8 Effective Ways to Update and Optimize Your Shopify Store

While growing your e-commerce business there’s a lot you’re managing; from finances, employees, taxes, website design to marketing, sales and support. It’s easy to neglect certain aspects. In particular, consider your Shopify store since that’s what brings the most important part of your business, sales.

If you fail to conduct regular health check-ups and assessments you’ll find that your store is out of date, poorly optimized and unfortunately not performing at its best. This leads to a noticeable decrease in traffic, conversions and sales. But how do you go about updating and optimizing your Shopify Store? Here are 8 effective ways to optimize your Shopify store in order to increase sales.

#1 Conduct a Store Health Overview

Use the Shopify E-commerce store grader. This tool works even if you don’t have a Shopify site. The grader inspects four elements and highlights areas that need your attention. The four elements are SEO, usability, content and social and technical code.

#2 Examine Current Store Policies

You need to inspect your store policies to ensure they’re favorable for your customers. Your conversions will be negatively affected if they aren’t. Inspect the following five policies and optimize accordingly:

1. Shipping Policy
2. Refund Policy
3. Return Policy
4. Exchange Policy
5. Privacy Policy.

Shopify offers a Privacy Policy Generator and a Refund Policy Generator to ensure your policies are up to date.

#3 Optimize Your Pages

Whilst you should review all your pages, start with the essentials. Your About, FAQ and contact page are generally the most visited pages on your Shopify site. Review the following with each of the pages:

1. Copy & Message

The message you convey on each page needs to be clear, focused and concise. The title and content need to match.

2. Search Engine Optimization

Make sure your page titles, meta descriptions, and URL are complete. This helps with indexing in Google. Focus on these three elements:

  • Titles – The optimal title length is between 50-60 characters. Google cuts off long titles, based on the pixel length. By keeping your titles under 55 characters you can expect 95% of your titles to display properly. Where possible place important keywords to the front of the title tag.
  • Meta Description – This needs to be less than 60 characters. Remember to include one of your keywords in the meta description.
  • URL – Make it short and include relevant keywords. Be cautious when changing URLs to pages. Anyone who has bookmarked your site before a URL change will now visit a broken link. If you need to change URLs, make sure you re-direct visitors. Learn more about that here.

3. Extra Considerations

If you’re shipping information or rates have changed make sure you update them. Also, review common customer questions and include these in your FAQ page. This ensures an up to date page. It also helps to check copy for spelling mistakes. Can you get your message across with less copy?

#4 Optimize Your Product Listings

Optimizing your product listings is arguably the most important aspect. We’ve written a detailed post on this here, but to clarify, we’ll revisit this.

1. Manage your titles and descriptions

  • Make sure your titles and descriptions are clear.
  • They need to contain the necessary information for customers to make an informed purchase decision.
  • Follow this format: Brand > Product Name > Colour > Style > Material > Size > Important Features e.g. Nokia Lumia 435 Cellphone
  • Avoid use of capital letters throughout.
  • Exclude related accessories not included in the price
  • Exclude words consumers are unlikely to search for e.g. adjectives like beautiful.

2. Optimize your product categories

Many consumer shopping engines (Price Check, Google Shopping etc), don’t allow multiple categories. You have to choose one. Test which is suitable by taking two similar products and use a different keyword for each (A/B Testing). Choose the best-performing one.

3. Review your product images

  • Make sure they are of the highest quality. This is particularly important if you consider customers can’t touch or feel a product.
  • Consider taking multiple images from different angles.
  • The White background will always be your best friend.
  • Avoid text that detracts from your image.

4. Ensure your product listing URL is Text; be wary of broken links

  • Avoid having any numbers in your product listing URL.
  • Include relevant keywords.
  • Further be cautious when changing the URL of your products to avoid broken links. If you do this, re-direct traffic as outlined earlier.

5. Check that your account budget is up to date

Your listings run the risk of dropping if you run out of a budget. This leads to decreased visibility. Deposit ad-spend to manage your bid.

6. Regularly update your data feed.

Your data feed typically looks like this:

1. Title
2. Descriptions
3. Category
4. Product Image
5. URL
6. SKU
7. Weight
8. Dimensions
9. Stock Information
10. Price

You don’t want shoppers clicking on a product only to find that you’re out of stock – update regularly.

#5 Review Coupons

Review your coupons to find discount codes that never had an expiry date on them. Delete those that have expired. Failing to do so, means people can use the coupon codes long after the promotion has finished.

#6 Integrate with Pinterest

Pinterest is the second largest traffic source for Shopify sites. Not only that, but Pinners spend an average of $50 per order. Also, Shopify and Pinterest have a partnership which allows you to sell on Pinterest through “buyable pins.” Consider leveraging the power of Pinterest and this unique partnership for increased traffic.

#7 Create a Facebook Store

Add a Facebook store so your fans can buy from you Facebook. Aside from creating an extra channel for revenue you also benefit through a lower cost-per-click. Why? Facebook rewards you for keeping traffic within their social network.

#8 Maintain a Regular Blogging Schedule

Blogging is a powerful tool. Statistics reveal that marketers who prioritize blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive ROI. Further websites have 434% more indexed pages. Focus on providing regular, high-value content and watch the traffic increase.

Optimizing and updating your Shopify store can initially be a time-consuming process. But with practice, it’ll become a breeze. Conduct regular store checkups. Optimize your product pages, specifically your product listings. And also consider leveraging the power of Facebook, Pinterest, and Blogging for improved optimization. Do this and reap the benefits of increased traffic, conversions, and sales.

Squarespace Owner? How to Improve SEO

Squarespace SEO is a fiercely debated topic. As a Squarespace owner, you’re no doubt aware of this. Consider these three excerpts:

  1. “You may have heard that Squarespace is “bad for SEO,” but is there any truth to that?” – Long Tail Pro
  2. “Many people badmouth Squarespace SEO before researching it, which is a total recipe for disaster. – Nesha Woolery
  3. Out of all of the comments and emails, I receive about Squarespace, SEO is by far the topic that is most frequently asked about. –Elle and Company

The reality is that the myths such as “Squarespace is bad for your SEO” are exactly that, myths. Elle and Company have achieved huge success with Squarespace. Rand Fishkin, SEO Pro, and CEO of Moz Blog has even endorsed Squarespace.

