The Power of Photos-What Every Online Retailer Should Know

by rice1 0 Comments

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

But how valuable are photos to your online business?

Let’s answer that question with a fact: articles and blogs that include images receive 94% more total page views than those that don’t have images.

That’s a whole lot of views.

As a business, your goal is to attract as much attention to your brand as possible.

Photography may be your new secret weapon.

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Well, consider these facts:

  • Visitors to your site remember 80% of what they see, but only 20% of what they read – if you want them to remember you, you’re going to have to use visuals.
  • The majority of customers think that, in an online store, the quality of the product images are the most important part of the decision making process – more important than even ratings and reviews, long descriptions and specific product information.
  • 67% of people who shop on ecommerce sites say that the product image is very important when it comes to actually picking out and purchasing a product.

We’re big believers in business owners always taking the time to listen to their customers. And in this case, the message is more than clear- images matter.

They even matter enough to affect the purchasing decisions of customers.

Bottom line?

If you have an online business and you haven’t started incorporating images into your website, you need to get started as soon as possible!

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But here’s the thing… not just any old image will work to transform your online business.

You need to be clever about the images you create and select.

Images hold the potential to effectively tell a brands story…or, they can have the complete opposite affect. It all depends on the quality of the images used.

What are some things you can do to make your images really shine and stand out from the competition?

Give a few of these tips a try:

  • Play on the emotions of your customers. People tend to make emotional decisions and purchases quite often, so if you can help push them in that direction by boosting their mood with a happy or positive photo, go for it.
  • Focus on your customers and their emotions. Don’t take the pictures for yourself. Utilize images that your customers can relate to. Take the focus off of you and put it on them.
  • Avoid cheesy stock photos. We’ve all seen those pictures that just seem to continually pop up around the web of people with cheesy smiles. Don’t use those. Be original and use photos that are unique to your specific brand.
  • Use natural settings. Try to photograph your products in their natural environments. For example, if you’re selling T-shirts, take photos of models actually wearing the shirts. This helps your product seem more relatable to customers.
  • Take photos in the right light. Try to utilize as much natural light as possible – if you can, plan to take your pictures in the early afternoon as this tends to provide the best light.

And Some Tech Tips To Help You…

To break it down even further, give these smaller, actionable steps a try to get started improving your photography today.

  • Learn more about Photoshop. Try going through a new tutorial and learning a new skill to use in improving your overall photography.
  • Reach out to others. Find some other photographers in your area and learn from them. Teach each other things and improve together.
  • Switch it up. If you usually shoot your photos during the day, give nighttime photography a try. Just try something different and see how it goes – you might learn something new!
  • Learn the functions of your camera. You won’t be able to take awesome pictures if you don’t’ even know how to properly use the camera. Learn the basics early on, and you’ll see improvements right away.
  • Get creative. Think outside the box and brainstorm for different photo-shoots. Think about what photos could really represent your brand well, and then go take them.

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Whether online or via a physical copy, we’ve all seen them – those bad photos that just make you cringe a little inside.

How can you be sure to avoid such cringe-worthy photos on your own blog or website?

  • Try not to take pictures in direct sunlight. Avoid this if you can, because direct sunlight can compromise the look and quality of your photos.
  • Don’t use excessive contrast. This can create those little halo-like features around the heads of those you are photographing, so try to avoid this.
  • Don’t over-edit. Editing is important, but it can be overdone. Especially if you’re photographing people, you want them to look real so your readers and customers can relate, so try to keep the editing to a minimum, at least when it comes to people.
  • Don’t shoot in the automatic setting. It might be easier to revert back to the auto setting, but don’t do it. Learn how to manually adjust the settings to ensure that you produce unique, quality photos every time.
  • Don’t use excessive filters. They look cool, but they also aren’t realistic and lots of people are using the same ones. Be authentic and learn how to customize your filters to give your photos a unique feel instead.

Photography is a process, but the more you become comfortable with it, the easier it will be. Taking and using quality photos on your blog or website is critical to your success online – don’t wait until it’s too late. Take the time now to learn about photography and how to incorporate it into your business. You won’t regret it!b

Warning: Your Very Own Black Friday Survival Kit!

by rice1 0 Comments

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1The clock strikes midnight.

You’re stuffed—lethargic–from the traditional “I ate too much” Thanksgiving dinner.

But you’re getting a second wind.

Adrenalin starts popping through your veins as you get in the car, drive downtown and get in line.

It’s that time again.

Black Friday madness!

