Author: Jessica McDonald

Handling Complaints Via Social Media

Handling complaints via social media

Social media It allows us to reach out to customers all over the world and interact with them in a way never possible previously. For many small businesses, this ability to speak as an industry authority to such a wide audience via social media, to showcase products and build customer loyalty is invaluable. But nothing is always plain sailing. It is inevitable that as the number of satisfied customers increases, so will the number of unsatisfied customers. For many of these unsatisfied customers, social media is the place where they choose to vent.

Speak as a human

Nothing escalates an angry complaint like corporate blurb or a hollow cut and paste reply. At best it seems dismissive, at worst, passive aggressive. People can detect when they are getting a genuine reply, and when they are being fobbed off. Be polite, personable and genuine. Giving your name is a small detail that can help to give reassurance.

Remain calm.

This can often be the hardest part, but it is vital to remain calm. Customers will often be very aggressive and angry in an initial complaint, because they feel it is aimed at a faceless organization. When they receive a calm and genuine reply from a person, their anger often disperses. It is good to try and remember that others will see this exchange as an example of your service. To customers witnessing the conversation, the complaint becomes less important than the handling of it.

Know when to speak up

There may be occasions when a person on social media is being overtly abusive, unreasonable or is just clearly looking to argue. If your social listening picks up on comments of this sort, it is probably best to move on. Commenting on an inflammatory post that is not seeking any solution would only draw attention to it, when it would have probably gone unnoticed otherwise.

Deal with it quickly

Time is not on your side in this situation. The more quickly and efficiently a complaint is addressed, the better. Even if you can’t do anything about the complaint straight away, let the customer know that you are looking into it and will get back to them.

Don’t hide

When a customer writes something negative, it is natural to want to take the exchange straight to private messages. However, this prevents other customers from seeing how quickly and efficiently you dealt with the problem.

When Amazon removed un authorised copies of books from people’s kindles without notifying them, the internet exploded with furious customers. But when Amazon’s CEO Jeff Benzos publicly apologised online, many applauded his bravery and were very forgiving. A huge PR catastrophe was saved by one man stepping forward to give a heartfelt apology.

benzos

Similarly, when United Airlines recently faced a social media ring of fire after a video of a passenger being dragged off a plane went viral, their CEO Oscar Munoz stepped forward to give a statement. Munoz did not make a full apology like Benzos though. Instead, he chose to defend the actions of United Airlines staff and blame the passenger for being “disruptive and belligerent.” This statement only add fuel to the social media blaze. The airline was being savaged by the media and stock value was taking a nosedive. Munoz released a second, far more humble apology;

“This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened.”

This is perhaps more in line with what Benzos would have released the first time, had he been in Munoz’s shoes. It is apologetic, sincere, and professional. It promises action and the possibility of future solutions. But after Munoz’s initial strong defence of his airline’s actions, it was met with scepticism. Unfortunately for Munoz and United Airlines, a well written defence is no substitute for a heartfelt apology. Always assess a situation fully before making a strong public statement.

Offer a solution

We all make mistakes. It is how we try to fix them that people remember. Whether it is a refund, and alternative product or an apology, always offer a solution to the customer’s problem.

BigCommerce VS Shopify

BigCommerce VS Shopify

BigCommerce vs Shopify is a battle of the features between two of the most popular e-commerce platforms.

To help guide you towards which solution may be best for you, we have made a brief comparison of the key features of both Shopify and Bigcommerce’s standard packages.

Design

Design is massively important to e-commerce conversion rates. Both Shopify and BigCommerce give scope for designers and developers to create store fronts and product pages that look attractive and encourage curiosity and desire. Frooition designers can create your perfect store appearance and experience on either platform. When we look at BigCommerce vs Shopify we see that both platforms have a whole host of great features, and which one you decide to go for will depend on the individual needs of your business.

Costs

At the time of writing this post (April 2017) the Bigcommerce standard plan costs $29.95 a month and the Shopify Basic which costs $29 are relative equivalent accounts. There are only 95 cents between them, and both allow you to sell an unlimited number of products.

