Sep 28

More than 50 percent of shoppers turn first to Amazon in product search

More than half of U.S. online consumers begin their product searches on Amazon.com’s website or mobile app, a survey found. That means that heading into the busy holiday season, the company is advancing its lead over major retailers like Wal-Mart Stores and search engines as the starting point for online shopping.

Fifty-five percent of those surveyed go to Amazon first when searching for products, an increase from 44 percent a year earlier, according to a Labor Day weekend poll of 2,000 people released by the Internet marketing firm BloomReach Inc. The second annual survey showed search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, and retailers losing ground to Amazon. Search engines were the starting point for 28 percent of those surveyed, declining from 34 percent a year earlier. Specific retailers were the starting point for 16 percent, down from 21 percent.

“Amazon has become the reference point for shoppers,” said Jason Seeba, head of marketing for BloomReach. “Shoppers will go to Amazon first to find a product and check prices.”

The survey results are bad news for Wal-Mart and other retailers trying to make headway against Amazon in online shopping. E-commerce sales are expected to increase 13 percent to $385 billion this year, according to eMarketer. Wal-Mart last month agreed to buy e-commerce startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion, its biggest attempt yet to catch up.

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/more-than-50-percent-of-shoppers-turn-first-to-amazon-in-product-search/

Sep 27

5 Great Ways to Boost Online Sales and Increase Your ROI

The importance of online sales for the stability of any company is almost self-evident. It may be less obvious how to ensure a high level of traffic and rake in a healthy amount of revenues.

Depending on the details of your business plan, Internet sales could be the primary pillar of company growth or at least an important supporting factor.

This purchasing method is quick and secure, while it easily overcomes geographic limitations and helps customers save money.

It has staying power, too it is very difficult to imagine a future in which E-commerce declines below its current level, and in fact, it would be logical to expect this medium to continue with swift expansion.

Companies in various lines of business need to adapt to the new reality and embrace the digitalization of the international marketplace. This is especially true for young companies looking to accelerate the return on investment (ROI) and build sustainable sources of long-term revenues.

The following techniques can be applied to boost the traffic level on your online store and put your business on the path to profitability:

Related Article: The Small Business Guide to Online Marketing #DreamSmallBiz

Advertise Proactively

You can’t just assume that people will find your website of their initiative. The amount of traffic your online store will receive directly depends on the scope and strength of your promotional strategy, especially during the early stages of brand building. With an abundance of free promotion tools and effective advertising platforms at your disposal, you have no excuse for remaining passive.

Smart use of SEO and social media marketing could allow you to reach huge audiences, even without a huge budget, so you should start treating online advertising as a priority. If you don’t have an in-house marketing department, consider hiring a digital agency to help you build a strong online presence.

Localize Your Offering

Global demand doesn’t materialize by accident, it is usually a result of a conscious effort to reach out to customers in foreign markets. The first step in this direction is to make your platform available in local languages, at least for the most important target markets. While this level of customization demands some software upgrades and constant attention, the benefits are just too great to ignore.

Customers are much more comfortable spending money when they can interact with your store in their native language and that will open up new revenue streams that land-based stores could not possibly touch. The initial investment will certainly pay off, helping to stabilize your finances and achieve success.

Use Discounts to Drive Interest

Another way to show respect for your customers is to provide them with a chance to save on each purchase. The online environment is notoriously competitive and you need to deliver additional value if you want to keep an edge in the market. According to Crowd Savers, discount coupons and more effective than outright price reductions, since they also act as promotional flyers and could create many new leads.

In addition to affecting the price calculus, campaigns of this kind can animate the consumers and direct their attention to a particular product, class of products, or manufacturer. Organizing a coupon drive is very simple since you can partner with one of the existing organizations that specialize in this marketing format and advertise your discounted products on their websites.

Related Article: 5 WooCommerce Plugins to Boost Sales of Your Online Shop

Support Multiple Payment Methods

The most irresponsible way to lose a willing customer is to lack a viable financial channel to make the sale. PayPal may be the golden standard when it comes to online payments, but it doesn’t cover the entire world and some alternative e-wallet options might be necessary. Then again, a lot of people prefer to use their credit cards to make quick payments, so traditional bank transfers must be included as well.

Finally, an increasing number of people are turning to digital currencies such as Bitcoin, and this trend could possibly intensify in the future. Any website with serious E-commerce capacities should support several of the aforementioned payment methods and accept multiple currencies in order to maximize the volume of Internet-based sales.