Black Friday (and all the various Sales Day ‘babies’ that have been born from the tradition) is now almost like its own holiday.

Staples of our consumerism… and our society.

Here in the United States, we take these post-holiday shopping specials seriously.

Did you know congress even decided Thanksgiving Day should fall earlier in the month, just to make sure Americans had ample time to cross everyone off their list? 

And its massive success has spread worldwide, with retailers around the globe opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening just to meet customer demands.

Between Gray Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday- one thing is certain. A lot (and we mean a lot) of money exchanges hands in just a few days. In fact, retailers make most of their yearly profit during “Black November.

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But what about you?

Do you know HOW to successfully prepare for the Black Friday shopping battlefield?

Consider the following to be your very own Black November Survival Guide—a primer on how to make the power of Black Friday’s shopping bonanza work for you. .

1. Make A List helps to save time when it matters most. If you just go ‘out there’ with no predetermined idea of what you are looking for, you may end up just being overwhelmed.

2. Clarify Your Budget Knowing how much you want (and CAN) spend, will curb any desires for an impulse buy. Yes, the pair of shining stilettos might twinkle in the window display with a sales tag strapped to their heels. But are they really in your budget?

3. Crunch Numbers. While one retailer may claim to be offering you their best deal, a competitor’s idea of “best” could be far less expensive. Compare. Compare. Compare. Even better, start researching NOW to compare prices and get the most bang for your buck when Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales roll around.

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4. Track Price Trends. Don’t fall for ‘price illusions’. While 50% off an item you’ve been eyeing might seem too good to be true, you need to remember that many retailers jack up prices during the holiday season (and then reduce) to give the illusion of a ‘great deal’. Check the price on the same product from six months ago- you may be surprised to find the price is much lower than it is now that we’re approaching the holiday season rush.

5. Shop Online. Prevent the physical harm associated with the Black Friday rush. And it happens. Crowds crush. In 2008, a Walmart Employee was actually trampled to death by a herd of ruthless shoppers.

Cyber Monday got its start in 2005 and has grown to a nearly 2 billion dollar sales day for online retailers worldwide. It’s a great way to avoid the crowds, and for the most part, retailers offer the same deals online as they do in the physical store.

6. Sign Up For Emails. Before you send those retail blasts to the trash, read at least the subject line- you’d be surprised what deals you might be foregoing. One great trick is to devote one entire email account to receiving newsletters. This will ensure that any important business correspondence won’t get lost in the discount mayhem.

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We place enormous emphasis on shopping safely online throughout the year (check out our blog post on how to stay safe online!) But between Black Friday frenzies and Cyber Monday madness, hackers have more opportunity than ever to steal your information. Remember that ATM fraud, defected registers, and online scams become increasingly prevalent during the holiday season.

So what steps can you take to prevent yourself from falling victim to holiday fraud?

• Avoid Stand Alone ATMS. While grabbing quick cash at the mall ATM might be easy, these stand-alone machines provide thieves with enormous access to your personal information. Go to the bank ahead of time.
• Check The Website URL. If it doesn’t start with “https”, there’s a good chance it’s not a real site.
• Check your credit card statement. You may be surprised to find a slew of two-dollar charges- a hacker’s way of ensuring they can use your card for bigger purchases.

With the holiday season swiftly approaching, make sure you are prepared to navigate your shopping list in a safe, efficient, and savvy manner. To get the most out of your Black November, consider ditching crowded malls and sold-out sites for the ShopOnMain experience. The best of both worlds- you’ll get the thrills of a shopping extravaganza without camping out in front of the store for hours or days on end.
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Online Shopping—Why Consumers Can’t Get Enough

by rice1 0 Comments

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1There’s something appealing about the idea of shopping in your pajamas from the comfort of your living room.

But then again, there’s also something lonely about it.

Shopping used to be such a social event – friends would gather at the mall for a day of spending, bonding and fun. It was a way that people connected.

But with online shopping on the rise, is the idea of shopping as a social activity a thing of the past?

Maybe – but then again, maybe not.

There are a lot of benefits to online shopping, and you might be surprised to find that there’s also a budding online shopping community.

Let’s take a look at some of those benefits.

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It’s so easy to discover new, exciting products while shopping online, which is one of the many reasons that people love it so much. You can find those strange, interesting products that you’d never find in a traditional retail store; sometimes the things you find become your new favorites, and you never would have discovered them if you hadn’t been online shopping.