There’s no reason why you cannot effectively improve your SEO using Squarespace. Before we get into the specifics of Squarespace, you need to remember the two most important aspects of your SEO. The first is content or on-page SEO. The second is inbound links or off-page SEO. This holds true for any website platform.

The Two Single Most Important Factors to Improve Your SEO Ranking

1. Content

Content is the single most important thing when it comes to your SEO. Don’t believe me? Well it’s written in Google mission statement:

“The mission of Google is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

But not just any type of content, high-value content that solves customers problems.  Focusing on specific tweaks to your SEO for organic ranking won’t necessarily deliver the desired results.  Google also goes on to say that you should focus on including words in your pages that users will type to find you in the search engine.

Blogging is a superb way to regularly provide high-value content to your readers. Blogging consistently will allow you to achieve 434% more indexed pages in Google. Leverage blogging to provide quality content, increased search visibility, and traffic.

2. Inbound Links

The quality of your links is the second most important factor to consider. Inbound links are links from another site that point back to yours. Quality links come from websites where its hard for you to feature. You can guest post to try and achieve these links. Alternatively, provide quality content consistently. This increases the chance that quality sites will link back to you.

Now let’s delve into the specifics of Squarespace SEO…

Squarespace optimizes your site by default but here are a few tweaks you can make. Bear In mind that Google ranks specific pages and not entire websites.

1. The Power of Sitemaps

Squarespace provides you with a Sitemap, ready to go. Sitemaps are essential. They help Google crawl and understand your website. According to Moz:

“Think of a sitemap as a list of files that give hints to the search engines on how they can crawl your website. Sitemaps help search engines find and classify content on your site that they may not have found on their own.”

For Sitemaps to effectively optimize your site, you need to submit them to Google Webmaster Tools. Click here to find your Sitemap.

2. Search Engine Description

I took a screen shot directly off Elle and Company’s website. It shows how correctly filling out your search engine description in the back-end of Squarespace, has an impact on how you see this in Google.

Elle and Company's website screenshot

Elle and Company's website search engine description

3. Your Site Title & Description

Go to Squarespace Home Menu, click Design – Logo & Title. Through customizing your site title and description you aid search engines in knowing what your sites about. This is one of the most important SEO elements. It appears in browsers, search engine results pages, and external websites.

4. Customize Page Title and Page Descriptions

Make sure your page titles are about 55 characters in length to prevent cut off by Google. The same applies for your description which should not exceed 160 characters.

5. Focus on Keywords

A keyword is something that you search for in Google. For example, “Top things to do in South Africa” is a keyword.

Include keywords in your page title, page description and in the slug. Consider this post I’m writing on Squarespace SEO. The keyword I want to rank for is Squarespace SEO. This is what it looks like:

  1. Title – Squarespace Owner? How to Improve Your Squarespace SEO
  2. Slug – By default, the slug will show up as the full title after the name of your site e.g. http://blog.bablic.com/sqaurespace-owner-how-to-improve-your-sqaurespace-seo/. You can shorten it to the keyword you want to rank for e.g. Squarespace-seo
  3. Description – Despite the many myths about Squarespace SEO it’s highly effective in improving your SEO. Here are several techniques to do this.

Consider creating a FAQ page where you address problems/questions consumers are having. Write a few hundred words to answer those questions, including relevant keywords. Through this, you provide content that solves their problems. Remember content is the most important aspect of your SEO.

6. Keyword Research

Telling you to focus on using Keywords is one thing, but how do you know you’re using the right keywords? Firstly, be cognizant that popular search terms (e.g. shoes) make up less than 30% of the searches on the web.

The remaining 70% are the long-tail of search, which contains hundreds of millions of unique searches. These are the keywords you really want to target. For example, “brown Aldo shoes size 9.”

This person knows what they want and if you can put your website in front of them, you practically have them. Secondly, armed with this knowledge, conduct some keyword research. Here are 5 resources to get you started:

  1. Moz Keyword Explorer
  2. Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool
  3. Google Trends
  4. Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence
  5. Wordtracker’s Free Basic Keyword Demand

For Example, Moz Keyword Explorer provides monthly search data, ranking difficulty, estimated click-through-rates and much more.

7. Blog Posts

When creating blog posts, you can:

  1. Set the title, which should include your keyword.
  2. Standard URL that shows is ugly, change this to be cleaner.
  3. Include an excerpt – this substitutes the description visitors will see before visiting the site.
  4. Include a thumbnail image.
  5. Make sure to use tags and categories as search engines scan these to understand your site.

Content will always be the most important aspect of your SEO. Focus on providing high-value content, combined with the necessary keywords. Also, consider inbound links.

In Squarespace pay attention to Sitemaps and the site, page and search engine titles and descriptions. Also, focus on keywords conduct keyword research using the tools provided. Blogging consistently and optimizing your blog posts will also contribute greatly to improved SEO.

How to Optimize Your Shopify Product Listings For Improved Sales

As an online Shopify store owner, you’re always looking for improved traffic as it presents an opportunity for a sale. After all, you’re here to make money! You’ve probably considered and may even already have your products listed on comparison shopping engines (CSE’s) like PriceCheck, Shop Zilla or even Google Shopping.

CSE’s essentially are sites where thousands of retailers pay to list their products at a cost-per-click. They collect product information and prices from several retailers and display it on one page in response to a shoppers search queries. Shoppers can compare products side by side in terms of product descriptions, images, reviews, ratings, and prices.

CSE’s are attractive because they have a low barrier to entry, an established infrastructure and an audience you can readily tap into. Unlike marketplaces (like Amazon), click-throughs are also highly valuable as the consumer will receive all relevant product information before entering your online Shopify store.

In short, CSEs allow you to interrupts shoppers during their research phase. They are a powerful means to increase traffic, build brand awareness and brand visibility and ultimately contribute towards your bottom line.

Fully tapping into the benefits of a CSE though requires you to correctly optimize your online store. This includes conducting a store health overview, reviewing store policies, optimizing your pages, reviewing coupon/discount codes and optimizing your product pages or product listings. This last aspect is arguably the most important. This is what we will be looking at.

