Category Archives: eCommerce

eCommerce News, Tips & Tricks

Do the Math! Ecommerce for Small Business Needs to Add Up!

Do you know the running cost of your ecommerce website?

I have written before about what to spend on a website but in this blog I want to focus on how to breakdown the running costs of a website.

A key part of our sales process at Dmac is an assessment of the resources a client has available to them before agreeing a project.

 

Areas such as:

 

  1. How many staff, if any, will be involved in the site?
  2. How much time, in a given week, will be given to website management?
  3. How are you managing shipping and inventory?
  4. What kind of digital marketing budget is in place?

These are key questions to answer before taking out the cheque book for a new website as the answers will largely dictate the success or failure of an ecommerce website.

There are still plenty of business owners who look at an ecommerce website as a fixture or fitting in their business.  It has a cost of x and once that is paid I can relax and let it add revenue to my business.

With the internet’s continuing descent into pay for position this is getting further and further from reality.  A website is more like a vehicle.  It only moves if you keep it fuelled.

This blog will focus on the common costs that a business needs to manage when running a good ecommerce website.  We will also show how best to express these figures to keep track of costs on a daily and hourly basis.

 

managing-website

We will break it down under the following headings:

  1. Product & Category Management
  2. Fulfilment
  3. Payments
  4. Shipping
  5. Website Maintenance
  6. Promotion

1. Product & Category Management

This is almost entirely a labour cost.  To get the best possible traction for your products they need to be displayed with good quality images, unique descriptions and accurate costs.  This all takes time to do correctly particularly if you write your own product descriptions (literally the best thing you can do for your website)

Adding a new product should take a trained person 10-20mins from start to upload, depending on the web platform.  Once the product is loaded it needs to be monitored for price and stock changes.  If you integrate with your epos system this is automated, but you would be amazed how many SME’s do not have a web enabled epos.

On top of the day to day management of product, you also need to invest time in researching new product trends to influence your buying as well as constantly revising your category structure to make sure it is simple for your customers to find product.

The amount of time spent should be based on the volume of product you want to manage.  The staff time required to do it right needs to be factored into your budget.

2. Fulfilment

This is an obvious one but again time needs to be factored into the administration of orders once you start making them.  Who is looking after customer contact, picking lists and packaging?  Who works with the courier company to ensure they collect & deliver on time.  Every order will have a handling cost which again adds to your labour cost.

3. Payments

If you take credit cards in your real-world business you are all too familiar with the related charges and online payment processors are no different.  They fall into two broad billing categories;

Commission Based, the processor usually provides aggregated processing and merchant account.  They only charge a percentage of the total order which is fine until you start to generate high volumes of transactions and the percentage (somewhere between 3-5%) really starts to sting.

Set Tariffs, usually suited to more established sites with higher volumes.  These providers normally require a separate merchant bank account and have fixed monthly fees (circa €30) The merchant bank will also charge a commission fee on top of that but it is normally much more competitive than their commission based counterparts (Stripe, PayPal)

Whatever your setup these costs chip away at the product margins and need to be considered as part of the whole.

4. Shipping

Another cost each order must bear.  To give a competitive edge many operators go with Free delivery which normally means the actual cost is hidden in the product.  But free or charged you must be sure you count the real cost of delivery.  This starts with getting good parcel rate from your courier or logistics partner, but you should not forget the cost of packaging materials as well as returns charges.

5. Website Maintenance

Like it or not your website ages faster than you can imagine.  To stay ahead of the ever-present security threats to customer data online and to keep up with Google’s incessant changes (over 1600 in 2016 alone!) You need to keep your website up to date.  We recommend that you look at the cost of a website over a three-year period so if you invest €3k in a new ecommerce platform your yearly cost is €1k.

6. Promotion

It is no longer possible to gain traction online without engaging in digital marketing.  Email, Social, Content or AdWords it all must line up to make sales.  This is one area where budgets can run unchecked and is often where profits vanish.  All digital marketing must be looked at through a lens of Cost per Acquisition.

 

Expressing the figures

Now that you have a grasp of the major costs of operating a simple ecommerce site you need to know how to get this into a manageable figure for you to track.  Over the last decade the we have learned the simplest method is to express everything as a percentage of your average order value.  This keeps the figures small and allows you to spot check your performance at any time without getting lost in P&L sheets.