Another way that people discover new products online is through subscription boxes. Basically how this works is that the online company puts together a box of goods catered to the customer’s specific needs – whether that be food, clothing, beauty supplies, etc. – and then sends the box to them in the mail.

Often times, this is a great way for online retailers to send a sample of different products to customers in the hopes that they will eventually come back for more in the future.

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The subscription box model has really taken off recently, some examples being:

  • Stitch Fix – This company curates a box of clothing items to suit your style and needs. You give them a bit of input, and their stylists come up with a box catered specifically for you. It’s all a surprise though – you won’t know what you’re getting until you open the box!
  • Blue Apron – They provide healthy, easy to make recipes, along with the necessary ingredients, to their customers via a subscription box delivered to the customer’s front door.
  • Birchbox – Each month, they send their subscribers 4-5 samples of beauty related products, including things like makeup and skin care products. This way, subscribers have the opportunity to try out these products as samples before actually making the commitment to buy them.

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Variety is another thing that people love about shopping online. Have you ever gone into a retail store to buy a specific item only to find that they don’t have your size available? What a waste of a trip.

But when you shop online, your size is all but guaranteed to be in stock. And with so many online retailers implementing free shipping these days, it’s almost just as good as going to the actual store.

Plus, since there is only so much room for products in traditional brick-and-mortar stores, some retailers carry items online that they are unable to carry elsewhere. By browsing those retailers’ websites, you might just find some hidden gems that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

How about the ability to buy used items for a discounted price in addition to brand new items? Amazon, for example, has this option – something that is especially useful if you’re looking to buy gently used textbooks at a discounted price. This can be an easy way to save money on items that are basically as good as new.

It all comes back to variety – whether you’re looking for alternative sizes or something gently used, there’s a good chance that you’ll find it online.

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Online shopping gives people the opportunity to buy a variety of different products from anywhere in the world, at any given time – something that’s not really possible when shopping regular retail.

And if you are the online retailer, you have the opportunity to reach a much larger potential audience than you could through just a single storefront.

But how effective are these international online retailers? Take a look at these companies and the subsequent numbers of unique monthly visitors to their websites:

  1. Taobao – 601,450,542 unique monthly visitors
  2. Amazon – 524,470,572 unique monthly visitors
  3. eBay – 267,904,800 unique monthly visitors
  4. Alibaba – 106,760,063 unique monthly visitors
  5. Alipay – 104,530,651 unique monthly visitors

That’s a lot of unique monthly visitors. Not only does this show the vast, international reach of online retailers, but also the sheer number of people participating. Which brings us to our final point…

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One thing you might think comes up short in online shopping is the community aspect. That’s one thing people love so much about shopping traditionally – spending the day perusing the mall with friends, connecting and bonding over the shopping experience.

What you might not know is this – there is actually quite a large community aspect to online shopping already in place.

One way that online retailers incorporate community is by using share and comment functions within their websites. This way, if you want to get your friend’s opinion on a cute pair of boots you found online, you can just share the website and /or image with her and get her opinion on the spot.

The comment functions allow shoppers to interact and leave feedback on various items online. People tend to feel more connected to the product and other shoppers when reading an authentic review from a real person. Many customers read reviews before making a purchase, so reviews are not only helpful in forming community, but also help the retailer sell more product.

Social media is, of course, another way that people can connect online. If an online retailer has a Facebook page, customers can comment on different items there. Over time, this builds community, providing a place for customers to interact digitally, almost like they would in a brick-and-mortar store.

Some tips for making an e-commerce site a true community:

  • Post regularly on social media so customers know what’s new.
  • Be true to your brand. When you post on social media, make sure you’re being authentic – speak to your audience in their voice as a reflection of your brand.
  • Build awareness through email marketing, in store promotion (If you have a physical store front) and social media.
  • Cater to your customers – give them a reason to spread the word about your business.

Even though online shopping is remote, that doesn’t mean it has to be anti-social or lonely. When done correctly, it can provide a great place for people to come together, shop, share and connect with each other internationally.

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What Your Online Consumer HATES the Most

by rice1 0 Comments

a1What is the one thing that online shoppers can’t stand?

Is it having problems finding their purchase?

Returning an item?

Or is it struggling with the checkout?

We’re not going to lie… it can be incredibly frustrating trying to apply all those online coupons and typing in payment information!

Well, after extensive research we have found that the number one thing online shoppers hate the most is…

Poor user experience.

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So what is poor user experience anyway?

It’s when a site is too difficult to use.

Confusing to navigate.

A site where it is simply too hard to find things.

