Ecommerce Blog - Fortune3

How to Sell More with Mobile Marketing

fortune3-mobile-marketing-image.jpgWith more people in the US using their smartphones for research and purchasing than ever before, you have a huge opportunity in mobile marketing. But a lot of companies still struggle to capitalize on this.

What works today? What doesn’t?

Find out some of the latest ideas and insights so you can formulate your own mobile marketing strategy:

1. Texting Works

We’ve talked about e-mail marketing on this blog before. It’s your highest-ROI marketing channel by far. Nothing else even comes close.

That holds true when you use e-mail marketing over mobile devices too.

The Oracle blog quotes Visual.ly as saying e-mail open rates in general are 4.2%. But for texting, they shoot up to 19%.

With texts, remember that they’re intended to be very personal. When you get customers to subscribe to text alerts, make sure you get their first name too so you can insert it into texts.

And above all, make sure the text alerts are useful and relevant to your market.

2. Consider a Seasonal Texting Program

Starbucks, for example, offers special SMS programs around Christmas and New Year’s. What holiday at your business is most relevant to your audience?

Identify and create a texting campaign around it.

3. People Love to Express and Share Themselves Through Mobile

Have you ever gone clothes shopping with your wife or daughter? What does one or both do when they try on new outfits? They send a picture text to their closest friends to get feedback on how they look.

You can also think of Coke, which did the Share-a-Coke Selfie campaign.

How could you make your product quickly and easily shared through mobile in a similar way?

4. Let Customers Customize Their Products

If you want to charge high margins, this is a great route to go. In China, Nike let customers take a picture of colors they wanted on a shoe. Then, they got a shoe in those colors.

Not too many things excite customers more than their own unique products. All you’d have to do is ask them to share their experience via mobile with their friends and family as soon as they get the shoe.

Nearly guaranteed great engagement there.

5. Make Sure Everything Works for Thumb Navigation

You may need separate websites for mobile and desktop users. Yes, the experience is that different. It’s something to strongly consider doing anyway.

To check to see if any part of your site isn’t useful for mobile users, simply use Google’s Mobile-Friendly test.

Does mobile marketing work? Absolutely. However, marketers are still getting a grasp on exactly what works. And that means it’s your opportunity to grab some market share.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, eMail Marketing, mCommerce, Online Marketing Strategies

6 Awful Mobile Commerce Mistakes You Should Never Make

fortune3-e-commerce-smartphone-mobile-commerce-pictureWith mobile phone purchases accounting for more e-commerce purchases than ever before, it’s absolutely imperative your e-commerce site offers an incredible user experience (or at least a good one anyway).

Because there’s no handbook for the perfect website, but moreso a collection of opinions from experts and businesses, it’s hard to know exactly what you should and should not do.

However, regardless of who you follow or talk to, they’ll tell you not to do these things:

1. Have a Complex Webpage

Don’t use image carousels or sliders for any pages on your website – desktop or mobile. For starters, nobody takes the time to go beyond the first image anyway.

Second, it makes your page take longer to load. Mobile bandwidths are speeding up, but they’re still not on par with that of desktops. That turns people off, costing you sales.

Instead, just use a single image with a call-to-action.

2. Not Having an E-mail Newsletter to Subscribe To

E-mail – yes e-mail – even in this era of constantly new apps, still drives a better ROI than any other form of marketing. Think of how much it costs you to write and send an e-mail newsletter.

And then think of how many subscribers you have.

3. Using QR Codes

They’re simply not new, cool, or useful anymore. In fact, they involve many complicated steps when using them online. Just avoid QR codes entirely.

4. Wasting Money on a Smartphone App

An app isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not a guaranteed good thing either. If you decide to have one made, make sure it fills some sort of need your customer has. Do very thorough research to make sure it’s going to address a need – otherwise you’ve just thrown money out the window.

5. Using Flash on Your Mobile Site

Seems like a fairly obvious one because the iPhone doesn’t support flash. But you still see mobile websites using it. There’s an easy fix – just don’t use flash on your mobile website!

6. Designing Your Site the Same for Smartphones and Tablets

Because smartphones are used on the go, customers don’t use them as much to watch video. Plus, video uses a lot of bandwidth that costs your customers big money if they don’t have the right data plan in place.

Tablets are better for viewing videos, and people generally use them from their own Wi-Fi networks at home too, so you can use more videos for tablet users if you’re simply in love with the idea.

