Ecommerce Blog - Fortune3

Should You Use a Chatbot?

Fortune3-chat-bots-and-personal-marketing-imageHave you heard of, or do you use “chatbots?” Have you ever interacted with one?

It’s another way of automating interactions with customers. A simple messenger app responds to users and questions, taking care of them so you don’t have to.

While convenient for your business, should you use them or not?

Take a look at some of the considerations:

1. One of Your Key Competitive Advantages Versus Big Online Retailers Is…

Your ability to deliver personal customer service. All kinds of machines exist these days. Call your cable TV or satellite company, and you get a computer voice.

Call a company that doesn’t rely on personalized service, and you’ll get a voicemail.

What if you could call and talk to someone who can make a yes-or-no judgment on your question right then and there. You don’t have to wait 15-20 minutes to get through to the right person.

You don’t have to talk to a computer who misunderstands.

This is the first reason I don’t think chat bots are a good idea for small e-commerce companies.

2. Limited Understanding

I don’t know the exact comprehension level of chat bots. But I do know this: they can’t understand what a human does.

Your customers aren’t going to like being dropped or kicked by the wayside because a computer can’t get what they’re saying.

A human can ask clarifying questions and get understanding without causing much inconvenience.

3. Chat Bots Don’t Answer Personal Questions

Let’s say you have a big customer that really wants to get to know you. Instead of you talking, it’s your chat bot.

They ask your chat bot a personal question. They get a bizarre answer, or none at all.

Opportunity wasted!

One of the primary benefits of internet marketing is to deliver a personalized experience. Chat bots suck the life out of that.

I’m not sure it’s a good idea to use anything that makes your customers feel less like people and more like…just customers.

4. Where Chat Bots Might Work Well…

All this said, I don’t think chat bots are completely useless. The one area where they might work well is during off-peak hours where you can’t be available.

For example, during the night at 3 AM.

You could hire your own US-based reps to cover that time. It’s also an area where foreign labor, like hiring people with good English from the Philippines could be an option.

It’s more your judgment call here.

So…that’s my opinion on chat bots. What impact do you think they would make on your business?

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Fortune3 News & Releases, Online Marketing Strategies

How to Use Crowdfunding to Supercharge Your E-commerce Site’s Growth

fortune3-ecommerce-crowdfunding-pictureCrowdfunding as an idea has actually been around since 1884, when Joseph Pulitzer asked the American public to contribute money for the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal.  More than 125,000 people stepped up and took action, with the average contribution being less than $1.

Nowadays, everyone thinks of crowdfunding as those digital sites where you pitch your business idea to random users, give them a little gift, and then hopefully land some dollars to fund your business idea.  For very small businesses and startups that can operate on lean budgets, crowdfunding has become quite a blessing.

That being said, how do you use it most effectively for your own website?

Here’s the down low:

1.  There’s Kickstarter, and then there’s everyone else.  $574 million has been successfully raised on Kickstarter and 50% of that amount has come over the past 6 months.  9,000 domains are registered to function as crowdfunding sites, and at least 500 websites actually perform the service.  It makes most sense to go where there’s enough of a market for your idea to gain some traction – Kickstarter.

2.  Perfect your pitch.  The internet seems to make so many things easy and fast.  But, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can throw around an idea in a few minutes and get six figures of funding the same day.  Take your pitch as seriously as you would if you were presenting the idea to professional investors.  The more serious you are about your idea, the more serious investors will be about giving you the funding you need.

3.  Make the perks sweet.  Most investors will give you less than $100 each, so make sure you offer an appropriate perk in return.  Perks cannot be financial, but they could be something like a T-shirt, free product, or a dinner everyone can attend.  It’s up to you to figure out what your investors might like the best.

4.  Ask for the minimum amount you need.  Don’t view crowdfunding sites as your primary source of income.  They are more or less present to help you get started, and that’s it.  Investors will also question the feasibility of your idea if you ask for too much money.

5.  Note what is proprietary about your business.  It’s best that you do a ton of research in your market before putting your idea out on a crowdfunding site.  Investors have to have confidence that your idea will succeed, or at least that it’s viable enough to do so.  Make sure you communicate this information so you build the confidence of your investors.