Let’s break that down.  Look at the total revenue generated from the site over a period (your choice but anywhere from 1-12 months works) and divide this by the volume of orders.  This gives you an average order value.

Now take your total labour costs (under the headings above) for the same period and divide by the volume of orders.  Now figure out what percentage of the average order value this takes up.

Repeat the same exercise for all your costs and you now have the anatomy of an order value.  You can get a surprisingly accurate net profit figure per order but more importantly you have a great picture of the true cost of that sale

 

Facing the facts

If you do this exercise and realise that you are in fact loss making, then you are already a step ahead of many small ecommerce sites. Many seemingly successful or at least busy ecommerce sites are not profitable.  As a business operator you need to do the math on your ecommerce setup (real or imagined) once you have the numbers you can start optimising what you are doing and get the profit margins back.

 

The Dmac team are free to talk to you about your ecommerce dreams or nightmares at any time so drop us a line if this article has got you thinking.

 

Secure Lock

SSL Certificate –Why your website needs one

Want to make your website secure but not really sure how to go about it? This blog will help you answer some of your questions regarding your websites security.

Why do I need a SSL certificate?

Typically, information sent between a browser and a web server is sent as plain text, which can leave you vulnerable to hackers. SSL certificates utilise a public and a private key, which work together to establish an encrypted connection.

 

This certificate does a couple of things.

One, it enables your site to communicate with users using encrypted, non-corruptible data.

 

Two, the certificate also acts as a stamp of approval from a trusted party that says your site is legitimate and secure to use.

 

Three, HTTPS sites also load faster. In a test on HTTP vs HTTPS.com, the unsecure version of the page loads slower than HTTPS – try the test on your own device and see it for yourself. Fast loading time is also discussed here as part of upgrading your website blog.

 

Back in 2014, Google tried to persuade webmasters to make the switch to HTTPS and made the secure protocol a stronger ranking signal as motivation. Google flat-out said they would start giving preference to sites with an SSL.  Since that time, encrypted sites have earned a boost in rankings over their unsecured counterparts.

What is a SSL certificate?

Let’s start with the basics, SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, this is a security method which allows data to be transferred over a server securely. SSL certificates help to protect the transfer of private information such as payment or bank details, usernames, passwords and more. A website is secure if the URL begins with HTTPS, and it is important to note that it will also display that it is secure.

 

An SSL Certificate contains the company’s domain name, company name, company address, and the country of origin, for the website. It also contains the expiration date of the Certificate and the name of the Certification Authority responsible for issuing the Certificate. The certificate also includes the public key of the server which is used for the encryption of data. It is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between a web server and a browser. This link ensures that all data passed between the web server and browsers remain private.

What is HTTPS?

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) are protocols, or languages, for passing information between web servers and clients. All you need to know is that HTTPS is a secure connection, whereas HTTP is unsecure. With a standard HTTP unsecure connection, it is possible for unauthorized parties to observe the conversation between your device and the site.

So, what will happen if I don’t have one?

Historically, Google Chrome has not explicitly labelled HTTP connections as non-secure. Beginning in January 2017, they began marking HTTP pages that collect passwords or credit card details as non-secure, as part of a long-term plan to mark all HTTP sites as non-secure. Recent figures from Google now indicate that over 50% of all websites are now secure.

 

Google has stated in their blog that in future releases, they will continue to extend HTTP warnings, for example, by labeling HTTP pages as “not secure” in Incognito mode. Eventually, they will label all HTTP pages as non-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle that we use for broken HTTPS. As shown here:

https

 

Your SSL cert will need to be updated yearly to avoid things like this happening:

123

OK, so how do I get a SSL certificate?

With prices starting from €100, contact our team at Dmac media and we will be happy to assist you in setting up your SSL certificate and leading you on your way to secure happy browsing.

Web Designers - I need a new website

Is your website like a grumpy salesperson?

How many times have you found yourself getting irritated while trying to
complete a process online?  Booking flights, hotels, buying a product? Well if you struggle to complete a task on a website the good news is you are not to blame.

 

Jakob Nielsen,  arguably the first and definitely the leading expert on website
usability has said that a bad website is like a grumpy salesperson.  Meaning it actively drives customers away from it by frustrating or irritating them.  If a website is difficult to understand or use it is the fault of the designer or company not the user.

