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As always, if this is the first post in my series of social media events that you’ve found, it’s not too late to join in! Every month, I’ll be listing the events due to trend on social media the following month to help you plan – and in some cases automate – your social media content to best promote your online shop by getting involved. If you’re not sure how to distinguish a flatlay from a Boomerang or how to automate your content, this post will bring you up to speed.

Equally if you have an Instagram account for your online shop, this post is worth a read if you still need to generate ‘lifestyle’ or styled product images – with the weather being so warm and bright, this is the perfect time of year to take lots of images of your products being worn and used to share on social media for the rest of the year when the weather’s colder and outdoor shots are a little more uncomfortable to create.

Now that summer is in full swing, August is officially Festivals Month, where up and down the country folk are donning their wellies and preparing to trudge through the mud to the main stages. If there’s a festival going on near you this month, it would be worth researching how you can take part in some way to create content for your brand’s social media; whether that be booking a stall at the event, serving customers and staff due to go to it or even volunteering to help with the clean-up job afterwards if you can spare the time – it all helps to promote your online shop on social media.

The Event: Yorkshire Day
Date: 1st August
What you could do for a Business Post: Throughout this day, there are lots of events happening across Yorkshire to celebrate the county. If you live within Yorkshire and are either holding an event to celebrate or attending one, you’ve got plenty of opportunities to create content there. Alternatively, if you sell anything which can be related to Yorkshire, make sure these products are promoted and ideally discounted in the approach to the event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you can’t relate any of your products to Yorkshire Day but you still want to take part, this website lists some of the biggest events which are celebrating the day.

The Event: Wilderness Festival (Oxfordshire)
Date: 1st-4th August
What you could do for a Business Post: A festival which hosts not only music but camping, arts and wellness activities too, the Wilderness Festival is family friendly with an emphasis on the great outdoors. If your products can be applied to these interests, then consider creating promotions and posting up product images for those who will be attending the festival this year.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re going to the Festival this year, by all means, generate some content for yourself in the form of videos, photos and Boomerangs to share of the weekend. Alternatively, start a conversation with your followers about who’s going and what they’re most looking forward to.

The Event: Boomtown Fair (Winchester)
Date: 7th-11th August
What you could do for a Business Post: For four days, Boomtown Fair brings a temporary city to Winchester featuring countless acts, stalls and activities. If you’re located near Winchester, you’ve missed the trader’s deadline for retail space this year, but if your target market is festival goers, it may be worth attending to see what’s on offer from other small businesses similar to your own. Otherwise, make sure that any of your product lines which are festival-related are promoted in the run-up and during this event with the relevant hashtags.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re lucky enough to go to Boomtown Fair, generate a ton of content for your social media, and don’t forget to try and include your company branding somewhere if you can! If you’re too far away or didn’t get a ticket, start a conversation with your followers about their ‘Festival Wishlist’ – what events they’ve been to so far and which they still wish to attend, which when done properly will allow you to tag several festivals in a single post and increase its visibility.

The Event: Boardmasters festival (Newquay)
Date: 7th-11th August
What you could do for a Business Post: There’s a strong line-up at Boardmasters this year, and like the other festivals, there’s a lot of emphasis on sustainability as well as the beautiful location. Again, if you’re going, make lots of content and aim to capture your own branding in as many photos and videos as possible. As well as the music, professional surfers will be competing on the beach which is free to watch and very popular. With that in mind, if your online shop sells surfing equipment as well as festival related products, you need to get these promoted regularly in the run-up and during the event itself.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Alongside the surfing competitions, at Boardmasters, you can also learn to surf at classes facilitated by professionals. If you’re attending, it’s a great chance to learn and new skill and create some content at the same time, especially if you have a willing friend to help you capture your foray into surfing. If you’re not attending, you can start a conversation with your followers about surfing (Can any of them surf? Who has tried it and how successful were they?) and advertise the event via the hashtag on your own feeds.

The Event: International Cat Day
Date: 8th August
What you could do for a Business Post: Created in 2002, International Cat Day is a day where we celebrate our much-beloved pets – even though many of them regard us with cold indifference! If your online shop sells cat food, accessories, beds and so on, you need to promote this before and during the event, and if you own a cat and have some of your own products at home, create lifestyle content using your own pet.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If your online shop doesn’t sell cat-related products, but you own a cat, there’s nothing wrong with sharing content of your own pet. Alternatively, if you don’t own a cat, you could promote a local cat shelter in a post to your followers – the shelter would be glad of the exposure and online, everyone loves a good cat photo – and if it’s one they could potentially own, all’s the better.

The Event: National Allotments Week
Date: 12th-18th August
What you could do for a Business Post: Celebrated since 2002, the theme of this year’s event is ‘shared harvest’ where the emphasis is sharing your food and crops with your neighbours and worthy causes such as food banks. If your online shop sells anything related to gardening, such as tools, pots, seeds and so on, you need to promote these items.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you own an allotment or garden, what do you grow and what will you be sharing as part of the event this year? Make content about this and start a conversation with your followers.

The Event: National Prosecco Day
Date: 13th August
What you could do for a Business Post: Today is the day we can all celebrate the invention of the Italian sparkling wine with friends and loved ones – but it’s on a Tuesday, so don’t have too much! If your online shop sells prosecco, glasses and flutes and other related product lines, you need to get these promoted both before and in the run-up to the event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If your online shop does not sell anything prosecco related, a simply Boomerang of yourself and a glass of bubbly is enough to wish your followers a Happy Prosecco Day and start a conversation with them.

The Event: International Left-Handers Awareness Day
Date: 13th August
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells something specifically for left-handed people, or even better, something for that that are ambidextrous, you need to get these items promoted before the day and on the event itself, ideally with a discount.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Whether you’re left or right-handed, there are lots of facts online about the difference between the two and how being left-handed seems to have lots of benefits! You could create some text images and posts with facts about left-handed people and post these on your feeds throughout the day.

The Event: Green Man festival (Brecon Beacons)
Date: 15th-18th August
What you could do for a Business Post: This festival gets bigger every year and 2019’s offering is no exception; from music, art and science, to comedy, lectures and even hugging chickens (yes, really), Green Man is a fantastic place to take the family for the whole three day experience. If you are attending, obviously make lots of content with your branding within it, but it would also be worth seeing what the options are for small businesses to bring stalls to see if this is something you might want to do in the future.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re going to Green Man, have a good time and generate lots of content, but if you’re not, you could always post about what you’d go and see if you were going, and start a conversation with your followers about who is going and who they’re most geared up to see.

The Event: World Photo Day
Date: 19th August
What you could do for a Business Post: There is a Facebook Group for this event which you may want to take a look at for some inspiration. If your online shop sells anything related to photography, cameras, accessories and film – or you off people a customisation service using their photos, this is definitely worth getting involved with on both before and during the event with the relevant hashtags.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Share your favourite photograph (that you’ve taken yourself) with your followers to get involved with this event and encourage your followers to do the same.

The Event: World Plant Milk Day
Date: 22nd August
What you could do for a Business Post: The aim of this event is to promote milk made from anything apart from animal produce. If you sell nut milk or plant milk on your online shop, run a discount if you can and offer potential new customers the chance to sample something different.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you drink plant-based milk already, why not share recipes with your followers for things they can create with it? Milkshakes, morning oats and similar are fantastic ideas and when used with the relevant hashtags, you’re creating some very shareable content so make sure your branding’s in there somewhere if possible.

The Event: Creamfields festival (Daresbury)
Date: 22nd-25th August
What you could do for a Business Post: Beginning at the start of the bank holiday weekend, Creamfields in Cheshire a huge festival and this year features the likes of Carl Cox, DeadMau5, Calvin Harris and Fatboy Slim. As it’s a purely music-based festival, if your online shop sells music and especially that of some of the artists featured, make sure this is promoted in your posts about the event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re attending Creamfields, create lots of content and include your branding where possible. However, if you’re not attending, you can still take part by starting conversations with your followers about who is going, who they’re most excited to see and what they’re taking as their ‘festival survival kit’.

