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The Rise of E-Commerce

E-Commerce Store vs. Traditional Shopping Mall

E-commerce has been a revolutionary agent in terms of global consumption. Traditionally we have always shopped in-store but with the new norm being online shopping, on a global scale our shopping patterns tremendously sway in favor of online dominance. The level of convenience is the dominating theme behind the influx of online shopping within society.

Rather than driving across town to the nearest shopping mall and venturing the overcrowded ranks of shoppers from store to store, you can find your favorite store online, select what you would like and have it shipped directly to your house.

This not only saves you precious time, but if you already know how you fit into that store’s clothing it’s guaranteed you won’t have to ship anything back due to bunched up fabric or pants that are far too tight!

Upcoming Trends

Online sales will continue to climb from 7% in 2011 to approximately 9% in 2016. With that in mind, there will be a better understanding of what online consumers will want from their e-commerce stores and will be implemented in order to increase purchasing incentive.

E-commerce is accredited for 15% of holiday sales and online sales will continue to dominate within the fourth quarter of the year. 70% of the people who bought online during this time did so because of deals and promotions that were shown online.

This fact alone has driven the increase in flash sale sites that will offer consumers high end products for a great percentage less of the retail price.

Technology’s Role

With online shopping on the rise in this new technology dependent era, this only means one thing. More people are using their smart phone devices to order products online. Without high resolution or mobile responsiveness (site fitting perfectly on their phone screen), it is difficult for certain e-commerce stores to take advantage of this trend.

Many e-commerce stores as a result have revamped their websites to not only be more user friendly, but prompt consumers to buy more than what they initially visited the site for. With visually appealing pieces that have zoom technology, using their smart phones or tablets is just as easy as using a desktop.

Many stores have even developed apps that cater to consumers using smartphones for accessibility and simplification of the site and the products they are selling.

An Even Playing Field

The sporadic growth of online shopping has revolutionized this tech savvy society and it will only continue to flourish as time goes on. This new element to buying and selling allows a wide variety of industries and businesses to enhance their appeal and the way they market themselves.

The shift in focus to internet and the “instant” quality it brings, creates a competitive marketplace atmosphere that can only be utilized to its best ability if there is an effective business strategy in place. All things considered, technology is the future and being mindful of these trends is putting your best foot forward.

The Psychology of Branding

Most businesses starting out don’t recognize the significance of branding in regard to marketing. Branding, to put it simply, is to give your service or product an identity; something that is recognizable to consumers and competitors. When you brand you are creating a symbol, name or design that differentiates you from the others in your industry.

Subliminal Messages

This is best done through subliminal messages while still using features of marketing that subconsciously impact consumers and potential customers. Most of the prominent and successful brands you see today use psychology to impact their consumers with effective marketing material.

This is achieved through using specific colors and images to distinguish their brand, promoting their services or products through promotional values, give-aways, and sales. This also heavily achieved through the use of a fabricated lifestyle framed around what they offer.

Creating a Desirable and Attainable Lifestyle

Knowing your target audience is essential to this aspect of marketing a lifestyle. The demographic plays a big role in how well your audience will respond to what you are promoting. There should be consistency within the message being sent to the target audience to plant a seed in their minds as well as create something that is memorable within their subconscious. The personal perception of the brand is the most integral part of a brand’s selling power.
When you are able to create demand for a supply that isn’t necessarily essential, but deemed as desired or attractive, this is the driving force behind brands that have become household names. This is also what drives the bulk of their sales.

That’s when you know you have reached industry leadership. When the message of a brand is perceived as something that is easily assimilated into a consumer’s lifestyle, they begin to identify with the brand and become a repeat customer as a result. It is important that when showcasing a lifestyle, you fully grasp what is so appealing about it and get that across to your target audience.

You Get What You Give

Customer satisfaction can be defined as a consumer purchasing a product that fulfills his needs and the certain amount of expectation he has for the brand he is buying. When those needs and expectations are met, this in turn creates a demand for that brand as a result and the retention of a customer for that brand. If the business is perceived as having the ability to give something to the consumer then in turn the customer gives back by purchasing. This can transform into a term called brand loyalty. Brand loyalty exists only when a consumer has a high opinion towards a certain brand exhibited through the action of repurchasing.

This translates into a cycle of repeat consumption. By appealing to potential customers psychologically, you are giving your brand the power to impact the lives and actions of those interested in what you are offering. When you foster a good relationship with customers you are feeding the process of transformation and in turn gaining more customers as a result.

Quality Customer Service is Key

There are other qualities that help shape the big players you see today, one being good quality customer service. If a business has poor customer service, 89% of people have said they would not return no matter the quality of the product. Giving consumers the ability to feel important is significant to the buying process, you must cater to their needs as they will give you what you need in return.

There is also truth to consumers associating a certain brand with a particular service based on the persona or message that brand conveys. If a brand is depicted as luxurious or elite, the highest customer service and care is anticipated to match this image. If that is not the case, this can deeply influence a consumer’s perception of how legitimate or desirable this brand is to them and the general public. The opposite applies, if a brand has a customer service policy that matches the brand in question’s reputation, this can do a lot for the way the brand is received by those interested in purchasing products or services from the place of business.