 

We often design websites around our experience or understanding of our products and this is usually bad news for users.  The worst sin of all is to assume everyone uses the website the way you do.  Remember you are not your customer, they have different experiences, needs and understanding of your services or products.  You need to consider your website from their perspective.

 

When you do that, the all important questions are:

 

  1. Are all menus consistent throughout the site?
  2. Are the main sections or functions (like product search) obvious?
  3. Are you bombarding them with everything at once, or are you giving them relevant information one piece at a time?
  4. Do you know what your visitors are trying to achieve and why it maters to them?

 

If we are honest, most of us will not have a definitive answers, it will be more of a gut feeling.  So how do you diagnose a bad website?  Well it might be common sense but unfortunately it is not that common.

 

Ask your users!

Conducting a Usability study

 


This is actually a lot simpler than most people imagine.  It consists of gathering a small group of people (normally 5-6) in a room with a range of devices (Smart Phones, Tablets, Laptops)  and asking them to carry out specific tasks.  While they are carrying out the tasks you observe and record there behavior and reactions.  Do not listen to what they say but watch what they do (thanks again to Mr Nielsen for that tip)

 

An important caveat here is that the users you gather should relate to your ideal customer or user.  If you are not sure who that is you should check out our research options here but in short they are the people you expect to use your website to buy from, or learn about you.

 

The specific tasks you set your users is up to you but you are looking at there behaviour and assessing 5 key aspects:

Learnability:

How easy is it for users to accomplish basic tasks the first time they encounter the website?

Efficiency

Once users are familiar with the website, how quickly can they perform tasks?

Memorability

When users return to the website after a period of not using it, how easily can they reestablish proficiency?

Errors

How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors?

Satisfaction

How pleasant is it to use the website? remember, the more relaxed and comfortable your user, the more likely they are to convert.

 

 

Studying the results of your tests through the prism of these pointers will give you a very clear idea of what you need to improve on and what is all ready working well.  Once you have made improvements to the way users experience your website the most important thing to do next is…

 

Ask your users again!

 

The best way to ensure your results keep getting better is to test, tweak and test again.  This should never stop.  As the intelligence, technology and attitudes of your users keeps evolving.  So should you.

 

This article is giving you the briefest outline of something called usability which is vital to User interface Design (UI), which in turn is a major aspect of User Experience (UX)  I have intentionally left these buzzwords until the end of this article because a lot of you out there have a negative reaction when you hear them.

 

You assume that it is either too complicated or too costly but as you can see from the simple steps above it is very easy for any business to start listening to how their customers feel about interacting with them.

 

If you feel like you need a bit more help on this then why not get in touch and we can start a conversation.

 

 

How Much Should I Spend on a Website

How Much Should A Website Cost?

 

This is most common question anyone in the web design industry gets asked and if you know web designers you know it is not always a straightforward answer.  Compare it to asking a car sales man how much a car costs.  It all depends on what you want the car to do.  To get an accurate quote on a website you need to give the web designer or company more details.

 

I am writing this article in the hope that it will give you some insights on how to effectively budget for your website.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have a small bias because I work for one of the best website development companies in the known universe!  I will try and keep my ego in check and give you information based on my experience in the web design industry over the last 10 years.

 

To understand website costing you need to look at three questions:

  1. What do websites cost?
  2. What can I afford?
  3. What is my priority?

 

What do websites cost

If you carry out even the most basic research you will find that website costs vary wildly depending on where you look and it is not always clear what the difference in the result is.  To help dispel some of the mist around this you can break it down into four broad categories.

 

D.I.Y Websites €0 – €500

Platforms like wordpress.com, Weebly & Squarespace offer you the option of do it yourself web design.  If you have some technical or design experience it can be a great low cost options.  As with all DIY projects the results can look fantastic or frightening depending on the skill set you have.  Most of these platforms come with preset themes that may well suit your needs and require little else other than your content.

 

Assisted D.I.Y. Websites €500 – €1500

For the less brave but still budget sensitive they can engage a professional to set up a WordPress theme and tweak it to suit your requirements.  This normally leaves you with a great looking site that you then must populate yourself with your own content. This can be a real winner for small business or start ups as there is minimal outlay and you have an experienced developer on hand.  A word of warning though:  Your professional works based on billable hours (or should do) so you need to know how much of their time you are getting as some of these projects can creep which can lead to a fractious relationship between you and your developer which is no good for anybody.  Always ask what the hourly or day rate is and then cost in terms of time.  It is fairer to both of you.