Instead of seducing those hordes of customers, it simply drives them away.

Overwhelmed, the visitor gets frustrated.

And in the end, abandons your site altogether—never to return.  

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According to studies, 69% of the United States online population regularly buys products online.

That’s the good news.

The bad news?

Roughly 50% of potential sales are lost because people can’t find what they are looking for.

Close but no cigar.

Online retailers are attracting customers—but simply not getting them to bite.

Thousands—millions—of dollars in revenue lost simply because someone somewhere couldn’t find what they were looking for.  

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The bottom line?

It’s super simple.

Time is sacred to consumers.

Your customer will not spend hours on your page looking for what they want.  If they can’t find exactly what they want in seconds, they’re ‘outta there’ no matter how much they might be interested in your products.

And worse.  They’re off to the next site (your competitor’s?) where navigation is just easier.

The net result?

Not only have you lost a sale but you’ve handed your competition a new customer on a silver platter.

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In a way ‘user design’ is paramount to customer service.  If a customer has a bad experience with your site they’ll get just as mad as if they’d encountered a rude employee or someone who wasn’t knowledgeable about a product.

A poor user experience online reflects negatively on your company. Persistent complaints can lead to bad press or in extreme cases, a boycott of your products.

Here’s 6 tips on how you can fix things:

  1. Remove clutter. If there are too many things to click, your shopper will become both confused and distracted. Get rid of the sidebar and any unnecessary information. A clear, concise website allows people to see who your company is, what you stand for and learn about the products you sell.
  2. Use heat maps. These allow you to see where people click on your site the most. Through heat maps, you can literally ‘see’ what works and what doesn’t on each page. This will help you understand what elements you can safely get discard in order to streamline your site.

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  1. Say good-bye to sign-ins. The last thing a customer wants to do when they’re ready to check out is log into your site. If they are a returning customer they have to remember a password or if they’re a new user they have to create an entire profile. It’s a hassle. And people just hate doing it. Don’t make it mandatory; if you need their information, figure out how to get it without interrupting the check-out process.
  2. Help customers with a progress indicator. Think about when you order a pizza from Dominos. From order to delivery you know exactly what is happening. Who is making it and when it goes out for delivery. Apply this to your site. Let people know exactly long it will take to complete their order.
  3. Make editing information easy. Provide your customer a way to go back and easily edit an order if necessary.   No one likes to repeatedly put in the same information.
  4. Don’t jump the gun. Put the shipping information ahead of payment information. People are more interested in when they are getting their item than when you (the shop) are getting their money. If you put the shipping information first and ask for billing details later, you show that you care about your customer’s priorities.

81% of customers say they will buy from a business again if they were satisfied with the experience.

And in today’s online world, that means you need to be at the top of your game when it comes to site navigation and user experience.

Fortunately, at SOM, we have your back. We make the process as easy as possible for your customers to buy your products. Check us out here.b

 

 

Tweet Your Way to the Top

by rice1 0 Comments

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No doubt about it.

We live in an attention deficit world.

That’s why Twitter is really the sign of the times- a ‘short but sweet’ social media platform.

As an online retailer, the wonderful world of Twitter has a lot to offer you.

For example, did you know that?

  • Half of customers say they’re more likely to buy from a business after following them on Twitter?
  • And 60% are more likely to recommend you to a friend if they’re following your tweets.

You can no longer ignore Twitter as a ‘nice to have’.

Let’s explore why…

6-Reasons-Online-Retailers-Need-Twitter

From banding and analytics to understanding your ideal client, Twitter could very well be your next social media platform B.F.F.

Here are some of the ways Twitter can help you:

  1. Tweets help to build your brand’s voice. A brand is about sharing your personality and values. Twitter lets you do that with short hand.
  1. Twitter provides you with an excellent analytics tool. As we all know, the ‘numbers’ give us what we need to really understand what works—and what doesn’t—in our business.   Twitter analytics can shed a lot of light on your business, including the number of:
  • Tweet views
  • Engagements
  • Click throughs
  • Profile visits
  • Website visits

With this kind of information, you can be sure you’re not just tweeting into the dark to the wrong target audience (or talking about the wrong subjects).

The best part about Twitter’s analytics?

It’s free.

