The ShopOnMain Team

So who are the people behind the ShopOnMain website?

Meet CEO Joseph Smith

SmithsJoseph Smith says he’s always felt like a square peg in a world full of round holes. The son of a Kentucky farmer, his drive to succeed took him to Vanderbilt University to study Mechanical Engineering.

He quickly found a passion for start-up businesses. To this day, he regales the team at ShopOnMain with stories of his time at the earliest days of Amazon – “when we worked for peanuts, slept in the breakroom and had dogs running around the place.”

Joe struck out on his own in 2004 as a consultant, eventually forming JJSmith Marketing. It was through that company that he assembled the current ShopOnMain team. As this group helped clients succeed with online marketing, they began to see a pattern: businesses were struggling in an online environment that sometimes made it seem the deck was stacked against them.

“We saw there was a need,” Joe says, “for small to medium sized businesses – the kind you see on every Main Street – to have a web presence. But as they tried to come online they were facing tough challenges. They could spend time and resources on their own website, only to see it sit there with no shoppers.”

“Or, they could list their products on existing ecommerce sites. There, they might make sales but typically aren’t allowed to build a relationship with those customers. In many cases those customers don’t even realize who they purchased from. Businesses need loyal, repeat shoppers in order to grow. The only ones getting repeat business on the current platforms are the websites themselves – not the individual businesses that make them work.”
And so, ShopOnMain was born.

For Joe, the absolute best part of starting companies like JJSmith Marketing and now ShopOnMain is that both are designed to be virtual workplaces, allowing the entire team to work from home. In Joe’s case, home is a farm outside Bardstown, KY that he shares with his wife, Julie, and their two children: 12 year old Andrew and 8 year old Alexandra.

“Most of the businesses who are or will be on ShopOnMain have one thing in common with those of us building it,” he says. “We do this because we want to be there for our families. We want to build something we can pass down to them. We also want to be with them for the journey, after all the journey is life.”


 

Meet Software Architect Matt Crowe

10931199_1126687627346620_9210360654323832487_nMatthew Crowe could be working from anywhere. The coder behind ShopOnMain has a passion for travel that has taken him all over the world – most frequently to Central and South America. In fact, a good chunk of the software the website runs on (which Matt built completely from scratch) was written from Colombia and Nicaragua.

Which is no small feat. The software Matt built from the ground up includes a secure shopping cart system with a shipping component that allows businesses to print shipping labels and generate tracking emails for customers with a single click. So businesses that sell products on ShopOnMain don’t have to download orders and upload tracking information as they do on other platforms.

Matt studied Manufacturing Engineering in college, but switched careers to find something more enjoyable – and flexible. His travel addiction got off to a good start in college where he spent a year studying in Bogota, Columbia. Fluent in Spanish, he also worked in Matamoros, Mexico in the manufacturing of airbags and steering wheels.

But you can’t do your manufacturing job from anywhere. You can, however, build software anywhere you have an internet connection.

Today, Matt’s travel entourage includes wife Misty and their 16-month-old daughter, Cora. When they’re at home in Ohio they enjoy playing board games – Matt has over 100 board games in his collection.


 

Meet Marketing & Communications Writer Lisa Packer

12274428_10206306315230071_4081201172397060448_nLisa Packer has always been a writer. Whether it was diaries and journals as a young girl, or poems and short stories that were published anonymously in her High School paper, she’s always been putting pen to paper.

As a young mother in the mid-2000’s, Lisa discovered she could use her writing talent to help businesses grow – and build a career working from home. By the end of that decade she’d met Joseph Smith – first as a freelance copywriter for JJSmith Marketing, then as a full time member of the team.

Besides working from home, her favorite part of the job has been the opportunity to learn and grow. She’s participated in some of the most exclusive training workshops and conferences in the Internet Marketing world, and loves putting that knowledge to use to help small businesses succeed.

“The most exciting thing, to me, about ShopOnMain is that it’s giving locally owned businesses a chance to fight back. Up till now, the Internet was something that took customers away from businesses like these in favor of big-box websites. Now, by banding together on this platform, smaller businesses have an advantage they didn’t have before.”

From November to March (and into early April every so often) Lisa lives for college basketball. Specifically, for the UNC Tarheels. A lifelong fan, she takes the #1 rivalry in College Sports very seriously.

