BigCommerce and Your WordPress Site

WordPress is an amazing option for businesses that are just starting out with their online presence. The WooCommerce plugin allows businesses to easily add eCommerce functionality to WordPress websites. Since late 2018, there has been a new option for WordPress users to dip their toes into the eCommerce world. Businesses no longer have to choose between WordPress’ flexible platform and BigCommerce’s proven eCommerce engine. For WordPress-based entrepreneurs wondering if they should consider adding BigCommerce to their site, here are some factors to consider.

Your Content and Your Commerce

If you have a well-established WordPress site, you undoubtedly have built a network of content related to your business. While migrating that information to a new platform is possible, it is a time consuming and sometimes risky procedure. If you have dedicated time to building your brand through WordPress, the BigCommerce plugin is a great way to add the checkout options your business needs. 

Increasing Your Scalability

If your business is growing, adding BigCommerce’s functionality is a great option. As you start to do more business on your site, the increased activity can drag down your page’s performance. Letting BigCommerce handle the eCommerce side of your business will leave your content pages running smoothly as your user interactions grow. You get all of the advantages of your WordPress site and BigCommerce’s powerful eCommerce platform. 

More eCommerce Options

Choosing BigCommerce for your WordPress site means WordPress developers can quickly add a huge array of eCommerce options to your site. For example, with the BigCommerce plugin, you have access to 65 payment gateways and seamless access to all major global carriers for your shipping needs. Shopping carts developed through this BigCommerce platform can easily integrate sales and discount codes from your website and make the user experience quick and easy. You can also use this BigCommerce plugin to expand your business’ sales across multiple popular platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and eBay.

Additional Security 

Adding BigCommerce to your WordPress site means that you can use their secure checkout service. Working with BigCommerce means that your checkout process is PCI secure out of the box. You will not have to worry about securing your customer data as your business expands. 

 

If you feel like your business is growing beyond your WordPress’ sites current capabilities, adding BigCommerce’s plugin might just be the perfect way to handle your checkout process. If you’re not ready to move off your established site, but you need to broaden your eCommerce horizons, this plug-in is a perfect way to get the best of both worlds. 

Here at Genius eCommerce, we are dedicated to helping your eCommerce business succeed. To stay up to date on the latest eCommerce news and tips, check back in with us for regular updates.

 

Choosing a Design Theme for your eCommerce Site

The web design theme you use for your eCommerce site can have a major impact on your business. Whether this is positive or negative depends on how much research you put into your decision.

Consider your users: The number one criteria when choosing a theme is your user base. Many businesses that are trying to appeal to a young and trendy audience will have the most success with modern minimal templates. This style is currently in vogue and does not provide an abundance of distractions from your call to action. Flat themes typically feature light backgrounds and darker text, making your content really pop off the page.

A full-width template is a great option to achieve a very contemporary look. For a more traditional design, a boxed width design is another great choice. These templates include a border around your content and tend to be perfect for websites marketing to other businesses.

No matter what theme option you choose, you will have some empty space on your page. While it might be tempting to fill that negative space, it’s important to avoid over-saturating the user. If you have a lot to say, consider a simple link to another page where you can go more in-depth.

Choose the right header: A strong header sends a strong message. As soon as a user lands on your page, the header should be the first thing that draws their eye. A bold, bright image is truly worth a thousand words. You can tell an entire story about your brand with the right combination of graphics and text at the top of your page. If that story appeals to your user base, it will leave them hungry for more information.

You also want to be sure that your header leaves enough space for users to want to continue their journey through your site. A header that takes up half of your page might make your website appear underdeveloped.

Instead of extending your header vertically, you might want to extend its width beyond the rest of your content, guiding users from the literal big picture to the important details about your business. The right balance between the “curb appeal” of your header and the substance to back it up will be what keeps users interacting with your website.

Check out your competition: If your business has competitors with a successful website, take some time to navigate them. It’s never a great idea to use the exact page template as a competitor, noting their successful layout features will help you improve your own site.

Does your lead competitor place their menu above or below the header? How do they lay out their links or organize their products? All of these factors can contribute to their success and might be a huge help when deciding what your customers want to see for your business.

You should also consider the inverse, what does their site lack? Are there clunky or unnecessary features on the competition’s website? Avoiding their mistakes is a great way to give your site a superior layout.