If you take the process seriously and refrain from treating it as just another way to play around with other people’s money, you’ll be okay.  If you’ve got a killer idea and no funding, this may be just the way your idea comes to fruition.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Fortune3 News & Releases

5 Methods to Cater Your Website to Your Target Demographic

fortune3-catering-to-demographicThere are many major sources of traffic to a website. From the organic, SEO driven content from search engines, to backlinks from other websites and suggestions from review websites as well as blogs, it’s important to attract your target demographic to view your site.

How do you target your demographic with specialized content to cater to them? How do you market and promote new products throughout the internet? Read on to determine 5 methods to cater your website to your target demographic.

The 5 Methods

5. Whether you’re selling electronics through your ecommerce site or specialty tea and overpriced baked goods, you’ll have to consider who your target audience is before you can market to them. A 60+, primarily North American female demographic most likely isn’t going to want to read blog content geared toward a high school student. Chances are, they also don’t want to read news clippings on your blog about third-world countries while they’re purchasing specialty goods.

Make sure that your website content amply features the products you’re selling and caters to the interests of your demographic or positive highlights of their generation that tie in nicely to your product line.

4. Model your site around features that you know people will enjoy. Generation Y, or the Millennial generation, are those adults now in their 20s. These adults grew up on the internet and rely heavily on the internet for commerce, news and social media. Many ecommerce sites are relying on a heavily customer-service oriented and social media driven platform to cater to this demographic, as that’s how many know how to communicate and identify with a community.

3. Blogs should not only feature a great showing of organic keywords to improve your SEO rankings, but should also show off well-written content geared toward your demographic. Bill’s World Wide Web of Jewelry isn’t going to feature blog posts about cleaning products; they’re going to feature new jewelry trends, celebrity jewelry and other information that presents products like theirs in a positive light.

2. Many ecommerce consumers heavily rely on the information contained in your company policy before purchasing from your online store. Consumers of certain generations are concerned with your return policies, your Better Business Bureau grade and other important information about the company.

With this in mind, shoppers in today’s market appreciate the presence of comparative pricing tools and customer reviews to help them make a more informed decision. Look at the way Amazon lays everything out on the table—and how well they do because of it.

1. One of the simplest methods to target your ecommerce website to your ideal demographic is offering products geared toward the same demographic. Essentially, don’t sell baby hair products and Members Only Jackets on the same site if you’re pushing a narrow inventory of items.

Not only will targeting your products and information help your sales and your corporate image, but they’ll help you streamline your marketing efforts, too!

Hope These Tips Helped!

If you haven’t thought about your demographic lately, consider running a survey and finding out who they really are so you can offer them the most relevant products.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Fortune3 News & Releases

Fortune3 Version 2012 Initial Release Now Available

Fortune3 has released the initial 2012 update for all of its merchants and users. Version 2012 will be released in a few separate segments during the coming weeks and months, the first of which is already available. This initial release provides some great new features and starts an essential transition to the final version 2012 release in the weeks to come that will communicate with the Fortune3 servers in a new way and have an improved interface. All Fortune3 users are encouraged to download the 2012 update at once so they can easily transition to the final 2012 version upon its release. To update, simply open the Fortune3 Wizard and click on Yes to download the new update, then run through the installation and you are done! This initial release is by no means a beta version, it is a full release that has been fully tested and is packed with some new great features, including:

New Templates – A new set of free templates has been released. 6 new template styles are available in different color combinations to provide 23 new unique looks to your online store. All new templates use the latest HTML 5.0 coding with CSS styling. In addition, a new HTML editor (W3C’s Amaya) has been added to the Fortune3 Wizard to allow for greater flexibility on customizing these new templates. If you feel that your online store’s design could use a tune-up or a new fresh look, take a look inside the “My Template” section of the Wizard for the templates in the Latest Templates category.