“My dad is a Duke fan,” she says. “It doesn’t matter how late the games are, if either team loses we’ll call each other to rub it in. He’s always trying to convert my kids to the Dark Side. Of course, I raised them better than that.”

Her kids are Aaron, 20 and Josiah, 15. Husband Warren is a Tarheel fan as well. They try to attend at least one game a year in Chapel Hill.

“One day I’m going to have season tickets,” Lisa says. “Maybe when I retire.”

 

Instagram: Why Photos Can Make You A Millionaire

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1a 1Today I’d like to write about Instagram.

And why we think it’s one of the potent online tools on the planet.

With over 200 million active users (and about 75 million daily users), Instagram is quickly becoming an incredible way to drive more traffic to your business.

But it’s more than ‘just numbers’.  It’s also the mindset of the typical Instagram user.

For example, did you know that 47% of users say Instagram is the top 10 platform they use to discover new products?

Today, every business needs an Instagram account.

So let’s break down how to set one up and discuss what you need to do to run your Instagram effectively to become a millionaire now.

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Getting an Instagram set up is a piece of cake.

Here are the 3 steps:

  1. Whip out your phone and download Instagram
  2. Create a profile with your business as the user name
  3. Start posting your fabulous and catchy pictures

For more info, check out Instagram’s guide.

Now comes the hard part…

How do you get likes and comments?

 How do you engage?

 What pictures should you post?

 How do you get followers?

We’ve got you covered with some helpful insights and tips…

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Be Resourceful

Just like you would look at your competition out in “the real world,” you need to take a good hard look at them on Instagram.

Start following other brands in your niche, look at their gallery, and take note about which photos get the most engagement, check out their hashtags, and notice their photo design.

You’ll be able to get a clearer idea of what works and what doesn’t.

For more inspiration, check out Instagram’s recommended businesses to follow.

Be Hip

Being hip means using hashtags.

Now that you’re set up and that you have fun, catchy, and great photos, you’re engaging your customers. But what is this hashtag business that keeps getting mentioned?

Simply put, hashtags make searching easy.

Hashtags are “#” followed by a word. If you’re in the travel industry, you’d probably use: #travel #itravel #lovetravel #adventure and so on…

If someone searches #travel, pictures that have the hashtag included in the caption will appear. Therefore, using hashtags means that your Instagram account is exposed to a ton of potential followers interested in your specific topic.

Instagram allows 30 hashtags per photo or video clip. There’s debate as to how many you should use, but studies show the more hashtags, the more engagement your photo gets.

The less hashtags, the “cleaner” your photo will look though… In the end, it comes down to the type of image you want to project for your business.

Here are a couple examples of a great use of hashtags:

#ManiMonday 🎃👻 Featuring Colour Riche Nail Polish in L'Orange, Power Potion and Yacht Party #lorealhalloween

A photo posted by L'Oreal Paris USA (@lorealparisusa) on

It's a double shot + denim kind of Monday. #LadiesInLevis

A photo posted by Levi's® (@levis) on

TIP: Post your photo with the initial comment you’d like, and make a second comment with your hashtags. You’re still tagging your photo, but it looks much nicer without all the hashtags cluttering your initial comment.

Be Engaged

Instagram isn’t a one-way street. Especially not when you’re starting off. In order to grow a following, make sure you follow back, engage by liking and commenting on other photos, and of course, post often and consistently. Use the Search and Explore section to easily searching for others in your niche.

Another way to engage is to offer to repost photos that were taken by your customers, with your product, if they use your hashtag. We all know how much customers love to feel loved and to get spotlighted. This is a great way to show them that you care. Just be sure to use the hashtag #regram!

Be Generous

What perks can you offer your followers? You post nice photos for them, but what about a coupon code for those who follow? Or perhaps you can run a contest?

Here’s an example: try out a contest where followers need to use a hashtag of themselves using your product. Promos, discounts, and contests are an excellent way to engage, gain followers, and keep yourself on the radar.

Be Inspired

Of course, your products or services are going to be the main highlight, but you still need to mix things up.  Always posting about your product won’t make for a catchy gallery.

