Thursday, 15 December 2011

One of Those Days




I'm having one of those days.

I was supposed to be making some new video's for a friend....but my attnetion just couldn't span that far.

Instead, I've been messing around looking for cool text that I can use on Facebook Fan pages.

So far, I'm pretty impressed.

Having an amazing and eye catching landing page for you Fan Pages really is essential. It helps to create a welcoming feel to the little community. That first impression matters. You HAVE to let your visitors know that they have found what they are looking for before they hit that back button and go looking elsewhere.

Statistically, most people are going to buy from sites that appear to be professionally built so by having that little extra works in you favour, it sets you apart from the other.

Okay, enough from me, had better get back to it!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Most Purchased Items Online

What are the most purchased items on the Internet? The biggest sellers, the most frequently bought products that are sold online? "If I wanted to start an online business... WHAT SHOULD I SELL ONLINE?"

HA!! Everybody changes the subject when you ask that question. Today, I've got some numbers for you. Not just numbers, but some data about WHO is buying those items... because there's no sense selling hotdogs to vegetarians. You want to target these niches, hone in and cater to their every need.  Excited? So am I....

These numbers are a little dated, but still very relevant.

PLEASE READ THIS POST CAREFULLY BEFORE MAKING RASH DECISIONS


But it's not enough to know what was bought...who was buying it. 
To help you create targeted campaigns, please read on.
  • Among internet users, the highest percentage shopping online is in South Korea, where 99% of those with internet access have used it to shop, followed by the UK (97%), Germany (97%), Japan (97%); the US is eighth, at 94%.
  • In South Korea, 79% of these internet users have shopped in the past month, followed by the UK (76%) and Switzerland (67%); the US is at 57%.
  • TRAVEL & ACCOMMODATION: The 4th favourite shopping category online - More than 70% of Indians and more than 60% of Irish and UAE internet users said they bought airline tickets and/or made reservations on the internet in the last 3mths.
  • 1 in 4 users have bought DVD's or video's in the past three months. Specifically, The UK = 44%, Sth Africans = 38% and in fifth place the USA = 31% of users had purchased DVDs or video's.

But think about this. The countries who are purchasing the most items, may not be spending the most money. Have you worked out that by selling books, you may make a a couple of dollars per sale, but as an affiliate for an airline company, you could make a whole lot more money with a lot less work. 

You still need to do some research of your own before you can tailor a business campaign that will fulfil its potential. Smarter not harder. Having said that, I would rather have $10 in the bank than nothing at all. 

You still have to set yourself apart from the crowds of marketers out there who are better equipped than you and who are in no mood to share their cut of the profits. So how can you target crowds effectively? 

If you read my two previous posts, you'll see that women make up the majority of shoppers. You'll also see that women are very susceptible to impulse buys (sales, time limits, etc). And you'll see that both men & women prefer to buy from sites that look professionally built.

Read these posts carefully, because there are gems of valuable info in both of them.

What DO Female Shoppers Want? (How to target shoppers effectively)

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Internet Marketing: The Age Of Female Consumers


Fact: Women are the world's most powerful consumers.
If you are marketing anything to anyone, you are likely to be marketing to women.  Women: 
  • influence more than 83% of consumer purchasing decisions, 
  • buy over half of all new vehicles,
  • make up 40% of business travellers. 
This is the age of female consumers. It makes sense then to know you market. This post is going to shed some light on female consumers - I've checked the figures, I've crunched the numbers and I'm going to share some insights with you.
Why Do Women Shop Online?
I asked my Facebook friends about whether or not they shop online, what they shop for & what is holding them back. Not surprisingly, their answers were parallel with statistics. 

Women will shop:

  • to save time
  • to get a better selection
  • to research a product (they are shopping for info, not necessarily a product) OR
  • to be educated about their choices
  • to get better value
  • for anonymity
  • it makes sense logistically - there is no local store or it's easier to buy online & have delivered directly to the giftee.
How Much Shopping Do Women Do?

I've mentioned some percentages above, but in case they don't mean anything to you, let's think about this another way. After sleeping, working and spending time with family women spend time online. Of all the things that take up our time, spending time online ranks number four. Keep in mind that that figure is for ALL women - single urban women will spend more time online than the newlywed with twin babies.