Both Bigcommerce and Shopify provide a 10% discount if you pay upfront for a year’s service. Shopify go one further and give you a 20% discount if you pay upfront for two years.

Tools

In order to grow, an e-commerce site needs tools to manage inventory, showcase products, set prices, track orders, set up payment gateways and more. Both BigCommerce and Shopify have a wide range of tools on offer for merchants, but the way in which they offer them is slightly different.

A Shopify site includes basic tools such as; inventory editor, bulk import, order tracker, blog and custom order notes as standard. Advanced tools such as product reviews, wish list and product recommendations are all add ons.

BigCommerce include more tools as standard, and allows you to sync with Facebook, Pinterest, eBay, Google shopping, Amazon and square POS. The tools that come as standard with BigCommerce but not Shopify are;

  • Gift cards
  • Ratings review system
  • Real time carrier shipping quotes

Cart Recovery

Bigcommerce’s abandoned cart saver – which the company argues allows you to recover 15% of lost sales – is better than the Shopify equivalent, as Shopify only allows you to send one automated email to users who abandon their cart, where Bigcommerce allows you to schedule up to three automated follow-up emails. Offering gradually more tempting offers for the customer to complete their purchase is a powerful way to recover a sale.

Abandoned cart functionality is provided only on the more expensive Bigcommerce plans – their $79 offerings and up. This feature can have a significant effect on sales, so it is worth looking at how much this feature could be worth to your business. This is a useful feature which allows you to automatically email visitors to your store who add something to their cart but do not complete the purchase. If you anticipate a high level of traffic to or sales from your site, or are currently experiencing high levels of both, a plan with abandoned cart recovery is definitely worth looking at.

With Shopify, abandoned cart functionality is not provided as standard, but can be added to any package, including the standard. There are a whole range of abandoned cart tools available with Shopify, with some being free and some having a monthly cost. This is often dependant on volume of sales, so for smaller merchants, concerned at the cost of the BigCommerce abandoned cart, this could be a good alternative.

It is worth noting that with Bigcommerce, your sales are limited to $50,000 on the ‘standard’ plan, $150,000 on the ‘plus’ plan and $1,000,000 on the ‘pro’ plan. No limits apply to sales if you are using Bigcommerce Enterprise.

No such limits apply to the Shopify plan.

Transaction Fees

In terms of Transaction fees, both Shopify and BigCommerce charge 0% on all plans if you use their payment solutions. BigCommerce have the advantage of now also incorporating apple pay in their one page checkout, but both Shopify and BigCommerce have well designed, secure checkout pages.

Analytics

Bigcommerce has a bit of an edge on Shopify here, because you get the vast majority of report types as standard on any Bigcommerce plan. With Shopify you have to be on one of the more expensive plans – the $79 per month ‘Shopify’ plan and up – to avail of comprehensive reporting functionality. If you’re on a cheaper Shopify plan, you can avail of some statistics via an ‘online store dashboard’, but these are pretty basic and ‘top line’ in nature.

For additional insights into your store (particularly where traffic to it is concerned) you can also install Google Analytics.

Mobile

BigCommerce stores now include AMP pages which are great for search engine ranking.

Frooition designs for both Shopify and BigCommerce are mobile responsive as standard.

Shopify also provides an app for managing your store on a mobile device (iOS or Android) whilst on the go. Bigcommerce used to, but no longer do. Bigcommerce say that the desktop version of the control panel may be accessible using some versions of Android, but that using the desktop control panel from a mobile device is not supported by the company.

Integration

BigCommerce fully integrates with Amazon and eBay directly from your BigCommerce control panel. Shopify integrate with Amazon, but not eBay or Google shopping.

If you have any thoughts on Bigcommerce vs Shopify, or feedback on either product, do feel free to share them in the comments section below!

10 ways to increase your e-commerce conversion rate

conversion rate

Conversion rate is the rate that visitors are turning into buyers.

Probably the single most important statistic for any ecommerce business.

Here are ten key ways to increase the chances of a visitors to your site turning into  customers-

1. Structure – does the website have an easily understood navigation structure? Test this by asking people who are not familiar with your website to find products and see if they always head to the right place every time. Ask them about your delivery or returns. They should be able to tell you this basic information easily, without foraging around.

