Author: Jessica McDonald

How to build a brand through e-commerce

build e-commerce brand

Contrary to what some marketers may think, investing in your brand online is not just about spending money on the brand. It’s about building an entity that will resonate with your customers and keep them coming back — even when there’s no deal or promotion to entice them.

If you search how to build a brand online, you will see lots of results for articles which state that if you want to grow your business online, you first need to grow your brand. Speaking as if sales and brand are two mutually exclusive entities. The emphasis of most of these articles will be social media and search engine results.

These things are very important, but starting with purely social reputation building leads many retailers to find themselves in a bit of a chicken and egg situation; unable to invest more in reputation marketing without revenue from sales. With recent changes to the Facebook algorithm and rising ad prices, retailers looking to build a brand online are feeling this more than ever.  

The strength of a brand’s online presence is co-dependent with its sales success.

Studies have shown that 92% of online consumers trust recommendations from others. As an entrepreneur, you can spend a huge chunk of your time running paid ads and creating compelling posts to entice people to buy. However, you won’t be able to give customers a solid reason to do business with you if you don’t showcase authentic testimonials from real users.

When you are not visible to customers, you are not only missing out on revenue, you are missing out on testimonials; the most powerful catalyst for building your brand reputation.

Marketplaces bring visibility.

E-commerce revenue is predicted to reach $2.7 trillion this year. But customers do not just go online to search and buy, they go online to research. Some of this research will be via social media, reading interactions and customer’s opinions, but most of it will be done on e-commerce platforms.

55% of online shoppers start their product searches on Amazon.

When searching for a product, most customers will first go to a store they are loyal to, whether that be Amazon or eBay or any other big retailer, and they will search there. They gather what information they can about the product there, and then they go to another large retailer to price compare or skip straight to Google.

If your brand or product is not available on marketplaces, you will be losing customers.

If you do not have your own website, you will be losing credibility as a brand.

Here are our four top points for growing your brand through e-commerce:

Uncover Your Unique Selling Proposition

What makes your brand unique?

Determining a unique selling proposition is a foundational step in any good brand strategy. The goal is to differentiate your brand from your competitors and give your customers a reason to purchase a product from you.

You could be selling soap that is unique because it’s handmade in Wales with organic sheep’s milk, or selling refurbished iPhones with a longer warranty than other sellers. Whatever your unique selling proposition is, customers should know it from your product pages, social media, and promotional emails. That unique point needs to be reaffirmed everywhere customers see you.

Own the space you sell in

Selling online is no different to selling in a physical store, in that when a customer enters your store, they should immediately know your brand name and have a feel for what you offer. Selling on a virtual marketplace is no different to selling in a physical marketplace, in that you are getting a flow of traffic loyal to shopping in that marketplace. Your challenge is to stand out and impress your brand onto them so that they can be loyal to shopping with you.

Ebay is the largest marketplace to allow a high level of personalization and branding in listings. This is something all brands should be taking advantage of. Even if eBay is not somewhere you are targeting as a major revenue channel, it is a place where millions of customers start their product searches. Over 80% of items on eBay are new, and listings are more than an opportunity to sell an individual item, they are a way to sell your brand.

Take advantage of high traffic eBay sales space with custom branding giving customer’s a brand store feel, and use embedded videos to really engage customers.

You can see from this listing that Frooition designed for Metropolis, that a full brand store experience is totally possible within eBay listings.

eBay branding


Personalize The Customer Experience

Have you ever ordered something online and received a product that completely blew you away? A purchase where attention and detail went into every aspect of the ordering experience, right down to the customized packaging? If you have, it probably wasn’t hard to recall.

Chances are, the store did their research by aligning themselves to ensure that they’re marketing to people who match their brand’s identity.

For instance, let’s say you’re 30-something, wear brightly dyes silk scarves, appreciate the craftsmanship and the qualities that go into making something by hand. You look online to buy a silk scarf and come across a brand that hand dyes and sews all their scarves locally, or uses fair trade. After purchasing the product, it arrives beautifully packaged, customized with a handwritten note on the inside and a screen-printed hanger tag.