Optimize for Mobile

Mobile devices account for a considerable portion of online traffic, with more and more users switching to mobile access every year. That means companies need to rethink their websites and adjust them to smaller, touch-powered mobile screens. It isn’t uncommon to release a separate app for this purpose, containing all functionalities of the main sites but with a mobile-ready interface.

Alternatively, the site can be designed to look good on both types of screens, even if this is not the easiest thing to achieve. Minimal layouts with clearly marked key functionalities work best in this medium since too complex schemes could be unwieldy on a smartphone. User-testing could point out important shortcomings before the launch, allowing your website or app to be user-friendly from day one.

Related Article: 5 Psychological Triggers To Boost Your Online Sales and Drive More Conversions

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/5-great-ways-to-boost-online-sales-and-increase-your-roi/

Sep 26

NITCO brings visionary leadership and cutting-edge technology to the Region

NITCO may still be the local phone company for many households in the Region, but its talented staff and visionary leadership have been taking services to new levels for decades, thanks to hard work and the latest technology.

From a fledgling phone company in the 1890s to a primary digital voice, high-speed broadband and long distance carrier today, NITCO continues its progress forward, thanks to investments in cutting-edge technology. “We’ve got a lot of things that are really changing the company and all are driven by technology and customer needs,” says Tom Carroll, NITCO’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

At the top of the curve is NITCO’s investment in fiber optic technology. The company currently plays a big part in working with municipalities that are investing in fiber optic technology. “We’re working with municipalities throughout Northwest Indiana, helping them develop a vision for their fiber networks” Carroll says. Currently, NITCO is helping municipalities with design strategies to manage over 26 miles of fiber optic network.

“We also have a wireless internet product” available, even for the most rural of NICTO customers, “those that really need higher speed in areas that have poor DSL coverage from other carriers.” NITCO currently has about 1,000 wireless customers, and this portion of its business is fast growing.

NITCO’s wireless internet technology is changing as well. In testing now is LTE cell phone-based technology that more readily penetrates trees and other obstacles and makes its way into customers’ homes more successfully. “We have always been that telecommunications company that’s technology-driven, and that’s still true today.”

“It’s technology and customer demand that is driving where (the company is going to go)” and how it adopts and develops new products, Carroll says. “Customers (tell us) ‘I want higher speed and I want faster internet.’ We’re trying to find the best way to service customers (and give them) the products they need.”

NITCO’s customer base spreads through four counties: Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton. “That’s our primary territory,” he says.

Being “the first” in Northwest Indiana and keeping the emphasis local has been NITCO’s modus operandi for decades. “We were the first dial-up internet provider (connection)” for many Region families, Carroll says. Now NITCO is introducing a special new product, its own cable TV offering, NITCO TV.

NITCO TV will be a premium HD-only cable service offering more than 100 cable channels plus all the Chicago local stations. The new product will be rolled out this fall. “We should be able to eventually reach about 10,000 customers with the cable product,” he says. “That’s big news; NITCO is in the cable TV business. That levels the playing field with our competitors. They offer (cable TV, voice and internet packages), now NITCO does, too. There’ll be more (information) coming out about that in the coming months: channel line-ups, pricing. We’ll probably be signing up customers in the next 90 days.”

It’s all a challenge that NITCO employees will be more than ready to handle, Carroll says. “The best thing about NITCO is (its) employees. Our employees are amazing,” he says. The company currently has a workforce of 80 and handles everything in-house, from local customer service representatives to construction crews that install both fiber optic and copper-based technologies.

“We’ve got thousands of telephone poles to manage,” says Carroll. “We have 300 square miles (of customer base) to manage.” NITCO’s own staff also handles engineering, technical support, billing, sales and marketing, a 180-mile fiber network and support for 14,000 homes and 8,000 customers.

“Our company never rests,” says Carroll. “We always have people on duty. We are there for the customer 24/7, 365 days a year. And soon to come (for NITCO customers) will be great television.”

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/nitco-brings-visionary-leadership-and-cutting-edge-technology-to-the-region/

Sep 25

How to use Facebook Live for business

Since Facebook Live, Facebook’s live-streaming app, was launched in the summer of 2015, the service has taken off. According to Facebook, videos (live and otherwise) are viewed on the site more than 4 billion times per day. And Facebook now gives priority to Live videos in the news feed.

[ Related: Facebook, Snapchat and the future of live video ]

So how can businesses, especially small businesses, make use of Facebook’s live-streaming to engage with the platform’s over 1.1 billion active daily users, or at least those users who are or are likely to be customers? Here are seven tips from Facebook Live pros.

