The Benefits of running an eCommerce Business

 

This post was written by Work placement student Anmol Khan

 

Do you know what eCommerce is?

eCommerce is an online shopping business and the key to increasing your sales online. Some of the big brands using eCommerce to their advantage are Amazon, eBay and Etsy.

But why should you move your business online and become eCommerce? Well, it should be for the following reasons…

 

Expands your reach

When creating an eCommerce website, you open yourself up to a much wider global audience, meaning that the potential of your eCommerce company will grow alongside your audience. It also means that you’ll also attain many loyal consumers!

 

Convenience

Online stores are available 24/7, so it’s easier for busy people who can’t physically come to your store. They can just pull out their mobile device and search your website and that’s it. You’ll have the potential to make 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it’s a win-win!

 

Lower operating costs

Thanks to low-cost platforms, the start-up cost for an eCommerce business is quite cheap! Although there will be many details and challenges to overcome later down the line, the upfront investment is very cheap compared to setting up a physical store! It means that you don’t need to charge a premium on your product or service, and will remain competitive in your market.

 

Feedback

With an online business, it’s a lot easier to understand your consumers and hear what they have to say about your business. They have many options to leave reviews on the eCommerce website or your Social Media, plus with Google Analytics, you can track a consumer’s journey, and improve their experience next time.

 

By taking on their feedback, you’ll also help build a better word-of-mouth experience for your consumers, meaning they would probably share your website with others too. Your e-business will be a lot more successful, and all your doing is listening to your consumers.

 

Prepare your ecommerce website for Black Friday!

5 ways to fully prepare your ecommerce website for Black Friday!

We’re half way through the fourth (and final) quarter of the year. This means ecommerce sites should be making changes to accommodate for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas!

We’re way past the planning stages now, being 11 days away from Black Friday means it’s time for execution!

Here are some things you should consider to prepare your ecommerce website for Black Friday:

1) Display the best offers on your home page:

Carousel banners were innovated for a reason…use them!

By now you should have designed a few banners showcasing your best offers.

Keep the carousel on a 3-5 second timer, with the banner designs featuring minimal text combined with appealing imagery.

Here’s an example of something we did for a client – MrMangoDelivery.co.uk

Although it’s not Black Friday centric, the style of imagery and text shows you what you should be aiming for.

Mr Mango Delivery Organic Turkey

 2) Use clear CTAs (call to actions):

As seen on the above example, call to actions have been used!

You have to attempt to invoke a reaction from the user – in other words, tell them exactly what they need to do.

Here’s another banner we designed for Mr Mango Delivery…

Simple, minimal text and has a clear CTA!

Too many times some of us think we need to portray every detail on the banner when, in actual fact, it needs to contain minimal information.

If it’s enticing enough, you can lead people to another page because they’re going to click on the banner for more information.

Remember one important thing – Value + Relevance = More Conversions (taken from Unbounce)

Mr Mango Delivery Vegan Range

 3) Test your site for mobile:

As the image below demonstrates, the number of Mobile users surpassed desktop in 2014. Since then, the gap between mobile and desktop has become increasingly wider…

Comscore Mobile Desktop Study

It’s not a case of whether mobile is important, we’ve known it is for quite some time.

Execution is key and that means designing your site primarily for mobile users.

Just think, how many times do you look at your phone every day?

A study, led by Nottingham Trent University, asked the participants (between ages 18-33) to estimate the amount of time they spend on their phone every day.

They then compared their estimates to their actual usage (which was measured through an app installed on their mobiles).

Mobile phone usage counted as:

  • Looking at message notifications
  • Checking social media alerts
  • Taking phone calls
  • Playing music

The study concluded the average person checks their device around 85 times a day, equating to 5 hours of usage per day.

The research also indicated that smartphone use was also confined to short bursts. Unless your website is enticing enough (and built for mobile), people just won’t stay on your website anymore.

4) Use time to your advantage:

Where there is scarcity there is urgency, and when urgency is created so are sales.

There are two ways to invoke urgency from a potential customer:

  • Quantity-related: ie we only have 2 sofas left!
  • Time-related: ie you only have 2 hours left to buy!