The Event: Reading Festival
Date: 23rd-25th August
What you could do for a Business Post: The second to last festival of the summer is Reading Festival, which this year features the Foo Fighters, Bastille, Chvrches, The 1975 and Twenty One Pilots to name but a few. Again, if your online shop sells music or merchandise related to these bands, get it promoted alongside any essential festival products you have to offer too.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re not attending this festival, you could take part in the hashtag for it with a photo of yourself at a previous festival and ask your followers what was their favourite festival ever. Encourage them to post photos back to you and find out who’s going to Reading Festival this year too.

The Event: South West Four festival (London)
Date: 24th-25th August
What you could do for a Business Post: Also known as #SW4, this festival takes place on the bank holiday weekend on Clapham Common. This is a purely music-based festival with a strong musical line up, so it might be worth doing your research on the official website to see if any of your products – if you sell music – can be related. If not, but you do items that festival goers need, such as tents, water bottles and headdresses, get these products promoted both before and during the event using the relevant hashtags.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re lucky enough to be able to go, make lots of content with your branding in there throughout the weekend. If you’re not going to this event, talk to your followers about it – who is going and who are they most excited to see?

The Event: Summer Bank Holiday
Date: 26th August
What you could do for a Business Post: It’s the last bank holiday in the UK before Christmas so many of us will be taking advantage of this cheeky day off from work! If your online shop sells anything that can be related to what people will be doing with their day off – going to the beach, gardening, days out, etc, get these product lines promoted as early as possible before the day, ideally with a discount too to encourage sales.
What you could do for a Personal Post: What are you planning to do on your bank holiday? If you’re planning a day out, you can generate content – ideally including your own branding – then, and if you’re doing something at home such as a DIY project or a spot of gardening, make before-and-after images to share with your followers.

Next month, we’ll be publishing a list of events that are due to run during August 2019 so you can plan ahead for that month too – be sure to subscribe to our blog so you get a notification of when the next month of our Social Media Calendar is published.

The post Social Media Events in August 2019 appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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After realising he wanted to work for himself, London based careers advisor turned entrepreneur, Allan Treadwell was presented with an opportunity at a networking event where he came across a health and beauty company which energised his passion to work for himself.

“I knew giving myself some of that advice, I knew I never truly wanted to continue in the employed life and had a calling and passion to work for myself and have my own business.”

From selling on eBay to starting his own EKM shop in 2011, his first business Optimum Beauty Shop has grown into a business selling over 1000 products and continues to grow. Having had a taste of what entrepreneur life was like, Allan opened his second EKM shop Haven Bound in 2017 selling a variety of cleaning products and homewares on an online shop.

Introduce yourself and your businesses, what was your motivation behind starting them and what do you sell?

My name is Allan Treadwell and I am the owner of Optimum Beauty Shop. I am 41 and originally from a small countryside village in Warwickshire, but for the last 10 years, I’ve been living in London.

After having moved to London, I started to work as a Careers Advisor but, giving myself some of that advice, I knew I never truly wanted to continue in the employed life and had a calling and passion to work for myself and have my own business. I love IT and learning new skills.

Not long after moving to London I was invited to a networking event for a Health and Beauty company and I was instantly hooked. For me, it was a continually growing sector of business that had products that no matter what, people would use on a daily basis. This motivated me first to start my own eBay shop to sell these products, and then I started to find other suppliers and it has grown from there. As it grew I decided to open my own website and I chose to open my site with EKM in 2011.

I then decided to open a second site with EKM called Haven Bound. My motivation behind starting a second shop was that I was offering so many different products within the homeware industry, I decided rather than add this range to my existing site, it would be better off having a website of its own. Haven Bound was born.

Did you have any experience in selling online before starting your businesses?

My only experience selling online before opening my website with EKM was like most, with eBay. I continue to this day to still sell on eBay as Optimum Beauty Shop, to help grow my brand and bring more customers over to my EKM site.

How did you earn your first sale?

My first sale came in March 2011. If I can remember correctly it was with the help of Google Shopping, it was for a specialist supplement brand which I still sell today.

How do you balance your workload?

Balancing my workload has probably been the biggest challenge in all the years I have run my online shops. Unfortunately, when you have daily bills to pay, having your own business can be a momentous challenge. For the first 5 years or so I worked full time and ran my online business in my spare time and on quite a few occasions when I could, I’d try and do some whilst also at my full-time job.

Since then, in the last 2 years, I’ve concentrated a lot more on my business and now only work part-time. It allowed me to do so much more and has really propelled my business forward. I have done everything on my online shop by myself and the only help I’ve had recently was with an international intern who helps from time to time with my social media marketing. I am the true definition of a one-man band when it comes to running both my EKM shops.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced since starting your businesses?

My biggest challenges for sure have been time and money. Time is so precious and management of it even more difficult at times, especially since becoming a father. Being self-employed or running a business, so much of what you earn goes back into marketing and other costs of running your business and what you do. Small businesses work and operate very differently to bigger companies, so a lot of money can vanish trying things that might not necessarily work for you.

What do you love most about running your own businesses?

I love the sense of satisfaction when I get things done – adding a new product range or re-designing my site or categories for a better impact really give me a buzz and providing a quality service for my customers, and of course, the best bit is receiving those EKM emails for an order. I’ve worked in customer service for over 20 years and I pride myself on giving excellent service and customer experience for anyone buying from my shops.

What advice would you give to new shop owners just starting out?

Research is definitely the key, look at what your competitors are doing but also make sure you find your niche and really promote what it is about you that makes you different or stand out from the crowds. Also really watch your expenditure and what your outgoings are, marketing etc, Google Ads aren’t cheap so really work out a good budget for yourself from day one.

What are your plans for the future?

My ultimate goal for Optimum Beauty Shop is to continue to grow, I’d love to have my own retail shop or office/warehouse environment and to build a small team of staff. I know with hard work I can achieve this and I will get there in the future. I want to be fully self-employed and to be able to support my family financially, all from my online business.

A little bit about Haven Bound and Optimum Beauty Shop

Haven Bound offers a huge range of cleaning products and homewares such as bedding and bathroom décor, kitchen tools and utensils and even has a garden and outdoor range. These products come from a company with nearly 100 years selling experience in the UK – your good old-fashioned door to door salesmen, but with Allan’s love of being online, he decided to bring this into the 21st century and with an online shop.

Optimum Beauty Shop specialises in Natural Skincare, products that are good for your skin – never tested on animals and products that really They have a huge selection of perfumes, skincare, makeup, bath and body, health and wellbeing and much more. And have a range of over 1000 products, not sold on the high street so some amazing niche products for sure.

If you’d like to speak to one of our experts about setting up your own online shop, simply fill out our call back request form here, or call us on 0333 004 0333.

The post Making the most out of an optimum opportunity: How one man became an entrepreneur with his own online shop appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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EKM Ecommerce Blog by Antony Chesworth - 2w ago

It’s fun to be in business, to sell a product or service that you’re passionate about.

At EKM, we have tonnes of customers who get great joy from what they do and yet, so many business owners don’t extend this same passion when building their website or posting on social media. It’s an afterthought, or they go generic and boring. And then they email me asking why their business isn’t doing as well as they’d hoped.

A single photo of your product isn’t passion. A one-word description of your items isn’t interesting. A standard profile photo of you stood in front of a white background isn’t going to amaze anybody.

If your online presence doesn’t scream everything that’s unique about you and your business then, in today’s world, nobody is even going to notice you, much less buy from you.

What you do excites you, so tell the world, invite them to join you. Show off your products from every angle. Better yet, make a video of them in use.

Describe not only what makes your products great, but also how they will make your customers’ lives better. Sell them the dream.

Share your story on social media to make your interactions fun and engaging. Make them care.

As an exercise, take an honest look at your own home page and analyse it as if you were a first-time customer. Ask yourself, ‘does this sell my passion?’ and ‘does this sell why we’re different from everybody else?’

If the answer’s no, you’re generic, and you’re going to struggle.

No passion. No sales. | Online Selling Tips - YouTube

The post No Passion, No Sales appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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Whilst setting up your online shop, you may have heard GDPR mentioned in various places, but what does it mean? In this post, I’ll be explaining GDPR in plain English and the very basics of what you need to know to trade online.

What is GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced to enforce data privacy laws across Europe. It protects all EU citizens from privacy and data breaches and gives individuals greater control of their data. It came into effect on 25th May 2018 and applies to any organisation processing personal data of EU citizens.

