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Why Launch A Member-Only E-commerce Store?

This is why you should launch a member-only e-commerce store in South Africa.

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With so many ecommerce platforms available, starting your own online store can be quite simple. Making your first sale is very exciting. It also marks the start of great things to come.

There are a number of models you can choose from to launch your ecommerce store. All of them will require you to find your customers, convert their interest into a sale and then retain their information to market to them in the future again.

However the difference between making a sale to a one-time customer is very different to selling to a client who has bought into your brand and supports you year in and year out.

Out of all the models available to sell your goods and services online, one of the top trends in 2017 is the members-only or subscriptions based model.

How does it work?

While some stores invite customers to browse without any sign up to a newsletter, others require an email address or a subscription fee for a set period of time. The member only model requires a monthly membership fee to gain access to discounted goods or services.

The monthly membership fee is automatically renewed making it an excellent way for retailers to predict future income. However, the terms and conditions of the renewable fee must be clearly communicated to avoid any confusion.

Related: 5 Ecommerce Myths That Are Sabotaging People’s Businesses

E.g. recently launched South African sporting gear and apparel brand, Commander HQ’s charges a monthly membership fee of R50 for which members have access to all the products in their store (latest ranges as well as end of ranges) at discounted prices of between 40% and 70%.

When a member signs up they’re debited immediately and then, unless they opt out of the deal, are automatically billed monthly.

What are the benefits of this model?

online-shopping

For retailers it offers far more predictability in terms of income and future revenues. It helps to smooth out demand so you manage your operations more effectively.

Knowing how many members you have means you can adjust stock levels and you also don’t risk having a pile of unsold inventory.

The benefits of tracking customer engagements translates into better customer communication and an overall improved customer experience, two key elements for a successful member-based model.

Says Carey Mol, owner of Commander HQ: “This is such a great way for us and our customer’s to benefit. We charge R50 per month which equates to two cups of coffee and results in, for example, R1326 discount off our Columbia Bugaboo Interchange Jacket valued at R3550. The cost of the membership is covered by the discount received 

How do shoppers benefit?

  • Customers have direct access to top quality international designer brands they might never have considered buying otherwise.
  • Customers receive massive discounts and deals that never expire
  • Customers can spread the costs rather than making a single big ticket purchase. This is a huge benefit because as the cost of living soars, consumers have less disposable income to spend on luxury items.
  • When times are tough, shoppers can cancel their membership immediately.

Related: 5 Basics To Success When Starting An Ecommerce Business

Key factors for success

Transparency. You must be upfront about the cost, delivery, returns, refunds and payments. Because shoppers are more trusting of making an online transaction, you need to give them an easy opt out option, especially when they are debited monthly for a membership fee.

A number of big ecommerce stores in the USA like JustFab, Blue Apron, Adore Me, and Kate Hudson’s athletic wear shop, Fabletics have, in the last two years, faced big lawsuits because of not openly disclosing how members can stop their automatic payment renewal.

According to World Wide Worx, CEO Arthur Goldstuck, transparency is not only essential for your business to succeed in building trust and customer loyalty. It’s also the quality of service you offer, the cost of your products or services and the ranges available as well as the overall customer experience that as a whole will differentiate you from your competitor.

 

Carey Mol spent most of her career alongside numerous reputable corporates in the mobile, digital and tech industry. She continued honing her skills within her current role as MD for Cellular Media Distribution (CMD), a digital agency based in South Africa. One of the key products that has been in development for the past year at CMD is Commander HQ, the membership-based online lifestyle and sporting apparel store that gives members incredible savings, on top international branded sports gear and apparel. Commander HQ, which still has other elements in development, is ahead of the curve in this country, though South Africans are becoming more adventurous, confident and open minded when purchasing online retail products and services.

Techniques

10 Tips For Web Design That Drives Sales

If your website has a lot of traffic but few conversions, it’s time to figure out the problem.

Michael Georgiou

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Every business owner wants a website that encourages visitors to take the next step: buy or contact. This step is called conversion, and it’s the moment your lead converts to become a customer. If your website has a lot of traffic but few conversions, you need to identify why.