 

Professional Website €1500 – €3000

This is where a lot of web designers like to work.  Still a reasonable cost but more time to do more.  Believe it or not web designers like to create beautiful work and if they have the right budget they normally do just that.   As with the previous option make sure you know the time rates for your web development company and agree a reasonable timeline at the outset.  This price range is perfect for standard business websites or simple ecommerce systems.  If you need your site to go a little further or do a little more it is usually possible to evolve or build onto this type of site.  If you need it bespoke from the start then you need to look at the next step up.

 

Bespoke Web Development €3000 + €?????

Ok so this can be real blank-cheque territory so if you are going down this road you should either a) have plenty of experience with websites or b) have someone who does.  Most bespoke sites are completely reworked or remodeled within their first year because clients are rarely right about what is important for their customers.  Starting small and growing big is a much safer option.  However, if you are committed then here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Create and sign off on a functional spec.  Make sure everything you want the site to do for you and for your visitors is down in black & white.
  2. Create graphics before you start building.  You should see and sign off on images of what the key pages of the site will look like before committing to the build.  This limits the misinterpretations of developers.
  3. Agree a timetable for every key stage and stick to it.
  4. Agree rates for additional work.  It is hard to think of everything and extras normally cost extra so get a clear idea of what the rates day/hourly rates are for work over and above the spec.

free-audit

 

What can I afford?

Now that you know the kind of costs that are out there you can start to focus on the real question:  What can I afford?  To answer this, you need to know a few things:

 

How long will this website last?  Websites generally have a technical shelf life of 3-5 years.  If you consider the pace at which the web design industry moves you will realise that nobody can predict where we will be in three years.  There is chance that your website will be as good in three years as it is today but it is more likely that something significant will have changed in security standards or user experience.  If you are shopping around now you should be looking at your website spend as something that will last for the next 3-5 years (similarities here again to car buying).

 

How much revenue will it generate?  Deciding what to invest in a website should be considered in terms of what the website is going to create.  How many new leads or sales or what is the potential revenue you are expecting (top tip: be conservative!)  Once you have an estimate on this, your new website development should fall between 5-10% of the gross profit on those sales.

 

Let’s look at two scenarios:

 

Website 1 is a business website with no ecommerce engine.  It generates 4 leads every week with at least one of those leads converting to a sale every month.  If the average value of the sale is €400 and the cost of sales (what you spent on the product) is €110; then your gross profit is €290; 10% of this is €29 so over three years this website will generate an estimated €1044 (€29 x 36 months) This puts you firmly into the assisted DIY bracket.

 

Website 2 is an ecommerce website generating 25 orders a day.  The average order value is €48 with a gross profit of €10; That gives you a gross profit over three years of €273,750; 5% of this total is €13,687 which puts you into the bespoke price range.

 

The point I am making here is that you should look at your budget as a percentage of your gross profits as this gives you a sense of what a reasonable budget is.  This is probably something your accountant has already told you.

 

dmac-media-on-trustpilot

 

What is my priority?

My decisive point for this post is that once you have all the figures, you need to decide what the priority is.  You can only spend two things in business and that is time or money.  I have found that there is a balance between these when it comes to web design.  The more of one you spend the less of the other.  You need to decide how important the website is to your business and act accordingly.   You may have lots of free time and very little money which means you are going to be a master of DIY or alternatively you might have a budget and no time so the professional is your best route.

 

Hopefully you have gained some useful insights in pricing your next website revamp but if you are like me and have just skimmed this article let me give you all the above in a neat little cliché:

 

There are three options for pricing any job:

  1. Fast
  2. Right
  3. Cheap

You only get to choose 2.

 

 

The Trust Stack and what it means for your ecommerce website

The Trust Stack is fast becoming a common term for how people are interacting with companies and individuals online.  The formal definition, according to Rachel Botsman, is as follows:

A new trust framework is emerging in the collaborative economy, the ‘Trust Stack’. In the first layer of the Trust Stack, people have to trust that a new idea is safe and worth trying. The next layer is trusting the platform, system or company facilitating the exchange. And the third layer is all about trusting the other user.

Trust or faith in ecommerce as a concept has been well established but if you are involved in ecommerce you need to pay attention to that second layer, “Trusting the platform”. When a new customer is contemplating a purchase from your platform they are dealing with uncertainties. Is this the right product? Is that the best price?  When will I get it?  Along with a host of other concerns that give the average new customer a high level of uncertainty.