This is most commonly seen online when you click on a new website, where you’ll now have a signifier – such as a pop-up window or a banner – appear and to ask if you will agree to the cookie policy. This is that website asking for your permission to store cookies on your browser which may identify you by means of IP address and location – which is also a form of personal data.

What is this data that needs protecting?

The data in question is any information that could potentially identify someone. This would mean the names, addresses and telephone numbers, but would also include things like emails and IP addresses too.

What does it mean?

Once you break down the legal jargon, in it’s most basic sense, it means companies can’t do things with your data without your permission. Examples would include:

  • Selling any part of your contact details like your phone number or email address to marketing companies;
  • Using your email address to sign you up to email newsletters;
  • Making unsolicited phone calls to you;
  • Sending you junk mail through the post.

Because we now have GDPR, any companies wishing to use our details as individuals need to ask for our consent to do so, and as an individual, you are well within your rights to ask companies to send you a copy of any details they hold for you.

How is consent achieved?

This depends on the purpose of the company and what they plan to use your data for. Whatever that purpose is, the company in question must:

  • Clearly define what data they need and why (for example, a company which sends you email newsletters would not necessarily need to know your phone number, so you can question why they need that);
  • Record when your consent was given – they would need to keep accurate records which are kept confidential and confirm when you gave your consent, what kind of consent you gave, and in terms of personal data, what you give them permission to use.
What are my individual rights?

As an individual, GDPR has defined your rights as an EU citizen to include:

  • The right to be forgotten – if requested, you must remove personal data held on that individual. This means that if you were a member of a forum and you wished to close down your account, for example, the owners of the forum would need to remove all of your data (such as your name, profile image and email address) if you requested them to.
  • Right to object – an individual can request that you do not use their data in specific ways. If you gave some of your data to a company, such as purchasing something online where you would give your details to complete your order, that company would not be allowed to give you a call at a later date to try and sell you an additional product or service, unless you had given them consent to do so.
  • Right to rectification – any incorrect data must be correct if the individual in question asks. If a company has spelt your name wrongly or you have changed your address, the company must amend their details for you if you request it.
  • Right of access – an individual has the right to know what data a company holds on them and how it is used. You can contact any company to find out what data they have listed for you, why they need it and how they use it.
How does this apply to me as an online shop owner?

As an online shop owner, you are a company and you will indeed have access to people’s data as they submit it to complete orders with you. It’s your legal responsibility to research the GDPR legislation and to take steps to ensure that you adhere to it in the operation of your business.

What do I need to do?

Firstly you need to research exactly what you need to implement, as the steps may vary slightly according to what you sell and the purposes of your business. However, for the vast majority of online shops, you will minimally need to create:

  • Procedures – You will need to write up and implement procedures which ensure the protection of your customer’s personal data. If your business makes regular sales calls to customers with the purposes of selling them additional products and services, you will need to obtain your customers’ consent to do this, and record it accurately. Your procedures need to be available to your staff and reviewed regularly, whilst your customers’ data needs to be securely stored and not accessible to anyone who doesn’t need it as part of their role.
  • Privacy Policy – Your online shop will need to have a Privacy Policy webpage, which details how customer’s information is stored and used. Most – if not all – e-commerce platforms will have standard text for these webpages already, but if you are using any additional third-party code, such as Google Ads or Hotjar which work by collecting information about visitors to your online shop, it’s up to you to amend your Privacy Policy with details of what information is collected through these third-party platforms too.
What if I use email marketing on my online shop?

If you have an email marketing platform on your online shop where customers can give their consent to receive regular email newsletters from you, you need to ensure that whatever platform you’re using has the ability to record the customer’s consent. The majority should do this as standard, but if your current system does not, it’s up to you to create a manual record of customer’s consent.

Do I need cookie banners on my online shop?

There’s a lot of confusion around this subject, and in short, the answer is no – if you own an online shop, you don’t need to have a cookie banner or pop-up. This is because an online shop is where items or services are purchased, and it’s purpose and definition are obvious enough for people to understand that they will need to submit their details at the checkout in order to complete the transaction and receive what they’ve bought.

Other websites, such as blogs and news sites, for example, require cookie banners because although visitors to them are there to simply read different articles, many of those kinds of sites track their traffic for advertising and audience analysis. A cookie banner would, therefore, be required as personal data would be taken to monitor the traffic, but that is not the purpose of the site or something a visitor would be aware of just by visiting and reading blog posts. The cookie banner requests for that consent to be given.

What can I not do?
  • You can’t offer promotions and discounts – basically, ‘salesy’ text in any automated emails the customer may receive during purchasing an item from your shop;
  • You cannot contact the customer after they have purchased something from you to sell them anything additional unless they have expressed and provided consent that they’re happy for you to do so;
  • You can’t leave customer’s personal data unsecured – it should only be visible to those members of your staff that need it and otherwise kept safely and ideally, password-protected;
  • You can’t upload people’s email addresses onto an email marketing platform unless you have their express permission to do so stored somewhere.
  • You can’t afford to ignore GDPR! To do so is against the law and there are hefty sentences for those who do not adhere. You can find out about businesses and individuals who have been fined by clicking here – it’s a good read and provides plenty of examples of what not to do.

Now obviously I’m not a legal professional, so you will need to research more on the subject to ensure that you adhere. If you have a simple online shop integrated with an email marketing, you’ll find your providers will have steps and features integrated into their platforms to help you adhere to GDPR regulations, so it’s worth looking those up and checking that both you and they are adhering to the legislation.

If you have any further questions, you’ll find the full GDPR legislation is available online (but is a very heavy read), but the EU’s GDPR portal and the Information Commissioner’s website are a lot more reader-friendly as the legal jargon has been minimalised. With these resources, some research and the implementation of the correct procedures, and your online shop should be GDPR compliant in no time.

The post GDPR – What you need to know appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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You may already have an established high street shop presence, or you may have just started your new business venture, and you may be looking to boost your business’ sales and think that perhaps having an online shop is just the answer you were looking for.

While most business’ today have an online presence, some simply don’t take full advantage of having an online shop and what it can do to help grow your business. When a customer has a need for a particular item or service, one of the first places people look in today’s world is Google. If your business doesn’t have an online presence, you’re missing out on potential sales which could be pivotal in helping your business grow.

In this post, we’re going to walk you through some ways which having an online shop can help boost your brick and mortar sales and can help you to grow your business.

Make it easy for the customer

As mentioned earlier, when someone needs goods or services, one of the first places they look is Google. This is the first place that potential customers may find your business so having a good business profile on Google with up to date information such as your business address, contact information and opening times can help that user find what they’re looking for quicker.

However, having a good business profile won’t help you rank on page 1 of Google. In order to start to rank higher on search engines like Google, you’ll need to set up your own online shop. Our e-commerce experts can help you with this – whatever stage you’re at – and even if you already trade through websites such as Etsy or Ebay.

Once your shop is up and running, Google will be able to crawl your website in order to rank it, which can take up to 4 weeks. This is where making sure that your product descriptions, page titles, alt tags and header tags are created using carefully chosen keywords. This is so that Google can recognise these keywords and serve your website when it best fits the query for the user on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) page, which is where a search engine will display a page of results that match a search query.

Using on-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), helps you rank higher in search engines for particular keywords, making it easier for customers to find your website. The higher you rank on a search engine the click-through rate (CTR) will increase, which helps bring in more organic visitors to your website, providing it’s relevant for their search and satisfies their query. If you’re looking for more information on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and how it can benefit your website, why not read our SEO guides.

Target the local area

You can use an online shop to do more than just drive traffic – you can also use it to target users within your area. For example, a user searches on Google for ‘clothing shops near me’ and a list of search engine results appear. If you have a Google My Business profile, the address you listed will mean that if your website is relevant to the users’ query and you’re in the same area, your business listing will rank quite high and may be featured on the ‘places’ (2) result.

You will also notice that there is a section of sponsored shopping at the top of the Search Engine Ranking Page (SERP) example image. This is called ‘Google Shopping’ (1). Once you have products set up on your shop to sell, you can take advantage of this tool to drive visitors to your site and ultimately increase sales. EKM have a team of in-house Google certified experts who can guide you and advise you on the best approach for your business.

