| 6:52 pm on Jan 8, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@werty - tell us how it goes!
@jennienina - I always hesitate recommending platforms as it's usually trying to decide a lesser of evils. Not in the platform itself, but in the migration and how your SEO will recover.
Many of my clients talk about Volusion's limitations when it comes to comparison shopping campaigns. To my knowledge a merchant is unable to auto-export a product inventory to send to comparison shopping engines and must do it manually each time, a pain if your product details or inventory updates frequently.
Each store has it's limitations. I'm curious to see what the merchants on this forum recommend.
| 8:13 am on Jan 10, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I'm a bit old school.
1. I'll get up every morning (if I'm not dead)
2. Take a shower, eat breakfast...used to kiss my wife of 29 years, but she's dead so that's not happening.
3. Get to work doing what I have been successfully doing for 40 years---21 of them on the web.
In commerce some of us are Robert E Lee, some are Ulysses S Grant. Hopefully not Napoleon at Waterloo...but we are in a war for dollars. We must conduct our campaigns to victory, and some to defeat, and always regroup to start at #1 above. Every Day.
No shortcuts, no magic bullets.
But if you truly believe, I don't have a Bridge to sell you in New York, nor a grand Aerie in Colorado. Best I can offer is hard work, an urge to do trend following, and HAVING WHAT PEOPLE WANT TO PURCHASE. And a good merchant support company (bank/payment processor). Lack any of the above and... that tiptoe through the tulips will be marginally interesting (and expensive).
| 8:47 am on Jan 10, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Well said tangor!
| 3:41 am on Jan 12, 2011 (gmt 0)|
My goals for 2011
(1) Move to a new e-commerce platform (away from my custom platform)
(3) SEO, SEO, SEO
I am looking for advice and comments on monthly leased e-commerce platforms such as Volusion, Big Commerce, 3-D Cart -- Any opinions?
They are all pretty good :)
I would also look at pinnacle cart.
Also the self hosted x-cart and cs-cart - my 2 favorites.
| 6:50 pm on Jan 12, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Might want to check out BigCommerce. Anyone have dealings with them?
| 4:23 am on Jan 15, 2011 (gmt 0)|
BigCommerce is based on Interspire which has been a big letdown for me. No SKU control, search is terrible, backend didn't work with Firefox (JS issue). I spent $1800 on the software and untold hours and I regret it.
| 9:09 am on Jan 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@gpilling - thanks for the heads up. What do you mean by no SKU control?
| 2:25 pm on Jan 16, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Some good e-commerce tips:
11 Ecommerce Tips for 2011
| 7:04 pm on Jan 24, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Those are some great website tips. I would add the importance of allocating sufficient resources to establish effective multi-channel selling.
| 6:35 pm on Jan 26, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Great thread! We've got a few new things we're working on. Adding more and better images for products, really rethinking site navigation so customers can find what they're looking for more easily, now using an order fulfillment house so orders ship quickly without us having to worry about it - real vacations, yay!
Anyone want to report back with how much Ordoro costs? I couldn't find pricing anywhere on their site, at least not without signing up for their demo. I hate it when companies won't just come out and tell you what their product/service costs.
| 10:05 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)|
raijen, great idea to improve your images- studies prove that there's a relationship between image quality and conversion rates.
| 3:13 pm on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|Anyone want to report back with how much Ordoro costs? I couldn't find pricing anywhere on their site, at least not without signing up for their demo. I hate it when companies won't just come out and tell you what their product/service costs. |
That's actually another topic that is a fit for this thread, to be up front about pricing. Businesses who are doing this are LOSING countless visitors who by hiding the price for two reasons - One because if the price isn't visible, people assume it's because it's overpriced and you're going to have to deal with a pushy sales rep. And the second reason, because when someone REALLY wants to know they start Googling to see if anyone might have let it slip out somewhere, and competitors of the products have used that advantage to SHOW their price, and why their product is better, on the very pages where people were discussing the one you're looking at.
And another +1 on the images, photos are huge. I know that I personally get tired of seeing the same crappy stock photos over and over again, it makes me think you're a drop shipper. And it's OK if you're a drop shipper - but if I know you're a drop shipper, I'm more likely to price shop because I know that product is probably on 1000 other sites too.
| 8:45 pm on Jan 30, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Shooting original product pictures, often with models, is financially out of the question for most of us. But amateur photography of the eBay variety is unacceptable too. I take pride in the quality and uniqueness of the photos we use. Using good photography is smart business too.