 

A good ecommerce website will do everything it can to lower that uncertainty which in turn builds on the trust the customer has in you and your business.  Sounds good right?  But how do they do it?  Here are some key factors that you should look to address at two key stages of the purchase process, the product details page & the checkout process. These pointers are based on a traditional product based ecommerce process but many of them can be applied to any website.

 

Its all in the detail

 


Below is a screenshot from our friends at babyaccessories.ie  the page layout is clean and simple but there is a lot of elements here that create trust with visitors.

koolkidz

  1. A large product image lets the customer see exactly what they are getting it also has an image zoom feature (take a look at the live site here) that lets the visitor get up close and personal with the product and judge the quality.
  2. The product title contains the brand name, colour and product type, you would be surprised how often it doesn’t!
  3. The price is the largest piece of text on the screen closely followed by the original RRP which shows the discount.
  4. Beneath the price you have a free delivery statement which offers a visitor free delivery if they spend over a set value.
  5. They are displaying both an availability icon (confirming they actually have it on the shelf) as well as an estimated delivery timetable.
  6. Speaking of delivery, there is also extra delivery and returns information in the tabs beneath the image.  Lack of, or unclear delivery and returns information is one of the most common reason for abandoned carts.
  7. Last, but definitely not least, they are displaying the statement “safe and secure shopping” statement along with a recognised online credit car processor.  Customers will recognise and respond to processors they have used before.

All of these elements reassure a visitor and make them much more likely to click on the all important “add to cart”.  This is a great start but it is only half the battle.  Lets move on to the checkout process.

Good Checkouts Increase Sales!

Cart abandonment rate online is somewhere between 60-80%.   You can lower your percentage by continuing to build trust and lower your users’ uncertainty.  Here are some pointers to consider:

Simple cart summary

When a customer visits the cart you want to make it very simple to start the checkout process.  The cart should have only the essential information for a customer to make that decision.  Keep your cart simple by making the options for removing or updating quantities of products obvious.   Show your delivery options clearly and make sure the customer can see the total cost at this point.  In addition, an eye catching checkout button that is visible above and below the cart summary.  Do not make your customer look for twice for it.

Stop asking me to join your cult!

The most common first step for a checkout is to ask the user to sign up or log in as a member or checkout as a guest.  This is a bad idea.  A first time customer does not want to join your club or become a fan.  Pushing them at this point can drive them in the wrong direction.  It is far better to let them checkout as guest and ask them to join afterwards (preferably with a bonus for doing so)  If the customer is already a member they just need a simple log in link.

Choice of payment providers & delivery options

Customers are getting used to having it their way.  Providing customers with options for payments (PayPal, Stripe, etc.)  gives them control.  The same goes for your delivery options.  Express delivery,  standard 3 day delivery or collect in store?  Don’t assume you know what is best for your customer.

 

If you spend time studying how visitors behave on your website you can find hundreds of ways to lower their uncertainty and increase your revenue.  If you would like us to take a look at your platform why not mosey over to our contact page and we can start a conversation.

 

 

 

 

Is your Business Harnessing the Power of Online Reviews?

How many times have you, as a consumer read an online review? Be it about a product, service or even business, online reviews are playing an ever increasing factor in the purchase decisions of consumers both on and offline. BrightLocals recent study suggest that nowadays a whopping 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. While a staggering 74% suggest that positive online reviews help them to trust a local business.

But what does this mean for your business? It really is quite simple.

Whether your business trades online, or your online presence simply afford customers your business information, you could stand to gain real benefit from online consumer reviews. Whether you are driving your sales online or inviting customers to your store, online reviews facilitate the business owner to maximise profits, and also keep abreast of issues, customer service & resolve problems before they affect a wider audience. Once you invite a customers to leave a review, you are inviting them into dialogue with your business in the public forum, offering you the opportunity to craft meaningful responses on a deep, personal level. Take a look at some of our recent reviews left on our Google My Business Page.

Martin Kennedy Dmac Review

Here we see two examples of good quality reviews and feedback from clients. Notice how the personal response from the owner reaffirm the position of the company

Negative Reviews are simply an opportunity in disguise!