It’s true that many factors may contribute to the problem. Believe it or not, web design can have a powerful impact on buyers and their choices. Studies show product assessment takes about 90 seconds. Users grant websites a fraction of that time: Less than eight seconds. Those first impressions are about 94 percent design-related. What’s more, about 75 percent of users will judge your brand credibility based on your website design.

Most first-time visitors to your site are not ready to buy. They’re investigating options and comparing you to others. Do you know how you stack up to the competition? Take a look at websites for leaders in your market space. Then, turn your critical eye inward.

Here are 10 aspects to consider when evaluating your website design and deciding which changes will yield the greatest results.

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Techniques

5 Ways To Drive Leads And Double Your Profits

Data is the secret sauce to grow your business and dominate your marketplace.

Entrepreneur

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As a marketer, the right digital strategy can drive leads, increase profits, and eliminate the competition. But in a crowded marketplace, how do you cut through the noise?

Enter Joshua Harris, entrepreneur, master marketer, and member of The Oracles. His company, Agency Growth Secrets, teaches entrepreneurs how to grow highly profitable digital marketing agencies and win their clients unmatched results.

What’s the key ingredient to his secret sauce? The right data. “The data we use plugs into Facebook and Google, slashing the cost on these platforms by 25 percent to 75 percent,” shares Harris.

Here are five data-driven strategies that Harris uses to drive leads — and generate insane profits for his company and clients.

1. Eliminate non-buyers from your targeting

To get the biggest bang for your buck, eliminate non-buyers from targeting. “In Chet Holmes’ famed market pyramid, he showed that only three percent of people are ready to buy immediately. So, any money you spend on the remaining 97 percent of people is a waste,” Harris explains.

“Current ad platforms don’t have a way to eliminate these non-buyers, so marketers leave money on the table with the standard pay-per-click model,” he adds. Instead of using the “spray and pray” method of broadcasting your message to everyone, Harris recommends using precision targeting to identify people who are ready to get out their credit cards now.

“If you know who’s right for your offer, you don’t need to pay $10 to Google for a click. You can put your offer on The Google Display Network. You can send the prospect a postcard. There are multiple ways to reach someone when you know who they are.”

Related: For Vusi Thembekwayo, Focus Leads To Big Wins

2. Implement a closed-loop attribution tool

To prove your value proposition to marketing clients, show how your work has influenced sales. The right big data technology has the power to do just that.

“The platform we use shows metrics on a consumer’s browsing history, where they encountered our ad, and how that ad influenced them to buy,” Harris shares.

With closed-loop reporting, cookies and other tracking codes (such as UTM parameters) are used to flag a URL to identify specific visitors. These codes are then used to track where a visitor encounters your ad and how that interaction informs a sale.

What you can’t measure, you can’t manage. By using closed-loop reporting, you can measure success and manage your business.

3. Embrace people-based marketing

People-based marketing means being able to recognise the name of who you’re dealing with. “Website traffic is mostly anonymous and fraught with fraudsters and bots,” Harris cautions. “With people-based marketing, you track channels to ensure your ad or message is getting delivered to a real person.

“We track URLs, buy data from publishers, and use paid subscriptions to create profiles of our target customers. When we reach out, we know we’re communicating with an actual client.” If you want real results, you need to verify that each person you’re targeting is an actual person.

4. Predict a path-to-purchase

By analysing data correctly, marketers can predict who is going to do what next. “With our platform, we feed a hundred potential buyers into our system,” Harris explains. “Then we examine all the different online behaviours of prospective buyers before they purchase. Their searches leave a trail of breadcrumbs, and we connect the dots.”

When analysing data, Harris advises focusing on what signals potential customers give off before they buy. “If you put the pieces together, you can anticipate a client’s next move by their online behaviour before they do.”

Related: 5 Tips To Generate Sales Leads Through Social Media

5. Advertise across channels

Once you’ve targeted the right client, reach out across channels. “Instead of spending $1,000 on just Google AdWords, use content management software that works across mobile and desktop platforms,” Harris advises.

“Use Facebook, Google, YouTube, Pinterest, Display, direct mail, phone calls. The point is not only to use the best channel, but to use all channels. In other words, become omnipresent. If a prospective buyer sees you everywhere, they’re more likely to buy from you than an obscure competitor.”

