7 Reasons To Start Your Own E-commerce Business

Starting a business is something that more and more people are excited about doing, and there is a lot of choices out there when it comes to exactly what you are going to sell and, perhaps more importantly, how you are going to sell it.

Ecommerce is a great choice. You can sell almost anything in this way, and because all you really need is a great website, it is a simple thing to set up. Here are some more reasons why ecommerce is the way to go when you are starting a new business.

It’s Simple To Do

Starting up an ecommerce business is relatively simple to do. You need a website, and that website needs to be absolutely perfect – this is where a lot of your startupfunds will need to go because, by the very nature of this industry, the website is your business. Get that right, and you will make sales; get it wrong, and you’ll miss out.

As well as a great website, you may need stock, although this will depend on whether you’re selling a physical product or you’re drop shipping or selling a service. If you need some money to get started, a loan from Bonsai Finance will help, and you can begin your new business very quickly indeed.

It’s The Future

Ecommerce is certainly the future (and even the present) of shopping. There will always be people who prefer to visit stores and malls, but for most people who have little time to spare to actually go shopping, it’s far more convenient for them to simply click a few links and order something online to be delivered directly to them.

As long as you make your website easy to use, easy to find, and you price your products fairly, you should be able to sell quite easily online. Even if you like the idea of a physical store, having an ecommerce store to back it up will be useful, and you may find that you make more money online than you do from walk-ins.

An Insight Into Business

Setting up a small online store is a great way to learn about business as a whole without having to leave too much to chance. One of the best things about a good ecommerce business is that it can really just run in the background as long as you are marketing it when you can; this means you can stay working at your day job and simply have some extra money coming in through your store.

If you want to go further and set up a larger business or try your hand at becoming completely self-employed, you can learn almost everything you need to know through your ecommerce site, giving you more confidence and much more chance of success if and when you want to take things further.

Make Money

When people set up their own online business, there will be a number of reasons for it. They might want to:

Ease the pressure of a fulltime job
Do something to make themselves happy and proud
Build something for the future

However, whatever the reason, there is something that will underpin everything else; they will want to make money. Making money is one of the very top reasons for starting your own business. If you don’t make money, even if you’re having fun, sooner or later you’ll have to stop.

An online store is a good way to make money, and because you can choose how much you want to make (a little as a ‘side hustle,’ or a lot as your main business), you can be in complete control of every single process.

Reach More People

Having a physical store means that people who live locally will visit. You might have a good reputation that means people from farther afield come too, but unless you are so highly regarded that people from all over the world specifically make it their duty to come to you, you’ll never get as much reach as you can online.

When you have an ecommerce business, you will be able to have customers from all around the world, and you won’t have to open up additional stores (which will cost more and could be a risk) to do it. Just the one website can serve everyone, and as long as you keep it up to date and ensure it is user-friendly (and mobile friendly too) the risk is extremely small, but the rewards can be enormous.

Be Independent

If you like the idea of working for yourself and choosing your own hours, then an online store might be exactly the way to do it. It will be hard work to set it up properly, but in many cases, it can be left running in the background while you do other things, and you can check it once a day to respond to queries and organize parcels to be sent out if need be.

This is the way that you can build a truly wonderful worklife balance. However, don’t quit your day job immediately; you need to know that the online business you are creating can sustain you first. Otherwise, you could find yourself in financial trouble. However, if the idea of eventually not having a boss to answer to is exciting, this could be a great idea for you to try out.

Easy To Market

Marketing for an online store is something that is relatively easy to do – you are already online, speaking to the right audience, so that initial part of the marketing process has already been dealt with.

Using digital advertising to ensure that those who are most likely to use your store and buy your products is a good move to make. You can focus on exactly the right people and create advertising that is going to appeal. This focused approach is how you can make your marketing budget go a lot further, and even though you may well need to spend money in this regard, the better your digital marketing is, the less you will need to spend to get people to visit your website.

How To Take Your Website To The Next Level

Every business needs a great website if they are to attract and retain customers. The company website is how you present your brand to the world, so it needs to paint your organization in a positive light, provide detailed information and make it easy for your target customer to make a purchase from you. 