Menu designs: Your menus are your user’s travel guide to the rest of your website. You need menus to point users towards your products and more information on what you offer as a brand. Whether you feature a simple dropdown menu or what a custom designed mega menu, making your site easy to navigate is key to retaining users and increasing visit durations.

Factors like whether you want to include subcategories to your menu can affect the ease of use for your website. A challenging menu will lead to increased bounce rates, but having too many subcategories can be confusing to users. Be sure to test your own menus and make sure they serve as an efficient gateway for visitors to understand you and your product line.

Branding: What is more important to you, your brand or your products? The idea of your brand is important, and how you feature it on your site will send a message to users. You definitely want your pages to prominently feature your brand logo so visitors will see and remember it.

If your brand is the focal point of your business, you will want that logo front and center. This works well for businesses that are selling a “lifestyle” that goes with their products. For markets like footwear, sometimes having a popular brand of shoes is more important than having shoes in general to consumers. These businesses will want to display that brand first and the products second.

If you want your products to speak for your brand, placing your logo off to the side or in a corner might be a better choice. This placement will give visitors an idea of who you are, while still maintaining your site design’s focal point to display your products. For businesses that want customers to display their product’s utility, or do not have powerful brand recognition, this product fronted design will focus visitors’ interest on what you have to offer.

 

Keep your business up to date with Genius eCommerce. Our experts compile news and tips on every facet of eCommerce so you can always find new ways to improve your site and your business.

Optimizing for Online-to-Offline (O2O) Commerce

Online-to-offline commerce has brought online customers to brick and mortar stores. This business strategy uses emails and internet advertisements to entice online customers to come to the physical stores. The strategy is designed to create a seamless shopping experience, bringing the digital store together with the physical location. While online shopping continues to gain popularity, it is estimated that 82.5% of all retail sales will continue to happen as offline sales as late as 2021.

In digital marketing, this means optimization efforts in online marketing campaigns need to address the need for O2O strategies for a lot of eCommerce clients. Omni-channel commerce and multi-channel marketing encompass a broader, retail-specific approach that looks at the way the modern day consumer shops.

81% of shoppers today look at an online store before deciding to make a purchase, even when they choose to go to retail locations. For retailers, this means sales conversions are not so simple. A customer may look at a product on the website and choose not to purchase the item on the website, but it could still have been a sales conversion once the customer gets to the store.

The Basics of O2O

Before creating a complex marketing campaign, it’s important to understand exactly what O2O is and how it differs from traditional cross-platform marketing. A great example of O2O is free shipping on items purchased online to the physical location.

Offering the savings on shipping to customers gets them into the physical store, which could lead to them making a purchase in the store, as well. At the very least, it gets people into the physical location. It also lessens the burden of those looking online but not making the purchase, which can impact the conversion rates of a business. By looking at those transactions as successful conversions, a company can better assess the ROI of their marketing efforts.

Accepting returns at retail locations from purchases made online is another effective way of getting online customers in the door. Essentially, any process or customer experience that can be done either on or offline will increase the presence of customers at both. The easier a company can make the transition for customers, the more often they will make the transition.

When channels are treated as separate entities rather than as facets of the same business, a retailer creates a competitor for themselves. Merging business efforts into one business and customer platform or experience makes it easier on customers and puts more money in the pockets of business owners.

Impact on Major eCommerce

Many customers still enjoy going into a store, touching the merchandise, and often trying products out or on, then walking out with the merchandise in hand. In fact, 70% of millennials still prefer shopping in stores. Major brands in eCommerce noticed this gap and began opening storefronts that addressed the issue.

However, bringing the digital world into the physical locations could be just as important. Nordstrom is one of the largest fashion retailers in the country and has implemented data-driven experiences at retail locations that personalize the shopping experience for customers.

This works by tracking, following, and analyzing online customers. They use the information to decide which products to promote and how to promote them. While that isn’t terribly unique, the way they have brought it into their stores has made for a more personal experience for customers.

There is an opt-in app that pushes the online profile of customers to the salespeople working once they enter the store. This helps real-life workers personalize the shopping experience of in-person customers the way websites push products customers will likely enjoy.