2. Mobile – Thinking about mobile users is an important part of this as any user who can’t access the site quickly in the way they choose, will inevitably leave. Having a site which can be easily navigated by touch, and asks for minimal information input is vital to mobile conversion.

3. Speed – Does your website load quickly? Can shoppers tell what you sell within 3 seconds? If not, research from Google* says they are most likely to leave your page and go to a competitor site.

4. Trust – would a shopper trust their card details with you? Display security credentials at the vital parts and display ensure the user knows your company is respectable and trustworthy.

5. Be available – can shoppers easily phone you up to ask a question? They may have questions and want the reassurance of speaking to a person. Consider a live chat function, and make sure they can find a telephone number, with operating hours clearly displayed.

6. Delivery costs – Delivery and returns policy need to be clearly displayed. Hiding delivery costs until after card details have been entered is not helpful, and is one of the biggest causes of cart abandonment.

7. Related Products – do you actively present similar products? Marketplaces are the most popular e -commerce sites today, as they allow customers to browse rather than searching for a specific product. Displaying related products within each product page will help facilitate browsing. The more time visitors spend browsing your site, the better the conversion rate.

8. Quick/guest checkout – Do you force users to login to use the shopping basket? Forcing customers to register to purchase is a massive friction point for customers. Offer a quick checkout to make sure you don’t lose impatient customers.

9. Abandoned carts – Are you following up potential opportunities? Retargeted advertising and emailing those who abandon shopping carts can bring in as many as 20% of those who abandon carts back to the site to buy. Both BigCommerce and Shopify offer cart recovery options which can be added to stores.

10. Product Information – are you giving people enough information to buy the product? The more information you can give people the more likely they are to make the purchase. Tell them the strengths (and weaknesses) of each product in order to allow them to make an educated purchasing decision. Include plenty of photographs showing multiple views of the product

Concentrating on the above factors will help increase conversion rate, which will help deliver improvements in the real key metrics that matter to Ecommerce website owners which are revenue and profit.

* Google Data, Global, n=3,700 aggregated, anonymized Google Analytics data from a sample of mWeb sites opted into sharing benchmark data, Mar. 2016.

 

Why building a mailing list should be your top marketing priority

email marketing

Whether it’s social media, SEO or content marketing, you’ve got a lot of options when it comes to marketing your business online.

But when it comes time to have a sales conversation and drive conversions, there’s one channel that continues to outperform the rest: the good old-fashioned email.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing campaigns have an average ROI of $40 per $1 spent. That is a 4,000 percent return on investment. Compare that to the strategy with next highest ROI, search engine optimization, at $22.24 per dollar and you can see how effective email marketing is.

If you want to grow your business, you absolutely MUST make building your email list your top marketing priority. It needs to be an even bigger priority than building your fan base on social media.

Email is less competitive than social media

Think about how many emails you get in an average day. Maybe 50 to 100? Now think about how many social media updates appear in your various feeds each day. Several hundreds to thousands! You have a far higher likelihood of having people see, open, and click on your email newsletter than you do having them see updates you post on social media. It’s a lot easier to ignore a status update than it is to ignore an email in your inbox.

You own your email list

You have no ownership over social media. Platforms can change their policies and the reach your status updates have at any time. If you have a Facebook fan page, only about 16% of your fans will actually see your posts. That’s because Facebook wants you to buy their advertising to promote your message. Having people on your email list keeps you in control and your exposure to your subscribers stays completely in your hands.

Your mailing list is directly related to your turnover

70% of people make use of coupons or discounts they learn about from email.

You need to consider every person you acquire on your email list a potential customer. Marketing to them over and over again will build their trust and will (hopefully) eventually turn them into paying customers. Whether you realize it or not, your email list serves as a direct reflection of the energy and success of your business.

Hands down, building a targeted email list is THE most important thing you can do to create a successful marketing framework for your business.