Anyway, you should avoid those mobile commerce mistakes for your smartphone users because they just kill your sales. Armed with that information, now you know what to do.

Posted in mCommerce

Would You Like to Cash in on M-Commerce?

fortune3-mcommerce-imageOkay, so it’s no secret that mobile e-commerce grows at an incredible rate. But just what is that rate?

E-marketer estimated $262.3 billion in sales for 2013 (according to Forbes). By 2017, they expect that number to be around $440 billion. That equates to an annual growth rate of 13.8%!

So what should you do to make sure you maximize  your revenue during that time? A few tips:

1. Your Site Has to Look Good on Mobile, and Similar to Your Parent Site

In many cases, you can just use a responsive site. In others, and especially if you have a larger site, it makes sense to have an entirely separate mobile version. If you go that route, make sure all the sites are similar (if not exactly the same) in design so customers have a consistent brand experience.

2. Optimize Image Sizes

Cellular broadband connections still aren’t nearly as fast as their wired counterparts. You must have a beautiful design and you should have gorgeous product images. But, you also have to keep their file sizes as small as possible. A few tenths of a second do make a difference in the number of online sales you make.

3. You Should Have a Help/FAQ Section

Most websites have this, but many mobile e-commerce sites are guilty of leaving these sections out of their site. If you force them to go to a desktop version of your help/FAQ section, they’ll be less likely to actually browse through it because it won’t be as easy to use on a mobile device.

That’ll definitely cost you some sales.

4. Test Your Design on All Mobile Operating Systems 

This tip seems fairly common-sense, but designs and coding are unpredictable, if nothing else. For example, Android 2.1 doesn’t support the background-size CSS property. And that causes headaches when it comes to sizing images.

You never know what could go wrong, so make sure you test your design out on all major mobile phone operating systems.

5. Set Different Portrait and Landscape Text Sizes

Why does this make any sense to do? Well, when people turn their phones from portrait view to landscape view, what they really want is larger text – not longer lines. You generally want a size around 14 pixels.

6. Use Collapsible Navigation with a Single-Column Layout 

It’s almost imperative to use a single-column layout. People’s fingers are simply too large to navigate more than one column on a single smartphone screen. Collapsing your initial menus makes them all easy to see right away on the home screen.

Enjoy Your Profits!

Mobile commerce is all about user experience. If you follow these tips, you certainly will do all right as e-commerce grows in the future.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, mCommerce, Online Marketing Strategies

[Infographic] Portrait of a Mobile Consumer

So this week we have something a little different for you. VoucherCloud recently approached us with this infographic regarding the modern mobile consumer:

Image Credit: VoucherCloud.com


What Do You Think About this Information?

There are a number of interesting points this infographic makes:

• 90% of mobile traffic will come from cloud applications by 2018
• QR codes are being used more often for gamification purposes (accumulating points, for example)
• More than half of all of Amazon’s customers purchased on a mobile device in Q4 of 2013
• By 2018, mobile video will be responsible for 69% of all mobile data traffic
• Brands will make their e-commerce store experiences more personal and immersive
• You’ll have to learn how to respond more rapidly to market demand because consumers have access to more information and can make better purchase decisions for their unique needs
• Consumers are more likely to purchase on ethically manufactured and environmentally-friendly products

So armed with that information, what do you think of those trends? How do they affect your store? How could they affect your store? Is your store ready for these changes?

It will be interesting to see how all these potential changes play out in the future.



Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, mCommerce

How to Keep Mobile Commerce Transactions Safe

fortune3-using-smartphone-for-mobile-securityA recent comScore report shows mobile commerce could account for $25 billion in spending by the end of this year, which means it may account for more than 10% of all online e-commerce spending.  Andrew Lipsman, VP of Analysis at the company, also notes that mobile e-commerce is growing at a faster rate than its traditional counterpart.

You can clearly expect this trend to continue to grow in the future – how far do you think it will go?

Regardless of what you think, it’s important to keep all customer transactions safe.  Hackers and scammers of all types and varieties have proven throughout history they’re willing to do whatever is necessary to get their hands on someone else’s private information or money.

What can you do now to ensure their private information stays safe?

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that happens when they use your site:

1.  Don’t ask for any more information than necessary – Not only is this a good practice for optimizing your conversion rate on your order page, but it’s a good idea from a security perspective too.  “Less is more” is a saying that holds true when it comes to mobile commerce.  Get the bare minimum information you need and let go of the rest.

