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Posts Tagged ‘Business’

Keys for Retail Success Online

September 3, 2009 1 comment

iStock_000008030702SmallIn preparing for an upcoming eCommerce panel which our CEO was participating in, I put together some fundamental concepts for running a successful online facet of a retail store.  While the information I produced was skewed towards power sports dealers, all of the information remains valid for other businesses interested in maximizing their online revenues.

Read on my good friends, and please feel to contribute in the comments!

1.     Manage your website like a physical retail store

  • Regularly promote different products
  • Present quality, fresh information and promotions
  • Develop a detailed business model with objectives and performance milestones
  • Maintain a minimum of one full-time employee to actively manage and update the website
  • Track and analyze website traffic metrics to understand your strong and weak areas

2.     Make sure potential customers are finding you

  • Maintain defined and researched Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization strategies
  • Engage customers where they are active to drive traffic. Provide insights, reviews, coupons, etc… [Forums, Social Media]
  • Build trust by featuring large amounts of content relevant to your consumers.  [How-to’s, FAQ, Blog]
  • Send out periodic email marketing messages communicating promotions and website information

3.     Capture customers and manage lead information

  • Gather, track, and engage every lead that comes into your website
  • Utilize multiple types of forms for gathering customer information on the website [Contact us, Request Brochure, etc…]
  • Automate response emails to online customer inquiries
  • Maintain information on what vehicles unique customers own; use information for targeted advertising.

4.     Understand what your customers are doing

  • Closely monitor your website traffic metrics to track your sales conversion and abandonment rates
  • Identify high traffic areas of your website and advertise popular and high-margin items in that space
  • Identify what items are getting the most attention, increase their prominence on your website to capitalize
  • Collect data on all searches performed through your website and review regularly.  This will help identify things people want to find that are not likely clear enough on your website.

5.     Make it easy for customers to purchase

  • Price appropriately for your market
  • Include a clear and omnipresent product search box for convenience
  • Offer coupon discounts based on monetary threshold.  This entices consumers to purchase slightly more in order to meet the requirements. [Free shipping, etc…]
  • Offer aftermarket accessory search by fitment, only displaying items that are compatible with a specified vehicle
  • Cross promote items throughout the website [Related items are, etc…]
  • Offer flexible, trusted payment options [PayPal]
Categories: Business Tags: ,

Why Emoticons Are Good for Business

September 1, 2009 2 comments

:)

I was reading a very interesting article yesterday that reported that 45% of employers are using Facebook and Twitter to screen job candidates.  Needless to say, that is a very interesting figure.  Reading a little deeper into the article, a list is presented outlining what may cause a candidate to be disregarded.  My personal favorite, and the topic of this post was:

Fourteen percent of employers have disregarded a candidate because the candidate sent a message using an emoticon such as a smiley face

That item was just a little too provocative for me to leave alone.  It kept rattling around in my brain for the rest of the day.  Though I am quite conservative in my emoticon usage, I still find it shocking that usage of such a benign item could disqualify a person for employment.  By day I am a Product Manager at a technology company and depend heavily on email communication with our office on the other side of the country.  The very same afternoon I received what appeared to be a very “heated” memo from a member of our team in the other office.  It was only when I caught that friendly colon-parenthesis combo in the second paragraph that I realized I was entirely misinterpreting the voice of the memo.  It was that moment that I realized that business needs emoticons.

When I say business needs emoticons, I am not referring to critical contracts and external-facing communications.  I’m referring to those emails that we all need to fire off with nary a second’s glance.  Email is a cold, functional communication device that leaves a lot of room for the receiver to misinterpret the emotion.  The shorter the note, the greater likelihood of it being misinterpreted.  Without our friend the emoticon, rivalries can begin and empires can fall all due to a simple misunderstanding.  If you think I’m crazy, take look at the impact it can have below.

We really need to have that by Wed.  Thanks.

vs.

We really need to have that by Wed.  Thanks.  🙂

If you can honestly say that the first example could not come across as “terse”, you may be part of the 14% earlier mentioned.  The rest of you will most likely concede that such a simple thing as an emoticon have a surprising impact on the interpretation of a short message.  That being said, I repeat my claim that emoticons are good for business and the relationships contained within.  If a potential employer were to dismiss you as a candidate for their usage, you may want to consider the corporate environment contained within.

Consider throwing one on to the end of your next one-liner.  The results may surprise you. 😉

Categories: Musings Tags: ,