The business model puts the focus on making the most personalized shopping experience for customers, which is one of the most important aspects for most consumers. Whether it is through online channels or at their favorite store, customers want to see the products they most like and have it customized to their unique needs. O2O provides the opportunity for companies to optimize based on this need and encourage returning customers by allowing similar options both on and offline.

shopping online to offline ecommerce

Click and Collect Shopping

In the first half of 2016, it was reported over half of retailers offered click-and-collect shopping services with 72% of customers taking advantage of the option. It seems customers like the ease of looking at products online but still want to have the feeling of walking out of a store with their items. Retail sales through this method have enticed online shoppers that would normally select what they want and check out to look around at what is being offered in-store.

However, instant gratification isn’t what every customer is looking for. In fact, 70% of online customers are happy with the cheapest form of home delivery and wouldn’t be willing to pay more for instant, same-day, or reliable timed delivery. For digital marketers, this means paying attention to the target audience of every client.

While an opt-in app made a more customizable experience for those looking for the higher end experience of Nordstrom, it’s unlikely a customer shopping for toilet paper at the closest store to their house would want the same experience.

Instead, looking at the purchasing trends of the client and their top competitors to customize how O2O is implemented into each business is key. Since customers are looking for an individual experience more often than not, it makes good business sense to treat a business’s specific customers differently than the average consumer.

At Genius eCommerce, we provide relevant industry news for online merchants and vendors to keep them up to date on trends that affect their sales and web traffic.

Tips That Can Increase B2B eCommerce Sales and Repeat Customers

B2B eCommerce can be more complex than B2C, especially when it comes to acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers. The effort required by sales teams is much more intense for businesses.

Selling to new business obviously keeps things moving and improves your brand, it is the longevity of keeping existing customers that has a greater impact and should be the focus.

When it comes to tips for increasing your sales and keeping existing customers, many are the same, just applied differently based on the situation. Today, we will look at some of those tips and the way they can be applied for new customers and repeat customers.

This is who we are and what we do at Genius eCommerce. We are here to provide tips, tricks, trends and updates on everything eCommerce to keep you informed.

Customer Profiling – Creating customer profiles helps provide an understanding of the requirements and problem areas of a customer and help you deduct the cost of acquiring or retaining the customer. For new customers, you should create a profile that helps you identify the best target buyer persona. Identify technical or business needs and create messages that help solve these problems. For repeat customers, you are going to have better knowledge of the needs and problem areas. With that in mind, create a customer profile based on lifetime value and keep track of purchases and ongoing activity.

Personalization – B2B customers have higher expectations, so meeting them can require a lot of personalization. For new customers, use the customer profiles to segment based on requirements and purchase potential and use the information to offer relevant content and messaging based on preferences, industry and browsing history. For repeat customers, use the existing data to recommend more specific products at the right time.

Customer Service – It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a prospective new customer or repeat customers, providing quality customer service is always necessary. Use multiple channels to offer support, address concerns from customers, answer questions, provide product demos and make things easy for the customer in an effort to improve the relationship.

Trust Building – Branching off of customer service, remaining honest and transparent with customers can increase your credibility. For new customers, display positive reviews and testimonials, deliver products on time and make all policies easy to access. For repeat customers, take account of their feedback, act appropriately on negative reviews, be sensitive in protecting user data and always try to deliver a pleasant experience.

Incentives – Customers of all sorts love incentives, getting a little something that makes a sale more worth it to them. For new customers, offer a free trial or discount period, perhaps free shipping or installation. For repeat customers, provide incentives for them helping to promote your business through social media, testimonials and making repeat purchases.

Increasing customer engagement can help you bring in new customers and stay involved with repeat customers. All of this helps build up a trust, which can help take your business to new heights.

If you found these tips helpful, keep reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more. This is who we are and what we do. We provide updates, tips, tricks and trends on everything in the eCommerce industry.

Converse with Customers for an Improved User Experience

User experience is a factor that has been subject to a number of trends in eCommerce over the last few years. If you are not making the experience as easy and simple as possible for your customers, or at least providing the necessary resources to make the shopping experience a quality one, you are falling behind on your competition.

One of the ways you can improve the overall user experience is to increase conversations with your customers and connect with them.

Today, we at Genius eCommerce will look closer at this trend and why it is important. This is who we are and what we do, staying up to date on eCommerce trends to keep you informed.

