfish and arrogant companies or services who are struck blind with itself forgetting about everything around.

Your business depends on the customers you have because these customers are your direct source of income. And here are, basically, the ways of connections:

  • Comments.

Why do we, as consumers, use the comment section on websites? Simply just for leaving our opinion on something; thoughts, likes, and, even, dislikes. And it is the norm for customers and for website owners. Taking a participation in the comment section you are able to reveal your brand (and products) in a vaster way, plus sharing some other useful information. For example, you could advise your customers various services for their needs – different pricing optimization platforms like UpstreamCommerce, influencer marketing platforms for amplifying messages like, for instance, HYPR and so on. The main purpose for you, as a website owner, to react to the comments fast and efficiently.

  • Help or FAQ.

This section is an integral part of any website, including eCommerce. You should remember that FAQ section is the place where you can present all the answers to the questions that people tend to ask about your products. When a customer sees that you didn’t regret your time writing answers to the most frequent questions, he or she will understand that you take care of the consumers. Your desire to help the client will reward you.

  • Live chat.

Yeah, the first thing you might think about is your time. I totally agree with you that spending your time in a Live chat is very time-consuming. Nevertheless, if you want to be as closer to your customer as you can, Live chat is a wonderful option for this. Be patient, relax and be ready to reply to whatever your customers will ask you. Pay attention to the questions that might bring you some insight that you will be able to implement in your products (perhaps some new model of a jacket).

  • Insiders.

Use Facebook for creating an ‘Insider’ page of your product. Share news about the product your brand produces, take a part in comments your customers leave, have a personal chat with your clients. Believe or not but “Insider” pages really work great in terms of building tight business relationships with your customers.

 

But what about Social Media platforms?

As far as you know, any business owner who runs an online business uses the major social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest. Yeah, we use social media for searching new business contacts and opportunities. However, you should be clever in terms of using social media accounts and create all the accounts attractive with the information related to your niche. Here are the examples of how you can use each social media platform:

  • LinkedIn.

This platform is the first place you should create an account as a businessman. It doesn’t matter whether you have already succeeded in your sphere of business or you’ve just launched a new eCommerce web resource. LinkedIn will help you reveal new useful business contacts that might bring new customers.

  • Facebook

You might claim that Facebook is the place where people spend their time just for fun. I won’t get into an argument with you about it but Facebook has the other side of the coin. Those who do business online prefer to use Facebook as a great opportunity to say a word or two about their production using all possible features Facebook has. As I’ve mentioned above, you could create an “Insider” page and spread the information about your brand, communicate with users and turn them into your customers.

  • Pinterest and Instagram.

I decided to combine these two platforms into one group due to the fact they have almost the same “mission”. The only option of these platforms is sharing images of whatever you want. For you, it could be an awesome opportunity to show product units with a slight description of it. Let customers see what you offer to buy.

  • Twitter

I believe there is no sense in explaining Twitter’s purpose. I only want to encourage you that using this platform is important for your business prosperity. There are numerous articles that cover the topics a kind of “How to Build Business Using Twitter”, “Twitter Marketing” etc. Thus, Twitter is a powerful service for your business.

 

4. Do More Outreach

Outreach is a very important strategy for you as the owner of an eCommerce website. It helps you present your product to the customers in a more personal way. Come into customer’s world and just imagine that you’ve got a well-crafted and personalized as hell email message. You see that the one who sent the message to you had done a detailed investigation about your person. You are really impressed with this message and you can’t refuse the sender to reply or, even, become a customer. What a fantastic story, isn’t it? Well, it is real if you can succeed in the outreach strategy.

I would like to share with you a brief step-by-step process how to do email outreach properly.

  • Find the people you are going to reach out (make sure they are related to your niche).

It is rather easy to do. The only thing you need is the link to your competitor’s material and Ahrefs Site Explorer tool for revealing all backlinks this link has:

 

create a top rate ecommerce website

 

In this example, I decided to represent you how to search backlinks for the musical instruments industry. I chose the very first blog and check out what backlinks the article has. You might be impressed with the number of backlinks (5.29K) but, please, don’t hurry up with the conclusions. You will have to check almost each backlink manually and see whether they are fresh and you are able to get the right contact information of the recipient you’re willing to reach out.