That’s a personalized customer experience. They’re nailing their product branding down to the finest details, just like their physical product.

Branded postal packaging is expensive, but even buying unbranded packaging in your brand colours, adding a ribbon or using a branded sticker can give the same effect.

The Spirit of Giving Back

Brands can position themselves well in a busy online space by getting in the spirit of giving back to their customers.

No matter how many sales you have for your e-commerce store, there’s always an opportunity to share your gratitude with your customers. You’ll want to make sure that you take some time to go beyond to thank your customers for their business.

A personally written note, a small surprise gift for a customer when they make their fourth purchase, or a thank you card for eBay purchases offering 10% on your brand’s website are all simple ways to increase sales with gratitude.

Not only does this position your brand as being thankful and recognizing the support of your customers, but it’s a sure-fire way to get a customer for life.

Where is the best place to start an e-commerce business?

best place to start an e-commerce business

Where is the best place to start an e-commerce business – eBay, Amazon, or an online store?

At Frooition we work with eBay, Shopify, and BigCommerce. Enhancing the customer experience of marketplace listings, and developing custom standalone stores which have the capability to list to multiple platforms, including Amazon. All of these e-commerce options are proven to grow profitable businesses.

But which is the best one for you to start with?

We will answer this question by covering the advantages and disadvantages of each platform, whilst running through a step by step plan that you can start straight away!

There are 4 main considerations for deciding where is the best place to start an e-commerce business:

  1. Goals
  2. Level of experience
  3. Budget
  4. Time

We will go through each of these considerations, to evaluate your own personal situation,  as the best place to launch your business will be determined by your specific circumstances.


Your goals are the most important thing to consider when deciding the best place to start an e-commerce business. Do you want to sell online as a side business to complement your full-time income, or do you want e-commerce to be your full-time job? Are you planning to source stock and sell at a profit or are you the manufacturer? Is e-commerce purely a revenue stream, is it a vehicle to strengthen your brand, or is it both?

For those who are looking to create a side income, working just a few hours a day, eBay is the perfect platform. You don’t even have to ever look into other selling channels as eBay alone can provide you with the income level you’re looking for, even from selling part-time.

People who are looking for serious commercial growth should aim to use all 3 platforms to maximize their business’ potential. This usually means starting with eBay and then expanding to an eCommerce shop and Amazon. Not only does this allow you to reach more customers and therefore make more money, it also diversifies your risk. Selling on multiple platforms means that you won’t lose your entire business if something goes wrong with one platform.

It may be that massive sales are not your primary aim. Strengthening your brand online and building awareness may be the reason you are looking to sell online. If this is the case, being on all marketplaces is important because that will give you exposure. Equally, your own independent web store is important because that is a place to offer deeper information about your products and brand. All three platforms would obviously be quite a grand undertaking for someone who was not already selling online, so if you are new to e-commerce I would advise to start selling with eBay to get some selling experience and generate cash flow, then expand to a custom branded multi-channel store.

If you’re totally new to e-commerce and have very little knowledge on the topic, eBay would always certainly be the best place to start your e-commerce business. Why? Because eBay has millions of customers just waiting for new products, and it’s the easiest, most user-friendly selling platform to use when starting your first online business.

Traffic is probably the biggest disadvantage of a stand-alone website for new sellers. You really need to know what you’re doing marketing wise to achieve any decent results. With your own eCommerce site, it’s not enough to have a beautiful shop. You have to know exactly how to promote it – otherwise, no one will know your products are there to buy. Marketing an e-commerce store can be a full-time job in itself, and involves many skillsets which take time to master. If you are inexperienced in e-commerce, you should give yourself learning time and expect a bit of trial and error when you start marketing a new site.