  1. Twitter allows you to figure out exactly what your competitors are doing. We all know the saying- “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Searching competitor profiles as well as the hashtags they use lets you easily track competitors. An easy way to figure out what they’re doing that you’re not and vice versa.
  1. It’s a great place for giveaways and coupons. People love winning free stuff. Twitter is a great way to spread the love, plus giveaways will earn you a ton of retweets.
  1. Studying your customers made easy. You can find out tons of information about your target demographic by studying what they talk about and how they engage with each other.
  1. You can connect with other industry pros. One of our favorite twitter features – the Direct Message. Much like an email, you can look up a public figure on twitter and “DM” them. Bob Dylan probably won’t respond- but many will.

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5-Insider-Tips-to-Tweet-Like-a-Pro

 

 

 

Below is a list of insider tips to help you get the most out of Twitter:

  1. Pick your best writer to tweet your business content. Being concise and engaging at once isn’t everyone’s strong suit.
  1. Find Your Balance. Since tweets have short shelf lives, you can post more than once a day without being considered obnoxious. But use discretion. If you don’t think it’s interesting, don’t post it.
  1. Follow relevant parties. Search for hashtags related to your business. That will tell you who else is interested in the same things you are, and give you the opportunity to follow them. Once you’ve found some relevant followers, look at who has retweeted what they’re saying. An easy way to expand your network.
  1. Be a human. As you know, all social media platforms- Twitter included- are about sharing first, selling second. Best way to do that is to engage in natural “human” conversations.
  1. Supply Pertinent Info. “Pertinent” means supplying a blend of highlights on your company and products as well as sharing other people’s INTERESTING information. The biggest mistake most people make is talking only about themselves.

Now that you know a little bit more about Twitter, you’re ready to take the Twittersphere by storm.

Ready, Set, Tweet!2a

Same Day Delivery-Dream or Reality?

by rice1 0 Comments

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1Remember the joy of walking into a brick and mortar store for a fun-filled day of shopping?

That was the only way to shop. You actually went to the store, tried on the clothes or whatever is was that you were looking to purchase, then either decided to buy or not to buy.

So fun, yet so time consuming.

With a society moving at break-neck speed, rushing from one appointment to the next, many people just don’t have the time to spend hours shopping at a brick and mortar.

And why would they when they can do all of that online?

Especially if online stores include same day shipping.

Wait, same day shipping? Is that a real thing? It may sound like a mythical fantasy, but trust us, it’s not.

It’s real. And it’s growing.

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Ok, let’s face it.

Free shipping?

It’s so common that frankly free shipping is practically EXPECTED as a given nowadays.

Customers want their products. They want them fast. And they want them shipped free.

And the retailers not only listened—they deliver Free Shipping almost as a matter of course.

But in order to stay relevant and meet the needs of their customers, businesses are starting to look farther—beyond free shipping to offering Same Day Delivery.

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The advantages of Same Day Shipping for customers are obvious.  But what about for the business itself?

Even though it’s costly, there still are some benefits that go along with same day shipping for businesses:

  1. It can increase a company’s productivity. An increased delivery speed means an increase in orders that can be taken and fulfilled. This is especially true within the food business – when food products (especially those with a short shelf life) are delivered quickly, the amount of product wasted can be drastically decreased.
  2. It can make your customers (a lot) happier. It’s super simple; saving time means your customers are more satisfied.  And a satisfied customer is one more likely to come back and shop with you again in the future.
  3. It can be cost effective. Depending on shipping costs, it can be cheaper to hire a local courier to deliver goods same day than it would be to ship your product across the country. It all depends on how you set up your delivery system – if it’s done well, you can set yourself up to save some money by delivering locally.

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The big questions is this – will same day delivery services slowly begin to take away one of the only remaining benefits of shopping brick and mortar – the ability to purchase and receive goods immediately?

Traditional online shopping has always included a lag between the time of purchase and final delivery, but is all of that about to change?

According to Business Insider, the results are mixed:

  • On the one hand, the main demographic who clamor for this type of service (young urban-dwelling males) is quite small. So the Same Day Delivery might be a lot of hot air about nothing.
  • And while 4 of 10 U.S. shoppers would try same day delivery, 92% of consumers would rather wait for a package to arrive for free instead of paying for same day delivery.

The bottom line is same day delivery is much more costly for businesses. And when shipping is no longer free, consumer interest in it plummets. If a customer needs a product immediately, they will most probably still choose to pick the item up from a ‘real’ brick and mortar store.

Who’s Already Doing It?

In typical business fashion, when the big companies start doing something, everyone else eventually follows suit in an attempt to keep up with the times.

The same holds true for same day shipping. Many of the industry leaders – such as EBay and Amazon– are already providing this option for their customers. And it’s only a matter of time before others hop on board.