Just think – if you thought you had all the time in the world to buy a product on offer, you won’t have the urgency to convert there and then.

You’d probably consider buying it, but won’t go through and convert.

Now think again – if you think there’s only one product left, you’d think “I NEED to get that before someone else takes it”? Of course, you would!

5) Ensure your website has simple navigation:

Ever been on a website and then you can’t find what you’re looking for? Or perhaps it’s too confusing to navigate? I have experienced this on way too many occasions…

It’s the worst and the first call of duty for me is to simply find another site which will satisfy my lazy shopping needs.

The best website is one that is as simple as can be, with all relevant information provided.

Simple Website

I hope you have already executed some (if not all) of these to prepare your ecommerce website for Black Friday.

Here’s a free pro tip for you, promote your best offers on social media too. You can bet that #BlackFriday will be trending on the day, perhaps even the whole weekend.

Schedule 7-8 posts to go out throughout the day to maximise sales for your ecommerce site.

Invest in social. It’s a must, no ifs no buts.

Magento Shipping Methods

How to configure Magento Shipping Methods

Good afternoon ladies and gents, we’re back again with your favourite weekly segment…#MagentoMonday! This week we talk more about a topic which can win over repeat customers and is imperative for any online e-commerce store…Magento shipping methods.

So to start configuring your Magento shipping methods, you’ll have to go and log-in to your Magento Admin panel. Once you’re through, go to System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Shipping Settings. Click on Origin and enter the address from where you will be shipping your products from (usually a warehouse or wherever your products are stored).

Magento Shipping Method Screenshot 1

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to move on to the Options tab. Now it is up to you if you want to enable the setting Allow Shipping To Multiple Addresses! Some businesses do not offer this function, however, if you do it will really set you apart from your competitors (if the competition is not already doing this). If you do not already know what this feature entails, it allows customers to order multiple products (like 10 pencils) to multiple addresses! You can also set limits as to how many addresses they can ship to, that can be identified as the Maximum Qty Allowed for Shipping to Multiple Addresses field as shown above!

When you’re done with the shipping settings, it’s time to move on to the different shipping methods (as shows below). To navigate to this page go to System -> Configuration -> Sales -> Shipping Settings!

Magento Shipping Method Screenshot 2

As you can see, it gives you several options. For this example, we’ll take USPS! Firstly, you’re going to have to enter the Gateway URL and the UserID. The options that follow allow you to customise the packages that need to be delivered by Container, Size, Weight and more. Once done with this, you are then able to set a Fixed or Calculated shipping price! If you’re offering a free delivery service (with minimum order values), you can also set this. It then goes on to allow you to define which countries you’re able to ship to.

NOTE: Remember to also set a default error message to those whose order is refused!

It’s important that you get this right because it is a part of the checkout process. The checkout process is the last stage before converting your visitors, so you have to make sure you give your customers a great experience. Shipping methods is definitely an integral part, contributing massively to the process as a whole. We hope you enjoyed this week’s article and don’t forget to stay tuned for next week’s #MagentoMonday. Have a great week 🙂

How to upload a Magento Widget

How to upload a Magento Widget

Magento, as you know, is open source; giving it flexibility and almost unlimited capabilities…the fun never really stops (if your idea of fun is coding). Well, this week we’re back, and with how to upload a Magento widget. Magento widgets are small applications with pre-set functionalities that can be installed and implemented on your website. They are really flexible with their capabilities, which means they’re great for promotional offers, content marketing and much more!

Important info:

  • You need Magento 1.4 (or higher) to be able to use widgets.
  • They’re installed and implemented the same way as extensions.

Because it is basically treated as an extension, there are two options you can go with. Either you can code your own widget or you can use one that is already available on the Magento Connect market. For today, we’ll assume you already know the extension you want to use.

I will section this article into 3 simple steps, they are as follows:

Step 1 – Find your ideal widget:

This is much like what we talked about in last week’s article. You need to identify a few things:

  • What functionalities will you require?
  • Does it fit with your company image? For example, something that’s designed to be a “fun” or “bubbly” widget may not fit a corporate website image.
  • Does it get your message across in the best way possible?