2.  Recommend a mobile antivirus app – This is good for your customers in general and also especially for  their online transactions.  Hackers abound and often send very realistic-looking URLs from spoofed e-mail addresses that could convince your customers to give them their personal information.  You don’t have any control over this, but you can alert them to the issue and recommend antivirus as a safeguard to counteract the threat.

3.  Use encryption – HTTPS protection authenticates the web site and server your customers are communicating with.  However, make sure your entire site is hosted over HTTPS.  If even just some small portions are loaded over HTTP, then your users will be vulnerable to some surveillance and attacks.

4.  Remind your users to never use public networks – If they stop in at Starbucks, browsing the general web is okay.  However, remind them to refrain from purchasing on such networks.  They’re much easier to hack into than a private one at home.

5.  Keep your branding consistent – Because hackers try to imitate your site, make sure you keep all your branding/images/payment processes 100% consistent across your entire site.  Do the same when e-mailing.  This lets your users know they are somewhere familiar and trustworthy.

Safety and Trust Sell

The more you can sell safety and trust, the better off you will be in the long run.  Attacks from cyber criminals will only continue, and much like those who develop new security solutions, they engage in developing innovative techniques of their own.

Posted in Blogging for Ecommerce, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, mCommerce, Online Marketing Strategies

What is Ecommerce and How Do You Get Started?

What is Ecommerce and how do I get started?If you are brand new to creating online stores, you might be wondering, “What is ecommerce and how do I get started?”  You know people are shopping online more than they ever have before, but what do the statistics say?  They always provide a clearer picture of what exactly is happening in the marketplace at any given moment (courtesy of Statista.com):

> In 2011, Amazon generated $48 billion in revenue
> By 2015, total revenues for all websites will rise to $269 billion
> Online retail accounts for most of online revenues, at $162 billion in 2011
> The number of online US shoppers will grow from 137 million in 2010 to 175 million in 2016

So, as you can see, the internet provides quite a lucrative opportunity now and in the future.

How do You Get a Piece of the Pie?

The first thing you’ll say to yourself is, “Amazon clearly dominates the on-line selling space – how can I even begin to compete?”

You raise a good point by asking that question.  However, the simple fact remains you cannot compete with Amazon.  They have everything down to a science and do things much better than everyone else.

But, that doesn’t mean you can’t earn a successful, six-figure income from the internet.  The key for newbies lies in identifying a specialized niche where you don’t have to compete on a price.  For example, we know of sites selling high-end wedding apparel and products and a site specializing in selling long-range hunting equipment, both generating more than six figures in net income for each of the respective owners.

How do You Identify a Niche?

The first key to developing a successful e-commerce site lies in selling a product you really believe in.  So, you have to either have life experience with a certain set of products you’d like to sell, or start selling products you find very attractive.

That passion carries you through the hard times, as well as the boring minutia of running any business.  Once you have that passion identified, then it’s time to start performing some research.

Take a look at the existing products similar to yours and understand what your market looks for.  Once you know the shortcomings of the product in relation to what the market wants, then you’ve identified your niche.  Your product must fulfill some need not currently being met.

How Does Marketing Work?

If you don’t know anything about marketing online, that’s okay.  But, what you do need to know is that if you don’t have a company at least helping you with your online marketing, you won’t be able to stay competitive long-term.  Companies exist that help you rank at the top of Google for your targeted search terms.  They are called “SEO” or “internet marketing” companies.  There are a number of other ways to get people’s attention online, and you’ll need help doing it long-term.

Fortune3 Helps You with Everything Ecommerce

Fortune3 is a unique company in that we help you with everything related to developing a successful ecommerce site.  The idea is up to you, but we can help you with:

> Design
> Payment processing
> Hosting
> Search engine optimization
> Pay-per-click advertising

You’ll have a hard time finding all of these services under one roof, let alone a single company specializing in all of them.  If you’ve been wondering, “What is ecommerce?” hopefully we’ve answered your questions.  Please contact us if we can help in any way.

Posted in Blogging for Ecommerce, eCommerce News, mCommerce

How to Optimize Your Mobile Website

fortune3-mobile-commerceHow to Optimize Your Mobile Website

In this generation of smartphones, offering mobile websites to users is a must and not just an added perk. If you still don’t have mobile version then it is time that you get down to business. Here are some tips that you can use to optimize your mobile website for better user experience and search engine optimization.
Tips for User Friendliness

1. Understanding Mobile Consumers: Understanding the consumer is the first step in the development of any product. Mobile websites should be no different. You need to understand the thought process of the people who will be using your mobile website.