Make use of all tools available

Social media should be a part of your business strategy whether you’re a small business or an established one. While social media was primarily used to connect to friends, colleagues and share updates in the past, it has now become another tool in your work belt to reach your audience and connect with customers alike.

Not only does it help connect your audience but it also provides you with another medium in which to share and spread your brand. Instagram for example, is the perfect platform to display your products in a creative way as our most recent blog explains how to create high-quality images for your Instagram. Meanwhile, Facebook is somewhere you can build a deeper connection to your audience and share more detailed updates and news.

Social media isn’t only for keeping up to date with your followers and sharing news; social media now plays a pivotal role in supporting your websites Search Engine Ranking Page (SERP) rankings. If you choose to, social media also allows you to conduct advertising and re-marketing (where you can re-target people with sponsored adverts that have visited your site previously, on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Youtube) that can help influence the buyer journey as another touchpoint in the buying process.

Make it work

Ultimately, you need to make your website work for you. Having particular features available to you such newsletter sign-ups and loyalty points can all help you reach your engaged audience and incentivise them to purchase goods from the store – you can learn more about EKM’s features here.

For example, by asking for consent during the checkout flow, you can encourage repeat custom by offering specific discounts and promotions such as to shop in-store by offering an in-store only discount.

Building an email list can also prove to be quite a valuable tool to drive sales to your brick and mortar store. One benefit from this is being able to offer exclusive in-store discounts to customers who are signed up to receive your newsletter.

You could also give your customers the option of ‘free click and collect’ which not only saves you on shipping costs but may also encourage additional purchases while visiting the store.

There are endless ways in which having an online shop can help not only boost your brick and mortar sales, but also open your business up to the world of online shopping. If you aren’t already selling online you could be missing out on a large share of e-commerce sales for your business – can you really afford that?

If you’d like to learn more about selling online or simply how EKM can help you grow your online business, speak to one of our experts on 0333 004 0333 or get started here.

The post How an online shop can boost your brick and mortar sales appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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For some reason, July is one of the quieter summer months in terms of social media events, but several of the options this month are very big and celebrated online worldwide, such as Independence Day and the Tour De France.

If you’ve been following this series of posts since December 2018, you’ll no doubt have a reliable routine you rely on now for planning and in some cases, automating the social media for your online shop. If you’re still finding your feet with Instagram and create quality content for your shop’s profile, then this post should be able to help you begin.

With less trending events to get on board with this month, this allows you more time to plan content specific to your online shop. Any promotions or new product lines should be posted about in between your content for trending events to provide some variety for your followers.

The Event: National Ice Cream Month
Date: All of July
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells any items related to ice cream, such as ice cream makers, toppings, scoops, pretty serving bowls, sauces, tiny paper umbrellas and other accessories, then this is an ideal time to promote your products in a range of image-based posts for the month, ideally with a discount or offer. This is also a good time to encourage your customers to take photos of them using your products, as user-generated content is very valuable. You could create a prize draw style offer where customers have to follow you on social media and tag your online shop in an image featuring one of your products to win.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If your online shop doesn’t sell anything ice cream related, start a conversation with your followers about their favourite flavours, and recommend flavours to you that you’ve never tried before. If you choose to purchase ice cream for the purpose of making content, makes sure you #buylocal where possible and tag in the shop or dairy where possible.

The Event: Canada Day
Date: 1st July
What you could do for a Business Post: It’s Canada’s birthday, so many Canadians will be getting the day off for a long weekend to celebrate. If your online shop sells products which can be related to Canada and hobbies synonymous with it, such as hiking, camping, sailing, rafting, then you need to create a range of posts with the theme of Canda in order to promote your products and as always, it’s always good to offer a discount!
What you could do for a Personal Post: You could begin a conversation with your followers to find out who has already visited Canda and what destinations they recommend. You could also post about some of the best things to come out of Canada, or some of the national dishes, such as salmon jerky or poutine to start a conversation with your followers that way.

The Event: Wimbledon Fortnight
Date: 1st – 14th July
What you could do for a Business Post: As we all know, once Wimbledon begins, the country talks tennis and there are lots of themed offers from supermarkets and retailers based on this event. If you sell items related to tennis, you’re probably already promoting your product lines throughout the event, but if you also sell items related to the event, such as camping stools and chairs, coolers and items commonly used by those who attend or camp out on Henman Hill, these should be promoted prior to and during the Fortnight too.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you are a fan of tennis, you’ll be able to make posts about who is playing that day, what time the matches are, who your favourite players are and so on. Make your content shareable by researching basic facts and stats about Wimbledon and add these to images for topical, current posts.

The Event: World UFO Day
Date: 2nd July
What you could do for a Business Post: The 2nd July 1947 is when a mystery craft crash-landed in New Mexico, which became the Roswell UFO Incident – the basis for many books and films and is seen as the first widely reported instance of an unidentified flying object. If your online shop sells anything vaguely alien related, drones, telescopes, binoculars and camping equipment, then you should be able to relate these products to the event quite easily.
What you could do for a Personal Post: This event is quite an easy subject for a conversation starter, as you can ask your followers if they believe in aliens, or if they’ve ever seen anything they’d class as a UFO, or for them to share their favourite UFO videos with you (there’s plenty on YouTube to choose from!).

The Event: International Plastic Bag Free Day
Date: 3rd July
What you could do for a Business Post: There is an official website for this event which is yet to be updated for 2019, but this event does trend on social media on the day. Basically, the name of the game is to reduce the amount of plastic bags used in day-to-life to save our environment. As an online shop owner, you could make posts about how the packaging you use when shipping orders is environmentally friendly and sustainable, or if you sell products which can substitute plastic bags and bottles – such as mental canisters or cotton shopping bags, promote these products to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to your followers.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Make content about the steps you have taken as a person to reduce the amount of plastic you use, and encourage your followers to do the same – you can learn lots of hacks, tricks and tips from each other.

The Event: American Independence Day
Date: 4th July
What you could do for a Business Post: Independence Day is one of the biggest trending events of the year with Americans and American ex-pats proudly celebrating their country. Any products which are traditionally American should be promoted prior to this event, and especially so if the can be used in Independence Day celebrations, such as fireworks, barbeques and barbeque accessories.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Have you ever been to America? If so, share your holiday snaps in your content, and mention some of the best things you experienced during your trip before encouraging your followers to do the same.

The Event: International Kissing Day
Date: 6th July
What you could do for a Business Post: Another novelty event, International Kissing Day promotes kissing and puckering up with your significant other. If your online shop sells anything items which improve the quality of your kisses – such as lipsticks, balms, scrubs, teeth whitening kits and similar – then you need to get these items promoted a couple of days beforehand and on the day itself.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you don’t have a significant other to use to create a kissing selfie, then you could create content celebrating some of the best TV and movie kisses and share these in your posts instead, or you could research some of the health benefits of kissing and create text images for shareable content on the day, or alternatively, kiss your pet instead if you have one.

The Event: Tour De France
Date: 6th – 28th July
What you could do for a Business Post: If you’re a cycling fan and regularly follow the Tour De France each year, then you should have no problems creating shareable content to get on board with this event. Equally, if your online shop sells bikes and cycling equipment, use the event to promote cycling as a hobby and offer some discounts to encourage potential customers to get started.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Again, if you’re already a cycling fan, then this event is relatively easy for you to get involved with, especially if you’re followers are fans too. However, if you’re not too ‘up’ on the Tour De France, why not talk to your followers about their first bike when they were kids; what kind was it? Could they do any tricks?

The Event: World Chocolate Day
Date: 7th July
What you could do for a Business Post: The aim of this event is to celebrate chocolate and how it’s a delicious treat for many of us. If your online shop sells recipe books, kitchen gadgets or any items which can be related to chocolate and chocolate products, such as cakes, desserts and milkshakes, create some lifestyle photos before the event to share on the day itself. Also, since some chocolate production involves the use of palm oil, if your products are organic and come from sustainable resources, don’t forget to highlight this too, as shoppers are becoming more conscientious about the effects of their purchases.
What you could do for a Personal Post: You could cook or create something chocolate themed for the day, which in turn provides the perfect opportunity for you to make videos or Boomerangs and share the results with your followers throughout the day itself. You could create text images and share your favourite recipes or you could share existing content from chocolatiers and chefs where chocolate is used to create some amazing desserts and puddings.

