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Making Ecommerce Decisions for Your Business
Posted by Troy Newport on 06 March 2014 08:22 am

You were told you needed to sell online.  It’s not a choice!  You must do it!  So on a shoestring budget you had something built and attached it to your website.  You don’t remember the last time you were there, and you’ve never seriously marketed it.  So can it ever be profitable for your business?  Well that depends…  (I love that answer!)

Most people think of ecommerce as selling a “widget” and shipping it out to their customers.  But it doesn’t necessarily have to be.  You can think of ecommerce as giving your customers the ability to pay their bills online, buying tickets for events, even purchasing Service Level Agreements for your company.  One of the biggest goals we hear from service companies is they want more people to purchase service agreements, yet they don’t provide customers with the convenience of purchasing them online.  Remember, the easier you make it for people to do business with your company, the more your customers will like you!shopping-bag-button

In our busy world after putting the kids to bed, spending time with our significant others and watching our favorite DVR’d show, we’re often sitting on the computer at midnight taking care of the bills or researching things we want or need to buy.  Our customers are doing the exact same thing!  So the first step to thinking about how ecommerce can benefit your business is to think about how ecommerce could benefit your customers.

Once you have that figured out then it’s time to determine who you can hire that you can trust.  Just like handling credit card information in your storefront or office has risk associated with it (dishonest employees, someone hacking into your network, someone breaking into your office and stealing improperly stored credit card information) so does the web.  If you hire someone who doesn’t have much experience or doesn’t pay much attention to online security, you’re opening your business up to unnecessary risk.  We routinely have companies approach us who had someone build a WordPress website for them with an ecommerce module which ultimately led to their website getting hacked.  (Read my previous post WordPress is not a shopping cart.)  Or there are a multitude of Content Management Systems out there that offer ecommerce “modules”.  But the unfortunate truth is that many of them have limited functionality and security vulnerabilities. 

That’s why we only recommend real shopping carts for our clients.  Besides the fact that they offer more functionality than plugins for Content Management Systems, they are generally more secure.  (Open Source shopping carts should be viewed with a skeptical eye because you can be at the mercy of the people developing your cart, and they may not be experienced enough to build a solid solution.)  At the end of the day, any software on the web is “vulnerable” so why risk your company’s future by not doing it right?  If your customer data gets compromised it could mean many thousands of dollars in fines from the credit card companies.  So make sure you think about solutions that can help your customers and give them a safe, secure and convenient online experience.  That will help your business grow!

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4 Tips for Using Pinterest for Your Online Store
Posted by Troy Newport on 11 December 2013 06:23 am

Pinterest has been stepping up their game, and based on eCommerce research consumers can be influenced by “pins” they find on the popular social media website.  Research shows Pinterest can drive as much traffic to an online store as some of the “old guard” such as Twitter.  Even better, some studies have shown up to 10% higher conversion rates from traffic coming from Pinterest in comparison to traffic from other social media websites!   It’s no wonder online stores have been taking notice what this social media website has been doing since their launch in March, 2010.

With over 70 million users and 2.5 billion pageviews, here are some things you should know about leveraging your Pinterest business account for your online store:

Pin It Buttons
If your products don’t have Pin It buttons on them, they should!  This allows your website visitors to save an image on Pinterest, which can give you exposure to their friends.  Any time you give people an easy way of sharing your message with their audience, it is a win-win!

Now-Trending Tool

This feature is only about a month old, and is a way for stores to show their most-pinned items.  This has been rolled out to a few limited partners (e..g, Zappos) but Pinterest plans on adding more features and rolling it out to the general public once they work out the kinks.  Stay Tuned!

Rich Pins
Released at the beginning of the summer, Rich Pins provide your shopping cart a way to feed information to your Pinterest account and “tag” your product posts with relevant information such as price and availability–and most importantly where people can buy it!  You will probably require assistance from a web development company to prepare your website, but the approval process by Pinterest is fairly seamless once your website is ready.  A recent study showed pins with prices generated 36% more Likes than those without.