User experience designer and consultant Sarah Doody told Shopify in a recent post that “the path to conversion is not about clicks but about conversation.” She notes that we should think about starting the conversation with prospective buyers at the top of the funnel so that the rest of the experience can be tailored and customized to them.

There is also the need to keep returning customers engaged. This should happen in a timely manner so that there can be a better understanding of how to improve future experiences and get feedback that can be critical to your success.

It is only logical to start the process of communication early. In sales, you wouldn’t wait to communicate in hopes of making a sale, you would communicate early and build a rapport before eventually making your pitch. That connection goes a long way in leading to conversions.

Why is it so important to build a relationship? It becomes more about the brand than the sale. Rather than focusing on making one quick sale, building a connection with the customer focuses on driving home the message of the brand. It becomes more about a long-term relationship than a one-time sale.

Ultimately, this can lead to greater brand success. It makes the brand and therefore the eCommerce experience seem more human, even in a virtual setting.

Customer service is one of the most important qualities for customers. Someone may be willing to buy the first time, but they will become long-term customers from interaction and quality service should problems arise. It also helps to be able to address these possible issues or take care of questions early. Don’t wait for someone to approach you with the problem. Request for new customers to sign up for a newsletter or for exclusive offers that can keep them coming back. Use the newsletter or a blog to provide ongoing information to keep customers educated and informed so they feel like they are being cared for, even when they are not actively making a purchase.

The customer experience can make all of the difference in creating a long-term relationship with a customer or even getting a customer to purchase at all. Some of that has to do with performance, how quickly the website functions, how effectively you display the products and personalization. But creating a dialogue with customers and having a conversation can allow you to tap into information that can help you improve the experience for your customers, and that is valuable feedback that can only help you grow.

Was this information helpful to you? At Genius eCommerce, we stay on top of everything from trends to news in the eCommerce industry so you stay informed. This is who we are and what we do. Continue reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more.

Why Excellent Customer Service is a Necessary eCommerce Trend

Shopping online is convenient. That’s why people love eCommerce. They can shop from anywhere at any time. With the growth of the eCommerce industry and the convenience it provides, having great customer service is important.

The customer experience can drive your entire business. It helps create repeat customers and gives you a solid reputation. Future customers may search for reviews on your business, and providing good customer service and a quality experience can lead to positive reviews that generate new business.

To make for a quality customer experience, you need to meet people’s expectations with a smooth checkout process, quick response to inquiries and a fast website.

At Genius eCommerce, it is our goal to be a source for trends in the eCommerce industry that you should know. This is who we are and what we do.

Here are some tips on how to achieve excellent customer service for your website.

Checkout – Any extra unnecessary steps should be eliminated. Many customers will start to abandon shopping carts if the checkout process takes too long. Focus on having customers fill out the essential information only and make the checkout process as quick and easy as possible and allow customers the capability of saving their information so they can check out even faster if they are a repeat customer.

Be Engaged and Responsive – An online presence gives you the opportunity to engage and interact with your customers. A timely response can be critical to achieving success in the eCommerce space. Customers may have several questions and if they are not addressed in a timely manner, they may go somewhere else to complete a purchase. There are many ways to interact whether you use social media, email, phone, or a live chat feature on your website. Having a live chat on your website is another growing trend within the industry that has been received well.

customer service

Personalization – The customer experience can be personalized by reading your customers purchase and browsing history. Websites that are developed well have the ability to complete this and read information about the customer through their histories to see what products they may be interested in. Consider how much Amazon has benefitted from this, recommending products based on previous purchases and searches to display products the customer is more likely to buy.

Feedback – If you are interactive with your customers, seek out feedback to find out what the perception of your business is and how you can improve. If there is criticism from a customer, address it. This is a great way to see which areas you excel in and which areas you need improvement, and it also shows a dedication to your customers that you are trying to improve and taking suggestions and criticism seriously.

By having a quality customer experience, you connect with your audience and can help influence future purchases with customers new and old alike. You can address any questions or issues with your customers and provide assistance for them.

Keep reading the Genius eCommerce blog for more updates, tips and trends on the eCommerce industry. This is who we are and what we do, and we want to keep you up to date on everything you need to know.