The Event: Don’t Step on a Bee Day
Date: 10th July
What you could do for a Business Post: Although you should never step on a bee, this event is used to highlight bees and how we should help them as they’re essential to our food chain. If your online shop sells honey and beeswax products, promote these items and if they’re organic and sustainable, be sure to highlight that too. Alternatively, if you sell plants and gardening equipment, promote these items too, as certain plants and flowers can encourage bees to your garden which in turn helps them flourish.
What you could do for a Personal Post: You could make posts about flowers you already have in your garden or ones you are planting with the purpose of helping bees, or make text images advising how to help tired bees when they’re found on the pavement. If you can take selfies helping bees or making a sugar water mix for them, all the better, as this is very shareable content on the day.

The Event: Formula 1 Rolex British Grand Prix
Date: 12th-14th July
What you could do for a Business Post: If you’re a fan of the Grand Prix and some of your products relate to this event, you should have no problems creating shareable content and promotions especially for the event. If you’re attending the event at any point over the three days it’s on, be sure to take lots of photos and video to use in your social media content and don’t forget to include some of your own branding – such as wearing a branded t-shirt for example – within your photos.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Again, if you’re a fan, you should not have a problem creating content for this event and engaging your followers if they’re fans too. However, if you know next to nothing about the Grand Prix, talk to your followers about their cars; show them what your first car was – with photos if possible – and ask them what their first car was.

The Event: TRNSMT Festival (Glasgow)
Date: 12th-14th July
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells anything that’s festival related – from clothing and footwear to camping and glamping – it’s worth you promoting these product lines for the run-up to the event itself. The official website lists all of the acts and attractions due to appear this year, so it is worth including reference to these within your posts if you can.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re attending the event yourself, take lots of photos and videos if you can – but make sure you’re not too tipsy – whether it’s a personal post or a business one, you’re still representing your shop and your brand.

The Event: National Cherry Day
Date: 16th July
What you could do for a Business Post: The intent with this event is to celebrate the humble cherry, especially as it’s now in season and can be used to promote the British produce industry and supporting local businesses by using the hashtag #buylocal. If your online shop sells recipe books, fancy crockery or can be used in lifestyle content to be shared on your social media, do some preparation and incorporate cherries – whether in pies or cocktails – into your photos to share on the day.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Create text images to share your favourite recipes involving cherries or do a bit of research and simply bullet point some facts about them and their health benefits (the can help with arthritis, improve memory, help you sleep, etc) before sharing these with your followers.

The Event: World Emoji Day
Date: 17th July
What you could do for a Business Post: A total novelty event, World Emoji day has it’s own website and invites us all to celebrate emojis and their use in our every day lives. Obviously, if any of your product lines have emoji motifs on them, promote these products with a discount and lots of in-use/lifestyle images.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Dependent on your age, you might remember a time before emojis existed and we had to use different letters on our keyboards instead (circa 1996) – you could show your younger followers how this was done, or run an online vote for your followers’ favourite or most used emoji.

The Event: Latitude festival (Southwold)
Date: 18th-21st July
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells anything festival related, such as clothing, accessories, camping and glamping equipment and so on, you could do with preparing some in-use product images to publish in the run-up to this event, which would go down especially well with an offer too. Check the website for the official line-up and link the relevant keywords in your posts where possible.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re not attending the Festival yourself, share with your followers’ stories of the best/worst festival you ever attended and encourage them to do the same.

The Event: National Tequila Day
Date: 24th July
What you could do for a Business Post: Obviously, if your online shop sells tequila, shot glasses, cocktail accessories and recipe books, you need to get involved with this event. Take some in-use/lifestyle images of your products, and add text to wish your followers a happy tequila day, or share a tequila-based cocktail recipe with them for shareable content.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you can create Boomerangs or stills of you and your friends drinking tequila, or share your favourite method of consuming tequila (as there’s more to it than salt and lemon) or if you don’t drink, create a text-based image to share listing hangover cures for those who imbibe too much on the day.

The Event: Camp Bestival (Lulworth Castle)
Date: 25th-29th July
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells anything festival related, from clothing and accessories, to camping, glamping and so on, then you need to make posts promoting these items in the run-up to this event, ideally with a discount or promotion if possible. The official website lists the acts and attractions due to show this year, so be sure to tag them in your posts where applicable.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re not attending the festival yourself, make some posts about the acts that are on that you wish you could see, or simply start conversations about festivals you will be attending this year.

The Event: World Friendship Day
Date: 30th July
What you could do for a Business Post: Celebrated by exchanging cards, small gifts and most famously, friendship bracelets, this event is all about appreciating the friends in your life. If your online shop sells small gifts, trinkets and friendship bracelets, this is something you need to get on board with, ideally before the day of the event itself so you can remind your followers to purchase something for their own friends in time.
What you could do for a Personal Post: In terms of a personal post, you could include photos of you and your best friend in content with bullet points of how you met, how long you’ve known each other and so on. Encourage your followers to do the same, and this kind of conversation can be a real nostalgia trip, especially where older photos are concerned.

Next month, we’ll be publishing a list of events that are due to run during August 2019 so you can plan ahead for that month too – be sure to subscribe to our blog so you get a notification of when the next month of our Social Media Calendar is published.

The post Social Media Events in July 2019 appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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If you have an Instagram account for promoting your online shop, then it’s essential that you know how to create the most engaging, authentic content for your Feed to increase your followers, advertise your Products and in return, increase your sales. In this post, I’ll be going through some basic tips which will help you to improve the quality of your Instagram posts, so even if you’re not a photography pro, you’ll learn enough to significantly improve the quality of images on your Profile.

Don’t just upload Product Images!

Although it is tempting to upload all of your Product Images as individual posts on Instagram, you really shouldn’t. Product images for an online shop are ideally the product against a plain background – usually white – which is ideal for your shop visitors to see; they need to be able to view all the finer details of a product before they part with their money to buy it. However, on Instagram, the image of the product needs to be different and should ideally show the product being used, worn or made into a nice display/flatlay post. This is because Instagram is a completely different platform, where aspirational style images are what encourage customers to consider purchasing your products; your followers want to see a product being used or placed within a luxury scenario or being worn, and not just the product artificially lit against a plain white background.

Image sizes

Another very important aspect to consider is the size and dimensions of the images that you are uploading onto your profile. Ultimately, Instagram requires you to use square images – any which are not this shape will create unwanted negative/black space – which should ideally be 1080 pixels square. When uploaded, Instagram resizes the images to 612 pixels square which then display for your followers in 510 pixels square. Obviously, these dimensions may change slightly according to what device is being used to view Instagram but ultimately, if you’re using photos taken with your mobile phone’s camera, you shouldn’t have any issues. If you’re also uploading images you’ve created, you need to ensure for the highest possible quality and resolution, these are at least 1080 pixels and are cut square. If you have images that are smaller or not square, it would be more beneficial for these to be used somewhere else other than your Instagram – try incorporating them into a blog post instead, as uploading them onto Instagram could see them cropped in such a way where text and fine details are not visible, making your profile unsightly.

‘Lifestyle’ or ‘Styled’?

The two main kinds of images you should be using on Instagram are often referred to as ‘Styled’ and ‘Lifestyle’. Styled images are static product photos that involve the use of props, background and settings to make the product look as appealing as possible. Good examples of this can be seen in cookbooks, where the finished dish is often styled with beautiful crockery and side dishes on the table of an equally stylish kitchen. Lifestyle and ‘in-use’ images are where a product is worn or used, and although it is a product image, the product is being used as it would be everyday life. Good examples of this can often be seen in magazine adverts for celebrity endorsed products, where the celebrity is depicted wearing the jewellery/posing with the protein shake/posing at the holiday destination. Minimally, you should aim to have a combination of both kinds of posts to begin with – as time passes, you’ll get a feel for what kind of images receive the most engagement from other Instagram users and be able to tailor your content accordingly.

Photo composition

Plain or limited backgrounds are not as popular or effective as images with a background, and those with more visual texture and interest are preferred over those which are more smooth and minimal. It’s also worth mentioning too that images with a single dominant colour to them have higher engagement than ‘busier’ images with multiple colours in the image composition, and lighter images are more popular than darker one, where less detail can be seen.

