Posts

eCommerce Suppliers are the key in an online business

So – I’ve been blogging for the past couple months about my motorcycle fairing project.  We have seen a few orders so far…the first one has been a disaster and are working on the next 2.

eCommerce Suppliers are key

tail_fairingleft_logo_mismatchThe problem with the first order has been (I wish I could say was – but, its still going on) the factory who was making the fairing.  The had no problem quoting the fairing and taking the money, but when they shipped the order to the customer – it has issues.  Logos were misaligned and colors didn’t match as they should – one piece had paint bubbles in it too.

Second Fairing Supplier

So – as I have heard from a few different eCommerce businesses – you need to have backup ecommerce suppliers, especially if you are in a drop ship business.  By not having leverage and options – you can paint yourself into a corner if you’re not careful.

1We will soon see how the second vendor works out – here is the “pre clear coat” version from supplier #2.

The customer wanted the Monster style paint, clean – without logos for their Kawasaki Ninja.

The one thing I like that #2 did was give myself and the customer pictures so they could visually inspect the paint prior to finalizing the order.

What to do?

The game plan right now is see if the customer wants a refund or new fairings.  I hope the former – new fairings will cost an arm and a leg…but the goal here is to keep the customer as happy as I possibly can.  I’m not sure how that is going to work for now – we’ll soon find out.

We’ll know more soon…

Lets hope this one turns out better as well as the third order, which we have yet to see pictures for yet from the #2 ecommerce supplier.

Stay tuned for more eCommerce fun in the future.

The How To Guide to WordPress with WooCommerce

Start your engine

Start your engine (Photo credit: pobre.ch)

Well, maybe this should read…how I did it, or better yet – how I plan to.

Firstly, besides by family – I love the web, shopping on the web, wordpress, motorcycles and volkswagens…not necessarily in that order.  I work at a great company called Clickstop (who is a retailer of many goods online – check us out) – but I never like to quit learning.  I came to the company a web developer and have since taken over as the eCommerce Director.  One would think I totally get all things eCommerce and this little journey I have embarked on is crazy…but the thing is – making wholesale changes on sites like ours is not a real good idea.

So, to increase my knowledge – I decided to get a site going which I could continue to pursue my passions (see above) and learn more about my job and the things that go into it.  So, I purchased a defunct ecommerce site called “motorcycle-fairing.com“.  The site was started a few years ago as a drop shipper of motorcycle fairings direct from the factory in China.  Its an interesting business model – and we’ll get more into that as we work on the site and tell the story here on the blog.

Image representing WooThemes as depicted in Cr...

Image by None via CrunchBase

One of my other passions (see above) is wordpress.  So – part of my learning process is also to see what else I can experiment with on wordpress which furthering my ecommerce knowledge.  If you are familiar at all with wordpress, you know it is awesome – but it doesn’t have any ecommerce tools build in.  So, after using WooThemes for quite a while – I chose to leverage their ecommerce plugin called WooCommerce for the site.  WooCommerce is free, as are a number of great themes which are already designed for an online store.

My first challenge will be to get the store up and running, transferring it over from a Ruby on Rails site.  Then there will be a laundry list of things to do after that.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Retailer’s Guide To ECommerce Success


Image by: Jurgen Appelo 

 

Competition is fierce in the retail industry. With multi channel retail, the rise of online shopping and the world economies taking a hit, you need that X factor to really stand out to your customers.

Right now eCommerce is huge, and it looks set to continue to grow. There is no easier way to open up your business to a global audience and join the worldwide shop front that is online retail. But succeeding in this space is tough. There are pitfalls and setbacks galore ahead, so listen up and heed our words. Here’s some solid advice for you, the retailer, and hopefully guide you to eCommerce success!

  1. Be Brand-Aware

    Having a strong brand is important. This is how your customers will come to recognise you and the quality service you provide. Neglecting to pay attention to your branding – whether it’s your logo, site design or the stamp you use on your delivery boxes – can damage your credibility and hurt sales.

  2. Get An ‘Edge’

    Do you know how many eCommerce sites there are out there? No, neither do I, but there’s a lot, and they’re all vying for the attention of click-happy shoppers everywhere. If you want to stand out and get the business you want you need to find your niche. What makes your site and service special? What can you offer that no one else can? Have a think, work hard at it, and eventually you will find your unique selling point.