There’s even talk of departments stores such as Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s joining the same day delivery party.

And this Same Day Delivery option is not limited only to the traditional retailer. For example, Google is planning a test run of a new fresh foods delivery service in several markets, one being the San Francisco Bay Area. By partnering with companies like Whole Foods and Costco, Google hopes to provide consumers the option of ordering fresh foods – like fruits and veggies – online, and receiving them the same day. The fresh food aspect is a new concept for Google, so time will only tell how well this works out. But if it does, it could change the game entirely.

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So…how do you start? If same day delivery sounds like something you’d like to try out for your own business, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Organize well. If you decide to add this service, you’ll need to up your management game. It’s important that everything remains consistent, properly planned and coordinated between the various channels of your business – your ecommerce platform and your brick and mortar store – so be sure to stay vigilant.
  2. Reevaluate your inventory and fulfillment strategies. If you’re planning on moving product through at a quicker pace, you will need to have the inventory to back it up and the proper fulfillment strategy in place. Make sure this is taken care of beforehand so you don’t run in to any problems along the way.
  3. Look into local delivery companies. Delivering across the country can be expensive, especially for same day delivery. Try scouting out local couriers in the areas which you deliver to speed up the process –they’ve been delivering goods for a long time, and while it may require more initial work on your part to set this up, it will be more sustainable financially in the long run.

Retailing—and particularly online retailing—is evolving at an ever quick pace. Here at ShopOnMain, we work hard to keep our partner online stores at the cutting edge of change while at the same time giving our consumers access to the ‘old-fashioned’ beauty of shopping in unique, local stores. Check out what we have on offer here.2a

6 World-Class Shopping Cities in the US You Might Not Know About

by rice1 0 Comments

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We all know NYC, LA, and Chicago are shopping hubs…

They are well imprinted on the shopping map, but it’s time for some different shopping stars to shine.

Here’s a list of 6 great shopping destinations you didn’t know about. From coast to coast, the US offers some world-class consumer destinations for the seasoned or novice shopper.

Besides the average shops you can get everywhere else, these destinations serve up something different. Handmade items, unique wear, authentic threads and knick-knacks. The boutiques stores and different shopping experiences these cities provide are why they are on our radar for the best shopping in the US.

So with that in mind, grab your bag and get to shopping at some of the newly uncovered ultimate shopping cities in the US! 

  • Honolulu You might be spending an arm and a leg vacationing in Honolulu, but if you need to scratch that shopping itch, this is the city to go to. Sure there’s the typical Hawaiian souvenirs, but if you head to Don Quixote (DQ) you’ll find an array of Japanese merchandise on offer. You will be hard put to find these products elsewhere in the US. Even better, all these treasures can be found at surprisingly reasonable prices.

Ala Moana Shopping Center is another option for the more high-end stores, and even an after hour club scene. Some of the more ‘standard’ department stores including Macy’s can be found situated just a few minutes from Waikiki’s sandy beaches.

  • Minneapolis- St. Paul The Mall of America is a force to be reckoned with. The largest mall in the country, the mall boasts over 500 stores. At the end of the day, Mall of America is an attraction on its own and deserves a multi-day visit to take in everything it offers. Just to give you an idea of the mall’s size, Yankee Stadium can fit in this mall seven times! Even if you don’t feel like shopping, you can enjoy a whole afternoon enjoying the thrilling rides at the Mall’s indoor theme park.

Obviously, you will find all the Big Name stores here.  But the Mall of America offers much more; you will find dozens of quaint shops and boutique stores with a large variety of unique items.  Because of this—and despite its size– the Mall of America actually offers an incredibly personalized shopping experience.

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  • Houston One of the largest malls in the country, Houston’s the Galleria is living testimony to the famous quote, “Everything is bigger in Texas”. But shopping in Houston doesn’t stop with the Galleria.  With more than 16,000 stores strewn about the city and over 50 shopping centers, Houston is a veritable shopper’s paradise. 
  • Newport Beach Have you fallen for the classic Californian stereotypes that everything in the LA area is ‘plastic’ and ‘inauthentic’? Because this stereotype is definitely not true in Newport Beach, filled with a wide variety of delightful original mom and pop shops ready to fulfill even the most demanding shopaholic’s dreams.  Not to mention the fact that the town itself is simply stunning. If you can peel yourself away from the beach for an afternoon, the shopping here will be definitely worth it!