Light and Filters

The kind of light you use in your Instagram posts needs to be natural, which is very different from the often artificially lit images we recommend for product photos on your online shop. Where possible, use daylight in your Instagram posts, and ideally aim to capture images within what is known as the ‘golden’ or ‘magic’ hours when the sun is higher in the sky, making the daylight softer. These are magic hours are in the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset, although obviously, these hours will vary according to season and weather conditions. In terms of flash, avoid using this entirely – the same goes for filters that overexpose the image, meaning a lot of key details can easily be lost whilst other aspects are darkened and make a less appealing image. When using different filters on Instagram, ensure that you limit yourself to one or two filters maximum to give your posts some brand uniformity.

Framing your Images

Another aspect to bear in mind is how your images are framed. Being able to frame a photograph well is a skill that really does help your images stand out from the rest, whether you intend to post to Instagram or not. Thankfully though, in the era of smartphones, we have fantastic cameras built in with a whole host of features that can help us. One of the main features that’s worth taking a look at is an assistive grid – turn on this to provide yourself with a grid to help line up your subject to ensure that the content of the image is aligned correctly.

You also need to get used to how close you stand to the subject before you take the picture – resist the temptation to shoot from a distance to later zoom in and crop the image to put it on Instagram; this method can see your photo end up with grainy or below par resolution and ultimately, bad quality posts can damage the brand you’re trying to promote.

Central

Photos, where the focal point sits in the middle of the image, are really effective:

⅔ Rule

If the background is as attractive as the foreground, then the ⅔ Rule should be employed here. This is where the subject is placed within the first or last third of the image (which is why the assistive grid on your mobile phone camera is so useful here!)

Close-ups

If you’re taking close-up photos where product details are key, keep the framing small to really draw your viewer’s eyes to the subject:

Flatlays

A flatlay is an image which has typically been shot from above, with an arrangement of a central subject and some accessories. These are an ideal example of a styled image, where products and accessories are dressed out within the frame to look as appealing as possible. In order to ensure that the overall style of your Instagram profile remains consistent, it’s recommended that you use the same kind of background in each post. Many professional Instagrammers purchase rolls of linoleum, vinyl covering and pieces of wood to create this effect on their own profiles:

Boomerangs

A Boomerang is a looping gif image which can be made by swiping right from your Instagram feed and clicking Boomerang in the options at the bottom of the screen. Boomerangs are useful for depicting movement on your feed:

Multi-Image Posts

These are very effective at telling stories in the form of static images on your feed. When done well, these can take the viewer through a story of images which can provide more impact than a single image alone, and you also don’t risk flooding your own feed with images of all the same subject. For example, if you had a launch party for a new product line, you could use a multiple image post to display the best photos from the party, without filling your profile with the images individually and oversaturating it in a single subject:

Instagram post themes

Aside from the standard styled and lifestyle posts, you may want to experiment with different themes to give your followers some variation in the kind of content they see from you and your brand.

Behind the scenes

These posts typically depict the team behind the brand and the products. These ideally need to be ‘real’ and authentic, encouraging your followers to form a relationship with your brand

User-generated

Customer generated content is very high value in terms of quality, as a post created by one of your customers featuring one or more of your products is what’s known as ‘social proof’ – where a customer ‘recommends’ your product to their own followers by including it in their own content. Perform regular searches to see if any of your customers have included your products in one of their Instagram posts, and if they have, be sure to comment and show your appreciation. If the image they have created is exceptionally high quality and ideally fits in with the aesthetic of your own Instagram feed, direct message them to request if you can repost it to your own followers.

Do-it-yourself

Currently, these kind of posts are enjoying popularity on both Instagram and Pinterest, where followers can view the post to learn how to complete a certain task. From cooking a recipe to creating a make-up look or hairstyle or repurposing a room in your house, DIY posts are a video or a multi-image post with each step depicted and usually with a photo of the finished project listed first, which these are a fantastic way of encouraging followers to return to your Instagram profile time and time again to learn how to complete a specific task themselves.

Text Images

Typically these can consist of motivational or inspirational quotes, where the text is overlaid over an image. Posts like this are good for providing a change from lifestyle and styled posts and when alternated in your feed, can look very good. Don’t forget to limit yourself to a maximum of two fonts when doing this, to encourage uniformity and continuity throughout your profile.

Theming your Profile

As well as considering what kind of content you want to post, a strong Instagram profile is one where uniformity and consistency play a strong role when the profile itself is viewed independently:

Many professional Instagrammers rely on a collection of props and backgrounds that ensure that all of their posts – regardless of the subject – fit within a theme specific to their own profile. Whilst the kind of products that you sell on your online shop will to a certain extent dictate this, it is worth considering the best way to theme your content for your future posts. If you wish to regularly incorporate videos, text images and Boomerangs into your feed as well as standard static images, aim to alternate them to create a pattern on your Instagram profile to add interest. You can also do this with similar kinds of photos too – for example, a close-up with a ‘busier’ distance photo alternating, or a styled image alternating with a lifestyle image:

Consistency breeds credibility and when you have decided on an Instagram filter that represents your brand, what fonts you wish to use in any text images and the colour palette you wish to rely on the most, aim to stick to these standards when you plan your Instagram content going forward. Ultimately, your Instagram posts need to appeal to your followers, entertaining them, inspiring them, or educating them. Over time, you’ll get to know what kind of content is the best received by your followers, garners the most engagement and increases the most sales, and in turn, be able to use this data to create the best strategies for your Instagram profile in the future.

If you want to learn more about photography to produce your own product images and social media content, we’re holding an event at EKM HQ on the 14th June 2019 where you can learn directly from award-winning photographer Richard Tymon. Click here for more details. 

The post How to create a strong Instagram profile for your online shop appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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We recently introduced a new live chat system for contacting our Support Team.  This is available on every page whilst logged into your EKM account and has so far proved very popular with customers.

We have had hundreds of chats since we launched and have helped lots of customers with a variety of queries without the need for them to pick up the phone or wait for an email to be answered.  It has never been easier to contact our Support Team to get the help you need at the time when you need it.

If you have not tried our support live chat yet why don’t you give it a go?  Even if it’s just to say hi, open up a chat with us today by clicking this button to open up the chat window.

Once your chat query has been successfully resolved with you will receive a transcript in a new ticket for your records.  A full chat history is also available in the chat window, meaning you can go back through any information provided if you need to without having to repeat a question.

Our Support Team are waiting to answer your query, so click the chat button and speak to us straight away.  Live chat is available during normal office hours Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and 9am to 5.30pm at weekends.  Outside of these hours you can still send us a message and we will reply as soon as we are open.  Our reply will be waiting for you when you next log into your EKM account and open the chat window.

As always your feedback is important to us, so if we can improve our service to you in any way please let us know by opening a chat.

The post Have you tried our new support live chat yet? appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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Now that the British summer is well and truly upon us, there’s going to be a lot more events which are held outside (often weather permitting!). Events that you can attend or take part in – either indoors or outdoors – are a great way to generate lots of photos, videos and Boomerangs to use in your social media content, and make an eye-catching change from standard text posts.

If you’ve just joined our series of blog posts listing the social media events expected to trend throughout the year, then it’s definitely worth reading this post beforehand which explains terminology, the kind of content you should be creating in terms of videos, flatlays and still images and how you can automate it entirely, freeing up more of your daily time to concentrate on running your business.

We also recommend that you set up Instagram Shopping on the Instagram account you’ve set up to promote your shop. This isn’t something you need to set up with your ecommerce provider, but rather something that you set up on social media entirely. You will need to have a Facebook Page for your online shop which has a Shop tab and your products added to it before you begin, as Instagram refers to this Shop tab when it allows you to tag your products in posts. If you’ve not yet set up a Facebook Page, this Guide should help you.