[ Related: Facebook levels up its live streaming service with new video tab and developer tools ]

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/how-to-use-facebook-live-for-business/

Sep 24

HelloFresh, a German Tech Incubator’s Star, Still Struggles to Deliver

Oliver Samwer, CEO of Rocket Internet, pictured in June. He says the company is on track to meet its profit targets despite posting continuing losses.
ENLARGE

Rocket Internet SE
RKET


-3.08
%




has mastered the process of identifying promising technology startups—and then starting copycats in other countries.

In nine years, the Berlin-based company, one of Europe’s highest-profile tech companies, has launched about 100 online businesses in 110 countries.

But questions remain about whether many of those ideas—such as a meal-kit service called HelloFresh—will ever be profitable businesses. Rocket said Thursday that HelloFresh and five of Rocket’s other biggest portfolio companies reported a combined loss of €210 million ($235 million) for the first six months of 2016, down from a €300 million loss in the same period last year. The loss came despite another year of strong revenue growth.

Company officials say Rocket’s best businesses are likely to turn a profit soon enough. Investors cheered the narrowing losses, sending Rocket shares up 6.8% in Europe on Thursday. “We are on track to meet our profitability targets,” said Chief Executive Oliver Samwer.

Still, the red ink, and a series of recent valuation markdowns for some of Rocket’s biggest and most promising companies, have spooked investors. Rocket shares are down 27% so far this year, and worth about half their initial public offering price in 2014.


ENLARGE

Founded by Mr. Samwer and his two brothers in 2007, the business monitors tech startups world-wide for others to copy. Executives then assign a team of roughly 20 engineers, marketers and managers to launch clones. Rocket holds stakes in the copycats and focuses on a few areas, including selling food, furniture and fashion over the internet.

Mr. Samwer’s strategy is for his startups to expand for five to nine years before becoming profitable.

Illustrating the challenge of that strategy, though, is HelloFresh, a meal-ingredients delivery company. Rocket said Thursday that HelloFresh losses more than doubled to €45.7 million in the first half of 2016. Rocket’s chief financial officer, Peter Kimpel, blamed the cost of the startup’s expansion in the U.S.

HelloFresh’s six-month revenue more than doubled to €291.5 million from the previous year.

HelloFresh is five years old and competes with companies such as Blue Apron and Plated in the U.S. It also operates in Australia and several European countries. A clone of a Swedish company, it delivers weekly boxes with gourmet dinner recipes and fresh ingredients. Next week’s menu includes bayou-spiced rockfish.

At one point, HelloFresh was one of Rocket’s most promising investments, with executives planning for an IPO last November, valuing the company at the time at €2.6 billion. Rocket pulled those plans, citing unfavorable market conditions.

In an interview Thursday, Dominik Richter, HelloFresh’s global chief executive, said the company’s current focus is on winning market share. He added that he believes HelloFresh is still “structured in a way to become a public company eventually.”

Its biggest struggle is the same as that for many startups: hitting the sort of critical mass that would allow it to throttle back on expensive marketing. Free of that significant cost, the business, in theory, would be poised to capture the profit baked into its economic model.

At HelloFresh, here is how that breaks down: In the U.S., its cheapest nonvegetarian box contains ingredients for six servings over the course of a week, and costs $69. Costs for preparing and delivering the box come to about $30 to $40, according to three former employees. That breaks down to roughly $15 for the food and $3 for the packaging and ice packs for the fresh meat and seafood. Another $3 goes toward labor, and as much as $15 for delivering the box. Those numbers give as much as $33 of profit on each box.

But for HelloFresh to get its product noticed in New York in recent months, it has offered $40 off the first box. In the U.K., it offers £25, or nearly $33, off a £39 box and gives subscribers three cards that they can give to friends—for a completely free box. It is also advertising heavily online. HelloFresh ran a subway ad campaign in New York. In London, it hands out discount cards at subway stations.

Based on its U.S. prices, customers need to be willing to pay $11.50 a serving and have a stable-enough schedule to commit to using the boxes to cook dinner several times a week, before the delivered ingredients spoil.

We are on track to meet our profitability targets.

—Rocket Internet Chief Executive Oliver Samwer.

Ed Boyes, who became co-CEO of HelloFresh’s U.S. operations earlier this year after running its U.K. operations for four years, declined to comment on the economics of each box.

He said the marketing expenses pay off.

“Those initiatives are profitable after a defined period, and we continue to add an increasing number of new customers,” said Mr. Boyes.

He said it was cheaper to buy food from HelloFresh than from the grocery store, because his company sends customers pre-proportioned ingredients for the dinner. “We’ve got a very clear idea of…our customer base,” Mr. Boyes said. “It’s really a suburban audience. People in settled routines. It’s people who need help to get healthy food on the table.”