One study undertaken a few years ago found that 41% of women preferred to shop online. Many of these women scoffed at the myth that women love to shop; they griped about the indifferent sales staff, the arduous task of finding the right size, the right colours and long lines behind undertrained cashiers. Many retailers have forgotten that they not only need to help customers in to the stores, but also to get out of them with minimal fuss.

Some Facts To Bear In Mind
Interestingly, women are more brand-loyal than men, particularly to companies they feel support them and the issues that concern them. (Remember my last post about women wanting to feel understood?)                      
Women love descriptions and not just the description on the back of the box - they want to see the product in context (the bedspread on the bed, with the lamps & the lighting) and they want to hear from other women who have used that brand, service or product.


When selling to women online, keep in mind that trust is a huge obstacle to overcome. We do this in many ways. We provide photo's of ourselves on the Contact Page or in our Bio box, we can create video's and we can...now pay attention...provide honest and objective opinions & descriptions. We want to be that woman's smart best friend.


Women in the 45-55 age group are most likely to impulse buy because of a limited time offer, free delivery or a sale - this age group makes up 55% of impulse buyers.


About 47% of men and women will buy from websites that appear to have been built professionally. Don't panic. It isn't hard to achieve a professional look, even if it's your first time. There are many website builders (e.g., Webs.com) which you can use to create a great looking website. Think classic. Think black & white or something chic. Go and check out the competition and see how other websites have been built.


Well that's it from me but I'm going to be spending this month looking into online shopping trends and statistics, the most commonly purchased items on the internet, where the money and more so come back and join me soon. :P

What Do Female Shoppers Want?

Whether you are article marketing at Squidoo or creating your own online e-tail business, women make up over 60% of online shoppers and it's important to understand what female shoppers want from an e-tailer. Today's post is about tactics, about strategy. Not about what...it's about how.

Firstly you need to understand that men & women have very different ways of shopping. There are somethings that are still fall into the "men only" realm - for example even after a woman has found her dream car, she will still consult her husband, boyfriend, father or brother.

Online, women do a lot of pre-shopping, a lot of narrowing down the options & seeking info so they can make informed decisions. As long as you keep one major principle in mind, you will cover a lot more ground. E-tail, Internet Marketing, selling things on eBay... whatever it is you are striving for, you have to bear in mind the age old principles of marketing (I've included a few examples in todays post) and that it doesn't matter whether you are online or off, the same principles apply.

Granted, selling clothes online is a little different from opening a brick & mortar store, but women go into both of those stores with the same questions, with the same budget, with the same needs. It's your job to ensure you meet those needs and those questions are answered and what better way than to understand what exactly it is that female shoppers want from an online e-tailer.

To help you on your way, these are the top 10 things women want when shopping online. If you can provide these things - and really understand them - then you've got spunk kid.

What DO Female Shoppers Want?

1) The big picture. Female shoppers want to be able to compare brands, they want to pre-buy. They want to be able to see all their options and access details about those options when the time is right. 

2) Control over what they interact with. As a webmaster, your opinion no longer matters, it's all about what your visitors want. As an e-tailer, you need to be able to give women control over what they see & how they see it. When a woman decides, "Hey, I wanna compare ALL of the lamps," or "You know what, I want to see all of the pinks shirts with short sleeves," then you need to give them that. 

3) Details, details. Big picture be damned, this woman has changed her mind! This woman wants details - not the description on the back of the box. Details - women want the side view, they want pictures that get incrementally bigger, they want to see the item in context, they want to read a thorough narrative about the item. They need details and if you can't provide them at the right time, they will go elsewhere.

4) Experience by proxy. Men don't care about what other people think. But women do. Female shoppers want to hear feedback from other shoppers who have tried that service, brand or product. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful stuff, it instills trust in your business and gaining trust online is something that we all work for.

OFF TOPIC: Did you know, that if my friend recommends you, then you could change me up to 50% MORE than my friend? And I would accept it, because my trusted friend gave you his seal of approval. If my friend said you were cool, then you must be awesome because my friend doesn't lie, my friend knows what he's talking about, my friend is clever & experienced & because I trust him, I trust you likewise. Word of mouth...it can make or break a business in its infancy.

5) Pause - This is a brief intermission. Women have a tendency to pause & play. It may seem like they are abandoning some part of the buying process...but oftentimes they aren't abandoning it. It was meant as temporary break. Consider this..."What? They emptied my shopping cart!! Didn't they know I was holding it because I was thinking about it?" 