How to Ensure Your Product Listings Are Correctly Optimized

Your product listings need to be optimized, not only for Google but also for your visitors. You need to ensure that all the information in your data feeds (usually takes the form of CSV files) is accurate and complete. Just to recap, the majority of CSE’s require a data feed that typically looks like this, although it may differ from CSE to CSE:

1. Title
2. Descriptions
3. Category
4. Product Image
5. URL
6. SKU
7. Weight
8. Dimensions
9. Stock Information
10. Price

Now let’s look at what you can do to optimize your listings.

1. Make sure your titles and descriptions are clear

It’s imperative that your choice of keywords is relevant to your product. And yes, make sure you have the obvious keywords listed, but also one’s that are totally outside the box e.g. for sandals, think shoe slipper or even clogs.

It’s also essential that your brand name is placed at the beginning. The noun needs to be at the end e.g. Nokia Lumia 650 cellphone. Make the necessary changes to your listing if this isn’t the case by following this format:

Brand > Product Name > Color > Style > Material > Size > Important Features

Additional considerations include NOT using capital letters throughout, excluding related accessories not included in the price and words that consumers are unlikely to search for, such as adjectives like beautiful. In analyzing your listing, ask yourself these questions and if you answer no, consider making the necessary revisions.

1. How original are my product listings?
2. Have my product listings been copied?
3. Are all the relevant information and technical details there to help  shoppers make an informed purchase decision?
4. Does my product description evoke interest to actually encourage a purchase?

2. Tweak your product categories through A/B testing

Have a look at your choice of categories for your product. Are they specific? Many CSE’s don’t allow multiple categories and you’re torn between selecting two. The best course of action is to engage in A/B testing where you take two similar products, choose two different categories, one for each and see which one performs better.

3. Ensure all your product images are of the highest quality

The product images are what attracts the shopper’s attention. High-quality images, that focus on important details are essential for visibility as well as conversion. They’re even more important if you consider that consumers cannot physically touch or feel the product before purchase – they rely on visuals.

Consider taking multiple images from different angles. The white background will always be your best friend and remember to avoid text that detracts from your image. Have a look at your current image and ask yourself: Does this attract my attention? Would I click on it?

4. Ensure your product listing URL is Text; be wary of broken links

Avoid having any numbers in your product listing URL and ensure the keywords chosen earlier are included. Further be cautious when changing the URL of your products.

If someone has bookmarked the product and you change it an hour later this will result in a broken link. If you’re changing the URL for improved SEO make sure you redirect visitors to the new URL.

4. Check that your account budget is up to date (daily)

If you run out of budget you run the risk of decreased visibility through your listings being pulled down. Keep your product listing up to date. Deposit ad-spend to manage your bid. Go have a look at your account right now.

5. Regularly (daily) update the data feed.

As with your account budget, you also need to regularly update your data feed.
You don’t want shoppers clicking on a product only to find that you’re out of stock. This happened to me the other day when I was searching for a laptop. Very annoying.

CSE’s really do offer you an enormous amount of value and the opportunity to put your products in front of new shoppers. And the benefits are plenty, from increased visibility and brand awareness, opportunities to upsell, to boosting traffic and ultimately bumping up your bottom-line.

However, to realize these benefits, you need to correctly optimize your product listings, which as highlighted is arguably the most important aspect. Ensure titles and descriptions are clear, tweak your product categories through A/B testing, choose multiple high-quality images, check your URL for broken links and regularly update your account budget and your data feed. Do this and you’re well on your way to making a lot more money.

5 Simple Ways to Engage Visitors on Your Squarespace Site (One Way May Surprise You)

We previously explored ways to improve your Squarespace SEO. The goal of SEO is to increase your visibility in search engines and drive more visitors to your site. Ideally, you want to rank on the first page of Google.

To improve your SEO, we touched on several aspects. From inbound links, keywords, sitemaps, page, title and site descriptions to utilizing FAQ pages. But the most important aspect of this all is content. After all Google and other search engines prioritize content.

The aim is simple to provide readers with the most relevant content based on their search queries. But increasing your search engine visibility and attracting more readers is only one aspect. Once visitors are on your site, you need to engage them, with the goal of encouraging some form of action. This may take the form of signing up for your newsletter or purchasing a product.

But how do you do this? How do you effectively engage visitors, so they don’t just read the post and leave? Here are 5 simple tactics you can implement right now to engage your visitors.

# 1 Insert Internal Links to Give Readers a Choice

Your readers are reading your blog post either because they found it in search engines and saw it as valuable, or perhaps a friend referred it? Either way, once they’re reading you need to think about how to keep them engaged. One way is to include internal links to other high-value articles on your Squarespace website. For example, in the first two sentences of this post, we linked to two articles: one on Squarespace SEO and the other on using Facebook to drive traffic. It’s simple but highly effective.

Including internal links gives readers the choice to explore the content of your website. The same concept applies when you mention things like your “About Page”, features of your product and even Pricing. Basically, include a link where it’s possible and where it makes logical sense. The important thing is not to force the link and link the reader to content that is not relevant to the what was clicked. Your visitors may perceive this as deceptive.

Tip – you don’t want them navigating off the current page. So make sure when clicking on the link it opens a new tab.

# 2 Include Related Content Blocks for Further Engagement

If readers read the full blog post and get all the way to the bottom, engage them further by including “Related Content Blocks” of your blog posts. Squarespace has “Summary Blocks” for this. You’re able to select your layout (wall, layout, carousel and grid), and then choose your blog post category. Viola! You’re all set.

The folks from Hoot Design Co – showcase this perfectly:

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#3 Include Sign-up Forms to Continue the Conversation

Aside from including related content blocks, also include sign-up forms at the end of your posts and in your sidebars. This presents an opportunity to grow your e-mail list. You’re able to engage with customers via e-mail long after the initial engagement. “And does including sign-up forms work?”, you may be asking. In short – Yes, it does.

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Research by online form builder Formstack reveals that including forms improves conversions by 62%. Besides Formstack, both SumoMe and ConvertKit are superb ways to grow your e-mail list. Jacob McMillen who is a freelance copywriter and digital strategist used SumoMe and ConvertKit to grow his list by 600 subscribers. And all this with just two blog posts.

#4 Use Enticing Landing Page Builders

There are many online tools you can use to assist you as you grow your business. Perfecting your landing pages through using tools likes Unbounce and Instapage is one way to grow your business.

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The goal of all the landing pages is to encourage visitors to take some form of action. In most cases, this will involve capturing their e-mail address as with online sign-up forms. A/B testing is also possible where you offer up two different versions of a landing page to see which one is working.