So what about posting some behind the scene stuff? Maybe a picture of your employee serving up your cupcakes or packaging that box to be delivered?

To switch it up, you could post a video as well to give your gallery a bit of variety.

Check out Taco Bell’s creative topics:

Friday fiesta.

A photo posted by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on

When in doubt or out of ideas… Post some (relevant) selfies. We all know how popular selfies are. Some inspirational quotes, or funny memes would work too. Use the #tbt (throwback Thursday) hashtag for an excuse to use an older photo.

Last minute tips….

  • Do you have a blog? Instagram can be embedded in your blog. It’s a great way to gain more followers and get your Instagram out there.
  • Don’t have enough time to “play” on any other social media? We totally get it. Time spent on social media is increasing and it can feel like a full time job, but that’s why there are apps to help you out. Buffer is a time saving app to help you schedule posts, and here’s a good list of other helpful apps.
  • Make sure you’re posting at a good time. Don’t post at the “dead hours”. Use this infographic to help you decide the best time.

Are you in need of some inspiration for your Instagram account? Read up on our last post which features some of the most inspirational Instagram accounts out there.

At ShopOnMain, we’re all about helping businesses be successful, and using social media is the prime outlet to getting your business out there. Using Instagram is a not only a smart business move, but we have to admit, it’s pretty fun too.

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The ShopOnMain Company Core Values

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WOW is such a short and simple word, but it really encompasses a lot of things. To WOW, you must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver. We are not an average company, our service is not average, and we don’t want our people to be average. We expect every employee to deliver WOW. We seek to WOW our customers, our co-workers, our vendors… anyone who comes in contact with this company deserves WOW.

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We can’t allow feelings to get in the way of results. No matter how much time we’ve spent on a project or how much we may like an idea, it lives or dies by the results it produces. Likewise, we aren’t here JUST to provide service or warm feelings to customers. If we’re not producing profitable results we won’t exist to serve anyone.

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Only in an atmosphere of truth can excellence be achieved. Withholding disagreements, constructive criticism or ideas (at and toward all levels) can only stifle the company as a whole.

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As a team, we support and respect each other like family. Customers are an extension of that family and deserve respect, kindness, and awe-inspiring service whenever possible. Our personal families are most important of all. When they need us we are there – and can catch up with work later.

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In operations, in thinking, and in schedules. We change when necessary no matter how much we may like or have invested in the status quo.

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Strive to be the best “You” you can be. By seeking opportunities to better educate and grow ourselves and our skills, we strengthen the company as a whole. 2

Amazing Apps-Virtual Shopping Is One Step Closer

by rice1 0 Comments

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1The 21st century has brought the virtual world to our fingertips.

Between technology we may take for granted (a.k.a. our fancy new iPhone) to those unattainable magical products (a.k.a those Google Glasses we’ve all wanted to try on), the line between reality and virtual is becoming more and more blurred.

So what does that mean for us shoppers?

We at ShopOnMain believe wholeheartedly that the world we shop in is radically transforming.

And today, we want to give you a little glimpse into the future. A sneak peak to the technology you can look forward when you buy online.

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Virtual shopping is getting so much more real with these amazing new apps.  Perfection indeed: 

  • The Perfect Virtual Store App: As you know, one of the biggest initial costs of a store is creating the storefront itself. Yihaodian, China’s largest online grocer, is creating an insane shopping experience where you can view inside over 1000 virtual stores with just your phone. All you need to do is stand next to one of the 1000 locations they have across China and you can cruise through these virtual aisles directly from your smartphone. From there, you can purchase what you need and have it delivered straight to your front door. No more carts. No more lines. Don’t believe us? Check out this video:
  • The Perfect Shirt App Picture this: you enter your favorite clothing store and notice a maxi-dress that you absolutely love. Unfortunately, the dress is orange which is definitely not your color. Not to worry. With the American Apparel’s app, all you need to do is whip out your phone and check out what your dress looks like in a rainbow of colors! Plus you’ll see reviews as well as photos of other customers wearing the product. This app literally takes out all the guesswork. Check this video out to see how it works.
  • The Perfect Shoe App: There’s probably nothing more frustrating than receiving a brand new pair of gorgeous shoes, only to discover that they are a size too small. The team behind Findmeashoe.com are here to save the day. They’ve created a 3D virtual shopping experience where a mobile foot scanner creates a profile on your foot specifically to find the shoe that truly fits and looks good on you.