  • Search for personal contacts of the recipients.

This stage of the outreach process is very significant to you. Without a proper email address, you won’t have any chance to reach the person out. I recommend you to use find.that email and voilanorbert tools. Moreover, please, check out person’s social media accounts because people tend to leave their contacts over there.

  • Create personalized email templates.

Don’t be too lazy! Kill your inner sloth and try to find some additional information about the person you’re going to reach out. Mix this information with the main aim of the message, add an outstanding subject line and send it over to the recipient. I give you 90% that you’ll get a positive result.

  • Don’t be afraid of sending follow-up emails.

No worries if the recipient hasn’t replied to you. There are reasons for this. Thus, if you send a follow-up email, you will increase your chances to get the reply you’re waiting for.

Remember that outreach is a great way to boost your eCommerce website and get new customers you deserve. It goes without saying that I gave you just a few core elements of the outreach. However, if you’re interested in more detailed guide, I suggest you check this one.

 

Conclusion

Taking all the aforesaid into consideration, I would like to say that running eCommerce websites and sell your product in a digital world is a meticulous process. Every step and decision must be considered to the last detail. You will have to focus yourself on various aspects of marketing and study the ways how to use them wisely.

I won’t state that the lessons you’ve learned from this guide will push up sales over 100%. But I am quite sure that your eCommerce website will succeed in terms of internet marketing.

If you have some pieces of advice or thoughts you would like to share, please, feel free to use the comment section.

Don’t forget to share it via your social media accounts!

4 steps to create a first-rate ecommerce website

The post 4 Steps to Create a First-Rate eCommerce Website appeared first on GetResponse Blog – Online Marketing Tips.

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5 Facts Home Buyers and Sellers Should Know About Credits

After months of searching for the perfect home, making some offers, and maybe even competing with other buyers, you finally have a deal on your dream home. It took some negotiations, but you and the seller have come to terms.

Or have you?

Too often, getting a signed contract and putting your money into escrow is the beginning of what can become yet another round of negotiations. Here are five things every home buyer and seller should know about last-minute negotiations or credits.

Buyers may ask for credits based on property inspections.

Usually, a real estate contract either provides for a property inspection, or buyers inspect before signing. Depending on the property and the issues, a buyer might also have a particular type of inspection for the sewer line, septic, pool or roof.

These inspections can bring to light issues that the buyer couldn’t possibly have known about before making an offer. Once inspected, the buyer may still be interested in pursuing the sale. But given the needed repairs they will probably want to re-negotiate the price by asking for credits or a reduction in the purchase price.

Sellers should consider having a property inspection before listing.

The goal is to avoid negotiations once you’re under contract, because they’re not going to be in your favor. If you know the roof is near the end of its life or the furnace breaks from time to time, let it be known upfront, because rarely can you “sneak” something past the buyer.

You might even go as far as having your property inspected before listing the home. This way, you can address any issues, and make the inspection report available to buyers. They can come up with their best offer upfront, knowing what they’re getting.

If you have an inspection report or are otherwise assured your property is in great shape, you could even ask for an “as-is” clause in the contract. Although it’s not necessarily enforceable, it will send a strong message to the buyers that you aren’t open to more negotiation.

Sellers may try to avoid giving credits by having work done before escrow closes.

After inspections, the seller might agree to have work done before the closing. Or the seller may require that a payment is given directly to a contractor for the purpose of performing the specific, required work and nothing else.

These agreements help protect the seller, because buyers sometimes ask for credits just to help offset the closing costs – and never intends to do the repair work.

It also protects the seller if initial estimates for needed work turn out to have been overstated.

Buyers who ask for credits just to get the price down may be taking a chance.

Sometimes the buyer concedes on the purchase price thinking they can come back after the property inspection and ask for an additional concession.

The buyer may even feel empowered now that they’ve completed a series of inspections and are just weeks away from closing. The seller isn’t going to go back to the drawing board with a new buyer over a few more dollars, right?

Actually, they might. If it’s a strong buyer’s market, there’s a good chance the buyer can pull it off, but if it’s more of a neutral or a seller’s market, the seller may call your bluff. They’re assuming that you’re the one who, having invested all this time and money on inspections and an appraisal, isn’t going to walk away over a few dollars.