These questions need to be considered a lot before diving in and picking any extension…

Step 2 – Upload your widget:

For this, you need to go on to Magento Connect and obtain the extension key for the widget. Once you’ve got the key from your extension, click the install now button. Thoroughly read the license agreement, and if it all seems good then click the get extension key button. Copy this key.

 

Magento connect manager
 

Now, to implement this go to Magento Admin Area -> System -> Magento Connect -> Magento Connect Manager. The page (as above) will come up and it will ask you to log in again, so log in and get paste the extension key you copied earlier in to the Paste extension key field. Now click on the Install button.

Step 3 – Try it out!

Wait until the installation is complete, once done you should now be able to use this widget.

To implement your widget in to your pages, go to CMS -> Pages (Via the Magento admin panel).

Select the specific page you’d like your widget to appear (which is probably going to be the homepage, but if not locate that other page), click on content (appearing on the left hand side) and then click on the insert widget icon.

 

Insert Widget Icon
 

That should open up a new page with a drop down menu. Choose the widget you want to implement and click insert widget.

You’re all done! Click on save page, now it’s time to check if the widget is working. If it is, congratulations! That’s where the tutorial ends, if it doesn’t work then you may have incorrectly followed some of the instructions and it’s probably best to delete the widget entirely and start again!

We hope you enjoyed how to upload a Magento widget, if you’d like more simple tutorials like this then please comment below. Otherwise, have a great week all 🙂

How to upload a theme to Magento

How to upload a theme to Magento:

We have talked about Magento themes once or twice in the past, however, this time we’re back with how to upload a theme to Magento!

https://www.wow-zone.com/blog/5-best-practices-for-magento-design/

Anyway, as mentioned in previous articles, your theme reflects your business. Keeping that in mind, it’s important to ensure you choose a theme that fits your business’. Today, we’re just going to tell you how to upload a Magento theme so you can do it yourself. If you’re on a budget but need your theme installed properly, this is the article for you! Without further ado, here is how to upload a theme to Magento:

Step 1 – Identify your Magento theme:

As mentioned before, we don’t exaggerate when we say your Magento theme really does represent your business. So the best place to start is have a think about the following:

  • Company colours.
  • Company ethics.
  • Company messages.

Which theme will get these across to your users the best?

Other important things to consider – is it optimised for:

  • SEO?
  • Speed?
  • Magento hosting?

Alternatively, you can create (or have someone create) a custom Magento theme that is tailored to your business requirements. Here’s a cost-benefit analysis we’ve done regarding custom vs pre-made themes to help you make up your mind.

https://www.wow-zone.com/blog/custom-vs-pre-made-magento-themes/

Step 2 – Upload your theme:

Once you open up a theme’s details page, click the install now button (make sure you select the mangento connect version). Then, agree to the license agreement and click get extension key (then copy it).

Now, to implement this go to Magento Admin Area -> System -> Magento Connect -> Magento Connect Manager. It will come up with a screen where it will ask you to log in again, so log in and get paste the extension key you copied earlier in to the Paste extension key field. Now click on the Install button.

Magento connect manager

Step 3 – Activating your theme:

Once the installation is completed, go back to your Magento admin area, and direct yourself to Themes via System -> Configuration -> Design -> Themes.

Now, insert your theme name in the default field and click save config!

Design
The name you put into the default field is usually related to the theme name. So if your theme is called hello, you’d put “hello” into the default field.

Now the only thing left to do is admire your handy work…that’s right we’re done now! It’s as simple as that folks, there’s not an extremely long process involved here just a few simple things.

5 conventional ways to drive more traffic to your Magento site!

5 conventional ways to drive more traffic to your Magento site and increase sales!

All eCommerce websites rely on a constant volume of traffic to keep their website “on the map” and secure them sales. On our #MagentoMonday segments we waffle on about conversion a lot, but what good is converting visitors on your site if there is no-one to “convert”? 