 

  • The Perfect Furniture App: Imagine this scenario: you’re looking for a brand new couch but you’re not sure whether it’ll fit in your teeny loft. Well, in 2014, Ikea decided to make your life so much easier through their catalog and augmented reality app. All you need to do is pick the item you wish to buy and the app will scan your room, showing you where it’ll be placed. Take a look:

 

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The future of technology couldn’t be any cooler or more fascinating. Do these tools sound like something beyond your wildest imagination?  Well the future is now and it’s all about to make shopping even more exciting.

At ShopOnMain we’re simply blown away by the future developments and really can’t wait to see them become more common place for shoppers. Join in on our adventure and see what we have in store for you.2a

Your Daily Inspiration-Gram

by rice1 0 Comments

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Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn

As entrepreneurs and business owners, we struggle every day to stay motivated. To stay inspired. To stay at the top of our game.

Every now and then, it can be easy to lose track of our ultimate goal and why it is that we started our venture in the first place.

Well today, we at ShopOnMain have gathered the top 8 Instagrams accounts to help keep you inspired. From businesses running excellent Instagram campaigns, to successful entrepreneurs who have made it BIG, we’ve assembled the crème de la crème of retail inspiration. Be sure to add them so that you can check them out daily!

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  1. Target @target/@targetdoesitagain

Target’s Instagram is the perfect blend of glamour and approachability that draws all types of audiences. This retail giant makes sure that their celebrity endorsements (from the likes of Shakira) is combined with their more accessible Instagram spin off @targetdoesitagain. Here, they have a fashion blogger post selfies in their new garb as well as show all of their new food, furniture and decorations. The mix of celebrity and every-day people is truly a genius idea.

kimono blazer! $22.99 by xhilaration #targetdoesitagain

A photo posted by targetdoesitagain (@targetdoesitagain) on

 

  1. Whole Foods @wholefoods

Not only do you get the chance to see all of Whole Foods’ beautiful food on display, but their Instagram account gives you the chance to take a sneak peak at how they support the Whole Planet Foundation. This foundation is dedicated to alleviating poverty through microcredit in communities that supply Whole Foods with awesome products. Whole Foods’ Instagram shows every business just how important it is to talk about what matters to you as a company.

 

 

  1. Richard Branson @richardbranson

We all know who Richard Branson is. But do we all get a glimpse at some of his business acumen and day-to-day life? To be inspired by his quotes, amazing holiday photos, and even motivational business activities, be sure to check out his account ASAP.

 

  1. Entrepreneur Magazine @entrepreneur

Much like Richard Branson, you can expect more motivational quotes and inspiring individuals to be featured on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Instagram account. They also have contests and even sneak peek clips of behind-the-scene interviews with successful entrepreneurs. Keep up to date with the coolest new kids on the entrepreneurial block.

 

  1. Sophia Amoruso @sophiaamoruso

Meet the “Cinderella of tech”.  Sophia is the founder and owner of Nasty Gal. One upon a time, she was only featured on Ebay.  Now her business is flourishing with its own site and several brick and mortar shops. Sophia Amoruso has grown her business from $223,000 to over $23 million in four years (2013). Her company was named one of the fastest growing by Inc Magazine in 2012. Check out her colorful Instagram to be inspired to follow in her footsteps!

The @girlboss paperback: for packing light n thinking heavy.

A photo posted by Sophia Amoruso (@sophiaamoruso) on

 

  1. Acting on a dream @actingonadream

The goal of this account is to help people reflect on their own dreams. Folks are asked to hold “dream clouds” where they write their biggest hopes and aspirations. Check out what others are hoping for!

 

  1. Sephora @sephora

Sephora’s account shows you the best of beauty today. Not only do you get to see some beautiful pictures of their makeup, but you also get to see customers use their products. Sephora shows how much they respect and admire the clients. In order to make it easy to buy their products, you can use the like2buy button right on their homepage.

 

  1. Virgin America @virginamerica

This account takes flying to a new height. You get to see the Virgin America product at it’s finest: from beautiful shots of their planes to fun vacation trips. And Virgin America is all about its customers. Check out its tagline Once again, the tagline encourages its travellers to tag them in their photos so they can share the awesome trips they’re having.