Give your shoppers a chance to pick up where they let off.

6) SEO & Common Sense. One of the founding principles of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is user experience. When the search engines scrutinise your web pages, they will favour pages that have been designed to maximise user experience - pages that are rich in keywords (and descriptions), pages that have been linked to other relevant web pages (on site & off, your Home Page, your articles etc) and pages that are relevant to the visitors search. 

If you are using AdWords to advertise iPads, don't send visitors to your Home page, or your Electronics page...send them straight to the web page about iPad's. Be prepared for spikes in interest and make sure people can access the right page in as few clicks as possible.

All the offline principles of marketing apply.
Think of shops at Easter time...no retailer in their right mind would ask customers to walk through the entire store to find chocolate. The Easter eggs are on display, at the front, where impulse buyers & passersby can access them easily. If you apply real world marketing principles to your online endeavours, you can't lose.

7) Never, ever run out of stock. The fact is that the Point of Decision and the Point of Purchase are two distinct events. A female shopper may have reached the Point of Decision (and has chosen to buy something) before she even finds your site. 

There is nothing worse than going through the entire process of searching for products, gathering info, choosing what you want, thinking about what you want, deciding that you really do want it, finding a torch so you can rummage though your handbag, finally finding your purse & credit card, going through the checkout....and then the website is out of stock. You will not be thanked. Hide that webpage or make sure that visitors know you can't provide that product before they get to the checkout.

8) The Gift of Giving. Provide different options for gifting. Ask any woman - sometimes they just want to check another name off a list, sometimes they really want to make an impression. Consider having a basic gift wrap, and a knock your socks off gift wrap. Gift cards are still a very popular option for online shoppers, and they will always be.

9) The Log In Dilemma. Gathering data about your shoppers is a huge asset for web masters & e-tailers alike. Everyone wants us to log in. None of us want to do it. Handing over an email address means another 20 emails in the Inbox. It sucks. From the web masters or  e-tailers point of view, it means that we can gather shopping history, trends, dress sizes, demographics that allow us to create targeted websites, campaigns and sales. To work around this problem, most web masters will entice people into signing up/in by offering them something irresistible - a discounted price for members, a chance to win something luxurious...something of value.

All the offline principles of marketing apply.
Think of your local supermarket - many stores will offer a frequent shoppers card.
What is the purpose of this card? Every time you go through the checkout, every time you scan your card and earn your points, the retailer is gathering information about your shopping habits. From this info, they are working out which products to put on display, which products to stop selling and which ones are popular. 
In exchange for this info, they give you a $10 discount every time you spend $1000. Crafty, eh? Apply the same principle as an e-tailer. Give your shoppers something they want, in exchange for something your need.

10) To Feel Understood. What else to women want, other than to feel understood. We need to feel like our opinions and desires are being treated with respect. Provide shoppers with a (very brief) poll, or a chance to offer feedback...make it known that your site is based on user preferences. Make your female shoppers feel understood and they will come back time and time again.

Parting Words of Wisdom
Marketing is marketing...no matter where you are. If you're making decisions about how and what to sell then I suggest you think about how brick & mortar businesses accomplish the same. 

Magazines are an ideal business model - they make great use of the space on their pages (you have web pages), they use flashy pictures, and catchy headings (so should you) and they don't OVER sell - they offer heaps of info alongside their products, they show items in context, the offer product reviews. 

Retail stores have a design in mind when they stock the shelves. Some things are at face height, others are harder to find. Make sure your important (or most popular) webpages are easiest to find. 

Customer service needs to be impeccable, online and off. Whether it's going through a checkout, returning the wrong item, wanting a refund, or just making sure that the right order is delivered to the right house...any mistakes will not be tolerated - once somebody buys from you once they are very likely to buy from you again so take pride in customer service.

Nothing is without reason. Whether its that free tin of jelly beans that Dulux Paints hands out, or the Frequent Shoppers Card, making Fan Pages on Facebook, the font on the packing...none of it was left to chance. Every single decision was made very purposefully. It's your job to work out WHY did that company decide to do that? What are they doing that for? How has that decision influenced by desire to buy? 

And apply those lessons online. Good luck, leave me a message and tell me about what you're doing/selling online?