#5 Engage Visitors Through Making Your Website Multilingual

This one might surprise you. I mean there aren’t as many multilingual sites online as there perhaps should be. And you’re probably rather skeptical with a host of questions running through your mind:

  1. Is there really any value in translating my website into a different language?
  2. Will it actually engage visitors?
  3. Is it not a costly exercise requiring a huge investment in a specialist web designer?

In short, the answers to the above questions are Yes. Yes! No! Let’s explore.

Research suggests 56.2% of people value browsing in their own language and 46% say they won’t buy products if sites are a foreign language. So it seems fairly obvious that by making your site multi-lingual you reduce the number of drop-offs, you increase engagement and ultimately sales. That’s real tangible value.

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This is where a tool like Bablic comes in handy. This website translation tool is cost-effective with a basic plan starting at only $20 a month. This is not a huge investment and you’re able to translate your site into two languages. You don’t need to be a technical guru to set it up. All you need to do is paste a code snippet into the header of the website. So again, a huge investment is not required. A free trial is available as well as one-on-one consultation before you make the purchase.

There we have it – 5 simple tactics you can use and implement right now to engage your visitors.

9 of the Best Small Business Apps That Will Help You Work on Your Business

As a small business owner, you need to not only work in your business but on it.

Let me explain.

If you’re a freelance writer you can’t just write. Sure, that’s a part of it. But, you also need to think about other aspects, such as, “How am I going to grow my business?”

I guarantee this: you’re not going to grow it by writing.

You need to market. You need to delegate. You need to find ways to streamline your workflow, accounting, and project management. It requires a holistic approach, which you lose sight of when you’re engulfed in your business.

There are many apps for small business owners – like yourself – that can help. Apps that will help you market, manage projects, and make payments. Here are 9 of the best small business apps across marketing, project management, and accounting.

Marketing

Marketing your business isn’t easy and it takes time and effort. It helps to work smarter by automating processes that would otherwise be manual. You need to think out of the box to attain a competitive advantage. One way you can achieve this is to translate your website into multiple languages. Here are three small business marketing apps that will help.

1. Mailchimp – Automate Your Email Marketing

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Mailchimp is an email marketing services provider ideal for businesses on a budget. There is no monthly fee for your first 2000 email subscribers. With MailChimp you can:

  1. Build, segment, and grow your email lists.
  2. Create email campaigns, from a wide selection of customizable templates.
  3. Send test emails to preview your design and text, and make changes where necessary.
  4. Analyze open rates and other metrics.
  5. Engage in A/B testing to test two different subject lines.
    • The system uses a fraction of your email list for the test.
    • 50% of your list receives subject line one and 50% receives subject line two.
    • The one with the best open rates wins.
    • The system sends that email to the rest of your list.

2. Hootsuite – Your Social Media In One Place

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Hootsuite will help you automate your social media. Plan a posting schedule, days, weeks, or even months in advance. You’re even able to select suitable times to send your posts, even when you’re out of the office. This works well if you have customers in different countries, with different time zones. All your social profiles are accessible in one dashboard and the free version allows you to link three social media accounts.

3. Bablic – Translate Your Website

bablic

There is evidence that highlights the benefits of translating your site into multiple languages. From increased visits, engagement, and conversions, more websites are set t become multilingual.

And the good thing is it no longer costs you a fortune. Bablic offers a cost effective website translation tool that starts at $15/month. A free 30-day trial is also available. Bablic allows you to add languages to your site in three simple steps:

  1. Choose machine, professional or manual translation.Get your personalized
  2. Get your personalized Bablic code to paste in the header of your site (Yes, no programming!).
  3. Publish or unpublish the languages of your choice via the Bablic Editor.

Project Management

Aside from marketing, there are many project management apps to help you manage projects and achieve goals.

4. Trello – Collaborate Globally

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A freelance writing client of mine used Trello to manage the entire content and editorial process for the launch of his blog. He was managing writers from all over the world. Trello then is ideal for managing remote teams and collaboration among employees. Trello has an intuitive dashboard. You’re able to create boards or cards that you can move around the interface as you progress through your project timelines. It’s also possible to comment and attach files to individual cards. There’s a free forever plan, with a more advanced plan starting at $9.99/month.

5. Active Collab – Your One-Stop Solution

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The app is a one-stop solution for your project management needs. Active Collab offers task management, team collaboration, time tracking, and invoicing facilities. You have the choice of operating it as a web application or on your server. A free trial is available for a month, thereafter it will cost you $25/month.

6. Google Calendar – Track Your Tasks and Meetings

If you’re a Google fan and already have a Gmail account, chances are you use this app. It’s available for anyone using a Gmail account and allows you to keep track of tasks and meetings. Download the app to your smartphone for notifications on the go.

Accounting and BookKeeping

Taxes, accounting and bookkeeping. If these words give you a headache, well then it may be time to use an accounting app to simplify your life.

7. PayPal – Send and Receive Payment from Anywhere

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PayPal is ideal to send and receive payments globally, for a small fee. They have large coverage. With a free PayPal business account (yes it’s free), you’re able to send invoices from the interface.

The system tracks all your invoices and you can receive reports and earnings in list or graph format.  The tracking and reporting features will simplify tax return procedures

8. Wave – Your Free Small Business Software

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Wave is an accounting solution tailored for small businesses. Create and send professional invoices, offer several payment options – including credit cards which are faster and more convenient for you and your client – and track all your invoices, and expenses. Wave software is 100% free to use. In their words:

“We could charge you 20 bucks a month like everyone else. But like you, we’re entrepreneurs and a little rebellious, so we’ve shaken up the status quo.”

9. Yendo – More Than Just Accounting Software

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If you want to take things further, consider using Yendo.  In addition to offering accounting software, it offers CRM, payments software and newsletter software. It’s a solid solution for businesses who are growing a sales force and want to manage their sales pipeline and customer relationships.

Final Thoughts

These small business apps will help you streamline your marketing, accounting, and project management. They will simplify tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming. And more importantly, they will assist you in working on your business, and not in it.

Perhaps you already use some of the above apps? We’d love to hear what apps you use, in the comments below.

6 E-Commerce Site Mistakes (And How to Fix Them)

You’ve built your e-commerce site. Now, sit back and watch the sales pour in. Right?