Dr. Evil put lasers on his sharks – we’ve armed ours with WiFi. #SharkWeek

A photo posted by Virgin America (@virginamerica) on

We at ShopOnMain are dedicated to the concept of Big Ideas. We believe that shopping doesn’t need to the ‘same old same old’ but can be inspired. Come see.2

Attention Business Owners: Are You Feeling Discouraged?

by rice1 0 Comments

1a1The alarm clock is ringing and ringing.

It’s time to get up…

You contemplate spending another 10 minutes in the depths of your warm bed. But no… it’s time to start the day.

It takes everything you have to get up and stumble to the kitchen for a cup of coffee.

Thoughts swarm in your head like bees in a hive: from managing employees, to increasing sales, being a business owner can be tough.

And staying motivated can be even tougher.

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There are a few factors that can contribute to your lack of motivation:

  • Impatience: No one is an overnight success. Without some motivation you’ll quickly become a one hit wonder. Napoleon said “Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
  • Loss of Meaning: If you lose your passion, you lose your business. There needs to be a driving force getting you up in the morning. A fire in your belly. However, after the reality of owning a business hits you, it’s easy to forget the fire that launched you on your journey.
  • Ingratitude: It’s important to always be grateful. Be thankful for any business you receive, no matter how small. Customers will remember this and don’t forget, you reap what you sow.

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There are 6 steps to getting out of a motivational rut. Don’t be discouraged! Once you master these 6 tools, you’ll know how to combat even the most discouraging days:

  1. Set a Goal: Having something to work towards can increase your motivation. If you are able to break down long-term goals into weekly actionable steps seeing your progress can help you build momentum and keep the process moving.

Be Inspired: Remember what is was like when you made your first sale or reached a significant milestone? Think back to the process you went through, how much hard work you put in and the sweet taste of victory. Replaying some of your best moments can help you get out of your funk. Surround yourself with positive, inspiration people who will lift you up when you need a boost.

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  1. Look After Yourself: Set regular times during the week to unplug, spend time with family or friends, read, or go for a run. This gives your brain time to rest and refocus. If you’re all business 24/7 this leads to burnout and no one wants that.
  2. Reward Yourself: Acknowledge your hard work and pat yourself on the back when you’ve completed a task. You deserve it. If you’re the outdoorsy type, reward yourself with a beautiful walk.
  3. Talk To Your Customers: This is one of the best ways to gain inspiration. Customers provide insight on how you can make your business better and even give you new ideas for a product or service. Reaching out to them allows you to get to know them better so you’re able to tailor your marketing message. Customers are also your best form of publicity. Make them happy and they’ll forever sing your praises.
  1. See The Big Picture: It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks. Check in with yourself once a month and remember your ‘why’. Why did you start this business? Why are you working so hard? This will help to restore your motivation when it’s waning.

Just as a plant needs to be watered every few days, so does your motivation.

Listen to podcasts or watch inspirational movies, whatever inspires you.

If not, your motivation will wither and die.

If you are ready to surround yourself with like-minded business owners who don’t know the meaning of the word quit, why not join ShopOnMain?

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WordPress—The Web’s Wonder Child

by rice1 0 Comments

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1One of the unsung heroes of online marketing is an application called WordPress.

What exactly is WordPress?

WordPress is an extremely popular open source blog and Web site publishing program that can be installed on your Web server. Introduced in 2003, there are now thousands of WordPress Themes that can provide you with the exact look and feel you seek. While WordPress was originally developed for blogs, it is a popular format for any type of site now—including ecommerce sites.

As part of our series on how to get set up online as an online retailer, we would like to take a closer look at this powerful –but elegantly simple—tool.

Here are some of the reasons we give WordPress a giant thumbs up.

WordPress is:

Extremely easy to use. With a huge online community ready to network with and answer your questions, countless free plugins themes and ecommerce abilities to make web development a whole lot easier, WordPress is the perfect fit for any online retailer. Your skill level doesn’t matter; anyone can learn and use WordPress successfully.