The Event: World Milk Day
Date: 1st June
What you could do for a Business Post: World Milk Day was established by the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations to raise awareness of milk as a global food. The website for the event ( is very useful and provides lots of background and resources to help you create your content for taking part in this online event. There’s also an official Twitter account too. In terms of promoting your online shop, if you retail anything to do with milk other than milk itself, such as baby cups, glasses and anything with a cow or dairy motif, you could mock-up some ‘in-use’ product images and add the relevant hashtags. However, you could also take a different slant on this event too, by promoting the alternatives to dairy milk which is also really beneficial, so if your online shop sells soya or nut milks, this would also be a fantastic event to get behind.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Boomerangs or videos of you making milkshakes (whether with dairy or alternative milks) would do well here, especially if your finished product looks as good as it tastes. Encourage your followers to do the same and compare milkshake recipes.

The Event: Volunteers Week
Date: 1st-7th June
What you could do for a Business Post: Volunteers’ Week is a chance to celebrate the work done by volunteers all over the country. The website is full of resources, listing events in your locality which you can take part in. There’s also a Twitter profile, Facebook Page and Instagram for this event so you can tag these into your own posts to increase your exposure. In terms of promoting you8r own online shop, if you have physical shop premises as well as an online shop, then have a look around your locality and see if you can find any local volunteering groups who improve your surroundings or your town, and make content specifically thanking them. You could even offer the volunteers a discount code for your online shop as thanks for how they’ve improved aspects of your locality.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Have you ever volunteered for a local group yourself, and if so, what did you do and why did you do it? If you can find photos documenting you at work as a volunteer then, by all means, incorporate those into your posts where you can/ Start conversations with your followers to find out if any of them regularly volunteer and begin conversations about the benefits of volunteering.

The Event: The Big Lunch
Date: 1st-2nd June
What you could do for a Business Post: The Big Lunch is an event by the Eden Project, that encourages folk to come out and eat lunch together. According to their website 1 in 5 people in the UK have never spoken to their neighbours, and The Big Lunch aims to change that. Of course, there are lots of resources on their website, plus a dedicated Twitter Profile, Instagram, and Facebook Page which you can follow and tag in your own content. In terms of promoting your own online shop, you could promote products such as crockery, cutlery and barbeque accessories with a discount code related to The Big Lunch, or even better, if you have physical shop premises, hold a Big Lunch yourself, which will of course increase footfall, provide lots of social media content and introduce yourself and your company to your neighbours.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Have a look at The Big Lunch website and if you can’t find an event in your area, why not organise one yourself? Open up a conversation with your followers to see who is going to events on the day, or who are organising their own? Ultimately, although the event is about getting to know your neighbours, talking to your followers about the food being served at the event is always a good way to get conversations started.

The Event: Cancer Survivors Day
Date: 2nd June
What you could do for a Business Post: The aim of National Cancer Survivor’s Day is to celebrate how life for those who have beaten cancer can be fruitful, rewarding and inspiring. There’s an official website, Facebook Page, Twitter profile and Instagram you can follow and tag in your content too. In terms of promoting your online shop, if there’s a Cancer Survivor’s Day event that you’ve supplied the products for, by all means, base your content around this and raise awareness of the event itself.
What you could do for a Personal Post: There is some merchandise available on the website which you may want to invest in, so you can create selfies and raise awareness of the event on the day. If you are yourself a cancer survivor and you’re comfortable with sharing, tell your story in a post on Instagram, which will both highlight the event and provide inspiration to others.

The Event: Child Safety Week
Date: 3rd-9th June
What you could do for a Business Post: Child Safety Week is an event which aims to raise awareness of accidents involving children and how they can be prevented. There is a Twitter Profile, Facebook Page and YouTube Channel for this event, so you can tag them in your own applicable posts and look through their feeds for inspiration regarding the kind of content you should be publishing. For promoting your online shop, if you sell any products concerned with child safety, such as child-proof containers, safety scissors, socket covers, safety gates and so on, then running a promotion on these items for the entire week with lots of strong ‘in-use’ product images will do well for this particular event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you can – and ideally you have the photographs to illustrate your story – tell your followers a story about something dangerous you accidentally did as a child (went sledging on a dinner tray/made precariously placed tree swings/etc) or a dangerous toy you once had (any chemistry set prior to 1975/Bakelite toy oven/etc). This is a light-hearted, nostalgic take on child safety, and encourages your followers to share their stories and raise awareness of the event.

The Event: World Environment Day
Date: 5th June
What you could do for a Business Post: This year, the theme of World Environment Day is air pollution. The official website is encouraging the use of #worldenvironmentday and #beatairpollution, so if the products that you sell on your shop help improve air quality or are manufactured in environmentally friendly, sustainable ways, then you need to create some content explaining this to take part in the event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: What do you do personally to save the environment? It can be as simple as recycling your household waste or volunteering to pick litter in your community. Whatever you do, details this in photos and Boomerangs to encourage conversations with your followers about what they do to help the environment.

The Event: National Fish & Chips Day
Date: 7th June
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells plates or picnic accessories, it may be worth buying a couple of fish and chip suppers ahead of the event to take some in-use style product images to share on social media on the day. You could also treat your staff too! There is an official website where you can buy merchandise to support this event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Obviously, get yourself a fish & chip supper and find out which of your followers are joining in with the event. This can raise a conversation between the north and south divide in the UK – as what’s available up north from a chippy is not heard of down south – curry sauce? Pea water?

The Event: World Gin Day
Date: 8th June
What you could do for a Business Post: The official website lists lots of information about the event, including Gin Journeys held in cities up and down the UK. If your online shop sells any glasses, tumblers and gin related accessories, as well as gin itself, then you need to provide some content to get involved with this event. It would also be a good time to offer a discount or a promotion on these products too.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re a gin drinker, and you live near a big city, consider going on one of the many Gin Journeys on offer, or alternatively, mix a gin to make some fantastic images and ask your followers what their favourite gin mix is; ginger? Elderflower? Mint?

The Event: National Best Friends Day
Date: 8th June
What you could do for a Business Post: If your shop sells greetings cards and you have a line of them specifically for best friends, then get these promoted before the event to remind your followers that the event is on the way. Equally, if you sell gifts and tokens which would also apply, include these too.
What you could do for a Personal Post: With their permission, take a selfie with your best friend if you can. Otherwise, there are lots of best friend quotes you could use to make text-based images to share on social media on the day.

The Event: World Oceans Day
Date: 8th June
What you could do for a Business Post: There is a very informative website for this event, full of resources where you can both submit an event or your own or turn up to an existing event that’s already listed. If you can, attend an event or if your products are applicable to this purpose – donate to a local event if you can to show your support as a company.
What you could do for a Personal Post: There is a shop on the official website linked above where you can purchase goods to support the event, which you could include in a selfie taken prior to the day itself. If you can turn up to a local event to support World Oceans Day then do so, otherwise, there’s many video clips and infographics that you can share online to raise awareness.

The Event: Parklife festival (Manchester)
Date: 8th-9th June
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells anything that’s festival related – from clothing and footwear to camping and glamping – it’s worth you promoting these product lines for the run-up to the event itself. The official website lists all of the acts and attractions due to appear this year, so it is worth including reference to these within your posts if you can.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re attending the event yourself, take lots of photos and videos if you can – but make sure you’re not too tipsy – whether it’s a personal post or a business one, you’re still representing your shop and your brand.

The Event: Bike Week
Date: 8th-16th June
What you could do for a Business Post: This year, Bike Week organisers are challenging folk to take part with the hashtag #7daysofcycling. The website lists events being held and you can also register to have your own event listed too. If your online shop sells bicycles for both children and adults and bike accessories, it’d be a good idea to create some content for this event and promote it during the entire week.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Take part in the #7daysofcycling hashtag and cycle every day for a week, which should provide you with lots of content for social media. Ask your followers if they can recommend any equipment, local routes and tips to you.

The Event: Children’s Art Week
Date: 8th-16th June
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells children’s art products, such as paints, crayons, paper and so on, be sure to take some in-use product images to promote this event a couple of days before and if you can, offer a discount or promotion on those products.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you have children, make a post featuring your child’s favourite picture of you, and encourage your followers to do the same. Alternatively, if you have any of your own childhood pictures, share these with your followers to see if they can guess what it was you were trying to draw all those years ago.

The Event: Open Farm Sunday
Date: 9th June
What you could do for a Business Post: The purpose of Open Farm Sunday is to encourage families to visit a local participating farm to learn all about how farms work. The website provides a list of participating farms and you can choose what you’d like to do on each farm – from meeting the animals to having a tractor ride or watching a machine demonstration. If your online shop sells children’s outdoor gear – specifically wellies, sun protection lotions and similar, you may want to promote these products if there is a farm near you participating with this event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you are not attending an Open Farm event yourself, why not use the website listed above to advertise farms in your area that are participating and raise awareness that way?