  3. Be User Friendly

    If you look at popular sites that are built on eCommerce (see Amazon, Ebay and Asos) it’s what you don’t notice that counts. The loading speed? The payment systems? The presentation? These all affect the user and can stand in the way of an optimum shopping experience. Be like these three juggernauts: keep it clean, keep it clear, and always keep your user in mind when designing you site.

  4. Reward Your Customers

    It is important to appreciate the business when you get it, no matter how big you get. Be sure to reward your customers with deals, sales and competitions to make sure they feel loved! These techniques are also great ways to attract new customers to your site.

  5. Use Social Media

    To ignore social media as an online business is to ignore a useful, boundless source on information and interaction with your consumer base. Twitter and Facebook can be great for searching out business and attracting followers. It can be used as a soundboard to see what your community really want. And it can also be used to launch competitions, answer questions and complaints and generally improve your digital footprint.

Follow these tips and you’ll be a sure-fire hit in the digital marketplace. So get designing, get your eCommerce software set up, and get your products out there.

Have you got any other suggestions to guarantee your eCommerce business success? Share in the comments below.

Featured images:

Grant Bailey is a writer for K3 Retail. His specialist areas are social media and marketing, both indispensable tools in the modern retailing.

Marketing and Selling Products- The Keys To Your On-Line Business

Marketing and Selling Products On-Line …What Do They Have To Do With Your Business?

We’ve all heard it before, “I’m going to start a business and market it on-line”  Ok, that’s a great idea but what do you know about doing business on-line?  What do you know about marketing? What will you be selling on-line?

What is Marketing?

According to wikipedia marketing is The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.  This is the short definition.  But all in all, marketing is  the process by which you find a solution to the problem of your given market and sell it to them.

Simple but not easy.  I know you wanted this to be easy but a quick fix is not always the answer.

Here are some questions that you might want to answer before you move forward:

  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • Do you have a list of them so that you can communicate with them on a regular basis?
  • Have you surveyed your list and asked them specific questions about what they want?
  • Are they buying what you’re selling or are you selling what they’re buying?  You’ve got an idea to sell them your great product but they’re not interested.  They’ve told you through their questions and surveys that they want XYZ product and how they want it.  Your job is to give them what they ask you for.  Your mantra might want to be ‘If they’re buying it, you’re selling it’.
  • Do they like Free Shipping or a percentage off of retail as a promotion?

Answering these questions will give you an idea of just how you might want to “market” and deliver your goods to your client, so that you can get their money in your pocket. It will be a mutual exchange, after all, if your client doesn’t want what you’re selling, you’re not getting their money.

Selling Products On Line

You’ve found out what your customer wants, now how do you deliver it to them?  You’ve chosen to sell it on-line instead of having a brick and mortar.  Selling products on-line puts you in a very elite place.  You are now part of a global marketing space.  People all over the world can see what you have to offer.

It also puts you in a highly competitive space, because you now have to get the attention of your client amongst the millions of businesses that have also chosen to market their business on-line.

Selling products on-line brings in a whole new set of rules to play by. If you don’t know how to get your site ranking in the first three positions on page one of Google, you’re dead in the water.

While there are other search engines, Yahoo and Bing,  that are important in your quest for attracting eyes to your business, Google is searched more often and carries more weight.  At present, that’s just the way it is.

While it’s a serious road to ranking and getting your business optimized in Google, here are some of the things that  you’ll need to consider in order to get the traffic you need so that your potential clients will “show you the money”:

  • Establish yourself as an expert. You can do this by writing a series of articles that are keyword rich and have them linking back to your site.  A concept that was coined by one of my Mentor’s, James Martell is called the PAD Technique.  You write a series of articles that contain good quality content and find other Reputable blogs that need content for their readers and have them point back to your site with 2-3 links. The owners of these sites are giving you permission to write for them and you are   providing good quality content for their readers.  It’s a win-win situation for both of you.  You are not spamming their site and they are not scraping your content from some other blog just to give themselves fillers on their blogs.
  • Did I mention keywords.  Keywords are the key to what you will write about and how you will position yourself in the rankings.  If you don’t target a specific niche, with specific keywords, your articles will be all over the place and you will not show authority in your chosen market.
  • Niche, yes even within your given market you must get granular with whom you’re going to sell to. Niching your market means finding a segment of the market that wants a particular product and within this segment is enough people searching for it that it will allow you to make a living.