• Free. Another WordPress perk – it’s completely free! What’s not to love about that? WordPress software is free to download, install, use and modify, plus with a plethora of free themes to customize the look and feel of your site, you won’t need deep pockets to get your website off the ground.

• Accessible. Information for WordPress abounds; there is a TON of great free tutorials out there on the web to help make your website even better.

• Super simple to manage. If you’re someone with little to no tech experience, fear not! It’s very user-friendly and you can manage your own back end without constantly having to ask for fancy (and expensive) technical help.

A good example is the WordPress built-in updater. This allows you to update your plugins, themes and even WordPress itself when it’s time to upgrade to a newer version.

• Secure. WordPress is considered a safe and secure choice for websites. Whilst it is important always to take as many measures as possible to protect your site, with WordPress you don’t have to overly worry about hackers.

Now that you’ve got the facts, how do you install WordPress and get it up and running?

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The answer is surprisingly simple.

DailyTekk recently published a blog that shows you exactly how it’s done… in a nutshell:

1. Step One: Decide on a web hosting company. This might be the only bit that costs you money from the get-go. A basic hosting company will only set you back about $10/month. A few of the more popular hosting options are GoDaddy, BlueHost and HostGator.

2. Step Two: Install WordPress using auto-installation. This sounds a bit complicated, but most hosting companies now have 1-click installation for WordPress, making the process smooth, quick and painless.

3. Step Three: Select your theme. The theme is what gives your website structure and character so be sure to pick something that will work for your business. There are dozens of themes designed specifically for ecommerce sites.

4. Step Four: Pick your plugins. There are thousands of available WordPress plugins that can do anything for you—from accepting credit cards to adding Facebook comments to your blog posts. To start off, focus on the ones you really need. Minimally you will want an SEO plugin, a social plugin to connect your website to social media and a Google Analytics plugin to track your website visitors.

5. Step Five: Create content and start blogging! Once you’ve got everything set up, you’re ready to create awesome content. Be sure to update your blog regularly!

If you want more in-depth information on WordPress set up, we would highly recommend checking out these articles to learn more:

How to Start a Blog Site using WordPress – Basic 5 Steps for New Bloggers

How to Set up a WordPress Website

15 Point Checklist: WordPress Start-Up Guide After Installation

One final note. Once you have your website up and running, don’t forget to do regular maintenance to keep things running smoothly! You might want to check out this article for some ways to maintain and optimize WordPress for your business.

All in all, WordPress is a solid option for any online retailer. It’s easy to use, free to install, simple to maintain, and a breeze to get up and running—a powerful partner as you launch your ecommerce journey.
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Why YOU Should Be Writing Reviews…

by rice1 0 Comments

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1Are reviews really THAT important?

To answer this question, all you need to know is this… According to a study, 88% of consumers have used reviews to determine the quality of a business.

Yes, you heard that right… 88%

Retailers need to listen and understand the praise—and the complaints–you as a customer bestow on them.

And as a consumer, it is your right to have as much information as possible before making a purchase decision.

At the end of the day, reviews are really a GREAT way you can impact both businesses and fellow shoppers.

In this article today, we’d like to give you some tips on how to create the best reviews possible.

How to make your review useful:

Writing the very best reviews does not necessarily mean always writing a positive review. To be good, a review must be honest, accurate and informational.

For example, if someone buys a new iPhone and leaves this review: “This phone is awesome! I love it!”

What does it tell you?

Will this review be useful for you if you decide to buy an iPhone?

Not really.
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So let’s keep some of these tips in mind so we can provide the Internet with more meaningful and useful reviews…

1. Be Relevant: People don’t have a lot of time and they don’t care to read that you’re wearing your new dress or that you just drove through 20 minutes of rain to get to the store. Are those details relevant to the review? If the answer is no, then leave them out.

2. Be Cool: It’s very tempting to hide behind a computer and to launch an attack against the shoe store who delivered the wrong size. However, please remember to take the time to cool off. When you’re seeing red, it can be hard to write coherently and logically. Walk away and come back to review later.

3. Be Honest: If you write a review, positive or negative, make sure you own it. If you’re comfortable enough, try using your own name and make it visible. Own your review even further by encouraging comments or questions to help people in the market for that product. Make sure when you write the review, you talk about your experience only and don’t include any “invisible people” and state that ‘you heard’ or ‘you think other feels the same’ or something along those lines. Talk about your experience.