Highly Flexible Menu Options – The 2012 version re-designed and changed the concept of the “Menu Options” screen in the Fortune3 Wizard’s ‘My Web Pages’ area, allowing for much more flexibility for creating and managing custom menus. Users can now create unlimited menus, and fully customize these menus to contain the links of their choice. The new horizontal menus allow users to easily place a horizontal drop-down menu across their header or a footer containing any links desired, including links to any internal web page, category page, or external web page. You can even add customized menus inside other menus to customize the drop-downs with the links of your choice! All of the new templates are set up to use these new menu options. However, existing templates or customized templates you may already be using will need to be modified to make them work with these new menu options (inserting the required tokens and files is required). Please contact Fortune3 for more information on using these new menu options with an existing template.

Slideshow Designer – This new tool allows users to easily create banner slideshows to place on any section of the site desired. Slideshows are rotating images or banners that can bring clear messages to your shoppers without taking up too much space on your site. All new templates come equipped with a pre-defined slideshow. You can create as many different slideshows as you need and place them on any page on your site and change the images in your slideshows easily at any time. To create a slideshow, simply go to the ‘My Web Pages’ screen and under More Settings click on Slideshow Designer. Please note that for existing templates, tokens needs to be inserted into your template to call the slideshows.

Correios/Sedex Integration (Brazil) – As one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets, Brazil’s post office (Correios) can be an important tool for Brazilian merchants and has been fully integrated for getting accurate shipping costs from the Fortune3 shopping cart.

Stay tuned for the subsequent version 2012 releases and more great new features to come! During the next few weeks and months you will encounter multiple new releases, each with its own set of new features and functionality, all leading up to and culminating with the final 2012 Version release by November of this year. Thank you for choosing Fortune3.

Posted in Fortune3 News & Releases

Fortune3 Now Integrated with CartSpan Accounting

Online Merchants are constantly looking for solutions to improve their business processes and to automate every process as much as possible. After all, time is money.

CartSpan Fortune3 Integration Fortune3 is happy to announce a new integration made available by CartSpan software through the Fortune3 Open API. CartSpan is an easy-to-use bi-directional integration for Peachtree/QuickBooks/Sage 50 U.S. that synchronizes orders from Fortune3 into your accounting platform automatically and updates item prices and stock quantities on-hand back into the cart, without any interaction and without importing/exporting of files. This integration frees merchants from the burden of re-keying order information in the accounting system and helps prevent the over-committing of inventory to Web customers.

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Fortune3 Ecommerce Software New Features: Pack May 2012

At Fortune3, we are always striving and constantly working on our platform to make sure to deliver the best possible product to our customers. We know and understand the importance of having every feature available to you that means success for your ecommerce website. If you are a Fortune3 customer, you already know this about us. If you aren’t, it’s time you give Fortune3 a try and build a success ecommerce business.

Fortune3 is excited to announce the release of some great new features in our shopping cart and eCommerce platform. These new features are already available to you as a Fortune3 user and can be enabled right away!

Recurring Billing – With our new Recurring Billing feature, you can sell products and services on a subscription-basis in a fully automated way. Customers purchasing a “Recurring Billing” product will only have to place their initial order, and depending on the recurring product’s settings, orders will be placed automatically on the next billing period and come in as new orders to your online store. Recurring billing orders can be fully managed from the Admin Site or Cancelled by navigating to the “Orders -> Recurring Orders -> Recurring Billing Orders” screen. To set up a product as a Recurring Billing product, make sure that you downloaded the latest update to the Fortune3 Wizard, and go to the Product’s Properties screen, and find the last tab on top – Recurring Settings. Select your settings for how to base the pricing of recurring orders and their intervals. Then Save, and upload your site. You are done!

Auto-Ship / Recurring Shipping – With our new Auto-Ship feature, customers purchasing a product with this setting enabled will select every how often they would like the product to be shipped to them, and new orders will be placed in the shopping cart automatically on every interval, depending on the auto-ship settings selected by the customer. Auto-Ship orders can be fully managed from the Admin Site or Cancelled by navigating to the “Orders -> Recurring Orders -> Auto-Ship Orders” screen. The auto-ship feature is also located in each product’s Properties screen, under the Recurring Settings tab.

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Tags: ,   Posted in Fortune3 News & Releases

Fortune3 Lowers Ecommerce Hosting Setup Fees

Fortune3 Ecommerce Hosting Solution now with significantly lower set-up fee!