  • Let customers know when new items are in store.
  • Set up autoresponders – a series of emails aimed at encouraging customers to learn more about your products or buy.
  • Send timed discounts for birthdays and holidays.
  • Remind customers about uncompleted purchases left in shopping cart.
  • Reward loyal customers with discounts.
  • Re engage customers who have not shopped in a while by offering discount.
  • Share knowledge and content (blog posts, videos, ect) with your customers.
  • Gather testimonials and feedback.

As you can see, you can engage your customers through email in much deeper ways and use it to drive traffic to your ecommerce website.

While social media and search are great ways to get discovered by your customers, email is still the most effective way to really build a relationship with them.

7 Questions to ask your eBay designer about active content compliant design.

eBay active content compliant design

It is the role of a designer to create something useful and beautiful, within the constraints of the medium they are working with. No matter how wonderful a four colour advert may be, it would be a poor design for a black and white newspaper.

Changes to eBay’s active content policy have meant that eBay designers have had to re adjust the specifications they work to.

Ebay’s new active content policy does not restrict design. The new policy acts as a guideline to ensure that all design on the eBay platform is high quality, fast loading, mobile compatible and secure. There is no need for sellers to sacrifice any of the design features which help them to brand and personalise their listings and encourage increased sales.

We know that without technical design knowledge, it can be difficult to know if you are getting the most for your money within this new specification. That is why we have put together this brief list of seven essential questions to ask any eBay designer, to help you make the best-informed decision for your business

1. Do you offer active content free design?

This is probably the most important question at the moment, as design on eBay listings using JavaScript, flash and html forms will be blocked by eBay from June 2017. If you want your design to last beyond June, it needs to be active content free.

2. Will my new design still have automated dynamic categories or will it be hardcoded?

No doubt over the course of your business you will be adding and removing categories. This is a common practice when introducing new product lines, or removing old ones. In a store with hard coded categories, this would mean taking down each product listing, and adjusting each one manually. This would cost you time and worse still, delete your sales history and ranking.

3. Will my new design have automated dynamic cross promotion or will it be hardcoded?

Cross selling features in eBay designs can be dynamic, or hard coded. There is a very non technical reason why it matters which you choose.

Dynamic cross promotion scans through your live listings, and automatically shows related products, based on the rules you set. The rules could be size, colour, any relevant feature. It will only connect listings which are relevant and live.

4. Will I need to cut and paste html into listings?

Having to cut and paste html to revise listings is not just massively inconvenient and time consuming the first time your apply the listing design, it is a continuous time drain. Each time you want to make a simple amendment such as your shipping or returns policy text, you would need to manually edit every one of your listings.

5. Would I have to provide you with my login details for my eBay account?

You should never risk the security of the login details for the platform where you run your business, and handle sales and payments. Here at Frooition, we install our designs using eBay’s API. This means that you never need to hand over any sensitive information or login details; guaranteeing the integrity of your eBay security.

6. Do you store my new design, graphics and CSS on a dedicated server using Multi location data-centres?

This may sound alarmingly technical, but it’s really very simple and  important for anyone buying an eBay design to understand. Ebay designs which sit on a single server in house are not stable. Because when the server goes down, (which they sometimes do) your eBay listings will be broken until the server issue is fixed. It is common for servers to be down for a whole day. Ask yourself how much revenue would you lose if none of your customers could purchase your products for a day? Worse still, if it happens on a Friday evening, your listings could be down all weekend.

With Frooition servers, your template load from a node closest to where your customer is located, meaning quicker load times. If that server fails, it simply relocates to the next available node. This service maintains 99.9% uptime.  Meaning no downtime for your listings

7. Is the new design applied to my existing items?

This is a huge deal. It can take days or weeks to manually insert a design into your eBay listings, and even longer if you already have a design applied. Worse still, your listings may contain old active content, which would need to be removed before you even started applying the new design. Here at Frooition, we do all the work for you. If your listings are in eBay’s standard format (meaning you don’t have a design), Frooition will install the design into your live listings, no matter how many listings you have. In most cases, even if you have an active content within your existing design, we can clear that out for you, and insert your brand new design as a part of the service. Saving you valuable time and money.