The overwhelming fear that many business owners have is related to receiving a negative or bad reviews. Despite the best efforts of you and your team, negative reviews will occur. In most cases, these individuals may have felt let down by your product or service, however it is not the end of the world. Hand crafting a personal response to these negative reviewers, projects your business as a proactive listener, eager to resolve the gripes of your valued customers, and who can argue with that. In fact Mike Ward, CEO of Thriftbooks is a firm believer of resolving negative reviews stating

“When you stack all the positive reviews up and you see this one that is obviously from a legitimate customers with a legitimate concern, as a potential customer, your trust skyrockets.”

Profit from your strong customer service through social media reviews!

By now, we’re sure you understand the powers of social media, but have you considered the power of social media reviews? With 8 out of 10 Irish Adults now using social media, mediums such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Snapchat are more powerful than ever before. The social profiles your business uses often gather the reviews of your customers organically, but are you really harnessing their power? Social Media can be a simple, cost effective tool to broadcast your happy customer stories, in a relaxed, informal environment. Who can argue with establishing trustworthiness and building a strong bond among consumers through social media reviews? I certainly wouldn’t.

Make educated business decisions by harnessing your customer’s feedback

While most business will strive for (& expect) five star reviews to just flow in, real meaning can be gathered in the words your customers use in a review. Looking beyond the star rating can arm business with genuine insight into the experiences of their customers and make adjustments to their business processes where necessary. For instance, should a number of reviews highlight a delay in shipping or perhaps even poor customer service, business owners can address these issues, ultimately driving repeat business and brand advocacy. After all keeping the customer happy is what business is all about.

Understanding the value of reviews is one thing, harnessing their power is another. Nowadays, businesses have a host of review platforms open to them, Trustpilot, Feefo and even he simply Google Review can all have a significant bearing on how would-be customers view your business online.

Talk to a Dmac Account Manager today about harnessing the power of Online Reviews

New Website - cufflinksuperstore.com

*** Go Live *** – New eCommerce Website cufflinksuperstore.com

Philip Hannigan, is thrilled to unveil cufflinksusperstore.com, his new, stylish and easy to use ecommerce website, to showcase his unique array of gift items Philip has over 50 years’ experience in the jewellery and gift business and his company is renowned for our quality products, excellent service & reliability. It is now super easy to browse the range of exclusive products and to complete purchases on line. The friendly and helpful sales team at cufflinksuperstore.com are pleased to offer prompt assistance with any queries you may. Everything on the website is in stock and ready for immediate dispatch, so you can order with complete confidence and peace of mind. The site uses Realex payments for all financial transactions which are guaranteed secure.

 

This responsive eCommerce website showcase their wonderful range of stock elegantly, while offering secure payment portals. The crisp, clean graphic design exudes class, while its wishlist feature offers users the chance to shop and compare products readily.Of course, as with all Dmac Websites, cufflinksuperstore.com is 100% mobile responsive, which is imperative in today’s on the go society.

 

For more information about the event it self visit www.cufflinksuperstore.com

 

 

Succeeding Online isn’t easy!

Contacting a Dmac Media Account Manager can help drive your business online

 

 

Is your Small Business Website eligible for a L.E.O. Grant?

Online Trading Vouchers – What you need to know?

The Online Trading voucher Scheme is the very official and staid name for an innovative and exciting grant programme with the potential to change your online business presence and acumen for the better. Unlike its unassuming name, this scheme is quite inviting and under it, you may be entitled to financial assistance of up to €2,500, alongside some priceless trade information.  The grant is making ecommerce websites more effective while also providing training and expert advice to assist retailers in growing their small business website.  This is a unique opportunity for retailers and small companies to avail of online support for businesses.

 

If you have been trading for more than a year, have less than ten employees and a turnover of less than €2million, then you can apply for this grant assistance at your local enterprise office.  Those accepted to the programme will attend a free information session which offers a practical approach to web design for businesses, discusses search engine optimisation and explains the finer details of elements such as business website hosting.   The grant must be matched 50% by the applicant and includes enhancing or renewing the introduction of online payments or booking systems.  Other usage includes; purchase of Internet related software, online advertising, development of an app, implementation of a digital marketing strategy, consultation with ICT experts and training or skills development designed to assist in the establishing  and managing online trading activity.