The same excellent service and support, with the best and latest software, and now even lower prices, all come together to create the most versatile Ecommerce Shopping Cart in the market. In order bring our service to a larger array of customers we will be lowering all set-up fees for the next couple of months. We hope that these changes will encourage small companies to take the first step to immersing themselves into the competitive world of online trade and emerging stronger than ever before, with the Fortune3 Ecommerce Hosting Solution as the flagship.

Here is what the new prices of the Fortune3 Ecommerce Shopping Cart look like:

Plan Basic Silver Gold Platinum Diamond Infinity
Max. Number of Products 30 100 1,000 5,000 10,000 Unlimited
Old Setup Fee: 99.95 99.95 99.95 129.95 149.95 169.95
New Setup Fee: 39.95 39.95 39.95 49.95 74.95 99.95

Although lower in price we ensure the same quality of service and responsiveness as ever. Our software continues to be free to use, and all trial accounts will continue to last for the same 30 day period, which allows you to get a feel for our Ecommerce Shopping Cart and create a fully functioning Online Store, before you have to pay a single cent. Of course this trial period allows you to full access all the features of our Wizard as if you were a paying customer, this includes the Fortune3 Wizard, dynamic software which allows you to configure and maintain all aspects of your online store, the products, categories, payment methods, shipping and much more. The Administration site, a browser based command center, that helps you run your online store smoothly and efficiently, keeps records of all customers, track and ship orders, print labels, live statics and more.

The Fortune3 Ecommerce Shopping cart also features a highly trained team of specialist, happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding not only Fortune3, but all that involves Ecommerce. Tech support can be contacted via phone Mon – Fri: 09:00 AM – 7:00 PM EST, or when an urgent matter 24/7, or 24 hours 7 days a week online tech support is available via http://support.fortune3.com

Posted in Fortune3 News & Releases

Shopping Cart Software and Checkout by Amazon Integration

Fortune3 now allows your ecommerce shopping cart software customers to checkout using the Checkout by Amazon Carts payment system. This is great news for Existing and New Fortune3 Clients as it will help them to expand their customer base and allow for a completely unique income stream. What many ecommerce business owners look for in their shopping cart system is how to make purchasing easier for their visitors. Fortune3’s ecommerce software checkout process aims at making the checkout an easy to navigate situation for your customers. By adding Checkout by Amazon, the process is streamlined even more by allowing them take advantage of the many benefits Amazon can bring to the table. Checkout by Amazon allows customers with existing Amazon accounts to checkout using pre-defined account credentials and even by entering a secret passphrase that only the customer knows. Not only does the Checkout by Amazon service decrease the time it takes your customers to checkout, it also adds to the already secure checkout process offered by Fortune3. All Amazon Checkout transactions are scanned to detect fraudulent orders and irregular payment activities, this obviously adds to checkout security, but also allows for Amazon to put into place the “Amazon A-to-Z Guarantee.” Learn more about the Amazon A-to-z Guarantee here.

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Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Fortune3 News & Releases

Online Store Software Dashboard & Graphical Reports

Fortune3 Total Ecommerce Solutions is focused at providing the best online store software available. Our web shop program includes all features that are necessary in order for any business owner to make the most out of their online shop. As we build more and more functionality into our online store software we grow within what promises to be a completely web based commercial society. As a recent addition to our already broad range of ecommerce tools, you now have access to a complete store summary via the dashboard on your Fortune3 web shop program.

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Posted in Fortune3 News & Releases

New Ecommerce Solution Feature: Layaway capability as payment option.

One of Fortune3’s best features is the variety of payment options available for your online shopping cart.  Aiming to stay the best ecommerce solution on the net, Fortune3 recently added eLayaway® payment processor to the list of  integrated payment processors, allowing store owners to offer products at Layaway.  eLayaway® allows buyers to purchase items by scheduling payments on a payment calculator. The payments are then deducted from the buyer’s bank account until all remaining payments have been made in full. The merchant can then ship out the order accordingly.

If you are interested in accepting eLayaway as a payment option, you may link it to your shopping cart hosting account by loging in to your Fortune3 administrative site > setup > payment options > eLayaway.

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Posted in Fortune3 News & Releases