You’ve found your market,  you know just what they want and you are going to sell it to them on-line.  Great!  Your work is just beginning.

Dedicated To Your Success!

Author’s Bio

Juliette Samuel has had a very eclectic career working in and around the beauty industry.  She has worked as an instructor at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.  She has also been a Professional Image Consultant.

Currently Juliette works as a Skin Care Therapist, acting President and Chief Nose for NYRAJU Skin Care. As such she is in charge of product formulation and development of all scents produced for the line.

Marketing and selling product on-line is how this business is run, it’s an e-commerce store.  Without marketing, you have no sales.  Without sales, you have no business.

Use Google Analytics in NetSuite for product tracking

A new article exists for Netsuite Google Analytics which is news than this article.

Getting Google Analytics to work with NetSuite reminds me of getting a river to flow uphill.  Is it not easy, at first seems impossible, but with a big enough sump-pump…it will work.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial to get Google Analytics (working in asynchronous mode) working with NetSuite.

Step 1:

This may seem obvious – but, log into NetSuite.
[asa]0470191074[/asa]

Step 2:

We have to setup NetSuite to handle some of the click action (forms and links) google uses to track visitors – so, to do this we need to add those in the Setup area.

Go to:  Setup -> Web Site -> Set up Website – > desired site -> Setup {tab}

Google Analytics in NetSuite - Step 2

click for a larger picture.

To the Click and Submit attributes we need to add these event handlers:

Analytics Click Attributes:
onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_link’, ‘ https://checkout.netsuite.com’]); return false;”

Analytics Submit Attributes:
onsubmit=”_gaq.push([‘_linkByPost’, this]);”

Step 3:

Now we need to set up a tab for our analytics to live in.  Tabs in NetSuite are cool – they allow us to have editable code in one spot, but place the tag in many spots.  Very handy for often used variables and locations.

Go to: Setup -> Web Site -> Tags

If you have not created an analytics tag for this site – yet…click “Add New”, otherwise lets edit the site’s tag.

Here is the code for “Default Value” field.

	<script type="text/javascript">
		var _gaq = _gaq || [];
		 _gaq.push(
		['_setAccount', 'GOOGLE ASSIGNED CODE'],
		['_setDomainName', 'none'],
		['_setAllowLinker', true],
		['_trackPageview']
		);

		function cookieProx() {
			var ifrm = document.createElement("iframe");
                        var prox = 'https://checkout.netsuite.com/c.custnum/sitefolder/{file-from-step4}.html';
                        ifrm.style.display = "none";
			_gaq.push(function() {
				var tracker = _gaq._getAsyncTracker();
				ifrm.src = tracker._getLinkerUrl(prox)
				document.getElementById("innerwrapper").appendChild(ifrm);
			});
			return false;
		}

		(function() {
			var ga = document.createElement('script'); ga.type = 'text/javascript'; ga.async = true;
			ga.src = ('https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https://ssl' : 'http://www') + '.google-analytics.com/ga.js';
			var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);
		})();

		var domain = "domain name without 'www'";
		try	{
			if(document.URL.indexOf(domain) != -1) {
				cookieProx();
			}
		} catch(e) {};

		try {googlePushOrder();} catch(e) {};
	</script>

This is code from a citricle article which they adapted from the Google help pages…good stuff.  We changed a few lines – using the “.src” attribute is better for IE then the other way…not 100% sure.  But it is working for us.

Step 4:

Now is when the ‘magic’ happens. Because we need to track cookie across domains – we have to have a way to set a cookie and have both our original domain and the checkout@netsuite domain read it. To do this we will actually load an iframe in the header of the page and then pass it. This will allow the access we need to maintain the information we want about the traffic source.