Ebay is massive and many businesses grow into turning over millions without ever leaving the platform. On eBay, you can start with one listing, selling a used item you already own and learn along the way. You do not have to worry about attracting customers to your site.

If you’re totally new to the online selling world, eBay is the best place to start an e-commerce business. Begin with used goods, and then once you’ve gained some experience, you can look at expanding out into multi-channel selling.


How much money can you invest in setting up your business and buying stock? Ebay is always the best place to start an e-commerce business on a shoestring.

On eBay, you can start selling with no investment at all. Just start selling unwanted items from around your house. You can take product pictures with your phone camera and create listings in minutes. This is exactly how millionaire eBay seller Linda’s Stuff started out on eBay.

With Amazon, you’ll need to purchase brand new products in real bulk to make it work. This, of course, means a higher level of investment compared to eBay. You can still start with just one product on Amazon too but you’ll need to source it in bulk. Besides that, to list your own unique products in separate listings you’ll need to subscribe to Amazon’s Pro account, which starts at $39.99 a month.

This is probably less daunting if you already sell a product and can make some sort of prediction for stock volume, but if you have no e-commerce experience, or are going to be selling a new product, making a large initial stock investment is a big risk.

An eCommerce Shop is another step further into your pocket. Design and set up costs aside, you’ll need to buy a range of products to sell, and pay to promote them. There’s no point in starting an online shop with just one product unless it’s a very popular product that is a niche in itself, and even then, that means it will probably be extremely expensive to bid on keywords for paid search, and very difficult to build SEO. So, no matter what your inventory is, advertising and promotion will be a big cost.

If you are on a shoestring, start with eBay. You have nothing to lose, but stand to learn a lot of valuable lessons and make a profit while you do so. If you have a more serious budget, and existing eBay selling experience, you can start looking into setting up your own eCommerce Shop and linking that to an Amazon store.


If you have a full-time job, you should start with a platform that is less time-consuming. Many people start building eCommerce shops not realizing how much time they have to put into them before they’ll even get that first sale. This is definitely NOT for people who can only spend a maximum of 1-2 hours a day on their online business.

Amazon is also relatively easy to maintain, especially if you use Fulfilment by Amazon – a service which takes care of your stock storage, order processing, and dispatch.

An eCommerce shop is the route that requires the most time and energy on your part. Everything takes time when we talk about creating a successful eCommerce shop – starting from setting it up, adding products, creating descriptions and ending with the actual promotional part – which is a science in itself. It’s definitely not suitable for people who can spend just 1-2 hours a day on the project.

It is possible to do it with just 1-2 hours a day, but anyone doing this should expect to spend many long months on it before they even see their first sale.

Compare this to eBay where you can list a product in the morning and dispatch your first three orders that very afternoon and it’s a BIG difference.


If in doubt, start with eBay. Even just selling a few things from around your home could be a valuable learning exercise if you have no previous experience. You can experiment without investing, and find what works for you in terms of shipping, returns, and stock.

If you are confident that e-commerce is where you want all, or the bulk of your revenue to come from, then you need to sell multi-channel. Starting with a custom branded multi-channel site would be the easiest way to do this.

Likewise, if you are building a brand, then multi-channel will be the way to go. If you are less experienced in e-commerce, start with one platform and perfect your branding on that before spreading out.

If you need any further advice on your e-commerce journey and creating a brand online, you can contact us to discuss with one of our e-commerce experts.

3 Steps to Improving Conversion Online

improving conversion online

Frooition works solely with online retailers, improving conversion online. It’s all we have done for over a decade – and it is a never-ending quest for perfection.

There are so many articles online about getting customers to your site with PPC, SEO, and social media, but a poorly optimized page will drive away visitors and waste most of the money you invested in lead generation. Customer conversion may not be as talked about as customer acquisition, but it’s just as important.

E-commerce and customer expectations are evolving fast, so the goal posts are always shifting slightly and there is always room to improve both customer experience and conversion online. These three simple points are the most important core basics of improving conversion online that we see many retailers missing out on.