If you feel that your website is currently not up to the required standard and preventing your business from succeeding, then you need to know a few ways to improve your site and take it to the next level. Read on for a few highly effective improvements to consider:• Switch Host

It is vital that you are using a reliable and experienced web hosting company. This ensures that you have a fast, secure and reliable web site with many hosts making it quick and easy to design an attractive site. Hosts like onyx.io have a range of hosting plans available and a type to suit every need.• Improve The Navigation

The navigation is one of the most overlooked areas of web design. No visitor will stay on a site which is hard to use with poor navigation so you could look to make improvements here if you are struggling with keeping visitors on the site. You need to break the site down into different sections and then to make sure that each section can be visited from each page.• Re-Write The Content

The content is how you speak to your target audience, so every sentence needs to be engaging and valuable. You can improve the content on the website by:- Using calls to action- Using emotive language- Asking questions- Only including relevant information- Avoiding large blocks of text• Make A Visual Impact

Well-crafted text is important, but no one will stay on a text-heavy website. You need to make sure that you make an immediate visual impact so consider replacing any images you have with interesting, high-quality and relevant photos or video. You can also make a visual impact by adopting an interesting color scheme. Although you will want to make an impact, keep in mind that minimal is better when it comes to web design as otherwise, it creates a cluttered and chaotic feel.• Create A Blog

blog is a highly effective tool to take your website to the next level. Creating regular, relevant and interesting content will help your website and business to succeed in a few different ways:- Brings people back to your website to learn more- Increases your brand authority and reputation- Can be used to optimize your website and improve visibility- Encourages engagement with your target customer• Add Personality

One of the biggest mistakes that businesses make when designing a website is creating something with no personality which can feel corporate and soulless. You need to add personality through your website which can be done by:- Including brand history- Using images of the team- Including profiles of key figures- Using terms like “I” and “we”

This post should help you to make big improvements to your website which can, in turn, help your company to find greater success and reach the next level.

5 Alternative Ways To Sell Your Products

In today’s e-commerce-driven market, it can be challenging to find ways to sell your products. There is great potential with e-commerce because people do so much of their shopping online, yet with so many online vendors it can be nearly impossible to stand out from the crowd and sell your products especially when you are first starting out. It is for this reason why it is helpful to be aware of a few alternative ways to sell your products. These methods could give you a unique edge which will boost your sales and improve your brand awareness. This can, in turn, increase your sales.

1. Your Own Self-Hosted E-Commerce Store

Having your own e-commerce store is a great way to sell your products online because it puts you in complete control and you do not have to pay to use a hosted store. It can take some time and effort to run and operate an online store, but it can also be highly rewarding to build a store from the ground up. Additionally, you can use dropshipping, which means that you do not have to worry about inventory or storage because the vendor is responsible for shipping to the customer.

2. Across Multiple Marketplaces

When a consumer needs to purchase a product, it is likely that they will visit any of the following popular marketplaces:

  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Walmart

This means that you will want to sell your products across multiple marketplaces. Creating listings and managing orders can be tricky and time-consuming which is why it is a good idea to use a marketplace integration service. This should include Amazon inventory management along with other marketplaces so that it can be easy to manage your listings from one central source.

3. Google Shopping

People also use Google to search for products so you will want to appear on Google Shopping. This is achieved by setting up a Merchant Centre account and create a Shopping Campaign in Google Ads.

4. Social Media Influencers

Influencers can have a huge impact on the success of a brand and even influence trends and popular culture. If you are able to get a social media influencer to recommend your products on their page (for a price) with a direct link it could help you to tap into an entirely new market and boost sales.

5. Pinterest

Pinterest is another excellent platform particularly for those selling art and jewelry. You can sell here by setting up a business account and use Promoted Pins to advertise your products and then encourage people to follow your account.

These are just a few alternative ways to sell your products online. The key to success when it comes to e-commerce is making sure that your products are available and visible everywhere that your target customer shops. This means that you need to identify who your target customer is and where they shop so that you can create and optimize listings to increase the visibility of your product. When you do this across multiple platforms, it should significantly boost sales and brand awareness.