 

Online shopping in Ireland is a growing trend. Last year online shopping increased by 16% year on year and this is expected to rise as more and more shoppers access online retailers from a variety of devices. It is important not to be left behind in this changing market. It is not just the domestic markets which open to you, once you have establish a vibrant ecommerce site. European business generates £3bn a year from online shopping, France makes around £26bn a year from Internet shopping while the UK leads from the top with a cracking £44bn a year. Ireland is not far behind although the Central Statistics Office has not yet released up to date stats on online shopping, but retailers are reporting it as a thriving market with lower overheads and higher returns.

 

To date, over two thousand local companies have availed of the Online Trading Voucher Scheme. Some of these are your competitors. Attendance at an Information Session is required prior to submission of an application. You can register on line for these sessions at your local enterprise office.

 

With the advancement of online shopping and the high expectations of customers in relation to site use ability and secure payment options, not to mention a clean and modern website, this scheme is a golden opportunity for the small online trader.

 

For more Information the Local Enterprise Office Online Trading Voucher

Click Here

 

Quick Website Development

Is it time to give your Website a Facelift?

Is your website tired, jaded and a little out dated?  Are the dusty cobwebs clinging to the corners of your pages actually costing you in lost opportunities and missed sales?

Your website says more about your business than you might think. A recent study at Stanford University, revealed that 75% of the participants absolutely judged a company by its website.  A slow response time did not impress. Out of date imagery and information got the big thumbs down.  A website should be thought of as a C.V. an advertisement hoarding or pamphlet and indeed, your welcoming online shop. How does your online presence compare with that of your competitors? Is it accessible and inviting or staid, old fashioned and slow to respond?

Perhaps it is time to treat your website to a rejuvenating face lift. This does not have to be a very difficult or complicated task and we are happy to break it into steps for you to consider.

 

Bright, bold new looks:  A themed revamp of your current website may be all that is needed to update and attract new business. Let us presume that the functionality is fine and everything works (links and search boxes) the way it should and it simply looks tired and unloved. You can immediately add interest and sparkle with some new images, font changes and some funkier text.  Do your homework first and see how other competitor sites are looking.  Make a note of which ones you like and the reasons why you like them to discuss with your web designer. The colours you choose fotatalhealthslider your site will give a great first impression so choose carefully. See here for tips on colours, warm and cool, appropriate for your business model.

Check out the Infographic…

 

Take me with you:   These days, people will access your website from any number of devices. If your website is slow to respond on some platforms, then frankly, it will foster a poor opinion of your business practices.  As many as one in five of all online searches now come from mobiles.   So, it is important to ensure that your website is mobile responsive and looks just as good (if not better on your phone. Making your current website mobile responsive is always be a very good investment.

 

Find Me Easily:  Does your business show up in Google searches? With many old websites, pages weren’t built with SEO trends in mind. Nowadays search engine algorithms change continually and you may need to check your site for SEO content, and get some professional digital marketing advice, in order to keep check of where your company websites ranks in Google searches. Clients are drawn to the top few search results when looking for a prodcregalartslideuct or service, so keeping the company website ahead of the competition is vital for the ongoing success of your business.

 

Lots of Links:  Everything works in tandem now, so make sure that your social media presence is linked to your website. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat can be used for spreading the word and directing traffic to the website and ultimately, the business. Update your own profile on LinkedIn and be aware that the best use of social media is low cost, low effort networking at its best.  Update on social media as often as you find witty, clever and eye catching content that is relevant to your industry.  Add a blog to complete the picture.  Think of all this marketing as housekeeping for your business but it can also be fun too.

 

Dare to be different:  Go on!  Make your website amazing!  Add exciting text and interesting videos. Share the wisdom’s of your particular craft and show your personality by choosing style, colour and tone which accurately reflect who you really are.

 

Your website lets your current and prospective customers know immediately exactly what you want to portray about your business and brands.

 

Call us today to discuss the easiest and most efficient and cost effective ways to give your website the face lift it deserves.

How to fail at ecommerce

I Recently had the pleasure of listening to a speaker who gave a speech based on her experience as an online shopper. The speaker was unaware that my profession was that of a web developer with a speciality for online shops

It was refreshing to hear an unbiased account of everything that was wrong with ecommerce for a normal customer. It was even more gratifying to realise that all of the problems this person experienced were easily corrected by a retailer paying attention to their customers. This means that this speech is something that every online retailer should read and take on board. This is not the complete text but it covers the major issues. Continue reading