Pinterest Analytics
You need a way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, right?  Back in the Spring of this year Pinterest released Web Analytics to help their users track things like how many people have pinned from your website, the number of views each pin has, etc.  Of course you should always compare this data with your own analytics data from your website, but this was a welcome addition for online marketers.  These metrics can help you test new images you put on your website, the popularity of certain products, and of course with eCommerce tracking in place on your website, which images are bringing you the most sales.

Taking advantage of Pinterest means you must have fabulous photos on your website that inspire people and make them want to share.  Remember the majority of Pinterest users are women, so if your product lines are geared toward men perhaps Pinterest isn’t the right avenue for you.   Top product categories that tend to do well on Pinterest are: Food and Drink, DIY and Crafts, Home Decor, Hair and Beauty, Women’s Fashion, Weddings, Kids, and Holidays/Events.   Pin away!

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Last Touch Attribution
Posted by Troy Newport on 05 June 2013 08:14 am

Much to the chagrin of online retailers, customers typically do not make a purchase the first time they are on your website.  (That would be too easy, right??)  More importantly, customers who buy from your online store typically do not arrive on your website from the same traffic source every time.  To emphasize this point, think about your own online buying behavior.  If you’re thinking of making a purchase you may start out doing a few Google searches to see what’s out there.  Then you may talk to a few friends to see what they know about the product.  They you may do some more refined Google searches based on what you’ve learned so far.  At this point you may find a few websites that sell the product and look reputable.  Maybe you sign up for their email alerts to see if you can get a discount code or special deal.  You receive a few promotional emails over the next few days or weeks and click through to the website a time or two but still don’t purchase.  Perhaps you ‘Like’ their Facebook page to see if they are posting about any special promotions.  Then maybe you talk to your friends some more.  Then you do some research on the frontrunner companies to make sure they are reputable companies before you give them your credit card information.  You do a few more Google  searches to comparison shop.  During one of those searches you see a Google Ad that catches your eye and you click on that ad.  At this point you are in the buying mood and you decide to follow through with the purchase.

So in that sequence of events, which part of that process was the most important for the retailer?  Unfortunately many retailers don’t know all this activity happened because they don’t have the right tools deployed on their website.  If you use ecommerce tracking on your website you would know the purchase path described above contained organic search, email clickthroughs, social media clickthroughs, (those are called “assisted conversions”) and finally a PayPerClick ad closed the deal (this is the “last touch” attribute.)  Some retailers have started to focus on the last touch attribute, assuming that is the most important part of their strategy because it was the one that closed the sale.  Some have started to prematurely cut budgets on other funnels because they aren’t showing up as the last touch attribute often enough. 

But I would argue the truth is that every part of that decision-making chain is equally important, and if you removed one of those links in the buying chain it is highly likely the purchase may not have taken place.  If one of your competitors touched that customer with their social media or email message during the decision making process it’s probable you would have lost that sale.  So while it’s important to understand how each of your traffic funnels are performing and always try to optimize each funnel, it is short-sighted to assume because a funnel isn’t sealing the deal as often as others that it is less important in the process.



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eCommerce Website Launched for Vapin Lizards
Posted by Troy Newport on 01 May 2013 07:09 am

When Barbara, Cheryl and Sandy approached Webtivity, their story was the same as many others who come to us for help.  They had hired a company who promised to develop an attractive, functional ecommerce website they could proudly market to build their business, but after months of frustration and no functional site, gave up and sought help elsewhere. This happened to them twice until finding Webtivity.  Since their SunShop Shopping Cart was already in place, we picked up the project where the previous companies left off and first focused on the design.  After refining their company logo, work started on the new template design.  Direction was given to start working on product photos and descriptions while the rest of the project was underway.  Ideas and strategies were exchanged through development to begin the long process of positioning the product, getting the website found once launched, and beginning a long-term marketing campaign.