Digital Marketing Tips For Design Agencies

The design industry is one which is incredibly competitive. Digital marketing is essential no matter what industry you work in, but particularly when you operate in a highly competitive one. Digital marketing can help a brand to stand out from the crowd, increase awareness and establish the company as an authoritative source in the industry. So, what are the best marketing techniques and strategies to implement for a design agency? There are a few highly effective methods to use which can work wonders whether you are a new agency, a small company or a much larger business looking to conquer the industry.

Blogging

In order to attract clients to your agency, it is essential that you can position yourself as an expert in the field. The best way to do this is with a regular blog where you share relevant, helpful and engaging content which could include:

  • Case studies
  • How to guides
  • Interviews
  • Industry news

You need to make sure that this content is engaging, so it is smart to use a variety of media with each post.

Social Media

Social media is also a great tool for showing your expertise, and you can share your blog posts here. You should also use social media to keep people updated with news from your agency, to directly communicate with your target audience and acquire new followers. You can do this by:

  • Encouraging people to like and share posts.
  • Connecting with existing and previous customers.
  • Running promotions.
  • Sharing industry news.

Online Portfolio

Potential clients will also want to see what projects you have worked on to see if you would be a good fit, so an online portfolio is a must. You should also show your process and the impressive tools, technology and software that you use. This means that you need to invest in the latest and best tech – you can find a low-cost professional PCB design tool which will help you to improve your design process and impress any visitors.

SEO

As with most industries, people use search engines to find an experienced design agency. Ultimately you will need to appear as close to the top of search engine results lists as possible which can be achieved with SEO. Use an experienced digital marketing agency for the best results.

Client Referrals

Word-of-mouth marketing remains one of the most effective ways to increase awareness and acquire new customers. You can encourage your existing clients to recommend your services to their network by incentivizing them to do so with deals and discounts. This should mean that you both retain and acquire new customers who could have a significant impact on the success of your brand. You should also use customer testimonials on your company website as social proof.

Design is a highly competitive industry which means that high-quality marketing is essential. Try a few of the above marketing strategies, and you should soon start to see results and increase your authority in this competitive field.

How to Make Your Retail Store More Efficient

Efficiency is one of the best words in business. It means you have mastered the art of the supply chain and are wasting the least amount of materials and products as possible. When your company is efficient, you have less to sell at a discount, can provide excellent service and stock for your stockists, and of course, recoup as much money as possible. Improving the efficiency within your supply chain, however, is not quite so straightforward. Supplier to supplier, or business to business, can become quite convoluted. You might personally only work with one supplier and one stockist, but do you know who supplies that company?

Knowing who you work with and improving the efficiency along the entire chain is how you will save on costs and reduce risk all at the same time. At the same time, implementing the right tools can help increase your sales and reduce the processing time at the core of your operations.

It isn’t easy to work as a middleman in the supply chain, but with these tips, you can make the entire process easier and more efficient.

Carefully Vet Your Suppliers

Transparency is the name of the game, and it is only when you know where every aspect of your product has come from and where it was made can you mitigate risk from the source. In some cases, the risk involved could be in a faulty product that has not passed all safety tests. In others, it could be a risk to the lives of workers along the supply chain, as was the case with the Rana Plaza Disaster in 2013, where suppliers illegally built warehouses to such an unsustainable level they collapsed in less than 90 seconds.

In short, know who your suppliers’ suppliers are, and vet them to ensure the safety of the product and those working there. Customers and businesses alike are becoming more demanding when it comes to where their products came from, and doing this can help you discover inefficiencies in the supply chain that can be easily rectified.

Improve Collaboration with Your Supplier and Buyer

A great way to reduce processing times and improve B2B operations is to operate an easy to use portal where your customers can self-serve information online. The Omnia product suite from www.weaveability.com offers a range of digital transformation solutions that provide a truly personalised customer experience. In this digital age, both businesses and consumers expect to easily purchase from and communicate with suppliers online. With the power of Omnia, you can customise the experience for every type of customer without any additional integration or hardware. You can also enable real-time communication thanks to instant access with your master data.