We're not a drop shipper. We're a well established B/M retailer. We use photos from our suppliers, a nearly universal practice in our niche. But because we've been in business many years, we have access to older shots never seen on the web. And unlike 95% of our competitors, we crop and optimize even the professional photography we use.
To get back to the topic, we do occasionally replace bad photos with better ones especially where the product is selling poorly. Recently, we nearly doubled the sales of one item simply by switching to a more attractive product shot.
| 12:06 am on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Yeah, photos are huge. For some reason other people in my niche typically use appallingly bad photos. I'm not sure why. On many of then, you'd be hard pressed to even know what you're buying, judging by the photo. I did photography of one type or another for 30 years, so I have no problem. It's a pain in the butt doing it, but it's very important.
| 4:54 pm on Jan 31, 2011 (gmt 0)|
|That's actually another topic that is a fit for this thread, to be up front about pricing. Businesses who are doing this are LOSING countless visitors who by hiding the price for two reasons - One because if the price isn't visible, people assume it's because it's overpriced and you're going to have to deal with a pushy sales rep. And the second reason, because when someone REALLY wants to know they start Googling to see if anyone might have let it slip out somewhere, and competitors of the products have used that advantage to SHOW their price, and why their product is better, on the very pages where people were discussing the one you're looking at. |
Exactly! If pricing isn't upfront I start to wonder what they have to be sneaky about.
We sell a lot of software - not a whole lot of different ways to shoot that. :) What we'll be doing is more screenshots, pointing out navigational features, etc. A lot of work but I think it will be worth it. Webinars and video tutorials would probably be good, too.
Another thing I want to do is add some interior pages to our sites. Most of our site is straight shopping cart/catalog. We get pretty good rankings but I'd like to see people coming to us for information as well as products.
| 2:44 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Video can be useful, we're starting to use this a little more with the development company. I *hate* putting website templates up for sale as a web page because it's too easy to steal them (and if there is some jackass still using IE 6, the site will "work" but he really won't get the true experience other users will, so he's not "seeing" the site as he could be). A screenshot doesn't really get the point across of the functionality of a site, hovers, zooms, etc. Video is a win for web design, because we can demonstrate the site as it functions, in a modern browser, without the risk of giving up the code and assets.
But back to the pictures for a minute, jsinger, have you thought about trying to streamline the photography process and do several at once? If you put a camera on a tripod and use a lightbox and proper lighting, you can light the area you're shooting on a true white background. When you do that, and set the white balance on the camera, you'll need little to no cropping after the shot. We have some customers that have dedicated an area of their location just to this, and most of their product photos go right from the camera to the website (the shopping cart automatically scales them to the correct sizes for displaying after uploading).
Since they're also a clothing retailer, they have done shoots with models but also use a torso mannequin.
| 10:52 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)|
Great thread !
1) Find some banner ad publishers that offer realistic rates for me
2) Improve my shopping cart
3) Investigate shopping comparison sites
| 3:35 pm on Feb 18, 2011 (gmt 0)|
@digitalv great point about pricing. Helped change our mind about displaying it.
@jsinger images are so powerful. I just hate that it's so easy for them to steal unless there are very visible (and sometimes obnoxious) water marks. Even worse, some shopping engines won't accept images with watermarks. They have legitimate reasons, but it doesn't help retailers who invest valuable resources into their image creation.
@raijen very cool. I'm all hyped about the power of video and implementing it more on our site. Great correlation with conversions.
@Digimen1 listing on Google Product Search and TheFind.com?
| 3:05 am on Feb 19, 2011 (gmt 0)|
All under the general heading of reversing the flow of money:
1) Take the time to focus, HARD, on this topic
2) teach others to make what I make so as to multiply my time vis a vis production and free up more time for marketing (SEO is part of that package)
3)learn how to make a/b testing work easily enough that I can afford the time to do it. Somebody somewhere has published a tutorial on this that I just haven't found yet.
I've always operated in the red and, as long as it was a matter of nickles & dimes and I was earning dollars elsewhere, I could afford to do this. But I've come to a point where I need my online efforts to do much more than simply pay their own way ... they've got to start paying mine, too.
BTW ... all good posts so far. I hadn't considered hiring a fulfillment house. How does that work with one-of-a-kind products?
| 6:34 pm on Feb 21, 2011 (gmt 0)|
I would think that order fulfillment might be difficult for one of a kind products, if you're talking about personalized or handmade items. If it's just something unique that can be manufactured in bulk, though, a center would probably work well. When we were looking at different fulfillment options it seemed that the less skus you had the better your pricing.
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