Create content:

As you know, we wouldn’t advise anything we haven’t tried ourselves. Well, we can tell you we generate hundreds of more website visits per month by publishing our #MagentoMonday AND #inthezone posts. We only publish two posts a week, but who’s to stop your website doing 3 or 4? Initially, you’d want to start at one post per week, to keep everything manageable. After getting into the habit of one per week, push yourself for two then three etc. If you need to, hire a content writer. There are plenty of freelance content writers out there, however, it is a lot cheaper to do this in-house! For most of our clients, we publish regular blog posts in order to get their online presence up. If you feel like your SEO is lacking, give us a call on 0121 285 1100 and let’s talk about how we can grow your brand! On top of this, we are now beginning to upload regular videos to our YouTube channel. As you know not everyone likes to read, some people find visual information more fun to process. There are many different ways of publishing content, try them all and see what works for you! 

Submit your content to Reddit:

Following on from my point of publishing content; if you think people will genuinely find your content entertaining or useful, submitting it to a website like Reddit will bring in those extra few views. Just be careful not to look spammy as people will be able to tell straight away whether you’re genuine or not. If you’re an e-commerce site, you may even be able to bring in a few orders from aggregator sites like Reddit. 

E-mail marketing: 

It’s amazing what a regular e-mail marketing campaign can do for you. Not only does it have the ability to generate sales, it keeps you “front of mind” with your potential customers. It doesn’t take long to set-up a good e-mail campaign, you can even do it for free using software like MailChimp! Make sure to include the necessary call to actions and try to encourage sales without forcing them…

Social Media Support:

You always hear digital agencies blab on about how social media is a “great tool” to support your business. Well, that’s because they’re right. If you go on our channels, you can see that our content is able to get a lot more exposure. Once you get into publishing content on your social channels regularly, you’ll enjoy it! For us, it seems like less of a chore now and more of a “fun task”. Remember; be different, experiment with different types of content and eventually you’ll hit the jackpot of engagement!

Don’t neglect on-page SEO:

The purpose of on-page SEO is to increase your visibility on search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. This is still considered as one of the most important tactics to boost your website traffic. Try and target keywords which aren’t very competitive, otherwise, your website will get lost on page 10+. For example, if you’re a business selling bikes, you wouldn’t use the keyword “Cycle”. Instead, you’d probably go with something like “Cannondale Mountain Bike 19″ wheels and mudguards”. On top of this, use the keyword a few times in your content to strengthen that specific page’s SEO and increase your chance of visibility via search engines.

These are just a few of many ways to drive more traffic to your Magento site. We implement tactics like these on a daily basis to ensure our clients are satisfied and it allows us to bring results to the table! If you aren’t happy with the volume of traffic, level of sales or anything else similar to this, contact with us NOW! We offer a no-obligations free report which highlights where improvements can be made on your site…

CALL NOW: 0121 285 1100

5 tips to create an amazing Magento design

5 tips to create an amazing Magento design

A good Magento store is built on a few different components and good design is one of them. It is imperative that the design is spot on for your website as this is what will attract visitors/keep them on your site. With that being said, we wanted to focus on design this week. So here are 5 tips to create an amazing Magento design:

Set objectives for design:

Every time we have to build any kind of store/website, we always go through this phase. You have to really sit down and think what your website’s objectives are. Generally speaking, Magento is mainly used for e-commerce stores. So the main objective of said stores is usually high conversion. Then you have to think how will I achieve this? If you’re working with an agency like us, don’t be afraid to ask them for their advice!

Map your customer’s journey:

Following on nicely from the last point, now it’s time to map your customer’s journey! You have to think about where you want the journey to start and end. Keep in mind these two points:

  • Customers will not want to go through loads of landing pages before they reach the end destination.
  • If a certain page is taking too long to load, they might just back out.

Have clear, actionable text:

We’ve all heard of call to actions and if you haven’t then it’s probably best to just turn the screen off and walk away (just kidding). Having call to actions is a great way of getting your site visitors to do what you want them to. People literally need to be told exactly what to do, so make sure there is no ambiguity. For example, saying “Click here for 20% off” is a generic example…we’re sure you can do better! Get creative and play around with a few different examples. Another thing to mention is that by having CTAs, it reduces bounce rate. People aren’t coming on to your domain and just leaving straight away because you’ve told them to interact with your site!