If only it were that easy.

An e-commerce site is a profitable way to reach shoppers without a middleman. But many small business owners and entrepreneurs make mistakes with their e-commerce sites. Mistakes that lead to cart abandonment. Mistakes that lead to low conversion rates. Mistakes that cost store owners money. Mistakes that are avoidable. This post aims to highlight common e-commerce site mistakes and provide solutions to fix them. Here are 6.

#1 Mistake: Your Costs Aren’t Visible

Shoppers don’t want to spend time searching for shipping cost information. Many store owners make the mistake of “hiding” their shipping information. Perhaps you’re guilty of this?

Also, many shoppers make their way to the checkout and are then exposed to a host of extra charges. Doing this a sure recipe for failure. You will, more often than not, lose that sale, and any repeat purchases.

Solutions

  1. Make sure all costs are visible.
  2. Include shipping cost information near all your products.
  3. Let shoppers know of extra costs before checkout.
  4. Include a sales tax calculator for customers. The calculator helps them calculate the total cost of the order before checkout.

#2 Mistake: Your Product Descriptions Aren’t up to Scratch

Are you a store owner who has incomplete product descriptions? Are they generic? Not sure what the answer to these two questions are? Well, I urge you to review your products descriptions. Shoppers use product descriptions when making a purchase decision. So, if they’re generic or incomplete, chances are you’re losing sales.

Solutions

Review your product descriptions on your site and ensure they’re complete, accurate, and unique. Here is an example of a compelling product description of “Aura from the Women at Wrangler“. I took the image directly off the Practical E-commerce site.

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If you’re not sure what to look for, here are a few pointers from Kissmetrics on how to make product descriptions that sell:

  1. Understand your buyer persona – the imaginary customer who buys your products. What websites does she visit? What makes her happy? What makes her sad? You’re able to better engage with your customer if you understand them. It will allow you to move from being product centric to customer centric.
  2. List the features and convert them into benefits.  For example, a long lasting battery for a laptop might translate into the benefit of an entire day’s work without a charge. Be comprehensive. Customers only want to know what’s in it for them. They don’t care about you!
  3. Make sure your keyword is in your headline, sub-headline, and text.Include keyword in the name of your image, image description, and alt tag.
  4. Optimize your product images by using your key phrase in the file name, image description, and alt tag.

#3 Mistake: You Don’t Use People in Your Product Shots

E-Commerce sites are a convenient platform that offers a wide variety of products for sale. Yet, online shopping also has its drawbacks. Shoppers are unable to touch and feel a product before purchasing it. People can’t see how it functions in real life. They cannot see how that item of clothing will fit them. Many stores fail to address these concerns and they fail to reduce the shopper’s anxiety.

Solutions

  1. Create a real life representation of the product by including people.
  2. If you have the budget consider making a video or two.

#4 Mistake: Your E-commerce Sites Mobile Experience Is Poor

Mobile adoption continues to proliferate. A KPCB Mobile technology trends report – cited in Smart Insights, highlights that US consumers now spend more time using mobile digital media (51%) than browsing with a desktop (49%). See below.

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And if you’re thinking, “Well, this is the only usage. It doesn’t imply that customers even shop using mobile”, think again. Yes, research shows: conversion rates for mobile are lower than desktop, but they are on the rise as the below table depicts:

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And they no doubt will continue to rise.

So, is your mobile site responsive?

Solution

  1. Do a full review of your site by visiting it as if you were a customer or use the mobile-friendly test tool from Google.
  2. Type in your URL and the tool will tell you whether your site is mobile friendly. It will give you a black and white answer. Either it is or it isn’t.
  3. If it isn’t, you can:
  • Install a mobile plugin, that will give mobile visitors a different experience.
  • Install a new theme to customize.
  • Redesign your e-commerce site.
  • #5 Mistake: Your Ecommerce Site is Slow

Customers will not wait for your page to load. If it’s slow your bounce rate will increase. a Slow page loading time also impacts your SEO rankings, as Google bots prefer faster page load times. So, the faster the better. Your site may be slow for various reasons e.g. your images may be too large or you’re not on a dedicated server.

Solutions

  1. The easy way to analyze your page loading time is to use Google Page Insights.
  2. Enter your URL and wait while google analyzes your page.
  3. Google will then provide you with a comprehensive report that details what you must fix. Fix those problem areas.

#6 Mistake: You’re Hiding Your Buy Button

This is common for store owners who have wordy product descriptions. It leads to the buy button not being visible. This mistake can contribute to lost sales.

Solution

Piers Thorogood, co-founder of We Make Websites recommends placing the buy button close to the product. Why? Because you cannot assume everyone who lands on your site knows its an online store. And if they don’t they’re not going to spend time looking for the buy button. Make it visible, like Nordstrom do below. Make it easy for people to buy.

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Final Thoughts

You cannot  launch an eCommerce site and hope for the best. When you launch, you need to make tweaks to ensure the best user experience. If you’re an e-commerce site owner making any of the above mistakes it’s time to fix them. Make these changes to achieve better conversion rates, reduce cart abandonment, and increase sales.

Are you making any of theses e-commerce site mistakes? What are the other mistakes e-commerce site owners make?

How to Create a Highly Effective FAQ Page

FAQ (frequently answered questions) pages are extremely powerful if created correctly. Benefits include solving customer problems, reducing the burden on customer support, building trust and relationships with customers, establishing yourself as an expert, adding needed SEO juice, improving site navigation, providing extra opportunities for a sale, gathering key customer insights, and helping customers on their purchase journey by alleviating purchase anxiety.

But how do you go about creating a FAQ page to realize these benefits? How do you create a page that serves as a silent salesperson, both driving traffic to your site, whilst also contributing to your bottom line? Here are some tips.

Tip #1 Scratch The Traditional FAQ page

Before we forge ahead, let’s recognize something. The traditional way of creating FAQ page is not effective, at least from an SEO point of view. Traditionally companies list about 5-15 questions on one page and immediately under each question they include a two to three sentence answers. The answer in itself is often very poor.

Doing things this way is not good for a variety of reasons:

1. We live in an age of content where consumers enjoy consuming a lot of information. I use the word consume – and not read – as there is plenty of evidence that suggests that consumers scan instead. Regardless many of the two to three sentence answers are not sufficient in fulfilling the desire for content.