Fortunately the partners at Vapin Lizards had a well thought out Business Plan in the first place, which makes marketing their products a little easier.  For example, their eLiquids use no fillers or additives, are USA tested, and USA made and bottled.  Only the highest quality food-grade flavors from companies like LorAnn Oils® and Capella Flavor Drops® are used.  Vapin Lizards also has unique DIY kits where customers can create unique and flavorful eliquids to their own tastes without having to dilute concentrated nicotine solutions.  This means the possibilities are safe, endless and tailored to everyone’s taste buds!

Corporations have already approached Vapin Lizards to supply their employees with vaping products to reduce smoking and promote a healthier workplace.  Keep an eye on this lounge of lizards, you’re about to see a lot more of them!

To learn more about Vapin Lizards visit their website:



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5 Tips for a Successful eCommerce Website
Posted by Troy Newport on 18 April 2013 08:42 am

There is a tremendous amount of research done each year on ecommerce.  No surprise, considering we spent over $225 billion last year buying things online here in the U.S.  I could spend a week putting together a list of things to pay attention to for your ecommerce website, but unfortunately I have other matters to attend to.  So instead I will focus on some of the most important considerations to keep in mind.

1. Be realistic
If you intend to have a successful ecommerce website, you will need to make a proper investment in it.  Time and again I speak with people who think they can make a paltry investment and earn millions in no time flat.  I once had a conversation with someone who said he was sure he would make $100,000 in his first year of having his website online.  And he was only willing to spend $1000 to have his website developed.  Really?  He expected to have a 9900% ROI on his investment in the first year?  Wow, sign me up!

2. Market your website
One of the biggest mistakes I see is people launching an ecommerce website and then not marketing it (SEO, PPC, Social Media, etc.)  Sorry, but just launching a website and expecting people to serendipitously find it is a pipe dream.  It’s like opening a business on Main Street and not putting a sign out front.  There are somewhere around 650,000,000 websites on the internet so you are only a flea on the buttocks of the internet.  If you don’t actively and relentlessly market it you are going to fail.

3. Stick-to-itiveness is key
Building a loyal following is something that takes time and effort.  Then more effort and more time.  You are going to have to spend countless hours blogging, working social media, finding other websites and blogs who may be interested in telling their audiences about you, participating in forum discussions, and much more.  It’s a thankless job, and rarely will you see an immediate payoff.  But it is crucial to stick to it and continue to evangelize about your products.

4. Give people a reason to return
Hopefully you have a product that people need to buy more than once (and not because it breaks easily!)  Finds ways to incentivize customers to return and purchase from you in the future.  Or just as well to tell their friends about you.  It’s always easier to get current customers to buy from you than to constantly have to find new ones.

5. Be accessible for your customers
Simple things like having a  customer service phone # can significantly increase conversions on your website.  The idea of sleeping on the beach while your website is churning out orders is the stuff of whimsy. Customers are going to have questions and problems and complaints.  You need to be there to help or you’re going to get a bad reputation online, which is a killer.  Besides that, your customers are going to have something critical to your success:  feedback.  They will tell you what they like and dislike about your products, and what they would like to see from you in the future.  If you want to be around for the long haul, taking this type of feedback into consideration is going to be crucial.



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L.Mae Boutique Ready for Online Shoppers
Posted by Troy Newport on 17 January 2013 07:05 am

L.Mae Boutique is a new online store designed to feature the best of modern women’s fashion.  Located in Charleston, SC, L.Mae initially used Payvment to sell their clothes online to gather some exposure for their products.  However they became aware they needed a full web presence to be effective and competitive online.  

The website design and layout prominently features the clothing and keeps ancillary clutter to a minimum.  This allows the products to take prominence on each page.   The shopping cart developed by Webtivity Designs for this project has the capability to integrate social sharing into each individual product.  That allows shoppers to share items they like in their favorite social media channels.  This exposes L.Mae to their customers’ social media audiences, exponentially increasing their reach. 

Webtivity also developed a Facebook application to promote $10 off your first purchase to celebrate the launch of the website to help increase Facebook likes and increase sales.

Like L.Mae on Facebook to get your gift code and then Shop at!

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