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  • Charleston This charming southern town has long been considered one of America’s best kept secrets and finest smaller cities. A bit off the radar, Charleston has it all, including historic architecture, beaches, and excellent restaurants. All ‘salt and peppered’ with a large dose of infectious southern charm.

Well, it turns out the shopping in Charleston is simply magnificent too. The boutique and handmade vendors sprinkled about the Charleston City Market will captivate you. Also be sure to check out King Street’s boutiques and second hand stores where you will find an intoxicating blend of high-end and thrifty items.

  • Palm Beach Voted by Conde Nast as one of the top five places to shop, there’s something for everyone in Palm Beach. But to be honest, this place oozes luxury so you’re probably better off coming here with a fatter wallet.

One of the country’s most iconic streets, Worth Avenue is the fashion hub for Palm Beach. Boutiques stocked with everything under the sun can be found here. Plus it’s great fun to watch the passing parade of designer-obsessed shoppers strut their stuff in the streets. So get on down to Palm Beach and join in the fun.

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Original, authentic and full of charm, these cities are made for shoppers and shopping.

Here at ShopOnMain we love to celebrate small local shops with personalities too.  Which is why we’ve made it possible for you to now enjoy local personality and unique shopping choices right online. If you’re sick and tired of the ‘same old, same old’, check out what we have on offer here.

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The 21 Quotes Every Online Retailer Should Hear

by rice1 0 Comments

1As online retailers, we’re expected to wear many hats.

We’re entrepreneurs.

We’re adventurers.

Even motivators and dreamers.

Today we’ve assembled some of our all time favorite quotes to inspire each of these personalities. Want to be bold and daring? Check out what T.S. Eliot says about risk. Bit of a dreamer? Well Walt Disney has a few wise words to share with you.

Check out all the greats have to say…

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  1. “My best advice to entrepreneurs is this: Forget about making mistakes, just do it”—Ajaero Tony Martins
  2. “An entrepreneur is someone who has a vision for something and a want to create.” David Karp, Tumblr founder
  3. “Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you are generally better off sticking with what you know and the third is that sometimes, your best investments are the ones you don’t make.”- Donald Trump
  4. “Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.
  5. “Failure is just a resting place. It is an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”—Henry Ford

It takes a lot of guts to become an entrepreneur.

You must have the passion, the gumption, and an everlasting fire to go through with it no matter how many times someone or something tries to bring you down.

Work hard at something you love, never give up, and believe in yourself and your product.3

 

 

 

  1. “Starting a business is a lot like jumping out of an airplane and assembling the parachute on the way down.” – Anonymous
  2. “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” — T.S Eliot
  3. “If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andretti
  4. “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller
  5. “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd

 It takes more than being business-minded individual to be a business owner.

Way more.

You have to be motivated by what you love and never ever fear making mistakes. Mistakes are our teachers not nails in your business coffin. Never let them get you down.

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  1. “If you hear a voice within you saying ‘you are not a painter’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”—Vincent Van Gogh
  2. “The secret to successful hiring is this: look for the people who want to change the world.” – Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.
  3. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”  – Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO
  4. “It’s not about being included. It’s about creating your own space and including yourself and then finding other people that are like, ‘okay.’ ” – Sophia Amoruso, NastyGirl
  5. “Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it”. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Motivation in the workplace can’t all come from you, those who work with you must be fully motivated out of their own free will. If you have that going for you—a team as motivated as you are—you hold pure gold in your hands.

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  1. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”—Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. “The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.”- Anonymous
  3. . “Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” — Henry David Thoreau
  4. “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” – Thomas Watson, Sr.
  5. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” — Walt Disney

Every successful entrepreneur has a dream… keep that dream alive and you’ll be sure to be a success.

At ShopOnMain we are constantly on the lookout for fellow entrepreneurs who have a dream and are looking to make that dream grow.

At the end of the day, we are not islands.

We can all benefit from support and intelligent partnerships.

Because being an entrepreneur is NOT easy.

Which leads us to our personal favorite (and general life motto):

  1. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon

If you’re excited to see how ShopOnMain can help make the “work” a little bit less difficult before you hit success… check out what we’re up to here.

The King of Content: How to gain royal status in today’s content marketing world

by rice1 0 Comments

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1Throw a stone and it will land on a new entrepreneurial retailer.

Everyone is trying to make it big with his or her new and improved business idea.

Entrepreneurs are seeking to fulfill their dreams in every corner of the world.

So what’s the best way to navigate the marketing madness and usurp your industry’s throne?

Remember these words: content creation.