4. Be Situation-Specific: Although it might be tempting to say that Alan helped you immensely at the store while you were contemplating the right suit to buy, it’s not very helpful to include names. What if that person was transferring to a new store next week? What if they were a fill-in? Just keep it specific to the situation rather than the person.

5. Be Understanding: While it’s not fun to be shipped the wrong product, try to be understanding. We are all human, and humans make mistakes. Try seeing the other side and perhaps mention that yes, the restaurant was very busy. It doesn’t excuse the long wait time, but it shows that there is perhaps a reason why the wait was so long.

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6. Be Balanced: This is an essential part to a review. It’s unlikely the entire process from start to finish was absolutely terrible. Be sure, even if the end result wasn’t what you wanted, to mention the positives that did happen. Also if you are completely negative, it tends to dilute the credibility of the entire review. Balance equals believability.

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There are some very important points to remember when making a review, and it’s mostly aimed at those who are reviewing their bad experience…

• Don’t make things up or exaggerate the situation.
• If you are making a potentially damaging claim to a company, make sure you can prove it and prove it well. (It’s worth mentioning that if you are unable to prove your allegations, you open yourself up to possible lawsuits.)
• Make sure you reach out to the company one last time before you criticize them publicly. At the least, you tried one final time to resolve the issue at hand.

In our fast-paced, online shopping world, your review—whether it is negative or positive—really counts. Make sure you do it right. If you do businesses will be open to addressing your concerns and your fellow shoppers will be infinitely grateful.

One last note. Don’t only share the ‘bad stuff’. (It’s unfortunate but true that more people are likely to put pen to paper if they have had a negative experience).

Make sure you also tell people about your amazing experiences. Offer praise when praise is due.

At ShopOnMain, our entire mission is to ensure that business and shoppers alike have the best experience possible. To that end, we believe reviews are an excellent way of providing constructive feedback—just as long as they are done correctly.2

BRANDING: How to Build the Bridge Between Your Offline and Online Stores

by rice1 0 Comments

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1Building your brand is probably the most difficult thing you’ll do as a business owner.

Answering questions like…

What do I want people to ‘see’ when they think of my brand?

What (meaningful) values should I stand for?

How can I stand out from the crowd and inspire people with what I do?

In a world which has so many ‘lookalike’ products, these are tough—but crucial—questions.

And they only get tougher when you decide to take your brick and mortar store online.

It means you have to stand for all those things in two places—rather than just one.

Today’s blog post is going to focus on exactly how you can successfully accomplish building ONE brand on TWO platforms so that your clients enjoy a unique coherent experience with you no matter where they are.

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To begin with, you need to define what your brand and identify what your company should champion.

The best way to do this?

Think of your brand as a person.

If your company was a living breathing human being, what kind of person would it be?

What would be his/her beliefs?

Dreams?

Fears?

Who would he/she hang out with?

What kind of clothes would she/he wear?

When you’ve determined who your perfect “brand human” is, jot down the answers to the following questions to make sure you know exactly what it is you need to communicate to your customers:

• What does my business stand for?
• How do I want my business to be perceived?
• What should my brand look like?
• What do I want my clients to remember about their shopping experience with me?
• What ‘pain point’(s) do I solve for my clients?

Our final word of advice?

Be unique.

Don’t try and imitate other brands.

Your company’s distinct personality is what will make your business memorable.
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As we mentioned in a previous blog post (link to juggle blog post), when a client goes to your website, you want to make them feel like they’re walking through the doors of your store. And vice versa.

In order to make your branding efficient, you need to make sure that your online and offline world brands are the same.

So how do you do that?

How do you—brick by brick–build a sturdy bridge between those universes?

Here are some ideas:

Drive online to offline (and vice versa)

Run competitions or give discounts for those who use a mobile check-in at your store. This will ensure that your physical shoppers pay attention to your online presence.
Drive conversation directly to your social media accounts by supplying a Twitter hashtag in a print ad or even at the checkout counter in your physical store.
• Supply an online promotion via a QR code; you gain instant access to an “offline” customer with just a click.
Create an official hashtag will have several purposes. First, it will be a way customers can engage with your brand. Second, it will help you get your brand out there more. Third, you can use it to gain insight into the type of people who are interested in your product.