Use Data Management in Your Favor

Another great way to improve the efficiency of your company is to use your own numbers in your favor. One of the biggest wastes for any supplier or retailer is buying too much stock that then goes wasted. This stock will either be held up in storage, or it will need to be sold on at a loss. By using your data to find the sweet spot of supply vs. demand, you will be able to provide enough product to your customers without overdoing it.

3 Ways to Expand Your Brands Reach

No matter how appealing your business’s brand may be, it will be of no use whatsoever to you if it doesn’t reach your target audience. You should treat the task of expanding this reach with the seriousness it deserves by devoting as much of your time and as many of resources as you can to it.

To see what you need to do when you set about to expand your brand’s reach, make sure to read on.

Shoot for the stars

If you want your brand to reach far and wide, there’s no time for you to be thinking small; you have to shoot for the stars. More to the point, you have to communicate your brand’s mention on the web’s most significant publications. By doing so, even if you are ultimately unable to have your brand mentioned on the world wide web’s most prominent and authoritative sites, it will still be better off with regards to where it falls in the ranking pages.

In order to reach the sites that are deemed social influencers thanks to the following and pull that they have, first and foremost, you have to align yourself with a company capable of performing an effective SEO technical audit for you. A company that is an expert in this field, such as Click Intelligence, will be able to sort through all of the different factors that are potentially holding your brand back from communicating with social influencers. First of all, they will check all of your website’s elements, from its coding to its content, against their own audit checklist to ensure that nothing about your site is hampering your brand’s potential growth.

Become a content authority

To truly expand your brand’s reach, you need to have the reputation of being a content authority. This is because content is king in the digital work of today. 

To become an authority in this sense, whether it’s written, photographic, infographic, or video content that you opt for, you need to ensure that everything you upload is informative down to the T. This means no mistakes! Nobody is going to believe in your brand or ultimately trust in your business’s capabilities enough to bring you their custom if you cannot provide accurate information on the subjects that you are supposed to be an expert in.

A practical and proven way to become a content authority is to guest blog. If you can becomeprolific in this sense, you will find more and more opportunity to slip your brand into the content that you create. As a result, your brand will be right under the nose of your target audience, which is right where you need it to be.

Use Facebook to promote yourself

Thanks to the fact that it helps businesses reach a highly specific and responsive audience, Facebook is fast becoming one of the Internet’s leading paid search channels. If your brand is going to be seen anywhere in its bid to expand, it should be on this social media platform.

In order to expand your brand’s reach, as stated, there’s no time for thinking small. To create a big brand, everything you do must be BIG.

The Best Practices To Follow To Operate Safely Online

You may go through your entire life without every facing security problems online, but you also never know when something can go terribly wrong. Being a victim of a cybersecurity attack will involve a lengthy process and a lot of trouble in order to get everything back on track.

In order to prevent the situation from being unsalvageable and potentially affecting your business’ reputation and standing, then the preventative measures mentioned below should be considered. Collectively these can see you operate safely online while taking the best possible measures to prevent a cyberattack impacting your company. 

Anti-virus software programs

Your very first step should be to download anti-virus software security programs on your laptop. This will defend your computer against malware, and you will be very thankful that you have it should something ever occur. 

Install a firewall

firewall is another security measure that you can take when operating online. This maintains the security of your private network and will block any unauthorized access from getting in. 

Long and complicated passwords

Coming up with a long and complicated password for everything that you do online is an easy way you can help prevent a hacker from accessing your data with ease. Whether it’s a password for your banking information, your email, or anything else for that matter, this will act as another barrier for protection.

Secure your wireless network 

Is your Wi-Fi router secure? If it isn’t, this is something that you need to do sooner rather than later. Try to use WPA2 to secure it, rather than WEP. Passwords that you encrypt with WPA2 are more difficult to hack. 

Cloud security 

Fearing a security breach shouldn’t stop you from using the cloud to your advantage. Acloud is a great tool for you to store your information in one succinct place that is online, and is accessible to multiple users, be that fellow employees, other companies or clients. 

You can read more about the security issues that you could face and the solutions to deal with them through www.mcafee.com. A company that is an expert in providingthese types of services should always be your go-to solution to ensure that any security software program is properly installed and working on your computer.  