Buyers nearly always ask for credits, so sellers should give themselves some cushion.

You should also leave some additional room for negotiation when you’re in escrow. Always assume the buyer will ask for minor repair work – they nearly always do, even if there are no major issues. If you leave some cushion for yourself, you’ll feel better about the deal, and you’ll have protected yourself against the inevitable.

Conversely, the last thing you want is to be blindsided by a buyer asking for a few thousand dollars credit – just when you think the deal is finally done.

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Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Originally published March 8, 2012.

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Buying Art Like a Grownup (for Investment or Inspiration)

Bare, white walls are usually the reality when you first move into a new home. But if you want to show off your personality, there’s no better way to do it than with original art. A one-of-a-kind piece transforms a space, makes you feel more at home, and expresses your personal interests.

Diving into the art world can feel intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. To help you get started, here are six tips for purchasing art you’ll want to grow old with.

Work within your budget

To find pieces you like without breaking your budget, visit flea or craft markets, where affordable options are plentiful. While you’re there, keep an eye out for posters that aren’t limited edition but are still interestingly designed.

Photo from ShutterStock

“It’s important to think broadly about what art means,” says Bettina Huang, head of consignment at Artsy. “Combine plants with some of the flat, light objects you may have collected in your travels, and mix those in with posters or things typically thought of as art.”

Another option: Hang framed versions of your own drawings, doodles, or sketches to give your walls customized style. “If you frame them and hang them like a salon wall, that’s a budget-friendly solution that feels personal,” says Huang.

Know your goals

“It’s important to have an honest conversation with yourself,” says Huang. “Do you want to decorate your entire home? Do you need to fill a certain space? Or are you looking for bigger statement pieces for a salon wall? If you’re interested in art investing, do you want to buy works by emerging artists in the hopes they’ll dramatically increase in value?” These answers will help determine your spending.

Photo from Zillow listing

For example, if you have $1,000 and want to invest, you can probably only afford to purchase one piece. If you’re looking to decorate, Huang suggests buying several less-expensive works. The kind of art you select and your budget will dictate your options.

Hit the art circuit

“Art fairs can be really great, because you get to talk to gallery owners in person,” says Huang, noting that this helps you sharpen your tastes and investing instincts. “Practice gives you more confidence and a reference point, so you can compare pricing and really start to understand the kinds of works that are available.”

Art school exhibitions are another great way to meet emerging artists whose careers you may want to follow.

If you’re looking for more established artists, works on paper, including drawings, prints and editions, or multiple copies of a given work, are an affordable way to begin your art collection.

Photo from ShutterStock

“It’s nice to go that route, because it means other pieces from that artist have likely been sold, so there’s a precedent for the price you’ve been asked to pay,” says Huang.

Consider auctions

Whether you have $1,000 or $10,000 to spend, auctions, which are open to the public, give you a sense of what’s out there and expand your artistic horizons. “Research in advance to see what similar works have sold for,” says Huang, because the price a work sells for is closer to its actual market value. “There’s something reassuring about that level of transparency.”

As an aside, more auctions are being held partially or totally online, and sites such as Artsy play a big part in this. “A lot of times, online auctions are used to sell works that are somewhat more affordable,” notes Huang.

Do your homework

When buying secondary-market or previously owned work, Huang strongly suggests doing your research. Investigate the prices of comparable works, keeping factors like medium, size, rarity, and date in mind. “As much as possible, ask for a condition report, so you know if the work is pristine or if it’s been damaged.” The price will reflect this, too.

For high-end works by notable artists, check for a certificate of authenticity, and ask about the work’s provenance or history of ownership. With more transactions being done online, it’s particularly important to ask for the condition reports if you can’t view a work in advance.

Sell it if you outgrow it

“No matter what your budget is, your art collection should reflect your personality and interests, which will evolve over time,” says Huang. That means that buying goes hand-in-hand with selling when works no longer feel like they make sense for you.

When you sell, work with reputable establishments, and budget for (and ideally minimize) the commission and fees you pay for an auction house or gallery to take your work on consignment. “Services like Artsy get you proposals from networks of vetted partners, which makes the process easier, faster, and more transparent,” says Huang.

See inspiration for your art collection on Zillow Digs.

Top photo courtesy of Lukas Machnik

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