2. Search engines prefer pages that are thematic; pages that contain one theme or one keyword. This makes it easier for Google to crawl as it immediately establishes what the page is about. Traditionally, FAQ pages are created with several themes. This becomes confusing.

Having seen what’s wrong with traditional FAQ pages let’s look at how we can effectively create them.

Tip #2 What Questions are Customers Asking?

Start with establishing what pertinent questions your potential customers are frequently asking. You don’t want to guess here. These need to be actual questions or concerns from your customers. Start by scouring emails your customers have sent you in the past few months.

Braveen Kumar who is a writer for Shopify recommends that you “focus on relevance, utility, and opportunities to turn that question into a path to further engagement or conversion”. Before you consider answering these questions create a single page with all the questions.

Tip #3 Create One Page With all Your Questions

“But you just said that traditionally companies list all questions on one page?”  I know what I’m saying here may feel counter-intuitive but just bear with me. Create one page with all the FAQ questions listed.

Tip #4 Create Categories For Easy Navigation

If you find that your list extends beyond 15 questions, you might want to break all your questions into categories. This makes it easy for visitors to navigate your page. Including a search box to further improve navigation, especially if you have many categories and questions.

Tip #5 Hard Link To Individual Pages

Now instead of answering each question individually on your FAQ page, insert a link to a separate page. By hyperlinking to the answer on a separate page you ensure a one-page theme which as we’ve established is more search engine friendly. The chances are that consumers will also stumble across your site when they search for industry-related information, and not just information specific to your brand.

Tip #6 Link to Blog Posts

Consider hard-linking from questions to blog posts that answer the questions. This is a strategy that Marcus Sheridan from The Sales Lion recommends. Once they’re reading your blog post, you have an additional opportunity to encourage some form of action, whether it be signing up for your newsletter, or giving them the option to click on internal links. This slowly guides them on their purchase journey.

Tip #7 Include a Call-to-action

Another option is to turn your page into a valuable sales tool,  by including a call-to-action to sign up to receive an e-book that answers these questions. Again you’re encouraging the potential customer to take some form of action.

Tip #8 Answer Questions in a Personal Manner

If you’re linking to individual pages always answer the questions in a conversational style. Make it personal. Let them know there is a human being on the other side. This will help in building a relationship.

Avoid any technical jargon that’s hard to understand. If it’s too technical and difficult to understand, you may confuse the customer even further, ultimately losing a potential sale.

If you have and can afford a copywriter use them to ensure your writing is up to scratch. If not, read and re-read. Send to friends to double check. You want to make sure that you miss any grammar mistakes, that your sentences aren’t too long and that you make use of active and not passive voice.

Free online tools like Grammarly and Hemmingway Editor can help. Grammarly assists with spelling and Hemmingway aids with sentence construction and the use of active vs passive voice.

Tip #9 Create a Clean Layout

In terms of layout, we’ve already alluded to creating categories. For example, depending on your product or service you’re offering you might have an ordering, exchange, payments or even shipping category. Make your questions stand out, perhaps by making them bold or in larger text and then link to separate pages or blog posts on your site.

Tip #10 Study Other FAQ Pages for Ideas

To tie this all up, I thought I’d leave you with some examples of FAQ pages that put into practice what we’ve discussed here. Naturally, they will all be slightly different in terms of their design, but each of these perfectly mimics what we’ve discussed.

Example 1: 99 Designs

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They have different categories and a search box for ease of navigation. All questions are also hard linked to separate pages for added SEO juice.

Example 2: Pinterest

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Pinterest also follows a minimalistic approach, the design is colorful and inviting.

Example 3: Sound Cloud

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Soundcloud doesn’t make use of any specific categories, but they maintain a minimalist feel and hard link to separate pages.

Do  you have a FAQ page?

7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Squarespace Website’s Social Media Presence

According to a statistic cited in a recent HubSpot article, 1/3 of the world uses social networks regularly. This is a staggering figure if you consider that the global population currently stands at roughly 7.5 billion. Within these numbers are many of your target audience that simply aren’t being reached with your social media marketing.

The question then is, how do you reach these people? What tactics do you employ? A good place to start is with the basics. Focus on boosting your Squarespace website’s social media presence and this will improve your visibility in search engines, and boost your online presence. Here are 7 simple ways for you to achieve this.

#1 Connect Your Socia Media Accounts: Reach a Larger Audience

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The most basic thing you need to do is to connect all your applicable social media accounts. Naturally, you won’t be on all of them. And this makes sense because every business is different. The step by step process  is detailed in Squarespace Support. It’s really simple and intuitive, but just take note there are two ways to do this depending on your plan:

  • In Home Menu click Setting and then Connected Accounts
  • In Home Menu click Social Icons and then Connected Accounts

#2 Include a Social Sharing Logo: Improve Brand Recognition When Sharing

Whenever you share your Squarespace website on your social media channels, it’s a good idea to include your logo as this will bolster your brand recognition. To do this go to Design and click Logo and Title. You’ll see a section for Social Sharing Logo. Take note that blog posts will display the thumbnail image you’ve chosen.

#3 Add Thumbnail Images to Blog Posts For Improve Click-through Rates

We highly recommend that you choose a suitable thumbnail for each and every image. An image grabs your readers attention, encourages click-throughs, and improves the shareability of your articles.

It would be a shame if potential readers didn’t click through or share your articles because of this, especially seeing as you’re offering immense value with your articles. Check out our post 7 Quick Tips For Blogging With Squarespace with further details on how to add a thumbnail.

#4 Leverage the Power of Pinterest

In a statistic cited in an article on Jess Creatives, Pinterest referrals spend 70% more money than visitors from other referrals, so let’s leverage the power of Pinterest. Make sure to add a Pin it Button to your images. Simply go to Settings, click Marketing, and then click Pin it Button.

#5 Add Social Icons and Buttons to Your Website: Encourage sharing

You want to add social icons on your site so that visitors can connect with your business page on social media, and follow you. You also want to include social share buttons under all your blog posts so that if readers enjoyed an article, resonated with it on some level, found it useful, or just believe that a friend could benefit from it, they’re able to do share your content.

The Squarespace sharing icons are rather small at the end of blog posts. This is why we recommend integrating with a third party tool that offers this and much more. While there are many online tools on the market that can help you with this, we recommend SumoMe.