The Event: Men’s Health Week
Date: 10th-16th June
What you could do for a Business Post: This event is using the hashtag #menshealthweek and this year, the event will be concentrating on the key statistics that men need to know about their own health. If your online shop sells products that can be related to men’s health, such as vitamins, protein shakes, gym equipment and so on, it’s worth you getting on board with this event.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you are a man, share with your followers how your own health is and what you’ve been doing to improve it (which is a nice follow up from the New Years’ Resolutions you may have made back in January) or alternatively, look online for some infographics and similar that you could share to raise an awareness of the event.

The Event: Healthy Eating Week
Date: 10th-14th June
What you could do for a Business Post: Facilitated by the British Nutrition Foundation, the Healthy Eating Week website provides a wealth of resources to encourage everyone to eat well. If your online shop sells kitchenware, you could create some in-use product images of the recommended meals to help promote these products in the run-up to the event. Equally, if you sell water bottles and products which encourage health and wellness, those product lines will do well in this event too.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Challenge yourself to follow the guidelines for your diet during Healthy Eating week and share the results with your followers on a daily basis, starting conversations about how easy/difficult it is to consume a balanced diet.

The Event: Cupcake Day
Date: 13th June
What you could do for a Business Post: The purpose of Cupcake Day is to bake your own cupcakes to sell whilst raising money and awareness for The Alzheimer’s Society. If your own online shop sells baking products, crockery and similar, visit the website to sign up to take part, and bake your cupcakes using your own product lines to create some in-use product images which can be used in social media posts. If you have a physical shop as well as an online shop, holding an event on your premises for the day will encourage footfall and provide lots of social media content for you too.
What you could do for a Personal Post: Get involved with this event by signing up and baking your own cupcakes if you can, but if you can’t, do your research and look for other Cupcake Day events that are being held in your area. Help to advertise these on your own social media profile and attend the event if you can to get lots of photos and Boomerangs.

The Event: Isle of Wight Festival
Date: 13th-16th June
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells anything festival related, such as clothing, accessories, camping and glamping equipment and so on, you could do with preparing some in-use product images to publish in the run-up to this event, which would go down especially well with an offer too. Check the website for the official line-up and link the relevant keywords in your posts where possible.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re not attending the Festival yourself, share with your followers stories of the best/worst festival you ever attended and encourage them to do the same.

The Event: World Blood Donor Day
Date: 14th June
What you could do for a Business Post: Facilitated by the World Health Organisation, World Blood Donor Day was created to raise awareness about the importance of blood donations. As products centred around blood donations are few and far between, as a business, share a link to the NHS website where folk can sign up to become a blood donor, and if there are any blood donation events in your area on the day, be sure to advertise these to your followers too.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re not a blood donor already, sign up to be one and encourage your followers to do the same. If you are already a blood donor, let your followers know – with pictures if possible – how easy it is to give blood and the generous choice of biscuits you get to choose from afterwards.

The Event: Download (Derby)
Date: 14th-16th June
What you could do for a Business Post: If your online shop sells anything festival related, from clothing and accessories, to camping, glamping and so on, then you need to make posts promoting these items in the run-up to this event, ideally with a discount or promotion if possible. The official website lists the acts and attractions due to show this year, so be sure to tag them in your posts where applicable.
What you could do for a Personal Post: If you’re not attending the festival yourself, make some posts about the acts that are on that you wish you could see, or simply start conversations about festivals they will be attending this year.

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What if you could personally guide every customer that visited your website directly to the best product match according to their requirements?

How about doubling or even tripling your sales into the bargain? It may sound fanciful, but with a tiny snippet of code, you can add a powerful search engine to your website that will skyrocket your sales and profits.

Want to know more? Read on to discover one of the best-kept secrets in eCommerce marketing!

However, first, before I get into the details, let me tell you a quick story…

It is Christmas time 2018, and in our family, there is a “Secret Santa” tradition. The perfect gift for my brother in law would be a book as he is an avid reader and so early in December I visited the book shop in our local town centre.

The book shop was busy, and the staff were rude and unhelpful. I took my place in the queue, but after ten minutes of waiting, I lost patience and left.

The very next day I tried again at another store, and in less than a minute I had two of the three books I was looking for. A helpful assistant recommended several more, and in total, I walked out with five books! What a result! I was happy and pleased with myself that I made the decision to try somewhere else.

The point of the story is that making it easy for people to find what they are looking for in combination with excellent customer service will result in more sales. It is simple consumer marketing, but it goes overlooked in so many instances.

Think about what happens in an online store where there is nobody to guide the customer around. It is why so much money gets spent on user experience (UX) surveys to make sure that a website is user-friendly and not difficult to navigate.

It is possible to watch customers interact with your eCommerce store using tracking software that shows heatmaps and hotspots. You can also use eye trackers to show where the human eye is drawn to on a page. But knowing how a user interacts with a website and doing something to fix it can be an expensive process of trial and error. This is why many sites are so frustratingly hard to use.

But what if there was a way to improve your site usability dramatically and in turn sales and revenue with just a few simple lines of code? Is this possible? Yes, it is!

It’s called the Doofinder search engine, and it has the following incredible features:

1. Search by misspellings, synonyms and antonyms.

In your eCommerce store, a user searches for “fridge”. You don’t have fridges, but you do have refrigerators. Doofinder will access its database to return products based on misspellings, synonyms and antonyms. Never return an empty search result ever again!

2. Show banners in relation to search terms.

Doofinder uses advanced product relationship technology. What this means is that you can show related offers and promotions to the search term. For example, searching for “flip flops” shows all the offers for bathing costumes and other holiday clothes.

Doofinder will create more synergy between the search term and the product generating more sales. The potential for upselling and cross-selling is enormous.

3. Show the most relevant products to the search term.

If you’ve ever typed in a search term to eBay and then had to wade through pages and pages of irrelevant products, then you’ll appreciate Doofinder technology.

Doofinder presents the freshest and most accurate results for the search term.

4. Filter the most profitable products.

Doofinder will order the products returned in order of profitability! Increase your bottom line dramatically with just this one feature!

5. Show alternative products to the search term.

Many times a customer may search for a product unaware that there is a superior choice, brand or price point. Doofinder will present the most accurate products related to the search term and open up a whole new world of opportunity.

6. Track searches and optimise results.

Doofinder’s advanced search technology will refine the search results through its machine learning technology. Over time the algorithm will seamlessly improve the dataset returned to the customer through its advanced learning capability meaning that search results are refined based on what products have actually been purchased.

7. Autocomplete function.

Doofinder’s autocomplete function will automatically complete search terms for customers Google style!

8. Advanced filtering technology.

A search for shoes on your eCommerce store will return what you are looking for but with too much information. Doofinder will filter your search result by colour, size, type (leather, suede etc.) and much more. Narrow down searches quickly and accurately to access the exact product data.

9. Geolocate in Search.

Doofinder will filter the search results by distance from a location or maximum radius.

10. Search Speed.

Doofinder is blisteringly fast. Using state of the art search technology there will be no waiting around for search results to appear!

And for a bonus!

11. Reduce Bounce rate and increase “Dwell Time”.

It has been proven that people using a search bar buy more.

According to a Screen Pages study (link to the review), after using a search bar, the conversion is 4.63% in comparison to 2.77% who do not use a search bar. Doofinder’s search technology will decrease your bounce rate and increase the “dwell time” on your website, both of which will help to increase your search engine ranking.

Install the Doofinder search bar today for free with no obligation and a 30-day free trial to see how this kind and helpful invisible employee will increase sales and revenue in your eCommerce store!

About the Author:

Chiara Algarotti is marketing specialist at Doofinder.

Doofinder is a powerful, quick and intuitive search engine that will massively increase your sales conversion ratio and dramatically improve your EKM shop sales. It’s easy to install on your EKM shop and you can arrange a free demo via our exclusive partner page.

The post Instantly Boost Your Site Conversions With A Smart Search Engine appeared first on Ecommerce Blog.

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