2. Decluttering: Remember a mobile website is built for a smaller screen. So, stick to keeping things simple and functional. |

3. Maintain Consistency: Branding consistency is important. Therefore, make sure that your mobile website and other version all follow a consistent branding in terms of design.

4. Don’t Use Any Javascript or Flash Files: Apple did not support Adobe Flash and now Android has announced that will follow the same lines. If you have a mobile website that has Flash or JS, there are good chances that your website will not be accessible by your users.

5. Avoid Pop-up Windows: This is not a desktop website so avoid use of pop-up windows completely. They can be a pain on mobile devices and your users will not appreciate them.

6. Include Link Backs: There should be a link back to the full website for the mobile users. Even though there are very few users who would want to access the full website, but you want to make sure that the link is present for the ones that are interested.

Tips for Search Engine Optimization

1. Use Responsive Web Design: The biggest benefit of responsive web design is that it will serve the same HTML with separate CSS. Using CSS media queries to determine the rendering for different devices. Google considers this best industry practice and encourages all websites to follow it. Without a responsive web design you will have to make sure that the Googlebot indexes the instances separately.

2. Use a Mobile URL: Google has explicitly stated that it supports mobile URLs. The mobile URL should be through automatic redirection between mobile and other devices. You can use both HTTP and JS redirect protocols depending on the website.

3. Mobile Canonical Tags Should be Handled with Care: Previously canonical tags were left from all mobile pages. However, now Google has clarified that they should appear on all mobile pages, even if the content on them is slightly different. This way your pages can rank for their unique content on appropriate platforms.

All these tips will help your optimize your mobile website so that the use experience is enhanced and tits becomes optimized for search engines. What must be kept in mind is that a mobile website is not one to make it and then forget about it. It needs to be updated from time to time so that it can continue to meet industry standards.

Posted in mCommerce

61% of Visitors to a Non-Mobile Site are Unlikely to Return

mobile commerce ecommerce statisticsWhen the almighty Google talks we listen. Yes! Google has released a stat that you have to say to yourself (if you’re an online retailer,) “OK, we need to make sure we have a mobile version of our website!” Lucky for Fortune3 customers, that is already possible for you.

According to Google, 61% of visitors to a non mobile site are unlikely to return to that website! That’s well over half of visitors that you may lose from coming back to make the final sale because you weren’t ‘mobile’ ready. But wait; there is another very big stat to look at. When a mobile site is available, consumer engagement increases by 85%! Not sold yet?

A mobile website ensures easy navigation for those on mobile devices and tables and also optimizes the speed of a website.

According to Forrester research, mobile commerce (or M-Commerce) will reach $31 billion in 2016. Do you want a piece of that? Of course you do.

“We project that 44 percent of last minute searches for gifts this holiday season will be mobile searches,” said Haines. “We’re just seeing more and more commerce activity moving onto the mobile device.”

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Posted in mCommerce

The Role of Mobile for Mcommerce Holiday Season 2011

Mobile, mobile and more mobile. If you’re an ecommerce merchant and reading the latest tech and online marketing blogs, you know how important mobile is, has become and will be even more so in the near future. The world is moving toward surfing the net more and more via mobile devices and tablets.

Emarketer.com forecast a 50% increase in mobile shopping for the 2011 holiday season! If you don’t see this stat and say, “OK, we need to make sure we’re doing what we need to for mobile,” you’ll really be behind your competition or miss out on sales. MAKE SURE your ecommerce website has a mobile version for easy and faster navigation for consumers browsing through your website.

smart phone users holiday 2011

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Posted in mCommerce

M-Commerce: Tablet Users vs. Smart Phone Users

You’ve been hearing all the buzz about tablets, especially the iPad, right? The iPad has and is revolutionizing the way consumers search and use the web. It’s yet another tech gadget that gives us the ability to do what we want from a small machine, especially use the internet.

When it comes to mobile, a recent study shows that tablet users show greater ‘mobile’ purchasing than smart phone users!

Emarketer also reports on a very interesting state which states, “Ipsos also presents a group of consumers called “dual owners”—those who own both tablet and smartphone devices. Dual owners, Ipsos determined, conduct m-commerce purchases twice as often as those who own only smartphones. Dual owners, on average, made more than 20 mobile purchases over the past year.”

smart phone users v tablet users mcommerce

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Posted in mCommerce