Use different forms of multimedia:

Once people are on your website, keep them interested. ­­Did you know visual information is processed 60,000 times faster than just text? Well, now you do! It’s worth mentioning that you can also combine CTAs with images. For example, you can make a banner clickable. On this banner you can have a CTA so it’s a little more compelling. Just remember to experiment with different banner designs and text…

Work closely with designers:

You, as a businessman, have a vision for your website. The best way to communicate this vision is working closely with the designer, period. At Wow Zone, we have set procedures in place to ensure the client’s needs are being fulfilled by our team. This includes regular meetings, expert opinions from our CEOS and more.

NOTE: Don’t forget that if the designer says something is for the better, it probably is. Don’t doubt their expertise.

That finally concludes this week’s Magento Monday article. Stay tuned for next week because we have some powerful information coming to you STRAIGHT from our designers/developers. Have an awesome week and stay classy.

Your Complete Magento Digital Guide

Your Complete Magento Digital Guide!

Magento Monday is BACK and we’re switching things up AGAIN. This week we’ve compiled a COMPLETE Magento guide to help with all aspects of your website. Topics include Magento SEO, design tips, conversion tactics, hosting and more. Here is your complete Magento digital guide:

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation):

First comes SEO, a very popular topic. The objective of SEO (search engine optimisation) is to help businesses achieve the top search results on search engines. This can be done in many ways…a few tactics include uploading blog content, building your brand through social media, improving the status of your backlink profile etc. Magento SEO is a little different, these articles take that into consideration:

Site speed:

Site speed is extremely important when it comes to building a website. It’s just a given, really. Users look for a good experience. It takes a person 3-5 seconds to decide whether they want to stay on a website. Don’t let your site speed make them leave your domain before you’re even given a chance to impress them:

Conversion:

Magento conversion doesn’t have to be as tricky as it’s made out to be. Sometimes businesses overlook the simpler and effective methods of gaining conversions. Methods such as adding an after sales review option or optimising content can make a world of difference. Take a look at some of our favourite (and cost effective) ways of streamlining your website:

Checkout improvement:

Staying on the topic of conversions, we also have articles which focus on optimising your shopping cart experience. The checkout process is the final stage of the transaction. It’s not uncommon for people to drop their shopping cart and go to an alternative website, even if they are at the very last stages of purchasing. Here are some proven methods of improving the checkout experience for your customers:

Single vs Multi-Step Checkout:

Before streamlining your checkout process, there comes a much more important decision. This is obviously whether you’ll be implementing a single or multi-step checkout process. They both hold their own advantages; generally speaking, none is better than the other. However, when put in context what kind of business you own and the products you sell, choosing one over the other can mean the difference between a 3% or 5% conversion rate. In our “single vs multi-page Magento checkout” article you can find advantages and disadvantages for both types of checkout, thus helping you decide which is right for you:

Hack-proofing your site:

Using the tactics mentioned above (if executed successfully) will give your website a huge overall boost in the form of sales, website traffic, user experience etc. However; what’s the use of a great site if it’s prone to be hacked? No-one can guarantee your website won’t be hacked. So it’s your responsibility to prepare for these situations in the most efficient manner. These articles will improve your chances of a cyber disaster:

Easy read articles:

Looking for an easier, less serious read? Well, then we have the perfect articles for you! These next 3 Magento blog posts include fun facts and cool websites:

There you have it, a complete guide of the basic necessities a Magento site needs to be successful.

5 breathtaking Magento eCommerce themes

5 breathtaking Magento eCommerce themes:

Your website is a reflection of your business and therefore, it must be perfect. One of the initial stages of designing up a website is choosing a theme. For our own clients, we code a theme from scratch. This is because it’s hard to meet the exact requirements for a website using a pre-designed theme. However, for those that cannot afford a theme to be designed from scratch, here are 5 breathtaking Magento eCommerce themes:

Argento:

Rated 4.7/5 on Magento Connect and seeing all the detailed reviews, it’s hard to not be convinced by Argento’s beautifully designed theme! Not to mention it has been labelled as the world’s “most responsive Magento theme” in the past. It is also powered by 14 really popular extensions, some of which include; ajax search, easy slider, product highlight and easy catalog images!

Take a look at what they have to offer on their website.