Safe surfing and shopping 

Do you know what to do in order to surf the web safely? What about the steps you need to take in order to complete safe online shopping? When you are purchasing something online, you should make sure that the site you are giving your credit card information to is encrypted, and thus has a secure sockets layer. You will notice this if the URL has a lock next to it. 

Moreover, make sure to use familiar websites and as always, don’t overshare what you don’t need to. 

These practices will limit the chances of something happening to you. With these easy solutions, why wouldn’t you do what you can to protect yourself?

UX Power tool: Page Analysis – detect clicks on each HTML elements

One of the most used feature in Hitsteps is heatmaps. Heatmaps provide an extensive insight into pages usability and design. However they hide informations too. A LOT of informations.

Following screenshots are from a classic Hitsteps heatmap when page is scrolled down. You can see some clicks around the screen.

It is a good start but there are a lot more to see from behind the scene data that generated this heatmap. Here comes the Page Analysis.

We have built Page Analysis to be dynamic, extensible and interactive. Page analysis provide data for heatmaps. but a lot of data that are not possible to view within heatmaps, are now provided via Page Analysis feature.

Looking at screenshot below, you can see how page analysis identify each HTML DOM Elements, bind to the element and show number of clicks that happened on that element. Furthermore, Page Analysis provide you with live and interactive view of your website. It allows you to click on your menus and buttons, and see clicks on sub menus and popups where you would not be able to see on a generic static heatmap.

This deep level of aggregated page elements analysis is a power tool for any UX designer who are trying to improve usability of a dynamic website. Perhaps video below can put this feature in better perspective:

This feature come pre-activated in all free trial and Pro accounts. You do not need to enable page analysis to record clicks on a specific page. It record all pages by default.

If you do not have your Hitsteps free trial account, you can create one now. no credit card required.

5 Easy Personal Branding Techniques for Beginners

Image reference: https://www.pexels.com/photo/turned-on-gray-laptop-computer-1449081/

Like it or not, we live in a world where the cleverest marketing strategy attracts the best customers whether your product/service is the best or not. Popular brands are powerful, and, in the end, they get to take the bigger slice of pie.  

Similarly, in the world of business, a well-developed personal brand matters more than the level of quality one is able to deliver. The personal brand defines your work experience, your capacity to solve problems in your field of work and talks about how you communicate with customers. 

While it sounds a bit far-fetched, there are studies that show people who managed to put together great personal brands tend to get the best projects and earn more than the average Joe. And this doesn’t happen because they are smarter or more knowledgeable. It happens because they understood the power of branding and learned how to apply it in their professional life.  

Still, the concept of personal branding is a work in progress. As a result, it’s difficult to find high-quality and actionable advice that fits your particular situation. This is why we put together a guide with some of the most efficient personal branding techniques that are easy to understand and apply.

#1: Surround Yourself with the Right People

There is a quote usually attributed to motivational speaker Jim Rohn, that says “you are the average of the five people you spend most of your time with”. 

While the quote is highly debatable, there are some truths to it. Basically, what the author is trying to convey, is that we are influenced by the people with which we get in contact on a daily basis. However, we are also influenced by the people we follow on social media, by the books we read, and videos we watch.

So, take the quote and transform it according to your needs. If you have the possibility, get in touch with specialists in your field and establish a connection. They can be your co-workers, your managers, or even people you met at a conference. You don’t have to be friends with them or even spend every single day talking; you just need a way to communicate your thoughts and get feedback.

Furthermore, make sure your social media feed is loaded with publications and posts from authority content creators in your field. People love getting messages, shares, and comments on their posts, so it will be easier to find a connection.

The idea is that you absorb the information and type of behavior you see every day. So, to become a highly regarded professional with a strong personal brand, you should surround yourself with people who are already established as such. 

#2: Continuously Improve Your Skills

The fuel that drives a strong brand is represented by your willingness to improve yourself. Just like a product or service grows by implementing customer feedback (positive and negative), you also need to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

Furthermore, a professional who is open to the idea of improvement sends a strong message to their clients or employers. It shows you are ready to grow without someone pushing you from behind.

