Monthly Archives: April 2016

E-Commerce Website for Holiday Shoppers

While some consumers have already begun their holiday shopping, the post-Thanksgiving rush is about to begin, and retailers across the country are preparing for big sales and promotions. This is especially true of e-commerce businesses, which need to anticipate an influx of website traffic during what’s likely to be their biggest sales period of the year.

As a small online retailer, your website needs to be in tip-top shape for the season, to help you keep up with your larger competitors. Frank Yue, director of solution marketing and application delivery at Radware, a provider of DDoS protection services, said that if your site slows down, you have a lot to lose — 57 percent of consumers will abandon a site that fails to load after 3 seconds, according to Radware research. “If the site doesn’t respond … [customers will think] it’s not worth it and go to another website to buy [the item] somewhere else,” Yue told Business News Daily. “It’s not just the [site] outage you have to worry about, but also the degradation of performance and delivery to retain customers.”

Celebrate the season on your site Physical retail stores often set up special holiday displays during the shopping season. You can take a similar approach to your website. “Now is the time to start flipping over creative and make your site more seasonal,” said Lisa Graves, senior email marketing strategist at DEG, a full-service digital marketing agency. “Dress up your digital channel just like you do your brick and mortar.” But this doesn’t necessarily mean adding Christmas trees and flashing lights to your homepage, said Richard Stevenson, head of corporate communications at e-commerce software provider ePages.com. “Rather, revise your website content and adapt it with encouraging, upbeat content for the most important milestone dates: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year,” he said. “Shoppers respond best to content that celebrates the products, ties these to festivities and gives a sense of why the recipient will be delighted with them.” Highlight your special offers and discounts Make sure that your holiday offers are featured prominently on your home page, and update your website’s images, keywords and search engine optimization to help shoppers find your business in search results, said Debbi Lechner, vice president of product marketing and management for Web.com.

She also advised frequently posting your special offers to your top social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. “Linking your posts back to your website will promote calls and orders, and drive more traffic to your website,” Lechner said. “You will also see increased awareness and followers of your social channels when customers share your offers with their friends.” Make site speed a priority Many online retailers focus primarily on the design of their website — how pretty the page looks, how big the graphics are, how easy the Buy buttons are to access, etc. The problem, however, is that all those large photos and interactive elements could slow your site down significantly. “All that effort spent to make a gorgeous [website] could get wasted because the page doesn’t load in time for the consumer,” said Deborah Szajngarten, director of public relations for Radware. Although a well-designed home page is important, businesses should also focus on finding Web solutions and hosts that give them the necessary bandwidth and speed to support higher holiday traffic. “[You need] on-demand resourcing … to scale the capabilities of your online presence and quickly adjust the number of servers and customers you can support simultaneously [to remain] efficient,” Yue said.

Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses

Mobile marketing lets businesses get in front of customers on the devices they use the most: their smartphones and tablets. From text messages to push notifications, mobile check-ins, emails and even social media, mobile marketing can help you boost sales by sending coupons, special discounts, announcements and other promotions to highly targeted customers. By reaching out to customers on devices that they take everywhere they go, mobile marketing can work wonders on in-person walk-ins and online shoppers. To help you get started, here are 11 mobile marketing solutions for small business.

1. Yelp for Business

Yelp is more than just a reviews site and go-to app for finding local businesses and deciding where to eat. It’s also a great place to incentivize customers via the Yelp mobile app. For instance, a restaurant can offer free drinks or appetizers, and a medical clinic can offer special discounts on select treatments — all customers have to do is check-in from their phones. The Yelp app also makes it easier for customers to contact you using call-to-action buttons, such the ability to call your business, visit your website or place a mobile order with just one tap. Yelp also lets you create and publish local ads, making it easier for nearby customers to discover your business while searching for ones just like yours. For more information on how to use Yelp for business check out our primer, Yelp: A Small Business Guide.

2. Mozeo

The easiest way to reach customers on their mobile phones is by texting them. Mozeo aims to make texting customers a breeze with its easy to use dashboard and text messaging management system. To connect with your business and agree to receive communication, all customers have to do is text a keyword followed by a unique short code. For instance, Denny’s restaurants had customers text the word “Dennys” to 24587 to receive special deals, and Heineken used the word “USOPEN” to run a national text-2-win contest. In addition to deals and contests, Mozeo can also be used to send text notifications, reminders, verification codes and account alerts (such as when a password has been changed), as well as hold two-way conversations to provide customer support.

Tech Deals for Business

Black Friday is the perfect time to pick up some productivity-boosting gadgets. The biggest shopping day of the year will include some killer deals on smartphones, tablets, laptops and software to help you do your job. Whether you’re buying for yourself or for your favorite professional, here are some of the best deals to jump on this Thanksgiving weekend.

Available from Microsoft.com starting Nov. 25.

Microsoft Office is the gold standard in productivity software, and it’s available for nearly half-off this month. For just $59, you get access to web-connected versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and more.

Available from Microsoft.com starting Nov. 25.

vailable from Verizon stores starting Nov. 24.

Our pick for the best overall business phone is dirt cheap this November if you buy it from Verizon. The Galaxy S7 offers long battery life, strong security — including built-in encryption — and speedy performance. It’s available for $10/month for 24 months, or a single payment of $240 with no contract required. Monthly data allotment varies by plan.

Microsoft calls it “the tablet that can replace your laptop” for a reason, and the company is shaving $150 off the price this holiday. The Surface Pro 3 is a full Windows 10 computer in a sleek tablet shell. Paired with the Surface Pen stylus and Type Cover keyboard, it’s a terrific mobile work companion.