Go to: Documents -> Files -> File Cabinet -> Web Site Hosting Files -> Live Hosting Files -> sitefolder

Now we need to add our “cookie” file to the document center. Here is the contents of the file. You may notice this page has “old” google code on it, the synchronous type. I have no idea why, but if we use the asynchronous code here – the process fails and we loose the traffic information.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html" charset="utf-8" />
<title>ga iframe code for netsuite cookie by proxy</title>
</head>
<body>

<script type="text/javascript">
	var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
	document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));
</script>

<script type="text/javascript">
	var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("GOOGLE ASSIGNED CODE");
	pageTracker._setDomainName("none");
	pageTracker._setAllowLinker(true);
	pageTracker._initData();
	pageTracker._trackPageview();
</script>

</body>
</html>

The important thing to remember in this step is to ensure the file name from Step 4 (this step) much match the file being called in Step 3.

Step 5:

We now need to add the code to the footer of the page.  We’ll use the tag we created earlier.

Go to: Setup -> Web Site -> Themes -> Body {tab}

Footer Template:
<Google Analytics Tag>

Again, this is the tag we created or modified in Step 3.

Step 6:

The final step is definitely the icing on the cake. This code will allow us to track transactions and the products purchased in said transaction. We will add this in the Setup area – the same one we modified in Step 2.  Instead of Setup, we’ll use the shopping tab.

Go to:  Setup -> Web Site -> Set up Website – > desired site -> Shopping {tab}

In the Order Confirmation Page section, the field name: Order Tracking Script HTML

<script type="text/javascript">
	function googlePushOrder() {
		try {
			if (document.URL.indexOf("thanks") != -1) {
				var orderid		= "<%=getCurrentAttribute('confirmation','ordernumber')%>";
				var sitename	= "<%=getCurrentAttribute('site','name')%>";
				var subtotal	= "<%=getCurrentAttribute('confirmation','subtotal')%>";
				var tax				= "<%=getCurrentAttribute('confirmation','tax')%>";
				var shipping	= "<%=getCurrentAttribute('confirmation','shipping')%>";
				var category	= "<%=getCurrentAttribute('site','name')%>";

				var city		= "";
				var state		= "";
				var country	= "";
				try {
					var str			= "<%=getCurrentAttribute('customer','defaultaddress')%>";
					var lastBr	= str.lastIndexOf("<br>");
					var firstBr	= str.lastIndexOf("<br>",lastBr - 1);
					var country	= str.substring(lastBr+4,str.length);
					var splitUp	= str.substring(firstBr+4,lastBr);
					var split2	= splitUp.split(" ");
					var city 		= split2[0];
					var state 	= split2[1];
				} catch(e) {}

				_gaq.push(['_addTrans',orderid,sitename,subtotal,tax,shipping,city,state,country]);

				var rows = document.getElementById("ordersummary_total").parentNode.rows;

				for (var i = 0; i < rows.length; i++) {
					try {
						var skuName		= rows[i].cells[0].innerHTML;
						var qty				= rows[i].cells[1].innerHTML;
						var prodName	= rows[i].cells[2].innerHTML;
						var price			= rows[i].cells[4].innerHTML;

						price					= price.replace(",","");

						if (price.indexOf("$") != -1) {
							price = price.replace("$", "");
							_gaq.push(['_addItem',orderid,skuName,prodName,sitename,price,qty]);
						}
					} catch(e) {}
				}
				_gaq.push(['_trackTrans']);
			}
		} catch (e) {}
	}
</script>
Google Analytics in Netsuite - Step 6

click picture for larger version.

You may need to add more  code here for additional tracking.  (Adwords, Bing, whatever) – and sometimes you run into the classic html/scripting error message from NetSuite – if this happens try to consolidate one of the scripts and it usually fixes the error.

Please notice the code which is in the for loop in the middle “rows[i].cells[0].innerHTML”. This looping through the table on the confirmation screen to grab all the code needed to send the products to track. THIS WILL MOST LIKELY NEED TO BE CHANGED.

It works off a zero based array. The easy way to accomplish this is to save the HTML of an already completed transaction. Then paste the code into a local HTML page, and parse the table locally so you are not guessing at which one is the one.

If you are having problems getting the correct row/product to show up in the stats – save a sample of your confirmation page as HTML and work on it offline.  It will keep you from having to test the live form over and over with a real credit card.

Other Notes:

[asa]0470191074[/asa]If your Google Analytics is set to block out traffic coming from you and/or your IP address.  make sure to un-filter this prior to testing and re-filter it after testing is complete.  This is just something we ran into when trying to test.

Good luck and please drop me a note if you have trouble.