Write to Stu Woo at Stu.Woo@wsj.com

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/hellofresh-a-german-tech-incubators-star-still-struggles-to-deliver/

Sep 23

Internet Marketing Association Names Renovate America’s Dean Hollander CMO of the Year

At Renovate America, Hollander has helped build the company’s flagship HERO Program into the nation’s largest form of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, which funds energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and storm resiliency improvements. Hollander created both the Renovate America and HERO brands and leads an in-house creative team who develop all video and content. In addition, he works closely with leaders across the business to ensure the customer experience delivers on the brand promise.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the IMA for storytelling and brand development, and it’s inspiring to see this organization embracing a broader definition of digital marketing that goes way beyond measuring views and clicks,” said Hollander, who collected the award this week in Las Vegas during the IMA’s IMPACT16 event. “The best way to ensure you’re being considered by customers is to be remembered throughout their purchasing journey, and authentic stories are virtually impossible to forget.”  

Unearthing and telling compelling stories about the HERO Program’s customers, and sharing them using digital media, have been key to the product’s marketing successes. In large part because of this approach, Renovate America was able to finance almost a billion dollars in home improvements before spending anything on advertising.

Early on, Hollander realized that one key to the story he was telling on behalf of the company was putting safeguards around how contractors interact with homeowners. Hollander helped create a checklist of consumer protections not found with other financing options, and branding around the HERO Protect team that helped homeowners with workmanship or other complaints even after the contractor was done with the work. Through his efforts, the creative team helped shape how the business served its customers in very meaningful ways.

Renovate America partners with local governments to provide the HERO Program to homeowners who finance a wide variety of product installations to conserve water and energy, or to generate renewable energy. These installations include energy-efficient products like HVAC, windows, and roofing; renewable and alternative products like solar; and water efficiency products for indoor systems and outdoor landscaping.

Since its inception in December 2011, the HERO Program has financed more than $1.8 billion of improvements in more than 75,000 homes throughout California. It is currently available to 88% of California households, just last week launched in Missouri, and is getting approved by local governments in Florida. In addition to spurring significant water savings, HERO has financed projects that together will save more than 11.5 billion kWh of grid electricity, more than enough electricity to supply 1 million Americans for a full year.

About Renovate America
Renovate America partners with state and local governments to offer HERO, a property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing program, to communities. HERO is the leading residential PACE program in the U.S. and has financed more than $1.8 billion of improvements. This unique public-private partnership offers consumers access to financing for more than 60 types of home energy improvements without the need for government funding. The HERO Program has received a number of recognitions including a Climate Leadership Certificate for Innovative Partnerships by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, inclusion in the 2016 White House Water Summit, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in California, and the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best.

About the Internet Marketing Association
The IMA is one of the fastest growing Internet marketing groups in the world, with more than 1,000,000 professional members in fields including sales, marketing, business ownership, programming and creative development. It provides a platform where proven Internet marketing strategies are demonstrated and shared to increase members’ value to their organizations. IMA is underwritten by corporate partners to provide an opportunity to learn, engage and define best practices without making a financial commitment. www.imanetwork.org

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150729/249205LOGO

 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/internet-marketing-association-names-renovate-americas-dean-hollander-cmo-of-the-year-300332145.html

SOURCE Renovate America

Related Links

http://www.renovateamerica.com

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/internet-marketing-association-names-renovate-americas-dean-hollander-cmo-of-the-year/

Sep 22

Internet Marketing Association Names Renovate America’s Dean …

At Renovate America, Hollander has helped build the company’s flagship HERO Program into the nation’s largest form of residential Property Assessed Clean Energy financing, which funds energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, and storm resiliency improvements. Hollander created both the Renovate America and HERO brands and leads an in-house creative team who develop all video and content. In addition, he works closely with leaders across the business to ensure the customer experience delivers on the brand promise.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the IMA for storytelling and brand development, and it’s inspiring to see this organization embracing a broader definition of digital marketing that goes way beyond measuring views and clicks,” said Hollander, who collected the award this week in Las Vegas during the IMA’s IMPACT16 event. “The best way to ensure you’re being considered by customers is to be remembered throughout their purchasing journey, and authentic stories are virtually impossible to forget.”  

Unearthing and telling compelling stories about the HERO Program’s customers, and sharing them using digital media, have been key to the product’s marketing successes. In large part because of this approach, Renovate America was able to finance almost a billion dollars in home improvements before spending anything on advertising.