4Match your content

Make sure that your social media banners match what’s going on inside your store. This is not just in terms of basic branding (i.e. logo, colors, font). It also means that if your website is advertising the hot new pair of sneakers, then make sure your bricks and mortar store does the same.

Have a social media strategy. Your Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram should all be delivering the same message. Make sure that there is a common thread between all the accounts and that same message can be found in your physical store.
Don’t underestimate the power of your logo. Make sure everything is integrated with it.

PRO TIP: Do not repeat the exact same message over and over again in the same way. Your communication needs to work together and yet not be identical on different platforms.
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Here at ShopOnMain, we want your business to shine, both online and offline. Part of that is ensuring your consumer are happy and enjoy a consistent experience online and offline.

We’ve been working on some ground-breaking work ourselves to make sure that happens.

Check out what we’re up to here.

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Around The World In 80 Seconds

by rice1 0 Comments

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Did you know that if Facebook was a country, it would be the third largest in the world?

Facebook has over 1.23 billion users. Yes, “B” for BILLION.

If you use Facebook already, you’re one of the billion people that flips through their newsfeed and gets access to heaps of companies selling their stuff between your friends updates.

Imagine if your business was right there? It’s like another friend is updating you…

Facebook is the New Black for every business on the planet. It is an ‘essential’.
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The quick version:
Because you’re going to increase your customer base and your profits.

Now to expand on that, Facebook can offer you lots of:

1. Potential clients. Like we just mentioned, there are literally billions of people on Facebook. That’s a lot of potential eyes ogling your stuff.
2. Precise data. Facebook has an extraordinary database with detail after detail on each individual: where they travel, what products they like, their hobbies, their purchases. What this means to you is that you can leverage that information for your business. For example, Facebook advertising is still relatively inexpensive and it will get you in front of your precise ideal client. No other resource on the planet does it as well.
3. Fun. When you market and advertise on this platform, it is a statement to your potential customers. (Just don’t be too sale-sy). Remember this is a social media platform. So be social. Share stuff. Content. Photos. Videos. And then (softly) sell.

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That’s fine…but don’t forget that your competitors are there and some of them are spending thousands of dollars every month getting their products in front of YOUR customer.

Getting on to Facebook means you are staying in front of your customers. And getting more attention from them inevitably means MORE SALES.
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If you’re onboard and convinced that Facebook would certainly be a good addition to your business, then you halfway there. Now let’s get you set up with a Facebook page.

One thing to know, is that you need a regular Facebook account first, so be sure to set one up if you don’t have one already. If you do have one, we’re sure you are already familiar with the way the Facebook platform works and getting a page up and running will be a breeze.

To get quick and easy steps for this process, click here.

A few things to remember…

1. The About Section. People will make a decision about your page in a flash, so you want a good and concise ‘about’ section with a catchy couple of sentences.
2. The Photo. You’ll also want an alluring photo. Don’t make it look ‘too corporate’. Make it something that captures the ‘spirit’ of your company. And absolutely do not forget your photo; it’s like instant death on Facebook.

And don’t forget about the small print…

Here are a couple of Facebook rules you might not be aware of:

• Your cover photo can’t contain more than 20% text.
• You must get the user’s consent if you collect any information from them. If you’ve used Facebook with another app, you probably remember them asking/telling you “this app will use the following information,” and you click allow or not.
• Be careful with local, state, national, or international laws. We can’t go into great detail as the laws are endless, but just be mindful this could get you in deep water if you fail to obey by those rules for your particular area.
• If you plan to run a promotions or contest on Facebook, there are strict rules for that too and you can read about them here.

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To inspire you, why don’t you check out this page.

6This is the page for Nutella, that delicious hazelnut chocolate spread originally from France. The page is a great example of how to do it right.

• They post engaging content
• They engage people on the page
• They post an ‘expectation’ poster called ‘nutiquette’ which shows the prospect what to expect from their product.

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Here at ShopOnMain, we really love innovative marketing and believe that social media is pushing us all to improve our game online. Find out what we’re up to here and how we can help you sell your products online—the easy and effortless way.
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