Colors are a Must

Another prominent technique is using attractive ad imagery and ad copy to appeal to the target audience. The three key factors in marketing imagery are icons, type face (font), and a color palette. People associate a brand and their products or services on these features. Depending on the industry your business is in, it is important to capture the essence of what your ideal consumer would want through these factors and the image the product gives them. A study called Exciting “Red and Competent Blue” supports the idea that purchasing patterns are significantly prompted by colors due to their impact on brand perception. This translates to colors having a role in the way consumers define a brand’s persona. Based on their opinion of the brand and what it offers in terms of a persona to those wearing or using their products/services, they will deem it worthy of their purchase or not.

In plain English, to articulate that they must possess this product or use this service and if they don’t they are truly missing out on something living changing. Sounds dramatic, but that is the experience most people have with their favorite retail items and repeat services that have become habitual after a certain point of consumption.

Add Fuel to the Fire

By giving off the illusion of high-demand, you are not only perking the interest of a potential consumer, but also a sense of urgency that develops once they know they don’t have that item and seemingly so many others do. Popular demand is a great tool to use for purchasing growth.

By having a quality product and understanding the mind of the ideal customer and your wider target audience, you are able to not only attract new buyers, but keep them coming back to your place of business and make a customer for life.

SEO and Instagram

In three years’ time, Instagram has become a staple not only amongst social networking sites but also a dominating platform for e-commerce on a global scale. Listed as the 21st most popular website in the U.S. and 41st globally, it has a community of 80 million users and continues to grow daily. Let’s just let that sink in for a moment. Knowing what we do now, try to process how such a mainstream and versatile website can contribute to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts of a company or business trying to grow online.

To capitalize your business efforts on a social media platform can be tricky unless you play it smart. The imagery published along with the information attached to that image via hashtags, captions and even locations can make or break your social media campaigns. Instagram is not only a platform, but an asset to your overall optimization process, and most importantly, the way in which people discover your website.

A Brand that Sticks Helps Your Domain Authority

When your brand sticks, search volume increases. Every business owner knows that a brand is essential to selling, however, the way you market it to stick in the minds of Instagram and web users is what will push your over the virtual edge to a status of ‘instafame’ To be considered instafamous is to have a guaranteed 1k of users looking at your posts with particularly close attention to subject matter.

You’re your brand is instafamous, you matter and this translates to people going out of their way to visit your website. High quality imagery that frequently posted and highlighting a certain aspect of your product or service can promote a higher rate of traffic on your Instagram page and in turn more visitors to your website.

A catchy slogan that sticks and clever captions that appeal to your target audience will set the finishing touches to your social media campaigns. Less is always more in terms of content.

Hashtags Help your Relevancy and Keyword Density

Playing with trending hashtags that compliment your business as well as banking on what is deemed ‘instaworthy’ (something worth talking or posting about) can make your product or service relevant to the entire Instagram population. Also, using hashtags that are relevant to your keywords helps you increase content density of that social media page.

This in turn brings more users to your site and allows you to be perceived by Google and other search engines as a relevant business, putting your brand on a higher stature of ranking.

Hashtags in excess have the ability to defeat the purpose of making your brand stand out, so it is important to use highly searched ones and those relevant to your targeted SEO keywords. In turn, this will directly affect your ranking on Google and contribute to making your website SEO efficient.

Linking Account Means Maximum Exposure

By linking your other social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube), you will be able to share the pictures you post on Instagram to those pages too with added text. Linking your accounts not only widens the scope of your followers and exposure, but whatever you post on your Instagram page will then post to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

This means that the likes you gain on your Instagram posts will link to the posts on Facebook and register in Google’s algorithm as Facebook likes and engagement, which in turn effects your SEO rank. In linking accounts you not only disseminate information on a wider scale, but you also increase your relevance in respect to SEO; two birds with one stone.

Get Others to Endorse Your Brand

What you need to understand is simple; people like to be ‘trendy’. Everyone wants to be first to discover or own something trendy and post about it online. As a business owner it is in your best interest to pick up on trending topics, ways to post and ways to appeal to the general public on Instagram, but especially those deemed instafamous.

The purpose behind this is to get the platform buzzing about you’re your product or service will do to change their lives for the better. If something is considered trendy, you can almost guarantee a prominent person on Instagram will get hold of it and promote it themselves. You want this, because if that happens a rippling effect follows. Foot traffic to your online store or website will increase as it becomes hype.

Asking these people to promote your product or service for a free sample as compensation will give you an invaluable referral. This will not only boost your online presence but go full circle and dramatically enhance your SEO rank on Google with the increase of clicks and conversions that follow.

Link Your Website in Your Bio

One catch to Instagram that limits your SEO enhancing experience is the inability to ad links to posts. However, this obstacle can work in your favor, by putting the link of your website in the bio of your Instagram page. This not only acts as a form of back linking, but promotes consumers to actually look you up on Google, all the while enabling you to gain a higher search volume and influence your SEO rank as a result.

Most companies or small time business owners that strive to rank on the first page of Google overlook the power of social media marketing. However, the influence a platform as popular as Instagram has on its members has the ability to revolutionize the success of a particular business, and allow it to dominate an entire industry if executed correctly. Social media serves its purpose by connecting millions of people the world and in the world of business, it’s all about who you know.

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