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SumoMe provides all the tools to grow your website traffic, from social sharing icons, pop-ups, welcome mats, e-mail sign-up forms, to heatmaps and analytics, where you can assess how your visitors are interacting with your site. Based on this you can see where you need to make improvements. The free version gives you everything you need when starting out your social media journey. Below is a step-by-step instructional video on how to install SumoMe on your Squarespace website:

#6 Add Twitter Cards

You may or may not have heard of a Twitter card.  This is what Twitter says about Twitter Cards:

“With Twitter Cards, you can attach rich photos, videos and media experience to Tweets that drive traffic to your website. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpage, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “Card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers.”

There are different types of cards such as a Summary Card, Summary Card with Large Image, App Card, and a Player Card. Here is an example of a summary card, which works well for blog posts, news articles and products.

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To test the power of Twitter Cards in boosting your Squarespace website’s social media presence, follow the step-by-step process to install it.

#7 Automatically Push Your Posts to Social Media Channels

Each time you publish a post you want to share it to your social media channels.The time it takes to publish each and every post individually to all your channels is time that could be spent on other more profitable activities. We then recommend simplifying this process by using automation.

To do this with Squarespace is simple. Remember when we connected our accounts? Well, simply go back there and check the tab that says Show Push Option. Enable this for each of your social media channels once you’ve connected themIf you’re looking for more advanced tools, consider using the likes of Hootsuite and Buffer.

#8 Use Analytics to Measure Traffic

Now, while doing all of the above will set the foundations for boosting your social media presence, and help you gain more followers and shares across social media channels, failing to monitor analytics and how users navigate your site will, over the long term, be detrimental.

You need to know where traffic is coming from. What social media channels are proving the most beneficial? Which channels aren’t bringing you much traffic? Why is this the case? What do I need to improve, if anything? Do I need to improve my social media strategy? What articles are getting the most shares? Why?

These are just some of the questions that analytics help you to answer. Squarespace has a tool for this called Traffic Source Analytics. It measures the source of the traffic and which referrers are the most valuable. The step-by-step process to setting it up is explained in Squarespace support.

If you want to take things further consider integrating with SumoMe and Google Analytics. Together they provide more rich metrics on which to base your social media decisions. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, read our article on quick tips for blogging with Squarespace,  where we explain how to set it up.

What simple techniques do you use to boost your Squarespace website’s social media presence? Let us know in the comments below.

7 Weebly Apps That Will Boost Your Sales

Whether you want to improve your online presence, drive traffic, increase conversions, or make sales, there’s a Weebly app for you.

While driving traffic and engaging your visitors is important, it’s all but useless if you don’t make a sale. In this today’s post, we take a look at 7 Weebly apps – available for download on the Weebly App center – that will boost your online sales. Because let’s face you’re here to make money.

#1 Better Coupon Box

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There’s no doubt that in my mind that converting visitors is one of your top priorities, if not the top priority.  Aside from providing engaging content, you need to encourage them to take some form of action. Enter Better Coupon Box, a free pop-up builder for both Weebly Websites and e-commerce sites. With this app you’re able to:

  1. Boost your social media following and grow your e-mail list with customizable pop-ups. For online stores, you’re able to encourage sign-ups and social media follows by offering a redeemable coupon code. And for your websites you can encourage visitors to sign up to stay up to date regarding the latest news, events, and promotions.
  2. Improve your targeting by creating pop-ups that show up on certain pages and for certain visitors. For example, different pop-ups for new vs returning customers.
  3. Fully customize your pop-ups to fit in with your website design.
  4. Create a form to encourage a purchase as soon as the show intent to exit the site.
  5. Seamlessly integrate the app with social media channels and email marketing services, like MailChimp.

This Weebly app is free, with options to upgrade to more premium features.

#2 Price Cart

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Part of selling online is having a professional website and making it easy for customers to see what things cost. Visitors don’t want to waste time searching for this information. If they have to, the likelihood of them leaving without buying anything is a lot higher. This information then must be easily accessible.

Price Cart, a free Weebly app, works for small businesses that have multiple pricing plans. For example, think free, basic, and premium plans (just like Bablic). Price cart has different layouts and design options for you to create pricing tables unique to you.

#3 Testimonials

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Online websites are often void of any personal communication aside from the odd live chat and email.  Building trust with your audience then is essential. This not only allows you to establish a relationship but also drives sales for your business.

One way to build this trust, and in turn credibility, is through customer testimonials and reviews. Such testimonials also have the added benefit of alleviating any purchase anxiety (8 Reasons Your Business Needs a FAQ page). Testimonials make consumers think, ” If it’s worked for her, then perhaps it can work for me”.

At a price of $3 from the Weebly App Centre, the Testimonials app lets you create 7 fully customizable responsive layouts to build trust, and boost your online sales.

#4 40 Nuggets

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There’s nothing more annoying for online visitors than an intrusive pop-up. 40 Nuggets will allow you to create nuggets (pop-ups), that appear subtly, and aren’t intrusive. With the ability to create several templates, upload your own images, and engage in A/B testing, you’re bound to see your conversions skyrocket.

40 Nuggets also offers:

  1. Targeting based on several metrics like demographics, behavior, language etc.
  2. Integration with top service providers like AWeber, Mailchimp, and Hubspot

Pricing plans range from $0-$349 for this Weebly app.

#5 Store Metrics

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What good are pop-ups or any other conversion techniques if you aren’t monitoring your analytics to see what’s working and what isn’t?  The Store Metrics app gathers pertinent information on important sales metrics. Using these metrics you now have a deeper understanding of what’s truly driving your sales. Such insights are then used to drive your business decisions.

Here are some metrics you have access to:

  1. Average order value (link to –
  2. Conversion rate
  3. Repeat customers
  4. Cart abandonment rate
  5. Net Revenue

#6 Bablic

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The Bablic Weebly App is a professional website translation tool. You’re able to make your website accessible in multiple languages. So, if someone from Russia visits your English website, the tool will translate it into their language. Neat right? Right, now you’re probably thinking: “What on earth does website translation have to do with boosting my sales?” Let me explain:

By including multiple languages on your site you’ll be ranking for keywords that your competition isn’t ranking for. This will improve your search engine visibility and organic traffic to your site. This, in turn, will build trust among those visitors because you’re catering for their language preferences, where your competition isn’t. More organic traffic and trust vastly improves your odds of making a sale. The following four statistics put this in perspective:

  1. 73% of internet browsers are not English.
  2. 72.1% of users browse in their own language.
  3. 56.2% say browsing in their language is more important than price.
  4. 46% say they don’t purchase products in foreign languages.