1. Cart Abandonment Emails

Cart abandonment is a thorn in the side of any retailer interested in improving conversion online. Statistics show that, while numbers can vary between industries, the overall rate of cart abandonment is 68%. Reasons for abandonment vary, with distraction, confusion, security, mobile accessibility, and delivery costs being the most common.

If an online retailer knows a shopper’s email address, it is possible to remind that shopper about products left at checkout and recover a significant number of sales.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify stores feature cart recovery functionality. Developing a cart abandonment strategy to use with these tools will help you to save those otherwise lost sales.

Read our post on creating a successful cart abandonment strategy for practical advice on how to write emails that will save sales.

2. Video

Facebook live, Youtube and branded content on Snapchat are some of the most powerful, fastest growing internet channels. Video is the internet’s most popular and powerful medium.

Only a short time ago, retailers were focused on improving conversion online by using high-quality images to increase conversions and sales. As attention spans have reduced and customers have come to expect more instant information with less effort, video has become even more attractive than photos.

Our brains processing visuals 60,000 times faster than text. Using video in your e-commerce provides customers with the information they need to make a confident purchase, without any extra effort on their part.  73% of consumers say they are more likely to buy a product after watching videos that explain how it works.

Where to put videos

You can put them on virtually any page where you are trying to convert.

    • Embedded in eBay listings
    • Homepage
    • Product pages
    • Landing pages – a study by com found that using video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%
    • Embedding in blog posts
    • Social Media content
    • Testimonial pages – The key is to introduce them at the right time, when users are ready to make a decision about requesting more product information or making a purchase.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Videos

Investing in and producing a great video is only half of the equation. It’s no secret that we all want to get thousands of views, have our videos go viral, and boost our sales. Most videos don’t do this because they are missing a number of important, yet simple to implement, strategies to increase viewership and engagement:

      1. Place videos above the fold: Make sure videos are immediately identifiable by users when they land on a page.
      2. Include a text call to action: Invite users to watch your video using actionable call to action text. Be direct and use text such as “Watch the video” to increase engagement.
      3. Size matters: Ensure the size of your video player is 480x720px or larger. Smaller video players may get missed by users.
      4. Video thumbnails matter: Whether you are using text or an image for your video thumbnail, make sure that it’s engaging and will pique the interest of viewers.
      5. Embed rather than link: When you share a video link, you can expect a 5-15% view rate, but when you embed a video, you can expect a view rate of 10-35% on the same page.
      6. Keep it short and to the point: Viewers are impatient, and most won’t watch a video to the end. It’s recommended to keep your video to about 30 seconds or so to keep people’s attention.

3. Live Chat

If customers are not able to find answers to their questions, chances are you will lose them.

Live chat helps an online retailer answer customer questions, respond to customer concerns, and boost sales. In fact, adding live chat may be one of the easiest ways to improve an e-commerce business overall, and it can be simple to implement.

It is worth noting that live chat is not new to the web or to e-commerce. Live chat is a feature that has been around for years, and there is a lot of data showing the value of adding live chat to a site. For example, as far back as 2010, a Forrester Research report stated that 44% of online shoppers liked having questions answered and concerns addressed in the very middle of the purchase process.

Live chat addresses the reasons that shoppers leave a site without making a purchase. It can help identify problems in site design or the checkout process. It can provide insights about how product photography, product descriptions, or even price are impacting sales, and it can be a great marketing tool too.

With live chat is it very easy to identify shoppers’ most common questions or concerns. Those questions can be addressed in blog posts, other site content, or even in social media. In this way, what the merchant learns through live chat becomes part of a content marketing campaign — helping shoppers and encouraging an increase in site traffic.

The most difficult part of offering live chat is having someone available to answer customer questions. But merchants can easily control when live chat is available and offering it even a few hours a day is better than not having it at all.

New year’s e-commerce resolutions

e-commerce 2018

The start of each new year is a time for reflection on the year that was, as well as a time for planning for the successes of the coming year.