The good news is that you have a plethora of resources and materials at your disposal. For instance, if you want to improve your business management skills, you can take a leadership and management course online or you can buy the book that’s most recommended by specialists in the area. The same goes for every new skill you want to master.

In the end, in an ever-changing business environment, it’s important to upgrade your knowledge and set of skills.

#3: Find Your Uniqueness

Your uniqueness is your very own advantage in building a strong personal brand! It’s the element that attracts the right type of customers and the force that gets you where you want to be. 

So, if you’re not sure what makes your brand unique, have a look at your activity. Read the feedback you received from clients or analyze behavior reports received for annual evaluations at work. 

You don’t need something that’s Earth-shattering and paradigm-changing! You only need to identify that element that makes people remark you as a professional. It can be anything from “high-quality work at a fast pace” to “unlimited access to high-end resources”.

#4: Find your True Voice

Unless you’re a Steve Jobs type of person, it can be extremely difficult to find your voice from the very beginning. But that’s normal; we are not all geniuses and we don’t have to be.

So, when you first start, your personal brand will be a mixture of elements you learn from the people you admire and follow (see point #1). But, as you learn and grow, your voice has to change. You need to be on a quest for authenticity so, in the end, you’ll get to identify your uniqueness. 

The voice of your brand must represent your true aspirations and opinions in life. Also, make sure to stay true to your brand, even when the times aren’t as favorable. This shows integrity, a quality that’s highly valued in today’s business environment.

#5: Create a Toolkit for your Brand

The main purpose of a strong personal brand is visibility. You invest time, money, and energy in a wide range of activities to make sure the right clients or employers take notice. However, some tools are more effective than others when it comes to creating the right type of visibility.

To this aspect, we created a short list with the tools that are bound to produce the most positive impact:

Your Website 

In today’s day and age, if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an employee, make sure your site or page (it can also be a LinkedIn profile) is up to date and running. Also, include information about things such as:
• Professional achievements
• Projects you are passionate about
• Awards and nominations
• Affiliations with interesting people and projects
• Certifications & Academic degrees
• Publications and participation to conferences

Social Media Presence

Yes, a web page and a social media profile are two different things. And you need both to increase your visibility!

We recommend selecting the channel that is most likely to get your post in front of possible customers (LinkedIn, a blogging platform, or another professional network). It’s important to stay active and develop an authentic style that speaks about your level of professionalism and dedication.

Speaking Engagements

Should you ever have the opportunity to participate as a guest speaker at a conference, make sure to RSVP yes! This type of events gather all sorts of people from your field of interest and are an amazing opportunity to increase brand visibility.

An Emailing List

While most commercial brands would kill for a well-developed emailing list, many personal brands seem to ignore the opportunity of building one. Studies show that email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to increase brand visibility, and this applies to personal brands as well.

Sure, you have to be delicate with the process and avoid becoming a nuisance, but it helps to stay on your clients’ mind. This way, when they need the services you offer, you’ll be the first to call.

Written Materials

A book, articles in an authority publication (online or offline), a PDF you send with newsletters, any type of written materials can improve brand visibility. Even more, if you are a published author in your field of activity, it strengthens your position in the eyes of customers.

Wrap Up

In the end, it’s important to get involved and be present in your field of interest. It may take some time, but every step you take is a brick for your professional future. A strong personal brand can’t be built overnight and it has its own challenges, but with the right tools and inspiration, you will succeed

Oli Kang

Oli is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses.com.au

https://www.courses.com.au
https://www.linkedin.com/company/courses-com-au
https://www.facebook.com/courses.com.au

Happy New Year 2019

We are excited to step into 2019, which will be an exciting year for all of our customers. Hitsteps is working toward integration with a session replay recording service Reactflow which is currently under development and we at Hitsteps are monitoring the development and providing help wherever necessary.

Additionally we are working toward integration with iOS Numeric app which allows you to view your dashboard statistics on your mobile phone and Apple Watch.

Hitsteps growth did not stop in 2018 and there is no sign of slow downs! we are looking forward to 2019 and upcoming partnerships and integrations.

Wish you a happy new year from everyone at Hitsteps