Ultimately, with the right data tools, you can consolidate your marketplace and eliminate the competition. As Harris points out, “a competitive advantage is either operating cheaper or commanding a premium price. Our platform allows you to operate at a lower cost with your ads. Because your costs are lower and your frequency is higher, you can convince your customers that you have a better offering, set the buying criteria, and drive profitable sales.”

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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Techniques

The 5 Best Actions You Can Take To Improve Sales Calls

Ditch your script. Record your calls. Analyse your patterns. There are new, non-conventional ways to approach calls. Have you tried them?

Anna Johansson

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We’ve all got a ton of digital tools to help us boost brand awareness, attract subscribers and followers and ultimately convince people that our brands have something to address their needs. However, closing the deal still usually depends on a one-on-one conversational interaction – or series of interactions – the traditional sales call.

Your top salespeople work tirelessly to track down leads generated by your marketing team. They reach out to previous customers to renew interest. And they work to convince interested buyers to finally take the plunge.

You can improve those close rates by: 1) asking your top performers to train your newcomers; or 2) sweetening the pot by offering more to your prospects in the first place.

But if you want to get even more out of your sales strategy, you’ll need to optimise your and your salespeople’s calls themselves. So, how, exactly, do you improve those calls?

Related: Have We Lost Our Face-To-Face Sales Ability?

Here are five ways:

1Ditch the script

First, let’s be clear: Sales scripts can be helpful. They’re a useful rubric for guiding the conversation in the direction you want to go, they’re a useful resource for training new candidates; and they’re a nice crutch for anyone who is shy or anxious about talking on the phone.

But there are two big problems with sales scripts on calls: First, they have a tendency to sound fake (especially if you’re using a template). Most customers can tell the difference between a sincere conversation and one that’s been over-rehearsed or pre-planned, and you’ll lose sales if you always sound insincere.

Second, scripts lock you into a single routine. It may be a decently effective routine, but you’ll never know if there’s something better out there.

2Record your calls

Have you ever experienced that phenomenon where the sound of your recorded voice is alien compared to what you’re used to hearing? This happens because of the vibrations we pick up in our own head, but it represents a bigger idea; we don’t know what we sound like until we listen.

Accordingly, your underperforming salespeople may be making critical mistakes they could pick out in an instant – if only they realised they existed. Start recording your sales calls, and make your sales staff listen both to their own calls and those of others. You’ll become collectively more acquainted with proper sales techniques, and be able to isolate some of the most egregious mistakes your people are making.

Related: Click-2-Call: Securing Sales By Retaining The Customer’s Attention

3Analyse your patterns

Unfortunately, there’s only so much the human mind can pick out in a single episode of listening of a sales call. That’s why artificial intelligence (AI)-powered speech recognition and analytics tools are starting to grow more popular. These tools automatically transcribe your sales calls, then analyse the text, looking for specific keywords that can tell you how the conversation is progressing, and where (for better or worse) the turning points are.

It’s an automated way to dissect how your sales calls develop, and a perfect tool for brainstorming new angles and tactics.

4Control your progress with goals

You should also make sure your progress remains steady and measurable by setting goals for your salespeople. These need to be both short-term and long-term, so your salespeople can see steady progress and feel motivated by their own efforts. Your goals also need to be both individual- and group-focused, so you can keep your team working together while still inspiring a bit of competition and individual improvement.

5Experiment and observe

Finally, don’t let yourself get too comfortable with any one set of tactics – even if your phone-call recordings guide you in that direction. Just because a strategy is good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best, so if you want to keep improving, you’ll want to experiment, sometimes with drastically different approaches.

Related: 8 Tips for Dominating Online Sales

Observe how these experiments develop, and scrap whatever doesn’t work. Inevitably, you’ll find something worth exploring.

A note on conventional tips

You’ll notice that I haven’t included any conventional tips to directly make your calls better, although there are plenty out there that seem to work. For example, there are no recommendations to start the call with a positive anecdote, or to make calls while standing and walking around to bring more energy to the meeting.

These can be helpful, but they’re short-term fixes, and they aren’t going to fix any glaring problems with your strategy. They’re also limited in how much value they can deliver.

Instead, the strategies listed, in contrast, are methodologies that can be applied indefinitely. They’re tools to help your team members learn and improve on their own. Accordingly, they won’t give you an instant boost in productivity or effectiveness, but they will yield the most powerful results – especially when applied over the course of months or even years.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

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