Why Content Marketing IS Marketing

Not convinced?  Look at these topline statistics about content marketing

  • 80% of CMOs believe custom content is the FUTURE OF MARKETING
  • 90% of B2C and 93% of B2B marketers use content marketing
  • 70% of B2B marketers generate more content that they did a year ago while 42% currently publish new content either daily or several times per week
  • 59% of marketers except their content marketing budget to increase in the next 12 months because they believe CONTENT IS SUPERIOR to other forms of marketing
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and yet generates three times as many leads

Let’s look at how your business can use content marketing to reach new heights…

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With colorful and engaging content you can: 

  1. Draw traffic to your website. Both readers and search engines will start indexing your online presence.
  2. Showcase your values. Your mission statement is the bread and butter of your company- make it known to the world.
  3. Show off your products. Do you have the best of the best in your business? Don’t be shy- show it off online!
  4. Attract new customers. Most people today are more likely to trust you if you put up an informative blog post with compelling content in lieu of a sales heavy ad.

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Consider your website the castle, your blog the grounds, and social media platforms the moat. In order to have the most exquisite marketing landscape, you must be keep up with all of it.

  • Tend To Your Website. This is your home base. This is where your content will live (through a blog) and where your potential customers will first get a taste of your company. On-topic content divided by bullet points and sub headers help readers to find what they’re looking for. When it comes to your website, convenience is key. Keep an eye on it to make sure that everyone is effortlessly using it.
  • Plant Your Blog. Informative posts that help readers learn build trust, and trust builds relationships. Blogs give you the expert edge- they also express a passion for your business. Selling cooking utensils? Write a blog with recipes, cooking disasters or successes, and any helpful tips you can think of.
  • Water Your Social Media. Cater your content to the platform.
    • For Twitter– short and sweet does the trick.
    • For Instagram– pick relevant and cohesive pictures.
    • For LinkedIn– use a professional tone. Your audience will expect something slightly difference on each platform
    • For Facebook—sharing stories and visual content (photos and videos) leads to higher engagement.

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  • Be the Ultimate Leader. Using a variety of platforms will make your business more popular. So go for it… get that Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook account set up. (Not sure how to actually set up your business online? Check out our blog about setting up WordPress here.)

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Now that you’re ready to start promoting your content, the question becomes: what content?

  • Avoid the salesman tone. If you sound too much like you’re out for their money, you’re instantly at a loss. Be the expert of your industry and prove it to your client through colorful blogs, up-to-date references, and constant interest in the subject.
  • Check Demographics. Knowing who your target demographic is key to successful content. Find out where your audience lives on social media. Then follow them there. For example, if you are selling novelty t-shirts for teenagers, you’ll likely find your crowd on most social media accounts (millennials do love their social media). Be sure to speak in their language and cater to their interests.
  • Find your voice. An online presence is all about building relationships… one tweet at a time. It can be a bit rocky at first when you start promoting your content. But you’ll soon get the hang of it and will soon have an enthusiastic following.
  • Be informative. Remember that you’re the expert. Providing valuable information will make you indispensable to your followers as well as build your reputation as an industry leader.

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It’s not just what you write. It’s when you write.

From Twitter’s conversational content to LinkedIn’s professional prowess- Here’s a simple guideline to each platforms’ recommended posts per day:

Twitter: 3+- Since Twitter posts are only seen for a limited amount of time- you are safe to tweet more often every day.

Facebook: 2- at most. Make sure the content is witty and relevant.

Linked in: 1 – The professionals’ home, too much posting (or self-promotion) is frowned upon.

Google +: 3- A wonderful networking tool- but don’t overdo it.

Pinterest: 5- People love scrolling through this “vision board” platform, so share it freely!

Instagram: 2- Quality and cohesiveness are the keys to a strong Instagram account.

For your business blog, an average of 2 posts a week helps to build brand consistency and attract a loyal audience.

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Take a look at the blog content for Scott’s Menswear and you’ll see how content can work really well.

The company clearly invested in their content. It’s catchy, engaging, and has minimal sales push. Valuable information and expertise do the work for them; on-topic posts provide unique information that appeals to their target demographic: aka men.

Here at ShopOnMain we are committed to your success.  In that vein, we believe that content marketing is an excellent tool and can transform your business from an entrepreneur’s dream to a successful reality. If you follow the guidelines listed in this article, you’ll be on your way to taking the content throne.2

Instagram: Why Photos Can Make You A Millionaire

by rice1 0 Comments

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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