Creating a Better Online Experience: Attracting New eCommerce Customers & Keeping Existing Ones

Are you struggling to attract consumers to your eCommerce site? Or perhaps having trouble getting customers to return to your site? It’s normal for eCommerce sites to struggle at times as there are always a magnitude of competitors that consumers can choose from. In order to stand out amongst your competitors, it is necessary to offer the best experience possible to your website’s visitors. Start by understanding any problems that people have with your site, and use this information to better tailor your site to your core customer base. When it comes to eCommerce, there should be a large focus on ease of navigation, offering different buying platforms and offering incentives to position yourself as a competitive force in your industry.

 

Understand the Problem

The first step in improving your eCommerce customers’ online experience is understanding how you can improve. In order to do so, you have to do your research. The best way to understand how to further satisfy your customers is to directly ask them how you can improve.  To do so, create a short survey that asks detailed, easy to understand questions about visitors’ experiences with your website. Ask questions that will allow you to take the answers and use them to your advantage. For example, ask respondents how easy they found it to navigate your site. If you find that a lot of respondents found it hard to use your site efficiently, use this knowledge to redesign your site and create better user interface. Also read any reviews of your business that may be posted online, and look for any criticisms that may have been made. It is also helpful to visit competitor sites in order to see what they might be doing better than you, in order to learn how to develop your website.

Optimizing User Experience

There is always a way that you can improve your website. The world of eCommerce is constantly changing and offering new opportunities and innovations for business owners to utilize. A key area to focus on as an eCommerce site owner is bettering the user experience that your customers have when visiting your store. Consider cleaning up your site’s homepage to look more organized. If the first page of your store is cluttered with products and information, visitors may be overwhelmed and leave your site to go to a competitor.

Man using computer and mobile payments online shopping and icon customer network connection on screen on city background, m-banking and omni channeAnother large focus of yours should be your mobile site. It is important to have a mobile version of your eCommerce store as the number of consumers making purchases through their mobile devices is increasing rapidly. In fact, Amazon reported that during their last holiday season, more almost 70% of customers made a purchase on a mobile device. Clearly it is very important to offer the option of mobile purchases as so many consumers are choosing this method as their go-to. If you do not have a mobile site, users will be brought to the desktop site on their mobile device which will be hard to navigate on the mobile platform which is not designed for desktop site navigation. Visitors will be much more likely to stay if they are presented with a sleek, easy to use mobile platform.

Adapting to Customer Needs

Use the aforementioned survey to also learn about what the majority of your eCommerce customers are looking for on your website. Whatever these products may be, make them easily accessible for visitors. Have them featured on your homepage in order to save your customers from having to search through your site to get to them. If a lot of people are visiting your site for a specific product, having it be one of the first things that they see upon entering your webstore will be very beneficial to both them and your business.

It is also very important to offer fast and efficient customer service. If there is a question, problem or concern that a customer has about your site or products, allow them to communicate with you at any time of day. To accomplish such a feat, install a chatbot on your site that can assist customers 24/7. Chatbots are programmed with a set of rules that create a response that is based on customer input. It is important to offer people interaction with business owners as well as human interaction is much more reliable and trusted among consumers. But, realistically, you will be unable to be available 24/7 to answer your customers’ inquiries on the spot. Therefore, chatbots will be very helpful to your eCommerce customers and business.

 

Incentives & Other Reasons to Return

In order to encourage more purchases from existing customers, offer product suggestions based on the products they have viewed or purchased in the past. These suggestions may introduce consumers to products that they did not see or that they overlooked upon searching your website. Product recommendation technology will be a great help in raising your sales as it can really encourage more purchases. Even if someone comes to your site with one thing in mind, they might leave after buying more than they expected.

Another way to keep your eCommerce customers interested in your site is by offering incentives and special deals. For example, you can send an email to an existing customer that says something along the lines of the following: “It was great doing business with you! As a thank you, here’s 20% off your next purchase on our site.” Attach a virtual coupon with redemption code and expiration date that the customer will be encouraged to use.

 

Looking Ahead

Once you have solved the issues that customers have with your site, made the user experience simpler, and offered reasons for people to return, you will surely see a surge in your site’s traffic. But remember, there is always something that you can improve or upgrade about your site to further satisfy your eCommerce customers. Always stay up to date on what your customers want from your business and, better yet, try to be one step ahead of them.