You probably have a whole host of personal resolutions revolving around health, fitness, relationships, and self-fulfillment, but let’s take a moment to shed some light on what you could focus on to improve your business.

Even if you’ve already made the same, clichéd personal resolutions for yourself (that probably won’t stick past January), it’s not too late to make some resolutions for your e-commerce business. Simple resolutions that really could change your business and your life.

Below are five easy resolutions that could help make 2018 your most successful e-commerce year yet:

Explore New Marketplaces

Being happy with just selling from one place online means you’re potentially missing out on finding, connecting, and selling to customers who are loyal to other marketplaces.

With a Shopify or a BigCommerce store adding a new marketplace is incredibly simple. Read our post on choosing online marketplaces for your business and increase your customer base for 2018.

Get Serious About Accessibility

With 125 Million U.S. consumers now owning smartphones and 62% of smartphone users having made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months, having a mobile-friendly website is a must. These days, ignoring smartphones and tablets means leaving money on the table. Not to mention hearing from disgruntled and previously interested visitors annoyed at how difficult it is to get around your site.

If you need more convincing, nearly 70% Amazon’s 2017 holiday sales happened via mobile devices.

That’s why all Frooition designs are fully responsive to any device type.

Refresh Your Product Photography

Larger product images can increase online sales by up to 9%. And that’s just the size of the images. From lower bounce rates to visitors browsing multiple product pages and spending more time on them, beautiful product photography can be an e-commerce game changer.

Consider things like the background, lighting, color that you’re using as well as how your product is portrayed in real-life scenarios to avoid losing sales just because of your photography. Then there’s optimizing images and product pages to make them more searchable, shareable, and attractive.

We also strongly suggest incorporating user-generated images taken with services like Instagram using a plug in for Shopify or BigCommerce. Sharing customer pictures not only demonstrates social proof but also gives browsers insight into how your product looks like on a real-life customer, which in turn enables them to envision it on themselves.

Preen your Mailing list

Sending the exact same email to every single contact on your mailing list is probably no better than sending out a direct mail campaign and gauging success based on how many coupons were used or how many surveys were filled out. Some of your customers will like it, but some won’t, and that makes it a risky tactic.

If there’s one thing people hate about their inbox, it’s the amount of irrelevant email they get from lists they have long forgotten signing up to. Your list will be made up of many different groups with different interests. Even if you only sell one product; there’s prospective customers, existing customers, new customers, and former customers.

Each one deserves a unique and tailored email strategy. Using tools like MailChimp, you can segment and create lists based on things like customer type, interests, location, and so much more.

Relevance is the difference between the best email marketing and spam mail. Curating a good mailing list could bring real dividends for you in 2018.

Clear the Clutter

Holding stock costs you money. If you have stock sitting around, use retail discount days in 2018 as a time to clear out, and generate more visits to your store. Plan your discounting to coincide with peak shopping periods such as Black Friday or the first week of December for maximum traffic, then follow up with mail campaigns.

Selling on multiple marketplaces – How to choose which is right for you.

online marketplaces

The higher number of customers that see your products, the higher the number of sales you make.

The simple science of e-commerce.

Only it’s not simple, is it? Cutting through the noise online and making shoppers aware of your products and offers is hard. Marketing is a never-ending task – social media, email, and other channels are of course all important. But one way to instantly guarantee exposure to an increased audience for your products is to showcase them on more marketplaces.

Selling your products on online marketplaces gives you access to customers who often start their shopping on these third-party platforms. For example; listing your items on eBay, gives you access to another 171 million shoppers, and Amazon is home to over 310 million active accounts of its own.

55% of online shoppers start their product searches on Amazon

Different marketplaces work best for different businesses, and finding which marketplaces work best for your business is key to success here. That’s why we’ve put together this roundup to walk you through some of the marketplaces you can sell on with BigCommerce or Shopify and when to consider them.