Early on, Hollander realized that one key to the story he was telling on behalf of the company was putting safeguards around how contractors interact with homeowners. Hollander helped create a checklist of consumer protections not found with other financing options, and branding around the HERO Protect team that helped homeowners with workmanship or other complaints even after the contractor was done with the work. Through his efforts, the creative team helped shape how the business served its customers in very meaningful ways.

Renovate America partners with local governments to provide the HERO Program to homeowners who finance a wide variety of product installations to conserve water and energy, or to generate renewable energy. These installations include energy-efficient products like HVAC, windows, and roofing; renewable and alternative products like solar; and water efficiency products for indoor systems and outdoor landscaping.

Since its inception in December 2011, the HERO Program has financed more than $1.8 billion of improvements in more than 75,000 homes throughout California. It is currently available to 88% of California households, just last week launched in Missouri, and is getting approved by local governments in Florida. In addition to spurring significant water savings, HERO has financed projects that together will save more than 11.5 billion kWh of grid electricity, more than enough electricity to supply 1 million Americans for a full year.

About Renovate America
Renovate America partners with state and local governments to offer HERO, a property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing program, to communities. HERO is the leading residential PACE program in the U.S. and has financed more than $1.8 billion of improvements. This unique public-private partnership offers consumers access to financing for more than 60 types of home energy improvements without the need for government funding. The HERO Program has received a number of recognitions including a Climate Leadership Certificate for Innovative Partnerships by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, inclusion in the 2016 White House Water Summit, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award in California, and the Urban Land Institute Best of the Best.

About the Internet Marketing Association
The IMA is one of the fastest growing Internet marketing groups in the world, with more than 1,000,000 professional members in fields including sales, marketing, business ownership, programming and creative development. It provides a platform where proven Internet marketing strategies are demonstrated and shared to increase members’ value to their organizations. IMA is underwritten by corporate partners to provide an opportunity to learn, engage and define best practices without making a financial commitment. www.imanetwork.org

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20150729/249205LOGO

 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/internet-marketing-association-names-renovate-americas-dean-hollander-cmo-of-the-year-300332145.html

SOURCE Renovate America

Related Links

http://www.renovateamerica.com

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/internet-marketing-association-names-renovate-americas-dean/

Sep 20

Internet Marketing Agency, fishbat, Discusses the 3 Best Social Media Platforms to Utilize for E-Commerce

NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — fishbat is a leading Internet marketing agency which combines proven digital marketing strategies that include search engine optimization (SEO), digital ads, and social media optimization (SMO) to help businesses increase profits and expand brand awareness.

Logo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160920/409660LOGO

E-Commerce is the easiest means of buying and selling products today. Consumers save time and minimize the aggravations of going shopping by locating the exact item they are looking for through the ease of online searches. E-Commerce is a necessary functionality for retail due to its expansive audience reach and the fact that more and more consumers view it as their primary way of purchasing. SEO agency, fishbat, discusses the three best social media platforms to utilize for e-commerce.

  • Facebook – Facebook reigns as the king of social media platforms, giving e-commerce the needed audience to grow a business. Facebook’s easy-sharing functionality and ability to garner company and product trust through consumer recommendations, makes it a must-utilize tool for any business engaging in e-commerce.
  • Wanelo –  Wanelo is a visual heavy virtual store that users can see trending items on or can utilize the search function to locate particular items. The visitors to Wanelo are already intending on buying, leaving the hardest part of converting behind. Wanelo users can link their e-commerce items back to their sites, and even their other social media accounts, driving additional traffic. As consumers save or buy items, they cause those items to move up in the built-in trending feature.
  • Instagram – Instagram users are highly engaged, making them prime candidates for e-commerce. The platform’s photo-editing tools make it easy for companies selling products online to post visually compelling images. The immediacy that is available through the site means that advertisers can quickly react to trending or hot-selling items at the moment. Instagram pictures are easily shared across multiple social platforms, increasing a brand’s reach potential.

fishbat is a full-service online marketing company and social media agency dedicated to connecting all types of businesses with their target audiences in the most effective and efficient way. Through innovative strategies in social media management, search engine optimization (SEO), branding, web design, reputation management, and public relations, fishbat promotes a consistent and professional online voice for all of its clients.

Media Contact: Scott Darrohn, fishbat, 855-347-4228, press@fishbat.com

News distributed by PR Newswire iReach: https://ireach.prnewswire.com

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/internet-marketing-agency-fishbat-discusses-the-3-best-social-media-platforms-to-utilize-for-e-commerce/

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