Shopper:

My first thoughts upon viewing this theme is that it is very elegant in nature. It creates simplicity using great spacing and colour. Some of its features include:

  • Hover for product images – Allows you to set the second image as hover for product thumbnails.
  • Flexible navigation menu – Have as many columns as you want.
  • Quick view – View a product without going to another page.

Take a look for yourself here.

JM Siotis:

This particular theme is described as a “street style theme for fashion stores”. As well as being highly responsive, it also boasts 6 exciting extensions. Some of which include JM Ajax Cart, JM Product, JM Mega Menu and JM Basetheme. This enables you to have “unlimited colour choices for your site with much less effort spent on customisation”.

Take a look for yourself here. 

Ultimo:

Ultimo is dubbed as a “fluid responsive Magento theme”. Again; it’s another simple yet beautiful design. Similar to JM Siotis, this theme also has unlimited colour customisability. This is extremely important as it allows you to use your brand colours so your whole brand image is consistent! It also boasts a “no coding needed” policy. Ultimo claims that everything can be edited directly through the admin panel, so if you’re not keen on coding this may be for you!

Take a look for yourself here.

Fortis:

Fortis features a very clean looking and sleek design with, again, unlimited colour customisation. It states that it was designed with customer experience and usability in mind, making shopping “quick, easy and fun”. If you’re thinking of opening multiple Magento store, this theme also supports that.

Take a look for yourself here.

We did an article previously on custom vs pre-made Magento themes which you can find here. This article is purely for those who cannot afford to fork out a lot of money in getting a custom theme designed. Otherwise, a custom theme is the way forward! We’ve designed many custom Magento (and even non-Magento) themes in the past. One example of this is OakFurnitureKing! If you’re thinking of starting your own Magento project, give us a call now on 0121 285 1100

4 ways to make your site disaster proof this Christmas!

4 ways to make your site disaster proof this Christmas!

Christmas is literally around the corner, I could squeal with excitement! For the sake of everyone’s ears I won’t, however I’ve decided to do a quick article on 4 ways to make your site disaster proof this Christmas!. Put your feet up and enjoy the read. Don’t forget to also have an awesome Christmas!

Make sure you’ll be able to handle the traffic:

One thing that can make your website lose out on a load of sales and potentially make you look unprofessional is not being able to handle high amounts of traffic. If your website can’t keep up with the users on the site, it will either a) slow everything down for everyone on the domain or b) stop people from entering as it will have reached its limit. If you are expecting large amounts of traffic, speak to your hosting provider to possibly discuss another hosting plan which will be more beneficial to you!

Ensure CTAs are clear:

People are still shopping last minute for their presents; guide them around your website with clear call to actions. The aim is to get everyone on to your Christmas sale section; designing a banner is a classic but effective way of doing this. Add some compelling text to it with nice visual imagery that fits your brand image, then hyperlink it to your clearance section and VOILA! You’ve got yourself a deadly combination.

Continually test your site for mobile:

With mobile users overtaking desktop browsers this year, there’s no doubt most of the visitors on your website will be shopping from their handheld device! If your website is not optimised for mobile use, you’re not only going to be driving away traffic, you’ll also be losing out on so many potential sales. What’s important to note is if you make a sale during the Christmas period, a customer may buy off you again in the near future as you will be in the back of their mind. If your website is driving away mobile users, these users may well go to your competition and then become a repeat customer of them. So, not only are you losing out on that one off sale, you may be missing future purchases…Think about that for a minute.

Ensure you’re using the right search feature:

By default, Magento comes with a pretty sub-standard search feature. Those with the default search feature should definitely look to improve it. People are going to be using your search feature over Christmas, so you have to make sure they’re able to find what they’re looking for. There are many ways you can do this:

  1. Improve tolerance of misspellings
  2. Add an auto suggest feature
  3. Use labels/synonyms

I won’t go into these right now as I have already done a Magento website search guide. You can find that here, it will explain all the basic types of search on Magento and how you can add features!

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, 4 ways to make your site disaster proof this Christmas!! We’d just like to announce that after this, Magento Monday will be back on the 4th January. This is to ensure that we can spend time with our families during this holiday period! Happy holidays people 🙂