Adding online marketplaces

Each marketplace has its own nuances, rules, and audience. Some will take a commission on every sale that they bring you. Others might charge you a listing fee. Either way, you’ll need to weigh the costs and benefits of getting access to a certain marketplace’s customers.

As tempting as it might be to list your products on all of these marketplaces, you should consider focusing only on the platforms that are a good fit for your products, and one at a time until you’re familiar with it.

To get started with a particular marketplace in Shopify, simply log into Shopify and click the plus (+) sign under Sales Channels to select the marketplace channel you’d like to add with additional details in the Shopify App Store.

To list products to an online marketplace from your BigCommerce dashboard, click Channel Manager in the left navigation and simply click get started next to the channel you want to use.


Thanks to the trust consumers have in its powerful shipping and fulfillment abilities, and the consistency of its shopping experience, Amazon is one of the most well-known online marketplaces.

In fact, studies have shown that shoppers start research nearly 2x more often on Amazon than Google. So it might be worth having a presence where consumers flock to do much of their comparison shopping.

Amazon merchants can also use Amazon Pay on their Shopify or BigCommerce store. Amazon Pay lets customers check out with just a few taps on a phone or tablet. BigCommerce surveyed their merchants and 71% said that Amazon Pay increased their conversion. Enabling payments through Amazon’s trusted service increased conversion by up to 34%, and average order value by up to 30%.

Fees: 15% average referral fee on orders, but it can be anywhere between 8-20%, depending on the product category. You’ll also need an Amazon Professional Sellers account which costs $39.99/month. Check Amazon’s referral fees by category to see where your products fall.

Best for: Merchants who aren’t selling heavily commoditized low-margin products where you compete mostly on price. As long as there is a clear value-add to your products, and your margins are big enough, Amazon is one of the most versatile marketplaces on this list.


Ebay is one of the world’s most popular marketplaces, with over 169 million active shoppers, and excellent customer loyalty. Originally started as a consumer-to-consumer, auction-based service for used items, today 80% of all products sold on eBay are new.

Fees: Insertion fees for listing on eBay and/or commission on the total value of a sale (including shipping). You can find a breakdown of their fee structure in eBay’s help center or you can use their fee calculator.

If you have a BigCommerce store, it is worth noting that new eBay sellers who register through the BigCommerce integration get 3 months of eBay Premium Stores, worth $225.

Best for: Merchants who are interested in fixed price listings on eBay. You don’t need an eBay store to use the eBay sales channel, but can consider upgrading based on the additional features on offer. One of eBay’s strong points for multi-channel sellers is that stores can be designed to mirror your own website. Strong branding lets you make the experience less about the marketplace, and more about your individual brand for the customer. Check out our eBay portfolio for inspiration.


Pinterest may be social media, but its focus on curating and collecting good finds and ideas make it a natural marketplace for products, rather than a place to share pictures of your day.

You can add the Pinterest channel in your Shopify store to list your items in Pinterest’s “marketplace” of pinnable products. Special Buyable Pins let users discover and purchase products without leaving Pinterest.


Recommended for: Brands with products that sell on visual appeal. Especially those whose target audience is women with disposable income. According to a study by Pew Research Centre, 31% of all adults online in the U.S. use Pinterest, many of whom are women with disposable income. Fashion, food and children’s items sell particularly well here.


Etsy is an online marketplace focused on handmade, vintage and unique items. Creatives are able to sell what they make and curate, and buyers are able to obtain items they can’t find anywhere else. Like Pinterest, Etsy is particularly popular with female customers. Etsy had 31.7 million active buyers in 2017.

Fees:It’s free to join Etsy and set up your shop, but there are fees when you start listing your items for sale. It costs £0.13 for each listing added to the marketplace, the transaction fee on a sale is 3.5% of the sale price, and if you choose to accept payments via Etsy’s Direct Payments system, there is a 4% + £0.20 payment processing fee for each item sold.

Best for: Sellers who create and sell unique items, or items which are rare or vintage.