So perhaps it’s time you consider going multilingual with the Bablic Weebly App, which offers both manual and human translation. Once installed simply paste a line of code into the header of your site.

#7 Broadly Reviews

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Online reviews as with testimonials are another means to build credibility and trust. According to a statistics cited on Weebly, 92% of consumers read online reviews for local businesses. And because they come directly from other customers they hold an immense amount of weight.

Enter the Broadly Reviews Weebly App that displays three of the most recent Yelp Recommended Reviews and a link to your business profile page. With Google and Trip Advisor integration coming soon – this is a definite must have app for the future.

What Weebly Apps do you use to boost your sales?

7 Ways Kit Will Boost Your Shopify Store Growth

All over the world, small business owners like yourself are faced with the similar, yet unique challenge of growing their business. Often the issue isn’t that their product or service isn’t good enough, it’s simply that they don’t dedicate enough time to marketing. And this can be due to a combination of factors. Firstly, there’s a lot vying for their attention and they simply have limited time at their disposal, with an unlimited amount that needs to get done. Secondly, they lack the budget. And lastly, they may even lack the know-how about how to market online. I’m currently seeing this first hand with a friend of mine who’s struggling to make sales. He’s struggling to grow his business.

The harsh reality is, if you’re not marketing and selling, you will fail, no matter how great your product is. The question then is: How do you overcome this? While there may be many different answers to this question, we found a Shopify App called Kit that can help you grow your online Shopify store.

What is Kit?

Kit is a virtual employee that solves the above problems faced by small business and solo-entrepreneurs. Here’s an introduction to Kit on the Shopify website.

“I’ll communicate with you via SMS, Facebook Messenger, or Telegram. I’ll send you a text, ask you a couple questions to learn about your business, make suggestions for marketing initiatives, and all you have to do is say “yes”. It’s really that simple!”

Kit is a professional, personal marketing assistant. It will send you a text on a daily basis with marketing suggestions. Kit integrates with your Shopify store and handles all of your marketing efforts. From email marketing, Facebook and Instagram advertising, to winning over potentially lost customers due to cart abandonment, Kit does it all. And it doesn’t only do what you say, it thinks ahead and makes recommendations. Watch the video below to learn more:

Such is the power of kit, that one client – cited in an article by Shopify on Kit and it’s benefits -saw a 220% return on his advertising spend. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Now that you have an idea of what Kit is and how it can solve your problems let’s jump into the specifics of what Kit can do for you.

1. Kit Helps You Grow Your Facebook Fans

We’re not talking about fake likes. You know those ones that pages get from click farms (yes, it’s a real thing)? You know those ones where you have someone who seemingly isn’t even in your target market liking your page? I’m sure you do.

Rather Kit focuses on capturing an engaging audience and will build this from 0-100, from day one. This is also important as Facebook uses this as a basis to determine what sort of customers you’re targeting in the future. These customers are also known as your Lookalike Audience.

2. Kit Helps You With Ad Targeting

Kit then will help you target these Lookalike Audiences. Targeting the right audience is crucial for your ROI, and ultimately the success of your business. All you have to do is tell Kit what you want to accomplish with the ad and how much you want to spend. This applies to both Facebook and Instagram advertising.

3. Creates Facebook and Instagram Ads that sell

Create Facebook advertisements by simply answering three simple questions pertaining to whether you’d like to run the ad, what product you want to promote and what your budget is. Together with information Kit pulls from the store, Kit creates a preview of the ad, which you can approve or make further tweaks to. Kit also creates previews for Instagram advertisements based on the same information.

4. Posts Facebook Updates to Boost Your Online Presence

Aside from creating ads, Kit can also assist with publishing Facebook updates on your behalf. This automates your marketing, saving you time and giving you peace of mind knowing your business growth is taken care of, and in good hands.

5. Helps With Cart Abandonment

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Statistics show that 67.45% of online shoppers abandon their carts before making a purchase. Now imagine if you could convert these potential customers? It’s possible with Kit. Let me explain.

Kit Seamlessly integrates with other Shopify Sales Apps; one such app being Kit Kart. Kit Kart will send you an SMS notifying you of the previous day’s abandoned carts. By simply replying with a “Yes” to allow for follow-up e-mails, Kit Kart will send emails to all customers who abandoned their carts, giving them a slight push to make a purchase. Kit Cart is only available if you upgrade from the basic plan ($10/month) to the pro plan ($24/month).

6. Kit Integrates With Other Shopify Apps

Integration with other Shopify Apps takes place through an app known as Kit Skills. By integrating with other Shopify Apps, you don’t find yourself jumping between apps. Your marketing efforts with Kit will be taken to the next level with app integration. Here are three (among others) apps – in addition to Kit Karts- that integrate with Kit:

  1. Retargeting on Autopilot – turn visitors into customers through re-targeting ads on Facebook and Instagram
  2. Product Discount – we discussed this in a post on “5 of The Best Shopify Sales Apps“. But just to recap, the idea is to sell more on your online store through price reductions. It’s the number one Shopify Sales App.
  3. Pop-ups – build your email list, drive conversions, and reduce cart abandonment with this app by Justuno.

7. Helps You Prioritize and Accomplish Goals

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Kit helps you prioritize with Kit Goals. Kit Goals will help you set goals based on your unique business needs and works with you to achieve these goals. For example, if you want to increase your sales by 15% – you can simply tell the app you want to do this and Kit takes care of the rest.

Final Thoughts

Kit is a powerful tool to help you – the solo-entrepreneur and/or small business owner. Because let’s face it you face unique challenges. You have a lot on your plate, your budget is tight, and often you simply lack the experience to grow your business.

Not only will Kit help with your marketing efforts, but it will free up time to focus on other important business activities e.g. inventory management, building partnerships, and creating new product lines. And with seamless integration options with other apps and smart technology that recommends certain marketing efforts before you’ve thought of them, Kit is an indispensable tool to drive your Shopify store growth.

Have you tried Kit?